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Title: France and the Republic - A Record of Things Seen and Learned in the French Provinces - During the 'Centennial' Year 1889
Author: Hurlbert, William Henry, 1827-1895
Language: English
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by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at
http://gallica.bnf.fr)



  FRANCE
  AND THE REPUBLIC

  A RECORD OF THINGS SEEN AND LEARNED
  IN THE FRENCH PROVINCES DURING
  THE 'CENTENNIAL' YEAR 1889

  BY
  WILLIAM HENRY HURLBERT
  AUTHOR OF 'IRELAND UNDER COERCION'

  _WITH A MAP_

  LONDON
  LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
  AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET

  1890

  _All rights reserved_



  PRINTED BY
  SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW-STREET SQUARE
  LONDON

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1890
  by William Henry Hurlbert
  in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington


       *       *       *       *       *


  CONTENTS


  INTRODUCTION
                                                                   PAGE

  I. Scope of the book--French Republicanism condemned by
  Swiss and American experience--Its relations to the
  French people                                                   xxiii

  II. M. Gambetta's Parliamentary revolution--What Germany
  owes to the French Republicans--Legislative usurpation
  in France and the United States                                  xxvi

  III. The Executive in France, England, and America--Liberty
  and the hereditary principle--General Grant on the
  English Monarchy--Washington's place in American
  history                                                        xxxvii

  IV. The legend of the First Republic--A carnival of incapacity
  ending in an orgie of crime--The French people never
  Republican--Paris and the provinces--The Third Republic
  surrendered to the Jacobins, and committed to
  persecution and corruption--Estimated excess of expenditure
  over income from 1879 to 1889, 7,000,000,000 francs
  or 280,000,000_l._                                                 li

  V. Danton's maxim, 'To the victors belong the spoils'--Comparative
  cost of the French and the British Executive
  machinery--The Republican war against religion.--The
  present situation as illustrated by past events                lxviii

  VI. Foreign misconceptions of the French people--An English
  statesman's notion that there are 'five millions of
  Atheists' in France--Mr. Bright and Mr. Gladstone the last
  English public men who will 'cite the Christian Scriptures
  as an authority'--Signor Crispi on modern constitutional
  government and the French 'principles of 1789'--Napoleon
  the only 'Titan of the Revolution'--The debt of
  France for her modern liberty to America and to England         lxxvi
  VII. The Exposition of 1889 an electoral device--Panic of the
  Government caused by Parisian support of General
  Boulanger--Futile attempt of M. Jules Ferry to win back
  Conservatives to the Republic--Narrow escape of the
  Republic at the elections of 1889--Steady increase of
  monarchical party since 1885---Weakness of the Republic
  as compared with the Second Empire                             lxxxix

  VIII. How the Republic maintains itself--A million of people
  dependent on public employment--M. Constans 'opens
  Paradise' to 13,000 Mayors--Public servants as political
  agents--Open pressure on the voters--Growing strength
  of the provinces.--The hereditary principle alone can now
  restore the independence of the French Executive--Diplomatic
  dangers of actual situation--Socialism or a
  Constitutional Monarchy the only alternatives                    xcvi


  CHAPTER I

  IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS

  Calais--Natural and artificial France--The provinces and the
  departments--The practical joke of the First Consulate--The
  Counts of Charlemagne and the Prefects of Napoleon--President
  Carnot at Calais--Politics and Socialism in Calais--Immense
  outlay on the port, but works yet unfinished--Indifference
  of the people--A president with a grandfather--The 'Great Carnot'
  and Napoleon--The party of the 'Sick at heart'--The Louis XVI. of
  the Republic--Léon Say and the 'White Mouse'--Gambetta's victory
  in 1877--Political log-rolling, French and American--Republican
  extravagance and the 'Woollen Stocking'--Boulanger and his
  legend--Wanted a 'Great Frenchman'--The Duc d'Aumale
  and the Comte de Paris--The Republican law of exile--The
  French people not Republican--The Legitimists and the farmers--A
  French journalist explains the Presidential progress--Why
  decorations are given                                            1-22


  CHAPTER II

  IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS--(_continued_)

  Boulogne--Arthur Young and the Boulonnais--Boulogne and Quebec--The
  English and French types of civilisation--A French ecclesiastic
  on the religious question--The oppressive school law of
  1886--The Church and the Concordat--Rural communes paying
  double for free schools--Vexatious regulations to prevent establishment
  of free schools--All ministers of religion excluded from
  school councils--Government officers control the whole system--Permanent
  magistrates also excluded--Revolt of the religious
  sentiment throughout France against the new system--Anxiety
  of Jules Ferry to make peace with the Church--Energy shown
  by the Catholics in resistance--St.-Omer--The Spanish and
  scholastic city of Guy Fawkes and Daniel O'Connell--M. De la
  Gorce, the historian of 1848--High character of the
  population--Improvement in tone of the French army--Morals of the
  soldiers--Devotion of the officers to their profession--Derangement of
  the Executive in France by the elective principle--The 'laicisation'
  of the schools--Petty persecutions--Children forbidden to
  attend the funeral of their priest--The Marist Brethren at Albert--Albert
  and the Maréchal d'Ancre--A chapter of history in a
  name--Little children stinting their own food, to send another
  child to school--President Carnot and the nose of M. Ferry--French
  irreligion in the United States--The case of Girard
  College--Can Christianity be abolished in France?--The declared
  object of the Republic--Morals of Artois--Dense population--Fanatics
  of the family--Increase of juvenile crime--American
  experience of the schools without religion--A New England report
  on 'atrocious and flagrant crimes in Massachusetts'--Relative
  increase of native white population and native crime in America--An
  American Attorney-General calls the public school system
  'a poisonous fountain of misery and moral death'--A local
  heroine of St.-Omer--The statue of Jacqueline Robins--The
  Duke of Marlborough and the Jesuits College--A curious sidelight
  on English politics in 1710--How St.-Omer escaped a
  siege                                                           23-43


  CHAPTER III

  IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS--(_continued_)

  Aire-sur-la-Lys--Local objections to a national railway--A visit to a
  councillor-general--Pentecost in Artois--The Artesians in 1789--Wealth
  and power of the clergy--Recognition of the Third
  Estate long before the Revolution--The English and the French
  clergy in the last century--Lord Macaulay and Arthur Young--Sympathy
  of the curés with the people--Turgot, Condorcet and
  the rural clergy---The Revolution and public education--M. Guizot
  the founder of the French primary schools--The liberal school
  ordinance of 1698--The Bishop of Arras, in 1740, on the duty of
  educating the people--The experience of Louisiana as to public
  schools and criminality--The two Robespierres saved and educated
  by priests--What came of it--A rural church and congregation
  in Artois--The notary in rural France--A village procession--'Beating
  the bounds' in France--An altar of verdure and roses--The
  villagers singing as they march--Ancient customs in
  Northern France                                                 44-52


  CHAPTER IV

  IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS--(_continued_)

  Aire-sur-la-Lys--Local and general elections in France--A public meeting
  in rural Artois--A councillor-general and his constituents--Artois
  in the 18th and 19th centuries--Well-tilled fields, fine
  roads, hedges, and orchards--Effect of long or short leases--A
  meeting in a grange--French, English, and American audiences--Favouritism
  under the conscription--Extravagant outlay on
  scholastic palaces--Almost a scene--A political disturbance
  promoted--Canvassing in England and France--Tenure of office in
  the French Republic--'To the victors belong the spoils,' the
  maxim not of Jackson but of Danton--'Epuration,' what it
  means--If Republicans are not put into office 'they will have
  civil war'--'No justice of the peace nor public school teacher to
  be spared'--'Terror and anarchy carried into all branches of the
  public service'--M. de Freycinet declares that 'servants of the
  State have no liberty in politics'--The Tweed régime of New
  York officially organised in France---Men of position reluctant
  to take office--The expense of French elections--1,300,000_l._
  sterling the estimated cost of an opposition campaign--A little
  dinner in a French country house--The French cuisine national
  and imported--An old Flemish city--Devastations of the Revolution--The
  beautiful Church of St.-Pierre--A picturesque Corps
  de Garde--The tournament of Bayard at Aire--Sixteenth-century
  merry-makings at Aire--Gifts to Mary of England on her marriage
  to Philip of Spain--The ancient city of Thérouanne--Public
  schools in the 17th century--Small landholders in France before
  1789.                                                           53-72


  CHAPTER V

  IN THE SOMME

  Amiens--Picardy Old and New--Arthur Young and Charles James
  Fox in Amiens--'The look of a capital'--The floating gardens
  of Amiens--A stronghold of Boulangism--Protest of Amiens
  against the Terror of 1792--The French nation and the Commune
  of Paris--Vergniaud denounces the Parisians as the 'slaves of the
  vilest scoundrels alive'--Gambetta and his balloon--Amiens and
  the Revolution of September 1870--The rise of M. Goblet--The
  'great blank credit opened to the Republic in 1870'--What has
  become of it--The Prussians in Amiens--Warlike spirit of the
  Picards--A political portrait of M. Goblet by a fellow citizen--A
  Roman son and his father's funeral--A typical Republican senator
  and mayor--How M. Petit demolished the crosses in the cemetery--M.
  Spuller as Prefect of the Somme--The Christian Brothers and
  their schools--M. Jules Ferry withholds the salaries earned by
  teachers--The Emperor Julian of Amiens--How the Sisters were
  turned out of their schools--The mayor, the locksmith, and the
  curate--Mdlle. de Colombel--A senatorial epistle--Ulysses
  deserted by Calypso--Why Boulangism flourishes at Amiens--The
  First Republic invoked to justify the destruction of crosses
  on graves--The Cathedral of Amiens and Mr. Ruskin.              73-94


  CHAPTER VI

  IN THE SOMME--(_continued_)

  Amiens--Party names taken from persons--The effect of Republican
  misrule at Amiens--Why the Monarchists acted with the
  Boulangists--The Picards incline towards the Empire--How the
  Republic of 1848 captured France--Armand Marrast and the
  French mail coaches--Mr. Sumner's story--The political value
  of paint--Paris and the provinces--M. Mermeix offers with a
  few million francs and a few thousand rowdies to change the
  French Government--General Boulanger's campaign in Picardy--Capturing
  the mammas by kissing the babies--The Monarchical
  peasantry--The National Accounts of France not balanced for
  years--Conservatives excluded from the Budget Committee--The
  Boulanger programme--Expenses of the political machine in
  France, England, and America--The Boulangist campaign conducted
  by voluntary subscriptions--General Boulanger and the
  army--The common sewer of the discontent of France--The
  local finances of a French city--Municipal expenses of Amiens--Pressure
  of the octroi--A local deficit of millions since the
  Republicans got into power--The mayor and the prefect control
  the accounts--Immense expenditure on scholastic palaces--Estimated
  annual increase in France since 1880 of local indebtedness,
  10,000,000_l._ sterling--M. Goblet on the growth of young men's
  monarchical clubs--History of the _octroi_--General prosperity of
  Picardy--Rural ideas of aristocracy--Land ownership in Ireland
  and France--'Land-grabbing' in Picardy a hundred years ago--The
  corvée abolished before the Revolution, but it still exists
  under the Republic, as a _prestation en nature_--Public education
  in Picardy two centuries ago--Small tenants as numerous under
  Edward II. in Picardy as small proprietors now are--Home rule
  needed in France--'The opinion of a man's legs'                 95-124


  CHAPTER VII

  IN THE AISNE

  St.-Gobain--Paris and the Ile-de-France--Reclamation of the
  commons--Mischievous haste in the Revolutionary transfer of
  lands--The evolution of property and order in France and
  England--The flower gardens of France--The home counties
  around London compared with the departments around Paris--Superiority
  of the French fruit and vegetable markets--The
  military city of La Fère--A local cabbage-leaf--French farmers
  and the Treaties of Commerce--Arthur Young at St.-Gobain--The
  largest mirror in the world--The great French glassworks--'An
  industrial flower on a seignorial stalk, springing from a feudal
  root'--Evolution without Revolution--Two centuries and a half of
  industrial progress--Labour in the Middle Ages--The Irish apostle
  of North-eastern France--The forests of France--A factory in a
  château--A centenarian royal porter--The Duchesse de Berri and
  the Empress Eugénie--A co-operative association of consumers--A
  great manufacturing company working on lines laid down under
  Louis XIV.--Glass-working, Venetian and French--A jointstock
  company of the 18th century--The old and new school of factory
  discipline--French industry and the Terror--'Two aristocrats'
  called in to save a confiscated property--St.-Gobain and the Eiffel
  Tower--Royal luxuries in 1673, popular necessaries of life in 1889--How
  great mirrors are cast--Beauty of the processes--The
  coming age of glass--Glass pavements and roofs--The hereditary
  principle among the working classes--Practical co-operation of
  capital and labour--Schools, asylums, workmen's houses and
  gardens, social clubs, and savings-banks--Co-operative pension
  funds--A great economic family--Of 2,650 workpeople more than
  50 per cent. employed for more than ten years--A subterranean
  lake--The crypts of St.-Gobain and the Cisterns of Constantinople--A
  spectral gondolier--A Venetian promenade with coloured
  lanterns underground                                           125-161


  CHAPTER VIII

  IN THE AISNE--(_continued_)

  Laon, Chauny, and St.-Gobain--The French Revolution and Spanish
  soda--The most extensive chemical works in France--A miniature
  Rotterdam--A Cité Ouvrière--The religious war in Chauny--Local
  and immigrant labour--M. Allain-Targé on Boulanger, the
  High Court of Justice, common sense and common honesty---French
  elections, matters of bargain and sale--'The blackguardocracy'--Sketches
  by a Republican minister--French freemasonry
  a persecuting sect--Their power in the Government--Utterly unlike
  the freemasonry of England, Germany, or America--The war
  against Christianity in France and Spanish America--1867 and
  the industrial progress of France--Extent of the chemical works
  of France--Retiring pensions for workmen--Chauny in the olden
  time--How the honest burghers freed their city in 1432--A contrast
  with the rioters of the Bastille in 1789--Henri IV. and La
  Belle Gabrielle--Chauny and the Revolution--The murder of
  d'Estaing--Chauny acclaims the Restoration, and gives a gold
  medal to the Prussian commandant--Public charity and public
  education in the 12th century--Benevolent foundations pillaged
  in 1793--Law and order under the _ancien régime_--A canal in
  the law courts--An enterprising American turns rubbish into
  indiarubber at Chauny                                          162-185


  CHAPTER IX

  IN THE AISNE--(_continued_)

  Laon--A feudal fortress home--Chauny and the green monkeys of
  Rabelais--The festival of the jongleurs and the learned dogs--A
  damsel of Chauny on English good sense and Queen Victoria--A
  region of parks and châteaux--The cradle of the French Monarchy--How
  the Revolution robbed France--The rural reign of pillage
  and murder--Horrors committed in the provinces during 1789--Arthur
  Young and Gouverneur Morris on the general depravation
  and lawlessness--The National Assembly a mere noisy 'mob'--The
  outbreak of crime which preceded the Terror--The truth
  about Madame Roland--Her hatred of Marie Antoinette and her
  thirst for blood--The legend of the Gironde--Brissot de Warville
  on robbery as a virtuous action--The relations of the French
  Revolution to property--France more free before 1789 than after
  it--The laws against emigrants--Girls of fourteen condemned to
  death--Emigration made a crime, that property might be pillaged--How
  Irène de Tencin defended the family estate--The story of
  the Saporta family--The Laonnais in the 18th century--Wide-spread
  ruin of its churches, convents, and châteaux--Destruction
  of accumulated capital--How syndicates of rogues stole bronzes,
  brasswork, and monuments--The story of two châteaux--The
  bishop's château at Anizy--The burghers and the seigneurs in
  the 16th century--The local 'directory' in 1790--Wreck, ruin,
  and robbery--The Château of Pinon--Once the property of a
  granddaughter of Edward III. of England--A domain of the Duc
  d'Orléans--A tragedy of love and murder--Death of the Marquis
  d'Albret--How Pinon passed to the family of De Courvals--The
  present owner an American lady--The finest château in the
  Laonnais--What has the Laonnais gained from the ruin of the
  Anizy?                                                         186-225


  CHAPTER X.

  IN THE AISNE--(_continued_)

  Laon--The ruins of Coucy-le-Château--A rural inn in France--The
  sugar crisis--The birthplace of César de Vendóme--The bell
  which tolls and is heard by the dying alone--The hanging of boys
  for killing rabbits--Game laws, French and English--The true
  story of Enguerrand de Coucy--A little feudal city--The finest
  donjon in France--An official guardian--A dinner with four
  councillors-general--'What France really wants is a man'--Agricultural
  philosophers--How a councillor-general tested chemicals--Peasantry
  on the highway--A land of gardens--A city set
  on a hill--Simple good-natured people--A raging Boulangist at
  Laon--What a barber saw in Tonkin--The diamond belt of King
  Norodom--Castelin the friend of Boulanger--A revolutionary
  shoemaker on government by committees--Evils of the
  Exposition--Foreigners steal the ideas of France--The railways, the
  new feudal system--They are the real 'enemy' of the people--Extravagance
  of the ministers--Freemasonry at Laon--How it
  controls the press--The rise of Deputy Doumer--How he lost
  his seat in 1889--The author of 'Chez Paddy' at Château
  Thierry--Over-zeal of the curés--The question of working men's unions--M.
  Doumer's report on the Law of Associations--He proves that
  the Republic has done absolutely nothing with this law--'Five
  years' spent in drawing up a report--'The Republic never existed
  until 1879'--And nothing done for working men until 1888--M.
  de Freycinet and M. Carnot only 'studied measures which might
  be taken;' but were not!--The first practical step taken by M.
  Doumer by making an enormous report in 1888, recommending
  things to be done hereafter--The true Republic eluding for ten
  years questions which the Emperor grappled with in 1867--The
  voters of Laon in September defeat M. Doumer--A curious little
  chapter of French politics--M. Doumer's coquetry with General
  Boulanger--After his defeat M. Doumer becomes secretary of
  the President of the Chamber and lets the working men's question
  alone--Politics as a profession in France and the United
  States--Intense centralisation of power in France makes it easier
  and more profitable than in America                            226-258


  CHAPTER XI

  IN THE NORD

  Valenciennes--The shabbiest historic town in North-eastern
  France--Perfect cultivation of French Flanders--Cock-fighting and
  flowers--Prosperity of the cabarets--One to every forty-four inhabitants
  around Valenciennes--Growth of the mining and manufacturing
  towns--Interesting buildings in Valenciennes--Carelessness of the
  citizens about their city--A graceful edifice of the 15th century
  falling into ruins--Valenciennes in the days of the Hanse of
  London--Mediæval burghers and their sovereigns--A citizen of
  Valenciennes, in 1357, the richest man in Europe--Festivals in
  the olden times--Religious wars--Vauban at Valenciennes--How
  the clothworkers fled from the Spanish persecution--Dumouriez
  at Valenciennes--The Hôtel de Ville--Interesting local artists
  from Simon Marmion down to Watteau and Pater--The triptych
  of Rubens--Some historic portraits--The Musée Carpeaux--The
  coal mines of Anzin--14,035 workmen there employed and
  200,210,702 tons of coal extracted--Competition with Belgium,
  the Pas-de-Calais, England, and Germany--The coal mines of
  Anzin organised a century and a half ago--The discovery of coal
  in North-eastern France--Energy shown by the local _noblesse_--Pierre
  Mathieu, an engineer, strikes the vein in 1734--The lords
  of the soil claim their rights over the coal--A long lawsuit ending
  in a compromise--A business arrangement under the _ancien
  régime_--The hereditary principle recognised in the organisation
  and undisturbed by the Revolution--An orderly, quiet, and prosperous
  town--A region of factories intermingled with farms--Charming
  home of the director--The company encourages workmen's
  homes, with gardens and allotments--An improvement on the
  Cité Ouvrière--2,628 model homes now occupied by workmen--For
  three francs a month a workman secures a well-built cottage,
  with drainage and cellarage, six good rooms and closets, and a
  plot of ground--2,500 families hold garden sites for cultivation--Fuel
  allowed, and a general 'participation in profits' of a practical
  sort--The right of the workmen to be consulted recognised at
  Anzin a century and a half ago--Beneficial and educational
  institutions--An industrial republic--How the National Assembly
  meddled with the mines--Mining laws in France, ancient and
  modern--Influence of politics on the output of the mines--Every
  Republican development at Paris diminishes, and every check to
  Republicanism at Paris develops, the great coal industry--The
  great strike of 1884--During that year the company expended for
  the benefit of the workmen a sum equivalent to the profits divided
  amongst the shareholders--What caused the collision therefore
  between capital and labour?--A syndicate of miners under a
  former Anzin workman, Basly, puts a pressure from Paris upon
  the workmen at Anzin to develop the strike--The pretext found in
  contracts granted to good workmen--The object of the strike
  to establish the equality of bad with good workmen--Boycotting
  and intimidation--Dynamite and Radical deputies from
  Paris--A Republican minister asks the company to accept Basly
  and his syndicate as an umpire--Bitter opposition of the Basly
  syndicate to the saving fund system--They demand a State
  pension fund--And pending this a fund controlled by the syndicate--A
  despotism of agitators--Upshot of the strike--The mines in
  the Pas-de-Calais--Visits to workmen's houses--Fine appearance
  and carriage of the miners--Their politics--Women and children--Good
  ventilation and sanitation of the mines--'No man can be
  a miner not bred to it as a boy'--Excellent housekeeping of the
  women--Miners of Southern and Northern France--Influence of
  high altitudes on character--The elective principle in the mines--Morals
  and conduct of the mining people--Churches and
  schools--A children's school at St. Waast--A digression into the
  Artois--What the Tiers-Etat of Northern France wanted in 1789--The
  _cahiers_ of the Tiers-Etat--Respect for vested interests--A
  visit to St.-Amand--The conspiracy of Dumouriez--Ruin of a
  magnificent abbey--A beautiful belfry--Interesting pictures by
  Watteau--Co-operation at Anzin--What its advantages are to the
  workmen--Eight per cent. dividends to the members in 1866, and
  an average during 23 years to 1889 of 11-80/100 per cent.--How the
  workmen and their families live--Table of articles purchased--Attendance
  upon the schools--Influence of women and families--Increase
  of juvenile crime under irreligious education in France
  and the United States--Louis Napoleon's National Retiring Fund
  for Old Age--Regulations of the Anzin Council affecting this
  fund--Average expenditure of the Anzin company for the benefit of
  workmen 'fifty centimes for every ton of coal extracted'--The
  Decazeville strikes in 1888--They begin with the murder of one
  of the best engineers and end with a workman's banquet to the
  engineer-in-chief                                              259-331


  CHAPTER XII

  IN THE NORD--(_continued_)

  Lille--The _Flamand flamingant_--Pertinacity of the Flemish tongue--A
  historic city without monuments--Old customs and traditions--The
  Musée Wicar--The unique wax bust--A 'pious foundation'
  of art, and M. Carolus Duran--Excellent educational institutions
  of Le Nord--A land flowing with beer--Increase of the factory
  populations--Decrease of drunkenness in the cities--Increase in
  the rural districts--Special cabarets for women--Should women
  smoke?--Flemish cock-fighting and the example of England--A
  model Republican prefect--Juvenile prostitution--The souls of
  the people and their votes--Danton's system of uneducated judges--Dislike
  of good people to politics--A pessimist rebuked--The
  Monarchist majorities in Lille--Inaccurate representation of the
  people in the Chamber--Hazebrouck and its Dutch gardens--The
  Republic hated for its extravagance--Relative strength of
  Republican and Monarchical majorities--Elections conducted
  under secret instructions--Cutting down majorities--The case of
  M. Leroy-Beaulieu in the Hérault--Keeping out dangerous
  economists--Ballot 'stuffing' in France and the United States--The
  methods of Robespierre readopted--Systematic 'invalidation'
  of elections--The people must not choose the wrong men--Boulanger
  and Joffrin--'Tactical necessities' in politics--The
  delusion of universal suffrage--An Austrian view of the elective
  and hereditary principles--Energy of the Catholics in North-eastern
  France--Father Damien--Public charity--Hereditary mendicants
  in French Flanders--Dogs and _douaniers_--The division of
  communes--Foundling hospitals and the struggle for life--Mutual
  Aid Societies--Is woman a 'Clubbable' animal?--M. Welche and
  the agricultural syndicates--'Les Prévoyants de l'Avenir,' a phenomenal
  success--It begins in 1882 with 757 members and 6,237
  francs; in 1889 it numbers 59,932 members, with a capital of
  1,541,868 francs--The Franco-German war and the religious
  sentiment--The great Catholic University--Private contributions
  of 11,000,000 francs--The scientific and medical schools--M.
  Ferry and the free universities--Catholic education in France
  and the United States--The case of Girard College--The dangers
  of the French system--The monopoly of the University of France--Liberal
  outlay of the Catholics of Paris--A mediæval Catholic
  merchant--'The work of God' in a business partnership--Mutual
  assistance in the Lille factories--Model houses at Roubaix--A
  true _Mont-de-Piété_--The Masurel fund of 1607--Loans without
  interest--A prosperous charity plundered by the Republic--A
  benevolent fund of 455,454 francs in 1789 reduced to 10,408
  francs in 1803--The fund restored under the Monarchy and
  Second Empire--The 'King William's Fund' of the Netherlanders
  in London--Count de Bylandt and Sir Polydore de
  Keyser                                                         332-368


  CHAPTER XIII

  IN THE MARNE

  Reims--The capital of the French kings--Clotilde and Clovis, Jeanne
  d'Arc and Urban II.--Vineyards and factories--The wines of
  Champagne known and unknown--The red wine of Bouzy--Mr.
  Canning and still Champagne--The syndication of famous brands--A
  visit to the cardinal archbishop--Employers and employed--The
  Catholic workmen's clubs and the Christian corporations--M.
  Léon Harmel--The religious education of a factory--How the
  workmen Christianised themselves--The conversion of a wife by
  a gown--The local authorities discouraging religion--'Planting
  Christians like vines'--'The Rights of Man' and capital and
  labour--Mediæval and modern methods compared--Capital and
  universal suffrage--Money in the first Revolution--Le Pelletier,
  the millionaire, and the mobs of the Palais Royal--The dramatic
  justice of a murder--Unwritten chapters of revolutionary history--The
  duty of employers--'The Masters' Catechism'--The invasion
  of 1870 and the Christian corporations--Modern syndications and
  the ancient _maîtrise_--Professional syndicates and professional
  strikes--Good out of evil--The working men and the upper classes--Count
  Albert de Mun--A popular vote against universal suffrage--The
  Holy See and the Catholic labour movement in France--The
  parochial clergy and the laymen--The Wesleyans and the
  Catholics--Privileged purveyors--The financial aspect of the
  Catholic corporations--A revival of the old guilds--The national
  system of the corporations--Provincial and general assemblies--The
  German _Cultur-Kampf_ and the French Catholic clubs--The
  Republican attack on religion--Religious freedom and freedom
  from religion--The State church of unbelief--The 'moral unity'
  men--Napoleon and Guizot--The Jacobins of 1792 and 1879--Moral
  unity under Louis XIV.--Alva and M. Jules Ferry--A
  chapter of the Revolution at Reims--Mr. Carlyle's little 'murder
  of about eight persons'--The political influence of massacres--The
  'days of September' and the elections to the Convention--How
  they chose Jacobin deputies at Reims--The documentary
  story of the eight murders--Mayors under the Republic--The
  defence of Lille--How the Republic voted a monument and Louis
  Philippe built it--Desecration of a great cathedral--The legend of
  Ruhl and the sacred ampulla--The demolition of St.-Nicaise and
  the bargain of Santerre--How Napoleon disciplined the Faubourg
  St.-Antoine--Is the Cathedral of Reims in danger?--Its restoration
  under the cardinal archbishop--The budget of public worship--Expenses
  of the administration--The salaries of the clergy, Protestant
  and Catholic--Jewish rabbis paid less than servants in the
  Ministère--Steady cutting down of the budget--No statistics of religious
  opinion in France--A Benedictine archbishop--Great increase of
  the religious sentiment in Reims--The Church driven by the
  Republic into opposition--Léon Say and the present Government--The
  home of Montaigne--A deputy of the Dordogne invalidated
  to snub Léon Say--Socrates and David Hume in modern France--Dogmatic
  irreligion--Jules Simon on the proscription of Christianity--Abolishing
  the history of France--A practical protest of
  the Catholic Marne--The great pope of the crusades--Catholic
  and Masonic processions--The Triduum of Urban II.--A great
  celebration at Châtillon--Hildebrand and his disciple--The
  Angelus and the 'Truce of God'--Mgr. Freppel on the anti-religious
  war--Jeanne d'Arc at Reims--A magnificent festival--Gounod's
  Mass of the Maid of Orléans--Catholic protest against
  the persecution of the Jews--The Republic threatens the grand
  rabbis with the archbishops--Deriding a death-bed in a
  hospital--The amnesty of the Communards--The rehabilitation of
  crime--Tyranny in the village schools--Religious freedom in
  France and Turkey--The home of Jeanne d'Arc--'Laicising'
  Domrémy-la-Pucelle--Piety and hypnotism--The chamber and garden of
  Jeanne--Louis XI. and the French yeomen--A shrine converted
  into a show--A scurvy job in a place of pilgrimage--The banner
  of Patay--Jeanne and her voices--A western worshipper of the
  Maid of Orléans--The Château de Bourlémont--The Princesse
  d'Hénin and Madame de Staël--The revolutionary traffic in passports--A
  generous act of Madame Du Barry--'Laicisation' in the
  Vosges--The defeat of Jules Ferry--The Monarchists going up,
  the Republicans going down                                     369-436


  CHAPTER XIV

  IN THE CALVADOS

  Val Richer--The home of Guizot--The French Protestants and the
  Third Republic--Free education in France the work of Guizot--Education
  in France checked by the Revolution--Mediæval provisions
  for public education--The effect of the English and the
  religious wars upon education in France--Indiscriminate destruction
  of educational foundations by the First Republic--Progress
  of illiteracy after 1793--The guillotine as a financial expedient--The
  Directory painted by themselves--The two Merlins--'Republican
  Titans' wearing royal livery--Barras on the cruelty of
  poltroons--Education under Napoleon--The Concordat and the
  Church--Napoleon's University of France--A machine for creating
  moral unity--The despotism of 1802 and 1882--The Liberals of
  1830--Primary education under M. Guizot--The rights of the
  family and the encroachments of the State--Catholic vindication
  of Protestant liberty under Louis XIV.--The heirs of M. Guizot
  in Normandy and Languedoc--M. de Witt at Val Richer--Three
  historic châteaux--The birthplace of Montesquieu at La Brède--The
  Abbey of Thomas à-Becket--The Château de Broglie--Lisieux--M.
  Guizot as a landscape gardener--A Protestant statesman
  among the Catholics of the Calvados--The Sieur de Longiumeau and the
  sacred right of insurrection--'Moral unity' and 'moral
  harmony'--Catholicism in the Calvados, Brittany, and Poitou--Charlotte
  Corday--The historic family of De Witt--An election in the Calvados--The
  people and the functionaries--Bonnebosq--The Normans and personal
  liberty--The procedure of a French election--Mayors with votes in their
  sleeves--Glass urns and wooden boxes--Gerrymandering in France and
  America--Catholic constituents congratulating their Protestant
  candidate--'Vive le roi!'--M. Bocher on two Republican
  presidents--Wilsonism and the Norman farmers--The domestic
  distilleries--The war against religion in Normandy--'The Church as the
  key of trade'--How the officials revise the elections--Prefects
  interfering in the elections--A solid Monarchist department--Politics
  and the apple crop--The weak point of the Monarchists--The
  traditions of Versailles and 'modern high life'--Louis XV. and
  Barras--Madame Du Barry and Madame Tallien--The 'noble'
  grooms of ignoble _cocottes_--The Legitimists under the Empire--The
  war of 1870-71, and the fusion of classes--Historic names
  in the French army--Officers and the châteaux--An American
  minister and the Comte de Paris--The Monarchist and the Republican
  representatives--The Duc de Broglie in the Eure--Architectural
  evidence as to the social life of the _ancien régime_--The
  war of classes a consequence, not a cause, of the Revolution--The
  Vicomte de Noailles and Artemus Ward--Feudal serfs and New
  York anti-renters--Jefferson and _lettres de cachet_--The Bastille
  and the Tower of London--Don Quixote and the wine skins--The
  Château d'Eu--Private rights in the 14th century--The 'Nonpareil'
  of the world--La Grande Mademoiselle and her lieges at
  Eu--Her hospitals and charities--A quick-witted mayor--A model
  Republican prefect--The Duc de Penthièvre--The Orléans family
  at Eu--Local popularity of the Comte and Comtesse de Paris--Norman
  grievances, old and new--A Protestant movement in
  Normandy--American associations with Broglie, La Brède, and
  Val Richer--Mr. Bancroft on the ministers of Louis Philippe--The
  'military council' of Royalist officers in the Revolution--Louis
  Philippe and Thiers--The rights of property under the
  Second Empire--The seizure of the Orléans property--The
  Jacobin levelling of incomes--The reformer Réal as an opulent
  count--The Orléans property restored in 1872, as a matter of
  'common honesty'--What the princes recovered, and what they
  presented to France--The 'wounded conscience' of a nation--The
  daughter of Madame de Staël--The present Duc de Broglie and the
  anti-religions war--The Conservative republic made impossible--The
  Radical Jacobins rule the roast--'The Republic commits
  suicide to save itself from slaughter'--Floquet the master of
  Carnot--The war against God--Two statesmen of the South--Nîmes
  and M. Guizot--The religious wars in Languedoc--The
  son of M. Guizot at Uzès--Politics in the Gard--Catholics and
  Protestants fighting side by side--The late M. Cornelis de Witt--The
  hereditary principle in Holland--What the United States
  learned from the Netherlands and from England--How the Duke
  of York missed an American throne--A Protestant monarchist
  in the Lot-et-Garonne--The plums of Agen and the apricots of
  Nicole--Coeur de Lion and Bertrand de Boru--The home of
  Nostradamus--Why the Germans beat the French--The barber
  bard of Languedoc--Scaliger and the Huguenots--Nérac and the
  Reine Margot--The 'Lovers' War'--The Revocation and the
  Revolution--The ruin of property in 1793--Decline of the wealth
  of France--The monarchists of the Aveyron--A banquet of
  monarchist mayors--The need of a man in France--'A bolt out
  of the blue'--How the Duc d'Orléans demoralised the government--The
  young conscript at Clairvaux--Carnot surrenders to
  the Commune--A Russian verdict on the republican blunder--The
  'Prince' of the people--How the Government has helped the
  Comte de Paris--Irregularities of republican taxation--Corsica
  and the Corrèze--France the most heavily taxed country in the
  world--Steady and enormous increase of taxation--Cost of collecting
  the revenue--Political dishonesty on the stump--The persecution
  of candidates--Invasion of private life--Bullying the
  magistrates--Public servants ordered to the polls--Curés fined
  for preaching religious duty--The Conférences du Sud-Ouest--M.
  Princeteau at Bordeaux--The fête of the Bastille at Bordeaux
  and Nîmes--A '_Fils de Dieu_' at Nîmes--Socialism at
  Alais--The suppression of inheritances--'Property a privilege to
  be abolished'--'Opulence an infamy'--The Socialists and the
  Government--Persecution of the Protestants--'Pray, what is
  God?'--Strength of Socialism in South-eastern France--Two
  typical departments--Socialism in the Bouches-du-Rhône--Historic
  France in the Calvados--Boulanger at Marseilles--A Socialist
  coachman at Arles--A great Catholic employer of labour at Marseilles--The
  largest glycerine works in the world--Church candles
  and dynamite--Taxing industries to death--Dutch competition
  with France--A Christian corporation in Marseilles--'An economical
  kitchen'--An uphill fight for law and order--The Christians
  of the 4th and of the 19th centuries--The Radicals hold the
  bridle--Shall France be Christian or Nihilist?--Ernest Renan on
  the situation in 1872--Jules Simon on the situation in 1882--The
  'civic duties' of man and the guillotine--What will the situation
  be in 1892?                                                    437-515


  MAP OF FRANCE _at end of book_


       *       *       *       *       *


_Errata_

P. 24, 11 lines from top, _for_ rival _read_ rural.

P. 64, line 1, _for_ de Royes _read_ de Royer.

P. 91, line 6 from top. M. Spuller, Prefect of the Somme in 1880, was
the brother of the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, not the Minister
himself.

P. 96, line 5 from top, _for Montauban _read_ Montaudon.

P. 105, line 4 from bottom, _for_ being _read_ long.

P. 395, 3 lines from top, _for_ Abbeys _read_ Abbaye.

Wherever found, _for_ de Fallières _read_ Fallières.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


As I have not wished to swell the bulk of this book by references, and
as many statements made in it concerning men and things of the first
Republic may seem to my readers to need verification, I subjoin a brief
list of authorities consulted by me in this connection. It is
incomplete, but will be found to cover every material point concerning
the epoch to which it refers.

  BIRÉ, E. La Légende des Girondins.

  CAMPARDON, EMILE. Le Tribunal Révolutionnaire à Paris d'après les
  Documents Originaux.

  DAUBAN, C. A. La Démagogie à Paris en 1793.

  DAUBAN, C. A. Les Prisons de Paris sous la Révolution.

  DAUBAN, C. A. Mémoires Inédits de Pétion, de Buzot et de Barbaroux.

  DAUBAN, C. A. Mémoires de Madame Roland. Etude sur Madame
  Roland. Lettres en partie inédites de Madame Roland.

  DE BARANTE. Histoire de la Convention Nationale.

  DE LAVERGNE, L. (de l'Institut). Economie rurale de la France depuis
  1789.

  DE MONTROL, F. Mémoires de Brissot, publiés par son fils.

  DE PRESSENSÉ, EDMOND. L'Eglise et la Révolution Française.

  DONIOL, H. Histoire des Classes Rurales en France.

  DU BLED. Les Causeurs de la Révolution.

  DURAND DE MAILLANE. Histoire de la Convention Nationale.

  FEUILLET DE CONCHES. Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette et Madame Elisabeth.

  FORNERON, H. Histoire Générale des Emigrés.

  GALLOIS, LÉONARD. Histoire des Journaux et des Journalistes de la
  Révolution Française.

  GONCOURT, EDMUND ET JULES. Histoire de la Société Française pendant
  la Révolution.

  GRANIER DE CASSAGNAC. Histoire des Girondins et des Massacres de
  Septembre.

  GUILLON, l'Abbé. Les Martyrs de la Foi pendant la Révolution Française.

  HAMEL, ERNEST. Histoire de Robespierre.

  JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Memoirs and Correspondence.

  LAFERRIÈRE (de l'Institut). Essai sur l'histoire du Droit Français.

  MALLET DU PAN. Mémoires et Correspondance.

  MASSON, FRÉDÉRIC. Le Département des Affaires Etrangères pendant la
  Révolution.

  MORRIS, GOUVERNEUR. Diary and Letters.

  MORTIMER-TERNAUX. Histoire de la Terreur, 1792-1794, d'après des
  documents authentiques et inédits.

  ROCQUAIN, F. L'Esprit Révolutionnaire avant la Révolution.

  TISSOT, P. F. Histoire complète de la Révolution Française.

  VATEL, CH. Charlotte Corday.

  YOUNG, ARTHUR. Voyages en France pendant les années 1787-89.
  Traduction de M. Le Sage; Introduction par L. de Lavergne.


       *       *       *       *       *


INTRODUCTION


I

This volume is neither a diary nor a narrative. To have given it either
of these forms, each of which has its obvious advantages, would have
extended it beyond all reasonable limits. It is simply a selection from
my very full memoranda of a series of visits paid to different parts of
France during the year 1889.

These visits would never have been made, had not my previous
acquaintance with France and with French affairs, going back now--such
as it is--to the early days of the Second Empire, given me reasonable
ground to hope that I might get some touch of the actual life and
opinions of the people in the places to which I went. My motive for
making these visits was the fact that what it has become the fashion to
call 'parliamentary government,' or, in other words, the unchecked
administration of the affairs of a great people by the directly elected
representatives of the people, is now formally on its trial in France.
We do not live under this form of government in the United States, but
as a thoughtless tendency towards this form of government has shown
itself of late years even in the United States and much more strongly in
Great Britain, I thought it worth while to see it at work and form some
notion of its results in France.

Republican Switzerland has carefully sought to protect herself against
this form of government. The Swiss Constitution of 1874 reposes
ultimately on the ancient autonomy of the Cantons. Each Canton has one
representative in the Federal Executive Council. The members of this
Council are elected for three years by the Federal Assembly, and from
among their own number they choose the President of the Confederation,
who serves for one year only--a provision probably borrowed from the
first American Constitution. The Cantonal autonomy was further
strengthened in 1880 by the establishment of the Federal Tribunal on
lines taken from those of the American Supreme Court. There is a
division of the Executive authority between the Federal Assembly and the
Federal Council, which is yet to be tested by the strain of a great
European war, but which has so far developed no serious domestic
dangers.

The outline map which accompanies this volume will show that my visits,
which began with Marseilles and the Bouches-du-Rhône, upon my return
from Rome to Paris in January 1889, on the eve of the memorable election
of General Boulanger as a deputy for the Seine in that month, were
extended to Nancy in the east of France, to the frontiers of Belgium and
the coasts of the English Channel in the north, to Rennes, Nantes, and
Bordeaux in the west, and to Toulouse, Nîmes, and Arles in the south. I
went nowhere without the certainty of meeting persons who could and
would put me in the way of seeing what I wanted to see, and learning
what I wanted to learn. I took with me everywhere the best books I could
find bearing on the true documentary history of the region I was about
to see, and I concerned myself in making my memoranda not only with the
more or less fugitive aspects of public action and emotion at the
present time, but with the past, which has so largely coloured and
determined these fugitive aspects. Naturally, therefore, when I sat down
to put this volume into shape, I very soon found it to be utterly out of
the question for me to try to do justice to all that had interested and
instructed me in every part of France which I had visited.

I have contented myself accordingly with formulating, in this
Introduction, my general convictions as to the present condition and
outlook of affairs in France and as to the relation which actually
exists between the Third Republic, now installed in power at Paris, and
the great historic France of the French people; and with submitting to
my readers, in support of these convictions, a certain number of digests
of my memoranda, setting forth what I saw, heard, and learned in some of
the departments which I visited with most pleasure and profit.

In doing this I have written out what I found in my note-books less
fully than the importance of the questions involved might warrant. But
what I have written, I have written out fairly and as exactly as I
could. I do not hold myself responsible for the often severe and
sometimes scornful judgments pronounced by my friends in the provinces
upon public men at Paris. But I had no right to modify or withhold
them. In the case of conversations held with friends, or with casual
acquaintances, I have used names only where I had reason to believe
that, adding weight to what was recorded, they might be used without
injury or inconvenience of any kind to my interlocutors.

The sum of my conclusions is suggested in the title of this book. I
speak of France as one thing, and of the Republic as another thing. I do
not speak of the French Republic, for the Republic as it now exists does
not seem to me to be French, and France, as I have found it, is
certainly not Republican.


II

The Third French Republic, as it exists to-day, is just ten years old.

It owes its being, not to any direct action of the French people, but to
the success of a Parliamentary revolution, chiefly organised by M.
Gambetta. The ostensible object of this revolution was to prevent the
restoration of the French Monarchy. The real object of it was to take
the life of the executive authority in France. M. Gambetta fell by the
way, but the evil he did lives after him.

He was one of the celebrities of an age in which celebrity has almost
ceased to be a distinction. But the measure of his political capacity is
given in the fact that he was an active promoter of the insurrection of
September 4, 1870, in Paris against the authority of the Empress
Eugénie. A more signal instance is not to be found in history of that
supreme form of public stupidity which President Lincoln stigmatised, in
a memorable phrase, as the operation of 'swapping horses while crossing
a stream.'

It was worse than an error or a crime, it was simply silly. The
inevitable effect of it was to complete the demoralisation of the French
armies, and to throw France prostrate before her conquerors. A very
well-known German said to me a few years ago at Lucerne, where we were
discussing the remarkable trial of Richter, the dynamiter of the
Niederwald: 'Ah! we owe much to Gambetta, and Jules Favre, and Thiers,
and the French Republic. They saved us from a social revolution by
paralysing France. We could never have exacted of the undeposed Emperor
at Wilhelmshöhe, with the Empress at Paris, the terms which those
blubbering jumping-jacks were glad to accept from us on their knees.'

The imbecility of September 4, 1870, was capped by the lunacy of the
Commune of Paris in 1871. This latter was more than France could bear,
and a wholesome breeze of national feeling stirs in the 'murders grim
and great,' by which the victorious Army of Versailles avenged the
cowardly massacre of the hostages, and the destruction of the Tuileries
and the Hôtel de Ville.

With what 'mandate,' and by whom conferred, M. Thiers went to Bordeaux
in 1871, is a thorny question, into which I need not here enter. What he
might have done for his country is, perhaps, uncertain. What he did we
know. He founded a republic of which, in one of his characteristic
phrases, he said that: 'it must be Conservative, or it could not be,'
and this he did with the aid of men without whose concurrence it would
have been impossible, and of whom he knew perfectly well that they were
fully determined the Republic should not be Conservative. He became
Chief of the State, and this for a time, no doubt, he imagined would
suffice to make the State Conservative.

He was supported by an Assembly in which the Monarchists of France
predominated. The triumphant invasion and the imminent peril of the
country had brought monarchical France into the field as one man. M.
Gambetta's absurd Government of the National Defence, even in that
supreme moment of danger when the Uhlans were hunting it from pillar to
post, actually compelled the Princes of the House of France to fight for
their country under assumed names, but it could not prevent the sons of
all the historic families of France from risking their lives against the
public enemy. All over France a general impulse of public confidence put
the French Conservatives forward as the men in whose hands the
reconstitution of the shattered nation would be safest. The popular
instinct was justified by the result.

From 1871 to 1877, France was governed, under the form of a republic, by
a majority of men who neither had, nor professed to have, any more
confidence in the stability of a republican form of government, than
Alexander Hamilton had in the working value of the American Constitution
which he so largely helped to frame, and which he accepted as being the
best it was possible in the circumstances to get. But they did their
duty to France, as he did his duty to America. To them--first under M.
Thiers, and then under the Maréchal-Duc de Magenta--France is indebted
for the reconstruction of her beaten and disorganised army, for the
successful liquidation of the tremendous war-indemnity imposed upon her
by victorious Germany, for the re-establishment of her public credit,
and for such an administration of her national finances as enabled her,
in 1876, to raise a revenue of nearly a thousand millions of francs, or
forty millions of pounds sterling, in excess of the revenue raised under
the Empire seven years before, without friction and without undue
pressure. In 1869, the Empire had raised a revenue of 1,621,390,248
francs. In 1876, the Conservative Republic raised a revenue of
2,570,505,513 francs. With this it covered all the cost of the public
service, carried the charges resulting from the war and its
consequences, set apart 204,000,000 francs for public works, and yet
left in the Treasury a balance of 98,000,000 francs.

It is told of one of the finance ministers of the Restoration, Baron
Louis, that when a deputy questioned him once about the finances, he
replied, 'Do you give us good politics and I will give you good
finances.' It seems to me that the budget of 1876 proves the politics of
the Conservative majority in the French Parliament of that time to have
been good. The Maréchal-Duc de Magenta was then president. M. Thiers had
resigned his office in 1873, in consequence of a dispute with the
Assembly, the true history of which may one day be edifying, and the
Assembly had elected the Maréchal-Duc to fill his place.

I have been told by one of the most distinguished public men in France
that, in his passionate desire to prevent the election of the Maréchal
Duc, M. Thiers was bent upon promoting a movement to bring against the
soldier of Magenta an accusation like that which led to the condemnation
of the Maréchal Bazaine, and that he was with difficulty restrained from
doing this.

Monstrous as this attempt would have been, it hardly seems more
monstrous than the abortive attempt which was actually made, under the
inspiration of M. Gambetta and his friends, to convict the Maréchal Duc
and his ministers, 'the men of the 16th of May,' of conspiring, while in
possession of the executive power, to bring about the overthrow of the
Republic and the restoration of the Monarchy.

M. Gambetta and his party having formed in 1877 what is known as 'the
alliance of the 363,' determined to drive the Maréchal-Duc from the
Presidency, to take the control of public affairs entirely into their
own hands, and to reduce the Executive to the position created for Louis
XVI. by the revolutionists of the First Republic, before the atrocious
plot of August 10, 1792, made an end of the monarchy and of public order
altogether, and prepared the way for the massacres of September. Whether
the Maréchal-Duc might not have resisted this revolutionary conspiracy
to the end it is not worth while now to inquire. Suffice it that he gave
way finally, and, refusing to submit to the degradation of the high post
he held, accepted M. Gambetta's alternative and relinquished it.

It appears to me that the true aim of the Republicans (who had carried
the elections of 1877 by persuading France that Germany would at once
invade the country if the Conservatives won the day) is sufficiently
attested by the fact that they chose, as the successor of the
Maréchal-Duc, a public man chiefly conspicuous for the efforts he had
made to secure the abolition of the Executive office!

M. Grévy had failed to get the Presidency of the Republic suppressed
when the organic law was passed in 1875. He was more successful when, on
January 30, 1879, he consented to accept the Presidency. When he entered
the Elysée, the executive authority went out of it. The Third French
Republic, such as it now exists, was constituted on that day--the
anniversary, by the way, oddly enough, of the decapitation of Charles I.
of England at Whitehall.

That is the date, not 'centennial,' but 'decennial,' which ought to have
been celebrated in 1889 by the Third French Republic. In his first
Message, February 7, 1879, M. Grévy formally said: 'I will never resist
the national will expressed by its constitutional organs.' From that
moment the parliamentary majority became the Government of France.

Something very like this French parliamentary revolution of 1879 to
which France is indebted for the Third Republic as it exists to-day, was
attempted in the United States about ten years before.

In both instances the intent of the parliamentary revolutionists was to
take the life of a Constitution without modifying its forms. The failure
of the American is not less instructive than the success of the French
parliamentary revolution, and as all my readers, perhaps, are not as
familiar with American political history as with some other topics, I
hope I may be pardoned for briefly pointing this out.

Upon the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865 the
Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, became President. He was a Southern man,
and as one of the Senators from the Southern State of Tennessee he had
refused to go with his State in her secession from the Union. To this he
owed his association on the Presidential ticket with Mr. Lincoln at the
election in 1864. He was no more and no less opposed to slavery in the
abstract than President Lincoln, of whom it is well known that he
regarded his own now famous proclamation of 1863 freeing the slaves in
the seceded States, as an illegal concession to the Anti-Slavery feeling
of the North and of Europe, and that he spoke of it with undisguised
contempt, as a 'Pope's bull against the comet.' Like Mr. Lincoln, Andrew
Johnson was devoted to the Union, but he was a Constitutional Democrat
in his political opinions, and the Civil War having ended in the defeat
of the Confederacy, he gradually settled down to his constitutional
duty, as President of the United States, towards the States which had
formed the Confederacy. This earned for him the bitter hostility of the
then dominant majority in both Houses of Congress, led by a man of
unbridled passions and of extraordinary energy, Thaddeus Stevens, a
representative from Pennsylvania, a sort of American Couthon, infirm of
body but all compact of will. It was the purpose of this majority to
humiliate and chastise, not to conciliate, the defeated South. Already,
under President Lincoln, this purpose had brought the leaders of the
majority more than once into collision with the Executive. Under
President Johnson they forced a collision with the Veto power of the
President, by two unconstitutional bills, one attainting the whole
people of the South, and the other aimed at the authority of the
Executive over his officers. In the policy thus developed they had the
co-operation of the Secretary at War, Mr. Stanton, and during the recess
of Congress in August 1867 it became apparent that with his assistance
they meant to subjugate the Executive. President Johnson quickly brought
matters to an issue. He first, during the recess, suspended Mr. Stanton
from the War Office, putting General Grant in charge of it, and upon the
reassembling of Congress in December 1867 'removed' him, and directed
him to hand over his official portfolio to General Thomas, appointed to
fill the place _ad interim_. Thereupon the majority of the House carried
through that body a resolution of impeachment, prepared, by a committee,
the necessary articles, and brought the President to trial before the
Senate, constituted as a court for 'high crimes and misdemeanours.' Two
of the articles of impeachment were founded upon disrespect alleged to
have been publicly shown by the President to Congress. The President, by
his counsel, among whom were Mr. Evarts, since then Secretary of State,
and now a Senator for New York, and Mr. Stanberry, an Attorney-General
of the United States, appeared before the Senate on March 13, 1868. The
President asked for forty days, in which to prepare an answer. The
Senate, without a division, refused this, and ordered the answer to be
filed within ten days. The trial finally began on March 30, and, after
keeping the country at fever-heat for two months, ended on May 26, in
the failure of the impeachment. Only three out of the eleven articles
were voted upon. Upon each thirty-five Senators voted the President to
be 'Guilty,' and nineteen Senators voted him to be 'Not guilty.' As the
Constitution of the United States requires a two-thirds vote in such a
trial, the Chief Justice declared the President to be acquitted, and the
attempt of the Legislature to dominate the Executive was defeated. Seven
of the nineteen Senators voting 'Not guilty' were of the Republican
party which had impeached the President, and it will be seen that a
change of one vote in the minority would have carried the day for the
revolutionists. So narrow was our escape from a peril which the founders
of the Constitution had foreseen, and against which they had devised all
the safeguards possible in the circumstances of the United States. What,
in such a case, would become of a French President?

The American President is not elected by Congress except in certain not
very probable contingencies, and when the House votes for a President,
it votes not by members but by delegations, each state of the Union
casting one vote. The French President is elected by a convention of the
Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, in which every member has a vote,
and the result is determined by an actual majority. The Senate of the
United States is entirely independent of the House. A large proportion
of the members of the French Senate are elected by the Assembly, and the
Chamber outnumbers the Senate by nearly two to one. What the procedure
of the French Senate, sitting as a High Court on the impeachment of a
President by the majority of the Chamber, would probably be, may be
gathered from the recent trial by that body of General Boulanger.

With the resignation of the Maréchal-Duc and the election of M. Grévy
the Government of France, ten years ago, became what it now is--a
parliamentary oligarchy, with absolutely no practical check upon its
will except the recurrence every four years of the legislative
elections. And as these elections are carried out under the direct
control, through the prefects and the mayors, of the Minister of the
Interior, himself a member of the parliamentary oligarchy, the weakness
of this check might be easily inferred, had it not been demonstrated by
facts during the elections of September 22 and October 6, 1889.

How secure this parliamentary oligarchy feels itself to be, when once
the elections are over, appears from the absolutely cynical coolness
with which the majority goes about what is called the work of
'invalidating' the election of members of the minority. Something of the
sort went on in my own country during the 'Reconstruction' period which
followed the Civil War, but it never assumed the systematic form now
familiar in France. As practised under the Third Republic it revives the
spirit of the methods by which Robespierre and the sections 'corrected
the mistakes' made by the citizens of Paris in choosing representatives
not amenable to the discipline of the 'sea-green incorruptible'; and as
a matter of principle, leads straight on to that usurpation of all the
powers of the State by a conspiracy of demagogues which followed the
subsidized Parisian insurrection of August 10, 1792.

Such a _régime_ as this sufficiently explains the phenomenon of
'Boulangism,' by which Englishmen and Americans are so much perplexed.
Put any people into the machinery of a centralized administrative
despotism in which the Executive is merely the instrument of a majority
of the legislature, and what recourse is there left to the people but
'Boulangism'? 'Boulangism' is the instinctive, more or less deliberate
and articulate, outcry of a people living under constitutional forms,
but conscious that, by some hocus-pocus, the vitality has been taken out
of those forms. It is the expression of the general sense of insecurity.
In a country situated as France now is, it is natural that this
inarticulate outcry should merge itself at first into a clamour for the
revision of a Constitution which has been made a delusion and a snare;
and then into a clamour for a dynasty which shall afford the nation
assurance of an enduring Executive raised above the storm of party
passions, and sobering the triumph of party majorities with a wholesome
sense of responsibility to the nation.

There would have been no lack of 'Boulangism' in France forty years ago
had M. Thiers and his legislative cabal got the better of the Prince
President in the 'struggle for life' which then went on between the
Place St.-Georges and the Elysée!


III

There are two periods, one in the history of modern England, the other
in the history of the United States, which directly illuminate the
history of France since the overthrow of the ancient French Monarchy in
1792.

One of these is the period of the Long Parliament in England. The other
is the brief but most important interval which elapsed between the
recognition of the independence of the thirteen seceded British colonies
in America, at Versailles in 1783, and the first inauguration of
Washington as President of the United States at New York on April 30,
1789. No Englishman or American, who is reasonably familiar with the
history of either of these periods, will hastily attribute the phenomena
of modern French politics to something essentially volatile and unstable
in the character of the French people.

My own acquaintance, such as it is, with France--for I should be sorry
to pretend to a thorough knowledge of France, or of any country not my
own--goes back, as I have intimated, to the early days of the Second
Empire. It has been my good fortune, at various times, to see a good
deal of the social and political life of France, and I long ago learned
that to talk of the character of the French people is almost as slipshod
and careless as to talk of the character of the Italian people.

The French people are not the outgrowth of a common stock, like the
Dutch or the Germans.

The people of Provence are as different in all essential particulars
from the people of Brittany, the people of French Flanders from the
people of Gascony, the people of Savoy from the people of Normandy, as
are the people of Kent from the people of the Scottish Highlands, or the
people of Yorkshire from the people of Wales. The French nation was the
work, not of the French people, but of the kings of France, not less but
even more truly than the Italian nation, such as we see it gradually now
forming, is the work of the royal House of Savoy.

The sudden suppression of the National Executive by a parliamentary
conspiracy at Paris in 1792 violently interrupted the orderly and
natural making of France, just as the sudden suppression of the National
Executive in 1649 after the occupation of Edinburgh by Argyll and the
surrender of Colchester to Fairfax had put England at the mercy of
Cromwell's 'honest' troopers, and of knavish fanatics like Hugh Peters,
violently interrupted the making of Britain. It took England a century
to recover her equilibrium. Between Naseby Field in 1645 and Culloden
Moor in 1746 England had, except during the reign of Charles II., no
better assurance of continuous domestic peace than France enjoyed first
under Louis Philippe and then under the Second Empire. During those
hundred years Englishmen were thought by the rest of Europe to be as
excitable, as volatile, and as unstable as Frenchmen are not uncommonly
thought by the rest of mankind now to be. There is a curious old Dutch
print of these days in which England appears as a son of Adam in the
hereditary costume, standing at gaze amid a great disorder of garments
strewn upon the floor, while a scroll displayed above him bears this
legend:

  I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here,
  Musing in my mind what garment I shall wear.
  Now I will wear this, and now I will wear that,
  And now I will wear--I don't know what!

There was as much--and as little--reason thus to depict the England of
the seventeenth, as there is thus to depict the France of the nineteenth
century.

If there had ever been, a hundred years ago, such a thing as a French
Republic, founded, as the American Republic of 1787 was founded, by the
deliberate will of the people, and offering them a reasonable prospect
of maintaining liberty and law, that Republic would exist to-day. That
we are watching the desperate effort of a centralised parliamentary
despotism at Paris in the year 1890 to maintain a 'Third Republic' is
conclusive proof that this was not the case.

France--the French people, that is--- had no more to do with the
overthrow of the monarchy of Louis XVI., with the fall of the monarchy
of Charles X., with the collapse of the monarchy of July, or with the
abolition of the Second Empire, than with the abdication of Napoleon I.
at Fontainebleau.

Not one of these catastrophes was provoked by France or the French
people; not one of them was ever submitted by its authors to the French
people for approval.

Only two French governments during the past century can be accurately
said to have been definitely branded and condemned as failures by the
deliberate voice of the French people. One of these was the First
Republic, which after going through a series of convulsions equally
grotesque and ghastly, was swept into oblivion by an overwhelming vote
of the French people in response to the appeal of the first Napoleon.
The other was the Second Republic, which was put upon trial by the Third
Napoleon on December 10, 1851, and condemned to immediate extinction by
a vote of 7,439,219 to 640,737. I am at a loss to see how it is possible
to deduce from these simple facts of French history the conclusion that
the French people are, and for a century have been, madly bent upon
getting a Republic established in France, unless, indeed, I am to
suppose that the French Republicans proceed upon the principle said to
be justified by the experience of countries in which the standard of
mercantile morality is not absolutely puritanical--that three successive
bankruptcies will enable a really clever man to retire from business
with a handsome fortune!

If it were possible, as happily it is impossible, that the American
people could be afflicted with a single year of such a Republic as that
which now exists in France, we would rid ourselves of it, if necessary,
by seeking annexation to Canada under the crown of our common ancestors,
or by inviting the exiled Dom Pedro to recross the Atlantic and accept
the throne of a North American Empire, with substantial guarantees that
if we should ever change our minds and put him politely on board a ship
again for Europe, the cheque given to him on his departure would not be
dishonoured on presentation to the national bankers!

It is the penalty, I suppose, of our position in the United States, as
the first and, so far, the only successful great republic of modern
times, that we are expected to accept a sort of moral responsibility for
all the experiments in republicanism, no matter how absurd, odious, or
preposterous they may be, which it may come into the heads of people
anywhere else in the world to try. I do not see why Americans who are
not under some strenuous necessity of making stump speeches in or out of
Congress, with an eye to some impending election, should submit to this
without a protest. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery: it
does not follow that it is the most agreeable.

I do not know that Western drawing-rooms take more delight in the
Japanese, who most amiably present themselves everywhere in the
regulation dress-coat and white cravat of modern Christendom, than in
the Chinese, who calmly and haughtily persist in wearing the ample,
stately, and comfortable garments of their own people.

The framers of the French Republican Constitution of 1875 did the United
States the honour to copy incorrectly, and absolutely to misapply,
certain leading features of our organic law. In order to accomplish
purposes absolutely inconsistent with all American ideas of liberty and
of justice, the parliamentary revolutionists who got possession of power
in France in 1879 have so twisted to their own ends this French
Constitution of 1875, that their government of the Third French Republic
in 1890 really resembles the government of the Akhoond of Swat about as
nearly as it resembles the government of the American Republic under
Washington.

The parliamentary revolutionists of the Third French Republic are
Republicans first and then Frenchmen. The framers of the American
Republic were Americans first and then Republicans. The Republic which
they framed was an experiment imposed upon the American people, not by
philosophers and fanatics, but by the force of circumstances. The ablest
of the men who framed it were not Republicans by theory. On the
contrary, they had been born and bred under a monarchy. Under that
monarchy they had enjoyed a measure of civil and religious liberty which
the Third Republic certainly refuses to Frenchmen in France to-day. M.
Jules Ferry and M. Constans have no lessons to give in law or in liberty
to which George Washington, or John Adams, or even Thomas Jefferson,
would have listened with toleration while the Crown still adorned the
legislative halls of the British colonies in America. Our difficulties
with the mother country began, not with the prerogative of the
Crown--that gave our fathers so little trouble that one of the original
thirteen States lived and prospered under a royal charter from Charles
II. down to the middle of the nineteenth century--but with the
encroachments of the Parliament. The roots of the affection which binds
Americans to the American Republic strike deep down into the history of
American freedom under the British monarchy. The forms have changed, the
living substance is the same. Americans know at least as well as
Englishmen what the most intelligent of French Republicans apparently
have still to learn, that liberty is impossible without loyalty to
something higher than self-interest and self-will.

This sufficiently explains to me a remark often cited as made to Sir
Theodore Martin by General Grant during the ex-President's visit to
England, to the effect that Englishmen 'live under institutions which
Americans would give their ears to possess.'

General Grant neither was, nor did he pretend to be, a great statesman.
But he was an American of the Americans. Four years of Civil War and
eight years of Presidential power had not been thrown away upon him. He
came into the Presidency as the successor of Andrew Johnson, who was
made President by the bullet of an assassin, and who was impeached, as I
have said, before the Senate for doing his plain constitutional duty, by
an unscrupulous parliamentary cabal.

He left the Presidency, to be succeeded in it by a President who derived
the more than doubtful title under which he took his seat from a
Commission unknown to the Constitution, and accepted by the American
people only as the alternative of political chaos and of a fresh civil
war.

Through his position at the head of the American army, General Grant, as
I have already mentioned, had been drawn into the contest between
President Johnson and the parliamentary cabal bent on breaking down the
constitutional authority of the Executive.

Going into the Presidency fresh from this drama, in 1869, General Grant
went out of the Presidency in 1877, after a drama not less impressive
and instructive had been enacted under his eyes, which threatened for
many weeks to result in a complete failure of the machinery provided by
the American Constitution for the lawful and orderly transmission of the
executive authority. It did, in fact, result in the adoption by Congress
of an extra-constitutional expedient, by which the orderly transmission
of the executive authority was secured, but the lawful transmission of
it--as I believe, and as I think I have reason to know General Grant
believed--was defeated.

Whether the constitutional machinery would or would not have carried us
safely through if the final strain had been put upon it, is now an
academic question not here to be discussed. But the final strain was
evaded by the adoption of the extra-constitutional expedient to which I
refer. An Electoral Commission was created by Congress to decide by
which of two sets of Presidential electors claiming to have been chosen
for that purpose the Presidential vote of certain States should be cast;
and it is a curious circumstance that General Grant, who had seen his
executive predecessor saved from removal by a single vote in the Senate
in 1869, saw his executive successor established in the White House, in
1877, by a single vote in this Electoral Commission.

It would have been strange indeed had the experience of General Grant
failed to impress upon him, with at least equal force, the advantages to
liberty of a hereditary executive acting as the fountain of social
honour, and the disadvantages to liberty of an elective executive
tending to become a distributing reservoir of political patronage.

I once had a curious talk bearing on this subject with General Grant
after he had retired from the Presidency. He had dined with me to meet
and discuss a matter of some importance with a Mexican friend of mine,
Señor Romero, long Minister of Finance in Mexico, and now Mexican Envoy
at Washington. When I next met the ex-President he reverted with great
interest to something which had been incidentally said at this dinner
about the experiment of empire made in Mexico by Iturbide, the general
who finally broke the power of Spain in that viceroyalty, and secured
its independence. I showed him certain documents which I had obtained in
Mexico through the kindness of Maximilian's very able Foreign Minister,
Señor Ramirez, a most accomplished bibliophile, bearing upon Iturbide's
plan for making the American Mediterranean a Mexican lake. He expected
to break up the United States by asserting the right of the Mexican
Empire to the mouths of the Mississippi, and the whole Spanish dominion
as far as the Capes of Florida. 'It seems a mad thing now,' said the
ex-President, 'but it was not so mad perhaps then,' and we went on to
discuss the schemes of Burr and Wilkinson and the alleged treason of an
early Tennessean senator. 'Perhaps it was not a bad thing for us,' he
said, 'that the Mexicans shot their first Emperor--but was it a good
thing for them?' 'I have sometimes wondered,' he added, 'what would have
happened to us if Gates, or--what was at one time, as you know, quite on
the cards--Benedict Arnold, instead of George Washington, had commanded
the armies of the colonies successfully down to the end at Yorktown.'

What indeed! That is a pregnant query, not hastily to be dealt with by
genial after-dinner oratory about the self-governing capacity of the
Anglo-Norman race--still less by Fourth of July declamations over what
the leader of the Massachusetts Bar used to call the 'glittering
generalities' of the American Declaration of Independence!

The experience of the Latin states of the New World throws useful
side-lights upon it. Of all these states between the Rio Grande and Cape
Horn, only one began and has lived out its round half-century of
independence without serious civil convulsions. This is--or rather
was--the Empire of Brazil, of which Dom Pedro I., of the Portuguese
reigning house of Braganza, on March 25, 1824, swore to maintain the
integrity and indivisibility, and to observe, and cause to be observed,
the political Constitution. That oath the Emperor and his son and
successor, Dom Pedro II., who took it after him in due course, seem to
have conscientiously kept. It does not appear to have impressed itself
as deeply upon the consciences of the military and naval officers of the
present day in Brazil, all of whom, of course, must have taken it
substantially on receiving their commission from the chief of the State,
and it now remains to be seen what will become hereafter of the Empire.

The authors of the Brazilian Constitution fully recognised the
impossibility of maintaining a constitutional government without some
guarantee of the independence of the Executive. They found this
guarantee not by applying checks and balances to the elective
principle, but simply in the hereditary principle, just as they found
the guarantee of the independence of the judiciary in the life-tenure of
the magistrates, and they introduced into their Constitution what they
called a 'moderating power.' This power was lodged, by the 98th article
of the Brazilian Constitution, with the Emperor--and the article thus
runs: 'The moderating power is the key of the whole political
organisation, and it is delegated exclusively to the Emperor, as the
supreme chief of the nation and its first representative, that he may
incessantly watch over the maintenance of the independence, equilibrium,
and harmony of the other political powers.'

The key of the 'political organisation' of Brazil seems to have worked
very well for fifty years. Now that it has been thrown away, it will be
interesting to watch the results.

The question, with us in the United States, from the beginning has been
whether the carefully devised provisions of oar organic Constitution of
1787 would or would not be found in practice to protect the sentiment of
loyalty to a National Union as effectually against popular caprice and
political intrigues as the sentiment of loyalty to a National Crown has
been protected in England by the hereditary principle. The American
Revolution of 1776, and the foundation of the American Republic of 1787,
can never be understood without a thorough appreciation of the fact that
the issues involved in the English Revolution which placed the daughter
of James II. on the English throne, and in the establishment
subsequently of the House of Hanover, because it was an offshoot of the
dethroned House of Stuart, were quite as intelligently discussed, and
quite as thoroughly worked out, among the English in America as among
the English in England. Without a thorough appreciation of this fact it
is impossible to understand the conservative value to liberty in the
United States, of the personal position and the personal influence of
the first American President. Washington was, in truth, the uncrowned
king of the new nation--'first in war, first in peace, first in the
hearts of his countrymen.' What more and what less than this is there in
the history of Alfred the Great?

Washington founded no dynasty, but he made the American Presidency
possible, and the American President is a king with a veto, elected, not
by the people directly, but by special electors, for four years, and
re-eligible. We celebrate the birthday of Washington like the birthday
of a king. The same instinct gave his name to the capital of his nation,
and that name was found a name to conjure with when the great stress
came of the Civil War in 1861. The sentiment of loyalty, developed and
twined about that name and about the Union which Washington had founded,
was not only the glow at the core of the Northern resistance to
secession: it was the secret and the explanation of that sudden revival
of the spirit of national loyalty at the South after the war was over
and an end was put to the villanies of 'Reconstruction,' by which
European observers of American affairs have been and still are so much
puzzled. For it must be remembered that the Father of his Country was a
son of the South, and that his native state, Virginia, is the oldest of
the American Commonwealths, and is known as 'the Mother of Presidents.'
The historic Union is as much Southern as Northern. Its existence was
put in peril in 1812 by the States of the extreme North. Its integrity
was shattered for a time in 1861 by the States of the South. Before it
was founded, in 1787, there was no such thing as an American nation.
There were thirteen independent American States which for certain
purposes only had formed what was described as a 'perpetual union,'
under certain Articles of Confederation. These Articles were drawn up in
1778, at a time when the event of the war with the mother country was
still most uncertain, and they were never finally ratified by all the
States until 1781, two years before the Peace of Versailles. Under these
Articles the national affairs of the Confederacy were controlled by the
Congress of the States. No national Executive existed, not even such a
nominal Executive as now exists in France. National affairs were managed
during the recess of the Congress by a Committee, and this Committee
could only confide the Presidency to any one member of the Committee for
one year at a time out of three years. This was even worse than the
elective kingship without a veto of the English Republicans of 1649. But
how were the people of these thirteen independent States, each with a
history, with interests, with prejudices, with sympathies of its own, to
be brought together and induced to form, through a more perfect union, a
nation, in the only way in which a nation can be formed, by the
establishment of an independent national Executive?

This was the question which was met and answered only after long
debates, and with infinite difficulty, by the American Constitutional
Convention of 1787. It is more than probable that this convention could
never have been held without the influence and the presence of George
Washington, who presided over its deliberations; and it is as certain as
anything human can be, that the constitution which it framed would never
have been accepted by the people of the States if they had not known
that the executive office created by it would be filled by him.

The political safeguards put about the American Executive by the
constitution may or may not always resist such a strain as has already
more than once been put upon them. The seceding States, in their
constitution adopted at Montgomery in 1861, tried to strengthen these
safeguards by extending the presidential term to six years, and making
the President re-eligible only after an interval of six years more. But
all our national experience goes to show that the more difficult it is
for a mere majority of the people to make or unmake the authority which
sets a final sanction upon the execution of the laws, the greater will
be the safety of the public liberty and of private rights.

So true is this that every American who witnessed, at London in 1887,
the Jubilee of the Queen, felt, and was glad to feel, with a natural and
instinctive sympathy, the honest contagion of that magnificent outburst
of the loyalty of a great and free people to the hereditary
representative of their historic liberties and of their historic law. I
am sure that no intelligent Englishman can have witnessed the
tremendous outpouring of the American people into New York on April 30,
1889, to do honour there to the hundredth anniversary of the first
inauguration of George Washington, without a kindred emotion.

To compare with the significance of either of these scenes that of the
gigantic cosmopolitan fair dedicated at Paris in 1889 by President
Carnot to the 'principles of 1789' is to exhaust the resources of the
ridiculous.


IV

The antagonism which now exists between France and the Third Republic
certainly did not exist between France and the ancient monarchy. The
members of the États-Généraux of 1789, who were so soon permitted, by
the incapacity of Louis XVI., to resolve that body into the chaotic mob
which assumed the name of a National Assembly, were elected, not at all
to change the fabric of the French Government, but simply to reform, in
concert with the king, abuses, two-thirds of which were virtually
defunct when the king took off his hat to the Three Orders at Versailles
on the 5th of May, 1789, and the rest of which took a new lease of life,
often under new names, from the follies and the crimes of the First
Republic, after the 22nd of September, 1792. Two contemporary observers,
watching the drama from very different points of view, Arthur Young and
Gouverneur Morris, long ago discerned this. M. Henri Taine, and the
group of conscientious historical students who, during the last quarter
of a century, have been reconstructing the annals of the revolutionary
period, have put it beyond all doubt. The enormous majority of the
French people, and even of the people of Paris, were so little
infatuated with the 'principles of 1789' that they regarded the advent
to power of the first Napoleon with inexpressible relief, as making an
end of what Arthur Young calls, and not too sternly, a series of
constitutions 'formed by conventions of rabble and sanctioned by the
_sans-culottes_ of the kennel.' Without fully understanding this, it is
impossible to understand either the history of the Napoleons, or the
present antagonism between France and the Third Republic.

Of this I am so deeply convinced that I have thought it right to
interweave, when occasion offered, with my account of things as they are
in France, what I believe to be the historic truth as to things as they
were in France at and before the period of the Revolution. To judge the
France of 1890 fairly, and forecast its future intelligently, we must
thoroughly rid ourselves of the notion that the masses of the French
people had anything more to do with the dethronement and the murder of
Louis XVI. than the masses of the English people had to do with the
dethronement and the murder of Charles I. Neither crime was perpetrated
to enlarge the liberties or to protect the interests of the people. We
long ago got at the truth about the great English rebellion. 'Pride's
Purge,' the 'elective kingship without a veto of the 'New Model,' and
the merciless mystification of Bradshaw, tell their own story. Steering
to avoid the Scylla of Strafford, the luckless Parliamentarians ran the
ship of State full into the Charybdis of Cromwell.

It is only within very recent times that the daylight of facts has begun
to dissipate the mists of the French legend of 1789. Even Republican
writers of repute now disdain to concern themselves more seriously with
the so-called histories of Thiers, of Mignet, and of Lamartine than with
the _Chevalier de Maison-Rouge_ of Alexandre Dumas and the _Charlotte
Corday_ of M. Ponsard.

Of course the legend dies hard--all legends do. Even the whipping of
Titus Oates at the cart's tail through London did not kill the legend of
Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey and the Popish Plot. The Republicans of the
Third Republic have not scrupled to set up a statue to Danton. People
who might easily learn the truth still speak, and not in France only,
about Robespierre and Madame Roland in terms which really justify M.
Biré in anticipating a time when Raoul-Rigault maybe celebrated as a
patriot and Louise Michel as a heroine. No longer ago than in 1888
certain people, perhaps relying on the fact that M. Casimir Périer, the
actual owner of the château at Vizille in which the famous meeting of
the Estates of Dauphiny was held in 1788, is a Republican, actually
undertook to 'ring up the curtain' on the Centennial of 1789 by
representing Barnave and Mounier as clamouring in 1788 for a republic at
Vizille! Of all which let us say with Mr. Carlyle, 'What should
Falsehood do but decease, being ripe, decompose itself, and return to
the Father of it?' To whom, alas! I fear, under this inexorable law must
in due time revert too many of the fuliginous word-pictures of Mr.
Carlyle's own dithyrambic prose concerning the 'French Revolution'!

The giants who stalked through his inflamed imagination like spectres on
the Brocken, may be seen to-day in the Musée de la Révolution at Paris,
shrunken to their true proportions--a dreary procession, indeed, of
dreamers, madmen, quacks and felons! How can that be called a 'Great
Revolution,' of which it is recorded that before it had filled the brief
orbit of a decade, it had made an end of the life or of the reputation
of every single man conspicuous in initiating or promoting it? The men
who began the English Revolution of 1688 organised the new order to
which it led. The men who began the American Revolution of 1776
organised the new nation which it called into being. This must have been
as true of the French Revolution had it been really an outcome of the
'principles of 1789,' or of any principles at all. But it was nothing of
the kind. It was simply a carnival of incapacities, ending naturally in
an orgie of crime. It was in the order of Nature that it should deify
Mirabeau in the Pantheon, only to dig up his dishonoured remains and
trundle them under an unmarked stone at the meeting of four streets,
that it should set Bailly on a civic throne, only to drag him forth,
under a freezing sky, to his long and dismal martyrdom amid a howling
mob, that it should acclaim Lafayette as the Saviour of France, only to
hunt him across the frontier into an Austrian prison.

It was because France detested the Republic, and, detesting the
Republic, might at any moment recall the Bourbons, that Napoleon
executed the Duc d'Enghien. It was to make an end of claims older than
his own upon the allegiance of a people essentially and naturally
monarchical. It was a crime, but it was not a squalid and foolish crime
like the murder of Louis XVI. It belonged to the same category with the
execution of Conradin of Hohenstaufen by Charles of Anjou--not, indeed,
as to its mere atrocity, but as to its motives and its intent. It
announced to the French people the advent of a new dynasty, and left
them no choice but between the Republic and the Empire. An autograph
letter of Carnot, the grandfather of the actual President of the Third
Republic, sold the other day in Paris may be cited to illustrate this
point. Carnot, like many other regicides, would gladly have made his
peace with Louis XVIII. His peace with some sovereign he knew that he
must make. The letter I now refer to was written after the return of the
Emperor from Elba, and it could hardly have been written had Carnot not
believed that France might be rallied to the Empire and to its chief,
because France could not exist without a monarchy and a monarch.

The restoration of the monarchy was cordially accepted by the French
people. The American friends of France celebrated it with a banquet in
New York. France prospered under it. It laid the foundations of the
French dominion in Africa, and thereby gave to modern France the only
field of colonial expansion which can be said, down to the present time,
to have enured to any real good either for French commerce or the French
people. Certainly M. Ferry and the Republic have so far done nothing
with Tonquin to dim the lustre of the monarchical conquest of Algiers.

On the contrary, the Republic, through its occupation of Tunis, its
'pouting policy' towards England in Egypt, and its more recent
intimations of a great French Africa to be carried eastward to the
Atlantic, has prepared, and is preparing, for France in the perhaps not
distant future a new chapter of political accidents upon the possible
gravity and extent of which prudent Frenchmen meditate with dubious
satisfaction.

The sceptre passed as quietly from Louis XVIII. to Charles X. in France
as from George IV. to William IV. in England. So far, indeed, as public
disorder indicates public discontent, the English monarchy was in
greater peril during the period between 1815 and 1830 than the French
monarchy. When the Revolution of July came, no man thought seriously of
asking France to accept a second trial of the Republic, and the crown
was pressed upon the Duc d'Orléans, with the anxious assent of
Lafayette, the friend of Washington, Mirabeau's 'Grandison-Cromwell' of
the Revolution of 1789. Under the long reign of Louis Philippe France
again prospered exceedingly. French art and French literature more than
recovered their ancient prestige. Attempts were made to restore the
elder branch of the Bourbons and to restore the dynasty of the
Bonapartes. But no serious attempt was made to restore the Republic.

The Revolution of 1848 took even Paris by surprise. The Republic which
emerged from it filled France with consternation, and opened the way at
once for the restoration of the Empire. On December 10, 1851, the French
people made the Prince-President Dictator, by a vote the significance of
which will be only inadequately appreciated if we fail to remember that
the millions who cast it were by no means sure that, by putting the
sword of France again into the hands of a Napoleon, they would not
provoke the perils of a great European war. France did not court these
perils, but she preferred them to the risks of a republic.

I spent many months in France at that time, and to me, remembering what
I then saw and heard among all sorts and conditions of men, not in the
departments only but in Paris itself, the persistency with which the
leaders of the present Republican party have set themselves, ever since
they came definitely into power with M. Grévy in 1879, to reviving all
the most odious traditions of the earlier Republican experiments, and to
re-identifying the Republic with all that the respectable masses of the
French people most hate and dread, has seemed from the first, and now
seems, little short of judicial madness.

It did not surprise me, therefore, in 1885, to find the banner of the
monarchy frankly unfurled by M. Lambert de Ste.-Croix and scores of
other Conservatives, as they then called themselves, at the legislative
elections of that year. It did surprise me, however, to see the strength
of the support which they instantly received throughout the country. For
I believe the masses of the French people to be at heart monarchical,
less from any sentiment of loyalty at all either to the race of their
ancient kings or to the imperial dynasty, than because the experience of
the last century, to which, as I think very unwisely, the Republican
Government has appealed in what I cannot but call its rigmarole about
the 'Centennial of 1789,' has led them to associate with the idea of a
republic the ideas of instability and of anarchy, and with the idea of a
monarchy the ideas of stability and of order. Now the Government of the
Third Republic, first under M. Thiers and then under the Maréchal-Duc of
Magenta, was so conducted from 1871 to 1877 as to shake this
association.

Under it Frenchmen had seen that a Republic might actually exist in
France for seven years without disturbing social order, interfering with
freedom of conscience, attacking the religion of the country, or wasting
its substance.

There were 'wars and rumours of wars' in the air in 1876. It was very
loudly whispered that Germany, alarmed by the rapid advances of France
towards a complete recovery of her national strength, meant suddenly and
savagely to strike at her; and that, unless the essentially national and
military Government of the Maréchal-Duc was replaced by a Government
which would divert the resources of France largely into industrial,
commercial, and colonial adventures, a new invasion might at any moment
be feared. It ought to have been obvious that a Government which held in
its hand a balance of 98,000,000 francs was much less likely to be
wantonly attacked than a Government which meant to outrun its revenue.
With a declared balance of 98,000,000 francs to the good, France might
raise at the shortest notice 2,000,000,000 francs in a war loan. The
balance of the Maréchal-Duc's Government was in fact a war-treasure, and
a war-treasure of that magnitude was a tolerably effectual guarantee of
peace. This ought, I say, to have been obvious; but it is the triumph of
demagogic skill to prevent a great people from seeing as a mass what is
perfectly plain to every man of them taken alone. Under the stress of a
war-panic the French people, whose dread and dislike of republics in
general had been lulled, as I have shown, into repose by seven years of
a Conservative Republican rule, were led into granting the untested
Republic of Gambetta the credit fairly earned by the tested Republic of
Macmahon and of Thiers.

M. Grévy, thought the incarnation of thrift, of peace at any price, and
of commercial development, was elected President in 1879. M. Léon Say, a
man of wealth and of business, from whom more circumspection might have
been expected, lent himself, as Minister of the Finances, in combination
with the rather visionary M. de Freycinet, to a grand scheme devised by
M. Gambetta 'in a single night,' like Aladdin's Palace, for spending
indefinite millions of money upon docks, railways and ports all over
France, wherever there was a seat in the Chamber to be kept or won. The
'true Republicans,' as they call themselves, must be kept in power, the
Republicans who hold it to be their mission--no, not their mission, for
that word smacks of a Deity--but their proud prerogative, to rid France
and the world of the Christian religion, to abolish all forms of worship
and of monarchy from off the face of the earth, and generally to fashion
the felicity of mankind, in and out of France, after their own mind.
They went to work without delay. Having made the Executive, in the
person of M. Grévy, a puppet, they began at once, in 1879, to pour out
the money of the taxpayers like water, for what we know in the United
States as 'purposes of political irrigation'; to 'purge' the public
service, in all its branches, from the highest to the lowest, of all men
not ready to swear allegiance to their creed; to create new posts and to
fill them with the dependents and parasites of the Republican party
chiefs.

The balance of 98,291,105 fr. 28 c. (to be exact!) with which the
Republic of Thiers and Macmahon had closed the year 1876, rapidly
vanished.

On April 20, 1878, M. Léon Say announced to the Chamber of Deputies that
he expected the country to spend for 1879 a sum of 3,173,820,114 francs,
and to meet this expenditure with an estimated income of 2,698,622,014
francs!

In 1876 the expenditure of France had reached 2,680,146,977 francs, and
the income of France had reached 2,778,438,082 fr. 66 c. Two years had
sufficed to reverse the situation, and to convert an excess of receipts
over expenditure under the Government of the Maréchal-Duc, amounting to
more than 98,000,000 francs, into an excess of expenditure over receipts
under his 'truly Republican' successor amounting to 475,148,100 francs!

From that moment to this the Third Republic has been steadily expending
for France year after year at least five hundred millions of francs, or
twenty millions of pounds sterling, more than it has been able to
collect from the French people in the way of normal revenue. The exact
amount of this monstrous deficiency it is not easy to state with
precision. So distinguished an economist as M. Leroy-Beaulieu, a
Republican of the moderate type, puts it at the sum I have stated, of
five hundred millions a year for ten years. At the elections of last
year the Carnot Government ordered, or encouraged, the Prefect of the
Hérault, M. Pointu-Norès, to oppose openly and energetically the
election of M. Leroy-Beaulieu as a deputy for the district of Lodève in
that department. Why? M. Leroy-Beaulieu is one of the few really able
and distinguished Frenchmen, known beyond the limits of France, who may
be regarded as sincere believers in the possibility of founding a
substantial and orderly French Republic. But M. Leroy-Beaulieu, when he
sees a deficiency in the public accounts, calls it a deficiency, and
lifts up his voice in warning against a policy which accepts an annual
deficiency of five hundred millions of francs as natural, normal, and to
be expected in the administration of a great Republic.

Therefore, the presence of M. Leroy-Beaulieu in the Chamber of Deputies
is a thing to be prevented at any price. The 'Republicans' of the
Hérault this year tried to prevent it not only by treating 'informal'
ballots thrown for him as invalid, and accepting 'informal' ballots
thrown against him as valid, but, as the report of a Committee of the
Chamber admits, by 'irregularities' which in other countries would be
described in harsher terms.

Yet the majority of the new Chamber has postponed action upon this
report of its own Committee till after the recess, and M. Leroy-Beaulieu
is not yet allowed to occupy the seat which the voters of Lodève
undoubtedly chose him to fill.

If we accept M. Leroy-Beaulieu's estimate of the average annual
deficiency in the French budget as correct, it is clear that the 'true
Republicans' have mulcted France since 1879 in the round sum of five
milliards of francs--or, in other words, of a second German War
Indemnity!

But a banker of eminence, thoroughly familiar with the French finances,
tells me that M. Leroy-Beaulieu has underestimated the amount. He puts
it himself at an annual average for the past decade of 700,000,000
francs. Thanks to the device adopted, I am sorry to say, by M. Léon Say,
in 1879, of transferring to what is called the 'extraordinary budget' of
each year numerous items which should properly find a place in the
'ordinary budget' of each year, it is not very easy to get at a precise
and definite basis for estimating the real amount of these annual
deficiencies.

M. Amagat, a Republican deputy for the Department of the Cantal, who has
distinguished himself and earned the hostility of the Carnot Government
by his cool and methodical treatment of these financial matters,
denounces this device as 'deplorable,' and as keeping alive the most
strange 'illusions' among well-meaning French Republicans about the real
condition of the national finances.

Precisely! But the device was adopted expressly to keep alive these
'illusions,' in order that the 'illusions' might keep alive the
politicians who adopted the device.

It served M. Léon Say, who knew better, in 1879. It serves M. Rouvier,
who, perhaps, does not know better, in 1890. The new Chamber met on
November 12, 1889. A fortnight had hardly passed when M. Rouvier, as
Minister of the Finances, the 'Minister of ill-omen' as M. Amagat calls
him, rose in his place and, without a blush, affirmed that the budget
for 1889 showed an excess of receipts over expenditure of 'forty
millions of francs!' This bold statement was promptly telegraphed from
Paris, by the correspondents of the foreign press in that city, to the
four corners of the globe. What did it mean? It meant simply this: that,
thanks to the financial success of the Government investment of the
public money in a grand raree show at Paris, called a 'Universal
Exposition,' such an excess of income over outlay appeared in what is
called the 'ordinary budget.' As to the 'extraordinary' budget--oh! that
is quite another matter.

It is as if an English householder should divide his yearly accounts
into 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary' accounts, putting under the
'ordinary' accounts his cab and railway fares, his club expenses, his
transactions on the turf, and his ventures at Monte Carlo, but remitting
to the 'extraordinary' accounts such unconsidered trifles as house-rent,
domestic expenses, the bills of tailors and milliners, and taxes, local
and imperial. For 1879, for example, M. Léon Say, as Finance Minister,
gave in his 'ordinary' budget at 2,714,672,014 francs, which showed a
reduction of 78,705,790 francs from the 'ordinary' budget of 1878; but
with this cheerful statement M. Léon Say gave in also his
'extraordinary' budget at 460,674,566 francs, the whole of which rather
important sum was to be raised, not out of the revenue, but by a loan!

This system has been carried on ever since 1877, when the 'true
Republicans' got possession of the legislature, two years before they
put M. Grévy into the Elysée as President.

On July 22, 1882, M. Daynaud, an authority on questions of finance,
summed up the results in a speech delivered in the Chamber of Deputies.
The Government in 1877 spent, in round numbers, 3,177,000,000 francs. In
1883 it spent 4,040,000,000 francs. All this without including what are
called 'supplementary credits.' So that, putting these aside, it appears
from the speech of M. Daynaud that, in seven years, between 1877 and
1883, the 'true Republicans' subjected the people of France to an
increase of no less than 863,000,000 francs in their annual public
expenditure.

Meanwhile these same 'true Republicans,' who were thus adding hundreds
of millions yearly to the public debt, struck hundreds of thousands out
of the lawful income of the clergy of France. They ordered the
dispersion by Executive decrees, and 'if necessary by military force,'
of all religious orders and communities not 'authorised' by the
Government. They drove nuns and Sisters of Charity, with violence and
insult, out of their abodes. They expelled the religious nurses from the
hospitals and the priests from the prisons and the almshouses. They
'laicised' the schools of France, throwing every symbol of religion--in
many cases literally--into the street, forbidding, literally, the name
of God to be mentioned within the walls of a school, and striking out
every allusion to the Christian faith from the text-books supplied at
the cost of the Christian parents of France to their children in the
schools supported out of taxes paid by themselves.

It is simply impossible to overstate the virulence and the violence of
this official Republican war against religion which began under the
Waddington Ministry almost as soon as it took possession of the
government in 1879. It was formally opened under the leadership of M.
Ferry. M. Ferry is admitted to be the ideal statesman of the Opportunist
Republicans now in power. To him M. Carnot owes his Presidency of the
Republic. In March 1879 M. Jules Ferry asked the Republican majority of
the House to pass a law concerning the 'higher education,' in the draft
of which he had inserted a clause ever since famous as 'Article 7,'
depriving any Frenchman who might be a member of any religious
corporation 'not recognised by the State' of the right to teach. This
'Article 7' was a revival of an amendment offered to but not carried by
the Legislative Assembly of the Second Republic in 1849. The principle
of it is as old as the Emperor Julian, who forbade Christians to teach
in the schools of the Empire.

M. Ferry's law was intended to repeal a previous law adopted in 1875,
and which had not been then three years in operation. By the Law of July
12, 1875, the Republic of Thiers and Macmahon had modified, in the
interest of liberty, the monopoly of higher education in France enjoyed
by the State. It was an essentially wise, liberal, and 'progressive'
law. But the Republicans of Gambetta could not endure it, for it gave
the Christians of France the right to provide for the higher education
of their children in their own way; so it must be abolished.

It was abolished; and though the Senate, making a partial stand for law
and for the equal rights of French citizens, struck out 'Article 7,' M.
Ferry and his friends, who controlled the President, caused him to issue
an Executive decree, to which I have already referred, breaking up the
religious orders aimed at in 'Article 7.' This was in 1880. In 1882 the
Chamber adopted a law proposed by M. Paul Bert, confirming to the State
the monopoly of secondary education; and to-day we see M. Clémenceau,
the avowed enemy of M. Jules Ferry and of the Opportunists, shaking
hands with them in public, after the elections of 1889, on this one
question of deadly hostility to all religion in the educational
establishments of France. At a banquet given on December 3 by certain
anti-Boulangist students in Paris to the Government deputies for the
Seine, M. Clémenceau declared himself in favour of 'the union of all
Republicans'--upon what lines and to what end?--'To prepare the Grand
Social Revolution and make war upon the theocratic spirit which seeks to
reduce the human mind to slavery!'

In other words, the Third Republic is to combine the Socialism of 1848
with the Atheism of 1793, the National workshops with the worship of
Reason, and to join hands, I suppose, with the extemporised 'Republic of
Brazil' in a grand propaganda which shall secure the abolition, not
only of all the thrones in Europe, but of all the altars in America. If
language means anything and facts have any force, this is the inevitable
programme of the French Republic of 1890, and this is the entertainment
to which the Christian nations of the New World and the Old were invited
at Paris in the great 'centennial' year 1889.

Believing this to be the inevitable programme of the Republic, as
represented by the Government of President Grévy so long ago as 1880, I
was yet surprised, as 1 have said, to see the strength of the protest
recorded against it by the voters of France at the Legislative elections
in 1885, because the Republic of Thiers and Macmahon had made, and
deservedly, so much progress in the confidence of the French people,
that I had hardly expected to see the essentially conservative heart of
France startled, even by three or four years' experience of the
Government of M. Grévy, into an adequate sense of the perils into which
these successors of the Maréchal-Duc were leading the country.

'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is an essentially French
proverb. Seven years of peace, liberty, and financial prosperity under
the Conservative Republic should have gone far, I thought, to convince
the average French peasant that he might, after all, be safe under a
republic. Doubtless this impression of mine was not wholly unfounded.
Yet, in spite of this important check upon the headway of the reaction
against Republicanism provoked by the fanaticism and the financial
extravagance of the Government of President Grévy--and in spite, too, of
the open official pressure put upon the voters of France by the then
Minister of the Interior, M. Allain-Targé, who issued a circular
commanding all the prefects in France to stand 'neutral' between
Republican candidates of all shades, but to exert themselves for the
defeat of all 'reactionary' candidates; in spite of all this, the
elections of October and November 1885 sent up about two hundred
monarchical members, whose seats could by no trick or device be stolen
from them, to the Chamber of Deputies, and pitted a popular vote of
3,608,578 declared enemies of the existing Republic against a popular
vote of 4,377,063 citizens anxious to maintain or willing to submit to
it.

From that time to the present day the Government of the Third French
Republic has been standing on the defensive. It has steadily lost
ground, with every passing year, in the confidence and respect of the
French people. The financial scandals, amid which President Grévy and
his son-in-law, M. Wilson, disappeared and President Carnot was
'invented,' simply revealed a condition of things inherent in the very
nature of the political organisation of France under the parliamentary
revolutionists who came into power in 1879.

The Third French Republic, such as these men have made it, is condemned,
hopelessly and irretrievably condemned, by its creed to be a government
of persecution and by its machinery to be a government of corruption.
There is no escape for it.


V

It has made the Government of France--not the Administration, but the
form, the constitution of the Government--a party question, and it has
organised the party which insists that France shall be a Republic,
openly and avowedly upon the maxim of Danton that 'to the victors belong
the spoils.' What has come of this maxim in the United States, where the
form and constitution of the Republic are accepted by all political
parties, and the administration of the Government alone is a party
question, I need not say.

There are 'black points' even on the horizon of the American Republic,
as all Americans know. But there is no point blacker than this, as to
which, however, it is possible with us that good men of all political
parties may act together in the future as they have acted together in
the past for Civil Service Reform. But what is possible with us is not
possible with the party of the Republic in France. For, by making the
Republic a republic of religious persecution, the Republicans of the
Republic of Gambetta, Jules Ferry, Carnot, and Clémenceau have made it
necessarily a republic of political proscription, and political
proscription inevitably means political corruption.

If any man needs to learn this, let him study the story of the
establishment of the Protestant Succession in England by Walpole, and
the story of the overthrow of the United States Bank by President
Jackson, in America. He may think the Protestant Succession in England,
and the overthrow of the United States Bank in America, worth the price
paid for each. But he will learn at least what the price was.

It will not be the fault of the Carnot Government--certainly not of the
most energetic member of that Government, M. Constans, Minister of the
Interior--if the French people fail to learn this.

A very much higher price will have to be paid for the extirpation of
religion out of France, and the education of the French people into what
M. Jules Ferry fantastically supposes to be 'Herbert Spencer's' gospel,
identifying duty with self-indulgence!

The late Chamber, doubtless having the then impending elections in view,
voted to abolish the Secret Service Fund of the Ministry of the
Interior. It was a Platonic vote, referring only to the Budget of 1890,
nor did it take effect. But on December 14, 1889, M. Constans, having
made the re-establishment of this fund a cabinet question, got up in the
Chamber and boldly declared that he wanted a Secret Service Fund of
1,600,000 fr., or about 64,000_l._ sterling; that he did not care what
the Right thought about such a fund; that he meant to use it to 'combat
conspiracies against the Republic,' and that he expected the majority to
give it to him as a mark of their personal confidence.

That the War Office, in a country like France, should need a Secret
Service Fund, is intelligible. It is intelligible that a Secret Service
Fund should be legitimately required, perhaps, by the Foreign Office of
a country like France. But why should a Secret Service Fund of more than
60,000_l._ sterling be required by the Home Secretary of a French
Republic which is supposed to be 'a government of the people, by the
people, for the people'?

I have an impression, which it will require evidence to remove, that no
such Secret Service Fund as this is at the disposal of the Chancellor of
the German Empire; and I find the whole expense of the Home Office of
the monarchy of Great Britain set down at less than half the amount
which, after a brief debate, the Republicans of the new Chamber in
France, by a majority of a hundred votes, quietly put under the control
of the French Home Secretary, to show their 'confidence' in the
excellent man to whose unhesitating manipulation, through his prefects,
of the votes cast in September and October last, so many of them are
universally believed in France to be really indebted for their seats!

In the year 1889 the British budget shows an outlay on the Home Office
of 29,963_l._

More than this, the 'Secret Service Fund' voted out of the pockets of
the taxpayers of France into the strong box of the Minister of the
Interior, considerably exceeds the cost of the British Treasury Office!
In 1888 the British budget gave the First Lord of the Treasury, to cover
the expenses of that great and important department of the British
monarchical government, 60,222_l._, or nearly 4,000_l._ less than the
Republicans of the Third French Republic have generously put at the
disposal of M. Constans to 'combat conspiracies' against the life of a
Republic of which in the same breath we are asked to believe that it has
just been acclaimed with enthusiasm by the masses of the French people,
as the fixed, final, and permanent government of their deliberate
choice!

At this rate it will actually cost the taxpayers of Republican France
more than two-thirds as much merely to keep the Republic from being
suddenly done to death some fine day between breakfast and dinner, as
it costs the taxpayers of Great Britain to keep up the state and dignity
of the British sovereign from year to year! The total annual amount, I
find, of the Civil List of Great Britain annually voted to the Queen, of
the annual grants to other members of the Royal Family, and of the
Viceroyalty of Ireland is 557,000_l._ Of this amount the Hereditary
Revenues, surrendered to the nation, cover 464,000_l._ This leaves an
annual charge upon the taxpayers of 93,000_l._ sterling, or only
29,000_l._ more than the sum deliberately voted by the Republican
Chamber at Paris into the hands of M. Constans to be by him used in
'combating conspiracies' against the Republic!--or, in other words and
in plain English, in making things comfortable for his political
friends, and uncomfortable for his political enemies!

And this, observe, is a mere supplementary adjunct to the budget of this
energetic and admirable minister, that budget having been fixed by the
late Chamber for 1890 at 61,291,256 francs--or, in round numbers,
2,451,650_l._ sterling--of which handsome amount 13,059,570 francs, or
522,383_l._ sterling, being the outlay on the Central Administration and
the préfectures, must be added to the 1,200,000 francs, or 48,000_l._
sterling, of the Presidential salary and allowances, in order to give us
a basis for a fair approximate comparison of the cost to republican
France of her executive President and prefects with the cost to
monarchical Great Britain of her executive Sovereign, lords-lieutenant,
and Viceroy of Ireland. Stated in round numbers, the result appears to
be that for their republican President and their eighty-three republican
prefects, the taxpayers of France pay annually out of their own pockets
570,383_l._ against 93,000_l._ paid annually out of their own pockets by
the taxpayers of Great Britain for their monarchical sovereign,
eighty-six lords-lieutenant, a Viceroy of Ireland, and thirty-two
lieutenants of the Irish counties. From the point of view of the
taxpayers, this would seem to lend some colour to Lord Beaconsfield's
contention, that economy is to be found on the side of the system which
rewards certain kinds of public service by 'public distinction conferred
by the fountain of honour.'

The threadbare witticism about the Bourbons of 1815, who had learned
nothing and forgotten nothing, may well be furbished up for the benefit
of the Republicans who now control the Third French Republic. However
true it may, or may not, have been of the Comte de Provence and the
Comte d'Artois, Henri IV., who was certainly a Bourbon of the Bourbons,
had a quick wit at learning, and upon occasion also a neat knack of
forgetting. He thought Paris well worth a mass, heard the mass, and got
Paris.

It was not necessary for the Republicans of the Third Republic, after
the formidable lesson which France read them at the elections in 1885,
to hear mass themselves. They were perfectly free to persist and to
perish in their unbelief, and, like the hero of Sir Alfred Lyall's 'Land
of Regrets,'

  'Get damned in their commonplace way.'

All that Christian France asked of them in 1885 was that they would
leave their fellow-citizens as free to hear mass as they themselves
were free not to hear it. They had only to let the religion of the
French people alone, to respect the consciences and the civil liberty of
their countrymen, and the tides that were rising against them, and the
Republic because of them, must inevitably have begun to subside.

The hostility between the Church and the Republic in France is
absolutely, in its origin, one-sided. The Church is no more necessarily
hostile to the Republic as a Republic in France, than it is to the
Republic as a Republic in the United States or in Chile, or in Catholic
Switzerland. The Church can be made hostile to a Republic by persecution
and attack just as it can he made hostile in the same way to a monarchy.
Neither Philippe le Bel nor Henry the Eighth was much of a Republican.

But the Republicans of the Third Republic, in 1885, would learn nothing
and forget nothing. They met the protest of millions of voters in France
with a renewed virulence of Anti-Catholic and of Anti-Christian
legislation, with an increased public expenditure, and with fresh
political proscriptions.

Their purpose and their programme were succinctly and clearly summed up
in the explicit declaration of M. Brisson, one of the most conspicuous
leaders of the Republican party, that 'the Republic should be
established in France, if necessary, by arms!'

What is the difference in principle between such a declaration as this
and the attempt of the third Napoleon to establish an empire in Mexico
by arms? In the one case we have a proselytising, atheistic Republic
bent on abolishing the religion of an unquestionable majority of the
French people; in the other, we have a proselytising emperor bent on
organizing empire in Mexico. In the light of the doctrine that
governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,
the one undertaking is as monstrous as the other. The undertaking of the
Emperor failed disastrously in Mexico; I do not believe, and for many
reasons, that the undertaking of the Republic will succeed in France.

One, and the chief of these reasons, is, that I believe the hold of the
Christian religion upon the body of the French people to be stronger,
and not weaker, than it was before the propaganda of atheism began. In
some of the chapters of this volume evidence, I think, will be found to
show this. Under the plan which I have adopted in constructing the book,
I have not attempted to marshal and co-ordinate the evidence. I have
simply presented it, where it presented itself, either in conversations
had by me at one or another place with persons qualified, as I thought,
to speak with some authority, or in observations made by me in passing
through one or another region. It was a part of my plan too, as I have
said, to register, under the general heading of one or another
department, not only what struck me most while visiting that department
in the way of things seen or heard there, but also such conversations
bearing on general subjects as I there had, and such notes as I there
made from the books bearing on French history, which I took with me
wherever I went. As this book is not a treatise but a record, as it is
not intended to maintain a preconceived thesis, but simply to indicate
the grounds on which I have myself come to certain conclusions and
convictions, I thought the method I have adopted the fairest, both to my
readers and to myself, that I could pursue.


VI

But as the point I have now touched, of the religious condition of
France, is a specially grave and important point, I must ask my readers
to pause with me upon it for a moment here in this Introduction. I am
especially moved to do this because I have reason to think that very
serious and very extraordinary delusions on this point exist outside of
France, and especially in England. This is not unnatural when we
remember that nine foreigners in ten take their impressions of France as
a nation, not only from the current journalism and literature of Paris
alone, but from a very limited range of the current literature and
journalism even of Paris. Most Americans certainly, and I am inclined to
think most Englishmen, who visit Paris, and see and know a good deal of
Paris, are really in a condition of penumbral darkness as to the true
social, religious, and intellectual life of the vast majority of the
population even of Paris. We see the Paris of the boulevards, the
Champs-Elysées, the first nights at the theatres, the restaurants, and
the fashionable shops; the _Tout Paris_ of the gossips of the press,
representing, possibly, one per cent. of the population of the French
capital! Of the domestic, busy, permanent Paris, which keeps the French
capital alive from year to year and from generation to generation--the
Paris of industry and of commerce, of the churches, of the charities, of
the schools, of the convents--how much do we see? There are a number of
prosperous foreign colonies living in London now, most of whose leading
members maintain business or social relations, more or less active, with
one or another section of the English population of the great British
metropolis. Perhaps, if we could get a plain, unvarnished account from
some member of one of these colonies, of England and English life as
they appear to him and to his compatriots, Englishmen might be as much
confounded as I have known very intelligent and well-informed Frenchmen
to be, by the notions of French life and of the condition of the French
people, really and seriously entertained, not by casual foreign
tourists, but by highly educated foreigners who really wished to know
the truth.

Not long after the Legislative Elections of 1885, the results of which
astonished public men in England at the time as much almost as they did
the satellites of the Government in Paris, I met at the house of a
friend in London a very eminent English public man, whose name I do not
feel quite at liberty to mention, but who is certainly regarded by great
numbers of Englishmen as an authority without appeal, not only in regard
to questions of English domestic policy, but in regard to European
affairs in general. In the course of a general conversation--there were
ten or twelve well-known people in the company--this distinguished
public man expressed to me his great surprise at the importance which I
'seemed to attach to the religious sentiment in France.'

I assured him that I not only 'seemed' to attach, but did in fact attach
very serious importance to it, and I ventured to ask him why this should
'surprise' him.

To this he replied textually--for I noted down the remark afterwards
that evening--that he was 'under the impression that the religious
sentiment was dead in France!'

'May I ask,' I replied, 'what can possibly have given you such an
impression as this?'

'Oh, many things,' he answered with great emphasis, 'but particularly a
statement which I saw in a statistical work of much authority, not very
long ago, to the effect that there are in France _five millions of
professed atheists_!'

All who heard this amazing assertion were, I think, as completely taken
aback by it as I was. Courtesy required that I should beg the
distinguished man who made it to give me, if he could, the title of the
work in which he had found it. This he promptly replied that he was at
the moment unable to do. He, however, very nearly asphyxiated a very
quiet and well-bred young Frenchman attached to the French Embassy in
London, who was present, by appealing to him on the subject. 'No, no!'
exclaimed the alarmed _attaché_, 'I dare say there is such a book, no
doubt--no doubt--but I have never heard of it.'

I have never been able to find this valuable work. When I do find it I
shall institute a careful inquiry into the reasons which could have led
five millions of French persons, or about one-seventh of the whole
population of France, to take the pains to register themselves as
'atheists.' Presumably they must all have been adults, as the
declaration, on such a subject, of infants, would scarcely, I take it,
be collected, even by M. Jules Ferry, as evidence of the success of his
great scheme for 'laicising' religion out of France.

Meanwhile, I find it set down in the usual statistical authorities
accessible in 1884, that out of the 36,102,021 inhabitants of France,
35,387,703 registered themselves, or were registered, as Catholics,
580,707 as Protestants, 40,439 as Israelites, and 81,951 as 'not
professing any form of religion.'

Yet I suppose that, if the eminent public man who saw, as in a vision,
these five millions of registered atheists marching to the assault of
Christianity in France were to announce their existence as a fact to a
large public meeting in some great English provincial city to-morrow, we
should have leaders in some of the English journals a day or two
afterwards prognosticating the immediately impending downfall of all
religion in France. Our modern democracies on both sides of the Atlantic
have made such rapid and remarkable progress of late years in the art of
forming opinions, that if Isaac Taylor could come back to the earth he
left, not so very long ago, he would hardly, I think, recognise the
planet.

The fashion of taking it for granted that the whole world is fast going
over to the gospel of ganglia and bathybius, of _vox populi et præterea
nihil_, is not confined to the 'fanatics of impiety' in France. I have
heard it seriously stated in a London drawing-room by another public man
of repute within the last year, that he believed 'Mr. John Bright and
Mr. Gladstone were the last two men who would ever cite the Christian
Scriptures as an authority in the House of Commons.'

The uncommonly good English of the Christian Scriptures may perhaps
constitute an objection to their free use in addressing popular
political assemblies. But, admitting this, I hesitate to accept the
statement. That it should have been made however, and made by a man of
more than ordinary ability, is perhaps a thing to be noted.

But I revert to France.

As the time drew near for the Legislative elections of 1889, the
Republicans in power began to perceive that their methods had not been
crowned with absolute success. The awkward corner caused by the enforced
resignation of President Grévy had indeed been turned, because the
Constitution of the Third Republic provides for the election of the
President by the Assembly. But it is one thing to play a successful
comedy in the Assembly with the help of what in America is called 'the
cohesive power of the public plunder,' and quite another thing to get a
satisfactory Chamber of Deputies re-elected by the people of France
after four years of irritating and exasperating misrule. Much was
expected from the dazzling effect upon the popular mind of the Universal
Exposition at Paris--so much, indeed, that I have had the obvious
incongruity of selecting for the celebration of the French Revolution by
a French Republic the centennial of a year in which no French Republic
existed, accounted for to me by a French Republican on the express
ground that the legislative elections were fixed for 1889! There may
have been some truth in this. For nothing could be more preposterous
than the pretext alleged for the selection by the French Government.

This or that thing which occurred at a particular time in a particular
year may reasonably be made the occasion of a centennial or a
semi-centennial celebration. But how is anybody to fix and celebrate the
'centennial' of a set of notions called 'the principles of 1789'?

In the United States we have celebrated the 'Centennial' of the
Declaration of Independence, and the Centennial of the first
Inauguration of the first President.

Did the French Government intend to invite the monarchies of Europe to
celebrate the destruction by a mob of the Bastille on July 14, 1789?
Hardly, I suppose! Or the Convocation of the States-General at
Versailles on May 5, 1789? Certainly not--for the States-General were
convoked, not under the 'principles of 1789,' but in conformity with an
ancient usage and custom of the French monarchy.

What are the 'principles of 1789'?

And why should anybody in or out of France celebrate them?

If by 'the principles of 1789' we are to understand the principles of
modern constitutional government--and I know no other intelligible
interpretation of the phrase--there is certainly no reason why anybody
out of France should particularly concern himself with celebrating the
adoption of these principles in France any more than with celebrating
the adoption of them in England, or the United States, or Germany, or
Spain, or Italy. The principles of modern constitutional government were
certainly not intelligently adopted, and certainly not loyally carried
out in France, by any of the governments which tumbled over one another
in rapid succession in that distracted country between 1789 and 1815.
Have they been intelligently adopted and loyally carried out in that
distracted country to-day? That is a question, I think, not hastily to
be answered!

To ask the people of England, of the United States, of Germany, of
Spain, of Italy, to unite in celebrating the principles of modern
constitutional government, under the name of the 'principles of 1789,'
at Paris, as if the world were indebted to Paris or to France for the
discovery, and the promulgation, and the adoption of those principles,
was really a piece of presumption which might have been pardoned to the
fatuity of the Abbé Sieyès a hundred years ago, but was hardly to have
been expected from educated Frenchmen in the year 1889.

This was stated, with great good sense and commendable courtesy towards
the French Government responsible for the absurdity, by the Italian
Premier, Signor Crispi, in the Chamber of Deputies at Borne, on June 25,
1887.

In reply to an interpellation of Signor Cavalotti, addressed to the then
Foreign Minister of Italy, Signor Depretis, as to the intentions of the
Italian Government with regard to the Universal Exposition of 1889 at
Paris, Signor Crispi, then Minister of the Interior, made a striking
speech (Signor Depretis being then ill of the disease of which he
eventually died), in which he lucidly and forcibly gave the reasons of
the Italian Government for declining to take any official part in the
matter. He plainly intimated his conviction (which is the conviction, by
the way, of a great many sensible people not premiers of Italy) that the
business of Universal Expositions has been possibly overdone. But,
without dwelling upon that point, he went on to show that it would be
foolish for Italy to isolate herself from the other great powers by
taking an official part in this particular 'Universal Exposition.' To
the plea of Signor Cavalotti that liberated Italy ought to unite with
France to celebrate 'the principles of 1789,' Signor Crispi thus
replied; 'I agree with the honourable member that we are sons of 1789.
But I must remind him that 1789 was preceded by the glorious English
Revolution, and by the great American Revolution, in both of which had
been manifested and established the principles which have subsequently
prevailed throughout the world.'

Whether the treatment of the Sovereign Pontiff at Rome by the government
of United Italy, since 1871, has been entirely consistent with the
principles of the 'glorious English Revolution,' or of the 'great
American. Revolution,' I need not now consider. But that all the living
political doctrines of which intelligent Frenchmen mean to speak when
they talk about the 'principles of 1789' are the American political
doctrines of 1776, and the English political doctrines of 1688, admits
of no question. As to this, Signor Crispi was absolutely right, and it
is creditable to him, as an Italian statesman and an Italian patriot,
that he should have thus early and publicly declined to attach the
liberty and the independence of Italy as a bob to the tail of an
electioneering Exposition kite at Paris in 1889. To France and to the
French Republics--first, second, and third--Italy owes a good deal less
than nothing. To two rulers of France, both of them of Italian blood,
the first and third Napoleon, she owes a great deal. But her chief
political creditor, and her greatest statesman, Cavour, drew his
political doctrines, not from the muddy French pool of the 'principles
of 1789,' but from the original fountains of 1776 and 1688. Had Cavour
been living in 1887, to answer the interpellation of Signor Cavalotti,
he might, perhaps, have defined more sharply than it was given to Signor
Crispi to do, the real relations between the French Revolution of 1789
and the national developments of modern Italy. Had the French Revolution
of 1789 been left to exhaust itself within the limits of France, it
would probably have ended--as the friends of the misguided Duc d'Orléans
almost from the first expected to see it end--in the substitution of a
comparatively capable for a positively incapable French king upon a
constitutional French throne. In that event it would have interested
Europe and the world no less, and no more, than the Fronde or the
religious wars which came to a close with the coronation of Henry of
Navarre. It was the fear of this, unquestionably, which drove the
conspirators of the Gironde into forcing a foreign war upon their
unfortunate country. The legend of Republican France marching as one man
to the Rhine to liberate enslaved Europe has much less foundation in
fact than the legend of Itsatsou and the horn of Roland. It is a pity
to disturb historical fables which have flowered into immortal verse,
but really there was not the slightest occasion, so far as Europe was
concerned, for France in 1790 to 'stamp her strong foot and swear she
would be free.' M. de Bourgoing's admirable diplomatic history of those
days makes this quite clear. No power in Europe objected to her being as
free as she liked. On the contrary, England, even in 1792, was both
ready and anxious to recognise the insane French republic of that day,
and to see the French royal family sent away to Naples or to Madrid.

Pitt was too far-sighted a statesman not to be well aware that the
commerce and the colonies of such a French republic were the natural
prizes of English common sense and English enterprise. Nor was Austria
indisposed to see the House of Bourbon, which had successfully disputed
the supremacy of Europe with the Hapsburgs, humiliated and cast down.

The French Revolution became Titanic only when it ceased to be a
Revolution and ceased to be French. The magnificent stanzas of Barbier
tell the true story of the riderless steed re-bitted, re-bridled, and
mounted by the Italian master of mankind, the Cæsar for whom the
eagle-eyed Catherine of Russia had so quietly waited and looked when the
helpless and hopeless orgie of 1789 began. The Past from which he
emerged, the Future which he evoked, both loom larger than human in the
shadow of that colossal figure. What a silly tinkle, as of pastoral
bells in some Rousseau's _Devin du Village_, have the 'principles of
1789,' when the stage rings again with the stern accents of the
conqueror, hectoring the senators of the free and imperial city of
Augsburg, for example, on his way to Wagram and to victory twenty years
afterwards!

'Your bankers are the channel through which the gold of the eternal
enemy of the Continent finds its way to Austria. I have made up my mind
that I will give you to some king. To whom I have not yet settled. I
will attend to that when I come back from Vienna.'

And, as the faithful record of the _Drei Mohren_ tells us, 'Messieurs
the senators withdrew, much mortified, and not at all pleased.'

Nevertheless, when the conqueror kept his word, and having made a king
of Bavaria to give them to, gave them to the king of Bavaria, Messieurs
the senators, with a suppleness and a docility which would have done
credit to Debry (who after proposing, as a republican, to organise 1,200
'tyrannicides' and murder all the kings and emperors of the earth,
begged Napoleon to make him a baron), made haste to come and prostrate
themselves before the new Bavarian Majesty and to protest that until the
fortunate day of his arrival to reign over them they had never known
what real happiness was.

If there is one thing more certain than another in human history, it is
that but for the English Revolution of 1688 and the American Revolution
of 1776 the world in general would know and care to-day very little more
about the French 'principles of 1789,' and the French Revolution, and
the First French Republic, than the world in general knows or cares
to-day about the wars in the Cevennes or the long conflict between the
Armagnacs and the Bourguignons.

Napoleon crumpled up the 'principles of 1789' and the Revolution and the
Republic in his iron hand, and flung them all together into a corner. He
meant that France and the world should think of other things. In 1810
Paganel, who, having been a 'patriot' of the Convention, had naturally
become a liveried servant of the Emperor and King, thought he might
venture to compose a 'Historical Essay on the French Revolution.' He
dedicated it to the Imperial Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, and he
wound up his preface with these words: 'And thus at last we see without
astonishment, after this long series of errors, misfortunes, and crimes,
the Republic disappear, and France implore the Supreme Being to
vouchsafe to her the one great and potent genius who in these difficult
circumstances was able to lift her up, to defend her, and to govern
her!' The heart of Louis XVIII. would have been touched by the grateful
humility of this repentant wretch. But the Emperor simply kicked him
downstairs. He forbade the book to be published. The whole edition was
put under lock and key, and never saw the light till liberty came back
to France, with the white nag and the Bourbon lilies, in 1815. Surely
here is a fact worth noting!

Had this first history of the French Revolution, written as Paganel, a
member of the Revolutionary Convention, wrote it, been published under
the First Republic, the author would infallibly have been sent to the
guillotine. Writing it under the First Empire he was merely snubbed,
despite his fulsome adulation of the Emperor. His book was finally given
to the world under the restored historic monarchy in 1818!

In 1811, Chateaubriand, having been elected to succeed Marie-Joseph
Chéniér, the brother of the republican poet André, murdered by the First
Republic, as a member of the Institute, prepared a speech on the
Convention, to be read before that august body. Napoleon heard of it
and, without troubling himself to look at it, forbade it to be
delivered. 'It is well for M. de Chateaubriand,' he said, 'that it was
suppressed. If he had read it before the Institute, I would have flung
him into the bottom of a dungeon, and left him there the rest of his
natural life!'

Napoleon knew the First Republic thoroughly. He had measured all its
men, and all its records were in his hand. He could not get into or out
of his carriage without treading on some incorruptible 'patriot'
prostrate between its wheels with a petition for a préfecture, a title
or a pension. The crimes and follies of the First Republic had made
France and the world sick of its name. Its true story was a tale of
shame and humiliation, not fit to be dragged out into the blaze of the
glory of Imperial France.

The First Republic was the deadly enemy both of liberty and of law. The
conduct of its first envoy to the United States would have justified
Washington in locking him up. When a stop was put to his mischievous
impertinences, he preferred exile in America to the chance of the
guillotine at Paris, and his name died out, I believe, curiously enough,
with one of the chief instruments of the notorious Tweed Ring in New
York.

The first shots fired in anger under the American flag after the peace
of 1783 were fired against cruisers of the French Republic captured in
the West Indies by American men-of-war, to put an end to the ignorant
and insolent attempt of what called itself a government at Paris to
issue letters of marque on American soil against English commerce.

So grateful was France to the Emperor for restoring the reign of law,
that she never troubled herself about liberty, and but for the
indomitable defence of constitutional liberty and national independence
which England maintained, often single-handed, from the rupture of the
peace of Amiens to the victory of Waterloo, the very names of the chief
actors in the odious and ridiculous dramas of the Revolution would have
long since faded, as Napoleon intended they should fade, out of the
memory of the masses of mankind.


VII

How little confidence the Government of the Third Republic really felt
in the efficacy of the 'principles of 1789,' and of the 'Centennial
Exposition,' to save it at the polls in 1889 from the natural
consequences of its intolerance and its corruption, was instructively
shown by the absolute panic into which it was thrown by the election at
Paris of General Boulanger on January 27. Here, at the very threshold of
the great electoral year, rose the spectre of the 'man on horseback'!

Certainly General Boulanger was not Napoleon Bonaparte. The Government,
which had itself put General Boulanger on horseback, knew the strength
and the weakness of the man himself. But it was the legend, not the
man, they dreaded. If the French people, or even if Paris, really
believed in the legend of Boulanger--and this tremendous vote of January
27 looked very much like it--it mattered little what the real value of
the man might be, the legend would make him master of France. That would
mean for the Third Republic the fate of the First Republic and of the
Second, and for the men who had identified it with their own fanaticism
and folly, and greed, and incapacity, a long farewell to all their
greatness!

As for the eventual results, what mattered these to them?

The Universal Exposition might collapse, or it might be opened by
General Boulanger on his black horse, instead of President Carnot in his
landau. What did that signify? But it signified much that the men who
had invented President Carnot were not likely to make part of the
_cortège_ of General Boulanger.

It is no exaggeration to say that from January 27, 1889, the Government
of the Third French Republic was openly and visibly given up by night
and by day to one great purpose alone--and that purpose was, not to
glorify the 'principles of 1789,' not to celebrate the Republic--the
grand statue of the Triumph of the Republic, destined to be set up with
great pomp in the sight of the assembled human race, was actually left
to be cast in plaster of Paris, no functionary caring to waste a sou on
putting it into perennial bronze or enduring marble--no! the great
dominant, unconcealed purpose of all the leaders of the Republic was, in
some way--no matter how, by hook or by crook--to conjure that spectre
of the First Consulate, riding about, awful and imminent, on the black
horse of General Boulanger!

Perhaps the high-water mark of this quite unparalleled and most
instructive panic was the appearance, towards the end of the last
parliamentary session, of M. Jules Ferry, the author of the odious
'Article 7,' the man who after hesitating--to his credit be it
said--originally to propose that ministers of religion should be
absolutely forbidden to teach the children of France in her public
schools, at last succumbed to the vehemence of Paul Bert, the Condorcet
of this modern persecution, and became the acknowledged leader of the
war against Liberty and Religion--in the tribune of the Deputies, there
to urge, and indeed to implore, the Conservative members to make peace
with the persecutors, and save them from the peril of Boulanger!

The scene of that day in the Chamber of Deputies was not one to be
forgotten. The aspect and the accents of the Republican leader were at
times absolutely pathetic with the pathos of unaffected terror. It was
difficult to believe, whilst listening to him, that he could really have
'five millions of professed atheists' at his back, encouraging him to
extirpate Christianity, root and branch, out of the land of France!

Not less striking, in quite another sense, was the grim and stony
silence with which the appeal of the Republican leader was received by
the Right, representing, as the Third Republic has chosen to make the
Right represent, the Religion, and with the Religion the Liberty, of
France.

It reminded me, I am sorry to say, of the way in which a naturally
amiable and considerate householder might be expected to listen to the
arguments of an adroit and accomplished burglar showing cause why he
should be locked into the plate-closet to protect him from the police.

M. Jules Ferry's offer was to suspend the application to certain
religious bodies of the interdict fulminated against them by himself and
the Republican Government. At last he paused, evidently oppressed by the
steady, unresponsive gaze of his hearers.

Then the silence was broken!

'Do you speak for the Government?' called out a fiery deputy of the
Right.

M. Jules Ferry hesitated a moment and then replied, 'No! I speak for
myself; but there are many who think as I do!'

'You!' came back the hot response. 'You! bah!--you are nothing!'

The real response came later, on September 22, when, in his own town of
St.-Dié, the chief of the Opportunists, despite all the efforts of the
prefect of the department and of the local authorities to carry him
through, was beaten by a Monarchist. Obviously M. Ferry had heard how
things looked from his committee at St.-Dié when he made his fruitless
appeal to the Eight in the Chamber!

Finding that nothing was to be expected from any cajolery of the Right,
or any transactions with the outraged and awakened Christianity of
France, the Government at last gave up the control of the impending
elections unreservedly into the hands of M. Constans of Toulouse, of
whom I have already spoken. To him, as Minister of the Interior, all
the machinery of politics was abandoned. Every prefect in France became
an electoral agent to do his bidding.

For the first time too, I believe, even in French administrative
history, all the employees of the post-offices and the telegraph offices
were transferred from the control of the Director of Posts and
Telegraphs to the direct control of the Minister of the Interior.

Under his control they still remain, and it is now proposed to attach
these services permanently to the Ministry which manages the elections.
Can anybody fail to see what this means?

At the suggestion of M. Constans, too, the Government resolved to attack
the spectre. It determined to drive General Boulanger out of France. It
is not easy to feel much sympathy with General Boulanger, who while
Minister of War put into execution against the Comte de Paris and his
family a most iniquitous decree, exiling them--for no other cause than
the fact that they come of the family which made France a nation--from
their country and their homes. But the proceedings which the Government
of President Carnot took against General Boulanger were of such a
character that the Procureur de la République, who was first directed to
carry them out, withdrew from his post. Before they could be consummated
by the arrest of General Boulanger, he suddenly left France. Into the
subsequent action of the Senate, constituted as a 'High Court of
Justice' to try him, I need not here enter.

Suffice it that after a canvass organized in this fashion and in this
spirit, and prosecuted by the Government with remorseless energy, the
elections held on September 22 and October 6 have left the relative
strength of the Government and of the Opposition in the new Chamber
substantially what it was in the Chamber of 1885. This, in the
circumstances, can only be described, in the language of one of the
ablest Republican journalists in Paris, M. Jules Dietz of the _Journal
des Débats_, as 'an escape from a disaster.'

The repulse of the assailants at the Redan did not save Sebastopol for
the Russians. The margin of the proclaimed majorities by which many of
the Government members of the new Chamber were returned, is so very
small as to suggest of itself the pressure, in a very practical and
concrete form, of the hand of authority on the returns at the polls. In
twenty cases these majorities ranged from 6 to 200 votes.

In one case, in the Seine Inférieure, the details of which were given to
me by persons of the highest character, with perfect liberty to use
their names, the Government member was declared by the prefect, after
two adjournments of the counting, to have been returned by a majority of
173 votes on a total poll, which proved upon examination to very
considerably exceed the total number of voters registered in the
district!

But, taking the general return of the votes cast at these elections as
authentic, it is perfectly plain that the Monarchical party in France is
stronger to-day than it was in 1885, and that the Republican party is
weaker in France to-day than it was in 1885.

In 1885 the strength of the two parties stood as follows:--

  Republicans of all shades                   4,377,063
  Conservatives and Monarchists               3,608,578
                                              _________
  Republican majority                           768,485

In 1889 the strength of the two parties stands as follows:--

  Conservative Monarchists                    3,144,978
  Boulangists                                   629,955
                                              _________
                                              3,774,933

  Opportunist Republicans                     2,980,540
  Radicals                                      981,809
  Socialists                                     90,593
                                              _________
                                              4,052,542

  Republican majority                           277,609

Here at once we see a falling off in the Republican majority, between
1885 and 1889, of no less than 490,876 votes. This is certainly
significant enough when we remember that in 1885 the Monarchists did not
everywhere and openly attack the Republic as a form of government, while
in 1889 the issue was admitted on both sides to involve the existence of
the Republic as a form of government.

But this is not all.

When we compare the total of the votes cast in 1885 and 1889, we find a
diminution of no fewer than 788,821 votes. If this proves anything, it
proves that the voters of France care very much less about the stability
of the Republic in 1889 than they did in 1885. And this farther appears
from the further fact that the falling off in the total of votes cast
affected the Republican vote of 1889 much more seriously than it
affected the Monarchical vote. Indeed it did not affect the Monarchical
vote at all. On the contrary, while there was a positive falling off
from the Republican vote of 324,521 between 1885 and 1889, there was a
positive increase of the Monarchical vote, between 1885 and 1889, of
166,355.

How is it possible to weigh the meaning of these figures fairly without
seeing that a form of government which exists in France only in virtue
of a majority which a change of 140,000 votes in a total poll of
7,827,475 would have turned into a minority, can hardly be said to rest
upon as firm a basis, for example, as that of the Third Empire, with its
plebiscitary majority of seven millions in 1870 responding to its
majority of seven millions in 1852?

Take away from the narrow Republican majority of 1889 the public
functionaries, high and low, now counted in France by tens of thousands,
with all who depend upon and are connected with them; give to the ballot
in France the sanctity, freedom, and security which it has in England;
compel the public authorities in France to abstain, as they are
compelled in England to abstain, from direct interference with the
exercise by the voters of the right of suffrage, and the evidence is
overwhelming which goes to show that the Third Republic would be voted
into limbo to-morrow!


VIII

To say this is to say that the Third Republic does not exist in France
by the will of the French people; and this I believe to be absolutely
true. The Third Republic exists by virtue of the control which its
partisans have acquired of the administrative machinery of the
Government, or, in other words, by virtue of political corruption and
intimidation. So great has been the multiplication of functionaries
great and small under the Third Republic, that it is not easy to get at
an accurate estimate of their numbers. The best information I have been
able to obtain leads me to believe that, exclusive of the military and
naval forces, not less than two hundred thousand adult French citizens
now draw their subsistence from the public treasury. This represents a
population of at least a million of souls, so that we have nearly one in
thirty of the inhabitants of France subjected to a direct or indirect
pecuniary pressure from the central authorities at Paris. So openly is
this pressure exerted under the Third Republic, that the Government of
M. Carnot did not hesitate, during the Universal Exposition, and not
long before the Legislative Elections began, to bring up no fewer than
some thirteen thousand of the mayors of France to Paris at the public
expense. There they were entertained--still at the public expense--with
a sumptuous hospitality, which proves that, however orthodox the
Republican Atheism may be of M. Constans, the Minister of the Interior,
he has not yet struck the blessed St. Julian out of his calendar, at
least when he is spending the money of the French taxpayers on his
guests.

If I may believe what I afterwards heard in more than one provincial
town, these worthy mayors (every one of whom, let me observe, exercises
a direct personal and official authority over the elections) carried
back to his astonished and envious fellow-citizens tales of Arabian,
Tunisian, Algerian, and Annamite nights at the Exposition, and on the
Champs-Elysées, to which no pen but that of Diderot or of the younger
Crébillon could do adequate justice. 'I do not believe the Sultan,' said
a clever and amusing lady to me at Toulouse, 'threw open the doors of
Paradise so wide to the German Kaiser, at Constantinople, as did our
more than liberal M. Constans to the married Mayors of France at Paris!'

On the other hand, at Honfleur, in the Calvados, it came to my knowledge
that the local authorities, on the morning of the first Legislative
Elections, brought over from another port on the Norman coast, a number
of sailors, residents of Honfleur, and entitled to vote there, but
absent in the pursuit of their calling. These honest Jack Tars came to
Honfleur by the railway, in a kind of brigade, accompanied by a
Government agent, who marched them up to the polls, and, having seen
their votes safely deposited for the Government candidate, gave each man
his return ticket for the next day, and set them all free to spend the
interval in the bosom of their astonished and, I hope, delighted
families.

From the point of view of the domestic peace of France, this proceeding
was perhaps less reprehensible than the Belshazzar's Feast of M.
Constans and the thirteen thousand mayors. But from the point of view of
the relations between the Third Republic and the deliberate independent
electoral will of France, I think it must be admitted that they are, as
the people say in the Western States of America, 'very much of a
muchness!'

I ought to add that in France the mayors of the chief towns (or
_chefs-lieux_), the arrondissements, and the cantons are nominated by
the Government at Paris. The mayors of the communes which owe their
corporate freedom to the monarchy are elected, but the Third Republic
has taken from them the control of their local taxation for purposes of
the highest local interest. I should say also that all the sailors in
France are obliged to be inscribed upon lists kept and controlled by the
maritime prefects for the Ministry of the Marine, so that their
whereabouts may be known or ascertainable at all times.

Americans who understand the institutions of their own country find the
true measure of the fitness of a people for self-government in their
respect for the authority of a lawful Executive. The fatal mistake has
been made by the Third as it was by the First French Republic of
confounding respect for a lawful Executive with submission to an
Executive controlled by a majority of the Legislature. The fact that the
power of the public purse, in a constitutional government, is
necessarily confided to the Legislature, makes this mistake fatal--fatal
at once to the liberty of the taxpayers who supply the public purse, and
of whom the members of the Legislature are simply the agents and
trustees, and to the efficiency and integrity of the Executive. I see
with much interest, while the sheets of this book are going through the
press in London, that this very grave point emerges from a brief
correspondence published in the English newspapers between the
Chancellor of the British Exchequer, Mr. Goschen, and Lord Lewisham.
Lord Lewisham, acting, it would appear, on behalf of a number of English
Civil Servants, wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer concerning
certain complaints of these servants, embodied in a memorial. In his
reply, the Chancellor of the Exchequer alludes to an intimation which
seems to have been made by the authors of this memorial of their
intention to put a kind of pressure upon the Minister of the Crown
through the House of Commons. Upon this Mr. Goschen observes: 'the
memorialists should be reminded that their reference to an appeal to
their representatives in Parliament, involving, as it would seem, a
personal parliamentary canvass to determine the relations between the
State and its employés, contemplates a course of action not only
injurious to the public interests, but opposed to the best traditions of
the Civil Service.'

What the English Chancellor of the Exchequer here most wisely and
properly condemns as a mischief a-brewing, has become the _jus et norma_
of 'the relations between the State and its employés' in France under
the Third Republic.

The persons charged to execute and enforce the laws in France have come,
under the Third Republic, from the President downwards throughout the
Civil Service, to regard themselves, and to be regarded by the people,
as the mere servants and instruments of the persons deputed by the
people to consider what the laws shall be, and to adjust the public
taxation to the necessities of the public service. The result
necessarily is that the majority of the French Chamber of Deputies under
the Third Republic has visibly become an irresponsible oligarchy of a
kind most dangerous to liberty and the public weal.

By calling themselves, as they do, the 'party of the appeal to the
people,' the French Imperialists show their doubtless well-founded
conviction that the masses of the French people are essentially
monarchical in their ideas as to the best tenure by which the Executive
authority can be held. To believe this, is to believe that the masses of
the French people are essentially lovers of order, not of disorder; that
they instinctively put the executive above the legislative function in
their conceptions of a political hierarchy, and therefore that they are
essentially fitted for self-government. In this I am sure the
Imperialists are right. But, unfortunately for them, the centralised
administrative machinery of government in France by which the French
people are now and have for a century past been prevented from governing
themselves, though not indeed of Imperial origin, was so developed and
perfected by the genius of the first Napoleon as to become identified in
a sense with the Napoleonic dynasty.

It is a great misfortune of the French people that all great changes in
their political system, no matter how promoted or in what spirit, must
be wrought out within the vicious circle of this centralized
administrative machinery. The initiative in liberating France from this
centralized administrative machinery can only come from within the
vicious circle itself. An independent Executive of France made Chief of
the State by the popular will, and protected, as the Executive of Great
Britain is protected, in the interest of liberty and of the people, by
the hereditary principle, might take this initiative and begin the great
work of so distributing throughout France the administrative
responsibilities and powers now concentrated at Paris as to make the
French people for the first time really their own masters.

Certainly no executive holding power by any tenure less independent and
secure can ever effect this. That a real basis exists upon which this
great work might be carried out in the local life, traditions, ideas and
sympathies by which the widely different populations of what used to be
known as the different provinces of the Kingdom of France are united
among themselves and discriminated from one another, many able and
well-informed Frenchmen believe. One of the most hasty and mischievous
things done by the infatuated political tinkers of 1790 was to cut and
carve up France into arbitrary political departments for the express
purpose of disintegrating and destroying those ancient social and
political organisms.

This purpose has not been effectually accomplished. What has been
accomplished is to superpose upon the ancient organic France another
arbitrary and administrative France. This latter arbitrary and
administrative France controlled by a legislative oligarchy, which first
makes and then uses the French Executive for its own purposes, it is
which now calls itself the Third French Republic.

The traits and the tendencies as well as the origin of the Third
Republic can be thoroughly studied at Paris. Without Paris the Third
Republic never could have existed. It exists now in virtue of the
political machinery of which Paris is the centre. That it could not
withstand for a day any severe shock given to that machinery was
confessed, as I have said, by its own government in the abject panic
which followed the victory of General Boulanger at the polls of the
capital on January 27, 1889.

The traits and the tendencies of France, on the contrary, must be
studied in the provinces. There was always more wit than wisdom in the
famous saying of Heine--that to talk about the opinion of the provinces
in France was like talking about the opinion of a man's legs--the head
being the seat of thought, and Paris being the head. But the saying was
uttered during the reign of Louis Philippe, and long before the
establishment of universal suffrage by the Second Empire. With universal
suffrage and with the development during the past twenty years of the
railway and of the telegraphic system throughout France, the importance
of the provinces relatively to Paris has greatly and steadily increased.
While steam and electricity have, of course, increased the strength of
the pressure which an aggressive oligarchy controlling the centralised
administrative machinery of the Government at Paris can put upon the
opinions and the interests of France, they have also, it must be
remembered, increased the power of France to resist and to resent that
pressure. They have established return currents, the force of which
grows visibly greater every year. The great provincial towns and cities
of France, for example, are ceasing to be dependent, as they formerly
were, upon the press of Paris for their news and views of which passes
in the capital.

There are no such journals yet in any of the French provinces as the
powerful newspapers which are to be found throughout the United Kingdom;
but there is a steady and very notable growth in the circulation of the
more important local journals, and the telegraph brings them the news of
the day from Paris long before the Parisian papers can reach their
readers. The development of these influences has been checked, and is
still checked, by the official control at Paris of the telegraphic
system, and it is worth noting here that, just before the legislative
elections, the Minister of the Interior, to whom the control of the post
office and of the telegraphs had been transferred, caused the telephone
offices throughout France to be taken possession of by the officials of
the Government, though the negotiations with the private companies
owning the telephones for the purchase of them were still incomplete,
and though the private owners formally protested against the act.

But though the Government may check and retard, it cannot prevent the
development of these influences. France, such as I have found it, full
of activity, full of energy, leavened with a genuine leaven of religious
faith, irritated by a persistent mockery of the forms of liberty into
prizing and demanding the realities of liberty, must grow steadily
stronger. The Republic condemned to a policy of persecution and of
financial profligacy must grow steadily weaker.

Instead of trying to develop France, or letting France develop herself
into a republic, the partisans of a Republic have invented successive
republics, each more grotesque and uncomfortable than its predecessor,
and insisted on cramming France into them. So far the republics have
gone to pieces and France has survived. So intense is her vitality, so
tough appears to me to be the old traditional fibre in many parts of the
French body politic, that before the great chapter of the _Gesta Dei per
Francos_ can be safely assumed to be finally closed, a good many more
milliards will have to be spent on that State Establishment of
Irreligion and Disestablishment of God which the 'true Republicans' of
the Third Republic call 'laicisation.' Long before those milliards can
be raised and spent, the Third Republic will come to the bottom I
believe, if not of the purse, certainly of the patience, of the French
people.

It is already admitted on all hands that so slight a thing as the
reappearance of General Boulanger at Paris on September 21, 1889, would
have completely reversed the general result of the elections of the next
day. The birthday of the First Republic would have been celebrated by
the funeral of the Third. The failure of General Boulanger then to
reappear may have made an end of General Boulanger, but it certainly did
not establish the Republic.

On the contrary, here as we see is the Minister of the Interior, who
knows the situation better than any of his colleagues, invalidating
election after election in the Chamber of Deputies, and beginning the
work of financial reform by demanding an enormous Secret Service Fund to
protect the Republic against conspirators!

Sooner or later this tragi-comedy must end. It concerns Europe and the
world that it should end sooner rather than later, and that it should
end with a pacific restoration of France to her proper place in the
family of European States. Surely the most imperious necessity of the
immediate future in Europe is a general disarmament. No French Republic
can possibly propose or accept such a disarmament. No French Empire even
could easily propose or accept such a disarmament. For the Republic and
the Empire are jointly though not equally responsible for the
humiliations and the disasters of the great Franco-German War. The
historic French monarchy, restored through a revision of the existing
Constitution by the deliberate will of the French people, might propose
such a disarmament with a moral certainty that it would be accepted.
Would not England necessarily stand by France in such a proposal? And is
it not clear that the refusal of Central Europe to accept such a
disarmament so proposed and supported would make that alliance with the
Russian Empire, which is impossible to a French republic, both easy and
natural with a French monarchy?

I should have visited France to small purpose if I could suppose that
such considerations as this will much affect the masses of the French
people. Their present Minister of Public Instruction, M. Fallières, gave
his measure of their average enlightenment on such points when he
actually called upon the electors of the Lot-et-Garonne in September to
vote against M. Cornelis Henry de Witt because a monarchical restoration
would 'be followed by a revival of the _droits des Seigneurs_, and--by a
Cossack invasion!'

But there are many men in France alive to such considerations as this,
and these men have many ways of reaching and influencing the political
action of the masses of their countrymen.

Such men see the vital relations of the diplomatic position of France to
the grave domestic question of the public expenses. It is difficult to
ascertain the actual cost of the military establishment of France on its
present footing of an armed peace. But French officers of rank assure me
that France is now keeping under arms at least 550,000 men, or more than
one in seven of her adult male population available for national
defence. 'We have more men under arms than Germany,' said a French
general to me at Marseilles, 'which is absurd, because the German army
for fighting purposes, in case of any sudden trouble with us, includes
the armies of Austria, Hungary and Italy--so Germany saves money on her
peace footing which we idly expend on ours.' What this officer did not
say to me has been said by many other well-informed Frenchmen, that the
recent military legislation of the parliamentary majority is
demoralising this great military force and threatens its efficiency. The
prominent position taken in the new Chamber since it assembled by M.
Raynal, a Radical member for the Gironde who held the portfolio of
Public Works under M. Gambetta in 1880 and again under M. Jules Ferry,
is not of good omen for the army. It was M. Raynal who brought about the
fall of General Gresley as Minister of War by an 'interpellation,'
founded on the refusal of the War Minister to remove an officer of the
Territorial Army because he was a monarchist. And now M. Raynal appears
with a project for more effectually establishing the domination of the
parliamentary majority by giving it the right to adjourn once a week for
six successive weeks, all debates on any 'interpellation' to which the
Government may object on 'grounds of public policy!'

While the costly army of France is at the mercy of legislation under
such conditions, the navy of France is managed, as appears from a
drastic report presented some time ago by M. Gerville-Réache, an able
Republican deputy from Guadeloupe, with at least as much regard to
politics as to economy. M. Gerville-Réache showed that contracts were
given out so recklessly that a supply of canned provisions, for example,
had been laid in at Cherbourg sufficient for five years! At other
stations supplies of all kinds were bought at prices ranging far above
the market rates, and circulars were produced in which successive
Ministers of Marine had ordered the commandants at different naval
stations to 'expend every sou in their possession' on no matter what,
'before the expiration of the fiscal year, as any excess remaining in
their hands would not only be lost to the Ministry by being ordered back
into the Treasury, but would allow opportunities for impugning the
forecast and judgment of the ministers!' Under such a system it is not
surprising that Admiral Krantz, one of the best naval administrators
France possesses, should have been forced to withdraw from the Tirard
Government to satisfy a political Under-Secretary, M. Etienne.

Is it possible that in the actual condition of France and of Europe such
a system as this should last?

If France drifts or is driven into a great European war, one of two
things would seem to be inevitable. If the French armies are victorious,
the general who commands them and restores the military prestige of
France will be the master of the government and of the country. If the
French armies are defeated, the Government will disappear in a whirlwind
of national rage and despair. 'In that event,' said a Republican Senator
to me, 'in that event--which I will not contemplate--the princes of the
House of France would be recalled instantly and by acclamation; we
should have nothing left but that or anarchy.'

But putting aside the crisis of a great war, what other alternatives
present themselves as the possible issues in peace of the system now
dominant at Paris?

Of what weight or avail in the policy of the parliamentary oligarchy
which calls itself the Third Republic are the counsels of men like M.
Léon Renault, M. Jules Simon, M. Ribot, M. Léon Say, who have tried in
vain to constitute in France the Conservative Republic of M. Thiers? M.
Léon Say left his seat in the Senate before the recent elections and
presented himself in the Pyrenees as a candidate for the Chamber, with
the well-understood expectation of finding himself eventually put into
the presidency of that body. This was to be a guarantee of the
Conservative Republic!

Who actually fills that most important post?

M. Floquet, who first distinguished himself under the Empire by publicly
insulting the Emperor of Russia in the Palais de Justice during the
visit of that potentate to Paris, and who resigned his seat as a deputy
for the Seine in March 1871 to share 'the perils and sufferings,' as he
put it, of his constituents, the Communards of Paris! For this M.
Floquet was arrested at Biarritz and locked up at Paris till the end of
the year 1871.

How can France hope to find liberty within her own borders, or peace
with honour abroad, under the domination of such men?

On December 19, 1888, during a discussion of the budget of 1890 in the
French Senate, M. Challemel-Lacour, a Republican of the Republicans, who
actually allowed the red flag to be hoisted instead of the tricolour on
the Hôtel de Ville of Lyons while he was prefect of the Rhône, and who
represented the Republic for a time as Ambassador in London, made a
remarkable speech, in which he warned his colleagues of the fate which
they were preparing for the Republic. He is one of the three Senators of
the Bouches-du-Rhône, and one of the four Vice-Presidents of a body now
controlled by the Government, and therefore virtually by the majority of
the Chamber of Deputies. He is more than this. An elaborate speech of
his, delivered in the Assembly on September 4, 1874, in which he denied
the 'right to teach' as threatening the 'moral unity of France,' was
the signal of the deliberate war against all religion afterwards
proclaimed by M. Gambetta, and since prosecuted by M. Jules Ferry. Out
of that speech grew the policy of the Third Republic. Yet what did he
say in 1888? He plainly declared his belief that the policy of the
Government was driving the Republic headlong to its ruin. He spoke as a
Republican, passionately reaffirming his faith in the Republic, and his
desire to see it solidly founded in France. 'I conjure you, therefore,'
he said, 'to take order, that the Republic may once more become the
reign of law; that all may be protected in their persons, in their
property, in their faith, not only against disorder in the streets, but
against moral disorder, moral anarchy, defamation, calumny, against the
fury of an unbridled, uncontrolled, irresponsible press. It is time to
arrest the threatening ruin which must affect the humblest lives, if our
sad fate be to witness the catastrophe of liberty!'

M. Challemel-Lacour is an orator. The Senate was shaken and roused by
his earnest appeal. A motion was made that his speech be ordered to be
printed and posted on the walls of Paris. But the night came, and with
the night the pressure of the powers indicted by the speech, and so no
more was heard of it, and the budget of 1890 was voted by the outgoing
Chamber, and the incoming Chamber has re-established in it a Secret
Service Fund of 1,600,000 francs for the Minister of the Interior--and
the work of 'invalidating' the elections of troublesome deputies goes
merrily on, and in the remote valleys and hills of France poor village
curates are mulcted of half their humble stipends for the offence of
calling upon their parishioners to vote for the candidates who do not
attack their religion.

From this intolerable position there are two obvious ways of escape. One
is the familiar Parisian way of the barricades. That way is not likely
to be tried in the interest of liberty or of law. The other is the way
which France sought to adopt in the recent elections, of a deliberate
Revision of the Constitution, now hopelessly perverted into the
instrument of a parliamentary oligarchy. The actual Government has just
prevented a Revision in the interest of a Republican Dictator, which
after all must have been more or less a leap in the dark out of a
window.

As between the only available window and the only available doorway of a
dwelling in flames, it is intelligible that an emotional inmate, with
the smell of the fire on his garments, should make for the window. But,
the window being barred, what should restrain him from walking
rationally out of the doorway? Any one of a dozen possible emergencies
may compel a Revision of the Constitution--and any Revision of the
Constitution now must mean either a Radical revolution, or a restoration
of the hereditary Executive. Either of these would be a doorway; for
France would know whither either of these must lead. M. Thiers, it is
said by persons who ought to be well informed, might have led France
thus out of a doorway in 1871, and into a restoration of the Monarchy.
M. Thiers was an exceedingly able man, but it is hard to see how he
could then have gone about to achieve this result. France in 1871 was
still a conquered country occupied by the German armies. The Third
Napoleon and his son were both then living. The Comte de Chambord was
then in the strength of his years. The Comte de Paris had not then taken
the steps which he afterwards took with so much wisdom and moral
courage, to make an end of the rupture between Henri V. and the House of
Orléans.

The situation now is materially changed. The Imperialists are divided
between Jerome the father and Victor the son. The Royalists are united.
The France of Henri IV. and of Charles X. is represented to-day by the
grandson of Louis Philippe. The _vox Dei_ and the _vox Populi_ meet in
him as they met in the Prince of Orange when England, forty years after
the criminal catastrophe of 1649, was driven by the flight of James II.
into seating William and Mary, the grandson and the granddaughter of
Charles I., upon the abdicated throne.

How can an independent Executive ever be restored in France excepting in
the person of Philippe VII.? Had the Revolution of 1830 never occurred
he would now by the ancient law of succession be King of France and
Navarre. Had the Revolution of 1848 never occurred he would now be King
of the French under the Charter. If the era of revolutions is ever to be
closed in France, must it not be by an Executive who shall be at once
King of France and King of the French--King of France, as representing
the historic growth into greatness and unity of the French nation; King
of the French, as representing the personal liberties and the private
rights of every citizen of the French commonwealth?


       *       *       *       *       *


FRANCE AND THE REPUBLIC



CHAPTER I

IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS


  CALAIS

The men who, in 1790, brought about the formal division of France into
departments, no doubt thereby facilitated the ephemeral transformation,
in September 1792, of the ancient French monarchy into a French
republic, 'one and indivisible.' But they also put their improvised
republic thereby at the mercy of the marvellous Italian who blew its
flimsy framework into shreds with his cannon in October 1795.

In working out what George Sand calls 'the great practical joke' of the
First Consulate, and the formidable reality of the Empire, Napoleon
found, ready-fashioned to his hand and undamaged by the republican
tinkers, a system of administration essentially despotic. This system
did for him what Charlemagne did for himself when he got rid of the
tribal dukes of the Merovingian epoch, and, as Gneist and Sir Robert
Morier have shown, gathered into his own control the four unities which
make up the unity of the State--the military, the police, the judiciary,
and the finances. The counts of Charlemagne, removable at his pleasure,
with no root in their _comitatus_ save his sovereign will, were the true
prototypes of the modern French prefect. If the old provinces of
France, which had a local life, organisation, and spirit of their own,
had been taken as the units of government in 1790, the monarchy perhaps
might hardly have been abolished in 1792 by a Convention so headlong and
tumultuous that for one day it actually forgot, after abolishing the
monarchy, to establish any government in its place.

But if a republic had been founded through the action of the provinces
of France, it would probably have been harder for Napoleon to make an
end of it, than it was for Charlemagne to dispense with the recognition
of local rights to which the Merovingian kings had submitted in the
appointment of their hereditary _subreguli_, from among the local
magnates of the shires. This, it seems to me, may be inferred from the
fact, admitted on all hands in France, that the departments remain
to-day what they were at first--mere administrative divisions which have
taken no hold on the feelings and sympathies of the people, while the
'local patriotism' of the provinces is still a vivid reality.

Frenchmen are still Gascons and Provençals, Bretons and Normans,
Burgundians and Picards, and no country in the world is richer than
France in local histories and chronicles. But so late as 1877 the local
history of the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, in which I am now
writing, could be described as 'unique in France,' and this local
history is really a history, not of the department at all, but of the
two important and interesting provinces of which it consists--Artois,
namely, and the Boulonnais--each of which still preserves, after nearly
a century, its own distinctive character in the physiognomy of the
people, in their habits, their turn of mind, and their traditions. The
attempt to fuse them into a new political entity has completely failed.
No more has, apparently, come of it, locally, than would have come of
an attempt to fuse Massachusetts and Rhode Island into a Department of
Martha's Vineyard, or Kent and Sussex into a Department of New Haven.
Possibly even less. For Artois and the Boulonnais never passed
definitely under the French crown until the middle of the seventeenth
century. Even Calais, after the Duke of Guise had wrested it from
England, was conquered for Spain by the Archduke Albert, and a smiling
little agricultural commune alone now commemorates, in its name of
Thérouanne, the once great and flourishing episcopal capital of Morinia
in which Clodion began the French monarchy, and which was mercilessly
razed to the ground and abolished from off the face of the earth, little
more than three hundred years ago, by the victorious emperor Charles the
Fifth.

Of this artificial department Calais is neither the chief town nor
capital. It has scarcely a third of the population of Boulogne, and not
much more than half the population of Arras, which is the seat of the
préfecture; and though it is by no means so dreary and uninteresting a
place as the casual traveller, seeing only the landing-pier, and the new
station, which bears the name of the heroic Eustache de St.-Pierre, is
apt to take it to be, it cannot compare, in point of beauty and
interest, either with Boulogne or with Arras. But as the French head of
the great historic ferry between England and the Continent, and as the
seat of sundry thriving factories, it is both a busy and prosperous
town. I found its streets swarming with people and its houses a flutter
of flags and banners, when I came to it on June 3, 1889, to see the
'inauguration,' by President Carnot, of the works on which the French
Government has been spending millions of francs during the past decade,
with an eye to deepening and enlarging the harbour. The weather was
magnificent. Several men-of-war of the Channel squadron lay off the
port. Excursion steamers came in from England, bringing members of
Parliament and miscellaneous British subjects, of the sort once
indignantly denounced to me by the little old verger of a Midland
cathedral as 'them terrible trippers.' The active and good-natured
railway porters at the station were worn out with throngs of travellers
pouring in from all the country round about. There was much animation
everywhere, but nowhere any enthusiasm, though Calais, I suppose, must
be a republican town, as at the election of a deputy, held here in 1886,
the Government candidate, M. Camescasse, received 5,196 votes against
2,233 given to his Conservative opponent, M. Labitte. I am told, too,
there is a good deal of Socialism among the factory workmen; and I can
see that the place is full of _cabarets_ and _débits_, flowing not only
with light beer and sour wine, but with spirits of a sort to make the
consumers more clamorous about the rights than solicitous about the
duties of man.

I heard, in the course of the day, that at some points in his progress,
the President was received with cries of 'Vive Boulanger!' but nothing
of this sort passed under my own observation. What most struck me was
that his presence appeared to be not an event at all, but merely an
incident of a general holiday. Nor did the people seem to care much
about the real event of the day, the 'inauguration' of the perfected
port. Perhaps they knew that the port is not yet perfected. Those of
them who went down to the pier at least knew, this--for a steamer of no
very great size, the St.-André, I believe, trying to come in, grounded
on the sand, and lay there thumping herself heavily for I know not how
long. I heard this mishap described with much glee by a group of
Boulonnais in the main street. 'Ah bah!' said one of them exultingly,
'they may spend what they like, Calais will never be Boulogne!'

I breakfasted with a friend who lives much on a property he has in
Picardy, and who came down to Calais to meet me. When I first knew him,
years ago, he was a republican of the type of Cavaignac and a bitter
enemy of the Empire, some of his kinsfolk in the Gironde having been
ill-treated during the persecution which raged against the republicans
and the royalists alike, in and around Bordeaux, after the _coup d'état_
of the Prince President. Of later years he has been growing indifferent
to public affairs, and is now, I think, simply a pessimist, whom nothing
but a foreign invasion of France is likely to rouse into activity again.

'What is the matter with the people here?' I asked him. 'Are they
Boulangists, or do they simply dislike Carnot?'

'No!' he replied, 'I don't think they care much about Boulanger, and why
should they dislike Carnot? There is nothing in him to like or to
dislike. He is not a personality. He is only a functionary, and
Frenchmen care nothing about functionaries. They know that this is an
electoral job, and they care nothing about it, one way or the other.'

'But I saw an inscription on a banner in one of the streets,' I said,
'to this effect: "Calais always faithful to the Carnots!" Does that mean
that the Carnots are of this country?'

'Not at all! The grandfather of Carnot was born in Burgundy somewhere.
He married a young lady of St.-Omer, and in that way came to be sent by
the Pas-de-Calais to the "Legislative" and the Convention. The
inscription is amusing though,' he added, 'for, like these other
inscriptions reciting the names of Lazare Carnot, and Hippolyte Carnot,
and Sadi Carnot, it shows how hard some people are trying to work the
President up into a personality. They want to make him out the heir of a
dynasty--Carnot III.!'

'That is not a very republican way of looking at a President,' I
observed.

'Possibly not, but it is a very French way of looking at one! We should
be the most monarchical people in Europe if we were not the most
anarchical. Give a public man a legend and a grandfather, and he can go
a long way with us. I don't know that the grandfather will do without
the legend, even when, as in this case, the grandfather has a legend of
his own.'

'Is that legend of grandfather Carnot very strong in this region?' I
asked.

'Neither in this region nor anywhere else,' he replied. 'I think it is
very foolish of the managers in Paris to provoke comparisons by sending
a political bagman to Germany to bring back the ashes of Papa Victory,
as the Prince de Joinville brought back the dead Emperor from St.
Helena. Carnot I., after all, was simply a good war minister, who loomed
into greatness only in comparison with the rogue Pache and the
phenomenal booby Bouchotte who preceded him. He was certainly no better
than his successor Pétiet, and it was Pétiet, not he, who finally
"organised victory" by sending Moreau to the Rhine, and Bonaparte to
Italy. Napoleon, who knew them both, made Pétiet governor of Lombardy,
and chose him, not Carnot, to organise the great camp at Boulogne. When
Pétiet died, not long after Austerlitz, Napoleon gave him a much grander
funeral in the Pantheon than can be got up now for the grandfather of
Carnot. Most people have forgotten Pétiet, and it is a blunder to remind
them of him. But this is a government of blunderers. See what trouble
the Ferrys and the Freycinets are taking to unmake the legend
Clémenceau made for Boulanger! Do what they may, that black horse is
worth more to Boulanger to-day than Carnot's grandfather ever will be to
Carnot III.'

'But has Carnot III. no value of his own? Has he not shown more firmness
than people expected of him when this Boulangist business began?'

'Carnot III. is simply the firm-name of Ferry and De Freycinet. I am not
fond of the scurrilities of Rochefort, as you know, but he sometimes
hits the nail on the head very hard, as he did when, on the day after
that comedy of the presidential election, he said "the fact that a man,
if you ask him to dinner, will not put your spoons into his pocket is
not a sufficient reason for making him president of a republic." Only,'
he added reflectively, 'that was not quite their reason for making him
president. It was that they thought he would let other people pocket the
spoons.'

This reminded me of what used to be said of Secretary Seward by his
enemies, that he was 'honest enough himself, but cared nothing about
honesty in other people.'

'I don't mean that exactly,' said my friend. 'What I mean is, that
Carnot III. is not clever enough to know whether the people around him
are or are not honest. His grandfather was. Carnot I. would have cut a
great figure in our present Senate, and in the party of the "sick at
heart"--the respectable gentlemen, I mean, who are always consenting,
under the stress of some "reason of State," to vote for one or another
piece of rascality, though it makes them "sick at heart" to do so.
Carnot I. voted in this way for the murder of Louis XVI., and he takes
pains to tell us that all his colleagues in the Convention who voted for
it did so in dread of the mob in the galleries. Just in the same way he
was sharp enough to join Napoleon during the Hundred Days, because he
saw that his best chance of saving his own head and staying in France
was to keep out the Bourbons. This Carnot III. is, I dare say, more
honest and less calculating--for he is certainly more dull--than his
grandfather. Perhaps he may turn out to be the Louis XVI. of the
Republic.'

How much has actually been spent on the works here to make Calais a
great seaport, it is not easy to ascertain; but the lowest estimates
stated to me seem to be quite out of proportion with the results
actually achieved.

My conversation on this point with my friend from Picardy is worth
recording.

'Ten years ago,' he said, 'the amount to be spent on Calais was set down
at eleven millions of francs. I feel quite sure that at least twice this
sum has been actually spent here since the work began in 1881.'

'Why do you feel sure of this?'

'Because twice the first estimate has been avowedly spent everywhere in
France on the whole scheme. Calais alone figures this year in the budget
for sixteen millions and a half! You were in France, were you not, in
1880, and you must surely remember the songs that used to be sung in the
streets:--

  "C'est Léon Say, c'est Freycinet,
  C'est Freycinet, c'est Léon Say."

'These two men, both of them men of business, both financiers (though
the "white mouse"[1] is a bit of a visionary) and both men of ability,
deliberately adopted, in 1879, after a single conversation with
Gambetta, a scheme improvised by him, who was neither a man of business
nor a financier, but a declamatory Bohemian, for keeping up the war
expenditure by committing France to the creation of a complete
"commercial outfit."

    [1] This is the popular nickname of M. de Freycinet.

'The Republicans won the elections in 1877 by frightening France into a
belief that a Conservative victory at the polls would be followed by a
new German invasion. I am not sure, mind you, that this was an idle
scare. For under the Conservative administration of our affairs we had
cleared off in six years' time the frightful burdens imposed upon us by
the war, by the senseless Parisian revolution of 1870, and by the
Communist insurrection of 1871; and it is likely enough that Bismarck
may have made up his mind to attack us if he saw us persist in a sane
and sensible public policy. Be that as it may, Gambetta, Léon Say, and
Freycinet, between them, did his work for him by plunging the country
back into the financial morass from which the Conservatives had rescued
it. They carried the new chamber with them into Gambetta's scheme for
doing systematically and successfully what had been clumsily attempted
in the Ateliers Nationaux of 1848. France was to be made a republic by
spending nearly the amount of the German War indemnity on the
construction of railways, canals, and ports all over the country. The
sum stated in the outset was four thousand five hundred millions of
francs--rather a pretty penny you must see!'

'I remember it,' I replied, 'and I remember thinking, when the scheme
was first developed, that the adoption of it was a wonderful evidence of
the financial vigour and vitality of France.'

'Thank you,' he replied rather bitterly. 'It was just such a proof of
vigour and vitality that Dr. Sangrado used to get from his patients with
his lancet. It was a great political manoeuvre, no doubt, and it
commended itself to all the hungry politicians in France so promptly
and so warmly, that within three years' time, in 1882, M. Tirard, who
was then Finance Minister, and who is now on the box of the Carnot
coach, had to admit that the expenditure then contemplated in carrying
out this great idea could not possibly fall short of nine thousand one
hundred and fifty millions of francs! This, observe, was seven years
ago. To-day it has swelled, at the least, into eleven and perhaps to
twelve thousand millions of francs. Why not? Gambetta, Léon Say, and
Freycinet proclaimed the millennium of civil engineers and local
candidates. What becomes of equality and fraternity if the smallest
hamlet in the recesses of the Jura is not as much entitled to a local
railway at the public expense as the largest port on the Bay of Biscay?
Once let it be understood that the Government means to spend ten
thousand millions on public works, and all the voters are ready to
believe the Government has found the philosopher's stone. Nobody but the
tax-gatherer will ever make them understand where the money comes from.
And between the tax-gatherer and the taxpayer, a truly clever finance
minister can always interpose successfully, for a certain length of
time, the anodyne banker with a new form of public loan! We are the
sharpest and thriftiest people alive in private affairs, and in public
matters the most absolute fly-gobblers in the whole world!'

I tried to console my friend by informing him that this particular kind
of political financiering is not unknown in my own country. The scheme
of Gambetta appears to me to be simply a development, on a grand scale,
of the 'log-rolling principle,' on which, year after year, a measure
known as the 'Rivers and Harbours Bill' is engineered, with more or less
friction, through the Congress of the United States. It is regularly
and diplomatically fought over between the two houses until an agreement
about it is come to between the opposing forces, described by a recent
American writer as 'the plutocracy at one end and the mobocracy at the
other end' of our national legislature. In short, it has now become an
'institution,' and like other institutions it has its legendary hero, in
a western legislator who is reputed to have re-elected himself for a
number of years by 'putting through' successive appropriations for the
'improvement' of a stream which rose in an inaccessible mountain and
emptied itself into an unfathomable swamp.

'That is very well,' said my friend gravely, 'very well indeed, but you
have to do this thing every year, while Gambetta and Léon Say and De
Freycinet committed France to it once for all and irremediably. And on
what scale do you do this sort of thing?'

I was forced to own that, upon this point, Washington so far lags
shamefully in the rear of Paris. Our grandest 'log-rolling' in finance
is, to the colossal operations of Gambetta, Léon Say, and De Freycinet,
as is the ordinary iron lamp-post of New York to the Eiffel Tower.

The 'Rivers and Harbours Bill,' in 1886, was only saved after a
desperate struggle at the very end of the session, by a compromise over
an 'ancient and fish-like' canal job in the North-West, the original
promoter of which, long since passed beyond the hope, if not beyond the
desire of hydraulic improvements, audaciously baptized it with the name
of Father Hennepin, one of the glories of France in the New World. And
yet the amount involved in the Bill did not exceed fourteen million
dollars, or a beggarly seventy million francs.

'At that rate,' said my friend, 'it would take your great country more
than a century to match what we have covered in ten years. And yet you
are thought an enterprising people, and, what is more to the point, your
treasury shows an annual surplus, while ours shows an annual deficit;
and you have nearly twice our population, have you not, and more than
ten times our area of territory?

'If I were to "improve" the roads and ponds on my property on the
principle on which France has been "improving" her railway systems and
her ports, I should bring up in bankruptcy. Where else can the country
bring up? Nothing, so far, has saved us but the woollen stocking of the
peasants. Come to my place in Picardy, and I will show you a dozen
old fellows who go about dressed in blouses--who work like
day-labourers--no! much better and harder than day-labourers now do.
They will never tell you what they are thinking about; they will never
tell me, though we are the best of friends; but you will see what they
are--close at a bargain, shrewd, devoted to their farms and families.
Well, they live on a third--yes, some of them on a quarter--of their
incomes; they know just where every penny they have spent on the ground
for twenty years has gone, and just what it has brought back to them,
and every man of them can put his hand, if need be, on ten, twenty,
thirty, forty thousand francs. That is the woollen stocking. But the
most beautiful woman in the world can only give what she has. The
woollen stocking holds no more than it holds. You can find the bottom of
it if you keep on long enough--and then? And mark you, if I tell the
shrewdest of these old fellows that the Government is spending ten
thousand millions of francs on building railways from nowhere to
nowhere, and digging ports in quicksands, what will he do? He will begin
to think it is very hard that he can't get a railway built or a port
dug. Do you wonder I am a pessimist?'

'But if this is the way in which they look at things, why do they
clamour for Boulanger?'

'They don't clamour for Boulanger. That is to say the peasants, the
rural people. It is in the towns--here in Calais, for example, at
Boulogne, at Amiens--that they clamour for Boulanger. In the towns they
read all manner of trash and listen to all manner of lies. You can get
up a legend in the French towns for anybody or anything as easily to-day
as in the middle ages--perhaps more easily. Look at this legend of
Boulanger. It is a real legend to-day. You may be sure of that, and that
is the real danger of it. The people who are fighting against it to-day
are the people who made it. They wanted, they could not get on without,
a great man. Ferry went to pieces, as you know, in 1885. Tonkin and the
dead Courbet killed him. So they invented Boulanger. They made him War
Minister. They put him on his black horse. They let him drive out the
princes. Look at those five men seated there in front of that café. They
are doubtless decent well-to-do shopkeepers, master mechanics--no matter
what--I will wager you that of these five men, three believe Boulanger
to be the first soldier of France, and that two of them believe the
Government has driven him into exile to prevent the Germans from
declaring war! That is enough to make them Boulangists.'

'Then they want war with Germany?'

'Yes, in this part of France I think they do. But the legend is just as
effective where they do not want war with Germany. Last year I was in
the country of Grévy, not far from Mont-sous-Vaudrey. There the peasants
dread nothing so much as another war. They want peace there at any
price. Well, then, a very shrewd old farmer told me he wanted to see
Boulanger made Chief of the State. Why? Why because, as he said,
Boulanger is the first general in Europe, and the Germans know it, and
they go in fear of him; so that if Boulanger is made Chief of the State,
they will think twice before they attack us! What do you say to that?'

'Is it not extraordinary,' I replied, 'that this legend, as you truly
call it, should have been created so easily about a general who has no
battle to show for it; not even a Montenotte, much less an Arcola or a
Lodi?'

'What legend had Bonaparte when Barras put him at the head of the home
army, and Pétiet sent him to Italy? He did not command at Toulon, and
his one victory had been to blow the marshalled blackguards and lunatics
of Paris into the Seine, as Mandat might and would have done on that
dismal August 10, but for that hypocritical scoundrel Pétion. And didn't
the authorities arrest Bonaparte after Toulon; and was he not struck
from the active roll of general officers in France for refusing a
command in La Vendée? So far as the army goes, there is better stuff for
a legend to-day in Boulanger than there was in Bonaparte when he went to
Italy.

'But observe that the Government made a legend of Boulanger, not for
military but for political purposes. They were shut down to him. If they
could have used M. de Lesseps, and if the Panama Canal had been a
success, Lesseps would have served their purpose better than Boulanger.
Without a "great Frenchman," I tell you the republic is impossible. Are
they not trying to make a "great Frenchman" now of Carnot? If this could
be done, if it were possible to make a "great Frenchman" of Carnot, I
should not object. But it is absurd. And so for me, whatever the
electors may do in September, the republic is hopeless. They made
Boulanger to save it; now they are trying to unmake Boulanger to save
it. It is childish, it is silly, it will not do! If they succeed in
unmaking their legend of Boulanger, where are they? Not even where they
were when they began to make it. On the contrary! They have made it
perfectly plain that the republic is a parachute which falls without a
balloon. Where are they to find the balloon? The Exposition has given
the parachute a lift. The visit of the Prince of Wales gave it a lift.
The Shah, if he comes, will give it a lift--not much--but a lift. But
all these are expedients of a moment. All these will not give the
republic a "great Frenchman."'

'All this,' I said, 'seems to bring us back to what you said this
morning, that if you were not the most anarchical you would be the most
monarchical people in Europe.'

'Precisely! and it is the plain truth. The republic was possible with
MacMahon, for after all he was a personality. It was possible with
Thiers, for though he was a little rascal and the greatest literary liar
of the century except Victor Hugo, he was a personality, and a very
positive personality. It might have been possible with Gambetta, for he
too was a personality, odious and flatulent if you like, but still a
personality. It was not possible with Grévy. It is not possible with
Carnot.

'Let the elections go as they may, you will see that I am right. I wash
my hands of it all. But when I think of it I see on the wall _Finis
Galliæ_! For while I despair of the republic, I have no hope of a
monarchy. Nothing but a personality can carry on the republic--and
nothing but a personality can restore the monarchy.

'The friends of the poor little Prince Imperial understood this when
they consented to let him go off to South Africa. If he had been in the
hands of an English general of common sense, or of an English captain of
common courage, he would no doubt have come back safe and sound. And in
that case the odds are that we should be living to-day under the Third
Empire instead of the Third Republic.

'As it is, the Empire, between the significance of Plon-Plon, and the
insignificance of Prince Victor, is like the Republic between Ferry, the
Tonkinese, and Carnot, who ought to spell his name _Carton_!'

'But how is it with the royalists?'

'Ah! their only "personality" known to the people--and that is the value
of a personality in France--is the Duc d'Aumale--and who knows whether
the Duc d'Aumale is a royalist? I have no doubt--absolutely no doubt,'
he said with some emphasis, 'that Say and De Freycinet to-morrow would
gladly join forces with the Conservatives to make the Duc d'Aumale
president if the Conservatives would agree to it, and if the Duc would
accept the place; for that would give the Republic a new lease of life
in the first place, and in the second place it would utterly
disintegrate the royalists, both white and blue. If the Duc is not a
"great Frenchman" in the electoral sense of the phrase, he is the most
creditably conspicuous of living Frenchmen, which is something.'

'More so than his nephew the Comte de Paris?'

'Yes, certainly, in the popular mind. Personally, I do not think he
would make either so good a president of a republic, or so good a king
as the Comte de Paris, whose manifesto I think shows him to be a man of
clear and sound constitutional ideas, but the French people do not know
him. It was a blunder, by the way, in my opinion,' he added after a
moment, 'of Boulanger to expel the Comte de Paris. His exile and his
action in exile have made him better known in France than he would have
been, had he been left to live quietly at Eu and in Paris. Furthermore,
what sort of a republic is it in which a family of princes cannot live
without tempting the whole population to make one of them king? The
expulsion of the princes belongs to the same category of political
idiocies with the _pacte de famine_. Either the Republic is a reality
accepted by the French people, or it is a sham imposed upon them by a
party. If it is a reality, the princes are simply French citizens, as
much entitled to live in France under the protection of the laws as if
they were peasants. From this there is no escape logically or morally,
and the men who voted for such an edict are neither good Republicans nor
good Frenchmen. From the moment it was enacted and executed, the
Republic ceased to be a national government. It was a _coup d'état_ and
not a legal act, and every legislator who voted for it committed perjury
at least as distinctly as the author of the _coup d'état_ of 1851. Could
such a law possibly have been passed in your republic?'

'Certainly not,' I said. 'In fact, the people of many American States
are free to treat with all possible public and private distinction a
personage who not only was elected to a position which may be called
princely, but who actually exercised for several years a greater
authority over millions of American citizens than has belonged to any
French king since Louis XVI., and, exercising it, waged war against the
United States. But was there no pretence of constitutional authority for
the passage of this law which you so strongly denounce?'

'Certainly not. There was no shadow of a legal pretext for passing it.
It is, I think, the worst and also the silliest instance in our recent
history of an appeal to that argument of rogues and tyrants called
_salus populi_, as to which I am of the opinion of Louis Blanc, that the
"safety" of no nation under heaven "is worth the sacrifice of a single
principle of common justice."

'It was a blow struck in broad daylight at the personal rights of every
French citizen; just as the removal of the princes from the army was a
blow struck in broad daylight at the property rights of every French
officer. That it was possible for a Government to strike these blows in
cold blood, with no popular excitement instigating them, and with no
public resentment following them, should show you, I think, how absurd
it is to talk of the French people as a republican people. Any
Government in power at Paris may be as arbitrary as it likes, but it
must not be stupid. The expulsion of the princes was a crime against
liberty; it was as arbitrary an act as the issue of a _lettre de
cachet_. But it was also very stupid. It was stupid of the Government
because it put them for a time under the thumb of Boulanger. It was
stupid of Boulanger, because it put the Comte de Paris at once on a
pedestal and forced him before France and Europe into the position of a
saviour of society, for whom all the conservative forces of French
society must henceforth inevitably work. Whatever becomes of Boulanger
in the next elections, he has condemned the Opportunists irretrievably
either to hew wood for the Socialists or to carry water for the
Monarchists. And with them he has condemned himself. Wait and see if I
am not right.

'Come and see me in Picardy. You will find more royalist farmers than I
could have believed possible six years ago. If the Comte de Chambord had
not kept the Legitimist country gentlemen so much apart as a caste from
the peasants, there would be nothing easier than to sweep the country
with a monarchist propaganda. It was the royalist peasantry who brought
about the great emigration in 1789, long before the Terror, by burning
and pillaging the châteaux all over France under orders from Paris,
which they believed to be orders from the king. What puzzles them now is
the notion lurking down in the bottom of their minds that the
restoration of the monarchy will somehow put the country gentlemen over
them, and this has much to do with making them, not republicans, but
imperialists. As to the republic the overthrow of Grévy had a very bad
effect upon the peasants and the farmers in my part of the country, and
I believe it had everywhere.'

'Was M. Grévy, then, popular with them?'

'No, it was not that at all. It was the feeling that the Republic meant
changes and uncertainty. A farmer--a fair specimen of this class in my
country--expressed this to me in his own fashion only the other day. I
asked him if he was coming to see the President here at Calais. "What is
the use of that?" he said, "it is money out of pocket, and for what? Who
knows how long he will be President? There was Grévy. Here is Boulanger.
All that can do no good. With these short leases what can be done for
the land?" There you have it. In Picardy and in Artois the people have
long memories about the land. All these countries, as you know, were
fought over again and again. There were so many wars that people got out
of the way of making long leases, and the land suffered accordingly. In
the last century these provinces, now so well and so richly cultivated,
were in a very bad way through this. With leases of three, six, nine
years, the farmers naturally took as few risks as possible in the way of
improving the land. They were always making up the waste caused by the
previous tenant, or shy of investing for the benefit of the next tenant.
Towards the end of the century, and before the Revolution, small
holdings began to increase, and the English fashion of long leases came
in, and the agriculture improved accordingly. So you see why our farmers
tend to monarchy from the point of view of long leases and land
ownership, just as these sailors and fishermen here in the Boulonnais
tend to it from the point of view of seamanship. You will make
republicans of them when you get them to let the forecastle elect the
cook captain. That will not be to-morrow nor, I think, next week.'

I left Calais late at night for Boulogne, my friend going into Picardy,
where I promised to join him later on. There was an immense crowd at the
station, and I could not help admiring the good nature and cheery
civility of the porters. The sub-officials in silver lace were not so
admirable, but then they were only strutting about and objecting to
things. The honest fellows who were getting twice as many passengers
into a train as the train could possibly take, and helping bewildered
provincials to find out where they really wanted to go, were, I thought,
miraculously amiable and intelligent.

At the last moment, just as we were moving off, a lively Parisian
journalist tumbled into our compartment with his despatch-box and his
portmanteau. He was in the full evening dress in which he had been
parading about all day with the Presidential party; his white cravat was
loose and awry, and the grey dust of the Calais streets and piers lay
thick upon his glossy bottines; but he was in the best of spirits, for
he had caught the train and would now reach Paris in the morning.

'But the President is going on to Boulogne, is he not?' I asked.

'Oh, yes! but what of that? It will be just what it was to-day, and I
know what he is going to say. He will leave Boulogne early in the
afternoon, and we shall have it all, an excellent account. It's not
worth while to waste the time on Boulogne.'

He had been with the President ever since the party left Paris, and
thought the progression the whole, a success. 'Not at Calais,' that he
admitted. There had certainly been no great enthusiasm at Calais. He did
not think there had been any cries for Boulanger, but there was no
emotion. This he explained by telling me that the people had not been
properly '_stylé_.' 'In these cases, you know,' he said with the air of
a connoisseur in enthusiasm, 'you must have a certain subtle _stylage_.'

The word was new to me, but not so the thing. For I presently found that
by a 'subtle _stylage_' of the people, my companion only meant what in
America is known as 'working up a boom,' when the welfare of the Union
requires that a President, or a presidential candidate, should
perambulate a certain number of 'doubtful' States, or, in the
picturesque language of the days of Andrew Johnson, go 'swinging round
the circle.' If I am not misinformed, an analogous operation is
occasionally performed in England, when some popular idol finds it worth
his while to make an unpremeditated political tour.

'The thing was better done at Lens,' said my fellow-traveller. 'Do you
know Lens? They are all miners there, you know--very curious people. I
suppose they were glad to come up from under the ground and look at us.
Some of the women, too, were pretty--really very pretty. It was all very
well arranged. There is a good manager there, M.----. He made way, you
know, in 1886, for Camescasse, to oblige the Government. The President
gave him the Cross. It had a very good effect. At Bapaume, too, the
President did a good thing. He decorated ---- there, who had so much
trouble with the Christian Brothers.'

'For having trouble with the Christian Brothers?' I could not help
asking.

'No! but the courts decided against him, and that was a misfortune. The
President put it right by decorating him, for it is evident that he
meant to do his duty, and a Government must stand by its friends. Do you
know Bapaume? It is a pretty place--all factories. It was there, you
know, that Faidherbe beat the Germans. A very pretty place.'



CHAPTER II

IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS--_continued_


  BOULOGNE

Boulogne now, as in the days of Arthur Young, is surrounded with bright
and pleasant villas and country houses, though many of the châteaux
which Young was so much surprised to find inhabited by country gentlemen
attending to their duties and living on their estates have disappeared.

It is not only a larger and a more lively place than Calais; it is a
more picturesque and a more interesting place. The old walls and
ramparts of the upper town make such a striking contrast with the modern
streets and squares of the lower town as reminds one vaguely of Quebec,
the Channel coming into the landscape like the St. Lawrence. As at
Quebec, too, the two civilisations of France and of England meet without
mingling; and at Boulogne, as at Quebec, the French type, if not the
stronger of the two, certainly proves itself to be the subtler, and
decides the local physiognomy.

I spent an hour at Boulogne, with a friend who now fills an important
ecclesiastical position in one of the provinces of Central France, and
who was passing a few weeks on the Channel for his health. He is one of
the few French churchmen I personally know who heartily agree with
Cardinal Manning in thinking that the abolition of the Concordat would
greatly strengthen the Church in France, even if it involved a further
serious sacrifice of the proprietary rights of the clergy. 'The way in
which the people have come forward to the support of the congreganist
schools against, the oppressive measures adopted in the law of 1886,' he
said, 'confirms my old conviction, that a complete separation of the
Church from the State in France, whatever its effect might be upon the
State, would strengthen the Church.'

He cited a number of instances within his own knowledge in which rival
communes had established, and were carrying on, at the direct expense of
the local farmers and residents, free or congreganist schools, while, of
course, at the same time they were paying taxes for the lay public
schools to which they would not send their children. 'And this in
spite,' he said, 'of the ingenious devices with which the law of 1886
bristles for making the establishment of free and Christian schools
difficult and expensive. For example, to begin with, the legislature
actually tried to prevent us from calling our schools free schools,
though as schools supported by the free subscriptions of the people they
were distinctly "free" schools, as distinguished from the schools
established by the law at the expense of the taxpayers. We were gravely
informed that it was an act of war to call a free school free! In this
same petty and childish spirit the congregations are called
"associations" in the text of the law. When a free school is to be
opened, the teacher who is to have charge of it must run the gauntlet of
a series of public officers, all of them, if they are on good terms with
the Government, presumably hostile to him as a Christian. He begins with
the mayor of the Commune, who may object to his opening the school in
the place he has chosen, on grounds of "good morals or of hygiene."
Then he must go through with the Prefect of the Department, the Academic
Inspector, and the Procureur of the Republic.'

'That is to say,' I asked, 'the law officer of the department? Why
should he be brought into the business?'

'Why, indeed,' replied my friend. 'You must ask M. Ferry or M.
Clémenceau. He can stir up the Academic Inspector to make some objection
to the opening of the free school, if the Academic Inspector does not
find and make an objection himself. If no objections are made within a
month the school may be opened. If objections are made they must be made
before the Council of the Department within a month. If the Council
support the objections, the teacher must appeal from the decision to the
Academic Inspector within ten days, and the Inspector must submit this
appeal to the Superior Council of Public Instruction at the next ensuing
session of that body. Now the Superior Council only meets twice a year,
and as the appeal, according to the law, is only required to be heard
"with the least possible delay," you will see that nothing can be easier
than for the Academic Inspector and the Procureur between them to keep a
decision in the air for months, or for a year, or even longer, and
pending the appeal the school cannot be opened.

'As for the departmental councils, which are first to consider the
objections made to the opening of the school, they no longer include, as
they did under the Empire, representatives of the Catholic clergy, the
Protestant sects, and the Israelites. All of these are struck out of the
councils by this law of 1886, though fully ninety-nine hundredths of all
the taxes paid to support the machinery, not only of public education
but of the State, are paid by the Catholics, Protestants, and
Israelites. Nor are the councils any longer allowed to elect their own
vice-presidents. The prefect, a government _employé_, presides over the
councils. The Academic Inspector, another government _employé_, is
officially the president; four councillors-general, elected by the whole
body of the council-general of the department, sit on the Departments of
Primary Instruction Council, as do also the director or directors of the
Normal Schools of Public Teachers, and four teachers, two male and two
female, to be elected by the whole body of lay public school teachers of
both sexes in the department, all of them paid _employés_ of the
Government; and finally, two inspectors of public primary education
nominated by the Minister of Public Instruction. So, as you see, out of
a council consisting of fourteen members, ten are paid servants of the
Government, directly concerned to discourage the development of the
Christian schools. If questions and disputes between the lay public
schools and the free Christian schools came before this council, one lay
and one congreganist teacher may be admitted to join the council. But
the wise and just provision of the earlier law, that two or more
magistrates of the highest repute should be members of these councils,
has been deliberately struck out of this aggressive law of 1886.

'Is it possible,' he said, 'to mistake either the spirit or the object
of such a law?

'What gives me confidence and hope is the unquestionable effect which
the law has had upon the religious life of France. It has aroused and
stimulated it to more vigour and energy than I have seen it show for
years past. If only the Church in France were to-day as free from any
official connection with the State as it is in your country, I believe
we should see such a revival of Catholic faith as has not been known in
Europe for centuries.

'Do you remember,' he went on, 'how Ferry went to Rome after his
expulsion from power? Yes? And doubtless you know what efforts he made
there at that time to bring about a subterranean understanding between
himself and the Vatican?'

'He is the only one of these Opportunists who really has a head on his
shoulders, and you will find that he is under no illusions as to the
possibility of any working alliance between the Opportunists and the
Radicals which can save the former from going to the wall, like the
Girondins in 1793.

'Perhaps,' he said, laughingly, 'we may live to see M. Ferry doing
penance in a white sheet, with a candle in his hand, on the way to a
seat in a monarchical Cabinet! Though I am no politician, yet--mark my
words!--this republic has been so mismanaged that now it cannot live
without the Radicals--and it cannot live with them!

'As for the Church; if you want to see what life and energy it is
showing in its work, come and see me in the autumn. I will show you in
the Limousin one of the establishments of the Congregation of the Holy
Cross, or you can go into Mayenne and see twelve or fifteen of them. Or
you ought to go to Ruille-sur-la-Loire, to see the modest cradle of this
great congregation, which now, from its mother-house at Neuilly, is
sending out Catholic life and faith all over the world, and the pulse of
which is beating higher in France to-day than at any time since that
true and simple servant of God, Dujarié, took it upon himself, from his
obscure little parsonage, to begin the restoration of the Church from
the crash of the Terror and the calamities of the First Empire.'

'How many years ago was it,' I asked, 'when this Congregation began its
work in the United States?'

'Not quite fifty years ago,' he replied, 'and, as you know, its schools
are flourishing in all parts of your Union, from the University (in
Indiana) of Our Lady of the Lake, to New Orleans and New Jersey, and
from Wisconsin to Texas. It numbers its pupils, too, by thousands here
at home in France.

'I ask you to join me in the Limousin because I hope to be there in
October, and then I can show you at Limoges what I am sure you would
like to see--one of our best cathedrals, and some beautiful old glass in
St.-Michel and St.-Pierre, not to mention the enamels still hidden away
here and there in certain houses I wot of!'


  ST.-OMER

Two of the most interesting places in the Pas-de-Calais are St.-Omer,
once a name of terror to the worthy Englishmen who went in constant fear
of the Pope and wooden shoes, and Aire-sur-la-Lys, which now embraces
within its communal limits all that remains to-day of the once famous
and important city of Thérouanne, the ancient capital of Morinia, and
for thirty years the episcopal seat of the great Swiss bishop, St.-Omer,
who made North-Eastern Gaul Christian in the seventh century.

St.-Omer still preserves a certain grave and austere physiognomy,
half-Spanish and half-scholastic; and it is easy for the imagination to
people its quiet streets with the English and Irish students who
frequented its collegiate halls from the days of Guy Faux to the days of
Daniel O'Connell. But its importance is now military, not theological.
M. Pierre de la Gorce, the accomplished historian of the Revolution of
1848, who lived here seven years as a magistrate, and who still resides
here because he finds in the place 'a still air of delightful studies'
congenial to his tastes and favourable to his historical labours, told
me, in the course of a most interesting afternoon which I passed here
with him, that the town is full of families living here on their
incomes; and in going about the streets I was struck with the general
air of quiet and unobtrusive well-being which marks the people. In his
position as a magistrate, M. de la Gorce had the best possible
opportunities for gauging the moral character of the inhabitants, and he
assured me that during the whole period of his residence in St.-Omer,
extending now over twelve or thirteen years, he has never known more
than one serious domestic scandal to disturb the even tenour of its
social life. Of how many towns of twenty thousand inhabitants could the
same thing be truly said in England or the United States? During all
these years, too, M. de la Gorce tells me, only two cases of alleged
misconduct on the part of priests have occurred in St.-Omer, and in one
of these cases the allegation was proved malignant and unfounded.
Politically, St.-Omer seems to be strongly Republican. In 1886 it gave
the Government candidate a majority of 1,281 votes on a total of 6,623,
whereas in Boulogne at the same election the Republicans were beaten in
the southern division, and carried the whole city by only a majority of
1,331 votes out of a total of 8,233.

What I heard in St.-Omer of the officers stationed there was
particularly interesting. There is a large garrison, and the greatest
pains are taken by the officers not only with the military discipline,
but with the schooling and general conduct of the troops. My own
observation leads me to think this true, not of St.-Omer only, but of
all the considerable garrison towns which I have visited in France
during the past six or seven years. The old type of swashbuckling,
absinthe-tippling, rakehelly French officer of whom, during the last
years of the Empire, one saw and heard so much, seems to have passed
away into history and literature. However it may be with the
'gaiter-buttons' in the next great war, I do not believe the staff of
the next invading army will have much to teach the French officers of
to-day, either about the principles of scientific warfare or about the
topography of France.

I am inclined to think that there are more French officers in St.-Omer
alone to-day who can read and understand German than there were in all
France in 1870. The _morale_ and carriage of the soldiers, too, are
distinctly higher. The calling of men of all ranks and conditions under
the colours has necessarily raised the moral and social level of the
rank and file as well as of the officers; and it is quite certain that
the army holds a higher place in the estimation of the better classes in
France than it used to hold. M. de la Gorce cited to me several
instances, here at St.-Omer, of young ladies of excellent family, three
of them at least considerable heiresses, who have married young officers
of merit solely because they were officers of merit, and who have gladly
turned their backs on the flutter and glitter of fashionable Paris to
share the quiet, unpretending quarters, and take a sympathetic interest
in the serious military career of their husbands in this rather
out-of-the-way garrison town.

I do not find M. de la Gorce sanguine as to any early solution of the
political problems with which France is still wrestling after a hundred
years. He makes no secret of his conviction that nothing but a return to
the constitutional monarchy can give the country lasting peace at home,
or real influence abroad. But his impression seems to be that time alone
can bring this about. He would have the royalists unfurl their banner,
go into the elections with a plain declaration of their political creed,
and await the progress of events. He cited, as a proof of the wisdom of
this policy, the steady advance made by the Republicans after a mere
handful of them came into the imperial legislature. They grew from five
to thirty, simply because they stood firmly on their own principles,
while the majority were disturbed and uncertain. The principle of the
hereditary constitutional monarchy, he thought, should be plainly
affirmed and presented to the French people, as their only real
safeguard against the incessant disturbance and displacement of the
executive machinery which results from the election of an executive
chief.

'Let this be affirmed and presented,' said M. de la Gorce,' by a
number--no matter how small it may be at first--of sincere and resolute
men, and every successive shock and catastrophe will bring more and more
support to them from all classes in France.'

M. de la Gorce is of the opinion that the laicisation of the schools,
whatever may be said of the motives and intent of those who have
promoted it, has had a good effect on the congreganist schools, by
stimulating the teachers and directors to make greater efforts for the
improvement of their methods and their general machinery of instruction.
This is quite in accord with the views of my friend whom I met at
Boulogne--and indeed it is in the nature of things.

The way in which the laicisation is carried out by the subaltern
authorities seems to be admirably calculated also to inflame the
religious zeal of the people. A very intelligent and liberal
ecclesiastic, living here, tells me that, while M. Ferry is professing
in the Chamber his great anxiety to co-operate with the Conservatives in
modifying the decrees of 1791, in regard to religious associations, and
talking about a more liberal treatment of the clergy and the Christian
free schools, the local functionaries here, in Artois, lose no
opportunity of irritating and annoying the Christian population. In the
village of Moislains near Péronne, for example, he tells me the funeral
took place the other day of the Abbé Sallier, for many years the curé of
that parish; a man so much respected and beloved by the whole community
that, notwithstanding an express request made by him in his will, that
no discourse might be pronounced at his interment, and that it might be
made as simple as possible, the people insisted on escorting the remains
to the cemetery in a long procession headed by the mayor, the municipal
council, and all the notabilities of the country round about. Naturally
the people wished that their children, most of whom had been baptized by
the abbé, might join in this procession; to prevent which an express
order was issued by the school authorities, that the children should not
be allowed to leave the school for that purpose. It is difficult to see
how a petty persecution of this sort can be expected to promote the
'religious peace' about which M. Ferry perorates at Paris. The rural
Artesians, my friend tells me, resent these proceedings very bitterly,
and show their feelings in the most practical fashion, by subscribing
freely to carry on the religious primary schools, and refusing to let
their children attend the lay schools, which are kept up by the
Government out of the taxes paid by themselves. This, with a thrifty and
rather parsimonious population, like that which increases and multiplies
so steadily in Artois, is a most significant fact.

The Marist Brethren, who have their headquarter at the Ecole de Notre
Dame in Albert, a town of some 4,000 inhabitants, about half-way between
Arras and Amiens, are carrying on these religious schools most
successfully. Albert itself is a very curious and interesting place.
There are remains here of Roman fortifications which show that it was a
point of importance under the Empire, and subterranean excavations of a
most remarkable character, one of them extending for more than two
miles. Down to the time of Henry IV. Albert was known as Ancre. Concini,
the Florentine favourite of Mary de' Medici, bought the lordship of
Ancre with the title of marquis. With the help of his clever Florentine
wife, Leonora Galigai, he completely subjugated the queen and her weak
son, Louis XIII.; and, without so much as drawing his sword in battle,
made himself a marshal of France, How all this led him on to his ruin I
need not recite. He was stabbed to death in the precincts of the Louvre
by Vitry; his wife, arraigned as a sorceress, was strangled and burned;
and their unfortunate little son was degraded. The marquisate and
lordship of Ancre were bought, oddly enough, by another and very
different Florentine race, the Alberti, who had come into France and
established themselves in the Venaissin a hundred years before. So
intense was the general hatred of the Concinis, that, upon acquiring
Ancre, the Alberti unbaptized the place and gave it their own French
name of Albert, which is still most honourably borne by their
representatives, the ducal houses of Luynes and of Chaulnes. It is
common enough in France, as it is in England, to find the names of
families perpetuated in conjunction with those of places once their
property--Kingston-Lacy, Stanton-Harcourt, Bagot's Bromley, Melton
Mowbray are English cases in point. But this displacement of an old
territorial designation by a family name is unusual. Some thing like it
has taken place in our own times and in a remote south-western corner of
France, where the people of Arles-les-Bains changed the name of their
pleasant little town of orange groves and olives to Amélie, to
commemorate their respect and affection for the excellent queen of Louis
Philippe.

There are factories at Albert; and a modern church is building there,
not to the unmixed delight of architects and archæologists. But my
concern now is with the work of the Marist Brothers who have made Albert
their headquarters.

This work is carried on with the direct and active co-operation of the
people. At one little hamlet, for example, called, I think, Brébières,
nearly a hundred children now attend the Marist school, whose parents
pay for each child a subscription of three francs a month. There, not
long ago, it was found that in one poor family of peasants a family
council had been called to raise this modest sum in order that one of
the children now of an age to attend the school might be sent to it. The
two elder children settled the question by insisting that they would
give up their own daily ration of milk to meet the expense.

Will France be a nobler and stronger country when the priests who train
the children of her peasantry into this spirit are driven out of the
land?

This is the real question which must be met and answered by the
advocates of compulsory lay education in the public schools.

The next step to be taken in the 'laicisation' of the schools has been
already revealed in the famous 'Article 7' of M. Ferry. M. Ferry is the
true, though more or less occult, head of the present Administration in
France. 'M. Ferry,' said a caustic French Radical to me in Paris, 'ought
to be the mask of M. Carnot. Nature gave him a Carnival nose for that
purpose. Everything is topsy-turvy now in France, and so M. Carnot is
the mask of M. Ferry. But the nose will come through before long.'

Many years ago the public conscience of Philadelphia, then as now one of
the most Protestant of American Protestant cities, was scandalised by
the will of a French merchant, Stephen Girard; who, after acquiring a
large fortune in that city, left it to found a college, within the
precincts of which no minister of religion was, on any pretext whatever,
to be allowed to appear. The stupid bigotry of this ignorant millionaire
was the high-water mark of French Republican liberality during the
dismal orgie of the First Republic. It is still the high-water mark of
French Republican liberality under the Third Republic. The dream and
desire of M. Ferry and his friends are to prohibit ministers of religion
from taking any part whatever in the education of the French people.
Already the municipal council of Paris has undertaken to 'bowdlerise'
the literature of the world in order to prevent the minds of the young
from being perverted by coming into contact with the name of God. These
good butchers and bakers and candlestick-makers of the Seine really
believe, like certain more academical persons of higher social
pretensions in England and America, that the ineffable simpletons and
scoundrels who for three or four years during the last decade of the
last century made ducks and drakes at Paris of the public fortune and
the private rights of the French people, were inspired harbingers of a
new era. Outside of France it may be hard to suppose this possible, but
nothing can be more certain than that the educational legislation of
France since 1882 has been aimed steadily and directly at the abolition,
not of Christianity alone, but of all religion.

It is curious to see the common school system of New England, which in
the beginning was the device of a theocracy bent on usurping the
authority of parents over their children, taken up after more than two
hundred years, and readjusted to the purposes of a set of men whom the
Puritans would have unhesitatingly whipped to death at the cart's tail
as blasphemers.

Only the other day, in the Chamber, an ardent Republican member, M.
Pichon, made a speech in which he openly avowed the object of laicising
the schools to be the destruction of religion. 'Between you, the
Catholics,' he exclaimed, 'and us, who are Republicans, there is a great
abyss. The interests of the Church are incompatible with those of the
Republican Government.' That the Republicans in the Assembly should have
applauded this declaration is rather astonishing, since it was in
substance an admission that the interests of the 'Republican Government'
are inconsistent with those of an admittedly immense majority of the
French people. But they did applaud it, and not long before M. Pichon
made the speech a solid Republican vote of 232 members had been recorded
for the suppression of the French Embassy to the Vatican. Is it
surprising that the Catholics of France should be asking themselves all
over the country whether it is possible for them to accept the Republic
without abjuring their religion?

The 'abyss' of which M. Pichon speaks has been dug, not by the Church,
but by the theorists who have expelled the Sisters of Charity from the
hospitals and the chaplains from the prisons of France, who refuse to
the poor the right to pray in the almshouses, and who throw the
crucifix out of school-houses which are maintained by the money of
Catholic taxpayers. As between M. Pichon and M. Ferry and their
fellow-conspirators on one side of this abyss, and the Marist Brethren
and the little children of France on the other side of it, the history
of the world hardly encourages the belief that it is the Marist Brethren
and the little children who will finally be engulfed!

It is a notable proof of the hold which Catholic ideas have upon the
people in this part of France, that notwithstanding a marked tendency to
emigration among the peasantry of the Boulonnais and of Artois, the
population has steadily increased through the excess of births over
deaths. This is not true of France as a whole. On the contrary, while
the deaths in France in 1888 were 837,857, against an annual average of
847,968 from 1884 to 1887, the births diminished from an annual average
of 937,090 between 1881 and 1884 to 882,639 in 1888, leaving the small
excess of 44,772 over the deaths. Of these only 33,458 were of French
parentage! In Artois and the Boulonnais, the population is more dense
than in any other part of France, excepting the metropolitan regions.
While France, as a whole, in 1881, gave an average of seventy
inhabitants to the square kilomètre, which is the precise proportion in
Bavaria--the arrondissement of Béthune in the coal-mining country of
Artois (fed by an exceptional immigration from Belgium) gave 173 to the
square kilomètre, which exceeds the proportion in any division of the
German Empire except Saxony, Lübeck, Bremen, and Hamburg.

The Department of the Pas-de-Calais, as a whole, gave 117 inhabitants to
the square kilomètre, which is the precise proportion in Saxe-Altenburg,
and exceeds by five the proportion in the British Islands taken as a
whole. In the arrondissement of St.-Omer the rate of increase by natural
growth some years ago outran that of the older sea-board States of the
American Union.

This phenomenon cannot be explained by the improvidence of the
Artesians, for they are admittedly remarkable, even in France, for
their frugality and their forecasting habit of mind. A friend of mine,
who lives near St.-Omer, is probably right when he attributes it to
their strong domestic tastes and habits, and to the influence over them
of their religion. He says they are 'fanatics of the family.' Certainly
in the cottages the children seem to have things all their own way,
almost as much as in America. 'The Artesian parents,' my friend tells
me, 'make their children the objects of their lives.' In the rural
regions there is not much immorality. Concubinage, which is by no means
uncommon in the towns, is exceedingly uncommon in the country of Artois.

The agricultural Artesian wishes to be the recognised head of his house,
hates to have things at loose ends, and habitually makes his wife a
consulting partner in all his affairs. Even when he is not particularly
devout he likes to be on good terms with, his curate, and has very
positive ideas as to what is decent and becoming. 'In short,' said my
friend, 'he is an ideal husbandman in every sense of that English word,
for which we have no equivalent. The assize records show that offences
against public morality are almost wholly confined to the towns in
Artois, and it is a notable fact that these particular offences are much
more frequently committed by persons who can read and write than by the
illiterate.'

My friend seemed to be startled when I told him that this 'notable fact'
appeared to me to be quite in accordance with the nature of things, as
set forth in the sound old maxim cited by the Apostle, that 'evil
communications corrupt good manners.' So long as thirty years ago, the
American Census showed that in the six New England States, in which the
proportion of illiterate native Americans to the native white
population was 1 to 312, the proportion to the native white population
of native white criminals was 1 to 1,084; whereas, in the six southern
States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, and the two Carolinas,
the proportion of native white illiterates being 1 to 12 of the native
white population, the proportion of native white criminals to the native
white population was only 1 to 6,670. Mr. Montgomery of California,
Assistant-Attorney-General of the United States in the Administration of
President Cleveland, working on the lines of inquiry suggested by such
facts as these, did not hesitate, two years ago, to assert that 'the
boasted New England public school system, as now by law established
throughout the length and breadth of the American Republic, is a
poisonous fountain fraught with the seeds of human misery and moral
death.' He cites the official statistics given by a New England
professor, Mr. Royce, to prove that 'there is hardly a state or country
in the civilised world, where atrocious and flagrant crimes are so
common as in educated Massachusetts,' and he shows that the alarming and
unquestionable increase of crime in the United States cannot be
attributed, as it too often is, to the 'foreign element in American
society, the criminal rate of which has remained the same or even
lessened, while the native criminals increased during 1860-1870, from
10,143 to 24,173.' During that decade the total population of the United
States increased from 31,443,321 to 38,567,617. Deducting 2,466,752 for
the increase by immigration, we have a general increase of 4,657,538 in
the native American population, or of less than 15 per cent, against an
increase of about 140 per cent. in the number of native white criminals!
It is no part of my present purpose to discuss Mr. Montgomery's
contention. But it seems to me to deserve grave consideration in
connection with the adventure to which the French Republican Government
has committed itself, of suddenly substituting for the religious and
parental system of education in France, a French modification, in the
interest of unbelief, of that American public school system which, as
Mr. Montgomery maintains, rests upon the principle 'that the whole
people must be educated to a certain degree at the public expense,
irrespectively of any social distinctions.'

I have already said that St.-Omer appears to be in its politics
decidedly Republican. An odd illustration of this I found in a hot local
controversy waging there over the setting up of a statue in one of the
public squares, to commemorate the courage and patriotism of a local
heroine, Jacqueline Robins. This statue, which, as a work of art is not
unworthy to be compared with the statue of Jeanne Hachette at Beauvais,
was set up, with much ceremony, in 1884 (I believe the State paid for
it), and stands upon a pedestal, with an inscription setting forth how
Jacqueline Robins, in the year 1710, saved the besieged city of St.-Omer
by going off herself with a train of boats down the Aa to Dunkirk, and
bringing back the provisions and munitions of war necessary for the
defence of the city.

As the city of St.-Omer was certainly not besieged in 1710, this
inscription naturally excited the critical indignation of the local
antiquaries, and on July 27, 1885, an exceedingly clear and conclusive
report on the subject was laid before the Society of Antiquaries of
Morinia, a body which has done good service to the cause of history in
Northern France. From this report it plainly appears that St.-Omer was
not besieged at all in 1710. Prince Eugene, who marched into Artois with
the Duke of Marlborough in that year in pursuit of Villars, wished to
attack St.-Omer after the fall of Douai and Béthune, but the
States-General of Holland would not hear of it; and the gallant defence
made of Aire-sur-la-Lys by the Marquis de Goesbriant kept the allies at
bay so late in the year that no attempt upon St.-Omer could be made. The
local chronicles rejoice over this escape, particularly, because they
say the Duke of Marlborough had vowed special vengeance against the
city, its authorities having refused to oblige him by getting out of the
English Jesuits' College and sending him certain papers which the
Duchess of Hamilton (the wife of the brilliant duke who was killed in
Hyde Park by Lord Mohun and General Macartney) desired him to procure
for her use in a law suit against 'Lord Bromley.'[2] St.-Omer, then, not
having been besieged in 1710, why should a statue be set up in honour of
an Audomaraise dame for delivering it? On this point the Report of the
Society of Antiquaries throws a sufficient and interesting light. It
seems that there really lived in St.-Omer in 1710 a certain dame
Jacqueline Isabelle Robins, obviously a woman of mark and force, since
she carried on a number of thriving industries, and among them the
management, under a contract, of the boats between St.-Omer, Calais, and
Dunkirk. Napoleon would have thought her much superior to Madame de
Staël, for before she was forty years old she had married three
husbands, and surrounded herself with six or seven flourishing olive
branches. She was constantly in the law courts fighting for her rights,
not against private persons only, but against the 'mayor and échevins of
the city of St.-Omer.' Though St.-Omer, as I have said, was not besieged
by the allies, it was constantly occupied by the troops of his Most
Christian Majesty, who gave the magistrates and the people almost as
much trouble as if they had been enemies, and the records show that not
long before the surrender of Aire-sur-la-Lys to the allies in November
1710, the Comte d'Estaing (an ancestor of the Admiral who did such good
service to the American cause), under orders from Versailles succeeded
in bringing to St.-Omer from Dunkirk a complete supply of powder and
other munitions of war. It seems to be likely enough that in this
operation the military authorities availed themselves of the services of
dame Jacqueline and of her boats. As she was a masterful dame, and,
burying her third husband, who was twelve years her junior, in 1720,
lived on to depart at the age of seventy-five in 1732, a local legend
evidently grew up about her personal share in the events of the great
war of 1710. The first official historian of St.-Omer, a worthy priest
Dom Devienne, writing in 1782, gave this legend form. As he transformed
Jacqueline from a rich and prosperous woman of affairs into a 'woman of
the dregs of the people,' calling her Jane, by the way, instead of
Jacqueline, she became, after the Revolution, a popular heroine; her
third husband, who appears to have been a young Squire de Boyaval and a
dashing grey mousquetaire of King Louis, was metamorphosed into a
brewer's apprentice (Jacqueline among her other possessions owned a
brewery); and now, in the year 1889 we have the thrifty dame who helped
the king's officers carry out the king's orders for the supplying of
St.-Omer, immortalised in bronze as an Audomaraise Jeanne Hachette or
Maid of Saragossa!

    [2] This is a curious sidelight on English political history. 'Lord
    Bromley' was obviously Sir William Bromley, M.P., the bitter enemy
    of Marlborough, who earned the undying hatred of the Duchess by
    comparing her to Alice Perrers, the mistress of Edward III. In 1705
    Harley prevented the election of Bromley as Speaker by re-publishing
    an account of the 'Grand Toure' written by him, and foisting into it
    notes intended to show that Bromley was a 'Papist.' Bromley was
    again a candidate for the same office in 1710, and Marlborough
    evidently hoped to get from St.-Omer documentary proof of the
    'papistry' of his foe. The second Duchess of Hamilton came, I think,
    of a Catholic family, and may have thought she had a clue to these
    documents. The intrigue, however, failed, and Bromley was elected
    Speaker without opposition in November, 1710.

Is not this worthy to stand on record with Sir Roger de Coverley's tale
of the old coachman who had a monument in Westminster Abbey because he
figured on the box of the coach in which Thomas Thynne of Longleat was
barbarously murdered by Count Konigsmark?

The Republican Mayor of St.-Omer took sides on the question of
Jacqueline Robins in 1885 with the Republican 'Professor of History in
the Lyceum,' both of them being 'officers of the Academy,' against the
Society of Antiquaries; and I dare say the matter may affect the
Parliamentary elections in September, 1889!



CHAPTER III

IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS--_continued_


  AIRE-SUR-LA-LYS

It is a local tradition at Aire-sur-la-Lys that, about half a century
ago, the good people of this ancient and picturesque town (which, like
St.-Omer, remained a part of the Spanish dominions when all the rest of
the Artois became French by the treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659) turned
out with flags and music to welcome their mayor back from Paris,
bringing the good news that the projected Northern railway should not
pass through their territory, to disturb their settled trade.

This unique incident is often cited to show the tenacious conservatism
of the Artesians. I believe, however, it only proves that the people of
Aire, dwelling in a region which has been fought over from time
immemorial, had a well-grounded objection to the exclusively military
views with which Marshal Soult then desired that the Government of Louis
Philippe should take up and carry out the projected enterprise.

At all events, Aire-sur-la-Lys now rejoices in a comfortable little
railway station, which makes it an important point in the system of the
Northern Railway of France.

There, on a lovely evening in June, I found the carriage of M. Labitte,
one of the Councillors-General of the department, waiting to take me to
his charming and hospitable home in the richly-cultivated agricultural
commune of St.-Quentin.

It was on the eve of Pentecost when, as the German poet tells us, 'the
woods and fields put off all sadness,' and a lovelier summer evening it
would be hard to find even in England.

M. Labitte is a Conservative and a devout Catholic. As I have already
mentioned, he was a candidate in the Pas-de-Calais in 1886 for the seat
in the Chamber now held by M. Camescasse, and received 74,554 votes
against 86,356 for his opponent. In Aire he was beaten by only 22 votes
out of a total of 3,536. His influence in the country here is, in a
certain sense, hereditary, for he came of a family which in the last
century gave many excellent ecclesiastics to the service of the Church,
among a population then, as now, remarkable for its strong religious
feeling. When the States-General were convened by Louis XVI. a century
ago, the first date fixed for the elections in Artois had to be
postponed, at the request of the Duc de Guines, because it interfered
with Easter. The Artesians cared more for the Church than for the State.
Yet, in no part of France was the calling of the States-General more
popular, and nowhere were more efforts made before 1789 than in Artois
to improve the condition of the people and to secure a more just and
liberal fiscal administration. The clergy were extraordinarily powerful
in Artois, alike by reason of their property and of the religious
disposition of the people; and it is a curious and interesting fact that
under the constitution of the Estates of Artois it was established
(thanks to the union of the clergy with the Third Estate) that, while no
votes of the nobility and the clergy united should bind the Third
Estate, any joint vote of the Third Estate with either of the other two
orders should bind them all. Here, long before the much-bewritten date
of 1789, we have the Church in Artois arraying itself on the side of the
tax-paying people against the privileged classes. Modern inquiries show,
indeed, that this was the attitude of the great body of the French
clergy long before what is called the 'Revolution.' The majority of the
representatives of the clergy in the States-General of 1789 did not wait
for the theatrical demonstrations in the Tennis Court of Versailles,
about which so much nonsense has been talked and written, to join the
Third Estate in insisting upon a real reform of the public service. No
French historian has ventured to make such a picture of the Catholic
clergy of France under the Bourbons as Lord Macaulay thought himself
authorised to paint of the Protestant clergy of England under the
Stuarts. There were flagrant scandals among the higher orders of the
Church in France, no doubt, as there were in England. The names of
Dubois, of Loménie de Brienne, of De Rohan are not associated with the
cardinal virtues. De Jarente, Bishop of Orleans, driving Mdlle. Guimard
to the opera in his coronetted and mitred coach, is not an edifying
figure, nor is Louis de Grimaldi, Bishop of Mans, saying Mass in his red
hunting-coat and breeches. But the Protestant Dean of St. Patrick's
thought the execution for felony of another Protestant dean a capital
theme for a merry ballad; and at the end of the eighteenth century
Arthur Young painted the English rural clergy in very dark colours. The
curates, the rectors, the monks of France as a body, showed under the
old régime the same qualities of devout faith and Christian sympathy
with the people with which they met and baffled their persecutors after
the crash of the monarchy. The three representatives of the clergy who
first struck hands with the Third Estate on June 13, 1789, were curates
sent to Paris by a province more intensely Catholic than Artois. They
were Poitevin priests from the region which we now know as La Vendée,
and which only four years afterwards rose in arms to defend its altars
and its homes against the intolerable despotism of the 'patriots' of
Paris.

When Turgot was put in charge of that work of fiscal reform which might
have spared France the horrors and the disasters of the Revolution, had
Louis XVI. been capable of standing even by Turgot to the end, he
carried on an extensive correspondence with curates in Artois as well as
in the other provinces of France, as the best means of educating the
people to an intelligent appreciation of his purposes and of his plans.
Condorcet, who treated the brutal murderers of the Duc de la
Rochefoucauld with a complaisance which entitles him to the confidence
of the most advanced anti-clerical philosophers of our own day, bears
witness to the good intentions of Turgot's correspondents. He says, in
his memoir of Turgot, printed at Philadelphia seven years before the
Revolution of '89, that 'the curates, accustomed to preach sound morals,
to appease the quarrels of the people, and to encourage peace and
concord, were in a better position than any other men in France to
prepare the minds of the people for the good work it was the intents of
the ministers to do.'

What was true of the French curates a hundred years ago is true of them
to-day, the duties prescribed to them by the Church being still
precisely what they were when Condorcet bore this testimony to the good
dispositions of men much more conscientious than himself. Then, too, as
now, the curates were required to look carefully after the education of
the children in their parishes. France is indebted, not to the
Revolution, but to a great Protestant historian and statesman, Guizot,
and to King Louis Philippe for the foundation of her system of public
education. The revolutionists of 1789 left the country worse off in this
matter than they found it. The royal ordinance of Louis XIV. in 1698,
which required the establishment of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses
in every parish in which they were not then to be found, and fixed the
salaries to be paid these masters and mistresses out of a public tax in
every parish in which no foundations for their support existed, was
distinctly a public-school law. This ordinance made it incumbent upon
all parents and other persons who had charge of children to send them to
the schools until they were fourteen years of age, and it also enjoined
upon the curates the duty of 'watching with particular attention over
the education of the children in their respective parishes.' The spirit
in which the clergy of Artois, at least, discharged this duty appears in
an ordinance of the Bishop of Arras issued in 1740, half a century
before the Revolution of 1789, in which the bishop lays it down as a
maxim that 'the greatest charity which can be shown the poor is to
ensure them the means of obtaining an education.'

This, down to thirty years ago, was the principle of legislation in
Virginia upon the public school question, the State not attempting to
interfere with the authority of parents over their children in the
matter of education, but making an appropriation for the instruction of
the children of the poor. That mischievous wind-bag Lakanal lived in
Mississippi and Louisiana during his exile in America, and it is
possible that his influence may have had something to do with the early
adoption by another southern State, Louisiana, of the general public
school system. However that may be, Louisiana in 1850 spent upon her
public schools three times as much money annually as any of the New
England States, with the result that, out of a native white population
of 186,577, she had in her prisons 240 native white criminals, or 1 in
777 of the whole number, being 'the largest proportion of criminals to
population at that time to be found in America, if not in the world.'
Virginia, out of a native white population of 1,070,395 in 1860, had no
more than 163 native white criminals in her prisons, or 1 in 6,566 of
her native white population.

It is a curious fact, by the way, that but for the fidelity of the
French clergy before 1789, in carrying out the work imposed upon them by
the ordinance of Louis XIV., and commended in the ordinance of the
Bishop of Arras in 1740, two of the most conspicuous actors in the
grotesquely horrible drama of the French Revolution would have starved
to death in the streets of Arras, or grown up there in vagabondage. The
clergy of St.-Vaast in the diocese of Arras found, in 1768, two wretched
urchins thrown upon the world by an unnatural father. One of these,
Maximilian Isidore de Robespierre, was born in 1758; the other, Augustus
Bai Joseph de Robespierre, in 1764. The good priests picked them up,
cared for them, and put them in the way of getting a good education,
which they turned to such purpose that both of them eventually came to
the guillotine in the flower of their years, and amid the cordially
contemptuous execrations of decent people all over the world. One of the
most accomplished public men in Massachusetts told me years ago, that he
was stopped on his way to school one morning in 1794, by a friend of the
family, who bade him run back at once and tell his father the news had
come from Europe that 'the head of Robert Spear had been cut off.' 'Make
haste,' said this gentleman, 'and your papa will give you a silver
dollar, he will be so glad to hear it!'

It was rather instructive to think of the 'sea-green incorruptible' and
his idiotic 'Feast of the Supreme Being' on that beautiful clay of
Pentecost, in the charming rural commune of St.-Quentin, the peace and
happiness of which was for a time so cruelly broken up by his atrocities
and follies a hundred years ago. The fine old church, near by my host's
residence, has been restored with great taste and good sense. It was
crowded at early mass with the farmers and their families, many of the
men wearing their blouses, but all well-to-do, for this region is one of
the richest and best cultivated districts of Northern France. The
service was celebrated with much simplicity, but with no lack of due
ceremony; the singing was excellent; and the priest's homily, a brief
and very good discourse on the spirit of Christian charity, was listened
to with great attention.

The pretty custom prevails here, as in Normandy, of handing about in the
congregation, at a certain point in the service, a basket of bread. Two
gravely courteous old peasants presented the baskets in turn to all the
people. The service over, the farmers stood and chatted together in
groups in the churchyard and about the porch, and I heard much talk of
the outlook for the crops, of the price of cattle, and of certain
properties which had recently changed hands. Of politics next to
nothing.

My host was for many years a notary at Aire. He has transferred this
position now to the husband of his only daughter, and occupies himself
mainly with his agricultural interests. The notary, who is a personage
everywhere in France, is especially a personage in Artois. This has come
about in part through the great changes which have taken place in the
proprietorship of land in this province during the last three centuries.
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, after the province was
substantially united with France by Louis XIV., great numbers of small
proprietors, who had done well enough under the Spanish rule, found
themselves forced, by the pressure of taxation, to part with their
land, and there was a marked increase in the great estates, not only of
the clergy but of the laity. After the First Consul took the country in
hand, and began to reorganise it socially, on the principle laid down by
him so often and so energetically, in his dealings with his councillors,
that 'true civil liberty in a State depends upon the absolute safety of
property,' there began to grow up in Artois a great middle class of
landholders, corresponding in many conditions to the 'strong farmers' of
Ireland. With the increase of this class came a natural increase in the
importance and influence of the notaries, already and through the
Spanish traditions very considerable in this region. In many parts of
the province the notary is recognised as an unofficial, but
authoritative, social arbiter, to whom may be safely referred for
settlement all sorts of disputes, including very often questions of
property which would elsewhere be taken before the courts of law. It was
pleasant to see that the relation thus established between M. Labitte
and the people generally had not been affected by the political
agitation of the last ten years. When I drove about the country with
him, I observed that he was saluted everywhere in the friendliest
fashion, and that, as he more than once told me, by persons politically
quite hostile to his re-election as councillor-general.

After luncheon on Pentecost, a most interesting ceremony took place at
St.-Quentin. A long procession made up of the inhabitants of the
commune, the men wearing their best clothes, the young girls garlanded
and dressed in white, set forth from the porch of the church, after a
brief service there, and marched around the commune. It was the English
beating of the bounds without the beating, and with the old religious
rites. In the midst of the procession, which extended perhaps a quarter
of a mile, the parish priest walked alone under an embroidered canopy
borne up by young villagers. Acolytes, with lighted candles, moved on
either side of the canopy. Before it was borne a white silk banner of
the Virgin, and behind it a banner embroidered in gold. All the park and
grounds of M. Labitte lying within the commune, and being thrown open to
the people, a very beautiful altar of verdure and roses had been set up
under a bower in the great garden behind the house, by the daughter of
M. Labitte. Before this altar the procession paused, a brief service was
performed there, and then the long line resumed its march, a chorus of
some twenty male voices chanting, as it went, the Magnificat. Nothing
could exceed the unaffected simplicity and seriousness of the people of
both sexes and of all ages. The day was one of those perfect days,
which, as Mr. Lowell says, come to the world in June, if ever they come
at all; and as the long line wound its way around the fields, green with
the prospering crops, beneath the orchards and the groves, and between
the fragrant hedgerows, the silvery chiming of the bells in the old
church alternated with the far-off chanting of the choristers, and the
fitful breeze brought us, from time to time, the grave deep voice of the
priest reciting, as he moved, the ancient prayers of hope and of
thanksgiving.

It was interesting to remember that under the first French attempt at a
republic, this lovely rural spectacle would have been as impossible as
it would be to-day under the rule of the Mahdi in the Soudan; and also,
to reflect that France is governed to-day by men who dream of making it
thus impossible once more.



CHAPTER IV

IN THE PAS-DE-CALAIS--_continued_


  AIRE-SUR-LA-LYS.

My host at St.-Quentin being a councillor-general, his term of office
expires with the elections fixed to take place on July 28. There is no
reason in the nature of things why councillors-general should be elected
on the same lines with deputies and senators. On the contrary, it would
seem to be very desirable that local rather than national considerations
should govern the election of such functionaries. But it has been found
difficult, even in England and Wales, to keep national party politics
out of the election of the new county councillors, whose duties are
modelled in some important respects upon those assigned to the
councillors-general in France; and it is evident that the French local
elections in July will be largely determined by considerations affecting
the national elections which must take place in September and October.
M. Labitte, who was elected a councillor-general by the Conservatives in
this department six years ago, was defeated in 1886, as I have already
said, in a by-election, held to fill a vacancy in the Chamber of
Deputies. It is the wish of his party friends that he should offer
himself as a candidate for re-election as a councillor-general on July
28; but he does not seem disposed to do this, preferring, I think, to
keep himself quite free to do his very best to bring about a
Conservative victory in the national elections in September, with the
importance of which to the future of France he is deeply impressed.
Meanwhile, he is giving a personal account of his stewardship as a
councillor-general to his constituents in a series of 'conferences.' One
of these conferences he was good enough to invite me to attend.

It was held in a commune, distant some ten or twelve miles from
St.-Quentin-par-Aire, and, as the custom of France is, it was held on a
Sunday afternoon. M. Labitte's son-in-law drove out from Aire with his
wife to dine and spend the evening with us. And about three o'clock M.
Labitte, his son-in-law, and myself set out for the conference. Our road
lay through a level but richly cultivated and, in its way, very
beautiful region. In the last century, Artois seems to have been a kind
of Ireland. The climate was excessively damp, the lack of forests and
the undeveloped coal-mines left the peasantry dependent upon turf and
peat for fuel; the roads were few and bad. There were good crops of
grain; but the Intendant Bignon, drawing up a report on the province at
the close of the seventeenth century, for the Duke of Burgundy, tells us
the wars had made an end of all the manufactures, including the
long-famous tapestry-works of Arras. 'There were few fruit-trees, little
hay, and little manure.' Here and there some linen was made; but the
trade of the province was carried on almost exclusively in grain, hops,
flax, and wool. Iron and copper utensils, and coal and slates came to
Artois from Flanders, cod-fish and cheese from the Low Countries, butter
and all kinds of manufactured goods from England. Yet the population
steadily increased all through the eighteenth century, while it was
falling off in the neighbouring provinces of France. The worthy
intendant thought the people sadly wanting in 'intelligence, activity,
and practical sense,' and seems indeed, like a Malthusian before
Malthus, half-inclined to attribute the phenomena of increase and
multiplication in Artois to these defects. It would surprise him, I
fancy, to look on the people and the land of Artois to-day. The land has
become one of the most fertile and prosperous regions of France; the
people, unaffected to any appreciable extent by immigration, and
unchanged alike in race and in religion, increase and multiply as of
old. The well-tilled fields, the well-kept and beautiful roads, the
neat, green hedgerows, the orchards bear witness on every side to the
intelligence, the activity, the practical sense of the inhabitants.

M. Baudrillart in one of his invaluable treatises on the condition of
France before the Revolution of 1789, gives us the main key of this
great difference between the condition of agricultural Artois in the
eighteenth century and its condition to-day. He cites a most curious
appeal to the estates of Artois in behalf of the rural populations, from
which it appears that the citizens of the chief towns had combined with
the _noblesse_ and the higher clergy to keep the village curates and the
farmers out of the provincial assemblies, and to throw the whole burden
of taxation upon the agriculturists. 'The soil of Artois,' say the
authors of this appeal, 'is quite as good as the soil of England; and
yet the Artesian farmers can only get out of their labour on it one
quarter as much as the English do.' It was the fiscal maladministration,
they maintain, which checked the progress of agriculture and depressed
the condition of the farmers; and it is interesting to observe that
these rural reformers proposed to remedy the evils of which they
complained, not by abolishing all the privileges of the privileged
classes in a night, as did the headlong mob of the States-General at
Paris in 1789, but by securing a fairer representation of the rural
regions in the Provincial Estates, limiting the duration of the
Provincial Parliaments to three years, and deciding that one-third of
the seats should be vacated and refilled every year. This does not look
as if the Artesians of the last century were particularly deficient
either in intelligence or in practical sense.

On our way to the conference we saw several sugar factories, most of
them now abandoned, though the beet crops of Artois are still very
important; and my companions told me that the people here, with all
their traditional conservatism, are very quick to abandon any industry
which ceases to promise good returns, and to change their crops as the
conditions of the market change. We saw but few châteaux. One of the
most considerable, standing well in view from the road in the midst of
an extensive park, and approached by a long avenue of well-grown trees,
seemed to be shut up. The proprietor, the Count de----, I was told had
not visited it for two years past, one of his gamekeepers having been
murdered in a conflict with some poachers.

Under the existing laws in France, political conferences must be held
within four walls. Trafalgar Square meetings would be as impossible in
republican France as in monarchical Germany. As the commune in which M.
Labitte was to meet his constituents possesses no convenient hall, and
the local authorities were not particularly eager to facilitate the
conference, one of the local Conservatives, a well-to-do farmer, had
taken it upon himself to provide, at his own expense, a proper place of
meeting, by fitting up a fine large barn with seats, and putting up a
simple rustic platform in one corner of it for the speaker. It struck me
that this was a symptom of genuine interest in the politics of his
region not likely to be shown in similar circumstances by many English
or American farmers. He was a man of middle age, with the quiet,
self-possessed carriage, general among his class in all parts of France,
and received us, in the large and neatly-furnished best room of his
old-fashioned and very comfortable house, with frank and simple
courtesy. On the walls hung a number of engravings and two or three
small paintings. One of these represented the Duc d'Orléans, the father
of the Comte de Paris, in the uniform of the celebrated corps of
Chasseurs which he organised and to which he gave his name. 'That
picture,' said the farmer, 'was given to my father by the prince. He
used to stop here often while he was at the camp of the Chasseurs, and
take his breakfast. I remember him perfectly, for I was then a
well-grown lad, and he was always full of kindness and good spirits. Ah!
if he had lived! We should not be where we are to-day in France, with
all these debts and all these dangers!'

The constituents of my host, all of them specially invited by letter to
attend the conference, had already begun to assemble when we arrived,
but some of them had two or three miles to walk after service in their
respective churches, and it was nearly six o'clock when the conference
began. By that time the large farmyard and the rooms of the house were
filled with a company of perhaps a hundred and fifty men, almost all of
them farmers. Among them was only one landowner of the aristocratic
class, the Comte de----, who had walked over from his château about
three miles off. He was a type of the old-fashioned French country
gentleman, tall and sinewy, with finely cut features, simply, not to say
carelessly, dressed, but with an unmistakable air of distinction, and a
certain peremptory courtesy of manner which would infallibly have got
him into trouble in the days when, near Baume-les-Dames, Arthur Young
had to clear himself of the suspicion that he was a gentleman on pain of
being promptly hanged from a lantern hook.

The seats in the barn once filled, some fifty auditors grouped
themselves in the farmyard about the wide-open doors of the barn, and M.
Labitte mounted the extemporised platform. The proceedings had to be
suspended for a few moments as the attention of the audience was
suddenly drawn to the high road by the galloping past of two generals in
full uniform, with their staff officers, from St.-Omer. There was no
nomination of a chairman or a secretary, none of the inevitable
formalities of an English or American political gathering. M. Labitte
called the meeting to order by the simple process of beginning to
address it. Nothing could be more direct and business-like than his
speech. It was exactly what he told his hearers he meant it to be, an
account of his stewardship as their councillor-general. He said not a
word about the personal aspects of the party conflicts raging in France,
and very little about the national aspects of that conflict. Speaking in
a frank conversational way, and referring to his notes only for figures
and dates, he gave his constituents a succinct picture of the effect
upon their own local interests of the policy pursued by the Government
of the Republic. He told them how much of their money had been spent
under the action of the Council-General during the six years of his
term, and on what it had been spent, and with what results. If they
liked the picture, well and good; if not, the remedy was in their own
hands at the next election. He had forewarned me to expect nothing
demonstrative in the attitude of his audience. 'They listen most
attentively,' he said, 'but they give you no sign either of agreement
or disagreement, of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. At night, after the
meeting is over, they will break up into little knots and coteries, and
talk it all over among themselves. If they are pleased on the whole, one
of the group finally will say: "Well, Labitte told us the truth," and
that being admitted by the rest, the conference will be a success!'

On this occasion the auditors were much more outspoken during the
conference. Speaking of the unequal pressure upon the different communes
of the military service, M. Labitte told them a story of a youth who
came to him to get an exemption from service. 'I told him,' said M.
Labitte, 'that I should be very glad to get it for him, but that his
commune was not at that moment entitled to an exemption, and that I
could not be a party to putting an injustice upon another commune. He
was annoyed at this, and thought I ought to do him a favour, no matter
at whose cost. I declined, and he went away. Some time after I met him,
when he exultingly told me that he had seen one of my colleagues, a
Republican, and had got from him the exemption he wanted. After that I
heard stories put about to the effect that Labitte cared nothing about
the pressure of the military service on the labouring people! Was I not
right? Was it not my duty to see no favouritism shown to one commune at
the expense of another?'

To these queries there was a prompt and general response, 'Yes! yes! You
were quite right,' and several voices cried out, 'Bravo!--quite right,
Labitte.'

Again, in dealing with the question of education, M. Labitte told his
hearers of three instances in which small communes had been made to
expend sums inordinately disproportionate to their resources upon what
he called 'scholastic palaces,' although a great majority of the people
in each instance distinctly refused to send their children to the lay
schools established in these 'palaces.' One case was that of a commune
of some seven hundred souls compelled to expend more than sixty thousand
francs, or 2,400_l._ sterling, upon a 'scholastic palace'! 'I opposed
these expenditures,' he said, 'for I think it is part of the duty of a
councillor-general to look closely into the use made of your money.'

This, also, the hearers applauded, not noisily at all, but with a kind
of gratified murmur, not unlike the very loud purring of a very large
cat. By this time it was evident that the speaker had his audience well
in hand, and M. Labitte took up some points of attack made on himself.
One of these was that he was a 'clerical.' He said that he certainly was
a 'clerical,' if that meant a man who had a religion and respected it,
and wished to see the religion of other people respected; and gliding on
from this to the question of the religious education of children, he
asked the people whether they wished to see the curates forbidden to
teach their children the principles of their religion. He was instantly
answered by a man standing in the crowd just outside the door of the
barn, who, in a loud and rather husky voice, shouted out that 'the
priest had no business in the school.' Several of the audience met this
interruption with derisive laughter, and two or three of them sharply
invited the man to hold his tongue and go about his business. For a
moment it seemed as if we were about to have a scene. But M. Labitte
interposed. With perfect good temper he replied to the man that he was
quite of his opinion as to the proper place of a priest, and that he had
no wish to see the children at school interfered with in their school
hours by any instruction not a part of the school programme. He
suggested, however, that, instead of shouting and clamouring, the man
should wait till he, M. Labitte, had got through, and then come up
'amiably and prettily' on the platform and state his own views as fully
as he liked. This made the man in the doorway angrier than ever, and as
the audience good-naturedly laughed at him, he began to use rather
abusive language. Upon this several stalwart peasants rose and made
their way towards him with very plain intimations that if he did not
take to the highway he would be carried there. The uproar was all over
in five minutes. Some companions of the anti-clerical gentleman, not
liking the look of the audience, contrived to surround him and led him
off, and he disappeared uttering a threat or two of incoherent defiance
as he went out of the farmyard. A burly farmer seated near me explained
that 'the fellow was drunk. But,' he added, 'he was sent here to do all
this, and I know who sent him. Do you see that high chimney across the
road some way off among the trees? Well, he is a factory hand there.
There are a number of them--they don't belong to this country, and the
manufacturer is an intriguer. He wanted to be a councillor-general, and
we beat him off. He doesn't like it--and that's at the bottom of it
all.'

M. Labitte spoke for about an hour, the audience gradually increasing
and listening with close attention. At the end the farmer, who had
arranged the conference, got up and thanked the councillor-general for
the account he had given of his services, and then the meeting broke up
as quietly as it had assembled, and with as little ceremony.

Before the company began to leave the barn, a young man near the door
asked for some information as to the duties likely to be imposed to
protect the farmers, and getting a brief and clear reply, he said that
would be very satisfactory--if only 'some proprietors would not put such
high prices on their land.' The Count, who sat just in front of me and
who had kept his hawk eye fixed on the speaker, chuckled to himself and
said to me, 'That shot was meant for me!'

Altogether the proceedings gave me a very favourable notion of the
intelligence and the practical sense of the people. If all the
constituencies in France could be handled in this direct fashion at the
national elections in September, the result of those elections might be
at least the approximative expression of the sense of the nation.

But this is not to be expected. There is much more canvassing done, I
think, by legislative candidates in France, and much less public
speaking than in America or in England, and the pressure of the
Government upon the voters is very much greater here even than it is in
America. The proportion of office-holders to the population is much more
considerable, and the recent governments have made the tenure of office
in France even more dependent upon the political activity of the
officials than it has ever been in the United States. This is one of the
many evil legacies of the First Republic. The maxim that, 'to the
victors belong the spoils,' I am sorry to say has been pretty
extensively reduced to practice on my side of the Atlantic; but it was
first formulated, not by Jackson, but by Danton. Louis Blanc tells us
that this brutal Boanerges of the Jacobins startled even his allies one
day, by cynically declaring that 'the revolution was a battle, and, like
all battles, ought to end by the division of the spoils among the
victors.'

Gabriel Charmes, a republican of the republicans, reviewing the conduct
of the governments which have succeeded each other in France with such
kaleidoscope rapidity since the death of Thiers, deliberately declares
that 'epuration is the watchword, and the true aim of Republican
politics' in France. And 'epuration' is the euphemism invented to
describe the simple process of kicking out the office-holder who is in,
to make room for the office-seeker who is out. Gambetta began this
process in December 1870, when he wrote to the Government at Paris:
'Authorise me and all my colleagues to "purify" the _personnel_ of the
public administration, and it shall be done in very short order.' Within
a month, the Minister of the Interior telegraphed to the prefects, 'you
are authorised to make all the changes among the public school teachers,
which, from a republican and political point of view, you may think
desirable.' M. Crémieux, Minister of Justice, followed the work up so
energetically, that by the end of the year 1871 he declared that he had
'weeded out eighteen hundred justices of the peace, and two hundred and
eighty-nine magistrates of the courts and tribunals.' When the
republicans of the different Radical shades got into power in 1877, the
newly elected deputies, according to M. Floquet, held a meeting, and
insisted upon a further 'epuration.' They were of the mind of the
sub-prefect of Roanne, who telegraphed to his superior, 'If Republicans
alone are not put into office, the Republicans will rise and we shall
have civil war.' In January 1880, M. de Freycinet, then, as now, a
Minister, loudly called for a 'reform of the _personnel_ of the
Administration; and M. Gabriel Charmes, speaking of the then
situation in France, tells us that only one prefect of the previous
Republican Administration had escaped 'purification,' and not one
procureur-general. 'Has a single justice of the peace,' he added, 'or a
single public school teacher in the slightest degree open to suspicion,
escaped the avenging hands of MM. Le Royes and Jules Ferry? Certainly
not.'

This was nine years ago. So thorough was the weeding, M. Charmes tells
us, that, 'even the rural constables had not escaped, and the epuration
policy had carried terror and anarchy into all branches of the public
service.'

In 1885 more than three millions of voters recorded their protest
against these methods of government, and against the deputies who had
identified these methods with the Republican form of government. This
protest was met by M. de Freycinet, on January 16, 1886, with a speech,
in the course of which he calmly said, 'Let no one henceforth forget
that liberty to oppose the Government does not exist for the servants of
the State.'

That is to say, the Republican Government, which is itself the servant,
and the paid servant, of the State, will not permit any of its
fellow-servants and subordinates, who are also presumably French
citizens and taxpayers, to form and express at the polls any opinion on
public affairs differing from the opinions held by the ministers who
make up the Government.

It was upon this simple and beautiful principle that Mr. Tweed and his
colleagues consolidated the local administration of affairs of the city
of New York. Applied to the administration of the affairs of thirty-six
millions of people in France, it ought certainly to produce results far
transcending in splendour any achieved by the Tammany Ring. For M.
Gabriel Charmes is quite in the right when he says that 'under this word
of "epuration" lie concealed the most deplorable forms of personal
greed, and the least avowable personal spites and rancours.' Like other
clever devices, however, 'epuration' may possibly be carried too far. If
it comes to pass that no actual functionary thinks his head safe, while,
at the same time, every office the Government has to give represents a
dozen or twenty 'expurgated,' and therefore exasperated and disaffected,
previous holders of that office, the confidence of the garrison may be
shaken while the animosity of the assailants is intensified. This point
may possibly have been reached in France. If it has not been reached,
the influence of the Government upon the voters must be very formidable.
For the average French voter is hemmed in and hedged about by
innumerable small functionaries who have it in their power to oblige or
to disoblige him, to gratify or to vex him in all sorts of ways; and
though the ballot is supposed to be sacred and secret in France, it can
hardly be more sacred or more secret there than in other countries. And
whatever protection against annoyance the ballot may give to the voter,
nothing can protect the candidate.

What I have heard in other regions I hear in Artois, that nothing is so
difficult as to persuade men of position and character to take upon
themselves the troubles, and expose themselves to the inconveniences, of
an important political candidacy. There are a hundred ways in which a
triumphant Administration conducted on the principles of the 'epuration'
policy may harass and annoy an unsuccessful banner-bearer of the
Opposition. The question of expense is another obstacle in the way of a
thorough organisation of public opinion against such a Government.

An average outlay of 400,000 francs per department would be required, I
was told by an experienced friend in Paris, adequately to put into the
line of political battle all the departments of France, large and small
together. As there are eighty-three departments in France, this gives us
a total of 33,200,000 francs, or some 1,300,000_l._ sterling, as the
cost of a thorough political campaign against an established French
Government. If we suppose each deputy to make a personal contribution of
20,000 francs to this war-chest, that will give us only about one-third
of the necessary amount. The rest must be made up by the personal
contributions of public-spirited citizens, and my own observation of
public affairs, going back, now, over a good many lively and interesting
political conflicts in the United States, leads me to believe that
liberal contributions of this sort are, as a rule, more easily collected
by the beneficiaries of a more or less unscrupulous Government actually
in power, than by the disinterested advocates of a real political
reformation.

We wound up the day of the Conference with a delightful little dinner at
St.-Quentin. The traditions of the old French _cuisine_ are not yet
extinct in the provinces, nor, for that matter, in the private life of
the true Parisians of Paris. They all centre in the famous saying of
Brillat-Savarin, that a man may learn how to cook, but must be born to
roast--a saying worthy of the philosophic magistrate who, coming to
America, under the impression that he was to be fed upon roots and raw
meat, went back to France convinced that a New England roast turkey and
an Indian pudding were not to be matched in the old world. It is one of
the many curious things of this curious world of the nineteenth century,
that a _cuisine_ of made dishes of which Grimod de La Reynière long ago
gave us the origin, in the downfall of the kitchens of the
prince-bishops along the Rhine, should be gravely and generally accepted
by Frenchmen themselves, or at least by the Parisians of literature and
the boulevards, as the national _cuisine_ of France. The charming
daughter of my host at St.-Quentin knew better; and she received with a
graceful, housewifely satisfaction the neatly-turned compliments which
one of the guests was old-fashioned and sensible enough to pay her upon
the skill of her cook.

The city of Aire-sur-la-Lys itself, like St.-Omer, shows traces still of
its connection with Flanders and with Spain. I do not know if it is true
of Aire as M. Lauwereyns de Roosendaele, writing about Jacqueline
Robins, declares it to be of St.-Omer, that there are people there, even
now, who think of the days of the Spanish rule as the 'good old times.'
But there is a certain Castilian stateliness about the older buildings
of Aire; and the portals of the larger residences, leading from the
street into charming secluded courts, gay with trees and flowers, remind
one of the zaguans of the Andalusian houses. Very Spanish, too, is the
Jesuit Church, despite some extraordinary decorations due to the zeal of
its more recent possessors.

The Flemish past of the city is commemorated especially by a very
remarkable little building known as the Corps de Garde, and by certain
portions of the Church of St.-Pierre.

Aire formerly had a cathedral, but during the worst period of the Terror
that exemplary ruffian, Joseph Lebon of Arras, the unfrocked priest, who
organised pillage and massacre throughout the Pas-de-Calais, frightened
the good people of Aire into a frenzy of destruction and devilry. The
Church of St.-Pierre was then a collegiate church, but it was turned
over to the worship of the Supreme Being invented by Robespierre,
desecrated and defaced and left in a deplorable state. It had already
suffered, like so many other churches all over France and England, from
the ingenious 'restorers' of the eighteenth century, who have left their
sign-manual on the upper part of the edifice and on the mass of a huge
organ loft which crushes and disfigures the main entrance. The greater
part of the building is of the fifteenth century; and it has been
restored within our own times as tastefully and effectively as in the
circumstances was possible, under the supervision and in part, I
believe, at the cost of a devoted and conscientious curate, a member of
a Scotch family long fixed in Artois, the Abbé Scott, who took charge of
the church at the end of the reign of Charles X. and who now lies buried
in the building he did so much to preserve. It is a very considerable
church, measuring three hundred feet in length and a hundred-and-twenty
in width; with a height of seventy feet in the main nave. The ogival
windows are filled with rich, stained glass; all the ancient monuments
which escaped the fury of 1793 have been excellently restored, and the
church bears witness in its condition to the active piety of the
faithful of Aire.

The 'Corps de Garde' is a quadrilateral jewel of Flemish architecture of
the end of the sixteenth century. It was of old the central point of the
city, where the armed citizens met who patrolled the streets like the
burghers of Rembrandt's magnificent 'Ronde de Nuit.' A gallery runs
round it of arcades, and brickwork supported by monolithic columns.
Above these arcades runs a frieze of trophies of arms with the
attributes of St. James--the mayor of the city in whose time it was
built bore the name of this apostle--and the cross of Burgundy.

The principal façade fronts the 'Grande Place,' and is surmounted by a
picturesque pointed roof. An attic storey, running all around the
building, is richly decorated with sculptures of the Theological and
Cardinal Virtues, the Four Elements, and the patron saints of Aire--St.
Nicholas and St. Anthony. On another façade is the sculptured niche, now
vacant, wherein stood a statue of the Virgin, before which all the
great processions, civic and military, were used to halt and do
obeisance.

In 1482, after the death of Charles the Bold, Louis XI. of France
succeeded, 'by treachery and corruptions,' in annexing Aire for a time
to the French crown, and the local records give a picturesque account of
a French tournament held here in 1492, the year of the discovery of
America, under the auspices of no less a person than the Chevalier 'sans
peur et sans reproche.' Pierre du Terrail, dit le Bayard, came to Aire
on July 19 in that year, and at once sent a trumpeter to proclaim
through all the streets and squares that on the morrow, being July 20,
he would hold a tournay under the walls of Aire, for all comers, 'of
three charges with the lance, the steel points dulled; and twelve sword
strokes to be exchanged, with no lists drawn, and on horseback in
harness of battle.' The next day the combat to be renewed 'afoot with
the lance until the breaking of the lance, and after that with the
battle-axe so long as the judges might think fit.' The chroniclers
celebrate in superlatives the valour and skill shown by the hero in
these gentle and joyous assaults of arms, and the beauty of the Artesian
dames and damsels who thronged from all the country round into Aire to
witness the tournay, and take part in the dances and banquets which
followed it. But the hearts of the people were evidently Flemish and
Spanish, not French; for they hailed the restoration of the Austrian
authority by Charles the Fifth with all manner of rejoicings. Charles,
with his usual sagacity, confirmed all the ancient rights and privileges
of the city and its corporations, which had been a good deal disturbed
under the centralising rule of the French sovereigns, and a record of
the year 1538 tells us that on the proclamation in that year of the
truce of Borny, the Austrian authorities paid the treasurer of the city
'lxxviii. sols' for silver money 'thrown in joy to the people.' The
treasurer himself seems to have been so enthusiastic on this occasion
that he threw his own cap after the silver money, for the record adds a
further payment to him 'for a certain cap belonging to him, which was
likewise thrown to the people.' All the records of this age at Aire are
picturesque with lively accounts of all manner of junketings, carousals,
and festivities, and the good people seem to have passed no small part
of their lives in merry-making. There is a curious entry on the occasion
of the marriage of the Archduke Philip to Mary of England. This
auspicious event was celebrated at Aire by a grand procession, followed
by 'songs and ballads in honour of the married pair;' and the treasurer
paid to 'Johan Gallant, goldsmith, iiii. livres iiii. sols for the
silver presents, to wit, an eagle, a leopard, a lion, and a fool--all in
silver--which were given to those who made the songs, ballads, and games
in honour of the said good news!'

Like Calais, St.-Omer, and other cities of this region, Aire offered a
refuge in 1553 to the unfortunate inhabitants of the ancient historic
city of Thérouanne, which, after a heroic defence by d'Essé de
Montmorency, was taken in that year, five days after the death on the
ramparts of the gallant commander, by the troops of Charles the Fifth,
and by his orders razed to the ground. The details of this merciless
destruction recall the sack of Rome by the Imperialists; and it is the
blackest feature in the black record of the First French Revolution that
the men who then got control for a time of the government of France, in
the names of Liberty and Progress, deliberately and wantonly rivalled
the most unscrupulous of the kings and emperors whom they were
constantly denouncing, in their treatment, not of foreign fortresses
conquered in war, but of French cities, of the lives and the property of
French citizens, and of the most precious monuments of French history.
Charles the Bold at Dinant and Charles the Fifth at Thérouanne were
outdone, in the prostituted name of the French people, by the younger
Robespierre at Toulon and by the paralytic Couthon at Lyons.

The annals of these north-eastern cities of modern France are full of
most curious and valuable materials for a really instructive history of
the French people. The most cursory acquaintance with them suffices to
show how much worse than worthless are the huge political pamphlets
which during the last hundred years have passed current with the world
as histories of the French Revolution, and how important to the future,
not of France alone but of civilisation, is the work begun in our own
times by writers like Mortimer-Ternaux, Granier de Cassagnac,
Baudrillart, Biré, and Henri Taine. Here in Artois, under the
conflicting influences of Flemish, Spanish, and French laws and customs,
a genuine development of social and political life may be traced as
clearly as in Scotland or in England, down to the sudden and violent
strangulation of French progress by the incompetent States-General and
the not less incompetent king in 1789.

The archives of Aire show that the question of public education was a
practical question there, at least as far back as at the beginning of
the seventeenth century. In 1613, the magistrates asked and obtained the
permission of the Archduke Albert and the Archduchess Isabella to lay a
special tax on the city of Aire and two adjoining villages, for the
purpose of founding a college, private citizens having already given an
endowment of 750 florins a year for this object. The importance of this
contribution may be estimated from the fact that after the siege of Aire
by the French in 1641, a sum of I,000 florins left to the Collegiate
Church of Aire by a canon of Tournay was found sufficient to restore the
chapel of Our Lady, the whole right wing of the church, and many houses
belonging to the canons, which had all been destroyed by the French
artillery. No time was lost in opening the college to the youth of the
city and the suburbs, and only a few years afterwards the priests in
charge of it wrote to the Seigneur de Thiennes, asking for further
endowments in order to increase the number of the teachers to twenty, so
great was the affluence of scholars from all the country around, 'to the
number at that time of more than three hundred.' The collegiate chapter
of Aire appointed one of its canons superintendent of the school, under
the title of the 'Ecolâtre.' There really seems to be as little
foundation in fact for the common notion that there was no provision
made for the education of the people in France before 1789, as for the
notion, not less common, that there were no peasant proprietors in
France before 1789. It is hardly excusable even that Mr. Carlyle,
rhapsodising more than fifty years ago about the 'dumb despairing
millions,' should have fallen into this error. For though De Tocqueville
and Taine had not then exploded it in detail, Necker, in whose career
Carlyle took so much interest, not only declared officially that there
was 'an immense number' of such proprietors in France, but took the
trouble to explain how it had come about. The law of 1790 establishing
the land-tax required every parish to furnish a detailed account of the
then existing properties in land, and it is shown by these that there
then existed in France nearly two-thirds as many landholders as now
exist, although the population of the country is now about twenty-five
per cent. greater than it then was.



CHAPTER V.

IN THE SOMME.


  AMIENS

By turns English, French, and Burgundian, Upper Picardy, of which Amiens
was the capital, became definitely French under the astute policy of
Louis XI. The Calaisis and the Boulonnais, with Ponthieu and Vimieu,
eventually constituted what was called Lower Picardy, and the whole
province, divided under the Bourbons into the two 'generalities' of
Amiens and Soissons, formed before 1789 one of the twelve great
departments of the monarchy, and was brought under the domain of the
Parliament of Paris.

The city of Amiens, associated now, I fear, chiefly, in the English and
American mind, with 'twenty minutes' stop' on the way between Calais and
Paris, and with a buffet which perhaps entitles it to be called the
Mugby Junction of France, is really one of the most interesting of
French cities. No student of Ruskin can need to be told that its
glorious cathedral makes it one of the most interesting, not of French
only, but of European cities; and two or three excellent small hotels
make it a most comfortable as well as a most instructive midway station,
not for 'twenty minutes,' but for a couple of days, between the capitals
of England and France. Arthur Young found it so a hundred years ago,
when he encountered there the illustrious Charles James Fox returning to
London from a visit to the Anglomaniac Due d' Orléans, in the company
of a charming 'Madame Fox,' of whom Arthur Young and London had no
previous cognisance.

Like Dijon, and Nancy, and Toulouse, and Rennes, and Rouen, Amiens still
wears that 'look of a capital' which is as unmistakeable, if also as
undefinable, as Hazlitt found the 'look of a gentleman' to be. York and
Exeter, for example, in England, have this look, while Liverpool and
Hull have it not. There are traces of the Spaniards in Amiens, as there
are wherever that most Roman of all the Latin peoples has ever passed,
and the curious _hortillonages_ of Amiens, which may be roughly
described as a kind of floating kitchen gardens, remind one so strongly
of the much more picturesque Chinampas of Mexico as to suggest the
impression that the idea of establishing them may have come hither by
way of Spain.

At the present time, Amiens is a point of no small political interest.
It is the bailiwick of one of the few really notable men of the actual
Republican party in France--- M. Goblet--and yet it is one of the
strongholds of Boulangism. There is an old song, the refrain of which,
as I heard it sung, more years ago than I care to recall, always haunts
me when I visit this ancient city:--

  Vive un Picard, vive un Picard,
  Quand il s'agit de tete!

The Picards have always shown, not only sense, but a kind of stubborn
independence of character. In the days of anarchy which came upon France
with the brief but ill-omened triumph of the Girondins, Amiens was the
first of the French provincial cities to resist and denounce the too
successful attempt of Danton and the commune of Paris to terrorise
France by a skilful abuse of the imbecility of Roland. The authorities
of Amiens were the first to protest against the outrageous pretensions
of the 'commissioners,' who came there with Roland's commissions in one
hand, and the secret instructions of Roland's colleague and master,
Danton, in the other, to pillage the property of the inhabitants under
the pretence of gathering supplies for the national defence, and to
establish an irresponsible local despotism under the pretence of
suppressing 'treason.' To them, in the first instance, belongs the
credit of compelling Roland to get up before the Assembly on September
17, 1792, and confess that he had 'signed in the council commissions
without knowing anything about the commissioners who were to use them;'
and to them, therefore, in the first instance, history is indebted for
the formal record which shows that the actual fall of the French
monarchy was followed, and its formal abolition preceded, by the letting
loose upon France of a swarm of scoundrels, who filled 'the prisons with
prisoners as to whom no one knew by whom they were arrested; who gave
over to pillage the treasures accumulated in the Tuileries, and in the
houses of the emigrant aristocracy; who conveyed away everything which
could tempt the cupidity of a subaltern, without any record whatever;
and who were delivering over Paris and France to the most absurd folly
and the most insatiable greed.' It was not the fault of Amiens if the
efforts of Mazuyer and Kersaint demanding a law to show 'whether the
French nation was sovereign, or the Commune of Paris,' and the sonorous
eloquence of Vergniaud denouncing the 'citizens of Paris' as the 'slaves
of the vilest scoundrels alive,' only led in the end to making France
herself for a time the slave of these same 'vilest scoundrels alive.'

In more recent times, Amiens received and entertained Gambetta on his
way by balloon from Paris to Tours. I asked the veteran Count Léon de
Chassepot, who for years was regularly returned at every election at the
head of the municipal councillors of Amiens, how the people received
Gambetta on that memorable occasion. His answer was that there really
was no 'reception.' Gambetta came down in his balloon at a little place
some way off, between Amiens and Montdidier, and when he reached Amiens
he was too tired and hungry to think of 'receiving' people or making
speeches. Count Léon de Chassepot had nothing, I believe, to do with the
invention of the guns which bear his name. But he has a glance like a
rifle-shot, and at fourscore years 'Spring still makes spring in the
mind' of this vivacious veteran. I asked him how Amiens behaved when the
news came there of the capture of Paris by the revolutionists of
September 4, 1870. Was the new republic hailed with enthusiasm?
'Enthusiasm!' he said scornfully; 'why should it be? The people of
Amiens were thinking of fighting the Prussians, not of upsetting the
Government! They received the news with stupefaction, as a matter of
little consequence in comparison with the invasion. The disaster of
Sedan had afflicted them profoundly. The Empire was popular in Picardy.
At the municipal elections which took place in Amiens just after the
declaration of war--early in August 1870, that is--the Imperialist
candidates had all been elected by overwhelming majorities. M. Goblet,
now so prominent in the Republican counsels, made his appearance then as
an anti-governmental candidate, together with M. Petit, the present
Radical mayor of Amiens. M. Goblet got 530 votes, and M. Petit 423. They
were the leading persons on that side, and the leading persons on the
side of the Government received, respectively, 5,099 and 4,964 votes.
This being the temper of the good people of Amiens at that time, you
will understand that they were more astounded than pleased by the
so-called revolution of September in Paris. But they were more patriotic
than the people of Paris, and they acquiesced in the overthrow of the
Government to show a united front to the enemy. He was within striking
distance of Amiens, by the way, and the boulevardiers unfortunately
thought that Paris was out of his reach.'

The first act of the revolutionists of September, it appears, was to
disorganise as far as they could the public service by removing the
prefects, and putting their own people into place and power. They sent a
certain M. Lardière down post-haste to Amiens to take the place of the
then prefect of the Somme, M. de Guigné, and that was all they did to
defend Amiens!

In the course of a pleasant morning spent with M. Ansart, a gentleman of
high character and position in Amiens, and with several of his friends,
I heard much that was interesting as to this critical period. The
attitude of the leading men throughout Picardy seems to have been in
complete conformity with M. de Chassepot's account of the bearing of the
city of Amiens. The mayor of a commune not far from Amiens, a marquis
and a leading Imperialist, on getting the news of the political
somersault executed at Paris, read out the bulletin to the people from
the mairie, reminded them that the enemy were sure to come into Picardy,
and then exclaimed, 'Well, my friends, since it seems we are in a
republic, Long live the Republic!'

This was the general feeling of good men everywhere at that time in
France. Said one gentleman, a landed proprietor from Brittany, 'Nobody
out of Paris who had a head on his shoulders approved what had been
done in Paris. But by common consent a great blank credit was opened for
the Republic all over France. If the Republicans would do their duty to
France, not as party men but as patriots, France was ready to accept
them. It is their own fault, and their fault alone, that the men who
made this change at Paris went to pieces so fast in the public
estimation. It is the fault of the Republicans, and their fault alone,
that now, after nearly eighteen years, they are an offence to sensible
and liberal men from one end of France to the other.'

The new prefect sent down from Paris turned out to be a wind-bag. By the
middle of November it became clear that Amiens must fall into the power
of the enemy. The new prefect launched a ridiculous proclamation,
blazing with adjectives, at the advancing Teutons, and then one fine
night got out of the way as fast as possible, leaving the city and the
department of the Somme to face the wrath of the not very placable
conquerors.

On November 28, the Prussians occupied the city, one French officer,
Commandant Vogel, falling at his post, which he refused to surrender.
Count Lehndorff, appointed to be German Prefect of the Somme, came down
upon the people heavily for war contributions, which were raised under
the management of M. Dauphin, who had been the Imperialist mayor of the
city ever since 1868, and who has of late years been a conspicuous
Republican. As peace drew near, Amiens had to borrow five millions of
francs, for which M. Dauphin agreed the city should pay M. Oppenheim of
Brussels a commission of 10 per cent., and issued its obligations at
7-1/2 per cent. for fifty years.

Naturally the Germans are not much liked at Amiens. Count de Chassepot
thinks the Picards in general really want war with Germany. They turned
out very generally during the contest. He commanded a battalion of
National Guards who turned out in full force, not a man missing, though
they were armed with wretched old muskets, and perfectly understood what
that must lead to for them. On making his rounds very early in the
morning, he found, in an advanced post, at a point of great danger, a
picket, a _sentinelle perdue_, who proved to be one of the most
respectable men in Amiens, the first president of the Upper Court of the
city, nearly sixty years of age, doing his duty as a private soldier.
'In a hospital here,' said M. de Chassepot, 'I have six hundred
patients. Every man of them is eager for another turn with the Germans.'

I was anxious to learn when and how it was that M. Goblet, just now the
leading Republican personage of this part of France, began to appear
conspicuously on the horizon. 'Not till Gambetta's new social strata
began to appear,' I was told. This was in 1874. The finances of the
city, left in a sad condition by the war, had been put into order by the
municipal council which was elected during the German occupation in
1871; the public works had been restored, fine barracks built, and a
sufficient number of school-houses. In return for those services the
councillors who had rendered them were turned out in 1874, M. Dauphin
among them, by the newly-organised 'Union républicaine.' This put M.
Goblet at last into the council with his ally, M. Petit, the latter
being the editor of a Radical journal, the _Progrès de la Somme_, which
the military governor of Paris had ordered to be suppressed early in
1874, for its attacks on the then President, Marshal MacMahon. In 1876
M. Goblet became mayor of Amiens.

'The very next year, when the contest began between Gambetta as head of
the Union of the Left and the President of the Republic, M. Goblet threw
himself as ex-mayor of Amiens openly on the side of the ex-dictator,
and made such speeches that he was dismissed from his office by the
President in June 1877.'

'Did he like this?'

'No, he didn't like it at all. As Minister of the Interior, in more
recent times, M. Goblet has knocked off the heads of a great number of
mayors. But when his own head was knocked off in 1877, he loudly and
scornfully denounced all municipal officers who would stoop to accept
their positions from the national government.'

'In that you have the whole character of M. Goblet,' said another
gentleman. 'I have known him from childhood. He is not a bad man, and,
as you know, he is a man of ability, one of the very few able men to be
found acting with President Carnot. But he is very vain, very ambitious,
very excitable. As the associate of Petit, who is a rampant atheist, and
of the anti-clericals generally, he has to pose as an unbeliever; but he
is, in fact, nothing of the sort. His wife is a good woman, and he goes
in great awe of her, which I think to his credit. I think if he felt his
health suffering he would go to confession in a quiet way by night, just
as the Gambetta prefect ran away from the Prussians in 1871. When the
grand funeral of Admiral Courbet took place at Abbeville, and it was
announced that Monseigneur Freppel would come and deliver the funeral
service over that noble Christian sailor and patriot, the victim of
Ferry, M. Goblet was in a dreadful state of mind. He said to me, "I
think I shall not attend the funeral." "Pray why?" "Well, I wish to
attend it, but I am sure that Bishop Freppel will say things offensive
to me." "Pray accept my congratulations," I replied; "you really are in
great luck that the first orator in France should take the trouble to
come all the way to Picardy expressly to insult you on such an
occasion!" So he thought better of it and attended, and his sensible
wife afterwards thanked me for preventing her husband from behaving like
a donkey.'

'An excellent woman, Madame Goblet!'

'Her husband owes her much, and he has some good friends. Comte de
Chassepot prevented him from playing the stupid farce of a Roman son by
sacrificing his father's funeral to a discussion on the laicisation of
the schools; for, seeing what he had in his mind, Comte de Chassepot
simply moved an adjournment of the council. His evil genius is M. Petit,
now a senator, the present mayor of Amiens. I have caught M. Goblet
offering the holy water with his hand behind my back to his wife; but M.
Petit is an outspoken unbeliever, and a very type of the anti-christian
demagogue.'

Upon this he told me a story which, as it is certainly typical of the
proceedings taken against religion all over France by functionaries of
M. Petit's way of thinking, I shall set down here.

In 1869 all the crosses and stones in the cemetery of the Madeleine at
Amiens set up on graves held by temporary concessions had to be removed
by reason of the lapse of these concessions. The then mayor and
municipal council had them sold, and ordered the proceeds to be spent in
erecting a large and beautiful cross with an image of the Saviour, and
an inscription stating that this crucifix was erected in memory of all
the dead buried in the cemetery whose crosses and tombs had been
removed. This crucifix, called the 'Calvary of the Poor,' was thus a
touching monument of the family affection of the poor among the people
of Amiens. Outraged by this symbol, the Radical mayor of Amiens caused
this Calvary to be dismantled, in the night of November 10, 1880, and
the crosses to be sawn in pieces and thrown away beyond the limits of
the cemetery. Surely this is an advance beyond Robespierre, and even
beyond the senseless Vandalism which solemnly ordered the destruction of
the tombs of the kings and heroes of France. Even Robespierre, when
Cambon made his proposal that the Convention should violate the public
faith pledged by the Constituent Assembly to the support of the French
clergy by the State in exchange for the seizure by the State of the
property of the Church, had sense enough to say, in a letter to his
constituents opposing the project, that 'to attack religion directly was
to strike a blow at the morals of the people.' I am not surprised to be
told that, notwithstanding the support given him by the central
government of the Republic at Paris, this worthy mayor has speedily lost
popularity even with his own Radical party, and that in the most recent
elections he barely escaped defeat. 'He is ensconced, though,
comfortably as senator,' said my shrewd informant, 'and I dare say he
will see his friend, M. Goblet, turned out of the Chamber! So--what does
he care? His zeal against the Calvary in Amiens may hurt him with the
poor people upon whose faith and whose affections he tramples; but, like
his brutal expulsion of the Sisters from their schools and hospitals,
and his truculence towards the religious processions in which the
Picards delight, it recommends him to the clique who have got our poor
France into their clutches at Paris, and who pose before all the gaping
world at the Universal Exposition as friends of Liberty and Progress!'

The laicisation of the schools has been pushed forward at Amiens, as
elsewhere. It began under M. Spuller, now Minister of Foreign Affairs,
who was made Prefect of the Somme in 1879. M. Goblet, who had then been
mayor for a year, resigned, to become under-secretary in the Ministry of
Justice, and the prefect put M. Delpech in his place. Everything, it
will be seen, was moved from the centre at Paris.

'This M. Delpech and his associates,' said one of my informants, 'began
the laicisation of the boys' schools. They were men who would not think
of picking a man's pocket, but see how they behaved in this business!

'There were six primary schools at Amiens conducted by the Christian
Brothers. Five of these had always been so conducted, and the sixth for
twenty years. The Christian Brothers agreed to give up this sixth
school, M. Petit promising them that, if they did this, they should not
be disturbed in the others. Very soon this promise was broken, and they
were turned out of the school of Notre-Dame. Then a charge was brought
against one of the brethren of the school of St.-Leu. It was serious and
went before the Assize Court, where the accused was promptly acquitted.
But this took time, and while the proceedings were pending, our
admirable M. Petit sent in a report to the Council recommending that the
Brethren be dismissed from their four remaining schools. On August 26,
1879, the Council adopted this report, and within a week M. Spuller, the
prefect, issued an order of expulsion, "in obedience," as he wrote, "to
the resolution of the Municipal Council of Amiens, and to the wishes of
the population."'

M. Spuller appears to be a true disciple of Robespierre, who, in his
famous socialistic speech before the Convention, affirming that bread,
meat, and all provisions are not private, but common, property, laid
down the maxim that, 'even if the measures proposed as their desire by
the people are not necessary in the eyes of law-makers, they should be
adopted.' _Civium ardor prava jubentium_ is a moral law for legislators
of this admirable school.

I should note by the way that these Brethren, thus expelled summarily,
were refused payment of their already fixed salaries for the month of
September.

A debate ensuing, the question was finally remitted to M. Jules Ferry,
'Grand Master of the University of France,' who decided that the
salaries were indeed due and the property of the Brethren, but that, as
the work could not be done by reason of their expulsion, the salaries
need not be paid!

Furthermore, the municipality appraised the school furniture, which had
been bought and paid for by the Brethren, and having ascertained its
value, decided--that it belonged to the municipality!

Will my readers think the expression of M. Fleury, an accomplished
journalist of Amiens, to whom I am indebted for these details, at all
too vigorous, when he described these proceedings as 'exactly defined in
the French Dictionary, and in the 379th article of the Penal Code, under
the word "theft"'?

In August 1880, on the refusal of the Sisters in charge of the girls'
school to take their pupils to an 'obligatory festival' during the time
fixed on Sunday for divine service, M. Petit, the municipal Emperor
Julian of Amiens, moved for 'the immediate laicisation of all the girls'
schools in Amiens.' This was too much even for M. Goblet, who, to his
credit, not only protested but voted against the proposition. It was,
however, carried. M. Goblet and six other councillors withdrew,
including the mayor, M. Delpech; and M. Petit thus became, by seniority,
mayor of Amiens.

'When this happened,' said a citizen of Amiens to me, 'and M. Petit was
thus put in charge of the rights and the property of the Sisters, it had
been perfectly well known for ten years that, by the Parliamentary
Inquest of 1871 into the story of the Commune of Paris, M. Petit had
been proved to be the founder at Amiens of the secret society known as
the "International," and yet he was never prosecuted, and he is now a
senator of the Republic. How do you expect honest people, who respect
the ordinary laws of order and civilisation, to support a Republic which
accepts and promotes the members of such a society?

'On October 2, 1880, this remarkable mayor went in person with a
locksmith and some others to the communal girls' school of St.-Leu, then
managed by the Sisters. The Sisters had been already that day notified
to leave the school-buildings "the next day." M. Petit ordered them to
go out immediately. They showed the notification and declined to go till
the next day. The curate of St.-Leu, with his vicar and with a member of
the board of Churchwardens, came up and protested against this invasion
of the school. "Show me the documents proving this house to be the
property of the municipality," said the curate. M. Petit showed no
documents, but demanded the keys. The curate refused to give them up. M.
Petit ordered his locksmith to pick the locks, which was done, and then
turning to the curate shouted out, "As for you, if you are here when the
commissary comes, I will have you turned out by force." Upon this the
curate, a venerable old man, withdrew.

'From the school of St.-Leu our local Robespierrot drove to the girls'
school of St.-Jacques, sprang out of the municipal coach (paid for by
the public treasury), dashed into the house, and seated himself without
a word.

'One of the Sisters asked him civilly what he wished. "I wish you to get
out of this house," he replied, "We cannot possibly leave in this way,"
answered a Sister who has for years devoted herself to this work. "I
have nothing to say to you," he cried; "I want the Superior." The
Superior quietly came and informed the mayor that the church officers
had told her not to leave, excepting under force. "Very well, you shall
have force! If you are not all out of here by Tuesday, I will put you
all into the street!"

'Now observe the consequences to the taxpayer of Amiens! The Church of
St.-Leu, as it happens, owned the greater part of the school-buildings.
The church began proceedings against the city, and in August 1881, the
tribunal ordered the city to give up the buildings seized by this
adventurous mayor, and to withdraw its lay teachers. The upshot was that
the performances of M. Petit, in one way or another--although M. Goblet,
then in the ministry at Paris, came to the rescue of his demagogic
ally--cost the taxpayers, in round numbers, some fifty thousand francs.
Now you see why the laicising Republicans are so anxious to shake the
whole system of the French magistracy. There may be judges at Berlin. It
is not convenient there should be judges in Republican France!'

This recalled to me what I heard the other day at Calais about the
functionary decorated at Bapaume by President Carnot, because the
tribunal had given a decision against him in a case raised by certain
Christian Brothers whom he had unlawfully put out of property which,
under the law, belonged to them.

'You think that a remarkable case!' said the Picard friend to whom I
mentioned it. 'It is an everyday affair. Wait a minute! Let me show you
the documents in regard to a performance of our worthy mayor and
senator, which throws President Carnot into the shade. They are as
amusing, too, as they are instructive, and I will give you copies of
them which you may use as you like. You tell me people in England and
America have no idea of what is going on in France? I assure you that
people in France who know what is going on around them, have no idea of
what it all means, or of what it must lead to in the end.

'Sometimes I think we were so stunned as a nation by the invasion and
the Commune that we are still staggering about like a man knocked on the
head in a dark road.

'But let me tell you the tale of M. Petit and Mademoiselle Colombel.
Mademoiselle Colombel was a lay teacher at the head of one of our
schools, the school of the Petit St.-Jean. I don't quite see, by the
way,' he observed, 'why M. Petit and his squad have not changed the
names of these schools. In Paris, you know, they had the courage to
change the name of one of the great lyceums into the Lyceum Lakanal. To
be sure it didn't stay changed very long, for even Paris--which suffers
one of its boulevards to commemorate that wretched creature Victor
Noir--wouldn't stand Lakanal. But to infect the minds of children with
the names of little Saints--surely this is a monstrous thing! Well,
Mademoiselle Colombel lost her temper one day, and tried to find it
about the person of one of her little pupils, with slaps, and pinches,
and other caresses of the kind. She was brought up before the police for
it, and sentenced to pay a small fine with costs. She appealed, but the
court confirmed the sentence of the police magistrate, who had acted
strictly within the law. What followed? This was in May 1885. Mdlle.
Colombel declared herself to be a persecuted martyr of "laicisation,"
and in that capacity called upon the mayor, M. Petit, for aid and
comfort. I believe they were old allies in the sacred cause. Be this as
it may, the mayor made himself her champion against the magistrate, and
wrote her, for public use, this letter. Pray print it. It is a great
thing for Amiens to possess a mayor, and for France to possess a
senator, who can write such a letter. It ought to have been sent to the
Exposition.

     '"Amiens, May 1885.

     '"Madame,--On the strength of calumnious imputations fomented by an
     Ulysses who could not console himself for the departure of Calypso,
     and complacently listened to, you have been prosecuted for cruelty
     to your pupils.

     '"After an inquiry as long and as voluminous as if the matter at
     issue had been a case for the Assize Court, this intrigue came to a
     miserable end before a simple police tribunal. From the moment,
     when, through a singular sort of suspicion about your natural
     judges, you were removed from the disciplinary action of your
     superiors, without any preliminary inquiry made by them, and,
     indeed, without apprising them of the matter, you should have been
     taken before the Courts. Nobody seemed to understand this, so you
     were condemned by default to pay a fine, trifling indeed, but so
     imposed as to take from you the right of appeal. Be this as it may,
     since some of the law officers of the Republic are ready to revive
     against the lay instructors of our schools, the methods of the law
     officers of the Empire, it is well your colleagues should know
     that, whilst I am at the head of the municipal administration of
     Amiens, they shall not be given over defenceless to the rancour of
     the clerical world, its dupes, or its accomplices. I have therefore
     the honour to inform you that I not only relieve you from all the
     costs of your case, but that, in order to soothe the trouble it may
     have caused you, I grant you an indemnity of one hundred francs!

     '"Against the sentence which condemned you put this proof of esteem
     and sympathy. Honest people and Republicans will think this
     testimony at least as good as any other. Accept, Madame, the
     assurances of my most distinguished consideration.

      '"The Mayor of Amiens,

         '"FRÉDÉRIC PETIT."'

'Ulysses bewailing the departure of Calypso is charming, is it not?'
said my friend. 'M. Petit is a cotton-velvet manufacturer, and his
classics are cotton classics. But what do you say to the applause of
"honest people" acclaiming a mayor who puts his hand into the public
treasury and makes a present out of it to soothe the injured feelings of
a schoolmistress fined by a public tribunal for ill-treating her pupils?
Can you ask for a more flagrant illustration of the state to which this
Republic is bringing our public services? And the mayor who wrote this
letter, and took this money out of the public treasury, and offered this
open insult to the tribunals of the city of Amiens, has since then been
made a senator of the Republic, with the help and concurrence of M.
Dauphin, then First President of our Courts, whose plain official duty
it was to revoke his commission as mayor as soon as this letter was
published! With such men as this in the French Senate do you wonder the
country laughs at senatorial courts of justice? I have no great opinion
of General Boulanger, though I have as good an opinion of him as of M.
Clémenceau, who invented him. But really is it not grotesque to see such
cotton-velvet senators as this mayor of Amiens going about to decide
questions of fidelity to public duty? Take my word for it' he continued,
'it is the direct personal knowledge which the people have of just such
personages as the mayor of Amiens all over France, which makes
two-thirds of the popular strength of General Boulanger. If the Senate
and the Government succeed in putting about the impression that General
Boulanger is no better than they are, they will no doubt weaken him with
the people, but they will not strengthen themselves. This Third Republic
is dying, not of any passion for the monarchy, not even of the
Imperialist legend, which is very strong in the country--more because
France was so prosperous under the third Napoleon than because France
dominated Europe under the first Napoleon: it is dying of popular
contempt. It is dying of the Goblets, the Petits, the Dauphins. They are
to be found all over France--under different names--yes--but always the
same: shallow, vain, vulgar sycophants of universal suffrage while they
are out of place, bullies and traders when they are in power. And then!'
he exclaimed after a pause, 'what most exasperates me is that they are
such a pack of wordmongers, for ever ranting about things which may have
intoxicated our grandfathers in 1792--they don't seem to me to have
invented gunpowder, our grandfathers!--but which simply make sensible
men sick to-day.

'Wait a moment! Let me complete the picture of our model Picard
Republican senator for you. The Comte de Chassepot told you the story,
did he not, of the Calvary in the cemetery of the Madeleine? Yes. But he
did not show you the correspondence about it between the bishop and this
charlatan of twopenny Atheism? No? Well it is a tit-bit, and I give it
to you! Petit sent his order to the keeper of the cemetery of the
Madeleine in November 1880, to raze the cross, saw off the arms, and
detach from it the image of Christ. He was then, observe, not really
mayor of Amiens, but only mayor by reason of the refusal of his senior
to serve in the office.

'The work was done at night. The cross was destroyed. The image of the
Saviour was thrown into a shed.

'Two days afterwards, the Bishop of Amiens wrote this letter to the
Prefect of the Somme, Spuller, the same person who is now--heaven save
the mark!--Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic!

     '"Amiens: Nov. 12, 1880.

     '"Mr. Prefect,--A most deplorable incident--indeed a grave
     scandal--has just taken place at the cemetery of the Madeleine, and
     is exciting, with too much reason, the strongest and most painful
     feelings among the people of Amiens.

     '"The figure of our Saviour Christ, set up there in very special
     circumstances, and with a solemn ceremony in which more than 30,000
     spectators took part, was clandestinely thrown down and taken away
     the night before last. It is impossible for me to imagine that the
     authorities can have ordered such a thing to be done.

     '"I must request you, Mr. Prefect, to order an inquiry to be made
     into this inexplicable affair, and to cause the authors of the act
     to be prosecuted according to law. Please accept the assurance of
     my respectful regard.

        '"[Illustration] AIME VICTOR-FRANCIS,
            '"Bishop of Amiens."

'To this letter, written by the highest ecclesiastical authority of the
chief city of his préfecture--will you believe it?--M. Spuller, who is
after all not a perfectly illiterate person like Petit, actually made no
reply!

'But the cotton-velvet bagman of blasphemy three days afterwards,
reading in the papers the letter of Bishop Guilbert, burst into print
with this incredible but most instructive effusion, addressed to his
friend the Prefect:

     '"Amiens: Nov. 15, 1880.

     '"Mr. Prefect,--I find this morning in the journals of the
     bishopric the text of a letter addressed to you by the Bishop of
     Amiens in regard to the suppression of the Catholic emblem placed
     at the entrance of the general cemetery of the Madeleine.

     '"It was by my order, and my written order, that the Christ of the
     Madeleine was removed. The only failure to comply with my orders
     was that the operation was performed in the evening after the
     cemetery was closed, instead of in the morning as I had directed.
     In acting thus, I have shown great tolerance; for, in virtue of
     Article 13 of the Law of the 7th Vendémiaire of the Year IV.,
     circumscribed in its application, but not abrogated by the Law of
     the 18th Germinal year X., as is shown by a ministerial decree of
     the 7th Fructidor following: 'No sign special to any religion can
     be raised, fixed, and attached in any place whatever, so as to
     strike the eyes of citizens, except in an enclosure intended for
     the exercises of this religion, or in the interior of private
     houses, in the studios or warehouses of artists or merchants, or in
     public edifices destined to contain monuments of the arts."'

'Then followed a dozen pages of similar twaddle, meant to show that the
mayor of Amiens was a most tolerant prince, in that he had not ordered
the destruction of every cross set up on a private grave!

'Of course all these laws of the First Republic were long ago shot into
space under the Consulate and the Empire, and of course, even if they
had not been shot into space, a consecrated cemetery is an "enclosure
intended for the exercises of religion." But what did that signify to M.
Petit, who, in a public speech the year after, boasted that he "had not
been married in church, and that his children had never been baptized."

'Did all this give the man any right to destroy and carry away a costly
piece of artistic work, the property of the city?'

Obviously, it is as absurd to expect peace and order in France under a
republic in which men like M. Petit, and M. Spuller, and M. Dauphin, and
M. Goblet are leading friends of the Government, as it would have been
to expect peace and order in the England of the seventeenth century,
when churchwardens--as at Banbury, for example--went about breaking at
night into the churches confided to their care, and smashing the statues
of the saints and defacing the glorious monuments of the past.

After considering all these humours and graces of the most recent French
Republic, as set forth by the senatorial mayor of Amiens, for the
edification of Picardy and France, it was interesting to walk with Mr.
Ruskin from the Place de Périgord up the 'Street of the Three Pebbles,'
past the theatre and the Palais de Justice, to the south transept of
that glorious cathedral which has not as yet been taken down by night,
under the senatorial mayor or his friends the ministers, M. Spuller and
M. Yves Guyot. Why should this 'Parthenon of Gothic architecture,' as M.
Viollet-le-Duc calls it, be left standing when the Calvary of the poor
at Amiens is cast down and sawn in pieces?

For surely Mr. Ruskin, who has written many true and eloquent things,
has written nothing truer than these words with which he brings to a
close his remarkable paper called the 'Bible of Amiens':--

     'The life and gospel and power of Christianity are all written in
     the mighty works of its true believers, in Normandy and Sicily, on
     river-islets of France and in the river glens of England, on the
     rocks of Orvieto and by the sands of Arno. But of all, the
     simplest, completest, and most authoritative in its lessons to the
     active mind of Northern Europe, is this on the foundation-stones of
     Amiens. Believe it or not as you will--only understand how
     thoroughly it was once believed--and that all beautiful things were
     made and all brave deeds done in the strength of it--until what we
     may call "this present time," in which it is gravely asked whether
     religion has any effect on morals, by persons (senatorial and
     other) who have essentially no idea whatever of the meaning of
     either religion or morality.'



CHAPTER VI.

IN THE SOMME--_continued_


  AMIENS

Where party names are taken from persons, there we may be sure that the
people are either losing, or have never had, the political instincts
which alone can make popular government a government of law and order.
The Englishmen who are readiest to proclaim themselves 'Gladstonians,'
whatever may be their other merits, are hardly perhaps the most devoted
champions either of the British constitution as it is, or of strictly
constitutional reform. In France to-day, the Republican party is made up
of clans, each taking the name of its chief. There are Ferryists and
Clementists, as there were Gambettists; and the Government of the day is
putting forth all its strength to check the drift over of what I suppose
I may without impropriety call the Republican residuum into Boulangism.
Here in Amiens the tide seems to be too strong for the authorities at
Paris, and for that matter throughout the department of the Somme. At
the election nearly a year ago, on August 19, 1888, of a deputy to fill
the vacancy caused by the death of a Royalist member, M. de Berly,
General Boulanger came forward as a candidate and was elected by an
overwhelming majority. There are 160,400 electors in the department. Of
these, 121,955 voted. General Boulanger received 76,094 votes, and his
Republican competitor, M. Barnot, only 41,371, General Boulanger having
been elected at the same time for the Nord and the Charente-Inférieure.
General Boulanger resigned his seat and his Republican followers cast
their votes for a Royalist, General de Montauban, who was elected. In
the arrondissement of Amiens, with 57,527 registered voters, General
Boulanger had a majority, in 1888, of 15,274 voters, the whole vote
thrown there being 42,609. Yet, in 1881, on a total registration of
47,923 voters, the Republican candidates for Amiens, M. Goblet and M.
Dieu, were elected by a combined majority of 7,094 votes. If the
Boulangists carry Amiens, therefore, at the legislative election this
year, it may be taken for granted, I think, that M. Goblet and his
friend the senatorial mayor have not educated their fellow-citizens into
very staunch and trustworthy supporters of the Republic.

M. Fleury, the editor-in-chief of the Conservative _Echo de la Somme_,
who made a pretty thorough canvass of the department before the election
of August 19, 1888, gives me some curious details as to that election.

The monarchists, both royalists and imperialists, gave a general and
tacit, and in many cases an overt and active, support to General
Boulanger, their object being the same as his--to bring about a repeal
of the existing law of 1884, which was passed to prevent any real
revision of the constitution in a sense hostile to the existing
republican form of government. Of course if the people of the Somme had
really cared anything about the Republic as a form of government, they
ought to have defeated General Boulanger. It is the opinion of M. Fleury
that the people of the Somme, and indeed of Picardy, not only care
little or nothing about the Republic as a form of government, but
actually and by a considerable majority prefer some monarchical
form--probably, on the whole, the Empire.

They are not in the least likely to express this preference at the
polls, because, in common with the vast majority of the electors
throughout France, they have been born and brought up to take their form
of government from Paris. So long as the government at Paris--be it
royal, imperial, or republican--controls the executive, the people of
the provinces are extremely unlikely to make an emphatic effort of their
own to be rid of that government. If Louis Philippe, in 1848, would have
allowed Marshal Bugeaud to use the force at his command in Paris, the
Republic improvised in February of that year would have been strangled
before birth, to the extreme satisfaction of an enormous majority of the
French people. This was afterwards overwhelmingly shown by the election
of Louis Napoleon, when General Cavaignac, with all the advantage of the
control of the machinery of government at Paris, could secure only a
relatively insignificant popular vote at the polls against the
representative of the imperial monarchy. I spent the winter in Paris two
years afterwards as a youth, during my first tour in Europe, and I there
heard an American resident of Paris, well known at that time in the
world of French politics, Mr. George Sumner, a brother of the senator
from Massachusetts, relate in the _salon_ of M. de Tocqueville a curious
story of the days of February, which strikingly illustrates the
disposition of the French provinces at that time to take whatever Paris
might send them in the way either of administration or of revolution.

The king refused to let the Maréchal Duc d'Isly restore order (as there
is no doubt he could easily and quickly have done), on the ground that
he had received the Crown from the National Guard in Paris, and that he
would not allow it to be defended by the line against them. The recently
published letters of his very popular son, the Duc d'Orléans, prove
that, had that prince been then living, he probably would never have
allowed this scruple to stand in the way of averting a social and
political catastrophe. But the duc was in his untimely grave, and the
control of events fell most unexpectedly into the hands of a few men who
had no concerted plan of action, and, indeed, hardly knew whether they
were awake or dreaming. 'They proclaimed a republic,' said Mr. Sumner,
'because they did not know what else to do;' but they were in a state of
utter bewilderment at first, as to how they should get the republic
accepted by the provinces. A happy thought struck M. Armand Marrast. In
those days the French railway system was little developed. Most of the
mails from Paris were carried through the country by malles-postes and
diligences, and every evening an immense number of these coaches left
the central bureau for all parts of France. M. Marrast sent into all the
quarters of Paris and impounded, in one way or another, the services and
the paintpots of every house and furniture painter upon whom his people
could lay hands. These were all set to work upon the mail coaches. The
royal arms, with the Charter and the Crown, were painted over, and the
vehicles which, from Paris, carried to all parts of France the news of
the proclamation of the Republic carried everywhere also an outward and
visible sign of the establishment of the new government in the words
'République Française' brightly blazoned upon their panels.

I recalled this story to Mr. Sumner years afterwards in New York, and he
assured me not only that it was literally correct, but that he had been
consulted himself about it by M. Marrast at the time. This particular
device could not now be used as effectively. But, with the telegraph
wires and the telephones in its control, any government which may get
itself installed to-morrow in Paris would certainly have tremendous odds
in its favour, from one end of France to the other. The immense increase
of the French public debt under the republican administration since 1877
has correspondingly increased, all over France, the number of people
known as _petits rentiers_, who, having invested their savings, in part
or wholly, in the public securities, will be as quick to acquiesce in
any revolution which they believe to have been successful at Paris, as
they are slow to promote any revolution, no matter how desirable
otherwise a change in the government may seem to them to be. So long as
it is not shaken out of the public offices at Paris, the government of
the Republic may probably count upon this vast body of quiet people, as
confidently as the Empire counted upon it twenty years ago, or as the
monarchy or the dictatorship might count upon it to-morrow, were the
king or the dictator acclaimed in the capital.

M. Fleury cites one of General Boulanger's most active supporters, M.
Mermieix, as saying to him during the election in 1888, 'with a few
millions of francs, the liberty of the press and of public billsticking,
and three thousand rowdies, I can change the government of this country
in less than a year.'

The remark is slightly cynical. But the extreme anxiety of the
government of the Republic to get General Boulanger either into a prison
or out of Paris certainly goes far to justify the boast of M. Mermeix.

'I told General Boulanger at Doullens,' said M. Fleury, after going
thither in company with him from Amiens, 'that he was sure of his
election. My reason was that while I saw little real enthusiasm for him
at Amiens, none at all indeed among the middle classes, and no open
display of any on the part of the workmen, I found the peasants for him
almost to a man. They crowded about his railway carriage. They insisted
on shaking hands with him, many of them kissed his hand (that ancient
form of homage lingering still in their traditions), they fired off
guns, and, above all, the women held up their children to be kissed by
him. This settled the question for me. When I saw him kissing the little
girls, I knew that he had captured the mammas, and the mammas govern the
rural regions of Picardy.

'At Doullens I said to him, "You may be sure of your results now. You
will win by twenty-five thousand majority." He was very modest about it;
but, though he certainly is not a great politician, he seemed to
understand the meaning of this unquestionable popular interest in him
and his progress. I could not help, however, calling his attention to
the evidence it gave of what I believe to be the profoundly monarchical
instincts of the peasantry in this part of France.'

'How did he take it?

'Oh! he said nothing, but smiled in a way which might mean anything. Of
course his idea of a republic of honest men means, and can mean, nothing
but a republic with a chief who is beyond the reach of deputies and
contractors.'

'That,' I said, 'seems to have been simply Lafayette's idea, in 1792, of
an American republic for France, with a hereditary executive; or, in
other words, a French edition of the English "republic with a crown."'

M. Fleury replied, that this is rather the aim of the monarchists than
of the Boulangists. One of General Boulanger's lieutenants, M. Mermeix,
already cited, told him frankly that the Boulangists want a sort of
consulate stopping short of the Empire--a strong republic with a
nationally nominated chief, freedom of conscience, freedom of education,
no more parliaments, a simpler public administration, and the cutting
out of the financial cancer which is destroying the resources of France.
The coalition now existing between the royalists, the imperialists, and
the Boulangists, in view of the elections of 1889, obviously rests upon
the conviction, common to all these parties, that the Republic, as at
present constituted, is so far committed to a policy of reckless public
expenditure and of deliberately irreligious propagandism that its
leaders cannot, if they would, either readjust the national finances or
let the religious question alone.

A man of much ability and of very high character, who has filled
important financial posts under the Empire in this part of France, tells
me that there has been no real balancing, now, of the public books for
several years, because the members of the Cour des Comptes whose duty it
is to get this done have found it impossible (and so reported) to get
all the necessary accounts from the Ministry of Finance. As no
Conservative members are permitted to sit on the Committee of the
Budget, even such a monstrous thing as this passes unchecked by the
Chamber. No wonder that he should tell me, M. Bethmont, one of the
members of the Cour des Comptes and a Republican, is of the opinion that
nothing can make matters straight again in France but an Emperor with a
Liberal constitution, or, in other words, a revival of the Ollivier
experiment of 1870.

I tried in vain to get from M. Fleury some definite notion of the
political programme of General Boulanger. As I have been constantly
assured that the General formed his programme from his observation of
the institutions of my own country during the short time which he spent
in America, as one of the chosen representatives of France during the
centennial celebration of the crowning victory of Yorktown, in 1881, I
have long been not unnaturally curious to ascertain precisely how he
proposes to 'Americanise' the actual government of France. But on this
point I can get no more light from M. Fleury in Picardy--though M.
Fleury spent some time with the General as a not unsympathetic
ally--than I have been able to get from any of the General's most
devoted partisans in Paris. In Picardy as in Paris, Boulangism seems to
represent a destructive--or, if the phrase be more polite, a
detergent--rather than a constructive force. It is not the less worthy
of consideration, perhaps, on this account. But on this account it
appears to me more likely to play a subordinate than a leading part in
the political movement of these times. It is rather a broom, if I may so
speak, than a sceptre which the 'brav' général' is expected to wield. In
conversation with M. Fleury, another of General Boulanger's intimate and
confidential lieutenants, M. Turquet, formerly an Under-Secretary of
State in the Ministry of Fine Arts, who ran for a seat as deputy in the
Aisne in 1885, summed up the programme of Boulangism as 'a programme of
liberty.' 'I mean,' he said, 'real liberty, such as exists in America,
not our Liberalism, which is spurious and archaic. Our actual
republicans of to-day are Jacobins, sectarians. Their only notion is to
persecute and proscribe, and they are infinitely further from liberty
than you royalists are, for you have at your head a prince who has a
thoroughly open mind. The form of government, after all, signifies
little. The real question is not whether we shall have a monarchy or an
empire, an autocracy or a democracy. It is whether we shall have
liberty.'[3]

    [3] M. Turquet ran in September in the first arrondissement of the
    Seine against M. Yves Guyot, and there was no election. At the
    election in October the Government proclaimed M. Yves Guyot elected
    by a small majority.

'I answered him,' said M. Fleury, 'that what he said was very fine, and
that the friend of Fourier, Victor Considérant, had said it before him.
What I wanted to know, however, was, what the Boulangists proposed to do
with the Catholics, the believers, in France should the General get into
power.'

'We shall begin,' said M. Turquet, 'by suppressing the budget of
worship. We shall do this to satisfy the blockheads who are a noun of
multitude.

'But we shall restore, in another shape, to the clergy the indemnity
which is certainly due to them. We shall give the bishoprics either a
fixed sum, or a revenue proportional to the population of each
bishopric, so that the people may receive gratuitously the offices of
religion. This is a public service, and it shall be remunerated as it
ought to be. As to the Religious Orders, they shall have full liberty to
constitute themselves, to educate children, to care for the sick and
infirm, so long as they keep within the limits of the common law. All
property in mortmain shall be suppressed. A community of teachers, for
instance, may own the college necessary for the students, but not a
forest adjoining that college.'

To M. Fleury's natural question how the college should be maintained, M.
Turquet replied, 'You know as well as I do, that wealth no longer
consists in real estate alone. You can now carry in your pocket a
fortune in bonds payable to the bearer. The Religious Orders may own
these, like other people. A dozen of us in the Chamber hold these views.
You seem to think us Utopianists. But General Boulanger will make it
possible for us to apply these ideas!'

If General Boulanger and M. Turquet really imagine these views to be
'American,' it would be instructive for them to look into the masterly
protests of the Catholic Archbishop of New York, against the doctrines
of Mr. Henry George as adopted and expounded by Father McGlynn. The
Catholic Church in the United States holds its own property, real and
personal, and manages it to suit itself. It would be interesting to see
an attempt made in the legislature of an American State, to carry
through a law like the decrees issued in France in 1881, forbidding
curates and vicars to receive legacies left to them for the benefit of
the poor in their parishes, or to distribute to the poor sums left to
the Bureau of Public Charity, with an express proviso that they should
be distributed by the clergy of the place.

On one very important question of French politics, M. Fleury, as a
practical politician in this great and active department, gives me a
good deal of useful light. This is the question of the expenses of the
electoral machine. In France, as in America, no limit is set by the law
to the possible expenditure of a political candidate. I have already
given the estimate made for me in Artois of the general cost of the
legislative elections, and I have been told by more than one
well-informed French politician in other parts of France, that the
average cost of a candidacy for a seat in the Chamber may be roughly
estimated at twenty-five thousand francs, or a thousand pounds sterling.
This would show, allowing two candidates only for each seat, an
expenditure of thirty millions of francs, or twelve hundred thousand
pounds, at each French parliamentary election, being very nearly the
figure given me in Artois. We send only 330 members to Washington, but
we elect a new House every two years. The British House of Commons,
though more numerous even than the French Chamber, probably spends a
good deal less upon getting itself elected than either the French or the
American House.[4]

    [4] At this time (October, 1889) there is a difficulty in New York
    about a good candidate for the seat vacated by the death of the late
    Mr. S. S. Cox, being a prominent democratic member of Congress,
    because the candidate must consent to an annual 'assessment' on his
    salary for political purposes. The French Government, I am told,
    collects these 'contributions' easily, the deputies 'recouping'
    themselves by patronage.

One of the 'working sub-prefects' of the Boulangist party in Picardy
gave M. Fleury a very frank estimate of the expense of electing the
General in 1888, in the Somme. He put it, in round numbers, at nearly or
quite one hundred and twenty-five thousand francs, or five thousand
pounds. This unusual outlay was made necessary by the great efforts of
the Government to defeat the General. Furthermore, it was swollen by the
disinterested devotion of many of the General's friends. Some of these
auxiliaries spent days at the best hotels in Picardy labouring for the
cause, with the result of a special hotel account, amounting to several
thousand francs. Nothing makes men so thirsty as political emotion.
Another partisan, at the head of a journal, sent in a bill for
forty-five thousand francs expended by him upon printing and stationery,
no charge being made for his personal services! The chief agents
received about two thousand francs apiece. One of them must have worked
very hard, for he earned no less than fifteen thousand francs. While all
this expense was incurring in Picardy, furthermore, two other elections
were pending, in each of which the General was a candidate, one in the
Charente and one in the Nord. It would seem to be probable enough,
therefore, that on these three elections In 1888 General Boulanger, or
the Boulangists, must have spent at least two hundred and fifty thousand
francs, or ten thousand pounds.

'Where did all this money come from?' is a not unnatural question. For
M. Fleury tells me the General's bills were paid much more promptly than
the bills of the Government candidates. It is an open secret apparently
that the Government candidates are very bad paymasters when they are
beaten. Some of the bills incurred by them in 1885, when the
Conservatives swept so large a part of Northern France, were still due,
it appears, in 1888. But the bills of General Boulanger were settled
very soon after the close of the campaign.

M. Mermeix insisted to M. Fleury that the General's war-chest was
supplied by voluntary subscriptions. 'Every day,' he said, the General
finds some ten thousand francs in his mails, and his followers 'are all
either beggars or millionaires.'

Another of the General's managers gave M. Fleury the names of two very
rich persons, one of them a cattle merchant at La Villette, who
subscribed between them a hundred and forty thousand francs to carry on
the campaign in Picardy. The enormous importance given to General
Boulanger by his terrified former associates in the Government seems to
me to be a very striking proof of the little confidence they really have
in their own hold upon the country, or in the permanency of 'republican
institutions' as they now exist in France, and this adequately explains
the readiness of speculators to 'invest' in what may be called the
'Boulangist bonds.' Such a report as that presented not very long ago to
the Chamber by M. Gerville-Réache on the state of the navy in France
suffices to show that the speculative maladministration of the French
finances has been so great as to make it quite certain that any 'honest
government' coming into power must reconstruct the system of the public
indebtedness. That is an operation which can hardly be carried out by
the most scrupulously honest government without very great profits to
the financiers concerned in it, and I only set down what is said to me
by respectable Frenchmen when I say that the Boulanger campaign funds
are openly described, by persons not at all hostile to 'Boulangism,' as
'bets on the General.' 'The difference between the managers of the
Boulangist campaign and the managers of the Government campaign,' said a
gentleman to me in Amiens, 'is simply this--that the Boulangist managers
are playing the game with private funds, and the others with public
funds. So the latter, I think, will win, for they have the longest purse
to draw on.' This gentleman is of the opinion, however, that but for
General Saussier, in command of the garrison of Paris, General
Boulanger, after the election of January 27, 1889, in which he took the
capital by storm, might have turned the Government neck and heels out of
doors. The weak point of Boulangism,' he said, 'is Boulanger.' 'He has
no strength with the officers of the army. They have no confidence
either in his character or in his ability; not that they think his
character bad or deny his ability, but only that they regard him as a
shallow, vacillating, and mediocre person who made himself valuable to
the Republican politicians by going into alliances with them to which
other officers of strong character and high ability would not stoop. As
for the quarrel between Boulanger and these politicians, it is a
beggars' quarrel, to be made up over the pot of broth. But it won't be
made up, because they can't agree as to the distribution of the broth.
Meanwhile all the chickens of France are going into the broth, and the
peasant's pot will see them no more, as in the good old days of Henry
IV.!'

As for the absurd story that the Boulangist funds come from America, the
only foundation I can find for that seems to be the intimacy, which, I
believe, is no longer as close as it was, between General Boulanger, M.
de Rochefort, and a French nobleman of an ancient historic family, who
has married a very wealthy American wife, and who has long been known to
entertain the most extreme, not to say revolutionary, notions in
politics. The honest Boulangists who really hope to see a good
government established by putting out M. Carnot and putting in General
Boulanger, swell the tide of his supporters, apparently, here as
elsewhere in France, because they blindly hope for everything from him
which their experience forbids them to hope for from the men actually in
power. As one of his most cynical supporters long ago said in Paris, he
is 'the grand common sewer of the disgust of France.'

His popularity with the common soldiers is another element to be counted
with in estimating the strength of this military French Mahdi.

I have struck up a friendship here at Amiens with an excellent woman who
presides over a shop--not one of the _pâtisseries_ so justly celebrated
by Mr. Ruskin--and who is a very good type of the shrewd, sensible
French '_petite bourgeoise_,' such a woman as, I dare say, Jacqueline
Robins of St.-Omer was in her own time. She has a son in the army, who
is likely soon to be a corporal. '_Dame_, Monsieur,' she said to me, 'if
M. Boulanger is not the best General in France, why did they make him
Minister of War? You do not know what he did for the soldiers! My son
when he gets his stripes is to marry--she is a very nice girl, an only
child, do you know? and her father, who is very solid, will put her in
her own furniture--and more than that! and they will have their own
establishment. They could not have that, you know, but for General
Boulanger, who made the new rule about the wives of the sub-officers.
And they used to shave the soldiers--imagine it!--just like prisoners,
and such beds as they gave them--it was a horror! Well, all that he
changed, and he made the soup fit to eat.'

'The other generals are not very fond of him, you say? _Parbleu!_ that
is likely enough! It is like the _conseillers_ here in the city--one of
them does well, the others always find something to say behind his back!
And that affair on the frontier! You know, Monsieur, he had all the army
in hand--ah, well in hand--a hundred thousand men ready to march; and
those rascals of Germans they knew it, and they gave up our man. I am
glad we had no war. No! I do not want a war, but, _dame_, one must have
teeth, you know, and be ready to show them!'

'You want to see your War Minister made president, then?' I asked.

'President? what does that signify? Chief of the State--Emperor; ah!
those were the good times here in Amiens, Monsieur, not as it is to-day
with the eternal debts that M. Dauphin made us a present of. Eh! an old
hypocrite that man is! and with these _centimes additionnels_ that never
end! And then these water-mètres! Eh! that is a pretty invention to make
water as dear as wine at Amiens, and yet, God knows, wine is not too
cheap, with the octroi of Amiens! It is worse than at Paris! Call him
what you like, Monsieur, _c'est Boulanger qu'il nous faut_--that is to
say, we must have a man at Paris. And you will see he is the man; all
the mothers of soldiers will tell you that!'

From the point of view of the municipal finances, the 'good old times'
of the Empire may well have a charm for the taxpayers of Amiens.

In 1870 Amiens, with 61,063 inhabitants, raised and spent a municipal
revenue of rather more than a million and a half of francs, or, in round
numbers, about 25 francs, or 20 shillings, _per capita_ of the
population. A public loan, made in 1854, had been almost wholly paid
off, and the city treasury still held 600,000 francs of a loan of
1,600,000 francs made in 1862 for certain public improvements. The
municipal government cost 372,000 francs, and 180,000 francs were spent
on the public schools. Of the municipal income, 987,802 francs were
derived from four forms of direct taxation, and 770,000 francs from the
_octroi_. This gave an average of a little less than 13 francs _per
capita_ as the burden of the _octroi_ upon the population.

In 1886 the population had increased to 74,000. The direct taxes brought
in 1,184,724 francs, and the _octroi_, 1,498,459, making the average
burden of the _octroi per capita_ 20 fr. 20 c., or an increase of about
50 per cent. in the pressure of that form of tax upon the population, as
compared with 1870. As the _octroi_ is imposed upon food and beverages
of all kinds--fuel, forage, and building materials--this tax is regarded
in France as a measure for estimating the general well-being of the
inhabitants. Thus measured, there would seem to be a falling off in the
general well-being of the people of Amiens since 1883. For, while the
pressure _per capita_ of the octroi is much greater than it was in 1870,
the actual receipts from the _octroi_ were less with a population of
74,000 in 1886, than they were in 1883. In 1883 the _octroi_ yielded
1,533,140 francs. In 1886 it yielded only 1,498,459 francs. The falling
off was in the receipts from beverages, from provisions, from forage,
and from building materials. The tariff of the _octroi_ meanwhile has
remained substantially without change from 1873 to the present time. It
is an expensive tax to collect, the costs of collection in 1886
amounting to 11.85 per cent. of the receipts.

Adding together now the receipts from the direct taxes and the _octroi_
of Amiens in 1886, we have a sum of 2,683,183 francs, or in round
numbers about 1,100,000 francs more than in 1870. But while, as I have
stated, in 1870 the receipts equalled and balanced the expenses of the
municipal government, this is no longer the case.

In 1886 Amiens, with an income of 2,683,183 francs, spent 4,162,294
francs, giving an average municipal outlay of 56 fr. 10 c. _per capita_
and an excess of expenditure over revenue of no less than 1,479,111
francs, or very nearly the total income and outlay of the city under the
Empire. No wonder that the public debt of the department of the Somme,
of which Amiens is the capital, seems in 1886 to have amounted to
18,303,496 francs! What inequalities of pressure upon the people of the
department this involves may be estimated from the fact that, while
there are in the Somme 836 communes, only 404, or less than half of
these communes, are authorised to raise money by loans, and one-eighth
of them to raise money by _octrois_. Yet we are constantly told that all
inequalities and privileges were abolished throughout France by a stroke
of the pen in the _annus mirabilis_ 1789![5] The taxation in 20 communes
is estimated at 15 centimes, or less; in 87, at from 15 to 30; in 268,
at from 31 to 50; in 428, at from 51 to 100; and in 33, at 100 centimes
and upwards. These are the communal taxes. To these must be added 51
centimes for the departmental taxes, ordinary and extraordinary; 2
centimes for the land-tax; 19 centimes for the personal tax and taxes
on personal property; 18.8 centimes for the doors and windows tax; and
39.6 centimes for licences. For Amiens these fractions taken together
mount up to 119-4/10 centimes.

    [5] 'Privileges' were, in fact, abolished only by Napoleon in 1804.

I have no wish to weary myself or my readers with figures. But these
figures tell the story of the difference between the government of
France under the much reviled Empire and under the present government,
which is represented to us as the natural and admirable 'evolution' of
republican institutions in this country. In 1870, as I have stated, the
receipts and expenditure of the city of Amiens balanced one another. The
city paid its way, and lived up to, not beyond, its means.

With the war came upon it, of course, heavy and unexpected burdens:
German local exactions, its share of the general German ransom of
France, local war expenses, and its share of the general war
expenditure. For three years the citizens left their affairs, thus
disturbed and encumbered, to be managed by a municipal council trained
in the methodical habits of the imperial administration, with the result
that in 1874 the expenses of Amiens amounted to 2,479,802 francs, and
its revenues to 2,016,130 francs, leaving thus a deficit of 463,672
francs, substantially accounted for by the necessary payments on a loan
of 5,000,000 francs negotiated in Brussels by M. Dauphin at the very
high rate of 7-1/2 per cent. The affairs of Amiens were arranged three
years afterwards by a municipal Commission, which turned them over, in
1878, to the 'Republicans of Gambetta,' with a budget involving an
expenditure of 2,686,660 francs, against a revenue from taxation of
2,249,245 fr. 52 c., showing a reduced deficit of no more than 437,405
francs.

By 1880 the expenditure had risen to 3,156,616 francs, while the revenue
stood at 2,531,762, showing a deficit of 624,854 francs, being an
increase of nearly fifty per cent, in two years! From that time the gulf
has gone on widening between the receipts and the expenditure of the
ancient capital of Picardy, until the figures laid before me, as taken
from the official reports, show during the seven years 1880-86, a total
of 18,530,477.01 francs of receipts against a total of 24,551,977 francs
of expenditure, leaving a deficit for these seven years of 5,021,500
francs, or more than the amount of the Dauphin loan incurred by Amiens
as a consequence of the German occupation, and of the exactions of Count
Lehndorff!

What has been done during the past three years can only as yet be
conjectured. The accounts are made up at the mayoralty office, and
thence sent to the préfecture, and they do not get within range of the
taxpayer for at least a twelvemonth afterwards.

But M. Fleury assures me that between the years 1884 and 1888 the city
expended in buildings, chiefly 'scholastic palaces' erected as batteries
of aggressive atheism from which to beat down the temples of religion,
no less than 1,700,000 francs; so that the total of deficit of the
budget of Amiens, from 1880 to the present time, in all probability
exceeds six millions of francs.

If we assume the local finances of the rest of France to have been
handled during the last decade on the same lines, there is nothing
extravagant in the estimate made by a friend of mine, who formerly held
a very high post in the Treasury, and who puts the accumulation of local
deficits and the local indebtedness in France, independently of the
national deficits and the national loans, since 1880, at two milliards
of francs, or eighty millions of pounds sterling. For, although
Amiens is an important city, it represents only about one
four-hundred-and-fiftieth part of the population of France.

While I was at Amiens in June M. Goblet came there and made a rather
remarkable speech. It was in the main aimed at a society called the
'Association of the Conservative Young Men of Amiens,' all of whom, I am
told, except the president, are young working men--mechanics, clerks, or
the sons of clerks, mechanics, and working men--in short, a kind of
French 'Tory democracy.' They are not Boulangists at all, but outspoken
royalists. They support Boulanger simply and avowedly in order to get at
a revision of the Constitution and make an end of the Republic. 'This
association,' said M. Goblet, 'is making a tremendous stir. I admit its
right to do this. It holds meetings and conferences; it listens to
speeches in the city and the suburbs; it attacks both democracy and the
Republic in no measured terms; it does not hesitate to denounce its
enemies personally and by name, and neglects no means of acting on
public opinion. These conservative young men speak and act
energetically. They believe in the re-establishment of the monarchy;
they desire it; they preach a reaction against all that we have done for
twenty years past!'

There could hardly be a more signal proof given of the reality and
vitality of the anti-Republican movement in this part of France than
these words of a Republican leader who began his political career, as I
have shown, twenty years ago in a hopeless minority of Republicans under
the Empire, who has since worked his way up the municipal ladder at
Amiens and up the legislative ladder in Paris; and who, after reaching
the top of the tree, now finds himself in imminent peril of slipping
down again to the point from which he started. The force of the
testimony is certainly not weakened by the fact that at the legislative
elections in September, M. Goblet, standing as a candidate for the
Chamber, was completely beaten.

I have shown what a large part the _octroi_ plays in the revenue of a
city like Amiens. Nothing resembling it, I believe, exists in England
since the abolition, two or three years ago, of the coal dues in London;
and, though I suppose it would be within the power of any American State
to establish a tax of this sort within its own boundaries, it would be
practically impossible to enforce it without coming into collision with
the commercial rights of other States under the Federal Constitution. I
once had to pay the _octroi_ tax on two brace of Maryland canvas-back
ducks, which I was taking over from London to a Christmas dinner in
Paris. But Maryland would not submit to an _octroi_ upon her birds
entering New York.

The importance of the _octroi_ at this time in the financial system of
France is one of the most conclusive and most amusing proofs of the
essentially superficial and ephemeral character of the alleged 'Great
Revolution' of 1789. The _octroi_ was a revival in mediæval France of
the Roman _portorium_ which survives in the Italian offices of the
_dazio consume_ and in the _garitas_ of Spain and Spanish America. It
was originally imposed as a local tax by a city, under the sanction of a
royal charter. To get such a charter from a sovereign strong enough to
enforce respect for it was essential to the citizens who bound
themselves to one another to maintain their local independence against
the barons in their neighbourhood; and when such a charter was granted
by a sovereign it was said to be _octroyée_ by him. The tax therefore is
rooted in a privilege. Amiens obtained the right to impose it in the
fourteenth century. Of course the 'Great Revolution of 1789' swept this
right away, one of the most obvious 'rights of man' being to pluck an
apple in an orchard, take it into a town in his pocket, and eat it
there. But equally, of course, the Republic in the year VII. on the 29th
Vendémiaire re-established it; and in the next year, VIII., provided
that the privilege should be exercised as under the sanction of the
National Government, the National Government reserving the right to
revise the tariffs fixed by the municipal councils, and thereby making
the restored privilege of the _octrois_ another string whereby to fetter
and control the local action of the people on their own affairs. The
_octroi_ of Amiens was re-established on the 3rd of Brumaire next
following. Under the Empire, the Restoration, and the Monarchy of July,
the Council of State granted the _octrois_. Under the Republic of 1848
this power naturally went to the National Assembly as a means of
legislative pressure and corruption. The Second Empire restored it to
the Council of State; and it has now, naturally, gone back to the
Chambers. Neither the people of the cities nor the rural populations
like the _octroi_, but, in the immortal words of the late Mr. Tweed of
New York, 'What can they do about it?' It is a ready-money tax, from
which the taxpayer receives no visible equivalent, as he does when he
pays a penny for a postage stamp. When he has paid it, he is simply
allowed to take his own property where he wishes to take it, and do with
it what he wishes to do. It is quite likely that this _octroi_ may have
something to do with the disinclination of the common people in France
to part with small change as readily as do the Americans, and even the
English. They must always have 'money in the pocket' if they want to
bring a sausage and a bottle of beer through a 'barrier,' whereas an
American is never called upon to pay cash down to his Government except
at a custom-house when he returns to his country from a foreign trip,
or in exchange for a licence or a document of some sort which represents
value received in one or another form.

The time wasted over this tax in a city like Amiens is an extraordinary
burden on the patience of the people, trained as the French people are
to submit to a torment of eternal red tape, a week of which would drive
an American or English town into open revolt. At Amiens, for example,
there is a central bureau of the _octroi_, where the tax is received
from the great breweries and warehouses after the amounts have been
fixed by the officers on duty at those establishments. Then there are
ten bureaux or 'barriers' at the railway stations, the slaughter-houses,
and the fish-markets; and then again eight secondary bureaux, where the
people must go and pay amounts of less than one franc. There are, and I
am told have long been, loud complaints as to the inconvenient location
of the bureaux; but nothing comes of these outcries as yet, and I
presume nothing ever will come of them until something like an
independent local administrative life exists in the provinces of France.

The elements of such a life ought surely to be found, if anywhere, in
this ancient province of Picardy. You cannot traverse it in any
direction without being struck by the evident prosperity of the people.
Arthur Young, a hundred years ago, travelling from Boulogne to Amiens,
found only 'misery and miserable harvests.' He would find now only
comfort and excellent crops. Possibly he would think of the country what
he then thought of the region about Clermont and Liancourt, where, under
the fostering care of the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, the farmers had
developed a highly-diversified cultivation; 'here a field of wheat;
there one of luzerne; clover in one direction, vetches in another;
vines, cherry and other fruit trees making up a charming picture, which
must, however, yield poor results.'

But he would be wrong. This diversified culture of modern Picardy has
been highly remunerative, and the extensive kitchen-gardening of the
province is so still. The 'agricultural crisis' has doubtless hit the
large farmers rather hard, but I am told they are standing up well under
it--thanks to their past savings, and to French protection--better,
indeed, than the large farmers in England; while the peasants proper are
actually profiting by it. They not only get as much for their labour as
when the large farmers were making money, but they are buying up land at
lower rates. This may very possibly help the Republicans in the coming
elections, for the peasants always give the credit of a state of things
which is satisfactory to them to the Government of the day--be that
Government what it may--so that while the larger farmers tend to
Conservatism, the peasants will probably lean the other way. It is next
to impossible to get a political opinion out of a Picard peasant, but I
have more than once heard a peasant speak of the farmers in his
neighbourhood as 'aristocrats,' which I took to be as precise a formula
of political opinion as one was likely to get from him. It seemed to me
to represent, among the peasants of to-day, the enlightened 'principles
of 1889,' very much as the same formula, applied to the _noblesse_ of a
century ago, represented, among the large farmers of that day, the
'principles of 1789.'

Both then and now the formula simply means 'the man who has what I want
to have is an aristocrat.' I think I have observed something like this
in other countries--as, for example, in Ireland--where the guilty
possessor of acres, however, is not only an 'aristocrat' but an 'alien,'
as appears from a song popular in Kerry:--

  The alien landlords have no right
    To the land God made for you;
  So we'll blow them up with dynamite,
    The thieving, hellish crew!

Dynamite was unknown in Picardy a century and a half ago. And the Picard
has very little, except his religion, in common with the Irish Celt. But
the sentiment of this simple and pleasing little ditty glowed deep in
the Picard heart long before the Revolution of 1789. The 'earth hunger,'
which has given the act of 'land-grabbing' the first place in the
category of human crimes, invented, long ago in Picardy, and especially
in that part of Picardy now known as the Department of the Somme, a
custom called the _coutume de mauvais gré_ or the _droit de marché_.
Under this custom a tenant-farmer in Picardy considered himself entitled
to sell the right to till his landlord's fields to anybody he liked, to
give it as a dowry to his daughter, or to leave it to be divided among
his heirs; and all this without reference to the expiration of his
lease. If the landlord objected and went so far as to lease his land to
another person, the previous tenant was regarded by his friends and by
other farmers as a _dépointé_, entitled to take summary vengeance upon
the 'land-grabber.' He might kill off his cattle, burn his crops and his
buildings, and, if occasion served, shoot or knock him in the head. As
the whole country was in a conspiracy, either of terror or of sympathy,
to protect the _dépointé_ against the vengeance of the law, this
cheerful 'custom' had a liberalising effect upon the Picard landholders.
Rents fell, and if the value of landed property rose the landed
proprietor got no advantage from that. The torch and the musket kept
down the demand, which was equivalent practically to increasing the
supply. The results of this 'custom' were such that in 1764, a quarter
of a century before the Revolution of 1789, the king intervened, but in
vain, to put a stop to it. The 'oppressed and downtrodden peasant' of
Picardy under the _ancien régime_ did what he liked with his neighbour's
property--that neighbour being a landlord--as cheerily as the manacled
Celt of Mayo or Tipperary in our own times. Two years before the
Revolution, in 1787, the assembly of the Generality of Amiens, by its
president the Duc d'Hâvré, vainly urged the royal government to take
resolute action in this matter. With the Revolution, of course, things
grew worse very rapidly. The _dépointés_ became ardent lovers of
liberty, equality, and fraternity; tore up all their leases, sent their
landlords and the land-grabbers to the guillotine, or into emigration as
traitors, and made themselves proprietors, in fee simple. There seems to
be no doubt that the traditions of this _coutume de mauvais gré_ (which
obviously had much more to do with the politics of Picardy a century ago
than either Voltaire or Rousseau) still survive in the Department of the
Somme, and every now and then break out in agrarian outrages,
rick-burnings, and general incendiarism, whenever leases fall in and
landlords try to raise their rents on the shallow pretext that land has
risen in value.

While these traditions show that there was no lack of energy and force
among the 'downtrodden' Picard peasantry before the Revolution of 1789,
the local history of the province also proves that the liberal ideas
which are commonly supposed to have been introduced into France by the
Revolution were at work in Picardy among the _noblesse_ and the clergy
long before. The _corvée_, for example, of which we hear so much in
many so-called histories of the French Revolution, was abolished under
Louis XVI. in Picardy, before the States-General of 1789 were convened.

That the _corvée_, in itself, cannot have been the absolutely
intolerable thing it is commonly supposed to have been may be inferred,
I think, from the fact that, under the name of _prestation en nature_,
it still exists in many parts of the French Republic. It figures in all
the schedules of departmental taxation which I have seen down to the
year 1889; and, for that matter, it existed in New England down to a
very recent date, if it does not now exist there. It was obviously
liable to abuse, and doubtless was abused, and the Intendant of Picardy,
M. d'Aguay, made a striking speech, on the benefits to be expected from
its abolition, to the Provincial Parliament in 1787. From this speech we
learn that the money value of the _corvée_ in hand had been computed at
900,000 livres, but that the Intendant working out the details of the
abolition of the system, with the help of a number of the local
landholders (commonly supposed to have been the tyrants who profited by
the abuse), had reduced this estimate to 300,000 livres, at which sum
the tax had been converted into a money payment for the maintenance of
the roads, the province being thus relieved of two-thirds of the burden
borne by it. It is instructive to learn that attempts to bring about
similar results elsewhere in France were resented and resisted, not by
the great landholders, but by the corvéable peasants themselves! What
they really wanted, it would seem, was not so much to be relieved of the
obligation of forced labour by a payment of money, as to have their
roads made for them at the expense of the State, under the impression,
ineradicable down to our own day, and elsewhere than in France, that
what everybody pays nobody pays, an impression which is the trusty
shield and weapon at once of the Socialists and of the Protectionists
all over the world.

Public education in Picardy, as well as elsewhere in France, long
antedates the Revolution of 1789. Three centuries ago Olivier de Serre
and Bernard Palissy lamented the foolish disposition of French peasants
in the Limousin and in Picardy to give their elder sons a better
education than they had themselves received. 'The poor man will spend a
great part of what he has earned in the sweat of his brow, to make his
son a gentleman; and at last this same gentleman will be ashamed to be
found in company with his father, and will be displeased to be called
the son of a labouring man. And if by chance the good man has other
children, this gentleman it will be who will devour the others and have
the best of everything; he never concerns himself to think how much he
cost at school while his brothers were working at home with their
father.' This reads like a complaint of the nineteenth century in
democratic America, but it is, in fact, a complaint of the sixteenth
century in feudal France. It must have been frequent enough in this part
of Picardy, now the Department of the Somme. For from a very early time
this region has been full of small farmers bent on bettering their own
condition or that of their sons. In the public library of Abbeville
there is a land register drawn up in 1312 for the service of the
officers of King Edward II. of England, who had married Isabel of
France, from which it appears that the small tenants in this part of
Picardy were then as numerous as the small proprietors now are. 'One is
led to believe,' says M. Baudrillart, 'that the only difference between
the condition of the country then and now in this respect is, that the
enfranchised labourer has in many cases simply taken the place of the
feudal tenant and become proprietor of the soil.' So great has long
been the number of small landholders in Picardy that in the province,
taken generally, a holding of sixty hectares may pass for a large
property, one of fifteen for a moderate estate, and one of ten for a
small holding. The action of the French code upon this state of things
since the Revolution and the Empire has, in the opinion of many
intelligent observers, been mischievous. It has made it difficult to
check the excessive subdivision of the land into holdings too small to
be profitably and intelligently cultivated. There is no provision in the
French law it seems, as there is in the German law, making it obligatory
upon the heirs of a small landed property so to arrange their respective
shares as not to impede the proper cultivation of the land. The great
prosperity of kitchen-gardening in modern Picardy modifies the evils
flowing from this state of things however, and those who know the
country best tell me that, taken as a body, the small landholders of
Picardy, thanks to their thrift in regard both of time and of money, are
substantially well off. They don't like the townspeople, for the old
traditions are not yet forgotten of the time in which Amiens and the
other large towns used to shift the main burden of the expenses of the
province upon the shoulders of the peasantry; and if anything like a
genuine provincial legislature could be established, with a working
system of 'Home Rule,' all the elements are here which might be
developed into a healthy political activity. The system of working on
France from the centre at Paris to the circumference has certainly been
tried long enough, and thoroughly enough, to show that nothing but evil,
and that continually, can be expected from it.

More than fifty years have passed since Heine said: 'When I speak of
France I speak of Paris--not of the provinces; just as when I speak of
a man, I speak of his head, not of his legs. To talk about the opinion
of the provinces is like talking about the opinion of a man's legs.'

In this spirit France is still judged abroad, for in this spirit France
is still governed at home. But if, on some fine morning, the legs should
suddenly wake up with a very positive opinion of their own, the results
may be awkward--not only for the government at Paris but for the rest of
Europe.



CHAPTER VII

IN THE AISNE


  ST.-GOBAIN

The short railway journey from Amiens on the Somme to La Fère on the
Oise takes you through a country which, on a fine summer's morning,
reminds one of the old Kentuckian description of an agricultural
paradise--'tickle it with a hoe, and it laughs with a harvest.' As, in
one direction, Picardy extends into the modern Department of the
Pas-de-Calais, so in other directions it includes no inconsiderable part
of the modern Departments of the Oise and of the Aisne. In this way it
touches the central province of the Ile-de-France, the main body of
which is now divided into the three Departments of the Seine, the
Seine-et-Oise, and the Seine-et-Marne. From Amiens to La Fère,
therefore, the pulse of the French capital may be said to throb visibly
about you in the rural beauty of a region which owes its value and its
fertility less to the natural qualities of the soil than to the
quickening influences of the great metropolis. For centuries Paris lived
mainly on the Ile-de-France, and the Ile-de-France on Paris. Since the
steam-engine and the railway have opened, both to the province and to
the capital, the markets of all France and of all Europe, both the
province and the capital are infinitely more prosperous than in the old
days when the lack of communications and the lawlessness of men made
them dependent one upon the other. The steppes of Russia and the
prairies of America now compete with the grain-fields of the
Ile-de-France; the timber of the Baltic with its timber; and I have no
doubt that, during his six years in the prison of Ham, Louis Napoleon
drank there better Chambertin than ever found its way to the table of
the Grand Monarque at Versailles, after a certain enterprising peasant
walked all the way from his native province to the capital, beside his
oxcart laden with casks, to prove to the king the merits of the true
Burgundian vintage.

Certainly it would never occur to anybody now in Soissons or Laon to
make the journey to Paris, as people did a hundred and fifty years ago,
to drink the water of the Seine, as being 'the best in the world, and a
specific against burning fevers and obstructive ailments.'

But the vast commons which lay waste throughout the Ile-de-France a
hundred years ago are now green with crops; meadows have replaced the
marshes; orchards and gardens on every side show what the Campagna of
Rome may become, at no distant day, if Italy can make her peace with the
Church, and the Italian capital remain, on terms of justice and reason,
the capital of the Catholic world.

Before the Revolution the Generality of Paris contained 150,000 arpents
of waste commons; the Generality of Soissons 120,000 arpents. In 1778 a
writer deplores the spectacle, 'within thirteen leagues of the capital,
of vast marshes left to be inundated because they are common lands,
producing not a single bundle of hay in a year, and affording scanty
pasture to a few miserable cattle.' In a single hamlet this writer found
35 poor families feeding 22 cows and 220 sheep on 1,100 arpents of
common land! I believe there are philanthropists in England and Scotland
who think the enclosure and cultivation of common lands a crime against
humanity; and it would be edifying to listen to a 'conference' between
them and the shrewd, prosperous small farmers and gardeners who are
tilling these great spaces to-day in the Ile-de-France. One of the few
plainly advantageous results of the headlong Revolution of 1789 was the
transfer into many private hands of the immense estates which were held
by the abbeys and the clergy in and around Paris; and this transfer
might perfectly well have been brought about by steady and systematic
means without shaking the foundations of property and of order. We might
then have seen throughout France what we see in England--the gradual and
pacific evolution of a great industrial and commercial society on lines
not contradicting, but conforming to, the traditions of the nation.

The influence of the capital, of course, has had much to do with the
extraordinary development in these regions of all kinds of horticulture.
Nurseries, kitchen-gardens, flower-gardens occupy an increasing area of
the Ile-de-France, and a constantly growing proportion of its
inhabitants. M. Baudrillart says that in the single Department of the
Seine-et-Oise this proportion has increased tenfold since 1860, and he
puts it down for that Department in 1880 at 50,000 persons out of a
total population of 577,798.

The proportions can hardly, I should think, be much smaller in the
Departments of the Aisne and of the Oise. How much this industry adds to
the beauty of the country I need not say. Its influence is shown in a
notable increase of the love of flowers among the population generally.
The English villages no longer have the monopoly which they certainly
once had of flower-plots before and around the cottages, and of plants
carefully tended and blooming in the cottage windows. Years ago Dickens
used to say that London was the only capital in the world in which you
could count upon seeing something green and growing somewhere, no matter
how gloomy otherwise might be the quarter into which you strolled. This
is beginning to be true of not a few French towns and cities, while the
conditions of successful horticulture, in its various branches, give the
aspect of a garden to the rural regions in which it flourishes. The
nursery gardens, which are the most extensive, seldom cover more than
eight hectares; seed gardens range in extent from half a hectare to a
hectare; the fruit gardens from half a hectare to two hectares; the
gardeners who send up 'cut flowers' to market usually concentrate their
activity upon half a hectare of soil. These cultivators are all
capitalists in a small way, the least important of them requiring a
capital of from four to five hundred pounds sterling. And land so
employed is very often let on leases of three, six, or nine years, at
thirty-five pounds a hectare.

It is a curious thing that what may be called the 'Home Departments' of
France around Paris should be so much richer in these highly-developed
and remunerative forms of cultivation than the home counties of England
around London. Why should flowers, fruits, and vegetables, as a rule, be
so much better, so much cheaper, and so much more plentiful in the
French than in the English capital? The superiority of the French
markets cannot arise wholly from a difference of climate. Great risks
are run in this respect by the horticulturists of Picardy and the
Ile-de-France. M. Baudrillart tells a story of a large flower-gardener
in the Seine-et-Oise who, during the severe winter of 1879-80, found his
gardens deep in snow one morning, and, upon examining them, carefully
made up his mind that he stood to lose nearly 2,500_l._ sterling worth
of his best plants. That same evening he left for England, brought back
eleven waggon-loads of plants to supply the place of those killed by the
cold, and, by the spring, not only covered his losses but made a profit.

With its 'polygon' and its promenades the little city of La Fère, set in
the midst of well-tilled and fertile fields, has a martial air which
harmonises with its history. During the religious wars which ended with
the coronation of Henry of Navarre, this small Catholic stronghold was
besieged, taken, and retaken no fewer than four times in twenty years;
and, if we may believe an old sixteenth-century local ballad, the
Huguenots behaved in a way which showed that the 'Reformation' had not
improved their morals. The 'Déploration des Dames de la ville de La Fère
tenues forcément par les ennemis de la religion catholique' draws a
doleful picture of life in a conquered city three centuries ago.

  Est-ce pas bien chose assez déplorable
  De voir (hélas) son haineux à sa table
  Rire, chanter et vivre opulément
  De ce qu'avions gardé soigneusement?
  En nostre lict quand il veut il se couche,
  Faict nos maris aller à l'escarmouche
  Ou à la brèche, enconstre notre foy,
  Pour résister à Jésus et au Roy.

There are soldiers enough in La Fère to-day, for it is an artillery
station, as it was when Napoleon got his training here, but the peace of
the picturesque little fortress-town is less troubled by them than by
the politicians. A little local newspaper published here, which I bought
of an urchin at the uninviting but thriving station of Tergnier, was
full of paragraphs deriding and denouncing the clergy, which might have
been inspired by that model patriot and philanthropist Curtius, who
proposed in the year one of the Republic that the Government should make
a bargain with the Deys of Tunis and Algiers to ransom the French held
as slaves in those countries, exchanging them for French priests 'at the
rate of three priests for one patriot'!

'What sort of a newspaper is this?' I asked a cheery, red-faced old man,
well and substantially dressed, and, as he afterwards informed me, a
cattle-breeder and dealer on his way from Amiens to Laon.

'That journal, Monsieur?' he replied with a kind of 'sniff': 'that leaf?
It is a cabbage-leaf, Monsieur!' 'C'est une feuille de choux!' As for
himself he was a Republican--no, not a Boulangist--but he had voted for
Boulanger, and he would vote for him again. There must be an end of all
those taxes. It was too strong. The land could not pay them. In his
country a farm worth 30,000 francs eight years ago, to-day would not
sell for 20,000 francs. The farms that were mortgaged would not pay the
amount of the mortgages. Look at the taxes on cattle! These free-traders
at Paris want to drive us out of our markets with meat on the hoof, and
killed meat, from all the ends of the world. Here they are trying to
patch up that treaty of commerce with Italy, and bring back all those
competing cattle from Sardinia. That's a pretty idea! and for those
Italians, who owe France everything and now lick the boots of M. de
Bismarck. And now the Paris Chamber of Commerce wants an International
Congress on treaties of commerce. The devil take the treaties of
commerce!'

At the station of La Fère I found waiting for me, one lovely morning in
July, the _coupé_ of M. Henrivaux, the director of the famous and
historical glassworks of St.-Gobain. When Arthur Young visited these
works in 1787, he found them turning out, in the midst of extensive
forests, 'the largest mirrors in the world.' The forests are less
extensive now, but St.-Gobain still turns out the largest mirrors in the
world. To this year's Exposition in Paris it has sent the most gigantic
mirror ever made, showing a surface of 31.28 mètres; and the glory of
St.-Gobain is nightly proclaimed to the world at Paris by the electric
light which, from the summit of the Eiffel Tower, flashes out over the
great city and the valley of the Seine an auroral splendour of
far-darting rays, thanks to St.-Gobain and to the largest lens ever made
by man.

St.-Gobain, however, has other claims upon attention than its
unquestioned rank as the most important seat of one of the most
characteristic and important manufactures of our modern civilisation. In
a most interesting paper upon the life and labours of M. Augustin
Cochin, one of the most useful as well as one of the most distinguished
of the many useful and distinguished Frenchmen whose names are
associated with this great industry, M. de Falloux describes the works
of St.-Gobain as 'an industrial flower upon a seignorial stalk springing
from a feudal root.'

The description is both terse and pregnant. The history of this great
and flourishing industry, stretching back now over two centuries and a
half, is a history of evolution without revolution.

There is nothing in France more thoroughly French than St.-Gobain,
nothing which has suffered less from the successive Parisian earthquakes
of the past century, nothing which has preserved through them all more
of what was good in its original constitution and objects. The
establishment is like a green old oak, and, to borrow a phrase from
Wordsworth, its days have been joined each to each 'by natural piety.'
The place which it first took through privilege and favour, and could
have taken in no other way, it has kept ever since for nearly two
centuries and a half, and now holds by virtue of skill, energy, and that
eternal vigilance which is both the price and the penalty of free
competition.

The 'Knights of Labour' in our America of to-day put the cart before the
horse when they undertake to make labourers knights. The Middle Ages
knew better, and went to work in a wiser fashion by making knights
labourers. As early as the thirteenth century the glassworkers of France
had great privileges granted them, and an old proverb explains this by
telling us that 'to make a gentleman glassworker--_un gentilhomme
verrier_--you must first get a gentleman.' As soon as it was established
that by going into such a costly and artistic industry as this, a
gentleman did not derogate from his rank, the first important step was
taken towards the emancipation of industry. The glassworkers were
exempted from _tailles, aydes et subsides_, from _ost, giste,
chevaulchier et subventions_, or, in other words, military taxes could
not be levied upon them, nor troops quartered upon them, nor
requisitions made upon them. The _gentilhomme verrier_ had the right to
carry a sword and to wear embroideries, to fish and to hunt, nor could
the lord of a domain refuse to him, in return for a small fee, the right
to cut whatever wood he needed for his furnaces, and to collect and burn
the undergrowth into ashes for his manufacture. It was the richly and
densely wooded country about St.-Gobain which led to the establishment
at this spot in 1665 of the glassworks since developed into the great
establishment of our day. Even now, though gas has long since taken the
place of wood in the manufacture, and towns and farms have grown up in
the neighbourhood, no less than 2,440 hectares of the 2,900 which make
up the territory of St.-Gobain proper are still in woodland; and the
forests extend far beyond the limits of the commune which bears the
name of the Irish Catholic prince St.-Gobain, who came here in the
seventh century, as St. Boniface went to the Rhine, to evangelise the
country, and built himself a cell on the side of the mountain which
overlooks the glassworks. Here he did his appointed work, and here, on
June 2, 670, he was put to death. The mountain was then known as Mount
Ereme or Mount Desert, and it is still heavily wooded throughout almost
its whole extent.

The French Government also owns a very large domain around and beyond
St.-Gobain, about two-thirds, I am told, of the 10,000 hectares
constituting thirteen per cent. of the whole area of the Department of
the Aisne, which are still covered with forests.[6] These ten thousand
hectares are the remnant of the immense _sylvacum_ of the Laonnois, the
Andradawald of Eastern Gaul, through which Agrippa opened a great Roman
road connecting the capital of the world by way of Milan, Narbonnese
Gaul, Reims, and Soissons with the British Channel. At a short distance
from St.-Gobain a part of this ancient road running from south to north
through the lower forests of Coucy, is still in use, and is known by the
name of Queen Brunehild's Causeway. The chronicle of St.-Bertin, cited
by Bergier, attributes to that extraordinary woman the restoration of
this whole road throughout Gaul, and she certainly built a magnificent
abbey in the immediate neighbourhood.

    [6] The total revenue derived from the woods and forests of the
    State in France is set down in the Budget for 1890 at 25,614,300
    francs, but the returns are 'lumped' and not given in detail. I am
    told that the forests around St.-Gobain yield about 400,000 francs
    of this revenue.

Encouraged by the wise administration of Colbert, an association of
glassworkers established itself at St.-Gobain in 1665 under the
direction of a 'gentleman glassworker,' M. du Noyer. Twenty years
afterwards, in 1688, a Norman 'gentleman glassworker,' M. Lucas de
Nehou, who had joined this association, invented the process known as
the _coulage_ of glass for mirrors, and this became the kernel of the
great industry of St.-Gobain. The association took the name, in 1688, of
the Thévart company, from De Nehou's most active colleague. It became
the Plastrier Company in 1702, and ten years afterwards, in 1712, M.
Geoffrin, the husband of the clever and enterprising friend of Voltaire
and the Empress Catherine, took charge as administrator of the
establishment. His wife really administered both the establishment and
M. Geoffrin. It was she who confided the direction of the works in 1739
to M. Deslandes, and she is fairly entitled to her share of credit for
the great progress made in the subsequent half-century down to 1789.
Under the First Consulate St.-Gobain had to give up the privileges it
had enjoyed and face the modern conditions of success. It has proved its
claim to its ancient privileges by its triumphs ever since it
surrendered them. The history of its relations with the crown and with
the courts under the _ancien régime_ is a most curious, interesting, and
instructive chapter of the political and social, as well as of the
industrial, annals of France, and it has been admirably told by M.
Augustin Cochin in his book on the manufactory of St.-Gobain from 1665
to 1866.

A drive of less than an hour through a highly cultivated rolling
country, made attractive by well-grown trees and luxuriant hedgerows,
brought me to the clear, bright, prosperous-looking town of St.-Gobain.
Its two thousand inhabitants owe their well-being, in one form or
another, to the great company, and among the most comfortable as well as
the most picturesque dwellings in the place are the houses built by the
company, and conceded on very favourable terms to the families of men
employed in the works. Piles of timber attested the activity of the
forest administration. The people I passed, singly or in groups, saluted
the director's carriage in a friendly, good-natured way, which seemed to
show that here, at least, the 'irrepressible conflict' between capital
and labour has not yet passed into the acute stage. A fine old church of
the thirteenth century, with a tower of the sixteenth, and the noble
trees which cover the slopes and shade the roadway of St.-Gobain, are no
more in keeping with the standard English and American type of a
manufacturing town than is the parklike domain in the midst of which
rise the main buildings of the great manufactory itself.

There M. Henrivaux gave me a cordial welcome. The château of St.-Gobain,
in which the offices of the company have long been established, is a
vast square edifice of the time and the style of Louis XIV. It occupies
the site, and, I believe, comprises one remaining wing of an earlier
château, which was stormed and partially destroyed by the English in the
fourteenth century. Henry IV. was seigneur of St.-Gobain, and when the
glassworks company, at the end of the seventeenth century, bought the
domain and the buildings from the Count de Longueval, then governor of
La Fère, the title of the crown to the property had to be extinguished
as well as his.

Nothing can be finer in its way than the wide panorama of forest-clad
hills and rolling vales, dotted here and there with towns, villages, and
châteaux, over which you gaze from the terrace in front of this unique
establishment. It has its pleasure-grounds and its park. Within the main
building, besides the extensive suite of apartments assigned to the
director, who resides there with his family, is another handsome suite
of apartments, reserved for the administrators, six in number, whenever
they may choose, collectively or severally, to visit St.-Gobain. These
apartments are furnished with stately simplicity, and the whole interior
preserves the grand air of the eighteenth century. The _fleurs de lis_
still adorn the lofty chimney-pieces, the waxed floors are sedulously
polished, and, as M. Henrivaux says, could the ghost of Lucas de Nehou
have returned to St.-Gohain only a year or two ago, he would have been
welcomed at the entrance gate by a Swiss wearing the royal liveries of
the House of Bourbon, and resting majestically on his halberd, like the
guards of the Scala Regia in the Vatican. This imposing warden has now
passed away, at the ripe age of a hundred and two, and M. Henrivaux
tells me that he was more alert and active to the last than his more
celebrated contemporary at Paris, the venerable Chevreuil.

When a new administrator first makes his appearance at St.-Gobain, I am
told, he is received with music by day and an illumination at night, a
grand mass is celebrated in the chapel dedicated to the royal Irish
martyr, and the whole place assumes for a moment the aspect of another
age.

In one of the _salons_ of the administration, two pictures commemorate
visits paid to the manufactory: one, under the Restoration, by the
Duchesse de Berri, the mother of the Count de Chambord; the other, under
the Second Empire, by the Empress Eugénie--pathetic pictures both,
making the room a place wherein to 'sit upon the floor and tell strange
stories of the deaths of kings.'

Beside the canvas in which the Empress appears--a graceful, gracious
woman in the prime of her life and her beauty--hangs a small mirror in a
gilded frame, silvered by her own imperial hand in the great workroom
of the manufactory. The work was well and deftly done, but so delicate
is the process that when the light strikes athwart this mirror at a
particular angle, you can clearly trace a faint hair line of shadow
traversing it, the ineffaceable record of a ripple of laughter which
broke from the Empress's lips at some gay remark made by one of the
personages grouped about her while her hand was completing its task.

I spent a delightful day with M. and Mme. Henrivaux, inspecting all
parts of the manufactory of mirrors, visiting the houses provided for a
considerable number of the workmen and their families, on terms most
advantageous to them by the company, and inquiring into the working of
the co-operative association founded by M. Cochin.

This association is an association of consumers only, not of producers.
Its original statutes were drawn up very carefully by M. Cochin, and as
they have been as carefully observed by the members and the managers, it
is the opinion of M. Henrivaux that the experiment has proved to be a
success. This may be inferred from the fact that the title of
'co-operative' has been assumed in the town of St.-Gobain by a bakery,
which seems to be managed on the principles of private competition under
the 'co-operative' flag. If the 'trademark' were not popular, it would
hardly have been assumed.

The company also encourages societies among its own workmen and in the
town for educational purposes, including a philharmonic and a choral
society, and is liberal in its expenditure upon the schools, both here
and at Chauny, the seat of its very important chemical works.

At St.-Gobain alone, I understand, it is now making an outlay of some
sixty thousand francs on new school-buildings, which is a larger sum
than the total of the taxes paid by the people of the place. The
'budget' of the commune amounts to 27,500 francs, or rather more than
ten francs _per capita_ of the population. Obviously the prosperity of
the glassworks makes the prosperity of St.-Gobain, which, but for them,
would doubtless soon relapse into the proportions of the little hamlet
gathered, twelve hundred years ago, by the Irish evangelist about the
miraculous fountain, which is said to have been evoked by him with a
blow of his staff, and which still flows beneath the shelter of his
church.

When Arthur Young visited St.-Gobain a hundred years ago he
congratulated himself on his 'good luck' in hitting upon a day when the
furnaces were in full blast and the _coulage_ going on. A traveller of
the present day who should reach St.-Gobain armed with the letters of
introduction necessary to secure his admission into the works, and find
the furnaces not in full blast and the _coulage_ not going on, would be
in very bad luck indeed.

For while in 1789 St.-Gobain was a privileged company, enjoying, for the
output of its works here and in Normandy, and in the Faubourg
St.-Antoine at Paris, a chartered monopoly, the output of its works
to-day, under the wholesome pressure of competition with a fair field
and no favour, is enormously greater than it was a century ago, both in
volume and in value; and the position of St.-Gobain among the glassworks
of the world is at least as high under the presidency of the Duc de
Broglie, in 1889, as it was under the presidency of the Duc de
Montmorency in 1789. Yet the company is still administered, not indeed
according to the letter of its original statutes of the time of the
Grand Monarque, but in the spirit of those statutes. It is an ancient
dynasty which has simply accepted the changed conditions of modern life
and modern activity, and conformed its operations to them without
abandoning its fundamental principles. The successful advance of this
great industry, through all the changes, convulsions, and developments
of the past century, is quite as instructive as are the successive
catastrophes of French politics during the same time. 'I think,' said M.
Henrivaux to me, 'that when you compare the St.-Gobain of 1702 with the
St.-Gobain of 1889, you will perhaps agree with me that there is some
force in our double motto, 'tradition dans le progrès et hérédité dans
l'honneur.'

It is a curious fact that Lucas de Nehou, the inventor of plate glass,
was originally induced by the founders of St.-Gobain to leave his own
establishment at Tour-la-ville in Normandy and come to their works in
Paris, because the Venetian glassworkers who had been invited by Colbert
into France, refused to instruct the French workmen in their 'art and
mystery.' They could not be blamed for this. Venice was then the
acknowledged headquarters of the glass manufacture, and it was the
unchangeable policy of the 'most serene Republic' to keep all her
secrets to herself. A fundamental statute ordained that if any artisan
or artist took his art into a foreign country he should be ordered to
return. If he did not obey, his nearest relatives were to be imprisoned,
in order that his affection for them might lead him to submit. If he
submitted, his emigration should be forgiven, and he should be
established in his industry at Venice. If he did not submit, a person
was sent after him to kill him, and after he was well and duly killed
his relatives were to be released. In the thirteenth century Venetian
artists suffered death under this statute in Bologna, Florence, Mantua,
and other Italian cities. Even in Venice the glassworks were rigidly
confined to the island of Murano, in order to keep the workmen from
coming into contact with strangers visiting the city. When the Republic,
in 1665, as a matter of policy allowed a certain number of glassworkers
to go to France, at the request of Colbert, and to take service there
under Du Noyer at Paris, in his manufactory of mirrors, these workmen
were forbidden to teach their trade to any Frenchman. The result, as I
have said, was that Du Noyer finally brought about a combination with M.
de Nehou, the owner of certain glassworks at Tour-la-ville in Normandy,
that De Nehou came to Paris, that out of their joint enterprise
eventually arose the company now known as the Company of St.-Gobain,
that the French workmen trained by De Nehou did excellent work, and that
De Nehou put himself in the way of making, towards the end of the
seventeenth century, his invention of plate glass, which finally drove
Venetian mirrors out of the markets of the world. The Venetian mirrors,
charming as they are from the æsthetic point of view of decorative art,
are simply blown glass rolled flat, cut, polished, and tinned. The art
of making them came, like other arts, to Venice from the East, and in
the sixteenth century the Venetian mirror was the true 'glass of
fashion' all over Europe. The famous 'Galerie des Glaces' at Versailles,
of which Louis XIV. was so proud, was filled up with mirrors of 'French
manufacture after the fashion of Venice,' as the royal expense-rolls
state, and it took De Nehou and his workmen five years--from 1678 to
1683--to do the work. Eight years afterwards, in 1691, he presented King
Louis with certain 'large mirrors of plate glass,' the firstfruits of
his invention, made in 1689. In 1693, he was made Director of the 'Royal
Manufactory of Grand Mirrors,' and the manufactory was established in
the ruined Château de St.-Gobain.

A hundred years afterwards, in 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Venice
with a French army and made an end of that 'most serene' republic, as he
did, not long afterwards, of the least serene republic at Paris. He put
Berthier in command, and a commission of French savants, of which
Berthollet was a member, proceeded to pick the locks and investigate the
mysteries of Venetian art. Their report upon the Venetian glassworks was
to the effect that France knew more about the matter than Venice. 'The
industries of Venice,' said these irreverent conquerors, 'as precocious
as the industries of China, have stood still like them.'

In this age of jointstock companies and limited liabilities, it may be
interesting to see on what terms the original founders of the Company of
St.-Gobain put their heads and their purses together, to establish a
great industrial enterprise. Their articles of association were signed
by twelve associates on February 1, 1703, some ten years after William
Paterson and Lord Halifax laid the foundations of the Bank of England
and of the British public debt. The capital of the company, estimated at
2,040,000 livres, was divided into twenty-four shares of 85,000 livres
each, called 'sols,' and these again into twelve parts each, called
'deniers,' making a total of 288 'deniers.' These curious designations,
taken from the currency of the time, were used down to the overthrow of
the restored Bourbon monarchy in 1830. The owners of these shares, or
'deniers,' bound themselves solemnly never to make a loan, but to meet
all the expenses of the enterprise by assessments in proportion to their
holdings, and always to keep in hand a fund for current expenses of at
least one million of livres. They were to receive ten per cent. on their
capital, a special honorarium of 1,000 livres a year apiece, and a fee
of two crowns for attendance at meetings. All misunderstandings were to
be settled by arbitration, and all the proceedings were to be secret.
Under these articles St.-Gobain grew up, prospered, withstood the shock
of successive political revolutions in France, and kept its place in the
front of the great industrial movement of the nineteenth century down to
the year 1830.

During this long life of over a century and a quarter, the payment of
dividends seems to have been suspended for three years only, and that
after the Terror, from 1794 to 1797. In 1792, when the Girondins and the
Jacobins were tearing France to pieces between them, and courting
foreign invasion as a stimulus to domestic anarchy, the works were
stopped for a time in Paris, at Tour-la-ville and at St.-Gobain, but
only for a time. The very able director of the company, M. Deslandes,
originally selected, as I have said, by Madame Geoffrin, and who had
vindicated her good judgment by managing the affairs of the company with
success for thirty years, resigned his post in 1789. He was a model
disciplinarian of the old school.

In 1775, finding that some of the workmen at Tour-la-ville had been
seduced from their duty by a glassmaker at La Fère-en-Tardenois, M.
Deslandes called upon the Intendant at Soissons to clap them into
prison. Turgot, the friend of Franklin, objected to this, but M.
Deslandes gave him plainly to understand that 'a government which should
tolerate such misconduct would be detestable.'

When a great mirror was to be cast at St.-Gobain, M. Deslandes always
took command of the works in full dress, his peruke well powdered and
his sword by his side. Clearly such a director as this was out of
keeping with a king who would not let his officers fire upon a howling
mob, and who put on a red cap to oblige a swarm of drunken ruffians.

M. Deslandes was followed into retirement by several of the
administrators of the company, who emigrated, and in 1793 the Republic
caused the cashier of the company, M. Guérin, to be guillotined on the
heinous charge of corresponding with his former employers and friends
beyond the frontier. Naturally this crime was committed, like so many
similar crimes of that day, with an eye to the main chance. The shares
of the administrators who had emigrated were confiscated, in the names
of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and the confiscators sent sundry
'patriots' to sit on the administrative council of the company. Their
incompetency was so ludicrous and mischievous that Robespierre,
representing the State which had thus stolen an interest in the
enterprise, could not stand it. He actually 'requisitioned' two
noblemen--two 'aristocrats'--among the as yet undisturbed owners of the
property, to come forward and direct it, just as the leader of a
successful mutiny of convicts on board of a transport might
'requisition' the deposed captain and mate of the vessel to carry her
safely through a storm!

With the return of law and order in the person of the Corsican conqueror
things resumed their normal course at St.-Gobain; and as I have already
said, the company flourished under its old organisation down to the
establishment of the Monarchy of July. Then the owners of the 'deniers'
put themselves and their property under the general Civil Code, in the
form of what is called in modern France a 'société anonyme,' and at the
first general meeting of the 'société' in April 1831 the accounts of 128
years, over which no question had ever arisen among the representatives
of the original holders, were presented and approved. Certainly this
must be admitted to be a most noteworthy case of 'l'hérédité dans
l'honneur.'

The new 'société' has greatly extended and strengthened its operations
since 1831. The works at Tour-la-ville have been abandoned, the site
sold, and the workmen transferred to St.-Gobain. The glassworks of
St.-Quirin, the proprietors of which, on the abolition in 1804 of
privileges in general, had taken to making plate glass, were taken over
in 1858 by the St.-Gobain company, together with certain other works at
Mannheim in Germany and the chemical works at Cirey, and the 'société'
assumed the name under which it is now known of 'The Company of Mirrors
and Chemical Products of St.-Gobain, Chauny, and Cirey.' In 1863 it
bought up the works at Stolberg near Aix-la-Chapelle in Rhenish Prussia,
in 1868 a minor manufactory at Montluçon in the Department of the
Allier, and finally during this current year 1889 it is establishing a
manufactory at Pisa in Italy.

The operations of the company, as it now exists, extend to six
manufactories of mirrors, six manufactories of chemicals, a mine of iron
pyrites, a salt mine, many thousand hectares of forests in this
department of the Aisne and in the province of Lorraine, and to a local
railway connecting St.-Gobain with Chauny, where the plate glass cast at
St.-Gobain is polished and the mirrors are silvered. At St.-Gobain,
besides the plate glass mirrors, glass is made for roofs, for floors,
for pavements, for optical instruments, including the finest lenses used
in the lighthouses of France. Here, as I have said, the lens was made
now used at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, from which, night
after night, a gigantic auroral ray of electric light leaps into space
and shoots for miles athwart the sky, to the inexpressible delight of
the gaping crowds below, and I hope to the edification of the world of
science.

Since 1870 the output of the company from its various manufactories has
more than doubled. It now amounts, in round numbers, to 800,000 square
mètres a year of polished plate glass; to 500,000 square mètres a year
of rough glass; to a million kilogrammes a year of blocks and castings
for floors and roofings, and to eighty thousand kilogrammes a year of
optical glasses of all sorts.

In the time of Louis XIV. and before Lucas de Nehou had made his
invention of plate glass, there was absolutely no public demand for what
in those days were called 'large mirrors' made in the Venetian fashion,
mirrors which to-day would not find a market in the most remote frontier
towns of America or Australia. Colbert then wrote to the Comte d'Avaux
apropos of the works of Lucas de Nehou in Normandy, that 'there was
absolutely no market for large mirrors in the kingdom, the king being
the only person who could possibly need them!'

This was in 1673.

In 1702, ten years after the invention of the process by which plate
glass is made, a mirror with a surface area of one mètre cost 165
francs. In 1889 such a mirror costs 30 f. 25 c. A mirror with four
mètres of surface area cost, in 1702, 2,750 francs. In 1889 it costs 136
francs.

When we come down to modern times and to the much larger mirrors
produced of late years, the fall in prices is extraordinary. In 1873 a
mirror with ten square mètres of surface cost 1,200 francs. To-day such
a mirror can be bought at St.-Gobain for 467 francs, showing a fall of
nearly two-thirds in price within sixteen years!

To-day the total production of polished plate glass in the world is
estimated as follows:--

                                  square mètres
  England (4 companies)                 900,000
  Belgium (6 companies)                 600,000
  Germany (4 companies)                 150,000
  United States (7 companies)           500,000
  France (not including St.-Gobain)     130,000
  St.-Gobain                            800,000
                                      ---------
    Total                             3,080,000

From this it will be seen that nearly one quarter of the plate glass of
a world in which plate glass, like champagne, is rapidly ceasing to be a
luxury and becoming a necessity, is produced at this ancient
establishment. With a keen perception of the tendencies of this age
St.-Gobain, of late years, has been fitting its machinery to produce the
very largest plates of glass possible to be made. Go where you like,
from the Eden Theatre in Paris to the Casino of Monte Carlo, from the
new monster hotel at the Gare St.-Lazare to the enormous edifice which
an enterprising firm of tradesmen has planted in the centre of the Corso
at Rome, and the vast glittering sheets of silvered glass turned out
from the great forges everywhere confront you. At the French Exposition
of 1878 St.-Gobain enabled the 'fly gobblers' of two hemispheres to
admire themselves in the most gigantic mirror ever made down to that
date. It measured six mètres and a half in height, by four mètres and
eleven centimètres in width, which gave it a surface area of 26 mètres
12 centimètres. Naturally M. Henrivaux determined to surpass this
prodigy in 1889, and to match the Eiffel Tower with a mirror. The
Belgian rivals of St.-Gobain suspected this, it seems, and sent forth
subtle persons to spy out the plans of the great French manufactory.
These colossal plates of glass are cast upon immense 'tables' of metal,
and by ascertaining the dimensions of the tables ordered for St.-Gobain
the ingenious Belgians hoped to get the measure of the effort it would
be necessary for them to outdo. In anticipation of this subtlety the
director of St.-Gobain ordered two immense tables, and when these were
sent to the manufactory, had them skilfully thrown into one. Upon the
gigantic table thus prepared the grand mirror of the Exposition of 1889
was cast at the eleventh hour. This mirror was the special delight of
the Shah of Persia during his visit of this year to Paris; and as I
suppose the seven plate-glass manufactories which have grown up in my
own beloved country under the benediction of the Protective Tariff,
since a prohibitive duty was originally clapped on plate glass to
encourage the one solitary establishment of the sort then existing in
America, will give themselves up to producing something more stupendous
still for the New York Exposition of 1892, I here set down its
dimensions. It measures in height 7 mètres 63 centimètres, and in width
4 mètres 10 centimètres, giving it a superficial area of 34 mètres 24
centimètres. It is 12 millimètres thick, and weighs 940 kilogrammes.
This enormous glass was cast from a single crucible, containing 1,600
kilogrammes of vitreous matter. To have seen this operation would have
been worth a very much longer journey than that from New York to
St.-Gobain, for the colour and glow of such a mass of vitreous matter in
fusion can only be matched by the evanescent hues of a crimson aurora on
a fine night in the North, or by the intense lights which play over the
surface of a stream of molten lava.

At every stage in the operation the utmost skill and delicacy of
handling are required to convert what might easily pass for a heap of
rubbish swept together from a macadamised roadway into the smooth,
glittering, lustrous plate which the French so picturesquely call a
_glace_, and which indeed most nearly resembles the evenly frozen
surface of a crystal lakelet. These sands, silicates, chalks, and
carbonates--rough contributions from Oken's 'silent realm of the
minerals'--are first crushed and mingled together by machines--one of
the best of them, I was glad to hear, of American invention--then passed
on into the great rectangular hall, in which they are shot into the
crucibles of the melting furnaces and fused, mainly by gas, on a system
invented and perfected by the late Dr. Siemens, I believe, who made such
a stir a decade ago at Glasgow by his discourse on the storage of force
before the British Association. The furnaces which, according to their
varying capacity, now require from eight to ten tons of coal a day,
consumed, before the development of the Siemens system, from sixteen to
twenty tons. Twenty-four hours now suffice for the fusion and the
casting of the glass, and if the casting were now to be conducted as
ceremoniously as in the time of that fine old martinet M. Deslandes, M.
Henrivaux would pass his life in a cocked hat, knee-breeches, peruke,
embroidered coat, and sword, for the casting now takes place every day
and at a fixed hour. None the less, rather the more, it is a work still
of extreme nicety, one to be done by experts, who must be as cool as
soldiers under fire. In a certain way and measure it is like ladling out
the molten lava of Vesuvius and pressing it into slabs for a lady's
toilette-table. The plates, once cast, must be smoothed and made even.
This is a very pretty process, and used to be performed by machines
which bore the very pretty names of _valseuses_. That paviour's rammers
should be called _demoiselles_ has always seemed to me an outrage and an
impertinence, though I may suppose it finds its excuse in the
short-waisted costumes of our grandmothers. But the movement of the
glass-smoothing _valseuses_ was really a sort of waltz movement. The
plates of glass were fixed with plaster on a solid rectangular table.
Granite-dust was scattered upon the plates, and then a wooden plateau,
armed on the under side with bands of cast iron or steel, was set to
waltzing over it backwards and forwards with a semi-rotatory motion, the
granite-dust supplied becoming finer and finer as the waltzing went on.

Instead of these _valseuses_ two great plates of glass are now fixed
side by side with plaster on huge tables, and two large ashlars are set
turning by steam on their own axes while they describe a great orbit
over the plates of glass. A stream of water constantly plays upon the
plates, which are also constantly powdered with fine sand. The ashlars
turn on their axes thirty or forty times a minute, and the plates of
glass are usually smoothed and 'evened' on both faces now by these
machines in from eight to nine hours, including the time spent in taking
them out of the plaster after one face has been smoothed, and fixing
them anew in the plaster, that the other face may fare as well. Here
again a considerable economy of time has been made. And, after all, when
one looks into the practical production of any of these great marvels of
human industry, it is in this economy of time that the real advance of
modern science beyond the results of ancient invention seems to consist.
With all our nineteenth-century chorus of 'self-praising,
self-admiring,' where should we be if certain--for the most part,
uncertain and forgotten--men of genius had not invented the primordial
processes which made art and civilisation possible? The workshop came
first, and was the real marvel in the case of every great industry. To
talk of the 'invention' of the steam-engine, for example, is an
absurdity. The 'invention' was the engine, an invention as old as Egypt
or China. The discovery that steam could be made to work the engine is
the more modest modern achievement. In this industry of glass-making the
amazing thing is that it should have come into the mind of a man so to
apply the heat of burning wood to sands and silicates enclosed in an
earthen vessel as to convert them into an entirely new substance
possessing qualities not perceivable by any human sense in the sands,
the silicates, or the earth.

What our modern progress in chemistry and in mechanics has enabled the
makers of glass to do, is greatly to reduce the trouble and cost of
producing this entirely new substance, greatly to improve the quality of
the substance produced, and to extend the range of the uses to which it
can be applied.

What would the Egyptians, who paid their tribute in glass to Rome, have
thought of a serious order to pave the Via Sacra with blocks of purple
glass? Yet such an order could be executed now at St.-Gobain, and when
one sees the great flags weighing nine kilogrammes made here and used to
let light into the cellarage below the carriage-ways, for example, of
the huge Hôtel Continental, at Paris, it comes easily within the
probabilities that the whole underworld of our great cities in time may
thus come to be made available for divers uses, as so much of the
underworld of Broadway now is in New York.

The great 'pavement question' is an open question still, in spite of
asphalte and of wood, and there would seem to be nothing in the nature
of things to prevent its being eventually solved by the glassworkers.
The roofing question clearly belongs to them. The casting of glass for
roofs began, I believe, with England, in the time of Sir Joseph Paxton,
but it has been immensely developed at St.-Gobain. Over a hundred
thousand square mètres of glass roofing made here were required for the
building of the Exposition of this year at Paris. All the most important
railway stations in France, from Nantes to Strasburg (unless the Germans
have changed this), and from Calais to Marseilles, are thus roofed. In
great warehouses, markets, public museums, street galleries--like those
of Victor Emmanuel at Milan--factories, workshops all over France and
the Continent, this conversion of the roof into a colossal window has
revolutionised matters within the last twenty years. The light is making
its way even into Turkey, where the great bazaar at Salonica has been
roofed in glass by St.-Gobain, and as the Chinese, who, despite their
early invention of glass, never got beyond using it for beads and little
bottles, have condescended to admit great French mirrors into the
Imperial Palace at Pekin, the glass roof may, ere long, make its way
even into China.

In the form of tiles, such as are now made here, glass must inevitably,
sooner or later, displace slates and shingles and terra-cotta for the
roofs, even of private houses, it being quite certain that these glass
tiles can be so used as to give a much better light in the garrets of
private houses than can possibly be got through the windows. When that
comes to pass the burglar's occupation of clambering stealthily from
roof to roof will be seriously interfered with. What with glass roofs
and glass floors and electricity, indeed, the city of the future is
likely to be much more easily 'policed' and patrolled, as well as
incomparably more cheery and habitable, than the city of to-day.
Perhaps, too, when we all come to living in glass houses, the cause of
peace and good neighbourhood may gain, and even Mrs. Grundy may grow
more careful about looking into the affairs of her friends and
acquaintances.

If that much maligned potentate the Emperor Nero had any real notion of
the capabilities of glass when he established the first glassworks at
Rome, the lamentation with which he took farewell of the world, '_qualis
artifex pereo_,' may have been inspired by regret at his not being
allowed time enough to develop them. Certainly such gigantic mirrors as
those which St.-Gobain has this year sent to the Exposition would have
shown to better advantage in his colossal 'Golden House' than in any of
our petty modern palaces. In what palace in England or in France to-day
could a mirror measuring 7 mètres x 63 centimètres in height by 4 mètres
x 12 centimètres in width, and thus displaying a surface of more than 30
square mètres, be placed, without dwarfing everything about it? These
immense and magnificent mirrors must go hereafter to decorate palaces of
public resort--'palaces of the people,' not palaces of princes. What was
a royal luxury when Colbert wrote to D'Avaux in 1673 has become a
popular attraction. The smallest restaurant in Paris would think itself
discredited to-day were it decorated with one of the _grandes glaces_
for which Colbert in 1693 thought St.-Gobain would find no purchaser
save the king; but the Grand Café and the Hôtel Terminus of the Gare
St.-Lazare order mirrors in 1889 which no king of our times would very
well know what to do with.

Yet, once more, how the cost of these mirrors has fallen! In 1702 a
plate-glass mirror showing two square mètres only by surface, cost, at
St.-Gobain, 540 francs. In 1889 such a mirror, showing four square
mètres of surface, costs, at St.-Gobain, 136 francs. A mirror showing
ten square mètres of surface, which could not have been made in 1702 at
any price, can now be had for 467 francs!

In 1802, under Napoleon, a mirror showing four square mètres of surface
cost 3,644 francs, or very nearly three times the present cost of a
mirror, not tinned like the mirrors of 1802, but silvered, of twice and
a half that size. While new markets are constantly opening to this great
industry all over the world, the progress of chemical science and of
mechanics is as constantly suggesting new economies and new improvements
in the manufacture of glass, and St.-Gobain, though one of the most
thoroughly French of all French 'institutions,' shows no Chauvinism in
its incessant study and prompt appropriation of these economies and
these improvements. During the invasion of 1814 the workmen of
St.-Gobain marched off to Chauny to resist the advance of the Prussians,
and the manufactory had to pay a heavy fine for its patriotism. But it
avails itself as readily of German as of French science to-day, and I
found M. Henrivaux entirely and minutely familiar with the very latest
phenomena of the great change which is coming over the glassworks, as
well as all the other industries, of Pittsburg, through the use there of
natural gas instead of coal gas and coal. All the most recently invented
furnaces--English, German, American--have been tried and tested here as
soon as they were made; and the latest American 'crushers' and
'regulators' get to St.-Gobain as soon as they do to Pittsburg. The
materials which go to the making of a plate-glass mirror pass through
seven processes before the original heap of pebbles, dust, and ashes is
transformed into a sheet of splendour and light.

A hundred years ago more than ten days were required to complete these
seven processes, from the crushing and mixing and putting into the
furnace of the soda and the silicious sand and the charcoal and the lime
and the broken glass, called here _calcin_, through the fusion, and the
moulding, and the squaring, and the smoothing, and the washing, and the
polishing. Now this is all done in half the time--127 hours instead of
246.

With all this the condition of the workmen employed at St.-Gobain has
also steadily improved. It seems always to have been good, relatively to
the general conditions of workmen in other industries and other
establishments in France. Under the original statutes, and in the time
of the excellent M. Deslandes, the nominee of Madame Geoffrin, who ruled
St.-Gobain with great success from 1759 down to the Revolution, the
workmen of St.-Gobain, as I have shown, were looked after, as well as
kept to their duty, on strictly patriarchal principles, not likely to
find favour in modern eyes. That they did not themselves dislike the
system may be inferred from the fact that no such thing as a strike has
ever been known at St.-Gobain, and that a considerable proportion of the
workmen employed here now are the direct descendants of workmen employed
here in the last century. There are even workers by inheritance, as men
may be soldiers and sailors or magistrates by inheritance. Of course
with the great extension in our own time of the operation of the
company, great numbers of workmen other than glassworkers have come into
its employment. But in the glass manufactures alone there are now
employed: at St.-Gobain 375 workmen, at Chauny 583, at Cirey-sur-Vezouze
628, at Montluçon 473, at Stolberg, in Rhenish Prussia, 842, at Waldhof,
in Baden-Baden, 518; making, in all, 3,419.

The wages of the workmen are paid by the day, by the month, or by the
piece, according to the special work which they do, but in all cases
(and this, I believe, has been the rule here from the beginning) the
workman is interested in his work by one premium on the amount, and by
another on the quality of the work done. Furthermore (and this also
dates from the beginning) the company look after the primary education
of the children of the workmen. At St.-Gobain, at Chauny, at Cirey, at
Montluçon, and I believe, also, at Waldhof, it maintains schools for
both sexes at its own expense, together with asylums and training
schools for the children. In these there are now more than 1,400
children. When the company owns no such school it pays a subvention to
the nearest school for the benefit of the children of its workmen.

Here at St.-Gobain the company owns a number of houses, each house
having a garden and dependencies, which it lets to the workmen at an
average rental of eight francs a month. I saw not long ago, at one of
the stations on a line newly opened by the Great Eastern Railway Company
of England, very neat and even handsome cottages well built of brick and
thoroughly comfortable, which are leased to servants of the company at
2s. 6_d_. a week, or ten shillings a month. The houses I saw at
St.-Gobain let at less than seven shillings a month, were quite as large
as those of the Great Eastern Company, and the gardens were much larger.

I gathered from the remarks made to me at St.-Gobain by people who
seemed to be both well-informed and well-disposed, that of late years
the liberality of the company in regard to these houses has, in not a
few cases, worked mischief rather than good. They are not confined to
St.-Gobain, and the company owns and leases no fewer than 1,256 of
them. A good many allotments of land around the factories are also made
at nominal rates to the workmen, who cultivate them assiduously. The
glass-founders are particularly favoured in making these leases and
allotments. Besides these houses meant for families, the company
provides lodgings near the factories for unmarried workmen, or for
workmen whose homes are at a considerable distance from their work.

Within the buildings of the manufactory itself at St.-Gobain, M.
Henrivaux showed me some such lodgings, as well as several bath-rooms
which the workmen are allowed to use on the payment of a very slight
fee. It is his experience that the workmen prefer to consider the bath
as a luxury, and to pay for it.

All the relations between the company and its workmen, indeed, seem to
me to be governed by a sensible avoidance on the part of the company of
everything like fussy paternalism; and to this, in some measure, I have
no doubt, must be attributed the remarkably smooth and easy working of
these relations through so long a course of years. The workmen are
treated, not like children, but like reasonable beings, who may be
expected to avail themselves of advantages which are offered them with
an eye at once to their own interests and to the interests of the
company.

The co-operative societies at St.-Gobain and at Chauny, for example,
were founded in 1866, not by the company, but by the employees of the
company under statutes carefully drawn up by M. Cochin, and the company
simply undertook to assist them; in the first place by leasing them, at
a low rent, the buildings necessary for the business, and in the next
place by taking charge gratuitously of their financial operations. The
goods supplied are sold only to members of the societies, as in the
co-operative stores in England. The transactions amount to about
1,500,000 francs a year, the goods are sold at prices below those
charged in the local shops, and the members divide an average annual
profit of from eight to ten per cent. The management is entirely in the
hands of the members.

The company has founded at St.-Gobain a kind of savings-bank in which
the workman may make deposits of from one franc to 400 francs, drawing
interest at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum, until the maximum is
reached, when the money is either paid back to the depositor or, if he
prefers, invested for him, without charge by the company, in the public
funds or in railway securities. In this way many of the workmen are
coming to be small capitalists. If they wish also to become house-owners
the company advances, at the lowest possible rate of interest, the
necessary funds for the purchase, and workmen in good standing with the
company find no difficulty in getting gratuitous advances of money
repayable in small fixed amounts, upon showing good reasons for the
advance. And in all the establishments of the company, except at
Montluçon, where there is a special fund to give assistance in cases of
accident or disease, the workmen and their families are entitled to
medical advice and medicines at the expense of the company.

In addition to all these arrangements for promoting a real community of
interests between the company and its employees, there is a pension fund
out of which retiring pensions, varying from one-fifth to one-fourth of
the wages earned by the pensioner, are granted to employees who have
served the company for a certain number of years, or who find themselves
disabled from further service by age or by disease. A certain
proportion, determinable by the circumstances of each case, of these
pensions is settled upon the widows and young children of the
pensioners; and in order to encourage habits of thrift and forecast
among the workmen, the company undertakes to manage without charge the
investment of a certain proportion of his wages by any workman in the
'pension fund' of the national government.

The total outlay of the company upon these various methods of promoting
a community of interests between itself and its employees amounted in
1888 to 438,033 francs, thus divided:--

                                    francs
  Pensions                          241,657
  Medical Service                   100,055
  Schools and Religious Services     57,788
  Recreations                        17,667
  Gifts and Assistance               19,758

The outlay upon 'recreation' is made in the form of subventions and
prizes granted to associations of the workmen, such as shooting and
gymnastic clubs and musical societies. The manufactory, for example,
boasts a philharmonic society of its own, and there is a Choral Society
of St.-Gobain. Both of these have scored successes in various public
exhibitions. There is a rifle club, founded in 1861, and reconstituted
in 1874, with an eye to the possible military necessities of the
country.

The relations between the company and its employees under this system,
the germs of which were planted here two centuries ago, have assumed
such a character that the workmen habitually speak not of the
manufactory but of the 'maison.' They are and feel themselves to be
members of a great economic family. Of 2,650 persons now actively
employed in St.-Gobain, Chauny, and Cirey, 432, or 16.3 per cent., have
been employed for more than thirty years; 411, or 15.5 per cent., for
more than twenty and less than thirty years; 553, or 20.9 per cent., for
more than ten and less than twenty years; and only 1,254, or 47.3 per
cent., for less than ten years.

It would be instructive to compare this record with the records of the
most important industrial establishments in England and America during
the past thirty years, and I should be glad to see this done by some of
the people who talk so glibly in England and America of the inherent
fickleness and instability of the French character, as offering an
adequate explanation of the political catastrophes which have so often
recurred in France during the past century.

One of the most curious features of the establishment at St.-Gobain is a
subterranean lake. The fine forests around St.-Gobain and La
Fère--forests of oak, beech, elm, ash, birch, maple, yoke-elm, aspen,
wild cherry, linden, elder, and willow--flourish upon a tertiary
formation. The surface of clay keeps the soil marshy and damp, but this
checks the infiltration of the rainwater and therefore favours the
growth of the trees. In the calcareous rock the early inhabitants
hollowed out for themselves caverns, in which they took refuge from
their enemies and from the beasts of the forest; and these caverns,
called by the people _creuttes_--an obvious corruption of the name of
_crypts_, given them by the Roman conquerors of Gaul, just as the early
French trappers gave the name of 'caches' to the Indian hiding-places of
the Far West--are to be found all about Soissons and Laon. The more
modern lords of St.-Gobain, its monks and its barons, dug out of the
calcareous rock the stones which they used to build their châteaux and
their churches, and they created great _creuttes_ beneath St.-Gobain. It
seems to have occurred to M. Deslandes, during his long and skilful
supervision of the works here, that these caverns might be put to the
very practical use of securing an adequate water-supply. The idea has
been thoroughly carried out, and the subterranean reservoir of
St.-Gobain is much more impressive as a spectacle than the crypts of the
Cisterns at Constantinople. It is kept filled to an average depth of one
mètre by the infiltration of the surface waters and by the overflow of a
pond, La Marette, on the plateau of St.-Gobain, and it covers an area of
some 1,200 square mètres.

After two or three hours spent in visiting the various departments of
the glassworks overhead, M. Henrivaux led me through winding passages,
which reminded me of the dismal vomitories at Baiæ, down into this
strange underworld. Walls and pillars, partly of the natural rock, left
in the working of the quarries, partly of masonry built up to strengthen
the reservoir, give this weird water, when you reach it, the aspect
rather of a stream than of a lake. A workman, who had preceded and
guided us with a swinging lantern, put out a long boathook, and drew
slowly around to the landing-place a long, shallow boat, into which he
invited us to step. M. Henrivaux had kindly sent orders in the morning
to have the reservoir illuminated with Venetian and Chinese lanterns of
various colours. These had been hung from hooks in the rocks and pillars
with infinite good taste at long intervals, so as to illuminate not too
brilliantly the mystical darkness of the scene. Looking upon the vague,
indefinite vista, as it glimmered away into an indefinable distance, one
seemed really to stand

  Where Alp, the sacred river, ran
  Through caverns measureless by man,
    Down to a shoreless sea.

Seating ourselves carefully in the boat, our silent boatman, like a
spectral gondolier, rowed us silently along the labyrinthine canals of
this dim and ghostly Venice. Vathek Beckford would have made them
waterways to the Hall of Eblis.



CHAPTER VIII

IN THE AISNE--_continued_


  LAON

The lively little city of Chauny, standing in the heart of the rich and
lovely valley of the Oise, the 'golden vale' of this part of France, has
a history of its own of which I shall presently have something to say,
and which throws some interesting light upon the general history of
France.

But Chauny owes its actual prosperity mainly to its connection with the
Company of St.-Gobain. From a very early period in the annals of the
company, the plate-glass made at St.-Gobain was sent across the country
to Chauny, and thence by water to Paris, where it was polished and
'tinned' at the company's works in the Rue de Reuilly.

When the first machines were invented for saving much of the manual
labour spent upon these processes, it occurred to the managers of the
company that these machines might be advantageously worked with the
water-power of the Oise at Chauny. This was in the beginning of the
present century. About the same time, thanks to the foreign wars
provoked by the Girondists to promote the Revolution, it became very
difficult to obtain the supplies of natural soda necessary for the
manufacture of plate-glass, these supplies having been drawn, down to
that time, almost exclusively from Alicante in Spain; and the chemist
Leblanc hit upon a process for extracting soda on a great scale from
sea-salt. Of this invention the managers of St.-Gobain promptly availed
themselves; and, after a brief and unsatisfactory experiment at a place
called Charlesfontaine, they established at Chauny some soda-works,
which have since been developed into the most extensive chemical works
in France.

Taken in conjunction with the glassworks also now established here,
these works extend over an area of some thirty hectares, fourteen of
which are occupied by buildings. Numerous canals fed from the Oise
traverse this immense area, some of them supplying water-power, others
serving as waterways. The place, in short, is an industrial Amsterdam or
Rotterdam in miniature, lying between the river Oise, the Canal de
St.-Quentin, and the Canal de St.-Lazare. The Cité Ouvrière, built for
the workmen by the company, lies beyond the Canal de St.-Lazare and on
the road from Château Thierry in Champagne (the birthplace of La
Fontaine) to Béthune in Artois.

The streets and areas within the works are most appropriately baptized
by the names of the eminent men of science to whom the company is
indebted for great services either directly or indirectly: the Cour
Lavoisier, the Rue Pelouze, the Rue Guyton de Morvaux, the Rue Leblanc,
the Rue Gay-Lussac, the Cour Scheele, the Rue Hély d'Oisset.

Besides the dwellings put up for the benefit of the workmen at Chauny,
the company has built here a chapel, established a free dispensary, and
organised excellent schools for the children of both sexes, under the
supervision of the devoted Sisters, who have not yet been 'converted'
out of Chauny.

'What is the feeling of the people here on this question of clerical
teaching?' I asked an acquaintance of mine, who formerly filled an
important post in the local administration of this region, and who now
devotes himself to his flowers and his library in a charming old house
of the eighteenth century, the high-walled courtyard of which is
tapestried with luxuriant vines and creepers.

'All the sensible people in Chauny,' he said--'and there are many
sensible people in Chauny, though in the old times our neighbours used
to speak of us as "the monkies of Chauny"--are quite disgusted with all
this newfangled nonsense, and with these incessant attacks on the
clergy. The troublesome element here in Chauny is not to be found among
the workmen: it is to be found among the people who do not work. Of
course, everybody knows that it is the great chemical and glass works
here which make Chauny prosperous. But for St.-Gobain we should be where
we were a hundred years ago. And so there is a tendency all through the
Department to come to Chauny, in hopes of finding work under the
company. Of course, in nine cases out of ten, those who seek it thus do
not get it, for it is the rule of the company always to give the
preference to people from Chauny, or the immediate neighbourhood.

'Of course the unsuccessful "immigrants" linger about the place, and as
they don't find work they go lounging about the town, and take to drink
too often and, in short, soon become the raw material of which in these
days the freemasons are making what they call "Republicans." You have it
all,' he added, 'in the letter which M. Allain-Targé has just written,
refusing to be a candidate this year for the Chambers.'

I remembered very well the energy shown by M. Allain-Targé, as a
Republican Minister of the Interior, at the time of the elections of
October 18, 1885. He then issued an official circular instructing all
the public functionaries that, while they were to be absolutely
'neutral' as between Republican candidates of different colours, they
must exert themselves to the utmost as against all 'reactionary'
candidates. I was much interested, therefore, to learn the present
opinion of M. Allain-Targé as to the outlook of the Republic under his
successor, M. Constans, in 1889. It was very instructive to find that M.
Allain-Targé now declines to be a Republican candidate because, to use
his own words, though the High Court of Justice may 'deliver the
Republic from General Boulanger and his confederates, it is beyond the
power of the High Court of Justice to bring France back--let us not say
to the heroic age, but to the age of good faith, of disinterestedness,
of common sense, and of that prudent, sincere, and loyal policy, thanks
to which, during long years, France passed safely through so many
serious trials.'

'The new generations of electors,' says M. Allain-Targé in this
remarkable letter, 'exact of their representatives conditions to which I
will not submit. I will not undertake to make the promises which it is
now the fashion of candidates to lavish, and which I cannot regard as
serious.' These 'new generations of electors' are the 'new social
strata' about which Gambetta used to declaim so confidently only a few
years ago, and I quite agreed with my philosophic friend near Chauny in
thinking that no slight significance must attach to such a verdict upon
them, pronounced in 1889 by an 'advanced Republican' like M.
Allain-Targé, who only four years ago, in 1885, was the most active
minister of a Government called into existence to carry out the ideas of
Gambetta, and to found a stable republic upon these 'new social strata.'

Put into plain English, this letter of M. Allain-Targé, who had more
than any of his colleagues to do directly and in the way of business
both with the electors and with the elected of France four years ago,
and who now declines to have anything more to do with them all--simply
means that the electors sell their votes to the highest bidder, and that
the man who will make the most unscrupulous bid is likeliest to get the
votes. It is hard to see much difference between such a verdict and the
outspoken declaration of M. Paul de Cassagnac that law, order, property,
and liberty in France are threatened to-day, not by a 'democracy,' but
by a 'voyoucratie' or 'blackguardocracy.'

The 'anti-clerical' agitation here, as elsewhere in France, I am
assured, is plainly under the control of the 'freemasons.' Not that the
'freemasons' are avowedly very numerous here. But they are influential
because they act together, in silence, and on lines common to the
agitation all over France. 'Three or four energetic members of the
order,' said one very intelligent man to me here at Chauny, 'can easily
manage the whole official machinery of a large political district. To
understand their methods and their organisation you must go back to the
worship of Baphomet in the Middle Ages. In some of their lodges they
reproduce with a goat one at least of the abominations which Von Hammer
tells us were charged upon the Knights Templars as Baphometic. They are
a sect--a persecuting sect, and a sect bent on absolutely destroying the
Christian religion. To this end they parody the Christian symbols and
the Christian scheme of charity and of good works. They do not, most of
them, hold office, it being much more to the purpose for them to awe the
officials, and that is their favourite way of working. There are,
however, exceptions to this. If you go to Marmande in the South you will
find a sub-prefect there who is a most energetic and mischievous
"freemason." In the Aisne the Prefect is a freemason, and here all the
public functionaries go in fear of the order. They own the newspaper,
control profitable contracts of all sorts, and can make or mar the
career of public servants, through their occult relations with people at
headquarters in Paris.'

I suggested that in England and Germany and the United States the
'freemasons' are not only regarded as friends of order and of law, but
number among their dignitaries men of the highest official and personal
rank.

'That is quite true, no doubt,' he said. 'But this order in France has,
I believe, no official relations now with the order in either of these
countries. Its affiliations are with the "freemasons" of Italy, of
Belgium, and of Spain, so far as it has any affiliations. There have
been "freemasons," as you must know, among the Radical leaders in
Belgium who have not hesitated, while holding high public positions, to
denounce Christianity in open meetings as a "corpse blocking the way of
modern progress"; and what the freemasonry of Italy and of Spain is I am
sure you must know.'

I told him that in Spanish America and in Brazil I had met priests who
were members of the order; and I particularly cited the case of an
ecclesiastic of considerable importance, who in Costa Rica, some ten or
twelve years ago, was at the head of the Order of Freemasons in that
country.

'That may be,' he replied, 'but officers of our expedition into Mexico
under Maximilian have told me that the freemasons in Mexico were active
allies of the Liberals and of Juarez in their war against the Church.'

This I could not contradict, for while I never heard that President
Juarez was himself a 'freemason,' I know, from my conversations with him
after the fall of the Empire, in 1871, that, though educated by the
priests in Oajaca, as Robespierre was by the priests in Arras, he was an
unbeliever of the type of the advanced Encyclopædists of the last
century, and though not such a fanatic as Condorcet, strongly disposed,
not only to deprive the Mexican clergy of their 'fueros' under the old
Spanish system, but to make an end of Catholicism in Mexico if possible.
Nor was he much more friendly to the Protestants, who were then trying,
under Bishop Riley, to found a Protestant propaganda in Mexico.

'In France, at all events under the Third Republic,' he went on, 'the
"freemasons" are the implacable enemies of religion. It was in full
accord with them, and as a battle-cry in their interest, that Gambetta
uttered his famous declaration that "Clericalism is the enemy!" And if
the "freemasons" of any other country recognise and in any fashion
affiliate with the Grand Orient of France, they ought to understand what
they are doing, and to what objects they are lending themselves,
consciously or unconsciously. You tell me that General Washington was a
freemason. Yes, no doubt, but the freemasonry which he accepted was no
more like the modern "freemasonry" of France than this Third Republic of
ours is like the republic of which he was the founder!'

The processes carried on in the great chemical works at Chauny are in
their way as interesting as the processes carried on at St.-Gobain or in
the glassworks here. But I cannot say they are as pleasant, or even as
picturesque. Commercially speaking, the output of the chemical works of
this great company is at least as important now as the output of its
glassworks. The chemical works grew up out of the necessities of the
glassworks. When the company was led, at the beginning of this century,
by the pressure of the war epoch, to adopt in its glassworks the use of
the artificial soda made by Leblanc, the Director soon found it
advisable to have the artificial soda manufactured by the company
itself. This led to the establishment of the chemical works at Chauny,
and down to 1867 the company itself was the chief consumer of these
chemical products. The Exposition of that year widened the horizon, by
making France acquainted with the agricultural importance of the English
fabrication of 'superphosphates' as fertilisers. At the Exposition of
1878 the Company of St.-Gobain exhibited, and received a gold medal, for
superphosphates, which it was then turning out at the rate of 20,000
tons a year from three establishments--one at Chauny, one at L'Oseraie,
and one at Montluçon. As the company was then turning out a great
production of sulphuric acid, and owned the only important mine of
pyrites in France, it went on with increasing energy, and now, in 1889,
shows an output of 110,000 tons of superphosphates, from no fewer than
six establishments--Chauny, Aubervilliers, Marennes, Saint-Fons near
Lyon, L'Oseraie, and Montluçon. Besides these it possesses salt-works at
Art-sur-Meurthe, its iron pyrites works at Sain-Bel, and some important
deposits of phosphates at Beauval. These give employment to no fewer
than 3,300 workmen, independently of those employed by the company at
its various glassworks in the glass manufacture. At Chauny alone the
chemical works employ 1,350 of these workmen. For these, as for its
glassworkers, the company has established a system of savings
institutions and of pensions. Medical advice and medicines are given
gratuitously to the workmen and their families. The co-operative
association founded by M. Cochin at St.-Gobain has not, I believe, been
extended to the chemical works; but the company maintains
establishments which supply the chief wants of the workpeople at cost
price, and the dwellings provided for them, either gratuitously or at
very low rents, now number more than seven hundred, independently of the
dormitories for unmarried workmen. Retiring pensions, varying from
one-fifth to one-fourth of the wages of the workmen, are granted to all
after a certain number of years of service, and to workmen disabled by
disease or by accidents.

At the pyrites-mine of Sain-Bel, in the South, near Tarare, where more
than 400 workmen are employed--300 as miners and the rest in the works
above named, the former earning on an average 1,309 fr. 25 c., and the
latter on an average 1,114 fr. 90 c. a year--a system exists under which
any workman who chooses to put aside his savings in a _caisse de la
vieillesse_ receives from the company, when he has completed twenty-five
years of service, or has attained the age of fifty-five years, an annual
pension more than equal to the amount at that time of his savings in the
_caisse_.

As I have said, the manufacture of chemical products is not so pleasant
or so picturesque in itself as the manufacture of plate-glass and
mirrors. Within the last decade the output of sulphuric acid alone from
the company's works has more than doubled, and now amounts to more than
200,000 tons a year. The gases disengaged in the manufacture of chemical
fertilisers, such as carbonic acid, sulphuretted hydrogen, fluorine of
silicium, and so on, it was found at Chauny, destroyed entirely in a
very short time the polish of the glass in the window-panes of the
houses opposite to the works, and certainly did not improve either the
respiratory organs or the general health of the workmen. The company
therefore spent a good deal of time and of money in working out a system
for the complete condensation of these gases. I am told that it has
proved completely successful, and is now established in all the
chemical works of the company, to the great advantage not only of the
workmen, but of the company also.

Although Chauny is really a very ancient city--dating back at least to
the age of Charlemagne, when the monks of Cuissy and St.-Eloi-Fontaine,
with the keen eye of those early agriculturists for a good thing,
reclaimed its marshes and turned them into a fat land, yielding, as an
old local _dicton_ tells us, the

                  'septem commoda vitæ,
  Poma, nemus, segetes, linum, pecus, herba, racemus.'

--it has almost nothing to show to-day in the way of antique
architecture. Of the 'seven comforts of life,' the vine has vanished
also; but all the others flourish abundantly, and the people of Chauny
have little to complain of on the score of the natural resources of
their region. During the wars, though, of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, the place was so often taken and retaken that its buildings
were pretty well battered to pieces. The English of Harry the Fifth
stormed it in 1417, and England held it for a quarter of a century,
during which period an incident occurred much more creditable to the
burghers of Chauny than is the taking of the Bastille in 1789 to the
citizens of Paris. Monstrelet tells the story in a quaint and vigorous
fashion. Chauny at that time was part of the appanage of the Duc
d'Orléans, then a prisoner in England, and it was held for the
conquerors by a French, nobleman, 'Messire Collard de Mailly,' who had
accepted the office of Bailli of Vermandois from King Henry of England.
The burghers of Chauny, who had lived for two centuries in the enjoyment
of the rights and privileges granted them in a royal charter by Philip
Augustus, did not like this state of things at all. So they made up
their minds to demolish the castle, lest 'Messire Collard de Mailly'
should fill it with English soldiers and make himself quite unendurable.

It was a rather hardy enterprise, and the burghers went about it with
great coolness and good sense. Theirs was a real rising of the citizens
of a town to abate a nuisance which threatened their liberties, and not,
like the attack on the Bastille, a blow struck at law, order, and the
constituted authorities of a great kingdom by a subsidised mob; and
their leaders were the most respectable men of Chauny--not a crew of
thieves and murderers like the infamous Maillard, that 'hero of the
Bastille,' against whom his own employers and allies were eventually
forced to proceed as the chief of a gang of ruffians, and who, not
content with assassinating political prisoners and stealing their
property in Paris, roamed all over the Departments of the Seine and the
Seine-et-Oise, torturing farmers to make them give up their money, and
maddening the countryside with outrages not to be described.

Jean and Mathieu de Longueval, Pierre Piat,[7] and other 'notable
persons' of Chauny, bound themselves together by an oath, in 1432, to
'take the fortress of the city and demolish it.' They chose an occasion
when the bailli, Collard de Mailly, and his brother, Ferry de Mailly,
with some of their men, went riding out of the fortress 'to take their
pleasure in the town.'

    [7] That 'Pierre Piat' was a man of character as well as of
    substance appears from the fact that he was charged with seeing that
    his wife, the cousin of a rich and charitable lady of Chauny, Marie
    Martine de Feure, who died in 1400, should each year receive, under
    the will of this good dame, 'a large piece of linen cloth whereof to
    make shrouds for the poor who might die in the hospital of the
    Hôtel-Dieu at Chauny.' Obviously there was much better stuff for the
    making of a true republic among these good burghers of Chauny in the
    fifteenth century than was to be

found among the shouting mobs of the Palais-Royal in the eighteenth.

With a few courageous 'companion adventurers,' previously posted in
hiding near the castle, these determined burghers suddenly sallied
'forth from the place where they were watching the castle gates, and, no
one paying any heed to them, entered the castle courtyard, drew up the
bridge after them, and took possession.'

'News of this going after the two brothers, they were sore displeased,
but they could do nothing,' says the chronicler; 'for the citizens who
were in the plot straightway fell to sounding the tocsin, and gathering
about the castle in great numbers, with arms and with sticks, were soon
admitted into it.'

The castle being thus secured, 'sundry notables of the city went to meet
the two knights, and assured them that no harm should come to them or
theirs, for that what had been done was done only for the peace and
prosperity of the city.' Quite different this from the cowardly murder
of the Governor of the Bastille, struck down after his surrender by some
of Maillard's confederates, while that scoundrel himself still had his
hand upon the unfortunate De Launay's collar.

The 'Messires de Mailly' made the best of a bad business, and, with all
their friends and followers, withdrew into an hotel in the town. There
all their property was brought from the castle and delivered to them,
which, having been done, the good people of Chauny 'with one accord fell
to work to slight and demolish the said fortress, and this with such
good-will that in a few days' time it was wholly razed and destroyed
from top to bottom.'

The bailli and his brother soon departed out of the place, and 'Messires
Hector de Flavy and Waleran de Moreul,' who were sent to govern it by
the Comte de Luxembourg, 'found the citizens much more stiff and
disobedient than they had ever been before the desolation of the
aforesaid castle!'

After Joan of Arc had driven the English out of the realm, Charles VII.
had the good sense to pardon the citizens of Chauny for destroying the
castle, and it was never rebuilt. The Spanish occupied Chauny after
their victory of St.-Quentin in 1557. Five years afterwards Condé and
his Huguenots took the place, and did so much proselytising there that
in 1589 Chauny was one of the first towns in France to recognise Henry
of Navarre as King of France. It stood out for him when Laon and other
important towns in this region had joined the League, and during his
long struggle with the House of Guise it was a central point about which
the hostile forces constantly manoeuvred. Henry himself came here
often, and during the siege of La Fère 'La Belle Gabrielle' kept him
company at Chauny, Sinceny, and Folembray.

In the next century the French and the Imperialists fought all around
the place, to the great disgust of the poor peasants, who hid themselves
as eagerly in the woods from the troops of their own sovereign as from
those of his imperial enemy; and in 1652, Chauny, after a sharp but
short siege, surrendered to the Spaniards, who, however, agreed, by the
terms of the capitulation, to 'maintain the burgesses in all their
goods, rights, privileges, charges, and offices.' The Mayor of Chauny,
Claude le Coulteux, behaved so well in the siege, that Louis XIV.
ennobled him; and the curé of the church of St.-Martin, it is recorded,
fought at the ramparts, and 'pointed the cannon with his own hand.'

This was the last deed of arms in the annals of this little city, though
the fortune of war has twice put Chauny under foreign rule. In 1814 the
allies, and in 1870-71 the victorious Germans, occupied it, and laid it
under contribution.

That the Revolution of 1789 left the citizens of Chauny much less
determined to do battle for their rights than their ancestors were in
the days of the English invaders, may be fairly inferred, I think, from
the very curious circumstance that, in 1815, they actually made a public
subscription for the purpose of presenting a very handsome gold medal,
weighing two ounces, to the Prussian Commander of Chauny, Colonel Von
Beulwitz.

This medal bore the inscription, in French, 'The grateful city of Chauny
to M. Von Beulwitz, Commandant of Chauny.' The local authorities also
asked, and obtained, for their Prussian satrap and his secretary the
cross of the Legion of Honour!

All this was no doubt very creditable to the German authorities, and not
discreditable to the good people of Chauny. But it certainly seems to
show that at the end of the Napoleonic era, the French people in the
provinces were thoroughly weary of the Revolution and all its
consequences. They welcomed peace at any price from any quarter. The
testimony of all impartial contemporary observers accords with the
deliberate opinion given by Gouverneur Morris to Alexander Hamilton in
1796, that the French people in general were royalists at heart, and
utterly averse to the general overthrow of their institutions by the
legislative mob at Paris, or, as Mirabeau comprehensively called them,
'that Wild Ass of the National Assembly.'

At Chauny, in 1816, the inhabitants held a meeting under the presidency
of the mayor, at which they declared, with great unanimity, that 'the
people of Chauny had never, in fact and of their own free will, adopted
the impious and seditious principles introduced in France by a factious
minority, and that they regarded the death of the most Christian king,
Louis XVI., as the most execrable of crimes.'

Chauny was a city then of less than 4,000 inhabitants, but the
peripatetic 'patriots' of 1793 had contrived to do mischief enough, even
in this small and quiet corner of France, to earn the detestation of its
people. They desecrated its churches, turning Notre-Dame into a
saltpetre factory, stealing the church bells to sell them, pulling down
the steeples and towers, and defacing the monuments.

They arrested and imprisoned numbers of the best citizens, broke up the
ancient hospitals, driving away the Sisters of Charity, and brought
about the murder, by the revolutionary tribunals, of a celebrated French
admiral, who co-operated in America with Rochambeau to secure the
independence of the United States--the Comte d'Estaing, who was well
known and very popular in Chauny.

When the tribunal, after its fashion, called upon the fearless sailor
for his name, he replied, 'You know my name perfectly well,--it suits
you, perhaps, to pretend that you do not. But when you have cut off my
head, as you mean to do, send it to the English fleet, and they will
tell you my name!'

Here at Chauny, as elsewhere, the first concern of these revolutionary
'friends of the people,' when they got possession of the machinery of
the State, was to confiscate the funds devoted by the piety and the
benevolence of past ages to the service of the people. The more closely
one looks into the social annals of France, the more amazing it is that
the world should so long have swallowed the monstrous misrepresentations
current in our century, as to the condition of the French people before
1789, and especially as to the organisation, under the _ancien régime_,
of public charity and of public education in France.

Chauny possessed, as far back as the beginning of the twelfth century,
a public hospital or Hôtel-Dieu, and a hospital for lepers called the
'Maladrerie.' Who founded the Hôtel-Dieu is not known, for in those
'ages of faith,' so lovingly described by Kenelm Digby, it was not
thought so extraordinary a thing that a man or a woman should devote his
or her substance to benevolent purposes, as it is fast coming to be in
our own times.

The mayor and sworn magistrates of the city were the official governors
of the hospital, and the chaplain was taken from among the monks of
Saint-Eloi-Fontaine. A century and a half afterwards, in 1250, the Abbot
of Saint-Eloi-Fontaine received, under the wills of three burghers of
Chauny, a sum equal to about 40,000 francs of our time for the service
of the hospital of the Hôtel-Dieu. It is worth remembering that the
Third French Republic has passed a law forbidding ecclesiastics to
receive or execute such benevolent trusts as this.

I have already alluded in a note to a subsequent legacy made to this
institution in the fifteenth century by a pious dame of Chauny. A few
years later, in 1419, Colart Le Miroirier, a resident of Chauny, left to
the Hôtel-Dieu all his lands and goods at Chauny, Ognes, and Roy.

The 'religious wars' wrecked the Hôtel-Dieu in the sixteenth century;
but in 1620 a devout woman, Marie Dubuisson, took the work of
reconstruction in hand, and the citizens followed it up; so that, by the
end of the seventeenth century, it was well in order once more, and it
continued to be administered for the benefit of the poor of Chauny till
the 'patriots' confiscated it in 1793.

Under the Empire, in 1811, the re-established hospital was combined with
an orphan asylum, and both were put under the charge of the Sisters of
Charity, one of whom, Sister Renée Canet, had the good sense to found
here a little manufactory of hosiery and caps, which holds its own, I am
told, despite the not very benevolent combinations against it of the
local hosiers. The old buildings of the Hôtel-Dieu, however, no longer
exist, and the chief public hospital of Chauny is installed in a large
edifice put up under the Second Empire in 1865, and known as the
'Hospice-Sainte-Eugénie,' in honour of the Empress. It says something
for the common sense of the local authorities that they have not
insisted on changing the name of the institution.

During the orgies of 1793 the paintpot was busy with all the streets and
places of Chauny. The Rue de Prémontré, so called because some property
there belonging to the famous abbey of the Præmonstratensians, became
the _cul-de-sac_ or 'bag-bottom of Fraternity;' the Rue des Moinets took
the name of Jean-Jacques Rousseau; while the Rue Ganton, the licensed
abode of the social evil of Chauny, received, with exquisite tact and
propriety, the name of the Roman hero Scævola! The monastery of the Holy
Cross, founded by Mary of Clèves, Duchesse d'Orléans, about the end of
the fifteenth century, was confiscated, and made the headquarters of the
Republican Commission, the street on which it stood receiving the name
of the 'Bag-bottom of Vigilance,' from the banner which was borne upon
public occasions through the streets by this commission, on which was
depicted 'the Eye of Vigilance, a symbol of that exercised by it over
the enemies of the Republic and the people.'

Another street in Chauny, the Rue des Bons Enfans, preserves the memory
of the early foundation in the little city of public schools for the
children of the poor--'les bons enfans escholiers.'

Where now stands the communal school of Chauny stood, I am told, a
public college, founded here in the earliest years of the fourteenth
century. The buildings of this college were restored under the Regency
and Louis XV. They were confiscated, and the establishment swept away by
the worthy Revolutionists of 1793, at the same time that they gave a
public ball in the Church of Notre-Dame in honour of the Tree of
Liberty, which the young girls of the place were expected to attend 'in
dresses of white, symbolic of their innocence, and adorned only with
their virtues!'

Besides this public college, Chauny, before the beneficent epoch of the
Revolution, possessed a public school in each parish of the town. The
schoolmaster, besides his regular scholars, who paid for their
education, was expected to receive and educate eight poor children
nominated by the mayor and sworn magistrates. For this he received,
under Louis XIV., in 1706, forty setiers of wheat and fifty livres in
money. It is interesting, also, to learn that the principal of the
public college, when he happened to be a layman, received a salary,
under Louis XIV., of 400 livres in addition to his dwelling-house. When
he was a priest he received only 300 livres, but he might also receive
172 livres more as chaplain of the Hôtel-Dieu. The well-to-do citizens
who sent their children to the college paid for each child forty sols a
year.

When law and order had been re-established by Napoleon in France, two
citizens of Chauny, Carra and Dumoulin, in December 1802, got permission
to re-open the college, which the Revolution had closed. It has never
recovered its former importance however, and Chauny now possesses only a
communal school, I am told, and two religious or free schools, besides
the establishments maintained by the Company of St.-Gobain. One
educational foundation of the _ancien régime_, however, still survives,
in the bursaries of the Abbé Bouzier.

Antoine Bouzier d'Estouilly, priest, abbot of Notre-Dame-lès-Ardres,
doctor in science, doctor of the Sorbonne, canon and écolâtre of the
collégiale of St.-Quentin, was a noble as well as a priest. He founded,
on October 10, 1713, a fund for endowing two poor boys with the funds
necessary to enable them, in his own words, 'to serve the Church as
ecclesiastics, or the public in civil functions.' This phraseology is
worth noting by people who are tempted to believe the nonsense current
in our day to the effect that 'almost everything we know as modern
civilisation in connection with institutions of a philanthropic sort has
taken shape within the last hundred years, and is due to the influence
of the Revolution of 1789 in France.'

Nothing can be wider of the truth than this. On the contrary, the
progress of modern civilisation in connection with such institutions was
distinctly checked and thwarted for a time in France by the shock of
this Revolution, and in other countries by the horror and indignation
which the follies and crimes of the French Revolutionists excited.

The foundation of the Abbé Bouzier was expressly intended by him to
benefit 'the poorest' of those who should compete for its advantages,
regard being had to their natural ability and aptitudes for study. Each
beneficiary was to enjoy his scholarship for eight consecutive years,
dating from his entrance into the third class. If he had got beyond the
third class when he secured his nomination the difference was to run
against him. For example, a scholar ready to enter the class of rhetoric
who received a nomination was to hold his scholarship for six years
only; if he was ready to enter upon the study of theology, law or
medicine, for three years only; after the expiration of which another
must be appointed to enjoy it. Provisions were also made to secure the
good conduct of the beneficiaries. How this excellent foundation escaped
the cupidity of the Revolutionists is not clear.

From June, 1793, to March, 1795, the _Société Populaire_ of Chauny,
organised by emissaries from Paris, ruled the town absolutely. The
official authorities of the city and of the district went in abject
terror of them; for a denunciation sent to the headquarters in Paris by
this society was like a report sent thither from an army in the field by
one of the legislative spies who accompanied the generals of the
Republic, and swaggered about in the camps wearing the mountebank
costumes which may be studied with amusement and advantage in the museum
of the Revolution established this year in the Pavillon de Flore at
Paris. The members of this _Société Populaire_ openly pillaged the
churches and convents, made domiciliary visits, sold certificates of
'civism,' and dictated the most extraordinary measures of confiscation
and outrage. Their loudest leader was a certain Pierre Gogois, who used
to wind up their meeting by singing songs of his own composition,
addressed to the 'crowned brigands who were trying to re-establish the
abominable monarchy with the help of their anthropophagous hordes!'
These worthies abolished the school kept by the 'Daughters of the
Cross,' confiscated their property, and set up their own headquarters in
the convent.

In some way the Bouzier fund escaped their clutches, and it has been so
well managed that in 1871 the income was found large enough to warrant
the managers in establishing three scholarships instead of two.

The good example of the Abbé has been followed in our own times by a
Christian lady, Madame Lacroix of Sinceny. In memory of her son, a
Councillor-General of the Aisne, who was universally esteemed throughout
the department, and who died at the early age of thirty-five, this lady
founded, a few years ago in perpetuity, eight prizes, to be annually
competed for by the pupils of all the communal schools of the canton of
Chauny, and by the pupils of the schools established here by the Company
of St.-Gobain, as well as four full scholarships at the School of Arts
and Industries in Châlons-sur-Marne.

The prizes are to be competed for in applied geometry, in linear and
ornamental drawing, as well as in all the obligatory studies of the
schools concerned. The competitors for the four Châlons scholarships
must be the sons of workmen, domestic servants, labourers, or persons
employed in agriculture or in manufactures within the canton of Chauny,
whose incomes or earnings do not amount to 2,000 francs a year.

In 1874 the Municipal Council of Chauny founded six purses of 450 francs
a year, each to be competed for by candidates wishing to fit themselves
to compete for the Lacroix scholarships, the successful candidates being
left at liberty to enter any one of the free schools in Chauny. As
Madame Lacroix has made the curates of the churches of Notre-Dame and
St.-Martin _ex-officio_ members of the council of her fund, it is to be
presumed that the Government at Paris will find some way of striking
these clergymen out of the list, as it has already struck all ministers
of religion out of the local committees of supervision in educational
matters throughout France, for a French Republic is nothing if not
logical.

My likening of Chauny to a French Rotterdam or Amsterdam may be excused
when I say that in the middle of the last century the Mayor of Chauny
assured the Intendant of Soissons that the municipality had to keep up
no fewer than twenty-seven bridges. What with the Oise and its
affluents, and the many watercourses created about the place, either
to drain the marsh lands or to facilitate navigation, Chauny really is
an aquatic little capital like Annecy in Savoy. Naturally its citizens
set a certain value on their fishing rights, and it may edify those who
obstinately insist on regarding the feudal ages as ages of brute force,
to know that so early as in 1175 the citizens of Chauny, by the
lieutenant of the bailliage, Messire Regnault Doucet, asserted and
successfully maintained before the royal representatives their right to
fish in all the waters round about their town in all lawful ways against
the pretensions of no less a personage than the Duchesse d'Orléans. In
1540 this right was confirmed to them anew, and it was then shown that
at an inquest held in 1475 the witnesses had testified that from time
whereof the memory of man ran not to the contrary no citizen of Chauny
had ever been molested in the exercise of his right to fish in the
waters of Chauny either on behalf of the Duc d'Orléans or on behalf of
the King. The local archives, which are singularly rich and
well-preserved, are full of instances like this, which show that the
general current of life in this corner of France, long before the
Revolution, was determined neither by the caprices of the great, nor by
the passions of the mob, but by systematic considerations of law and of
tradition, until for the confusion of France, and more or less of the
civilised world, the natural evolution and development of law and order
were suddenly and insanely interrupted through the inconceivable
weakness of a most amiable and useless king, by the 'wild asses' of
Mirabeau, acting in 1789 under the pressure of what so friendly an
eyewitness of their conduct as Gouverneur Morris calls the 'abominable'
populace of Paris.

So complete was the civilisation of this region long before the
Revolution of 1789, that the mayor, the magistrates, and the citizens of
Chauny, early in the seventeenth century, succeeded in breaking down and
ruining an Italian gentleman, Cesare de Rusticis, who, thanks to
Concini, had secured a royal patent for canalising the Oise from La Fère
to Chauny. They got a notable advocate, M. Louis Vrevin, to draw up a
protest against the enterprise in the most florid and elaborate fashion
of the _Plaideurs_ of Racine, and by dint of bombarding the King's
Council with the names of Julius Cæsar, Pompey, Xerxes, Sesostris,
Cleopatra, Cicero, Tertullian, and others, got, in 1625, what we in
America now call an 'injunction,' putting a stop to the works begun by
this foreigner, who 'had come into France to fix the eye of curiosity
upon the river Oyse and to disturb it.' And a century later I find an
operation carried out here for converting a not very satisfactory
private investment into cash at the expense of the State which really
would not discredit the most ingenious American 'railway king' of our
own times. This also concerned a canal, the canal which unites the Oise
with the Somme. This waterway became the property in 1728 of a
celebrated millionaire of that time, Antoine de Crozat, and after his
death fell, in the division of his estates, to the share of his
granddaughter, the Duchesse de Choiseul. It was not very profitable, and
it represented a capital which ought to have yielded 2,200,000 livres a
year. So a certain M. Laurent, who had built for the Duc de Choiseul his
magnificent Château de Chanteloup, near Amboise (pulled down fifty years
ago by Chaptal, the first great producer of beetroot sugar in France),
undertook to get the canal turned into money. The plate-glass works of
St.-Gobain were then under the direction of M. Deslandes, the clever
nominee of Mme. Geoffrin. M. Laurent tried to persuade M. Deslandes to
employ Picard coal (which could be brought by the canal) instead of wood
in the furnaces at St.-Gobain. M. Deslandes made the experiment, but
soon gave it up, as the coal smoke injured the plate-glass. He
consented, however, to take four boatloads of the Picard coal and use it
in the forges connected with the works. This was enough for M. Laurent,
who went to Paris with an invoice of the four boatloads of coal, laid it
before the Council with an elaborate paper setting forth the value to
the canal of a traffic necessary to carry on the manufacture of the
famous plate glass at St.-Gobain, and got the Council finally to
purchase the Duchesse's canal on his own terms. I really do not see what
M. Laurent had to learn either from the 'Contrat Social' of Rousseau or
even from the American Declaration of Independence! If he had lived now
he would have been a sharp competitor with a countryman of mine, of whom
I am told in Chauny that he came here only a few years ago, inspected
the chemical works, looked into the composition of certain heaps of
rubbish thrown aside even by the sagacious managers of these works, and
setting up near one of the canals a genuine wooden American shed, so
applied to what he found in this rubbish certain processes for the
vulcanisation of indiarubber as to produce at very low cost certain
articles for which a great and increasing demand exists, and thus
founded a considerable industry here. He has since turned his
establishment over, I am told, to a company at a great profit to
himself, and gone back 'to the Rocky Mountains.' I am sorry for this,
for I should have been glad to 'interview' him!



CHAPTER IX

IN THE AISNE--_continued_


  LAON

It would be hard to find in France, or out of France, on a pleasant
summer's day, a more charming drive than the highway which leads from
Chauny, with its great modern industries and its lively, bustling
people, to the little feudal town of Coucy-le-Château, perched upon its
lofty hill and dominated by one of the grandest, if not, indeed, the
grandest, of feudal fortress-homes.

I do not know that Gargantua would now find the people of Chauny as
entertaining as Rabelais tells us they were in his time. Then he 'amused
himself much with the boatmen, and above all with those of Chauny in
Picardy--wonderful chatterboxes, and great at bandying chaff on the
subject of green monkeys.' There is no lack of boatmen now at Chauny,
though the railway has taken away much of their living; but the glory of
the green monkeys, I fear, has departed. In the days of Gargantua, the
Chaunois were as famous as the Savoyards now are, for wandering over
France with trained monkeys and trained dogs. On October 1 in each year,
on the feast of St. Rémy, every one of these peripatetic citizens was
expected to appear in his native town, there to join in a procession
which marched from what is now known as the Port Royal to the Bailliage,
bearing to the lieutenant-general of the king a traditional present in
the form of a huge pasty, decorated with eggs and chestnuts, and
surmounted by a pastry tower.

To the confection of this pasty the famous mills of Chauny, reputed the
best in France, were bound to contribute five _setiers_ of wheat, and
the guild of the butchers a calf's head.

Before the procession marched a learned dog, trained to all manner of
tricks and devices, and upon either side of the dog the town trumpeters,
sounding their finest and loudest _fanfares_.

At the Bailliage the lieutenant-general received the procession, seated
in a great chair of state in the midst of the hall, with wide open
doors, that all the people crowding into the Place might see what went
on within. Before this high functionary the learned dog advanced, quite
alone, and performed all his best tricks. He then gave way to the bearer
of the pasty. This having been gravely accepted, after the manner of a
feudal homage, by the lieutenant-general, the bearer, passing it on to
the servants of the Bailliage, proceeded himself to imitate as exactly
and as skilfully as possible all the performances of his predecessor the
learned dog, amid the shouting and applause of the multitude.

This over, a great silence fell upon the whole assembly, and it then
became the duty of the performer, assuming an attitude of profound and
deferential obeisance, to salute the lieutenant-general after a fashion
more easily describable by Rabelais or by M. Armand Silvestre than by
me, and which seems to have been derived from some of the singular rites
attributed by Von Hammer to the Templars, as a part of the ceremonial
observed by them in their secret conclaves.

When all this had been duly gone through with, the 'jongleurs' of Chauny
received the Royal permission to resume their perambulations of the
realm for another year, and the day wound up with junketings and
jollifications all over the town.

The 'jongleurs' and the learned dogs and the green monkeys have passed
away, with the lieutenant-general of the king. But I found a certain
homely shrewdness and vivacity in the people with whom I talked as they
went in and out of the '_Pot d'Etain_,' the chief hostelry of the place,
and the fact that this chief hostelry still keeps its good old-time name
of the 'Tin Pot,' and has not changed itself into a 'Grand Hôtel de
Chauny,' seemed to me to argue a survival here of common sense and sound
local feeling. The host of the 'Tin Pot,' a solid, well-to-do personage,
learned in crops and horses, gave me a capital trap, shaded with an
awning such as is worn on the delightful little basket-waggons at Nice
and Monte-Carlo, and a wide-awake driver for my trip to Coucy and Anizy,
on the way to Laon. His daughter, a decidedly good-looking young lady,
not wholly unconscious of her natural advantages, who kept the guests of
the café in capital order, seemed to have no high opinion of the powers
that be in France. She took up an English sovereign which I laid down on
the counter when settling a bill, and looked at it with much interest.
'That weighs more than a napoleon,' she said; 'and who is the young
lady? She is pretty, and it is a good head.'

I explained that the lady was young because the coin was old, and that
the head was the head of the Queen of Great Britain, who had reigned
over that realm for more than fifty years.

'More than fifty years!' exclaimed the damsel; 'is it possible! And
still the same queen! Ah! they are well behaved the English; no wonder
they are rich. They are not such babies as we are!'

After passing through the well-built and neatly kept _cités ouvrières_
of the Chauny branch of the Company of St.-Gobain, and the little suburb
of Autreville, the highway to Coucy-le-Château, and to the once royal
city of Soissons, runs through such fine woodlands, alternating with
parks and highly-cultivated fields, that one seems to be traversing a
great private domain. The trees are as well-grown as any you see in
England; the hedges are luxuriant, the roadway is admirably made and
perfectly well kept. The Comte de Brigode has a handsome château here,
standing well in a large park; and there is a good deal of hunting and
shooting here in the season.

Near by, too, is the pleasant château of Lavanture, long the home of a
branch established here of the once famous Dauphinese family of De
Théis. It was brought here from the land of Bayard and of De Comines by
a stalwart soldier, one of the lansquenet officers of Francis I., but
its renown in Picardy is of a gentler and more humane type; and after
giving a long succession of kindly and learned men to the public service
through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it finally died out
with Constance de Théis, Princesse de Salm, who was known under the
Directory and the Empire in Paris as the 'Muse of Reason,' and the
'Boileau of Women,' and with her nephew, the last Baron de Théis, one of
the most charming of men, and one of the most conscientious and accurate
of archæologists and collectors. The baron died in 1874. The 'objets
d'art et de haute curiosité,' brought together by him with infinite
pains and unerring taste into his château of Lavanture, were dispersed
under the hammer of the auctioneer, and Lavanture itself passed into the
possession of another race.

This whole region of the Laonnais and the Soissonnais is full of
historic souvenirs. It may be almost called the cradle of the French
monarchy. Its reasonably well authenticated annals go back to the Roman
domination. Its mediæval monasteries were among the richest; its
mediæval monks among the most learned and industrious and useful of
France, draining the marsh-lands, reclaiming the wastes, clearing the
forests. Its feudal barons were typical men of their order, alike in
their virtues and in their vices. The seigneurs of Lizy and of Mareilly,
of Esternay and of Roncy, of Mauny and Trucy, come and go through the
archives of the towns and communes here, now defying the kings of France
and trampling on the peasants, now standing by the peasants and still
defying the kings; quarrelling with and plundering the Church to-day,
doing penance to-morrow, and endowing chapels and convents. You
continually come amid the smiling farms and fertile acres upon some
shattered hold whose towers once rose above the hamlet and the church.

A region such as this in England would be rich, not in historic ruins
and historic recollections alone, but in ancient strongholds of feudal
power converted gradually, through the gradual progress of a strong and
steadfast race, into stately modern homes. It would have its Warwick
Castle and its Charlecote, its Guy's Cliff and its Stoneleigh, as well
as its Kenilworth.

But in the great houses and the châteaux, of which there is no lack in
the Laonnais and the Soissonnais, there is little now that is historic,
save their names and their sites. They are standing witnesses to the
essentially criminal and senseless character of the Revolution of 1789.
The _Jacqueries_ which Arthur Young found raging all over France during
that year of ill omen were not much less brutal and they were much more
inexcusable than the _Jacqueries_ of 1357 for which the Comte de Foix
and the Captal de Buch exacted the stern vengeance chronicled by
Froissart. They were the cause and not the consequence of that
emigration of the landed classes which contributed so much to the
downfall of law and order in France.

They were one of the justifying causes, not one of the excusable
consequences, of the armed coalitions of the Continent against
Revolutionary France. Pétion and the other scoundrels in Paris who
stirred them up were doubtless 'political' criminals, to adopt a
distinction without a difference much in favour in our times. But the
peasants who took an active part in these crimes were simply brigands
and assassins. They murdered men, they tortured women and children, they
pillaged houses, while the King of France and Navarre was assembling the
States-General to reform the abuses of the government. France was at
peace with all the world. It was the fashion at Versailles and in the
drawing-rooms of Paris to fall into spasms of sentimental emotion over
periwinkles and over peasants--to rave about the instinctive nobility of
human nature and the inherent Rights of Man. Never was any country in
the world in less danger of being trampled under foot by 'tyrants and
oppressors' than was France in 1789, when of a sudden, all over the
kingdom, the peasants, who were about to be liberated and crowned with
flowers, rose like wolves upon the landholders who were to liberate and
to crown them--burst by night into defenceless châteaux, dragged tender
women and young children out of their beds, and drove them out into the
world penniless and to starve, demolished all the valuables they could
not carry away, wrecked the buildings, burned the pictures, the works of
art, and the libraries.

The 'Terror' of 1793 at Paris was black and vile enough. But the Terror
of 1789 in the provinces was blacker and more vile. Arthur Young met on
the highway seigneurs flying from their homes half-naked, with their
families, in the vain hope of finding shelter in the nearest town. At
Montcuq, in what is now the Department of the Lot, the peasants broke
into the château of the Marquise de Fondani, and carried off all the
grain, all the beds, a hundred and twenty sheets, forty-two dozen
towels, fifty-four tablecloths, two hundred and forty chemises, eleven
silk dresses, twelve dresses of Indian muslin, thirty-two pairs of silk
stockings, five fine Aubusson tapestries. The plundered mistress of the
house was driven out, to live on the charity of her friends. Her aunt,
aged ninety-four years, was thrown upon a dunghill, where she died
gazing on the peasants whom she had cared for and treated with kindness
for years, as they divided among themselves her house-linen, her
furniture, her plate, her porcelains, the very doors and windows of her
home. All this was in the summer of 1789, long before a German trumpet
sounded to arms on the French frontier. And all this went on throughout
the glorious year 1789 all over France. At Mamers, on the Dive, in
Brittany, in July 1789, while the Gardes-Françaises were dishonouring
the uniform they wore and disgracing the name of France by joining in
the cowardly attack of a howling mob on the Bastille, and protecting the
ruffians who butchered the unfortunate De Launay, the estimable peasants
of that place seized two ladies, Madame de Barneval and Madame des
Malets, and beat their teeth to pieces with stones like so many Comanche
savages.

The people of the city of Le Mans at the same time beat to death M. de
Guilly, burned alive the aged Comte de Falconnière, broke into the
Château de Juigné, cut off the ears and the noses of all the persons
they found there, and drove them out with pitchforks, following and
striking them till they died. In Provence similar horrors were committed
at the same time, under the direct instigation of the local authorities,
called there the consuls.

In August, 1789, M. de Barras was cut in pieces before the eyes of his
wife. Madame de Listenay and her two daughters were tied naked to trees
and tormented. Madame de Monteau and all the inmates of her house were
tormented for eight hours and then drowned in the lake in her own
grounds. At Castelnau de Montmirail, near Cahors, the head of one of two
brothers, De Ballud, was cut off and the blood left to drip upon the
face of the surviving brother; the Comtesse de la Mire was seized in her
own house by the peasants and her arms cut to pieces; M. Guillin was
slain, roasted, and eaten before the eyes of his wife. At Bordeaux the
Abbés de Longovian and Dupuy were beheaded and their heads carried about
on pikes. M. de Bar was burned alive in his château. All these horrors,
and innumerable others not less revolting, were committed all over
France in cold blood, before the advance of the 'standard of the
tyrants' had set M. Rouget de l'Isle to composing the declamatory
rigmarole of the _Marseillaise_. Is it possible to regard a revolution
which began in this hideous, cowardly, and burglarious fashion with any
feelings other than those inspired by the Gordon riots of 1780 in
London? If the truth in regard to these things could have been known in
America in 1789, as it may now be learned from the unanswerable
testimony of authentic contemporary documents in France, there can be
little doubt that Washington would have treated anyone who begged him to
accept a key of the Bastille as he would have treated Dickens's Hugh or
Dennis tendering to him a key of Newgate prison, with the compliments
of Lord George Gordon.

From the private conversation and correspondence of the few Americans
then in Europe who really knew what was going on in France, the most
thoughtful and alert of our public men gathered enough of the truth to
regard the first French Republic with loathing and contempt. Their
general feeling on the subject is expressed in an entry in his diary
made during the month of October, 1789, long before 'the Terror,' by
Gouverneur Morris. 'Surely it is not the usual order of Divine
Providence to leave such abominations unpunished. Paris is, perhaps, as
wicked a spot as exists. Incest, murder, bestiality, fraud, rapine,
oppression, baseness, cruelty, and yet this is the city which has
stepped forward in the sacred cause of Liberty!'

This picture of Paris in 1789 is the more impressive that it was not
drawn by a Puritan or a Pharisee. Gouverneur Morris was eminently what
is called a 'man of the world,' His diary abounds in proofs that, to use
his own language, he was 'no enemy to the tender passion.' Indeed, while
the elections for the States-General were going on, he appears to have
been almost as much interested in finding out the fair author of an
anonymous billet-doux as in unravelling the politics of the day. He was
not so much scandalised by the immorality as appalled by the lawlessness
of the French capital. He foresaw the failure of the Revolution from the
outset. A week before the States-General met in April, 1789, he wrote to
General Washington: 'One fatal principle pervades all ranks. It is a
perfect indifference to the violation of all engagements.'

He noted at the same time the fears of Necker lest it should be 'found
impossible to trust the troops.'

Of the Tiers-Etat, when it had carried into effect the grotesque and
senseless dictum, of the Abbé Sieyès, that the Tiers-Etat, having
thitherto been nothing in France, ought thenceforth to be everything,
Morris expected only what came of it under its self-assumed title of a
'National Assembly.' 'It is impossible,' he wrote to Robert Morris in
America, 'to imagine a more disorderly body. They neither reason,
examine, nor discuss. They clap those whom they approve, and hiss those
whom they disapprove.... I told their President frankly that it was
impossible for such a mob to govern the country. They have unhinged
everything. It is anarchy beyond conception, _and they will be obliged
to take back their chains_.'

All this was long before 'the Terror,' I repeat. It was long before 'the
Terror' that the hotel of the Duc de Castries was stormed and pillaged
in Paris by a mob because the son of the Duc, having been grossly
insulted by a popular favourite, De Lameth, had called Lameth out,
allowed Lameth's seconds to choose swords as the weapons, and then
wounded Lameth. This monstrous performance the Assembly sanctioned.

'I think,' wrote Morris very quietly, 'it will lead to consequences not
now dreamt of.'

In this same year, 1789, long before 'the Terror,' Morris, noting in his
diary a conversation with General Dalrymple, a kinsman of the rather
celebrated Madame Elliot, observes, 'he tells me of certain horrors
committed in Arras, but to these things we are familiarised.'

It was this essentially criminal and anarchical character of the
Revolution of 1789 which brought on 'the Terror,' not 'the Terror' which
engendered the crime and the anarchy.

Why should 'horrors' have been committed at Arras in 1789? The
contemporary documents show that the people in and about Arras were much
better off in 1789 than they had ever before been. The renting value of
farms about Arras was nearly or quite thirty per cent. higher in 1750
than it had been in 1700, and it was nearly or quite 100 per cent.
higher in 1800 than in 1750. M. de Calonne cites a farm which had
brought only 1,800 livres in 1714 as bringing, in 1784, 3,800 livres.
Men paid these advanced prices not for the ownership of the land, which
before 1789 carried with it certain social distinctions and advantages,
but for the use, the productive and commercial use, of the land. The
horrors of which General Dalrymple spoke, at Arras as elsewhere
throughout France--here, in the Laonnais and the Soissonnais, in
Provence, in Normandy, in Languedoc--were perpetrated not by a
downtrodden peasantry, rising to shake off oppression, nor yet in the
frenzy of a great popular rally to resist a foreign invader. They were
an outburst of crime stimulated, no doubt, as we are now enabled, by
fearless and conscientious investigators of the documentary history of
France, to see, by cabals of political conspirators at Paris, just as
the Gordon riots at London in 1780 were stimulated by anti-Catholic
fanatics. But in both cases the perpetrators were governed by the mere
lust of pillage and destruction. Châteaux were broken into, sacked, and
burned here in the Laonnais and the Soissonnais, as Lord Mansfield's
house was broken into, sacked, and burned in London, because they were
full of valuables to be looted. As the drama went on, other passions
came into play--passions not less but more ignoble than the mere savage
lust of plunder and destruction. A branded rogue and libeller, Brissot,
hurried back from his exile beyond the Atlantic to compete with Camille
Desmoulins in that noble work of 'denouncing' his fellow-citizens, which
earned for Camille the ghastly title of '_procureur de la lanterne_.'
Madame Roland, 'the soul of the Gironde,' sustained, inspired, and
animated that most mischievous group with all the concentrated fires of
envy, jealousy, and revenge, which had smouldered in her own heart from
the time when, as a girl of seventeen, she had passed a week 'in the
garrets' of the palace at Versailles with Madame Le Grand, one of the
tirewomen of the Dauphiness. The firmness with which Madame Roland met
her own fate on the scaffold has been sufficiently celebrated in poetry
and in prose. But it is wholesome also to remember the ferocity with
which, in the 'glorious' month of July, 1789, a fortnight after the
capture of the Bastille, she clamoured for the blood of Marie Antoinette
and Louis XVI. In 1771 Marie Phlipon, the engraver's daughter, a girl of
seventeen, educated, as her own Memoirs tell us, on 'Candide,' the
'Confessions of Rousseau,' and the 'Adventures of the Chevalier de
Faublas,' came away from Versailles so gangrened with envy of the
glittering personages among whom she had been condemned to play the part
of a humble spectator, that 'she knew not what to do with the hatred in
her heart.' In 1780 she took as her husband M. Roland, a small
Government official. He styled himself M. Roland de la Platière, from
the name of a small estate which belonged not to him but to his elder
brother, an excellent priest and canon of Villefranche (who, by the way,
was guillotined at Lyons in 1793), and in 1781 his young wife made him
take her to Paris, where they spent some time in vain efforts to secure
letters patent of nobility! The efforts failing, they went back to live
at Lyons, where M. Roland was an inspector of manufactories, and from
Lyons, in July, 1789, Madame Roland, now become at last a most
classical Republican, wrote to her friend M. Bosc (who afterwards
published her Memoirs), a letter denouncing the timidity of their
political friends. 'Your enthusiasm,' she exclaims, 'is only a fire of
straw! _If the National Assembly does not regularly bring to trial two
illustrious heads, or if some generous imitators of Decius do not strike
them down, you will all go to the devil._'

I soften and tone down the final phrase of this extraordinary outburst,
for though in the original it is but an indecorum as compared with that
famous passage in the 'Memoirs of Madame Roland' which M. de
Sainte-Beuve gracefully describes as 'an immortal act of indecency,' it
is yet an indecorum of a sort more tolerable in the French than in the
English tongue. If the style is the man, the style is also the woman. In
1771 Marie Phlipon 'knew not what to do with the hatred in her heart.'
In 1789 Marie Roland, then on the eve of her appearance upon the public
stage of the Revolution, had found 'what to do with the hatred in her
heart.'

In this letter to Bosc we have the 'soul of the Gironde' _tout entière à
sa proie attachée_. She clung to her regicide purpose with the tenacity
of a tigress. Everything which furthered it she approved, everything
which retarded it she denounced. When the king and queen were brought
back captives from Varennes to Paris in June 1791 she wrote, in an
ecstasy of delight, to Bancal des Issarts, that 'thirty or forty
thousand National Guards surrounded our great brigands'; and her desire
was that 'the royal mannikin should be shut up, and his wife brought to
trial.' She was then inclined to favour the scheme of a regency, of
which her ally Pétion should be the chief. We know from his own
nauseating account of his conduct while journeying back from Varennes to
Paris with the unfortunate royal family, how unbridled were Pétion's
dreams of his own probable share in this regency; and by a very curious
coincidence a passage in the diary of Gouverneur Morris confirms, on the
authority of Vicq d'Azyr, the Queen's physician, Pétion's odious
revelations of his own vanity and vulgarity.

Under the spell of this scheme Madame Roland seems for a time to have
suspended her merciless pursuit of the sovereign whom she hated. She
even got so far as almost to regret the failure of the royal fugitives
to escape. Why? Because their escape 'would have made civil war
inevitable!' These are her own words in a letter written to Bancal des
Issarts, June 25, 1791: 'We can only be regenerated by blood!' This was
the horrible core of her Republican creed.

It made her the ally, the accomplice, the apologist by turns of all the
most sanguinary wretches who grasped at power in her distracted
country--of Marat, when in a spasm of unusual energy La Fayette sought
to suppress his abominable journal; of Robespierre, whose eventual
triumph was to seal her own fate and that of all her personal friends,
including the one man whom in all her life she seems to have
passionately loved; and of Danton, red with the blood of the helpless
prisoners butchered in these massacres of September 1792, of which her
husband, then a member of what called itself a 'Government' in France,
did not hesitate publicly, and under his official signature, to speak to
the people of Paris in these terms: 'I admired the 10th of August; I
shuddered at the consequences of the 2nd of September' (at the
consequences of the horrors that day perpetrated, as M. Edmond Biré very
aptly points out, not at all at the horrors themselves); 'I well
understood what must come of the long-deceived patience and of the
justice of the people. I did not inconsiderately blame a first terrible
movement, but I thought that it was well to prevent its being kept up,
and those who sought to perpetuate it were deceived by their
imagination!'

This monstrous language was used by Roland in a placard published on the
walls of Paris on September 13. The massacres had not then really
ceased, and the 'first terrible movement' seemed likely to be followed
by a second not less 'terrible,' which might make things dangerous, not
for the prisoners huddled under lock and key only, but for certain
members of the Legislative Assembly, the Girondists themselves!

Is it conceivable that now, after a hundred years, rational beings
should look back with any feelings but those of contempt and horror upon
these 'patriots' of 1789? Madame Roland, 'the soul of the Gironde,' was
simply the soul of a conspiracy of ambitious criminals masquerading in
the guise of philanthropists and philosophers. There is something
biblical in the dramatic completeness of the chastisement which overtook
this unhappy woman. 'They that take the sword shall perish by the
sword.'

The murder of the king, which Madame Roland did so much to compass, led
not indirectly to the ruin of her own most trusted political friends and
associates. The murder of the queen, for which she had longed and
laboured, was brought to pass, on October 16, 1793, by men who had then
made up their minds to send herself to the scaffold, and who sent her to
it, three weeks afterwards, on November 8, 1793. In the ridiculous
revolutionary calendar of the epoch, this date stood as the 18th
Brumaire; Year II. It was celebrated six years afterwards on the 18th
Brumaire of the year VIII. of the Republic, by the advent to supreme
authority of the Corsican soldier who was to found a despotic empire
upon the results of that 'universal war' into which France had been
insanely driven by 'the soul of the Gironde.' A mere coincidence, of
course! It was a mere coincidence, too, that the Girondist,
Dufriche-Valazé, who, at the trial of Louis XVI., especially gratified
the personal malignity of Madame Roland by the insolence with which he
treated the royal captive, should have tried to save his own head when
he and his comrades at last were writhing in the iron grip of
Robespierre, by eagerly denouncing his friend and associate, Valady, as
the real author of a particularly virulent placard intended by the
Girondists to turn the fury of the Parisian mob against the Jacobins!
Seeing that he had disgraced himself to no purpose, the wretched
creature, who had contrived to conceal a dagger about his person, drew
it out when the merciless prosecutor, Fouquier-Tinville, rising in his
place, demanded, on October 29, 1793, that all the Girondists then on
trial, having been found guilty by the jury--though no plea had been
heard in their defence, and the judge had not summed up--should be
instantly condemned to suffer death and the confiscation of their
property under the Law of December 16, 1792--a law passed by the
Girondists themselves, and highly approved by 'the soul of the Gironde.'

Unobserved in the general excitement Valazé drove the dagger into his
heart, and crying out, 'I am a dead man!' fell bleeding to the floor.
When his companions had been removed by the guards, Fouquier-Tinville
rose again in his place, and requested that the tribunal would order the
corpse before them to be taken with the living criminals to the Place de
la Révolution, and there with them _guillotined_!

From this even the Convention shrank. But the dead body of Valazé was in
fact carried in a little cart through the streets of Paris, behind the
dismal cortège of the condemned, 'lying stretched upon the back, and the
face uncovered,' on October 31. After the execution was over it was
flung, with the remains of his companions, into a great pit.

This was the end, for Madame Roland and her worshippers, in four short
years, of the 'great reformation' of which, on May 17, 1790, she had
written to one of her friends that it could only be carried through by
'burning many more châteaux!'

For France, and the French people, the end of it, I fear, has not yet
come.

Rapine and confiscation have not been unknown, unfortunately, in the
history of any civilised State. But under what modern government,
excepting the government of the first French Republic, has sheer
pillage, mere downright robbery, been recognised as a legitimate
instrument of political propagandism, and, in fact, as a title to
property? While the Girondists predominated in France, Brissot,
self-styled de Warville, was their avowed leader; and Brissot, ten years
before the Revolution, in his 'Philosophic Researches into the Rights of
Property, and Robbery considered in the Light of Nature,' published at
Chartres in 1780, had laid it down as a great principle that 'exclusive
ownership is, in Nature, a real crime.' 'Our institutions,' said this
worthy man, 'punish theft, which is a virtuous action, commended by
Nature herself.' Clearly such 'institutions' needed a great reformation.
It came. France was 'regenerated by blood,' and the disciples of
Rousseau widened the area of human happiness, not by burning only, but
by 'looting' all the houses they could break into.

The châteaux having been duly pillaged and burned, and their owners
driven to fly for their lives, the government, controlled by the
'principles' of Brissot, made emigration a crime, seized the remaining
property of the 'emigrants,' and turned it over with a national title,
to other people!

A most interesting and valuable chapter in history is still to be
written on the relation of the French Revolution to property in France.
Such a history cannot be written by the unassisted light of the statutes
and the code. Family records, private correspondence, the reports and
despatches of the diplomatic agents of the successive French Governments
between 1789 and 1799, must all be laid under contribution, if we are to
get at the truth concerning the conditions under which a very large
proportion of the land of France passed during that period, from the
ownership of men who had much to lose by the changes of the Revolution,
into the ownership of men who had everything to gain from those changes.

The landed proprietors of France were driven into emigration, not that
France might be free--for France was much more free before the
emigration began in 1789 than she was in 1791--but that other people
might get possession of their estates. Without understanding this, it is
impossible to understand some of the most atrocious measures adopted,
chiefly while the Girondists were masters, first by the Legislative
Assembly, and then by the Convention, in regard to 'emigrants.'

This subject was evidently dealt with in the Assembly and the
Convention, as the American Colonel Swan discovered, in 1791, that the
tobacco question was dealt with--'by a knot of men who disposed of all
things as they liked, and who turned everything to account.'

On October 23, 1792, for example, a decree was adopted inflicting the
penalty of death on any emigrant who should return to France! A
fortnight later, on November 8, 1791, a similar decree made it a
capital offence for any 'emigrant' to enter a French colony!

The first of these decrees was levelled at emigrants whose estates had
been seized by the 'popular societies' all over France, and sold, or put
in the way of being sold. The second was aimed at the owners of estates
in such colonies as Hayti, then one of the richest and most flourishing,
as it is now one of the most wretched and uncivilised islands in the
world. A curious 'Minute Book' of the 'Friends of Liberty' at
Port-au-Prince, which was given to me in 1871 by an old French resident
of Santo Domingo, contains a list of the great proprietors of the
island, annotated and marked in a way which indicates that a systematic
plan of action against them was either then adopted, or about to be
adopted, by the agents of the 'Friends' at Paris. As the spoliation went
on, the decrees became more and more Draconian. In March and April 1793,
it was decreed that 'any person convicted of emigration, or any priest
within the category of priests ordered to be transported, who should be
found on French territory, should be put to death within twenty-four
hours!' As in many cases the question of the crime of emigration was to
be decided by persons actually enjoying the property of the alleged
emigrant, this short shrift was a most effectual 'warranty of title.'

On March 5, 1793, it was decreed that, 'any young girl _aged fourteen_
or more, who, having emigrated, should have come back and have then been
sent out of France by the authorities, and who should return to France a
second time, should be forthwith _put to death_.' This is perhaps the
most shamelessly felonious of all these felonious decrees, adopted, be
it remembered, while Madame Roland was still the 'soul of the Gironde,'
and still taking an active part in the preparation and promulgation of
all the acts of the State!

The object of this abominable decree was obvious.

In some cases the property of families in France was actually saved and
carried through the tempest of the Revolution by young girls, who
fearlessly faced all the horrors of the time, remained in their homes,
and, supported by a few faithful friends and servants, such as for the
credit of human nature and the confusion of Schopenhauer, are really
sometimes to be found doing their duty in such emergencies, successfully
maintained their right to the estates of their fathers. Near the
picturesque old capital of Le Puy in the Haute-Loire, Mademoiselle Irène
de Tencin, after her father was driven from his château, remained there
with her young brother and a few loyal servants--maintained her rights,
collected what money she could, bought _assignats_ for gold, and so
bought back the confiscated land and the furniture of her home. A tailor
of Le Puy wished to marry her, and the 'Republican' council threatened
her with death if she refused! 'Death on the spot!' she replied. Then
they actually locked her up in prison for a year! But she held out to
the end and carried her young brother safely through until the days of
law came back. The decree of March 5, 1793, condemning girls of fourteen
to death in certain cases, was intended to prevent 'emigrants' from
sending back any more daughters of this type to France, to represent the
rights of the family.

About this there can be no manner of doubt. Could a more signal proof
than this decree affords be given of the essentially predatory and
criminal direction which was given to the domestic policy of France by
the 'knot of men who disposed of all things as they liked, and who
turned everything to account'? They had their tentacles out all over
France. The 'Sociétés populaires,' of which I have seen it stated by
writers of authority that no fewer than 52,000 existed, and were at work
in 1792, served them everywhere, the local leaders of these 'societies'
of course sharing with them in the general booty according to their
several deserts.

The story of a single family in Provence, as told in an admirable
monograph by M. Forneron, illustrates perfectly the methods and the
results of this organisation of confiscation in the name of patriotism
and philanthropy.

When the States-General were summoned in 1789 the Marquis de Saporta, a
kinsman of the great house of Crillon, now represented by the Duchesse
d'Uzès, was the seigneur of Montsallier, a domain near the ancient and
picturesque little city of Apt between Avignon and Vaucluse. His own
estate was large, and he had greatly increased it in 1770, by marrying a
daughter of one of the richest planters in Hayti. Like many other men of
his rank at that time, he was an ardent admirer of Jean-Jacques
Rousseau, and a firm believer in the native nobility and general
perfectibility of man. He was a very popular landlord, and his
generosity was equal to his wealth. During six months of a severe famine
he fed the peasants of Montsallier at his own expense. He was one of the
believers in Madame de Staël's man of destiny, her father, the Genevese
banker, Necker. In November 1790 he was elected constitutional mayor of
Apt, and inducted into office 'with much applause' by a solemn service
in the parish church. In February 1791, a local patriot named Reboulin
surnamed the 'Roman,' and an armourer named Thiebault who had joined the
Marseilles club, and consequently were in correspondence with Paris,
organised a systematic attack upon the Marquis. 'This man,' they said
at Marseilles, 'is an enemy of the constitution by reason of his rank
and of his rage at what is going on. He is a _ci-devant_ noble, who
became mayor by intrigues and cabals.'

From that moment no peace was given to the Saporta family till, one by
one, they were driven out of France. The Marquis held out bravely as
long as he could, and was the last to leave. When his wife left he gave
her a passport signed by himself as mayor, in which he described her as
the 'citoyenne Laporte,' the object of this being that no evidence
should exist to show that Madame de Saporta had really 'emigrated.' In
default of such evidence there was some chance that her property rights
might be respected.

After the fall of the Directory the Saportas ventured to come back, and
in 1800 they finally recovered so much of their property as had not
before that time been sold 'by the State.' There was not much left. A
sister of the Marquis, the Marquise d'Eyragues, who had enjoyed a very
large income before the Revolution, wrote to her nephew in 1800 that she
esteemed herself very happy to recover a 'house to live in and two
thousand francs a year.'

Here in this beautiful region around Laon and Chauny and Coucy, the
story of those evil days is told almost as instructively by the
properties which then escaped ruin as by those which, like the estate of
the Saportas, were confiscated and broken up.

In the eighteenth century it was full of fine buildings--châteaux,
churches, monasteries, hospitals. Go where you please, you come upon the
sites of edifices, once local centres of civilisation, which were
pillaged, burned, and demolished, while the 'national agents' ruled the
provinces for the benefit of the speculators at Paris. Here stood the
stately Château de Molerepaire, of which nothing now remains but a
farmhouse; there, the ancient parish church of St. Paul at
Mons-en-Laonnois, one of the finest in the district, now utterly gone,
all its materials having been sold for the profit of certain 'national
agents' in 1794. Wissignicourt possessed in 1789 one of the most
beautiful churches in Northern France and two considerable châteaux. The
church of St.-Rémi was first robbed of all its ornaments, and finally,
in 1793, completely demolished.

The Château de la Cressonnière, built in the sixteenth century by Claude
de Massary, and inhabited by his descendants as resident landlords until
the Revolution, has entirely disappeared. Of the Château de
Wissignicourt, founded in the twelfth century by a baron of the great
Picard family of De Hangest, some portions still exist. But this little
commune, which occupies one of the most naturally charming sites in the
Laonnois, between Anizy and Laon, is indebted to the 'patriots' of
Chauny, who domineered over it during the Revolution, for the
annihilation of local features, which in these days of railway travel
and picturesque tourists would have materially enhanced the value of its
not very fertile territory. These buildings, these châteaux and
churches, were part of the accumulated capital of France, and certainly
not the least important part of the accumulated capital of the commune
of Wissignicourt. If they had been destroyed in the heat of conflict, as
so many such buildings were destroyed in this country during the wars of
religion, and in Germany, and even in Great Britain, the philosophers
might have some plausible pretext at least for citing their favourite
proverb that you 'cannot make an omelette without breaking some eggs.'
And we might be invited to set off, against this loss of accumulated
capital, certain important gains in the way of more liberal
institutions and an enfranchised industry. But this is not the case.
The vandalism of the Revolution of 1789 was perpetrated in cold blood. I
speak, of course, now of the real authors of it all, at Paris, not of
the mere mobs in the provinces, hot with the sordid lust of plunder or
with personal spites and rancours--and it was perpetrated for the profit
of those who promoted it. The bronzes and brasses and lead and hammered
iron of the desecrated churches were turned into money, and the money
went into the pockets of the 'patriots.' Monuments that would now be
priceless were destroyed, for example, at St.-Denis, not in the least
that the metal might be cast into cannon--I am told the military records
show that the republican armies fought their battles, when finally they
got to fighting them, exclusively with the artillery of the
monarchy--but that the metal might be sold in the markets, and the
proceeds confiscated by the vendors. Certain rogues at Chauny and their
employers in Paris were doubtless the richer a hundred years ago for the
desecration of the Church of St.-Rémi and the pillage of La Cressonnière
and the Château de Wissignicourt. But Wissignicourt and its people are
the poorer to-day for these performances.

An instructive estimate might be made of the dead loss which the little
city of Bourg-en-Bresse would have sustained during the past century if
the sensible Savoyards of that place had not cunningly protected the
magnificent statue-tombs of Marguerite d'Autriche, Marguerite de Bourbon
and Philibert le Beau in their grand old church of Notre-Dame de Brou,
against the rapacity of the revolutionary 'operators,' by cramming the
whole church full of straw and hay.

Soissons, in reality one of the very oldest cities in France, the seat,
when Cæsar first assailed it, of a Gallic prince, whose authority
extended beyond the Channel into Britain, and the cradle long
afterwards of the first Frankish monarchy, might be taken, so far as
its general aspect goes, for a creation of the Second Empire, were it
not for its beautiful old cathedral, sadly damaged in 1793, but
very successfully restored, and for the graceful towers of
St.-Jean-des-Vignes. These latter were rescued with extreme difficulty
by the townspeople themselves from the felonious fury of the democratic
operators, who despoiled their city for ever of all the rest of that
superb castellated abbey. Of St.-Médard without the walls, which, were
it now standing, would be to the history of the French people what
Winchester Cathedral is to the history of the English, only the
subterranean chapels remain. The materials and the contents of the abbey
itself were turned into cash.

St.-Médard-lez-Soissons was only one of eighteen considerable
Benedictine abbeys which down to the Revolution existed within the
limits of the modern department of the Aisne of which Laon is the chief
town. Besides these, this region, the early reclamation and cultivation
of which, as I have already said, was chiefly due to the monastic
orders, possessed, before 1793, sixteen abbeys and monasteries of the
Premonstratensians. The mother abbey of this great order, founded by
Saint-Norbert in the twelfth century, commemorates in its name the great
agricultural work done by him and his disciples. Prémontré, 'the meadows
of the monastery,' was the chief seat of the Order which a hundred years
ago comprised more than eighteen hundred monasteries, the
chapters-general of which were held here. The vast and stately buildings
of Présmontré are still standing. They were constructed on a scale of
royal grandeur, worthy of the Order, under the Abbé de Muyn, towards the
end of the reign of Louis XIV., and they much resemble the buildings
erected at the same time at the Grande Chartreuse, near Grenoble. Like
these, they were seized upon in 1793 by the revolutionists. But in both
cases the buildings were saved, those of the Grande Chartreuse because
there was no temporal use to which they could be put, standing, as they
do, high up above the gorges of the Guier, in their glorious solitude
amid the pine-forests of Dauphiné; and these of Prémontré for exactly
the opposite reason, because they were available for purposes more
profitable than the sale of their materials was likely to be. They were
converted first into a saltpetre factory by the little knot of financial
operators who bought them for a song as 'national property.' Afterwards
an attempt was made to establish glassworks in them. Then they became an
orphan asylum, and now they are a great asylum for lunatics!

St.-Jean-des-Vignes at Soissons, already mentioned, was the only
monastery of the Joannists in France, and it was one of fifteen
Cistercian abbeys in this region. The remaining ruins of the church of
one of these Cistercian abbeys at Longpont, near Soissons, vindicate its
ancient fame as one of the jewels of French religious architecture. It
was built under St.-Louis, and consecrated in his presence. It shared,
in 1793, the fate of the almost equally beautiful church of St.-Leger at
Soissons, the apse, transepts, and cloisters of which, even in their
present condition, suffice to show what Soissons lost when it was looted
and desecrated. A worthy bishop of Soissons, M. de Garsignies, bought
what remained of St.-Leger in 1850, and established there a seminary.

Add to these edifices those of twelve commanderies of the Temple, ten
commanderies of St. John of Jerusalem, two Chartreuses, ten collegiate
churches, and more than a hundred and fifty priories, nunneries, and
other religious communities, and it will be seen what a grand field of
enterprise and speculation was thrown open in the Laonnais and the
Soissonnais to the disciples of Brissot de Warville and of Condorcet by
the seizure of the Church property alone.

Scarcely less numerous than the religious edifices in this region were
the châteaux. Of these comparatively few are now standing, either as
picturesque ruins or as residences. The bas-reliefs and tapestry of the
ancient buildings of La Ferté-Milon, the birthplace of Racine, are still
worthy of a visit. Of Nanteuil, a fine château of the time of Francis
I., a single tower remains. The magnificent manor-house of the Ducs de
Valois at Villers-Cotterets (a little beyond the limits of the region I
am now treating of) was made an historic monument by Napoleon III.; but
it is none the better for base uses against which it surely ought to
have been protected as the birthplace of Alexandre Dumas by the ghosts
of Porthos, Athos, and Aramis! The towers and the donjon of the Château
of Nesle on the Somme, whence sallied forth, in the time of Louis XV.,
the four much too famous sisters De Mailly, were not so maltreated in
1793 as to be quite uninhabitable when the first Napoleon passed a night
there, during his final struggle for empire; and there still is to be
seen the old Lombard-Roman church of St.-Leger, wherein was held a
council strong enough to coerce Philip Augustus into doing what Henry
VIII. refused, three centuries afterwards, to do, and to make him take
back his divorced queen Ingelburga of Denmark. Braisnes, planted upon a
peak, overlooks what is left of the exquisite twelfth-century church of
St.-Yved, ruthlessly battered and abused in 1793, and robbed of certain
matchless monuments in enamelled copper for the benefit of a syndicate
of patriotic rogues. The Châteaux de Gandelu, de Neuville, de
St.-Lambert are ruins. The lordly cradle of the great House of Guise;
the tower of Marchais in which, tradition tells us, the League was first
conceived by which the princes of Lorraine were backed in their struggle
for the throne of France; the keep of Beaurevoir, one of the prisons of
the Maid of Orléans--these may be seen. Of how many others, the names of
which ring out as from a chronicle of French history, nothing but the
names is left! Caulincourt, Coeuvres d'Estrées, de Bohain de
Luxembourg, d'Armentières, de Conflans, de Condé, de Comin, de Buzancy,
de Puységur.

Two of the most important châteaux in this region in 1789 were those of
Pinon and of Anizy. The first still exists, and stands substantially as
it then stood, and is now admittedly the finest in the Laonnais. The
second was wrecked and demolished. It is perhaps worth while to tell
what befell Anizy, and how Pinon escaped.

Both Anizy and Pinon are of very ancient origin.

Anizy seems to have been a fortress of the Emperor Valentinian in the
fourth century, and it was pillaged by the Vandals in the fifth. On
December 26, 496, Clovis, in recognition of the baptism he had received
on the preceding day at the hands of St.-Rémi in the cathedral church of
Reims, gave the lordships of Anizy, Coucy, and Leuilly to that prelate.
Two years afterwards St.-Rémi, who had made Laon a bishopric, gave Anizy
to his nephew St.-Génébaud, the first bishop of Laon, to be held and the
revenues thereof to be applied by the bishops of Laon for ever to the
benefit of the poor of that diocese. He coupled the gift with a solemn
curse and anathema upon all who should ever disturb or misapply the
donation. From that time to 1789 Anizy was a lordship of the bishops of
Laon, who in time were made dukes and peers of France.

The annals of Laon attest the loyalty through long ages of the bishops
of Laon to the injunctions laid upon them by St.-Rémi. The Normans came
to Anizy, for example, in 883, and pillaged and ruined the place. Four
years afterwards the bishop of Laon founded there a hospital, or
Hôtel-Dieu, for the poor and infirm of the diocese, and the king,
Charles le Gros, endowed it handsomely. In 904 Jeanne, sister of Raoul,
bishop of Laon, with the help of her brother, founded at Anizy a priory
of Sisters to receive and care for the young girls of the place. In 996,
Adalberon, bishop of Laon, founded a maladrerie, or lepers' hospital, at
Anizy, to be 'a refuge and place of healing for the poor of Anizy,
Wissignicourt, and Pinon.'

As time went on and the feudal system became more fully developed, the
bishops of Laon found it judicious to establish one of those high feudal
personages known as Vidames, and the relations of the Vidames of Laon
with their episcopal superior, on the one hand, and with the people of
such lordships as Anizy on the other, become very interesting.

They are made more interesting still by the entrance upon the scene of
the kings of France, contending for a real royal authority, of great
barons like the Sires de Coucy bent on getting a complete local
independence of any central government, and of the people of the
communes, who very early saw their own game as between the Church, the
barons, and the king, and played it here, as in so many other places,
with most respectable skill and success. There is a picturesque story of
Pope Benedict VIII., who held a council at Laon, going from Laon to view
the episcopal château at Anizy, with a _cortège_ of cardinals and
bishops, and on the way springing down nimbly from his horse to rescue
the bishop of Cambray, obviously a prelate of much weight, under whom a
little bridge gave way as they were crossing the river Lette. This was
in the year 1018. A century later, in 1110, Gandri, bishop of Laon,
summoned John Comte de Soissons, Robert II. Comte de Flandre, and
Enguerrand I. Sire de Coucy, the three loftiest and lordliest personages
then of this part of the world, to a conference at his château in Anizy,
there to fix and define where the authority of the Sire de Coucy ended
and that of the bishops of Laon began. In 1210 the burgh of Anizy became
a free commune and elected its first mayor. The next year its seigneur,
Robert de Châtillon, bishop-duke of Laon, at his own cost fortified the
place with walls and towers, and did this so well that three years
afterwards Enguerrand III. de Coucy, just then the most masterful person
in all this part of France, thought it wise to treat with the
bishop-duke as to their respective rights of ownership in the adjoining
forest of Roncelais. They agreed so perfectly that the formidable lord
of Coucy immediately afterwards did the bishop-duke and the people of
Anizy the notable service of leading a band of his retainers against a
company of brigands who were burning lonely farmhouses and carrying off
the crops.

Having got their mayor and their walls and their towers, the burghers of
Anizy took to quarrelling with the bishop-dukes of Laon, and so got
their communal rights suppressed by one of those prelates in 1230, only
to see them re-established again half a century later in 1278, by
another bishop-duke, Geoffroi de Beaumont, who made a compromise with
his troublesome vassals, reserving only to himself the right to nominate
the officers of justice. The king of France, Philippe le Hardi, be it
observed, took sides with the burghers in this affair, and they raised a
monument to him in 1293.

This, with almost everything else of any importance in Anizy, was
destroyed by the English of Edward III., in the next century, one of the
local seigneurs, the lord of Locq (where a château still represents the
extinct lordship) and the curé of the church of St.-Peter falling
valiantly in the defence of their people. The bishop-duke came over to
help them from Laon, and died in his château at Anizy the next year.

In 1352, another bishop-duke founded a free market at Anizy for three
days in each year, at the feast of St.-George, and in 1408 his successor
built a grain-hall there. In 1513 Louis XII. granted the burghers a free
market every Monday. This so incensed the then bishop-duke, Louis de
Bourbon-Vendôme, that he tried to suppress the annual market and take
back the grain-hall, in return for which attempts the worthy burghers
pillaged his château at Anizy and pulled it nearly to pieces.

Clearly the seigneurs did not have things all their own way in these
good old times! For after several years of contention Louis de
Bourbon-Vendôme came to terms with his burghers, and matters were put
upon so friendly a footing that, in 1540, the bishop-duke began the
erection at Anizy of a new château, to be surrounded with an extensive
and beautiful park. The plans were made by the first architects and
artists of the Renaissance; the sculptors of Francis I. were employed to
decorate the façade with statues--the new buildings were connected with
what remained of the earlier château by a grand gallery; pavilions
flanked the main edifice and adorned the grand cour d'honneur. King
Francis, during his stay at Folembray, frequently visited his cousin the
Bishop-duke in this château, one of the great chambers of which was long
known as the room of King Francis. When Louis de Bourbon-Vendôme died
in 1557, the château was not entirely finished, and a lawsuit followed
his death, between his personal heirs and the bishop-dukes for the
possession of the buildings. It lasted for nearly a century, and when
the prelates at last were declared to be the owners, in 1645, the
stately edifice had fallen into a sad state of dilapidation. The
Cardinal d'Estrées restored the façade in 1660, but one of his
successors actually unroofed it and sold the lead. In 1750, a
bishop-duke of quite another type, the Cardinal de Rochechouart, spent
great sums of money upon it, restored it, and decorated it throughout,
and made it one of the noblest residences in this part of France. At the
same time he put in order all the public buildings of Anizy, and had the
roads carefully paved throughout the borough. He was followed by a
prelate of a like mind, Louis de Sabran, the last bishop-duke of Laon,
who is still remembered in his episcopal city for his public spirit and
his benevolence, and who made the park of Anizy his special care.

Then came the Revolution.

In 1790, the local 'directory' of the district of Chauny laid violent
hands upon the château. It was in great part demolished, and what was
left of it defaced. It was robbed of its precious furniture, pictures,
and ornaments, its valuable chimney-pieces, its elaborate iron and brass
work. The old trees were cut down in the park, and the railings
destroyed. The fine old church of Ste.-Geneviève at the same time was
first turned into a hall of meeting for the electors, who distrusted
each other so profoundly that when their first meeting was held, May 3,
1790, the documents relating to the elections were locked up in a
confessional, lest they should be stolen, and then deliberately wrecked
and looted by the 'friends of Liberty,' or, in other words, by a squad
of ruffians from Chauny and the neighbourhood, who, after putting on
the sacerdotal vestments, marched about the church carrying the daïs,
beat the crosses and the carved stalls to pieces, smashed and defaced
the monuments and the altars, broke open the poor-box, and carried off
all that was worth stealing. The stone slabs from the graves were sold,
a saltpetre factory was established in the church, the presbytery was
made a town-hall, and the 'worship of Reason,' in the person of a young
woman of Chauny, was solemnly inaugurated at Anizy! The château and the
park were sold by the self-constituted dictators of Anizy to one M. Orry
de Sainte-Marie on August 7, 1792, for a nominal price. This M. Orry
seems to have been an 'operator.' For in June, 1793, he sold the château
to the 'ci-devant Vicomtesse de Courval,' the mother of the then owner
of the Château of Pinon, about which I shall presently have something to
say, and bought it back from her again in March 1795, leaving her the
right to enjoy it until her death, which took place in 1806. All this
curiously illustrates the perils and uncertainties of land-ownership in
such times! In 1808, Orry de Sainte-Marie, having by that time become a
justice of the peace at Anizy, and doubtless a fervent Imperialist, sold
the château to M. Collet, Director of the Mint at Paris. From him it
passed by sale, in 1824, to M. Senneville, and in 1841 to M. Lafont de
Launoy.

Let us turn now to Pinon, two kilomètres to the south of Anizy, long one
of the chief seats of the power of the famous Sires de Coucy, one of
whom seems to have been the real author of the arrogant motto since, in
one or another form, attributed to more than one great family in France:

    Roi ne suis
  Ne prince, ne comte aussy:
    Je suis le Sire de Coucy.

The Château of Pinon was originally built by Enguerrand II. of Coucy in
the twelfth century. His grandfather Enguerrand I. had been invited by
the Archbishop of Reims to establish himself at Pinon, which was a part
of the splendid Christmas gift made by Clovis to the see of Reims, as I
have already stated, after his baptism at Reims; and Enguerrand II., who
appears to have been a typical baron, finding the place favourable for
the feudal industry of levying toll on trade and commerce, there erected
a great castle, one of the many legendary castles to be found all over
Europe which boasted a window for every day in the year. He thought fit,
however, to select for this castle a site which belonged to the Abbey of
St.-Crispin the Great at Soissons, and thus got himself into trouble
with the Church. Strong as he was, he found the Church too strong for
him. The Bishop of Soissons compelled him to agree to pay an annual and
perpetual rent to the Abbey, and made him also take the cross and go to
the Holy Land to expiate his sacrilege. There he fell in battle. The
grandson of this baron, Robert de Coucy, in 1213 granted the people of
Pinon 'a right of assize according to the use and custom of Laon,' and
the next year founded there a hospital. Twenty years afterwards Pinon
became a commune, and John de Coucy granted the inhabitants a free
market. The Château of Pinon passed in the 14th century to the elder
branch of the great house of de Coucy, and in 1400 it was sold, under
duress to Louis of France (Duc d'Orléans) by the last heiress of the
house Marie de Coucy, daughter of Enguerrand VII. by his first wife
Isabel, Princess Royal of England, and eldest daughter of Edward III. by
Philippa of Hainault.

A hundred years afterwards Louis XII. had taken possession of the
estates and the château, and made a gift of these to his daughter
Claude de France. In spite of this, however, the property passed into
the hands of the ancient family of De Lameth, and towards the end of the
seventeenth century the Château de Pinon witnessed one of the most
romantic and abominable murders recorded in the annals of French
gallantry.

As Pinon is still, after all the chances and changes of seven hundred
years, the finest inhabited château in the Soissonnais, and as, by a
curious throw of the dice of Destiny, it now belongs to a fair
compatriot of mine, perhaps I may be allowed to tell this somewhat
gruesome tale, which has a flavour rather Italian than French.

Charles Marquis d'Albret, the last of that illustrious race, Prince de
Mortagne and Comte de Massant, was the nephew of the Maréchal d'Albret,
and he came therefore, on the mother's side, of the royal blood of Henry
of Navarre.

He loved, not wisely but too well, Henriette de Roucy, Comtesse de
Lameth, called 'la belle Picarde,' whose husband was seigneur of the
Château de Pinon. In August 1678, the Marquis d'Albret was at the
Château de Coucy with the army of Flanders, then commanded by the
Marshal-Duke of Schomberg, who afterwards fell fighting for King William
III. in Ireland at the battle of the Boyne.

The Comte de Lameth, who had in some way discovered the relations which
existed between his wife, 'la belle Picarde,' and the Marquis d'Albret,
shut the comtesse into a room at Pinon, and compelled her, by threats
and violence, to write a letter to the marquis giving him a rendezvous
at Pinon. On the day mentioned in her letter the Comte de Lameth ordered
six horses to be put to his coach, and (having previously put his wife
under watch and ward) drove off with an escort to Laon. News of this was
carried at once to Coucy. The Marquis set forth with a single attendant
on horseback to Chavignon, where at the hostelry of La Croix Blanche, he
was met, as from the letter of his lady-love he expected to be, by a
servant from the Château de Pinon.

Armed only with pistols in his holsters, he mounted after dark and rode
on from Chavignon to Pinon. There, as he entered the park-gates, just
after midnight, three men, one of them Jocquet, the valet de chambre of
the Comte de Lameth, sallied out upon him from under an archway, and,
feigning to take him for a robber, opened fire upon him. He killed one
of his assailants, and then himself fell.

About fifty years ago, the then proprietor of Pinon was building a lodge
for one of his keepers when the workmen came upon a gold ring in digging
for the foundation. It bore the engraved name of D'Albret, and the name
of the royal regiment which he commanded. He had doubtless been buried
where he fell in the park.

This proprietor was the father of the late Baron de Courval, formerly an
officer in the French army, who, during the Second Empire, married Miss
Ray of New York.

The De Courvals became possessors of Pinon through the murder of the
Marquis d'Albret. The way in which this came about curiously illustrates
the course of justice and injustice under the _ancien régime_. This
differed more in form than in fact from the course of justice and
injustice in our own time. Claude, Comte de Lameth, the jealous husband
of 'la belle Picarde,' was a great personage, not only Comte de Lameth
but Vicomte de Laon, d'Anizy, de Marchy, and de Croix, and seigneur of
Bayencourt, Pinon, Bouchavannes, Clacy, Laniscourt, Quincy, '_et autres
lieux_.' But the Marquis d'Albret was a greater personage still, and
the widow of the marquis, who refused to believe the story of his affair
with 'la belle Picarde,' was a _dame d'atours_ of the queen, Marie
Thérèse. So also was the cousin-german of the marquis, and these two
dames made such a clamour about the murder that the king, Louis XIV.,
and of course with the king the whole court, so waged war against the
Comte de Lameth that his whole family found it wise to seek safety in
flight, and fearing the confiscation of all his property, the Comte
(whose wife had previously gone into an Ursuline convent) sold the
estate and Château of Pinon, with other estates, to his friend Pierre
Dubois de Courval, president of the parliament of Paris.[8]

    [8] The venom of this old history recurs in the Revolution,
    poisoning the minds of three Lameths, concerning whom Mr. Carlyle
    indulges in much quite unnecessary and grotesque emotion.

In 1730 Dubois de Courval pulled down the ancient Château de Pinon, and,
on the designs of Mansard, built the present stately and imposing
edifice. Le Nôtre laid out for him also the extensive park, and, when he
died, in 1764, he left Coucy-la-Ville and Fresnes to his elder son, and
to his younger, with the title of Vicomte de Courval, the château and
estates of Pinon.

It was the widow of this younger son, Aimé-Louis Dubois de Courval, who,
as I have already said, saved what could be saved of the Château of
Anizy in 1793 by buying it from the enterprising M. Orry de
Sainte-Marie.

Her husband, a man of worth and of note in the parliament of Paris, died
on the very eve of the great troubles, December 1, 1788. He was then in
his sixty-seventh year, and as he had done nothing but good at Pinon,
not only embellishing the château and the park, but giving much time and
money to improve the condition of the people, he would probably have
been sent to the guillotine at Paris by the local 'directory at Chauny'
had he lived long enough, and his property confiscated, like the
property of the bishops and dukes at Anizy. His oldest son was a lad of
fifteen when the storm burst in 1789. His mother took his interests
resolutely in hand. She came of two aristocratic stocks, the Millys and
the Clermonts-Tonnerre, but she got the better of the democrats. Like
old Madame Dupin at Chenonceaux, she carried herself and her property,
by woman's wit and woman's will, through the Revolution. In 1791 she
contrived to get her son, then only seventeen, elected commander of the
National Guard at Anizy. He ripened rapidly, under the stress of the
times, bought up the 'patriots' when it was necessary--and there is
abundant evidence to show that they were always in the market, even at
Paris and during the worst times of the Terror--was made a baron of the
empire by Napoleon, elected President of the Canton of Anizy in 1811, a
councillor-general of the Aisne in the same year, and deputy in 1814.
With the Restoration he became once more Vicomte de Courval and seigneur
of Pinon, having long before converted the park and gardens of the
château into the 'English style,' with fine watercourses and an
extensive lake, and died quietly at Paris in 1822. In 1794, at the age
of twenty, he married a daughter of the Marquis de Saint-Mars.

His son and successor, Ernest-Alexis Dubois de Courval, was taken
into high favour by Charles X., but was nevertheless made a
councillor-general of the Aisne under Louis Philippe. He married the
only daughter of Moreau, who was a child of nine years old when her
father fell fighting against France and Napoleon in 1813. In a curious
Gothic tower which he built at Pinon are still preserved some of the
standards captured from the enemies of France by Moreau, and these I am
assured are the only such standards, excepting those of the Invalides,
recovered through the efforts of the House of Peers, which existed in
France before the Crimean War. In this tower the Vicomte de Courval
formed a remarkable collection of mediæval arms and armour, antique
furniture, stained glass, medals and coins. This region is very rich not
only in Roman remains, but in druidical stones and other vestiges of the
races which dwelt here before Cæsar came. Marcus Aurelius, Trajan,
Hadrian, Alexander Severus, Probus, Gordian, Constantine and Constantius
are all represented on the coins found in and around the property of M.
de Courval; but one of his most interesting acquisitions was a silver
coin bearing the name of Clovis, with the title of 'imperator.' There is
a record at Anizy of a treasure of coins of Aurelius, found there so
long ago as in the middle of the twelfth century; and under the
bishop-dukes of Laon a collection of Roman coins and vases was gradually
formed at the mairie of Anizy, which 'disappeared' soon after the
'patriots' of Chauny undertook to 'liberate' that commune.

The American Vicomtesse de Courval, who now owns Pinon, and passes a
part of each year there, is the widow of a son of this Ernest de
Courval.

Looking backward dispassionately over this 'centennial record' of two
considerable estates in the Department of the Aisne, what advantages,
social, political, or economical, can be shown to have enured to the
people of the commune of Anizy and of Pinon from the revolutionary
processes to which those estates were subjected a hundred years ago? Not
a man in Anizy or in Pinon owns a rood of land now which he might not
just as easily have owned had the alienation of the Church property in
those communes been conducted through the gradual and systematic
processes of law and order. Instead of one remarkable and interesting
château, these communes would now possess two, each in the natural
course of things, a centre of local activity and civilisation. Instead
of one ancient church, much despoiled and damaged, Anizy would now
possess three such churches, each in its own way an object of interest
to architects and artists, and it would be possible for an honest
gendarme or a poor labourer on the highway to hear mass, if he liked, in
any one of them, without incurring the wrath of his superiors and the
loss of his daily bread.



CHAPTER X

IN THE AISNE--_continued_


  LAON

The lofty hill on which the Sires de Coucy planted their chief fortress
rises above the fields and forests of the Soissonnais as the Mont
St.-Michel rises above the waves and the sands of the Norman coast.

The narrow streets and quaint old houses of the little town of
Coucy-le-Château are huddled around the outworks of the colossal castle,
almost as closely as are the climbing streets and the terraced houses of
St.-Michel around the martial monastery; and each of these two places
is, in its own kind, unique.

I had been strongly recommended to pass the night when I visited the
château, not in the little city itself, though it boasts a 'Hôtel des
Ruines,' but at a little wayside inn, rather indeed a restaurant and a
baiting-place for travellers by the highway than an inn, which stands at
the foot of the hill of Coucy. I took the advice, and had no cause to
repent it. The walk up the hill, of some two miles, to the tower and the
castle was simply delightful on a fine afternoon in June. Opposite my
little inn is a small and rather dilapidated château of the eighteenth
century, which originally must have been a very pleasant residence; and
in the extensive meadows about it were grazing a number of fine cattle,
the property of M. de Vaublanche. 'He is the only man hereabouts who
takes any trouble with his beasts,' said my cheery, athletic young
host, and leading the way for me into the meadows, he pointed out the
princes of the herd, all of them really fine animals of the best French
breeds, with as much pride as if he had been the owner. 'It gives more
pleasure to see these--does it not, sir?--than to look at yonder dead
chimney,' he said, pointing to some extensive sugarworks, all closed and
deserted, on the other side of the road. The sugar crisis has been very
sharp here, as in other parts of France, and many smokeless chimneys are
to be seen here as in other departments.

An embattled gateway of the thirteenth century welcomes the traveller
now with its open arch as he approaches the town of Coucy, and the best
views of the château are to be got from the road as you climb up the
long ascent.

In the quaint little town the house is still carefully preserved, and
the chamber itself religiously kept in order, in which, on June 7, 1594,
Gabrielle d'Estrées gave birth to a son destined afterwards to make his
mark in the military annals of France as César, Duc de Vendôme. An
inscription on a tablet in the wall thus commemorates his advent into
the world: 'In this chamber was born, and in the chamber above was
baptized, the legitimised son of France, de Vendôme, a prince of very
good hopes, the child of the most Christian, most magnanimous, most
invincible, and most clement King of France and of Navarre, Henry IV.,
and of Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchesse de Beaufort.'

Not far from this house is the ancient belfry of Coucy, wherein swings a
bell of dolorous prestige, the tradition of Coucy averring that,
whenever a citizen of Coucy is about to die, this bell tolls of itself,
and is heard by him alone.

Doubtless the communal schoolmaster will ere long drive this tradition
out of the mind of the rising generation in Coucy. If so I trust, though
I hardly expect, that he will drive out with it another and more
mischievous tradition, born within the precincts of the ancient castle.
Not once, but a dozen times, this year in different parts of France, I
have seen allusions made, in political journals, to the monstrous right
which the seigneurs of old possessed and exercised of hanging small boys
for snaring and killing rabbits within their parks and woods. The old
game laws of France, like the old game laws, and indeed like many other
old laws, of England and of other countries, were not over-mild. Was not
a woman first strangled and then burned in England for 'coining' in the
year 1789, while the States-General were performing at Paris their
fantastic overture to the ghastly drama of the Terror? Yet England in
1789 knew a great deal more of personal liberty than France knows now in
1889. The tradition of the seignorial right of hanging boys for killing
rabbits originated, it is probable, with Enguerrand IV., Sire de Coucy,
of whom it is told that, exasperated by three young lads, scholars of
the monastic school of Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois, whom he found shooting at
rabbits and hares in his woods with bows and arrows, he had the lads
seized and hanged. So far from doing this within his seignorial rights,
however, was the Sire de Coucy, that the monks proceeded against him
vigorously, and Saint-Louis had him arrested for it, and was with much
difficulty restrained by the barons of the realm from hanging him in his
turn. He was only pardoned on very severe conditions, one of which was
that he should do penance for a number of years in his own castle of
Coucy, where, the chroniclers tell us, he died 'in shame and
repentance.' His successor, Enguerrand V., took the matter so much to
heart that he led the life of an anchorite at Coucy, and had himself
buried in the Abbey of Prémontré near the doorway; like Alonzo de Ojeda
the Conquistador, the slab upon whose grave I saw some years ago at the
entrance of the ruined church of San Francisco in Santo Domingo, with an
inscription reciting that he was there laid to rest, by his own request,
as a great sinner, upon whose ashes all who passed should tread.

Tortuous little streets lead through the town of Coucy into a great
green space which commands the castle. It is approached from the new and
rather pretentious lodge in which the keeper of the castle now resides,
through one of the finest and loftiest avenues in France. But the
tallest trees are dwarfed by the gigantic donjon tower. This rises to a
height still of at least 180 feet. It is 150 feet in circumference at
the base, and slopes very gradually to the summit. The hall on the
ground floor measures more than forty feet in diameter, the walls being
of enormous thickness. Over one of the doorways is a defaced bas-relief
representing a lion attacked and slain by Enguerrand I. de Coucy. The
chimney-place in the ground floor hall would make a very respectable
modern house, and there is a well within the hall said to be of unknown
depth. The donjon consists of three storeys above the ground floor, the
main hall on the first floor being particularly remarkable for its
height. The vaulted ceiling of this hall must have been very fine, and
throughout it is apparent that the builders of the Château de Coucy had
the comfort of the inmates and a certain stately elegance of effect much
more in mind than was common with the builders of castles in the
thirteenth century. The walls at the summit are more than nine feet
thick, and they were doubtless surmounted originally with a great
circular gallery of wood covered in with a roof. The Sires de Coucy,
like other crusaders, doubtless brought back all manner of rich carpets
and stuffs from the East, and with these and the wonderful carved chests
and massive woodwork of the time the Château de Coucy may well have been
a much more agreeable place of abode than, from our modern acquaintance
with their winding stone stairways and denuded walls, we are apt to
imagine these great feudal fortresses to have been.

The views from the summit now are simply superb. The vast forests over
which Enguerrand, the builder, gazed, seeking out the sites on which he
planted so many strongholds--(it is known that besides Coucy he erected
at least eight other castles, from Folembray to Saint-Lambert)--have
been replaced in great part by fertile fields and smiling towns. But the
land is still richly wooded. Far down, in a little wilderness beneath
us, the guardian pointed out to me an odd edifice looking like a
combination of a modern Gothic church with a seaside villa. This, he
told me, was the residence of a distinguished artist of Paris, who
passes a part of every year in this region, making studies of forest
scenery. Beyond this, in a large park, is a château of the Marquis de la
Châtaigneraie, once a part of the domain of Coucy.

The enceinte of the château is of enormous extent. The solidity of the
walls and the towers resisted so successfully the mines and pickaxes of
Richelieu that the great outlines of the immense building are still
easily definable, with fine traces of the architecture of the great
chapel. That St.-Louis and Henry IV. visited Coucy we know, and the
guardian was good enough to give me very minute and particular
information as to the chambers which they occupied.

He was a curious fellow, this guardian, an Alsatian immigrant, he
informed me. The people here, he thought, were not so much pleased as
they ought to be that the Government had given him the place, which
brings him in 400 francs a year, with the lodge I have mentioned for a
residence, and the right to all the crops of any kind he can raise on
the land attached to the château. He was then cutting the grass, which
grew very well within the precincts of the château. But he took great
pains to impress upon me that he was doing this, not so much for the
sake of the hay he expected to make as for the accommodation of visitors
like myself, 'to make the ground pleasanter to walk upon.'

This was an attention which no right-minded person could fail to
recognise with a _pour-boire_, particularly as the worthy guardian
complained of the extremely poor quality of the wine grown about Coucy.
I told him I had always heard that King Francis I. insisted on having
his wine sent to him from this place. 'Ah!' he replied, 'in those days
what did they know about good wine?'

The rooks in countless numbers were flying and cawing all over the
beautiful old place. 'I have tried to kill these birds,' said the
guardian wearily. 'They destroy my peas. But the cartridges cost too
much, and I have had to give it up.' He had been in his place four
months. I might think it very pleasant seeing it in June. But if I could
see it in February, with the wind howling 'through the tall trees and
around the huge tower!'

On my return to my neat little hostelry my host came out to meet me. 'He
had just heard that four councillors-general, on their way home from a
meeting, would like to dine at his house. Would I object to their dining
with me--there was no other good room?' Naturally I was only too glad to
share the room and the dinner with them. A very good dinner it was too.
'Men learn to cook, but are born to roast.' My host's cook was born to
roast both fat chickens and a capital leg of mutton. One of the
councillors-general, when they drove up, went out into the kitchen to
examine and report upon the outlook. He came back presently rubbing his
hands together with glee. 'Admirable!' he exclaimed; 'it will be a
Belshazzar's feast--a superb leg of mutton, truly superb!'

'The first green peas of the season here!' said our host, coming in with
them. 'You will see if they are good. They come late here, the green
peas, but you see what they are when they do come.'

The four councillors-general were all Republicans. One of them, a
country banker, as I learned, was a trifle sarcastic about the prospects
of the party. 'They are too soft,' he said, 'at Paris. They lack wrist.
They do not hit hard enough. What we want is a man; where are we to find
him?' Another, a tall grey-bearded man, an attorney, agreed with the
banker as to the 'softness' of the authorities. 'I am a Republican of
yesterday,' he said. 'I remember, under the Empire, how, when I spoke at
Chauny, I spoke with a gendarme at the table behind me, and a couple of
spies in the hall. That is what we should have now in these meetings
where they abuse the Republic.' I observed that while this councillor,
by the way, always spoke of 'the Republic,' the banker as invariably
spoke of 'the Republican party.' They both agreed, however, and their
companions agreed with them, that the real want was the 'want of a man.'

'The President is doing well though,' said the grey-bearded 'Republican
of yesterday.' 'He is beginning to stand out against the horizon, is he
not?' The others were not so sure of this, and then there arose a most
lively and singularly outspoken exchange of views as to the different
leaders of the Republican party. It would be hardly fair for me to cite
these; but one remark made by the banker, in regard to a very
conspicuous political personage, amused me. 'Yes,' he said in reply to
one of his companions: 'yes; ---- is skilful--very skilful--but he has no
foresight. Would you trust him with your pocket-book? No!' 'Oh certainly
not!'

It seemed they had been attending a conference about agriculture. They
were all agreed as to the existence of 'an agricultural crisis,' but
beyond that they seemed to be at sea. One councillor was quite sure that
the thing to be done was to get the farmers to use cattle instead of
horses in their work. The cattle cost less, worked as well, and they
could be killed for beef. They were also more valuable as fertilisers.
Upon this another councillor, apparently the only agriculturist of the
company, went into a disquisition on chemical fertilisers and the
scientific applications of them.

'I never believed in these chemicals,' he said, 'till last year. But
last year I was in my fields, talking with my neighbour So-and-so, who
has spent I know not how much on these chemicals. He went away with his
men after a while, and I saw they had been applying their chemicals to a
field sown like mine. An idea occurred to me. I went and brought a
basket. I stepped across into their field and took a certain quantity of
their chemicals. These I applied in a particular part of my field. Do
you know the plants came up there wonderfully--but really quite
wonderfully! There is no doubt there is a good deal in these chemicals!
But one should test them first!'

After dinner we sate out in front of the little inn for a time with our
coffee. There was a good deal of coming and going, a tremendous
clattering about of children in little wooden _sabots_, and much
good-natured 'chaff' between the people of the inn, who came out to
take the air after their day's work, and the passers-by. There seems to
be little in the peasants here of that positive _morgue_, not to say
arrogance, which marks the demeanour of their class in the western parts
of France. There are regions in Brittany where the carriage of the
peasants towards the 'bourgeois' gives reality and zest to the old story
of the _ci-devant_ noble who called a particularly insolent varlet to
order in the days of the first Revolution by saying to him: 'Nay,
friend, you will be good enough to remember that we are living in a
republic, and that I am your equal!'

There was the most perfect civility and amiableness even in the
interchange of not very delicate pleasantries between the people at
Coucy. 'Don't go too near the butcher's shop!' called out one of the
ostlers to a man with whom he had been talking as the latter drove off
in his cart. 'Ah! you won't eat me, if I do,' the other replied; 'it
would cost you too much!' An old farmer who sate sipping his _petit
verre_ near me, explained to me that the man was a resident of Barisis,
a little village not very far off, the dwellers in which from time
immemorial have been known as 'the pigs of Barisis.' 'Try and pick up a
husband on the way,' another of the stable lads called out after a
pretty girl who paused with a companion, as she went by the place, to
chat with him--'try and pick up a husband on the way and we'll keep the
wedding feast here!' 'Ah bah!' the damsel rejoined in a merry voice,
'more marryers come your way than ours. Tie up the first one that comes
and keep him for me!' This quickness to catch and return the ball
certainly shows a greater natural or acquired alertness of mind among
these Picard peasants than is commonly found in people of the same
condition in rural England.

The country all the way from Coucy to Laon is one continuous garden, and
Laon itself is pre-eminently a city set on a hill. The Château de Coucy
stands upon its pinnacle of rock, like a knight in armour, with folded
arms, looking loftily down upon the world, conscious of his strength,
and calmly awaiting attack. The fortress-city of Laon, a fortress from
the earliest Roman days, looks out from the promontory on which it
stands, over the wide expanse of plain beyond and around it, like an
advanced sentinel, watchful and alert.

You go up to it by long flights of steps, as in the case of so many
high-perched Italian towns, and the fine winding carriage-way which has
been constructed around the hill, commands, from beneath the beautiful
trees by which it is shaded, a series of the finest imaginable views. It
has suffered much, of course, from war, and not a little from the
revolutionists. But its magnificent cathedral and the ancient palace of
the bishop-dukes, now occupied by the courts of justice, have fared
better than many other monuments. For some time past, however, the
cathedral has been undergoing repairs, which is as much as to say that
the interior is practically hidden from the eye by a maze of scaffolds
and hoardings and ladders. Mr. Ruskin somewhere complains, not wholly
without reason, that 'the French are always doing something to their
cathedrals,' and the complaint is in order now both as to Laon and as to
Nantes. No one can tell when the fine recumbent statue of Raoul de
Coucy, who fell at Mansourah by the side of St.-Louis, will again be
visible at Laon, or the matchless tomb of the Duchesse Anne at Nantes.

Here, as in the region around Chauny and Coucy, I was struck with the
extreme good-nature and simplicity of the people. Through the narrow,
old-fashioned streets went the town-crier with his bell, calling
'Attention! attention! attention!' announcing an auction sale of
furniture after the old custom which existed in some old American towns
quite down to the middle of the present century.

The people were at their trades in the street, as in the Italian towns,
shoemakers hammering at their lasts, ironworkers banging and thumping
away. When I had found the house of a gentleman whom I wished to see, in
the beautiful old cathedral close, and had rung in vain a dozen times at
the bell, a courteous passer-by paused, and asked me if I wished to find
M.----. 'Eh!' he said, 'the house is shut up because he is in the
country for the day. I think he will be here to-morrow; but if you will
come with me I will show you a little inn not far from here where I know
you will find his coachman, who can tell you exactly when he will
return.'

How long would a stranger have to ring at the door of a house in an
English cathedral town before it would occur to anybody passing to stop
and thus enlighten him?

With all their kindness and good-nature, however, the people of Laon are
not lukewarm in politics. I found a hairdresser, the local Figaro, a
raging Boulangist. 'He had served in Tonkin; he had seen, with his own
eyes seen the soldiers robbed and starved and left to die. He had seen,
with his own eyes seen the Government people taking huge "wine-pots"
from the natives. It was _infecte_! And the governor Richaud, whom they
called back to France because he wished to expose the way in which his
predecessor had taken thousands of francs and a diamond belt from the
king of Cambodia, Norodom. I had surely heard of that?'

I certainly had heard of that, for all France rang with the exposure
made of it in the Chamber of Deputies--that is to say, all France rang
with it for a couple of days.

'Yes! that is true. Paris forgets everything in a day, and Monsieur is
speaking of Paris; but here in Laon we do not forget; Monsieur will see.
Was it natural, I ask, Monsieur, that of all the people on board of the
ship which was bringing back M. Richaud to France--he, only he, and his
valet, his Chinese valet--I ask was it natural only they two should on
the ocean have the cholera, and die? Was it natural? And if they died
was that a reason why all the effects, all the papers--note that,
Monsieur--all the papers of M. Richaud, the papers to prove that
corruption exists there in Tonkin, should be thrown overboard, all
thrown into the sea? Yes! and on what pretext? To save the rest of the
ship from the cholera! Is it transparent, that? No! we must have
Boulanger!'

'The light must be let in; we must have the light!'

'Were there many people of Figaro's mind in Laon and in the Department?'

'If there are many? You will see, Monsieur; here in the Aisne we shall
elect the greatest friend of General Boulanger. Monsieur does not know
him? M. Castelin--André Castelin. Ah! he is strong, Castelin! He was in
Africa with General Boulanger. He was there with the General when he put
his hand on that governor of Tunis, that Cambon, the brother, Monsieur
knows, of that Cambon who was a deputy? Castelin saw the General at work
in Tunis. He is with him, he will be with him in the new Chamber. We
shall elect Castelin, and then--you will see!'

My notes of Figaro's very clear and positive talk in the summer are not
without interest to me now when I revise them in the autumn. For Figaro
prophesied truly, and the Department of the Aisne certainly did elect
M. André Castelin to be one of its Deputies at Paris.

Another worthy citizen of Laon with whom I talked in his shop, a
shoemaker, while much less confident than Figaro as to the results of
the elections, was quite as positive in his hostility to the Government.
It is the tendency of shoemakers all over the world, within my
observations, to be extreme Radicals. The shoemakers of Lynn in
Massachusetts long ago were the advanced guard, I remember, of the
Abolitionists. They were the strength of the 'Old Org.--' the 'old
organisation'--enemies of slavery, as slavery, without compromise or
hesitation. Every man of them was as ready as the Simple Cobbler of
Agawam to tackle any problem, terrestrial or celestial, at a moment's
notice. It was idle to cite _ne sutor_ to them in matters of art or of
politics, of science or of theology. My shoemaker of Laon was less of a
fanatic, but not less of a philosopher, than his brethren of Lynn. He
was opposed to the Republic, but he was equally opposed to the monarchy.
He had his idea; it was that government must be abolished, and the
affairs of the country carried on by committees of experts. He liked the
law authorising professional syndicates; there he thought was the germ
of the true system. The professional syndicates should nominate the
experts, each syndicate the experts in its own business. These should
meet, settle the general necessary budget, recommend measures. Then the
people, in their communes, should act upon all this. It was his system.
It would be long to develop. He was not a man to write or to speak, but
he thought.

As to the present situation he bitterly condemned the Exposition. It was
a mistake, for it brought all the world to see the progress of France
and to steal the French ideas. It also took too many people to Paris;
that was good for the railways. But Proudhon long ago was right; the
railways were the new feudal system; they were the enemy more than
clericalism. Then see to what corruption this Exposition led. Had I not
seen the votes, the credits given to the Ministers for entertaining?
'Ah! it was monstrous!' With this he drew a paper out of his pocket; he
had it all there, with the dates and the figures. 'Observe, Monsieur,
here, on April 6, the Chamber votes one million of francs--yes, one
million of francs to be allowed for dinners, for balls, for punches, for
I know not what, to the Ministers--only to the Ministers! How many are
they? Ten! Yes! one hundred thousand francs to each of them for eating
and drinking during the famous Exposition! Only there are some who get
more, some who get less. That little watchmaker Tirard, they give him
250,000 francs! Did he ever earn 250,000 francs in his life? Never! and
will they spend all this money on dinners and punches? No, never in
life! It is just simply to pocket a million of the money of the people!'

That the political contest will be sharp in Laon I am assured by a
friend who is thoroughly familiar with the whole machinery of politics
in this department of the Aisne. Laon, it seems, is the true
headquarters of the freemasonry of this department, and in the Aisne, to
use his language, 'the freemasons are the Government.' 'I mean this,' he
said, 'in a more extensive sense than you may, perhaps, be disposed to
accept. You will find, I think, if the Government secures a majority in
the next Chamber, that the Aisne will have a good deal to say in the
organisation of the Chamber. Then, perhaps, you will understand the true
meaning of that letter of M. Allain-Targé, of which you heard at Chauny.
There is a pretty comedy under it, for M. Allain-Targé, remember, is a
freemason!

'It would be very amusing, but we taxpayers have to pay too much for the
play. What you were told at Chauny about the freemasons in the
department was quite true. Only you did not get the whole of the truth.
Look at the press of the department! You saw at Chauny the building of
the local journal there, _La Défense Nationale_'?

Certainly I had seen it, for it is the most conspicuous and the newest
edifice in the main street of Chauny, and so glorious with golden
letters that I took it for a great insurance office.

'Very well; that journal is under the control of a Brother of the Order,
a hatter at Chauny, M. Bugnicourt. Here, at Laon, the _Tribune_, the
chief Republican organ of the department, is entirely in the hands of
the Order. The chairman of the publishing company is Brother Dupuy. Go
on towards Hirson by the railway and you will come to the busy little
town of Vervins. Brother Dupuy sits in the Chamber of Deputies for
Vervins, and at Vervins Brother Dupuy owns and prints another journal,
_Le Libéral de Vervins_. The political director of the _Tribune_ here at
Laon is Brother Doumer. Brother Doumer, as you know, is also a Deputy!
And how did he become a Deputy? Let me tell you. It is an instructive
story, and you will find M. Allain-Targé at work in it--that excellent
man who will not make promises to the electors which he cannot keep.'

'In the winter of 1888, M. Ringuier, a Deputy from the second
circumscription of Laon, unexpectedly died. The Order at once determined
to capture his seat. With Brother Allain-Targé as Prefect, what could be
easier? M. Allain-Targé hastened the new election almost indecently.
Hardly a fortnight after the death of M. Ringuier, early in March 1888,
the Brethren came up from all quarters to Laon, and it was announced
that Brother Doumer had received the orthodox Republican nomination. Of
course, with the préfecture and the freemason press of Laon, Chauny,
Soissons, Château Thierry, Vervins, behind him, Doumer was elected. This
year he will find it harder work, for all the opposition will be
concentrated in support of Castelin, the friend of Boulanger. Brother
Allain-Targé is no longer prefect, but his secretary, another Brother,
Huc (no kinsman of the famous Abbé), is sub-prefect at Soissons, and the
Brethren all over the department help each other in every
circumscription. They are very strong among the Revenue officers, and
that, as you will easily understand, gives them and the Order generally
a very important invisible leverage! I could tell you now of a Brother
at Soissons whom they mean to put into the Chamber. They knew his money
value; they have got him into their shop. He is as stupid as he is
rich--just as fit to be a deputy as to command the garrison of Paris.
But they will get him nominated, and then the Government will get him
elected, and then he will do the bidding of Brother Doumer and the
others, to help them to put pressure on the ministers and on the
President, and be helped by them to recoup himself, in one way or
another, for all the cash advances he will make before he is elected.'

Laon sends two deputies to the Chamber. My friend's opinion in August
was that the Opposition now control the city, and that both of these
seats would be carried against the Government. The event proved that he
was right. He was right, too, as to the outlook at Château Thierry, the
charming birthplace of La Fontaine, on the road to Epernay. There he
expected to see the Republican candidate who sat in the late Chamber, M.
Lesguillier, hold his seat against the monarchical candidate, M. de
Mandat-Grancey, the author of a well-known and interesting book on
Ireland, _Chez Paddy_. M. de Mandat-Grancey is a landed proprietor who
has taken an active and successful part in promoting the improvement of
the breed of horses in this country. He is a man of liberal ideas as
well as a man of enterprise, and in the present agricultural 'crisis,'
of which one hears so much in France, such men would certainly be of use
in the Chamber. But at Château Thierry, according to my friend,
'everything is organised by the freemasons. They control a journal
there, the _Avenir de l'Aisne_. The mayor, M. Morlot, is a freemason.
Another freemason, an ex-deputy, M. Deville, wields great influence
there. You will see that the recent deputy, who is an insignificant
person, will be re-elected, and that M. de Mandat-Grancey, who would be
of use, will be beaten.'

'Perhaps because he is an avowed monarchist,' I replied, 'and the people
may be Republicans,'

My friend looked at me for a moment. 'Are you speaking seriously?'

Of course I was.

'Well, then, that astonishes me! Can you possibly suppose, after all you
have seen and known of France, that the people in a place like Château
Thierry are such simpletons as to believe that it makes the slightest
difference what name you give to a government? They leave that sort of
thing to the journalists and the village actors! They have long memories
in the provinces! And they judge governments, not at all by their names,
but by their men. They know the functionaries by heart. "Not much of a
government," they say to one another, "that sends us so and so!"

'In this region the Empire is still very popular, thanks mainly to this.
No! outside of the influence of the freemasons, which will be exerted
against him through the pressure put upon the friends and families of
the small army of government employés, and will therefore be formidable,
what M. de Mandat-Grancey will have most to fear will be not the
preference of the people for the Republic--for that, I tell you, does
not exist--but the indiscreet zeal of some of the clergy in his behalf.

'It is natural the clergy should wish to be rid of this persecuting gang
at Paris, and of these disgusting freemasons--quite natural. But they do
not always remember one peculiarity of our peasants. There is a great
love for the _culte_ here among our people--a very great love for it;
but they do not like to be meddled with in politics by the curés or the
priests. They will vote for the curé if the curé lets them alone. But if
he bothers them about it they are much more likely to vote against him.

'If Constans knows his business he will tell that freemason Thévenot,
the Keeper of the Seals, to let the curés and the clergy do all they
feel disposed to do in politics. Pardie, I am not sure he has not
already been suborning some of our curés to go into a conservative
propaganda!'

'This is my great fear,' he added presently, 'for Soissons in September.
We ought to carry that seat. The freemasons mean to make the Republicans
accept a most absurd candidate there, as I have told you, and if we can
only keep some of our clerical friends quiet, we shall beat him. But we
shall see! If the curés hurt us sometimes by their over-zeal, on the
other hand the Republican deputies and functionaries help us by making
the Republic disreputable in the eyes of serious people, and that in all
classes of society.

'Look at the working-men, for example, here in Laon. There are a good
many of them who know M. Doumer much better since he became a deputy
than they knew him when he was first a candidate!

'The question of the Sociétés Ouvrières is a question which means a good
deal for the working-men. M. Doumer would have been well advised had he
let it alone. But no! M. Doumer gets himself appointed to draw up a
Report of the Chamber of Deputies on this question, with a Project of a
Law to supersede, modify, extend the Law of 1867, under which
co-operative societies have so far grown up in France.

'The Report and the Project, as finally edited by the aspiring deputy
for Laon, a freemason as I have told you, are to be printed by another
freemason, the worthy hatter, M. Bugnicourt, at Chauny, who is the chief
personage of the _Défense Nationale_, and all the voters are to see how
Brother Doumer devotes himself to the interests of the working classes,
at Paris, while other deputies go about amusing themselves with the
_danseuses du ventre_, and the other marvels of the Exposition.

'This is all very well.

'But Brother Doumer, in his desire to pose before the voters of the
Aisne as the heaven-born deputy in whom the working-man may put his
trust, takes the trouble to make it quite clear that the Republic has
done absolutely nothing but appoint committees to sit upon "the great
question" of co-operation among the working classes!

'Brother Doumer, as I have told you, was made a deputy in 1888. After
taking his seat he was made a member of the Committee which has been
conducting an "extra-parliamentary enquiry" on the subject of
co-operative societies among working-men for work and for production,
and with the question of contracts between employers and working-men
for participation in the profits of industrial enterprises.

'This committee, he says in his Report, took the matter in hand in 1883,
and spent _five years_ over it, getting its project of a law on these
subjects into shape only in 1888, on the eve of the election of a new
Chamber of Deputies!

'During these five long years, according to Brother Doumer, the Republic
was content to let co-operation among working-men take its chances under
a law passed in 1867, under the Second Empire. And yet, according still
to Brother Doumer, the idea of co-operation among the working classes
was an exclusively French idea, and not only an exclusively French idea,
but an idea which came to birth only under the Republic of 1848 (he
glides silently over the famous experiment of the National workshops of
1848). Is it not really remarkable that the Republicans of 1879 should
have been willing to leave this "beautiful and generous" idea at the
mercy of a law passed by the Empire, and which--still according to
Brother Doumer--left the co-operative societies of working-men without
privileges, without favour, and with no particular facilities for
constituting themselves and for keeping themselves alive?

'I say the "Republicans of 1879" advisedly, for you will see, if you
look at page 5 of this delightful Report, that--still according to
Brother Doumer--we really had no republic, in fact, in France till 1879.
These are his own words; "the Republic, having been reconstituted,
(after the fall of the Empire) _first in name_, and afterwards in fact,
a new impulse was given to co-operation. The ill-will towards all
societies of working-men of the Governments of May 21 and of May 16,
retarded the movement. It was only in 1879 that, the wounds of the
country having been healed and liberty reconquered, we had leisure to
occupy ourselves with the question of the organisation of labour."

'Is not this charming? Really, when one remembers what the "wounds of
the country" were in 1871, and how those "wounds" were got first through
the collapse of the wretched Government of the National Defence, and
then through the Commune of Paris, the Governments of May 21 and May 16
may be credited with having done a good piece of work by "healing those
wounds" and by "reconquering liberty." Is not this plain?

'But the "wounds having been healed," and "liberty having been
reconquered," the true Republic, still according to Brother Doumer, was
set free in 1879, to occupy itself with the question of the organisation
of labour. Very good.

'1879! that is ten years ago! And only in 1888 do we find the Republic
really occupying itself, in the person of Brother Doumer, with this
great question, this beautiful and generous idea! How very odd! And what
a strange coincidence that Brother Doumer, elected a deputy by the grace
of the freemasons in 1888, and wishing to be re-elected a deputy by
their grace in 1889, should be the man of destiny called upon to solve
this great question!

'He makes this perfectly plain!

'Two Ministers of Public Works, M. de Freycinet and M. Sadi Carnot,' he
blandly observes, 'studied measures which might be taken in view of
facilitating the concession to societies of working-men of certain
public works!

'Ah! This is hard upon M. de Freycinet and M. Sadi Carnot, now President
of the ideal Republic! They "studied," did they, "measures which might
be taken"! But they never took any such measures! Oh, no! not they!'

'So the first year of the "true Republic" went by, and still
co-operation languished under the Imperial law of 1867. Then in 1880
came M. de Lacretelle, who "presented to the Chambers a proposed law
tending" to the same end which M. de Freycinet and M. Sadi Carnot had so
unprofitably "studied"! Of course the Chamber eagerly adopted it? Not at
all! It was never discussed!

'Two years thrown away by the true Republic!

'Then in 1881 M. Floquet (now the favourite candidate of Brother Doumer
for the Presidency of the Chamber if the Republicans carry the elections
of 1889), being made Prefect of the Seine, had a great impulse! "He
wished to revive the decree of 1848 as to that department." Excellent
man! But he did not in fact revive it! He did what he could. He
"appointed a Committee to study the question!" And this studious
Committee eventually evolved--what? "A new schedule of prices for the
public works of the City of Paris, which favoured co-operative societies
and contractors whose workmen were to participate in their profits!"

'So the fourth year of the true Republic began, and found the "beautiful
and generous idea" still prostrate under the Imperial law of 1867!

'In 1882, still according to Brother Doumer, two deputies, M. Ballue
backed by several colleagues, and M. Laroche-Joubert heroically rushed
before the Chamber, each with a proposed law "tending" (how all these
laws "tend"!) to make it obligatory upon all contractors for public
works to give their workmen a share in their profits! But the Chamber
paid no heed, and the fourth year of the true Republic ended, leaving
the "beautiful and generous idea" still under the iron heel of the
Imperial law of 1867!

'Then came March 20, 1883, and the Minister of the Interior rose at last
to the height of his mission. He took it upon himself to issue a
decree--instituting what? An extra-parliamentary committee to "study"
the question of working-men's associations, and if, and how, they should
be admitted to take part in the public works of the State!'

'Bravo!'

'And the committee was appointed. It consisted' (it is still Brother
Doumer who speaks) "of directors and high functionaries of all the
ministerial departments." It went to work. It heard "a great number of
witnesses." It also showed conclusively "how complex was the question,
_and how urgent the necessity of a solution_."'

'What then happened?'

'The committee immediately went to sleep!

'"_After an interruption_ of more than a year" (it is still Brother
Doumer who speaks), "_the extra-parliamentary committee resumed its
sittings, on January_ 16, 1885!"

'Six years of the true Republic having now been spent in these desperate
efforts to deal with the "beautiful and generous idea," and the election
of a new Chamber being imminent for the autumn of 1885, M.
Waldeck-Rousseau, Minister of the Interior, proceeded to lay before the
re-awakened committee--what? A project of a law to relieve the
co-operative idea from the crushing weight of the Imperial law of 1867?
Not a bit of it!

'He proceeded (it is still Brother Doumer who speaks!) to lay before the
Committee "_a summary of the studies upon which it ought to enter_!"

'According to Brother Doumer this "summary" was truly grand and even
"vast." But alas! "the general elections," says Brother Doumer, sadly,
"and afterwards successive ministerial crises, _suspended the inquiry
during more than two years_! It was only in 1888 that the
extra-parliamentary committee resumed its labours!"

'The Universal Exposition of 1889 was then organising and
organising--let me ask you not for a moment to forget--with a specific
eye, not so much to the "principles of 1789," about which our worthy
ministers care as much as they do about the Edict of Nantes or the
philosophy of Pascal, as to the Legislative elections of 1889!

'So what did the extra-parliamentary committee do in this _ninth year_
of the one "true Republic" for the "beautiful and generous idea" of
co-operation?

'They adopted a decree--"a firm and practical decree"--promulgated June
6, 1888, "permitting several co-operative societies to contract for
public works, especially in connection with the Exposition"! and they
also adopted "two projects of laws"!

'"The first of these projects" (it is still Brother Doumer who speaks),
"aimed at the creation of a general provident fund, industrial,
commercial, and agricultural, to be managed by the 'Caisse des Dépôts et
Consignations.'"

'"This very interesting project," says Brother Doumer, "_has not yet
been submitted to the Chamber_. Sent up to be examined by the Ministry
of the Interior to the Ministry of Commerce, it is there undergoing _a
prolonged and inexplicable delay_!"

'No! no! Brother Doumer! "prolonged" if you like, but not
"inexplicable!"

'And so, after now _ten years_, we have the true Republic which got
complete possession in 1879 of all the machinery for giving force and
effect to the "beautiful and generous" idea of co-operation, and for
giving wings to that idea, leaving it still under the blighting curse of
the Imperial law of 1867.

'And Doumer alone! Brother Doumer, whom Providence and the freemasons of
Laon sent to the Chamber in 1888, has met the questions which have been
"urgent" ever since 1848 with the grand practical solution of a "report"
fifteen pages long, and of a "project of law" consisting of six titles
and about a hundred clauses!

'Take this pamphlet with you,' said my friend, after going over it with
me; 'take it, look into it minutely, and tell me if anything you have
ever heard or read in the way of our Conservative attacks upon the
flatulence, the fatuity, and the hypocrisy of these pretended friends of
labour and of the working-man is to be compared, for cold-blooded
cruelty, with this exposition made by Brother Doumer of the methods of
his party.

'I don't know,' he added, 'what portfolio Brother Doumer expects to get
if the Government carry these elections of 1889. He has kicked M. de
Freycinet, as you see, into one corner, and President Carnot into
another, for the benefit of his friend and ally, M. Floquet, so I
suppose he expects to secure some commanding position, neither M. de
Freycinet nor President Carnot being strong enough to resent the
impertinences of an eminent freemason. But wherever they put him, this
wonderful Report of his ought to be printed and circulated freely all
over France by the Conservative committees. It is the most concise and
eloquent history, that I know, of ten years of the true Republic in its
relation to the working classes of France. You have seen at St.-Gobain
the results of a co-operative association of working-men organized under
statutes drawn up by a practical and liberal friend of labour, M.
Cochin, in 1866, a year before the Imperial law of 1867 was passed.

'Wherever elsewhere in France you find the principle of co-operation
adopted and bearing fruit for the benefit of working-men, pray remember
that the "true Republic" has for ten years persistently evaded and
dodged the problems with which the Empire grappled, and to which the
Emperor gave a practical answer nearly a quarter of a century ago!'

After following my friend carefully through his amusing and instructive
vivisection of the Report presented to the late Chamber by the masonic
member for Laon upon the project of law touching co-operation proposed
by M. Floquet, I was not surprised, of course, to learn that the
'project' still remains a 'project.' It was adopted in what is called a
'Friday session' by the Chamber, and then sent up to die a natural death
in the Senate--the Senate, be it remembered, being the absolute
stronghold of the existing Republican Government.

So that still, after ten years of power, the Republicans of M. Doumer's
'true Republic' leave the working-men of France, so far as co-operation
can affect their interests, under the control of a law passed under the
Empire more than twenty years ago.

Clearly one of two things must be true: either this law, passed under
the Empire more than twenty years ago, is a good and sufficient law,
assuring to the working-men of France all the advantages, and protecting
them against all the disadvantages, incident to the principle of
co-operation, so far as this influence and this protection can be given
by laws; or the Republicans of M. Doumer's 'true Republic' have been
humbugging and trifling with the working-men of France on the subject
ever since they contrived, ten years ago, to get the control of power at
Paris. Upon one horn or the other of this dilemma, the 'true
Republicans' clearly must elect to take their seats.

The voters of Laon would appear to be of the mind that the 'true
Republicans' of M. Doumer have been humbugging and trifling with them.
For at the election of this year, M. Doumer lost his seat, and the
candidate favoured by my Boulangist Figaro at Laon, M. Castelin, was
elected. What followed is worth noting, to complete this picture of the
working of representative institutions in one of the great French
provinces under the Third Republic.

M. Doumer, in his address to the electors of the Aisne, issued at Laon
on August 15, 1889, was at great pains to explain what his own relations
had been with Boulangism and with General Boulanger in 1888, before he
became a deputy from Laon in the place of M. Ringuier.

'I frankly admit,' he observes in this very curious document, 'that I
felt a lively sympathy with General Boulanger _while he was Minister of
War_!... In the journal which I conducted I insisted on his being put
back into the Cabinet, on the fall of the Goblet Ministry.'

When, by the death of M. Ringuier in the early spring of 1888, a seat
from the Aisne was suddenly vacated, the freemasons of Laon, as I have
stated, selected M. Doumer as the Republican candidate to fill it. M.
Doumer's friend, M. Floquet, was not then at the head of the Government,
and General Boulanger was still in command of his army-corps at
Clermont, coming up to Paris, as the Government affirmed, disguised and
wearing blue spectacles, to organise political mischief, and generally
making himself a terror and a trouble to the 'true Republicans,' who had
made a great man of him for their own purposes.

'Eight days before the election, which was fixed for March 25, 1888,'
says M. Doumer, in his address of this year to the voters, "I had no
competitor, and my election seemed to be certain."'

No doubt. The 'Brethren' had arranged everything.

But suddenly the skies darkened! The Government of M. Tirard plucked up
courage to make head against the 'brav' Général.' General Boulanger was
relieved of his command at Clermont.

Thereupon the Boulangists resolved to avail themselves of the
impending election at Laon as an opportunity of responding to the attack
of the Government by a demonstration of their strength in the provinces;
and M. Doumer was suddenly served with a notice that the seat of which
he had felt so sure would be wanted for General Boulanger!

It was a cruel and a critical moment. What was to be done? To withdraw
from the contest was to take sides virtually with General Boulanger
against the Tirard Government, and much as M. Floquet and the friends of
M. Doumer disliked M. Tirard, they were not ready to throw in their lot
at that moment against him. So the Brethren, as my friend believes, were
called upon to bring about an arrangement. What General Boulanger wanted
was not to fill the seat for Laon; it was only to be elected to fill the
seat for Laon. Plainly, therefore, the course of practical wisdom, for
M. Doumer was to come to an understanding with the friends of General
Boulanger. So this was done.

The Parisian Committee of the General came into the Aisne, and at a
conference, which M. Doumer admits that he held with them at Tergnier,
it was agreed that after the first balloting, on March 31, 'the voters
who then voted for General Boulanger as a protest, should vote for M.
Doumer at the second balloting, and so elect him.'

The first balloting came off in due course of time. Both M. Doumer, the
Republican candidate, and M. Jacquemont, the Conservative candidate,
were left in the rear by General Boulanger, who received some forty
thousand votes--the election being held in 1888 under the _scrutin de
liste_ adopted, before the elections of 1885, by the Republicans, in
order to remedy what they had denounced as the 'intolerable' evils of
the _scrutin d'arrondissement_. Under the stress of the Boulangist
panic, these same Republicans suddenly threw the _scrutin de liste_ over
again in 1889, to readopt and reimpose upon their beloved country the
'intolerable' evils of the _scrutin d'arrondissement_!

The second balloting was to take place on March 31. Suppose that General
Boulanger should take it into his head to force the fighting on that day
at Laon--worse still, try to make an 'arrangement' with the Conservative
candidate? What would then become of M. Doumer? So, on March 28, M.
Doumer tells us he went up to Paris, from Laon in company with the
chairman of one of the Republican committees, and there had an interview
with a leading member of the committee of General Boulanger, the result
of which was that the 'brav' Général' published a letter, in which he
announced to the electors of the Aisne that he could not accept a seat
which he could only occupy to the detriment of competitors 'beside whom,
and not against whom, he had allowed himself to be made a candidate.' He
wound up by requesting his friends in the Aisne 'to vote at the second
balloting for the candidate who would best support the honour of the
country and the interests of the Republic.'

Then came, at Laon, a meeting of the Republican Committee of the Aisne,
at which the chairman of the meeting, M. Lesguillier, was instructed to
do his best to 'dissipate the somewhat equivocal effect' of the
language used by General Boulanger in his letter, and to induce the
Boulangist committee to work, on the 31st, for the election of M.
Doumer. And so, on March 31, 1888, M. Doumer was finally put into the
seat, which enabled him to draw up his model report on the great
question of 'co-operation.' That the Boulangists of Laon are not wholly
delighted with the course of M. Doumer in the late Chamber, and that the
working-men of Laon are not deeply impressed by the value to them of his
model report on 'co-operation,' may be inferred from his defeat by the
Boulangist candidate M. Castelin under the _scrutin d'arrondissement_ in
September, 1889.

But M. Doumer is a typical French politician of the Third Republic, and
as his alliance with M. Floquet seems to be firmer than ever, my friend
in the Aisne is probably right in thinking that M. Doumer will still be
heard of perhaps as a prefect, perhaps as a deputy filling the seat of
some 'invalidated' deputy from Paris, perhaps as a Trésorier-Général,
occupying one of the large number (I think there are eighty in all) of
these lucrative posts, which it has been the custom of successive
administrations under the Third Republic to distribute among their
friends and supporters on retiring from power, as in England premiers,
in like circumstances, distribute peerages and baronetcies and accolades
of knighthood, one special difference between the two systems being that
the rewards of political service bestowed in England not only entail no
expense upon the taxpayers, but actually, I believe, bring a certain
amount in the way of fees into the Treasury, whereas in France such
rewards mean a steady increase of the public outlay.

As the late parliament on the very last day of its existence adopted a
plan proposed by M. Doumer himself for re-organising the system of
_Trésoriers-Généraux_, and making these officers regular members of the
staff of the Finance Ministry with fixed salaries, my friend in the
Aisne thinks it likely enough that one of these posts may fill the
eventual perspective of M. Doumer's political career.

Meanwhile the defeated candidate for Laon has been comfortably lodged,
at the public cost, in the Legislative Palace, as Secretary of the
President of the Chamber, M. Floquet being President, and receives a
salary of 15,000 francs, with perquisites and other advantages.

We do this sort of thing occasionally in the United States, for the
benefit of defeated political candidates. But in one important respect
the professional politician in France is better off than the
professional politician in America. Our pension list is by far the
largest in the world, but we do not offer any prospect of a pension to
civil servants.

Nor have we so many paid legislative berths in which to lodge our
professional politicians. The parliamentary business of the sixty
millions of people who now inhabit the United States is done by
eighty-four senators and 330 representatives, who receive something over
$2,000,000 a year. The parliamentary business of less than forty
millions of people inhabiting France is supposed to require the services
of 300 senators and 578 deputies, who receive for doing it 11,937,940
francs, or, in round numbers, about $2,587,560. Whether the 878 French
legislators really earn half a million of dollars more by their annual
labours than do the 414 American legislators is a question which I leave
my readers to settle after they shall have settled the previous
question, whether either of those considerable sums of money is really
earned by either body. But there can be no doubt, I think, that, under
the existing economical conditions of society in the two republics, the
aggregate number of professional politicians aiming at the 878 prizes of
the profession in France is likely to be considerably in excess of the
aggregate number of professional politicians aiming at the 414 prizes of
the profession in the United States. Of course, too, this increase in
the aggregate number of the competitors must necessarily be attended by
a decline in the average standard of character and capacity among them:
and as it is the settled policy of the French Republicans of the 'true
Republic,' who have been in power for the past decade, to exclude all
persons not of their party from any share in the general administration
of the Republic, it is obvious that this lowering of the level of
character and of capacity must be most marked among the professional
politicians of the Republican party. This is a matter of scientific
necessity, and not at all of sentiment; and it suffices to account for
the unquestionable average inferiority of the Government members of the
Senate and the Chamber to the Opposition members in point both of
character and of capacity.

The intense centralisation of power in France is another and a very
important force working in the same direction. Outside of the Federal
field of political ambition in the United States we have the State
governments. But there can be no more than forty-two State governors in
the United States, whereas in France there are eighty-six prefects, and
three in Algiers, without counting the administrative authorities in the
Regency of Tunis and in the French colonies. The governorships of the
American States are elective offices, to be won only by local services
and local combinations. But the administrative prizes of French politics
can only be secured through the central administration at Paris, under
pressure from the all-powerful cliques and combinations in the National
Legislature. Briefly, therefore, it seems to me quite clear that under
the Third Republic in France the profession of politics is rapidly
becoming, if it has not already become, much more easy of access, and,
in proportion to the capital of character and of ability required for
entering upon it, much more remunerative, than it has ever yet been in
the United States, unless perhaps during the domination of Mr. Tweed and
the Tammany Ring over the taxpayers of New York.



CHAPTER XI

IN THE NORD


  VALENCIENNES

It says but little for what Texans call the 'sabe' of the municipal
authorities of Valenciennes that this, which ought to be one of the most
picturesque and attractive, is really one of the shabbiest historic
towns of North-eastern France. The streets are ill-paved and ill-kept,
the public buildings are untidy, and the whole place contrasts most
unfavourably, from this point of view, with the rich and beautifully
cultivated region through which you reach it by the railway from Douai.
This is the finest agricultural region in France--the old French
Flanders, a 'fat' country as well as a flat. You hardly see a weed
between Douai and Valenciennes. Great fields of beetroot are cultivated
like flower-gardens, and the green and growing crops are as daintily
ordered as the coils and plateaux of flowers with which it is the
fashion to adorn dinner-tables _à la Russe_. It is not pleasant to be
assured that the industrious dwellers in this land of Goshen are as fond
of cock-fighting as the Spaniards, who probably enough introduced the
amusement here during their long domination over what is now known as
French Flanders, and that they are addicted also in a systematic way to
the abominable practice of blinding bullfinches to make them better
singers. I am told that in many communes the authorities actually give
prizes for the best singing birds thus produced, and that 'blind
bullfinch societies' are among the many associations regularly
established and nourishing among the fields and villages. The old
Flemish love of strong drink also survives here, as is shown by the
number and the prosperous appearance of the cabarets.

These average, for the whole Department of the Nord, no fewer than one
to every sixty-six inhabitants, and around Valenciennes, the proportion
rises as high as one to every forty-four. There is much subdivision of
property, but it has not been pushed so far around Valenciennes as in
some other portions of the department, a majority of the small
properties extending to twenty-five hectares, and properties of from one
hundred to three hundred hectares being considered large estates.

Thanks to the energy and intelligence of many considerable landholders,
a great improvement has taken place of late years in the agricultural
methods and instruments in use throughout this department: the open
drains have practically disappeared, the country has become more
wholesome, as well as more fertile, and the farmers in general are
admittedly much better off, despite the crisis. This increasing
prosperity is given as an explanation of the decreasing average number
of children.

But French Flanders is nevertheless one of the densely populated parts
of France, showing a population of 267 to the square league. It is
proper to say, however, that this is chiefly due to the growth of
certain great manufacturing centres. In the rural regions the population
is much less dense, and the population of Valenciennes is actually
declining. It fell from 23,291 in 1881 to 22,919 in 1886. The
explanation is that people are moving out from Valenciennes into the new
suburbs. Anzin, Thiers, Denain, and St.-Amand are increasing with the
development of the manufactories which are growing up here around the
great coal-fields.

While I was at Valenciennes, there was a terrible commotion in the Paris
newspapers over a certain colonel in the army, who, being in the service
of a well-known arms factory, loudly protested against the alleged sale
of that factory to the Germans, and the threatened consequent closing of
its works near Paris.

After much journalistic and parliamentary gunpowder had been burned, it
came to light that the proprietors were simply making up their minds to
transfer their works to the vicinity of Valenciennes as a necessary
measure of economy.

Notwithstanding the slovenly 'edility' of Valenciennes, I found it a
very interesting place. The Hôtel du Commerce there is a very well-kept
old-fashioned hostelry, installed in a stately and spacious house, long
the residence of a considerable family. Indeed, one of my friends in
Valenciennes was quite severe in his comments upon the indifference of
the head of this family, still a man of large property, to this
conversion of the ancestral mansion into an inn. With its fine gateway,
its porter's lodge on either hand, its large courtyard shaded with
well-grown old trees, and its well-proportioned apartments, it is
certainly a specimen worth preserving of such a house as King Louis need
not have disdained to enter, when he made Valenciennes and French
Flanders definitely French in 1677.

'We have a noisy, ignorant set of people in power here now,' said my
friend, 'who pulled down, not long ago, the finest of the only three
good gates we had left, out of sheer stupidity; and you can see how they
let things go at sixes and sevens all over the city. But the
old-established citizens of Valenciennes are to blame also, not for the
decline of our population perhaps, but for the gradual disappearance of
all the features of the city worth preserving. Like the head of this
family, they care nothing about the past.'

In the course of a walk about the city, he showed me, in the Rue
Nôtre-Dame, an edifice, the condition of which certainly excused his
criticism of his fellow-citizens.

It is an ancient dwelling-house of the fifteenth century, standing at
the corner of two streets. A most graceful _tourelle_ markes the façade,
and strikingly resembles that which decorates still the house at Paris
near the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, in the vaulted doorway of which
Louis, Duc d'Orléans, was murdered, a crime avenged by the death, on the
bridge of Montereau, of its real author, Jean Sans-Peur, Duc de
Bourgogne. The exterior ornamentation of this house is admirable, nor is
it too far gone in dilapidation to be successfully restored. The door
was locked, boardings were fixed in some of the beautiful windows, and
advertisements of Amer-Picon and auctions and political meetings defaced
the front. Obviously the house belonged originally to some personage of
importance at a time when Valenciennes, the city of the Emperor
Valentinian, was still one of the great marts of Western Europe and a
capital of the civilisation of the West. Its population was then much
larger than it now is. By the Scheldt, it communicated with the sea, and
in the thirteenth century it was a member of the famous Hanse of London,
which included also, Reims, St.-Quentin, Douai, Arras, St.-Omer,
Abbeville, Amiens, Bruges, Ypres, and Ghent. This league dominated over
the Channel. Its chief, the Count of the Hanse, who seems to have been
in a manner a successor of the Roman Counts of the Saxon Shore, was
chosen by the leagued cities from among the great burghers of Bruges.
The privileges its representatives enjoyed in London were balanced by
sundry rather monastic restrictions; but it was a great commercial
corporation, and it played a great part in the social and economical
history of mediæval Europe. As early as the ninth century Valenciennes
and Mons had been so rich and influential, that they were regarded as
the pillars of the '_noble Comté de Hainault, tenu de Dieu et du
Soleil_.' With the crusades, the importance of Valenciennes notably
increased, and with its importance the independence of its burghers. The
leading part taken by Godfrey de Bouillon in the early crusades is a
proof of the power of these Flemish towns. When Baldwin of Flanders
assumed the imperial purple at Constantinople, he did it expressly to
benefit the commerce of the Flemish cities. At this day it is believed
that there exist, in some palace of the sultan at Constantinople,
tapestries of Oudenarde taken to the East by Baldwin, who was born at
Valenciennes in 1171. At Valenciennes, too, were born his sister,
Isabelle of Hainault, the first wife of Philip Augustus of France, his
brother Henry, Emperor of the East, and his two daughters. One of these
daughters, Marguerite, grown to woman's estate, besieged Valenciennes
because the burghers refused to recognise her as the born Countess of
Hainault. Gilles Miniave, provost of the city, plainly said to her when
he refused to surrender: 'We have taken and we intend to kill your
soldiers, madame, as abettors of tyranny.' This was as much to the
purpose in its way as the firing on the royal troops by the farmers of
Lexington in America in 1775.

In the middle of the fourteenth century Valenciennes was so wealthy that
Jean Party, provost in 1357, was regarded as the richest man in Europe.
He went to Paris during the fair of the Landit, and for his own account
bought up all the goods brought there for sale at one swoop; he then
retailed them at a great profit. He was invited to attend the court of
France, and went there so magnificently attired as to excite the
jealousy of the French nobles, who treated him in consequence with undue
arrogance. He took off his cloak, enriched with fur and jewels, as no
seat was offered him, made it into a roll, and sate down on it. When he
rose with the rest to leave, he left the cloak where he had sate on it.
The royal heralds, dazzled by the splendour of the garment, gathered it
up, and one of them hastened with it after Jean Party, calling out to
him that he had forgotten it.

'In my country,' said the haughty burgher turning towards the herald,
'it is not the custom for people to take their cushions away with them!'

One of the predecessors of this proud citizen, Jean Bernier, gave a
banquet in 1333 to all the allies of the Comte de Flanders, which is
celebrated by the chroniclers as the grandest ever seen in Flanders.
There were sixty-nine guests, including the kings of Bohemia and of
Navarre, and six tables 'so sumptuous with gold and silver plate, that
the like had never been seen.'

In 1473 a chapter was held at Valenciennes of the Golden Fleece. In 1540
the city entertained Charles V., the Dauphin, and the Duc d'Orléans. In
1549 a society called 'the principality of pleasure' gave a festival to
562 guests in the woolstaplers' hall. Each guest was equipped with two
flagons of silver, one for wine and the other for beer, and 1,700 pieces
of silver and gold plate furnished forth the table, of which the
chronicler observes, to the undying glory of the city, that 'all these
vessels of silver and gold belonged to dwellers at Valenciennes; and
also that _not one piece was lost_!'

The glory passed away from Valenciennes with the religious wars. The
place became a headquarters of Protestantism, and the Most Catholic King
sent his armies to deal with it. The Spaniards took Valenciennes and
long held it. In 1656, under Condé, they beat off the French under
Turenne, and it was only in 1677 that Louis XIV. finally captured it,
and turned it over to Vauban to be fortified.

As the town stands much lower than the surrounding country, Vauban
planned his works with an eye to flooding the region, if necessary, by
the waters of the Scheldt. Valenciennes stands at 25.98 mètres above the
sea-level. But Anzin, the chief suburb, is at 39 mètres, and the hills
beyond at 80 mètres above the sea-level.

When the Spaniards got the upper hand fairly in French Flanders,
thousands of the workers in wool emigrated to England, carrying their
industry with them. Many of these emigrants naturally went into the
cloth-making West of England, and to this day I am told by genealogists
Flemish names, translated or curiously transmogrified, are to be found
in Somerset and Devonshire, which attest the extent and value to England
of the exodus. What its real proportions were it is hard now to
estimate. The chroniclers talk of a hundred thousand people going out
from Flanders to England between the defeat of the Armada in 1588 and
the repulse of the French from before Valenciennes in 1656. But the
numbers are obviously conjectural.

What is certain is, that during this period Valenciennes was the centre
of a most interesting spiral movement (to use the phrase of Goethe) in
the history of modern Europe. Coming down later to the contest between
France, under Louis XIV., and the allies, led by Marlborough and Prince
Eugene, we find Valenciennes again playing a leading part. And during
the last blind, desperate effort of France to shake off the domination
of the scoundrels who had fastened themselves upon her vitals at Paris
after the collapse of the monarchy, Valenciennes became the theatre of
the tolerably well-conceived, but intolerably ill-executed, attempt of
Dumouriez to make himself a French Duke of Albemarle. It was quite as
unprincipled as his political operations were at Paris in 1792, and in
both cases he came to grief through his overweening self-confidence and
consequent lack of the most ordinary prudence and forecast.

A morning may be spent with both profit and pleasure in the galleries of
the Hôtel de Ville at Valenciennes. The building is of the early
seventeenth century, and was remodelled and partially reconstructed
under the Second Empire. It is spacious and not without a certain
dignity, but, like the streets and squares, it is ill kept.

The galleries which occupy the whole of the second floor are extensive,
well-lighted, and with a more careful and systematic arrangement of the
pictures would be of considerable value to students of art. Valenciennes
certainly had painters of merit before the sixteenth century. One of
these, celebrated by Froissart, Maître André, was both a sculptor and a
painter. In 1364 he became 'imagier' of Charles V. of France. The
statues of that king, of Jeanne de Bourbon his queen, and of King John
and King Philip, still extant at St.-Denis, are his work. Two exquisite
manuscripts illuminated by him still exist; one in the Bibliothèque
Nationale at Paris, the other at Brussels.

Simon Marmion, who died at Valenciennes on Christmas-day, 1489, was the
court painter of that high and puissant prince, Philippe, Duc de
Bourgogne, and ranked among the chiefs of the Flemish School. Pictures
of his exist at Bruges, Nuremberg, and Paris. The Valenciennes museum
has an _ex-voto_ on wood, the history of which is curious. It was found
broken into two pieces, and hidden away behind a confessional in the
cathedral of Notre-Dame. How it came there no one knows. It may have
been flung there during the pillage of the church, or put there to save
it. At all events, having been carefully (not too carefully) restored
and cleaned, it now presents two interesting pictures, one of St. John,
holding in his right hand a book on which the Paschal Lamb reposes, with
an ecclesiastic kneeling before him in a red robe, covered with a
transparent alb, a palm resting on his right arm. The other represents a
dead body on a rug, half-covered with a shroud. Above, on a scroll, are
the lines

  Da requiem cunctis, Deus, hic et ubique sepultis,
  Ut sint in requie, propter tua vulnera quinque.

In 1782 the provost of Valenciennes, the baron Pujol de Lagrave, who
served as provost till 1789, and again after the capture of the city by
the Duke of York, established here a school of art not unworthy the
birthplace of Watteau and of Pater. Both of these painters are
represented in the collection, the former by a characteristic little
'Conversation under the Trees in a Park' and by an interesting portrait
of the sculptor Pater, the father of the painter. The two families of
Watteau and of Pater lived on terms of such friendly intimacy at
Valenciennes that the father of Pater sent his son up to Paris, to study
his art under Watteau.

Watteau received his young compatriot so coldly, and made things so
unpleasant for him, that he soon went back discouraged, to resume his
career at home. There he encountered the hostility of the local
corporation of St. Luke, that guild of painters refusing to allow him to
practise his art without regularly passing through his apprenticeship,
and taking his 'master's degree.' Pater resisted, and the case went
before the magistracy of Valenciennes, before the Provincial Council of
Hainault, and finally before the Parliament of Flanders. It was
contested for several years, and finally resulted in an arrangement,
under which Pater bound himself never to paint in Valenciennes, 'under
any pretext whatsoever.' He might go to Paris and paint as much as he
liked, but in Valenciennes painting was the privilege of the corporation
of St. Luke. This has a pre-Adamite sound in modern ears. But even now
no man may lawfully kill or cure the sick in London or Paris or New York
without a diploma, despite the 'epoch-making' principles of 1879. And
the new French Chamber of 1889 apparently intends to forbid all foreign
physicians to attend upon patients in France! In Valenciennes, as a
matter of fact, a liberal School of Art was established in 1782, by
which time both Watteau and Pater had done their life's work and taken
their places among the masters in a world-wide corporation of St. Luke.

Two charming groups by Pater represent this painter in the Museum of his
native city, together with a portrait of his sister, bequeathed by M.
Bertin, the last representative of the Pater family in Valenciennes.

A grand and well-known triptych by Rubens, representing the preaching,
the martyrdom, and the entombment of St. Stephen, in three compartments,
upon the extension of which, when closed, appears a bold and striking
picture of the Annunciation, is one of the chief treasures of the
Museum. It belonged to the noble monastery of St.-Amand, which was
wrecked and pillaged during the Revolution, and, with the valuable
library of the monastery, very rich in missals and manuscripts, was
confiscated by the patriots of Valenciennes.

Another Rubens, of less importance, originally belonged to the church of
Notre-Dame de la Chaussée, which was pulled down, as well as pillaged,
at the same time. It seems to have been rescued from the spoilers by the
good people of the neighbourhood, and was honestly bought for the Museum
in 1866, not magnificently 'presented' to it by official 'receivers,'
not much better than the original thieves.

François Pourbus of Bruges is represented here by two admirable
full-length portraits of Philippe Emanuel de Croy, Comte de Solre, and
of his sister, Marie de Croy, and by a full-length portrait of Dorothée
de Croy, Duchesse d'Arschot, in a stately wedding-dress, painted, in the
full maturity of his powers, at Paris, in 1617. This is the
wedding-dress described, according to M. Foucart, an accomplished
amateur of Valenciennes, one of the Conservators of the Museum, by
Reiffenberg in his valuable book: '_Une existence de Grand Seigneur au
XVI^e Siècle_,' and the Valenciennes Museum is particularly rich in
pictures of interest from this, which may be called the documentary,
point of view.

Among these must be reckoned a curious painting of the mother and the
wife of Henri III., with sundry dames of high degree, and women of the
people violently squabbling together over a pair of trunk-hose, the
property of the king, who lies prostrate in one corner of the canvas,
struck down by the clenched fist of a man in the robes of a member of
the Parliament of Paris.

From this and from another painting on parchment which sets forth, as an
inscription recites, 'the cruel martyrdom of the most reverend Cardinal
de Guise by the inhuman tyrant Henri de Valois,' it may be clearly
gathered that the people of French Flanders had very positive opinions,
and were not slow to express them, long before the Abbé Sieyès
constituted himself the Isaac Newton of political science.

There is a goodly show, too, of historical portraits of interest, one of
the Admiral de Coligny, which was exhibited at Paris in 1878, another of
Fénelon, which came here from the pillage of the Chapterhouse of
Cambray, another of Prince Maurice of Nassau, another of Hortense
Mancini. A good full-length portrait of Bardo Bardi Magalotti, colonel
of the 'Royal Italian' regiment under Louis XIV., is set in a very
remarkable frame of superbly carved oak, part of the woodwork of the
demolished church of St.-Géry. Of historical interest, too, is a large
Van der Meulen, representing the defeat of Turenne before Valenciennes
in 1656, by the Spanish army under Condé. From a bird's-eye view of
Valenciennes in the background of this large canvas, we may see how much
the city has lost by the gradual destruction of its finest architectural
features.

Within the last few years the Museum of Valenciennes has been endowed,
through the munificence chiefly of a Wallachian nobleman, Prince George
Stirbey, well known in Paris, with a unique collection of the works of
Carpeaux, the sculptor of the famous groups which adorn the façade of
the grand Opera House at Paris.

Carpeaux was born at Valenciennes, and the fine statue of Watteau which
stands now in the city was both suggested and executed by him. So long
ago as 1860, when he began to recognise his own place in contemporary
art, he expressed his wish to have his memory perpetuated in his native
place by as complete a collection of his works as could be made; and in
his will, drawn up in 1874, he left to Valenciennes all his models in
plaster, and all the drawings for his works, together with all the
sketch-books he had filled during his artistic life, and which were then
in the keeping of his relations at Auteuil.

In process of time Carpeaux found it necessary to part with a great many
of his drawings, and Prince George Stirbey, who had bought most of them,
after the death of the artist, divided them into three lots, one of
which he gave to the Louvre, another to the School of Fine Arts at
Paris, and the third and richest to Valenciennes. To this princely
liberality, Valenciennes is indebted for the singular fulness and value
of the Carpeaux collection which it now possesses.

Among the portraits in the Museum proper, is one which ought to be sent
to the Musée de la Révolution in Paris. It is a pastel of a typical
Revolutionary personage, who bore the not very attractive name of
Charles Cochon. He was one of the 'patriots' of 1792, and having vowed
irreconcilable hatred to all kings and emperors, he was selected to go
as a Commissary to the Army of the North after Dumouriez had delivered
up Camus and his companions with Beurnonville to the Austrians. After
the advent of Napoleon, this incorruptible Republican became one of the
most serviceable servants of the new master of France, and ended his
career as an Imperial senator, with the queer title of Comte de
Lapparent!

I wisely availed myself of my first morning in Valenciennes to visit
these collections in the Hôtel de Ville, for in the afternoon M. Guary,
the son of the distinguished director of the great coal mines of Anzin,
which I especially desired to see, kindly drove into my comfortable old
hotel and most hospitably insisted on carrying me off to the mines.

At the beginning of the last century there was but a single house in all
the territory now known as the Commune of Anzin. It is now the seat of
a busy and growing town, a suburb, or--to speak more exactly--an
extension beyond the walls of the city of Valenciennes. This town has
been called into existence during the last century and a quarter by the
operations of the Anzin Company, the largest coal-mining company in
France. The concessions held and worked by this company cover an area of
28,054 hectares.

Six years ago, when what is known as the great strike at Anzin attracted
to this important region the attention of all persons interested in that
question of labour, which the excellent M. Doumer tells us the 'true
Republic' has been 'studying' in vain for ten years, the Anzin Company
employed 14,035 workmen, of whom 2,180 were at work on the surface and
11,855 were employed on the subterranean work of the mines. The coal
extracted, which had reached 1,677,366 tons in 1862, amounted in 1883 to
2,210,702 tons, being one-tenth part of all the coal-production of
France. The coal-mining of Anzin is carried on now in the face of a
great and increasing competition almost at its very doors. To the north
and east lie the great coal-fields of Belgium, which in 1882 sent into
France 4,064,625 tons of coal, and in 1883, 4,217,933 tons. On the north
and west lie the great French coal-fields of the Pas-de-Calais, where,
at Lens and other points, great discontent has shown itself during the
current year among the miners, but which increased their output from
5,724,624 tons in 1882 to 6,148,249 tons in 1883. Then, beyond the
Channel, England, which had sent into France, in 1882, 3,560,149 tons of
coal, in 1883 sent in 3,818,205 tons; and, finally, from Germany in 1883
France took 1,186,769 tons against 1,035,418 tons. These figures will
suffice to show the importance of Anzin as a coal-field. It draws its
prosperity from roots struck deep into the soil nearly a century and a
half ago, and long before the traditional institutions of France were
thrown into the melting-pot, amid the cheers of a mob in the streets, by
another mob which called itself a National Assembly.

At the beginning of the last century, when, as I have said, there was
but a single house in all the present territory of Anzin, coal was not
known to exist in this part of France. In the Low Countries, then
Austrian, and just beyond the French frontier, coal was mined, and it
came into the head of an energetic dweller in the little town of Condé
that what was found in Hainault might be found also in French Flanders.
His name was Desambois, and he was not a rich man. But he succeeded in
getting from Louis XV. a concession in 1717 authorising him to seek for
coal within a considerable range of territory till 1740. The Crown even
gave him a small subsidy. But the Mississippi bubble burst while he was
struggling with the difficulties which surrounded him when he first
struck certain imperfect veins of coal; and in the stress of that great
crash he found himself obliged to part with his rights for the sum of
2,400 florins to two gentlemen of the _noblesse_, though not of the
great _noblesse_, the Vicomte Desandrouin de Noelles, and M. Taffin.
There is a portrait in the Musée at Valenciennes of M. Desandrouin which
shows the qualities one would expect to find in a man who so long ago
and in such circumstances undertook such an enterprise with a limit of
no more than eighteen years before him. These two connected with
themselves a brother of Desandrouin, a 'gentleman glassworker' at
Fresnes, and two brothers named Pierre and Christophe Mathieu. They
worked on, undiscouraged but unsuccessful, for twelve years, until,
finally, on June 24, 1734, Pierre Mathieu, who was a trained engineer,
found at Anzin the long-sought vein of bituminous coal.

This auspicious day is commemorated on the simple slab which marks the
burial-place of Mathieu in the communal church of Anzin. When one
considers what the discovery meant, and what its results now mean, to
the welfare and the prosperity of France, one is tempted to regard the
24th of June as a date almost as well worth celebrating by Frenchmen as
the 14th of July.

Marshal Villars is celebrated by a very uncomely obelisk on his
battle-field of Denain near by, and General de Dampierre by a column in
the public square of Anzin itself. Why should not Anzin set up a statue
of Pierre Mathieu?

A comparatively short time sufficed to convince the adventurous
associates that they had indeed found the great veins they had sought.
Pierre Taffin went to Paris and got a considerable extension from the
Crown of their concession. Money was raised and the work went on,
bringing labourers and settlers to Anzin and founding the new industry.
Then came a new danger, which might have been foreseen. The lords of the
soil at Anzin had been quite left out of the calculation, but the lords
of the soil at Anzin in 1734 were quite as well awake to their legal
rights, and to the advantages to be derived from a judicious use of
these rights, as were the small farmers of Pennsylvania long afterwards,
when prospecting engineers began to sink shafts and to pump up oil along
the slopes of the Appalachians. The Prince de Croy-Solre and the Marquis
de Cernay brought forward their title to share in the riches found
beneath their acres. Desandrouin and his associates contested these
claims as long as they could. But the contests ended, as the lawyers had
seen from the first that it must, in a compromise. The Prince and the
Marquis on the one hand with their titles to the land, and the Vicomte
and his associates on the other with their royal concessions, came
together, and in 1757 founded the Anzin Company.

As in the case of St.-Gobain, the capital of the company was divided
into sols and deniers. There were twenty-four deniers, of which the
Prince de Croy-Solre received four for himself and two associates, the
Vicomte Desandrouin five sols and four deniers, the heirs of M. Taffin
three sols nine deniers, the Marquis de Cernay and his six associates
eight sols, and the engineer Mathieu six deniers. The phraseology of the
articles of association is somewhat quaint and ancient, but the spirit
of them is essentially fair and equitable. The recital of the objects
for which the company was formed is a model in its way, and shows that
the authors of these articles--nobles, rôturiers, engineers, and
notaries of the _ancien régime_ in 1757--had nothing to learn from
Jean-Jacques Rousseau or the Abbé Sieyès as to the essential rights and
duties of men in a civilised community. Thus it runs:--

'To bring about a general union of the coal-pits in the territory of
Fresnes, Anzin, Old Condé, Raismes, and St.-Vaast, put an end to all the
differences and proceedings brought before the Council and as yet
unsettled, make it possible to live in good union and a good
understanding, and secure the interests of the State and of the public
by forming solid establishments, there are adopted by this present act,
which shall be duly ratified before a notary, the following articles.'

These articles are nineteen in number, and, as in the case of
St.-Gobain, one article binds the associates always to furnish, in
proportion to their shares, whatever funds may be required for the
enterprise.

The hereditary principle is distinctly recognised in these articles not
only as to the ownership of the shares, but as to the management, and
the Prince de Croy-Solre and the Marquis de Cernay, with their
successors, are accorded certain rights as arbitrators, and in the
election of directors, a circumstance worth noting because I find that,
notwithstanding the supposed abolition by the revolutionists of 1789 of
the hereditary principle, and of titles of nobility and of privileges,
these articles of association, just as they stood when they were signed
and subscribed on November 27, 1757, were quietly recognised and
registered, and a good fee taken for the recognition and the
registration by the proper republican functionary at Paris, on the '11
Pluviôse, An XIII' of the Republic one and indivisible.

The main street of Anzin, through which M. Guary drove me to the offices
of the company, is a broad and well-paved highway, with many
shade-trees, and the houses, for the main part, well built, though not
particularly picturesque. M. Guary tells me there are a good many small
_rentiers_ living here, which seems to show that the place must be
orderly and quiet. Many of the houses are brightly painted, in blue,
green, pink, and other colours not to be expected, and of cabarets the
name is legion. M. Baudrillart pronounces intemperance to be a
characteristic foible of the Flemish French, or French Flemings; but in
these cabarets--which were, so far as I saw, rather exceptionally neat
and even handsome--the customers seemed to be taking light beer and
certain sweet beverages, rather than spirits.

At the main office I found M. de Forcade, a son of the celebrated
minister of Napoleon III., to whom when he retired, on the accession to
power of M. Emile Ollivier, the Emperor addressed a remarkable letter,
recognising, in the strongest terms that could be used, his abilities,
his integrity, and his patriotism. M. de Forcade had just received a
telegram from the father of M. Guary, at Paris, announcing his arrival
at Anzin for the next day, and asking me to prolong my visit, which I
was very glad to do.

There are many factories at work in and around Anzin, but there is
nothing Plutonian in the aspect of the place or of the neighbourhood,
and the grimy side of coal-mining nowhere obtrudes itself. On the
contrary the green fields, under a very high cultivation, everywhere
encroach agreeably upon the town. The residence of M. Guary, the
Director, stands in an exceedingly pretty park, and the mansion, a
handsome modern château, is surrounded with fine and well-grown trees.
You approach the mansion from the busy main streets of Anzin, traversed
by a tramway leading to Denain, but from its windows and balconies which
overlook the park, you gaze out upon the verdure and the spacious peace
of a wide rural landscape.

A certain proportion of the workmen employed in the mines prefer to live
in the town; but it is the policy of the company to encourage the
development of cottage life, and wherever I went throughout its
extensive domain I found families of the workmen installed in
comfortable homes, surrounded by gardens and by what are called in
England 'allotments.' Of these the company now owns no fewer than 2,628.
Originally these houses were built in the form of _cités ouvrières_; but
it has been found by experience that these blocks of contiguous houses
are open to certain objections from the point of view of health, as well
as from the point of view of morals, and the more recent constructions
are detached cottages. A model of one of these cottages was exhibited in
the social economy section of the Exposition at Paris this year, But it
was more satisfactory to see them actually inhabited and on the spot.
Each cottage is built in a field of land of two acres in extent, and the
rent varies from three francs and a half to six francs a month. For the
lesser sum, or for forty-two francs a year, a workman at Anzin earning
an average wage of three francs a day, or in round numbers a thousand
francs a year, may thus secure a well-built house--most of those I saw
were of brick--with proper drainage and cellarage, containing two good
rooms on each of three floors, with closets, and standing in its own
grounds.

Compare this, not with the squalid and noisome single rooms for which in
the worst parts of Spitalfields a rent of tenpence a day, or five
shillings a week (Sunday being thrown in free when the weekly rent is
duly paid), or thirteen pounds sterling a year is exacted--but with the
average rental of lodgings in the manufacturing towns of Massachusetts!

But this is not all. Whatever repairs are needed in these houses are
made, not by the tenants, but by the company, and the company further
leases to its workmen, who choose to avail themselves of them, at very
low rates garden sites within each commune, for cultivation as
kitchen-gardens. No fewer than 2,500 families now have such holdings
under cultivation, making a total of 205 hectares thus put to profit by
the workmen, who take a lively pleasure in cultivating them during their
leisure hours.

Every workman is allowed furthermore by the company seven hectolitres of
ordinary coal per month for his own use. In cases of illness, or where a
workman has a family of more than six persons, this allowance is
increased. In 1888 the coal thus given by the company amounted to
598,550 quintals, representing a money value of 359,150 francs. This is
not only a practical application of the Scriptural injunction 'not to
muzzle the ox which treadeth out the grain;' it is a practical
contribution to the solution of the great 'question' which M. Doumer in
his Report tells us the 'true Republic' has been for ten years making
believe to study--of the participation of the workman in the profits of
the work. It is, indeed, from this economical and practical point of
view, and not from the philanthropic point of view, it seems to me, that
all these advantages conceded by the Anzin Company to its workmen should
be considered.

No man of common sense needs to be told that to deal successfully with
industrial enterprises which require the investment of a large capital
for the production of commodities liable to great fluctuations in price,
the managers of such enterprises must be executive men employing
executive methods. If all the workmen employed in such enterprises are
to be admitted in the ordinary way to a participation in the profits,
they must obviously be admitted to a participation in the councils, and
in the direction of the policy of the managers. How is that to be
brought about without endangering the success of the enterprises? To
consult the workmen of the company on technical questions within the
range of their regular employment is one thing; to consider the
commercial and fiscal policy of the company in its relation with
competing companies, and with the consuming public, in a general
conclave of all the establishment, would be quite another thing. It is a
curious fact that in the original statutes of 1757 the founders of Anzin
expressly provided that the six directors of the company should, when
necessary, consult not only the employés, but the workmen of the
company--the '_ouvriers_;' and this provision was insisted on at a time
when, as the doctrinaires of the nineteenth century would have us
believe, 'labour' was not recognised in France as a social force to be
considered.

Under its existing system of management the Anzin Company makes its
workmen real participants in the profits of its operations, without at
the same time exposing them to participate in the losses.

This is done not only through the singularly low rates at which the
workmen are enabled to house themselves and their families, through the
coal allowance, through the provision of cheap kitchen-gardens, and
particularly through the establishment of a pension fund and of a
savings-bank, but in many other forms.

Advances repayable without interest, for example, are made to workmen
who wish to buy or to build houses for themselves. These advances in
1888 stood in the books of the company at a total of 1,446,604 francs,
of which 1,345,463 fr. 91 c. had been repaid, leaving a balance due to
the company then of 101,140 fr. 9 c. With these funds workmen of the
company had bought or built for themselves 741 houses, being thus
visibly, and unanswerably to the extent of the value of these houses,
participants in the profits of Anzin.

Not less real is the participation of the workmen in the profits through
the various beneficial and educational institutions which I visited with
M. Guary, or with his son, and of which I shall presently speak.

The concessions now possessed by the Anzin Company are eight in number:
those of Vieux-Condé, Fresnes, Raismes, Anzin, Saint-Saulve, Denain,
Odomez, and Hasnon. These concessions cover, in the form of an irregular
polygon, about thirty continuous kilomètres of territory, stretching
from Somain to the Belgian frontier, with a breadth varying from seven
to twelve kilomètres. The total area amounts to 2,805,450 hectares.

Of these concessions the four first-named were the original basis of the
organisation of the company under the controlling influence of the
Prince de Croy-Solre at the Château of l'Hermitage which still belongs
to his family near Condé.

The others have been acquired since 1807; Hasnon, the latest, which
covers about 1,500 hectares, in 1843.

But--and this is a notable fact--the Anzin Company from the beginning to
this day has been organised and managed under the original statutes of
1757. Under these statutes, devised and drawn up absolutely under the
_ancien régime_, and by an association of practical engineers and
enterprising adventurers with feudal seigneurs, this great company has,
for more than a century and a quarter, administered with signal success,
and still administers, what may be fairly called an industrial republic,
carrying on its affairs and developing its resources in the face of the
enormous changes of modern life, and maintaining here, under what are
thought to be the most trying conditions of labour, a most remarkable
measure of harmony between an ever-increasing nation of labourers and a
strictly limited administration, composed not only of capitalists, but
of hereditary capitalists. What becomes of the rights of man and of the
Abbé Sieyès, and of the Tiers-Etat, which 'ought to be everything,' and
of the 'immortal principles of 1789,' in the face of all this?

To the wisdom of the National Assembly the workmen and the Company of
Anzin owe considerably less than nothing. The National Assembly, of
course, meddled with the mines of France, as it meddled with everything
else. It did endless debating over the subject, in the course of which
Mirabeau declaimed eloquently against the doctrine of Turgot, that the
mines belong to the men who find them, a doctrine which, after all, is
much more rational than the more recent contention of sundry modern
Orators of the Human Race that 'the mines belong to the miners'! But
after it had talked itself hoarse, the Assembly had to descend to the
prosaic business of legislation, and in dealing with the mines, as in
dealing with other matters, it made a muddle of the laws which existed
before it met, and left this muddle to be resolved into a new order of
things legal, under the presiding genius of Napoleon.

Under the _ancien régime_ the rights of the feudal lords of the land
over the mines beneath the soil had been contested by the steadily
increasing power of the sovereign. In the case of the Anzin Company, and
of the articles of association adopted in 1757, we see the practical
good sense of the practical men who adopted those articles bringing
about a good working arrangement between the concessions granted by the
Crown and the claims advanced by the lords of the land. The republican
legislators in 1791 concocted a mining law, under which the dominion of
the sovereign, taken over by the State, was brought into perpetual
conflict with the recognised, but undefined, rights of the lords of the
soil. Such was the mischief caused by this ill-digested law that, in
1810, Napoleon made an end of it, and substituted for it an imperial
law, under which the absolute ownership of mines in France might be
conferred by a concession of the Government. 'The act of concession,'
says the seventh article of the law, 'gives a perpetual ownership of the
mine, which from that moment may be disposed of and transmitted like any
other kind of property, and no holder of it can be expropriated, except
in the cases and under the forms prescribed with, regard to all other
properties.' This law of course made an end both of the royalties of
the old French system, and of the English and American doctrine that he
who owns the land owns up to the sky and down to the centre of the
earth. For while the State recognises under this law the owner of the
surface, and provides that the State shall give him what may be called a
kind of 'compensation for disturbance' though on a scale to be fixed by
itself, it recognises in him no ownership whatever of the mine beneath
his soil.

Nor does it recognise under this law any right in the discoverer of a
mine to a proprietary interest in a property which but for him might
never have existed as an available property at all, either for the owner
of the surface, or for the State, or for the concessionary of the State.
The founders of the Anzin Company in 1757, it will be seen, recognised
the right of Pierre Mathieu, the discoverer of bituminous coal at Anzin,
to such a proprietary interest in the mine he had discovered; but they
recognised it with a practical and sensible reference to the concurrent
rights also of other people, and to the general utility. So much more
deftly, it would appear, were practical questions, involving the
interests of labour and of capital, handled under the _ancien régime_ by
practical persons, whether nobles, engineers, or adventurers, who had a
practical interest in settling them wisely, than by theoretical persons,
'philosophers and patriots,' whose only practical interest lay in
'unsettling' them, during the long legislative riot which began in 1789.

The influence of this period upon labour and capital in France is well
illustrated in the records of this company at Anzin.

In 1720, when poor coal, _charbon maigre_, was first found by the
Vicomte Desandrouin and his friends at Fresnes, fifty-five tons of the
mineral were extracted. In 1734, Pierre Mathieu 'struck it rich' at
Anzin, and work began in earnest. By 1744 the yearly output reached
39,685 tons. In 1757, when the Company of Anzin was finally formed, and
the articles of association were signed, the output of the concessions
worked by the company amounted to 102,000 tons. From that time it
increased, not 'by leaps and bounds,' but steadily, till in 1789 it had
reached 290,000 tons. In 1790 it increased again to 310,000 tons. Then
came a decline--gradual at first, but as things grew worse at Paris,
sharp and sudden. The output fell to 291,000 tons in 1791--fell again to
275,500 tons in 1792. With the murder of the king, and the final crash
of law and order throughout France, in 1793 the output dropped suddenly
to 80,000 tons, or less by 20 per cent. than it had been in 1756, the
year before the company was finally formed. In the next year, 1794, it
dropped again to 65,000 tons, a point below that of the production in
1752, four years before the formation of the company, when the lords of
the land were in the thick of their legal battle with the Vicomte
Desandrouin and the concessionnaires.

Things began gradually to look better as it became more and more clear
that the Republic could not last, and with the establishment of the
Consulate and the Empire they grew better still. But it was not till
1813 that the output approached the figure reached in the last year of
the monarchy, 1790.

With the disasters of 1814 and 1815, of course, it fell again; but
within two years after the restoration of the monarchy, in 1818, the
output reached and passed the highest point attained before the
Revolution, and stood at 334,482 tons. In 1830 the output had reached
508,708 tons, but the revolution of that year threw it back again, in
1831, to 460,864 tons. Under the monarchy of July, the production
gradually, though not regularly, increased again, until in 1847 it had
reached 774,896 tons, only to be struck down by the senseless Revolution
of 1848 to 614,900 tons in 1849. It went up with the establishment of
the second Empire in 1852 to 803,812 tons in 1853, and by 1870 had
reached 1,633,818 tons.

Under the governments of M. Thiers and of the Marshal-Duke of Magenta,
during which, according to M. Doumer, the Republic existed 'only in
name,' the output went up till, in 1877, it passed the two million
limit, only to recede again with the advent to power of M. Gambetta and
his friends, with their 'true Republic,' under which it fell in 1884 to
1,720,306 tons. The elections of 1885, marking the rise of a great
conservative and monarchical reaction, were followed, in 1886, by an
increase in the output of the Anzin mines to 2,337,439 tons; and in
1888, when from one end of France to the other, the Republic was
officially and almost hysterically declared by the authorities to be in
deadly peril, and men were speculating as to whether President Carnot,
or General Boulanger, would open the Exposition in 1889, the Anzin
output reached 2,595,581 tons.

Of course, account must be taken of other than political considerations
in estimating the significance of this record, nor do I wish unduly to
dwell upon what may be called its barometrical value in the study of
contemporaneous French history.

But when we consider the relations of coal to all the great industries
of our time, it is certainly noteworthy that for more than a century
every development in Paris of a tendency favourable to republicanism in
France, should appear to have been followed by an unfavourable effect,
and every development unfavourable to republicanism in France by a
favourable effect upon the production, at Anzin, of a mineral which has
come to be the 'staff of life' of all modern industry and commerce.

For during the whole of this period Anzin has been what it still is, the
coal-capital, as St.-Gobain is the glass-capital, and Creuzot the
iron-capital of France. Its mines produce about one-tenth of the total
output of French coal. A falling off, therefore, in the output of the
Anzin mines may be fairly enough taken as an indication of disease in
the body politic of France. The most considerable falling off in this
output of late years was in 1884, when the production fell to 1,720,306,
from 2,210,702 in the preceding year, 1883. Two of the great French
industries, the iron industry and the sugar industry, both of them most
important consumers of coal, were then passing through a period of
depression, the over-production of sugar in Germany having seriously
damaged the French sugar-producers in particular. To meet the pressure
put upon them by the decline in the demand for coal, the directors of
the Anzin Company found it necessary to carry out certain economies,
either through a reduction of wages or through some modification in
their methods of production.

If they had been allowed to do this through an undisturbed arrangement
with their workmen, there is no reason to doubt that it would have been
done with little friction, and with no injustice to anyone. Wages at
Anzin had steadily risen from a daily average, for the surface workmen,
of 3 fr. 67 c. to 4 fr. 52 c. in 1883, concurrently with the development
at Anzin of that system of practical participation in the profits to
which I have already alluded. For the subterranean workmen, the advance
had been from 3 fr. 38 c. in 1879 to 3 fr. 72 c. in 1883.

The spirit in which the Anzin Company has been administered from the
beginning is strikingly illustrated by the steady advance in the wage of
the workmen. In Belgium, one of the chief seats of the competition with
Anzin for the coal-market of France, on the contrary, the wages of the
workmen are subject to the fluctuations of the general market. In 1873,
for example, the average wage of the workmen in the mines of Hainault,
as given to me by M. Guary, was 4 fr. 69 c., or about 25 per cent. above
the average wage of 1883 at Anzin. But 1873 was the year of the great
advance in coal. In 1876 the average Hainault wage fell to 3 fr. 45 c.;
in 1879 it fell to 2 fr. 68 c., and in 1880 it stood at 3 fr. 6 c. By
1880 the average wage at Anzin had risen (and steadily risen) to 4 fr.
23 c.

During the year 1883 the expenditure of the Company upon the assistance
fund, the pension fund, the medical services, the gratuitous supply of
fuel, the cottages, in addition to, and not at the expense of, the wages
paid, reached a total of 1,224,730 francs. During this same year the
profits of the company, as stated after an inquiry by the French
Minister of Public Works, amounted to 1,200,000 francs. This really
seems to warrant the assertion that at Anzin in 1883 the profits of the
mines were virtually divided into two equal portions, one of which went
to Capital and the other to Labour. Assuming this assertion to be, even
roughly speaking, accurate, why should there have been any serious
collision between Capital and Labour, in such an organisation, over a
question of practical economies necessarily advantageous to both?

Yet there was such a collision. In February 1884, what is known as the
great strike at Anzin broke out over a proposed improvement in the
methods of working, the demonstrable effect of which must be to improve
the position of the best workmen employed by the company, without doing
real injustice to others. A similar strike had occurred a quarter of a
century before, when the company insisted on introducing from England
and Belgium the use of ponies in the subterranean galleries. But in 1884
the conservative instinct of the workmen, which predisposes them in all
callings against innovations of any kind, was adroitly worked upon and
influenced by the direct influence of the politicians of the 'true
Republic' at Paris. A workman of the company named Basly, who had taken
an active part in organising a syndicate of mining workmen under a law
passed in 1881 to favour such syndications, put himself into
communication with the advanced Radicals at Paris, constituted himself
the champion of the syndicates of workmen, and, according to the
testimony given before a parliamentary committee, fomented a formidable
exterior pressure upon the workmen at Anzin, to bring about the strike
which eventually took place, and in connection with which M. Basly
became a conspicuous figure in French Republican politics, receiving a
much larger wage as a deputy than he had ever earned in the mines at
Anzin, where, as the books of the company show, though by no means an
exceptionally good workman, he earned, in 1881, 4 fr. 93 c., and in 1882
4 fr. 71 c. a day.

One obvious object of the syndicates of workmen being to establish a
kind of despotic control over all the workmen of any calling, the
syndicate of mining workmen at Anzin set itself, a year before the
strike, in 1883, to break down what is known at Anzin (and elsewhere in
France also, M. Guary tells me) as the system of 'marchandages.'

Under this system the company makes contracts with the workmen at a
fixed price for coal, deliverable during several months. A good
workman, holding one of these contracts and stimulated by it, frequently
gains from 20 to 25 per cent. more than the average daily wage of his
class. The syndicate wished to establish 'equality' of wages, or, in
other words, to put idle or inferior workmen on the same level with
industrious and superior workmen.

To this end, the leaders resorted to the methods usual in all such
cases, of intimidation and actual violence. Workmen at Anzin who had
taken 'marchandages' were attacked and beaten, some of them so severely
as to disable them for weeks.

At the parliamentary inquiry which followed the strike of 1884, such
letters as the following, sent to workmen at Anzin, a year before, in
1883, were produced and read in evidence:--

     'CACHAPREZ

     'Citizen,--In the name of the syndical chamber of the miners of
     Anzin, thou art forewarned that, if thou dost not cease thy
     _marchandage_, as we have informed Lagneaux, thou wilt pass, in the
     sight of thy brethren coal-miners, for a traitor and a coward, as
     well as thy seven comrades, who are worth no more than thyself.

     'If thou dost not what we exact of thee, be not surprised to find
     thyself stretched out a bit, and to be laid up for three weeks, as
     well as the good-for-nothings who are working with thee.

        'Receive our great contempt.

            'A group of workmen who will caress thee
            one of these days if thou dost not give
            up thy marchandage.'

Letters like these, which would not discredit the rural terrorists of
Kerry and Clare, were followed, not only by attacks on the obnoxious
workmen, but by the destruction of their flowers and vegetables in the
gardens which, as I have stated, they are enabled by the company to
cultivate. As a workman may go to his work as soon as he likes in the
morning (the gates are closed just before six o'clock), they have their
afternoons to themselves, and those of them who have gardens I found
working there with great evident satisfaction at most of the points
which I visited.

With the outbreak of the 'strike' in 1884, matters grew worse. Dynamite
was then called into play. Fusees were exploded under the windows and in
the doorways of workmen who refused to be coerced into leaving their
work. As nearly nine-tenths of the workmen had gone, or been driven,
into the strike, the cabarets in which the region abounds were filled
with crowds of idle men. Radical speakers and managers hurried down to
Anzin from Paris, to harangue the multitude and stir the people up to
mischief, and the position of the workmen who stood out against an
agitation which they knew to be founded on no grievance of theirs, and
which could have no possible result for them but to injure the company,
with the prosperity of which they felt their own prosperity to be
identified, became really dangerous.

In the thick of the contest thus provoked and carried on, it is
interesting to find M. Allain-Targé, of whom I have already had occasion
to speak, in connection with his conduct as Minister of the Interior
during the elections of 1885, appearing on the Parliamentary Committee
of Inquiry, of 1884, into the situation at Anzin, as a friend and
advocate of the 'syndicate of workmen,' and urging the Anzin Company to
accept the syndicate and its secretary, M. Basly, as an umpire between
itself and the 'strikers,' who had been seduced or coerced into
'striking' by this very syndicate and its secretary!

What possible good, either to Labour or to Capital, can be rationally
expected--what possible harm to both may not be legitimately
feared--from a republic controlled and administered by such men?

One curious and important incidental object of the 'syndicate of
workmen,' and of M. Basly in promoting this strike of 1884 at Anzin,
revealed itself to me in the very full Report of the Parliamentary
inquiry which M. Guary was good enough to put at my service.

After devoting large sums of money to the various institutions and funds
established by it for the benefit of the workmen, the Anzin Company
invited the workmen themselves to contribute to their own savings and
pension fund at the rate of three per cent. of their wages, the expenses
of management being borne, of course, by the company. The 'syndicate of
workmen' and M. Basly did not like this. They preferred that any
contributions to be made by the workmen from their wages should be made,
not to a fund guaranteed and administered by the company, but to a fund
to be handled by the syndicate.

Whereupon M. Basly wrote, and caused to be circulated among the workmen,
a letter signed by himself as secretary of the syndicate, in which he
bade them regard the proposal of the company as 'a snare set for their
liberties.' 'To sign any such agreement as the company suggests,' he
said, 'will be to sign your own death-warrant and that of your
children!'

'Citizens! your enemies see our Union established. They know that we are
on the point of having a pension fund solidly established _under the
guarantee of the State_, which shall leave us all free to work whenever
we like.'

This idea of a Labour Pension Fund under the guarantee of the State is
not, I need hardly say, of M. Basly's invention. It 'trots through the
heads' of all manner of political adherents of M. Doumer's 'true
Republic.' It was very neatly 'thrashed out' in a brief colloquy which.
I noted down one day in Paris between a representative of the 'syndicate
of jewellers' and a deputy, M. Thiessé. 'What would you think?' asked M.
Thiessé, 'of an obligatory assessment on wages, intended to secure, by
the authority of the State and with perfect safety, a certain pension to
the workmen of your corporation?'

Whereunto the jeweller, M. Favelier, replied: 'We prefer freedom in this
respect, as well as from the point of view of our work.'

M. Thiessé returned undismayed to the charge.

'Then you would prefer to organise a pension fund in your syndical
chamber? But if you had not means enough to ensure pensions to your
workmen, what would you think of an institution which would ensure them
a pension and bread for their old age?'

To which M. Favelier, suddenly striking the bull's eye and 'ringing the
bell': 'We do not want the State called in, to lay new taxes upon us!'

M. Basly, who is probably a consumer rather than a payer of taxes, had
more 'advanced' views than the Parisian jeweller. But his chief
immediate object evidently was to secure contributions from the wages of
the Anzin workmen to a fund to be controlled by the syndicate. What the
eventual meaning to the contributing workmen of a fund so controlled is
likely to be may be inferred from an incident which came to my knowledge
not long ago, in London. A question arose between a certain association
of English engineers, and men employed by one of the great English
railway companies, over an issue not unlike that presented at Anzin by
the demand of the 'syndicate of miners,' that the Anzin workmen should
give up their long time and profitable contracts. The men in the
employment of the railway were old and excellent railway men, who were
earning, on a kind of special contract, something like a pound a week
apiece more than the usual rates paid to their class. They were members
of the association referred to, and, as such, had for many years
contributed to its funds under a system which promised them a certain
pension at the expiration of a certain number of years. This being the
situation, these men were notified by the association that if they did
not give up their special contracts and content themselves with the
usual wages earned by others of their class, they would, in the first
instance, be fined, out of their own money in the hands of the
association, a pound a week for a given time, at the end of which, if
they still remained in disobedience, their pensions would be forfeited!

I should be glad to know what 'employer' ever devised a more shameless
plan than this for reducing workmen to slavery, moral and financial?
Probably the laws of England, if called upon, would protect them against
such outrages. But how is a workman in such circumstances to call upon
the laws? How is he to meet the legal cost of defending his rights? How
is he to face the organised hostility of men of his own class?

The 'strike' at Anzin in 1884 ended as 'strikes' are apt to do. A
certain proportion of the men who had been foremost in accepting or
promoting it disappeared from the service of the company; others, and
the majority, escaped from the domination of the 'syndicate' and of M.
Basly. That the conduct of the company throughout the crisis was such as
to commend itself to the workmen in general may, I think, be inferred
from the fact that a fresh attempt to bring about a 'strike' at Anzin,
since I visited the place, completely failed. The attempt originated
with the leaders of a 'strike' which was actually carried out in the
mines of the adjoining Department of the Pas-de-Calais. The means
employed in 1884 to intimidate the workmen at Anzin were again used. The
troops and the gendarmerie were, however, called out at Anzin, not to
protect Capital against Labour, but to protect the working-men of Anzin
who chose to keep out of the 'strike,' against men of their own class
who tried to drive them into it. In this case the original 'strike'
seems to have been provoked by local rather than general causes. The
managers of the mines in the Pas-de-Calais had resolved to increase the
output of their mines. This necessitated a considerable increase in the
number of miners employed, and this augmented demand for mining labour,
not unnaturally, led the men to demand an advance on their wages. They
were encouraged to demand this advance, too, by a somewhat sudden rise
in the market-price of certain descriptions of coal, and it is not
perhaps surprising that it should not have occurred to them to ask
themselves whether the rise in the market price did, or did not, mean a
real increase of profits to their employers, who, of course, could only
take a very partial advantage of the advance, on account of the long
contracts under which by far the greater part of their output had to be
delivered to their customers.

I drove with the younger M. Guary through a charming bit of woodland
country, to visit a newly-opened pit--the Lagrange pit. Part of the way
led us through a large forest full of fine, well-grown trees. The
shooting in this forest is good, chiefly deer and pheasants. It belongs
to the domain of the State, and is leased to a former director of Anzin.
That the country is a pleasant land to live in appears from such facts
as this, as well as from the blue, yellow, russet and rose-pink houses
which enliven the long highway from Valenciennes, and are the
habitations of well-to-do people living here on their incomes. From
Valenciennes to the Belgian frontier, indeed, the road is virtually one
long continuous street of houses and gardens, as the railway is between
New York and Philadelphia.

M. Guary pointed out to me the house of another ex-director of Anzin who
has invested in a considerable tract of land here, on which he has put
up a number of exceedingly neat houses. They are built of brick, like
the small houses to which the working-men of Philadelphia are indebted
to the philanthropic enterprise of Mr. Drexel and Mr. Childs; but I
think it would astonish Mr. Drexel and Mr. Childs to know that a brick
house, containing four good 'upright' rooms and two good garret rooms,
all wainscoted in hard wood and well fitted up, well drained, and with a
large cellar and a garden rather wider than the house, running back for
several hundred yards to a fringe of picturesque forest, can be rented
here, from this private proprietor, for 120 francs, or $24 a year.

At an average wage of 4 fr. 50 c. a day, working 25 days in the month,
an average workman at Anzin may easily earn 1,350 francs a year, so that
he may rent such a house as I have here described for a good deal less
than one-tenth of his income. What is the ordinary proportion between
the house-rent and the income of a respectable tradesman or mechanic in
New York? But the Anzin workman who rents such a house as this on such
terms, enjoys also free fuel, free medical attendance, and schooling for
his children.

We called at one of these private houses, seeing the miner, whom M.
Guary knew very well, standing at ease in his doorway and surveying the
scene with a pipe in his mouth. He was a shrewd, stalwart man of about
forty, who glanced down complacently at his own well-developed limbs and
laughed scornfully when I asked him what he thought of a proposition I
had seen made at Paris, by a friend of the workmen, that forty should be
fixed as the age of retiring pensions for miners. 'He may be a friend,'
said the miner, 'but certainly he is not a miner!'

This miner had long done his day's work in the mine, and after his pipe
was going to work in his garden, where his vegetables were coming
forward very well. Nothing could have been better than his
manners--quiet, manly, civil, without the rather aggravating slyness of
the ordinary French peasant, and with absolutely nothing of the
infantine swagger of the small French _bourgeois_. These miners here
wear a picturesque and practical costume, something between the garb of
a sailor and the garb of a fireman, and as their life--like the life of
a fireman or a sailor--is lived a good deal apart from the lives of
other men, and has a constant spice in it of possible danger, they
acquire a certain self-reliance and self-possession which give them a
natural ease and even dignity of carriage. In talking with more than one
of them I thought I detected a slight tone of contempt towards other
workmen and especially towards the peasants, such as tinges the talk of
a sailor about land-lubbers. M. Guary confirmed this, and told me that
the men, especially of the old mining stock, certainly do regard
themselves as rather better than their neighbours.

This may have something to do with the Conservative strength in this
region. Politics do not apparently run very high among the miners,
either here or in the adjoining region of the Pas-de-Calais.
Valenciennes covers three electoral districts, and the Anzin concessions
extend into each of these districts. In the second or St.-Amand
district there was rather a lively contest in September, between M.
Girot, a Republican, and M. de Carpentier, a Boulangist. The latter
received 5,894 votes, but the former was elected, with 8,331 votes. In
the first Valenciennes district the outgoing member, an Imperialist, M.
Renard, was re-elected, receiving 5,803 votes, against 4,856 given to
his Republican competitor.

In the second district another outgoing member, M. Thellier de
Poncheville, a leading Royalist, was also re-elected, receiving 8,690
votes, against 7,263 given to his Republican opponent. In both of these
cases it came within my knowledge that the authorities of the Department
made the most open and unscrupulous efforts to prevent the return of the
outgoing members. Both M. Thellier de Poncheville and M. Renard,
however, sate on M. Pion's Committee on the mines, and the mining
population of the region appear to have a singularly clear notion of the
difference between sense and nonsense in dealing with mining matters.

Our miner, who hit the difference so neatly between 'miners' and the
'friends of miners,' after a little chat on the doorway, asked us, very
politely, to walk in and look at his home. It was very neatly and
adequately furnished, with clocks in each of the ground-floor rooms,
sundry framed mezzotints hanging on the walls, and a goodly show of
neatly-kept crockery. The wife, looking older than her husband, but very
probably his junior, cheerily pointed out to me the local improvement
she had made by transferring the cooking-range from the front room,
looking on the highway, to the back room looking into the garden. 'It is
pleasanter, don't you think?' she said, 'to sit out of the kitchen; and
then, with the kitchen at the back, one can always leave the door open.
That is my idea!' We assured her we thought it an excellent idea and
most creditable to her--a compliment which she received with modest
satisfaction, saying, 'You know the wife must think of these things!' to
which the husband good-naturedly assented, while the daughter, a
well-grown good-looking girl of fourteen, looked up from her household
duties, much interested in our visit. The husband, on his part, had
contrived a convenient wine-cellar under the stairway. 'It will not hold
much wine,'he said with a smile; 'but it is too large for all the wine I
drink.' 'Ah!' said the wife archly, 'he likes cider much better!'

This miner was employed in the new Lagrange pit, and though I was much
struck by the neatness of his person and apparel, I was more struck by
the general absence of anything like the griminess which we commonly
associate with mines and mining among his fellows, whom I found still at
work around the pits. M. Guary told me that this is a characteristic
trait of the Anzin miners. In the buildings attached to each pit there
is a large hall, called the miner's hall, where the men meet when they
go down to and come up from their underworld. There each man has a box,
under lock and key, bearing his number, in which he puts away his
ordinary clothes when he dons his mining suit; the company--I should
mention here--provides every man when he enters the service with a
mining outfit. And to this hall there is attached a lavatory for the use
of the men. The hall is well warmed in winter, and, being always on an
upper floor, is well aired and ventilated in summer. From this hall at
the Lagrange pit we walked into an adjoining room, where we found the
miners going down the shaft in a great metallic basket, while the coal
came up. While we stood there, there came up a magnificent lump of coal,
of a very brilliant and even lustrous surface, around which the
admiring miners crowded. This is a new vein, and the coal found in it,
M. Guary tells me, burns with an unusually clear and intense flame.

A miner with whom I talked a little had been to see the Exposition, and
it was curious to perceive that he had been much more interested in the
Anzin part of it than in anything else. He spoke indeed almost
disrespectfully of the Eiffel Tower, and he was entirely convinced that
the workmen at Anzin were much better off than the workmen at Paris, as
to which I am not prepared to dispute his opinion. He had not seen the
President, which did not appear to disturb him much; but he thought the
beer at the Exposition 'very dear and very bad.' The engines, however,
he frankly admired, though 'everybody can see that it is not possible to
make better engines than are made at Anzin.'

One curious thing he told me of the young miners who are drafted away
into the military service. 'When they come back,' he said, 'some of them
at first try other trades, but all that are of any use sooner or later
come back to the mine. It is of no use,' he said reflectively, 'for any
man to try to be a miner if he is not trained as a boy.' This is exactly
Jack Tar's notion as to sailors.

From the Lagrange pit we drove, still through pleasant woods and fresh
green farming-lands, to Thiers, where the company has a large number of
working-men's houses, together with a considerable church, a lay and a
religious school, and other institutions.

There we paid a visit to a delightful little old lady, with a face, full
of wrinkled sweetness and humour, which Denner might have painted. She
insisted upon showing us all over her home, and a little miracle it was
of thrift and neatness and order; from the spotlessly clean little
bedrooms with the high Flemish beds, the crucifix hanging over the bed,
and prints--not always devout--on the walls, to the sitting-room with
its shining mirror, highly polished tin and brass candlesticks and
platters, and abundant china. She was a staunch Imperialist, and had
portraits of the Emperor, with prints of Solferino and of Sedan. 'There
it was that they betrayed him!' said the little old lady, with deep
indignation in her voice. I had not the heart to ask her who these
traitors were. The garrets I found filled with new-mown hay. 'It keeps
there till we sell it,' she said, 'and then it smells so sweet!' which
was undeniable. Behind her house (her son and his wife were both absent
at their work) she showed us the garden, very trimly kept and gay with
the old familiar flowers, and an arbour, in which she took especial
pride, none of her neighbours possessing anything of the sort.

At Thiers I talked with an officer of the company who had served for
some time in one of the great mines of Southern France. The differences
in the habits and character of the mining populations there and here he
found very great, and, on the whole, he evidently thought the Northern
miners much superior, in most essential points, to their fellows at the
South. Certainly, according to him, they are neater in their persons,
more cool and sensible, less credulous, less addicted to politics, and
much more thrifty. 'The women, when they are well-behaved and good
managers,' he said, 'have more influence with the men in the North. In
the South and in Auvergne, I have sometimes thought the worst women had
more influence with the men than the best.'

He had an odd theory as to the effect of great altitudes on human
character. 'In Auvergne and in Savoy,' he said, 'the higher up you go
the more excitable and quarrelsome you find the people. Here in Flanders
the people are placid, like the plains.' He called my attention, too, to
the prevalence among the miners here at Anzin of a peculiar type of
blonds with a sort of ruddy russet hair and beard, not quite the glowing
Titianesque auburn, and yet by no means red. It is certainly a marked
and peculiar tint, and may be seen faithfully reproduced in a large
picture of the Anzin miners exhibited this year at Paris. I had supposed
it to 'hark back' to the Scandinavians, who made themselves so much at
home in all these fat and accessible regions after Charlemagne passed
away.

'No,' said my philosophic engineer, 'it is due to the potash. These
miners are so addicted to washing themselves and use such quantities of
strong soap, that it has permanently affected their hair.' Upon which
another engineer, also familiar with Auvergne, broke in: 'That's all
very well; but I have seen many miners in Auvergne with the same tint of
hair and beard, and you know that there they wash their faces, at the
most, once a week!'

This last speaker was an exceedingly shrewd man and, as I found, a
strong Conservative. He had been asked to stand as a candidate for mayor
in his commune, but had declined, though his personal popularity made
his election almost a matter of form. I asked him why. 'Let myself be
elected to a political office by my workmen!' he said; 'how can a
sensible man think of such a thing? Ask men to give you their votes, and
what authority will be left to you? No, I think I know my business too
well for that. They tried that sort of thing, you know, during the war,
and a beautiful business they made of it! I suspect it was the Germans
who suggested it!'

What I am told of the morals of the people here reminds me of the
traditional reputation of certain sections of Pennsylvania settled by
the Germans in the last century, and of the Dutch in Long Island. There
is a good deal of drinking. _Buvettes_ are forbidden within the limits
of the _cités ouvrières_, but in the communes they are very numerous,
averaging, I am assured, as many as twenty to every 1,200 inhabitants.
To open a _buvette_ nothing is needed but a police permission, and the
_buvettes_ are kept, for the most part, by the wives of miners and other
artisans, as a means of adding to the family income. Beer is very cheap,
costing only two sous a litre. Wine and spirits are more costly, though
a great deal of gin is made, and inexpensively made, in the country.
There is much sociability among the people, and great practical
liberality as to the conduct of young girls, the ancient practice known
as 'bundling' in New England being still in vogue among these worthy
Flemings. M. Baudrillart, who evidently inclines to a favourable
judgment of these Northern populations, puts the truth on this point
very considerately.

'Conspicuous historical examples,' he observes, 'prove to me that the
flesh is weak in this province of Flanders. The severity of public
opinion does not always make up for the laxity of the control exercised
by principle. Unmarried mothers are numerous, and incidents of this sort
are often regarded as simple errors of youth and inexperience, to be
remedied by marriage. The marriage-tie when formed, however, is not less
respected than among our rural populations in general, and cases of
flagrant misconduct on the part of married women are rare.'

Offences against persons and property are not relatively numerous here.
On the contrary, while the proportion of persons accused of crime is 12
to the hundred thousand, for all France, in this Department of the Nord
it falls to 8-1/3 to the hundred thousand, and this notwithstanding the
numbers crowded into the great manufacturing towns of the department. In
the Department of the Seine, which includes Paris, the proportion rises
to 28 to the hundred thousand, and in the agricultural Department of the
Eure, which is the champion criminal Department of France, to 30 to the
hundred thousand. One might almost imagine that M. Zola must have gone
to the Eure for his studies of French peasant-life.

Without being particularly devout, the people of this region, I am told,
are fond of their religious observances, and much dislike the
persecution of the Church and the laicisation of the schools.

At Thiers the church, which is a large one, fronting on an extensive
Place Publique, was very handsomely decorated on Corpus Christi Sunday
by the people of the commune. Flags and garlands were put up, too, all
about the Place Publique. The Anzin Company are now building a large
school for girls very near this church; and I visited, with M. Guary,
one afternoon, the boys' school at Thiers. It is very well installed in
a large building, with a playground and a gymnasium roofed in, but not
walled. The teacher--a lay teacher, and a very quiet, sensible man--who
lives in the school-building with his wife, told me he preferred to keep
it thus, and the boys liked it better. They were at their lessons when I
visited the school, and a very sturdy, comely lot of lads they were.
Some of them were _en pénitence_, having slighted their lessons, as the
teacher slily intimated, by reason of the great Church festival. This I
thought not unlikely, and he did not appear to regard it as an
absolutely unpardonable offence, while the juvenile criminals themselves
were evidently quite cheery in their minds. In a room near the
gymnasium were racks filled with wooden guns. These the teachers pointed
out with pride. They were a gift from the company to his battalion of
boys, who delighted in their regular military drill. He thought them,
after only eighteen months' training, one of the best boy-battalions in
the department, and would have liked to take them to Paris to compete
for the athletic prizes. But to take up even a picked company of ten
would have cost 400 francs, which he thought, and I agreed with him,
might be better spent in Thiers. 'And then,' he said with a smile, 'what
a life I should have led in Paris, with those ten boys to look after!'

The Anzin Company used to spend 80,000 francs a year on keeping up its
own schools. But it is so heavily taxed for the 'school palaces' which
have been put up, and for the public schools, that it has materially
reduced this outlay, though it still expends a large sum in various ways
for the advantage of the children of its own workmen attending the
public schools; and still keeps up certain religious schools, especially
for the little children and the girls.

One of these schools for little children which I visited at St.-Waast,
kept by the Sisters, was a model. The little creatures, ranged in
categories according to their years, were pictures of health and good
humour, as they sate in rows at their little desks, or marched about,
singing in choruses. One exercise, through which a number of them, from
six to eight years old, were conducted by two of the Sisters, might have
been studied from a fresco by Fra Angelico representing the heavenly
choirs, and gave the most intense delight evidently to the singing
children as well as to the smiling and kindly Sisters. There is a large
church, too, at St.-Waast and a _cité ouvrière_.

The commune, I believe, formerly was a part of the wide domain of the
famous Abbey of St.-Waast which grew up near Arras over the burial-place
of St.-Vadasius, to whom after the victory of Clovis over the Germans at
Tolbiac in 495 the duty was confided of teaching the Frankish king his
Christian catechism. He had a tough pupil, but he taught him, so well
that King Clovis conceived a great affection for him, and got St.-Rémi
to make him bishop, first of Arras, and then of Cambrai.

At the time of the Revolution the great abbey near Arras, which bore his
name, was one of the richest of the religious communities which,
according to the very important _Avis aux députés des trois ordres de la
province d'Artois_, so thoroughly and instructively analysed by M.
Baudrillart, held among them in 1789 two-thirds of the land of that
province. M. Baudrillart's analysis of this _Avis_ shows conclusively
that a judicious and systematic overhauling of these ecclesiastical
properties was absolutely necessary; but it also shows conclusively that
the people of Artois who desired this wished to see it done decently and
in order. They had a strong love of their provincial independence. Even
Maximilian Robespierre, who was then bestirring himself in public
matters at Arras, addressed his first political publication, which he
called a 'manifesto,' not to the people of Artois, but to 'the Artesian
nation.' This from the future executioner of the French federalists is
sufficiently edifying as to the great 'national' impulse to which we are
asked by a certain school of political rhapsodists to attribute that
outbreak of chaos in France called the 'great French Revolution.'

What the Tiers-Etat of the great and solidly constituted province of
Artois really wanted before 1789 is clearly set forth in this remarkable
_Avis_. They did not want the 'Rights of Man,' or the downfall of
tyrants, or any vague nonsense of that sort. They wanted a more fair and
equitable system of taxation, and a better system of agriculture. They
had some practical ideas, too, as to how these things could be got, for
they knew that these things had been got in England. 'The Englishman of
our times,' they said, 'gets an income of 48,000 pounds from a square
mile of land, whereas the Artesian can hardly get 12,000 pounds from the
same area. Yet the soil of Artois is in nowise inferior to that of
England. The enormous difference can only be attributed to the
encouragement and the distinctions which the English Government bestows
upon agriculture, and to the better system of the English
administration.'

This passage reads almost like an extract from the diary of Arthur
Young, and it is noteworthy that Arthur Young at this same time, while
he was commending in his diary the admirable quality of the deep,
'level, fertile plain of Flanders and Artois,' also expressed his
opinion that 'nowhere in the world was human labour better rewarded than
there.' Taken together, however, the _Avis_ and the diary of Arthur
Young prove that the leaders of the Tiers-Etat of Artois in 1787 were
neither radicals nor revolutionists, but practical men, who wished to
see the value of their property improved, and the natural advantages of
their province more adequately developed. To this end they thought it
necessary that the constitution of the Provincial Estates should be
reformed. Thanks to a combination, as the _Avis_ declares, of the
municipalities of the towns with the _noblesse_ and the higher order of
the clergy, the _curés_--'that most interesting class of men who are
alone in a position to make the needs of the people understood and to
work for their relief--were entirely excluded from the Provincial
Estates in 1669, as were also the farmers, who alone can supply the
means of perfecting our agriculture.'

'Here,' said the _Avis_, 'is the true cause of the prostration of our
rural interests.' They proposed to apply a remedy by recasting the
representation in the Provincial Estates, and giving 'two deputies out
of three to the rural population.'

This having been done, so that agriculture might get in Artois the voice
which the author of the _Avis_ believed it to have in England, they then
proposed a reconstruction of the system of taxation. On this point they
inclined to adopt, from the South of France, the system of paying the
taxes not in money but in kind. The system of the tithes, too, needed a
complete overhauling, not with the mere object of abolishing the tithes,
but in order that the gross inequalities which the _Avis_ sets forth as
existing, in regard to the impact of the tithes, both territorial and
personal, might be done away with, and the support of religion put upon
a sound basis. This led naturally to a demand for the release of great
areas of valuable soil in Artois from the control of religious
communities, like the Abbey of St.-Waast, not a few of which were no
longer in a condition to put these possessions to the best uses, either
for the Church or for the country. In Artois, as in French Flanders, the
extent of these ecclesiastical domains which had once been an advantage
to the people, is admitted to have become disadvantageous to French
agriculture with the decline of the feudal aristocracy and the growth of
the royal power. Short leases only were granted in general by the Church
and the monasteries, and under these short leases the farmers hesitated
to improve their holdings.

The authors of the _Avis_ desire that it may be made possible to obtain
leases of even twenty-five years which should not be treated by the
Treasury as an 'alienation' of the property leased. With such leases,
they say, 'the farmer would not hesitate to lay out money upon his land,
because he would feel sure of getting the benefit of the outlay. This,'
they add, 'is one of the principal means which the English Government
has employed in bringing agriculture to the state of perfection in which
we now see it in that monarchy.'

As the greater part of the _cahiers_ of grievances prepared by the
Tiers-Etat of Artois for the States-General of 1789 have been lost, this
_Avis_ is of great value, as setting before us the real objects of that
order in Artois. The _cahiers_ of the Artesian _noblesse_ and the clergy
for the States-General are all preserved, and in respect of the general
objects to be aimed at in the States-General, these _cahiers_ go much
farther than the _Avis_. They seem to show that in Artois, as throughout
the kingdom, the _noblesse_ and the clergy were much more enamoured of
what are now called the 'principles of 1789' than were the body of the
agricultural population.

The _noblesse_ and the clergy of Artois wished to see the States-General
called at regular intervals, like the English Parliament. They wished
the Provincial Estates to be maintained and to be convened annually, and
they wished a provincial administration to be established under a system
which should give the Tiers-Etat a representation equal to that of both
the other orders united, and in which decisions should be reached not by
a vote of the orders collectively, but by the members of the whole body
voting individually, so that a measure as to which all the members for
the Tiers-Etat should be of one mind, might at any time be carried if
they could secure the adhesion of even a small number of the members
from either of the other orders. Clearly it was not necessary, in the
case of Artois, that the Tiers-Etat should be declared to be
'everything,' in order that justice might there be done to the wishes
and the interests of the Tiers-Etat! And if not in the case of Artois,
why in the case of any other French province?

The _Avis_ shows that in Artois before 1789 the representatives of the
Tiers-Etat had confidence in the liberality and the common sense of the
_noblesse_ and of the clergy, and that they were disposed to consider
all the abuses there needing reformation in the spirit of practical
compromise which had presided over and made possible the development of
liberty and of progress in Holland and in England, but of which no
traces are to be found in the chaotic history of the 'National Assembly'
of 1789. The authors of the _Avis_, for example, point out, in dealing
with the questions of the tithes and of the seignorial dues in Artois,
that it is the unequal and irregular impact, above all, of those
impositions to which most of the evils flowing from them must be
imputed; the ill-feeling they engender between the farmer and his
landlord or his pastor, the bad blood they breed between the different
orders. If the charges of one sort and another upon one field of a
farmer's holding amounted, as was sometimes the case, to one-fifth of
the value of the crop, while upon other fields of his holding the
charges amounted to no more than one-thirtieth of the value of the crop,
the farmer not unnaturally gave his chief care to the fields which were
least heavily encumbered, without much troubling himself as to their
agricultural merits relatively to the other fields.

But while the authors of the _Avis_ earnestly desired to see all this
changed, and called for the most complete revision and re-organisation
of the agricultural system in Artois, they raised no philosophical
clamour against privileges as privileges, and they had sense enough to
see that no community could afford to bring about the abolition of the
most obnoxious 'privileges' at the cost of any flagrant violations of
the Rights of Property. 'Whatever may have been the origin of these
rights,' say the authors of the _Avis_, 'their antiquity has made them
property to be respected in the hands of those who possess it. To
deprive these owners of these rights would be an injustice and an act of
violence of which no citizen can possibly dream. The privileged orders
must be asked to divest themselves of their privileges.'

Here is a recognition of 'vested interests' for which we may look in
vain from the motley mob of the 'National Assembly' into which the
States-General of 1789 so rapidly resolved, or--to speak more
exactly--dissolved, themselves! With men of the Tiers-Etat, in a
province like Artois, who could see things so plainly and state them so
fairly before the convocation of the States-General, what became the
French Revolution, plunging the whole realm into anarchy, might surely
have been made a reasonable and orderly evolution of liberty. Such a
document goes a good way in support of the contention that with ordinary
firmness, consistency, and courage on the part of the luckless Louis
XVI., the convocation of the States-General in 1789, instead of leading
France, as it actually led her, through a quagmire of blood and rapine,
into what George Sand felicitously called the 'merciless practical joke
of the Consulate,' and the stern reality of the despotic First Empire,
might easily have resulted in converting the absolute monarchy of Louis
XIV. into such a limited and constitutional monarchy as France really
enjoyed under Louis XVIII. The pathway to the Inferno of the Terror was
really paved with the good intentions of the king.

Beyond St.-Waast lies the considerable town of St.-Amand-aux-Eaux, to
which General Dumouriez transferred himself, on the pretence of taking
the waters there, while he was working out his plans for saving France
by marching on Paris and upsetting the Assembly. The plans miscarried
mainly through his own fault, but it is a curious vindication of the
patriotism of Dumouriez in making them that, while he was explaining to
the lunatics in Paris, in January 1793, the absurdity of attempting to
overthrow the English power in India, and the German empire in Europe,
before feeding and clothing their armies on the frontier, de
Beurnonville, whom Dumouriez was destined to seize and arrest at
St.-Amand, was himself writing from the headquarters at Sarrelouis to
Cochon Lapparent at Paris that everything was going to the dogs, and
that the Government was mad about chimeras. 'We think of nothing,' he
said, 'but giving liberty to people who don't ask us to do it, and with
all the will in the world to be free ourselves, we don't know how to
be!'

St.-Amand now has a population of ten or twelve thousand souls. Part of
the Anzin property lies within the communal limits, but the place is a
busy place and has industries of its own. It is connected with Anzin and
with Valenciennes by a steam tramway, and I went there with M. Guary one
fine summer morning to see what is left of the once magnificent
Benedictine monastery of the seventeenth century, which was the great
feature of St.-Amand a hundred years ago. A picture preserved in the
collection at Valenciennes gives a fair notion of the extent and
magnificence of the abbey, the demolition of which has been going on
from 1793 to this day. M. Guary remembers the stately ruins as much
more extensive in his youth than they now are, and as the good people of
St.-Amand have very recently allowed the local architect to put up,
under the very shadow of the exquisitely beautiful belfry still
standing, one of the most dismal and commonplace brick school-houses I
have seen in France, it is to be presumed that a few more years will see
everything pulled down, and replaced, perhaps, by a miniature
reproduction in steel and iron of the Eiffel Tower.

Before the deviltries of 1789 began, the marketplace of St.-Amand must
have been one of the most picturesque in Northern Europe. The market is
still held there, and the place was full when we crossed it of peasant
women and peasants, carts laden with vegetables, tables set out with all
manner of utensils, with fruits, with knicknacks. All was bustle and
animation. It was the old picture, save for the uncomely modifications
of our modern costume. But of the splendid architectural frame in which
that picture once was set, how little now is left!

Beside the lofty belfry, one of the most graceful seventeenth-century
buildings now to be anywhere seen, a few arches of one of the cloisters
and one of the great abbatial gatehouses converted into a town-hall! The
Vandal Directory of Chauny dealt more rationally with Prémontré than the
'patriots' of St.-Amand with their superb abbey. Had they preserved it,
their town would now have possessed not only an architectural monument
of interest and importance, but ample space and the best possible
'installations' for all its public uses and offices.

Like all the Benedictine abbeys, St.-Amand was a home of letters and of
arts. What remains of its noble library is to be found, as I have said,
in the collection at Valenciennes. Of the treasury which the abbey
contained in the way of sculpture, painting, brass and iron work,
carving in wood, no such account can be given. Such of these as escaped
destruction were looted, sold, and dispersed. There is a tradition, well
or ill-founded, that some exceedingly fine sixteenth-century monuments
executed by Guyot de Beaugrant, the sculptor of the matchless
chimney-piece which, in the Chambre Échévinale at Bruges, commemorates
the expulsion of the French under Francis I. from Flanders, were brought
here and set up in the abbey. If so, no trace of them remains. In the
gatehouse, of which the local authorities have taken possession, a few
fine old books, relics of the abbatial library, are still kept, and the
vaulted chapter-room on the upper floor, used now as a council chamber,
contains four interesting _dessus de porte_ painted here by Watteau. The
subjects are scriptural, of course; but as, in spite of all her efforts,
the obliging damsel who acted as our cicerone could not possibly manage
the blinds and sashes of the lofty window in the octagonal room which
they adorn, it was impossible to make out to what period of the artist's
career they belong. Upon one of them--the 'Woman taken in Adultery'--we
got light enough thrown to show that its colouring is admirable. It can
hardly have been painted while Watteau was at work in Paris on his
endless reproductions of the then popular St.-Nicholas, but must
probably have been executed after his study of Rubens in the Luxembourg,
and his failure to win the first prize at Rome had opened to him his
true path to fame, and carried him into the French Academy of Fine Arts
as 'the painter of festivals and of gallantry.'

The fine old church of St.-Amand has fared better than the abbey. It has
been judiciously restored, and the third Napoleon made it an historical
monument. Despite the Radicalism of the place, we found it thronged
with people of both sexes--the men, indeed, almost in a
majority--attending a high mass. It was rather startling, as we emerged
from this service on our way back to Anzin, to come upon a large cabaret
which bore for its sign the words, in glaring gilt letters, 'Au Nouveau
Bethléhem, Estaminet Barbès.' Whether this is the conventicle of a sect
of believers in the revolutionary Barbès I could not learn. But it is
just possible that the Barbès, whom it celebrates, may be the
enterprising proprietor of the place, and that the sacred name he has
given it is a relic of that familiar use of holy things which never
scandalised the good people of the Middle Ages, particularly in Flanders
and in France. Does not the best old inn in the comfortable town of
Châlons-sur-Marne to this day bear the name of 'La Haute Mère de Dieu'?

I have already said that the miners of Anzin have been practically
enjoying all the advantages of co-operation, while the 'true
Republicans' of M. Doumer have been 'studying' and going to sleep over
that 'beautiful and generous idea.' As a matter of fact, the
'Co-operative Society of the Anzin Miners,' now known in commerce as
'Léon Lemaire et Cie of Anzin,' was founded, I find, even before the
Co-operative Association of the Glass-workers at St.-Gobain.

It was organised in 1865, two years before the passage of the Imperial
law affecting co-operation.

M. Casimir Périer, a son of the Minister of Louis Philippe, and the
father of the present Republican deputy of the same name, was then a
director of the Anzin Company. He had seen what M. Doumer fantastically
imagines to be the purely French and republican 'idea' of co-operation
carried out in England, the 'beautiful and generous idea,' as even every
French schoolboy ought to know, being of English and not of French
origin.

M. Périer had been particularly struck by the great success of the
Rochdale experiment--an experiment begun and carried out, as Mr.
Holyoake has set forth at length, by weavers, who, being nearly at the
end of their tether, and worn out with distress, had associated
themselves into a company under the name of the 'Equitable Pioneers of
Rochdale.' He looked thoroughly into the history of this experiment, and
having convinced himself that the 'beautiful and generous' idea might
bear as good fruit at Anzin as at Rochdale, he went to work in earnest,
got the society organised, accepted the honorary chairmanship of it, and
set it on its feet on February 21, 1865. M. Cochin took the same matter
up at St.-Gobain, and in 1867 the Imperial law, about which M. Doumer
and his 'true Republicans' have been cackling and dabbling for ten
consecutive years, was enacted, and the co-operative associations became
legally constituted bodies. The statutes which now govern the Anzin
Association were adopted on December 8, 1867, and the Association was
formally launched.

The authorities at first could not be made to understand that a
co-operative association was not a mercantile speculation, and for some
time the Anzin Association was compelled to pay a regular fee for a
licence, or 'patent,' as it is called in France. This exaction, however,
was long ago given up.

Under the original statutes the profits derived from the sale to the
members of the Association, and to them only (a rule never departed
from), of all the goods purchased by the Association, were to be divided
into a hundred parts. Of these, seventy parts were to be distributed at
the end of each year to the members, proportionally to the sales and
deliveries made to each of them. Twenty parts were to be set aside for a
reserve fund; and the remaining ten parts were to be used by the
governing committee chiefly in paying the salaries of the manager and
employees of the Association.

Such was the success from the outset of the Anzin experiment that within
six years, at a general meeting held on April 24, 1872, the Association
adopted a resolution suspending the payment over into the reserve fund
of the twenty parts of the profits set aside to be so paid, and ordering
these twenty parts also to be paid over to the members semi-annually.
The reserve fund had already reached proportions which made it
unnecessary and even undesirable to increase it.

The Association was originally constituted for a term of twenty years,
from December 10, 1867. At a general meeting held on March 27, 1887, its
life was prolonged for another twenty years, or to December 10, 1907.

It might edify M. Doumer as to the nationality of the 'beautiful and
generous' idea which his 'true Republicans' find it so difficult to
'study,' if he would take the trouble to visit this Anzin region. He
would find the establishments of the Association currently known by the
English name of 'stores.' I found one of them flourishing in every
commune which I visited in the vicinity of Anzin; at St.-Waast, where
the experiment was first made, at Denain, where during the past year it
has been found necessary to establish two stores instead of one--at
Anzin, at Fresnes, at Thiers, at Abscon, at Vieux-Condé! The
Association, indeed, which began in 1865 with fifty-one members and a
subscribed capital of 2,150 francs, now conducts no fewer than fifteen
'stores,' and now consists of no fewer than 3,118 families.

The capital of the Association, originally fixed at 30,000 francs, in
600 shares of fifty francs each, was increased by a vote of a general
meeting in April 1882 to 250,000 francs. The 'firm-name' is now 'Lemaire
and Company,' the present manager being M. Léon Lemaire, who can use
this 'firm-name' only for the affairs of the Association. The manager
(or _gérant_) is elected at a general meeting to serve for three years,
but he is always re-eligible. His salary is fixed by the governing
committee, and the amount of it is charged to the general expenses. The
governing committee has power also to present the manager, if it thinks
proper, with a certain sum each year taken from the ten parts of the
profits which are set apart by the statutes of the Association to be
used for such purposes by the Committee. All the persons employed by the
Association in various capacities are taken, as far as is found
compatible with the interests of the business, from among the families
of the members. This is particularly the case with regard to the young
girls, of whom forty-eight are now employed in the different drapery and
mercery stores, and an excellent practice has been adopted of calling in
a certain number of girls when there is a special pressure of business
to serve for a short period, these girls being regularly registered, and
thus constituting a sort of reserve corps, from which the permanent
employees are taken as vacancies are made.

The operations of the Association cover all manner of commodities
excepting butcher's meat, it having been found that there are
insuperable difficulties in the way of dealing in butcher's meat over so
wide an area. These difficulties do not exist in the case of what the
French call _charcuterie_. A central pork butchery has been established
just outside the _octroi_ at Anzin, and the business done in that line
now averages about 30,000 kilogrammes a year, the difference per
kilogramme between the buying and the selling prices averaging about
eighteen francs. It is the iron rule of the Association never to sell at
a figure beyond the average ruling retail prices in the shops, it being
quite clear that if it should now and then be necessary, in order to
cover the Association, to sell at prices equivalent with the shop
prices, the members would still have a real advantage in the eventual
distribution of the profits.

It is impossible to examine the statutes, and the rules adopted under
them, without being struck by the precision, clearness, and efficiency
of the methods prescribed to keep the accountability of all the
different agents of the Association within easily definable limits, and
to simplify, in the final adjustment, the necessarily complicated
accounts of so many stores dealing with customers many of whom must,
from the force of circumstances, be allowed a credit of a fortnight as
cash. The proof of all such methods, of course, is the net result. In
the case of the Co-operative Association of Anzin this proof is
conclusive in favour both of the methods and of the men by whom they
have for now more than twenty years been administered.

The operations of the Association for the first semester of its
existence closed on February 22, 1866, with sales amounting to 71,020
fr. 10 c., and with the payment to the members of an 8 per cent.
dividend, amounting in all to 8,228 francs. From that day to this, the
semi-annual dividend has never fallen below eight per cent., excepting
for the half-year ending August 22, 1868, when it was declared at 7-1/2
per cent. By August 1872 it readied 12 per cent. and stood there for
three semesters. It then fell to 10 per cent., and stood there from
February 28, 1874, to August 28, 1878, when it rose to 11. By August 31,
1879, it rose to 12, and by February 29, 1884, to 13 per cent., at which
figure it has stood ever since down to February 28, 1889, with two
exceptions--August 31, 1884, when it rose to 14, and February 28, 1887,
when it fell to 12-1/4.

The total amount of sales made to the members between February 1866 and
February 1889 was 38,864,999 francs; and the total amount of dividends
paid to the members during that period has been 4,585,557 fr. 69 c.,
showing an average dividend during these twenty-three years of
11.80 per cent.

It appears to me that this is a very good account rendered of a very
good stewardship, and involves, for the workmen interested, a number of
useful practical lessons on the true relations of capital to labour,
including the relations of their own capital to their own labour. There
are now about 800 Co-operative Associations of Consumers in France; but
the Anzin Association is by far the most important of them all. As the
existing associations are estimated to consist on an average of 550
members each, we have 440,000 heads of families, and a total presumable
population, therefore, of not far from 2,000,000, more or less
successfully availing themselves of the co-operative principle in
France. The net profits vary greatly in the returns of these
associations, from 1 to 14 per cent. The Co-operative Coal Association
of Roubaix shows a net profit of 21 per cent., and the Co-operative
Bakery of the same busy and thriving city a profit of 23 per cent. But
the Anzin Association not only covers more ground than any of the rest:
it covers it in a more equably satisfactory fashion. During the past
year, on an employed capital of 156,150 francs, it made sales amounting
to 2,303,836 francs, with a gross profit of 450,497 fr. 61 c., and a net
profit of 310,106 fr. 30 c. Each man had spent an average of 738 fr. 28
c., and received a net profit of 99 fr. 45 c. In other words, every
holder of a 50 franc share paid for his share out of a single year's net
profit, and pocketed 49 francs to boot!

As indicating the scale of comfort attained in their daily life by these
miners and their families, it is of interest to glance over the
schedule of the goods and commodities supplied by these co-operative
stores, it being premised that the stores do not keep or sell what are
regarded as 'articles of luxury,' so that in these schedules we have the
present scale of the necessaries and comforts of ordinary life among the
more industrious and thrifty of the French working-classes. That even in
the seventeenth century the French artisans, and the more prosperous of
the French peasants, lived much more comfortably than one would infer
from the pictures usually painted even by such historians as Michelet,
who, with all his theories and all his imagination, took more trouble
than M. Thiers to keep within hailing distance of the facts, would seem
to be shown by the inventories and the wills of artisans and peasants
disinterred during the last quarter of a century from the local archives
of Troyes and other important towns.

Here, in the Anzin district, to-day, we find these co-operative stores
supplying to 3,000 families of the working-class 12,000 metrical
quintals or bales of the finest quality of wheat flour, 3,000 of these
going to the houses of the members, and 9,000 to the bakery of the
Association, which turns out, on an average, 1,100 loaves, of 3 kilos
each, per day. With this bread the members take from the stores annually
110,000 kilos of the best butter, 50,000 kilos of coffee, 37,000 kilos
of chicory, 4,000 kilos of chocolate, 13,000 Marolles cheeses from the
land of Brétigny--where Edward III. was scared by a tremendous
thunderstorm, which made him 'think of the day of judgment,' into giving
peace to France and liberty to her captive king--200,000 kilos of
potatoes, 6,000 kilos of prunes d'Enté, 11,000 kilos of rice, 15,000
bottles of wine, 12,000 bottles of vinegar, 33,000 bottles of spirits of
various sorts, 45,000 kilos of salt, 6,000 boxes of sardines, 100,000
kilos of maize and corn, 34,000 kilos of bran, 90,000 kilos of sugar,
20,000 kilos of beans, 30,000 kilos of ham, sausages, and other products
of the pork-butchery. That butcher's meat, which, for the reasons I have
mentioned, the stores cannot supply, plays a large proportional part in
the obviously good dietary of these families, may, I think, be inferred
from the fact that the stores annually dispose of 10,000 pots of the
best French mustard, and of 1,000 kilos of white pepper. Vegetables and
fruits are supplied in abundance by the country, and in many cases by
the allotments of the workmen themselves, while beer, as I have said, is
everywhere abundant and cheap.

That the miners and working-people of Anzin are well lodged and well fed
may be considered to be beyond a doubt. Let us now see what they do in
the way of clothing themselves, and of furnishing their houses.

They buy from the stores annually 30,000 francs'-worth of kitchen and
household utensils, which are both well made and cheap in all this part
of France, 600 kilos of mattrass wool, 4,400 yards of sheeting, 500 wool
and cotton blankets and bedspreads, 9,000 towels, 44,000 pairs of
sabots, 10,000 pairs of shoes, 4,600 caps and hats, 2,200 pairs of
stockings, 3,700 shirts and 6,000 mètres of shirting, 17,000 mètres of
_piqué_, 2,000 undervests and 2,000 mètres of flannel, 6,000
handkerchiefs, 52,000 mètres of linen goods, 17,000 mètres of lustrines;
7,200 mètres of merinos, 7,000 mètres of muslins, 14,000 mètres of
_Indiennes_, 57,000 francs'-worth of mercers' wares, 24,000 mètres of
calicoes, and, finally, 3,100 yards of velvet. When we remember that
this is the annual outlay for keeping up the household wardrobe, not the
original outlay in establishing it, it seems to me that the workpeople
of Anzin ought to be, and indeed one need only walk and drive about the
region to see that they are, at least as well clothed as they are housed
and fed.

Umbrellas even have come to be regarded as 'necessities' here, and the
stores annually supply 1,300 of these useful but essentially fugitive
articles. The men are clothed by their village tailors and bootmakers
chiefly, so that the masculine wardrobe is represented in the accounts
of the stores less extensively than the feminine. But the Anzin miners
nevertheless annually invest in scarves and cravats to the number of
more than 4,000. Each man on going into the employ of the company
receives, as I have said, a complete mining outfit, the cost of which is
not defrayed out of his wages. But the miners annually buy, on an
average, 500 new mining-suits for themselves.

Tables, chairs, bedsteads, bureaux, well made and often handsome, are to
be had in all these communes at very low prices; and I went into no
house in any of them which did not seem to me well equipped in these
particulars. Engravings, coloured and plain and lithographs, are to be
found in them all, and though the people are obviously not much addicted
to literature, I found in one miner's house at Thiers quite a collection
of books, and most of them good, sensible, and instructive books,
installed in an upper chamber, in which the housewife said, her 'man'
liked to sit and read when it was too hot out of doors in the garden.

This good dame, by the way, was of the opinion that 'the house gives you
the character of the wife,' and that 'the conduct of the husband depends
upon the character of the wife.' Her own 'man' was evidently an
excellent and orderly person, so I considered it a legitimate compliment
to assure her that I entirely agreed with her.

I hope, for the future of France, that she may be right. For there seems
to be a tendency here, as there certainly is in other parts of France,
to insist on sending their girls to the religious schools, even when
they allow their boys to attend the lay schools, where they are exposed
to having the 'true Republican' deputies and functionaries of the time
get up--as M. Doumer did the other day, at the opening of a new lay
school in the Aisne--and propound the doctrine that 'morals have nothing
to do with religion.'

The lay schools are attended, for example, in Anjou by 22,451 boys, and
only 3,562 girls: while the free congreganist schools are attended by
25,360 girls, and only 5,232 boys.

Adding the number together, this gives us a total of 30,592 children in
the religious, as against 26,013 in the anti-religious or irreligious
schools of one province.

If my good housewife at Thiers is right as to the influence of the
character of the women in France upon the conduct of the men, there is
hope in these figures, which I am assured pretty fairly represent the
state of things in Flanders as well as in Anjou, with the difference
that the proportion of boys attending the religious schools is probably
larger in Flanders than in Anjou. M. Doumer's doctrine that 'morals
should be taught independently of religion' certainly did not commend
itself to all his constituents. The _Journal de St.-Quentin_, commenting
upon it, plainly said, 'The verdicts of our assize courts show us every
day the result of the atheistic instructions recommended by M. Doumer
and the rest of the Masonic Brothers. The truth simply is that if some
remedy be not soon found for the situation created by these people, who
are as stupid as they are mischievous, in a few years we shall be
obliged either to decuple the gendarmerie, or to allow every citizen to
go about armed with a revolver, in order to protect himself against our
much too liberally emancipated young scolos!'

Curiously enough this voice from St.-Quentin in France substantially
echoes another voice from another St. Quentin in California--the seat of
the State Penitentiary in that young and active and opulent American
commonwealth. In California the plan of giving instruction in morality,
independently of religion, has been tried much longer than in France,
and certainly in circumstances much more favourable to its success. The
result, as set forth in an Official Report of the resident director,
cited by Mr. Montgomery, ex-assistant Attorney-General of the United
States, in his treatise on 'The School Question,' is that, while the
illiterate convicts in the California penitentiary, at the date of the
report, numbered 112, against 985 who could read and write, '_among the
younger convicts they could all read and write_'.

I have already spoken of many of the advantages offered by the Anzin
Company to its workmen and miners, as amounting really to a kind of
participation in the profits of the company. This, I think, must be
admitted to be clearly the case with regard to certain regulations
affecting workmen's pensions, established here by the governing council
of the company in December 1886.

These regulations are to affect workmen who contribute to what is known
as the 'National Retiring Fund for Old Age.' This fund was established
originally in 1850 under the presidency of Louis Napoleon. It was
re-organised by a law passed in July 1886, and by a decree issued in
December 1886. It is under the guarantee of the State, and is
administered by a committee co-operating with the Ministry of Commerce.
Its object is to enable working-men and others to secure annuities up
to the amount of 1,200 francs a year, at or after the age of fifty, by
the payment of small regular assessments on their wages. The smallest
sums are received by the fund, which of course is managed on principles
not unlike those of the great life insurance companies. A running
account is kept with the treasury to meet the current expenses of the
fund, but all the rest of the money received by it is invested in the
French public funds, or in securities guaranteed by the State. No part
of the compound interest received by the fund is deducted to meet the
expenses of administration. It all goes to the account of the
depositors, the current expenses being met by the Deposit Fund, which
manages the Retiring Fund. If at any time before that fixed for his
enjoyment of the retiring pension, the depositor should be made
incapable of work by some illness or accident, he is at once put into
possession, without awaiting the age fixed in the original agreement, of
a pension or annuity proportioned to the amount of his actual payments
and to his age at the time when the incapacity is medically and legally
established.

Every year a certain amount is voted by the Chamber as a subvention to
this fund, and out of this annual appropriation these 'premature
pensions' may be increased by the committee in charge of the fund. This
is a sort of practical State socialism beyond a doubt. But it is at
least as respectable as the expenditure made in this year's budget of
6,500,000 francs, or about one fifth of the whole amount of the French
naval pension list, on annuities of indemnification 'to the victims of
the _coup d'état_ of 1851,' the _coup d'état_ of 1851 having been simply
a collision between the Legislature of that year, trying to suppress the
Executive, with the Executive trying to suppress the Legislature, with
the result that the Executive carried the day, and that the French
people, by an overwhelming majority, approved the victory of the
Executive.

Why the socialistic principles at the bottom of the National Retiring
Fund for workmen should not be extended to others than working-men it is
not easy to see. The French pension-list is now very heavy. It figures
in this year's budget at nearly a hundred millions of francs, exclusive
of the military and naval pensions, which amount to about one hundred
and twenty-five millions more, and without counting the _débits de
tabac_, which are in fact a kind of pensions used freely by deputies and
other functionaries of influence to reward services of all sorts. Of
these about two hundred were given away in 1888, the list filling five
pages of the huge reports of the Finance Ministry.

The National Retiring Fund for Old Age is managed by a high committee of
sixteen, which must include two deputies, two state councillors, two
presidents of mutual aid societies, and one manufacturer. Workmen who
choose to avail themselves of the fund may break off and renew their
payments into it as they like, and increase or diminish the amount of
their annual deposits without affecting by any interruption the value of
their previously acquired interest in the fund. Deposits may be made in
the name of any person at or after the age of three years, so that a
father may in this way, if he likes, form a small property for his
children. The authorisation of the father, however, is not required to
validate deposits made in the name or for the benefit of a child, unless
these deposits are made by the children themselves, in which case they
merely show the authority of their parents as guardians until they have
attained the age of sixteen. Married women may make deposits
independently of their husbands, but unless these deposits are gifts to
them, they are held to be equally the property of the husband and wife
where these are not legally separated. In case of the absence either of
the husband or of the wife for more than a year, a justice of the peace
may authorise the deposit of money to the exclusive benefit of the
partner on the spot. Deposits of one franc are received from one person,
but in no case can one person deposit more than one thousand francs a
year. The capital deposited may be alienated to the fund or reserved. In
the latter case the capital may be returned, but without interest, to
the representatives of the depositor in case of death. Any reserved
capital may be alienated for the purpose of increasing the income at a
certain age, to be named by the depositor when he signs the alienation.

The pension incomes are guaranteed by the State. They become payable at
any full year of age selected by the depositor between fifty and
sixty-five years. After sixty-five the pension-income is paid to the
depositor from and after the first quarter-day following the deposit. Up
to 360 francs the pension-incomes are not liable to be seized for debt.
If they accrue from a capital presented to the depositor the donor may
have them declared unsellable to their full amount.

Funds deposited in the National Sayings Bank may be transferred in
whole, or in part, to the National Retiring Fund for Old Age.

Under the conditions of this fund an annual alienated deposit of 10
francs, begun at the age of thirty years, will secure the depositor at
fifty an annuity of 28 fr. 62 c., at fifty-five of 47 fr. 89 c., at
sixty of 81 fr. 43 c., and at sixty-five of 145 fr. 97 c.

The regulations adopted by the Anzin Council in 1886 are intended to
duplicate the results of this system of the National Retiring Fund for
the benefit of any workman who chooses to make himself a depositor in
the National Fund to the amount of 1-1/2 per cent. of his annual wages.

Suppose, for example, a miner earning 1,500 francs a year chooses to
deposit in the National Retiring Fund 22 fr. 50 c. a year. Upon
verification of this the Anzin Company will pay into the same fund for
him annually an equal sum. This would give the miner who began his
deposit of 22 fr. 50 c. a year at the age of thirty, a pension-income at
the age of fifty of 128 fr. 74 c., or just about the pension-income
which he would draw at the age of sixty-five from the National Fund if
he began a payment of 10 francs a year into that fund at the age of
thirty-two. A miner who began his annual deposit of 22 fr. 50 c. in the
National Fund at the age of twenty-one, taking advantage then of the
regulations of the Anzin Council, would enjoy at fifty a pension-income
of very nearly 250 francs a year.

Under the Anzin regulations, the two payments made by and for the
workmen concerned are inscribed in an individual bank-book which becomes
his property. The sums paid in by the company are alienated, and to the
exclusive advantage of the workman, while he is left at liberty to
alienate or reserve his own payments. If he is married, of course his
personal payments are held to be made one-half for the benefit of his
wife.

In the case of subterranean miners, the company will begin to carry out
this system as soon as they enter its service, and without regard to
their nationality. In the case of the surface workmen, they must be
eighteen years of age, and must have been in the service of the company
for at least three years without interruption. The reasons for the
difference are obvious.

The payments of the company cease at fifty years, but the workman is
not obliged to draw his pension-income then, as by continuing his
personal payments he can put it off, thereby increasing it until he
attains the age of 55, 60, or 65.

To meet the case of miners drawn into the army, the company, as long as
the miner so drawn and returning to its service shall remain in its
service, will pay in fractions, and within a period equal to that of his
military service, into the National Fund for his benefit a sum equal to
the percentage he would himself have paid into the National Fund upon
his wages, calculating them as being the same during the period of his
military service that they would have been had he remained there at work
in the mine.

In the case of a workman who falls ill or is injured, the company, if he
is a member of a mutual aid society, which will make his personal
percentage payments for him, will pay itself an equal sum during his
illness or incapacity for at least one calendar year. After that each
case must be separately dealt with.

Furthermore, and in addition to these general conditions, the company
will grant to workmen long in its service, who shall have made their
regular payments to the National Retiring Fund under these regulations,
when they give up work, supplementary pensions calculated at the rate of
3 francs a year for fifteen years of service for the miners, and of 1
fr. 50 c. a year for fifteen years for the surface workmen. These
supplementary pensions are doubled for married workmen, so that they may
amount to 90 francs a year for miners, and to 45 francs a year for
surface workmen.

On the whole, I think the miners of Anzin knew what they were about when
they stood aloof from the 'strike' in the Pas-de-Calais. To do this was
to aid the 'strikers' themselves much more effectually than by joining
in the strike. For surely the spectacle of such an orderly prosperity as
exists at Anzin, the result of equitable relations maintained for years
between Capital and Labour, is the strongest possible argument in
support of the reasonable demands of Labour. But what are the reasonable
demands of Labour?

It appeared from an inquiry made by the 'Society of Mineral Industries'
after the great strike of 1883, that, out of ten coal-producing
companies in the North of France which maintained Assistance Funds for
the miners, the Anzin Company alone did this entirely at the expense of
the company. The nine other companies reported a joint revenue of
821,133 francs in 1882 for these Assistance Funds, of which amount the
workmen furnished 603,097 francs. The outlay for 1882 exceeded the
revenues and amounted to 849,839 fr. 49 c. But, in addition to the
603,097 francs furnished by the workmen to these funds, the nine
companies in question expended themselves, in pensions, medical service,
school subventions, free fuel, hospitals and other contributions to the
welfare of these 32,849 miners and workmen, no less than 2,942,694 fr.
91 c. So that while the workmen expended on an average 3 per cent. of
their wages in maintaining Assistance Funds, these nine companies
(excluding Anzin, where no demand was made on the workmen) expended for
the benefit of the workmen and their families an amount equal to 9 per
cent. of the wages paid by them, and to 24 per cent. of the interest and
dividends paid to the stockholders. On the average the companies thus
spent about 50 c. for every ton of coal extracted.

Could labour reasonably demand more than this of capital?

Under the leadership of deputies like MM. Basly and Camélinet, backed
by the revolutionary press of Paris, the miners in another part of
France, at Decazeville, went on 'strike' in January 1888. They began by
brutally murdering M. Watrin, one of the best managers in the country.
They kept the whole region idle and in terror for three months and a
half. They inflicted great loss on the company and disturbed all the
industries of France. They themselves lost 630,427 francs of wages. The
company finally granted an increase of wages representing only 1-1/2 per
cent. of the wages sacrificed by the strike. The Municipal Council of
Paris, which had fomented the strike, magnificently gave the miners
10,000 francs of money which did not belong to them. All the Radical
press together subscribed 70,000 more. The Decazeville charities gave
2,231! And the next year all the miners testified that they had been
quite content with the wages before the strike, and gave a banquet to
the chief engineer!



CHAPTER XII

IN THE NORD--_continued_


  LILLE

Thanks to Louis XIV., French Flanders became politically French more
than two centuries ago. But it still remains essentially Flemish. The
land has a life and a language of its own, like Brittany or Alsace. The
French Fleming is rarely as haughty in his assertion of his nationality
as the French Breton; but when a _Monsieur de Paris_, or any other outer
barbarian, comes upon a genuine _Flamand flamingant_, there is no more
to be made of him than of a _Breton bretonnant_, standing calmly at bay
in a furrow of his field, or of the bride of Peter Wilkins enveloped in
her graundee.

Even in the great and busy cities of Lille and Roubaix, the Flemish
tongue holds its own against the French with astonishing pertinacity.
But if French Flanders is still more Flemish than French, the Flemings,
I believe, are very good Frenchmen, just as I imagine the most
enthusiastic Welshmen of Mr. Gladstone's beloved little principality,
would be, after all, found, at a pinch, to be very good Englishmen.

Architecturally, their ancient Flemish capital, Lille, now the chief
town of the great Department of the Nord, is decidedly more French than
Flemish.

The seven sieges it has sustained have left it quite bare of great
historic monuments, and during the past thirty years millions of francs
have been spent upon its streets, squares, and boulevards, with the
result of giving it the commonplace and comfortable look of a growing
quarter of Paris. Its famous old walls have been improved off the face
of the earth; and I am glad to say that few if any of the noisome
cellars seem still to exist in which, when I first knew the place, not
so very long ago, thousands of its industrious working people used to
dwell like troglodytes.

Marlborough's cannon spared the fine seventeenth-century Spanish Lonja,
and there are traces still to be discerned about the modernised mairie
of the ancient palace of Jean Sans Peur and Charles the Fifth. But there
is no Flemish building here comparable with the Hôtel de Ville and the
Beffroi of Douai. Of old Flemish customs and traditions, however, there
is no lack in Lille, and I came upon a curious proof of the vitality of
its local patriotism. This was the regular publication, in the most
widely circulated morning newspaper, of a series of carefully prepared
articles on the archæology and antiquities, the legends and the archives
of the old Flemish capital. One of the editors of this journal showed me
in his office a collection of these articles, reprinted from the
newspaper, and now filling some twenty volumes.

I spent my first midsummer morning at Lille in the Musée which has been
installed in the Hôtel de Ville. The Wicar collection of drawings there,
I need hardly say, is of itself a 'liberal education' in art. During his
long residence at Rome in the Via del Vantaggio, the Chevalier
Jean-Baptiste Wicar wasted neither his time nor his money. What
treasures were then to be picked up by such a man--for Wicar died not
long after the Revolution of July 1830! Where he found his Masaccios,
Robert Browning told me that he knew; but where did he find that
incomparable bust in wax which charms with all the mystic feminine grace
and more than all the feminine beauty of the Mona Lisa? Possibly M.
Carolus Duran may be able to throw light upon this; for he was one of
the earliest beneficiaries who profited by the fund which the Chevalier
Wicar founded for the purpose, as he says in his will, of 'giving to
young men, natives of Lille, who devote themselves to the fine arts, the
means of sojourning at Rome for four years, under certain conditions.'

The Chevalier Wicar was a good Catholic, and he gave to his fund the
title of the 'pious foundation of Wicar.'

I suppose that under the Third Republic this monstrous recognition of an
unscientific emotion would have sufficed to vitiate the scheme, in which
case France would have lost the artistic achievements of M. Carolus
Duran.

The house in the Via del Vantaggio I believe still makes a part of the
'pious foundation,' and the municipality of Lille has very sensibly
added a yearly sum of 800 francs to the 1,600 francs allotted under the
will of the Chevalier Wicar to each beneficiary, together with a
travelling outfit of 300 francs.

Coming back from the Musée to breakfast in my very comfortable hotel
near the _gare_, I found there awaiting me M. Grimbert of Douai, who had
most obligingly come over to show me what the friends of religion and of
liberty are doing in Lille to prove that the religious sentiment is not
'dead' in this part of France, and that the Christians of French
Flanders do not intend to let their children be 'laicised' into the
likeness of M. Jules Ferry and M. Paul Bert, without an effort to
prevent it.

The Department of the Nord has long been conspicuous in France for the
number and the excellence of its educational institutions. The
statistics collected by M. Baudrillart show that it stands side by side,
in this respect, with the Department of the Seine. Of the 663 communes
which make up the Department of the Nord, only three in 1881 were
without a school. The department contains 1,680,784 inhabitants. Of
these, considerably more than one-third, or 680,951, live in the 17
cantons and 129 communes of the arrondissement of Lille, which includes
of course the city, and here we find 340 public schools, 1,038 classes
for instruction, and 116 free educational establishments. Over against
this organisation of education must be set a very notable development of
intemperance. I do not infer this from the extraordinary amount of
beer-drinking which goes on in the Nord, to the extent, according to M.
Baudrillart, of 220 bottles a year to every man, woman, and child in the
department, against 170 in the Ardennes and 153 in the Pas-de-Calais.
For, after all, it may be doubted whether habitual drunkenness is much
more common in beer-drinking than in wine-drinking countries; and there
can be no question, I think, that it is much less common in countries in
which wine is abundant and cheap, than in countries in which wine is an
imported luxury. But the consumption of alcoholic liquors is apparently
on the increase in this great department.

At the beginning of this century, long before Lille and Roubaix had
begun to draw into their factories such great numbers of the rural
population as now yearly throng into these prosperous cities, a prefect
of the department, M. Dieudonné, declared that it was not an unusual
thing to see workmen in Lille who worked only three days in the week and
spent the other four in drinking corn brandy and Hollands gin. At that
time the workpeople of the sister city of Roubaix had a much better
reputation, while of the rural populations of French Flanders Dr.
Villermé then affirmed, after a careful study of their habits, that
nothing was to be seen among them of the 'debauchery and the daily and
disgusting drunkenness prevalent in the large towns.'

Persons familiar with the rural aspects of the Nord assure me that this
can no longer be said with truth of the rural farm-labourers. It is,
probably, more true of the farmers and of their families than it was
fifty years ago, but it is, unfortunately, also less true than it then
was of the rural labourers. The number of small cabarets has quadrupled
during the last quarter of a century in the arrondissement of Douai
alone, which contains 6 cantons, 66 communes, and 131,278 inhabitants,
the majority of them occupied in agriculture; and, taking the whole
department, it appears that the consumption of spirits represents an
increase of 100 per cent. in the average consumption of pure alcohol in
the last forty years. It rose from 2.52 litres, in 1849, for every man,
woman, and child, to 4.65 litres, in 1869, and it is now estimated to
reach 6 litres, which would represent an annual consumption of about 16
bottles of brandy at 42 degrees, for every man, woman, and child in the
department. I did not happen to see any drunken women or children in the
department, but M. Jules Simon, in his work, _L'Ouvrière_, gives an
uncanny account of feminine drunkenness at Lille, where there are
special cabarets, it seems, for women. I believe no special estaminets
have yet been set up there for women addicted to tobacco, and, indeed, I
do not know that the civilisation of French Flanders has yet reached the
point of treating the question 'whether women ought to smoke' as a
practical question, worthy the grave attention of savants and
philosophers. Possibly, if England, like France, had enjoyed the
advantage of sixteen changes in her form of government, and of three
successful foreign invasions, during the past century, questions of this
sort might now subtend no greater an arc in England than they now
subtend in France. And it certainly ought to interest Englishmen to know
that the example of England is freely cited in Lille, Roubaix,
Tourcoing, and other centres of Flemish life and activity, to support
the 'noble and military' amusement of cock-fighting, to which the good
people of these regions are extraordinarily addicted. A law was passed
against this practice under the presidency of Prince Louis Napoleon in
1850, and many attempts have since been made to suppress it--but with
small success. A Republican prefect of the Nord, some years ago,
actually wrote to the President of the Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals that he would not hesitate to 'enforce the provisions
of the law against cock-fighting whenever the practice seemed to be
likely to become too general!' I do not know that I ever stumbled on a
more delightful recognition of the Eleventh Commandment of demagogism,
'_vox populi vox Dei_!' Naturally, with such encouragement as this, the
sport of late years has been assuming, I am told, a recognised place
among the amusements of the people. Fighting-cocks go into the arena as
champions of the towns in which their owners dwell; and if the feathered
Achilles of Roubaix does the feathered Hector of Tourcoing to death, the
spectators not unfrequently take up the quarrel, divide into two camps,
and have it out handsomely on the spot. These things I note because they
tend to show how difficult it is to develop an ideal civilisation in a
few years by the simple process of forbidding men to teach, or to
believe in, the existence of a Divine Ruler of the Universe.

For the same reason, and without unduly dwelling upon it, I may here
record the statement made to me by an editor of an influential journal
in Lille, that in no city in France has the evil of juvenile
prostitution taken such root as here. When I expressed my surprise at
this, the French law as to the _détournement de mineures_ being at least
as stringent as the English, he replied: 'How can you expect such a law
to be enforced under this Government?' and he then went on to show me in
an old file of his journal an account, now some years old, of the
adventures of a deputy from Versailles in the Palais Royal at Paris.
'Our Republicans,' he said, 'are firm believers in the great principle
of the solidarity of all the party with all the haps and mishaps of
every member of the party.'

A more confirmed pessimist, by the way, than this journalist I have not
seen in France. He was quite convinced that the Republicans would show a
majority in the seven circumscriptions or districts of Lille at the
elections in the autumn, and he criticised very severely the attitude of
the Catholics at Lille in regard to politics. 'They are excellent
people,' he said, 'but they think too much of the souls of the people
and not enough of their votes.'

I ventured to suggest that perhaps the picture which he had himself set
before me of the moral condition of the city of Lille, at least, might
be thought to afford some excuse for this preoccupation of the Catholics
with the spiritual rather than the political interests of the people.

But to this he would not listen for a moment.

'No, no!' he said; 'the first thing to be done for the souls of the
people is to get rid of these fellows at Paris! Are they not paganizing
the country? Here is this new law which is demoralising the army. Why do
they wish to force the seminarists into the service? Is it not avowedly
because they think this will stop the recruiting for the ranks of the
clergy? Why are they attacking the foundations of the magistracy? Is it
not because the French magistrates stand between them and the rights of
the French clergy as French citizens? How far off are we from a revival
of Danton's beautiful doctrine that, in order to consummate the
regeneration of society, all conditions imposed upon the eligibility of
citizens to act as judges ought to be immediately abolished, so that a
tinker, or a butcher, or a bootblack, or a chiffonnier might be made a
French magistrate just as well as a trained student of the laws? As you
know, one of the first things Danton, as Minister of Justice, did was to
carry through the Convention his famous decree making this doctrine law
in France!

'I am worn out,' he said, 'with trying to make our good people here
understand that they must go into the battle-field of politics and put
these fellows out of power at Paris if they mean to prevent France from
falling into absolute anarchy once more. I cannot make them move, and I
believe we shall be beaten in all the seven districts of Lille.'

I am glad to say the event proved that my pessimistic friend was by far
too pessimistic. Of the seven seats to which the arrondissement of Lille
is entitled, four were carried by the Monarchists--in two cases without
an attempt seriously to contest them; and if the seven candidates had
been voted for on a single list, that list would have been elected by
the arrondissement.

The Monarchists threw in the whole arrondissement 53,135 votes, the
Opportunist Republicans 31,019, the Radicals 9,191, and the Socialists
1,011. So that the Monarchists had a clear majority of 11,814 votes over
all the factions of the Republican party put together. In one district
of Lille, the 1st, the Boulangists threw 4,376 votes. If we put these
down, which we have no right to do, as Republican votes, the Monarchists
still show a clear majority of 7,438 in the whole arrondissement of
Lille, and, as I have said, if the representation of France by
arrondissements were really a representation by arrondissements and not
by circumscriptions, the seven hundred thousand people of this great and
prosperous department of North-Eastern France would now be represented
at Paris not by four Monarchists and three Republicans, but by seven
Monarchists. This may serve to show how exceedingly unsafe it is to
assume that the nominal party complexion of the majority in a Chamber
elected as the present French Chamber has been really gives foreign
observers anything like an accurate notion of the state of public
opinion and the drift of popular feeling in France at this time.

A friend to whom I am indebted for an analysis made with great care of
the electoral results, not in this very important department alone, but
throughout France, points out to me the exceedingly significant
difference between the majorities given to the Monarchists and to the
Republican deputies. In the 4th District of Lille, for example, M. des
Rotours, the Monarchist candidate, received 10,555 votes, being the
largest poll by far given to any candidate in the whole arrondissement,
and not one vote was thrown against him. In the 6th District the
Republican candidate was declared to be elected by no more than 199
majority in a total poll of 14,833 votes. In the 3rd District the
Monarchist was elected by a majority of 1,441 votes, in a total poll of
16,081 votes. In the 5th District the Republican was returned by a
majority of 281 votes in a total poll of 15,321 votes. In the 7th
District the Monarchist was returned by a majority of 237 in a total
poll of 14,463 votes. In the 1st District of Hazebrouck the Monarchist
was returned by a majority of 6,861, in a total poll of 11,129 votes,
and in the 2nd District of Hazebrouck by a majority of 5,269 in a total
poll of 10,291!

Hazebrouck is an essentially Flemish town of some 10,000 inhabitants,
and the arrondissement, which comprises 7 cantons and 53 communes,
contains 112,921 inhabitants, is absolutely Flemish. The early
sixteenth-century church of St.-Nicholas at Hazebrouck, with its lofty
and graceful spire, was begun about the time of the first voyage of
Columbus, and is one of the most beautiful extant Flemish buildings of
that time. The people of this arrondissement and their neighbours in the
arrondissement of Dunkirk were almost as famous before 1789 as the Dutch
for their skill as florists and their success in developing all manner
of eccentric varieties of roses, tulips, primroses, and pinks. I do not
know that they ever managed to produce a blue rose, but they came very
near it, and at the present time their rich and level country is gay
with cottage gardens. They are given to sociability also, for the
arrondissement possesses, I am told, at least one cabaret for every 70
inhabitants. But then the cabarets in the department at large average 1
to every 61 inhabitants, and in the thoroughly agricultural
arrondissement of Avesnes they number 1 for every 38 inhabitants. In the
arrondissement of Avesnes, a property of from five to twenty hectares is
called a small farm. In the arrondissement of Hazebrouck, a farmer
cultivating from six to fifty hectares passes for an agriculturist of
the middle class. The people are prosperous, and their hostility to the
Republic seems to have its origin chiefly in the intolerance and
extravagance of the Government. This is the case too, apparently, with
their neighbours in the arrondissement of Dunkirk. The 1st District of
Dunkirk elected a Boulangist Revisionist by a solid vote of 7,821
against 4,806 votes, given not to a Government Republican but to a
Radical, while the 2nd District of Dunkirk elected a Monarchist by a
majority of 5,036 votes in a poll of 11,168.

In the face of such figures as these it seems to me that the friends of
religion and of liberty in the Department of the Nord hardly merit the
reproach put upon them by my pessimistic journalist at Lille of
lukewarmness in the political battle of 1889.

Neither he nor any one can well accuse them of lukewarmness in any other
matter affecting the interests either of religion or of liberty. And I
cannot help hoping that my Northern pessimist may perhaps have
over-estimated the prevalence of juvenile prostitution in Lille as much
as he certainly underestimated the devotion of the Monarchists of Lille
to their political flag. His gloomy prognostications as to the issue at
the polls were probably enough inspired by his thorough knowledge of the
extraordinary preparations made by the authorities for manipulating the
returns. On this point he gave me some particulars which appear to be
borne out by subsequent events. It is curious for example to learn from
the analytical table to which I have already referred in connection with
the elections at Lille, that of the 164 Government candidates returned
as elected at the first balloting of September 23, 87 were returned as
elected by majorities of less than 1,000 votes, while of the 147
Monarchists returned as elected on the same day, only 48 were returned
as elected by majorities of less than 1,000 votes. Of the 164
Republicans, 20, or about one in eight, were returned as elected by
majorities of less than 200 votes; while of the 147 Monarchists, only
11, or about one in thirteen, were returned as elected by similar
majorities. When we remember that the machinery of these elections was
absolutely controlled by the prefects under instructions from M.
Constans, the Minister of the Interior, which were not made public,
this circumstance is certainly very significant. Some of the details
sent me by my analytical correspondent make it still more significant.
In the 2nd District of St.-Nazaire, for example, the Monarchist
candidate was elected without a competitor, receiving 16,084 votes. In
the 1st District of St.-Nazaire the Government candidate was returned by
a majority of no more than 6 votes, the returns giving him 8,458 votes
to 8,452 for his Monarchist opponent. This margin is almost as
suggestive as the majority of 9 votes by which M. Razimbaud, a
Government candidate for the district of St.-Pars, in the Department of
the Hérault, was declared three days after the balloting of October 6 to
have been returned over his Monarchist opponent, the Baron André Reille.
In this same Department of the Hérault, the Prefect and the
Councillors-General returned M. Ménard-Dorian, the Government candidate,
as elected, at Lodève, over M. Leroy-Beaulieu, the distinguished
political economist, by a majority of 67 votes. In this case it seems a
certain number of votes thrown in one commune for both candidates were
set aside, to be annulled for informality. When the returns went up to
the Council for revision, the informal votes cast for M. Leroy-Beaulieu
were declared invalid, the informal votes cast for M. Ménard-Dorian were
declared good and valid, and M. Ménard-Dorian was proclaimed to have
been elected. The Committee of the Chamber reported against the seating
of M. Ménard-Dorian, and tried to have this report accepted, but as I
write the Chamber has not accepted it, and the odds are that M.
Leroy-Beaulieu, who, though a Moderate Republican, has made himself
obnoxious to the Government by telling the truth about the financial
condition of France, will be kept out of the seat which it is tolerably
plain that he was elected to fill.

It is difficult for an Englishman, even for an American, to understand
the cynical coolness with which things of this sort are done in the
French Republic of the present time, and not very easy to understand the
apathetic way in which, when done, they are accepted by the French
public. There seems to be little doubt that in England of late years
ballot-boxes have been 'stuffed' only by the stupidity of the voters,
and not by the ingenious rascality of the political managers. I wish I
could with an easy conscience say the same thing of my own country. But
even in the United States deliberate tampering with the returns of a
political election has not, I think, been practised since the evil days
of Reconstruction at the South with the calm disregard of appearances
shown by the Government managers during the legislative contest of this
year, 1889, in France; and certainly there has been nothing known in the
Congress of the United States, since the days of Reconstruction, at all
comparable with the systematic invalidation by the majority in the
French Chamber of the elections of troublesome members since it
assembled on November 12. In the cases of General Boulanger and of M.
Naquet, the latter of whom resigned his seat in the Senate to stand as a
Boulangist candidate for the Chamber, this invalidation was carried out
openly as a party measure and precisely in the spirit of the famous or
infamous resolution which Robespierre made the 'Section of the Pikes'
adopt, to the effect that the electors of Paris must be protected
against their own incapacity to choose 'true patriots' by having the
'true patriots' chosen for them. If this be one of the 'principles of
1789,' it must be admitted that the Third Republic is consistently and
courageously acting upon it. It has undoubted advantages, but it has a
tendency, perhaps, to put in question the value of what are commonly
called representative institutions. Strike out of the theory of
representative institutions the right divine of the people to choose the
wrong men, and what is left of it?

At the close of the election of September 22, 1889, in Paris, the major
of the 2nd or Clignancourt District of the eighteenth arrondissement of
the Department of the Seine declared that General Boulanger had received
7,816 votes out of 13,611 cast, and that he was therefore elected. Of
his competitors, one M. Joffrin, described as a 'Possibilist,' had
received 5,507 votes; M. Jules Roques, a Socialist, had received 359
votes, and for a citizen bearing the gloomy but respectable name of M.
Cercueil, or 'M. Coffin,' one vote had been cast. Obviously General
Boulanger was the man whom a majority of the voters of Clignancourt
desired to represent them. If General Boulanger for their own sake could
not be allowed to represent them, why not M. Cercueil? They certainly
did not choose M. Cercueil to represent them. But as certainly they did
not choose M. Joffrin to represent them.

What really happened? The Prefect of the Seine, on hearing the result at
Clignancourt, notified the Minister of the Interior, and orders were at
once given to correct this egregious error into which the voters of
Clignancourt had fallen as to what their true interest required. It was
probably found that an 'informality' had occurred in certain communes,
and that through this 2,494 votes must be annulled. News of this
discovery was instantly sent to the Parisian newspapers. As it was
supposed that they would give M. Joffrin a plurality of the votes to be
recognised, sundry newspapers actually printed the name of M. Joffrin at
the head of the list of candidates in the place usually accorded by a
really enlightened press to the elect of universal suffrage.
Unfortunately the official calculator is not of the blood of Bidder. It
was found at the last moment that enough votes had not been 'annulled'
to put M. Joffrin at the head of the poll, so that his name actually
appears in sundry Parisian morning papers of September 23, first indeed
in position, but over against it are recorded 5,500 votes, while the
name of General Boulanger comes second with 5,880 votes! Clearly an
awkwardness! In the _Journal des Débats_, which is a serious Republican
journal of character, the election of General Boulanger by 7,816 votes
was quietly announced, with a postscript to the effect that 'the
Prefecture of the Seine' gave a different result, 'arising from the
circumstance that in certain sections 2,494 votes bearing the name of
General Boulanger had been asserted to be null and void,' and that,
therefore, there would be a second election, or 'ballottage,' on October
6!

There could hardly be a more pregnant commentary than this upon the
candid admission made by the most respectable and influential Republican
journal in Paris, the _Temps_, on October 17, 1885, that these 'second
elections,' or 'ballottages,' are simply a device by which the Central
Government at Paris is enabled to 'correct' the errors perpetrated by
the voters of France at the elections which precede them. 'To learn the
true sentiments of the country,' said the _Temps_, 'we must consult the
elections of the 4th. On that day _universal suffrage was allowed_ to
choose freely between the opposing parties and policies. The vote of
to-morrow will not be as clear and precise, for it will be determined by
_tactical necessities and by all sorts of combinations_.'

Perfectly true! But, this being true, what becomes of 'popular
sovereignty' and of the divine quality of the rights derived from
universal suffrage as contrasted with rights derived from inheritance,
or, for that matter, with rights derived from a dice-box or the
shuffling of a pack of cards? Considering what the usual origin is of
'tactical necessities' in politics, and what forces determine political
'combinations of all sorts,' is it going too far to say that the odds,
so far as public interests are concerned, are in favour of the dice-box
or the pack of cards--provided the dice be not loaded or the cards
specially packed?

Some years ago, in my own country, a well-known Austrian dined with me
one night, just before he sailed for Europe after a tour in the United
States. We spoke of a public man just then filling a very responsible
position at Washington, to which he had been named after a severely
contested and very costly election. 'I thought him a very pleasant,
intelligent man,' said my Austrian guest, 'but it struck me that you
spend too much time and trouble and money on getting just such men into
such places. We get very much the same calibre of men for the same kind
of work much more economically and easily by the simple process of
marrying a prince to a princess.'

What I have seen and learned this year of the working of the electoral
machinery in France under the Third Republic inclines me, as I have
already said, to think that the Catholic children of light in Lille and
in French Flanders generally may be doing better work both for Religion
and for Liberty than my pessimistic journalist was disposed before the
elections to believe. If they had given more time and thought and money
to 'tactical necessities' and 'political combinations,' and less to the
social and spiritual interests of the land in which they live, the
results even of the elections might perhaps have been less satisfactory
to them. For, as I have shown, the strength of the Monarchist vote in
this region proved to be much greater than my pessimist thought it
would be; and the Republicans of the Third Republic did a deal of
canvassing for the Monarchists by making it very hard for men who love
religion and liberty to vote for Republican candidates.

Lord Beaconsfield's saying, that the world is governed by the people of
whom it hears the least, is certainly not less true of the Catholic
Church than it is of the world. The Catholic stock in French Flanders is
as vigorous and full of sap as in Belgium or in Holland. It is
interesting to hear educated people talking glibly in London or Paris
about the decay of the Christian religion in the same breath in which
they profess their unbounded admiration of the heroism of Father Damien.
It was through no act or wish of Father Damien that the world at large
came to know his name, or to take account of a work which was done not
to be seen of men. He was simply a Flemish Catholic, doing what he
believed to be the will of God.

Throughout the broad rich plains of the great Department of the Nord,
and in its crowded busy towns and cities, this Catholic faith is
everywhere to be seen and felt--to be felt rather than to be seen in its
fruits of charity, self-denial, and devout self-sacrifice.

Nowhere in France is public charity, I am told, so extensively and
efficiently organised, and the demands upon public charity are
exceptionally great. The department is very rich and very prosperous,
but it contains, like all frontier regions, a large floating population;
and one of the best-informed men I met in Lille, a large landed
proprietor in one of the wealthiest communes of the department, told me
that there are probably more families or tribes of hereditary mendicants
scattered over French Flanders than are to be found in any other French
province.

These are not nomads addicted to wandering off into other regions, but
rather a kind of Northern lazzaroni. They do a little work occasionally,
but as little and as seldom as possible. They are inveterate poachers,
and the more industrious of them are habitual smugglers. In their way of
prosecuting this industry, however, they show their fine natural
instinct for avoiding labour. The most profitable trade they drive is in
tobacco. This they get over the frontier from Belgium, and to get it
they train a certain breed of dogs. They tie parcels of tobacco around
the throats of these dogs, and then proceed to have the dogs well
thrashed by one of their number dressed in the Custom-house uniform. A
few lessons of this sort suffice to develop in the dogs a strong
association of ideas between the odour of tobacco and the thwacks of a
cudgel, and a dog well educated in this way may be trusted, after he has
got his cargo in Belgium, to reach his master's den unvisited by the
French _douane_. Baudrillart confirms this account. He puts the number
of habitual applicants, largely from this mendicant class, for public
relief in the department at from two hundred to two hundred and fifty
thousand a year. Out of the 662 communes in the department there were
only twenty in 1888 without a 'Bureau de Bienfaisance,' and the
department spends five millions of francs a year on its charities,
independently of nearly twice that amount expended upon hospitals,
asylums, dispensaries, and the like, by private benevolence. Under the
French law, private donors can found charities to be attached to the
public 'Bureau de Bienfaisance,' and administered by the public
officers, and one of the many evil effects of the war declared against
Catholic France by the Third Republic is that it affects such charities
very seriously.

Even under the Empire trouble came of the occasional division of one
commune into two or more communes, a question then arising as, for
example, in a famous case of the communes of St.-Joseph and St.-Martin
in the Loire, about the division between the poor of the two communes of
three hospital beds left to the 'Bureau de Bienfaisance' of the original
commune of St.-Martin. It was easier for the military saint himself to
divide his cloak with the shivering beggar than for the commune which
bore his name to divide three beds into two equal portions! At Lille,
two or three years ago, a lady, Mme. Austin Laurand, the widow of M.
Laurand, in accordance with her husband's will, gave 30,000 francs to
the 'Bureau de Bienfaisance' of the city, the income thereof to be
applied, under the supervision of three commissioners, to encouraging
habits of thrift among the apprentices of Lille. Two hundred bank-books
of five francs each are annually given to apprentices in the first two
years of their apprenticeship, and the rest of the income is to be given
in prizes each year to those of the bank-book holders who shall be shown
to have been the most careful and thrifty in managing the results of
their labour during the year.

A law passed in 1874, before the 'true Republicans' of Gambetta and
Ferry came into power, provides for a medical inspection and record of
newly-born children, and this law puts infants, whenever it may be found
necessary, under proper hygienic conditions. It has been nowhere so
energetically carried out as in the Nord. Of course, such a law as this
flies directly in the face of the great gospel of the 'survival of the
fittest.' But though that gospel was introduced to Paris on the stage as
one of the curiosities of the Centennial Exposition of 1889, it has made
little progress as yet in Catholic France. Even at the theatres in
Paris, I am glad to say, the popular instinct still regulates the
_queue_ on principles quite inconsistent with the Darwinian maxims of
'every man for himself,' and 'the devil take the hindmost.' It will be
an evil day for invalids and cripples bitten with the drama when the
'struggle for life' comes to be logically developed into the right of
the strongest men to get first to the ticket office!

Throughout the Department of the Nord, primary schools exist for the
children who are taken in charge at their birth by public benevolence,
and those to whom they are confided are obliged to see that the children
attend these schools from the age of six to the age of twelve years.

Under the influence of the Church acting upon the naturally sociable and
gregarious temperament of the Flemish race, mutual aid societies have
become very numerous of late years in the Nord. A hundred and fifty-two
such societies now exist in the arrondissement of Lille alone. These
numbered, in 1888, 7,249 honorary members and 35,270 paying members, and
their assets were stated at about 3,000,000 francs. Only 3,649 women,
however, were enrolled on their lists. Is this a confirmation, I wonder,
of the theory entertained by Mr. Emerson and other philosophers, that
woman is not a 'clubbable' animal?

Putting this aside, however, for the moment as a more or less 'academic'
question, it is of interest to note the very considerable development
during the last few years of the principle of association among the
working-men and producers of France, under the influence of the Church
and of Conservative public men like M. Welche, one of the
extra-parliamentary Ministers of the Marshal-Duke of Magenta, who did
good service here at Lille as Prefect of the Department of the Nord, and
who has made the French law of 1881 affecting 'professional
syndicates,' so useful throughout the agricultural world of France.

It is one of the organic statutes of the Society of 'Foreseers of the
Future,' or 'Prévoyants de l'Avenir,' that all political and religious
discussions are forbidden at the meetings of the society.'

This society was established at Paris on December 12, 1880. On February
23, 1881, it was authorised to act as a 'Civil Society,' by the Minister
of the Interior and the Prefect of Police. Its object is to 'ensure to
all its members who shall have co-operated in maintaining it for twenty
years, the first necessaries of life.' I shall not attempt here to go in
detail into the statutes and organisation of the society. Suffice it to
say that the statutes are brief, clear, and sensible, and that the
organisation appears to be eminently practical. The members, to the
number of whom no limit is set, the only indispensable condition being
that they shall be in good health and actively employed in some trade or
calling, pay an entrance fee of two francs, and a monthly due of one
franc. This monthly due must be paid in advance, and a fine of 25
centimes is imposed for every month in arrears. Each member receives a
book containing the statutes, which establishes his title to its
benefits, and for which he pays 50 centimes. Donations may be received,
and under the authority of the officers entertainments may be given, the
profits of which go to the general fund. Any respectable person, no
matter what may be his calling, may become a member, if he has attained
the age of fifteen years, and women are not excluded. 'Having the same
duties,' say the statutes, 'they have the same rights,' but, despite
this, it is provided that women who are members shall not be fined if
they fail to attend the general meeting on the second Sunday in January
in each year, whereas men in the same case shall be mulcted in the sum
of one franc, unless they shall have previously by letter excused
themselves.

Every member at the expiration of twenty full years of membership shall
be entitled to his share of the interest earned during the twentieth
year of his membership by the property of the society, the funds of
which can only be invested in the three or five per cent. funds of the
French nation. His regular contribution to the society will still go on,
but he will receive his share of the interest earned thereafter
regularly every three months. Should a pensioner die, the year's
interest due to him shall be paid over to his heirs or assigns. The
pension cannot be transferred or alienated, and the relations of a
pensioner have no claim upon the amount of the payments made by him to
the society. Should a member become an invalid, incapable of work, after
fully paying up his dues to the society during five years, he may demand
to be kept upon the books as a full member, and as such he will be
entitled to his pension at the end of twenty years. The society can only
be dissolved by a unanimous vote of the members at a general meeting;
and if so dissolved the members must choose another society as nearly as
possible resembling this, to which the property of the dissolved society
shall be transferred.

The funds for current expenses of the society can never exceed 1,500
francs. This society, as I have said, was founded in 1880. Its success
has been really phenomenal.

On January 1, 1882, it comprised 757 members, and its capital amounted
to 6,237 francs. On January 18, 1886, it consisted of 15,008 members,
and had a capital invested in French consols of 361,003 fr. 99 c. On
April 1, 1889, it numbered 59,932 members, divided into 340 sections,
and it possessed an invested capital of 1,541,868 fr. 26 c.! Of course
the Tontine principle enters into the system, and it would be
interesting to compute the probable pensions in 1902 of so many of the
757 persons who were members of the society in 1882 as may then be
living to claim their share of the interest then earned by the then
capital of the society. The minuteness, precision, and practical common
sense with which the statutes of this organisation have been drawn up
and provision made in its regulations against all the probable
difficulties to be encountered in carrying it on, gives one a very
favourable notion of the business capacity and of the character of the
French working classes. No conditions as to sex or nationality are
imposed upon membership, the only necessary qualification being that the
person applying to be admitted shall be actively employed in some way,
be domiciled in France, and be sixteen full years of age. It strikes me
that organisations of this sort are more likely to promote a practical
solution of the Labour question than combinations to secure the passage
of laws fixing the number of hours for which a man shall be allowed to
work.

The Church has taken an active part in fostering the development of
these mutual aid societies throughout this great department, and
particularly in Lille and Roubaix. The disasters of the Franco-German
war gave a great impulse to them. These disasters did more to strengthen
and deepen than all the vulgar violence of the pseudo-scientific and
pseudo-literary atheism of parliamentary Paris has yet done to weaken
the religious sentiment in France, and the French Catholics cannot be
cited to illustrate Aubrey de Vere's noble saying that 'worse than
wasted weal is wasted woe.'

I spent a most interesting morning at Lille with M. Grimbert in visiting
the buildings and the collections of the great Catholic University which
has been founded here to meet the assault of M. Ferry and his allies on
the higher education in France. This Catholic University has been
endowed and is maintained entirely by the private liberality of the
Catholics of the Department of the Nord, and by the revenues it derives
from the students who attend its courses. It is a thoroughly equipped
university of the first rank. The Rector, Monseigneur Baunard, is a
Roman prelate, and of the two vice-rectors, one is a prelate and the
other a canon. These, with the Deans of the Faculties, and five
professors elected from the corps of instructors, constitute the
Academic Senate. The Administrative Council comprises the Archbishop of
Cambrai, the Bishop of Arras (to the benevolence of one of whose
predecessors France is indebted for the education which enabled
Robespierre to avenge upon the Church and upon his country what in one
of his letters he calls 'the intolerable slavery of an obligation
received'), the Bishop of Lydda, the Chancellor of the University, and
the Rector. The Theological Faculty comprises a dean and nine
professors; the Law Faculty a dean, the Comte de Vareilles-Sommières,
and thirteen professors. One of these gentlemen, M. Arthaut, was so kind
as to receive M. Grimbert and myself, and to show us over the whole
institution. The Medical Faculty comprises a dean, Dr. Desplats, and
twenty-three professors; the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, a dean,
Dr. Margerie, and seven professors; the Faculty of Sciences, a dean, Dr.
Chautard, and nine professors.

The buildings of the University now occupy two sides of an immense
square in one of the finest quarters of Lille, and when fully completed
will occupy the whole square. As they now stand they are by far the
most striking edifices in Lille, and would do honour to any city in
Europe. The area covered by them, I should say, is larger than that
covered by the University of London, and certainly, from the
architectural point of view, they need fear no comparison with the
London establishment. The library, which is admirably arranged, already
contains about 80,000 volumes, and the apparatus of the scientific
schools is admittedly better than that of any institution in France. The
outlay already made here exceeds 11,000,000 fr., or about 240,000_l._
sterling, all of which has been contributed freely by the Catholics of
this region.

On the face of things it appears to me that the existence of this
University is somewhat inconsistent with the notion that 'the religious
sentiment is dead in France.' The classes are now attended by between
four and five hundred students, for whose accommodation three 'family
houses' have been already built, in which students are lodged at an
expense of from 1,000 to 1,400 fr. a year, and when the academic
buildings now in process of construction are completed, more than a
thousand students can be thus lodged. Two dispensaries, a Maternity
Hospital, under the charge of Sisters of Charity of St.-Vincent de Paul,
together with the large Hospital de la Charité, are directly connected
with the clinical service of the medical faculty, and are so
administered as to render the most important services to the industrious
population of the city. The Electrical Department of the Faculty of
Sciences is particularly well equipped, and one of the assistants in
charge of this department, who showed us some improvements recently
devised here in the working apparatus, surprised me by the extent and
minute accuracy of his information as to all the most recent progress
made in the applications of electricity to machinery, and to the arts on
both sides of the Atlantic.

I was not surprised, however, to learn from M. Arthaut that the
astonishing prosperity of this great institution is viewed with extreme
dissatisfaction by the authorities at Paris, and particularly by the
University of France, which has been confirmed again under the Third
Republic in the monopoly of academic privileges, of which it was very
sensibly deprived by the Assembly under the Government of the
Marshal-Duke of Magenta. By way of expressing this dissatisfaction with
dignity and emphasis, the Government of the Third Republic actually
forbids free Catholic universities to use the title of universities. M.
Ferry's Article 7 not being yet law in this best of all possible French
Republics, Catholics cannot be prevented from spending their own money
in founding institutions which are really universities. But, at all
events, they can be forbidden to give any one of them the title of a
university, that being reserved for the State establishment, which, from
Paris, extends its academic sway all over France.

I called the attention of M. Arthaut to the fact that a great Catholic
University has been this year founded in the capital of the Republic of
the United States, and that the President of the Republic, himself a
Protestant, not only attended the ceremonies of the foundation, but made
a brief speech, in which he expressed his best wishes for its progress
and prosperity. 'That, I am afraid,' said M. Arthaut, 'is a kind of
republic which we are not likely to see established in France.'

To measure the significance of this Catholic work in behalf of liberty
and religion here at Lille, it must be borne in mind that the very men
who are building it up with such splendid liberality and enterprise are
compelled by the iniquitous laws of the Third Republic to bear their own
share as taxpayers in supporting here at Lille another academic
institution of a similar scope, but of less importance, under the direct
control of the University of France, from all share in the
administration of which religion and the ministers of religion are as
rigidly excluded as that refugee of the First French Revolution, Stephen
Girard, intended they should be from the college which he founded at
Philadelphia. Of course the same thing is true of the Catholics all over
France. Out of their pockets must come nine-tenths of the enormous sum,
as yet quite incalculable, but certainly running far up in the hundreds
of millions of francs which is still to be expended by the Third
Republic upon its 'scholastic palace,' and the ever-increasing army of
'lay teachers,' male and female, whom it is yearly turning out of the
educational institutions of France to seek the employment which a vast
majority of them cannot possibly hope to find in the public schools, the
lyceums and 'faculties' of the nation.

On this point a Councillor-General whom I met here at Lille dwelt with
very grave emphasis. 'We are educating here in France,' he said to me,
'hundreds of young men and young women every year under false pretences
to enter a profession already overcrowded. For every post which now
exists or which can be created within the next ten years in the
educational system of these revolutionists at Paris, we are turning out
at least a hundred applicants each year of each sex, who must
necessarily be thrown upon the public. What will become of them? The
young men will go into Nihilism, as young men of the same sort do in
Russia; the young women will go upon the street. Only the other day at
Paris, the Government advertised a competition for about 70 positions in
the telegraphic service. How many young women applied? More than 800!
What is to become of the 730 unsuccessful competitors? And what right
has the State to flood the market thus, in advance of the necessities of
the country, and at the cost of the taxpayers, with male and female
teachers, any more than with carpenters, or with surgeons, or with
confectioners?'

One circumstance connected with the development of this great Catholic
University at Lille (as an American I permit myself to give the
institution its proper title) is of special significance. It is not the
only institution of the kind which has been called into existence in
France since the Third Republic began its war against religion in 1880.
There is a Free Catholic institution at Lyons, which consists of three
faculties under the administration of a company founded to receive and
administer all sums given or bequeathed to organise the institutes. The
Archbishop of Lyons is Chancellor of this institution, which has a dean
and seven professors of theology, a dean and eighteen professors of law,
with a secretary and librarian of that faculty, a dean and seven
professors of letters, a dean and nine professors of science. There are
similar institutions also at Angers and at Toulouse. All of these are
freely supported by the private subscriptions of Catholic France, as is
also the great Catholic Institute of Paris in the Rue Vaugirard, so
admirably conducted by Monseigneur d'Hulst, the Vicar-General of Paris.
Thanks to the law of July 12, 1875, and to the stand made by the friends
of liberty and religion when the law of March 18, 1880, was finally
enacted, the students of the Faculty of Law in these Catholic institutes
still have the right to present themselves with the certificates of
their several institutes at the public examinations for the diplomas of
the baccalaureate, the licentiate and the doctorate in law, and for the
certificate of capacity in the law, necessary to enable the successful
candidates to practise the legal profession in France. To maintain the
efficiency of the free Catholic institutions, the Catholics of France
have spared during the last few years neither labour nor money. More
than 17,000,000 francs have been contributed during that period to
establish the Catholic educational system in Paris alone, and more than
2,000,000 francs are yearly subscribed there to keep it up. As I have
already said, the University here at Lille represents an expenditure
during the same period of more than 11,000,000 francs and a still larger
prospective expenditure.

It would be interesting, if it were possible, to learn how much out of
their own pockets the propagandists of unbelief have expended during
this same decade upon the irreligious education of the children of their
countrymen! Were the truth attainable, the amount expended by them would
be found to bear to the amount received by them from their propaganda of
unbelief much less than the proportion of Falstaff's 'pennyworth of
bread' to his 'intolerable deal of sack!' While the Catholics of France
have been giving millions to defend the right of the French people to
protect the faith of their children, these men have been expending
hundreds of millions of the money of Catholic taxpayers upon school
buildings, the contracts for erecting which have been controlled by
themselves for their friends; they have been finding places in the
public educational service for their friends, dependants and allies, and
they have been comfortably drawing large salaries themselves from the
Treasury.

Set over against these incontrovertible facts, the fact, as
incontrovertible, for which I am indebted here to M. Grimbert, that of
the millions expended in defence of liberty and religion here at Lille,
a very large proportion has been contributed by one single Catholic
citizen of this ancient Flemish city, who has consecrated his life and
his fortune to his faith in the spirit of the earliest Christian times,
and I think my readers will agree with me, not only that the religious
sentiment is not dead in France, but that it never was more living and
more active in France, nor more full of promise for the social and
political regeneration of this great people.

I shall not run the risk of offending this good Catholic by naming him,
though his name and his work are an open secret for every intelligent
person in Lille. Suffice it that, coming of an old Flemish stock and
bearing an old Flemish name, this citizen (the title of citizen means
something respectable in these staunch old free cities) of Lille years
ago insisted to his brother, who was his associate in the ownership and
management of one of the largest commercial houses of this region, that
they should take regularly into the partnership account of their
business, for one-third of their annual profits, 'the work of God.' This
was done; and from that day to this the proportion thus set apart of
their profits has been regularly devoted to the service of the Church
and of charity. But this is not all. The brother, of whom I speak with
the reticence and the reverence due to a type of character not
absolutely common in this age of the Golden Calf, has systematically
limited his own personal expenses during the whole of these years to a
few thousands of francs, devoting all the rest of his income to
religious and benevolent objects.

I should really like to see a calm business-like estimate made of the
economical advantages likely to result to a country from extinguishing
at an expense of several hundreds of millions of francs a year the faith
which gives birth to characters such as this.

I visited, in one of the suburbs of Lille, the extensive manufactories
of another well-known house, the heads of which have worked out and
established an excellent system of 'mutual assistance' among their
employees, and built up a large and well-ordered _cité ouvrière_ on a
plan substantially resembling that of those which I saw at St.-Gobain
and at Anzin. A house for young girls established by this firm, very
near their main factory, struck me as particularly admirable. It is
under the management of the Sisters of St.-Vincent de Paul, who fill the
place with a pervading spirit of cheerfulness and animation, quite
indescribable. The dormitories were the perfection of neatness. The
gymnastic hall and the grounds were in apple-pie order, and as the lower
part of the large and airy building erected by the firm for this
domicile is used during the day as a kind of crèche by the married women
who leave their young children here while they are busy in the factory,
the whole place was alive with merry and laughing little imps. I heard
of other establishments of the same kind at and near Roubaix on a still
larger scale. These I unfortunately had not time to visit. Under the
Empire in 1865 a few energetic citizens of Lille induced the
municipality to guarantee five per cent, interest on a capital of
2,000,000 francs for the establishment of a company to construct, let
and sell houses for working-men under certain conditions as to the
isolation of each house and as to its proper ventilation and drainage.
The rental of these houses can never exceed eight per cent, on the cost
of erection, those of one story never to cost more than 2,400 francs,
and those of two stories more than 3,000 francs, including the cost of
the land. The houses are built of brick with foundations and sills of
Soignies stone. These were the original statutes, but the company is now
allowed to build single-story houses on a larger scale with cellars,
which may be rented for 400 francs a year or bought for 5,000 francs--a
first payment in the case of purchase to be made of 500 francs, and
after that the money to be paid in instalments of 40 francs a month over
thirteen years. All the wells and pumps are supplied by the
municipality.

The municipality also makes an annual grant in aid of a very useful
charity, founded under the Empire, and largely developed by private
gifts and legacies, called the 'Invalids of Labour.' This now secures
pensions to nearly a hundred workmen, disabled by serious accidents
incurred in their labour or through some effort to help others in peril.
It also gives temporary assistance in less severe cases. But the most
characteristic institution which I found flourishing at Lille has a
history worth telling. It strikingly illustrates the development under
the old _régime_ in France and Flanders of those public works of
benevolence of which we are so often and so audaciously asked to believe
that they had no existence before the benign 'principles of 1789'
bedewed the hearts of men, and it not less strikingly illustrates the
demoralising and destructive influence upon all manner of sound and
useful establishments throughout France of the headlong and reckless
administration of public affairs by the successive 'governments' of the
First Republic.

In the year 1607, on September 27, a worthy Catholic citizen,
Bartholomew Masurel, _bourgeois et manant_ of the city of Lille, came
before two notaries, and declared 'that to succour the poor people of
Lille in their necessities, and also for the salvation of his own soul
and the souls of his predecessors and successors, he wished to establish
a _Mont-de-Piété_, where money loans should be made without usury or
interest, and not as they were made by the Lombards.'

To this end Bartholomew Masurel gave, by a donation between living
persons, and irrevocable, to take effect after his death, all his lands,
fiefs, and houses which he owned at Lille, and in his country place, and
the value of which might be estimated at a hundred and fifty thousand
_livres parisis_, or in money of our day nominally 300,000 francs. In
fact, the gift, I am told, represented about half a million francs of
our days.

But the good '_bourgeois et manant_' could not hold out till his death
against the appeal which the sight of 'the poor people of Lille in their
necessities' daily made to his kindly heart. So in 1609 he agreed with
the Mayor, that he would turn over all these possessions at once to the
magistrates to be applied to the purpose he meant to effect, the
magistrates agreeing to secure to him an annuity out of the funds of the
city of 1,200 florins, or about 1,562 francs of our time. Thereupon he
went to work with the authorities to found his charity. From his
statutes we learn that foundations of this kind were then common in
French Flanders. He models them, as he says, upon 'those of similar
foundations in our neighbouring towns and elsewhere.'

No loans were to be made except to '_manants et habitants de la Ville
Taille et Banlieue de Lille_,' and only to 'poor and necessitous persons
who, not being able to gain their livelihood, were forced to borrow
money;' nor were loans to be made to 'persons prodigal, of evil life,
and accustomed to squander their goods.' For this due order was to be
taken by the magistrates. At first the loans were limited to 24 florins
(30 francs) to one person; the lowest sum loaned being 20 patars, or 1
fr. 25 c. of our times. So well had Bartholomew Masurel organised his
charity, and so many good Christian souls swelled its funds by gifts and
bequests, that within a year the maximum loan was raised to 50 florins,
in 1669 to 100 florins, and in 1745 it was fixed at 120 florins, or 150
francs. At this figure it stood when the First Republic began its
experiments. The fund was then known as 'the true Mont-de-Piété,' and
was carried on under letters patent granted in 1609 by the Archduke
Albert of Austria. When Lille became French in 1667, Louis XIV had to
recognise and confirm all the rights and titles of this benevolent
institution.

It had rendered great service to the industries of Lille during the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the growth of the funds enabling
the managers to lend sums to weavers on their goods when trade fell off,
and so relieving them from the necessity of parting with them for less
than their value. Just before the Revolution the Masurel Fund amounted
to 455,454 francs, of which 256,627 francs were in cash or in loans, and
the rest in state funds and houses, yielding a revenue of 8,307 francs.

On January 23, 1794, the National Convention coolly ordered that all
'objects of necessity deposited in any Mont-de-Piété for an amount not
exceeding 20 francs should be at once restored without payment to their
owners, and all such objects deposited for amounts below 50 and above 20
francs on payment, without interest, of the amount beyond 20 francs!'

This 'liberal' legislation had been preceded on August 24, 1793, by
another act of spoliation which ordered 'the payment of the capital of
all sums at interest to be made in _assignats_, and the conversion of
all the debts of the Communes, and of the suppressed public
organisations throughout France into State debts.

In consequence of these measures the whole property of the Masurel fund
was found in 1803, when Napoleon began to overhaul the chaos to which
the lunatics and plunderers of the Republic had reduced France, to
amount to no more than 10,408 francs in real estate. This was the way in
which the 'principles of 1789' developed the benevolent institutions of
France, and introduced a new era!

The authorities of Lille had the good sense and forecast thereupon to
suspend the operations of the true _Mont-de-Piété_, and to set about
restoring the fund as far and as fast as was possible. The Christian
institution of Masurel had fared better than the 'Lombards.' This latter
establishment had to be formally closed in 1796, as it was then found to
have no more than 86,000 francs in its treasury, and this in
_assignats_!

In 1857 the Prefect of the Nord reported that the Masurel fund might be
safely devoted anew to the purposes of its founder. It then amounted to
249,644 fr. By an imperial decree of 1860, all that remained of the
property of the 'Lombards' was amalgamated with the Masurel fund, and
the institution was put under the direction of the official
Mont-de-Piété of Lille, but with a separate system of accounts, and
began its operations again on the lines laid down by its founder in
1607. It has since worked so well that the maximum of the loans
reimbursable, without interest, has risen from 30 francs in 1860 to 200
francs.

In 1869, the maximum being 100 francs, the number of engagements and
renewals was 10,933--the money loaned amounted to 75,460 fr. 50 c., in
loans averaging 9fr. 14 c., and the capital of the fund to 257,231 fr.
27 c. In 1888, the maximum being 200 fr., there were 16,000 engagements
and renewals, the loans amounted to 136,663 francs in average loans of
8 fr. 54 c., and the capital of the fund to 334,726 fr. 57 c.

Of the 'similar foundations in other towns' which moved the pious
emulation of Bartholomew Masurel nearly three centuries ago, how many, I
wonder, still exist!

And with them how many other monuments of the Christian civilisation of
Flanders and of France were 'improved' off the face of the earth by the
'regenerators' of 1792?

It was not by accident that I learned of the Masurel Mont-de-Piété; but
when I went to the Municipal Secretary to ask him for some official
account of its condition and its operation, that courteous functionary
looked at me for a moment with astonishment and then said, 'I am
delighted to give you what you want, and I assure you that, with one
exception, you are the only foreigner who has ever asked for this
information in the last seven years! The other was the English
Protestant clergyman here in Lille, who happens to live or has his
chapel, I am not sure which, just opposite the Mont-de-Piété!'

I ought not to speak however of the Masurel foundation as 'unique.' I
hope there may be many more men like the good Bartholomew Masurel in our
time, and in other countries besides France, than we wot of. But the
only modern institution of a kindred spirit with this of which I have
any present cognisance began its career in England only fifteen years
ago, and was founded curiously enough like the Masurel fund by men of
the Low Countries. This is the 'Koning Willem's Fonds,' of the
Netherlands Benevolent Society of London. At a dinner given at the
Cannon Street Hotel on May 12, 1874, to celebrate the twenty-fifth year
of the accession of King William III under the presidency of the Dutch
Minister in England, the Count de Bylandt, the guests in a glow of
loyalty and good-fellowship proposed to raise a contribution to be spent
in the purchase of some handsome memorial of the occasion. A happy
inspiration came to the Chairman, and he suggested to his countrymen
that the best of all possible memorials of such an occasion would be to
establish a fund for the relief of poor and worthy Netherlanders in
London and to give it the name of their King. The suggestion was adopted
by acclamation, and the result the 'Koning Willem's Fonds,' from which,
as I find by examining its statutes and its records, gratuitous loans,
precisely identical in their object and under conditions not essentially
different, are made to deserving Hollanders in London.

The 'fonds' is connected with a society doing the usual work of all such
foreign benevolent societies in London. But it is a special fund, and as
I learn from the Annual Report of the Society for January 1889, it has
so far been administered with entire success, and with the result of
enabling not a few honest and industrious Hollanders stranded in London
to make a fair and prosperous start in life. That the fund is
administered in the true practical spirit of the old Low Country
benevolence, and its advantages appreciated as they ought to be, appears
from the statement made by the Treasurer, Mr. Maas, in the Report for
1889, that the number of loans is increasing and the number of donations
decreasing. In 1888 371_l._ were loaned as against 185_l._ in 1887, and
247_l._ given away as against 382_l._ in 1887. I observe, too, that the
Lord Mayor of London, Sir Polydore de Keyser, gave at this annual
meeting as his reason for joining the society which administers this
fund that it had the courage to spend 251_l._ in excess of its assured
income rather than send away the good which came to its door to be
done.



CHAPTER XIII

IN THE MARNE


  REIMS

No city in France has more to lose and less to gain from the triumph of
the Third Republic over historic France than this ancient, rich, and
royal city of Reims.

The triumph of the Third Republic on the lines laid down by M.
Challemel-Lacour in 1874 and re-affirmed at the elections of 1889, means
the extinction of the religious sentiment in France. To extinguish the
religious sentiment in France would be to empty the history of Reims of
all its significance. It would be to filch from the city of St.-Rémi and
of Clovis, of Urban II. and of Jeanne d'Arc, its great name--a robbery
that surely would not enrich the Third Republic, but that would leave
Reims poor indeed!

Of course it is possible that the laicised, unbaptized, and atheistic
French citizen of the future may come to regard the hegira of M.
Gambetta from Paris to Tours in a balloon, and the occupation of Tonkin,
as events of greater importance to mankind than the creation of France
by Clotilde and Clovis, or the rescue of France from conquest and
dismemberment by the pious peasant-girl of Domrémy, or the rolling back
of Islam from the domination of the world by Urban II. Heaven forbid
that I should assume to set any limit to the things which a truly
scientific unbeliever is likely to believe!

But while men still abide in the thick darkness of the Catholic faith,
or even in the penumbral twilight of Protestant Christianity, I do not
see how Reims is to be one bit the better, materially or morally, for
the extinction of the religious sentiment in France.

The arrondissement of Reims contains very nearly 200,000 people, of whom
considerably more than one-third inhabit the city itself. A very large
proportion of these are employed in the numerous factories which
flourish here, and many more in the various industries connected with
the incessantly growing commerce in those sparkling wines which have
made the name of this ancient province synonymous with luxury and gaiety
in the remotest corners of the world. Though Épernay is the real
headquarters of this commerce, two or three of the most important houses
connected with it are, and long have been, established at Reims, and
some of the most remarkable of the vast cellars excavated in the chalk,
in which these sparkling wines are stored throughout the Department of
the Marne, are here to be seen. Here too, at least as well as at Épernay
or Châlons, acquaintance may be made, at the right time and in the right
places, with certain vintages of Champagne which seldom or never find
their way into the channels of trade, not so much because of their
rarity and high cost as because of their exceeding delicacy. It is
almost impossible, for example, to find even at Paris the finest quality
of the red _vin de cave_ of Bouzy. This is illustrated by the fact that
the only samples of this exquisite wine sent to Paris for the Universal
Exposition of 1889 were those sent by Bouché Fils at Mareuil-sur-Ay, and
these represented only three vintages, the earliest being that of 1884.
The daintily aromatic bouquet of this wine is seldom unaffected even by
the short railway journey to the capital. Of course I know that by
speaking of this or of any other still wine of Champagne, I put myself
under the ban of Mr. Canning's famous declaration, so often cited by
Lord Beaconsfield, that 'the man who says he likes still champagne will
say anything.' Nevertheless what I have written, I have written--and I
shall not take it back. This the less, that I cannot allow myself even
to enter upon this theme of the vineyards of the chalky Marne and the
cellars of Champagne. Were I to do this, I should have a tale to unfold,
much too long, and involving too many points of controversy with the
accepted gastronomic authorities in my own country, in England, and in
Russia, to be brought within the compass of this volume. Suffice it that
the great wine-growers of Champagne do not seem to me to be infidels, or
to neglect the due provision of their own households in their
philanthropic anxiety to promote the convivial happiness of the four
quarters of the globe. The extent to which the syndication of vineyards
for the production of the wines most in demand in one or another part of
the world, has been developed of late years in Champagne is a noteworthy
phenomenon. Not less noteworthy is the growing attention paid throughout
this Department of the Marne of late years to scientific methods in
agriculture, and the steady improvement in the condition of the rural
population.

Whether a similar improvement can be shown in the general condition of
the urban population is not so clear as might be wished. That within
certain limits such an improvement has taken place, is however
undeniable; and this is of great interest, because it is distinctly due
to the energy and decision with which the challenge flung down to the
Christianity of this historic Christian heart of France has been taken
up by the Catholics of Reims.

In the course of a most interesting visit which I made in August to the
Cardinal Archbishop of Reims, His Eminence was good enough to put me in
the way of measuring for myself the work done among the factory people
of this region by a great Christian organization, the centre and pivot
of which was established here, but which is mow extending itself all
over the country. Most assuredly there is nothing in the story of this
work to indicate either the approaching death or the decay of the
religious sentiment in France.

This work rests, like all great works, upon certain principles. But
these principles were worked out, not through any theoretical
inquisition into the possibilities of society, but through a direct
personal practical experience of the relations between an employer of
labour and his employees. It is known now throughout France as the work
of the 'Christian Corporations,' and it includes, as a part of its
machinery, the 'Catholic Workmen's Clubs,' which are increasing and
multiplying throughout France. Its founder, M. Léon Harmel, is at the
head of an important manufactory at the Val-des-Bois near Reims. This
manufactory was established here half a century ago by the father of M.
Harmel, and the great social work which the son is now doing is the
coming to fruit, after many years, of the virtues and the experience of
his father. The Ardennes is the northernmost of the four Departments
into which the wise men of 1790 divided the ancient province of
Champagne, and M. Harmel, the father, had inherited a manufactory in
that department. This he gave up to his brother, and removing to the
Marne in 1840 he founded here the establishment of the Val-des-Bois. He
was a devout and sincere Catholic, and he had lived all his life among a
quiet and Catholic population in the Ardennes. He found himself
surrounded in his new home by a totally different people. His new
employees were amazed when they saw him attending mass at the parish
church on Sunday. A few of their wives and daughters went there
irregularly, but the men, as a rule, were 'total abstainers.'

M. Harmel made no attempt to preach to his people otherwise than by his
example. But the employer being regarded, in the light of modern
progress, as the natural enemy of the employee, this example had little
effect. M. Léon Harmel tells a delightful story of his father's first
success in inducing some of his workmen, with whom he had fallen
incidentally into conversation on the subject, to go over to Reims in
the early morning at the beginning of Lent, and confess to an excellent
priest there who was one of his friends. He spake with the men
separately, and said nothing to any one of them of his conversations
with the others. Meeting one of his converts on his return, M. Harmel
asked him about his experience. 'Ah, sir!' the man replied, 'it is all
very well, but I shall never be caught there again!' 'And, pray, why
not?' 'Why I thought I was the only man going to confess. I saw no one
when I went into the confessional, and the good priest was very good,
and I was glad I went. But when I came to commune in the church, there
were three of my comrades! How I looked at them, and how they looked at
me! It will be all over the factory to-night, and we four will have no
peace for six months! No! I shall not do this again!'

The manufactory prospered. If the example of M. Harmel availed little
against the public sentiment of the workpeople educated in utter
indifference to all religion, in the way of inducing them to attend to
their religious duties, his unvarying justice and benevolence, his
readiness to succour and to advise them in all straits, and his
unobtrusive devotion to his faith, at least exerted a wholesome effect
upon their general conduct; and the factory of the Val-des-Bois earned
a high reputation for its freedom from flagrant scandals and disorders.
But this did not satisfy M. Harmel. After twenty years of single-handed
and uphill work, he determined to seek help. On February 28, 1861, he
established three Sisters of St.-Vincent de Paul in a small house which
had been a wayside inn, and set about Christianising his people in
earnest. There was no pomp or parade about the matter. The good Sisters
were quite content to establish an asylum for the little children in
what had been the stable of the inn, and to open their school in two
little upper chambers. Two Jesuit Fathers came and devoted a month to a
regular mission. Processions were organised and lectures given, some in
the factory, others at the little inn. The novelty of the enterprise
excited the attention of the people, and when a decided movement at last
of interest in the mission made itself clearly felt, M. Harmel took
advantage of it, with the help of the Sisters, to form Christian
associations, first among the young girls, then among the young men, and
then among the workmen themselves. The first young girl who gave an
effectual impulse to the work, was a girl selected by the Sisters, with
their usual sound instinct, because they found her capable of absolute
devotion to a not by any means estimable mother, and to a decidedly
reprehensible sister. She was a peasant-girl, brought up in a disorderly
family, by no means choice or refined in her language; but the Sisters,
for whom she conceived a great affection, saw that she was generous,
fearless, and determined, and that was enough.

With the girls, with the young men, with the workmen, no sort of direct
or indirect pressure was ever for a moment employed. The associations
which they formed were managed by themselves, M. Harmel, the priest whom
he finally brought to Val-des-Bois, and for whom he built a chapel, and
the missionary brethren, giving advice and aid only when and as it was
asked. One excellent workman, who had been in the factory for many
years, and who was much esteemed by M. Harmel, was asked one day by the
priest why he had never taken any interest in the religious
associations. 'I do take an interest in them,' he replied, 'and they are
doing a great deal of good. I don't feel moved to join them, but I do
them a great service often. Many a time in the cabarets I hear a man
say, "Oh, the papa Harmel is a good man, no doubt; they are right to
call him there 'the good father.' He is all that, but nobody can get any
work there unless he is a little saint!" Then I get up and say, "Don't
talk like a fool! You see me; I have worked for 'the good father'
thirty-five years. I have never done my religious duties, but nobody
treats me the worse for that! That shuts them up!"'

One great obstacle, at the outset, to the success of these associations,
out of which the 'Christian Corporations' were eventually to grow, was
the hostility of the elder married women to the 'Enfans de Marie,' and
the other societies of young girls. They objected that these societies
broke up the Sunday balls, and when they were asked whether these Sunday
balls did not lead to a good many scandals, they replied, 'Oh, young
people must amuse themselves; we used to amuse ourselves!' They insisted
too, that the girls would neglect their home duties to attend mass and
the meetings of their new societies. One particularly recalcitrant dame
made her husband's life a burden to him, because he not only encouraged
his daughters in going to the Sisters, but actually went to mass
himself. Finally, one day the poor man came to see the Sisters. He was
evidently much exercised in his mind, and showing the Sisters a small
sum of money he had, he said, 'I have saved this up to bring my old
woman to a better mind, and I want you to help me.' They asked him how.
'Why, you see, all the trouble comes because she don't know you, and
won't know you, and thinks everything wrong about you. Now if one of you
will just take this money, and buy her a new Sunday gown, and take it to
her as if it was a gift you wanted to make her, that will bring her all
right, I know, and we shall have peace in the house!'

What Sister could resist such an appeal? The pious fraud was
perpetrated, and the worthy dame gave way along the whole line!

This working population of Val-des-Bois, when M. Harmel began his work
among them, it will be seen, was a fair type of the average working
populations of France in those parts of France where the influence of
Radicalism has been most potent, and the influence of the Church
weakest. There is another factory in the same commune now. There are
sixteen others within a radius of three French leagues, and the city of
Reims, with its population of nearly a hundred thousand souls, is within
half an hour of the place. All the disturbing currents of socialism, of
agrarianism, of indifferentism play about and upon the place constantly.
The Sunday ball is an institution still. The influence of the local
authorities during the last ten years has been thrown against the
Catholic associations, and therefore, from the nature of the case, in
favour of dissipation, debauchery, and disorder.

To see his work prosper in a soil so unpropitious and amid such hostile
circumstances might well have quickened the faith of a man much colder
and more sceptical than M. Harmel.

In 1861, as I have said, not one workman could be found at Val-des-Bois
who dared to go to mass. In 1867, at the request of forty of his
workmen, M. Harmel assisted them in drawing up the statutes and
arranging the programme of a Catholic Working-Men's Club. The initiative
came from them. No pressure of any sort or kind was put upon them to
take it. It was the free outcome of the influence exerted upon them by
the example of the Harmel family and by the religious and charitable
work which the Sisters and the priests had been doing at Val-des-Bois.
Within a year the club doubled its membership. When the invasion came,
in 1870, it was an established institution.

'M. Harmel planted his Christians at Val-des-Bois,' said to me one of
the most interesting men I met at Reims, 'as our vine-growers in
Champagne plant their vines. It is one of the mysteries of our
viticulture that the grapes which yield our most delicate and exquisite
wines of Ay, all sparkle and sunshine, can only be made to yield those
wines when they are planted in our poorest and most chalky soil, and in
regions where the climate is so ungenial that the plants have to be set
as closely as possible together in the ground. We really huddle them
together, as we do sheep in the hurdles in winter, to keep one another
warm. This M. Harmel did with his converts. He taught his workmen to
associate more closely with one another, he brought their minds and
their hearts together, and let them act one upon another. He lived and
moved and had his own being among them like a father, and in this way
insensibly they came by degrees to regard each other as members of a
family. He has always felt, and his whole life has shown it, that the
"Declaration of the Rights of Man," whatever the motives of its authors
may have been, put the weak of this world at the mercy of the strong,
and set Capital free to deal with Labour as a mere matter of bargain
and sale. The dominant idea in his mind has always been, as it was in
the mind of his father before him--the "good father" of
Val-des-Bois--not how to get the most work out of his workmen, but how
best to do his own duty to his workmen, thinking that the best way to
get them, on their part, to do their duty to him. All this, you see, is
quite mediæval and Christian, not in the least modern and scientific!
But has the modern and scientific way of looking at the relations of
capital and labour, so far, been what may be called a great success? Do
we seem to be in the way of organizing a solid modern society on the
principles of the "struggle for life" and of the "survival of the
fittest"? Certainly these principles are a logical outcome of the
"Declaration of the Rights of Man," and of such legislation as that
which in 1791 shattered to pieces at a blow the whole ancient and
Christian organization of industry in our unhappy land of France! As
certainly too, they are admirably fitted to secure either the complete
subjugation of labour by capital or the relapse of France and of Europe
into barbarism. Is not universal suffrage a natural and easy weapon of
capital in any "struggle for life" with labour? Is it not clear that, in
losing the notion of duty to his employer, the workman has necessarily
lost the idea also of duty to his fellow-workmen? "Every man for
himself" is the motto of modern democracy, and do we not see that the
syndicates of workmen which it was the object of the Radicals to
establish by their law of March 1884 concerning "professional
syndicates," in order to facilitate and promote "strikes," are only kept
together and made to work by sheer terrorism? What is the sanction of
the measures ordered by such syndicates excepting the fear in which
every member goes of his fellow-members? Does not that take us a long
way on towards savage life? Does not that tend directly to build up a
subterranean machinery of despotism which will be at the service of the
shrewdest head and the longest purse whenever any real and decisive
issue arises between organised capital and organised labour?

'Look at the part which money played in our first unhappy revolution!

'It is the most instructive part of that whole sad history, and yet, for
a hundred different reasons, it is the part which from the beginning has
been most obscured by a miscellaneous conspiracy of silence. Some day
perhaps it will be possible to get a true life written of Le Pelletier
de Saint-Fargeau, the millionaire Mephistopheles of Philippe Égalité.
The hand that struck him to death in the very centre of the scene of his
long machinations, there in the Palais Royal, with his vote, dooming the
king to death, still as it were on his lips, did not strike at random.
There was no such bit of dramatic justice done in those dark days as the
killing of that man in that place between the giving of that vote and
the murder of the king that followed it next day!

'But the story cannot be written yet. They were much more concerned
about the death of Le Pelletier next day in the Convention, you will see
if you look into the true records of the session, than they were about
the murder of the king, which was then going on in the Place de la
Révolution. They gave him--why not?--(the most active of them and the
deepest in the plot were his property, bought and paid for)--they gave
him a national funeral, and made his heiress--the greatest heiress she
was in France--the ward of the nation.

'It was quite another vision he had in his mind for her! I will show you
some day a curious letter of hers written after she became a duchess,
about the Empress Joséphine. It is very instructive. She grew up a
lovely, untameable, unmanageable young person, made a love-match, as you
know, and with whom you know, broke her husband's heart, got a divorce
and married again. To go into all this now would disturb the peace of
families in no way responsible for her career or for the plots and
schemes of her father. It would be like "flushing" the ghost of that
monster Carrier who drowned the poor and the priests at Nantes, only to
plague his descendants. His son was an excellent person who very
properly changed his name. The most malicious thing I ever knew one
woman say of another, was said of one of his grand-daughters at a
foreign court by another Frenchwoman, jealous of her social success.
"She is very charming, no doubt; but look at her mouth, and you will see
she has carious teeth--_des dents Carrier_!" But when, if ever, the
truth about that dark episode of Le Pelletier and his schemes is told,
it will be seen how much more gold and private ambitions had to do with
the final fatal drift of things after the destiny of France fell into
the swirl of Paris, than all the howlings and ravings of the
philosophers and the patriots. What happened in the last century will
happen again whenever and wherever human society ceases to be held
together by the idea of Duty. It is not the discontent of Labour which
makes me most anxious as to the future. It is the egotism of Capital,
educated and encouraged into egotism by the false doctrines of what is
called Liberalism in this country, and provoked into egotism by the
equally egotistic discontent of Labour. What I most value in the work of
M. Harmel is the courage and precision with which he has from the first
insisted upon the Duty of the employer to the employed. You have seen,
of course, his _Catéchisme du Patron_?'

The Cardinal Archbishop had given me a copy of this book, which is
really one of the most remarkable contributions ever made to the
practical study of the relations between Capital and Labour. In it M.
Harmel has condensed, in the catechetical form of questions and answers,
his lifelong experience in the work of ascertaining and fulfilling all
the duties incumbent, from the point of view of Christian duty, upon the
capitalist who employs the labour of his fellow-men in putting his
capital into use and making it profitable. It would be very interesting
merely as a theory of the true relations between Labour and Capital. It
is more than interesting as the ripe expression of an experiment
faithfully and successfully carried out by a man of resolute will and
great practical ability for more than a quarter of a century in a field
which, when he entered upon it, was certainly one of the most
unpromising in the world.

The 'Christian Corporation' was an established institution, as I have
said, at Val-des-Bois, in 1870, when the war with Germany broke out. In
1871, after the storm of the invasion had been followed by the horrors
of the Commune of Paris, the principles on which the industrial family
at Val-des-Bois had been organised began to attract attention all over
France. A club of Catholic working-men was opened at Paris in 1871, and
a movement began in earnest for extending these institutions throughout
France. It made rapid progress. In September 1874 a great disaster
occurred at Val-des-Bois. The factory buildings took fire during the
night of the 12th of that month, and despite the efforts of the whole
population they were all in ashes when the morning broke. Before noon of
the next day M. Harmel announced to his workmen that he had leased, at
no small sacrifice of his immediate pecuniary interests, another factory
at some distance from the Val-des-Bois, called La Neuville, and that the
'Christian Corporation' of Val-des-Bois might at once be transferred
thither, and carried on as before until the reconstruction of its
original site. The tidings of this calamity brought substantial succour
from Catholic clubs all over France, from Marseilles to Nantes, and from
Bordeaux to Lille. More than a hundred clubs were represented in this
outburst of sympathy, and the disaster led, not indirectly, to a formal
approval of the work in a brief issued by His Holiness Pius IX. on
October 2, 1874.

In 1878 there were more than four hundred clubs in France, with a
membership of nearly a hundred thousand persons. Concurrently with the
development of these clubs a movement went on for establishing an
organisation of honorary members, not belonging to the working classes,
who should co-operate with the clubs in promoting the principles
represented by the 'Christian Corporations.' In 1875 a parliamentary
inquiry was made into the condition of Labour in France; and on behalf
of the committee which conducted this inquiry, the deputy, M. Ducarre,
who drew up the report, declared it to be the opinion of the committee
that all the syndicating movements of modern times point to the
necessity of re-establishing the corporate system of labour which was
destroyed by the First Republic in 1791. The language used in this
Report is worth citing.

'All the remedies suggested for the existing state of things,' said M.
Ducarre, 'may be summed up in this conclusion; there must be an end of
the isolation of the individual labourer. This must be replaced by the
action of collectivities, associations, or syndicates, whose duty it
shall be to watch over the interests of every calling. In a word we must
go back to the system of corporations of the trades, _maîtrises_, and
_jurandes_, under which labour was so long carried on in France.' This
Report found no favour in the eyes of the Radicals because it aimed at a
good understanding and practical co-operation between Labour and
Capital. Nine years afterwards, on March 21, 1884, a law was carried
through the French Parliament authorising the establishment of
'professional syndicates.' The object of the Republicans, then as now
controlling a majority of the Chamber, in passing this law, was to
strengthen the trades unions as against the employers of France. The
law, it will be observed, was passed at the time when a syndicate of
miners in the North, which had no legal right to exist before the
passage of the law, was actively promoting, under its leader, M. Basly,
the great strike at Anzin of which I have spoken in a preceding chapter.
But while the law of March 1884 legalised 'syndicates' of this
aggressive, and in the nature of things tyrannical, type, it also
necessarily legalised precisely such Christian corporations as those
contemplated in the Report of 1875, and long before organised on the
lines laid down by M. Harmel. A great and visible responsibility was
thus thrown upon the employers of France and upon what are called the
upper classes generally in that country. It was clear that, if they
would energetically and systematically throw themselves into the work of
bringing about a reconstruction of social order on the principles of
co-operation and sympathy as opposed to the principle of antagonism
between Capital and Labour, the law of 1884, intended to widen, might be
effectually used to close the threatening breach between the employers
and the employed. There seems to be little doubt that down to that time
the promoters of the Christian Corporation movement in France had made
greater headway with the working classes than with the employers. A
Report presented in 1885 by the general committee of the Catholic clubs
of France to the French bishops states this very plainly. This report
was signed by the Marquis De La-Tour-du-Pin-Chambly, who from the
beginning of M. Harmel's experiment at Val-des-Bois had been one of his
most earnest and active coadjutors, by the Comte de la Bouillerie,
Treasurer of the General Society, by the Comte de Mun, and by the Comte
Albert de Mun, the moving spirit now of the whole work, who resigned his
commission in the army to devote himself to it, and who went up from the
Morbihan to Paris as a deputy in 1885, elected by 60,341 votes, to
demand not only the restoration of the monarchy but a property
restriction upon the suffrage. In 1889, under the _scrutin
d'arrondissement_ readopted by the terrified Republicans to defeat
'Boulangism,' Count Albert de Mun was re-elected without opposition for
the 2nd division of Pontivy. In no part of France is the passion of
equality stronger than in the Morbihan; and the contempt of the people
there for 'universal suffrage' is extremely instructive.

'Of the Christian Corporations,' says this Report of 1885, 'as of the
working-men's clubs, it is proper to say that never in any place or at
any time has any obstacle been offered to them by the working classes.
On the contrary, there is plainly going on among the working classes,
under the influence of the deplorable crises which affect the industrial
world, an instinctive and ever-increasing movement towards this
association of common and professional interests, the notion of which is
suggested by the natural sentiment of right and wrong, as well as by
some confused memory, obscured by revolutionary doctrines, of the
traditions of Labour in France, which predisposes the working-man to
seek safety in a return to the old system of the Corporations. A
similar feeling exists among the employers, who desire, though they too
often despair of seeing, a closer union of interests between themselves
and their working-men. Wherever the movement languishes, one of the
chief causes will be found to be the apathy, the discouragement, and the
frivolity of the upper classes.'

In the case of great factories like that of the Val-des-Bois, the
Christian Corporations naturally are sufficient unto themselves. There
the employer and the employed between them constitute a small world,
which can take care of itself and carry out the numerous subsidiary
features of the system, such as the promotion of domestic economy, the
establishment of savings-funds, the organisation of festivals and of
courses of instruction, without relying much, or at all, upon any
co-operation from without. It is in the development of the system for
the benefit of working-men who are isolated in their work, or employed
in small establishments, that the co-operation of the upper classes is
needed; and while I incline to think that there is still much ground for
the strong language on this point employed in the Report of 1885, there
appears to be no doubt that a great improvement has taken place during
the last three or four years. In 1884 the efforts of the Cardinal
Archbishop of Reims, the Bishop of Angers, and of other energetic
prelates, secured the active participation of the Holy See in the
promotion of this work. In February of that year a pilgrimage to Rome of
members of the Catholic Clubs of France was organised. The pilgrims were
received in special audience by Leo XIII., and he gave his Papal
approbation and benediction to the work in a very remarkable address
which produced a deep and widespread impression throughout Catholic
France. Similar pilgrimages were made in 1887 and in 1889.

One very important effect of this has been to bring about a better
understanding between the parochial clergy of France in general and
these steadily increasing lay organisations. It is in the nature of
things that the clergy should be slow in giving their unreserved aid to
any movement, no matter how admirable in itself, which involves a good
deal of extra-clerical activity in matters religious. This was
illustrated in the attitude of the English Protestant clergy towards
Wesley and Whitfield, and there are some curious coincidences--of course
absolutely undesigned--between some of the methods of the great and
powerful Protestant sect of the Wesleyans and those of M. Harmel's
Catholic Clubs.

The Methodist 'class-leader,' for example, reappears in a modified form
in the _zélateurs_ and _zélatrices_ of the Harmel Clubs and
fraternities. These are members, working-men and working-women, who are
willing to devote themselves to promoting religious sentiments and
practices among their comrades, and who hold regular meetings to
consider and work out the best and most practical way of doing this.

It is not surprising that in many cases the curés should have looked
with a little uneasiness upon the development of such a system until it
had been fully considered and formally approved by the highest authority
in the Church. Of its efficacy from the point of view of M. Harmel there
can be no doubt.

Something not wholly unlike the 'exclusive dealing' which contributes so
much to the strength of Methodism in America has also been established
for the benefit of the members of M. Harmel's Christian Corporation.
This is 'exclusive dealing 'of an honest and honourable sort, and must
not be confounded with the rascally 'exclusive dealing' known in Ireland
as 'boycotting.' It combines a system of 'privileged purveyors' with an
accumulative savings fund.

The firm of Harmel Brothers, acting for the Corporation, makes contracts
with tradesmen at Val-des-Bois--grocers, butchers, bakers, and the
like--by which the tradesmen bind themselves to sell certain wares to
members of the Christian Corporations, and to them only, at a fixed
discount below the lowest current rate of prices--the wares to be of the
best quality, under a penalty--and the lowest current rate to be fixed
by an average taken from the current rates as given to Harmel Brothers
by four dealers in such wares in the city of Reims, of whom two are to
be named by them and two by the 'privileged purveyor.' Each member of
the Corporation receives certificates, of one franc, ten sous, or ten
centimes in value, from the office of Harmel Brothers, and these are
taken by the 'privileged purveyor' in payment at their face value.

For him they are each week cashed in money at the office of Harmel
Brothers. If the members prefer to pay the 'privileged purveyor' in
cash, or in orders upon their wages, the sums so paid are inscribed on
the account of the Corporation. When the weekly or fortnightly accounts
are made up, a certain percentage of the differences between the current
market-price of the purchases made and the actual price so paid by the
purchasers goes to what is called the 'Corporation profit,' the residue
of the difference being paid over to the member with his or her wages.
The 'Corporation profit' is a savings fund. Each member has a book
showing--with his or her number, and with the full name of the head of
the family to which he or she may belong--the amount of this fund
standing each quarter to his or her credit, with interest at 5 per cent.

This can only be drawn out by the member, on leaving the employment of
the firm, in case of illness or incapacity, or at the age of fifty
years.

An actuary's estimate shows that the share of the Corporation profit
accruing to each member in twenty-five years on an annual estimated
average Corporation profit of 70 francs a member, with five per cent.
interest, would be 3,300 francs. And this, be it observed, will have
cost the member nothing, being simply a result of the union of employer
and employed in a corporate dealing with the purveyors. In 1879 the
annual budget of a hundred families at Val-des-Bois, earning among them
249,242 francs, showed an actual 'Corporation profit' of 91,319.05
francs, which ought to have been much larger had Val-des-Bois then
possessed more than one butcher, baker, grocer, and tailor. These
hundred families comprised 496 members, 279 of them employed in the
factory and 217 occupied at home.

During the last ten years, and especially since the passage of the law
of March 1884, the scope of these Christian Corporations, not only at
Val-des-Bois and at Reims, but all over France, has been considerably
extended. Many of them have now the character of true guilds, as at
Poitiers, for example, where there is a Corporation of the Builders
under the invocation of St-Radegonda, another--Our Lady of the
Keys--founded upon a syndicate of clothiers, and a third, of St.-Honoré,
founded upon a syndicate of provision-dealers. At Lille I found a
typical Corporation, that of the spinners and weavers, known as the
Christian Corporation of St.-Nicholas. This was founded in May 1885.
This Corporation admits workmen and workwomen, employees and
manufacturers, belonging, either by residence or by connexion with the
industry named, to the commune of Lille or to one of the adjoining
communes. It had last year a membership of 887 persons, of whom 26 were
master manufacturers and 37 employees, the rest being workmen and
workwomen. Five large firms were represented in it. The Syndical Council
was made up of a syndic employer, a syndic employee, and a syndic
workman from each of these firms, and of a syndic workman, M.
Courtecuisse, representing the members who were employed in other
establishments. The directing bureau consisted of seven members,
including the chaplain. It was presided over by one of the great
manufacturers of Lille, M. Féron-Vrau, and the two vice-presidents were
M. Edouard Bontry, of the house of Bontry-Droullers, and M. Courtecuisse
already named.

This Corporation, under the law of 1884, can own the buildings necessary
for its meetings, its libraries, and its lecture-courses; it can
establish among its members special savings funds, mutual assistance and
pension funds; found and conduct offices for information bearing on the
business of its members, and it may be consulted, under Article 6 of the
Law of 1884, on 'all difficulties and misunderstandings and questions
arising out of its specialty.' This provision--specially intended by the
authors of the law to arm the 'strikers' of France against French
employers--may thus, it will be seen, be turned quite as effectually to
purposes of concord and harmony as to purposes of discontent and strife.
The Corporation of St.-Nicholas may receive gifts and legacies in aid of
its Corporation funds and purposes, and generally take an active part,
like all these Corporations, as was pointed out by Leo XIII. in his
'Encyclical of April 20, 1884,' in protecting, under the 'guidance of
the Faith, both the interests and the morals of the people.'

It already has within its sphere of action a Confraternity of Our Lady
of the Factory, comprising 548 members, a Mutual Aid Society with 218
members, an Assistance Fund with 409 members; and a Domestic Economy
Fund, the principle of which is that certain dealers make a discount on
their wares to members of the Corporation which is certified to by them
in counters of different values. These counters are receivable by the
Corporation in payment of the assessments and subscriptions of the
members.

The steady development of these institutions during the last four or
five years has led to the organisation by them of a complete general
system of administration, provincial and national. The Corporations are
grouped not by departments but by provinces.

Provincial assemblies are held, by which delegates are named to attend
an annual general assembly at Paris. At the general assembly of 1889,
held on June 24, 350 delegates were present, and the session of the
assembly was opened by the delegation from Dauphiny, the chair being
taken by one of its members, M. Roche, in virtue, as he explained to the
crowded audience in the large hall of the Horticultural Society in the
Rue de Grenelle, of his descent 'from a representative of the Estates of
Dauphiny in 1789.' The work of the assembly was divided between four
committees, one on moral and religious interests, one on public
interests, one on commercial and industrial interests, and one on
agricultural and rural interests.

From this it will be seen that the principles of the movement are being
systematically applied to the whole field of active life in France. The
general maxim of the organisation is the sound, sensible, and military
maxim, of St.-Vincent de Paul, 'let us keep our rules, and our rules
will keep us,' and I think there can be no doubt that the French
freemasons, and the fanatics of unbelief generally who have launched the
government of the Third Republic upon its present course, will find this
new Christian organisation of Capital and Labour a troublesome factor in
the political field.

We have seen what came in Germany of the _Cultur-Kampf_, and there are
curious analogies between the work and the spirit of the Catholic Clubs
in France to-day, and the ideas of Monseigneur von Ketteler, which gave
vigour and vitality to the great 'party of the Centre,' in the contest
with the Chancellor. Where the giant of Berlin had the wisdom to give
way, the pigmies of Paris are likely to persist until they are crushed.
For they have burned their ships, as the Chancellor never burned his,
and they are dogmatists, while he is a statesman. He sought to control
and use the Catholic Church in Germany. Their object is, as one of the
ablest Republicans in France, Jules Simon, long ago told them, to
supplant a State Church of belief by a State church of unbelief. In
America and in England when men talk of 'religious freedom,' they mean
the freedom of a man to profess and practise his own religion. What the
Third French Republic means by 'religious freedom' is freedom from
religion. Their legislation has tended, ever since 1877, not indirectly
nor by implication, but directly and avowedly, to establish in France a
state of things in which, not Catholics only, but all men who profess
any form of religion, shall be treated as Protestants were in France
after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, or as Catholics were in
Ireland under William III. This is the meaning of M. Gambetta's war-cry
'Clericalism is the enemy.' The phrase was his, but the policy was
announced by his party long before he invented the phrase in 1877. It
was distinctly formulated in 1874 by a Republican leader much better
equipped for dealing with such questions than M. Gambetta, who was the
Boanerges not the Paul of the French gospel of unbelief.

On September 4, 1874, M. Challemel-Lacour, in a remarkable speech, laid
it down as a fundamental principle of the Republican policy that the
State should so control all the higher branches of education as to
secure what he called 'the moral unity of France.' It was on this
principle that Napoleon in 1808 had re-organised the University of
France. M. Challemel-Lacour unhesitatingly called upon the Republicans
to adopt it. If Catholics or Protestants or Israelites were allowed to
found universities of their own and confer degrees and diplomas, what
would become of the 'moral unity of France'? The duty of the Republicans
was to protect and develop this 'moral unity.' So long as one Frenchman
could be found in France who believed anything not believed by every
other Frenchman, so long this 'moral unity' would be imperfect. The
French Liberals of 1830 obviously made a great mistake when they put
'freedom of education' as a right of Frenchmen in the charter. M.
Guizot, the great Protestant Minister of Louis Philippe, obviously made
a great mistake when he established the principles of free primary
education in 1833. The Republicans of 1848 obviously made a great
mistake when they proclaimed 'freedom of education' as a Republican
principle. The Jacobins of 1792 were the true 'children of light,' and
they alone understood how really to achieve the 'moral unity of France,'
M. Challemel-Lacour did not say this in so many words; but he did say in
so many words that he objected to see any bill passed which should
establish 'freedom of education,' and permit clerical persons to found
universities, because, 'instead of establishing the moral unity of
France, this newfangled liberty would only aggravate the division of
Frenchmen into two sets of minds moving upon different lines to
different conclusions. The young men educated in these universities,' he
said, 'will become zealous apostles of Catholicism. The more ardour they
put into their proselytism the more antagonism they will excite!' At
this passage in M. Challemel-Lacour's extraordinary speech, according to
the official report, a member of the Right broke in with the very
natural exclamation, 'And why not? Is not that liberty? liberty for
all?' To which M. Challemel-Lacour discreetly made no reply, but went on
to say, 'Instead of establishing our moral unity, you will heap up
combustibles in the country until shocks are produced and perhaps
cataclysms!'

This is the doctrine of the worthy Lord Mayor in 'Barnaby Rudge' who
querulously exclaims to Mr. Harwood when that gentleman came to him
asking for protection against the Gordon rioters, 'What are you a
Catholic for? If you were not a Catholic the rioters would let you
alone. I do believe people turn Catholics a-purpose to vex and worrit
me!' 'Moral unity' would have saved the good Lord Mayor a great deal of
trouble. 'Moral unity' would have kept things quiet and comfortable
throughout the Roman Empire under Diocletian, and throughout the Low
Countries under Phillip II. and Alva, and throughout England under Henry
VIII. The Jacobins of 1792 did their best to organise 'moral unity' in
France with the help of the guillotine, and of the Committee of Public
Safety and of the hired assassins who butchered prisoners in cold blood.

Here, at Reims, in September 1792, while Marat 'the Friend of the
People' and Danton the 'Minister of Justice' were employing Maillard the
'hero of the Bastile' and his salaried cut-throats to promote public
economy and private liberty by emptying the prisons of Paris, certain
agents of Marat made a notable effort in behalf of the 'moral unity of
France.' To this effort the melodramatic historians of the French
Revolution have done scant justice. Mr. Carlyle, for example, alludes
to it only in a casual half-disdainful way, which would be almost
comical were the theme less ghastly. 'At Reims,' he observes, 'about
eight persons were killed--and two were afterwards hanged for doing it.'
The contest of this curious passage plainly shows that he imagined these
'eight persons' (more or less) to have been "killed" by the people of
Reims, roused into a patriotic frenzy by the circular which Marat, Panis
and Sergent sent out to the provinces calling upon all Frenchmen to
imitate the 'people of Paris,' and massacre all the enemies of the
Revolution at home before marching against the foreign invaders. That
the 'people' of Reims thus aroused should only have killed 'about eight
persons' really seemed to him, one would say, hardly worthy of a truly
'Titanic' and 'transcendental' epoch. There is something essentially
bucolic in the impression which mobs and multitudes always seem to make
upon Mr. Carlyle's imagination. Of what really happened at Reims in
September 1792 he plainly had no accurate notion. He obviously cites
from some second-hand contemporary accounts of the transactions there
this statement, that 'about eight persons were killed,' because, as it
happens, we have a full precise and official Report of the killing of
all these persons, with their names and details of the massacre, drawn
up on September 8, 1792, by the municipal authorities of Reims and
signed by all the members of the Council General. Had Mr. Carlyle seen
this Report, it would have shown him that Marat, Panis and Sergent knew
what they were about when they sent out their famous or infamous
circular, just as Marat and Danton knew what they were about when they
organised the massacres of September in the prisons of Paris. The
'people' of Reims had no more to do with the killing of 'about eight
persons' in the streets and squares of this historic city in September
1792 than the 'people' of Paris had to do with the atrocious butcheries
at the Abbeys and Bicêtre and La Force and the Conciergerie. Mr. Carlyle
ought to have learned even from the 'Histoire Parlementaire' of Buchez
and Roux, which he seems to have freely consulted, that 'the days of
September were an administrative business.'

What actually happened at Reims in September 1792 is worth telling. It
does not prove, as Mr. Carlyle almost dolefully takes it to prove, that
in the provinces the 'Sansculottes only bellowed and howled but did not
bite.' It does prove that when they bit, they bit to order, and under
impulses no more 'Titanic' or 'transcendental' than those which in our
own time lead active politicians to invent lies about the character of
their opponents, and to manufacture emotional issues on the eve of a
sharp political contest.

The subsidised Parisian insurrection of August 10, 1792, prostrated the
monarchy, but it did not found the Republic. It was the death knell both
of Pétion and of the Girondists, who had been most active in secretly or
openly promoting it. The Constitution having been torn into shreds,
power became a prize to be fought for by all the demagogues and all the
factions in Paris. The Legislative Assembly fell into the trough of the
sea. The sections of Paris supported Marat in calmly laying hands on the
printing-presses and material of the royal printing-office, and
converting his abominable newspaper into a 'Journal of the Republic.' He
was voted a special 'tribune of honour' in the hall of the Council. On
August 19 he openly called upon the 'people' to 'march in arms to the
prison of the Abbaye, take out the prisoners there, especially the
officers of the Swiss Guard and their accomplices, and put them to the
sword.' This was an electoral proceeding. The members of the National
Convention were then about to be chosen. Under a law passed by the
expiring legislature, electors of the members were first to be chosen by
the voters on August 26, and the electors thus chosen were to meet on
September 2, and choose the members of the Convention. It was in view of
this second and decisive election day that Marat and Danton settled the
date at which the great patriotic work of 'emptying the prisons' should
begin, and it was in view of this day also that the circular already
mentioned of Marat, Panis and Sergent was sent forth to all places at
which a lively administration of murder and pillage would be most likely
to conduce to the choice by the electors of deputies agreeable to the
authors of the circular.

The electors for the Department of the Marne chosen on August 26 were to
meet in Reims on September 2, and choose the Deputies for that
department to sit in the Convention.

In Reims Marat had a faithful personal ally in the person of the
Procureur-Syndic, the most important national functionary in the city.
This man, Couplet, called Beaucourt, was a disreputable and apostate
ex-monk who had married an ex-nun. His position, of course, gave him a
great influence over the least respectable part of the population, and
with Marat and Danton at his back in Paris he cared nothing for the
mayor and the municipal authorities. From August 19 to August 31 he kept
issuing incendiary placards and making inflammatory speeches in Reims.
On August 31 he received an intimation from Paris that a column of
so-called 'Volunteers' was in motion for Reims, and that he must have
things ready for them. To this end he caused the arrest of the
postmaster, M. Guérin, and of a poor young letter-carrier named Carton,
on a charge of sequestrating and burning 'compromising letters' which
ought to have been turned over to him and the 'justice of the Republic.'

On the morning of the election day there marched into Reims the expected
'Volunteers,' who carried banners proclaiming them to be 'Men of the
10th of August.' Couplet received them and feasted them. They broke up
into squads and went roaring about Reims denouncing 'the aristocrats'
and demanding 'justice upon all public enemies.' They finally broke open
the prison, and dragging out the unfortunate postmaster, cut him to
pieces in front of the Hôtel de Ville. Some courageous citizens
contrived to smuggle out of their reach the young letter-carrier, and
took him for safety into the hall of the Municipal Council.

There the murderers followed him, excited by a speech from the
Procureur-Syndic, who knowing that no trial had been had, did not
scruple to say that 'nothing could excuse the unfaithful
letter-carrier.'

The town officers tried to get Carton out by a back door, but Marat's
murderers were too quick for them, and the poor youth was torn to
pieces. While this was doing the Procureur-Syndic provided another
victim. He arrested on some pretext a retired officer of the army, M. de
Montrosier, ex-commandant of Lille, then in the house of his
father-in-law, M. Andrieux, one of the first magistrates of Reims. M. de
Montrosier being taken to prison, the Maratist mob broke again into the
prison, dragged him out, killed him, and carried his head all over Reims
on a pike. Meanwhile a detachment went out to a neighbouring village in
quest of two of the canons of Reims, who had taken refuge there, brought
them back to the city, and shot them dead in the street. Night now
coming on, the apostles of the 'moral unity of France,' many of them by
this time being exceedingly drunk, kindled a huge bonfire in front of
the Hôtel de Ville, flung into it the mutilated corpses of their
victims, and towards midnight laying hands upon two priests, MM. Romain
and Alexandre, threw them into the flames! Another band during the
evening broke into the venerable church of St.-Rémi, and tearing down
the shields and banners which for fourteen centuries had hung above the
tomb of the great Archbishop who made France a Christian kingdom,
brought these to the bonfire and consumed them.

During this day of horrors, the electors of the department had been in
session. As the news reached them of what was going on in the streets,
one thought came into the minds of all the decent men among them, to get
through as fast as possible and quit the city. At the first ballot 442
electors were present. At the seventh only 203 remained. Of these 135,
being the compact 'Republican' minority, gave their votes on that ballot
to Drouet, the postmaster's son of Ste-Ménéhould, Mr. Carlyle's 'bold
old dragoon,' who stopped the carriage of Louis XVI. at Varennes. He was
one of the special adherents of Marat, and a most vicious and venal
creature, as his own memoirs, giving among other matters an account of
his grotesque attempt to fly down out of his Austrian prison with a pair
of paper wings, abundantly attest. He escaped the guillotine, and
naturally enough turned up under the empire as an obsequious sub-prefect
at Ste-Ménéhould. The whole of the elections, which in normal
circumstances would have occupied at least three days, were hurried
through before midnight of the first day.

Couplet, called Beaucourt, was satisfied. But so were not the 'men of
the 10th of August,' They got their pay of course, but they wanted more
blood. At 9 A.M. the next morning they seized the venerable curé of
St.-Jean, the Abbé Paquot, and dragged him before Couplet, insisting
that he should take the constitutional oath. Couplet tried to explain
that the time for taking it had expired on August 26. But the courageous
Abbé, looking his assassins in the face, said to them: 'I will not take
it, it is against my conscience. If I had two souls I would gladly give
one of them for you. I have but one, and it belongs to my God.' He had
hardly uttered the words when he was struck down and cut to pieces.
Almost at the same moment another priest more than eighty years of age,
the curate of Rilly, refusing to take the oath, was hanged upon the bar
of a street lantern before the eyes of the Mayor of Reims, who tried in
vain to disperse or control these _sans-culottes_, who, according to Mr.
Carlyle, 'howled and bellowed, but did not bite.'

By this time the news came of the surrender of Verdun to the Prussians,
and the tocsin began to sound from the great bells of the cathedral. The
citizens of Reims suddenly took courage from the sense of the national
peril, not to fall upon and slay helpless and unarmed prisoners, but to
make head against the murderers and scoundrels who were domineering over
their city. The local National Guards began to appear, and were shortly
reinforced by a column of Volunteers from the country armed to meet the
invaders. The Mayor took command of them and marched to the Hôtel de
Ville. There they found that one Chateau, an agent of Couplet, had been
secretly denounced by his employer as a spy and promptly hanged by the
Parisians on the same lantern-bar from which the night before they had
hanged the aged curé of Rilly. His dead body had been flung into the
still blazing bonfire kept up all night with woodwork from the pillaged
churches of Reims. The champions of 'moral unity' had also laid hands on
the wife of this wretched man, and were on the point of throwing her
alive into the flames when the Mayor and the troops appeared. The order
to 'charge bayonets' was given and the whole brood of scoundrels
thereupon broke and fled in all directions.

All these details, with others too loathsome to be here reproduced, are,
as I have said, taken from an official _procès verbal_ drawn up at Reims
on September 8, 1792, and signed by every member of the Council-General.
This record was produced when in 1795, after the fall of Robespierre had
opened the way for the great reaction which finally made Napoleon master
of France, the tribunals of the Department of the Marne took steps to
bring to justice such of the assassins of 1792 as they could lay hands
upon. On the 26 Thermidor, An III., two wretches, one a newspaper-vendor
and the other a slopshop-keeper, were condemned to death and executed
for the murder of the Abbé Paquot and of the curé of Rilly. Two others,
a glazier and a shoemaker, were condemned to six years in the
chain-gang.

The evidence on which these assassins were convicted in 1795 had then
been for two years in the hands of the municipal authorities at Reims.
But during these two years France had been the football of the employers
and accomplices of these assassins. The municipal authorities had been
powerless to prevent these murders, which were committed in the public
streets and under the protection of the Procureur-Syndic of the
department, the official representative at Reims of the 'Minister of
Justice,' Danton, at Paris. They were equally powerless to punish them.

The Mayor of Reims was fortunate to escape denunciation at Paris for
his attempt to save the lives of some of the victims. That was an
offence against the 'moral unity' which the First Republic tried to
establish.

There was a heroic Mayor in those days at Lille named André. When the
Duke of Saxe-Teschen with his wife, a sister of Marie Antoinette,
appeared before Lille at the head of an Austrian army and demanded the
surrender of the place, Mayor André, who was a Republican but not of the
'moral unity' type, replied that he had sworn to keep the place, and he
would keep his oath. With the help of the Ancient Artillery Corporations
of the old Flemish city (Corporations of which the 'Honourable Artillery
Corps' of London and of Boston are offshoots), Mayor André did keep his
oath and kept Lille. The Minister Roland, the respectable confederate of
the virtuous Pétion, sent him promises of help, but no help. Why?
Because Mayor André had taken the lead in a masculine protest of the
honest people of Lille against that ruffianly invasion of the Tuileries
by the mob on June 20 which the virtuous Pétion, Mayor of Paris, and his
respectable confederate Roland had for their own purposes promoted. So
Mayor André got words and no troops. But Lille took care of herself;
bore a tremendous bombardment for days without flinching, and finally,
in the early days of October, saw the Saxon Duke and his army march
away, Valmy having opened the eyes of Brunswick to the utter futility
and fanfaronnade of the French emigrant noblesse and princes, who had
drawn up for him and persuaded him against his own better judgment to
sign the too famous and fatal proclamation with which he heralded the
Austro-Prussian advance into France. Mayor André having thus saved the
grand North-eastern bulwark of France, his services had to be in some
way recognised. But in what way? Paris voted that Lille had deserved
well of the nation, which was obvious enough; also that Lille should get
a million of francs towards repairing damages, which million of francs,
I am assured, never reached Lille; also that a grand monument should
commemorate the valour and constancy of Lille. But the grand monument
was never erected until half a century afterwards, when King Louis
Philippe took the matter up, and carried it through.

With the proclamation of the Republic in September 1792 it ceased to be
meritorious in Mayors and other municipal personages to protect life and
property, repulse foreign invaders and punish domestic criminals.
Varlet, the self-appointed 'Apostle of Liberty,' the man with the
camp-chair and the red cap, whom Carnot, the grandfather of the present
President, actually insisted that the Assembly should welcome to its
floor, gave the keynote of the new order of things. 'We must draw a
veil,' he exclaimed, 'over the Declaration of the Rights of Man!' And a
veil was indeed drawn over the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Here at
Reims, as elsewhere, proscriptions and confiscations were the order of
the day. The glorious Cathedral of Reims itself, the Westminster and
Canterbury in one of France, was in continual peril. Nothing really
saved it and the Archi-episcopal palace but the religious and patriotic
reverence of the people of Reims for the memory of Jeanne d Arc. In that
Archi-episcopal palace the peasant girl of Domrémy, the Virgin saviour
of France, had been lodged. In that Cathedral she had stood, her banner
in her hand, and watched the solemn consecration of her mission and her
triumph. The emissaries of plunder and murder from Paris shrank from
driving the Rémois to extremities on that issue. But they desecrated the
building and defaced it as much as they dared.

I am told that Robespierre during his dictatorship interfered to put a
stop to the vandalism of his disciples here, and that we owe to him the
preservation of the magnificent groups which still exist of statues
representing scenes in the life of the Virgin Mary. The groups above the
head of the Virgin on the double lintel had already been dashed to
pieces when he was appealed to. The groups below, still unharmed, afford
unanswerable proof that the sculptors of this part of Europe in the
thirteenth century must have been familiar with the best traditions of
their art. If Robespierre preserved these, we may forgive him not only
for sending his dear Camille Desmoulins and his detested Danton to the
guillotine, but even for replacing the shattered groups of the Nativity,
the Presentation, and the Death of the Virgin with this inscription of
his own devising: 'The French people believe in the existence of God and
in the immortality of the soul!' Under the First Consul this inscription
gave place to the Latin dedication now visible.

Pillaging he did not prevent, perhaps could not. One wizened old
reprobate, Ruhl, got himself great Republican _kudos_ by persistently
putting about a legend that he had successfully stolen the sacred
ampulla, from which St.-Rémi had anointed Clovis King of France, and had
dashed it to pieces in public. That he did indeed dash in pieces
publicly a flask of glass is, I am assured, indubitable. But not less
indubitable is it that he did not dash in pieces the sacred ampulla.
Ruhl was a bit of a scholar, and his legend was obviously suggested to
him by the traditional story of the Frankish warrior who smashed a
sacred vase at Soissons, and whose own head the stalwart King Clovis
afterwards clove in twain with his battle-axe on the Champ de Mars in
requital of the deed. Curiously enough, it was written that the head of
Ruhl should likewise in the end be smashed, as it was by himself with a
pistol at Paris, May 20, 1795, to save it from the guillotine!

All the churches of Reims did not escape so well as the Cathedral.
St.-Nicaise, 'the jewel of Reims' and the masterpiece of a famous
architect of the thirteenth century, Hues Libergiers, whose name is
preserved in that of one of the chief streets of Reims, was pillaged and
then pulled down, the materials and the site being sold at a 'mock
auction' to Santerre, the enterprising brewer, who 'pulled the wires' of
all the patriotic emotions of the Faubourg St.-Antoine from the outset
of the Revolution, got himself thereby made a general, and in that
capacity conducted Louis XVI. to the scaffold, where, as all the world
knows, he ordered the drums to drown the last words of the King. He was
an incorrigible and indefatigable speculator, and while he drove a
roaring trade at Paris in beer, he was always on the look out for
demolished churches and convents in the provinces. Napoleon took his
measure promptly, subsidised and used him to good purpose. Hearing once
that there was a ferment brewing in St.-Antoine, the Emperor sent an
officer to Santerre. 'Go and tell that fellow,' he said, 'that if I hear
one word from the Faubourg St.-Antoine I will have him instantly shot.'

The 'Titanic' and 'transcendental' Faubourg remained as mute as a mouse!

In no French city are the memories of the Revolutionary orgie more
offensively out of key with the actual aspect and the great associations
of the place than in Reims. Whatever may have been the ways of the
working people here forty years ago, I have always been struck by their
quiet and orderly demeanour, as well as by the general air of prosperity
and animation which pervades the city. Its grand Cathedral, the most
consummate type which exists of the great ogival architecture of the
thirteenth century, stands, the archæologists tell us, on the spot where
the Romans planted their citadel sixteen centuries ago. Like a citadel,
it dominates the whole city to-day; a fortress no longer, like the Roman
citadel, of armed force, but of faith, charity, and hope. Seven
centuries have not shaken the solidity of its massive fabric. They who
built it 'dreamt not of a perishable home.' But only a year ago a
serious dislocation appeared in the framework of the stupendous
rose-window over the grand entrance, and this, with other unsatisfactory
symptoms observable here and there in the building, lend colour to the
theory that the great chalk bed upon which the Cathedral stands may have
been affected by the percolation of water from some deep trenches which,
it seems, were dug near the northern and southern towers at the entrance
of the Cathedral, during the year 1879, and unfortunately left open
during the very inclement winter which followed.

This is a rather alarming theory, particularly if it be true, as it is
said to be, that since 1880 the towers have perceptibly come out of
plumb.

Fortunately the see of Reims is now in the charge of a prelate who fully
appreciates the value to art and to civilisation, as well as to France
and to the Church, of this magnificent edifice. When he came here from
the bishopric of Tarbes, his first episcopate, in November 1874, one of
the earliest steps taken by the present Cardinal Langénieux was to get a
full report on the condition of the Cathedral from M. Millet, the
accomplished successor of M. Viollet-le-Duc in the great work of the
conservation and restoration of the historical monuments of France. M.
Millet, on August 25, 1875, reported that the flying buttresses needed
immediate attention, and that 'the gables and vaults of the western
façade were seriously damaged, so that the rain water was penetrating
the masonry and threatening the destruction of the numerous statues and
sculptured ornaments of the grand western portal.' This portal, as every
traveller knows, is simply matchless in the world. The Archhishop
thereupon invited four of his personal friends, all at that time members
of the Ministry--MM. Dufaure, Léon Say, Wallon, and Caillaux--to Reims,
to see for themselves the state of the Cathedral. They came and
inspected the building, and after their return to Paris prepared a bill,
which became a law in December 1875, appropriating a sum of 2,033,411
francs in ten yearly instalments to the restoration of the Cathedral.
The work began at once under the direction of M. Millet, who
unfortunately died in 1879.

It was prosecuted after his death by another able architect, M. Brugère,
and is now in the hands of M. Darcy, who has shown by his work at Evreux
and St.-Denis that he is no unworthy successor of Viollet-le-Duc. The
appropriation made in 1875 has been expended, but I am glad to find, on
looking into the Budget for 1890 of the Ministry of Public Worship, that
a sum of 301,508 fr. 26 c. is still available for the works at Reims.
This budget, by the way, is an instructive document. It shows that the
whole outlay of the State in France upon all objects connected with
public worship and religion in France and Algiers, excepting the service
of the chaplains in the army and the navy, amounted in 1889 to a little
more than one franc per head of the population! The whole expense in
connection with the Catholic Church, the Calvinist and Lutheran
confessions, the Israelitish religion and the Mussulmans, was no more
than 45,337,145 francs, a sum less than the amount annually expended by
the Protestant Episcopal Church of the single State of New York upon
keeping up its churches, colleges, and clergy! What proportion this sum
bears to the present annual income of the Church property confiscated
under the first Republic it would be interesting to ascertain. A
Protestant friend of mine in the south of France, who has made some
investigations into this subject, tells me that it cannot possibly
represent above _ten per cent_. of the present actual product of the
former property of the Church. Of the whole sum, 228,000 francs were
spent on the civil servants of the ministry. There are seven sub-chiefs
of bureaux in this ministry, all of them now doubtless good atheists,
who receive salaries of from 3,400 to 5,400 francs a year. The highest
salary paid to a Protestant pastor even in Paris is 3,000 francs, or
120_l._ a year. The curé of Notre-Dame de Paris receives 2,400 francs,
or less than 100_l._ a year. There are 580 curés of the first class who
receive from 1,500 to 1,600 francs a year; 275 curés of the second class
receiving 1,500 francs a year, and 2,527 curés of the third class
receiving from 1,200 to 1,300 francs a year. The thirty-one clerks in
the Ministry receive from 1,800 to 4,500 francs a year. The
Vicar-General of Paris receives no more than 4,500 francs a year. The
Archbishop of Paris receives, like all the other archbishops, 15,000
francs, or 600_l._, a year, which is the salary paid to the Director of
the Ministry! The Grand Rabbi of the Central Consistory receives 12,000
and the Grand Rabbi of Paris 5,000 francs a year, and the salaries paid
to the Israelitish ministers of religion range from 2,500 down to 600
francs, the latter amount being less by 300 francs than the wages of the
servants in the Ministry. The Muftis and Imams in office receive from
300 to 1,200 francs a year. All these salaries, with the outlay on the
construction, rent, or maintenance of buildings of all kinds used for
religious purposes, pensions, and travelling expenses, are comprised in
the total appropriation of 45,337,145 francs, or a little more than
1,800,000_l._ for the year 1889. During the same year 12,760,745 francs
were appropriated for the Fine Arts service. I do not say that the sum
thus devoted to the Fine Arts out of the pockets of the taxpayers of
France was at all too large. But I do say that it is out of all
proportion large as compared with the sum voted out of the pockets of
the taxpayers to the maintenance of religious institutions, which an
overwhelming majority of the people of France regard, and rightly
regard, as essential to the stability of law and order. Furthermore,
this Budget of 1889 shows the spirit in which the fanatics of 'moral
unity' are prosecuting their war against all religions in France. In
1883 the Government's budget amounted to 53,528,206 francs. Here we have
a reduction within six years of more than 8,000,000 francs. In 1883 M.
Jules Roche, now a deputy for the first district of Chambéry and an ally
of M. Clémenceau, proposed to reduce the Budget of Public Worship to
4,588,800 francs! The Third Republic, it will be seen, is getting on
towards the proposition of M. Jules Roche--a proposition which clearly
combines everything that is most open to objection in a legal connection
between the State and religion with everything that is most odious and
dangerous in an open war of the State against religion.

During these six years the leaders of this war against religion have
never dared to draw up a statistical account of the strength of the
various religious bodies in France. In 1882 one of their followers, M.
Alfred Talandier, on February 13, rashly proposed that a table should be
officially prepared of the state of religious opinions in France; but
the managers of the cause of 'moral unity' were too wily to walk into
that trap; they quietly stifled the proposition. It really might be a
little awkward, even for a Parliamentary oligarchy with a
strongly-bitted Executive well in hand, to confront, let us say,
37,500,000 of Catholics, Protestants, Israelites, not to mention the
Mussulmans in Africa, with a proposition to abolish a Budget of Worship
amounting to a little over a franc a head, for the purpose of reducing
France to a complete 'moral unity' of absolute unbelief in God and in
the immortality of the human soul!

Cardinal Langénieux took possession, as I have said, of the
Archi-episcopal See of Reims in November 1874. Seldom has the right man
been put into the right place more exactly at the right moment. It was
in September 1874 that M. Challemel-Lacour unfolded the Republican
programme of war to the knife against all religion. In September 1874,
too, as I have mentioned, the burning of the factory at Val-des-Bois
called out a general demonstration of sympathy from the Catholic
working-men's clubs all over France, which attracted public attention to
the movement; and in October 1874 Pius IX. issued a brief recognising
its importance and earnestly commending it.

The new Archbishop of Reims was exceptionally fitted by his training and
his experience to promote such a movement.

He was a Benedictine of the school of Cluny, bred in the traditions of
that illustrious Order, to which, without exaggeration, it may be said
that we owe almost everything that is best worth having in our Western
civilisation. For upon what does human society rest in the last resort
if not upon the two great pillars of the rule of St. Benedict--Obedience
and Labour? As a priest, the new Archbishop had successively and
successfully administered two of the most important parishes in Paris,
one in the workmen's quarter of the Faubourg St.-Antoine, the other in
the quarter of the noblesse, in the Faubourg St.-Germain.

After a single year passed in the Episcopate at Tarbes, that pleasant
city on the Adour which all the winds of the Pyrenees have not yet quite
disinfected of the memory of Barère, he was translated to this great
historic see in the prime of his vigour. For fifteen years he has so
ruled it that the Christians of Reims and of the Marne now seize with
delight upon every opportunity of manifesting their incorrigible
indifference to the 'moral unity of France.' You meet workmen in the
streets going about their work with religious medals openly displayed.
The churches of Reims are filled with men on great Church festivals.
Taking all the districts of the Marne together, the Revisionists and
Monarchists at the elections of 1889 outnumbered considerably the
Government Republicans. These latter polled 35,046 votes in the Marne,
against 40,287 polled by the former. The Radicals, who are very strong
in the first district of Reims, polled 11,037 votes there against a
Revisionist vote of 9,230. Do not these figures show, what I believe to
be the truth, that the 'true Republican' policy of reducing France to
'moral unity' by trampling on the traditions and coercing the
consciences of the French people is steadily dividing the French people
into two great camps--the camp of the Social and Radical revolution and
the camp of the Monarchy? That there was no necessity for this is
illustrated by what I have said as to the relations between the Cardinal
Archbishop of Reims and the Republican Ministers of 1875 who came here
on his invitation, and then took steps to secure the preservation and
restoration of the Cathedral. One of these Republican Ministers, M.
Léon Say, who is largely responsible for clothing the present Government
with the power which it abuses, has just been signally humiliated by the
present Government and the dominant majority.

In the second district of Bergerac in the Dordogne, the Monarchist
candidate for the Chamber, M. Thirion Montauban, received 6,708 votes,
against 6,439 given to his Republican competitor. I took a special
interest in this election, because M. Thirion-Montauban is the present
proprietor of the house of Michel de Montaigne, which came into his
possession through his marriage with the daughter of M. Magne, the
eminent Finance Minister of Napoleon III. I made a visit there late in
the summer, and found him busy with his canvass, on lines of respect for
personal liberty and the right of men to think their own thoughts as to
life and death, which would have commanded the cordial sympathy of the
great Gascon sceptic. The tower, the study, the bedroom of Montaigne are
preserved by him with religious care. The inscriptions on the walls
which John Sterling copied so lovingly half a century ago are there
still, and if indeed there be a life of faith as Tennyson says, 'in
honest doubt,' the Pyrrhonist seigneur who thought before Pascal that
the true philosophy was to laugh at philosophy, would not find himself a
stranger in his old haunt to-day because its lower hall has been
consecrated as a chapel.

The opponents of M. Thirion-Montauban behaved throughout the contest
with extraordinary violence, and on one occasion put him into serious
personal peril. However, he was elected. When the Chamber met in
November his election was contested. M. Léon Say took an active part in
maintaining the validity of the returns which gave the seat to M.
Thirion-Montauban, and the evidence in the case was overwhelmingly in
his favour. Nevertheless after the Report of the Committee was made, the
majority of the Chamber coolly invalidated the choice of the electors,
and seated the candidate who had not been elected. It was an open secret
that this was done quite as much to punish M. Léon Say as to exclude M.
Thirion-Montauban.

Intolerant as the 'true Republicans' are towards their political
opponents, they are still more intolerant towards those 'false
Republicans' who hesitate at framing the policy of a French Republic in
the nineteenth century upon the principles which led to the Revocation
of the Edict of Nantes. Were Socrates alive and a Frenchman, he would
stand no chance for a government chair of philosophy in a competition
with the little atheist Aristodemus, and were David Hume to reappear at
Reims, where he got his early schooling, he would certainly find himself
treated by the authorities as no better than a Catholic.

The irreligion of the Third Republic is a dogmatic irreligion. Bayle
would find no favour in its eyes, because protesting, as he said he did
'from his inmost soul protest, against everything that was ever said or
done,' he must of course protest against the Nihilism of M. Marcou and
M. Paul Bert.

Unfortunately for the 'true Republicans,' it is essential to their
success that with the religious faith they should also abolish the
patriotic traditions of France. M. Jules Simon, a Republican and a
Republican Minister of Public Instruction, has found himself compelled
to denounce in the clearest and strongest language the deliberate
attempt which these 'true Republicans' are making 'to teach the children
of France that the glory of France began with 1789, and that it was
never so great as under the Convention.'

Stuff like this is actually taught in the schools into which it is the
object of the present French Government to drive by statute all the
children of the country.

'These men,' says M. Jules Simon, 'who proscribe the name of Jesus
Christ and forbid it to be mentioned in the schools of France, on the
pretext that public education must be neutral in such matters, do not
hesitate to have children compelled to attend schools in which they are
taught that Louis XIV. was a tyrant without greatness or ability, and
that Louis XVI. was an enemy of his country justly condemned and
executed.'

Of the great historic France--the France which aided the American
colonies to establish their independence, after contesting with England
the dominion of North America and of India for more than a century--the
France of Montesquieu and of Rabelais, of Henri IV. and Sully, of
François I. and St.-Louis, of Chivalry and of the Crusades, the coming
generation of Frenchmen, if these fanatics can get their way, will know
no more than their Annamite fellow-citizens in Asia. It is not
surprising that a Government controlled by such men with such objects
should have amnestied the criminals of the Commune. The _pétroleurs_ who
destroyed the Tuileries and the Hôtel de Ville were only trying in their
practical way to abolish the history of France before 1789.

Here at Reims the history of France, I think, will die very hard. No one
could doubt this who visited the Department of the Marne in the month of
July 1887.

When the 'moral unity' men began their sinister work in 1880, the
Cardinal Archbishop of Reims was earnestly urging upon the Holy See the
beatification of the great French pontiff, Urban II., the disciple,
friend and successor of Hildebrand, and the canonisation of Jeanne
d'Arc, 'that whitest lily in the shield of France, with heart of virgin
gold.'

On July 14, 1881, Leo XIII. confirmed the beatification of Urban II. and
fixed of course the date of his death, July 29, as his place in the
calendar of Church festivals. In July 1882 a solemn Triduum appointed by
a Papal Rescript was celebrated with extraordinary pomp in the Cathedral
of Reims.

Two Cardinals, one the special Legate of the Pope, more than twenty
bishops, several abbots of the great Benedictine Order of which Urban
II. was a member, and hundreds of the clergy from all parts of France,
were present. The Cardinal Legate was attended by Monsignor Cataldi, so
long and so well known to all foreigners in Rome as the master of the
ceremonies to the Pope. The Cathedral was crowded. 'What I should like
to know,' said a quiet shrewd master workman who described to me the
effect produced by the scene in the Cathedral, 'what I should like to
know is why the Catholics of Reims have not the right upon such
occasions to escort the Legate of the Head of the Church from the
railway station to the Cathedral with a procession and with music and
with banners? Is that liberty I ask you?'

The question seems to me natural enough, particularly as I see that only
the other day the Freemasons at Grenoble were permitted to force
themselves, marching in a body with all their regalia and their emblems,
into the funeral procession of a Prefect who was not a member of their
order at all, and against the protest of the Bishop of Grenoble, who had
been asked by the family of the dead man to give him the burial rites of
the Church. That the Freemasons like other citizens should attend the
funeral as individuals the Bishop was ready to admit, but he not
unnaturally declined to acquiesce in the deliberate parade on such an
occasion of a body openly and undisguisedly hostile to Christianity in
all its forms.

Without a procession, however, the Triduum of the great Pope of the
Crusades was a great success in 1882. It led to the organisation of a
movement for erecting a magnificent monument to the memory of Urban II.
at his native place. Châtillon-sur-Marne, one of the loveliest little
towns in the valley of the Marne, situated about twenty miles from
Reims. Early in 1887 this monument was completed, and on July 21 in that
year it was unveiled with a solemn ceremonial in the presence of the
Cardinal Archbishop of Reims, of the Papal Nuncio at Paris, and of many
French bishops, among them the great orator of the Chamber of Deputies,
Monseigneur Freppel, Bishop of Angers. He delivered a most impressive
discourse on the significance of the Crusades, every sentence of which
was weighted with pregnant allusions to the actual condition of
religious liberty in France. These allusions were curiously emphasised
by the absence of the Bishop of Orléans, detained at his post in the
city of 'Jeanne d'Arc' by the sudden 'laicisation' of the schools in his
diocese!

The day was what a perfect day in the summer of Northern France can be.
The scene might have been planned by a poet or a painter. There are
other Châtillons in France more famous in history, and held in higher
honour therefore by those useful men the makers of guide-books, than
Châtillon-sur-Marne; and it is in the nature of all castles to stand on
picturesque sites, as of great rivers to flow by large towns. But
neither the Châtillon which saw the birth of the Admiral de Coligny, nor
the Châtillon which saw Napoleon throw away his sceptre with his
scabbard, stands more beautifully than the quiet little town which
nestles on its green plateau beneath the still majestic ruins of the
château in which the great Pope of the Crusades was born. It overlooks,
in the verdant valley of the Marne, the ancient priory of Binson,
superbly renovated now, and restored in great measure through the zeal
and energy of the Benedictine Archbishop of Reims. Around it sweeps a
great circle of green and wooded hills, dotted over with fair mansions
and lordly parks. For this province of Champagne is a land of wealth as
well as of labour.

From a shattered tower of the old feudal fortress floated side by side
the flags of France and of the Holy See. Beside the ruins rose, sharply
defined and well detached against the summer sky, the colossal statue of
Urban II. upon its lofty pedestal of granite. About it were arrayed in a
pomp of colour and of flowing vestments, the host of ecclesiastics drawn
together to do homage and honour in the sight of all men to the
illustrious French pontiff, whom the Church found not unworthy in days
of great stress and sore trial to take up and carry forward the work of
his friend and teacher and predecessor, Hildebrand. One need not be a
Catholic to recognise the debt of mankind to Gregory VII., of whom,
dying in exile and in seeming defeat at Salerno, Sir James Stephen has
truly said that he has 'left the impress of his gigantic character upon
all succeeding ages.' One need only be a moderately civilised man of
common sense to recognise the debt of mankind to Odo de Châtillon, known
in the pontificate as Urban II. Wherever in the world the evensong of
the Angelus breathes peace on earth to men of good-will, it speaks of
the great pontiff and of the Truce of God which he founded, that the
races of Christian Europe, suspending their internecine strife, might
unite to roll back into Asia once for all the threatening invasion of
Islam.

But the thousands upon thousands of people of both sexes and of all
conditions in life who filled the vast plateau of Châtillon on that
summer day in July 1887, and hailed with tumultuous shouts the monument
of this great Frenchman and great Pope, visibly took a more than
historic interest in the occasion. They were moved not only by those
'mystic chords of memory' of which President Lincoln knew the social and
political value much better than the French fanatics of 'moral unity,'
but by a vivid consciousness of the present peril of their country,
their homes and their faith. Once more, as in the eleventh century and
in the eighteenth, France needs to-day 'an invincible champion of the
freedom of the Church, a defender of public peace, a reformer of morals,
a scourge of corruption.'

This was the true significance of this memorable scene in the Marne. It
was in the minds of that whole multitude, and it stirred them all with a
common impulse when the eloquent Bishop of Angers, after sketching in a
bold and striking outline the career of Urban II., thus drove its lesson
home:--'Urban II. and the Popes of the Middle Ages have made for
evermore impossible any return to the pagan theory of the omnipotence of
the State. Ah, no doubt, despite that signal defeat, despotism will
return to the charge. More than once in the course of the ages we shall
see fresh appeals to violence against a power which can defend itself
only by appealing to moral authority. We shall see, as we saw under
Henry of Germany, emperors, kings, and republics strive to forge chains
for the Church by their laws and their decrees. But the memory of the
heroic struggles of the eleventh century will not pass out of the minds
of the people. Canossa will remain for ever an inevitable stage in the
progress of every power which undertakes to suppress religion and the
Church.'

This festival of Urban II. fell in the week which includes the
anniversary of the coronation of Charles VII. at Reims in the presence
of Jeanne d'Arc, and the Cardinal Archbishop availed himself in July
1887 of this circumstance to crown the manifestation at Châtillon by a
solemn commemoration in the Cathedral at Reims of the triumph of the
peasant-girl of Domrémy. He was a schoolfellow at St.-Sulpice and has
been a lifelong friend of Gounod, and upon his suggestion the great
French composer produced for the commemoration his Mass of Jeanne d'Arc.
He came from Paris himself to superintend the execution of the music.
Simple, grand, choral, in the manner of Palestrina, music of the
cathedral, not of the concert, I must leave my readers to imagine what
its effect was beneath those vast and magnificent arches which had
looked down four centuries ago upon the Maid of Orléans kneeling with
her banner in her hand before the newly-anointed King who owed his crown
to Heaven and to her, and praying that, now her mission was fulfilled,
'the gentle prince would let her go back to her own people and to tend
her sheep.'

I do not think it would be easy to convince anyone who that day
witnessed the profound and silent emotion of those assembled thousands
in the Cathedral of Reims that the religious sentiment is either dead or
dying in France! In the evening of the same day the Cathedral was
thronged again, and thousands of men stood there for an hour, as I saw
men stand in Rome last year under the preaching of Padre Agostino, to
listen to a very remarkable sermon from one of the most eloquent
preachers in France, Canon Lemann of Lyons. In the course of this sermon
the preacher incidentally, but with an obvious and courageous purpose,
dwelt at some length upon the energy with which Urban II. had denounced
and repressed the 'false Crusaders' who, under cover of the uprising of
Christendom against the infidel, fell upon, persecuted, and massacred
the Jews in Europe. This quiet and earnest protest against the
'Jew-baiting' tendency which is showing itself in France, as well as in
Germany, was plainly understood, and as plainly commanded the sympathy
of his hearers. This was the case also with his admirable treatment of
the international aspects of the story of the Maid of Orléans. There was
not a trace of Chauvinism in his citation of the simple and downright
message sent by the Pucelle to the English before Orléans. 'I have been
sent by God to throw you out of France.' Out of France she did throw
them. 'In this,' said the preacher, 'Jeanne d'Arc did a great service to
England as well as to France. The fair-haired nation of the North had
fought side by side with France, Coeur de Lion with Philip Augustus,
in the Crusades. When, therefore, the destined queen of the seas sought
to establish herself as a Continental power in the heart of Europe, the
Lord put in her way that grain of star-dust from Domrémy, forced her
back to her vocation, and bade her content herself with being sovereign
on the ocean.'

I spoke of this allusion to the Jews with a most accomplished
ecclesiastic who dined at the Archi-episcopal palace. He was very much
pleased with it. 'One of the most mischievous things done,' he said, 'by
the present Government is that it is certainly fomenting--I cannot say
whether ignorantly or wilfully--a great deal of popular hostility to the
Jews by giving important official positions to men who, though
Israelites by blood, are in most cases no better Israelites than they
are Christians. Very nearly half the préfectures in France are filled by
such persons. When, as is too often the case, they carry out offensive
and tyrannical measures against the Catholic schools and congregations
in an unnecessarily offensive and tyrannical manner, it is very easy, as
you must see, for hasty or malevolent persons to persuade the people
that they do this because they are Jews, and as Jews hate the
Christians. I know that the best Israelites in France regret this as
much as I do. The policy of this Government is aimed as clearly at the
extinction of the Jewish as of the Christian faith; at the Grand Rabbis
as mercilessly as at the Archbishops of France.'

This same ecclesiastic gave me some particulars of the virulence with
which the anti-religious war is waged. He told me of one case of recent
date in Paris in which the authorities of a hospital neglected for two
days to pay any heed to the entreaties of a poor patient that they would
send for a priest to attend him, the doctors having given him to
understand that for him the end was near. The chaplains, it will be
remembered, have been expelled from all the public hospitals. Finally
some person in charge of the place, more humane than his fellows, sent
out to a Lazarist house in the neighbourhood and asked the Lazarists to
send a priest. The priest came. He was received very rudely, kept
waiting a long time in an ante-room, and when he was finally conducted
through the wards to the dying man, all sorts of vulgar and foolish
jeers were uttered about his mission as he passed along; and it was with
the greatest trouble that he finally succeeded in imposing some sort of
decent respect for the death-bed of this poor sufferer upon the hospital
attendants.

'This is the spirit,' said the priest who told me the tale, 'of the
Commune, or rather of those Communards who murdered the hostages. These
murderers simply put this spirit into deeds instead of words. They made
the name of the Commune so odious that when Victor Hugo in 1876 proposed
a general amnesty of the condemned Communards, the Chamber rejected it
without taking a vote.

'In 1880 the same general amnesty was proposed, and the Chamber adopted
it by a very large majority. Do you wonder that thoughtful men look with
horror on the current which is carrying us in such a direction as that?
At this moment two men of high personal character, Admiral Krantz and M.
Casimir Périer, are lending their support to a Government which
represents this current, and yet Admiral Krantz and M. Casimir Périer
have recorded their deliberate conviction that the men who clamoured for
an unconditional, indiscriminate amnesty for the Communards were simply
abusing the name of clemency for the rehabilitation of crime.

'Look again,' he said, 'at the spirit in which the laicization of the
schools is conducted. There are a hundred families we will say in a
village. Ninety-nine of these families are Christian families, not
families of saints--I wish I knew such a village as that!--but Christian
families. Go into their homes, and you will see the crucifix hanging in
the chambers, religious prints upon the walls. One family is a family of
atheists. I suppose the case, for as a matter of fact I know no such
family. But I will suppose it. There is a school in the village, and in
that school there hangs a crucifix, the gift of some pious resident.
Ninety-nine fathers and mothers of the village desire that crucifix to
be respected. One father and one mother (a bold supposition this!)
desire it to be removed. The authorities send in a man who plucks it
down, before the children, and throws it out of the door. I simply state
what has happened over and over again! Is there any respect for equal
rights--for the rule of the majority, for freedom of conscience in such
proceedings? Take the case of the Virgin of Béziers. In that ancient
city stood two statues of the Virgin, one in bronze and one in marble.
The civil authorities called upon the Church to suppress them. The
Church authorities of course declined to do this. Thereupon the civil
authorities take the money of the taxpayers and expend it in depriving
the city of these two monuments. Suppose the Turkish authorities were to
do a thing like this in a town full of Christians under their dominion,
what would all the civilised world say about the Turks?

'And it is done in a French city by Frenchmen either to carry out their
own self-will or to exasperate and insult their fellow-citizens, or for
both reasons at once!

'Still another case you can see for yourself at Domrémy. There under a
pious and patriotic foundation to which Louis XVIII largely contributed
the home of Jeanne d'Arc, religiously preserved in its original state,
was confided to the keeping of some Sisters. They dwelt in a neat
edifice constructed on the grounds purchased to secure the house of the
Pucelle, and there the children of Domrémy and the neighbouring communes
came to school and were gratuitously taught. Only the other day the
local authorities were instigated, I know not by whom--perhaps by the
friends of M. Ferry at St.-Dié, which is not very far off--to "laicize"
instruction in Domrémy. To this end they turn the Sisters out, put the
home of Jeanne d'Arc under the charge of a lay guardian, who has to be
paid by the State, of course, tax the commune to pay a lay teacher, and
make the school a lay school at the very door of the home of the
village maiden to whose religious faith France owes her freedom and her
national existence!'

I made a visit to Nancy and the Department of the Meurthe et Moselle not
long after I had this conversation in Reims. The Mother Superior of the
great Sisterhood of Christian Doctrine at Nancy confirmed this amazing
story of the performances at Domrémy, and gave me many particulars of
the petty persecutions to which the Sisters who conduct schools all over
France are subjected. The schools are open at all hours to the invasion
of Inspectors, who magnify their office too often in the eyes of the
children by treating the teachers (lay as well as religious) with the
sort of amiable condescension which marks the demeanour of an agent of
the octroi overhauling the basket of a peasant-woman at a barrier. If a
Sister has a religious book, her own property, lying on her desk, it is
violently snatched up, and the children are invited to say whether it
has been used to poison their young minds with religious ideas. 'In
short,' said the Mother Superior very quietly, 'our Sisters are really
much better treated in Protestant countries than in Catholic France.'

Domrémy-la-Pucelle is a typical agricultural village of Eastern France.
It is in the Department of the Vosges and in the verdant valley of the
Meuse. I drove to it on a lovely summer's morning after visiting
Vaucouleurs, where the Pucelle came before the stout Captain Robert de
Beaudricourt and said to him, 'You must take me to the King. I must see
him before Mid Lent, and I will see him if I walk my legs off to the
knees!' This interview began her marvellous career.

From certain articles in newspapers about a drama of _Jeanne d'Arc_, now
performing at Paris, I gather that Jeanne's moral conquest of France
which preceded and led to her material victory over the English
invaders, has at last been satisfactorily explained by the scientific
believers in hypnotism! Of this I can only say, with President Lincoln
on a memorable occasion, 'for those who like this kind of explanation of
historical phenomena, I should suppose it would be just the kind of
explanation they would like.'

The country between Vaucouleurs and Domrémy is agreeably diversified,
well wooded in parts, and rich in fair meadow-lands. At Montbras a
little old lady dwells and looks after her affairs in one of the most
picturesque château of the sixteenth century to be seen in this part of
France, machicolated, crenellated, and dominated by lofty towers. We
passed, too, through Greux, a small village on the Meuse, the dwellers
in which were astute enough to get themselves exempted by Charles VII
from all talliages and subsidies 'by fabricating documents' to prove
that Jeanne d'Arc was born there. The incident is curious as going to
show that the 'downtrodden serfs' and 'manacled villeins' of the middle
ages had their wits about them, and could take care of themselves when
an opportunity offered, as well as the 'oppressed tenantry' of modern
Ireland. Domrémy, which is no bigger than Greux, neither of them having
three hundred inhabitants, straggles along the highway. The houses are
well built--the church is a handsome, ogival building of the fifteenth
century, restored in our day, but quite in keeping with the place and
its associations. Within it, under a tomb built into the wall, lie the
two brothers Tiercelin, sons of the godmother of Jeanne, who bore their
testimony manfully to the character of the deliverer of France, when the
Church was at last compelled to intervene in the interest of truth and
justice between the French Catholics who had worshipped her as a
'creature of God,' and the English Catholics who had burned her as an
emissary of the Evil One.

Almost under the shadow of the church tower stands the house in which
Jeanne was born and bred. A charming, old-fashioned garden, very well
kept, surrounds it. If when you leave the church you pass around by the
main street of the village, you soon find yourself in front of a neat
iron railing which connects two modern buildings of no great size, but
neat and unpretending. Entering the gateway of this railing you see
before you, shaded by well-grown trees, one or two of which may possibly
be of the date of the house, the quaint fifteenth-century façade of the
house of Jacques d'Arc, and his wife Isabelle Vouthon, called Romée
because she had made a pilgrimage to the Eternal City. A curious
demi-gable gives the house the appearance of having been cut in two. But
there is no reason to suppose it was ever any larger than it is now.
Probably, indeed, this façade was erected long after the martyrdom of
Jeanne. Over the ogival doorway is an escutcheon showing three shields,
and the date, 1480, with an inscription, '_Vive Labeur, Vive le Roy
Louys!_' This goes to confirm a local tradition that the façade was
built at the cost of Louis XI., who understood much better than his
father the political value to the crown and to the country of France of
the marvellous career of the peasant girl of Domrémy. The date of this
inscription is particularly significant. In 1479 was fought the battle
of Guinegate, which was lost to France by the headlong flight of the
French chivalry from the field. Louis XI. turned this disaster to good
account. He made it the excuse for founding, in 1480, his regular army
of mercenaries, liberating the peasants from the burden of personal
military service to the lords, and drawing to himself the power of the
State through taxation. '_Vive Labeur, Vive le Roy Louys!_' was a
popular cry throughout France in 1480; for Labeur in those days meant
what it means now in the _Terra di Lavoro_--the tilling of the fields.
One of the three shields above this doorway has a similar significance.
It is a bearing of three ploughshares. With it are emblazoned on the
house of the Pucelle two other shields, one bearing the three royal
fleurs-de-lys of France, and the other the arms granted to the family of
the heroine--_azure_, a sword _argent_ pommelled and hilted _or_, and
above a crown supported by two fleurs-de-lys. With these arms, as
we know, the family took the name of De Lys. The name, the arms, and the
inscription over the doorway were a perpetual witness to the peasants of
Champagne and Lorraine of the unity of interests established by King
Louis between the spade and the sceptre. With the help of an inspired
daughter of the people, King Charles had driven the English into the
sea, and delivered the land. With the help of the people, King Louis had
broken the power of Burgundy, and put the barons under his foot. '_Vive
Labeur, Vive le Roy Louys!_' I do not wonder this skilful craftsman 'of
the empire and the rule' lamented on his death-bed in 1483, at
Plessis-les-Tours, that he could not live to crown the edifice he had so
well begun. We in England and America know him only in the magic mirror
of the Wizard of the North. But France owes him a great debt. He was
cruel, but in comparison with the cruelty of Lebon, of Barère, of
Billaud-Varennes, his cruelty was tender mercy, He was a hypocrite, but
his hypocrisy shows like candour beside the perfidy and the cant of
Pétion and of Robespierre, while in the great 'art and mystery' of
government he was a master where these modern apes of despotism were
clumsy apprentices.

The interior of the house of Jeanne is probably in the main what it was
when Jeanne dwelt here with her parents, her sister and her brothers.
The ground floor contains a general living-room, the large chimney-place
of which may perhaps be of the time of Jeanne, and three bedrooms, one
of which, a chamber measuring three mètres by four, and lighted only by
a small dormer window looking out upon the garden, tradition assigns to
Jeanne and to her sister. Here, the people of Domrémy believe, the
maiden sate almost within the shadow of the old church-tower, and heard
the voices of St. Catherine and St. Margaret, and Michael the Archangel,
patron and defender of France, mingling with the sound of the church
bells, and calling upon her to arise, and leave her village home and the
still forests of Domrémy and her silly sheep, and go out into a world of
war and confusion and violence, and rally the broken armies of her
people, and lead them, like another Deborah or Judith, to victory.

That Jeanne heard these voices or believed she heard them, the
documentary evidence unearthed by Quicherat abundantly proves. It
proves, too, that she was cool, clear-headed, self-possessed, thoroughly
honest, and absolutely trustworthy in every relation of life. This being
her character, what did she do? She made her way from her solitude in
Lorraine to the court of the King at Chinon, with nothing but her faith
in her voices and her mission to sustain her; put herself into the
forefront of the battle of France, threw the English back into England,
and saw the successor of St.-Rémi put the crown of Clovis upon the head
of a prince whom nobody but herself could have led or driven to Reims.

If anybody in Paris or elsewhere knowing all this feels quite sure that
Jeanne did not hear the voices which she believed herself to have
heard, he certainly is to be pitied. It may do him good to consider in
his closet what Lord Macaulay has said in a certain celebrated essay
concerning Sir Thomas More and the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

A man may intelligently believe or disbelieve in the reality of the
voices heard by Jeanne, but no man who intelligently disbelieves in them
can need to be told that his disbelief rests upon no better scientific
ground than the belief of the man who believes in them.

To take the home of Jeanne d'Arc out of the keeping of devout women who
share the faith of Jeanne, that faith which, well or ill founded,
unquestionably saved France, was simply a stupid indecency. In the
keeping of the Sisters the home of Jeanne was a shrine. In any other
keeping it becomes a show.

The essential vulgarity of the performance is bad enough. But a
sharp-witted Domrémy man who took me on to Bourlémont in his 'trap'
assured me, in a matter-of-fact way, that in the village the chief mover
in the affair was commonly believed to have got a good _pot-de-vin_ for
securing the position of keeper of the house for a person of his
acquaintance. This may have been a bit of village scandal, but such
performances naturally breed village scandals. Whether it was or was not
a 'job' in this sense, it certainly marks as low a level of taste and
education as the pillage by Barère and his copper 'Syndicate' of the
historic tombs of France at St.-Denis in 1793.

Some years ago all France was incensed by a nocturnal desecration of the
statue of Duguesclin which stands at Dinan in the very lists in which
five hundred years ago the Breton hero met and vanquished 'Sir Thomas of
Canterbury.' The indignation of France was righteous, and if there was
any foundation for the popular impression that the outrage was
perpetrated by some English lads on a vacation tour, no language could
well be too strong to apply to it. But I did not observe that any
Parisian journalist alluded at that time to the way in which the ashes
of Duguesclin himself were treated in 1795 at St.-Denis, by Frenchmen
decked in tri-coloured scarves! It did not even occur to them to
remember how long ago and by what hands the column of the Grand Army was
pulled down in the very heart of Paris!

While the force of Philistine fatuity can no further go than it has gone
in the 'laicization' of the home of Jeanne d'Arc, I ought to say that
the actual keeper of the place seemed to me to be a decent sort of
fellow, not wholly destitute of respect for its traditions and its
significance. The house and the garden are neatly kept. In the centre of
the main room stands a fine model in bronze of the well-known statue of
Jeanne d'Arc, by the Princess Mary of Orléans, with an inscription
stating that it was given by the King, her father, to the Department of
the Vosges, to be placed in the house where Jeanne was born.
Commemorative tablets are set here and there in the walls; and in one of
the modern buildings in front of the house a collection is kept of
objects illustrating the life of the Pucelle.

The most interesting of these is a banner given by General de Charette,
to the valour of whose Zouaves the French are indebted for one of the
few gleams of victory which brighten up the dark record of 1870 It was
at Patay that in June 1429 the English, under Sir John Fastolf, for the
first time broke in a stricken field and fled under the onset of the
French, led by the Maid of Orléans, leaving the great Talbot to fall a
prisoner into the hands of his enemies. And at Patay, again in December
1870, the German advance was met and repulsed by the 'Volunteers of the
West,' that being the name under which the silly and intolerant
'Government of the National Defence' actually compelled the Catholic
Zouaves to fight for their country, just as they forced the Duc de
Chartres to draw his sword and risk his life for France as 'Robert
Lefort.' These puerilities really almost disarm contempt into
compassion. At Patay in 1870 the Zouaves saw three of their officers,
all of one family, struck down in succession, two of them to death, as
they advanced on the lines of the enemy, bearing a banner of the
Sacré-Coeur, which had been presented to General de Charette by some
nuns of Brittany only a few days before the battle. The banner, now at
Domrémy, is a votive offering of General de Charette and his Zouaves in
commemoration of the field on which they were permitted thus, after four
centuries, to link the piety and the patriotic valour of modern France
with the deathless traditions of Domrémy, of Orléans, and of Reims.

This little museum contains, too, a picture given by an Englishman, of
Jeanne binding up the wounds of an English soldier after the repulse of
one of the English attacks. The soil has risen about the house of
Jeanne, and this may have made the interior seem more gloomy than it
once was. But the house is well and solidly built, and if it may be
thought a fair specimen of the abodes of the well-to-do peasantry of
Lorraine in the fifteenth century, they were as well lodged relatively
to the general average of people at that time as those of the same class
in Eastern France now on the average appear to be. Charles de Lys in the
early seventeenth century seems to have been a man of note and
substance. But the parents of Jeanne were simply peasant proprietors. At
the entrance of the village church there is a statue of Jeanne, the work
of a native artist, in which she appears kneeling in her peasant's
dress, one hand pressed upon her heart and the other lifted towards
Heaven. And in a little clump of fir-trees near her house stands a sort
of monumental fountain, surmounted by a bust of the Pucelle. The house
itself remained in the possession of the last descendant of the family,
a soldier of the Empire named Gérardin, down to the time of the
Restoration. Some Englishman, it is said, then offered him a handsome
price for the cottage, with the object of moving it across the Channel,
as an enterprising countryman of mine once proposed to carry off the
house of Shakespeare to America. Gérardin, though a poor man, or perhaps
because he was a poor man, refused. The department thereupon bought the
house, the King gave Gérardin the cross of the Legion, and he was made a
_garde forestier_.

Upon the expulsion of the Sisters from the home of La Pucelle, some of
the most respectable people in the department at once organized a fund,
and built for them a very neat edifice in the village in which they are
now installed. Fully four-fifths of the children of the country round
about, I was told, still attend their free school. 'Ah! Sir,' said a
cheery solid farmer of Domrémy to me, while I stood waiting for my
'trap,' to continue my journey, 'it does not amuse us at all to pay for
the braying of all these donkeys! Do you know, it costs Domrémy, such as
you see it, twelve hundred francs a year, this nonsense about the
Sisters and the house of La Pucelle! And to what use? What harm did the
Sisters do there? It is not the Pucelle who would have put them out, do
you think? In the old time Domrémy paid no taxes because of the Pucelle.
Now because of the Pucelle we must pay twelve hundred francs a year for
what we don't want!'

Some of my readers may thank me--as the guide-book gives no very
accurate information on the subject--for telling them that
Domrémy-la-Pucelle may be very easily, and in fine weather very
pleasantly, visited from Neufchâteau on the railway line between Paris
and Mirécourt. Neufchâteau itself is an interesting and picturesque
town. It suffered severely from the religious wars, but two of its
churches, St. Christopher and St. Nicholas, are worth seeing. There are
two very good statues of Jeanne d'Arc, and the Hôtel de la Providence,
kept by a most attentive dame, is a very good specimen of a small French
provincial inn. There a carriage can be had for Domrémy, and with a
luncheon-basket a summer's day may be most agreeably spent between
Neufchâteau and the little station of Domrémy-Maxey-sur-Meuse, at which
point, about three miles beyond Domrémy-la-Pucelle, you may strike the
railway which leads to Nancy. The old capital of Lorraine, though not
nearly so trim and well kept as it used to be, is still one of the most
characteristic and interesting cities in France.

Very near Domrémy-la-Pucelle, a resident of the country, M. Sédille, has
built, on a fine hill overlooking the valley of the Meuse, a small
chapel adorned with a group representing the Maiden kneeling before her
Saints and the Archangel. This chapel stands on the place where, as
tradition tells us, Jeanne first heard the heavenly 'voices.' It was
then in the heart of a great forest, long since thinned away. It now
commands a wide and beautiful view of a finely varied country. There,
driving from Bourlémont on a lovely summer afternoon, I found a young
pilgrim from the Far West of the United States doing homage to the
memory of the Maid of Orléans. He had made his way here from Paris and
the Exposition. 'I got enough of that,' he said, 'in about three days,
with the help of a French conversation book.' His method was to look up
a phrase as nearly as possible expressing what he wanted to say, and
then to submit this phrase in the book to his interlocutor. 'How do you
find the plan work?' I asked him. 'Oh, very well,' he replied; 'the
French are so very obliging. I'm afraid it wouldn't work as well the
other way, on our side of the pond.' His worship, not of heroes, but of
heroines, was most simple and downright. 'I consider Joan of Arc,' he
said, 'the greatest woman that ever walked the earth, and next to her
Charlotte Corday. And these miserable Englishmen burnt one,' he added
scornfully, 'and these miserable Frenchmen guillotined the other. I
don't wonder this Old World is played out if they can't treat such women
better than that!'

He was charmed with the story of Adam Lux (caricatured by Mr. Carlyle),
who (like André Chénier) invited death by his defiant homage to
Charlotte Corday. 'Well now, I suppose,' he said, 'that if there had
been fifty more men in Paris then as brave as that Adam Lux, they could
have taken all those cowards and murderers and chucked them into the
Seine!' He rejoiced over the Bishop of Verdun's projected monument to
Jeanne, and I sent him to Châtillon by telling him that the statue of
Urban II. stands third in height among the religious monuments of Europe
after the Virgin of Le Puy and the St.-Charles of Arona.

Bourlémont before the Revolution must have been one of the finest
châteaux in France. It stands superbly on the plateau of a lofty hill.
The park which surrounds it is very extensive and full of noble trees.
The château was sacked and pillaged, and one great wing destroyed. This
the Prince d'Hénin is now rebuilding on the original scale, and in the
most perfect keeping with the stately and picturesque main body of the
edifice. The whole of the interior, with the great hall and the chapel,
has been restored and refurnished with admirable taste. Carved oak
wainscotings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, antique
armoires and cabinets and tables, mediæval tapestries--nothing is
wanting. But the thoroughness of the reconstruction emphasizes the
wanton folly and wickedness of the devastation which made it necessary.

The Princesse d'Hénin of the Revolutionary time narrowly escaped the
guillotine. She was one of many women of rank and worth who owed their
lives to the courage and ability and generosity of Madame de Staël.
After taking refuge in Switzerland, Madame de Staël organised a complete
system for bringing away her imperilled friends from Paris. She gathered
about her a small corps of clever and determined Swiss girls. These she
sent one by one as occasion served, or circumstances required, into
France, equipped with Swiss passports. On reaching Paris one of these
girls would find a lady waiting to escape, change wardrobes with her,
give her a Swiss passport properly viséd by the Swiss representative in
Paris, furnish her with money if necessary, and set her safely on her
way to the Cantons. When news came that she had arrived, the Swiss
damsel in her turn would get a new passport from her Minister and return
to Switzerland. Of course, such a system as this could not have been
carried out so successfully as it was without more or less co-operation
on the part of the 'incorruptible' Republican functionaries in France,
and there can be little doubt that, under the régime of the scoundrels
who made up the Committee of Public Security--Lebon, Panis, Drouet,
Ruhl, and the rest--a regular traffic in passports and protections went
on during the worst times of the Terror. It is remembered to the credit
of an unhappy woman, who was born in the town of Vaucouleurs, and for
whom nobody finds a good word, Madame Du Barry, that she deliberately
gave up the certainty of securing her own escape from Paris, in 1793, in
order to save Madame de Mortemart. The Duchesse de Mortemart was in
hiding on the Channel coast, when Madame Du Barry, for whom a
safe-conduct under an assumed name had been bought from one of the
Terrorist 'Titans,' insisted that this safe-conduct should be sent from
Paris to the Duchesse. The Duchesse used it and reached England in
safety. Madame Du Barry remained to perish on the scaffold, leaving her
goods and chattels to be stolen by the ruffians who sent her to the
guillotine, just as the goods and chattels, the money and equipments and
horses of the Duc de Biron were stolen by the Republican 'General'
Rossignol, his successor.

Domrémy is in the electoral district of Neufchâteau, and the elections
of 1889 do not show that the 'laicization' policy has given the
Republican cause a great impulse in this region. The Monarchist
candidate in the Neufchâteau district received in September 1889 6,571
votes, and the Republican 6,590. This is one of the microscopic
majorities which were so common in 1889, and which conclusively show
what a difference in the general result was made by the open pressure of
the Government on the electors. The Department of the Vosges sends up
six deputies to the Chamber. In 1885 it sent up a solid Republican
Deputation, including M. Méline, who was so conspicuous in 1889 in the
matter of General Boulanger and M. Jules Ferry, the standard-bearer of
'laicization' and irreligion. In 1885 the Deputies were chosen by the
_scrutin de liste_. The Republican majority shown by the vote for M.
Méline was 6,949 on a total poll of 87,635. M. Méline, who headed the
poll, received 47,292 votes. His Conservative opponent received 40,343.
In 1889 the elections were made by the _scrutin d'arrondissement_. Five
Republicans, not six, were chosen, and the defeated Republican candidate
was no less a person than M. Jules Ferry himself! The first district of
St.-Dié gave him 6,192 votes, and elected a Monarchist to replace him by
6,403 votes. It is not easy to overestimate the significance of this
change. Probably enough the majority will emphasize it by 'invalidating'
the election of the Monarchist!

A comparison of the total votes in the Vosges of the two parties in 1889
with those of 1885 is instructive. In 1885 the strength, of the two
parties respectively (the Conservatives not having then openly declared
for the Monarchy) was, as I have said, 47,292 and 40,343. In 1889 the
Republicans polled in all the districts of the department 47,116 votes,
and their opponents 42,124. Here we have a falling off of 176 votes in
the highest Republican strength against an increase of 1,781 in the
highest Opposition strength, or, in other words, a falling off of 1,957
votes in the aggregate Republican majority, together with the defeat in
his own district of the recognised leader of the Republican Government
party. And yet the total of the votes polled rose from 87,635 in 1885 to
89,240 in 1889. The inference is obvious: that the Monarchists are on
the upgrade, and the Republicans on the downgrade. If, with such results
in such a region and in the face of such a contest as that of 1889, the
Monarchists do not in the long run win, it will clearly be nobody's
fault but their own!



CHAPTER XIV

IN THE CALVADOS


  VAL RICHER.

Perhaps the most striking illustration that can be given of the true
nature of the contest now waging between the Third Republic and France,
is the share taken in it by the family and the representatives of the
great Protestant statesman, who, under Louis Philippe, laid down the
lines in France of a truly free and liberal system of public education.
In the matter of education France was undoubtedly thrown backward and
not forward by the First Republic. The number of illiterates--that is,
of persons unable to read and write--naturally increased between 1789
and 1799 as the educational foundations which existed all over the
kingdom shared the fate of the religious and charitable foundations.
There was an abundance of ordinances and decrees about public education.
But the chief practical work done was to confiscate the means by which
the ancient system had been carried on. Baudrillart mentions educational
foundations made by the great abbeys as early as in the seventh century.
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Councils of the French Church
created in each cathedral chapter a special prebend, the holder of which
was to look after the education not only of clerical persons, but 'of
all poor scholars,' and this 'gratuitously.'

In the fourteenth century lay foundations for free public education are
found, one in particular of importance established by a rich citizen,
Jean Rose, for promoting the general education of the people at Meaux,
the diocese afterwards of Bossuet, who under Louis XIV. was so active in
promoting 'the moral unity' of France from his point of view.

The long English wars interrupted the development of education, and many
instances are found during that dismal period in which persons who had
bought legal positions had to employ professional scribes to do their
writing. In the sixteenth century schools increased and multiplied all
over France. Rich citizens founded them for 'the instruction of all the
children,' as at Provins in 1509, and at Roissy-en-Buè in 1521. In the
rural regions the schoolmaster often received his pay in grain; he was
sometimes attached to some public office. In many places he taught the
children only for six months in each year. In short, education was
carried on in France at that time very much as it was in the rural
regions of the United States down to the second quarter of the current
century. In many French parishes of the sixteenth century the
schoolmaster 'boarded around' in the different families of the parish,
just as he did in New England. The religious wars again disturbed the
development of education. At Nîmes, where the archives I found had been
carefully investigated by M. Puech, more than a third of the artisans
could read, write, and keep their accounts at the end of the fifteenth
century. After the close of the religious wars, it was no uncommon thing
to find fathers signing their names in a very clerkly fashion, while
their sons were forced to 'make their marks,' as being unable to write.
Like causes produced like effects at the end of the eighteenth century.
Not content with disestablishing the Church, the legislative tinkers of
1791, by a law passed on June 27 in that year, struck out of existence
at a blow all the great industrial associations and corporations of
France. These had provided for the education of the children of their
members for centuries; but all the educational foundations were swept
away with the hospitals and the charities. The men who grew to man's
estate between 1793 and 1813 in France grew up in greater ignorance than
their fathers.

The worst national effects of the Terror did not disappear with the
disappearance of the guillotine. Before the fall of Robespierre, the
guillotine had come to be a financial expedient. 'We are coining money
on the Place de la Révolution,' said the estimable Barére to his
colleagues, and he counted that a poor week's work which yielded less
'than three millions of francs' from the confiscation of the property of
the victims. When under the Directory _fusillades_ took the place of the
too conspicuous guillotine, the confiscation still went on. The
Directory did no more for education than the Terror had done. The five
directors had other matters on their minds.

Barras, of whom a not unfriendly historian gently observes that, 'while
he lacked no other vice ancient or modern, he was neither very vain nor
very cruel;' Mr. Carlyle's 'hungry Parisian pleasure-hunter,' Rewbell,
of whom his special friend and colleague, Laréveillère-Lepaux, amiably
records in his Memoirs that 'his legs were too small for his body,' and
that he had 'a habit of attributing to himself speeches uttered and
deeds done by other people;' Letourneur, a corpulent rustic, whose
excellent wife loudly exulted over her joy in finding herself 'eating
stewed beef out of Sèvres porcelain,' and who, being asked when he came
back from the Jardin des Plantes whether he had seen Lacépède,
innocently replied: 'No; but I saw La giraffe!'--Carnot, 'Papa Victory,'
of whom Laréveillère says that 'nobody could endure his vanity and
self-conceit;' and, lastly, Laréveillère himself, whom Carnot in his
Memoirs, published at London in 1799, compares to a 'viper,' and says,
'after he has made a speech he coils himself up again'--these were
hardly the men to give their nights and days to reconstructing the
educational system of France!

Merlin (of Douai), Minister of Justice under the quintette, really ruled
France for nearly five years. This was Merlin, author of the 'Law of the
Suspects,' which Mr. Carlyle, though obviously in the dark as to its
real genesis and objects, finds himself constrained to stigmatize as the
'frightfullest law that ever ruled in a nation of men.' Mr. Carlyle does
not seem to have observed that the author of this 'transcendental' law,
the aim of which was to convert the French people into a swarm of spies
and assassins, was not only one of the first of the Republican' Titans'
to fall down and kiss the feet of Napoleon, but one of the first also to
desert Napoleon, and embrace the knees of the returning King. On April
11, 1814, this creature, who had caused the Convention to reject a
petition for a pardon presented by a man condemned for a crime, the real
authors of which had confessed his innocence and their own guilt, on the
ground that 'every sentence pronounced by the law should be
irrevocable,' joined in a most fulsome address of welcome to the
legitimate sovereign of France! His namesake Merlin (of Thionville),
another 'Titan' whom Mr. Carlyle admires as riding out of captured
Mayence still 'threatening in defeat,' was nimbler even than Merlin of
Douai. On April 7, 1814, he wrote to King Louis begging to be allowed
'to serve the true, paternal government of France!'

Concerning Merlin (of Douai), Barras, who made him 'Minister of
Justice,' placidly says: 'Poltroons are always cruel. Merlin always hid
himself in the moment of danger, and came out again only to strike the
vanquished party.' Proscription and confiscation kept the Government
which this worthy Republican directed much too busy to leave it any time
for looking after the schools of France.

When at last Napoleon gathered up the reins, he postponed the interests
of public education to other, and from his point of view more pressing,
concerns.

The Concordat re-established the Church in France, but it did not
re-endow the Church on a scale which would have enabled it at once to
reconstruct its own educational system. In fact, the Concordat can
hardly be said to have re-endowed the Church at all. Under the
thirteenth article the Pope formally recognized the title of the
purchasers of 'national property' in France to vast domains, the
property through purchase, donations, or bequest of the Church, which
had been made 'national property' only by the simple processes of
exiling or murdering the owners and confiscating their estates. In
consideration of this recognition, the State bound itself by Article
XIV. of the Concordat to 'ensure to the bishops and the curates salaries
befitting their functions,' and by Article XV. to 'protect the right of
the Catholics of France to re-endow the churches.'

As to the 'rising generation' of the French people the government of
Napoleon concerned itself much more with the conscription than with the
reconstruction of the schools, and though the Churches, both Catholic
and Protestant, took this work in hand very early in the century, it was
necessarily with inadequate means.

Under the First Consulate a general law regulating public instruction
was enacted, on May 1, 1802. Another was enacted shortly afterwards,
and in 1808 appeared the famous decree of the Emperor founding the
University system of France. Heaven knows how many schemes for founding
this University system had been elaborated and submitted to him before,
only to be torn up as 'ideological.' Cuvier affirms that he drew up
twenty-three such schemes one after another.

This decree of March 17, 1808, forbade the establishment of private
schools without the authority of the Government, set up three degrees of
public instruction, primary, secondary and superior, organised a body of
Inspectors-General, and, in short, 'laicized' public education in France
effectually as a machine to be controlled by the Imperial Government.

Under the ancient Monarchy, France possessed twenty-four Universities.
The Convention suppressed them all at a blow on September 15, 1793. This
was little more than three months after the Convention itself had been
'suppressed' and forced to kiss the hand that smote it by Henriot and
his cannoniers on June 28, 1793. A law abolishing the freedom of
education was to have been expected from an assembly itself enslaved by
an oligarchy of rogues and assassins. And this law left nothing standing
in France to impede the execution of the Imperial decree of 1808, the
first article of which was:--'Public education in the whole Empire is
exclusively confided to the University.' Another article ordained that
all the schools in France should take as the basis of their instruction
'fidelity to the Emperor, to the Imperial monarchy, the trustee of the
happiness of the people, and to the Napoleonic dynasty, the conservator
of the unity of France and of all the liberal ideas proclaimed in the
constitutions of France.' The theology of all the French schools was to
be in conformity with the Royal edict of Louis XIV., issued in 1682.
Furthermore and expressly, 'the members of the University were required
to keep the Grand-master and his officers informed of anything that may
come to their knowledge contrary to the doctrine and the principles of
the educational body in the establishments of public education!'

Here we have the 'moral unity' of France organized by Napoleon in 1808
on the lines in which the Third Republic has been trying ever since 1874
to organize it! Put the word 'Republic' for the word 'Empire,' the
phrase 'scientific atheism' for the phrase 'propositions of the clergy
of France in 1682,' and you have in the Napoleonic organization of
public education the organization controlled by M. Jules Ferry. Of the
two despotisms, the despotism of 1808 seems to me the more compatible
with public order and public prosperity. With public liberty neither of
them is compatible. Under the ancient Monarchy and the clerical system
of education liberty existed. The Jesuits and the Jansenists, the
Dominicans and the Oratorians and the Benedictines, had their different
principles of education, their different traditions, their different
text-books. Under the Imperial University, and still more under the
University of the Third Republic, differences became disloyalties. Under
the University of France in 1808 every young French citizen was to
accept the Catholic faith as defined by the clergy of France in 1682,
and true allegiance bear to the Napoleonic dynasty. Under the University
of France in 1890, every young French citizen is to disbelieve in God
and a future life, and true allegiance bear to the Third French
Republic.

In 1808 as in 1890 the rights of freemen were first vindicated in this
connection by the Catholic Church. On April 9, 1809, the Emperor issued
a decree that no one should be admitted to a Catholic theological
academy without a bachelor's diploma of the University. The bishops came
at once into collision on this point with the Imperial prefects of 1809,
as the bishops now came into collision on the decree of 1880 with M.
Jules Ferry and the Republican prefects. The Imperial prefects of 1809
(not a few of them rabid Republicans in 1792) were merely the valets of
the Emperor, as the prefects of 1890 are the valets of a Parliamentary
oligarchy.

The Emperor carried his point. But when the Emperor fell, and the
constitutional monarchy was restored, the University of France ceased to
be an Imperialist training-school. M. de Fontanes, appointed
grand-master by the Emperor in 1809, kept his place under Louis XVIII.
To keep it he made the University 'clerical.' Under Napoleon the
scholars in the public schools of France had been divided into
'companies.' M. de Fontanes in 1815 ordered them to be divided into
'classes.' Under Napoleon the hours of study and of play were announced
by a drum. In 1815 M. de Fontanes ordered them to be announced by a
bell. Under Napoleon the boys all wore a uniform. M. de Fontanes in 1815
ordered the uniforms to be no longer of 'a military type.' Then the
French Liberals who had not dared to stir under the Emperor began to
attack both the clergy and the University. But when the Revolution of
1830 brought these 'Liberals' into power, they ceased at once to attack,
and began at once to engineer the Imperial machinery of the University.
M. Thiers even proclaimed this machinery to be 'the finest creation of
the reign of Napoleon!'

In 1833 the truest Liberal of them all, M. Guizot, struck a strenuous
blow at this machinery of despotism. He could not deal with the
University as a system, but he framed a law affecting 'primary
education,' the principle of winch was that no man should be forced to
send his child to school, but that schools should exist all over France
to which any man who pleased might send his children if he was too poor
to pay for their education.

This principle of M. Guizot in 1883 was certainly not an outcome of the
'principles of 1789;' for it had been at the foundation of all the free
schools of France during the middle ages, and under the absolute
monarchy of Louis XIV. Talleyrand recognised it in his plan of 1791,
which did not suit Condorcet and his 'ideologists.' It was not in the
mere revival of this principle that the true liberalism of M. Guizot
manifested itself. In the second article of his law this great statesman
provided, in express terms, that 'the wishes of families should always
be consulted and complied with in everything affecting the religious
instruction of their children.' This was indeed a step far forward in
the path of true liberalism. It was a distinct recognition of the rights
of the family as against the encroachments of the State. It was the
'liberalism' not of the 'ideologists' of 1790, nor of the Third Republic
according to M. Challemel-Lacour, but of the legislators who gave Lower
Canada her equitable system of common and of dissident schools. It was
the liberalism of those courageous men who, like Montgaillard, Bishop of
St.-Pons, had dared, under Louis XIV., and after the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes, to protest in 1688 against imposing the Catholic
communion by force upon the Huguenot ancestors of M. Guizot.

As Minister of Public Instruction under Louis Philippe in 1833, this
lover of true liberty simply got enacted into law the principles which
had led him as a brilliant and rising young man of letters in 1812 to
refuse to adulate the Emperor, and which he had plainly and fearlessly
set forth as the necessary conditions of the constitutional government
of France in his famous interview with Louis XVIII. three years
afterwards.

Under M. Guizot's law of 1833, the primary schools of France were much
more than doubled in number during the reign of Louis Philippe.

In the spirit of that law M. Guizot administered the affairs of France
during his long tenure of official authority, and to him, more than to
any other man, must be attributed the progress which France made under
Louis Philippe in the direction of liberty, as Englishmen and Americans
understand that much-abused word. That progress might never have been
interrupted had the counsels of M. Guizot prevailed over those of M.
Thiers with the aged monarch who trusted the one but yielded to the
other, in February 1848.

Now that a parliamentary oligarchy has deliberately undertaken, in the
name of the 'moral unity of France,' to undo all that was done between
1833 and 1848 for educational liberty in France and to protect the moral
independence of Frenchmen, it is in the highest degree interesting to
find the principles of M. Guizot energetically maintained by the heirs
of his blood and of his name, not only here in the Catholic Calvados
which gave the great Protestant statesman so staunch a support through
all his years of power, and surrounded him with affection and respect
down to the last days of his long and illustrious life, but in Southern
France also, and in the home of his Protestant ancestors.

Val Richer will be a place of pilgrimage for lovers of liberty in the
twentieth century, as La Brède is in the nineteenth.

But the genius of the spot is more purely personal in the home of
Guizot than in the birthplace of Montesquieu.

The stately rectangular library at La Brède with its thousands of
soberly-clad volumes, standing as he left them on its shelves, annotated
by his own hand; the manuscripts still unfinished of the 'Lettres
Persanes; the grave silent cabinet, with his chair beside his
study-table, as if he had quitted it a moment before you came--all these
are eloquent, indeed, of the great thinker whose 'Esprit des Lois,' too
rich in ripe wisdom to be heeded by the headlong and haphazard political
'plungers' of 1789 in his own country, illuminated for Washington the
problem of constituting a new nationality beyond the Atlantic.

But La Brède has also a positive physiognomy of its own which takes you
back to ages long before his birth. The frowning donjon of the
thirteenth century, the machicolated round tower, the moat with its
running water, the drawbridge, the vestibule with its columns of twisted
oak, even the grand salon with the stately courtiers and captains, the
gracious dames and damsels of the family of Sécondat gazing down from
the walls, all these distract the eye and the mind. The distraction is
agreeable, but still it is a distraction. It leads you from the
biographical into the social and historical mood. You are delighted as
at Meillant or Chenonceaux with a corner of ancient France, marvellously
rescued from the red ruin of the Revolution.

Val Richer, on the contrary, like Abbotsford, is the creation of the
master whose spirit haunts the place. Like Abbotsford, it has an earlier
history and older associations, but of these there are few or no
material signs. Here stood the great abbey of which Thomas à-Becket once
was abbot, and where he found a refuge during that exile from which, in
his own words, he went back to England 'to play a game in which the
stakes were heads!' From Bures, near Bayeux, in this department, where
Henry was then holding his court, the four knights followed the Primate
to Canterbury, sternly bent on showing their lord that they were neither
'sluggish nor half-hearted.' Of the abbatial buildings which stood here
then few traces are left. But the handsome modern mansion built here by
Guizot rests, I believe, on the massive foundations, and certainly
incorporates some of the solid masonry above ground of the ancient
abbot's house. The drive to Val Richer from the singularly picturesque
old Norman town of Lisieux, within whose cathedral walls Henry of
England was married to Eleanor of Guienne, is beautifully shaded all the
way with noble trees, and bordered on either hand with parks and
gardens. No English county can show a more strikingly English
landscape--for this is the mother-country of Norman England, though now
one of the main pillars of the nationality of France. The Lady Chapel of
the Cathedral at Lisieux, indeed, was founded in the fifteenth century
by Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, in express expiation of the 'false
judgment on an innocent woman,' by which, as he lamentably confessed in
his deed of gift, he had sent the deliverer of France to the stake at
Rouen.

The park, like the mansion of Val Richer, is the creation of M. Guizot.
The monks of old had prepared the ground--for here, as everywhere, they
kept alive the traditions of Roman landscape art. The parks which the
Norman nobles made on both sides of the Channel were mainly devoted to
the chase, like the 'paradises' of the Persians; but the monasteries
possessed pleasure-grounds and gardens of all sorts. The beautifully
broken and undulating surface of the park of Val Richer attests, I
think, the fashioning hand of human art at more than one point; and M.
Guizot, by whom most of the fine trees which now adorn the place were
planted, took advantage, with the skill of a professional landscapist,
of all the opportunities it offered him.

I can well believe, with the most accomplished and appreciative of his
English biographers, that the years which he passed here after his
return from the exile into which he was driven by the unhappy
interference of M. Thiers at the most critical moment of the
disturbances of February 1848, were the happiest of his long and
well-filled life.

The halls and corridors of the mansion are tapestried with books. The
green secluded alleys, the gentle knolls, the glades, the spacious
meadows of the park, recall at every step the younger Pliny's
incomparable picture of his Tuscan villa. '_Placida omnia et
quiescentia._' 'A spirit of pensive peace broods over the whole place,
making it not lovelier only, but more salubrious, making the sky more
pure, the atmosphere more clear.'

People who imagine convulsions and cataclysms to be a necessity of
political life in France, will find it hard to explain the relations
which existed throughout his whole career from the time when he took
part in forming the first government of Louis Philippe to the day of his
death between this great Protestant statesman and the Catholics of the
Calvados. These relations still exist between his representatives at Val
Richer and the Catholics of the Calvados.

When the great Chancellor de l'Hôpital was using all his influence with
Catherine de' Medici to prevent the outbreak of the religious wars of
the sixteenth century, the Parisian rabble were set on by the satellites
of the House of Guise to attack the house of the Sieur de Longjumeau in
the Pré aux Clercs, as being a place of meeting for the Huguenots. The
Sieur de Longjumeau had no respect for the 'sacred right of
insurrection,' and, getting some of his friends into his house, gave the
people risen in their majesty such a thrashing that they speedily
disbanded. Upon this the 'moral unity' men of that time induced the
Court to banish the Sieur de Longjumeau to his estates, on the ground
that 'the most incompatible thing in a State is the existence of two
forms of religion.' This is the doctrine of the Third Republic to-day.
France cannot live with a mixed population of believers and of
unbelievers. All Frenchmen must be Atheists. The political history of
the Calvados for the last half-century, and especially of this region
about Lisieux and Val Richer, meets this 'moral unity' theory with a
practical demonstration of its absurdity. The great Protestant statesman
and his Catholic constituents at Lisieux lived and worked together for
liberty and for law, not in 'moral unity,' but in moral harmony. In
moral harmony his Protestant son-in-law, M. Conrad de Witt, through a
quarter of a century past has lived and worked for liberty and for law
with his Catholic constituents of Pont-l'Evêque.

The Catholics of the Calvados are not such intense Catholics as the
Catholics of Brittany and Poitou. After the Norman rising of 1793
against the tyranny at Paris had collapsed so dismally in the ridiculous
'battle' of Pacy--a battle which began with the flight in a panic from
the field of the vanquished Normans, and ended with the flight in a
panic from the field of their victorious enemies the Parisians--the
indignant Bretons and the Poitevins marched away to wage that contest
for their homes and their altars which has immortalized the name of La
Vendée. The less impassioned Normans made terms and took things as they
were. To this day what is called the 'little Church' exists in Brittany,
made up of peasants who regard the Concordat as an unworthy compact made
with the persecutors and the plunderers of the Church of their fathers.

The feeling of the Norman Catholics after Pacy and the miserable failure
of the Girondist resistance to the Mountain took the form of silent
disgust with the Republic and all its works. The Norman heroine in whose
heart this silent disgust named up till it made her the avenger of
innocent blood upon the most noisome reptile of the Revolution, had
ceased to be a Catholic before the shame of her country moved her to her
glorious and dreadful deed. But if the Catholics of the Calvados are
less intense, they are not less sincere, than the Catholics of Brittany
or Poitou. It is no indifference in matters of religion which makes them
co-operate so cordially with their Protestant friends and
representatives. It is because they value their religion, and mean that
it shall be respected, that they honour the memory of the great minister
who held sacred and inviolable the right of the parent to be heard and
obeyed in the matter of the religious education of his children. The two
daughters of M. Guizot married two brothers, the heirs of one of the
most illustrious names in the annals of European liberty. One of these
brothers, M. Conrad de Witt, now lives at Val Richer, and administers
his large agricultural property lying there in the commune of
St.-Ouen-le-Pin. Many years ago he won the gold medal of the French
Society of Agriculture, and for twenty years past he has been President
of the Agricultural Society of Pont-l'Evêque. In 1861, under the Empire,
his fellow-citizens made him a Councillor-General for the Canton of
Cambremer, in the Department of the Calvados, and he has kept his seat
in that body ever since, until he last year declined a re-election, and
made way for the candidacy of his nephew, M. Pierre de Witt. It was my
good fortune to be at Val Richer when the election came off. The canvass
had been carefully pushed; for, although the Republicans ostentatiously
announced their intention not to make a contest in which they were sure
to be beaten, M. Conrad de Witt and his nephew are not men to take
anything for granted where serious interests are concerned. There were
symptoms, too, that the Prefect of the Calvados, the Comte de Brancion,
a newcomer (as all prefects now are in France, the average tenure of a
prefect's official life since 1879 rarely exceeding eighteen months
in one place), had been advised from Paris to show his zeal by
contriving in some way to thwart, or at least to dampen, the victory of
the nephew in July, as a preliminary to prevent the victory of the uncle
in September. For M. Conrad de Witt was not only a Councillor-General of
the Calvados, and Mayor of his own commune of St.-Ouen-le-Pin, he was
sent to the Chamber of Deputies in 1885 as a Monarchist by the voters of
the Calvados by a majority of 13,722 on a total poll of 89,064, and when
he declined a re-nomination for the Council-General, he accepted a
re-nomination for the Chamber.

It was delightful to see the zealous interest taken in these contests,
not only by the family at Val Richer, but by all the countryside. The
elections for the Councils-General were held on Sunday, July 28, 1889.
All through the preceding Saturday scouts kept coming in to Val Richer
with the latest reports as to the state of things in the various
communes of the canton.

The tenor of these was uniform: 'There would be no contest; the only
possible Republican candidate, a respectable physician who had some
local strength in the commune in which he lived, founded upon his habit
of gratuitously attending the poor of that commune, had positively
declined to enter the field.' 'All the same,' said one energetic
volunteer from this very commune, 'we don't mean to let a single honest
voter stay at home. We understand this game. They want to make out that
we are lukewarm about the battle that is to come off in September. That
won't go!'

'Furthermore,' said another stalwart, keen-eyed, fresh-faced young
farmer, who might have passed as a Yorkshire yeoman, 'furthermore, I
don't trust this Republican cock till he's dead! I believe he's
shamming, but he shan't catch us asleep. This Prefect at Caen is as busy
as the Evil One. He means to play us a trick.'

The shrewd young farmer was right. Early, very early, on Sunday morning,
long before daybreak, indeed, there came hastening over to Val Richer
from the commume of Bonnebosq, some miles away, a spirited young fellow,
heart and soul in the fight, with the news that a story was putting
about all over the canton that M. Pierre de Witt had decided, at the
last moment, not to stand, and that, on the strength of this invention,
the nomination of Dr. ---- would be urged.

The polling had been fixed by the Prefect to begin in all the communes
at 7 A.M., and to close at 6 P.M. No time was, therefore, to be lost in
getting out a formal contradiction of this invention of the enemy, and
the vigorous young volunteer from Bonnebosq had lost no time. He roused
the candidate, got his instructions, and, before the polls were opened,
his men were all over the canton at work. In the course of the day I
drove over with M. Pierre de Witt to Bonnebosq, where we found the
mother of this energetic young politician, a typical Norman mother, full
of sense and fire, quietly proud of the activity and intelligence of her
son, and quite as much in the day's work as he. 'Not a pretty trick,'
she said, 'to play with Dr.----. He ought to be ashamed of it--and I am
sure he is,' she added, with a droll twinkle in her eye, 'for it has
turned out very badly! He will just be beaten like plaster. It would
have been cleverer to behave like a decent man!' Bonnebosq had a very
lively, cheery aspect on that Sunday afternoon. It is a busy prosperous
little place, with about a thousand inhabitants. The village church, a
new and very handsome French ogival building, most creditable to the
architect, has just been built at an expense of several hundred thousand
francs by a Catholic lady of the canton, and the people are very proud
of it. It struck me that at Bonnebosq the outlook for a moral harmony
between Frenchmen of divers religious communions contending together for
equal rights and well-ordered liberty was decidedly better than the
outlook for a 'moral unity' of France to be promoted by the
authoritative suppression of all private initiative in the education of
the French people. The traditions of the Norman race do not tend kindly
towards a system under which the individual is to wither that the State
may be more and more!

As Mayor of the commune of St.-Ouen-le-Pin, M. Conrad de Witt had a busy
day of it on Sunday, July 28. The holding of elections on Sunday is a
tradition in France. Two elections were to be made--one of a
Councillor-General and the other of a District Councillor. Under the
laws of 1871 and 1874, these elections must be held in separate though
adjoining buildings wherever this is practicable. Where the commune is
too small to furnish these facilities, the two elections may be held in
one place; but the votes for the two officers must be deposited in two
different urns. These urns are placed upon a table, at which the Mayor
of the commune presides with four assessors and a secretary, chosen by
them from among the electors. As the electors have the day before them,
the Mayor and the assessors are kept close prisoners at their posts till
the polls are closed. Nor is their work over then. As soon as the clock
strikes 6 P.M. the doors of the bureau close. But the Mayor and
the assessors must then proceed 'immediately' to examine and establish
the results of the voting. They choose from among the electors present a
certain number of 'scrutineers' knowing how to read and write. These
scrutineers take their seats at tables prepared for the purpose. At each
table there must be at least four scrutineers. The Mayor and the
assessors then empty the urns and count the votes, the secretary drawing
up a _procès-verbal_ the while. If there are more or fewer votes than
there were voters registered during the day as voting, this fact is
stated and affirmed. Blank or illegible votes, votes which do not
accurately give the name of the candidate voted for, or on which the
voters have put their own names, are not counted as valid, but they are
annexed to the _procès-verbal_. Votes not written on white paper, or
which bear any external indication of their tenor, are included in the
account as votes affecting the majority necessary to a choice, but they
are not put to the credit of the candidate whose name they bear; so
that, as a matter of fact, they tell against him. Moreover, if there are
more votes found in the urns than voters registered as voting, the
excess may be deducted from the number of votes given to the candidate
who has a majority.

I asked a very bright ruddy farmer in a spotless blue blouse, who was
watching the elections with great interest in one of the communes, what
he thought of this provision. 'It is a very good reason for watching the
mayors,' he said; '_dame_! a clever mayor who knows his commune, and has
good loose sleeves to his coat, can slip in a good many votes in this
way against the candidate who he knows is likely to win!'

I told him that in my own country we guarded the palladium of our
liberties (a queer palladium that needs to be guarded) against this
peril by using glass globes instead of the 'urns' employed in France,
which are in fact wooden boxes. The idea delighted him. He rubbed his
hands together with a chuckle, and said 'That would be capital! That
would bother them! But for that reason we shall not have your glass
urns!'

When the votes have all been emptied out of the urns and verified and
counted by the Mayor and the assessors, the Mayor distributes them among
the scrutineers. At each table a scrutineer takes the votes up one by
one, reads out in a clear voice the name of the candidate inscribed on
each vote, and passes it to another scrutineer, who sees it duly
registered, the Mayor and assessors the while supervising all the
proceeding. In communes containing less than 300 inhabitants the Mayor
and assessors themselves may scrutinise and declare the results.

As St.-Ouen-le-Pin falls just two short of this number, M. Conrad de
Witt not only lost his luncheon but his dinner. He never got back to the
château till ten o'clock at night.

The polling place in this commune was a small house opposite the village
church. I walked over to it after breakfast through the fields and by
lovely green lanes as deep as the lanes of Devonshire, with M. Pierre de
Witt and one of his kinsmen. The mass was going on in the village
church, and the singing of the choir seemed to me at least as fitting an
accompaniment to the expression by the sovereign people of their
sovereign will through bits of white paper--Mr. Whittier's 'noiseless
snowflakes'--as the braying of a brass band, or the hoarse shouts of a
more or less tipsy multitude.

In the Protestant corner of this Catholic churchyard, under some fine
trees, M. Guizot sleeps his last sleep in the simple tomb of his family.
Here, again, I thought, was a moral harmony better than any 'moral
unity'!

We had a merry and an animated dinner that night at Val Richer. Message
after message was brought in from the nearest communes, all of one
tenor. The Republican 'trick' had evidently exasperated the worthy
Norman voters, and brought them up to the polls most effectually! By ten
o'clock it was clear that M. Pierre de Witt was elected by a majority
too large to be 'whittled' away, and that the surreptitious appearance
of the Republicans in the field had served only to emphasize their
political weakness. In the canton, Cambremer itself, lying at a distance
of eight or ten kilomètres, and Beuvron only remained to be heard from.
It was possible harm might have been done there. For a law passed under
the Empire in 1852, and undisturbed for obvious reasons by the Third
Republic, allows the prefect of a department to determine into what
sections he will divide a large commune for the purpose, according to
the law, of 'bringing the electors nearer to the electoral urn.' This
opens the way, of course, to a good deal of what in America would be
known as official 'gerrymandering.' The thing may be of any country. The
name we owe to Mr. Elbridge Gerry, once Vice-President of the United
States; who, when his party controlled Massachusetts, devised a scheme
for so framing the electoral districts of that State as to get his
scattered party minorities together, and convert them thus into
majorities. An outline map of the State thus districted was declared by
one of his opponents to 'look like a salamander.' 'No! not like a
salamander,' said another; 'it is a gerrymander.'

Val Richer was full of little fairies in that bright summer weather. The
Pied Piper of Hamelin must have passed that way, losing some stragglers
of his army as he moved along. Wherever you strolled in the park you
came unexpectedly upon little blonde heads and laughing eyes peering
through the shrubbery, and saw small imps scampering madly off across
the meadows. On the Sunday night of the election, music and mirth chased
the hours away, till, just after midnight, a joyous clamour in the outer
hall announced some event of importance. From the far-off Cambremer and
Beuvron-sur-Auge a delegation of staunch electors had arrived to
announce the crowning victory. Thanks to the distance and the
'sections,' the votes had been long in counting, but they had been
counted, and not found wanting. One of these bringers of good tidings
might have sat or stood for a statue of William the Conqueror preparing
to make France pay dearly for the jest of the French King anent his
colossal bulk. He was a man in the prime of life, but he cannot possibly
have weighed less than 400 pounds. Yet he moved about alertly, and he
had driven over in a light wagon at full speed (the Norman horses are
very strong) to congratulate his candidate on the issue of a fray in
which he had borne his own part most manfully. M. Pierre de Witt had
received 1,042 votes as Councillor-General, against no more than 140
given to his medical competitor!

One bold voter had deposited a single vote for General Boulanger! 'Had
there been any disturbances anywhere?' No, none at all. 'We cheered when
we got the returns,' said the giant; 'we cheered for M. de Witt, and we
cried "Vive le Roi!" They didn't like it, but they were so badly beaten,
they kept quiet. I believe though,' he added, 'they would have arrested
us if we had cried "Vive Bocher!" That is more than they can bear!' and
therewith he laughed aloud, a not unkindly, but formidable laugh.

M. Bocher, who was made Prefect of the Calvados by M. Guizot, and who is
now a senator for that department, is, I am assured, the special _bête
noire_ of the Third Republic in Normandy. His long and honourable
connection with the public service has won for him the esteem of all the
people of the Calvados, while his thorough knowledge of the political
history of the country and of his time, his cool clear judgment, his
temperate but fearless assertion through good and evil report of his
political convictions, and his keen insight into character, must give
him long odds in any contest with the ill-trained and miserably-equipped
political camp-followers who have been coming of late years into the
front of the Republican battle.

They gave M. Bocher a banquet not long ago at Pont-l'Evêque, at which he
made a very telling speech, and brought down the house by inviting his
hearers to contemplate M. Grévy and M. Carnot as typical illustrations
of the great superiority of a republic over a monarchy, and of the
elective over the hereditary principle! The Republicans, he said, had
twice elected to the chief magistracy an austerely virtuous Republican
whom they had finally been compelled to throw out at the window of the
Elysée, as 'the complaisant and guilty witness, if not the interested
accomplice, of scandals which revolted the public conscience!' And whom
had the elective principle put into his place, under the pressure of
irreconcilable personal rivalries, and of a threatened popular outbreak?
A man whose recommendations were his own relative personal obscurity and
the traditional reputation of his grandfather!

With M. Grévy and M. Carnot the Norman farmers have a special quarrel
which gave zest to the caustic periods of M. Bocher. The all-powerful
son-in-law of M. Grévy, M. Wilson, proposed in the National Assembly in
1872, and with the influence of M. Thiers, then President, succeeded in
passing a law heavily taxing, and in an inquisitorial fashion, the
domestic fabrication of spirits. This is an old and prosperous industry
in Normandy. It is carried on, according to an official estimate made in
1888, by above five hundred thousand farmers in France; and in Normandy
particularly, a land of apples and pears, it is a great resource of the
farmers. They make here a liquor called Calvados, which when it attains
a certain age is much more drinkable and much less unwholesome than most
of the casual cognac of our times. After three years this very unpopular
law was repealed in 1875, mainly through the efforts of M. Bocher. It
had plagued the farmers more than it benefited the Treasury.

The _bouilleurs de cru_, as these domestic distillers are called, had
made during the three years 1869-72, 1,199,000 hectolitres of spirits
which paid excise duties. During the three years 1872-75 under the
Wilson law the production fell to about 165,000 hectolitres a year. In
the first year, 1875-76, after the repeal of the law it rose to 301,000
hectolitres.

The sale of crosses of the Legion, official contracts and other
operations not consistent with that virtue on which alone Montesquieu
tells us a republic can safely repose, made an end of M. Wilson and of
his father-in-law. But the enormous Republican deficit kept on
increasing, and in 1888, under the presidency of M. Carnot, the
Republicans revived a project formed by M. Carnot when Minister of
Finance, in 1886, for imposing upon the _bouilleurs de cru_ anew the
severe and inquisitorial taxation of 1872. Under the law introduced to
effect this, January 12, 1888, the whole of the buildings in which any
part of the processes of this production may be carried on must be open
to the tax-officers _at all hours of the day or night_. As many of the
_bouilleurs de cru_ are small farmers who use part of their houses for
some of these processes, it may be imagined how bitterly they oppose
such a law. They have no more love for tax-gatherers than the people of
other countries have; but the English maxim that every man's house is
his castle is a distinctly Norman maxim, and this menace offered to the
sanctity and privacy of the domicile has profoundly exasperated the
Norman populations. It is of a piece, they think, with the arbitrary
school system and with the elaborate contrivances devised to deprive the
communes of the right finally to certify and give effect to the returns
of their own elections. Above all, it is an interference with an ancient
and customary right. 'What business have these lawyers and doctors at
Paris,' said a farmer here to me, 'to be meddling with our usages and
ways here on our lands in Normandy? Let them fix general taxes, and
leave us to pay them in our own way!'

The war against the Church affects these Normans in the same way. It
does not seem to rouse them into a kind of fanatical fervour, such as
blazes up here and there in other parts of France, but it angers them as
a disturbance of their settled habits and convictions. 'The Church,'
said one of these Calvados farmers to M. de Witt; 'the Church is the key
of our trade. They must not touch it!'

What he meant was, that on Sunday at the village church the farmers,
after the mass, are in the habit of talking over all their affairs
together. It is a kind of social exchange for men whose calling in life
keeps them far apart during the week.

Is it to be supplanted for the benefit of the France of the future by
cockpits and cabarets, or courses of lectures delivered in 'scholastic
palaces,' by spectacled and decorated professors, on the 'struggle for
life,' and the 'survival of the fittest'?

The victory of M. Pierre de Witt in July was too complete to leave any
pretext for meddling with its results of which the authorities liked to
avail themselves. The law, however, gives abundant opportunities for
such meddling wherever a plausible pretext can be found. After the votes
of a commune have been verified and counted, two of the assessors start
off at once with all the votes and papers for the chief town of the
canton. The bureau of this chief town has power to 'verify and, if need
be, remake the calculations which show the majority. It may modify the
decisions of the communal bureaux as to the candidate to whom certain
votes properly belong, may decide what votes are to be treated as
entirely null, or to be counted in estimating the majority without being
held as given to either candidate. It may also decide what votes belong
to a candidate. It may also take away from the candidates elected, or
claiming to have been elected, all votes found in the urn or urns in
excess of the number of electors actually tallied as voting.'

The decisions reached by the bureau are next to be collated with the
_procès-verbaux_ of the communal bureaux--after which all the documents
connected with the election, including the tally-lists of the voters,
are to be sent to the prefect of the department.

When the legislative elections came on in September the authorities of
the Calvados made desperate efforts to break the solid front of the
Monarchist deputation from this department. In the arrondissement of
Pont-l'Evêque, where M. Conrad de Witt stood as the Monarchist
candidate, the official interference against him was so open that the
Prefect, M. de Brancion, did not hesitate to sign and circulate a letter
intended to affect the elections, though by Article 3 of the law of
November 30, 1875, regulating elections, all agents of the Government
are expressly forbidden to distribute ballots, professions of faith, or
circulars affecting the candidates. M. de Witt had cited to the electors
a remarkable declaration made in the Senate by M. Léon Say as to the
inevitable increase of local taxation which must be expected from the
development and enforcement of the Government policy in regard to
education.

M. Léon Say resigned his seat in the Senate last year that he might
enter the Chamber, his friends having convinced themselves, on no very
apparent grounds, that his appearance in the Chamber would rally around
him the support of Conservative men of all shades of opinion, and make
him master of the situation. He was a candidate in the Hautes Pyrénées.
The quotation made by M. de Witt from his sensible speech in the Senate
much disturbed the Republicans in the Calvados, and some official
application was evidently made to him on the subject; for, without
denying that he had said in the Senate what was imputed to him, he seems
to have assured the Republicans of the Calvados that it was absurd to
suppose he would so speak of the Government policy when he was standing
as a Government candidate for election to the Chamber. This obvious but
quite irrelevant statement was instantly circulated all over the
department by the Prefect himself. As it was very easily disposed of, it
did no great harm. But it is a curious illustration of the way in which
these election matters are managed now in France. M. de Witt was
triumphantly re-elected, receiving 6,972 votes against 5,189 in the
arrondissement of Pont-l'Evêque. The Monarchists also carried every
other seat for the Calvados, making seven in all.

In 1885, under the _scrutin de liste_, the votes given to M. de Witt
show a Conservative majority in the Calvados of 13,722 in a total poll
of 89,064. In 1889, taking all the districts together, the Calvados
showed a Monarchist majority of 19,868 in a total poll of 82,216. This
gives us a falling off in the total poll of 6,848, and an increase in
the Monarchist majority of 6,497 votes!

I called M. Conrad de Witt's attention, after the legislative elections
were over, to an article in an English periodical by a French Protestant
writer, M. Monod, in which the Monarchist majority of 1889 in the
Calvados was attributed to the bad harvest of pears and apples. The
veteran Protestant President of the Society of Agriculture in the
Calvados smiled in a quiet and significant way, and simply said, 'Ah! I
think we are more solid than that!'

So indeed it would seem!

The 'apple-blight' of the Calvados must obviously have extended into the
neighbouring department of the Eure, or at least into the great and busy
arrondissement of Bernay, which gave the Monarchist candidate in
September 1889 the tremendous majority of 5,550 votes in a total poll of
12,772. Possibly, too, there may be some occult relation between this
remarkable result and the presence in this arrondissement of one of the
most distinguished of living Frenchmen, and one of the most outspoken
champions of the Constitutional Monarchy. An able man with a mind of his
own, and the courage to speak it, is a force in any country at any time.
In France at this time such a man is a determining force. The obvious
weakness of the Monarchical party in France was touched by the
Committee of the Catholic Association in their report to which I have
alluded in another chapter. It is the association in the popular mind of
the monarchical idea with the traditions of Versailles and with the
'pomps and vanities' of what is ridiculously called '_le high-life_' of
modern Paris. As a matter of fact, all that was silliest and most
scandalous in the Court life of France in the eighteenth century was
reproduced and exaggerated under the Directory. What is there to choose
between Louis XV. doffing his hat beside the coach of Madame Du Barry,
and Barras ordering Ouvrard to keep Madame Tallien in diamonds,
opera-boxes, coaches and villas, out of the profits of public loans and
contracts for the service of the 'Republic one and indivisible'? Formula
for Formula (to speak after the manner of Mr. Carlyle), is not the
Republican Formula of the two the more demoralizing, dismal, degraded,
and altogether hopeless? What is called '_le high-life_' of Paris is
neither Royalist nor Republican. It is merely shallow and vulgar, like
the '_high-life_' of sundry other places ruled by governments of divers
forms. But when young men born to names which in the popular mind
represent the history of France show themselves as athletes in a
Parisian circus, or appear as grooms on the carriages of _cocottes_ in
the Bois de Boulogne, their folly naturally damages more or less in the
public estimation the principles with which the names they bear are
associated.

Under the Empire the Legitimists, as a body, really played the game of
the Emperor by holding themselves aloof from public life in all its
departments, in accordance with the policy adopted by the Comte de
Chambord. The inevitable effect of this policy was to widen the gulf
between them and the body of the French people. It tended to bring about
in France results like those aimed at by the National League in
Ireland, and to prevent a gradual and wholesome reconciliation between
the heirs of the class which was exiled and plundered during the
Revolution, and the heirs of the classes which eventually profited by
the proscriptions and confiscations of that unhappy time. The disastrous
war of 1870-71 did much to counteract the social mischief thus wrought.
The French Legitimists came forward in all parts of France to the
defence of their country. They were brought thus into contact with the
people and the people with them. They ceased to be a caste and began to
be citizens. The way was thus prepared, too, for that fusion of the two
great Royalist camps, the camp of the Legitimists and the camp of the
Orleanists, which has since taken place. A very intelligent young
officer of Engineers, himself the heir of an ancient name, told me at
Dijon that there are at this time more men of the old families of France
on the rolls of the army than ever before since 1789. Instead of
rejoicing in this as the wholesome sign of a growing moral harmony
between all classes of Frenchmen, the leaders of the Republican party
have been incensed by it. Doubtless they regard it as an obstacle to the
development of their idea of 'moral unity.' Under President Grévy, the
Minister of War actually drove one of the best soldiers in France,
General Schmidt, out of his command at Tours by insisting that he should
forbid his officers to accept invitations from their friends who lived
in the châteaux which are the glory of Touraine, the traditional garden
of France. Imagine a High Church secretary-at-war in England issuing an
order that no officer in a garrison corps should dine with a Catholic or
a Dissenter.

This was not a freak. It was a policy. It was in perfect keeping with an
amazing attack made by the Republican press of Paris not long
afterwards upon the then American Minister in France, Mr. Morton, now
Vice-President of the United States, for giving a dinner in honour of
the Comte de Paris. The Comte de Paris and his brother, the Duc de
Chartres, had served with distinction on the staff of the
Commander-in-Chief of the Union armies in America. They were the sons of
a French sovereign, with whose government the government of the United
States had long held close and friendly relations. The Comte de Paris is
the author of the most careful, thorough, and impartial history yet
written of the American Civil War of 1861-65. Yet, for showing his
personal and official respect for a French prince possessing such claims
upon the respect of Frenchmen as well as of Americans, the diplomatic
representative of the United States was assailed with coarse and vulgar
violence in the columns of journals assuming to represent the
civilization of the capital of France!

Some time after the incident to which I have referred at Tours occurred,
I drove from St.-Malo to La Basse Motte, the charming and picturesque
house of General de Charette, in the Ille-et-Vilaine, with the Marquis
de la Roche-Jaquelein. The autumn manoeuvres of the French army were
then going on. On the way he told me among other things that the
officers of a cavalry brigade encamped for two or three days in the
neighbourhood of his château had been forbidden by their brigade
commander to accept a dinner to which he had invited, not only them, but
their commander also! The general in command of the cavalry division
fortunately happened to arrive before the day fixed for the dinner, and,
having been informed of this state of affairs, quietly authorized the
officers to attend the dinner, and attended it himself.

Can anything be more absurd than to attempt to naturalize a Republic in
France by identifying Republican institutions with such tyrannical
interference as this in the private and social relations of French
officers and citizens?

The Third Republic has improved upon Cambon's piratical watchword,
_Guerre aux châteaux; paix aux chaumières_. It makes war socially upon
the _châteaux_, and it makes war religiously and financially upon the
_chaumières_.

All this must bring out into clearer relief before the French people the
unquestionable personal superiority of the Monarchist over the
Republican leaders and representatives. It is undeniable that an
overwhelming majority of the ablest and most influential men in France,
of all classes and conditions, are to-day in open opposition either to
the policy or to the constitution of the existing Republ