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Title: Paris - From the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Volume 2
Author: Walton, William, 1843-1915
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Paris - From the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Volume 2" ***

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[Illustration: Crown]




[Illustration: Crest]










[Illustration: LIFE IN THE CASERNE: LATE FOR RECALL. From a drawing, in
colors, by George Scott.]



One of the grandest institutions of ancient France was the Parlement de
Paris, and its history and that of the _prévôts_ would constitute a
history of the capital, while that of the fitful and accidental
convocations of the _États Généraux_ would in nowise illustrate that of
the nation. Our facilities for acquiring a knowledge of the functions
and methods of procedure of the Parlement have been greatly increased by
the numerous critical historical works which have appeared within the
last few years, amongst which that of M. Felix Aubert, which covers the
long period between its origin, in 1250, and the reign of François I,
when it was "the instrument par excellence of the national unity and
pacification," is, perhaps, the most valuable. The establishment of the
_magistrature prévôtale_, replacing that of the Vicomte de Paris, has
been credited to Hugues Capet, but the first official record appears to
be a charter given in favor of the monks of Saint-Martin-des-Champs,
dated in the last year of the reign of Henri I, 1060, and bearing the
signature of Étienne, _prévôt_ de Paris. This officer was a lieutenant
of the king, designated by him to administer justice in his name; he
presided over the tribunal of the Châtelet, and commanded the _guet_, or
watch, and the noblesse in the _arrière-ban_ of the general muster for
war. In Paris, this office required the command of important funds, and
several citizens sometimes combined to give guarantees for the _prévôt_.
Nevertheless, the latter was frequently found unworthy of this trust,
and the Étienne of 1060 appears in the chronicles as advising the young
king, Philippe I, to plunder the treasury of Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
with the view of securing for himself the famous cross of gold brought
from Spain by Childebert. This nefarious scheme was undertaken, but at
the moment when the burglarious _prévôt_ put out his hand to seize the
cross, he was suddenly stricken with blindness.

Of a very different quality was the Étienne Boileau, selected by
Saint-Louis to fill this important post, and who, according to
Joinville, "executed such good and straight justice," that "no
malefactor, thief, or murderer dared to remain in Paris but he was
immediately hanged and exterminated; neither family nor gold nor silver
could save him." The king was so well satisfied with his _prévôt_ that
he caused him to be seated by his side when he presided at the Châtelet,
and, in order to preserve to this office, after Boileau, the lustre
which he had conferred upon it, he separated from it the receipt of the
funds of the royal domains, and created for the latter a receiver, a
guardian of the seals, and sixty notaries who exercised their functions
under the authority of the _prévôt_, who, subsequently, was entitled
_garde de la prévôt de Paris_. The _guet royal_ was established, and the
_prévôt_ drew up the ancient regulations of the hundred trades or
handicrafts which existed in the capital, "in order to establish peace
and order in industry as he had established it in the nation." These
trades were divided into various great corporations. Under this wise
king, also, the Hanse, or confraternity, of the _marchandise de l'eau_
became definitely the _municipalité parisienne_; for about a century the
members of this confraternity had been called _échevins jures_, and
their chief was known as the _prévôt des marchands de l'eau_, or _prévôt
de confrérie de l'eau_. The numerous privileges which this corporation
enjoyed passed in course of time to the _prévôt des marchands_, who
acquired, successively, the administration of the _rentes_ or funds
drawn from the Hôtel de Ville, the regulation of public ceremonies, the
care and construction of the public monuments, the opening of new
streets, etc. The ancient privileges of the Hanse had previously been
confirmed at various times, amongst others, by Louis VII.

Saint-Louis was but a boy of eleven when he succeeded to the throne on
the death of his father, and a coalition of the great nobles was
immediately formed to take advantage of his minority; but the wisdom,
prudence, and piety of his mother, Blanche of Castile, not only
preserved the crown for him until he came of age, but also stood him in
great service during the years of his reign, especially in those in
which he was absent from the kingdom on his ill-starred crusades. One of
her most beneficent deeds has been immortalized by the modern painter,
Luc-Olivier-Merson, in a noble mural painting,--the delivery of the
prisoners held in bondage by the chapitre de Paris (Notre-Dame), several
inhabitants of Châtenay who had incurred the displeasure of the
ecclesiastical authorities, and who were so maltreated in their dungeons
that the lives of several of them were despaired of. The queen at first
sent a civil request to the chapter to release the captives under bonds,
but the churchmen returned an uncivil refusal and redoubled their
severities; whereupon she proceeded in person to the prison with her
son, struck the doors with her bâton, her guards immediately broke them
down, and the liberated serfs, men, women, and children, flocked out
tumultuously to thank their deliverers on their knees. The canons
protested furiously, but the discreet regent, knowing their sensitive
point, allowed them to rage openly and contented herself with seizing
their temporal revenues. This immediately brought them to terms; in the
smoothest of phrases they besought an accommodation, and speedily agreed
to set at liberty, in consideration of a certain sum, all those whom
they had unjustly incarcerated.

It would scarcely have been thought that this gracious sovereign lady,
one of the noblest figures among the women of France, could have been
made the object of malicious slander; but one of her latest biographers,
M. Élie Berger, thinks it worth while to defend her seriously against
the "legend born of jealousy and impotence" of having been the mistress
of the Cardinal de Saint-Ange and of the Comte Thibaut de Champagne. His
defence, apart from the inherent improbability of the story, seems to be
quite convincing.

The centre of authority, for both the nation and the capital, was
naturally the king, though, as we have seen, his power was often
furiously contested and at times very precarious. Under the
Mérovingians, the crown was both elective and hereditary, that is to
say, the brother of the deceased monarch was frequently chosen in the
place of his eldest son, too young to bear worthily the sword and the
sceptre. The royal authority was practically unlimited, the king decreed
constitution and laws, made war, and signed treaties of peace; he wore
the Roman costume, spoke and wrote in Latin, sate, like the Emperor, in
the prætorium to judge, and was given the titles of _Dominus_, of
Excellency, and of Majesty. For the personal service of the king, and
for the public service, there were a great number of officers,--the
_major domus_ or mayor of the palace, who eventually pushed the monarch
off the throne and mounted it himself; the marshal, the treasurer, the
cup-bearer, the chamberlain, and a multitude of inferior officers. The
political officers were more particularly the _Comte du Palais_, who
sate in the king's tribunal, and the _Réferéndaire_, a sort of
chancellor, who kept the royal signet-ring and sealed the royal decrees.
The court, or _palatium_, was crowded with important personages, counts,
dukes, and bishops, any of whom might be called to the king's council or
to sit in his tribunal. In the provinces, the royal authority was
represented in the _comtés_, which corresponded to the _civitates_ of
the Romans, by the _comtes_, who were at once judges, generals, and
financial administrators, and the _ducs_ whose administrative province
included several _comtés_. The bishops already enjoyed very considerable
political power, and the rôle of the king in their election, by the
people and the clerks of their diocese, was confined to confirmation,--a
limitation which they very frequently disregarded.

In the edict, or perpetual constitution, drawn up by the assembly of
seventy-nine bishops and the _leudes_ or great vassals of the three
kingdoms, held at Paris in 615, the interference of the king in the
election of the bishops was expressly forbidden, and his authority was
in many other matters seriously impaired in favor of the double
aristocracy, ecclesiastical and military, which was strengthening
itself. With the unworthy sons of the "good king Dagobert" this
authority gradually disappeared entirely under the rising power of the
mayors of the palace, who succeeded in making their office hereditary
under an Austrasian family, that of the Carlovingians, already powerful
in their own right.

Charlemagne's court was constituted much in the same manner as that of
the Mérovingians: his royal officers included bishops, comtes, ducs,
_missi dominici_, any of whom were eligible for the council that could
at need be transformed into a tribunal to judge the causes of the
Francs. The efforts of this monarch to repress the persistent progress
of the aristocracy were more intelligent and successful than those of
his successors, but the general movement of society was in their favor.
Charles le Chauve, desirous of obtaining the imperial crown, which was
without an owner in 875, assembled his vassals at a diet at
Kiersy-sur-Oise and there signed a capitulaire which gave to the sons of
those of his comtes who followed him into Italy the right to succeed to
their fathers' titles. This formal recognition of a practice already
ancient deprived the king of the powers which he had once conferred.


From a painting by L. O. Merson.]

The Capétiens were also elected to the throne, but the Roman tradition,
preserved by the Church, recognized in their accession to power "a
decree of Providence," and the _sovereign_ was recognized in the feudal
suzerain, "even when he was not obeyed." The great royal officers, the
_Ministerium regale_, included the Chancelier, who signed the state
papers; the Sénéchal, a species of mayor of the palace, of which he had
charge of the service; the Connétable, chief of the royal stables and,
later, head of the military forces; the Chambrier, keeper of the
treasury and the archives; the Bouteillier, who administered the
vineyards and the revenues of the royal domains. All these high offices
were made the objects of persistent attempts on the part of the holders
to retain them as hereditary privileges. In the eleventh, as in the
sixth century, we find three classes of society in Gaul, the
Gallo-Romans,--the barbarians,--the _clercs_,--the Church being replaced
by the seigneurs,--and the serfs, each with its own organization and
manners and customs and, in a certain degree, its peculiar language and
literature. The first two were rich, active, and powerful; the last,
poor and oppressed. There were three species of jurisdiction exercised
by the seigneurs, high, medium, and lower, though some of them had the
right only to the last two; these distinctions were frequently regulated
by the quality of the accused, and were definitely determined only in
succeeding centuries. The right to administer high justice carried with
it that of executing death-sentences, and the pillory and the gibbet,
erected near the château, were the visible evidences of this power. The
bishops and the abbots had the same rights as the seigneurs, even to the
extent of donning armor and combating in person if they so willed.

The obligations of the _vilains_, or serfs, included a long list of
services, taxes, and obligations of all kinds; in the cities, and
wherever possible, the seigneurs were in the habit of requiring payment
in money. There was for them a civil as well as a penal law, the _loi
vilaine_. They had, however, the right of appeal to the suzerain against
the decision of their seigneurs, and Saint-Louis favored these appeals
to his own court as tending to subordinate the seigneurial justice to
his own. In this royal court a change was taking place,--to the great
officers of the crown were now added _légistes_, as the procedures were
based upon written precedent, and these bookish personages, at first
treated with contempt by the nobles, gradually assumed the leading rôle
as their familiarity with the records and their legal knowledge
triumphed over the ignorant assurance of their betters.

In the thirteenth century, "the great revolutionist is the king, as the
aristocracy had been before Hugues Capet, as the people will be after
Louis XIV.... The royal authority had overthrown a great many barriers,
and it was marching with great strides toward absolute power. It had
imposed upon its turbulent vassals the king's peace, the king's justice,
the king's coinage, and it enacted laws for all." In the character of
Saint-Louis, "the spirit of justice which is in the Roman law was well
combined with his Christian sentiments. When he condemned, for example,
the judicial duel, he did so because _combat is not a means of
justice_,--this is the Roman conception, and because it is to
_criminally tempt God_,--this is the Christian spirit." The
enfranchisement of the serfs, which received so great an impulse in this
century, was largely brought about by a somewhat similar combination of
just impulses and of practical motives,--the latter being frankly
expressed by Beaumanoir and in several charters of the period.

The feudal court of the king had the double character of a council and
of a court of justice; with the growth of the royal authority the
functions of this court naturally increased, and it became necessary to
divide them,--there was accordingly constituted the political court, or
grand council, and the judicial court, or Parlement. Philippe le Bel,
who was far more of an innovator than even Saint-Louis, first gave the
latter a distinct organization. It was to sit twice a year at Paris,
two months at a time, in the Palais de la Cité, which, in 1303, took the
name of the Palais de Justice. The monarch counted upon his sovereign
court of justice, which extended its jurisdiction over the whole
kingdom, to bring the nation definitely under the royal authority. As
the Parlement had been separated from the _Grand Conseil_, or royal
court, so was there separated from it the _Chambre des Comptes_, charged
with the administration of the finances. With this monarch also
originated the institution of the _ministère public_, or magistrates
charged, in all legal cases, with the defence of the rights of the king
and of the public welfare.

[Illustration: CASTELLAN. REIGN OF LOUIS XIII. After a drawing by Adrian

But the most important measure of the administration of this reign was
the convocation, in 1302, of the first States-General. "The _États
Généraux_ of Philippe le Bel," says Michelet, "constituted the national
era of France, its certificate of birth." Despotic as he was, the king
found himself under the necessity of seeking the support of the people
for aid in his enterprises and to sustain him against the intolerable
claims of the Papacy. The _Assemblées Générales_, in which the bishops
met with the seigneurs, had been convoked as early as the reign of Pepin
le Bref, in the middle of the eighth century, but in the _États
Généraux_ the sons of vilains took their seats with nobles and clergy.
And very loyally they came to the aid of the monarch, not only in
granting him the right to levy subsidies on the Church, but also in
protesting against the bull of excommunication which Boniface VIII had
launched against the king and the nation, and which Philippe had caused
to be publicly burned on the 11th of February, 1302. It was unanimously
declared that "the kings recognized no sovereign on the earth excepting
God, and that it was an abomination to hear Boniface maintain that the
kingdoms were subject to him, not only spiritually but temporally."

Under Philippe V, the _États Généraux_ were convoked three times, and
the regularity of their sittings thus seemingly established; this
monarch also, following the procedure established under Louis XI, 1462,
excluded the clergy from the Parlement, in order that he might have
there only docile members. They re-entered it later under the name of
_conseillers clercs_. In 1318 was created the _Conseil étroit_, or
Council of State, which was the deliberative power, as the officers of
the crown and the _clercs du secret_, from whom were selected later the
secretaries of State, constituted the executive power. In the reign of
Philippe VI, in 1338, the great principle of "taxation without
representation is tyranny" was openly proclaimed in a meeting of the
_États Généraux_, and the monarchs henceforth found themselves
constrained to wage a varying struggle against this claim of the
representatives of the nation to be consulted before the levying of
imposts upon them. In the Dark Ages, now fast drawing to a close, three
great principles had been promulgated which were to survive through many
tribulations to the present day,--that no tax could be imposed without
the consent of those who were to pay it; that no law could be enacted if
it were not accepted by the representatives of those who were to obey
it; that no judgment was legal unless rendered by the peers of the

By an ordinance of Philippe VI, dated March 11, 1344, the personnel of
the Parlement was fixed at three presidents and seventy-eight
conseillers, appointed; of the latter, forty-four were ecclesiastics,
and thirty-four, laymen. It was subsequently divided into seven
chambers, the _grand'chambre_, the _chambre criminelle_, or _la
Tourelle_, three _chambres des enquêtes_, and two _chambres des
requêtes_. The first took cognizance of the important causes which
concerned the State, the city, and the corporations; the criminal
chamber sat in appeal on judgments rendered in the criminal courts
(after 1515 it was given general jurisdiction); the three _chambres des
enquêtes_ decided upon the validity of appeals addressed to the
Parlement, and decided as a court of last resort in processes which
entailed punishments by fine; the two _chambres des requêtes_ judged
personal suits between officers of the royal household and others who,
by their rank, were entitled to be judged by the Parlement. The second
_chambre des requêtes_ was instituted in 1580; they were both suppressed
at the establishment of the Parlement Maupeou, in 1771. When Louis XIV
recalled the Parlement, he established only a single _chambre
d'enquête_. In 1546, the members of the Parlement enjoyed the privilege
of hereditary nobility. They had the precedence over all other
constituted authorities.

When the disastrous war with England broke out, under Jean le Bon, this
monarch assembled at Paris the three orders of the kingdom, the clergy,
the nobility, and the bourgeoisie, the latter having for their leader
the _prévôt_ of the merchants of Paris, Étienne Marcel. The equipment of
an army of thirty thousand men was authorized, and a levy of five
millions of livres parisis for their maintenance during a year, this
money to be raised by means of the _gabelle_, the tax on salt, and an
impost of eight deniers per pound upon everything sold, to be levied
impartially upon all three orders, even the royal family not to be
exempt, but--warned by past experience--the _États Généraux_ demanded
that the funds should remain in the hands of receivers appointed by
them, and responsible to them only, and appointed a commission of nine
of their members to supervise this measure. "This was nothing less than
a revolution, for to vote and to collect the tax, to regulate it, and to
supervise its distribution, this was to exercise one of the important
functions of sovereignty. The deputies of 1355 began by going further
than has been gone in our days under the constitutional monarchies, even
under the republics."

Ten days after the battle of Poitiers, the dauphin Charles returned to
Paris and convoked the _États Généraux_, who opened their second session
on the 17th of October, 1356. This time, their demands were so increased
that the dauphin, in dismay, adjourned their sittings, but the royal
treasury was empty, and he was obliged to assemble them again on the 5th
of the following February. The Bishop of Laon, Robert le Coq, made
himself the mouthpiece of their just grievances, and was so well
sustained by the _prévôt_, Étienne Marcel, and by Jean de Picquigny,
in the name of the nobles, that resistance was impossible, and the
_grande ordonnance_ of 1357, in sixty-one articles, provided for
sweeping reforms in the administration, in the finances, in the army, in
the courts of law, and in the arbitrary exercise of their prerogatives
by the officers of the crown. But on this occasion Paris was in advance
of the rest of the nation, and the period was, moreover, most


In 1559, the Comte de Montgommery was imprisoned in the octagonal tower,
after accidentally mortally wounding Henri II.]

Charles V, called _Le Sage_, the son of Jean le Bon, in the midst of the
numerous judicious and enlightened measures which characterized his
reign, was guilty of some tyrannical and injudicious ones, and among the
latter may be cited his giving to the members of the Parlement for their
pay the fines which they inflicted in the course of their judgments. In
the reign of his son, called _Le Fou_, the office of _prévôt_ of the
merchants, with all its jurisdiction, and those of the _échevins_, or
aldermen of the city, were suppressed by letters patent, dated January
27, 1383; the king took possession of the revenues and public funds of
the city, and all the exercise of jurisdiction of the Hôtel de Ville was
transferred to the _prévôt de Paris_ or to his lieutenant. The upper
bourgeoisie were decimated and ruined in punishment for their rising
against the young king and his uncles. Five years later, Charles VI
decreed that the authority of the _prévôt_ extended through the nation,
and that he should be empowered to search malefactors anywhere in the
kingdom; this power was confirmed by Charles VII in 1447. The ordinances
of the _prévôt_ relative to the provisioning of Paris were also valid
everywhere, so that the central authority of the Parisian police became
supreme. The _prévôt_ was present at the royal sittings, and took his
place below the grand chamberlain; he walked at the head of the
nobility, enjoyed the privilege of covering himself after the calling
of the first case, a privilege reserved for dukes and peers; he assigned
the peers in the criminal cases, and was entitled to twelve guards,
called _sergents à la douzaine_. On his installation in his office, he
presented a horse to the president of the Parlement; his costume
consisted of a short robe with a cloak, the collar turned down, a sword,
a hat with plumes, and he carried his bâton of office covered with cloth
of silver.

He was also charged with the preservation of the privileges of the
University, and it was for this reason, as prescribed in the ordinance
of 1200, that he took his oath of office between the hands of the rector
of the University. In 1613, the _prévôt_, Louis Seguier, refused to
observe this formality. He had under his orders a civil lieutenant
charged with the jurisdiction of civil affairs in the first hearing,
and, later, of particular civil and criminal lieutenants; these
magistrates had the direction of the police until 1667, when there was
created a _conseiller lieutenant-général_ of police. The municipal
police of Paris absorbed successively various jurisdictions which had
previously existed, and the _prévôt_ administered this force in the
interests of the public order.

Nevertheless, the disorder in the municipal administration became so
great that Charles VI, by an edict dated January 27, 1411, restored to
the _bourgeois_, _manants_, and _habitants_ of his "good city of Paris"
the _prevosté des marchands et eschevinage, clergie, maison de la ville,
parlouer aux bourgeois, jurisdiction, coertion, cognoissance, rentes,
revenus, possessions quelconques, droits, honneurs, noblesses,
prerogatives, franchises, libertez et prévillèges_, to have and to hold
forever, as they had done before.


It was under this king that there was brought before the Parlement an
important case, related at length by all the chroniclers of the time,
and which may serve to illustrate the nature of the administration of
justice. A certain Norman gentleman, Jean de Carrouges, residing in the
château d'Argenteuil, near Alençon, having occasion to go on a journey,
left his young wife at home. One of his neighbors, Jacques Le Gris,
having heard of her beauty, presented himself at the castle and asked to
be permitted to visit the donjon. He was cordially welcomed, invited to
dinner, and the Dame de Carrouges herself conducted him to the tower.
Once there, the visitor suddenly fastened the door behind them and then
proceeded to avow his passion to the lady; indignantly repulsed, he
threw himself upon her and inflicted upon her the last of outrages.
Then, rushing down the stairs, he leaped upon his horse and effected his
escape. When the Sire de Carrouges returned, he appealed for redress to
the Comte d'Alençon, his suzerain and that of Le Gris; the comte
summoned all the parties before him, but the accused gentleman stoutly
proclaimed his innocence and endeavored to establish an alibi. The
comte, unable to decide, referred the case to the Parlement at Paris;
the trial lasted eighteen months, and the Parlement finally decided that
the lady could prove nothing against Le Gris excepting on a field of
combat _jusqu'à outrance_.

The king, who was then at L'Ecluse, a town in Holland, with his barons,
preparing to pass over into England, returned to Paris when he heard of
the decree of the Parlement, followed by his uncles, the Ducs de Berry,
de Bourgogne, and de Bourbon, and a number of other seigneurs who had
also "a great desire" to witness this judicial duel. The lists were
arranged in the Place Sainte-Catherine, behind the Temple, on the 29th
of December, 1386; the king and all his court were present, seated in
galleries, and a great crowd of people thronged all the available
surroundings. The two adversaries were armed from head to foot;
Carrouges approached his wife, arrayed in deep mourning and seated in a
chair draped in black.

"Lady," he said to her, "upon your assertion I am about to adventure my
life and combat Jacques Le Gris. You know whether my quarrel is just and

"Monseigneur," she replied, "it is so, and you combat safely, for the
quarrel is righteous."

"In the name of God, so be it!" replied the knight.

Then, embracing her, he took her hand, crossed himself, and entered the
lists, while the lady remained kneeling in her black chair, praying

The two men took their oaths, one, of the truth of his accusation, the
other, of his innocence; then they proceeded to their places at the
extremities of the lists and waited for the signal; when it was given,
they advanced toward each other, walking their horses, and attacked with
their swords. Carrouges was the first to be wounded, seriously in the
thigh, and he lost so much blood that the spectators feared for him;
however, rallying all his forces, he assailed his enemy so vigorously
that he succeeded in seizing him by his helmet and throwing him to the
ground. Dismounting in his turn and maintaining his advantage, he
endeavored to make Le Gris confess his guilt in the prospect of certain
death; the latter maintained his innocence, but as he was vanquished he
was adjudged culpable, and Carrouges thrust his sword through his body.
Then, turning toward the spectators, he demanded of them if he had
loyally done his duty. "Yes," they replied. After which he knelt before
the king, who caused him to be raised, and gave him a post in the royal
chamber with an annual allowance of two hundred livres. Carrouges
thanked the monarch, then turned toward his wife, kissed her, and they
both proceeded to Notre-Dame, where they made their offerings and
returned to their hotel. The body of Le Gris was delivered to the public
executioner, who dragged it on a hurdle to the gibbet of Montfaucon,
where it was hung in chains.

A decree of the Parlement subsequently granted to Carrouges the sum of
six thousand livres, to be taken from the property of Le Gris. But, some
time later, a criminal, condemned to death for other offences, confessed
that he was guilty of the outrage on the Dame de Carrouges, having
assumed the name of Le Gris and profited by a certain resemblance which
he bore to that unhappy gentleman. The lady, filled with remorse, sought
refuge in a convent after the death of her husband, and took the vows of
perpetual chastity.

Under Charles VII, in 1443, took place the first division of the
authority of the Parlement, which, however, had been long preparing. The
preceding year, the king had made an expedition into Gascogne and
Languedoc; on his retiral he left behind him "that which was worth more
than an army," a parlement established in Toulouse with jurisdiction
over all of Languedoc and the duchy of Guyenne. Ten years later, the
dauphin created in his appanage the Parlement of Grenoble. The double
jurisdiction of the Parlement of Paris at this period is thus defined:
"First, it sat in judgment on _causes spéciales_, those of the peers of
France and of the royal domain, those of _régale_ (right possessed by
the crown to receive the income of a vacant bishopric), and those of
individuals who had received by letters of _committimus_ the right to be
judged by it; second, it received appeals from all the inferior
jurisdictions, the royal, seigneurial, ecclesiastic, and university
tribunals. In addition, it deliberated on a multitude of administrative
matters, and, under pretext of interpreting the ordinances, rendered
decrees which were veritable acts of legislation. The royal ordinances
having the validity of laws only when enregistered by the Parlement, it
frequently refused this _enregistrement_, and sometimes thus checked the
royal authority. Finally, it frequently exercised the right of making
_remontrances_, not only against the ordinary ordinances, but against
treaties with foreign powers, particularly concerning the papal bulls,
which led to its exercising a superior superintendence over the entire
government of the Church in France. These divers powers gave the
Parlement of Paris a very high position in the State, and it will be
frequently seen intervening in public affairs."


Under Louis XI, there were parlements at Grenoble, Bordeaux, and Dijon;
greater freedom of appeal from the decisions of the seigneurial
tribunals to the court of the king, and the magistrates were relieved
from the fear of removal from office. We have already seen instances of
the affability of this monarch toward the bourgeoisie of Paris, and his
not unsuccessful attempts to identify himself with them; the tangible
benefits which he bestowed upon them were quite sufficient to win their
gratitude. Their offices were rendered immovable, they were exempted
from all taxation, their assemblies were authorized, the free election
of their magistrates, their city was carefully fortified, they were
armed to the number of sixty or eighty thousand men; he permitted them
to acquire, by purchase, the right which the nobles had to command the
_guet_, and to the noblesse was given the exercise of certain municipal

The _États Généraux_ of 1484, during the minority of Charles VIII, are
considered to have been the first of the truly representative national
assemblies, even the peasants in the most distant communes being
represented. The number of problems presented by the exigencies of the
government was formidable; during the royal session, Jean de Rely, canon
and deputy of Paris, addressed the monarch in an eloquent discourse,
half Latin and half French, bristling with texts and citations, then he
commenced to read the list of grievances demanding redress; he read
bravely for three hours, when it was perceived that the young king was
sound asleep, and the sitting was adjourned for two days. Neither
François I nor his son Henri II had any desire to appear before the
assembled representatives of the nation; the former replaced the _États
Généraux_ by a mixed assembly of notables and deputies of Bourgogne in
1526, and in the following year by an assembly of notables at Paris,
which sanctioned his violation of the treaty of Madrid, and granted him
two millions of golden écus for the ransom of his sons, left as hostages
behind him, but it took no part in the affairs of State. The Parlement
was not treated with any more consideration; a royal edict of 1523
divested the jurisdiction of the _prévôt_ and of the Châtelet of Paris
of all causes and matters of which it took cognizance in its quality as
conservator of the privileges of the University, and for the judgment of
these causes established a new bailiwick, of which the seat was to be
the Hôtel de Nesle, where there were appointed a bailiff, a lieutenant,
an avocat, a procureur du roi, twelve counsellors, an _audiencer_
[usher, or crier], a sous-audiencer, and twelve sergents. The Parlement
was much displeased at this diminution of its authority, and on the 9th
of March a formidable protest against the new edict was made before it
by the _prévôt_ of Paris, his lieutenants, civil and criminal, the
counsellors of the Châtelet, and all the other officers, sergents,
greffiers, huissiers, and officials of the University. When the king
heard of this demonstration, he sent to the Parlement the Sieur de la
Barre, gentleman of his chamber, to inform that body, once for all, that
when he granted letters patent it was understood that they were to be
enregistered, no matter what protests might be made against them. The
Parlement replied by appointing a commission to inquire concerning the
necessity of establishing a new bailiwick, and sent word to the monarch
that the members would inform themselves on the subject; on the 17th,
the Comte Saint-Paul appeared before them with an order directing the
immediate registering of the edict, and with the information that he
would assist at their deliberations in order to be able to inform his
royal master concerning those of them who permitted themselves to differ
from him in opinion. The decree was accordingly enregistered, and on the
30th of April the Chevalier Jean de la Barre presented himself before
the Parlement with the title and quality of Bailli de Paris. This
office, however, was suppressed in May, 1526, and its jurisdiction
reunited to that of the _prévôt_ and of the Châtelet. In 1527, the
Parlement was forbidden to interfere in any matters of State, or in
anything excepting what concerned the administration of justice; it was
permitted only to give advice regarding the perfecting of the laws. The
two most important legal monuments of this reign were the edict of
Crémieu, 1536, restricting the jurisdiction of the seigneurs, and that
of Villers-Cotterets, 1539, designed to put an end to the encroachments
of the tribunals of the bishops upon those of the king, and restricting
their competence to spiritual or ecclesiastical causes only. Of the
principal offices of the crown, four were held by men of legal lore,
_hommes de robe longue_,--that of grand chancellor, who held the royal
seal and without whose advice nothing important could be decided; that
of the secretaries of State; that of the presidents, counsellors,
avocats, and all those to whom the administration of civil and criminal
justice was confided throughout the realm, and that of the treasurers,
precepteurs and receivers who administered the royal revenues. The
superior officers of justice and finance enjoyed privileges of nobility
which, while still confining them to their rank in society, exempted
them from various imposts and charges.


Henri II was obliged, after the loss of the battle of Saint-Quentin, in
August, 1557, to convene an assembly of notables, in which the members
of the Parlement sat apart, like a fourth order in the State, below the
nobles but above the _tiers état_. There were still survivals of the
feudal epoch in the administration,--the Connétable was invested with
authority over the army and the Grand Admiral over the fleet, but the
era of _ministries_ was beginning. "The _clercs du secret_, become
_sécretaires d'État_ (in 1547), had in charge the correspondence of the
king on all public affairs. An ordinance of Henri II, in 1547, fixed
their number at four, each of them corresponding with a quarter of the
provinces of the kingdom and a quarter of the foreign countries. The
special attributions are of a later date; thus, all the affairs of the
_maison du roi_ and, later, of ecclesiastical affairs, were assigned to
one of them. The other three were: in 1619 and in 1636, war; in 1626,
foreign affairs; under Louis XIV, the marine; which did not prevent them
from apportioning France geographically among themselves for those
affairs which remained common to them all. The Chancelier was chief of
the department of justice, and the Surintendant, of that of finances.
The police, that great arm of monarchical times, was commencing."

The Parlement of Paris, however, cannot, by any means, be presented
always as maintaining a more or less courageous stand for justice and
right. In the massacre of the Saint Bartholomew, for example, it was a
zealous coadjutor. The officers of the municipalité had prepared for
this great measure, the _prévôt_ of the merchants, summoned to the
Louvre, received from Charles IX orders to close all the gates of the
city and to have in readiness the captains, lieutenants, and bourgeois
in whom he had confidence. He promised "to put so many hands at the
mischief that it should be remembered." Rewards were given officially to
the archers who had aided in the massacre, to the ferrymen who had
prevented the Huguenots from crossing the river, to the grave-diggers of
Saint-Cloud, of Auteuil, and of Chaillot for having interred in a week
eleven hundred corpses. A municipal medal was struck in _mémoire du jour
de Saint Barthélemy_. The president of the Parlement, Christophe de
Thou, pronounced an eulogy on the prudence of the king which had saved
the nation from the misfortune of seeing the crown fall on the head of
the Prince of Condé, and, perhaps, on that of Admiral Coligny himself,
who had been ambitious enough to dream of seating himself on the throne
of France after having driven from it the king and ruined the royal
family. The Parlement, after deliberation, declared the admiral guilty
of the crime of lèse-majesté, ordered that his body, or at least his
effigy, should be dragged on a hurdle, attached to a gallows on the
Place de Grève and then to the gibbet of Montfaucon, that his memory
should be declared infamous and that his château of Châtillon-sur-Loing
should be razed. The headless body of the admiral was at that moment
swinging on the gibbet of Montfaucon.

In the religious wars that followed, the city paid dearly for this
wholesale murder. The population, during the siege by the King of
Navarre, was reduced to the last extremity of famine, even to
cannibalism, and when that monarch had retired from before the walls,
the horrors of anarchy and civil war succeeded. The Parlement, terrified
by the execution of the first president, Brisson, refused to sit, and,
when summoned to do so, replied to the agents of the _Seize_, the chiefs
of the sixteen quarters of Paris who had formed a council to aid the
work of the _Sainte Ligue_ of the Catholics, that they would return to
their functions only to hang those who had participated in the official
murder of the president. The Duc de Mayenne, summoned to the rescue of
public order, carried out these hangings in a summary manner; and the
first care of the Parlement, when a government was partially established
again, was to disarm the factious bourgeois.

Henri IV, who disputes with Dagobert in the legends of the people the
honor of being the most popular of the French kings, was not exclusively
the jovial monarch he is generally portrayed. His answer to some
remonstrances of the Parlement, which have been preserved, would have
been worthy of François I or Louis XIV. "My will should serve as a
reason. In an obedient State, reasons are never required of the prince.
I am king: I speak to you as a king; I desire to be obeyed." His
nomination of a governor of Paris was sufficiently scandalous: on the
death of the Sieur d'O, who held that office, the king sent to the Hôtel
de Ville to say that he would not appoint a successor, that he would
honor his good city of Paris by assuming that charge himself; the
Parlement, the next day, despatched several of its presidents and
members to thank the king for this great honor, and the gracious monarch
thereupon nominated as his lieutenant-general Antoine d'Estrées, the
father of his famous mistress.


Nevertheless, so heavy and far-reaching a calamity was his assassination
by the senseless fanatic Ravaillac, that forerunner of the socialists
and anarchists of our own day, that a certain pitiless logic attends the
frightful sentence which was pronounced upon the murderer, and which was
carried out to the letter. Thirteen days after the fatal 14th of May,
1610, the Parlement pronounced the following judgment: "The Court, etc.,
after attentive consideration, declares that it has been that the Court
has declared and declares the aforesaid Ravaillac attainted and
convicted of the crime of lèse-majesté, divine and human, in the first
degree, for the very wicked, very abominable, and very detestable
parricide committed on the person of the late king Henri IV, of very
good and very laudable memory; in reparation of which it has condemned
and condemns him to make _amende honorable_ before the principal door of
the Church of Paris, to which he shall be led and conducted in a cart;
there, naked in his shirt, holding a burning torch of the weight of two
pounds, to say and to declare that, wickedly and treacherously, he
committed the very wicked, very abominable, and very detestable
parricide, and killed the aforesaid seigneur king with two strokes of a
knife in the body, of which he repents and for which he asks pardon of
God, of the king, and of justice. From there, conducted to the Place de
Grève, and, on a scaffold which shall be there erected, torn with
pinchers on the nipples, arms, thighs, and fleshy part of the legs, his
right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the aforesaid
parricide, burnt and consumed with fire of sulphur, and on the places
where he shall have been torn with pinchers shall be poured melted lead,
boiling oil, wax, and sulphur melted together. This having been done,
his body torn and dismembered by four horses, his members and his body
consumed by fire, reduced to ashes, scattered on the wind; has declared
and declares all his property confiscated to the king, orders that the
house in which he was born shall be demolished; the individual to whom
it belongs previously indemnified, no building to be ever afterward
erected on the site thereof, and that within fifteen days after the
publication of the present decree to the sound of trumpet and by public
crier in the city of Angoulesme his father and his mother shall quit the
kingdom, being forbidden to ever return therein under penalty of being
hanged and strangled without any form or process of law whatever. We
forbid his brothers and sisters, uncles, and others to bear hereafter
the name of Ravaillac, and we enjoin them to change it under the same
penalties; and to the substitute of the procureur-général du roi to
cause to be published and to execute the present decree, under penalty
of felony; and before the execution of the said Ravaillac ordains that
he shall be again put to the question for the revelation of the names of
his accomplices."

He was put to the question of "the boot" very thoroughly, but refused to
the last to admit that he had any accomplices; the prayers of the two
doctors of the Sorbonne who assisted at his execution were drowned by
the clamors of the crowd protesting that no offices of the Church should
attend the passing of the _méchant damné_, and the people themselves
aided the horses to tear him asunder.

Marie de Médicis, the second wife of Henri IV, after ten years of
entreaty, had succeeded in inducing the king to permit her to be crowned
as Queen of France on the day preceding his death; within two hours
after that event, she and the Duc d'Epernon had taken all the necessary
steps to secure the decree of the Parlement declaring her regent. The
judicious administrative measures of the Béarnais were to be reversed,
the reign of Italian favorites was to begin, events were to be
subordinated to persons, "as is nearly always the case when queens are
kings." Nevertheless, the Parlement remembered, when it was too late,
that she had recognized its right to dispose of the sovereign power.

The last reunion of the _États Généraux_ before the famous one of 1789
was held in 1614, and was marked by the usual dissensions among the
three orders. The nobles complained to the king of the insolence of the
_tiers état_ in asserting themselves to be the younger brothers of the
same great family; "there is between them and us the difference between
master and valet." The clergy refused to assume any portion of the
public burdens; "that would be to diminish the honor due to God."
Consequently, the president of the upper bourgeoisie, the _prévôt_ of
the merchants of Paris, Robert Miron, declared boldly to the king: "If
your Majesty does not provide for the reforms which the nation demands,
it is to be feared that despair will make the people aware of the fact
that the soldier is only a peasant bearing arms; that when the
vine-grower has taken up an arquebus, from the anvil which he was, he
will become the hammer." Nothing was done; the king's great minister,
Richelieu, was too much occupied with the direction of the foreign
affairs of the nation to occupy himself with reforms at home.

Louis XIII was but eight and a half years old at the date of his
father's assassination, and his melancholy, reserved, and suspicious
character bore the traces of that tragic event through life. His early
education was greatly neglected, excepting in the matter of floggings
for obstinacy and disobedience; as a king, it was said of him that "no
man loved God less, or feared the Prince of Darkness more." The weakness
and irresolution which are generally attributed to him were conspicuous
by their absence in his retention of his minister, notwithstanding the
constant cabals, intrigues, and menaces of his mother and her
adherents, and the famous "Day of the Dupes," in which they thought they
had finally attained their end, was followed by dismissal of the
Chancellor Marillac, and the trial and execution, on the Place de Grève,
of his brother, Marshal of France, for the misappropriation of funds for
the army,--"a matter of some hay, straw, stone, and chalk," he
exclaimed, "not enough to whip a valet for!"


From a painting by M. Melingue.]

One of the most recent of the works on the great cardinal, that of the
Abbé Lacroix, presents us with a Richelieu but little known,
administering his diocese of Luçon, at the age of twenty-two, firmly and
justly, regular in his habits and conciliatory in his character,
ambitious, preparing himself, during eight years of obscure study and
skilful intrigue, for his accession to power, and having already
selected the men whom he would designate to carry out his great designs.
"The bishop prepared the minister," says this biographer.

It was no part of his plans to have the Parlement oppose them, and that
body was forced, during this reign, to swallow some of its bitterest
mortifications. In 1631, having refused to verify a royal decree, the
king returned from Fontainebleau hastily, and ordered the members to
present themselves in a body at the Louvre, the greffier bringing with
him the register of their debates; in the grand gallery of the palace
they were obliged to kneel before the throne, and the monarch, rising,
took the register which was presented to him, tore out the page on which
was the record of their deliberation, and ordered that there should be
inserted in its place the decree of the royal council which had been
refused the _enregistrement_. Ten years later, in the midst of the
Thirty Years' War, the magistrates having declined to approve of certain
new taxes, Louis XIII held a "bed of justice," and again brought them
to terms. The Parlement was formally forbidden to put forth any
remonstrances regarding the edicts which concerned the government and
the administration of the State. Only on those relating to the financial
decrees were they to be permitted to have a voice. These wearisome
episodes were repeated at intervals during the reigns of all the later
kings of France.

Neither was there any contemplation of the _États Généraux_ in the
administration of the king and his minister. A few assemblies of
notables were held, one in 1625 on the subject of the Valteline and the
rupture with the Pope, and another in the latter part of the following
year, to which were admitted only magistrates, ecclesiastics,
councillors of State, and the _prévôt_ of the merchants of Paris.

Against Mazarin, minister and cardinal, but not a priest, the Parlement
was more successful in its long contest. Entrenched in their office,
rendered hereditary by the establishment of the _paulette_ (so named
from the contractor Paulet, who suggested it to Sully in 1604), the
magistrates had acquired a spirit of independence and pride which led
them to style themselves "the born protectors of the people," and to
assert their right to assume the _rôle_ of the _États Généraux_, and to
play the part of the Parliament of England, which at that hour was
accomplishing a revolution, and to which, indeed, Mazarin compared them.
In January, 1646, they proclaimed the cardinal a disturber of the public
peace, an enemy of the king and the State, and directed him to leave the
court immediately, and the kingdom within a week. In February, 1651, he
was again banished, he, his family, his adherents, and his foreign
servants, and this decree, promulgated to the sound of the trumpet in
all the quarters of Paris, was greeted by the populace with noisy
exclamations of joy. In March and in June these orders were repeated,
the wily favorite of Anne d'Autriche seeking every opportunity of
regaining his power. It was these triumphs of the Fronde that inspired
the despotic Louis XIV with that dislike for the city of Paris which he
cherished all his life,--these, and the too-frequent public monuments
which spoke of other crowned heads than his own!

The nation had already entered that period of incredible distress and
degradation which was to lead to the Revolution, and on the surface of
which the so-called splendor of the court glittered with a species of
decaying phosphorescence which blinds the eyes of grave historians to
this day. In 1646 there were in the jails of the kingdom twenty-three
thousand eight hundred persons, confined for non-payment of taxes, five
thousand of whom died there. "_Tout le royaume_," said Omer Talon, two
years later, "is sick with exhaustion. The peasant no longer possesses
anything but his soul, because he has not yet been able to put that up
for sale." No prince, in the judgment of Saint-Simon, possessed the art
of reigning in a higher degree than did Louis XIV. "Louis Quatorze is
certainly not a great man," says Duruy, "but he is very certainly a
great king, and the greatest that Europe has seen." And yet the latter
quotes from the _Mémoires_ which the king demanded from his intendants
on the condition of their provinces for the instruction of his grandson,
the Duc de Bourgogne: "The wars, the mortality, the lodging and the
continual passage of armed forces, the military regulations, the heavy
taxes, the withdrawal of the Huguenots, have ruined this country.... The
bridges and the roads are in a deplorable state, and commerce is
abolished. The frontier provinces are the most completely crushed by the
requisitions, the pillaging of the soldiers, who, receiving neither pay
nor provisions, pay themselves with their own hands. In the district of
Rouen, out of seven hundred thousand inhabitants, six hundred and fifty
thousand have for bed a bundle of straw. The peasant in certain
provinces is returning to a state of savagery,--living, for the most
part, on herbs and roots, like the beasts; and, wild as they are,
fleeing when any one approaches." "There is no nation as savage as these
people," says the intendant of Bourges of those under his
administration; "there may be found sometimes troops of them seated in a
circle in the middle of a field and always far from the roads; if they
are approached, this band immediately disappears."

At this great king's death, he left France, says M. Duruy himself, "in a
prodigious state of exhaustion. The State was ruined, and seemed to have
no other resource than bankruptcy. Before the War of Succession, Vauban
had already written: 'Nearly the tenth part of the people are reduced to
beggary; of the nine other portions, five cannot give any alms to the
mendicants, from whom they differ but slightly; three are very much
distressed; the tenth part do not include more than one hundred thousand
families, of which not ten thousand are comfortably situated.' This
poverty became especially terrible in 1715, after that war in which it
was necessary to borrow money at four hundred per cent., to create new
imposts, to consume in advance the revenues of two years, and to raise
the public debt to the sum of two milliards four hundred millions, which
would make in our day nearly eight milliards!"

[Illustration: AFTER THE CAPTURE OF THE BASTILLE, JULY 14, 1789. From a
painting by François Flameng.

NOTE.--The key was sent by Lafayette to Washington, at Mount Vernon.]

"Behold the cost of his glory," says M. Duruy elsewhere, "a public debt
of more than two milliards four hundred millions, with a sum in the
treasury of eight hundred thousand livres; an excessive scarcity of
specie; commerce paralyzed; the nobility overwhelmed with debts, the
least burdensome of which had been contracted at an interest of
fifteen and twenty on the hundred; the magistrates, the _rentiers_, long
deprived of the revenues owed them by the State; the peasants, in
certain provinces, wanting for everything, even for straw on which to
lie; those of our frontiers passing over to foreign countries; very many
districts of our territory uncultivated and deserted." For the credit
side of the account of this greatest of kings, the historian can cite
the acquisition of two provinces, Flanders and Franche-Comté, certain
cities, Strasbourg, Landau, Dunkerque, "so many victories, Europe
defied, France so long preponderant, finally, the incomparable
brilliancy of that court of Versailles and those marvels of the letters
and the arts which have given to the seventeenth century the name of the
_siècle_ de Louis Quatorze!" Of the bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, and
incredible and always uneasy vanity of the little soul of this great
monarch the chroniclers of even his sycophants are full.

His political creed may be learned from this passage in his _Mémoires_:
"The kings are absolute lords and have naturally the full and entire
disposition of all property which is possessed as well by the churchmen
as by the laymen, to use at all times, as judicious stewards, that is to
say, according to the general need of their State. Everything which may
be found within the limits of their States, of whatsoever nature it may
be, appertains to them by the same title, and the coin which is in their
strong-box and that which remains in the hands of their treasurers, and
that which they permit to remain in the commerce of their peoples."

Consequently, the end of this reign of seventy-two years was "very
different from its beginning. He received his kingdom powerful and
preponderating abroad, tranquil and contented at home; he left it
weakened, humiliated, discontented, impoverished, and already filled
with the seeds of the Revolution." (Rœderer: _Mémoires_.)

For the administration of the government of the State, there were three
great Councils, under the immediate direction of the king, who was his
own prime minister. The _Conseil d'en haut_, to which he called the
secretaries of State, and sometimes the princes of the blood,
corresponded to the modern council of ministers in that it had the
general direction of the great political affairs, with the additional
function of judging appeals of the _Conseil d'État_, or _Conseil du
Roi_. The latter, subordinate to the ministers but superior to the
supreme courts, was the great administrative body of the kingdom and was
composed of eighteen members. The _Grand Conseil_, which had been
invested by Charles VIII with the judicial attributes up to that time
appertaining to the Conseil du Roi, in order that the latter might
remain a purely administrative body, sat in judgment on ecclesiastical
matters, appeals to the higher courts, conflicts with parliamentary
authority, etc.

For the administration of the city of Paris, and with the design of
replacing the various seigneurial, ecclesiastic, and municipal
authorities by one royal one, a decree was issued as early as 1674, in
which all these justices, "and even that of our bailiwick of the palace,
shall be reunited to the _siège présidial de la prévosté et vicomté de
Paris_, held at the Châtelet, ... so that in the future they shall never
be separated from it, nor re-established, for any cause, or under any
pretext whatsoever." A second seat of the _prévôté_ and vicomté of Paris
was established at the same time at the Châtelet with the same powers
and prerogatives as the other,--the number of affairs being much too
great for the cognizance of one jurisdiction. A supplemental decree,
some months later, established the seat of the second in the abbey of
Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This abolition of the divers administrations of
justice by the seigneurs was greatly appreciated by the populace, and
greatly resented by the deposed lords, secular and ecclesiastical. In
1687, a magistrate, Nicolas de la Reynie, was appointed as
superintendent of the police of Paris, and he was succeeded, ten years
later, by the Marquis d'Argenson,--these being the first two
_lieutenants de police_. This police, in addition to maintaining the
public order, exercised a surveillance over all printed and written
matter--even searching the post and opening suspected letters in the
_cabinet noir_, and making itself a servile instrument in the abuse of
the _lettres de cachet_ through which, as the president of the Cour des
Aides, Malesherbes said to Louis XV in 1770: "no citizen has any
assurance that his liberty may not at any moment be sacrificed to some
personal vengeance."

An edict of 1705, recalling that, in 1690, _la noblesse au premier
degré_ had been bestowed upon the president, councillors, and other
officers "of our _Cour de Parlement de Paris_;" that in 1691 the same
privileges had been granted to the presidents, councillors, and other
officers "of our _Cour des Aydes de Paris_;" in 1704, on the officers of
the _Chambre des Comptes_, granted also this nobility to the presidents,
treasurers-general of France, avocat, procureur, and _greffier en chef_
of the bureau of finance. In the following year, the privileges of this
nobility were granted to the _échevins_, the procureur, the greffier,
and receiver of the city of Paris, and the _prévôt_ of the merchants was
given the title of chevalier. Following the ancient traditions of the
French monarchy, the king preferred to see himself served by the men of
the middle classes, rather than by the powerful lords, whose _rôle_ was
reduced to that of obsequious courtiers in his antechamber, but, "in
working with the bourgeois, the grandson of Henri IV wished to remain
always _le roi des gentilshommes_."

In the person of Louis XV the most ignoble vices of a man were united to
those of a king, but he had sufficient intelligence to foresee the
calamity that was coming. "The thing will last at least as long as I
do," he said, "my successor may get out of it the best way he can." And
to Madame Pompadour is credited the famous saying: "After us, the
deluge." When the minister Choiseul was disgraced, in 1770, half the
nobles deserted the court to follow him to his estate of Chanteloup,
near Amboise,--so much had the splendor of Versailles, that great glory
of the reign of the _Roi-Soleil_, departed!

There were thirteen parlements and four provincial councils in France
having sovereign jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases; the authority
of the Parlement of Paris covered two-fifths of the kingdom. The
chambres des comptes, the cours des aides, and the cours des monnaies
judged all cases relating to the imposts, to the coinage, and to
bullion. The grand conseil, the requêtes de l'Hôtel, the tribunal of the
University of Paris, the capitaineries royales, etc., had each a special
jurisdiction. Certain persons could only be judged by certain tribunals.
In 1735, the Parlement having despatched its first president and several
of its members to the king, then at Compiègne, to remonstrate with him,
Louis XV informed them that he "forbade his Parlement to meet, to issue
any decree, or to deliberate in any manner on the affairs of State; that
they were to assemble only to receive his orders and to execute them,
and that they had better not constrain him to make them feel the weight
of his authority." In September of the same year, he summoned them to a
bed of justice at Versailles, contrary to all precedent, and when they
returned protesting, all the presidents and conseillers des enquêtes
and requêtes were summarily banished to different cities in the kingdom
by lettres de cachet. In 1753, the whole body was sent into exile, at
Soissons, and to replace it the king created a _chambre royale_, which
held its sittings at the Louvre, but which, though duly registered at
the Châtelet _au très exprès commandement du roi_, was received with
such contempt for its authority and such general levity that the members
"became so well accustomed to it that they frequently assembled
laughing, and made jests of their own decrees." The Parisians, who
ridicule everything, declared that these members enjoyed themselves
greatly at the masked ball during the Carnival, because none of them
were _recognized_.

4, 1789.

Engraved by L. Ruffe, after the painting by A. Dawant.]

The members of the Parlement returned from their exile as contumacious
as ever. Against the express command of the king, they persisted in
occupying themselves with religious questions and manifesting a spirit
of opposition to the pretensions of the Papacy. The public excitement
was so great that a wretch named Damiens attempted to assassinate the
king, in 1757, but only wounded him slightly. In 1770, the Duc
d'Aiguillon, Governor of Brittany, having been relieved of his post and
formally accused by the parlement of that province, was brought to trial
before the Parlement of Paris in his quality of peer of the realm. He
was about to be condemned when the king, in a bed of justice, quashed
the proceedings. To the indignant protests of the magistrates, who
suspended their sittings, Louis XV replied by dismissing his minister,
Choiseul, and giving his post to D'Aiguillon. On the night of the 19th
and 20th of January, 1771, a hundred and sixty-nine of the members of
the Parlement were each awakened by two musketeers, who required them to
sign _yes_ or _no_ on the order to resume their official functions.
Thirty-eight signed _yes_, but retracted this consent two days later;
on the following night a huissier notified the members of their
suspension from office, and the musketeers brought them lettres de
cachet which banished them all in different directions. At the end of
the year there were more than seven hundred magistrates in exile. The
king transformed his council into a parlement, under the presidency of
M. Maupeou, from whom it took its name, but it was received with a storm
of popular insult and ridicule. Public opinion throughout the nation was
aroused; all the princes of the blood, excepting one, and thirteen peers
protested to the king "against the reversal of the laws of the State,"
and the name of the _États Généraux_ was openly pronounced in the
parlements of Toulouse, Besançon, Rouen, and even in Paris. "Richelieu
and Louis XIV had destroyed the political importance of the nobility;
Louis XV destroyed the great institution of the magistracy,--what was
there remaining to prop up the ancient edifice and to cover the

The ribald Parisians circulated this _Pater_, and found amusement in it:
"Our Father who art at Versailles, your name be glorified, your reign is
shaken, your will is executed no more on the earth than in heaven; give
us our daily bread, which you have taken from us; pardon your
parlements, which have sustained your interests, as you pardon your
ministers who have sold them: do not succumb any longer to the
temptations of the Du Barry, but deliver us from the devil of the

In the midst of the general decadence, which affected alike royalty, the
clergy, and the nobles, in the general confusion and inequality of all
laws and procedure, a formidable spirit of investigation began to stir.
The nation had no written constitution, everything depended upon custom,
and was maintained only by a sort of public opinion, which constantly
varied. The contradictions and anomalies in all branches of the public
administration were rendered even more hopeless by the general
corruption and clashing of individual interests: "France has no general,
positive, written law ... which defines all the powers," said Lally
Tollendal in the chambre de la noblesse in 1789. Both the civil and the
penal law bristled with the most flagrant injustice, the accused was
frequently allowed no defence; torture, mutilations, and the
death-penalty were awarded with the most shocking facility and for the
most inadequate crimes,--the complete innocence of the victim was but
too frequently recognized after his execution. "If I were accused of
having stolen the towers of Notre-Dame," said one, "I would consider it
prudent to run away." The right of asylum was still maintained in Paris
in the enclosure of the Temple, as in the Middle Ages; in 1768, "poor
devils were sent to the galleys for having sold certain books, among
them the innocent satire of Voltaire: _L'homme aux quarante écus_."

drawing by Libonis.]

The details of the trial and execution of Damiens, for his attempt on
the life of the king, give a better picture of the times than any
general description. Immediately after his arrest, his legs were torn
with red-hot pinchers, and these wounds were not allowed to heal. He was
confined in the Tour de Montgommery, in a circular chamber twelve feet
in diameter, almost without light and air, strapped down, without the
power of movement, to a mattress, the bottom of which was alternately
pushed up and let down by a jack underneath. His examination lasted
fifty-seven days; he was put to the question, "ordinary and
extraordinary," to discover the names of his accomplices, and finally
condemned to death by torture in very nearly the same phrases as those
which we have quoted in the sentence of Ravaillac. An enclosure was
arranged in the Place de Grève, surrounded by a strong barricade of
planks, pointed at the top, with elongations at the four corners for the
four horses who were to _écarteler_ the criminal; in the centre was a
very solid wooden table, six feet long, four feet wide, and about three
feet high, on which he was to be placed, fastened down with iron plates
over his chest, stomach, and between his thighs, in such a manner that
his body should be perfectly immovable while his limbs were at liberty.
"The roofs of all the houses in the Grève," says the contemporary
_Journal de Barbier_, "and even the chimneys, were covered with people.
There was a man and a woman who fell in a certain locality, and who
injured others. It was remarked that there were very many women, and
even some of distinction, and that they sustained the horror of this
execution better than the men, which did not do them any honor."

From the memoirs of H. Sanson, one of the public executioners, the
following details are quoted by M. de Genouillac. "The _tortionnaire_,
who had charge of the pinchers, and who, by a singular mockery of
circumstances, bore the name of a great seigneur of the time, Soubise,
had assured his chief that he had procured all the implements indicated
in the sentence. When he arrived at the scaffold, Gabriel Sanson
immediately perceived that the miserable Soubise was drunk, and quite
incapable of fulfilling his appointed task. Filled with violent
apprehension, he demanded to be shown the lead, the sulphur, the wax,
and the rosin which Soubise was to have purchased; everything was
lacking, and it was recognized at the same moment that the 'patient'
might arrive immediately, that the pile which was to consume his body
was composed of damp and ill-chosen wood that would be very difficult to

"In contemplating the consequences of the drunkenness of the
_tortionnaire_, Gabriel Sanson lost his head. For some moments the
scaffold presented a spectacle of inexpressible confusion; the valets
ran about distracted, everybody cried out at once, and the unhappy
executioner of the _prévôté de l'hôtel_ tore his hair while deploring
the terrible responsibility which he had brought down upon his head. The
arrival of the lieutenant of the short robe, who had finished disposing
his men in the enclosure, the presence of the procureur général, who
had been sent for, put an end to this disorder.

"The magistrate severely reprimanded Gabriel Sanson.... During this
interval, the valets went into the shops of the grocers of the
neighborhood to provide themselves with what was necessary; but when
they issued from the enclosure, the crowd followed them,--in all the
shops which they entered their purpose was made known and the merchants
refused to sell them, or pretended not to have what they desired; it was
necessary for the lieutenant to send with them an officer to demand, _in
the king's name_, the objects of which they had need."

"This scene was prolonged for such a length of time," says M. de
Genouillac, continuing the narration, "that everything was not yet ready
when the patient arrived on the Place de Grève, and they were obliged to
seat him on one of the steps of the scaffold whilst they proceeded,
under his very eyes, with the final preparations for his death. Damiens
had remained three hours in the chapel; he had prayed continually, with
a fervor and a contrition that had touched the hearts of all those
present. When four o'clock struck from the clock of the Palais, Gabriel
Sanson approached MM. Gueret and De Marsilly, and said to them that the
hour to set out had arrived.

"Although he had spoken in a low voice, Damiens had heard him, for he
murmured, in a feverish voice: 'Yes, it will soon be night;' and after a
pause he added: 'Alas! to-morrow it will be day for them!'

"They raised him up to take him away; he made the motion of a kiss
toward the crucifix; he was put into the tumbril, which took its way
toward Notre-Dame. Before the porch of the church they endeavored to
force him to kneel, but his legs were so broken that he uttered a
piercing cry in endeavoring to stoop; he was obliged to pronounce while
standing the words which the greffier dictated to him.

[Illustration: THE "FORMES ACERBES." After a drawing by Lafitte.

Expression used by Barère in his defence of Joseph Le Bon: "If Le Bon
had employed _formes acerbes_, he had at least shown his devotion to the
Republic." Le Bon caused the execution of more than fifteen hundred
persons; it was he who installed an orchestra at the foot of the

"He was replaced in the cart and all returned to the Place de Grève,
which was literally full of people belonging to all classes of society.
Arrived at the foot of the scaffold, Damiens asked to speak to the
commissioners; he was carried to the Hôtel de Ville, there he retracted
again the accusation he had made against Gautier, which had been wrung
from him by torture, recommended his wife and his children to M.
Pasquier, and at five o'clock he was set down again on the Place and
they lifted him on the scaffold.

"The braziers in which was burning the sulphur mingled with burning
coals were ready; his arm was attached to a bar in such a manner that
the wrist extended beyond the outside plank of the platform. The
executioner brought up the brazier. Damiens uttered a frightful cry and
writhed; then, that movement over, he lifted his head and watched his
hand burning without manifesting his pain in any other manner than by
the chattering of his teeth. It was one of Sanson's valets, André
Legris, who, for the sum of a hundred livres, undertook the tearing with
pinchers. He carried his instrument over the arms, over the chest, and
over the thighs of the patient, and brought away shreds of flesh; then
he poured into the gaping wounds boiling oil, flaming rosin, sulphur
fused, or melted lead, with which the other valets supplied him.

"Damiens, mad with pain, his eyes immeasurably out of their orbits, the
hair standing on his head, cried, in a voice that made every one
tremble: 'More! more!'

"But he was taken down from the platform, the traces of the horses were
attached to each one of his limbs. Each horse was held by the bridle by
an aid; another was placed behind with a whip in his hand; the
executioner, standing on the platform, gave the signal.

"The four horses sprang violently forward, one of them fell, but the
body of the unfortunate wretch was not dismembered.

"Three times the horses recommenced their efforts, and three times the
resistance of the body made them fall back. Only the arms and legs of
the patient, who was still living, were immeasurably elongated.

"The curé had fainted; the executioners no longer knew what to do. The
spectators, at first dumb with stupor and fright, now uttered
exclamations of horror.

"It was then that the surgeon, Boyer, ascended to the Hôtel de Ville to
ask of the commissioners permission to cut the joints; this was at first
refused, on the pretext that the longer the execution lasted the more
would the criminal suffer, and that this was what was necessary; but the
surgeon having affirmed that the tearing asunder could not be effected
without aid, it was resolved to permit the necessary amputation.

"But there was no instrument.

"André Legris performed the operation with blows of a hatchet, he cut
the arm-pits and the joints of the thighs. The two thighs were first
dismembered, then a shoulder, and it was not till after this that the
wretched Damiens expired.

"A sigh of relief escaped from all breasts.

"But it was not finished: the four members and the trunk were gathered
up and all placed upon the pile of fagots, and the flames arose. The
execution of Damiens had lasted an hour and a quarter....


From an engraving in the collection of M. Félix Perin.

"Robespierre, after having had all the French guillotined, beheads the
executioner with his own hand." This caricature cost the engraver his

"It was observed, when they picked up the body of Damiens to throw it
on the pyre, that his hair, which was brown when he arrived on the Place
de Grève, had become white as snow."

The judgment rendered by the Parlement in the famous case of the diamond
necklace, in the following reign, was received with very different
emotions by the court and the people. It may be remembered that the
Bishop of Strasbourg, Cardinal de Rohan, a member of one of the most
arrogant families of the nobility, anxious to regain the favor of the
Queen Marie Antoinette, had fallen into the snares of a clever
adventuress, Jeanne de Saint-Remy de Valois, Comtesse de la Motte. The
latter was aware that the crown-jewelers, MM. Bœhmer and Bassenge, had
offered the queen a necklace of diamonds for the price of one million
six hundred thousand livres, but that she had declined it, saying that
the money would be better applied in the purchase of a vessel of war.
Madame de la Motte proceeded to open fictitious negotiations with the
jewelers in the name of the queen, pretending that the latter had
changed her mind but did not wish the affair to become public, that the
purchase would be made by instalments and through the hands of a great
seigneur of the court. This was the Cardinal Rohan, upon whom she
imposed, by means of forged letters from the queen, skilfully prepared
by her secretary, one Sieur Rétaux de Villette. She even arranged a
brief nocturnal interview in the gardens of Versailles for him, as
related in the last chapter, with a demoiselle from the Palais-Royal
disguised as Marie-Antoinette. A few days later, the cardinal remitted
to the comtesse the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand livres on a
pretended letter; but when she proposed to him, later, to purchase the
necklace himself on the strength of the queen's promise to indemnify
him, he had so many doubts that he went to consult the adventurer
Cagliostro, then in great favor in Paris. The magician pronounced
favorably upon the enterprise; in January, 1785, the cardinal received
the jewels from the merchants in return for a paper signed and sealed by
him but bearing on the margin the words: "_Approuvé_, MARIE-ANTOINETTE
_de France_" in which it was agreed that they were to be paid for in
four instalments of four hundred thousand livres each, the first payment
to be made on the 1st of August following. The queens of France were
never in the habit of adding anything to the signature of their
Christian names. On the first of February the cardinal delivered the
necklace in a casket, in the apartments of Madame de la Motte at
Versailles, to an assumed valet in the royal livery, whom he thought he
recognized, but who was no other than the crafty Rétaux de Villette. The
stones were immediately separated, the comtesse kept the small ones for
herself and sold the larger ones in England. Naturally, the affair came
to light a few months later, and on the 15th of August the cardinal was
lodged in the Bastille.

Great was the excitement; the Papacy even interfered to prevent the
trial of so eminent a churchman by the Parlement, before whom the king
brought the _procès_ in the following month, but the latter maintained
its rights, and on the 31st of May, 1786, pronounced judgment. M. de la
Motte (who had escaped to England) was condemned to the galleys for
life; his wife, to be publicly flogged, branded on both shoulders with
the letter "V," a rope around her neck, and imprisoned for life; Rétaux
de Villette banished for life, without branding or flogging; the
demoiselle D'Olivia discharged; Cagliostro and the cardinal discharged
from all accusation. The acquittal of the prelate was hailed with
applause by the people, and viewed with great displeasure by the court
and the nobility; the blow to the royal prestige was felt to be very
serious, the publicity given to the fact that a cardinal, Grand Almoner
to the Court, had mistaken a courtesan for the Queen of France was
recognized as most unfortunate. Louis XVI banished him to his abbey of
the Chaise-Dieu in Auvergne, ordered him to resign his post of Grand
Aumônier de France, and to return his order of the Saint-Esprit.


After Duplessis-Berteaux.]

Madame de la Motte, who had appeared on her trial coquettishly arrayed,
and bearing herself with the greatest assurance, had become so violent
on hearing her sentence that the _exécuteur des hautes-œuvres_ was
summoned to the Palais by the magistrates, and strongly recommended to
avoid any public scandal in carrying out the sentence of branding her.
It was proposed to gag her, but it was feared that this would excite the
people, and it was resolved to perform the operation at six o'clock in
the morning, in the court of the Conciergerie. When it came to reading
the sentence to her, four men were required to transport her before the
Commission Parlementaire charged with this duty, and even then she
escaped from their hands and threw herself upon the floor, rolling "in
such convulsions and uttering such cries of a wild beast" that the
reading had to be abandoned.

"When she was stretched on the platform," as the _Mémoires des Sanson_
relate, "the fustigation commenced, and as long as it lasted, her cries
became all the more furious. Her imprecations were especially addressed
to the Cardinal de Rohan; ... she received a dozen blows with the
rods; ... she remained during some moments mute, motionless, and as
though fainting. Charles-Henri Sanson thought to take advantage of this
to carry out the final directions of the sentence. Her dress had been
torn in the struggles she had undergone, and her shoulder was uncovered.
He took an iron from the brazier, and, approaching her, he pressed it
upon the skin. Madame de la Motte uttered the cry of a wounded hyena,
and, throwing herself upon one of the assistants who held her, she bit
his hand with so much fury that she took out a portion of the flesh.
Then, and although tightly bound, she began again to defend herself.
Taking advantage of the care which the executioners exercised in this
struggle against a woman, she succeeded for a long time in paralyzing
all their attempts, and it was only very imperfectly that the iron was
applied a second time, to the other shoulder."


The red-hot iron slipped, and the brand was made on her breast instead.
"This time she uttered a cry more heart-rending and more terrible than
all the others, and fainted. They took advantage of this to put her in
a carriage and convey her to the Salpêtrière."

Such was the administration of justice in the middle of the eighteenth
century, and in the most civilized capital in Christendom!

It is to be regretted that Destiny, with her usual disregard of sound
ethics, should have passed over the heads of the vainglorious Louis XIV
and the corrupt Louis XV to wreak the final vengeance due the Bourbons
on that of their well-intentioned but incapable successor. In the eyes
of Clio, weakness is the Unforgivable Sin. The grandson of Louis XV,
when he ascended the throne in 1774, at the age of twenty, was "a prince
of pure habits, of very limited intelligence, of an extreme timidity
both in character and speech, loving the good, desirous of it, but,
unfortunately, too feeble to be able to impose his will on those around
him. While he was still dauphin, being one day reproached by the
courtiers with his sober humor in the midst of the totally unregulated
court of his grandfather, he replied: 'I wish to be called Louis the
Severe.'" One day his minister, Turgot, entering his cabinet, found him
seriously occupied. "You see," the monarch said to him, "I am working
also." He was drawing up a memoir for the destruction of rabbits in the
neighborhood of cultivated estates!

The reforms instituted by this minister evoked such violent opposition,
even from the Parlement in defence of the odious abuse of the _corvée_
(forced labor on the highways), that the timid king dismissed him, in
1776. He was succeeded by the Genoese banker, Necker, who in his turn
was obliged to resign, five years later, his intelligent efforts to
redeem the hopeless confusion into which the finances had fallen serving
only to increase the number of his enemies, amongst whom the Parlement
was again to be found. The treaty of alliance with the revolted American
colonies, signed February 6, 1778, was made the occasion of solemn
warnings addressed to the king as to the dangerous encouragement he was
thus giving the spirit of unrest and independence. The queen began to
interest herself in the affairs of the government; at her advice, the
direction of the finances was given to Calonne, in 1783, who in three
years increased the debt by the sum of five hundred millions of borrowed
money, and brought things to such a pass that he had no other resource
to offer the distracted monarch but the discarded measures of his
predecessor, Necker.

The quarrels with the Parlement increased in frequency and bitterness;
the king was guilty of irregularity in forcing the enregistering of
certain edicts,--"it is legal because I wish it so," he said; Calonne
was succeeded by Brienne for a year, and the latter by Necker again for
the same length of time, but it was too late; the demands for the _États
Généraux_, or even for an _Assemblée Nationale_, became more and more
peremptory. Brienne was burned in effigy in the streets of Paris, as
Calonne had been, and it was even intended to insult the queen in the
same manner. She was called _Madame Déficit_, and, at the request of the
lieutenant of police, the king promised to prevent her appearing in the
capital. Finally, a decree of the _Conseil du Roi_, December 27, 1788,
convoked the _États Généraux_ to meet at Versailles on the 1st of the
following May, and the beginning of the end had come.

One of the very first of the questions to be settled was that of the
number of representatives of the _tiers état_. Many things had changed
since 1614, when they had been so humiliated, and it was recognized that
an increased representation should be given them, though the nobles
bitterly opposed this reform. A royal decree of the 1st of January,
1789, fixed the total number of members at, at least, a thousand, and
that of the third order at that of the other two combined. This decision
was received with many demonstrations of satisfaction by the Parisians,
and the six corps of the merchants of the capital addressed a
congratulatory letter to the king. The amicable fusion of the three
orders, which took place in the latter part of June, was prefaced by
acrimonious dissensions, in which the king interfered, and was worsted.
The custom, at first, was to permit the deputies of the clergy and
nobility to enter the hall to take their places of honor, and to let
those of the communes wait outside, frequently in the rain, as on the
23d of June,--the scene represented in M. Mélingue's painting,
reproduced on page 35.

The first defections from the ranks of the aristocracy were made on the
13th of June, when three curés of Poitou took their seats with the third
estate. On the 17th, on the motion of the Abbé Sieyès, the communes
declared themselves the National Assembly, and on the 9th of July, the
more clearly to indicate their mission, they added the word
"Constituante." This bold step filled the court with rage, the king was
advised to dissolve the Assembly, but had courage only to close the
doors of the _Salle des Menus_, called the _Salle des Trois Ordres_, in
which the sittings had been held. The president of the _tiers état_,
Bailly, convoked the members in a tennis-court, where, on the 20th of
June, they took a solemn oath not to separate until they had given a
constitution to France. This was the famous _Serment du Jeu de Paume_. A
week later, the king, at the instigation of Necker, invited the two
higher orders to reunite themselves with the third. They obeyed and were
courteously received, "We missed our brothers," said Bailly, "the family
is now complete."

20, 1792.

From a painting by Georges Cain.]

The Assemblée divided itself into thirty bureaux to facilitate the great
work of creating the constitution, and the deputies of the tiers chose
their presidents from among the nobles and ecclesiastics.

So far, everything had gone well, but the day of violence was at hand.
More than thirty thousand troops had been concentrated around Paris and
Versailles by order of the court; the Parisians, uneasy at their
presence, demanded their withdrawal, the king dismissed Necker instead.
The next day, the disturbances broke out, the Gardes-Françaises fired on
a detachment of one of the foreign regiments, the Royal-Allemand, the
people rose, clamoring for arms, fabricated pikes, plundered the arsenal
of the Hôtel des Invalides, and moved on the Bastille as by a common
impulse. The governor, the Marquis de Launey, had made the best
preparations for defence that he could, but he had only one hundred and
fifteen men under his command, and these but little disposed to make a
good stand; at the end of a combat of several hours, they forced him to
capitulate, on the solemn promise of the besiegers that their lives
should be spared,--a promise which was not kept. It is rather as the
destruction of a hated instrument of tyranny than as a feat of arms that
the French celebrate this event,--which inaugurated the long series of
acts of bloodshed of the Revolution.

This news was received with such consternation at Versailles that the
king commenced his half-hearted attempts to accept the situation and
secure the friendship of his people. The next day, a royal courier
announced to the inhabitants of Paris that, "relying upon the love and
fidelity of his subjects," he had ordered the troops to leave the
vicinity of the capital and of Versailles. The Assemblée sent a
deputation of eighty members to Paris to confirm the news, there was
universal rejoicing, a _Te Deum_ at Notre-Dame, illuminations in the
evening, Lafayette was appointed general of the Parisian militia and
Bailly mayor of the city. On the 17th of July, the king made his famous
visit to the Hôtel de Ville, was received by the new mayor and all the
officers of the corporation, assumed the new tricolored cockade--with
sufficient unwillingness,--and in response to the tumultuous
acclamations of the crowd, swearing to defend his "legitimate
authority," made them a little speech: "My people can always rely upon
my love." "Louis might, on this day, have regained all hearts; but he
was in nowise the man required for such times. The Revolution continued
in his presence." On his return to Versailles, he consented to dismiss
his cabinet of ministers and to recall Necker.

But misery and hunger were prevalent in Paris, and throughout the
provinces the peasants had begun to burn convents and châteaux; the
murder of former officers of the crown and the parading of their heads,
and even of their hearts, through the streets had begun in the capital.
In the celebrated sitting of the night of the 4th of August, the
delegates of the nobility and the clergy voluntarily consented to the
abolishment of all their privileges and feudal rights, of jurisdiction,
of levying tithes by the clergy, privileges of persons, provinces, and
cities. The right of redemption of all these privileges, excepting those
which affected personal liberty, was stipulated, but this session was
considered as memorable in establishing the dawn of equality, and the
members of the Assemblée were saluted as "fathers of the country."
Following the example of the American Congress, it was desired to draw
up a declaration of the rights of the man and the citizen; those who
wished to divide the legislative power into two branches, as in England,
and give to the king the right of unlimited veto, were outvoted, some
of the moderate members retired from the committee on the
constitution,--on both sides the advocates of extreme measures came to
the front. The regiment of Flanders was recalled to Versailles; the king
refused the proposition which was made to him to take refuge in Metz,
with the army of Bouillé, which would have brought on the civil war, but
the final catastrophe was hastened, nevertheless, by an imprudent
banquet given to the officers of the various regiments, even the foreign
ones and those of the national guard, on the night of the 1st of
October, in which foreign airs were played, healths drunk to the royal
family, white cockades distributed by the ladies, and the tricolored
ones, it was said, trampled under foot.

The starvation in Paris had become so general, that the people, in their
ignorance, murmured: "Ah! if the king only knew of our miseries; he is
good, but he is deceived by the courtiers; if he were only here, and not
at Versailles!" The news of this banquet, and of another given the
following day in the _salle du manége_, set fire to the powder, an army
of women assembled, crying: "Bread! bread!" and, accompanied by a great
multitude, set out for Versailles, notwithstanding all the efforts of
Bailly and Lafayette. Some of the _gardes du corps_ were killed, and
their heads paraded through the streets on pikes; the royal family were
brought back to Paris, virtually prisoners, and the Assemblée committed
"the unpardonable fault" of following them, and thus placing itself also
within the reach of the mob that had finally learned all its power. The
great nobles had already begun to "emigrate," leaving the king
defenceless in the hands of his enemies, and rendering his situation
still more desperate by their intrigues with foreign powers, which
brought about the first of the coalitions against France.

On the 5th of November, it was decreed, and promptly approved by the
king, that the sittings of the Parlement of Paris should be suspended
until further orders, their powers to be exercised by the Chambres des
Vacations; on the 24th of March, 1790, this ancient body was formally
abolished, on the grounds that the nation had not concurred in its
election. The consideration of the innumerable reforms, civil and
political, voted by the Assemblée in its complete reconstruction of the
government belongs rather to the history of the nation than to that of
the city,--the absolute monarchy was deprived of the power of making
laws, establishing imposts, deciding on peace or war, and reduced to the
condition of the first of the administrative branches of the government,
with a civil list of twenty-five millions. Complete liberty of action
was given to the press, to industry and commerce. The rights of
primogeniture, of rendering estates inalienable, were abolished, and of
confiscation, on the principle that the expiation should be strictly
personal, like the fault. Protestants and Jews were admitted to all
civic and civil rights, and the former recovered their property which
had been incorporated in the domains of the State. All titles were
abolished, the nobles were reduced to the condition of citizens, and the
priests to those of public functionaries; the application of the
death-penalty was greatly restricted; all Frenchmen, without regard to
their birth or religion, were eligible to all public offices and all
military grades; the ancient provincial departments of the nation were
replaced by departments. "The territory of France is free throughout its
length and breadth, like the persons who inhabit it."


After a contemporary engraving by Swebach.]

To save the new State from bankruptcy, Necker proposed, and Mirabeau
caused it to be voted by acclamation, that each citizen should sacrifice
a quarter of his income. The domains of the Church were placed at the
_disposition of the nation_, and the minister of finance was authorized
to sell them to the amount of four hundred millions of livres, the State
to take measures to provide suitably for the maintenance of religion and
the support of its ministers, and the care of the poor. The crown-lands
and the property of the _émigrés_, which were confiscated July 26, 1792,
were also declared national property, _biens nationaux_, and these biens
were said to be the _dot_ of the new constitution. The collection of the
revenue was simplified and made less vexatious, each citizen to
contribute his just proportion.

The supreme moment of the Revolution was, perhaps, the Fête of the
Fédération, celebrated on the first anniversary of the fall of the
Bastille, on the Champ-de-Mars, by the Parisians and the delegates sent
by the army and the departments. The citizens, fearing that the great
amphitheatre destined for this celebration would not be prepared in
time, armed themselves with spades and picks, and thronged to the
location to aid the workmen in this patriotic labor. The king presided;
the queen, seated in a gallery of the École Militaire, took the dauphin
in her arms and presented him to the people at the moment when his
father was taking the oath to employ all the power delegated to him by
the constitutional law of the State to maintain the constitution decreed
by the Assemblée and accepted by him. The _Te Deum_ was chanted before
the immense "altar of the country" erected in the midst of the
Champ-de-Mars, and the sun, suddenly breaking through the rain-clouds,
illuminated the scene as if the heavens approved. In the evening, and
for three days following, the populace danced on the Place de la

[Illustration: SOLDIERS OF THE DIRECTOIRE. From a drawing by J. Le

It was in this year, 1790, that the municipalité or commune of Paris was
organized by the law of the 7th of May, which decreed that it should be
administered by a _maire_, or mayor, sixteen _administrateurs_,
thirty-two members of the council, ninety-six notables, a procureur of
the commune, and two substitutes. The city was divided into forty-eight
_sections_, which were to be as nearly equal as possible, relative to
the number of citizens. The ninety-six notables, the maire, and the
forty-eight members of the corps municipal constituted the _conseil
général_ of the commune. The municipality had a treasurer, a _secrétaire
greffier_ with two assistants, a keeper of the archives, and a

A very important part in the administration of the State, which became
more and more an irregular administration in which the powers of the
authorized government were tempered or set aside by popular clamor and
bloodshed, was taken by the various clubs. That which was composed of
the moderates, who wished to maintain the Constitution of 1791, having
for leaders Lafayette and Bailly, took its name from the convent of the
Feuillants in which it was lodged, and had separated from the formidable
club of the Jacobins. The building of the latter was destroyed by the
mob on the 28th of March, 1791, but the sittings were not finally
suspended until November 11, 1794. The Feuillants ceased to exist after
the 10th of August, 1792. The Jacobins, also named from the convent in
which it held its sittings, had been the club Breton, and had left
Versailles at the same period as the government. At first under the
influence of moderate men, it gradually came under the sway of
Robespierre. Danton presided over that of the Cordeliers, established in
the ancient refectory and school of the former convent of that order;
there was another turbulent association known as the _Amis de la Vérité_
[friends of the truth]; a ladies' club which published a journal; and
even two royalists' clubs, one closed by the police in May, 1790, and
the other by a decree of the municipalité in January, 1791.

The Constituante Assemblée held its last sitting on the 30th of
September, 1791, having finished its labors on the constitution, and
seen it accepted by the king,--apparently restored to a position of
security after the unsuccessful attempt of the royal family to escape on
the night of the 20th of June. The maire of the city, Bailly, addressed
his resignation to the officers of the municipality, and Lafayette
resigned the command of the Parisian national guard, "the Revolution
being terminated, and the reign of law established," according to a
decree of the municipalité of the 1st of October. The Assemblée
Legislative, which was to carry on this peaceable government, and to
which no members of the Constituante were eligible, held its first
sitting on this date. But the new constitution satisfied no one,
republicans or monarchists, and the former were divided into numerous
factions with very different views,--the Girondins, so named from the
eloquent members from the Gironde, who directed the new Assemblée, and
who wished to overthrow the royal authority without going to extremes;
the extreme republicans, called Montagnards because they occupied the
high seats on the left in the Assemblée, and the Feuillants, or
constitutional royalists, who sat on the right.

On the 21st of September, 1791, the Assemblée had decreed that every
criminal condemned to death should be beheaded, and to facilitate the
execution of this law a Doctor Louis drew up a _mémoire_ which he
presented to this body on the 20th of the following March, in which he
described an instrument of his own construction, and which, after
preliminary trials on animals and dead bodies, was finally adopted. Its
name was derived from a Doctor Guillotin who, on the 1st of September,
1789, demanded that the sufferings of those condemned to death should be
abridged by their execution with a species of machine that had been
formerly in use. "With my machine," he said, "I will strike off your
head in a twinkling, and without your suffering the slightest pain."
This phrase, which provoked the Assemblée to much laughter, was repeated
throughout Paris, and when a German mechanic, Schmidt, had constructed
on the plans of Doctor Louis an apparatus, it was immediately called
the _machine à Guillotin_, and presently, the guillotine. It was
inaugurated on the 25th of April, 1792, in the Place de Grève, upon the
person of a highway robber named Jacques Pelletier. "The novelty of the
execution increased greatly the number of those whom a barbarous pity
brought to view these sorrowful spectacles. This machine was preferred
with reason to the other methods of execution; it did not soil the hand
of a man with the blood of his fellow-creature."

The new instrument was put to such frequent use in the numerous
political executions that it soon acquired a great notoriety, the
prisoners jested concerning it, it was called the national razor, the
mill of silence, and there were some persons who wore in their ears
small representations of it. "In several of the hôtels of Paris, those
aristocrats who could not succeed in emigrating killed time with a
little guillotine in mahogany which was brought on the table after
dessert; there were passed under its axe, successively, little figures
or dolls whose heads, made to resemble those of our best magistrates,
allowed to escape, as they fell, a reddish liquor resembling blood, from
the body, which was a flask. All the guests, especially the ladies,
hastened to dip their handkerchiefs in this blood, which proved to be a
very agreeable essence of ambergris."

The site of the present Place de la Concorde, in which the guillotine
was afterward set up, was embellished with a bronze equestrian statue of
Louis XV, by Bouchardon, sculptor in ordinary to his Majesty,
inaugurated on the 17th of April, 1763, and, Bouchardon having died, the
design was completed by Pigalle, who placed on the marble pedestal four
bronze figures typifying Strength, Prudence, Justice, and Love of
Country,--supposed to represent the typical qualities of the monarch.
Consequently, the Parisians soon had the pleasure of reading on the
pedestal the following unofficial couplet:

    "_Oh! la belle statue! oh! le beau piédestal!
    Les vertus sont à pied, le vice est à cheval._"

[Oh! the fine statue! Oh! the beautiful pedestal! The Virtues go afoot,
and Vice rides on horseback.] This statue was overthrown on the 11th of
August, 1792, and the Place Louis XV became the Place de la Revolution,
a stone and plaster figure of Liberty seated, colored to imitate bronze,
being set up on the pedestal. On the 26th of October, 1795, it was
rebaptized Place de la Concorde; the Restoration restored its name of
Louis XV, and the Revolution of 1830, its present name.

[Illustration: THE DRUMS OF THE REPUBLIC. From a drawing by Adrien

A very great majority of the bishops having refused to take the oath to
the new _constitution civile du clergé_, decreed by the Constituante
Assemblée, which placed them under the control of the civil authorities,
and being strengthened in this refusal by the authority of the Pope, the
new Assemblée, by the law of May 24, 1792, directed that as a measure of
public security all these priests _non assermentés_ should be banished.
The king refused to sanction this measure, and dismissed his Girondist
ministers; he sent a secret agent to the foreign coalition menacing the
frontiers: in the Assemblée, which allowed its sittings to be constantly
interrupted and overawed by irruptions of so-called delegations of the
citizens, of the sections, of the national guards, the suspicion and the
open denunciation of the court constantly increased. The agitation and
violence in the clubs, in the streets, in the journals, augmented from
day to day; on the 20th of June an enormous mass of the populace
overflowed the Assemblée chamber, broke into the Tuileries, shook their
fists in the queen's face, and compelled the king to assume the red cap.
A thin, pale young artillery officer, standing on the terrace by the
river, watched this mob with indignation. "The wretches!" he exclaimed,
"they ought to shoot down the first five hundred; the rest would take to
their heels quickly enough." His name was Napoleon Bonaparte; he had
been born in Corsica, in 1769, the year after that island had become

Not daring to do otherwise, the king was compelled to recall the
Girondins to power, and to declare war against the German emperor on the
20th of April; the first actions of this war were unfavorable; the Duke
of Brunswick, the commander of the Prussian army, issued a proclamation
on the 20th of July declaring that he was coming, in the name of the
allied monarchs, to restore the authority of Louis XVI, and the
infuriated Parisian mob replied by the attack on the Tuileries on the
10th of August. The king, with all his family, escaped to the Assemblée
at seven o'clock in the morning; the Swiss guards, badly led and short
of munitions, were massacred after a gallant and ineffective defence.
The atrocious Marat was hailed as the victor of this evil day; the
Assemblée, under the inspiration of Robespierre, began to incline toward
more extreme measures. The populace demanded of it that the king should
be dethroned and a national Convention convened, it granted the second
but not the first; the king was removed from the Assemblée to the prison
of the Temple, and the Commune, headed by Danton, minister of justice,
and composed of those leaders who had been elected to the principal
municipal offices, became the real power in the capital. Through its
instigation most of those confined in the various prisons of Paris were
massacred in the first week in September. The helpless Assemblée held
its last sitting on the 21st of this month, and the president,
remitting its authority to the new Convention Nationale, announced in
phrases which the future was to make but sinister mockery: "The aim of
all your efforts shall be to give the French people liberty, laws, and

The first step of the new legislators was to declare that "royalty was
abolished in France," and to proclaim the Republic. The struggles to
maintain the direction of affairs between the Girondins and the
Montagnards increased in vehemence until the latter succeeded in
acquiring the ascendency at the end of May, 1793. "Educated in the ideas
of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, they dreamed of the rude virtues of the best
period of Rome and of Sparta for the France of the eighteenth century,
and, even though society should perish in the experiment, they were
determined to apply their theories." The question of bringing the king,
or "Capet," as he was now termed, to trial was debated in the Convention
as early as the 7th of November, 1792; on the 2d of December, the
Conseil Général of the Commune of Paris sent a petition to the
Convention inviting that body to expedite this affair, and asking that
the debate should be on these two questions: "1. Is Louis worthy of
death? 2. Would it be advantageous for the Republic that he should
perish on the scaffold?" By the terms of the constitution, the person of
the king was sacred, and the extreme penalty provided for him was
deposition, but the spirit of the "Terror" was already in the air; the
situation on the frontiers was extremely critical; it was with some
vague idea of defying or of awing the coalition that Danton had
exclaimed in the Assemblée: "Let us throw them, in defiance, the head of
a king!" The execution of the monarch, on the morning of the 21st of
January, 1793, had, on the contrary, the effect of uniting against
France all the sovereigns of Europe.

Around this execution have clustered the usual growth of legends and
invention that supplement the great, trenchant facts of history with an
embroidery to which history does not always condescend. The fine words
which the king's confessor, the Abbé Edgeworth, are supposed to have
addressed to him on the scaffold: "Son of Saint-Louis, ascend to
heaven!" were invented on the day of the execution by a journalist named
Charles His. The picturesque story of a secret midnight mass, celebrated
every year on the anniversary of the execution, at the instigation and
at the expense of the executioner Sanson, is equally devoid of
foundation. It first appeared in the preface of a work published in
1830, under the title of _Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de la
Revolution française_, by SANSON, _exécuteur des arrêts criminels_. The
preface was written by Balzac, the work itself by a certain Lhéritier,
and Balzac reproduced the story with appropriate embellishments in his
_Une Messe en 1793_, and later in the _Episode sous la Terreur_. One of
the nuns who, in the first account, appeared as Mlle. de Charost here
becomes the Mlle. de Langeais who figures so picturesquely and
improbably in several of his romances. In the _Biographie universelle_,
Michaud relates that Sanson, in his will, left directions to have a
commemorative mass celebrated every year on the 21st of January; that he
was so affected by the execution of the king that he fell ill
immediately afterward, and died within six months, and that the
provisions of the will were faithfully executed by his son and successor
until his own death, in 1840. It appears, however, that the elder Sanson
continued "to function" all through the Terror, did not die till 1806,
and that any attempt to carry out the pretended provisions of his will
would have been very dangerous to his son, and to any notary who might
have drawn it up. Through the Terror, and even under the Directory,
there are numerous records of sentences of deportation against priests
who had celebrated requiem masses for the repose of the soul of Louis
XVI. The famous _Messe de Sanson_ appears to have been invented out of
the whole cloth by Balzac.

In the Convention, divided into factions, and rent by mutual suspicion
and terror, efficient measures were, nevertheless, taken against the
allied enemies on the frontier, and those in the bosom of the nation; a
committee of general security was formed to look after the latter, with
a revolutionary tribunal to judge them, and a committee of public
safety, "a species of dictatorship with nine heads," took energetic
measures for the national defence. To the cry of "_Citoyens la Patrie
est en danger!_" the volunteers flocked to the enrolling offices in such
numbers that it was thought necessary to issue a decree commanding the
bakers and the postal employés to remain to exercise their functions.
Everything was lacking in the way of equipment for the armies, the
officers were suspected, and two or three of the generals went over to
the enemy; but the nation, inspired with a double fury, against the
foreign enemy and against its own citizens, put one million two hundred
thousand men in the field, and the fourteen armies of the Republic,
organized by the minister of war, Carnot, inaugurated that tremendous
series of victories which carried the French name to its apotheosis of
military splendor.

ITALY. From the painting by J. Le Blant.]

The excesses of the Reign of Terror are explained by the historians as
the result of the universal fright and suspicion. "Under the reign of
Hébert and Danton," said Saint-Just, "every one was wild and fierce with
fear." A young girl, Charlotte Corday, came up to Paris from Caen and
assassinated Marat, on the 13th of July, in the hopes of allaying the
universal madness by the death of the principal wild beast; the queen
was beheaded on the 16th of October; the king's sister, Madame
Elisabeth, Bailly, the former maire of the city, Mme. Dubarry, the
former mistress of Louis XV, and the Girondins, on the last day of
October; the Hébertists on the 24th of March, 1794; and Danton, Camille
Desmoulins, and other leaders of the so-called moderate party on the 5th
of April. There remained only Robespierre, and a contemporary engraving,
from the collection of M. Félix Perin, of Paris, reproduced on page 59,
represents this dictator, "after having guillotined all the French," as
executing with his own hand the executioner. He stands with his feet on
the constitution of 1791; each guillotine represents a group of his
victims. "_A_ is the headsman; _B_, the Committee of Public Safety; _C_,
the Committee of General Security; _D_, the revolutionary tribunal; _E_,
the Jacobins; _F_, the Cordeliers; _G_, the Brissotins; _H_, the
Girondins; _I_, the Philipotins (for Philippeautins, the followers of
Philippeaux); _K_, the Chabotins; _L_, the Hébertists; _M_, nobles and
priests; _N_, men of genius; _O_, old people, women, and children; _P_,
soldiers and generals; _Q_, the constitutional authorities; _R_, the
Convention Nationale; _S_, popular societies." The ingenious draftsman
might have added still another, one for himself, for we are not
surprised to learn that he paid with his head for this work of art.

Another of these contemporary engravings, also reproduced for these
pages, from the collection of M. le Baron de Vinck d'Orp, of Brussels,
designed by Laffitte and engraved "under the supervision of Me
Poirier, avocat of Dunkerque," is dedicated to Joseph Le Bon, an
unfrocked Oratorian, who had caused to be put to death more than one
thousand five hundred persons; he had even established an orchestra at
the foot of the guillotine. The title of the engraving, _Formes
acerbes_, is taken from a phrase used by Barère in his defence of this
sanguinary ecclesiastic: "If Le Bon had employed certain _formes
acerbes_ [harsh methods]," he said, "he had at least given proof of his
devotion to the Republic." He is represented as standing upon a heap of
naked and headless corpses, between the two guillotines of Arras and of
Cambrai, drinking alternately from the two cups which he fills from the
red streams from the scaffolds. At his side, two Furies excite the
tigers to devour the bodies of his victims. But the invention of the
caricaturists was no longer competent to record the actual march of

"An instrument of death better adapted to conciliate the requirements of
humanity and the demands of the law could not be imagined," says a Paris
journal of 1793. "The ceremonial of the execution might also be
perfected, and delivered of all that pertains to the ancient régime.
This cart in which the condemned is transported, and which was granted
to Capet; these hands tied behind the back, which obliges the condemned
to assume a constrained and servile position; this black gown in which
the confessor is still permitted to array himself notwithstanding the
decree which forbids the ecclesiastic costume, all this apparatus fails
to proclaim the manners and customs of a nation enlightened, humane, and

Everything was reversed, reorganized and regulated by decree, from the
conduct of those persons suspected of treason against the Republic
because they ate only the crust of their bread, in the restaurants (18th
of February, 1794), to the recognition of the Supreme Being and of the
immortality of the soul (8th of May). A more practicable piece of
legislation was that which divided the commune of Paris into twelve
arrondissements or municipalités (21st of February, 1795), it having
been recognized that the city united under the power of one maire had
been too powerful a force for seditious purposes, and that, divided into
forty-eight sections, it had furnished too many centres of insurrection,
which, communicating secretly with each other, had been able to elude
the vigilance of the supreme authorities.

It was in this year 1795, "year III of the Republic," that was abolished
the democratic constitution of 1793, which had not yet been put into
execution, and established the Directory, of five members, one to be
retired every year and replaced by a new member, all to be named by the
legislative power and responsible to it. The latter was also divided,
the council of the Five Hundred (_Cinq-Cents_) being charged with the
duty of proposing the law, and that of the _Anciens_ with that of
examining it and executing it. By this division of power it was hoped to
avoid a dictatorship and to constitute a liberal republic. The two
legislative councils were composed two-thirds of members of the
Convention and one-third of newly-elected delegates; the new government
established itself in the palace of the Luxembourg. Carnot, the most
illustrious of the five Directors, gave the command of the army of Italy
to Napoleon Bonaparte.

On the 4th of September, 1797, the Directory, with the aid of Augereau
and some twelve thousand men, suppressed the majority of the two
_Conseils_, who had become royalists and anti-revolutionary, and sent a
large number of them into exile. To this _coup d'état_ of the 18th
Fructidor, year V, succeeded that of the 22d Floréal, year VI (May 11,
1798), which annulled the election of the deputies who were called
_patriotes_. General Bonaparte, with his army, was in Egypt; the
European powers judged the time propitious to form a new coalition
against such an unstable government and exhausted people. On the 30th
Prairial, year VII (18th of June, 1799), the Conseils combined against
the Directors and forced three of them to resign, but Bonaparte landed
at Fréjus, and to all these futile little revolutions succeeded the
vital one of the 18th Brumaire (9th of November, 1799), in which his
grenadiers turned the members of the Cinq-Cents out of their hall at the
point of the bayonet, and the Anciens, left alone in session, conferred
the executive power on three provisional Consuls, Bonaparte, Sieyès, and
Roger Ducos. Two commissions, of twenty-five members each, were
appointed to revise the constitution.

"It was the Revolution abdicating, transferring its power to military
authority, and about to enter with it on a new phase. And, moreover, it
was still one more _journée_, that is to say, violent measure. What
lessons given to the peoples by these perpetual insurrections, of the
Commune, of the Convention, of the Directory, of the Conseils, of the
royalists as of the republicans, and, finally, of the army! And how
could it be possible to form citizens respecting the law, careful to
modify it only with wisdom, instead of tearing it to pieces with rage,
when, for the last ten years, nothing had been accomplished without
sudden and violent measures?"

The new constitution, of the year VIII, was promulgated on the 15th of
December, 1799. The consuls were three in number, elected for ten years,
and eligible for re-election, but to the first was given all the power,
his two colleagues being merely advisers. These three consuls were
Bonaparte, Cambacérès, and Lebrun. The laws were to be prepared under
the direction of the consuls by a _Conseil d'État_, named by them and
revocable by them; these laws were to be discussed by the _Tribunat_,
composed of one hundred members, but voted or rejected only by the three
hundred members of the _Corps législatif_. Between these two powers,
executive and legislative, was placed a _Sénat conservateur_, consisting
of eighty members named for life, who were to watch over the maintenance
of the constitution and select from the national lists, selected by a
process of successive elimination from the whole body of electors, the
members of the Tribunat and the Corps législatif.

FROM MARENGO. From a water-color by F. Bac.]

The whole administration of the State was reorganized and given that
character of "centralization," apparently rendered necessary by the
danger from abroad by which it was threatened, which is still
maintained, notwithstanding the many evils to which it has given rise
and the extent to which the public liberty is impaired. Under the able
hand of the First Consul, the new government was quick to inspire such
confidence that the Parisian bankers lent it readily the first funds of
which it had need. The laws against the recalcitrant clergy were greatly
modified, the churches opened, the list of the émigrés was declared
closed, and the former nobles admitted to their rights as citizens, but
not to the enjoyment of their property which had been confiscated for
the benefit of the _biens nationaux_. The Parlement of Paris having been
suppressed, a new judiciary organization was established in the capital,
the _tribunal de première_ instance and the _cour d'appel_ were created;
the _cour de cassation_ and the _cour d'assise_, the justices of the
peace, were all reorganized. The army, strongly revolutionary in
tendency, was so willing to be relieved of the incompetence of the
Directory, and was so promptly provided with equipments, munitions, and
confidence in the new order of things, that it willingly accepted the
change in the State.

Marengo and Hohenlinden brought about the Peace of Lunéville, February,
1801, with the Continental powers; the fear of the camp of Boulogne
from which the First Consul proposed to descend upon England (if we may
believe the French historians), that of Amiens, March, 1802, with that
power. The wars of the Revolution were finished, it was thought, even by
Bonaparte himself. Then commenced that extraordinary display of the
genius of reorganization, unhampered by any undue scrupulousness, which
made his legislation almost as admirable as his military talent; the
nation willingly resigned itself into his powerful and most skilful
hands, and the machinations of the royalists against his life, the
conspiracies and the infernal machine of 1800, only paved the way to the
Consulate for life, 2d of August, 1802. The Empire followed on the 18th
of May, two years later.

The name of the Republic, however, was retained long after its substance
had departed. The title of Emperor appears as early as 1790, in a
proposition made by M. de Villette on the 17th of June, before the club
of 1789, that the king should be saluted by that title on the day of the
fête of the Federation. "Let us efface," he exclaimed, "the names of
king, of kingdom, and of subject, which will never combine with the word
'liberty,'" _Empire_ signified, under the monarchy as under the
Republic, rather the extent of the territory of France than a form of
government. The first article of the sénatus-consulte organique of the
28th Floréal, year XII, which modified the Consular constitution, read:
"The government of the Republic is confided to an emperor who shall take
the title of _Empereur des Français_." And the Emperor's oath was: "I
swear to maintain the integrity of the territory of the Republic." The
word _République_ did not disappear entirely from the official language
for four years. The figure of the Republic ceased to appear on the seal
of State in 1805, and the inscription RÉP. FRA. from the official stamp
on the news journals on the 1st of January, 1806. It was on this date
also that the Gregorian calendar replaced that of the Republic. The
decree of the 28th of May, 1807, is the last act of the Imperial
government in which appears the phrase _par les constitutions de la
République_, but it was only from the 1st of January, 1809, that the
coinage was stamped _Empire Français_, instead of _République
Française_. It would seem that in 1808, Napoleon, little as he liked the
Republic, was the only one who remembered its official existence.

Among the most efficient of the minor measures taken to replace the old
order of things by the new was the creation of a new honorary order, to
supersede those of the ancient régime,--the cross of Saint-Louis, for
military services; the cordon of Saint-Michel (cordon noir), for civil
services; and the order of the Saint-Esprit (cordon bleu), which
included only a hundred chevaliers, of the most ancient nobility. A law
of May 19, 1802, created a _Légion d'honneur_, to be composed of a grand
administrative council and of fifteen cohorts, each consisting of seven
great officers, twenty commandants, thirty officers, and three hundred
and fifty legionaries. By the eighth article of this law, every
individual admitted into this Legion was to swear on his honor to devote
himself to the service of the Republic, to the preservation of its
territory in all its integrity, to the defence of its government, of its
laws, of all property which it had bestowed, to combat, with the aid of
all the means which justice, reason, and the laws authorized, every
enterprise tending to re-establish the feudal régime, to revive the
titles and qualities which had been its attributes,--in short, to aid
with all his power in the maintenance of liberty and equality. By the
denial of any hereditary privileges it was thought thus to create an
order which would not offend the new spirit of equality while offering
a suitable reward to the soldier, the diplomat, the scientist, the
professional or the commercial man who had rendered notable service to
his country.

"The Empire succeeding the Republic," says M. Steenackers in his
_Histoire des ordres de chevalerie_, "brought about certain changes in
the Legion of Honor. In the first place, the form of the oath had to be
modified, and was refused by certain men, such as the admiral Truguet
and the poet Lemercier. The first distribution made by the Emperor, on
the 14th of July, 1804, in the church of the Invalides, to the principal
personages of the Empire, was again made the occasion of a manifestation
of opposition by Augereau, although a grand officer of the order, and of
about sixty military officers who remained in the court, not wishing to
enter the chapel. In this distribution, the old invalided soldiers came
first, then the members of the Institute, and finally the military
legionaries. The youth of Paris also made its small protestation, some
days after this distribution. It was the season for carnations,--the
young men put these flowers in their buttonholes and thus were enabled
to receive, at a distance, military honors from functionaries a trifle
near-sighted. Napoleon, informed of the jests which ensued, and of the
discontent of the soldiers, ordered the minister of the police to take
the most severe measures with regard to these insolents. Fouché replied:
'Certainly these young people deserve to be chastised, but I will wait
for the autumn, which is coming.' This clever reply disarmed the master,
and presently the protesting carnations were seen no more, but the
sarcasms and the pretended witticisms were not so easily checked. Thus,
in the spring of 1803, General Moreau, giving a dinner, summoned his
cook and said to him, in the presence of his guests, 'Michel, I am
pleased with your dinner; you have truly distinguished yourself with
it, I wish to give you a stewpan of honor....' Lafayette refused the
decoration, characterizing it as ridiculous. Ducis and Delille would not
accept it."

drawing by L. Marold.]

The grand officers received a pension of five thousand francs; the
commandants, two thousand; the officers, one thousand; the legionaries,
two hundred and fifty. The poor daughters, or the orphans, of members of
the Legion are educated by the State; but it is not considered "good
form" to accept this honorable charity. A decree of the 30th of January,
1805, instituted a fifth degree in the order, superior to all the
others, which was designated as the grand decoration or the grand
eagle,--the number of these was limited to sixty. Later, the cross was
surmounted by an imperial crown. The decoration, at the period of its
founding, was in the shape of a star with five double rays, attached to
one of the buttonholes of the coat by a red moiré ribbon. This ribbon
had at first an edging of white, but this edging was soon suppressed. In
the centre of the star was placed the head of the Emperor, crowned with
a wreath of oak and laurel.

At the present moment, this decoration, which has been retained by all
the succeeding governments of France, is passing through one of its
periodical, but never very important, periods of partial disesteem. The
somewhat inconsistent conduct of the administration of the Legion of
Honor with regard to those of its members whom it has disciplined and
those whom it has retained unquestioned on its lists, among those active
in the Dreyfus-Zola-Picquart-Esterhazy affair, has led to considerable
comment and disaffection,--even to resignation of the generally
much-coveted red ribbon by certain peculiarly indignant members of the

In the year 1807, that of the peace of Tilsit, the Empire attained its
highest point. After the Concordat, which aimed to establish peace and
toleration in religious matters and the Legion of Honor, a system of
national recompense for distinguished services, came the founding of the
Université, and the publishing of the civil Code. "On his return from
Marengo, the First Consul had empowered Tronchet, Portalis, Bigot de
Préameneu, and Maleville to draw up a plan for a civil Code, for which
the preceding Assemblées had prepared the materials. This great work was
accomplished in four months. Bonaparte ordered that it should be sent to
all the judicial courts, and a number of valuable observations were thus
obtained. The section of legislation of the Conseil d'État examined
them, then drew up the sketches of the laws, which were communicated to
the Tribunat, and returned to the Conseil amended, clarified, but
destined to be still more so. Then, in fact, commenced, under the
presidency of the First Consul, those admirable discussions in which he
took such a glorious part. He animated every one with his ardor; he
astonished these old jurisconsults by the profundity of his views, above
all by that exquisite good sense which, in the constructing of a good
law, is worth more than all the science of the lawyers. In this manner
was elaborated that chart of the family and of property which the Corps
législatif adopted in its session of 1804, and which received, three
years later, the name which it merited, of _Code Napoléon_."

Among the many testimonials by contemporaries to the prodigious
faculties, the authority which seemed to disengage itself from the
person of Napoleon, in this work of legislation in which lay his truest
glory, one of the latest is to be found in the _Mémoires_ of the Comte
Mollien, who, after the 18th Brumaire, was called to the direction of
the _Caisse d' Amortissement_, or bureau of liquidation, just
established, and in 1806, to the post of Minister of the Treasury. "I
felt myself," he says, "if not convinced, at least vanquished, brought
to the ground, by this puissance of genius, this vigor of judgment, this
sentiment of his own infallibility, which seemed to leave to other men
only that of their inferiority. If he saw himself contradicted, his
polemics armed themselves with arguments the most pressing, as likewise,
in some cases, with a censure the most bitter, almost always with a
torrent of objections which it was impossible to foresee, still more
impossible to combat, because you would have as vainly endeavored to
seize the thread of the argument as to break it."

After Wagram, Napoleon himself perceived the waning of his star, and it
was with a view of reassuring public opinion, as well as of providing
for the future, that he divorced Josephine and married the Austrian
archduchess, Marie-Louise. A year afterward, on the 20th of March, 1811,
the policy of this marriage seemed to justify itself, and the Empire to
have acquired a new security, by the birth of a son. A contemporary
writer, M. de Saint-Amand, gives a lively picture of the emotions with
which the Parisians awaited the news of this auspicious event. "All the
inhabitants of the city knew that the reports of twenty-one cannon only
would announce the birth of a daughter, but that if a son were born,
there would be fired a hundred and one. The explosions of the artillery
commenced. From the moment the first report was heard, the multitude
kept perfectly silent. This silence was interrupted only by voices
counting the sounds of the cannon,--one, two, three, four, and so on.

"The suspense of the waiting was solemn. When the twentieth report was
heard, the emotion was indescribable; at the twenty-first, all the
breasts were breathless; at the twenty-second, there was an outburst of
joy which rose almost to delirium. Cries of delight, hats in the air,
applaudings; it was an ovation, a victory over Destiny, which it seemed
was to be henceforth the servant of Napoleon."

Nevertheless, three years later, the Allies were in Paris, and the
Senate, convoked and directed by Talleyrand,--to whom the Chancellor
Pasquier, qualified by Taine as "the best informed and the most
judicious witness for the first half of this century," denies every
quality of "the heart or the soul," the superiority of talent with which
he is generally credited, and even the sole virtue usually left him by
his detractors, that of having skilfully and worthily represented France
at the Congress of Vienna,--named a provisional government, on the 1st
of April, 1811. On the 3d, it pronounced the end of Napoleon's power; on
the 6th, it adopted a new constitution and called to the throne a
brother of Louis XVI, who became Louis XVIII.


Painted by Gabriel Ferrier.]

The return from Elba, the Chancellor states in his _Mémoires_, so far
from being desired by the nation at large, was viewed with terror; and
the unpopularity of the government of the Bourbons, after their return
to power, he ascribes to the very poor opinion that it caused to be
entertained "of its strength and of its capacity." Of its gross
violation of law and justice, one of the most striking instances was
that of the execution of Marshal Ney, after Waterloo, and the Duc de
Richelieu, Louis XVIII's minister of foreign affairs,--whom the latest
historical researches seem to combine to elevate, and of whom even
Pasquier was an admirer,--here appears in the ignoble _rôle_ of judge
and accuser combined. Scarcely was he settled in the Tuileries again
when the new king proceeded to draw up a list of eighteen citizens and
eighteen superior officers to be proscribed, though in so doing he
formally violated the articles of the capitulation of Paris, which
provided that no citizen or soldier was to be prosecuted for having
taken part in the preceding events. The presidency of the council of war
which was to try, and condemn, "the bravest of the brave," was offered
to the eldest of the marshals, Moncey, Duc de Conegliano. He declined
it, in an indignant letter to the king, as "sanctioning an
assassination," and was imprisoned for three months in a fortress for
disobedience of orders. By a majority of five votes against two, the
council, in fact, declared itself incompetent, and Ney, with a sigh of
relief, exclaimed: "You see, _ces b ... là_ would have shot me like a

He rejoiced too soon; the Duc de Richelieu made a furious speech before
the Chamber of Peers in which he openly demanded the condemnation of the
marshal; in the _acte d'accusation_, read before this new court, "the
truth was so outrageously abused and mutilated that it was justly
characterized as a masterpiece of hatred." In vain his defenders
demonstrated that this prosecution was a violation of the solemn
engagements made by the Allies _in the name of the king_; Davout and his
chief-of-staff, General Guilleminot, deposed that they would have
"delivered battle," instead of capitulating, had it not been for article
12 of this capitulation, in which an amnesty for all persons was
expressly stipulated; they were peremptorily silenced, and at nine
o'clock the next morning the marshal was shot by his old comrades in
arms in the grand alley of the garden of the Luxembourg. A recent
monograph by M. Henri Leyret, from which we draw these details, quotes
the remark of a foreigner who was present at this execution: "The French
act as if they had neither history nor posterity."

During the ten years of the Empire, the aspect of Paris had greatly
changed, no less than one hundred and two million of francs having been
spent on the embellishment of the capital. Among the minor details of
these architectural changes may be cited the regulation of the numbering
of the houses in 1805, and in 1808 a serious attempt to provide some
sidewalks in the principal streets. Curiously enough, this latter
measure met with considerable opposition on the grounds of its
impracticability because of the numerous portes cochères. But it was not
till 1825 that the use of these pavements for foot-passengers became

M. Duruy's summing-up of the reign of Napoleon may be compared with that
he gives of the epoch of Louis XIV: "Victories gained by the superiority
of genius and not by that of numbers, immense works accomplished,
industry awakened, agriculture encouraged by the security given to the
acquirers of the _biens nationaux_, an administration enlightened,
vigilant, and quick to act, the unity of the nation consolidated and its
grandeur surpassing all imaginations,--this is what will plead always
for him before posterity and to the heart of France."

The new Bourbon styled himself "king by the grace of God," without any
mention of the national will or of the foreign enemy to whom he owed his
crown; he replaced the tricolor by the white flag, and dated his
accession from the death of his nephew Louis XVII, the dauphin,
considering 1814 as the nineteenth year of his reign. So far was this
fable pushed that in certain school histories of the Restoration the
victories of the campaign in Italy were stated to have been gained by
"M. de Buonaparte, lieutenant-general of the king." In a recent review
of this reign, however, it is stated that when Blucher was mining the
bridge of Jéna, during the occupation of the capital, and refused to be
dissuaded from his purpose of blowing it up, Louis XVIII declared his
intention of stationing himself on the bridge and perishing with it. The
intervention of the Russian Emperor, Alexander, however, had probably
more to do with the preservation of the structure; and a recent
biography of the Duc de Richelieu asserts that the Czar's affection for
this minister, who had been at one time governor of Odessa, brought
about the evacuation of French territory by the allied armies at a date
earlier by two years than that fixed by the treaty of November 20, 1815.

Notwithstanding the liberal provisions of the _Charte constitutionelle_,
drawn up on the 27th of May, 1814, the restored monarchy returned so
promptly to all its old abuses that in ten months it had exhausted the
public patience and brought about the return from Elba. On the second
restoration, after the Hundred Days, it was so vindictive, as we have
seen, adding even religious persecution to political, that it also has
been given in history its reign of terror, _la Terreur blanche_. In 1824
the king was succeeded by the Comte d'Artois, under the title of Charles
X, a typical Bourbon, who had "learned nothing, forgotten nothing," who
considered himself called to revive all the powers and privileges of the
ancient monarchy, and who did not hesitate to violate the prescriptions
of the Charte when he found them in his way. Consequently, the nation,
with Paris at its head, at the end of its patience and finding its
constitutional opposition about to be encountered with a _coup d'État_,
got up the bloody revolution of July, 1830, in the streets of the
capital, and the last of the Bourbon kings took the road to permanent
exile,--let us hope.

The Chamber of Deputies replaced him by the head of the younger branch
of the Bourbons, the Duc d'Orléans, who assumed the title of Louis
Philippe I, Roi des Français. The new monarch affected certain airs of
bourgeois simplicity, not unmixed with bourgeois prudence. He declined
to take up his lodging in the Tuileries until all traces of the
devastation attending the exit of the late tenant had disappeared, and
not even then until the windows opening on the garden had been protected
by a ditch, bordered with lilacs and with an iron railing. "I do not
wish," he said, "that my wife should be exposed to the risk of hearing
all the horrors that Marie-Antoinette heard there for the space of three
years." "The new royalty," writes M. de Saint-Amand, "adopted a
demi-etiquette which occupied a position half-way between the customs of
absolute power and those of democracy. The sovereign assumed the uniform
of a general of the National Guard. He had neither écuyers, nor
chamberlain, nor préfet of the palace, but there were aides-de-camp and
_officiers d'ordonnance_. The bourgeois element increased greatly in the
fêtes of the Tuileries. Nevertheless, for those who observed this court
of the July monarchy, there was a sensible tendency to return to the
methods of the past."


Painted by Aimé-N. Morot.]

This tendency gradually became accentuated in the successive ministries
which the king called to his aid; the republican and liberal aspirations
on the one hand and the Bonapartist and Imperial souvenirs--greatly
strengthened by the imposing ceremonial attending the return of the
ashes of Napoleon to the capital in December, 1840--combined to make
difficult the task of the government. Paris, which, in the words of M.
Duruy, "loves to _fronder_ as soon as it ceases to be afraid," was
entirely given over to the opposition. At the opening of the session of
the Chambre in 1848, the ministers persuaded the king to declare in a
discourse that a hundred of the deputies were enemies of the throne. The
republicans planned a great reunion at a banquet to be given in the
twelfth arrondissement, the ministry forbade the assembly, the conflicts
began in the streets between the citizens and the soldiers, the préfet
de police, who, in his daily reports, was able to dispose of the 12th of
February in this paragraph: "Order and tranquillity continue to prevail
in Paris: no extraordinary agitation is to be observed," was obliged,
ten days later, to conclude a long account of the manifestations in the
capital by a recommendation to hold the army in readiness for an
organized attack "in case the insurrection recommences." It did
recommence, that night, and the next day Marshal Gérard announced to the
insurgents in the Palais-Royal the abdication of the king.

He abdicated in favor of his grandson, the Comte de Paris, with the
Duchesse d'Orléans for regent, and the duchess was left in the Tuileries
when the king, taking off his grand cordon and his uniform, depositing
his sword on a table, arrayed himself with his wife's assistance in a
bourgeois costume and took his departure for Saint-Cloud. The duchess,
with her two sons, was escorted to the Chamber, where the president
declared that her regency should be proclaimed by that body, and
Lamartine was in the midst of a speech advising the constitution of a
provisory government for that purpose when he was interrupted by the
invasion of a revolutionary mob shouting: "A bas la Régence! Vive la
République! A bas les corrompus!" The little Comte de Paris was seized
by the throat by one of these demonstrative citizens, and only saved
from being choked by the intervention of a national guardsman. The
provisional government proclaimed the Republic; before the Hôtel de
Ville, Lamartine, in a burst of eloquence, repelled the proposition of
the mob to adopt the red flag and secured the adoption of the tricolor,
and the provinces, following the lead of the capital, seemed to accept
the Republic.

But a stable administration of the city and the nation seemed more
unattainable than ever. The new government had to suppress popular
uprisings in the streets of Paris in March, in May, and in June; the new
Assemblée Nationale, elected by universal suffrage,--nine millions of
electors, instead of 220,000, as under the late monarchy,--made haste to
organize a new government consisting of a single president, to be
elected, and a single legislative body. The new president, elected by an
overwhelming majority, was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, a nephew of the
Emperor. He was given power to nominate all the innumerable employés of
the government, to negotiate treaties, and to organize the army, but he
could not take command of the latter nor dissolve the Assemblée, and he
was not eligible for re-election. The two chief powers of the government
were not long in coming into collision; the legislative body, divided
into numerous factions, lacked decision and initiative, and it lost in
popular favor by the law of the 31st of May, 1850, which struck three
millions of electors from the lists by restricting the suffrage to those
only who could prove a continuous residence of three years in the
canton. The President, seizing his opportunity, demanded the repeal of
this law (November 4, 1851), and on the 2d of December following, by a
series of summary nocturnal arrests, succeeded in putting all the chiefs
of the various parties in the Assemblée, and all his most formidable
opponents, under lock and key. "I have broken out of the way of
legality," said he, "to re-enter that of the right;" and the nation, by
7,437,216 votes against 640,737, accepted the new constitution which he
proposed for it, the renewal of his power for ten years, the abolition
of the law of the 31st of May, and the dissolution of the Assemblée
Nationale. The Empire followed naturally, a year later, and was
ratified by the nation by an even more overwhelming majority.

So much obloquy has been attached to the person and the reign of this
sovereign, he has been made the object of such unlimited denunciation,
deserved and undeserved, at home and abroad, that it will doubtless come
as a surprise to many of our readers to find how liberal and enlightened
were at least many of the aims of his administration, and how
enthusiastically he was supported by the people that have since found no
terms too strong to express their detestation. "Napoleon III," says M.
Duruy, "at the very moment that he took possession of the throne, had
promised that liberty should one day crown the new political edifice.
After Solferino, he endeavored to introduce her again into our
institutions. He began this work by the decree of the 24th of November,
1860, which associated the Corps Législatif more directly with the
politics of the government. He continued it by the sénatus-consulte of
the 2d of December, 1861, which deprived the Emperor of the power of
decreeing extraordinary credits in the intervals of the sessions; by the
letter of the 19th of January, 1867, which gave the ministers the right
of appearing before the Chambers, in order that they might at any moment
render an account of their acts to the nation; by the laws on the press,
which was restored to its natural privileges, and on the popular
assemblages, of which a few were useful and a great many detestable
(11th of May and 6th of June, 1868). Finally, at the period when,
abroad, the unfortunate issue of the expedition to Mexico, and the
menacing position assumed in Germany by Prussia, after her victory of
Sadowa over the Austrians; in the interior, the progress of public
intelligence, favored by the general prosperity, had developed stronger
desires for freedom which the elections of 1869 made evident, the
Emperor renounced his personal authority, and by the sénatus-consulte of
the 20th of April, 1870, proposed to the French people the
transformation of the autocratic Empire into the liberal Empire. On the
8th of May, 7,300,000 citizens replied _yes_ to this question, against
1,500,000 who replied _no_."

Thus this dignified and candid historian does not hesitate to lay the
responsibility of the war of 1870-71, "most certainly, on the ministers,
the deputies, and the unreasoning folly of Paris." "Paris," says another
writer, an eye-witness, "was inflamed with a peculiar fever, and even
words changed their meaning. Workmen were maltreated on the Boulevard
des Italiens for having traversed it crying: '_Vive la Paix, vive la
Travail!_' ['Give us Peace! Hurrah for Labor!'] The courts themselves
interfered, and citizens were condemned to prison for having uttered
publicly this seditious cry: '_Vive la Paix!_'" The latest historian of
the war, the Commandant Rousset, who "has summed up, with more clearness
and force than any other, the political and military considerations
which explain its issue," in the opinion of the critics, defines as one
of the three principal causes of its disasters after the 4th of
September, the excessive importance attributed to the capital. The
necessity of delivering Paris paralyzed all the efforts of the armies of
the provinces, in depriving them of all liberty of action. "Enough can
never be said of the fatal incubus which weighed upon us in the shape of
the specious theory which certain pontiffs of the high strategy had
erected upon the abstract value of positions, and of entrenched camps,
nor of the amount of profit which the German army derived from the
disdain which it entertained for this theory." This inordinate
importance of the capital, as we have already seen in many instances, is
one of the most striking facts in the history of France.


Painted by H. Gervex.]

The capital once more effected a change in the government, and by the
familiar methods,--on the 4th of September, 1870, the mob invaded the
Chamber and overturned the Empire. In the civil war that followed the
withdrawal of the Germans--brought about by the _Commune_ and the
_Internationale_, the former, with the pretext of restoring to the city
its legitimate rights by giving back to it the election of its municipal
officers, and the second, a socialism which was practical anarchy,
repudiating patriotism, denouncing capital as theft, aiming to overthrow
all society--it was again the capital which acted. In the private
correspondence of one of those leaders of revolt, the nihilist
Bakounine, lately published, he writes to his confidant: "What do you
think of this desperate movement of the Parisians? Whatever the result
may be, it must be confessed that they are brave enough. That strength
which we have vainly sought in Lyon and in Marseille has been found in
Paris. There is there an organization, and men determined to go to the
bitter end. It is certain that they will be beaten, but it is equally
certain that there will be henceforth no salvation for France outside
the social revolution. The French state is dead, and cannot be revived."

In the number of the _Contemporary Review_ for March, 1898, may be found
an admirable condensation of the history of France for the last hundred
years (quoted, without comment, in a Parisian journal), in the shape of
a résumé of the various street cries heard in Paris during that period.
(It is probably scarcely necessary to explain that _A bas_ is "Down
with" and _Conspuez_, practically, "Spit upon.") In 1788, the people
cried: _Vive le roi! Vive la noblesse! Vive le clergé!_ In 1789: _A bas
la noblesse! A bas la Bastille! Vivent Necker et Mirabeau! Vivent
d'Orléans et le clergé!_ In 1791: _A bas les nobles! A bas les prêtres!
Plus de Dieu!_ [No more God!] _A bas Necker! Vivent Bailly et Lafayette!
A bas Bailly!_ In the first half of 1793: _A bas Louis Capet! A bas la
Monarchie et la Constitution de 1791! Vive la République! Vivent la
liberté, l'égalité, la fraternité! Vivent les Girondins!_ In the second
half of the same year: _A bas les nobles, les riches et les prêtres!
Vivent les Jacobins! Vive Robespierre! Vive Marat, l'ami du peuple! Vive
la Terreur!_ In 1794: _A bas les Girondins! Vive la Guillotine!_ In 1794
and 1795: _A bas la Terreur et ses exécuteurs! A bas Robespierre!_ From
1795 to 1799: _Vive le Directoire! Vive Bonaparte! A bas le Directoire!
Vive le Premier Consul! A bas la République! Vive Napoléon empereur!
Hourrah pour la guerre et la Legion d'honneur! Vive la Cour! Vive
l'impératrice Joséphine!_ From 1809 to 1813: _A bas le Pape! A bas
Joséphine! Vive Marie-Louise! A bas Napoléon, l'oppresseur, le tyran! A
bas les Aigles! Vive le Roi légitime! Vive les Alliés!_ In March, 1815:
_A bas les Alliés! A bas les Bourbons et les Légitimistes! Vive
Napoléon!_ In June of the same year: _A bas l'aventurier corse!_ [the
Corsican adventurer!] _A bas l'armée! A bas les traitres Ney et
Lavalette! Vive le roi Louis le Desiré!_ From 1816 to 1830: _Vive
Charles X le Bien-aimé! A bas Charles X et les Bourbons! Vive
Louis-Philippe, le roi citoyen!_ In 1848: _A bas Louis-Philippe! Vive
Lamartine!_ In 1849: _A bas Lamartine! Vive le Président! A bas la
liberté de la Presse et les Clubs!_ In 1850: _Vive Napoléon!_ In 1851:
_A bas l'Assemblée! Vive l'Empereur!_ In 1852: _A bas la République!
Vive l'Empire!_ In 1855: _A bas la Russie!_ In 1859: _A bas l'Autriche!
Vive l'Italie! Vive Garibaldi!_ In 1869: _A bas l'Empire autoritaire!
Vive l'Empire parlementaire! Vive Ollivier!_ In May, 1870: _Vive la
Constitution! Vive la Dynastie impériale!_ In July: _A Berlin! A
Berlin!_ In September: _A bas l'Empire! Vive la République! Vive
Trochu!_ In October: _A bas Trochu! Vive la Commune! Vive Gambetta!_ In
1871: _Vive Thiers! A bas Gambetta!_ In March: _Vive la Commune! A bas
Thiers!_ In May: _Vive Thiers! Vive Mac-Mahon! A bas la Commune!_ In
1872: _Vive Thiers! Vive la République!_ In 1873: _Vive Mac-Mahon!_ In
1874: _Vive l'Amnistie! A bas Mac-Mahon!_ In 1879: _Vive Grèvy! A bas
Gambetta!_ In 1881: _Vive Gambetta! A bas Grèvy! Vive Lesseps!_ In 1887:
_Vive Carnot! Vive Boulanger!_ In 1889: _A bas les Panamistes! A bas
Boulanger!_ In 1895: _Vive le Tsar!_ In 1898: _Vivent la liberté,
égalité, la fraternité! A bas les Juifs! Vive l'Armée! Conspuez Zola!_

And in the latter part of the same year may be added: _Vive Picquart_,
_Vive la Révision! Vive Zola!_ and, naturally, _A bas!_ and _Conspuez!_
all three.

As to the administration of the Third Republic, it may be illustrated
with tolerable exactness, and without too much malice, by two extracts
from the _Figaro_ of the summer of 1898, in which will be recognized
certain great theories of universal aptitude on the part of its citizens
not at all unlike those which prevail on the part of the public
functionaries of our own beloved country. The first of these articles
appeared at the period when the precarious Brisson ministry was in
process of formation, after several ineffectual attempts on the part of
other statesmen summoned to this task by the President of the
République. It may be premised that the care taken to identify M. Durand
by the department which he represents is rendered necessary by the fact
that his family is as prevalent in France as Smith or Jones in
English-speaking lands.

"At noon, M. Peytral requested Durand (of the Loir) to enter his
cabinet and offered him the portfolio of Minister of the Finances.

"Durand, who had never been minister, accepted with _empressement_.

"'I am acquainted with our financial system from the bottom up,' he
said. 'This is, therefore, excellent.'

"'Truly,' replied Peytral. 'I was not aware of it.'

"But about half-past one of the afternoon, in consequence of the refusal
of one of the members of the future cabinet, M. Peytral was obliged to
change the combination. He summoned again M. Durand (of the Loir) and
said to him:

"'My dear colleague, I appeal to your patriotism. I have need of the
portfolio of the finances. Will you be good enough to do me the friendly
office to accept the Public Works?'

"M. Durand reflected a second.

"'I came near being an engineer,' he replied, 'I believe that I could be
able to render great service to the country in this new ministry.'

"And after having been Minister of the Finances from noon to half-past
one, he was Minister of Public Works from half-past one to three.

"At two o'clock, M. Peytral sent a _petit bleu_ [telegram, so called
from the color of the official paper] to Durand (of the Loir) to invite
him to call for the third time.

"'I have just perceived, my dear colleague,' he said to him, 'that my
combination is not workable. It is not the Public Works that you
require, nor the Finances, it is the Marine.'

"And Durand accepted the Marine, which he preserved up to half-past
five, the hour at which the political necessities threw him upon the
Public Instruction and Religion.

PARIS. After a drawing by L. Marchetti.]

"But rivalries suddenly sprang up. It was necessary to make new
arrangements in order to appease the Isambert group. Durand left the
Public Instruction.

"He was, during twenty minutes, Minister of War; he had the Post-Office
and Telegraphs three-quarters of an hour; he was Minister of Foreign
Affairs at a quarter to seven.

"Finally, at seven o'clock, M. Peytral convoked him once again and said
to him:

"'My dear colleague, I appeal in this moment to all your republican
energy and to your patriotic disinterestedness. My cabinet is
constituted. You are no longer a member of it.'

"'Good,' replied Durand, coldly. 'I hereby give notice of my intention
to interpellate the government.'"

The second of these contemporary documents professes to relate actual
facts. "We announced, the other day, that the ex-deputy Fabérot, not
re-elected at the late elections, had philosophically resumed his former
occupation of journeyman hatter.

"Another victim of universal suffrage, the barber Chauvin, has also
returned to his dear razors. Is it quite certain, moreover, that he ever
left them, even in the Chamber of Deputies?

"However this may be, he has just reopened his shop. Only, M. Chauvin
has abandoned his former quarter of the Rue des Archives, and has
established himself in Passage Tivoli, near the Gare Saint-Lazare,
where, in the most democratic fashion, he will shave you for twenty
centimes and cut your hair for six sous.

"This melancholy return to former surroundings has, moreover, nothing in
it but what is very honorable,--only, it is necessary that the customers
should be notified.

"Which we hereby do."

The great question of the army, of its relations with the civil
authority and of the apparent hopelessness of any attempt to reconcile
its maintenance and effectiveness with the democratic evolution of the
age,--never a more burning question in France than at the present
day,--scarcely admits of any of these pleasantries. But seldom have the
amenities of discussion more completely disappeared than in the polemics
now raging over the trial for treason of an officer of the general
staff. One of the more recent of these dispassionate studies of the
military problem appears in an article by M. Sully-Prudhomme in the
_Revue des Deux Mondes_, and the failure of his attempt to solve the
antinomy is striking. "To say, with Renan," he prefaces, "that 'war is
essentially a thing of the ancien régime,' is to say that it is not of
the essence of the new one; and as formerly war would be considered as
destitute of any cause in the case where there were no enemies, that is
equivalent to supposing that to-day no people have enemies. Such an
assertion assuredly does not express Renan's meaning. He intended to
say, doubtless, that in our day the use of force to decide international
conflicts is in contradiction with the moral principles professed by
civilized nations; in other terms, that, logically, they should never
have enemies.

"Would to God that it were so! Unfortunately, we know only too well that
in reality this is not so. Therefore, no people, having a due regard for
their preservation and their independence, can reasonably diminish their
military forces, nor even risk diminishing them, unless other peoples do
as much. For any one who has informed himself in this respect as to the
dispositions of the greater number of them, this simple remark will
suffice to condemn in any one of them any attempt at individual reform
in its military laws in any manner tending to compromise its security in
the midst of the others."

But he finds, very naturally, that all the qualities of the military
spirit, and those conducive to military power, are becoming "more and
more incompatible with the inclinations of the individual, and contrary
to the expansion of his intellectual and impassioned life." None of the
methods proposed to diminish this incompatibility--civilizing war by an
attempt to reduce its horrors, modifying the rigors of discipline,
specializing and restricting the military service--are available; the
last two, indeed, are directly at variance with the necessities of the
actual situation. For the acceptance thus rendered necessary of this
survival of the past, this persistence of war and all its consequences,
he finds that the intelligence may recognize the fact that to place
itself under the direction of those more competent is not necessarily to
abdicate, that an unprejudiced examination will demonstrate the
necessity of military obedience. For the soul, for the spiritual
qualities, he finds nothing in the progress of modern ideas "to aid in
the perfecting of the instruments and the apprenticeship of death." The
blind fanaticism of the Mohammedans, the unquestioning faith of the
early Christians, which faced extinction even with joy, have been
replaced among modern men by sceptical, questioning, and even material
philosophies which "offer us really nothing which is worthy a sincere
faith in a dream, in a survival eternal and heavenly." So true is this,
that, were he able, by enlightening him, to detach a Breton conscript
from his blind faith which enables him to die bravely for the honor of
the country, he would not do so, he would "prefer to betray philosophy."
"A ridiculous compromise, perhaps, but certainly less disastrous than a
defeat. This is one of the ironical inconsequences to which war condemns
us, and for which it alone is responsible. Whilst waiting for its
suppression, let us resign ourselves to submit to it, and let us
endeavor to make the best of its violences; it imposes upon us at least
the cultivation of the virile virtues, the esteem of a labor which does
not enrich, and which places us in a position to interrogate very
closely, willingly or unwillingly, the profundity of the tomb."

Another writer, who concerns himself more exclusively with military
matters, M. Abel Veuglaire, arrives at an equally depressing conclusion.
He, too, finds nothing to quite replace the old-time qualities which fed
the military spirit. The soldier of the last century, under the rod of
his corporal, did not rebel because he had been made an artificial
being, brutalized, deprived of all those sentiments which, if they could
excite enthusiasm, could also produce discouragement. In him, the desire
for wine and pillage, the eagerness for quarrel, the sentiment of a
point of honor, were carefully substituted for the family affections and
the consciousness of moral duties. The promise of plunder and the fear
of the gallows, a certain pride in his corps or his regiment, a certain
_esprit cocardier_, made of him a soldier. But the moral worth of the
modern recruit is derived from his family or from his school. "Very
scarce, indeed, are those whom the regiment transforms. Scarcer still
are those whom it will transform in the future. We are dupes of an
illusion. We see the young men leave the military service very different
from what they were when they entered it. We exclaim that the discipline
is wholesome, that the air of the barracks is vivifying, that the
regiment is a school of moral tendencies at the same time that it is a
sanitary establishment. Ah, no!... I do not believe, in fact, that the
moral qualities, that the civic virtues, are acquired in the caserne. If
they exist in a condition more or less latent in the recruit when he
arrives, they may be developed in him through the care of the officers,
as, moreover, they run the risk of shrivelling up if their cultivation
is neglected. But the result of this tardy education is always
sufficiently meagre. The evil natures, the vicious characters,
accentuate their defects, instead of attenuating them, under the
compression of discipline. It is not strong enough to master the souls
rebellious at the bottom. It chastises misconduct; it has no authority
over thought.... Therefore, it would be logical to diminish the duration
of the military service strictly to the minimum necessary to learn the


From a drawing, in colors, by George Scott.]

And in summing up, after describing the "moral degradation" of the old
soldiers, he concludes: "Imagine what, in our modern society, can be a
soldier who re-enlists. He is a man who definitely bids adieu to family
affections, who desires simply a small, tranquil existence, regular,
well secured. This man is most decidedly a mediocre. Perhaps he may
render some service to the _bleus_; but he cannot be offered to them as
a model nor as a guide."

It is to be said, however, that not all the pictures drawn of this life
in the caserne are as gloomy as these. On this subject there is indeed
abundant information. Notwithstanding the respectable number of
exceptions provided by the more or less merciful various laws of
conscription,--the eldest of a family of orphans, the only brother of
six sisters, the eldest of a family of seven children, the elder of two
brothers drawn at one time or the younger brother of one actually doing
service,--the experience of the class of the _bleus_, as the raw
recruits are called, is sufficiently common among French citizens of
very varying classes of society. Naturally, the gentlemen find this very
democratic experience more trying than do the peasants and the bumpkins.
Every visitor to Paris who has passed the inoffensive looking and very
youthful infantry sentinels on duty, or seen their comrades crowding in
the open windows of the great, bare barracks, has experienced some
desire to know something of the interior life of these great military
warehouses. Our illustrations may serve to suggest many of the more
picturesque and, so to speak, domestic of these minor incidents, and one
of the most cheerful of the scribes who have participated in them, M.
Henri de Noussanne, can give us further information. His experience lay
in the daily life of an infantry soldier, but the general lines are the
same for all arms of the service.

Unfortunately, to begin with, as there is always a possibility of war
with the return of the swallows, the usage has been established of
summoning to the colors the neophytes in the month of November. The
rigors of the wintry season are thus added to those inherent in the
rudiments of military discipline. Consequently, and as the State
provides her budding warriors with but one handkerchief, two pairs of
gloves, and no stockings, M. de Noussanne earnestly counsels the mothers
and sisters to furnish these young men with thick underclothing and warm
woollen stockings. Behold them finally enrolled in "the grand class, the
real class, the most sympathetic of classes, that of the _bleus_,"
parading the streets, escorted by parents and relatives in tears and by
joyous and unsympathetic urchins! At the sight of the great caserne
which yawns to swallow them, their respect for authority becomes
definite and concrete; otherwise, their ideas are like their marching,
much bewildered. Once entered, the _anciens_ take them in hand,
_tutoying_ them fraternally: "Thou, thou art my bleu.... Don't be
afraid.... No one will _mistouffle_ thee.... I will fix thy affairs."
They even show them maternally how best to tuck themselves in their
narrow beds; and the regulations no longer permit hazing of any kind. So
that the first night is apt to be one of the repose that follows various
and conflicting emotions.

The _réveil_ sounds at six o'clock. The great operation of shedding
citizens' garments and assuming the uniform is at hand, and is one of
the most amusing in the life of the caserne. The captain of the company
oversees it with the utmost care. "He has to verify everything, see
everything. In the exact terms of the regulations, he is the father of
the company. His _rôle_ is of capital importance. No detail of the
instruction, of the _tenue_, of the discipline, should escape him. Two
hundred men are confided to his care, for whom he is responsible to the
colonel and the _chef de bataillon_, who, to reward or to punish, govern
themselves by his notes. At every moment he is called upon to dispense
justice, for in a family of two hundred members the conflicts are
frequent. He can inflict only two weeks in the _salle de police_, or a
week in prison, but his decrees are brought to the knowledge of the
superior authority, which takes upon itself to increase their severity.


"The captain is not only a judge, a father, an instructor, he is also
an administrator. To his paternal duties are added maternal ones. The
nourishment, the clothing, and the care of the men depend upon him.
Certain funds are allowed him which he uses at his discretion. The
material and moral comfort of a company depend absolutely upon the skill
and the character of its captain, who is seconded in his delicate
functions by the lieutenant, the sous-lieutenant, the sous-officiers,
and the corporals. The _perfectionnement_ of the whole of this
organization concerns him. The captain is, in a word, the keystone of
the vault of the military edifice. Everything depends upon him. It is
not then surprising that the smallest details interest him. It is
specially on the occasion of the arrival of the _bleus_ that he
multiplies himself.

"I was very much surprised, on arriving at the regiment, at the
attention which the commander of the company gave to the selection of
the shoes. At every moment he could be heard exclaiming;

"'_Chaussez-vous large, chaussez-vous long_ [get your shoes long and

"When we were shod, he passed us in review, causing all our foot-gear to
be felt by a sergeant kneeling to assure himself that they were of a
sufficient length, and this is the little speech with which he gratified

"'My children, there are no good soldiers without good shoes. All the
strength of Samson lay in his hair, all the strength of the foot-soldier
is in his shoes. Never forget my principle: _Chaussez-vous large,
chaussez-vous long!... Rompez!_'"

_Rompez_ signifies: Be off! scatter! clear out!

Then comes the initiation into the mysteries of the _paquetage_, the
arrangement of the soldier's few effects, the regulation method of
folding and disposing and hanging up, each on its peculiar hook. One of
the first lessons in the _Code militaire_ is that of the salute, and the
language of the corporals is energetic in proportion to the dulness of
the recruit. "Salute in three times.... Attention, Fouillon, listen to
what I am saying to you!... You throw out the right arm, the hand flat,
open, and the fingers together.--_Un!_ ... Mark time, animal!" (Fouillon
begins again; it is better, the corporal continues): "You carry the hand
up straight as high as the button on the right side of the peak of your
cap.--_Deux!_" (Here, a horrible roar): "Lift your elbow!..." (Fouillon,
terrified, menaces the sky with an obedient elbow.) "_Trois_: you turn
your head toward the superior officer whom you are saluting and throw
the hand back quickly into position six paces after having passed
him.--_Trois!_ ... Go, now, and defile before the lieutenant and try a
little to commence the salute six paces in advance, without marching as
if you had a broomstick in your back!"

One of the favorite of the many jokes on the new recruit turns on the
zeal with which, after he has mastered this lesson, he salutes
everything in the street that has the slightest appearance of an
officer, even the sergents de ville and the many cocked hats worn by
municipal officials of various grades. There are various minute
regulations concerning this ceremony, it is always obligatory, but there
is a certain amount of elasticity provided to prevent its becoming
absurd, as in the case where the soldier encounters his officer every
few minutes, in a gallery of a museum, etc.

The young recruit is strongly advised not to let the pleasures of his
first sortie in the streets in all the splendor of his new uniform (duly
arranged with the regulation folds in the back by his particular
_ancien_) tempt him to prolong this promenade unduly. "Above all, no
_frasques_! One is young, and the sunny Sunday jacket sets a man off
admirably. Love beckons.... Take care! take care! The recall is sounded.
It is necessary to return at a double-quick. Ten minutes late, that is
four days in the _boîte_. If passion carries thee away, my poor Pitou,
and if, with thy _pays_ Dumanet, thou 'jumpest the wall' after recall,
that will be _la grosse_. It is not gay, my friend, _la grosse_. A
_demi-fourniture_, two soups, 'one of which without meat' and, for an
aperative and digestive, the _peloton de chasse_, three hours in the
morning, three hours in the afternoon, the knapsack charged according to
the regulations. B-r-r-r!

"Believe me, youth, no _fredaines_.... Thou wilt be caught!"

Other writers who might be cited, more definite and unsparing in their
details, give unquotable descriptions of the nights in the _chambrée_,
or great dormitories, the uncouth associates, the language, the manners,
the practical jokes, the quarrels, the hideous lack of ventilation at
night and the rancid odor of so many imperfectly washed bodies, cheap
tobacco, and soiled linen. Even M. de Noussanne is obliged to omit the
termination of one of his recitals of the amusements of the caserne:
"No; it is better to slide over this passage. The nude is difficult to
paint. This is a pity; it plays a very important _rôle_ in the
facetiousness of the caserne. Would you have another example?

"The evening call has sounded; the sous-officiers are at mess or
outside, and the men are preparing to go to sleep. All at once,
charivari in the adjoining chambrée! The door opens, and two _lapins_,
clothed only in a sack ... on the back, enter, rifle in hand, fixed
bayonet, and in this picturesque costume parade round the room, leaping,
cavorting, howling, whilst their comrades roll in delicious enjoyment
of the joke." And he adds: "You amuse yourself the best way you can in
the regiment; for, it is only justice to say for it, the military
authority does nothing to render the caserne agreeable to the soldier.

"Whenever there is an officer who, having a care for the private comfort
of his men, looks after them outside of the service regulations and
brings himself in contact with them, he very quickly becomes a target
for the jests of his obliging little comrades who leave the club of the
_Caricature_ or the _Annuaire_ only to go and swing censers before
'Madame la Présidente,' who has a mania for match-making.

"Even if this officer be the commander of a corps d'armée, the whole of
France will badger him if he lays himself open ever so little to
criticism. Nevertheless, if it be true that everything is becoming
ameliorated and humanized, what is there surprising in the supposition
that the army should become less rude, since it declares itself better
instructed? But no: routine rules, and no minister concerns himself to
enliven the life in the caserne.

"How simple it would be to put at the disposition of the men games of
skittles, of bowls, of _crocket_, to organize in bad weather amusing and
instructive entertainments with magic-lantern slides and dramatic
spectacles. Actors, musicians, singers, they are all to be had.... But
it is the business of the officers to organize everything, to conduct
everything. Now, our officers think their duties ended when, at five
o'clock, they leave the caserne."


After a water-color by Georges Scott.]

Fortunately, correspondence is not forbidden, and the arrival of the
mail from home is always a great event. It is Saturday evening in the
chambrée, and Pitou has arrived at the end of the week without a
reprimand. His heart feels the need of expansion, and he is laboriously
writing out a letter to his betrothed, down in the country. "The sweat
stands on his forehead.... It is, perhaps, his method of showing
tenderness, for he is greatly moved. I watch him out of the corner of my
eye, and can see that his heart has returned to the paternal dwelling in
the province, in the familiar chamber, where his _promise_, Françoise,
has come to spend the evening, and says to herself as she knits:

"'At this moment, what is he doing, my Pierre?'

"He is writing to thee, my poor Françoise; he has commenced a second
letter, on beautiful lace paper ornamented with an immense rose,
arranged like a transformation scene in a theatrical spectacle. When you
unfold the sheet, the flower blooms out. It is a small prodigy of
ingenuity, of open-work, and of coloration. This marvel resembles a
symbolic cabbage; you look to see issue from it an infant newly born.

"But Pitou ceases writing and looks toward me with anguish. What has
happened to him? Finally, confiding, he comes to a decision, and, in a
low voice:

"'I say, thou, _embaume_, how dost thou write that?'


"'Yes, _embaume_.... "The rose, may it _embaume_ [perfume] this
letter...."' (With a sly smile): "'I am writing to my _payse_.... I am
not sure.... She was with the Sisters three years.'

"'Ah, well! embaume: E-m-b-a-u-m-e.'



"'M-e.... _Merci, pays_.'

"And he continues, without deigning to reply to the _loustic_ who has
remarked our colloquy, and who calls to him:

"'Hé! Pitou, say to thy people that thou hast lost the umbrella of the
squad, and that they send thee a hundred sous to buy a new one with.'"

At ten o'clock the bugle sounds: "Lights out!" and the dormitory sinks
into darkness and slumber. "In the silence of the night, when sleep has
already dulled all the caserne, a sound as gentle as a caress comes from
outside, mysterious and far-away. The _clairon_ has transformed itself
into something soft and cradling, and modulates tenderly an old, old

         "_Do, do do, petit soldat,
    Pense à ta bel', la plus belle des belles,
          Do, do do, petit soldat,
          Sois-lui fidèle,
          Si elle t'aime, aime-la._"

At two o'clock in the morning, a heavy step is heard on the stair, the
door of the room is pushed violently open, and a hoarse voice, without
any respect for the slumber of the others, calls out the name of the
unlucky "cook for the day." The latter gets out of bed, feels around for
his blouse and his sabots, and departs with an equal amount of
unnecessary noise. Outside, he finds the corporal commanding the
culinary department, with the keys of the store-house; between them,
they open the kitchen, light the fires, and prepare the morning meal,
first the soup and then the coffee,--five kilogrammes of the latter for
a battalion. When réveil sounds, the beverage is ready, the men of the
_corvée_ carry it up into the dormitory in great earthenware jugs, one
in each hand. If their iron-pegged shoes should happen to slip on the
ice or snow of the court-yard, not only would the unlucky bearer run a
strong chance of being frozen on one side as he fell, and scalded on the
other, but he would also have to face the wrath of some thirty hungry
warriors. This coffee is not _exquis_, but it is hot, and the men
receive a good allowance of it; if the corporal be good-natured, they
drink it sitting on their beds, and steeping their bread in it in the
inelegant fashion dear to all their compatriots.

Finally, when the conscript has become a soldier, mastered the
intricacies of the _Théorie_ and the details of the manual of arms,
learned the secret of keeping his accoutrements in parade order, taken
part in the interminable drills in the secrecy of the caserne that
prepare for the great ones in public, he departs for the grand
manœuvres. When they are over, the _classe_ for that year is dismissed,
except those unfortunates who are detained as many days longer as they
have served days in prison. The cheerfulness with which the soldiers
undergo the fatigues and discomforts of these annual exercises is
rightfully considered as an excellent sign of the efficiency of the
service. In the present year of grace, these manœuvres were rendered
unusually trying by the persistent abnormal midsummer heat, and by the
blinding dust that blotted out whole parades. And yet, says a
correspondent of the _Temps_, "if the _armoire à glace_ (the knapsack)
be heavy, the road dusty, and the march across cultivated fields
laborious, it is none the less true than in the ranks of each detachment
there are to be found certain _loustics_ whose inexhaustible repertory
is sufficient to unwrinkle the most morose brows.

"The ancient French gaiety is dead, you say; follow, then, for a couple
of hours a column of infantry on the march, and you will not be long in
being undeceived. You will recognize very quickly that, in the army,
this gaiety is still in very good condition, even though it be at times
a little too gross. And, if you know your authors a little, you will see
things that would astonish them.

"You will hear chanted the _Boîteuse_, which was hummed, some two
hundred and odd years ago, by the troops of Louis XIV, and the couplets
of which swarm with allusions to the infirmity of Mlle. de la Vallière;
_Auprès de ma blonde_ ... song addressed to Mme. de Montespan, and a
multitude of others bearing witness to the passage of noble sovereigns,
or of illustrious chiefs now long since disappeared."

You will also, if you are a foreigner, see many other interesting traits
of national character, and, not improbably, some such curiously
unmilitary proceeding as that represented on our page, engraved from the
record of an unsympathetic photograph. This particular incident took
place at the manœuvres at Châteaudun in 1894; the President of the
Republic, M. Casimir-Perier, is distributing the cross of the Legion of
Honor to a number of specially deserving officers and sous-officiers.

That very modern instrument of warfare, the bicycle, appeared in the
manœuvres of this present year of grace with more importance than ever.
One correspondent, writing from Dompierre-sur-Besbre, on the 11th of
September, says: "The _compagnie cycliste_, covering the advance of the
march of the thirteenth corps, threw itself into Thiel at the moment
when the advance guard of the division was attacked by superior forces.
Taking advantage of the shelter of the woods, of the hedges, of the
houses, it held the enemy at bay long enough to permit the division to
come up, and the company bivouacked with the division." Another writes:
"I rejoined the column by a cross-road at the end of which the dragoons
were defiling past at a hard trot, followed by the _compagnie cycliste_,
whose support at this moment was most valuable. It protected the retreat
by delivering at certain distances volleys which momentarily arrested
the pursuit. It was wonderful to see with what rapidity the men of
Captain Gérard's command threw themselves into their saddles, covered a
distance of five or six hundred mètres, faced about and opened fire. If
they had been more numerous, what service would they not have rendered!
The cavalry officers who see them every day at work are the first to
recognize their usefulness." The employment of these instruments has
even been extended to the _gendarmerie_ by an order of the Minister of
War, at the close of the manœuvres,--two legions of this force having
been furnished with them. In 1897, some machines constructed by the
artillery were distributed to a legion near Paris, as an experiment,
with very satisfactory results,--the transmission of orders, maintenance
of communication, etc., being thus assured in a satisfactory manner.
There is, of course, some opposition manifested to this innovation, and
the employment of mounted gendarmes is not yet discontinued. As may be
seen from the illustrations on page 139, the French military bicycle,
the invention of Captain Gérard, is constructed in such a manner as to
fold up and be transported on the soldier's back.


As in all old armies, very many of the regiments have records which date
back to the last century, and of which they are very proud;--one of the
cavalry regiments, the Fourth Chasseurs, celebrated in 1890 the
anniversary of its creation in 1744 with an historical restoration and a
military carrousel of the most picturesque character. In the immense
court of their caserne in the Quartier Gramont of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
there might be seen to defile a cavalcade of all the uniforms worn by
the regiment, and of all the standards borne by it since the date of its
organization. The tendency of modern warfare is to abolish more and more
the picturesque and artistic, but the wars of the Republic and the First
Empire have contributed a series of costumes among the most martial and
the most imposing known to history.

Something of this contrast of costume may be seen in the reproduction of
M. Orange's painting from the Salon of 1891, the "Medallists of Saint
Helena," on page 175,--the annual ceremony of the old soldiers of the
First Empire depositing their memorial wreaths at the base of the
Vendôme column; and it is with a very natural impulse that the French
citizen and the French soldier of to-day turn from the bitter memories
of their last war to recall the images of those great days when the
nation was afire as it has never been since. The curious revival of
Napoleonic literature which we have witnessed within the last few years
may doubtless be ascribed in part, at least, to this longing to dispel
somewhat the national depression. There is not wanting in these memoirs
abundant testimony to the strange transformation which the casting off
of the ancient régime wrought in the whole people. In the _Consulat et
l'Empire_, M. Thiers quotes the testimony of an astonished Prussian
officer after the astonishing battle of Auerstadt in which Davout with
twenty-six thousand men overthrew sixty thousand of the soldiers trained
in the school of the great Frederick, repulsed twenty times the charges
of the cavalry considered the best in Europe, and took with his
forty-four cannon one hundred and fifteen of the enemy's. "If we had to
fight the French only with our fists, we would be vanquished. They are
small and weakly; one of our Germans could beat four of them; but under
fire they become supernatural beings. They are carried away by an
inexpressible ardor, of which no trace can be seen in our own soldiers."
In much more recent publications, the _Mémoires du sergent Bourgogne_,
the _Souvenirs d'un officier danois_, the Lieutenant Frisenberg, there
is further testimony as to the quality of this _Grande Armée_. The
latter, a young soldier, records the strong impression made upon him by
the French officers when he first met them, their sobriety, their
moderation, wonderful in the conquerors of Europe, their easy acceptance
of orders. "What will not a Frenchman dare!" he exclaims. It is this
apotheosis of military valor and efficiency which we see apostrophized
in so much contemporary national art,--as in Karbowsky's "Drums of the
Republic," Bac's spirited sketch of the return of the troops to Paris
after Marengo, Marold's "Review in the Carrousel," under the eyes of the
Emperor, and Le Blant's return of the veterans of the Republic and their
fierce impatience under the supercilious inspection of the dandies and
_incroyables_ of the capital.

The military souvenirs of the Second Empire are much less imposing.
Among the most interesting of those recently published are those of
Marshal Canrobert, taken down from his verbal recitals by M. G. Bapst,
afterward written out and corrected by the old soldier. His portrait of
Louis Napoleon is interesting; he came to Paris on the eve of the Coup
d'État and was presented to the Prince-President. "The man whom I saw
before me was small in stature; his eyes, very small, were dull and very
mild; while they were professedly looking at me, they had the
appearance, at the same time, of being directed at some much more
distant object; his black hair, smooth on his head, very much pomaded,
was long and fell below his ears and on his collar; his heavy moustache,
not waxed, covered his lower lip. He wore a frock-coat, buttoned up, and
a very high collar which enclosed the lower part of his face. He stood
with his side rather toward me, the left arm considerably in advance,
and offered me his hand with a constrained gesture. I felt, in clasping
it, as though I were grasping the hand of a paralytic, almost an
anchylosed one. He addressed to me some commonplace phrase, so
commonplace even that I no longer remember it; but he spoke with a
peculiar accent, which you would have taken for an Alsatian accent.
This was all that happened."

In the military operations of the 2d of December, Canrobert took part as
general of brigade: according to his own account, he constantly exerted
himself to suppress the fire of the troops on the citizens and to save
the lives of the latter. But when he was offered the grade of general of
division afterward, he refused it, and thereby, says one of his
commentators, "violated military discipline and condemned, himself, his
action of the day before."

Among the recent minor monographs relating to this epoch is one devoted
to the Imperial picked body-guard of a hundred men, the Cent-Gardes, by
M. Albert Verly, a fervent Bonapartist. One of his incidents is worth
quoting. One day, the Empress Eugénie, traversing her apartments,
accompanied by Colonel Verly, stopped before one of these sentries,
whose rigid immobility in the correct military attitude made her smile.
"Admit, colonel," she said, "that this perfect motionlessness is only an
appearance, and that the slightest thing would cause it to disappear."
"Your Majesty may assure yourself to the contrary," replied the colonel.
"And if I were to offer him an insult?" "I have nothing to reply to your
Majesty. You might ascertain yourself!" The Empress, knitting her brows
in an attempt to frown, approached the sentry and reproached him
severely for some imaginary infraction of discipline; stiff as a statue
in his position of salute, he made no sign whatever. Whereupon,
pretending to take offence at his silence, she dealt him a vigorous blow
on the cheek. She might as well have struck a statue! So she returned to
her apartments.

But, not willing that the affair should rest there, she ascertained his
name, and the next day, through his superiors, sent the soldier a note
of five hundred francs as some recompense for the gratuitous insult
offered him. And he immediately returned it, through the same channel,
answering that he esteemed himself as "too happy in having received on
his face the hand of his well-beloved sovereign." M. Verly considers
this response as very fine, and as justifying all that has been said
concerning the correctness of appearance and attitude, and the
intelligent and affectionate devotion which all the men of the squadron
of the Cent-Gardes maintained toward their Imperial Majesties.


One of the first acts of the military administration after the Coup
d'État was the disbanding of the National Guard throughout France. By a
decree dated from the Tuileries, January 11, 1852, the superior general
commanding was charged with its reorganization. On the 2d of December of
the same year, the new Emperor signed at Saint-Cloud the decree
promulgating the _sénatus-consulte_ ratified by the plébiscite of the
21st and 22d of November, endorsing the Empire, and made his solemn
entry into Paris. At one o'clock in the afternoon the cannon thundered,
the drums beat, the trumpets and bugles sounded: "then might be seen,"
says the official _Moniteur_, "an inspiring spectacle, the new Emperor
passing under that Arch of Triumph erected by his uncle to the glory of
the French army.... From all the ranks of the army, from the Garde
Nationale and from the people, there arose but one cry, powerful,
unanimous, drowning the sound of the cannon of the Invalides which
announced the entrance of Napoleon III into this ancient palace still
resonant with the glory of his name. His Majesty, followed by his suite,
traversed on horseback the Pavillon de l'Horloge and passed in review,
on the Place des Tuileries and the Place du Carrousel, the troops of all
arms there drawn up. He rode along the front of all the lines, receiving
everywhere the most enthusiastic acclamations. After the review, the
Emperor, followed by the generals who had formed his staff, ascended
into the grand apartments of the palace," etc.

The renewal of the traditions of the First Empire was incessantly
pursued. On the 21st of March, the President reviewed the garrison of
Paris and distributed the military medal which he had just instituted,
addressing the troops in a discourse in which he explained his object in
creating this badge of distinction; on the 10th of May, there was a
great military display on the Champ-de-Mars and the distribution of the
eagles of the colors to the army. A decree of the 12th of August, 1857,
instituted the medal of Saint Helena, given to those old soldiers of the
first Napoleon who had served in the campaigns from 1792 to 1815. The
Imperial Guard for the army, a reserve corps and corps d'élite, and the
Cent-Gardes à cheval for the service of the Imperial palace, had been
organized two years earlier. In 1867, at the culmination of the prestige
of the Empire, when "the whole _Almanach de Gotha_ passed through the
salons of the Tuileries," these crowned heads were honored with a grand
review of sixty-two thousand men in the Bois de Boulogne;--"the honors
were carried off by the artillery of the Guard; the chasseurs, the
zouaves, the _guides_, and the cuirassiers divided these
acclamations, ... all these soldiers, presenting the most brilliant
appearance, defiled before the King of Prussia, the Count Bismarck, the
general Baron von Moltke, the major-general Count von Goltz! And three
years later!..."

At the present day, the great number of these very red and blue
soldiers, officers and privates, always to be seen promenading in the
streets of Paris, the sentries on duty before all the principal public
buildings, the mounted dragoons, or _estafettes_, riding about the
streets with official messages, and the dragoons of the
Garde-Républicaine, the municipal force, on duty before the Opéra-house
on nights of performance, add greatly to the animated and picturesque
aspect of the capital. To those who were in the city in the early fall
of this year, the efficacy of a standing army to maintain public order
was abundantly demonstrated. There can be no doubt that the threatened
general strike of workmen and laborers, affecting all private and
municipal works, and even the success of the coming Exposition of 1900,
was prevented, almost in its inception, by the abundant protection
afforded those workmen who continued to labor. If it were necessary, a
single _ouvrier_, or _terrassier_, could have half a dozen soldiers or
police to protect him against the violence of those of his fellows _en
grève_, and the city was dotted with pickets of infantry and cavalry,
sergents de ville, sentinels before all unfinished buildings, railway
stations, etc. The arts of the demagogue are by no means unknown in this
land of universal suffrage, and frantic appeals were made to them on
this occasion, but the government remained entirely unimpressed, to its
praise be it said.

The drawing of the conscripts for the army by lot, and the revision of
those thus selected, were formerly conducted in the Hôtel de Ville, but
of late years have been apportioned among the _Mairies_ of the various
arrondissements. For those which offer no suitable locality for these
operations, the Palais de l'Industrie was used until its recent
demolishment. The _conseil de révision_ held its sittings in the great
Salle Saint-Jean at the back of the Hôtel de Ville, on the
rez-de-chaussée, or ground-floor. These sittings began at eight o'clock
in the morning, the members of the council took their places, according
to their rank, at a large table in the shape of a horseshoe, the general
or the colonel present at this function at the right of the president,
then the oldest conseiller général, the intendant, the mayor of the
arrondissement whose citizens were to come up for inspection, and who
was present in an advisory capacity; at the left, the conseiller of the
prefecture, the second conseiller général, the captain having charge of
the recruiting. Before the table the examining doctor took his stand,
and the patients presented themselves before him, after having been
measured, all of them as naked as they were born, and yet in a correct
military attitude, heels together, arms hanging by the side, the hands
open and the palms forward. A sufficient force of gendarmes kept this
somewhat incongruous parade in due order. And yet, in summer, a certain
odor arises which compels the least delicate of the judges to have
frequent recourse to flasks of smelling-salts judiciously provided. The
decisions of this court are without appeal, and are pronounced by the
president, either after having consulted his colleagues or in voicing
their common opinion. The conscripts are then directed by the gendarmes
toward the neighboring salle, where they resume their garments. The
_réservés_ pass into a special chamber, where a _médecin-major_
examines them carefully, either as to their eyesight or as to the action
of the heart. Attempts to avoid military service are comparatively rare
in the conseil de révision of the Seine, and the shammers are readily


Theoretically, there is an absolute equality of all classes before the
conscription. Even the law-givers have not been supposed to be exempt
from the obligation of military duty. The law of the 24th of July, 1895,
declared, in its first article, that no citizen was eligible as a member
of the Parlement unless he had fulfilled all the conditions of the
military regulations concerning active service. Those residing in
Algeria or in the colonies came under the special regulations of a law
of 1889. By article second, no member of the Parlement was to be called
upon to do military duty during the sessions of that body, unless it
were on the request of the Minister of War, by his own consent, and with
the approval of the Assemblée of which he was a member. By article
third, the members of the Parlement while doing military duty could not
participate in the deliberations, nor in the voting, of the Assemblée.
In case of convocation of the Assemblée Nationale, their military
service was suspended during the session of this body.

This general abolishing of social privileges to maintain the military
strength of the nation naturally works with a good deal of friction. On
the one hand are what might be called the inevitable tendencies of all
human society to oppose it and to violate it; and on the other, the
fierce watchfulness of the demagogues and the socialists to maintain it.
M. "Job's" amusing sketch on page 126 of the arrival of a rich conscript
at the caserne, adopts the evident and plausible view of the situation.
The new soldier brings along his footman to carry his equipments, the
officers of the regiment, colonel at the head, come out to welcome him,
the sentry on duty is petrified with astonishment. This was supposed to
be designed with reference to the celebrated M. Max Labaudy; but it is
curiously at variance with the real facts in his case. This too-rich
young man, the _Petit Sucrier_ of the Boulevards, was the son of a great
sugar refiner, deputy to the Chamber from the department of
Seine-et-Marne, and who left a fortune of more than two hundred millions
of francs. The young man in question spent his portion with commendable
freedom, but when he drew an unlucky number in the conscription he was
declared eligible, though it was said at the time that he was already
threatened with an affection of the lungs. He speedily fell ill; there
was immediately raised such a violent demagogic outcry that his illness
was feigned that "not one military commission dared to declare him unfit
for service, he was transferred from one hospital to another, from
Vernon to Rouen, from Rouen to Val-de-Grâce, from Val-de-Grâce to
Amélie-les-Bains, where he died,--died of his millions, it may be said,
for if he had been only a poor devil he would have been immediately
mustered out." The young man, fully recognizing the disability under
which he labored in the eyes of his cowardly and truckling superiors,
wrote pathetic letters from his hospitals, regretting his fatal

For the service of the city of Paris, there is a special _corps
d'élite_, the Garde Républicaine, comprising an infantry force of two
thousand two hundred and ten men and one of one hundred and ninety
mounted men. This is recruited from the sous-officiers, brigadiers,
corporals, and soldiers of the active army under certain conditions.
Each applicant must have served at least three years uninterruptedly in
the regular army, have an irreproachable record, be able to read and
write correctly, be at least twenty-four years of age and not over
thirty-five, and have a stature of, at least, 1 mètre, 66
centimètres--1.70 mètres for the cavalry. The members of this force have
special privileges of pay, pension, ability to compete for the grade of
brigadier and succeeding ones, and of resigning from the service after
having complied with the requirements of the recruiting law. Those who
serve as guards at the theatres and the race-courses have an additional
indemnity of from 75 centimes to 1 franc .25, according to the length
and nature of the service. It appeared, from statements published during
the strike in the capital in the autumn of 1898, that the soldiers and
police, of all grades, received, on an average, less pay than the
workmen whom they were protecting.


After a water-color by Georges Scott.]

In the multiplicity of military regulations of all kinds, and of men who
promulgate them and who are affected by them, there naturally appear
from time to time some of the aberrations and eccentricities of ordinary
human nature. Sometimes the French wit appreciates these oddities and
makes much of them; and sometimes it completely fails to perceive them.
One of the most distinguished of their generals, Poilloüe de Saint-Mars,
enjoys quite a little reputation for the _cocasseries_ of certain of his
orders. One of the most famous of these was that of the _soldat-tender_,
designed to enhance the prestige of the infantry officer. For this
purpose, he was authorized to select from among the men in his command
one of the "most robust and alert," who would be the "most sympathetic
and the most devoted to his officer, and who would follow him like his
shadow." This soldier-tender, who "would be to his officer what the
tender is to the locomotive," would carry his déjeuner and all his other
baggage, being relieved from the ordinary company equipment,--the
officer, thus lightened of everything but his weapons, would enjoy over
his men the same physical and moral advantage that his comrades of the
artillery and cavalry do by the excellence of their mounts and their
"aureola of an orderly," and those of the marine by the superiority of
their technical knowledge. "In campaign, the mission of the tender will
accentuate itself and aggrandize itself. He will be authorized to halt
if his officer fall wounded. He will assist him affectionately, will
bandage his wounds, confide him to the litter-bearers, and, to avenge
him, then hasten to rejoin his comrades." Practically, an arrangement is
made by which the infantry officer, in reviews and parades and while in
charge of detachments,--as may constantly be seen in the
streets,--marches along unencumbered by the side of his heavily-charged

Another of General de Saint-Mars's theories was that the foot of man had
been especially created by Providence for the pedal of the bicycle.
During the annual manœuvres of 1896, he issued an order to the mounted
escort of the foreign officers, recommending to them an extreme
cleanliness, even to the point of cleaning their finger-nails with "a
piece of paper folded in four." This was really a very practical
regulation, for the hands of the French soldier are capable of the most
extreme dirtiness. In this respect, they practice more than even the
usual neglect of their countrymen for the most elemental rules of
decency in washing. It may be said that they would be a much pleasanter
people to live with if they observed the Semitic regulations and
observances of their hated Jewish fellow-citizens.

In the present year, General Billot issued an order to the commandants
of the corps d'armée to request the chiefs of corps and of detachments
to take measures against those civilians who, by the unseemly cracking
of whips, caused the soldiers to fall off their horses and get hurt.
This measure calls attention at once to two national peculiarities,
nowhere more noticeable than in the streets of Paris,--the ungraceful
and apparently insecure equitation of the mounted soldiers, and the
childish, not to say idiotic, delight that the French driver and
teamster takes in cracking his whip. It is not only the reckless youth
who have in charge light wagons and trotting horses, but carters of
every grade may be seen amusing themselves by filling the air with an
ear-splitting series of detonations produced by their long lashes.
Naturally, the more intelligent beast they conduct soon learns that this
is not addressed to him, and plods along without even moving his ears
while his master is awakening all the echoes in the neighborhood. The
military horses are, apparently, more spirited or less intelligent, for
General Billot proposed to hold these inconsiderate civilians to strict
account, to make them pay the hospital expenses of his unhorsed
troopers, and even, if need should arise, to hold them responsible for
the pension charges that may ensue because of their intempestiveness.
The sudden irruptions of barking dogs are also responsible for many
equestrian accidents, and "the proprietors of _chiens hargneux_" are
also to be held to strict account for any diminution of the military
strength of France for which they may be responsible.

In the streets of the capital, the French soldier trots his horse
instead of cantering him, and his military bearing disappears as soon as
he gets in motion. There is no pretence of the fine old centaur theory,
that horse and rider are one; there is no attempt to preserve the
straight leg and stiff carriage which distinguishes the American
military seat; the _dragon_, or the _cuirassier_, stoops forward and
jounces up and down in his saddle like any amateur. The President's
cavalry escort comes down the Champs-Élysées bumpety-bump, with an
anxious and uneasy expression, instead of a proud and martial one. The
officers, of course, ride better, and look very fine cantering out to
the Bois in their peg-top red trousers and high boots; but it may be
noticed that the only occasion on which they abandon their swords is on
these equestrian promenades. Otherwise, officers and men are never seen
without their side-arms, excepting an occasional escort of a
wagon-train. These weapons are not allowed to trail, and there seems to
be no method known of hooking them to the belt so that the wearer can
walk comfortably; they are therefore carried in the left hand, or nursed
under the left arm. As they are very long and heavy, with steel
scabbards,--with the exception of the straight cuirassiers' swords, far
heavier, both in blade and grip, than any of the sabres of the First
Empire, and as the wearers are by no means always tall men, they are
sufficiently cumbrous. The shapeless, full trousers, and the leathern
leggings in imitation of boots, combined with the heavy shoes and the
inelastic tread of these dismounted cavaliers, give them an appearance
that an English drill sergeant would scarcely consider "smart." The
dragoons of the picked Garde Républicaine wear a blue uniform with the
Napoleonic horse-tail helmet, and high boots, and have a much more
efficient appearance; but there is not to be seen in Paris as truly
imposing and martial a figure as a mounted sentry of the Horse Guards on
duty. The undersized, callow, and youthful infantry soldiers seen in the
streets are such evident rustics, in spite of their uniform, that the
contemner of war drops an additional tear as he passes them. It may be
observed that this uniform, with its red and blue, white gloves and
white gaiters, is peculiarly adapted to being picked out by the enemy's
sharpshooter at the longest possible range in a green landscape. The
gloves and gaiters, however, promptly disappear in active service.

[Illustration: AN ESTAFETTE.]

The most coveted position in the French army is that of military
Governor of Paris, and the administration of this post, it seems, is
attended with all the inconveniences which arise from a peace
organization differing seriously from that which would be necessary in
time of war. These difficulties, it is contended by the military
writers, would largely disappear if more definite authority were given
this officer, if the grade of général d'armée were created, as in other
countries, and the holder made practically irremovable. To this the
civilians reply--and not without a certain show of reason, as the events
of the last few months have demonstrated--that it is probably safer for
the constituted authorities not to do so. The duties and
responsibilities of the Governor of Paris are very definite, engrossing,
and important; very different from those which would be adjudged to the
incumbent if he were officially appointed to a post similar to that
which the King of Prussia fills, or that held by Lord Wolseley in
England, replacing the Duke of Cambridge. As Governor of Paris, this
officer has a general staff which is not similar in composition to that
which he would have in active campaign in time of war; the officers who
constitute it are occupied with duties which bear but little analogy
with those they would be called upon to fulfil at the outbreak of

That union which makes strength, it is asserted, is unfortunately
lacking in the organization of the army. In its stead prevails an evil
which is called _particularisme_. The origin of this evil is in the
office of the Minister of War, where there is a _direction_ of the
infantry, one of the cavalry, and one of the intendance, or
administration. These directions do not converge; each one goes off with
its own theory and practice; consequently, there is wanting that
military unity, that community of sentiment, which the Russian General
Dragomirov calls "the comradeship of combat." This unity must
necessarily come from above, that is to say, from the officers; hence,
it has been proposed to educate them all in the same school, in hopes
that this community of origin may give rise to intimacies, to friendly
relations, and cause all jealousies and suspicions to disappear.
Fruitful emulation will replace noxious rivalries; all the
inconveniences which arise from the functioning of the present nurseries
of officers will be done away with. Perhaps it will do to divide the
army into two classes only; to instruct all the field combatants in
Saint-Cyr, and the officers for the fortresses at the École

These military critics are very positive in their statements. The _Revue
hebdomadaire_, M. Veuglaire in the _Revue encyclopédique_, Captain
Gilbert (G. G.) in the _Nouvelle Revue_, support each other in these
statements. The former, in an article on the instruction of the
officers, says that this instruction is very badly conducted; the
special editor of the _Nouvelle Revue_, after having demonstrated that
the competitions, the methods, the programmes, considered individually,
are characterized by grave defects, proceeds to show that, taken
together, there is a complete absence of co-ordination. "No general
view," he exclaims, "no common impulse, presides over the functioning of
our establishments of military education. Saint-Cyr, the École
Polytechnique, the École d'application, the École de guerre, are so many
entities absolutely independent; have distinct inspections, comités de
surveillance having no relations with each other; admitting only one
common attachment,--the Minister of War. Now, our ministers have a too
precarious and too brief existence to exercise any regulating influence
upon the schools." The administration varies according to the personal
qualities of the successive directors; sometimes it is the physical
exercises which are cultivated at the expense of the intellectual, and
sometimes the reverse. The general commanding at Saint-Cyr two or three
years ago, a former colonel of Zouaves, was, above all, a man of action,
and that which he exercised upon the school "was bad;" he was succeeded
by one of the most brilliant professors of tactics at the École de
guerre, who gave to the oral instruction an importance which it had
never had before, the evolutions, the perfectioning of the manual of
arms, the manœuvring in the field, the blacking of the shoes, and the
proper alignment of the beds in the caserne.

"At the École de Versailles, where are formed the future officers of
artillery and of engineers, there is to be found the same incoherence.
The changes brought about each year in the '_coefficients de
majoration_' demonstrate with how little spirit of consecutiveness these
affairs are managed. Having attributed more importance to the general
information than to the qualities of manœuvring, you are quite stupefied
to see admitted novices, bachelors who have failed, more or less, and
very mediocre subaltern officers, whilst excellent _maréchaux des
logis_, intelligent, vigorous, industrious, are refused, because the
blackboard intimidates them, because they design in but a mediocre
fashion, and have, concerning the rivers of Asia, only vague ideas and
perhaps erroneous ones," etc. Captain Gilbert has proposed, in order to
do away with the inconveniences attending this anarchic régime, to
institute, as in Germany, an inspector-general of all the schools, a
sort of high master of the military University. "In any case, it is
necessary to adopt some method that will put an end to a situation that
is truly dangerous."

The greatest danger of all, of course, lies "in the fault of the French
mothers, who do not give to the army soldiers enough," says another
writer, M. Armand Latour, "and, alas! it is to be foreseen that they
will be, in this respect, less and less generous in the future."

Of these military schools, the oldest is the _École superieure de
guerre_ at the _École militaire_, founded by Louis XV in 1751, under the
name of the _École royale militaire_. It was the king's intention to
devote this institution to the education of five hundred young
gentlemen, born without property, and, in preference, those who, having
lost their fathers in battle, had become the children of the State. In
addition to the five hundred young gentlemen, the hôtel was to be grand
and spacious enough to receive the officers of the troops to whom the
command was to be confided, the learned professors of every species who
were to be proposed for the instruction and exercise of all those who
would take any part in the spiritual and temporal administration of this
household. The architect Gabriel commenced the construction of the
buildings in the following year on what was then a portion of the plain
of Grenelle, and in the meanwhile the school was opened provisorily in
the Château de Vincennes. The architect was soon arrested by want of
funds; but the king applied to these expenses the proceeds of a tax on
playing-cards, those of a lottery,--the favorite method of raising funds
at this period,--and the revenues of the Abbaie de Laon, which was then
vacant. The first stone of the chapel, blessed by the Archbishop of
Paris, was not laid by the king, till 1769. The pupils were admitted in
1756, divided into eight classes; at the age of eighteen or twenty
years, they were graduated, and passed into the royal troops, receiving
a pension of two hundred livres on the funds of the school.

In the month of August, 1760, the king issued a long statement setting
forth the motives which had actuated him in drawing up the code of
regulations; in the following February, the Archbishop of Paris
published an equally long manifesto defining the functions and exercises
spiritual which the pupils were to practise. All this did not prevent
the king from modifying the organization of the school, in 1764;
recognizing the truth that a strictly military education was not the
best adapted to the wants of youth, and establishing the Collège de la
Flèche for a preparatory educational institution; in 1776, Louis XVI
suppressed the École, and distributed the pupils among various colleges
whose graduates were gentlemen cadets for the various royal
regiments. In 1778, the school was re-established, and the king granted
it an endowment of fifteen millions; a decree of March 26, 1790,
abolished the restriction of titles of nobility for all applicants, and
threw the entrance open to all sons of officers of the land and sea
forces. The Convention, by a decree of 13th of June, 1793, ordered the
sale of all the property from which the revenues of the school were
drawn, and converted the buildings into cavalry barracks and a depot for
flour. Under the Empire, Napoleon installed his Guard in the École
Militaire; in 1815, under the Restoration, the Garde Royale was lodged
there; under Louis Napoleon, the Imperial Guard again,--very important
demolitions and reconstructions having been found necessary between 1856
and 1865.

drawing by Georges Scott.]

The aim of the school, as at present conducted, is to develop the
highest military studies, and to form officers for the service of the
general staff. Captains and lieutenants of all arms of the two branches
of the service, having served a certain number of years, and being
acceptable to their superiors, are admitted to compete. Three failures
to pass the examination disqualify the aspirant.

The terrible Convention wished to have a military school of its own, and
by a decree of the 1st of June, 1793, it founded the École de Mars, in
the plain of Sablons. The idea had originated with Carnot; the
institution was intended to educate soldiers for the corps of artillery,
the cavalry, and the infantry. The pupils, from sixteen to seventeen
years of age, were there to receive a Revolutionary education, "all the
acquirements and the manners and customs of a Revolutionary soldier."
Their costume, at first, consisted of a blouse of white ticking and a
police cap. But this uniform was considered to be not sufficiently
military, and the painter, David, was commissioned to design another.
Being then in the classic and impracticable mood of his career, he
furnished, for these budding warriors, a tunic _à la polonaise_,
decorated with knots, _d'hirondelle_, to serve as epaulettes, and with
frogs, a waistcoat _à châle_, a fichu _à la Collin_, as a cravat; tight
pantaloons, disappearing in half-gaiters of black canvas. Each of these
articles was of a different color from all the others, the stuffs having
been procured by requisitions made among the merchants of the Halles.
The footman was armed with a Roman sword with a red scabbard, suspended
across his body by a black scarf, on which might be read: _Liberté_,
_Égalité_, over the image of a sword placed over a row of other swords.
The horsemen carried the sabre of the chasseurs à cheval. The
cartridge-box was in the Corsican shape. The pupils were all awakened at
daybreak by the report of a thirty-six-pound gun, which indicated the
hour of morning prayer; this prayer being the hymn that Méhul had set to
music, and which began with the invocation:

    "Sire of the Universe; intelligence supreme."

The École de Mars was abolished by a decree of the 23d of October, 1794.

Almost behind Saint-Étienne-du-Mont are the buildings of the famous
École Polytechnique, which, "to our French families, so essentially
_fonctionnaresques_, appears like the portals of the Administrative
Paradise: all the mothers dream of it for their sons." To be a graduate
of this institution is to have a certain title to distinction in the
intellectual and scientific world. It was founded by a decree of the
Convention, under the initiative of Monge, in March, 1794, and
consequently celebrated its centennial in 1894, with great ceremony. It
was instituted as a school of public works, a school of mines, maritime
construction, bridges and highways, the marine, the artillery, etc. It
was established in the Palais Bourbon, under the direction of
Lamblardie; the pupils were to be admitted between the ages of sixteen
and twenty, this limitation being afterward extended to the age of
twenty-five. Their number was fixed at four hundred. By a decree of
September 1, 1795, the name of the institution was changed to École
Polytechnique. Within the next two years, the annual allowance from the
State was fixed at three hundred thousand francs, and the number of
pupils at three hundred. Napoleon, who took a great interest in this
institution, entitling it his "hen with the golden eggs,"--and this hen
has remained the emblem of the school,--changed its organization
radically in 1804, and transferred its seat to the ancient college of
Navarre, founded by Jeanne de Navarre, wife of Philippe le Bel, and De
Boncourt. In 1840, in 1843, and 1844 the buildings were enlarged and
improved; by a decree of November, 1852, the school was reorganized and
made a dependency of the Ministry of War. Its general staff was composed
of a general of brigade, _commandant supérieur_; of a colonel or
lieutenant-colonel, _commandant en second_; of six captains and former
pupils who had the title of _inspecteurs des études_, and of six
adjutants, _sous-officiers_. Thirty-nine professors imparted instruction
in analysis, mechanics, descriptive geometry, physics, chemistry,
land-surveying, architecture, the military art, fortifications, plans,
French composition, the German language and design.


After a drawing by Georges Scott.]

The pupils were admitted through an examination; they could not be less
than sixteen nor more than twenty years of age, unless they had served
two years under the flag; in that case, the limit of age was fixed at
twenty-five. Since the re-establishment of the Republic, these
regulations have been somewhat modified. The number of pupils admitted
annually is now from two hundred and twenty to two hundred and fifty; it
is, perhaps, worthy of notice that the number of applicants, after
having reached its maximum, seventeen hundred and twenty-nine, in 1893,
has since greatly declined,--sixteen hundred and seventy in 1894,
fifteen hundred and twenty-six in 1895, and twelve hundred and
ninety-nine in 1896. The institution is now designed especially to
furnish trained men for the artillery, marine and land; for military
engineering; for maritime engineering; for the national marine; the
corps of hydrographic engineers; the commissariat of the marine; the
bridges and highways; mines; State manufactures, in which are included
tobacco, gunpowder, and saltpetre; and the telegraph. At its foundation,
in 1794, the pupils were not lodged in barracks, but billeted upon
private citizens, and they received an annual allowance of twelve
hundred francs; at the present day, this allowance is reduced to a
thousand francs, plus seven hundred for wardrobe and a hundred for
outfit. To those pupils who are unable to meet the necessary expenses,
an allowance, or _Bourse_, is accorded, provided the parents engage
themselves to repay the cost of his education in case the ex-Boursier
does not remain ten years in the service of the State. The duration of
studies is two years.

At their close, the choice of the graduate's profession is determined by
his standing in his class. Rather curiously, the civil professions are
generally preferred,--mines, bridges, and highways, telegraphs, and
manufacture of tobacco. The pupils admitted into the civil professions
enter special schools, École des Mines, des Ponts et Chaussées, etc.,
with the title of Élève Ingénieur, and a brevet of sous-lieutenant de
Réserve in the artillery or the Génie [Engineers]. The pupils who select
the military career are appointed sous-lieutenants, and pass two years
at the École d'Application of Fontainebleau.

A royal ordinance of May 6, 1818, created an École d'État-Major [General
Staff], which was established in the old Hôtel de Sens, near the Place
des Invalides. The school was destined to furnish officers to the
general staff of the army; its organization was modified in 1826, and
again in 1833. Under the Empire, it was designated as the École
d'Application d'État-Major; it is to-day part of the École Supérieure de

In the little village of Saint-Cyr, about three miles from Versailles,
is the famous military school of the same name, which had existed at
Fontainebleau since 1803, and which, in 1808, was transferred by
Napoleon to the ancient buildings of the institution for the education
of the female nobility founded by Madame de Maintenon, and for which
Racine composed _Esther_ and _Athalie_. This institution was, naturally,
abolished during the Revolution, and the buildings appropriated to the
reception of wounded soldiers. Under the Restoration, the school was
suppressed, but later reorganized, and definitely reorganized by the
decree of January 18, 1882. Its object is to educate officers for the
infantry, the cavalry, and the marine infantry. The number of pupils is
generally from seven hundred and fifty to eight hundred, from seventeen
to twenty-one years of age. The number of pupils admitted each year is
determined by the Minister of War. The requirements of the examination
for admission are sufficiently strict to make it somewhat difficult to
secure this honor. Each pupil receives an allowance of a thousand
francs, plus seven hundred francs for his outfit. Bourses and
half-Bourses, outfits and half-outfits, are accorded by the Minister of
War under certain conditions. Each pupil volunteers to do military
service for the space of three years. The duration of studies is two
years. The pupils graduate with the grade of sous-lieutenant, and select
their corps and their garrison according to their standing in their

water-color by L. Sabattier.]

The pupils of this school, with their jaunty white plumes, add much
to the liveliness of certain quarters of Paris on Sundays and fête-days.
Permission for these outings is greatly appreciated, and, it seems, is
by no means easy to obtain. Many formalities have to be complied with
before _Cyrard_,--as these gay young men call themselves,--in his neat
uniform, can set out for the conquest of Paris. From time to time,--but
not too frequently,--the _Poireau_, the general commanding, put in a
good humor by some event which has flattered his professional pride in
the school, grants a general permission to all the pupils for an outing,
a _sortie galette_, without any regard for _moyennes_ and punishments.
This qualification of _galette_ derives its name from the fact that this
general permission specially affects the pupils _fins_ or _fines
galette_, whose ranking in their classes does not always attain the
desired altitude. The _galettes_, as happens in other educational
institutions, frequently make the best officers. One day, a good while
ago, it is related, an unfortunate _melon_, wandering about in the great
space of the cour Wagram of the school buildings, found himself in the
midst of a group of the elder pupils. "Monsieur," said a corporal to
him, haughtily, "what are you doing here? you have the appearance of a
toad in a basket of strawberries!" The humble _saumâtre_ thought it
better to reserve his reply to this mortifying comparison for a later
date. A respectable number of years afterward, the President of the
République, reviewing the garrison of Orléans, reined up his horse
before an old colonel with a white beard, and said to him point-blank:
"Well, colonel, have I still the appearance of a toad in a basket of
strawberries!" The humble _saumâtre_ was now the Maréchal de Mac-Mahon.

Sometimes the President of the République, or the Minister of War, on
the occasion of some solemnity, requests the _Poireau_ to grant a
_sortie galette_. Sometimes a personage _croco_--that is to say,
distinguished foreigner--visits the school; then the cry is: "_Calot,
les hommes! calot! sortie galette!_"

On these great occasions, the pupils who have secured this coveted
privilege of an outing assemble in the cour d'Austerlitz or the cour
Wagram to be formally inspected by the captain of the week. "Oh! this
inspection!" says an ex-élève; "I know nothing more terrible, more
feared, and more to be feared. How many laborious efforts, how many
cherished hopes, are made naught before this inflexible judge, who, for
the slightest spot, the smallest grain of dust, transforms into bitter
sadness the secret exultation of a heart which felt itself full of the
joy of existence! One day, when I had painfully acquired my _petites
moyennes_, the captain halted in front of me. I was confident; I felt
myself to be irreproachable. 'Give me your promission!' said he,
suddenly. And, before my eyes, sarcastically, he tore into fragments
this talisman of my liberty;--it appeared that the contact of my cheek
with the collar of my capote had left on the latter the almost
imperceptible touch of a little rice-powder! There was nothing for me to
do but to go back to my chamber, resume my working costume, and increase
the number of _petits-cos_, prisoners."

Without going into the infinite details of the administration of justice
in the capital, it may suffice to indicate briefly the different
attributes and functions of the four great courts of Paris. These are:
Cour de Cassation, which sits in the Palais de Justice; the Cour des
Comptes, at the Palais-Royal; the Cour d'Appel, at the Palais de
Justice; and the Cour d'Assises, at the Palais de Justice. The duties of
the first of these--at the present moment occupying so large a share of
the attention of the civilized world--are briefly stated to be "to
maintain the sound and uniform application of the laws." This court sits
in judgment on all demands for the quashing of judgment and decrees
rendered by courts of the last resort; it decides upon the demands for
transferral from one court to another, in case of legitimate suspicion
or for the benefit of the public security, conflicts of jurisdiction,
and decisions of judges. It has the power of annulling all procedures in
which the legal forms have been violated, and all judgments which are in
direct contradiction with the text of the law. It can take cognizance
only of questions of law, and not of those of facts and material
details; after having quashed a judgment, it sends the case back to
another court of the same order as that of which the decision has just
been annulled. This new decision may be again attacked and set aside,
but to prevent the endless repetition of this process, the tribunal or
the court to which the case is referred after a second reversal must
conform on the point of law with the decision of the Cour de Cassation.

It can pronounce upon the decisions of all the tribunals of the
judiciary, properly so called, but cannot take cognizance of any
decision of administrative justice. The decisions of the military
tribunals can be brought before it only by non-military persons
appealing against the incompetence of the military jurisdiction in their
case. It can quash the decisions of Juges de Paix only when they exceed
their power. It cannot determine upon the decisions of voluntary
arbitrators, who are not considered as legal tribunals, nor upon
judgments which are not definitive and conclusive, or which have
acquired the authority of the famous _chose jugée_,--decision rendered.

The Cour de Cassation consists of a first President, three Presidents of
Chambers, forty-five Conseillers divided among the three chambers (of
Requêtes, Civil and Criminal), a Procureur général, six Avocats
généraux, a Greffier en chef, and four Greffiers. The Chambre des
Requêtes sits in judgment in all civil matters not excepted by some law,
if the appeal is admissible. In this case, it sends back, by a decision
the grounds of which are not given, the case to the Chambre Civile.
Otherwise, it rejects the appeal by a decree the grounds of which are
given. It renders judgment in electoral matters, and, within certain
limits, in various special affairs.

The Chambre Civile decides definitely upon all appeals received and sent
to it by the Chambre des Requêtes, it takes cognizance directly of
appeals in questions of expropriation for the public utility, of appeals
brought, in questions of law only, in civil matters, by the _procès
gallican_ before the Cour de Cassation; of appeals, when there are
grounds, in disciplinary matters.

The Chambre Criminelle decides directly upon appeals in affairs
criminal, _correctionnelle_, and of the police, upon demands for
revision in judicial decisions and transferrals from one tribunal to
another, in cases in which the legal powers have been exceeded and the
decisions are annulled under proceedings instituted by order of the
Minister of Justice. In certain cases, determined by the law, the three
Chambres are united in a solemn audience to sit as the Conseil Supérieur
de la Magistrature.

Since 1883, the Cour de Cassation has constituted the Conseil Supérieur
de la Magistrature and has been in possession of all disciplinary powers
with regard to those magistrates who cannot be removed from their
offices, of the Cour de Cassation, of the Cours d'Appel, Tribunaux de
Première Instance, and Juges de Paix. The Conseil Supérieur determines,
the three Chambres being reunited, upon the requisitions of the
Procureur général; representing the government. No irremovable
magistrate of the courts and tribunals can be displaced excepting upon
the decision of the Conseil Supérieur. This removal does not entail
any change of functions nor diminution of position or income. The
magistrates can be placed upon the retired list, for grave and permanent
infirmities, by the decision of the Conseil Supérieur.

[Illustration: LA VIE À LA CASERNE: LE RÉVEIL. After a drawing by
Georges Scott.]

It may be interesting to know that the salary of the first President is
thirty thousand francs; of the Presidents of Chambres, twenty-five
thousand francs each; of the Conseillers, eighteen thousand francs each;
of the Procureur général, thirty thousand francs; of the Avocats
généraux, eighteen thousand francs each; of the Greffier en chef and the
four commis-Greffiers, together, thirty thousand francs.

It is before the Chambre Criminelle of this court that the inquiry into
the case of Captain Dreyfus has been conducted; and one of the many
frantic appeals of the anti-revisionists, anxious to prevent another
trial at any cost, has been to have the case transferred before the full
Cour de Cassation,--which has been finally granted by the government.

The Palais de Justice, in which this august tribunal sits, shelters also
the Cour d'Assises, the buildings of the Cour d'Appel, the prisons of
the Conciergerie and of the Dépôt, the apartments devoted to the service
of the Parquet, of the Juges d'Instruction, the smaller ones belonging
to the library and to the Salle du Conseil des Avocats, etc., and
encloses jealously the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle, the slender spire of
which and the great angel rise so incongruously over these secular
buildings devoted to windy and dusty Law.

Through the great gilded gates which from the Boulevard du Palais lead
into the Cour du Mai the visitor enters this ancient building, now
almost completely rebuilt by the restorations which have been going on
since 1840. Turning to the right, he passes into the great Salle des
Pas-Perdus, and from that into the long Galerie des Prisonniers, which
traverses the whole length of the Palais from east to west, and which
was originally constructed by Philippe le Bel. This gallery gives access
to the halls of audiences of the three Chambres of the Cour de Cassation
and the Galerie Saint-Louis. A curious detail of municipal
administration is connected with this supreme court. Though from an
architectural point of view it is undoubtedly an integral part of the
Palais de Justice, it is considered from an administrative point of view
as a separate construction, appertaining to the direction of civil
edifices, having its separate budget for construction and maintenance
and its special architect. This variety of budgets and services extends
throughout the building, the different institutions and tribunals under
its roofs being considered as belonging to different branches of the
administration. The State alone has charge of that portion of the
building occupied by the Cour de Cassation; that occupied by the Cour
d'Appel comes under the authority of the Minister of the Interior, since
the costs of the maintenance of this court are supplied by a group of
the departments of the nation. The department of the Seine and the City
of Paris have each their portion in the costs of construction and of
maintenance of the building, that of the city being by no means the
lightest. The Galerie des Prisonniers, for example, on the ground-floor
appertains both to the City of Paris and to the State, since on one side
it communicates with the Cour de Cassation; the basement, which is a
dependency of the Dépôt and of the Conciergerie, belongs both to the
city and to the department of the Seine, and the upper story is equally
divided in its allegiance. So that, if there is a question of replacing
a tile in the pavement, of repairing a ceiling, or of repainting a wall,
the architect is obliged to divide the cost, to a centime, between the
State, the Minister of the Interior, the City of Paris, and the
department of the Seine, each in its due and exact proportion.

The Cour de Cassation is very handsomely lodged, as is its due, the
Salle des Délibérations, with its heavy ceiling of carved and gilded
wood, being one of the most important and luxurious in the Palais, and
the Chambre d'Audience having for its plafond the celebrated
_Glorification de la Loi_ of Paul Baudry. The literal and realistic
magistrate who doffs his cap in the midst of all these pretty
allegories, at the pedestal of the Law, wears the gown of the President
of the Cour de Cassation.

"If, in the middle of the afternoon, you should issue from the Salle des
Pas-Perdus, your ears buzzing with the incessant hubbub which fills it
for three hours every day, deafened by the shrill ringing of the bell
which calls the attorneys in different directions, and after having
followed the long Gallery _des Prisonniers_, you should penetrate into
the passages of the Cour de Cassation, you would be astonished at the
extraordinary contrast presented by these two portions of the Palais,
such near neighbors. Over there, the noise and the tumult of the crowd
of lawyers, the arguing of cases and the spectators; here, the dull
silence of deserted edifices.

"It would seem that Jurisprudence, a magician with somnolent powers, had
steeped in lethargic slumber his faithful servitors, and the old
councillors who nod their heads, during the hearing, in their majestic
seats, wearing the toque of black velvet the peculiar form of which has
procured for them the disrespectful appellation of 'lancers,' the
occasional attendants who pass silently through the long corridors, the
solitary soldier of the Garde Municipale seated on a bench in the
gallery Saint-Louis, frightened almost at the solemnity of the place,
all seem but sorrowful shadows guarding the sanctuary of the Supreme
Court. Even the spectators complete the impression of profound ennui
which disengages itself from the very walls; here are none of the ardent
or tedious pleadings, the passionate or cheerful discussions, which keep
alive the attention of counsellors and judges in the Cour d'Appel and
the Tribunal. Facts, actions, with their complications and their
peculiar interests, with their infinite variety, are here banished from
the argument. The Law here takes an ample revenge; here are discussed
only matters of pure legislation, profound decrees of the supreme court,
or the interminable argumentations of authors who have produced sapient
dissertations upon the uttermost juridical disputation.--It is the
triumph of the ancient classic controversy, for discussions are still
held in the supreme court _pro et contrà_, to conclude in _baralipton_,
in the same manner as in the ancient Sorbonne;--Latin alone is wanting
to the festival.

"Pleadings, indeed, have but little importance before the Cour de
Cassation: it is the _mémoire_, laboriously and lengthily composed by
the avocat, which is the _pièce de résistance_ in every case, because it
sets forth a complete exposé of the affair and the minute discussion of
each one of the juridical problems which it brings up, with infinite
divisions and subdivisions. The monotonous reading of the
Conseiller-rapporteur being finished, the avocat proceeds to develop his
mémoire, and the Avocat général states his conclusions; then, if the
question present only mediocre juridical interest, the conseillers
gather in a circle in the centre of the Salle d'Audience to discuss,
adopt, or reject the judgment prepared in advance by the
Rapporteur;--this is what is called _faire le rondeau_. And there may be
seen, in the unshaded light of the hall, under the ceiling in gilded
oak of the Chambre Civile, these gray or white heads agitating
themselves, and Passion (passion inspired by abstract law!) reappears.
The apathy, the somnolence of a few minutes ago, have disappeared, and
these hoary old men find again, for the moment, an ardor which seemed to
have been forever laid to sleep....


After the painting by Maurice Orange.

The Médaille de Sainte-Hélène was, by a decree, in 1857, a special
distinction awarded to all survivors of the wars of 1792 to 1815.]

"Silence, a silence which is scarcely troubled by the sound of the
discreet footfalls of the rare promenaders, an icy chill, are the
inalienable characteristics of the locality in which sits the first
court of the justice of France. Respect it, do as do those who frequent
it willingly or because of the necessities of the daily task, and issue
from these deserted galleries, speaking in an undertone, and with the
finger upon the lips, in order not to trouble the repose of its

The Cour des Comptes, which sits in the Palais-Royal, ranks immediately
after the Cour de Cassation, and enjoys the same prerogatives. It is the
modern representative of the Chambres des Comptes of the old monarchy
and of the Commission de Comptabilité Nationale which replaced these
Chambres at the period of the Revolution. It was created by a law of
September 16, 1807, and constitutes at once an administrative tribunal
charged with the verification and examination of certain financial
accounts of the administration and an institution of the body-politic
intended, by its control over the financial measures of the
administration and other administrative accounts which it is not called
upon to examine, to advise the executive and legislative powers. It may
therefore be considered as the superintendent of the public fortune and
of its financial measures.

It consists of a first President, three Presidents of Chambres, eighteen
Conseillers Maîtres, twenty-four Conseillers Référendaires of the first
class, sixty of the second class, a Procureur général, fifteen Auditeurs
of the first class, ten of the second class, a Greffier en chef, etc.
The salaries of these officials are about the same as those of the Cour
de Cassation. The first President has the supreme direction of all the
deliberations of the court, as well as of the police and general
surveillance. The court is divided into three Chambres, having each a
President and six Conseillers Maîtres who alone have a voice in the
deliberations and constitute, themselves, the members of the
administrative tribunal sitting in judgment. The deliberations are not
public. The Presidents and Conseillers cannot be removed, and are placed
on the retired list, the Presidents and Maîtres at seventy-five years of
age, and the Référendaires at seventy years. The court addresses an
annual report to the chief of the State, in which it sets forth those
matters which, in the course of its examinations, have seemed to it
worthy of the attention of the government, and advocates those reforms
and ameliorations in the administration of the public finances which
have been suggested to it by its consideration of the various facts and

The Cour d'Appel, at the Palais de Justice, includes in its jurisdiction
the departments of the Aube, Eure-et-Loir, Marne, Seine-et-Marne,
Seine-et-Oise, Yonne-et-Seine. In all cases, the decrees are rendered by
the magistrates deliberating, in groups of some odd number,--at least
five, including the President. In all civil and commercial cases, appeal
can be made from all decisions rendered by the tribunals of the
arrondissements or of commerce, by referees, judicial reports upon cases
in litigation in which the amount involved exceeds fifteen hundred
francs of injury to the person or to personal property, or sixty francs
of revenue from real estate.

This court is composed of a first President, nine Presidents of
Chambres, and sixty-two Conseillers, divided among nine Chambres, of
which seven decide upon civil and commercial appeals, one upon appeals
_Correctionnels_, and the ninth is the Chambre des Mises en Accusation,
before which are brought criminal cases after they have passed the stage
of preliminary examination. The Parquet connected with the Cour d'Appel
consists of the Procureur général, seven Avocats généraux, and eleven
Substituts of the Procureur général. The Cour d'Appel sits in judgment
as a court of first and last resort in all cases of misdemeanors,
involving a legal penalty, committed by the magistrates of the Cour de
Cassation, of the Cour d'Appel, of the Tribunal de Première Instance, by
the Juges de Paix, the Préfets, the Grand Officers of the Legion of
Honor, generals, archbishops, bishops, presidents of Consistoires in the
Protestant and Jewish organizations.

In each department of France there is a Cour d'Assises to try those
individuals who are sent before it by the Chambre des Mises en
Accusation of the Cour d'Appel. In the departments generally these
courts sit every three months, and more frequently if occasion requires.
The Cour d'Assises of the department of the Seine holds its sittings
every day, in the Palais de Justice. This court consists, first, of
three Conseillers of the Cour d'Appel, the first sitting as President,
the two others as Assesseurs, designated every three months, the
President by the Garde des Sceaux, the Assesseurs by the first
President; second, of a representative of the Ministère Public, selected
among the Avocats généraux or the Substitutes of the Procureur général;
third, of a Greffier; fourth, of a jury composed of twelve citizens
selected by lot by the President from the list of thirty-six _jures_
designated for the session. After the examination of the accused, the
depositions of the witnesses, the Réquisitoire of the Ministère Public
and the presentation of the defence, the jury retires to deliberate upon
the probable guilt of the prisoner and the extenuating circumstances.
When the jurors have agreed upon their verdict, the President causes the
prisoner to be brought back into court, the Greffier reads to him the
conclusion of the jury, and the court pronounces his acquittal, or
sentences him to the penalty due the crime of which he has just been
convicted, even when this penalty is only a matter of police regulation.

The decision of the jury is supposed to be final, but when a prisoner is
found guilty and the court is convinced that the jury is entirely in
error, it may set the judgment aside and postpone the case to another
session. Against the sentence of the court, appeal may be made to the
Cour de Cassation. The Cour d'Assises exercises full jurisdiction in all
cases criminal, _correctionnelle_, or of the _Simple Police_, excepting
in the case of some special law. It takes cognizance, moreover, of
actions qualified as crimes, of actions qualified as misdemeanors which
a special law places under its jurisdiction,--misdemeanors committed
during its sessions, political misdemeanors and those of the press,
excepting offences against the public morality and slander, or insults
offered to individuals, which all come before the Tribunal


After a drawing by Pierre Vidal.]

One of the oldest and most characteristic features of the French
administration of justice, the _juge d'instruction_, has but recently
disappeared. The very extensive powers of this magistrate, but vaguely
defined by law and custom, lent themselves readily to the abuses which
undoubtedly constituted a grave defect in the criminal jurisprudence of
the nation. To him were confided all the details of the preliminary
investigation of a crime and the detection of the criminal, the seeking
for clues, the right of search, of arrest of any suspected characters,
of summoning witnesses and experts, of interrogating the accused,
and--but too generally--of wresting a confession from him by any means
that might present themselves. One of the methods employed was the
ostentatious consultation before him of a blank memorandum which, the
accused was given to understand, contained the complete avowal of a
confederate. In the famous _affaire Wilson_ of a few years ago,
concerning the alleged sale of decorations of the Legion of Honor, M.
Vigneau, the official charged with this investigation, telephoned to one
of these purchasers of red ribbons in the assumed character of M.
Wilson. These irregular practices, however, it is asserted, were mostly
practised by younger and more inexperienced Juges d'Instruction, and
were greatly disapproved by the graver and older magistrates. The
accused--who not infrequently would declare subsequently that the
statements which he was reported to have made by the _curieux_, in
thieves' slang, were but a distorted version of his words--was
considered to have an additional security in the presence of the
magistrate's _greffier_, or clerk, who took down his testimony, and in
the fact that he himself need not sign this statement if he considered
it inexact.

It was recognized that the qualities, physical, moral, and mental,
possessed by a truly able and upright Juge d'Instruction were
necessarily exceptional. He should have a very extensive judicial
knowledge and experience, he should be gifted with powers of precision,
of observation, of decision, of activity, of patience, and of evenness
of temper. He should be affected by nothing, surprised by nothing. His
bodily health should be sound, his brain cool, and his digestion
excellent. He was liable to be summoned from his bed at any hour of the
night to investigate a new crime; and when he entered his cabinet
tranquilly at one o'clock in the afternoon, it was possible that a
minute afterward he would be leaving it hastily on the trail of a fresh
offence against justice. In Paris, these magistrates, twenty-eight in
number,--with the exception of two who sat in the Petit
Parquet,--occupied the three upper stories of the Palais; in the
antechamber of each, under the eye of an attendant, or _garçon de
bureau_, might be found waiting, more or less impatiently, a number of
witnesses and persons interested, from all classes of society. In the
inner room, before the magistrate seated at his desk, and flanked by his
greffier, the prisoner or the suspected criminal, guarded by two
soldiers of the Garde Municipale, would be undergoing his
examination,--badgered, bullied, cross-examined, threatened, matching
his dull and unaccustomed wits against the keener, trained, and
experienced ones of the judge, outmatched at every point, and but too
frequently failing to demonstrate his innocence which it should have
been as much the care of his examiner as his own to demonstrate.


After a water-color by Pierre Vidal.]

Lowest in the scale of the courts of justice of the capital, but by far
the most industrious, is the Tribunal de Simple Police. Before it appear
the minor offenders against the law, those whose penalties, when
convicted, attain a maximum of fifteen francs, or at the very worst,
five days of prison. Usually, however, they range from about a fine of
three francs if the culprit appear before the court, to five francs if
he be condemned by default. The difference is not sufficiently great,
usually, to compensate him for the expenditure of time and trouble in
appearing, and he permits Justice to take her course without protest.
These offenders are usually hotel-keepers, shopkeepers, cab-drivers,
concierges, small proprietors, etc.; their crimes consist in neglecting
the proper sweeping of their sidewalks, in shaking a carpet out of a
window, in watering a window-plant too copiously, in putting up the
shop-shutters too late, in permitting the family dog to go about without
collar and muzzle,--crimes usually committed in honest ignorance of the
police regulations thus violated. As there exists but one Tribunal de
Police for the twenty arrondissements of Paris, we are not surprised to
learn that this court is the busiest one in France. The number of
offenders who appear before it annually averages from forty-three to
forty-five thousand.

But, as it does not sit on Sundays, Mondays, fête-days, and but three
days a week during the vacation, the total number of hearings amounts to
two hundred and forty annually. This makes nearly two hundred cases for
each sitting, and as the sittings last from an hour and a half to three
hours, the court has about one minute to devote to each case. To enable
it to dispose of them with this rapidity, it classifies the offenders,
and tries all those accused of the same offence at once. The Ministère
Public announces: "Are accused of violation of the ordinance of police
regulating public cabs: Pierre, Paul, Jacques," etc. From time to time,
a voice from the audience answers to one of these names: "Present!" This
roll-call finished, the Juge de Paix, who has marked on his list the
names of the absentees, reads these names again and condemns them all by
default to the maximum penalty. Then there is a second roll-call of
those who are present. The Ministère Public calls on all those who have
anything to say to come forward; two or three of the offenders advance,
stammer out some excuses which are scarcely listened to, and this second
list is condemned in a lump to the regulation minimum penalty. By this
simple process, the forty-five thousand cases are tried in the course of
the year.

The Tribunal de Simple Police is provided with apartments on the
ground-floor, almost in the basement, of the Palais de Justice, under
the stone arches that date from Saint-Louis, and where the atmosphere is
always damp, chilly, and sombre. The Juges de Paix, in addition to their
civil functions, are charged with sitting in judgment upon these petty
misdemeanors, and they take their places in the Tribunal alternately, a
week at a time. In addition to the Juges de Paix, the court is composed
of three Commissaires de Police, delegated by the Procureur général, who
fulfil the functions of the Ministère Public, one as Chef de Service,
the two others as Substituts, and of a Greffier en chef and of four

A grade higher in the judiciary scale is the Tribunal Correctionnel,
which sits in the wing of the Palais on the south side of the court of
the Sainte-Chapelle, and which occupies itself with what may be called
the bourgeois of crime and poverty. The sittings of this court draw so
many spectators that the visitor is frequently stopped at the entrance
by the Garde Municipal, who says: "_C'est complet!_" like an omnibus
conductor when his vehicle is full. Four Chambers are devoted to the
sittings of this court, two on the first floor, and two on the second;
on each of these stories is a Salle des Pas-Perdu. All these halls of
justice are thronged by such a compact and democratic crowd that one of
the attributes of the magistrates is a little flask of vinegar or
smelling-salts placed on the bench, by the side of the Code, before each
of the three judges of the Tribunal and before the Substitut. The
avocats do not enjoy this privilege, nor the Greffiers unless they have
been very long in the service of the court. Here, also, the pressure of
affairs is so great that the judges leave the bench, saying to their
consciences: "Well! those who are innocent can appeal!" The terror and
ennui of the law are, however, so great that but very few of those
condemned do thus appeal. One of the characteristics of this tribunal of
the Police Correctionnelle is the number of _avocats raccrocheurs_ who
infest it in the search for clients of any degree, and who seem to bear
a close resemblance to that unsavory class known in New York as "Tombs
lawyers," or "shysters."

In the rear of the Palais, looking out on the Place Dauphine, is the
Chambre des Appels de Police Correctionelle. The Salle d'Audience is a
vast, chilly, and cheerless hall in which the appellant follows
anxiously the retrial of his case in the formal and dispassionate résumé
of the magistrates. The president begins by interrogating him
courteously on his age, profession, etc.; then he says, with equal
civility, turning toward one of his colleagues: "We will now hear
Monsieur le Conseiller-rapporteur." One of the group of seven
counsellors thereupon proceeds to read a strictly legal and impartial
summing-up of the whole case, quite devoid of literary ornament or of
personal observation; when he has finished, the president, turning again
to the appellant, directs him to arise and interrogates him summarily on
the principal points of his affair. During this examination, the
counsellors, for the first time, turn their attention upon the
appellant, but very briefly, and then, like magistrates whose judgment
is quickly enlightened, resume the various occupations in which they
have been engaged. Then the president calls upon the counsel for the
defence; to him replies M. l'Avocat général. After these two orations,
pro and con, the president announces that "the court will now
deliberate;" all the counsellors rise, and, after some moments of
consultation in a circle behind the arm-chair of the president, retire
in procession into the Chambre du Conseil. This journey indicates that
there is a question of law to be considered. Otherwise, the decision
would have been rendered immediately, upon the spot.


After a photograph.]

The poor _prévenu_ draws favorable auguries from this solemn
deliberation. But his hopes are generally dashed; the court, usually,
retires into the Chambre du Conseil only to correct the law, while
affirming the decree, of the lower court. The president re-enters, the
_dossier_ of the case under his arm, and followed by his six
counsellors; he proceeds to read the decision of the court, setting
forth that, while the reasonings of the lower court are entirely
erroneous, its conclusions are, nevertheless, irrefutable. Sometimes,
however, this court, called the "Chamber of Bishops" by Henri Rochefort,
demonstrates its judicial independence by overturning the decisions
brought before it, even though they may be sustained by the popular
verdict,--as it did in the case of M. Wilson.

The jury system of France resembles, in a general way, in its alleged
safeguarding of the public liberties, and in its injustices,
inequalities, and obstinate bringing to the service of Themis the
uncertain aid of Chance and of Prejudice, that of the United States.
Each year, in each canton of France, these generally unwilling aids in
the administration of justice are selected among the respectable
citizens by a council composed of Maires, Juges de Paix, and Conseillers
généraux. Their names, forwarded to the central judicial authority, are
subjected to a second revision, by a commission sitting in the chief
town or the capital. In this manner is obtained the "general list of the
jury;" from this is drawn by lot, every three months, and in Paris every
fortnight, the jury of each criminal session, composed of thirty-six
titular jurors and four supplementary. All citizens, having the required
qualifications, between the ages of thirty and seventy, are obliged to
serve, under a penalty of five hundred francs. The juror receives a very
small sum for travelling expenses if the court is at a distance from his
residence, but nothing at all if it be in his neighborhood.
Consequently, these arbitrary summonses in the name of Justice are
viewed, generally, with as much disfavor by the recipients thereof as in
other countries, with the exception of the members of some such leisure
class as retired officers on half-pay. The tendencies of certain classes
of jurors are well recognized, the law and the evidence being as they
may;--thus, before a jury of peasants and farmers, the young girls
guilty of infanticide are nearly always acquitted, the rural economy
entertaining a natural aversion to illegitimate children, reared at the
public cost to become vagabonds at the age of fifteen. On the contrary,
incendiaries, counterfeiters, and those accused of assaults upon young
children in the fields, receive no mercy at the hands of these honest
countrymen. The severity of the juries of Versailles is well known.
Composed of market-gardeners, ex-officers, and retired shopkeepers and
employés, living in small cottages in the suburbs, and exposed night and
day to the incursions of the Parisian marauders, they give always to the
prosecution the verdict which it demands, and sometimes even more. There
was a case, a few years ago, of three young rascals who set out from
Paris to assassinate an old innkeeper of Argenteuil; the Ministère
Public claimed one of them for the guillotine, but the Versailles jury
gave him all three.

As to the Parisian jury, its composition is naturally more complex, but
its results are said to be equally unreliable. Its deliberations are not
affected by any spirit of caste or class, since these distinctions are
not sharply enough defined; "but it is at the mercy of a fine talker.
This will not be the avocat, rarely listened to, nor even the Avocat
général, offensive in the eyes of the Parisian _frondeur_ as the
representative of authority. No; it is among its own members that the
jury will select this veritable chief, some reasoner with abundant and
facile speech, discovering in everything concealed meanings, hidden
allusions, and all the more dangerous for the good sense of his
colleagues that he has an elegant talent for paradoxes."

The Parisian jury is also, it appears, peculiarly under the influence of
the fashions and customs of the day, no matter what they may be. For
several years it was almost impossible to secure a verdict of conviction
in the so-called "passionate dramas;" the heroines of vitriol and the
revolver passed with impunity before these complaisant juries. The
Parquet was obliged to withdraw most of these cases from trial by jury
and send them to one of the Chambres of the Tribunal Correctionnel,
which did not fail to do them justice. The notoriety, the celebrity, of
a case have also a great effect upon these citizen jurors. If a crime
has been committed on some fête-day, or in the midst of a ministerial
crisis, the twelve jurors take into favorable consideration all the
extenuating circumstances and render a verdict of acquittal. If, on the
contrary, the crime has attracted much popular attention, been exploited
in the daily papers, with portraits of the accused, of his victim, etc.,
then is the condemnation to death inevitable. "The Parisian jury is
nothing but a great child whom it is necessary to keep in
leading-strings and to watch very closely."

One of the most picturesque and characteristic features in the train of
justice, one in which the French themselves have always taken a lively,
though a professedly disparaging, interest,--as befits a military
nation,--is the black-robed multitude of _avocats_, the attorneys, the
lawyers. The nature of their profession, their professional costumes,
certain peculiarities of whisker and absence of moustache, all those
qualities which, in all countries, offer cheap handles to easy wit at
the expense of the members of this judicial order, all these unite to
lend them an interest, of various kinds, as a class somewhat apart.
Their intelligent, shrewd, generally unimaginative heads, under their
cylindrical black caps, offer endless studies to the physiognomists and
the caricaturists. Their services are indispensable for all those who
seek the aid of the law. At Paris, the avocats alone have the right to
plead for litigants, before all the Cours d'Appel and the Tribunaux
Civils. They can also plead before the military, commercial, and
administrative tribunals and the Conseils de Prud'hommes. The only
exceptions are the Conseil d'État and the Cour de Cassation.

The Ordre des Avocats, with its monopoly of this privilege, claims to
date back to the year 518 A.D., and to have had for sponsor an uncle of
the Emperor Justinian. It was restored by Charlemagne and continued
under various names: _Causidici_, _Avantparliers_, _Plaidoux_, and
_Chevaliers de la loi_, and was constituted the Ordre des Avocats in the
time of Saint-Louis to distinguish it from the various confraternities
of artisans which were then being organized. A decree of the Assemblée
Constituante dated September 2, 1790, announced that "the men of the
law, formerly called _avocats_, shall not form any order or corporation,
nor shall they wear any peculiar costume in the exercise of their
functions." This eclipse, however, was not of long duration. The former
avocats had drawn up a list of the recognized members of their
profession in good standing, this list became the official one, and the
roll of the Ordre des Avocats was reconstituted by the law of the 22d
Ventôse, year XII, reorganizing the law schools, the Écoles de Droit.

By the word _avocat_ is designated those lawyers who, after having
obtained the title of Licencié en Droit, have taken the professional
oath before a Cour d'Appel. But, in order to be able to plead, they are
required, in addition, to be admitted to the bar of the tribunal or the
court. The Avocats-Consultants are those who, not having been
admitted to the bar, cannot plead in the courts, but give legal
consultations in their offices. The _Avoués_, attorneys, are appointed
by the court or tribunal to represent the litigants before it. They
cannot be avocats, and are obliged to be residents of Paris.

Engraved, from a photograph, by E Tilly.]

Among the multitude of attendants and habitués of the judicial tribunals
are the necessary witnesses and experts, of all kinds in degree,--the
_témoin à charge_, important witness, listened to with attention; the
_témoin à décharge_, uncertain and ill at ease; the _expert-comptable_,
very conscientious; the _expert en écriture_, in handwriting, very
positive and authoritative and unreliable, after the manner of his kind;
the experts in medicine, in mental ailments, in physics, etc. The
various degrees of willingness and unwillingness on the part of those
who receive these official _assignations à témoin_ are much as in other

After the summer vacation, the opening of the courts is preceded by an
annual divine service, the _messe rouge_ [the red mass], held in the
Sainte-Chapelle and attended by all the magistrates in their robes of
office, red, black, and ermine. In 1898, this ceremony took place on
October 17th, and was presided over by Cardinal Richard, Archbishop of
Paris. The mass was celebrated by Canon Pousset, of the cathedral of
Notre-Dame. After the service, the magistrates return to their courts in
hieratic procession, following each other strictly in the order of their
rank, the walls of the passage-ways being hung, for the occasion, with
Gobelins tapestry.

A similar ceremony has been introduced in London. For the second time,
in this same month of October, 1898, the legal year was inaugurated by a
religious service celebrated with great pomp at Westminster. The Lord
Chancellor, the judges, the Queen's Counsel, and a great number of
representatives of the bar were present at this _messe rouge_ English
and Anglican. The Catholic judges and lawyers have long been in the
habit of attending a similar service on this occasion in one of their
own churches.

[Illustration: OBVERSE.


By an excellent arrangement, the Palais de Justice is enabled to lodge
its criminals in one of its dependencies, the prison of the
Conciergerie, whence the guards conduct them directly, by private
staircases, to the court-room where they are to be tried,--thus avoiding
any unseemly exposure of these unfortunates to the populace. An
ingenious supposition as to the origin of the name of this famous
prison, a barracks under the old kings of France, is furnished by M.
Pottet,--that it was inhabited by a certain captain who provided himself
with the title of _Comte des Cierges_ [Count of Candles], concierge,
janitor, or house-porter. Those who are confined in the Conciergerie are
the criminals who are to appear before the Cour d'Assises; those
convicted by the police correctionnelle of the departments, waiting the
result of their appeal to a higher court, and those condemned to death
during the three days which the law allows them for their appearance _en

[Illustration: REVERSE.


In the Dépôt are deposited temporarily all the individuals arrested in
the department of the Seine, for any crime whatever, and held for
justice. This general depository receives on an average a hundred and
fifty prisoners a day. Any one arrested by a police agent and conducted
to the _poste_, if not delivered by some friend before the arrival of
the _panier à salade_, is put into this cheerful vehicle, much like a
closed-up omnibus, and carted off to the Dépôt. There, he is
interrogated, searched, measured by the _service anthropométrique_ of M.
Bertillon, and held for three days. At the end of this period, he is
transferred to some other prison,--to Mazas, before it was demolished,
or to the Santé. The desperate criminals have the privilege of remaining
in the Dépôt under the eye of the agents de la sûreté.

Within the walls of the Palais de Justice is included a third place of
detention, the _Souricière_, in which are confined the accused brought
from the various prisons of the city,--la Santé, Sainte-Pélagie, la
Petite and la Grande-Roquette, Saint-Lazare,--to appear either for their
trial or for their examination before the Juge d'Instruction. The
Souricière [mouse-trap] is a gloomy and ill-smelling basement, almost
without light and air, and frequently crowded to suffocation, situated
under the chambers of the police correctionnelle. The prisoners are very
often confined here from eleven o'clock in the morning to eight o'clock
in the evening, without being given either food or drink. This abuse is
of long standing, notwithstanding the many protestations that have been
raised against it.

from a photograph, by E. Tilly.]

Before 1826, the entrance to the Conciergerie was from the grand
court-yard, the Cour du Mai, to the right and at the foot of the grand
stairway. This entrance, with its iron railings, still exists, it now
gives access to the Tribunal de Simple Police, and through it the
multitude of victims, illustrious and obscure, of the Revolution and the
Terror, issued to take their places in the cart for the guillotine. This
doorway was walled up in 1826, and the entrance to the prison is now
on the Quai de l'Horloge, near the tower of Cæsar. It was at this latter
date that the Conciergerie was transformed into a modern prison, with
the _régime cellulaire_. In the course of this transformation, the
ancient dungeons in which had been confined so many eminent historical
personages disappeared; to-day there can be seen only the cell of
Marie-Antoinette, which now communicates with that of Robespierre, and
the latter with the Salle des Girondins. The apartment of the unhappy
queen was transformed into a chapel in 1816. Of the original furniture
of her cell, there now remains, it is said, the little lamp hanging from
the ceiling, and the ivory crucifix which she kissed before mounting the
scaffold. As to the arm-chair in which she sat, it was prudently removed
some years ago to his office by one of the directors of the
Conciergerie, to protect it from the ravages of the tourists of all
nations who were gradually carrying it away piecemeal. This apartment of
the prison can be visited on Thursdays by securing a permit from the
Préfecture de Police. The grande salle which was the prison of the
priests and royalists during the Terror, and in which the Girondins
passed their last night, is now the chapel of the Conciergerie. Through
the little door at the left the latter passed on their way to the
scaffold, and in this court-yard took place the massacres of September.

Before its demolition in the summer of 1898, the immense Mazas prison
(Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction Cellulaire), on the Boulevard Diderot,
received the prisoners from the Dépôt. This gloomy institution contained
twelve hundred cells, of which eleven hundred and fifteen were occupied,
the others being used for the service of the hospital and of the baths.
Among the more illustrious prisoners who have been within these walls
was Victor Hugo, confined here on the morrow of the _Coup d'État_, and
who has left this description of his cell: "Walls whitened with lime
and soiled here and there by various emanations; in a corner, a round
hole, furnished with iron bars and emitting an infectious odor; in
another corner, a shelf hinged to the wall like the _strapontin_, or
folding-stool, of the city folks, and which might serve for a table; no
bed, a chair stuffed with straw. Under the feet, a brick floor; the
first impression was of darkness, the second, of cold." In addition to
the hammock and the bedding, the furniture consisted of a table with a
drawer, an earthenware vessel, a porringer, a cup in wrought-iron,
tinned over, a wooden spoon, a spittoon, called _génieux_, two brooms,
three shelves in whitewood, a wardrobe set in the wall. The round hole,
to which M. Hugo objected, was used by the prisoners as a means of
speech with each other; by conquering their scruples--if they had
any--and inserting their heads in this hole, they were able to make
their words carry from one cell to another and even the entire length of
the gallery, as through a speaking-tube. The authorities were not
unaware of this arrangement, and by placing an agent in the basement
they could have surprised these confidential communications.

The new arrival from the Dépôt, after being subjected to the usual
formalities, after having lost his civil personality and changed his
name for an official number, was at first disposed to rejoice in the
solitude of his cell after the hideous promiscuousness of the Dépôt, but
this solitary confinement would soon have become unendurable, had it not
been for the daily labor with which they were all occupied. Their
exercise was taken in the _préaux cellulaires_, oblong or converging
cells under low sheds, through the iron grating of one side of which
they could look out into the narrow space of the court-yard. All the
prisons of the department of the Seine are furnished by a contractor,
who supplies the provisions for the prisoners at a fixed price plus a
percentage of their small earnings.


After a drawing by G. Amato.]

This prison was built between 1845 and 1850 by the architects Gilbert
and Lecointe, on the general plans of the English prisons of the same
nature, and was considered at the time a model institution. It succeeded
the Prison de la Force, in the Rue Pavée-au-Marais, immortalized in a
chapter of _Les Misérables_; the new prison was known officially as the
Nouvelle-Force. Popular usage, however, gave it the name which it
retained, from the Place Mazas, at the end of the Pont d'Austerlitz,--the
name of the colonel of the Fourteenth Regiment of the line, killed at
Austerlitz. His family protested strongly against this usage, and in
1858 the administration of prisons abandoned the popular term and
recognized the institution only under the formula: _Maison d'arrêt
cellulaire_. All in vain, even though, in 1879, the Boulevard Mazas
became the Boulevard Diderot.

This prison was the first in France in which was adopted solitary
confinement. In a single night, that of the 19-20th of May, 1850, the
eight hundred and forty-one inmates of the Force were transferred to
Mazas,--a much more expeditious operation than that of the
transportation of the prisoners of Mazas to the Santé, in May, 1898,
which took ten days, at the rate of eighty men a day. It appears that
the prisoners from the Force objected strongly to this system of
solitary confinement in their cells; they gave way to such excesses of
fury and despair that the Académie de Médecine was moved in their
behalf, and protested against the _système cellulaire_ as conducive to
suicide and insanity. The new prison--as any one might see from the top
of the viaduct of the Vincennes railway--was built in the form of a
great wheel, the spokes represented by six long galleries, eighty mètres
in length and twelve and a half in height. The hub of this wheel was a
two-story rotunda, the ground-floor of which was occupied by the central
post of observation, and the upper story by the chapel, which could be
seen from any point in any of the six galleries. At the hour of the
celebration of the mass, on Sundays, the guards set the door of each
cell partly open, so that the prisoner might receive spiritual comfort
if he so pleased,--and if his distance were not too great. Each of the
six galleries was two stories in height, lit by a glass roof. All the
cells received light and air through a grated window, opening on one of
the outside galleries or on one of the interior courts, but placed too
high to afford the inmate any view outside. Each prisoner was entitled
to an hour's exercise in one of the twenty préaux into which the
interior courts were divided. This promenade was always a solitary one,
under the eye of the guardians in the rotunda, and to be deprived of it
was the lightest punishment inflicted. The most severe, in extreme
cases, was imprisonment in the _cachot_, or dungeon.

Saint-Lazare (Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction), on the Faubourg
Saint-Denis, is at once a hospital, a police station, and a prison for
women, and its methods and regulation have long been the object of
earnest denunciation. As a prison for women, it is divided into two
sections, for those accused, and for those condemned to less than two
months' imprisonment; among the latter are women of the town, who have a
special hospital. The only _condamnées_ who remain for any length of
time within these walls are the sick, nursing women having a child less
than four years of age, and those enceinte. There is a special _crèche_
for the newly-born babies,--for there are no less than fifty or sixty
births annually. The nursing mothers, whether convicted or only
accused, have special dormitories, and there is a shady garden for
the wet-nurses. The prostitutes are provided with a special section.
These unfortunates have not passed before any court; they have been
condemned without appeal by a Chef de Bureau of the Préfecture de Police
to an imprisonment of from three days to two months. During the day, the
inmates are assembled in a workroom under the surveillance of one of the
Sisters of the Order of Marie-Joseph, to whom is confided a general
oversight of the workrooms and the dormitories. These prisoners take
their meals in common, take their exercise walking in a long file, and
at night sleep in a great chilly and crowded dormitory. Those who have
merited it by their conduct are given one of the cells of the
_ménagerie_, a double story of grated cells, furnished each with a bed,
a stool, a shelf, and an earthenware vessel. The menagerie was formerly
devoted to the service of the _correction maternelle_.


Engraved by E. Tilly.]

In the great dormitories, there may be witnessed each morning such a
scene as that reproduced in the illustration, the prayer addressed to
the image of the Virgin on the wall, decked out with faded artificial
flowers and with tapers in front of her; following the example of the
Sister, all stoop with more or less reverence before this symbol and
utter with more or less sincerity from impure lips the prayer for a pure
heart. This grand dormitory is a great hall containing more than eighty
beds arranged in four rows. The red tile floor is of irreproachable
cleanliness, the eighty beds, with their gray blankets and white
bolsters, are arranged with military symmetry. But this cleanliness and
this good order, it is claimed, count but for little in the amelioration
of these unfortunates, gathering contamination from each other in this
indiscriminate herding together.

According to the law, those merely accused, the _prévenues_, and those
actually convicted, are kept apart from each other, but in each of these
two classes no distinctions are made,--the homeless unfortunate,
arrested for _délit de vagabondage_, is associated with the criminal
guilty of infanticide or assassination. Even the little girls of ten and
twelve years are kept together in the same promiscuousness, those
already hardened in criminal ways corrupting the more innocent.

The prévenues enjoy certain privileges; they are not obliged to work,
though it is but seldom that they refuse to take up some of the light
sewing which occupies their leisure and brings them in small sums of
money; they are not obliged, when they take their exercise, to walk
round and round in a circle in the préau, forming in line only at the
entrance and the exit. The formalities of search and interrogation, upon
entering the prison, are the same for all, as are the general
regulations and the discipline. All rise at five o'clock in summer, and
at six or half-past six the rest of the year, and all go to bed at
eight; all receive meat with their bouillon only on Sundays. The
children are more favored in this respect, being furnished with eggs,
roast meat, etc.

MAUVAISE VIE. After a drawing by G. Amato.]

Everywhere are seen in these gloomy and unwholesome halls and corridors
"the austere and consoling figures" of the Sisters of Marie-Joseph. They
wear a dark robe, sometimes with a white apron, a white _cornette_ under
a black veil which has a blue lining, and they supervise all the details
of the monotonous life of the prison. Rising in the dawn, a half-hour
before any of the prisoners, they perform their devotions, and one of
them rings the bell which summons all to leave their beds; they direct
the workrooms in which the prisoners sew, a Sister sitting upright in a
high chair, like a teacher presiding over her class, and they keep a
watchful eye during the night on all the sleepers, in all the
dormitories, great and little. Their hours of service as guards are from
five or six o'clock in the morning to ten o'clock in the evening. After
this hour, until the morning again, two Sisters remain on watch in the
first section of the prison and one in the second. Their sole comfort
and recompense is found in prayer and meditation in the mortuary chamber
of Saint Vincent de Paul, now transformed into an oratory for their use.
There is also a chapel for the use of the inmates, as well as a
Protestant oratory and a synagogue.

The historical interest attaching to the buildings of this institution
is very considerable. As far back as the time of Clovis, there was a
hunting-lodge on this site; this was transformed, under the
Carlovingians, into a debtors' prison. About the commencement of the
twelfth century, this collection of ancient buildings was used as a
hospital for lepers, under the appellation of Saint-Ladre [Saint Leper],
standing near the road from Paris to Saint-Denis. In the year 1147,
Louis VII, setting an example followed nearly a century later by
Saint-Louis, visited this lazaretto, before setting out for the
Crusades. "This was an action praiseworthy and very little imitated,"
says the chronicler. The hospital counted among its revenues the profits
arising from an annual fair, known as that of Saint-Ladre;
Philippe-Auguste, in 1183, annexed the proceeds of this fair to the
royal revenues, and transferred it to the interior of Paris, where it
became famous under the name of Saint-Laurent. In return, he provided
the hospital with an annual revenue. Among the buildings attached to the
hospital was one known as the _Logis du Roi_, where the sovereigns were
in the habit of halting to receive the oath of fidelity from their good
citizens of Paris before making their solemn entry into the capital.
This was also the principal halting-place for the royal funeral
cortèges on their way from Paris to Saint-Denis; and as late as 1793,
when it was demolished by the all-demolishing Revolution, a Gothic tower
standing here perpetuated the first rest made by Philippe le Hardi in
his pious transportation on his shoulders of his father's coffin to its
final resting-place.

In 1515 the canons of Saint-Victor established themselves at
Saint-Lazare, and for more than a century here maintained a rich abbey,
flourishing at the expense of the hospital. By 1623 their abuses had
become too flagrant, and the direction of the institution was confided
to Vincent de Paul, already renowned for his virtue. After having
re-established order and discipline, he here installed the headquarters
of his congregation of the _Missions_, created in 1624, and which became
more generally known as the _Congrégation des Lazaristes_. The authority
of the Archbishop of Paris compelled the new possessors of Saint-Lazare
to continue to receive the lepers of the city and its suburbs. To these
were gradually added those ecclesiastics and laymen who here sought a
voluntary retirement, and certain youth here confined unwillingly by
their parents or guardians that they might recover from the effects of a
life of dissipation. Ten years before the Revolution, before the
expulsion of the Lazaristes in 1792, and the appropriation of their
property by the Revolutionary government, the use of Saint-Lazare as a
temporary prison had become well established; Beaumarchais was confined
here for three days after the first representation of the _Mariage de
Figaro_. On the 13th of July, 1789, the day before the taking of the
Bastille, a band of pillagers invaded the enclosure of the buildings,
destroyed the tomb of Saint Vincent de Paul, and nearly set fire to the
whole quarter by the burning of one of the store-houses of the
establishment. During the Terror, it was crowded with the victims
destined in advance for the scaffold; and under the Consulate it became
definitely a jail, _prison civile_, _prison administrative et maison de
correction_, to which was added a special hospital, as if to preserve
the souvenir of the lazaretto of former times.

Of the buildings still standing, the superstructures mostly date from
the reign of Louis XIII. The remains of the church built by Saint
Vincent de Paul, in which he was buried at the foot of the high altar,
may still be distinguished. The very extensive grounds surrounding the
establishment, divided up and sold during the Revolution as _biens
nationaux_, have now disappeared under the buildings and streets of the
quarter. The chapel constructed by Saint Vincent is now a store-room;
the crypt, with its tombs of bishops, is a bath-house; the low apartment
on the ground-floor was reproduced by the painter Charles Muller in his
_Appel des Condamnés_, formerly so popular at the Luxembourg; in the
_Passage du Massacre_, between two courts, the victims of the Terror, in
1793, found death when they had expected liberty; and the bells which
sound the hours in the clock-tower are the same which rang under Louis

Saint-Lazare encloses also the general magazines, the store-houses of
linen, and the central bakery, for all the prisons of the department of
the Seine. It is here that is effected the panification for five
thousand prisoners. In common with the general victualling of these
penal establishments, this bakery is not managed by the State, but by
private enterprise. In the prisons of the Seine, with the exception of
Saint-Lazare, the food of a prisoner costs the administration daily 59.9
centimes, about twelve cents.

The Prison de la Santé (Maison d'Arrêt et de Correction), in the Rue de
la Santé, has been devoted to three classes of prisoners,--those
condemned to periods of from one day to one year, prévenus whose
sentences have been appealed, and convicts and prisoners condemned to
solitary confinement. The régime cellulaire adopted is known as the
_système de Philadelphie_; this absolute solitary confinement is
reserved for convicts awaiting their departure for New Caledonia, for
other grave offenders, and also for minor offenders serving short
sentences. The prisoner thus isolated leaves his cell only for an hour's
exercise in _promenade cellulaire_; he is allowed to see no one and to
receive no communication from outside, but the ingenuity of the
prisoners contrives to modify these regulations. There is also a section
in which the inmates pass the day together, but sleep in solitary cells.
This _Quartier Commun_ is to disappear in the reorganized prison which
is to take the place of Mazas, and which will be specially devoted to
prévenus, to those whose cases have been appealed and to those condemned
to death. Among the numerous light industries to which the
short-sentence prisoners are compelled to devote their time, that of the
manufacture of dolls is one of the most important; designers, painters,
and carvers, of sufficient artistic excellence, are all found among the

This prison was constructed to replace that of the Madelonnettes,
destroyed by the opening of the Rue Turbigo. In the Protestant chapel
attached to the institution, which serves also as a school for one hour
a day, the prisoners accused of various offences appear each morning at
ten o'clock--as in all the prisons of the Seine--in the "prætorium," the
three judges of which, the director, the comptroller, and the inspector,
sit under an immense open Bible displayed on the wall and surmounted by
the somewhat incongruous text: "Man may not live by bread alone, but by
every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God."


After a drawing by G. Amato.]

Sainte-Pélagie (Maison de Correction), in the Rue du Puits-de-l'Ermite,
though one of the smallest and worst-conditioned prisons in Paris, is
one of the most celebrated, and the only one imprisonment in which is
made a subject of jest. This singular reputation it owes to the numerous
journalists and men of letters--Béranger, Alfred de Musset, Théophile
Gautier, Balzac, Eugène Suë, J. Richepin, Henri Rochefort, among
others--who have been sent here by a censorious government. These gentry
have so exploited the _Pavillon_, the section of the prison devoted to
the _politiques_, with its "great and little tomb," "little and great
Siberia;" they have so ostentatiously received their friends every
afternoon, from one to five, in their cells; they have so proudly worn
their beards and their usual garments, as to diffuse a popular
impression that imprisonment in this edifice is rather a joke than
otherwise. Nevertheless, the _Pavillon_, says M. Paul Strauss, "is only
one quarter of the ugliest, the most frightful prison in Paris;
fortunately, it is devoted to speedy destruction, and it is by this one
that the work of reformation of the penal institutions of the Seine will
doubtless be inaugurated; there is no demolition more urgently demanded
than this, in the unanimous opinion of all those who have visited it.
The extent to which the buildings are falling to decay, the narrowness
and lack of cleanliness in the workroom, corridors, and dormitories, are
not less offensive than the promiscuousness of the life in common, daily
and nightly. Nowhere is the defile of the prisoners at the sound of the
workroom bell, or from the sinister court-yard to the chapel refectory,
more lamentable; the gray or chestnut-colored garb of the prisoners is
more forlorn in its worn shininess than anywhere else, and the canvas
sack itself hangs more dismally at the prisoner's back. It is not the
fault of the penitentiary administration and the government of the
institution; the establishment itself is worthless, the life, moral and
material, that is there led is intolerable."


After a drawing by R. de la Nézière.]

The prisoners for debt (to the State) enjoy the same privileges as the
politicians. The baser, or more unfortunate, inmates, serving sentences
of from one day to one year, are obliged to work in one of the six
ateliers and to submit to the usual prison regulations, rising at six
o'clock and going to bed at half-past seven. Among the articles produced
in the workroom are toy balloons, Venetian lanterns, and, in general,
all those materials for the illuminations with which Paris amuses itself
on nights of festival. The fine gentlemen in the first and second
quarters of the prison, instead of partaking of the meagre prison fare,
are nourished at the expense of the State by some restaurant designated
by themselves. This prison was erected in 1635 by the Order of the Sœurs
Repenties; it was a prison for debt till 1793; until the suppression of
the Garde Nationale, it was known familiarly as _Prison des Haricots_
[beans], because those refractory citizens who objected to serving in
this corps were here confined on a strictly vegetable diet. In the
chapel which serves as the refectory is preserved a relic of
Sainte-Pélagie. Madame de Beauharnais, afterward the Empress Josephine,
was here imprisoned in a chamber, which is still shown, on the second

In the Grande-Roquette (Dépôt des Condamnés), in the Rue de la Roquette,
are confined those condemned to death, or to deportation to some penal
colony. As late as the first months of 1899, the executions were public,
the guillotine being erected in front of the prison, in the space
between it and the Rue de la Roquette; the locality was marked by five
large oblong stone slabs in the pavement of the sidewalk. Hereafter the
executions will take place in the Place Saint-Jacques; and the prisoners
condemned to death will be confined in the Prison de la Santé. The three
cells devoted to these unfortunates in the Grande-Roquette were larger
than the others, and the condemned man enjoyed certain privileges. He
was not compelled to work, he was given meat every day, he could smoke,
read and write, and play cards with the two guards who kept him company
day and night until the moment when Monsieur de Paris took possession of
him. In the chapel, an upper lodge or box was provided for him, where,
behind a grating, he could hear the mass without being seen by those
below. The library which was at the disposal of these unfortunates, and
which was their principal distraction, included some four thousand
volumes. The books most read were novels and romances, and of these the
works of Dumas père were the favorites. After these came those of
Alphonse Karr, Mayne Reid, Eugène Suë, books of travels, and the
_Magasin pittoresque_.

For those condemned to lighter penalties, the regulations were more
severe;--there was not space in the workroom for all, or there was not
work for all, and the greater part of the unhappy prisoners wandered
round and round all day in the dreary court-yard, in all the weariness
of utter idleness. They were even obliged to eat in this court-yard,
having no refectory. This prison, constructed in 1836, was taken
possession of by the Commune in 1871, and in May was the scene of a
series of massacres. The cell occupied by the most illustrious of these
victims, the Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Darboy, has not since been
occupied by any inmate, and has been preserved in the condition in which
he left it at half-past seven on the morning of the 24th of May.

Directly opposite the Grande-Roquette, facing on the same street, is the
_Prison des Jeunes Détenus_, the Petite-Roquette, which was devoted to
three classes of youthful offenders, those placed here _en correction
paternelle_; youths of not less than sixteen, prévenus, and those
condemned to various terms of imprisonment and from sixteen to
twenty-one years of age. The first class, imprisoned in cells in a
separate quarter, were known only by their numbers, their names and
stations in life were carefully concealed, and the guards themselves
were kept in ignorance concerning them. All the inmates of this prison
were isolated in their cells; in them they worked alone, and were
visited by the instructor; they took solitary exercise in the préau
cellulaire; and in the chapel-school, which occupies the central
rotunda, each was imprisoned in a high stall from which he could see and
hear but was invisible to all his fellow-prisoners. As he shut himself
in his stall, he opened the door of that of his neighbor, who followed
him at a distance of twenty paces. In this school he passed two hours a
day, and in his _promenoir cellulaire_, one hour. A modification of this
system was recently introduced;--the good-behavior inmates, those who
were soon to be liberated, were brought together in a common workroom
where they were employed in the manufacture of artificial violets. A new
annex was recently added to this establishment, the _Infirmerie Centrale
des Prisons de la Seine_, formerly installed in the Prison de la Santé.
This hospital included three wards which could receive each thirty
patients, an operating-room, and extensive bathing-rooms. This portion
of the institution was entirely separated from the rest of the prison.

The Petite-Roquette, no longer in its gloomy surroundings, now stands on
the banks of the Seine, nearly opposite the Terrace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye,
from which it is visible, at the end of the road which leads from
Montesson to the river. This happy removal marks an equally fortunate
transformation in the character of the institution, for the stupefying
and demoralizing system of solitary seclusion has been substituted the
wholesomer labor in the open air of an agricultural and horticultural

[Illustration: THE END OF AN AFFAIRE. After a drawing by Émile Bayard.]

This important reform has been extended to the greater prisons of the
capital: those of Mazas, Sainte-Pélagie, and the Grande-Roquette are all
to be removed to the new penal institutions at Fresnes-lès-Rungis, in
the department of Seine-et-Oise, inaugurated on the 18th of July, 1898.
These were solemnly transferred by the Préfet of the Seine and the
President of the Conseil Général to the _administration pénitentiaire_,
and in the speeches which formed part of this ceremony the principles
actuating this departure from ancient principles were duly set forth. M.
Thuillier, Président du Conseil Général, after citing the transformation
of the Petite-Roquette as the initiatory step in this great movement,
declared that "from our profound compassion for the unfortunates who
come under the hand of Justice sprang the desire to place the prisoner
henceforth in surroundings in which might be born and strengthened the
sentiments of self-respect, of bodily cleanliness, of propriety, which
will frequently inculcate in him the noblest ideas of repentance and of
moral regeneration. Hence those salubrious and almost comfortable
arrangements which you have just seen.... Hence our desire to render
the stay in the prison as little depressing as possible for the body
and the conscience." "Without the _récidive_ [the offender for the
second time]," said M. Selves, Préfet de la Seine, "criminality in
France would have diminished within the last twenty years. It is, then,
the récidive, above all, who is responsible for the augmentation of
criminality, and, as it is the prison which makes the récidive, it
follows that the amelioration of the penitentiary system should have a
greater influence for good than all other methods."

It was accordingly resolved to endeavor to better the condition of the
prisoners while at the same time preventing as much as possible their
corruption by indiscriminate herding together. As far back as 1849, M.
Dufaure advocated the keeping apart of prévenus and of those condemned
for minor offences. But it was not till 1875 that a law was passed
decreeing the separation of those serving sentences of imprisonment of
less than a year. The department of the Seine endeavored to carry out
the requirements of this law on as large and complete a scale as
possible, and accordingly laid the foundations of these two large penal
establishments outside the walls of the city. Those at Fresnes may be
considered as model prisons; it has even been suggested that the comfort
of the inmates has been almost too closely considered, and that, with
the exception of the guards and the jailers, these buildings suggest the
model cheap lodgings of modern practical philanthropy. The architect had
taken the greatest care to assure the well-being of his involuntary
clients, their health and personal cleanliness; their cells--more
spacious than usual--have hardwood floors, the walls are painted and
varnished, as are the table, the chair, and the iron bedstead provided
with softer bedding; the latest mechanical and electrical appliances are
to be found in these very modern dungeons. The extent of the mental and
moral amelioration of the Parisian criminals that will follow the
introduction of this new régime will doubtless be profitable to

In addition to its various prisons, the department of the Seine
maintains two very large establishments for beggars, paupers, vagabonds,
and the wretched of every description, whether they have or have not
records approved by the police. The largest of these _Dépôts de
Mendicité_, that at Nanterre, is at once a prison and a hospital; it
contains three thousand inmates of both sexes, and cost some twelve
millions of francs. Of the five sections into which it is divided, the
first, reserved for voluntary mendicants, is the only one which contains
prisoners, properly speaking, men in one quarter and women in another.
The other sections, each divided likewise into male and female quarters,
are devoted, the second, to voluntary patients whose antecedents are
known; the third, to those whose antecedents are doubtful or unknown;
the fourth, to the impotent, infirm, paralytic, and septuagenarians; the
fifth is the hospital proper. The inhabitants of these different
sections are distinguished from each other, the men by the color of
their woollen caps, and the women by the little trimming of imitation
lace in theirs. The Dépôt de Villers-Cotterets, which occupies the
buildings and dependencies of the celebrated château built by François
I, on an admirable site, was at first a prison, devoted to vagabonds and
beggars of all ages and conditions; since 1889 it has been a _Maison de
Retraite_, an asylum to which are admitted only the aged and infirm
indigent whose past has been without reproach. The number of these
peaceable inmates is about a thousand men and half as many women.


All this imposing judicial edifice of Dépôts, prisons, magistrates, and
high courts of justice is, of course, fed and maintained by the much
humbler, almost unknown, and much more troubled service of searching out
the criminal and laying hands upon him when found. Without the aid of
the "simple police," _serjents de ville_, gendarmes, _brigadiers_, and
_agents de la sûreté_, there could be no ermined judges and no _maîtres
des hautes-œuvres_. The general methods employed in this obscure but
indispensable preliminary work are much like those made use of elsewhere
in civilized countries, but there are many details, not generally
published, which are interesting, and we are indebted to a spirited
newspaper article, by M. Guy Tomel, for some information concerning the
ways and means of the French police in these matters. He begins by
putting in a plea for these very useful employés of justice: "Have you
ever thought of the very material difficulties which the agents de la
sûreté have to encounter in arresting malefactors? These modest
defenders of society risk their lives daily that you may sleep in peace,
Madame, and earn less at this perilous trade than your coachman or your
_valet de chambre_. For their moral recompense, they have the prospect
of being treated as '_mouchards_' [police spies], not by the thieves and
the assassins, who call them the '_flics_,' but by the respectable
tax-payers who are indebted to them for the minimum of security which we

"If, by chance, some of the chiefs of this force, as Houillier, Jaume,
and Rossignol, succeed, by dint of acts of bravery, in causing their
names to be known to the general public, the private soldiers of this
army of real salvation live and die in the most perfect _incognito_,
fortunate if they succeed in attaining the age of retirement without
being crippled by some malicious stroke! Remember that they are obliged
to carry out their task without arms, without any brutality. A bandit
injured in a hand-to-hand struggle assumes very quickly the character of
an interesting victim, and there are always to be found sensational
newspapers that will exploit his woes under flaming head-lines: 'Another
Police Outrage!' 'A Brutal Police Agent!' etc.

"The problem that presents itself is, therefore, this one: 'To get in
your power, in exposing yourself as little as possible, and without
doing him any injury, a blackguard who is armed and who is capable of

And he proceeds to explain the very simple tricks and tools by means of
which this somewhat difficult task is accomplished. In the first place,
he states a curious psychological fact,--that, generally, any criminal,
no matter how dangerous or brutal, if suddenly arrested by surprise, is
for the moment so stupefied that he does not think of resistance, and in
this moment may be secured, by the handcuffs or otherwise. This brief
paralysis is apt to be succeeded by a furious outbreak, but in the
majority of cases it is then too late. Were it not for this temporary
catalepsy, how would it be possible, asks M. Tomel, to effect the arrest
of such desperate fellows, dynamiters and anarchists, with no more
bloodshed and fracas than if they were girls of the town! This little
peculiarity of their clients is well known to the police agents, and
they but very seldom fail to take advantage of it.

In the second place, the most dangerous offenders are not, as might be
supposed, the hardened criminals, those who have repeatedly fallen into
the hands of Justice. For them, a long experience has convinced them
that, once caught, there is no escape. Neither are the assassins the
most to be feared,--the sudden collaring by the iron hand of the law
reduces them to temporary imbecility. Those whose arrest is usually
attended with the greatest difficulty are young rascals in their first
offence, and those who are accustomed to being rescued by a band of
their companions. Bankrupts and ruined financiers are also apt to give
trouble,--they take to their revolvers with "deplorable facility, quite
ready to lodge the last bullet in their own heads if the others have not
cleared the field for them."

[Illustration: SCENE IN THE CELL OF AN ACCUSED. After a drawing by R. de
la Nézière.]

It is, therefore, not without a certain amount of information concerning
the irascibility and the bodily prowess of their quarry that the agents
set out in his pursuit. Usually, they hunt in couples; if the game is
reputed unusually dangerous, in larger numbers. For weapons, they carry
each two pieces of stout cord,--a small one, fastened to the middle of a
wooden handle at each end, this is the _cabriolet_; and a large one, the
_ligote_, about two mètres and a half in length. These simple methods of
correction have replaced--except in the country districts and where the
prisoner has to be conducted a considerable distance--the old-fashioned
_poucettes_, or handcuffs. Thus provided, the pursuers endeavor to
surprise their prey as it issues from a house or an inn,--they wear no
uniform, and they in nowise begin by summoning their victim in the name
of the law, so that it is strongly advisable for them to be very sure of
his identity ere they fall upon him from behind, exactly in the manner
of the highwaymen themselves. With one hand they grasp the collar of his
coat, a little below the nape of his neck, and with the other, not his
arm, but the sleeve of his coat. An individual thus collared on each
side is helpless; if he wish to strike with his fists or his feet, he is
obliged to lash out sidewise or obliquely, his arms are held securely;
and the _coup de pied de vache_, which he may endeavor to give with his
feet, though "it will break a tibia like glass," is easily avoided.
Moreover, while he has one foot in the air, his equilibrium is in
danger, and he is promptly brought to earth and secured. Usually,
however, the cabriolet is round his wrist, and he is _bouclé_ before he
can say "Jack Robinson!"

These cord handcuffs are replaced by chain ones in the hands of the
Gardes Municipaux in the service of the Palais de Justice, and the
method of their application is the same,--once around the wrist of the
victim, they can be tightened at pleasure by a simple turn of the
handles in the grasp of the captor, and the pain speedily becomes
intolerable. Even a slight pressure soon produces a numbness in the
muscles of the arm. This simple apparatus--which can be replaced, as in
Tunis, by a noose made in a silk handkerchief--is a somewhat brutal one,
but it has the advantage of securing the victim absolutely for the time
being. For a longer journey, and to avoid the constant personal
attention which the cabriolet requires, the ligote is brought into
action;--this is arranged in a double running noose in which is enclosed
one of the prisoner's wrists, the cord then goes round his waist, passes
under the flap of his pantaloons, and returns to be knotted on the
opposite side. If the captured offender is not likely to give trouble,
one arm is left free, but it is then necessary to watch him;--if both
wrists are secured, he is helpless, and could be confided to the care of
an invalid. So long as he keeps his hands quiet, carrying them in his
pockets, for example, his cord is scarcely felt, but the moment he
begins to agitate them with violent movements, it cuts into his flesh
much like the cabriolet. He cannot rid himself of it, and, as he cannot
swing his arms, he cannot run,--at the end of a hundred yards he is sure
to come to the ground. It is related that a disciple of the Davenport
brothers recently giving an exhibition of his skill in the Salle des
Capucines was brought to confusion by a "flic" who happened to be in the
audience and who asked permission to _ligoter_ the magician ere he was
enclosed in his cabinet. On this occasion, the spirits were quite unable
to liberate him.

This method of securing the prisoner has the disadvantage, if maintained
for too long a period, of checking the circulation of the blood, and for
longer journeys, by railway or steamboat, its employment is now
superseded by that of iron-handcuffs, or _menottes_, of which there is a
pleasing and instructive variety in use. The principle is always that of
a double bracelet secured by a padlock, which permits the victim to move
his arms only in a very restricted manner. For a very objectionable
client, two anklets of iron, connected by a chain, are also applied. On
those occasions on which one agent finds himself with several prisoners
on his hands, or when he comes suddenly upon a sought-for malefactor and
is quite unprovided with the tools of his trade, a very ingenious method
is employed,--he cuts off all the buttons of his prisoner's trousers.
The unhappy offender is thus compelled to hold on to the upper portion
of this useful garment with both hands, and is quite incapable of either
battle or flight, as at the first manifestation they come down about
his heels! Thus is the dignity of Justice maintained, and the interests
of society preserved, as may be seen in the illustration on page 235.

Equally formidable, from the point of view of a perfect commonwealth,
and, perhaps, even more to be commiserated, the immense army of the
helpless and sickly poor,--paupers, paralytics, scrofulous, consumptive,
idiotic, cancerous,--demands from the State or the municipal
administration a machinery as complex and as extensive as the criminals.
For a multitude of these unfortunates the words of Victor Hugo are true:
"They begin in the hospital, and end in the hospice." "The child comes
into the world in a _Maternité_, and, later, if life has not been
generous to him, he finishes his days in one of the asylums for the
aged, at Bicêtre, at the Salpêtrière, at Debrousse, at Brévannes, at
Ivry, after having more than once paid his tribute to sickness in the
wards of some hospital! And still more, at intervals, during certain
difficult hours, he has been obliged to ask aid of the Bureau de
Bienfaisance, so that, during the whole of his life, this unlucky one
has been the pensioner of the _Assistance Publique_."


After a drawing by M. Martin.]

Very fortunate are those who succeed in obtaining a bed at the hospice
in which to end their days; the number of applicants each year exceeds
by three or four thousand the number of vacancies. The crippled and
incurable paupers, for whom all labor is impossible, are admitted
without regard to age; the octogenarians, cancerous, blind, and
epileptic, and the sick transferred from the hospitals to the hospices,
are always eligible; but the slightest misdemeanor recorded on their
civil papers, even though atoned for by a long life of honesty, is fatal
to the hopes of the unfortunate aged;--for them there is no asylum but
the Dépôt de Mendicité. The most celebrated of these hospices of Paris
are the Bicêtre and the Salpêtrière; the former at Gentilly, about a
kilomètre from the southern fortifications, and the latter on the
Boulevard d'Hôpital. The Bicêtre especially, under the ancient régime,
represented everything that was abhorrent in a mediæval hospital,
asylum, and jail combined; it was "at once a prison, a dépôt de
mendicité, an asylum for the aged, a special hospital, a lunatic asylum,
a political Bastille, an establishment for receiving sick children." It
owes its name, it is recorded, to Jean de Pontoise, Bishop of
Winchester,--corrupted into Bicêtre!--who built a château here in 1286.
The present edifice was constructed largely by order of Richelieu, for
invalided soldiers, in 1632; it has been devoted to its present uses as
a modern hospital and asylum since 1837.

It is organized in two great divisions,--a hospice for old men, and an
asylum for the deranged; but the latter includes an infirmary for idiot,
epileptic, and feeble-minded children. The insane and the children are
received from the Asile Clinique de la Seine, in the Rue Cabanis, and
are maintained by the department of the Seine. The buildings of the
hospice proper are arranged around four rectangular courts, planted with
trees and gardens, in which the aged inmates sun themselves, and when it
rains they take refuge under arcades known as the _Allée des Bronchites_
and the _Rue de Rivoli de Bicêtre_. For a considerable distance around
the establishment these pensioners may be seen in fine weather taking
the air; they have this privilege for the whole of the day on Sundays,
Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and from eleven o'clock in the morning to four
in the afternoon on the remaining days of the week.

All the sounder ones, to the number of some four hundred, are obliged to
work at one of the many useful trades practised in the various
ateliers, and they gain, for their own use, from forty centimes to a
franc a day, money which goes to provide them with various small
creature comforts. Those who are not strong enough, or capable enough,
to work in the ateliers are obliged to pick vegetables for the culinary
department, for which they receive no pay;--from this obligation no one
is free excepting the octogenarians, the sickly, and the active workers.
The administration also encourages the enterprise of those who wish to
work on their own account; it provides them with a locality and
facilities, for which they pay a monthly rental of from twenty centimes
to one franc twenty centimes a month. Some of these petty industries are
very curious and ingenious.

At both the Bicêtre and the Salpêtrière, the quarters devoted to the
children, boys and girls, in which almost every variety of childish
affliction, bodily and mental, is under treatment, are the most worthy
the visitor's attention, though the inspection is not always a pleasant
one. The general method employed is that of Séguin and Delasiauve; by
its aid, and that of infinite tact and patience, very many of these
helpless unfortunates are provided with faculties and made useful
members of their community. At the Bicêtre, this section is visited by
foreign physicians as a model institution; the honor of its installation
is due entirely to Doctor Bourneville, who was a zealous advocate of its
establishment before the Conseil Municipal, and who, as _médecin de
service_ at the hospital, has succeeded in obtaining admirable results
from the methods employed. The number of his little patients is somewhat
under four hundred; some of them are sound bodily and others almost
helpless; with the exception of the _gâteux_ [feeble-minded and
incontinent], they are divided, according to their age, or their
infirmities, into two schools, the "little" and "great," the first
under the direction of women, and the second of men. The children of the
first are taught to exercise with the gymnastic apparatus of the system
Pichery, and their rudimentary senses are cultivated by giving them
small objects to see, to touch, to weigh, etc.; in both schools, but
principally in that of the older pupils, systematic instruction is
imparted in the workrooms of cabinet-making, shoemaking, sewing,
locksmithing, basket-making, the plaiting of straw seats for chairs,
brushmaking, and printing. The children are gradually accustomed to this
labor; the cabinet-makers and locksmiths are selected from among the
most intelligent, the makers of baskets and straw seats from among the
most feeble, and the tailors from among those paralyzed on one side. "We
have in the sewing-room," said Doctor Bourneville, in one of his
reports, "twenty-four afflicted with hemiplegia, that is to say,
unfortunates condemned, almost certainly, to pass their entire existence
in the hospice; five of them are already good tailors, the greater
number of the others will be. Formerly, they knew how to do nothing;
now, thanks to the instruction which they receive, whether transferred
to the epileptic adults if they are still subject to attacks, or to the
divisions of the hospice if they are not, they will be able to work in
the common atelier of the institution, and their work will compensate in
part, and during very many years, for the cost of their maintenance,
and, at the same time, will afford them a small pecuniary resource." The
little workmen are rewarded with slight payments, of from ten to forty
centimes a week, and special efforts are made, as recommended in the
system Séguin, to provide them with amusements and variety,--such as
walks abroad, visits to their families, games, etc.

In the similar quarter of the Salpêtrière, similar results are obtained
among the little girls afflicted with epilepsy, hysteria, _gâtisme_, and
idiocy; they are taught to sew and to make artificial flowers; they are
easily interested and amused by the concerts, the dramatic
representations which are provided for them, and the ball of the
Mi-Carême, in which they dance in company with the demented and insane
women, is a great event in their lives.


The foundations of the older portions of this immense edifice were laid
by Louis XIII, who began here the construction of an arsenal; the name,
Salpêtrière, is derived from a manufactory of saltpetre (_salpêtre_)
either in the buildings or in the neighborhood. By a decree of 1648, the
buildings of the Salpêtrière or the Petit-Arsenal, situated in the
Faubourg Saint-Victor near the confluence of the Seine and the Bièvre,
were assigned as a prison for _filles et femmes débauchées_; and in 1653
this establishment was placed under the direction of the administrators
of the _pauvres enfermez_, under the supervision of Mazarin. In 1656,
the whole establishment was presented by Louis XIV, then in his
minority, to the administration of the Hôpital-Général; the greater part
of the present buildings date from this period. At this time, says a
contemporary report, the asylum consisted of "two main buildings and of
fifteen grand dormitories of thirty or forty _toises_ each, which are
now occupied by six hundred and twenty-eight poor women of every quality
that human misery could cause to conceive; one hundred and ninety-two
children, from two to seven years of age, legitimate and bastards,
exposed and abandoned to the care of Providence, and which are brought
up by the poor women of the institution and shared among themselves as
adopted, with the same affection as if they were their own, and
twenty-seven officers and mistresses of the aforesaid dormitories, who
are charged to watch over the conduct of the poor.

"Then there is a large new building which has been commenced for the
reception of the married beggars...."

The chapel of the establishment was originally constructed of planks
from demolished river-boats; in 1669, Louis XIV replaced it by a church
more in keeping with the importance of the institution. In 1684, there
was constructed a special quarter for "the debauched women," which was
called the _maison de force_; the unfortunates confined here were
subjected to the most rigorous regulations, their labor was made "as
severe as possible," but was ameliorated if they showed signs of
repentance; their food was restricted to bread, soup, and water, they
were clothed in linsey-woolsey gowns and wore sabots, and they slept
upon straw, with a thin coverlet. For lighter faults they were punished
by withdrawal of the soup, imprisonment in the cachot, and the wearing
of the carcan, or wooden collar; for graver offences they were locked
up, for longer or shorter periods, in a dark and filthy dungeon which
was called the _Malaise_, and which was much like the _in pace_ of the
Middle Ages. A regulation of this same year, 1684, applied the same
system to the convicted prisoners and to the women imprisoned at the
instance of their relatives or their husbands. The maison de force,
placed in the centre of the Salpêtrière, became the prison de la Force.
It included the _commun_, for the most dissolute and degraded women; the
_correction_, in which were placed those who gave some hopes of reform;
the prison, reserved for those detained by the king's orders, and the
_grande Force_, for those condemned by the courts. The women and young
girls destined to be sent to the colonies were kept in the Salpêtrière
while waiting for their embarkation.


After a drawing by E. Loévy.]

In 1780 were erected the infirmaries of the prison; these were destined
for the reception of young girls enceinte, furious insane female
patients, and the incurables of all kinds. Previous to this, all the
inmates who became ill were sent to the Hôtel-Dieu. Eight years later,
Tenon wrote that he had seen eighty thousand persons in the Salpêtrière;
and La Rochefoucauld's description of the condition of this
prison-hospital and its inmates is almost equally incredible: "The most
horrible enclosure that could be presented to the eyes of those who have
preserved some respect for humanity is that in which nearly two hundred
women, young and old, attacked by the itch, scald-head, and scrofula,
sleep four or five in a bed promiscuously, communicating to each other
all those diseases which contagion can propagate. How many times, in
traversing all these haunts of misery, does not one say to himself with
horror that it would be almost less cruel to allow the human race to
perish than to preserve it with so little care and consideration!" There
were then imprisoned here a considerable number of female insane who
were considered incurable, and whose condition was even more
frightful,--they were "chained in small wooden cells, low and narrow,
veritable dungeons, damp and infectious, receiving light and air only by
the door, and they were treated with the utmost brutality. That which
rendered their dwellings more deadly, frequently fatal, was that, in
winter, during the inundations of the Seine, these cells, situated on a
level with the drains, became not only much more insalubrious, but,
moreover, a place of refuge for very large rats, which during the night
attacked the wretches confined there and bit them on every exposed
portion of their bodies."

"At the morning visit, these lunatics would be found with their feet,
their hands, and their faces torn by bites, which were very often
dangerous, and of which several of them died."

In a report of one of the _administrateurs des hospices_, M. Desportes,
this fact is attested; and one of the first cares of the conseil général
of the hospices was to order a general renovation and reform, a thorough
cleansing out. On the 1st Germinal, year X, the population of the
Salpêtrière was reduced to four thousand individuals,--three thousand
and forty in good health, six hundred insane, and three hundred sick. In
1815, the large building devoted to the epileptics was completely
restored, and three years later the basement cells were all closed; in
1823, the hospital took the name of _Hospice de la Vieillesse-femmes_.
In 1834, 1835, and 1836, further improvements and additions were made,
and in 1845 the great reservoir of water was constructed, fed by the
canal de l'Ourcq.

[Illustration: GARDES MUNICIPAUX: ARREST OF A DESERTER. After a drawing
by I. Marchetti.]

By royal letters-patent accompanying the edict of April 27, 1656, the
union, under the direction of the Hôpital-Général, of the Salpêtrière,
the hospital Saint-Jacques, the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and other houses,
revenues, and dependencies appertaining to the Confrérie de la Passion,
was declared; but the Hôpital Saint-Jacques never came into this union.
To the Bicêtre were sent all the poor, men, sick and well; the Pitié was
devoted in part to boys and youths, and at the _maison de Scipion_ were
established the butchers and the bakers for all the inmates of these
various establishments. All mendicants, sick and well, came under the
jurisdiction of the Hôpital-Général; all were required to labor
according to their strength, and fifty-two skilled workmen were
designated by their corporations or guilds to direct the workrooms
established in the different branches of these institutions. "Prison
labor" was not then the bugaboo it has since become to "organized
labor." The directors had the right to administer justice among all the
inmates of their institutions; the punishments most in vogue were the
whipping-post, the carcan, the prison, and the lower dungeons. The
missionary priests of Saint-Lazare had charge of the spiritual
instruction of the mendicants, under the authority and jurisdiction of
the Archbishop of Paris.

All this being regulated, it was announced in all the pulpits of the
different parishes of Paris that the Hôpital-Général would be opened the
7th of May, 1657, for all the poor who wished to enter it of their own
free will, while all mendicants were forbidden, by the voice of the
public crier, to ask alms anywhere in the city. On the 13th, a mass of
the Saint-Esprit was celebrated in the church of the Pitié, and the next
day it was announced that five thousand of the poor had been admitted to
the hospitals. It was then proposed to expel from Paris all those who
had not come to constitute themselves inmates, or to imprison them by
force; but this was found to be difficult. A patrol was sent through the
city to gather up all these refractory ones, but the populace rose to
recapture all those who had been arrested,--lackeys, bourgeois,
artisans, soldiers, and especially soldiers of the guards, excited by
the women of the town, gave themselves up to thieving and pillaging in
the vicinity of the Salpêtrière and the Bicêtre and the other
establishments of the Hôpital-Général.

The liberality of Mazarin, of the king, and of some of the wealthier
citizens provided the administration of this great institution with its
principal resources; the cardinal gave it at one time a hundred thousand
livres, and left it sixty thousand francs in his will. It was exempted
from numerous taxes and imposts, it was entitled to a third of all the
confiscations awarded the king; to those fines imposed in the city, the
faubourgs, and the jurisdiction of the _prévôt_ of Paris which were not
otherwise applied, to the duty on wine entering the city, to five sous
on each _minot_ [three bushels] of salt sold in the granaries of Paris,
to a quarter of the fines from the departments of streams and forests,
to a tax on the admissions to theatres, etc. Later, the Hôpital-Général
was authorized to open the first _mont-de-piété_, or pawnbroking
establishment, in France.

In addition to all their other functions, the Bicêtre and the
Salpêtrière were created, by the regulation of April 20, 1684, _maisons
de correction_ for children of good families, of both sexes. The bureau
of the Hôpital-Général ordered the arrest of idle, disobedient, or
dissipated children, at the request of fathers or mothers, tutors or
guardians, or of the nearest relatives, and even, in case of the death
of the parents, on the complaint of the curés of their parishes.
"Although originally created principally as a philanthropic institution,
the Hôpital-Général was assuming more and more a penitentiary character;
the regulation of 1680 had already added to the list of its criminals
'vagabond individuals, whom idleness leads to an infinite number of
irregularities,' and had directed its officers to imprison them in a
special prison, either for a determinate period or for life; there, they
were to be given only the amount of food actually necessary to sustain
life, and were employed at the hardest labor that their strength would
permit. It does not appear that this frightful severity produced any
result, for, from year to year, new edicts were constantly appearing,
redoubling these rigorous measures against the mendicants."


After a drawing by E. Brun.]

As organized at present, the Bicêtre contains three thousand one hundred
and fifty-three beds, and the Salpêtrière three thousand eight hundred
and eleven. The latter includes also a clinic for nervous diseases, with
consultations for out-door patients, the former clinic of Doctor
Charcot, and one service of electro-therapeutics, for both in-door and
out-door patients, which attracts many from outside. There is a very
curious medical museum; and the institution itself claims to be one of
the great centres of scientific research.

An interesting feature of the general administration of the Parisian
hospitals is the arrangement made by the _internes_, the graduates in
medicine and pharmacy in the in-door service of the institution, for
providing themselves with the necessary meals. These young men are paid
by the Assistance Publique the modest sums of from six hundred to a
thousand francs a year, from the first to their fourth year, out of
which they have to provide for themselves until they are _de
permanence_. They therefore make provisions for dining in common, and
their _salles de garde_ are cheerful and very informal gathering-places,
gay and hospitable, liberally adorned with inscriptions, engravings, and
paintings, permeated with the souvenirs and traditions of the
institution to which they are attached. At the Hôtel-Dieu, owing to the
size of the hospital and the number of clinics, the number of _internes_
and _externes_, _bénévoles_ and _provisoires_, and their friends, is so
great that the social character of the salle de garde naturally suffers;
each one dines hastily, occupies himself only with his invited guest,
and, after coffee, if his duties do not claim him, goes off in search of
some shady promenade, which the cloisters of the Hôtel-Dieu--unlike the
green courts of the Bicêtre and Salpêtrière--do not offer him.
Consequently, the gastronomical qualities of the repast assume a
considerable importance, and the duties of the _économe_ become
proportionally heavy.

PETITE-ROQUETTE. After a drawing by E. Vavasseur.]

This very useful official is a comrade endowed with the necessary
domestic and executive qualities, who assumes the onerous task of
directing this refectory. He must be a gourmet, of course, this is
indispensable; he must have imagination and experience in order to
prepare and to suitably vary the _ménus_; he must be economical,
orderly, judicial, and discriminating, so as to know which rebellions
and protests are to be heeded and which ignored, and to preserve
suitable relations with his _cantinière_. The interne on duty alone has
a right to have his repasts served by the Assistance Publique; as these
are constantly changed, the administration furnishes the equivalent of
what it owes in provisions, which are turned into the common stock. It
also furnishes the necessary utensils and cooking apparatus. The
cantinière must have given proof of her worth either as a cook in the
hospital or as a _cordon bleu_ in the city. She must also be provided
with a husband or some other connection capable of serving at table. At
the end of each repast, the économe marks on a list of his subscribers a
cross opposite the name of each participant, or two or more crosses if
he has had guests. At the end of the month, the permanent expenses are
added up, wages, etc., which sum is divided into as many parts as there
are internes. This is a fixed amount, the proportionate share of which
must be paid whether the subscriber has dined only once, or not at all.
Then the cost of the number of meals actually consumed is added up and
divided by the number of crosses. This cost of each meal varies greatly
in the different hospitals, those outside the city walls being able to
provide more cheaply. Thus, in 1893, it was one franc seventy-five
centimes at the Hôpital de la Charité, and only eighty-five centimes at
the Bicêtre. The presence of the monthly fixed charges which have to be
met brings about the apparent anomaly that the more meals the young
doctor eats in his messroom the less proportionally do they cost him.

As a recompense for his labors in the general service, the économe has
the privilege of presiding in the centre of the table, of carving, and
of sitting as umpire on all the _manifestations_. When any one of the
habitués of the common table has passed an examination, assisted his
master in some difficult operation, or otherwise had a chance to
distinguish himself, it is in order for him to celebrate the great
occasion by discreet libations in which his friends may share. As it
sometimes happens that these fortunate ones--entirely through timidity
and modesty--omit to mention their professional successes at the
hospitable board, the custom has arisen of proclaiming their virtues for
them and thus causing them to "manifest" themselves. "But, as the
examinations are rare, and the flasks of Chartreuse small, some one is
called upon to manifest, on the slightest provocation, for the
promulgation of an unseasonable political opinion, for a bad pun, for
anything you please. The _manifesteur_ is made aware of the fate which
menaces him by a clinking of bottles and plates, by a hammering with the
backs of knives;--however, his condemnation is not definite until the
économe has pronounced judgment upon it. He is careful to see that it is
not always the same culprit who is executed."


After a drawing by L. Sabattier.]

As a contrast to the Hôtel-Dieu, the Hôpital Cochin, in the Faubourg
Saint-Jacques, has one of the smallest salles de garde in Paris. In
recompense, its diners have under their feet an immense city, with
streets, open places, and many inhabitants, a city cool in summer and
warm in winter, and which, for a long period of time, the internes of
this hospital had been in the habit of considering as an annex to their
dining-room. It is not every one who would take this view of the
catacombs; but the practice of medicine and surgery does not lend itself
to the cultivation of squeamishness. Every evening, accordingly,
exploring parties were organized to visit these subterranean streets;
underneath the hospital itself is a large open square, from which
radiate, in every direction, lanes and avenues. These the internes at
first explored by means of a compass, but, as a result of some judicious
meditation before the commemorative slab recording the death by
starvation of Philibert Aspaut, concierge of the Val-de-Grâce, lost in
the catacombs in 1793, they took the trouble to unearth an old plan in
the Musée Carnavalet and draw up a new one, probably now one of the best
in existence. In consequence of this prudent conduct, they have never
had any losses to deplore; but the frequency of these unprofessional
rambles finally aroused the administration to action, and the hospital
entrance to the underground city was closed. Since then, the
disconsolate diners have had to seek other distractions;--it is said
that they are greatly given to equitation, but as they have no horses
in their salle de garde, they paint them by squadrons on the walls, as
illustrated on page 259.

The catacombs are those portions of the ancient stone-quarries under the
city which have been used as municipal ossuaries since 1786. As far back
as the Roman epoch, the inhabitants of Lutetia were in the habit of
drawing their building material from these subterranean quarries, of
clay, gypsum, and limestone. The clay, _argile plastique_, is found in
the region of Passy and Grenelle; the zone of gypsum extends from
Montmartre to Bercy, and the limestone, rich in fossils, is found under
Passy and most of the city on the left bank of the river, from the
Jardin des Plantes on the east to the former barrière de Vaugirard on
the west. This stone was largely used in the construction of ancient and
mediæval edifices,--the Palais des Thermes, the portal of
Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, a portion of Notre-Dame, Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
and the old Hôtel-Dieu, were all supplied from the quarries of the
Faubourgs Saint-Jacques and Saint-Michel. As the capital increased,
these excavations were carried farther; those nearer the centre of the
city were gradually filled up after being exhausted of their building
material. By 1774, they had become the refuge of numerous thieves and
vagabonds, and in consequence of the many accidents caused by the
sinking of the earth over them, in the quartiers Saint-Jacques, of the
Observatoire, and of Montrouge, in 1774, 1777, and 1778, an official
inspection was ordered by the government, and a corps of engineers was
directed to carry out all the necessary measures. The credit of the idea
of using the quarries of Montsouris and of Montrouge as a receptacle for
the bones from the ancient cemetery of the Innocents is ascribed to M.
Lenoir, lieutenant général de police, as early as 1780; but it was not
till November, 1785, that M. Guillaumot, inspecteur général of the
quarries, received definite orders to prepare a suitable place for these
relics of mortality.

1780, SHOWING THE CHARNIERS FULL OF SKULLS. After a design by Bernier.

The accumulation of human remains, during eight or nine centuries, in
this place had become so great and evil that, in 1786, they were all
transferred to the Catacombs, and a market was erected on this spot.]

This officer selected the quarries under the plain of Montsouris in the
locality known as the Tombe-Issoire--it was said from a famous brigand
of the time of Louis VII, who ravaged this neighborhood, because of
their extent and their proximity to the city. It was proposed to deposit
in this ossuary not only the bones from the Innocents, but from all the
other cemeteries, charniers, and sepulchral chapels of Paris. On the 7th
of April, 1786, the quarries were formally blessed by the clergy and
consecrated to their new use, and on the same day the transportation of
the bones from the Innocents was begun. It was carried on constantly, at
the close of each day, in funerary cars covered with a pall and followed
by surpliced priests, chanting the service for the dead. This operation,
interrupted only during the heat of summer, was completed in less than
fifteen months; and the catacombs--so called from this date--have since
received a vast number of bones from other cemeteries and churches, and
also of the victims of the many street revolutions of the capital.
During the Revolution and the Terror, a number of bodies were also
thrown in here, and down to 1810 no attempt was made to arrange the
bones, which were piled up like rubbish. It is estimated that these
subterranean crypts now contain the remains of nearly three millions of
persons,--the guide-books say six.

In 1810, a new organization and rearrangement of the catacombs were
carried out, the falling roofs were propped up, the galleries cleaned
out, ventilated, and dried, and the bones all symmetrically arranged
along the walls--the large bones of the arms and legs piled up like
cord-wood, presenting their ends, and interrupted by occasional rows,
or centre-pieces, or cornices of skulls, and the smaller bones thrown in
behind them, between them and the wall, so as to be out of sight.
Various attempts at grotesque or fanciful designs, wrought out with
craniums and tibias, break the monotony of these grisly corridors.
Between 1792 and 1814, the catacombs permitted the suppression of
sixteen cemeteries, and they still receive the bones that are turned up
in the course of various excavations in the city. Visitors were formerly
admitted to explore them every day, but in consequence of the numerous
accidents which happened, greater restrictions were imposed, and it is
now permitted to make this visit only on the first and third Saturdays
of each month, and when furnished with a permit obtained from the Préfet
of the Seine. The entrance is on the Place Denfert-Rochereau, and the
exit on Rue Dareau; the journey is made under the care of a guide, and
the visitor--who is advised to wear sufficiently thick clothing and
heavy shoes--is furnished with a candle and a holder for which he pays
fifty centimes.

The total number of entrances is sixty-three, many of them outside the
city; these galleries are sufficiently well ventilated by numerous
openings, and dry. The visitors traverse a certain route, in a general
southerly direction, inspecting the various curiosities on the road and
the great _Ossuaire_. In the latter are included several of these,--the
_Fontaine de la Samaritaine_, so called from an inscription which
recalls the words of the Saviour to the Samaritan woman; the _Tombeau de
Gilbert_, which is only a column supporting the roof to which was given
the form of a sepulchral monument; the _Lampe sépulcrale_, the _Crypte
de Saint-Laurent_, similar constructions, and the geological collection
formed by M. Héricart de Thury, chief engineer of mines and
inspector-general of quarries in 1810, which contains specimens of all
the earths and minerals encountered in excavating the quarries.


After a drawing by Henri Bellery-Desfontaines.]

There were formerly to be seen in the Samaritan fountain numerous red
fish, which were placed there in 1813 and thrived, but have now
disappeared. The quarries are not without animal life,--in the region of
the Jardin des Plantes have been found various insects, species of
coleoptera, myriapod and thysanoura, and several small crustacea, all
more or less blind. One of these latter, a species of small crayfish,
inhabits the waters of a little stream which traverses the Ossuaire. The
bones of the combatants of 1789 and 1790, and those of the victims of
September, 1792, are collected and arranged by themselves in this
ossuary. The walls of the galleries are set off with numerous quotations
drawn from sacred literature and engraved on pillars in French, Latin,
Greek, Italian, and Swedish.

One of the most remarkable of these curiosities, one which was the
favorite show-place of the young doctors of the Cochin when they had
guests and sufficient candles, is now no longer to be seen. This was a
representation of the fort of Port-Mahon, in which he had been
imprisoned by the English, cut in the face of the rock in high relief by
an old soldier of the king, named Lescure, who had become a stone-cutter
after his retirement from the army. This is situated in the quarry of
Port-Mahon, under another quarry in the quarter of the Tombe-Issoire,
which was discovered by Lescure, who kept his discovery to himself and
passed his leisure in executing this record of his past career. When it
was completed, he began to talk, and in order to enable his visitors to
reach it easily he undertook the construction of a stairway uniting the
two quarries; he had scarcely commenced it, when the earth gave way,
and the unfortunate artist was crushed in the débris.

Notwithstanding the care taken to shore them up, the roofs of the
abandoned quarries still give way occasionally under the superincumbent
weight. In May, 1879, a house in the Passage Gourdon, Boulevard
Saint-Jacques, sank through the earth; in the following year, a tree in
the Luxembourg garden, near the Médicis fountain, did the same thing,
and in July of this year, 1880, the lightning fell in this garden, and
at almost the same moment two houses in the Boulevard Saint-Michel began
to sink, as well as a large section of the sidewalk. These events
naturally produced a great excitement in the quarter, and measures were
taken to prevent a possible recurrence of such happenings. Proprietors
proposing to build in these suspected districts are now required to
conform to certain regulations of the inspector-general of quarries, who
examines the subsoil under their properties.


Engraved from a flash-light photograph.]

The Cimetière des Saints Innocents,--said to have dated from the time of
Philippe-Auguste,--which thus contributed to the first furnishing of the
catacombs, was one of the institutions of mediæval Paris. Surrounded by
its arcades of _charniers_, it had long been one of the most popular
resorts of the city, and the Danse Macabre, earlier than the famous one
at Bâle, painted along fifteen of these arcades, with inscriptions "to
incite the people to devotion," only incited them to dance themselves.
It was believed that the Duc de Berry had caused these paintings to be
executed after the assassination of the Duc d'Orléans, the king's
brother, in 1407, and the verses written under each personage were
attributed to Jean Gerson, who was "inspired by serious contemplation to
appeal, by the presentation of death, to his contemporaries of this
fifteenth century--so abounding in calamities of every nature." The
contemplation of death ceased to appal them,--for the space of six
months, from August, 1424, to Lent, 1425, the people were in the habit
of assembling in the cemetery on Sundays and fête-days, grotesquely
attired to represent various classes of society, and, led by a mask
disguised as Death, dancing frantically over the graves and along the
charniers heaped with skeletons. In this _ronde infernale_ might be
recognized some obnoxious abbot, or procureur, or bourgeois, or serjent,
travestied and caricatured; the people, "seeking for the moment to
forget their cares and sorrows, mocked at that death which they no
longer scarcely feared, for it was, at this disastrous epoch, very often
for them a deliverance." Too close familiarity with the _Camard_--"the
flat-nosed," the death's-head--had bred the proverbial lack of respect.

There is not very much information available concerning this Danse
Macabre,--it is known that it was the most important mural painting of
the cemetery of the Innocents, and it is now attributed to Jehan
d'Orléans, _valet de chambre_ and painter in ordinary to Charles VI,
familiar companion of Jean, Duc de Berry. The first record that is known
of it is found in the memoirs of a contemporary, printed under the title
of _Journal de Paris sous Charles VI et Charles VII, à l'année 1424_,
and which gives this "ITEM: _l'an iiiie xxiv fut faite la Danse
Macabre à Saint-Innocent, et fut commencée environ le moys d'aoust et
achevée au carême ensuivant_,"--begun in August, 1424, and finished in
the following Lent. In the library of the city of Grenoble is the only
known copy of a work illustrating this painting with wood-cuts,--"_cy
finit la dāse macabre imprimée par ung nommé Guy Marchant demeurant
en Champ Gaillart à Paris le vingt-huitiesme iour de septembre mil
quatre cēt quatre vings et cinq_,"--printed by Guy Marchant, Champ
Gaillart, Paris, September 28, 1485. The earliest known wood-engraving
is the German one of Saint Christopher, dated 1423,--one year before the
execution of the Danse Macabre on the walls of the Innocents. The famous
Dance of Death in Bâle was not executed till 1439, and Holbein--to whom
it has been attributed--was not born till 1498. The Paris dance is thus
much the earlier, and in the reproduction given by Guy Marchant the
varying buffoonery of the grotesque figures of death is
remarkable,--they laugh, they become astonished, they become
enraged,--the "serious contemplation," which they were to inspire, seems
far away to our modern eyes, so conventional in their conception only of
a conventional horror, silent, menacing, without any shade of humor.

Another image of this mediæval Death has been preserved to our day. This
is the small alabaster statue, formerly known as the _Mort
Saint-Innocent_; now preserved in the museum of the École des
Beaux-Arts. It stood under the fifth arcade, when issuing from the
church, in the charnier of "Messieurs les Martins," and had been
executed by their order. It was kept enclosed in a box of which the
church wardens had the key, and on All-Saints'-day it was exhibited to
the people until noon of the next day. Although attributed to Germain
Pilon, it is probably anterior to his time, and is now considered to be
the work of a sculptor named François Gentil, a native of Troyes. As
shown in the illustration, on page 278, it represents a corpse in the
process of dissolution, "a much more striking figure than a skeleton;"
it is about a mètre in height, stands upright, with a menacing
expression, in its right hand it holds the folds of a shroud or
winding-sheet, while the left rests upon the top of a species of shield
on which is engraved the following quatrain, which was indicated by a
dart placed between the fingers of the left hand:

    "Il n'est vivant, tant soit plein d'art,
    Ni de force pour résistance,
    Que je ne frappe de mon dard,
    Pour bailler aux vers leur pitance."

Which may be translated "There is none living, however artful or strong
to resist, that I do not strike with my dart, to give to the worms
their share." Underneath this somewhat trite observation is a sort of
monogram, the upright of which is supported by an M. When the church,
the cemetery, and the charniers of the Innocents were all suppressed in
1786, this figure was transferred to the church of Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie,
afterward to the Musée des Monuments français, by M. Alexandre Lenoir,
then to the Louvre, and finally to the Beaux-Arts.

"In the Middle Ages, Death played a very important part; in the arts,
the games, and the ornamentation, his image was everywhere. The
churches, the cemeteries, and the charniers were covered with epitaphs
and with sinister phrases relating to death, and paraphrases of the _De
profundis_ and the _Dies iræ_. At every step, says the author of the
_Légende des trépassés_, the thought of the life eternal presented
itself, sombre and terrible;--the melancholy chants and lamentations
sobbing under the vaults of the churches hung with black, the hurried
tolling of the death-bell which seemed to appeal for help and to sound
the tocsin of eternity, the slow and solemn processions of the monks and
the penitents intoning in the public squares the seven psalms of
penitence, the great dance macabre performed in the cemeteries and the
city streets, the representation of the Last Judgment by the brothers of
the Passion, ... the bell-ringer of the dead making his nocturnal
round,--all these formed an ensemble of awe-inspiring scenes well
calculated to alienate the living from the frailties of this world."


After a drawing by A. Sauvage.]

The use of _charniers_ to receive the bones of the dead, disinterred to
make room for more recent corpses in the century-old cemeteries, was
peculiar to Paris, and began with the Cimetière des Innocents at an
unknown date. The word seems to have first been used in France in the
eleventh century;--the historian, Raoul Glaber, quoted in MM.
Firmin-Didot's important work on Paris, previously cited, tells us that
after a terrible famine, "as it was no longer possible to inter each
body separately because of their great number, the pious people who
feared God constructed in divers localities charniers, in which were
deposited more than five hundred corpses." A dictionary of architecture,
published in Paris in 1770, defines the word as meaning a "gallery or
portico, formerly constructed around the parish cemeteries, in which
the catechism is taught, and in the lofts of which are stored the
fleshless bones of the dead. They may be found in several parishes of
Paris." Their use was not entirely discontinued till the close of the
last century. A pious regard for the relics of the departed led to the
search for some honorable place in which to store this constantly
increasing multitude of skeletons; sheds or penthouses were used,
chapels, the lofts of cloisters and churches. In Paris there were six
important churches, the cemeteries of which were surrounded by extensive
galleries, lit by rich windows and ornamented with elaborate funerary
monuments, and eight other parishes of minor importance; one of the
latest built of these, that of Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, prided itself on
having its steeple and its charnier in miniature. The two most important
were that of the Innocents, the popular cemetery, and that of
Saint-Paul, the aristocratic one.

To the accidental and isolated places of storage in the former succeeded
a series of symmetrical constructions, built independently of each
other, yet rapidly succeeding one another, and apparently all by funds
proceeding from pious legacies and donations in the fourteenth century.
These different galleries enclosed from twenty to twenty-five arcades
each, and were largely open to the air, so that their ghastly contents
were plainly visible. Some of them, it is thought, had no roofs, or very
imperfect ones. Notwithstanding these charnel-houses and the reeking
soil of the cemetery itself, a deposit for refuse and offal of every
description, this locality was one of the most thronged in the mediæval
city. The present Halles Centrales and the Marché des Innocents, which
occupied the same site from 1785, are but the legitimate successors of
the busy commerce carried on in this locality from the earliest times.
Louis XI authorized the construction, in the Rue de la Ferronnerie,
against the walls of the charniers, of little stalls or sheds to be let
to poor trades-people on condition that they did not display their
merchandise on the public street, very narrow in this quarter,--a
restriction which was speedily disregarded. "An ordinance of Henri II,
on highways, directed that this street should be widened, May 14, 1554;
it was not executed, and, fifty-six years later, to the day, Henri IV
was assassinated here, May 14, 1610." It may be remembered that the
temporary obstruction of the narrow street, which compelled the royal
coach to halt, gave Ravaillac his opportunity. In 1669, the charnier des
Lingères was ordered to be demolished, and two years later it was
reconstructed to form the northern wall of the Rue de la Ferronnerie.

Even the very imperfect sanitary science of the Middle Ages recognized
this cemetery as a centre of infection, and innumerable complaints were
addressed to the civic authorities from reign to reign. Toward the
middle of the eighteenth century, these protestations became more
frequent, and various reports were made upon the subject. In 1737, the
Parlement, by a decree dated July 9th, appointed a committee of experts,
consisting of MM. Lemery and Hunault, physicians of the Hôtel-Dieu, and
Geoffroy, _médécin chimiste_, all three of them members of the Académie
des Sciences, to report "upon the grounds for the complaints which have
been made for more than forty years, perhaps for more than a century,
upon the infection caused by the Cimetière des Innocents." The report of
this commission, dated May 22, 1738, gives some lively details
concerning the manners and customs of the times that may be sought for
in vain in other and less candid records. "Two causes of these evil
odors may be observed,--the fecal matter which the inhabitants of the
neighboring houses throw into the cemetery, partly in a trench that has
been made along the sides of the houses that are on the Rue de la
Ferronnerie, and the infection from the graves during the time that they
are open and being refilled. The first cause is the most obvious; the
second does not seem to exercise any injurious effect on the health of
the neighborhood.... Do the exhalations from the cemetery augment in
time of epidemics?... The experience of the past does not seem to
furnish any grounds for these slight suspicions.... The soil is not
exhausted, but it is less fit to bring about the dissolution of the dead

Various remedies were proposed in the conclusion of the report: "Prevent
the lodgers in the neighboring houses from throwing their water, urine,
and filth into the cemetery, and, to this end, increase the number of
_lunettes_ in the closets and close the windows up with gratings." This
particularly concerned the row of houses along the Rue de la
Ferronnerie, which formed one of the long sides of the cemetery; they
were five stories in height, and had been reconstructed under Louis XIV,
eighty years before. A typical detail of the period may be found in the
fact that there were "lunettes" only on the first floor; the dwellers in
the upper stories found it more convenient to throw their refuse out of
the windows than to carry it down-stairs. In fact,--says MM.
Firmin-Didot's editor, from whom we gather these details,--had the
private individuals any right to complain when, in building the palace
of Versailles, only one thing had been forgotten,--the closets? "And yet
these were the good old times, and Monsieur _Purgon_ [of Molière's
_Malade Imaginaire_] was then held in great honor!"

The commission also made several recommendations concerning the
cemetery, which to-day would be thought to be very insufficient. It was
proposed to level the ground, to divide it into squares, to dig graves
in a diagonal direction opposite to the one formerly followed, to oblige
the grave-digger to take out the bones each time, to have only one
common grave open all the time--instead of three, to double the size of
the graves, to cover the bodies with eight inches or a foot of
earth--according to the season, to open the graves by preference only in
the winter, to burn the bones or transport them to the new grounds of
the Porcherons, acquired by the chapter of Saint-Germain, and to
exchange part of the soil taken from the graves for new soil from this
locality. Another report, made by the commissioner Laumônier in 1780,
advised the establishment of a provisional cemetery under the charge of
the Capuchins,--"it were better," said the commissioner, "to have monks
for a guardian rather than a drunkard, like that of the Innocents."

This was Maître Poutrain, who had been _fossoyeur_ here for thirty
years, and who made application to be transferred to the new cemetery as
soon as he heard that his old one was to be suppressed. It was not
suppressed, however, till six years later, and in 1785 we find another
commission from the Académie des Sciences taking testimony and adopting
the recommendations of the grave-digger Poutrain as though he had been a
member of their own learned body. They even accepted this statement from
him:--there was a square tomb in the cemetery, near the church, then
only some three feet high, and which, when he commenced his labors in
the grounds, had been so high that he could scarcely reach the top with
his hands. That the soil had risen, however, cannot be doubted. There
were two thousand or three thousand burials a year; Poutrain said he had
officiated at ninety thousand himself during his term of office; and M.
Héricart de Thury has estimated the number of inhumations in the course
of six centuries as high as one million two hundred thousand. This has
even been considered as below the probable number, on a basis of three
thousand a year, and not allowing for famines, pestilences, epidemics,
and wars,--all in a space estimated at nine thousand six hundred square

Another account says that the cemetery was closed on the 1st of
December, 1780, in consequence of the following incident: In July of
that year, a shoemaker of the Rue de la Lingerie, having occasion to go
down into his cellar to get some leather, was driven back by an
insupportable odor. His neighbors having been called in and due
investigation made, it was discovered that the foundation wall had
yielded to the pressure of the earth of the cemetery, and that the
cellar was half full of decomposing bodies, mostly from a trench that
had been opened on that side of the grounds in the latter part of the
preceding year, for the reception of some two thousand corpses. The
police forbade the gazettes and journals to give any publicity to this
incident, and a commission was appointed to investigate. A decree of the
Archbishop of Paris, June 10, 1786, definitely closed the cemetery, the
earth was screened, the bones placed in sacks and transported in covered
carts to the old quarries under the plain of Montsouris in the locality
called the Tombe-Issoire, as has been stated. Those which it had been
intended to transport to the cemetery of the Faubourg Montmartre were,
for want of space, taken to Montrouge.

The vegetable market which had been held in the Rue de la Ferronnerie
was transferred to the site of the old cemetery, and for a number of
years this Marché des Innocents, with its four or five hundred immense
red parasols, under which the vendors sheltered themselves, was one of
the sights of Paris. In 1813, galleries of wood were constructed around
the enclosure for this purpose. In the centre was placed the old
fountain from the corner of the Rues Aux Fers and Saint-Denis, with the
five naiads in relief sculptured by Jean Goujon supplemented by three
more, more or less in the same style, by Pajou. Since the reconstruction
of the Halles Centrales, the Marché des Innocents has been transformed
into a public garden, surrounding this monumental fountain.

As early as 1766, the Parlement of Paris had taken up the very important
reform of suppressing all interments within the city, "a custom which
had its origin only in the growth of the city which, in extending its
limits, had gradually taken into its enclosure the cemeteries originally
outside its walls." A municipal decree, in nineteen articles, forbade
any further burials in the cemeteries then within the city walls, after
the first day of January, 1766, or in churches, chapels, or vaults,
excepting under certain limitations. This sanitary measure was, however,
so vehemently opposed by all the curés of Paris that it was never
enforced; the question of compelling all interments to take place in
suburban cemeteries was not seriously taken up till 1804, when the
grounds of Père-Lachaise were purchased by the city, and, to this day,
the only interments that are forbidden within the built-up limits of the
capital are the temporary ones, and the common ones for the poor,--the
_fosses temporaires_, and the _fosses communes_.


By a grotesque arrangement, the funeral arrangements in Paris were
formerly in charge of the town-criers, the _crieurs de corps et de
vins_, the _crieurs-jurés_, who held a monopoly of these public
announcements, and who bawled through the streets, indifferently, the
proclamation of _choses estranges_ which were lost, mules, children,
horses, and the like, of wine to sell--when they carried a gilded
drinking-cup, and of deaths--when they wore a sort of dalmatic sown with
black "tears" and death's-heads. Their number was at first fixed at
twenty-four, then at thirty, and an edict of January, 1690, raised it to
fifty. They had a reprehensible fashion of announcing deaths and ringing
their bell through the streets at all hours of the night: "Pray to God
for the soul of Messire Suchaone, who has just died! Awake, all ye who
sleep, and pray God for the dead!" The Parisian bourgeois, suddenly
aroused from slumber by this hoarse appeal under his windows, entered
into a state of fright, or of fury, according to his temperament. These
_crieurs_ and _clocheteurs des trépassés_, moreover, formed a wealthy
and influential corporation which held the monopoly of what is to-day
the _Pompes funèbres_,--they furnished the serge, the robes, the
mantles, the chaperons or hoods, the hangings, and the torches for the
funerals, they even furnished the hired mourners when required, who
preceded the cortège to the graves in black garments, "ringing their
bells, drawing lugubrious sounds from grotesque instruments, appealing
to the people to pray for the defunct, making an infernal uproar, and,
in order to honor the dead, nearly killing the living." This corporation
was in existence after 1789, but the hospitals and hospices had obtained
the right of furnishing hangings for funeral ceremonies, and a decree of
the year XII transferred it to churches and consistories.

The arrangements for interments, generally, were in harmony with the
condition of the overcrowded and reeking cemeteries,--the bodies were
usually transported to their last resting-places on men's backs or by
their arms, the poor enjoyed the luxury of a bier only during this
journey and were thrown half-naked into the common grave. From this
period of the Revolution, these summary processes were forbidden; the
bodies were obliged to be carried in wagons or cars, excepting those of
children, though sometimes several coffins were placed in the same
vehicle. For more seemly processions, the cars were drawn by two horses,
walking, accompanied by an _ordonnateur_ and three porters in costume,
or even by four _aumôniers_ on horseback supporting the canopy. In the
latter case, the hearse would be furnished with no less than eight
horses. For these sumptuous occasions, however, the _jurés-crieurs_
would deem it necessary to accompany the funeral cortége with a convoy
of saddle-makers, harness-makers, and wheelwrights, in case the heavy
funeral car should happen to upset or to become stalled in the mud. The
presence of these auxiliaries in their working costumes was concealed as
much as possible; they were placed in the hearse, sitting on the coffin
itself, and concealed from view by the heavy black curtains of the
vehicle,--here they amused themselves by playing at dice on the bier,
drinking, if they had had the forethought to bring a bottle along, or
sometimes by showing their faces through the openings of the black
curtains and making grimaces at the four mounted aumôniers, whose
dignity forbade them to reply in kind.

A certain contractor, a Sieur Bobée, was authorized by the Préfet of the
Seine, M. Frochot, in 1801, to furnish to wealthy families the means
necessary to give their interments the desired pomp, and he was, in
fact, the first organizer of the Pompes funèbres. He collected, at his
own cost and risk, all the requisite material, and drew from his wealthy
clients a sufficient recompense to reimburse him for the gratuitous
burial of the poor, which was required of him. He received, also, the
proceeds of the funerary tax, which provided the indigent with a shroud,
a coffin, and the necessary transportation to the grave. Under his
successors, the business gradually enlarged till, in 1869, the municipal
administration judged it expedient to purchase a site and erect
buildings that should assure a sufficient establishment for the future.
The war with Germany delayed the completion of this undertaking, but the
new buildings of the Pompes funèbres, offices, stables, store-rooms,
etc., all complete, were finally inaugurated in 1873. They were
constructed in the name, and at the cost, of the city of Paris, and the
funerary establishment pays a rent of two hundred thousand francs. These
buildings are situated on the site of the former abattoirs de la
Villette, on the Rues Curial and d'Aubervilliers. In the manufactory is
kept a large stock of coffins and caskets of all kinds, and a reserve
stock is always on hand in case of epidemics; in the carriage-houses are
nearly three hundred and fifty vehicles of all kinds, and in the
stables, three hundred and sixty-four horses,--two hundred and
ninety-one black ones.

The service of the Pompes funèbres is placed under the surveillance of
the Préfet of the Seine. The administration centrale may be addressed
directly by telephone, to 104 Rue d'Aubervilliers, when required, or
application may be made to the bureau of the Pompes funèbres in each
Mairie, or to their agents in each arrondissement. There is a conseil
d'administration of thirteen members, elected, ten by the city churches,
one by the consistory of the Reformed Church, one by the consistory of
the Confession d'Augsbourg, and one by the Israelite consistory. This
conseil represents the _fabriques_--that is to say, the revenues and
property--of the parochial churches, divided into ten circonscriptions,
and the consistories of the non-Catholic churches of the city. There is
also a vicar-general, delegated by the Archbishop of Paris, who is a
member of the conseil, and ranks next to the president.

[Illustration: DEATH.

Alabaster statuette, one mètre high, kept in the charniers of
Saint-Innocent; uncovered on All-Saints'-day.]

The expense of a funeral, of course, varies very greatly. An ordinary
coffin costs from eight francs to forty-four. The municipal tax, which
brings in to the city treasury annually some eight hundred and sixty
thousand francs, is included in the cost of each class of funeral, and
varies from forty francs for the first and second classes to six francs
for the ninth. For the _convois catholiques_, the expense is from eight
thousand to ten thousand francs for the first class; for the _convois
protestants_, four thousand two hundred to seven thousand five hundred
for first class; for the _enterrements israelites_, two thousand nine
hundred at the most. The ninth, or cheapest, class of funeral, of all
these may be had for eighteen francs seventy-five centimes for the
Catholic, nine francs for the Protestant, and three francs for the
Israelite. These figures vary according to the parish, the size of the
church or temple, etc., but they generally include the decoration of the
residence, the draping of the place of worship in which the service is
held, the payment for this religious service, etc., but not the cost of
the coffin, of the land in the cemetery, of the tickets of invitation or
notices of death, and other details. In the Jewish service, there is an
item of a thousand francs for the choir, either at the dwelling or in
the cemetery. For the _convois civils_, where there is no official
religious service, the price varies from eighteen hundred and fifty to
twenty-four hundred francs for the first class to nine francs for the
ninth. For incinerations, the cost is about the same, adding the tax to
be paid the city,--three hundred francs for the first class, and fifty
for the sixth, seventh, and eighth. A permit for a gratuitous interment
may be obtained by presenting at the Mairie a certificate of indigence
obtained from the Commissaire de Police upon application sustained by
two witnesses in good standing.

As in every other important event of his life, the Parisian is obliged
in this--the last--to occupy himself with the official _procès-verbaux_
of his _état civil_. At his decease, an _acte_ must be drawn up, upon
the declaration of two witnesses, if possible the nearest relatives, or
neighbors, giving his name, Christian name, profession, age, place of
birth, domicile, those of his father and mother, and those of the
attestors, with an indication of their relationship if they are
relations; stating whether the deceased was married or widowed, and, in
either case, the name and Christian name of his spouse. No operation
upon the corpse, such as autopsy, embalming, or taking a cast, can be
performed before the expiration of twenty-four hours after death, and
then only upon the authorization of the Préfecture de Police, and in the
presence of the Commissaire de Police of the quarter. This authorization
is granted only upon the statements of two doctors,--one of the official
Médecins de l'État Civil, and another physician, sworn and delegated for
the occasion. The family must preserve and produce upon the demand of
the Médecin de l'État Civil all the prescriptions of the doctor who had
attended the deceased in his last illness; they must also give the name
and address of the doctor and of the druggist who prepared the
prescriptions. It is also forbidden to clothe the body or place it in
the coffin, or to cover the face, before the expiration of twenty-four
hours,--a light veil of very thin gauze alone is permitted. It cannot be
denied that these are all very intelligent precautions.

In these funeral processions, the public authority is represented by the
_ordonnateur des Pompes funèbres_; "it is he who, from the residence of
the defunct to his last resting-place, never quits him, watching over
him like a faithful friend." His official costume has been modified of
late years,--he now wears a red and blue scarf, a cockade with the two
colors, and his insignia is embroidered on the collar of his coat. The
Napoleonic cocked hats, black garments, and high boots of the drivers of
the hearses are familiar sights in the streets of the capital,
especially in the neighborhood of the cemeteries, driving slowly at the
head of their mournful processions, or, in their moments of relaxation,
descended from the heights of their sable chariots and drinking
familiarly at the zinc bar of a workman's wine-shop, side by side, it
may be, with the white blouses of masons and plasterers. The four
hundred _porteurs_ of the Pompes funèbres still retain their ancient
familiar designation of _croque-morts_, concerning the derivation of
which there is much uncertainty. A number of the _Revue des traditions
populaires_ suggests that it may come from the mediæval custom of biting
the little finger of the deceased at the moment of placing in the
coffin, in order to obtain a final assurance of death. At the masked
balls of the Opéra, these personages are represented by the traditional
Père Bazouge and the cheerful Clodoche,--shedding their decorum with
their official costumes.

By the decree of 1804, which forbade all inhumations within the walls of
the capital, it was provided that there should be established
cemeteries outside the city limits, and at a distance of not less than
thirty-five or forty mètres. Four such enclosures were ordained: the
Cimetière du Nord, or of Montmartre, on the north; that de l'Est, or of
Père-Lachaise, on the east; that du Sud, or of Vaugirard, on the south,
and that of Sainte-Catherine. The first of these was already in
existence, having been established in 1798 by the municipal
administration, to replace that in the plain of Clichy, comparatively
new, which had replaced the old one of Saint-Roch. The Montmartre
cemetery occupied the site of an abandoned and very extensive plaster
quarry, whence it took its popular name of Cimetière des
Grandes-Carrières, and it was also known, more poetically, as the _Champ
de repos_, while the Montparnasse, later, was given that of _Champ
d'asile_. When the city limits were enlarged, in 1859, Montmartre, in
common with other communes of the suburbs, was brought within the
enclosure, and, after the creation of the new cemetery of Saint-Ouen,
called by the people Cayenne, the only interments in Montmartre were
those made in the vaults of certain private families.

Père-Lachaise, the most important and most picturesque of these
enclosures in Paris, takes its name from the confessor of Louis XIV, to
whom it was presented by his royal penitent. The Cimetière de l'Est was
inaugurated, in 1804, in a locality which originally bore the name of
Champ l'Évêque, because it had been the property of the Bishop of Paris.
The Jesuits purchased it, in 1626, under cover of a private individual,
and established there a country house, surrounded by trees and
shrubbery, the site of which is indicated to-day very nearly by the
central rond-point of the cemetery. Popular report ascribed to this
pleasure-house a character in keeping with the hypocrisy and luxury of
the order as painted by its enemies; and young Louis XIV visited it, in
consequence of which it became known as Mont-Louis. Afterward, when in
the possession of the royal confessor,--who said, himself, of his
office: "_Bon Dieu! quel rôle!_"--it was still further enlarged, and the
grounds handsomely laid out around his little villa, two stories in
height, overlooking Paris. At his death, it came again into the
possession of the fathers of his order, and at their suppression, in
1763, it was sold to pay their creditors. The Préfet of the Seine
purchased it for its conversion into a municipal cemetery in 1804.

That of Vaugirard was situated near the ancient barrière and at the
entrance of what was then the village of Vaugirard; it had in nowise the
importance of the two just mentioned, and was much more the
burial-ground of the poor than of the rich. As early as 1810, its
insufficience was recognized, and in 1824 it was closed, and replaced by
that of Montparnasse. The Cimetière Sainte-Catherine was in the quarter
Saint-Marcel, by the side of the old cemetery of Clamart, which was full
of bodies and closed in 1793; Sainte-Catherine was also replaced by
Montparnasse in 1824. The latter, the necropolis of the left bank of the
Seine, is the least interesting and least visited of any of the Parisian
cemeteries. The ground is quite level, and the enclosure so crowded with
tombs that there is very little space left for verdure or shade. The
number of distinguished dead who rest here is also less than in either
Père-Lachaise or Montmartre. Previous to 1824, it received only the
human débris from the hospitals and the bodies of criminals from the
neighboring scaffold. Vaugirard and Sainte-Catherine have since been
completely removed, and the sites devoted to other uses; and the number
of ancient urban cemeteries that have thus disappeared is very
considerable. That of the old church of Saint-Roch is now traversed by
the narrow streets which enclose the church; that of Saint-Gervais is
buried under the caserne Lobau, back of the Hôtel de Ville;
Sainte-Marguerite-Saint-Antoine, in which were placed the remains of the
young dauphin, is now a waste land; Saint-Joseph, and the little
Cimetière de la Chapelle Marcadet which was used during the siege of
1871, are now occupied by commercial or secular establishments. Among
those the sites of which are still recognizable are Saint-Vincent and
Saint-Pierre at Montmartre; Saint-Médard--so famous in the last century
as the scene of the extravagances of the convulsionnaires and the
alleged miracles on the tomb of the Jansenist deacon, Paris--has been
only partially destroyed by the opening of the Avenue des Gobelins; and
on the old Cimetière de la Madeleine now rises the Chapelle Expiatoire
to the memory of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.


Drawn from a photograph.]

Each of the great cemeteries, both within and without the walls, is
under the charge of a _conservateur_, having under him a receiver or
steward, a surveyor, clerks, guardians, and grave-diggers. The guards,
who number in all a hundred and thirty-five, including five brigadiers
and fifteen sous-brigadiers, have all been sworn into office and are
empowered to draw up procès-verbaux. The landscape-gardening of the
cemeteries is all under the direction of the _service des promenades_,
and the municipal administration of the city of Paris takes a laudable
pride in maintaining the picturesqueness and attractiveness of these
places of sepulchre. Many of the tombs, or funerary monuments, are
preserved through legacies or donations, and the city assumes the care
of others possessing an historical or patriotic interest, as those of
Abélard and Héloïse, of Molière, of La Fontaine, of Casimir Périer, and
the "four sergeants of La Rochelle." Consequently, the cemeteries of the
capital are, distinctly, one of the features of the city,--Père-Lachaise,
particularly, is a most curious, picturesque, original, and
characteristic "sight," and, alike on the day of Toussaints when they
are visited by the populace almost _en masse_, and when they receive the
solitary funeral procession winding slowly through the streets, the
carriages followed by a long train of mourners on foot, they may be said
to be truly representative institutions of this people with whom we are
for the moment concerned.

"The people of Paris," says M. Henry Havard, "are, assuredly, the most
extraordinary people that there are in the world. [This, of course; no
reference to the capital, even the slightest, is permissible without
this statement.] Not only do they possess a prodigious quantity of
remarkable qualities, and a number almost equally great of not less
remarkable defects, but that which distinguishes them from the rest of
humanity is, that their virtues and their vices, their good qualities
and their defects, are in a measure contradictory.

"To cite only one example,--no population is more profoundly irreverent
and more completely sceptical. The glories the most assured, the
reputations the most solidly established, scarcely find toleration in
their eyes. A scoffer by nature, a jeerer by temperament, a humbugger by
education, the Parisian perpetually forces himself to accept nothing
seriously, and to respect neither sex nor age nor glory. But, by one of
those contradictions with which this character swarms, the moment that
death has accomplished his sinister work, everything becomes to him

"When a funeral procession traverses a street or passes along a
boulevard, all noise ceases at the moment, and it might be said that all
life is momentarily suspended. Poor or rich, young or old, this dead
man who, two days earlier, would have found no consideration from this
jesting crowd, is respectfully saluted by the multitude. The vehicles
which, during his lifetime, would have taken the chances of running over
him sooner than slackening their speed, now pull up suddenly to allow
him to pass. The sentry on duty salutes; the women cross themselves; the
men uncover!

"In the enclosure specially reserved for death, the spectacle is not
less edifying. There are but very few cemeteries in Europe as well
maintained as the Parisian cemeteries. In no other city are they more
frequently visited, and more respectfully. The multitude that there
throngs scarcely dares to speak, and converses only in subdued tones.
Even those who have in them neither relatives nor friends visit them at
least once a year. The first and the second of November are generally
selected for this pious pilgrimage. These are the fête-days of our

"In order that they may appear more attractive on these days, the
toilette of the funeral monuments and the tombs is commenced long in
advance. The bouquets are renewed. The wreaths that are too much faded
are replaced by others. All the flowers freshly planted are carefully
watered; each one employs his best taste in setting forth the
resting-place of the dear absent ones. Regret makes itself friendly and
gracious; grief itself takes on a little coquetry. Nothing is more
delicate and more moving than this annual pilgrimage of the people of
Paris to these places of eternal repose."

Many of the details gathered by M. Havard in the course of his careful
inspection of these respect-compelling enclosures are worthy of
preservation. In Père-Lachaise, for example, it is well not to be too
credulous. "You may there discover, in fact, very many tombs decorated
with names familiar in various ways, and even very great names, which
certainly have never contained the ashes of those whose memory they
honor. Neither Lavoisier, nor Lesurques, 'victim of the most deplorable
of judicial errors,' as his epitaph says, nor General Malet, whose body
was interred in the cemetery of executed criminals, would be able to
find themselves under the monuments which a posthumous piety has reared
to them. The same can be said of the tombs of Racine, of Molière, and of
La Fontaine, which were the first to embellish these groves, and of
which the style proclaims clearly enough that they do not date further
back than the First Empire. It is the same for Héloïse and Abélard, and
for their graceful little structure to which the lovers and the newly
married do not fail to pay pious visits. This historic tomb, constructed
of composite materials, is also of very recent erection. The two statues
ornamented, in the last century, the monument which stood in the Abbaye
de Paraclet; from there they were transported at first to the Musée des
Petits-Augustins, and, in 1817, to the place where we now see them. The
graceful canopy which covers them is formed of materials borrowed from
the ancient Abbaye de Nogent-sur-Marne. As to the ashes of these perfect
lovers, they have been scattered to the winds for a great many

Many of the old cemeteries in the city, he says, owe their temporary
celebrity to the accidental interment within their enclosures of some
particularly illustrious deceased. "That which surrounded Saint-Roch
received the remains of Corneille. It is known that Molière was secretly
buried in the Cimetière de Saint-Joseph, which received also the body of
La Fontaine. As to the little cemetery of Saint-Gervais, we should be
ignorant of its existence if the authors of the seventeenth century had
not taken pains to reveal to us that Marion Delorme was there laid to
rest. Still more, the fact would have remained unknown had it not been
for the whim of her family which, after having crowned her with a wreath
of orange flowers, had the assurance to accord her the funeral of a
virgin. The curé of Saint-Gervais, who had received her confession,
opposed this masquerading, and he did well. Let us not laugh too much at
these curious pretensions. At Père-Lachaise, in the chapel in which
Mlle. Mars reposes, there can be seen very clearly, through the gratings
of the door, a wreath of white roses and orange flowers."


For the poor, the three great Parisian cemeteries have long been
closed,--space within their walls is reserved by the law for the
fortunate owners of the ninety thousand _concessions perpétuelles_. The
indigent and the working population are relegated to the two enormous
enclosures situated, the one at Ivry and the other at Saint-Ouen, which
have received from the people the picturesque appellations of _Champ de
Navets_ and _Cayenne_. Champ de Navets means a turnip-field, and Cayenne
is a penal colony. Even in this exile, the dead are allowed to rest
undisturbed only five years; at the end of that period, the earth is
reclaimed, turned over again, and prepared to receive new tenants for
the same length of time. The surroundings of these two suburban
cemeteries are, moreover, of the most barren and forlorn character; the
plain around Saint-Ouen is occupied by various factories and
manufacturing establishments which fill all the air with evil odors. The
_Fosse commune_ is simply a long trench in which the cheap coffins are
placed all together, and the earth heaped over them indiscriminately.
But even the tombs of malefactors who have perished under the axe of
Justice are not forgotten in these dreary receptacles; although it is
illegal to designate with a name the grave of one of these, "there are
still to be found pious hands to mark these accursed tombs with a cross
and to surround them with a modest railing. In the Champ de Navets there
may be seen the grave of the assassin Géomey ornamented with wreaths
bearing his initials, and the tomb of the infamous Vodable surmounted by
a cross with this word: AMI.--friend." In Père-Lachaise, that of the
socialist, Blanqui, is still the object of annual pilgrimages and
"demonstrations," which frequently culminate, as on the very last
anniversary, in a free fight among the pilgrims, and the intervention of
the police; and the "wall of the Federals," against which the
Communists were stood up to be shot, is almost covered with memorial
wreaths. "How many years longer," says M. Havard, "will there still
resound these instigations to hatred and these appeals to vengeance?"

The only private cemetery in Paris is that of Picpus, the entrance to
which is in the street of the same name. When the guillotine was
transported from the Place de la Revolution to the former barrière de
Trône, it became necessary to find in the quarter a place of burial for
the victims, and the Commune of Paris selected, on the 26th Prairial,
year II, a "piece of ground that had belonged to the so-called canons of
Picpus." Here these victims of "the law" were interred, to the number of
thirteen hundred and six, all executed between the 14th of June and the
27th of July, 1794; and this _cimetière des guillotinés_ has been
preserved as the property of the relatives and friends. It includes the
tombs of a number of the most ancient and illustrious families of
France, that of General Lafayette, of General de Beauharnais, of the
poet André Chénier, of Talleyrand, Montalembert, etc. It was acquired,
under the First Empire, by the Prince de Salm-Kirbourg, one of whose
ancestors had been buried in the Revolutionary fosse commune; and is
open to visitors on payment of a fee of fifty centimes. The victims of
the guillotine of the Place de la Concorde were buried in two
provisional cemeteries which have disappeared,--one which had served as
a kitchen-garden for the Bénédictines in the Rue de la Ville-l'Évêque,
and the other near the Folie-Chartres, in the neighborhood of the
present Parc Monceau and the Boulevard de Courcelles.

That lugubrious institution, the Morgue, dates from 1714, at least; it
was then a low room in the basement of the Châtelet, near the vestibule
of the principal stairway, and in the court adjoining was a well, the
water of which served to wash the corpses. It was under the care of the
_filles hospitalières de Sainte-Catherine_, and was, as may be supposed,
a noxious cell in which the bodies, thrown one upon the other, waited to
be inspected by the light of lanterns by those searching for missing
relatives or friends. In March, 1734, it was thronged with visitors
attracted by the unusual presence of some fifteen or sixteen infantile
corpses, none of them more than three years of age; it appeared that a
celebrated anatomist, Joseph Hunault, had collected these subjects for
his investigations, in the house of a surgeon, the affrighted neighbors
had complained to the police, who had caused them all to be transported
to the Morgue. A police ordinance of August 17, 1804, directed that this
establishment be suppressed, and that all bodies drawn from the river or
found elsewhere should be taken to the new Morgue on the Marché-Neuf, in
the quartier de la Cité. The object of the municipal administration was
to secure the recognition of the greatest number possible of these
remnants of humanity, and for this purpose they were exposed, for three
days at least, behind a glass screen protected by a rail, on inclined
tables of black marble, the heads reposing upon a raised piece covered
with leather. There was provided a room for the autopsies, containing
two dissecting-tables; another for the washing of the garments found on
the dead, and a third for those bodies recognized or in which
decomposition had proceeded too far to permit of their public exposure.
Two attendants were always on duty to receive any bodies that might be
brought, at any hour of the day or night.


In 1809, it was proposed to transport the Morgue to a site between the
Pont Saint-Michel and the Petit-Pont, but in 1830 it was enlarged and
improved where it stood; in 1864, it was transferred to its present
locality, behind Notre-Dame, between the Pont Saint-Louis and the Pont
de l'Archevêché. The bodies were still exposed nude, with the exception
of a leathern apron across the loins, on twelve black marble slabs, to
the public gaze, with their garments hanging over them; to preserve them
as long as possible, they were exposed to a constant sprinkling with
fresh water. When recognized, or when they could no longer delay, they
were carried into the adjoining _salle du dépôt;_ adjoining was the
_salle d'autopsie_, and, on the ground-floor, the _salle des
conférences_, in which the accused were brought before and after being
confronted with the bodies of their supposed victims. Some of these
arrangements are still preserved in the present institution; but, since
the establishment of the _appareils frigorifiques_, or freezing
machines, in 1881, the length of time during which a corpse may be
preserved has been greatly extended, from one month to years, according
to various claims. In the _salle d'exposition_ the temperature is
maintained at about zero, Centigrade, freezing point, Fahrenheit; and in
the cells in which the bodies are first placed, at fifteen degrees below
zero, Centigrade. The bodies of criminals are not submitted to the
public inspection. The garments are returned to the families, when the
body has been recognized or burned; their sale has been forbidden since

All persons are formally invited to furnish any indications they possess
that may lead to the recognition of the bodies, and are informed that
they will be put to no expense. A photographic plant was installed here
in 1877, and all bodies are photographed,--those which are not
recognized before burial have these, their last portraits, affixed at
the entrance. The number of corpses received annually is about nine
hundred, including new-born babies, fœtuses, and the remnants from the
dissecting-tables, and this number increases year by year. In it are
included also those bodies which it is desired to submit to a
medico-legal examination. About six-sevenths of the total number exposed
are those of men, and about one-seventh are never recognized. The
sanitary surveillance is under the charge of three medical inspectors;
not only are the autopsies here frequent, but there are also held many
conferences in legal medicine, and there is a laboratory of toxicology.
All departments of the establishment are cramped for want of space, and
it is proposed to establish a distinct medico-legal institution on a new
site, at the angle of the Quai aux Fleurs and the Rue du

On the crest of the hill in Père-Lachaise, in a fine open space from
which the tombs recede on all sides,--as if appalled at the presence of
this horrible new-comer,--rises the tall Crematory furnace, with its
quasi-classic columbarium behind it. Great improvements have been made
in the material details of this method of disposing of the dead since
its first revival in modern times, and even since the erection of this
edifice,--but the overturning of immemorial prejudices proceeds but
slowly. France claims the credit of introducing this excellent sanitary
measure, and as far back as the end of the last century, in the year V
of the Republic, a law was proposed by a commission of the Cinq-Cents
granting to each family the privilege of choosing between inhumation and
cremation for their dead. Later, "the administration centrale of the
department of the Seine adopted a regulation prescribing the cremation
of all those bodies destined for the fosse commune whose owners had not
expressed, during their lifetime, a contrary desire. Under the
Consulate, Madame Geneste, wife of the citizen Pierre-Francois Lachèze,
chargé d'affaires of the French Republic at Venice, obtained from the
préfet Frochot an authorization to cause the body of her deceased son
to be burned. The préfet invoked, in support of his decision, this
consideration, 'that the last cares to be rendered to mortal remains
constitute a religious act of which public authority cannot prescribe
the methods without violating the principle of liberty of opinions.'
Madame Dupuis-Geneste, however, did not make use of this authorization."

In 1882, M. Casimir-Perier, then minister, proposed a law granting to
every person who had attained his majority and to every minor who had
been relieved from guardianship, the power to regulate all the details
of his own funeral at his own discretion. The _Société pour la
Propagation de l'Incinération_, which now includes six hundred members,
had been founded two years before by M. Kœchlin-Schwartz and M.
Georges-Salomon, and this society caused to be erected, in
Père-Lachaise, in 1887, on the plans of the architect Formigé, a
building destined for the cremation of dead bodies,--this process, it
was declared by the _Conseil d'Hygiène et de Salubrité de la Seine_, on
the proposal of Doctor Bourneville, could be applied to the disposal of
subjects from the dissecting-tables without any menace to the public
health, provided that it was effected in suitable furnaces and without
emitting any odor. M. Casimir-Perier's proposal was finally recognized
by the Chamber and the Senate in 1886 and 1887, and this legal sanction
decided the question practically in favor of the Cremation Society and
of the Conseil Municipal of Paris, which had long been in favor of the
optional incineration of the dead.

The first apparatus, a reverberatory furnace burning wood, was found to
be entirely insufficient, and was replaced by a chamber of combustion
filled with incandescent gas, much more elaborate in construction. A
special apparatus, called a _Gazogène_, evolves carbon protoxide,
which, set on fire by peculiar burners, produces a temperature of eight
hundred degrees Centigrade in the chamber of combustion. The entire
arrangement at Père-Lachaise is some nine mètres in height by five and a
half in width, the actual furnace is below the chamber of combustion and
not directly under it, this space being occupied by long, perpendicular
flues through which the air--fed through a large horizontal shaft
passing under the furnace--rises. In the chamber of combustion, into
which the body is introduced in its coffin, the destruction was formerly
effected by the aid of the actual flames, and the result was not
completely satisfactory,--the skull was left almost intact and some of
the bones, with a few fatty acids and salts. The attendants gathered
these remnants up with pinchers, brushed the black and greasy residue
from the bones, and placed the whole in a little wooden casket, about
the size of a child's coffin, for final deposit in the columbarium. Now,
by the improved process, the total residue that issues from the furnace
is a quantity of white ashes, varying from nine hundred to twelve
hundred grammes in weight, although the flame is no longer permitted to
reach the body and the combustion is effected by refraction alone. A
curious detail in both operations is that the liver is the last of the
organs to be destroyed, and remains an incandescent mass when all the
rest of the body has disappeared.


After a drawing by A. Montader.]

In the funerary chamber, in which the mourners assemble, in the second
story, the coffin is received by the attendants, placed on a metallic
chariot, running on rails, the long shafts or extensions of which carry
it, with its contents, directly into the fiery heart of the furnace and
there deposit it. The time required for the complete combustion is, at
present, twenty-five minutes for a child, and fifty-five for an adult.
An urn of a peculiar model is now provided for the reception of the
ashes, and this can be either buried in the family vault or placed in
one of the cells of the municipal columbarium, erected in 1895. Although
this latter receptacle does not, as yet, meet with much favor, and has
been irreverently compared by one of the apostles of cremation to a
shed, it might be made a very neat and unobjectionable mausoleum. At
present, it is a species of lofty white marble arcade, or porch, the
wall side of which is filled up with cells about two feet square, the
panels closing which bear the name and dates of the occupant. This
panelled white marble wall is, however, defaced by the black wreaths,
beadwork, and artificial flowers which the misguided mourners hang over
the remains of their departed. In this municipal columbarium, families
have a right to deposit their ashes for the space of five years, at the
end of which period the urns are taken out and emptied in the fosse
commune. A concession perpétuelle for the urns in a cemetery may,
however, be purchased for the sum of three hundred and sixty-nine francs
and eighty centimes. The columbarium provides for three hundred urns;
less than half these receptacles are as yet filled, but the number of
cremations increases slowly year by year. There is also a similar
establishment in the cemetery at Clichy, and others are projected for
other sites.

Statistics show that the annual mortality in Paris is about 22.6 per
thousand inhabitants, which the Parisian publications erroneously claim
is below the average for large cities. In London, for example, in the
week ending January 14, 1899, it was 18 per thousand, and averaged 18.5
in thirty-two provincial towns. In some of them, as Brighton, Derby,
Leicester, and Hull, it ranged from 11 to 12.9; and the highest rates
were from 22.4 in Manchester to 24 in Sunderland. It is a constant
source of wonder to the newly-arrived in Paris, however,--especially if
he be inoculated with modern ideas concerning sanitary sewage in
dwelling-houses,--that the city escapes an annual epidemic of typhoid
fever. So very primitive are the methods of cesspools, and the official
emptying of them, in very many quarters of the city, that it is an
article of faith with the citizens to close all their windows tightly at
night,--an article of faith that is adopted by many American and English
residents with the usual wholesome Anglo-Saxon ideas concerning
ventilation of sleeping-rooms. It may be stated, however, as the result
of much experience, that--even for those who are able thus to sleep in
tightly-closed rooms--the open windows at night are _not_ deadly. The
prejudice against night air, which is by no means confined to France,
here takes on an acute form,--it is even asserted stoutly, and this,
too, is believed sometimes by the otherwise intelligent foreigner, that
the entrance of fresh air into the sleeping-room at night produces
affections of the eyes. The quarters of Paris in which the mortality is
the lowest--those which show quite white on the graded annual mortality
plan of the city--are the arrondissements of the Élysée and the Opéra,
11.1 and 14.5 respectively; and those which are printed quite black on
the same plan are those of the Observatoire and the Gobelins, 32.8 and
31.4 respectively.

Nevertheless, the sewerage system of Paris is conceived and carried out
in its general plan with an appreciation of the requirements of modern
sanitary science and an intelligent employment of the science of the
engineer that are quite admirable. The methods of disposing of the
city's refuse in use by many American municipalities, as those of New
York and Chicago, are, by comparison, but dull and stupid perpetuation
of antiquated traditions. The animated controversy over the great
question of _Tout à l'égout_, "all refuse to the sewer," was not finally
settled till 1894, and this method has as yet not been applied to all
the quarters of the city, as stated above, but is being gradually
extended, and nothing but time seems to be wanting to bring about in
this capital a complete solution of one of the most difficult problems
of material civilization. The object of the Parisian method is to avoid
fouling the Seine in any way, and to utilize all the city's refuse,
instead of throwing it away or allowing it to accumulate, a menace to
health and a hideous nuisance. By an excellent system of underground
conduits, well lighted and ventilated, the sewage and the rain-water are
collected, carried by canals and pipes outside the city, and applied,
after proper treatment, to the fertilization of certain arid tracts of
land farther down the river. The principal agent in this "hygienic
transformation of Paris" was the engineer Belgrand, who, at his death,
in 1870, had increased the length of the municipal sewers from two
hundred and twenty-eight kilomètres in 1860 to six hundred. It has now
attained a total of fourteen hundred and twenty-one, representing a
capital of a hundred and fifty millions of francs.

The first principle of Belgrand's system was to avoid any discharge from
the sewers into the river during its course through Paris. The great
main sewer, the _collecteur général_, of the right bank, called the
collecteur d'Asnières, follows the quais from the basin of the Arsenal
to the Place de la Concorde, then burrows under the heights of the
Batignolles to reach Clichy; the collecteur général of the left bank,
which includes the poor little Bièvre, traverses the bed of the Seine by
means of a siphon at the Pont de l'Alma and is prolonged by the
collecteur Monceau, which passes under the hill of the Place de l'Étoile
to join the collecteur d'Asnières. A third collecteur, known as the
_départemental_, or _du Nord_, at a higher level, receives the drainage
of Belleville and Montmartre, and issues from the city by the Porte de
La Chapelle to reach the Seine at Saint-Denis. A new siphon, constructed
under the Seine in 1895 and 1896, unites the collecteur général of the
left bank to the collecteur d'Asnières. The sewage of the Iles
Saint-Louis and de la Cité is carried by two other siphons to the
collecteurs of the quais of the right and left banks.

A new main sewer, called the collecteur général de Clichy, was commenced
in 1896, to supplement those of Asnières and Monceau, become
insufficient; this passes under the Avenue and the Rue de Clichy to
terminate at the Place de la Trinité. The prolongation of the line of
the Orléans railway to the Quai d'Orsay, by means of a tunnel, has
necessitated a very important modification of the sewers of the left
bank of the river, which has had much to do with the lengthening of the
work of excavation which has so greatly annoyed the dwellers on this
side of the river in 1898 and 1899. It was understood that this
excavating was to be done entirely underground, whereas it has blockaded
many of the narrower streets, and even when it tunnels it contrives to
raise the street level about a mètre and substitute a wooden floor, as
along the Quai Voltaire. It is stated that this work will cost the
railway company not less than five million francs.


After a design by G. Amato.

Henri Dayre: Chasseur de rats de la Ville de Paris, fournisseur de
toutes les Sociétés de France et de l'Étranger.]

The diameter of the vault of the _égouts collecteurs_ varies between
four and six mètres; that of the _égouts secondaires_ from two mètres to
three mètres, seventy centimètres; that of the _égouts ordinaires_,
including ten varieties, from one mètre to one mètre, seventy-five. The
size the most in use has a diameter of one mètre, forty. The problem of
purifying and utilizing the contents of the sewers, which were
provisionally discharged into the Seine at Saint-Denis and at
Asnières, occupied the attention of the municipality from the period of
the establishing of the collecteurs, but the vigorous local opposition
which was encountered greatly delayed the carrying out of these
projects. Consequently, the purification of the river is not yet
complete. On the sandy and arid plain of Genevilliers, situated in the
first loop of the Seine, beyond Clichy, the experiment of fertilizing
with this drainage was commenced in 1869. At present, the ground thus
under cultivation includes some seven hundred and ninety-five
_hectares_,--about two and a half acres each,--of which six belong to
the city of Paris and constitute the model garden. The remainder is held
by private individuals, who pay a rental of from four to six hundred
francs the hectare. The distribution of the sewage is effected by agents
of the administration in regular rotation, in three zones. In 1896, each
hectare absorbed thirty-seven thousand and sixty-seven cubic mètres. All
varieties of vegetables are grown, and this land, on which were raised
formerly only meagre crops of rye and potatoes, is now a flourishing

A second agricultural establishment at Achères, farther on, on both
sides of the Seine, was inaugurated in 1895, the larger portion of which
is held by individuals, but as each hectare of land can absorb not more
than forty thousand cubic mètres annually, it has been found necessary
to seek additional _champs d'épuration_. These have been secured by the
municipality at Méry and les Gresillons and in their neighborhood, still
farther westward, and the completion of these is promised for the summer
of 1899. In the model garden of Asnières, all varieties of culture are
practised, the sewage is carried in trenches into the cultivated land in
such a manner as to bathe only the roots of the plants. The extremely
winding course taken by the Seine west of Paris renders it necessary
for the conduits conveying this drainage to cross the river three times
before reaching Achères, as may be seen by reference to the map. From
the _usine elévatoire_ of Clichy it is carried under the Seine by a
siphon, four hundred and sixty-three mètres in length; the aqueduct
crosses the river again near the usine de Colombes, opposite Argenteuil,
on a steel bridge, and again near Herblay, by another siphon. In 1897,
on the total surface, a thousand hectares, under cultivation, there were
spread seventy million cubic mètres of sewage.

After many and long debates, carried on both in the Conseil Municipal
and the Chamber of Deputies, the much-discussed question of _Tout à
l'égout_ was disposed of by a law passed on the 10th of July, 1894, by
which the proprietors of all houses situated in streets provided with a
public sewer were required to make connections with this and drain into
it all the refuse of their _cabinets d'aisances_. This connection was to
be made within the space of three years, and a proportionate tax for
this privilege was laid upon each dwelling. But the streets in which
there are no public sewers,--including those private streets,
_impasses_, and _cités_ which the municipality considers as the property
of individuals, and for which it provides neither policemen nor
street-cleaners,--and those buildings in which this connection has not
been made, still furnish occupation for those nocturnal vehicles the
mere thought of which drives the careful citizen to close his windows.
In the seventeenth century, this nocturnal agent was known as _Maître
fy-fy et des basses-œuvres_, and he fulfilled his task by carting his
material to one of the public dumping grounds and there discharging it.
Many of the now picturesque sites of the city owe their characteristics
to these eminences of refuse,--the Buttes of the Rues Meslay and
Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth, Bonne-Nouvelle, des Moulins, the labyrinth of
the Jardin des Plantes. "The _voirie_ of Montfaucon," says M. Strauss,
"with its infected basins, its pestilential reservoirs, its charnier and
its gibbet, was a cause of shame and anxiety to several quarters of
Paris; even after being transferred from the Faubourg Saint-Martin to
the foot of the Buttes Chaumont, it was an object of horror and disgust.
An army of rats garrisoned the charnier, whilst the basins overflowed
with rottenness. This horrible establishment had its clientèle; in 1832,
the Préfet de Police, M. Gisquet, found, according to the account of M.
Mille, a hideous thing,--individuals who, in the midst of these lakes,
fished up again the dead fish.

"In 1848, this notorious laystall was installed in the forest of Bondy,
where it has undergone various transformations; for many years the
basins were encumbered with a stock but very slightly appetizing; to
reduce these mountains of refuse to industrial products was a very
serious undertaking. After being, by slow desiccation by drying in the
air and grinding, transformed into a fertilizer called _poudrette_, they
are subjected to various chemical processes; there is extracted from
them sulphate of ammonia, etc. The odors which are disengaged during
these operations, while not injurious to the health of man, are not of
those which leave public opinion indifferent; the girdle of insalubrious
establishments which immediately surrounds Paris, individual
_dépotoirs_, private _voiries_, manufactories of fertilizing materials,
is no less menacing than disgraceful.

"A single establishment is an exception to this rule, it is the dépotoir
of La Villette, in the neighborhood of the _Marché aux bestiaux_. It
would never be thought, from its appearance, that it was the nightly
rendezvous of the most infectious scavengers' carts that traverse Paris.
A coquettish garden, of a surprising greenness, all flowery and
perfumed, charms the eyes; the receiving cisterns conceal themselves
under vaults that do not reveal their secret to the first comer. The
basin of the water of the Ourcq has the most innocent air in the world,
and the return-pumps reveal nothing.

"All night long, the dépotoir is visited by vehicles, two or three
hundred in number, which arrive in single file, with a mysterious
heaviness, to discharge themselves in the cisterns. What a discharge! a
thousand to twelve hundred cubic mètres--of matter!

"The next morning, all this deposit is relegated to a distance of nine
kilomètres, as far as Bondy, by elevating machines: the cisterns are
washed out and cleansed by floods of water; the heavy matter which the
pumps do not take up is put in casks and taken away to be employed
directly in the manufacture of manure, by mixing it with other
fertilizing materials. The transportal of the liquid matter to Bondy is
effected by means of a machine of twenty-five horse-power, through a
conduit thirty centimètres in diameter, which follows the right bank of
the canal de l'Ourcq."


After a drawing by L. Vauzanges.]

The great collecteur d'Asnières, a sectional view of which under the Rue
Royale, is shown on page 299, is five mètres, sixty centimètres, in
width, and three mètres, forty, in height; the channel for the water in
the centre is three mètres, fifty, in width, and one mètre, thirty-five,
in depth. On each side is a _banquette_, or sidewalk, ninety centimètres
wide. The collecteurs, as well as the smaller sewers of the streets and
houses, are constructed of masonry laid in mortar, and they are lined
with cement which insures their cleanliness and their sonorousness. The
former quality is maintained by an incessant surveillance, an organized
force of nine hundred and thirty-one men being constantly employed, and
an arrangement of fans or wings, mounted either upon the fronts of the
boats or attached to the bottoms of the little trucks which run on rails
along the edges of the canal of the larger sewers. These fans descend
into the canal and sweep all obstructions before them,--the sand from
the street pavements overhead constituting a large portion of this
obstructive material. The siphons are cleansed by an ingenious process
invented by Belgrand and applied by him to that of the Alma,--a large
wooden ball, eighty-five centimètres in diameter, traversing twice a
week each of the two conduits, a mètre in diameter. So thorough is this
policing of the sewers, that it is recorded that the number of heavy
leathern thigh boots furnished the _égoutiers_ is some twelve hundred or
two thousand annually, representing a value of nearly a hundred thousand
francs. One pair of these boots lasts about six months.

An analysis of the air of these sewers gives surprising results. The
proportion of carbonic acid is somewhat greater than in the air of the
streets overhead, that of ammoniacal azote is much more considerable,
and that of bacteria only half as great. Consequently, not only does the
personnel of this underground labyrinth traverse it constantly without
danger, but visitors from the upper world find amusement in exploring
it. Every fortnight, on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month,
the Préfet of the Seine, or the Chief Engineer of the _Service de
l'Assainissement de Paris_, grants permits for these visits to a certain
number of applicants,--the visitors are transported through the
collecteurs of the Châtelet to the Place de la Concorde, under the
Boulevard Sebastopol and the Rue de Rivoli, in little vehicles forming
two trains, drawn each by an electric engine; then from the Concorde to
the Madeleine, under the Rue Royale, in boats drawn by an electric tug.
The trip takes about an hour, and can be made in either direction; the
sewers are open to this invasion from Easter to the end of October,
excepting in case of storms, when the water in the canals is apt to rise
rapidly over the banquettes and drive the workmen to the _regards_ or
places of ascent provided every fifty or a hundred mètres apart. The
danger of asphyxia, which was formerly very serious, is now practically
abolished, the ventilation being assured by numerous openings in the
street gutters under the curb-stones, which are kept free from floating
materials and obstructions by a special corps of égoutiers.

For the _wagonnets de service_ in the larger sewers, an ingenious
arrangement is used,--on the little four-wheeled truck which runs on
rails along the edge of the central canal are laid two more sections of
railroad at right angles, and on these are mounted two more four-wheeled
trucks carrying each a rectangular little tank or receptacle, with a
rounded bottom. The outside rail, at each end, is blocked, so as to keep
these tanks in position while in transit,--when arrived at their
destination, the blocks are removed and the two run off on other rails
to be emptied. The Parisian sewers carry not only the drainage of the
streets and houses, but also all those various underground means of
communication which in other, and less well-ordered, municipalities have
each their own burrowing to do,--at the cost of infinite expense and
confusion. The water-pipes, the telegraphic cables, the telephone wires,
the pneumatic tubes for the postal service, and the piping for the
conveyance of motive power, are all sheltered in these underground
thoroughfares. So complete and well organized, indeed, are these égouts,
that that constant habitant of sewers, the rat, is being driven out of
them,--neither the black rat nor his enemy, the great Norway animal, can
find lodging and refuge in these cement-lined walls, as hard as steel.
The task of the hunter of rodents is greatly facilitated by all these
improved methods.

It is difficult nowadays to conceive the condition of the streets of a
mediæval city, and Paris was no exception. Not only were they very
crooked--each householder building where he chose, with very little
consideration for the general alignment, badly paved or not at all,
unsewered and dark, but they were the receptacles for absolutely all the
refuse of the dwellings. The butcher, the baker, and the
candlestick-maker threw everything out of the windows, and nobody
carried it away. The first vaulted sewer was constructed in the reign of
Charles VI, in the Rue Montmartre, by Hugues Aubriot, _prévôt_ of the
merchants; but the state of the public thoroughfares remained much as it
had been in the preceding century. The houses were built on the level of
the streets, and inundated at every violent shower, the choked-up
gutters refusing to carry off the sudden flood. Even the kings of France
struggled in vain against the universal infection,--"incommoded in their
Hôtels Saint-Pol and des Tourelles, they were constantly protesting to
the municipality of Paris; Louis XII, François I, and Henri II vainly
attempted to secure the removal of the égout Sainte-Catherine; this
unwholesome neighborhood even caused François I to change his property
of Chanteloup for the locality of the Tuileries." In 1473, the Parlement
ordered the Lieutenant Criminel to clear away the filth which obstructed
the entrance to Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet and along the course
formerly traversed by the Bièvre, and three years later a more general
effort at reformation was made. The main streets, the surroundings of
the Palais, were submitted to a sort of system of cleaning, the cost of
which was defrayed by a tax laid upon the inhabitants thus favored. The
aqueduct of Belleville had been constructed in 1244, to supply the
fountain of the monastery of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, and afterward
furnished water to most of the fountains of Paris; in 1457, it had been
repaired by the _prévôt_ of the merchants, and thus supplied a means of
cleansing the streets. In 1265, there was existing a fountain in the
upper part of the Faubourg Saint-Denis, known as the Fontaine
Saint-Lazare, and fed by the aqueduct of Saint-Gervais--from
Romainville, near Vincennes--constructed in the last years of the reign
of Philippe-Auguste. The fountain of the Innocents, that of Maubuée, and
that of the Halles were also watered by this aqueduct of the
Pré-Saint-Gervais. The Cité and the quartier Saint-Jacques were for
centuries the most pestilential quarters of the capital, and, despite
the various measures taken to ameliorate them, it was not till the reign
of Henri IV that the evil was effectively attacked by the widening of
the streets so as to permit the noblesse and the bourgeoisie to traverse
them in carriages.

To such a height had the deposits of refuse outside the city walls
attained, that, in 1525, during the panic that prevailed in Paris at the
news of the captivity of François I, Jean Briçonnet, President of the
Chambre des Comptes, secured the passage of an ordinance directing their
razing, as from their summits an enemy could command the city walls!
During this reign, however, considerable progress was made in cleansing
and embellishing the capital; the king particularly enjoined upon the
municipality the importance of paving and sweeping the streets, and a
royal edict of November, 1539, prescribed minute regulations for the
conduct of the inhabitants and the measures to be taken that would be
considered very satisfactory, if enforced, at the present day. The
paving of the streets, which had been commenced under Philippe-Auguste,
had proceeded so slowly that in 1545 the greater portion of the Faubourg
Saint-Germain was not yet paved, and the Cardinal de Tournon, Abbé of
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, undertook the task. A decree of the court, March
30, 1545, ordered the commencement in the Rue de Seine; but when the
cardinal desired to straighten the street lines also, he encountered a
vigorous opposition on the part of the inhabitants. The Parlement was
obliged to come to his assistance, and a decree of the 21st of the
following October directed that all those who had valid reasons for
opposing this measure should appear by means of a procureur, within the
space of three days, to state them.

Five years later, another public-spirited citizen, Gilles de Froissez,
an iron-master, proposed to bring the water of the Seine to aid in the
great task of cleaning the city, and was instrumental in beginning this
good work. In 1605, still another, François Miron, paid out of his own
pocket for the facing with masonry of the égout de Ponceau from the Rue
Saint-Denis to the Rue Saint-Martin. Various other open sewers were
gradually transformed into covered ones, but under Louis XIV, while the
total length of the first was only two thousand three hundred and
fifty-three mètres, that of the latter, including the long _égout de
ceinture_, or stream of Ménilmontant, was eight thousand and thirty-six.

Marie de Médicis, having begun, in 1613, to plant the trees for the park
of her proposed palace on the site of the old Hôtel du Luxembourg, was
desirous of securing a supply of water for her fountains, and
arrangements were made to divide that which was to be brought from the
source at Rungis by the Aqueduct of Arcueil. The old one built by the
Romans in this locality--whence its name, _Arculi_--had fallen to ruins;
one Hugues Cosnier had engaged, the preceding year, to construct a new
one in three years, which should bring thirty inches of water to the
Faubourg Saint-Germain, eighteen for the palace and twelve for the
inhabitants. The work was carried out by Jacques Debrosse, between 1613
and 1624; and on his handsome, dressed-stone construction there was
erected another in rough stone, less high but twice as long, between
1868 and 1872.


From a drawing by H. Toussaint, after a contemporary engraving.]

A detailed report has been preserved, setting forth the condition of the
streets of the capital, made by Anne de Beaulieu, Sieur de
Saint-Germain, to the king, in April, 1636. Everywhere, _ordures_,
_immondices_, _bouès_, and _eaux croupies et arrestées_, the latter
proceeding from the broken sewers; in the quartier Saint-Eustache, the
égouts were stopped up, as everywhere else, "which causes the aforesaid
waters to stagnate and to rise nearly to the church of Saint-Eustache
and to give forth such a stinking vapor, in consequence of the
carriages, carts, and horses which pass through the aforesaid waters,
which is capable of polluting the whole quarter, and the same rising and
stagnating of water is caused in the Rue du Bout du Monde as far as the
aforesaid Rue Montorgueil; and it is to be remarked that the stench of
the aforesaid waters is much more stinking and infectious in this
locality than in others, because of the butchers and pork-butchers who
have their slaughter-houses on the aforesaid _esgout_ (the égout of the
Rue Montmartre), and that the blood and the garbage and other matters
proceeding as much from the aforesaid slaughter-houses as from the
sweepings of the houses."

In 1670, the city established the two pumps at the Pont Notre-Dame to
raise the river-water, which, elevated "to the height of sixty feet and
to the quantity of eighty inches, was conducted into different quarters
of the city by pipes six inches in diameter." Two mills which were
standing on this site were purchased by the city, which diminished
considerably the expense and hastened the completion of the work. These
pumps were enclosed in a building of the Ionic order of architecture,
the door of which was decorated with a medallion of Louis XIV, and with
two figures sculptured in bas-relief by Jean Goujon, one representing a
naiad, and the other personifying a river. These had previously
ornamented an edifice in the Marché Neuf which had been demolished. An
inscription by the poet Santeuil completed the decoration of this
building. These pumps were restored and reconstructed in 1708, and
finally abandoned in 1854.

The most important reformation effected in the eighteenth century was
the reconstruction, throughout its whole length, of the great main sewer
and the construction of a reservoir for the water with which to flood
it. This was decided upon in 1737, and completed in 1740. Sewers were
constructed also in the Rue Vieille-du-Temple and Rue de Turenne, the
open ditch Guénégaud was covered over, and the Invalides and the École
militaire were supplied with water. A police ordinance of January 9,
1767, forbade the inhabitants to put out in the streets any broken
bottles, crockery, or glassware, or to throw them out of the windows;
all individuals were forbidden, also, by the eighth article, to throw
out of the windows in the streets, "either by night or day, any water,
urine, fecal matter, or other filth of any nature whatsoever, under
penalty of a fine of three hundred livres." The Parisians objected
strongly to this interference with their usual habits, and this question
of sanitation remained long unsolved; in 1769, the Contrôleur Général,
M. de Laverdy, proposed to establish at the street corners _brouettes_,
or small, closed vehicles, in which could be found _lunettes_ for the
benefit of the public. "The contractors promised to turn in a certain
sum to the royal treasury," says the author of the _Mémoirs secrets_,
"which transformed the affair into an impost worthy of being compared to
that which Vespasian laid upon the urine of the Romans."

This idea, much derided at the time, was the germ of the modern
_cabinets inodores_, those very useful institutions which do so much to
disfigure the streets of Paris. In 1845, small cabinets of this
species, mounted on wheels, could be seen on the Place de la Concorde,
drawn about by a man, who stopped when signalled by the passer-by, but
these soon disappeared. By a special law, passed February 4, 1851, the
establishment of _lavoirs publics_ was authorized in several quarters of
Paris, and these establishments have continued to multiply.

The problem of supplying Paris with good drinking water is not yet
completely solved, though immense progress has been made within the last
sixty years. The cholera epidemic of 1832 did much to arouse the
municipal authorities to the necessity of radical reform both in the
water-supply and in the system of sewage. At this date, the city was
furnished by the pumps in the Seine, by the selenitic water drawn from
Belleville, from the Pré-Saint-Gervais and from Arcueil, and from the
canal de l'Ourcq,--inferior in quality and insufficient in quantity. The
public fountains had long been the great resource of the inhabitants,
and these were frequently architectural constructions worthy of their
importance,--the Fontaine des Innocents, that of the Birague--now
disappeared, that of the Arbre-Sec, of Gaillon and of Grenelle. The
_porteurs d'eau_ were robust young fellows, mostly from Auvergne, who
carried about the Seine water in two metal buckets by means of a neck
yoke, and delivered it in the loftiest houses. At night, the
water-casks, always filled, were stationed at various points, so as to
be available in case of fire;--the first water-carrier who reached the
scene of conflagration received a reward of twelve francs. The _eau de
Seine_, filtered, was retailed at ten centimes the _voie_, or two
pailfuls, of ten or fifteen litres, twenty times the price it is to-day;
the poor preferred to use the water just as it came from the river,
polluted as it was by the sewage.

As late as 1608, the only resource available outside the Seine water
and that of wells was that furnished by the two little aqueducts of
Belleville and the Pré-Saint-Gervais, constructed by Philippe-Auguste
about the beginning of the thirteenth century. This supply was called
_les Eaux du Roi_, and was dispensed graciously by the monarch to the
grand seigneurs and the rich monasteries. The aqueduct of Belleville,
which was falling into ruin, was partly reconstructed by the _prévôt_ of
the merchants in 1457. Henri IV, in 1598, granted the first concession
for a fixed price, which was the origin of the custom of paying for the
municipal water-supply. At the end of the eighteenth century, the city
was furnished by the "Eaux du Roi," which included that brought by the
aqueduct of Arcueil and drawn from the _pompe de la Samaritaine_
(1606-1608); and by the "Eaux de la Ville," from the aqueduct of
Belleville and the pompes Notre-Dame. The Eaux du Roi were ceded
outright to the city in 1807; their administration is confided to the
Préfet of the Seine, under the authority of the Minister of the

In 1802, the first attempt to seriously increase the volume of water
supplied the city was made by drawing on the little river Ourcq. This
canal brings a supply to the Bassin de la Villette, which serves as a
reservoir to distribute it through Paris by means of the aqueduct of the
Ceinture and large mains. The necessity of securing a larger supply, and
a much purer one, was strongly felt by Baron Haussmann, who did so much
for the embellishment of the city during the Second Empire, and in
conjunction with the Engineer-in-chief of the navigation of the Seine,
M. Belgrand, the present system was inaugurated. The latter found means
of solving the problem after a careful study, in 1854, of the basin of
the Seine. The bed of gypsum on which Paris is built furnishes neither
water of a good drinking quality nor sources high enough to bring it
into the city at the requisite altitude; it was therefore necessary to
go outside this basin, extending from Meulan to Château-Thierry. At
present, Paris is furnished with potable water by three aqueducts,--that
of the Dhuis, a hundred and thirty-one kilomètres in length, constructed
from 1862 to 1865, running from a source nearly due east of the city;
that of the Vanne, a hundred and eighty-three kilomètres, 1866-1874,
from the southeast, and that of the Avre, a hundred and eight
kilomètres, 1890-1893, from the west. A fourth is to be built, of a
length of seventy-two kilomètres, which will draw its supply from the
valley of the Loing and the Lunain, a little west of Vanne.

When the city was enlarged by the annexation of the surrounding
communes, in 1860, the municipal administration signed a contract with
the _Compagnie générale des eaux_, which then held similar contracts
with several of the communes both within and without the walls. By this,
the city obtained the control, not only of its own water-supply and
distribution, but also of that previously established by the company.
The general management of the distribution is in the hands of the
Compagnie, which collects the subscriptions, constructs branch pipes
from the public conduits to the façade of the dwelling to be served, and
turns the gross receipts into the municipal treasury, less its
commission. To it, or to the _bureaux d'inspection_, all complaints are
to be addressed. The purer _eaux de source_, brought by the aqueducts,
are reserved for domestic use; the _eaux de rivière_, from the Seine and
the Marne, are elevated to the altitude requisite to serve the higher
quarters of the city by eleven _usines_, within and without the walls.
The river-water is served by means of gauges and meters; the eau de
source by meters only, which are officially examined and verified by the
Municipal Laboratory, established in the Palais du Bardo, in the Pare
Montsouris. This laboratory also analyzes this water, that of the
drains, the sewers, and the wells, and reports to the municipal
administration. With a view to the diffusion among the people of correct
hygienic ideas, the Préfet of the Seine appointed, March 21, 1898, a
commission of savants, architects, and hygienists to draw up a series of
measures the most practical available for rendering dwelling-houses

The general distribution is effected from the eighteen reservoirs fed by
these various sources; the eau de source is furnished on the public
streets by six hundred and seventy-three fountains established against
walls, etc., and by ninety-seven of the "Wallace fountains;" the water
of the Ourcq and of the rivers is furnished by thousands of _bouches
d'eau_, on the sidewalks, in the streets, etc., for service in case of
fire, watering the streets, the innumerable lavoirs, etc. The monumental
fountains, such as those of the Place de la Concorde and du Châtelet,
which play every day from ten in the morning to six in the afternoon,
are furnished by the canal de l'Ourcq, whilst that of the Trocadéro and
its cascade, that of the Place d'Italie, and the luminous fountain of
the Champ de Mars, which function only on fête-days and Sundays, are
supplied by the Seine water. The fountains of the Luxembourg are fed by
the Arcueil aqueduct. The water-pipes throughout the city are generally
carried in the upper part of the égouts,--on curved shelves in the
smaller ones, and on upright stems carrying a curved holder in the
larger ones. In the grand _galerie du Boulevard Sebastopol_, for
example, the water of the Ourcq is carried on one side in an
eighty-centimètre main, and that of the Seine on the other in a main one
mètre, ten, in diameter.


After a drawing by G. Maréchal.]

When the canal de l'Ourcq was first opened, the work was carried out
by a company to which was granted the right of navigation on the new
channel, connected with the Seine by the canals Saint-Martin and
Saint-Denis, but in 1876 the city of Paris repurchased this concession
from the canal company. A supply is also drawn from several important
artesian wells in different localities,--that of Grenelle, in the Place
de Breteuil, driven between 1833 and 1852, draws the water from a depth
of five hundred and forty-nine mètres and elevates it to a height of
seventy-five. This supply is turned into that of the Ourcq. The artesian
well of the Butte aux Cailles, begun in 1863, was resumed in 1892 and is
just being terminated; the depth attained is some six hundred mètres.
That of Passy, 1855-1860, somewhat less deep, supplies the lakes of the
Bois de Boulogne; that of the Place Hébert, 1863-1893, seven hundred and
eighteen mètres in depth, furnishes some large ponds in the

Among the great reservoirs, the most noticeable is that of Montmartre,
rising high by the side of the church of the Sacré-Cœur, and containing
within its gray walls no less than three lakes, one above another. The
largest of all these storage basins in the city is that of the Vanne, at
the side of the principal entrance to the Parc Montsouris; in its vast,
vaulted enclosure, covered with turf, may be stored two hundred and
fifty thousand cubic mètres of water. Visitors are admitted to the under
vault, where, by the light of torches, the enormous walls and the
innumerable columns that sustain this weight are dimly visible. The
water of the Avre, drawn from the two sources of the Vigne and Verneuil,
is to be stored in the still larger reservoir on the heights of
Saint-Cloud, similar in construction and now nearly completed. Each of
the three sections in which it is built will contain a hundred thousand
cubic mètres.

The ancient mediæval methods have all been put away, the inevitable
little open gutter running down the middle of the street--celebrated by
Boileau and Mme. de Staël, and many others--has long since disappeared,
but the water-supply is not yet entirely adequate, and the citizens may
still suffer for the lack of a pure liquid to drink,--as they did
through so many centuries. It not infrequently happens, as it did in the
early autumn of 1898, that several quarters of the city are
simultaneously deprived of eau de source, and compelled to use the
river-water alone. Every effort is made to avert this--as it is rightly
considered--calamity, the streets are placarded with official notices
warning the inhabitants of the approaching curtailment of their supply,
and they are notified in a similar manner when the scarcity is over. Two
solutions have been proposed for this insufficiency, both of them
involving such heavy expense that the municipality shrinks from adopting
either;--the first, to supply every dwelling with a double set of pipes,
one carrying the pure water of the aqueducts, and the other the
river-water, forced up into the upper stories; the second is to go as
far as the lakes Neuchâtel, or Geneva, for an uncontaminated supply. The
complete application of the _tout à l'égout_ system has been delayed by
the want of the greatly-increased volume of water necessary for its
application, and strong petitions have been presented demanding the
postponement of the application of the law of 1894. The present supply
is about a hundred and twenty-four litres of eau de source and
ninety-six of eau de rivière daily for each inhabitant, but in summer
this amount may become greatly diminished. Paris thus stands second in
the amount of daily water-supply in the European capitals,--the figures
ranging from Rome with four hundred and fourteen litres per capita,
daily, to Constantinople with fifteen. London has only a hundred and
seventy-three for each inhabitant daily; and Berlin, seventy-three, next
to the Turkish capital. The figures for American cities are very much
higher,--New York, three hundred and fifty-nine; Boston, three hundred
and sixty-three; Philadelphia, six hundred; Chicago, six hundred and
thirty-six, and Buffalo, eight hundred and forty-five (September, 1898).

       *       *       *       *       *

Another grave evil produced by an insufficient water-supply is the lack
of pressure in the pipes in case of fire, and the possible lack of water
itself. The number of _bouches d'incendie_, or fire-plugs, which it is
proposed to raise to eight thousand, placed a hundred mètres apart, in
all the streets of the city, is as yet far from attaining that figure.
The infrequency of serious fires in the capital is, however, very
noticeable when compared with the losses of American cities. Various
causes contribute to this result: the solid character of the
dwelling-houses generally, especially in the older quarters of the
city--the handsome, new apartment-houses that have been put up in such
numbers of recent years in the neighborhood of the Arc de l'Étoile are,
very many of them, much less well built; the general absence of furnaces
and of those overwrought fires to which the severity of his climate
incites the American citizen; the total absence of buildings of an
inordinate height, and, in modern times, the much more restricted use of
electricity and the consequent diminution of that too frequent danger of
the present day, "defective insulation." The fire service is, also, very
efficient; the brass helmets of the _pompiers_ are as inseparable from
any public performance, theatrical or musical, as the uniforms of the
Garde Républicaine; these faithful sentinels are on duty behind the
scenes as well as before them, and even up in the "flies," where, before
the introduction of electricity, they were obliged to pass several
hours in a temperature of, frequently, thirty-five degrees Centigrade,
ninety-six Fahrenheit. At present, the fire department of Paris has
adopted most of the modern improvements common to other civilized
capitals, and the details of its service differ from those with which we
are familiar principally in the military character given it.

The regiment of Sapeurs-Pompiers is, in fact, a regiment of infantry,
lent to the city of Paris by the Minister of War. It is paid out of the
municipal budget, with the exception of the pensions of the Legion of
Honor, the military medal, and the retired list, which are the charge of
the State. The regiment is composed of two battalions, of six companies
each, with a total strength of seventeen hundred men. The pay of the men
and their indemnities are the same as for the regiments of infantry in
garrison in Paris, there are special privileges for the officers, and
the quality of the recruits, especially with regard to their physique,
is maintained at a very high standard. Their bravery, their efficiency,
and their devotion are equal to those which are displayed so frequently
by this well-organized service in other large cities, and are equally
appreciated by the public; when, at the annual review at Longchamps on
the day of the national fête, the regiment of sapeurs-pompiers defiles
before the reviewing-stand, the great wave of applause and recognition
which envelops it, drowning the other cheers in its roar, betokens the
intimate appreciation of the Parisian, of high and low degree, of these
unpretentious heroes.

By the new organization of this service, now in process of completion,
the city is divided into twenty-four "zones," in the centre of each of
which is a post of men and material, known as a _centre de secours_. The
smaller posts, scattered through the city, in case of fire, notify by
telephone these central stations and the état-major of the regiment,
adjoining the Préfecture de Police; if the fire is of sufficient
importance, the centre de secours sends a reinforcement and the steam
fire-engine, the _pompe à vapeur_, but in very many cases the service of
the latter is not needed. Its appearance in the streets is comparatively
rare, and it is seldom driven at the mad gallop of the American
machines. Moreover, its whistle is the curious thin treble so common in
European motor engines, railroad and other. The old-fashioned hand-pumps
have almost completely disappeared, with the exception of some
localities like the Butte Montmartre, too steep to be approached by
horses. In the central stations, the arrangements are those generally
adopted nowadays to secure the quickest possible service,--even to the
harness suspended from hooks in the ceilings to be dropped on the
horses' backs, and the metal pole down which the men slide from their
sleeping-rooms above.


After a drawing by M. Carney.]

For particular service, details for the theatres, balls, private clubs,
etc., the number of men is fixed by the Préfet de Police, and there is
extra pay in all these cases. The department is also called upon in
case of street accidents, falling buildings, asphyxia in sewers, etc.
The service material includes special apparatus for respiration in
cellars, basements, etc., where the presence of gas or smoke is to be
apprehended; and the great ladder, carried on a special truck, has a
length of twenty mètres, greater than the average height of the Parisian
houses. It is stated that the time allowed to elapse between the receipt
of an alarm in the stations and the departure for the fire is often
under a minute, and never exceeds two; in 1896, the time between the
alarm and the attack of the fire was less than five minutes in ten
hundred and seventy-nine fires out of a total of twelve hundred and
four. In seven hundred and eighty-four cases, in the same year, the
conflagration was completely extinguished in five minutes, and the very
longest fire lasted six hours and a half.

At the entrance of each of the twelve casernes, or barracks, of the
regiment, the names of the officers and soldiers who have been killed in
the discharge of their duty are engraved on a slab of black marble, the
Golden Book of the regiment. In the court of the état-major the names of
the forty sapeurs-pompiers who have thus died since 1821, are engraved
on a marble panel. In his order of the day, March 11, 1888, "the colonel
informs the regiment, with profound grief, of the deaths of Corporal
Toulon and former sergeant Sixdenier, who perished yesterday, at noon,
victims of their devotion, in endeavoring to save an imprudent workman
who had descended, without taking precautions, into an excavation of the
Rue des Deux-Ponts." Three citizens were also asphyxiated in trying to
save him, two of whom died; "and the deaths of Sixdenier and Toulon will
be for all another and a grand example to add to the history of the

A Parisian merchant or manufacturer, Dumourrier-Duperrier, in 1699,
furnished the first effective, organized system of combating fires in
the city, and in 1717 he received, by letters-patent, the direction of
the _Compagnie de Garde-Pompes_, the origin of the present organization.
In 1792, the total effective of this force was two hundred and
sixty-three men, officers included, with forty-four force-pumps, twelve
suction-pumps, and forty-two casks. The men were provided with uniforms
and, later, armed with sabres; in the year IX of the Republic, the
corps, then four hundred strong, was placed under the direction of the
Préfet de police, under the general administration of the Préfet de la
Seine. The frightful conflagration which ended the fête given by the
Austrian ambassador, Prince von Schwartzenberg, to the Emperor, in honor
of his marriage with Marie-Louise, in 1810, awoke public attention to
the insufficiency of the arrangements for extinguishing fires, and in
the following year measures were taken to secure a larger authority and
more energetic action. Napoleon decided that the gardes-pompes should be
put on a strictly military footing; an imperial decree of September 18,
1811, created a battalion of sapeurs-pompiers consisting of four
companies with thirteen officers and five hundred and sixty-three men.
For the first time, they were armed with muskets, and as a military
force were held as an auxiliary in the police service and in the
maintenance of public order. One of the articles of this decree provided
for the payment of this force by the city until the establishment of a
company to insure against fire,--which was held to foreshadow an
intention to place this expense, at least in part, upon these companies,
and thereby relieve the municipal budget.

During the Revolution of 1848, the provisory government thought it
prudent to deprive the pompiers of their muskets; and in April, 1850,
the President of the Republic disbanded the battalion and reorganized
it, retaining a small proportion of the former members. Down to this
date, it had been recruited from the engineers and the artillery of the
army, but since then, from the infantry only. In 1860, the annexation of
the banlieue necessitated a new reorganization; the successive
augmentations of the force brought its total effective, in 1866, up to a
regiment of twelve hundred and ninety-eight men, divided into two
battalions of six companies each. The efficiency of the organization was
greatly augmented by the introduction of steam fire-engines in 1873.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the law of December 29, 1897, all the communes of France were
authorized to suppress their octroi duties upon "hygienic beverages,"
wines, ciders, beers, perry, hydromel, and mineral waters, and replace
them by others, after December 31, 1898. As the entrance duty upon these
_boissons hygiéniques_ constituted a very important fraction,--in Paris,
in 1895, sixty-eight million five hundred thousand francs out of a grand
total of a hundred and fifty-five million six hundred and one
thousand,--the question of supplying this deficiency in the municipal
budget is exciting discussion. In case the octroi is not suppressed
altogether, the communes are obliged to diminish the tax in certain
proportions, according to their population and their locality,--the
cider-producing departments standing on a different footing from the
wine-growing ones. To replace the octroi, they are given their choice of
five other taxes--upon alcohol, or upon horses, dogs, billiards, clubs,
and various other articles of luxury. It was generally predicted in
Paris that the consumer of alcoholic beverages would not experience any
benefit from the removal of this tax.

Under the ancient régime, the octroi, like most other imposts and
duties, was in the charge of the _fermiers généraux_, who obtained the
royal authorization to enclose Paris within a wall to facilitate its
collection. Consequently, one of the first manifestations of the
Revolution was the demolition of these barrières by the people, on the
very day of the taking of the Bastille. On the 1st of May, 1791, at
midnight, all the gates of Paris were thrown open to the hundreds of
vehicles, boats, and barges which had been waiting for weeks for this
moment of free entry; a triumphal mast was erected in honor of the
Assemblée and to celebrate the abolition of "the most odious of
tyrannies;" the National Guard, under Lafayette's orders, paraded around
the demolished barriers in the midst of the universal rejoicing. But,
seven years later, the necessities of the municipal finances constrained
many of the thus emancipated cities, Paris included, to return to the
system of levying a tax on articles entering their gates, and the masons
continued the work of enclosing the capital again within walls.


After a drawing by L. Vauzanges.]

Many difficulties attended the levying of this impost; "as soon as night
fell," says M. Maxime Du Camp, "the city was literally taken by assault;
the tavern-keepers of all the villages of the suburbs set up their
ladders against the city wall, and the casks of wine, the bottles of
brandy, butcher's meat, pork and vinegar, were lowered by means of ropes
to the confederates who were waiting for them inside, in the _chemin de
ronde_. Should some ill-advised customs clerk undertake to interfere
with these fraudulent practices, he was set upon, beaten, gagged, and
the introduction of the prohibited commodities continued undisturbed.
They did even better; they excavated tunnels, which, passing under the
exterior boulevards, under the wall of fortification, under the chemin
de ronde, opened communication between the inns of the banlieue and
those of the city; it was a veritable pillage,--the octroi was sacked."
These violent measures have been replaced in the present day by more
suitable ones, and the _musée des fraudeurs_, in the administration
centrale of the octroi, contains a very curious assemblage of objects
used in this contraband service. Alcohol was the favorite object of
smuggling, and it was carried into the city in rubber corsets, worn
under the blouse, rubber petticoats which would contain as much as
thirty litres of the liquid, and were known as _mignonnettes_, false
backs, false calves, false stomachs, and false upper arms, mostly in
zinc. The women would not hesitate to appear as _plantureuses_
wet-nurses, or as in an interesting condition; the vehicles were mined
and hollowed with concealed receptacles, and even the collars of the
harness; the blocks of granite, the rolls of carpet,--all the arts of
the smuggler were employed. That very general popular disposition to
consider the evasion of a customs duty as a trivial offence is as common
in France as elsewhere.

At all the gates of the city, in the railway stations, and at the river
entrances of the capital, the posts of the octroi are established, and
the formula of address of the green-uniformed officials is generally the
same: "You have nothing to declare?" Foreign visitors are especially
advised against the carrying in their baggage of tobacco and matches,
the manufacture of these being a government monopoly; French
_allumettes_ are _very_ bad, but it is better to throw away your
cherished boxes of neat wax-matches before entering the barriers. With
these exceptions, the officials are tolerant of the introduction of
contraband articles in small quantities,--a half-bottle of ordinary
wine, two pounds of fish caught by hook and line, a pound of salt, a
bundle of hay or straw, etc. The agents act under the authority of the
Préfet of the Seine; the objects submitted to this duty, intended for
local consumption, are designated by the Conseil Municipal and approved
by the government. The officials have the right of search; dutiable
objects to be carried through the city are entitled to "escort" by the
agents of the octroi, or they may pay the tax at the entrance with the
privilege of having it refunded when leaving. All the communes of the
Department of the Seine, considered as the banlieue of Paris, have the
right of levying an entrance duty upon brandies, spirits, and liquors.
The penalties provided for smuggling are the confiscation of the article
and of the means used in its transportation; a fine of from a hundred to
two hundred francs, and even imprisonment, if the attempt has been made
by means of escalade or subterranean proceedings, or with prepared
methods of concealment. All dutiable articles must be declared, no
matter how small the quantity carried.

As both the city and the State are interested in the collection of this
tax, the agents have a double mandate to execute their duties, and the
contraventions of the law are pursued at one time in the name of the
public Treasury and the octroi, and at another in the name of the Préfet
of the Seine. Each gate of the city has its peculiar class of produce to
tax, according to the locality to which it gives entrance; and the daily
receipts vary to an astonishing degree. At the Orléans dépôt, the duties
on merchandise have reached a hundred thousand francs a day and fallen
to five hundred; the Porte de Saint-Denis ranges from fifty thousand
francs to four!

To the establishment of the _octroi municipal et de bienfaisance_ by the
Directory is due that of the great dépôts or _entrepôts_ of wine and
alcohol on the quais of the Seine,--the importers finding it very
inconvenient to pay the duties upon all their casks on their first
arrival. They are, therefore, allowed to store them, under the
supervision of the octroi, and pay as they are sold. When the ancient
corporation of the _crieurs jurés_ announced throughout the city the
arrival of a shipment of wine, the purchasers would throng to the banks
of the Seine; when Louis XIV granted the first authorization to
establish a _halle aux vins_, on condition that the profits should be
divided with the Hôpital Général, the site selected was the Quai
Saint-Bernard, the entrepôt of Bercy being then a market outside the
city walls. The latter, on the site of the ancient Halle des Hôpitaux of
the seventeenth century, developed greatly after its incorporation
within the city limits; it is at present divided into two sections, _Le
Grand Bercy_ and _Le Petit Château_. The city is the proprietor, and
rents spaces to applicants, generally for a year at a time. The octroi
is stationed at every gate of exit, and at numerous posts within the
enclosure. Not only is the wine stored here, but it is blended and
assorted in great tuns, and there is also storage for alcohol, liquors
of all kinds, and oil. The huge enclosure is very carefully policed, not
only for the detection of thieves, but also of fraudulent practices; at
night there are four rounds, of which the second and third are made by
guardians armed with revolvers (a recent innovation), and accompanied by
eight shaggy watch-dogs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the scientific establishments of the city may be mentioned the
observatory established on the top of the Tour Saint-Jacques, the
beautiful fragment remaining of the old church of Saint-Jacques de la
Boucherie, demolished in 1789. In the vaulted open chamber of the base
of the tower stands a statue of Pascal, who, from the top of it,
repeated his experiments on the weight of the air; and on this top--only
fifty three mètres from the pavement--there has been in operation for
the last seven or eight years a meteorological observatory. The varying
conditions of the atmosphere, the winds, and the smoke which pollutes
it, are closely investigated, weather predictions are hazarded, and the
observers even descend into the sewer at their feet, under the Rue de
Rivoli, to investigate and analyze the subterranean air. About 1885, M.
Joubert, the director, established here a gigantic pendulum, to repeat
the experiments made by Foucault at the Panthéon in 1851, and afterward
a water-barometer, the only one in existence. The incongruity of this
modern scientific apparatus on top of this mediæval tower, among the
four monsters of the Evangelists at the corners, is rather
amusing,--even the statue of Saint James himself carries placidly an
anemometer on his back.

Another of these minor municipal details--and possibly a more affecting
one--is the official Dépôt des Marbres, established adjoining the
official museum of the Garde-Meuble at the end of the Rue de
l'Université, by the side of the Champ de Mars. Here are deposited
irreverently and in various stages of dilapidation all the official
statues, royal, imperial, and republican, that have out-lived their day.
"The marble of the statues of the State," said a cynical sculptor, "has
the peculiarity of cracking after only a very short period of use." Some
of these official marbles have had a longer period than others; but they
all end here. Our illustration shows a corner of this depository,--at
the angle, Napoleon III, sculptured by Iselin; behind him, a relief
representing the return of the ashes of his great uncle; in the
foreground, the Imperial eagle, with his fiery glance forever dimmed,
and, at the left, a seated figure of Louis XVIII. Kings, potentates, and
powers, official allegories, emblems, and symbols, are all set down here
together, at the mercy of the weather. In the adjoining grand central
pavilion are accumulated the official portraits of these departed
rulers, including very many of the late Emperor and Empress,--"all the
old rattles of France, all the playthings that she has broken."

[Illustration: _Louis XVIII._ _Group: Transferring the_ _Napoleon III.
ashes of Napoleon I._


If the city is regardless of the effigies of her deposed rulers, she at
least has some consideration for the living citizen who falls into
trouble. The official Mont-de-Piété, or pawnbrokers' establishment,
stands always ready to rescue him from the grasp of the usurer--provided
he has some security of any kind to offer, and although its services are
not altogether gratuitous, they are of very great benefit to the public.
No private individual is allowed to make a business of lending money on
personal objects. It was by letters-patent of the king, dated 9th
December, 1777, that the original establishment was authorized, to be
placed under the inspection of the Lieutenant Général of Police and of
four Administrateurs of the Hôpital Général; the amount to be loaned to
applicants was fixed at four-fifths of their value on objects of gold or
silver, and at two-thirds on all others. The administrators were
permitted to establish branch offices in different quarters of the city,
and the central bureau was located in the Rue des Blancs-Manteaux,
where, very much enlarged, it still is. This institution proved to be of
the greatest service to the people, well-to-do as well as poor, but the
undiscriminating Revolution promptly abolished it as a monopoly, and was
forced to restore it under the Directory, May 22, 1797. By the law of
February 4, 1799, no similar establishment could be opened without the
consent of the government.

At its reconstitution under the Directory, it made its loans at the rate
of thirty per cent., this was gradually reduced to twelve, and it was
not until after the Revolution of 1830 that the figure was fixed at
nine. At present, the interest and the charges amount to seven per cent.
In the first century of its existence, from 1777 to 1877, the total
amount of the loans advanced was two trillion three hundred and eight
million six hundred and fifty-five thousand six hundred and ninety-six
francs. The number of objects pledged was over a hundred and twelve
million five hundred thousand, of which there were redeemed, or sold as
forfeited, a hundred and ten million seven hundred and ninety thousand.

The first of the succursales, or branch establishments, was for a long
time in the Rue Bonaparte, the ancient Rue des Petits-Augustins, in the
neighborhood of the École des Beaux-Arts; in 1814, a royal ordinance
authorized this succursale to enlarge itself, and granted to it an old
building and a slice of the garden of the Musée des Monuments français,
on several conditions, one of which was that it should transport to
Père-Lachaise and reconstruct there the tomb of Héloise and Abélard,
which was in the ceded portion of the garden. This was faithfully
carried out, but in 1833 the State changed its mind, the cession was
revoked, and the Mont-de-Piété was obliged to restore the ground and
demolish its building, but was not reimbursed for its outlay on the tomb
of the lovers. At present, the succursales are three in number, in the
Rues de Rennes, Servan, and Capron, and there are bureaux auxiliaires
for very nearly all the letters of the alphabet, by which they are
designated. These latter have no storage-room, and consequently are
unable to deliver an object redeemed until the following day; the
transportation of these pledges through the streets is effected in the
company's own wagons, and with every precaution against loss. In the
auxiliary bureaux, or bureaux of the quarter, no loan is made for a
greater sum than five hundred francs, while in the central establishment
the limit is ten thousand francs, but all the regulations are otherwise
the same; only one style of ticket is used, and this varies in color
according to the year, being white, pink, yellow, green, etc., in

By the terms of the present regulations of the establishment, the object
offered as a pledge is appraised by eight official _commissaires-priseurs_
who are responsible for the deficiency in case the object, being
neither renewed nor redeemed, is sold at public auction at less than
their valuation. As may be supposed, they take care to guard against
this eventuality,--the amount to be loaned on each pledge being the same
proportion of its value as that fixed by the ordinance of 1777. The
disappointment of the borrower at the inadequate sum offered him is not
considered; but it has been proposed to establish by law a percentage
nearer the actual market value of the security. The borrower is also
subject to a tax,--of one per cent. on the sum he receives, without
regard to the duration of the loan, and of six per cent.
additional,--three for interest and three for running expenses. This
last is calculated proportionally on the sum received and on the length
of time the pledge remains unredeemed, counted by fortnights; loans of
three, four, and five francs, not remaining unredeemed longer than two
months, are not subject to this six per cent. tax.

Careful precautions are taken against the Mont-de-Piété being made a
receptacle for stolen goods. The applicant for a loan must be known and
have a permanent residence, or be vouched for by some one fulfilling
these requirements; a married woman must bring the authorization of her
husband, and no loans are made to minors. If the employés have any
reason to suspect the integrity of the applicant, his loan is refused
until he furnishes more satisfactory guarantees. In one year the number
of watches recognized as stolen was two hundred and fifty, out of a
total of three hundred and fifty thousand received. Loans are made for a
year, at the longest, but in practice two months of grace are added; if
at the end of this period the object is not redeemed, it is sold at
public auction. Some of these pledges have been in the establishment for
forty, forty-five, and fifty years, and very many for twenty,--constantly
renewed and never redeemed. When sold, the surplus or _boni_ remaining
after deducting all charges is held at the disposal of the owner of the
pledge for three years, and then turned over to the administration of
the Assistance Publique.

By the law of July 25, 1891, this establishment is permitted to advance
money, at its usual rates, on French Rentes and other bonds and
securities authorized by an ordinance of the Préfet of the Seine. These
loans are not to exceed five hundred francs each, nor to be less than
three francs, and the duration of the loan is for six months, unless
renewed. The capital on which the Mont-de-Piété does business is
borrowed from stockholders or subscribers, to whom it pays interest; one
of the principal of these is the Comédie-Française, which, by the famous
decree of Moscow, is required to place two millions of its surplus in
this official benevolent institution.

       *       *       *       *       *

Much the most important public service of Paris is the Bureau of _Postes
et Télégraphes_, the administration of which is confided to a
Sous-Secrétaire d'État, and which employs, altogether, nearly thirteen
thousand _fonctionnaires_, male and female. Of the efficiency of the
postal service, the Parisians are justly proud; the telephone service,
on the contrary, since it has passed under the management of the
government, is a source of more earnest and heated complaint on the part
of the unfortunate subscribers than even is usual in other lands before
this aggravating mouthpiece and tube. The earliest postal service in
France, according to the historians, was maintained by the Université
for the benefit of its students, who were enabled to correspond with
their relatives by means of messengers; this exclusive privilege, long
preserved, was finally combined with the service which Louis XI
established to serve the ends of his crooked policy. The modern postal
service may be said to date from the reign of Louis XIII; and, in its
gradual development, has passed through much the same phases as in other
countries. During the seventeenth century, the central office was
located in some contracted quarters established in front of the
colonnade of the Louvre, and was eventually transferred to the old hôtel
in the Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, constructed on the site of the ancient
Hôtel de Flandres. Although enlarged by successive additions, this
building never afforded sufficient facilities, and proposals to abandon
it and construct another and more ample central office elsewhere were
seriously debated from 1793 to 1811, but the Corps Législatif was
unwilling to incur so great an expense. On the night of the 7th-8th of
August, 1880, the central office for Paris and the department of the
Seine was established in temporary quarters in the Place Carrousel, and
the demolition of the ancient building, preparatory to the construction
on its site of a much larger and more efficient one, was commenced. The
new Hôtel des Postes et Télégraphes was completed four years later.


After a drawing by Pierre Vidal.]

An ordinance of 1692 gives the details of the commencement of the
_Petite Poste_, or daily collection of letters: "there will be
established six boxes from which the letters will be gathered every day
at noon precisely and at eight o'clock in the evening in winter, and
nine o'clock in summer, so exactly that after these hours in the evening
the letters which may arrive will remain for the mail offices following,
to wit:"--and the six localities of these offices are given. In 1759, a
royal ordinance decreed the establishment in the city of different
_bureaux_ to effect the transportation from one quarter to another of
letters and small packages; and on the 1st of August this service
commenced,--there were nine distributions a day, by means of a hundred
and seventeen _facteurs_, or carriers, and the postage was required to
be paid in advance. The departure of the mail-coaches from the old
post-office in the Rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, at six o'clock each
morning, was a daily event of importance,--the diligence drivers prided
themselves on issuing from the cour du Meridien into the cour de
l'Horloge and from that into the street at the full gallop of their four
horses; unfortunately, the street was very narrow, and so was the
gateway of exit; it is recorded that the proprietor, named Florent, of
the shop immediately opposite this exit, which was, and still is, a
hair-dressing establishment, was enabled to retire with a fortune as the
result of the numerous reimbursements he received for his broken
shop-windows, dashed in by the mail coaches unable to make quickly
enough the sharp turn to the right or the left in the narrow street.

The arrangements for mailing and receiving letters in Paris are, in
general, very satisfactory,--the branch post-offices are over a hundred
in number, and they will receive not only letters and mailable packages,
but telegrams. They do a very large business, and are generally thronged
all day in the popular quarters,--the registry department being greatly
in favor. At night, they are recognizable by their blue lanterns, and
there are also, since 1894, auxiliary offices in certain shops
designated by blue signs. The letter-boxes, set in the wall of the
building, so that letters and packages may be mailed from the street,
are usually four in number, one each for Paris, the departments, foreign
mail, and for printed matter. Stamps may be bought and letters mailed
also in very many of the small tobacco-shops, in public buildings, and
in the dépôts of the railways and the tramways of the suburbs. There are
eight collections and distributions a day, on work-days, and five on
Sundays and fête-days; the facteur, or carrier, has discharged his duty
when he has left the mail with the concierge of the building, and its
final delivery rests entirely with the latter functionary. These
facteurs, who are generally intelligent and conscientious, wear the
inevitable uniform of all French officials, and carry their mail in an
absurd stiff little leathern box, suspended in front of their stomachs
by a strap around their necks. Their distributing matter never seems to
exceed the capacity of this box,--ranging in quantity from a third to a
tenth of the ordinary burden of a New York letter-carrier.

A more rapid method of distribution, for which a higher rate is charged,
is by means of the pneumatic tubes which traverse the city, mostly
through the égouts, and which have their termini in the branch
post-offices. Envelopes or enclosures sent by this medium must contain
neither valuable objects nor hard and resisting bodies. The service of
_colis postaux_, so called although there is no necessary connection
with the post, and which corresponds nearly with the American express
system, is, for Paris, in the hands of a director to whom it is a
concession by the Administration des Postes, and for the departments and
the colonies in those of the railway companies and the subsidized
maritime companies. The inevitable conflict with the workings of the
octroi interferes very seriously with the promptness and efficacy of
this service, and in the summer of 1898 the complaints of the despoiled
patrons were unusually loud and deep. In their search for contraband
articles, the octroi inspectors open a large number of these packages
received from the departments and containing in very many cases
consignments of wine, game, patés, and other delicacies,--the closing up
of these numerous cases is left to the employés of the railways, and the
result has been a perfect pillage. In vain do the consignees
protest,--the Compagnies interpose the interminable delays of
corporations, and justice is not to be had.

The annual receipts of the Paris post-office--population in 1896,
2,543,000--are given as 178,000,000 francs; of the telegraph,
37,000,000; of the telephone, 9,000,000; a total of 224,000,000 francs.
The expenses, borne by the post-office alone, are 178,000,000, so that
the annual profits are 46,000,000 francs, or about $9,200,000. For New
York City, the figures, as given by the postmaster for the year 1898,
are, total receipts, $8,564,247.03; expenditures, $3,398,071.38; net
revenue, $5,166,175.65. The postage rate in France, for the city or the
departments, is fifteen centimes for fifteen grammes.

In 1879, the telephone service was introduced in Paris, and was divided
among three companies,--the société Edison, the société Gower, and the
société Goulevin et Compagnie. The following year, these united in one,
the _Société générale des Téléphones_, and in 1889 the State took
possession. The wires were at first carried on poles through the
streets, but the municipality soon ordered them underground. As the
invention was introduced from abroad, it brought with it the English
"Hello!" necessary to open communication with the distant correspondent,
and the French subscriber consequently begins with "_Allô!
Allô!_"--which is as near as he can come to it. It may be added, that he
usually introduces a great many more interjections as he proceeds.

       *       *       *       *       *

The recent tragic and very sudden transfer of the Executive power of the
French Republic exemplified in a most striking manner the advantages--at
least, for an inflammable nation--of the constitutional method of
electing a President. Instead of a heated and disturbing political
campaign, extending over six months of every fourth year, and frequently
carefully planned long in advance by the actual incumbent, the chief
Executive of France is elected promptly by the Senate and the Chamber
of Deputies reunited in Assemblée Nationale and sitting at Versailles.
One of these bodies, at least, the Chambre, enjoys no more of the public
confidence than do the national legislators of the great American
Republic; but the Presidents of the Third Republic, so far, at least,
may be said to have made quite as dignified and worthy representatives
of popular suffrage as those who have occupied the White House at
Washington during the same period. Instead of the two great parties into
which Anglo-Saxon suffrages are usually divided, the parliaments of
European nations generally represent a great number of small political
divisions, differing fiercely on minor points of political doctrine, and
thus, possibly, presenting a fairer average representation of the whole
people at any one given time than the others in which Conservatives or
Republicans may be enjoying an accidental or temporary majority.

THE LOUVRE, SEVENTEENTH CENTURY. From an old engraving.]

In case of the death of the Président de la République, the Chambre and
the Sénat are immediately convoked, as in February, 1899; should he live
to fill out his legal term of seven years, the two bodies are summoned
to elect his successor at least a month before the expiration of his
term. He is eligible for re-election. His carefully limited powers are
much like those of a constitutional sovereign; he has power to originate
laws, in conjunction with the two Chambers; he has the pardoning power,
the direction of the army and navy, he presides at all the national
solemnities; the envoys and ambassadors of all foreign powers are
accredited to him. He negotiates and ratifies treaties, and communicates
them to the two Chambers as soon as, in his judgment, the interests and
the safety of the State will permit; he cannot declare war without the
assent of the Chambers; with the consent of the Senate, he may dissolve
the Chamber of Deputies. He is responsible only in case of high treason,
cannot be impeached but by the Chamber of Deputies, and cannot be tried
except by the Senate sitting as a High Court of Justice. He receives
from the State an annual allowance of a million two hundred thousand

The legislative power is divided between the two assemblies,--the
Chamber, elected by universal suffrage, and the Senate, by a restricted
suffrage. The financial budget must originate in the Chamber, and the
two bodies, beginning their sessions on the second Tuesday of January,
must sit at least five months every year. Their adjournment, which must
be on the same day, is pronounced by the President, who communicates
with them through the ministers of his cabinet, and the frequent _crises
ministérielles_, which have done so much to discredit the Third
Republic, have been caused by the responsibility of these ministers to
the Chambers for the general politics of the government. If they are
defeated by ever so small a minority on any question which they have
made a "vote of confidence," they place their resignations in the hands
of the President, who accepts them, and sends for one of the leaders of
the victorious opposition to form a new cabinet. This cabinet, in its
turn, can only hold power so long as it can command the support of a
certain combination of parties, and, as these combinations shift, so do
the ministries.

So well recognized is the material impossibility of arriving at any
permanent grouping of political parties, and, consequently, at any
permanent and coherent ministerial policy, that various amendments to
the Constitution of the State are being proposed. One of the methods
suggested is to suppress the ministerial responsibility, and to cause
the Parlement to elect the President of the Conseil d'État each year.
As to the Senate, it is to be reduced in power and privileges, and
condemned to a _rôle_ subordinate to that of the Chamber of Deputies.

At the palace of the Élysée, which is his official residence, the
President holds his audiences on Mondays and Thursdays, from nine
o'clock to noon. To be received by him, it is necessary to write to the
Secrétariat de la Présidence, requesting this honor, and to receive a
reply stating the day and hour. The Deputies and Senators are received,
without any letters of audience, on Wednesdays, from five to seven. The
President gives each year two State balls, for which some twelve
thousand invitations are issued, and also a garden-party in the grounds
of the Élysée in June. The two legislative bodies hold their sessions on
the other side of the river,--the Chamber, in the old Palais-Bourbon,
opposite the end of the Pont de la Concorde, and the Senate, in the
Luxembourg palace.

The Conseil d'État, which sits in the Palais-Royal under the presidency
of the Garde des Sceaux, is at once a council of the government by its
participation in the drawing up of laws, a council of administration,
and the highest of administrative juridical bodies. It deliberates in
two sections, in _Assemblée Générale_ and in _Assemblée du Contentieux_.
The Conseil Général de la Seine, which holds its sessions in its chamber
at the Hôtel de Ville, is composed of eighty municipal councillors of
Paris and twenty-one general councillors elected by the cantons of the
banlieue. The Conseil Municipal, which also sits at the Hôtel de Ville,
is elected from the twenty arrondissements of the city, one from each
quarter, for four years, and corresponds to the Conseils of the Communes
in the departments. The Préfet de la Seine and the Préfet de Police have
the right of attendance at its sittings and of being heard whenever
they wish. In the Palais du Tribunal de Commerce, the Conseil de
Préfecture de la Seine holds its sittings and occupies itself with a
great variety of municipal matters confided to its jurisdiction by law.

In the capital, the executive power, which in the other communes of
France is confided to the Maires, is exercised by the two Préfets, of
the Seine and of Police, who are thus invested with the triple character
of representatives of the State, of the Administration of the Department
of the Seine, and of superior officers of the State performing the
duties of Maire of Paris. Those divisions of the municipal
administration which depend directly upon the Préfecture of the Seine
are located in various buildings,--in the Hôtel de Ville itself, in the
_Annexe Est_, the old caserne Lobau, just across the Place Lobau, in the
_Annexe Nord_, on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville and the Avenue Victoria,
and at numerous other localities throughout the city. The balls of the
Hôtel de Ville--which are a portion of the municipal administration--have
recently been replaced by more frequent receptions, at which there is
always dancing and a concert.

The administration of the Préfecture de Police is divided into three
Bureaux, the first of which is closely connected with the cabinet of the
Préfet, and the two others constitute the first and the second
divisions. The first Bureau is divided into four sections, and the
second into two, each of these subdivisions having its special
department. The Commissaires de Police are municipal officers appointed
in Paris by a decree of the President of the Republic on the nomination
of the Minister of the Interior, in the proportion of one for every ten
thousand inhabitants. In cities and towns having a population of less
than six thousand, these officers are appointed by the Préfet. They are
charged with the duty of enforcing the laws and the regulations of the
municipal police, the pursuit and arrest of criminals, and they have
authority in all controversies and litigations brought before the
Tribunals Civils, or those which never appear in court. The immediate
chief of the police, or _gardiens de la paix_, of each arrondissement,
is the Officier de Paix, who has his headquarters in the Mairie of that
arrondissement, and who is the functionary to appeal to in all matters
connected with the public highways. "(1) If you have cause to fear any
scandal, if you have need of police protection, he will give orders to
have a gardien posted at your door; (2) if you have any cause of
complaint against individuals, cab-drivers, cartmen, street-vendors, who
crowd the street, or who make a disturbance before your dwelling, he
will draw up against them _procès-verbaux de contravention_ [which is a
very efficient remedy]; (3) he is obliged to assure, by the gardiens de
la paix, the safety of children who have to cross wide streets when
leaving school; (4) at night, it is he who sends to the hospitals the
persons who may be found sick or wounded in the streets; (5) it is to
him that notice must be given of the disappearance of old persons,
children, sick, or those demented; he immediately notifies the municipal
police headquarters, which, in turn, sends word to all the posts
throughout Paris."

Gardiens de la Paix is now the official title of the efficient Paris
policemen, who were formerly known as Sergents de Ville, under which
title their corps was organized in 1829. Modified in their organization
in 1848 and in 1859, they were disbanded on the memorable 4th of
September, 1870. Like the firemen, they are all soldiers, and in case of
war rejoin their respective corps. From the point of view of the police,
Paris is divided into four great divisions, each including a certain
number of arrondissements, and having at its head a _Chef_. Under the
orders of the Commissaires are placed the twenty-five Officiers de Paix,
and the Inspecteurs Principaux, their substitutes; next in rank come the
Brigadiers, a hundred in number, then the eight hundred and eighty
Sous-Brigadiers and the seven thousand one hundred _agents_.

A sufficiently high standard is set for the recruits to this
force,--they must be in the enjoyment of all their civil rights, have
their papers perfectly correct, have been a soldier, not be more than
thirty years of age (thirty-five, if they have served ten years under
the colors), and be at least a mètre, seventy centimètres, in height.
They must have a knowledge of orthography, and an excellent physical
condition. After twenty-five years of service, in which is included that
in the army, they are entitled to be retired on a pension of half-pay,
calculated on the average payment of their last three years of service.
Rewards are provided for special acts of courage or devotion, arrest of
a dangerous criminal, stopping a runaway horse, extinguishing a fire,
etc.; after three such proofs of bravery, duly certified by
procès-verbaux, they are proposed for one of the four medals of honor,
of which two are in gold and two in silver. The State is by no means
chary in the distribution of decorations and medals to those who serve
it, and very many of these agents wear from one to four of these
highly-prized tokens, military and other, on their breasts. On their
capes and tunics are also embroidered in silver the number of their
arrondissement in Roman letters and their own, in figures. In stormy
weather, they pull the pointed hood of their capes over their heads,
which gives them a very picturesque appearance; and in summer, they all
appear in white trousers, as do the postmen. They have recently been
furnished with white bâtons, much smaller than a New York policeman's
club, which at first gave great amusement to the easily-amused
loungers on the boulevards, but which are very efficient in arresting
street traffic when held in the air.

OMNIBUSES. After a drawing by E. Pouchot.]

As at present organized, the force is divided into twenty-six
_brigades_, one for each arrondissement and six companies, known as the
reserve, formerly the _brigades centrales_. There are four posts in each
arrondissement, each of which is provided with a litter, mattress, and
appliances for aid to the injured, and the men are all instructed in the
first treatment of injuries, while waiting for the surgeon. All these
posts are united by telegraph with the central offices in the Mairies,
and these communicate directly with headquarters in the Rue de la Cité.
There are also supplemental posts established in the kiosques of the
carriage-stands; one agent looks after the cabs, and another is at the
service of the public. In each arrondissement, a certain number patrol
in civilian costume, to keep an eye on the street-vendors and to
suppress prostitution. The evening service of theatres and concerts is
furnished by the reserve companies and the carriage brigade; this is
supplied without costs for the theatres, but the concerts pay one franc
for each gardien de la paix, and a franc and a half for a brigadier.
These payments are all turned into a common fund, which, every three
months, is divided among the force. For those who have been killed while
on duty, the city of Paris has erected in the Montmartre cemetery a
monument, on which their names are engraved.

Although its functions, strictly speaking, are confined to the pursuit
and punishment of misdemeanors and crimes, the Paris police occupies
itself with a great number of other affairs that tend to enhance the
comfort and security of the citizen. In the cabinet of the Préfet, a
vast number of delicate affairs are treated with the utmost
discrimination; the Commissaires render daily numerous services of this
kind to the public. Very many disputes which would otherwise be brought
before the Juge de Paix are settled before a Commissaire, without cost
and with a great saving of time. A tenant summons before this officer
his landlord who refuses to allow him to move out on the pretence that
he has not paid his rent; the case is argued before the police
magistrate, and a judgment rendered which is accepted as final. Two
persons quarrel in the street and come to blows; instead of being
arrested and brought before the tribunaux correctionnels, they are
conducted before the Commissaire, where one of them admits his error and
apologizes. A jeweler confides a quantity of precious stones to a
trusted agent to dispose of, but afterward has reasons to believe that
the salesman is meditating flight; if he carry his case to the Tribunal
de Commerce, the delays will give the other ample time to abscond. But
if he cause him to be brought to the Commissariat of police, the chances
are that he will recover his property and that the culprit will depart
admonished and repentant. A married couple are on the point of
disagreeing, and applying for a divorce; this useful official summons
them before him, listens to their explanations and accusations, delivers
to them a moral lecture, and effects a reconciliation. The search for a
missing spouse--whether he or she be really wanted by the abandoned
partner, or whether the latter cherish secret hopes that the search be
fruitless, so that the divorce may be obtained--is one of the most
frequent charges of this confidential police. Those parents who cruelly
treat their children, those dissipated sons of families who will not
listen to parental admonition, are summoned before the Commissaire and
speedily brought to reason.

_Le Service de Sûreté_ is enabled by its organization to assure
protection to persons menaced. "For example, you receive a letter
threatening trouble at the ceremony of your marriage, at the church or
the Mairie; carry that letter to the Chef de la Sûreté, Quai des
Orfèvres. He will place on the watch inspectors to whom he will give a
description of the author of the threat. This service is completely
gratuitous. It is not so for that which consists, we will say, in
watching over the display of wedding-presents. If you want some
inspectors to mount guard in your salon, so that you may not be robbed,
you must pay them. They have, in fact, under these circumstances, to
meet the expenses of dress which are not provided for in their budget."
La Sûreté will also place at your disposal, for any legitimate purpose,
retired inspectors who have served their twenty-five years, and who will
shadow any one whom you have cause to suspect, for ten francs a day and
expenses, who will guard banks, or villas, or travellers with valuable
luggage, or assume the duties of a concierge. All these official
services rendered to individuals must be with the consent of the
Procureur de la République and the Préfet de Police, the Sûreté acting
only under the orders of these two officials.

Paris, in fact, may be said to be a very well-policed city,--the police
regulations are intelligent, and cover all those points in which the
safety, or comfort, or peace of mind of the majority of well-meaning
citizens may be menaced or disturbed by the inconsiderate action of
individuals, and yet these strict _ordonnances_, which might become
harsh or tyrannical, are generally administered with discretion and--in
the case, for example, of the peripatetic vendors of vegetables, the
_marchands_ and _marchandes des quatre-saisons_--with due consideration
for the difficulties of the poor. Great care is taken to assure the
free circulation in the streets, with one very important exception,--the
householder must not deposit any garbage, or mud, or broken bottles on
the sidewalk, he must wash his shop-windows only between certain hours
in the morning, he must not beat nor shake carpets out the window nor in
the streets, he must not put his flower-pots in the windows where there
is any danger of their falling on the passer-by, he must not keep
domestic animals in such numbers or of such a kind as to be disagreeable
to his neighbor, he must not burn coffee, nor card the wool of his
mattresses, on the public highway, and he must not set out chairs or
tables on the sidewalk. This last regulation, however, is practically a
dead letter, all the cafés, big and little, on the wide _trottoirs_ of
the boulevards and on the two-foot sidewalks of the narrow streets,
monopolize from a half to three-fourths of the pavement for pedestrians.
The latter file along cheerfully on the curb-stone, or turn out in the
street altogether, and make no protest. In the poorer quarters, a great
number of domestic occupations and maternal cares are transferred to the
street in front of the dwelling; in fact, the fondness of the French for
out-of-doors is one of their most striking characteristics. The women
and young girls will sit sewing or knitting in the streets or the public
parks, and the men at the open-air tables of the cafés, in the wettest
and rawest of days, and the women of the lower orders, concierges,
workwomen, small shopkeepers, etc., constantly go with their heads
uncovered. This healthy hankering of all classes for the open air
contrasts very strongly with their imbecile terror of fresh air, or
_courants d'air_, in a closed vehicle or under a roof.


Sketch by M. Martin.]

One of the most complete departments of the Préfecture de Police is that
of the _sommiers judiciaires_, in which are preserved the _fiches_ or
records of every person brought before the tribunals, giving his name,
age, place of birth, etc., and the date, the cause, and the nature of
his sentence. The récidivistes, the hardened offenders, have each a
regular bulletin, sometimes a variety of fiches if they have various
aliases. These archives of crime are contained in thousands of boxes,
filling a number of rooms, and are constantly consulted; their
inspection is strictly forbidden to private individuals. This bureau
contains records, systematically arranged, of all the sentences
pronounced by the courts and the civil and military tribunals of France;
the number of ordinary bulletins exceeds eight millions. In addition to
these judicial archives, the Préfecture de Police preserves a personal
record of every prominent personage. Less closely connected with affairs
of State, the bureau of lost articles is more appreciated by the
public; it was opened in 1804, but became generally known only after
1848. The number of these objects found in the streets and public places
and deposited here has exceeded twenty-six thousand, and every one of
them is carefully numbered, catalogued, and ticketed. After remaining
here till all attempts to find the rightful owner have failed, they may
be restored to the _inventeur_, the finder, on his demand, after a
period of three months for garments, furs, and woollen stuffs, of six
months for other articles capable of deterioration, umbrellas, books,
and opera-glasses, and of a year for all others.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first well-organized attempt to light the streets of Paris at night
seems to have been made under Louis XIV. The Abbé de Caraffe had
previously undertaken to establish a force of link-boys and
torch-bearers, but the bureau which he opened in the Rue Saint-Honoré
was soon closed, to the great regret of the honest bourgeois who
scarcely dared to stir out of his house after dark without a lantern.
Thieves abounded, and even the lackeys of good houses, sword in hand,
made a practice of insulting and striking the unlucky commoner who fell
in their way. The lieutenant of police, La Reynie, undertook to
establish a regular system of illumination,--at the end of each street
and in the middle, he hung an iron and glass lantern, some two feet in
height, enclosing a candle weighing a hundred and twenty-five grammes,
the whole suspended from a rope, and hoisted and lowered by means of a
pulley. The malicious breaking of these lanterns was punished by the
galleys. This illumination at first was given only from the 1st of
November to the 1st of March, but later, an ordinance of May 23, 1671,
extended the period from the 20th of October to the 1st of April, and,
still later, it was lengthened to nine months, with the exception of
the week in which the moon shone. For the period of six months, the cost
was a million and a half of francs, it is said.

This innovation excited universal enthusiasm. The king was so well
pleased with it, that he caused a medal to be struck bearing the
inscription: "_Urbis securitas et nitor_ [security and lighting of the
city]." In a passage in _Saint-Evremoniana_, we find: "The invention of
lighting Paris during the night by an infinity of lamps is worthy of
attracting the most distant peoples to come and contemplate that which
the Greeks and the Romans never imagined for the policing of their
republics. The lights, enclosed in glass lanterns suspended in the air
at an equal distance from each other, are arranged in an admirable order
and give light all the night; this spectacle is so handsome and so well
planned, that Archimedes himself, if he were still living, could add
nothing more agreeable and more useful."

As late as the end of the eighteenth century, the vegetable and animal
oils and fats furnished the only means of artificial illumination. The
tallow-candle dates from the eleventh century, and was an humble partner
for the much more aristocratic wax taper. In 1791, Philippe Lebon
commenced a series of experiments upon the extraction from wood of a gas
for illuminating purposes; and in the following year, Murdoch, in
England, succeeded in extracting it from pit-coal. A manufactory of gas,
constructed by the Comte de Chabrol, served to light the Hôpital
Saint-Louis, in 1818; and, two years later, another furnished
illumination for the Palais du Luxembourg and the Odéon. Chevreul's
experiments in the saponification of fatty substances and the extraction
of oleic, stearic, and margaric acids, undertaken in 1823, led to the
manufacture and general use of stearic candles by 1831. In the previous
year, the introduction of mineral oils and petroleums had begun; the
very extensive importation of the coal-oil of Pennsylvania commenced in
1859, and has been supplemented of recent years by that of the produce
of the oil-wells of the Caucasus. Both these are largely imported in the
crude state, and are distilled and refined in France. The _huile de
colza_, extracted from the colewort, is still very largely used, and is
an excellent oil for lamps; and acetylene is beginning to take the place
of coal-gas as an illuminator.

When the permanent street-lamps, burning oil, replaced the ancient
lanterns and candles in the streets of Paris, they excited as much
admiration as the latter had done. "The very great amount of light which
they give," said the lieutenant of police, M. de Sartines, "forbids us
to believe that anything better can ever be found." The introduction of
gas excited much opposition, as late as 1830; the householders feared to
be asphyxiated by sulphuretted hydrogen and adopted the new method with
much hesitation. Philippe Lebon was assassinated on the Champs-Élysées
on the evening of the coronation of Napoleon I, and his invention, "as
is usually the case, made the tour of Europe before returning to benefit
France,--the first companies that undertook to work his invention were
managed by foreigners, Winsor, Pauwel, and Manley-Wilson." The five or
six rival companies that furnished gas to the city, united in 1855 in
one corporation, the _Compagnie parisienne d'éclairage et de chauffage
par le gaz_. At present, the _Compagnie du Gaz_ delivers it to private
houses within the city at an average price of thirty centimes the cubic
mètre, and at varying prices in the suburbs. It cannot refuse to furnish
it to any subscriber, but it has the right of demanding that payments be
made in advance.

Much apprehension was at first excited in the neighborhood of the
companies' works by the enormous metal tanks, or reservoirs, until, as
is related, an Englishman, named Clegg, one day went up to one of these
huge gasometers, drove a hole through the side, and applied a lighted
candle to the aperture. The escaping gas burned in a steady jet, as from
a burner, but did not explode. At the opening of the siege of Paris,
General Trochu was alarmed at the possibility of one of these gasometers
in the suburbs being exploded by a German shell and destroying the
ramparts in its vicinity; the Conseil de Défense, having communicated
these apprehensions to the gas company, were assured by the latter that
the reservoirs would not explode, even though pierced by a projectile.
This statement was soon verified; at the works at Ivry, one of the
enemy's shells fell through one of the iron _cloches_,--a long sheaf of
fire rose in the air, and was extinguished within a few minutes. At La
Villette, a shell burst inside the tank, but the gas escaped without any
further damage. It was the latter usine that furnished the means of
inflating the balloons that, for so long a time, constituted the city's
only method of communication with the outside world.

If the municipality was somewhat slow in adopting the use of gas for its
streets, it claims to be the first to have introduced that of
electricity. This new method of illumination appeared in 1876, and in
the following year the Avenue de l'Opéra was lit up by the Jablochkoff
system. In England, the use of electricity for lighting public streets
and dwellings was inaugurated in the town of Godalming in 1881; and in
America, in New York, in 1882. The Place du Carrousel followed the
Avenue de l'Opéra, using sixteen Mersanne lights; experiments were made
in the Parc Monceau with fourteen arc lights, and in the Parc des
Buttes-Chaumont with fifty arc lights and seventy-nine incandescent.
The tragic burning of the Opéra-Comique, in May, 1887, gave a great
impulse to the adoption of the new method in preference to the use of
gas, and the city north of the Seine was divided into five _secteurs_,
each furnished by its own electrical company. This method still
prevails, the number of secteurs having been increased to seven, one for
the left bank of the river, and the different companies hold their
concessions for the space of eighteen years. The unit of measurement is
the _hectowatt-heure_, the price of which ranges from ten to fifteen
centimes, whilst in other cities, according to statistics of November,
1897, it ranged from five to seven centimes in Brussels, from six to
seven in London, and at about seven and a half in Berlin.

After a drawing by Émile Bayard.]

This excessive price has had the natural result of curtailing the use of
electricity as an illuminator; and the usual thrifty habits of the
French householder and municipality contribute to make the capital
anything but a well-lighted city at night,--contrary to the general
impression. The stranger who leaves the main boulevards and enters any
of the minor streets, even such a wide and important one as the
Boulevard Saint-Germain, is struck with the village darkness of these
thoroughfares. Not only is there no other means of illumination
generally but the street-lamps burning gas, which are sufficiently
widely spaced,--and, in the case of the boulevard just mentioned, masked
by trees,--but all the house-fronts are tightly closed and as black as
night. One may cross the Place Vendôme, five minutes from the Opéra, in
the middle of the evening in the middle of the season, and have barely
light enough to avoid other pedestrians. All around the great circle the
houses show no gleam of light in their windows, with two or three
exceptions, and the effect is anything but cheerful. In this Place,
as in so many localities in Paris, the pedestrians take to the middle of
the streets,--in the wide thoroughfares, to cross them, or to avoid
détours, and in the narrow ones, because of the insufficiency of
sidewalks,--and good eyesight becomes of the utmost importance.
Fortunately, the cabs and carriages all carry double lanterns, and even
the bicyclers, those terrors to foot-passengers, are compelled to show a
light of some kind and to sound some kind of warning. Of these, the neat
and efficient little lantern and the bell fixed to the handle-bar are
not yet in general use,--the French cycler mounts any kind of a lamp,
even a paper Venetian lantern, on the front of his machine, and rings a
tea-bell, or sounds a small horn, as he dashes along. If he display no
consideration whatever for the pedestrian, he, in turn, perils his own
neck with the utmost willingness, and the risks he takes in the narrow
and crowded streets, and the coolness and skill with which he avoids the
fate he so justly deserves, are equally remarkable.

In the summer of 1898, the discussion concerning the deficient
_éclairage électrique_, periodically revived, took on new animation in
view of the approaching Exposition of 1900 and the admitted inferiority
of Paris in this respect to other cities. The question was brought up in
the Conseil Municipal in the spring; the various companies made a
proposition to modify their contracts with the city and to effect a
considerable reduction in their price, as much as twenty-five or
thirty-five per cent, to individual consumers, in return for a
prolongation of their contracts to 1930,--the present ones expiring in
1907 and 1908. This prolongation, they said, would allow them to assume
the heavy expense of establishing new plants, and extending their wires,
while at the same time reducing the price,--the near approach of the end
of the present contracts restraining them from doing either in view of
the necessity of securing a speedy return upon the capital already
invested. The municipal councillors replied with another
proposition,--to maintain the _status quo_ until the expiration of the
present contracts, and then, in some ten or fifteen years, when the
condition of the municipal finances would permit, to establish three
great _compagnies fermières_, which should furnish both gas and
electricity at a very moderate price, to be set by the Conseil itself.
The objections to this plan were set forth very freely,--in the first
place, it prolonged an intolerable situation, and just at the moment
when the capital was inviting all the world to visit her. In the second
place, nothing is more doubtful than the future,--it is quite possible
that in the course of fifteen years electricity may be superseded by
some other power, as the utilization of the solar heat; if the Municipal
Council are so convinced of the excellence of their system, why not put
it in practice at once, as they have the power? Moreover, it is very
doubtful if the financial condition of the city will be better in 1907
or 1908 than it is at present; it will be necessary at that date, at the
expiration of the concessions, to purchase the plants of the companies.
The municipal debt, so far from diminishing, has, so far, steadily
increased; it is estimated that the city will have to borrow, in these
ten years, the sum of four hundred and seventy-five millions of
francs,--twenty millions for the conversion of the loan of 1886, forty
millions for the water-supply, a hundred and sixty-five millions for the
Métropolitan railway, fifty millions for education, and two hundred
millions for the opening and maintenance of highways. It is, therefore,
highly probable that the municipal control of the electric lighting, so
far from bringing any amelioration of the lot of the consumer, will only
be considered as another source of municipal revenue, like the State
monopoly of tobacco, powder, etc. It is recalled that these monopolies
always incite the public administration to draw from them the greatest
possible profit,--as in the case of the water-supply, the price of which
has doubled since the city has assumed the management of it. One of the
immediate results of this augmentation has been a great increase in the
number of electric elevators.

In this connection, the experience of the city with the gas company is
recalled. In 1888, the Compagnie parisienne du gaz offered to lower the
price to twenty-five centimes the cubic mètre for lighting and to twenty
for motive power, in return for certain considerations which involved no
pecuniary cost to the city. The Conseil Municipal refused this offer.
The result was somewhat as follows: in 1888, there were consumed in
Paris and in the banlieue, in round numbers, two hundred and
ninety-eight millions of cubic mètres of gas, and in 1897, three hundred
and fifteen; the average consumption for the period 1888-1898 being thus
something over three hundred millions. Consequently, if the terms of the
company had been accepted, the consumers would have had to pay in these
ten years a hundred and thirty-three million francs less,--and the
municipal council had made a present of this sum to the shareholders of
the Compagnie du gaz. In the present case, the acceptance of the offer
of the electrical companies would involve a reduction in the cost to the
consumers, and also to the city, of two or three million francs a year,
that is to say, of thirty or forty-five millions for the fifteen years
of waiting which are proposed,--supposing, which is not at all probable,
that the consumption would not greatly increase with the lowering of the
cost. So that, from every point of view, it is considered that the
necessity is for immediate reform.

       *       *       *       *       *

All these larger administrative municipal details, and the Third
Republic itself, date from 1870, the most important year in the history
of France, and it may be thought that no record, however brief, of the
machinery of government, of the characteristics, the aspirations, and
tendencies of this modern society, would be approximately correct
without some allusion to its recent origin, to those tremendous
political events which so transformed it, and which still remain for it
an endless and hopelessly bitter source of speculation, of discussion,
and of fierce recrimination. In this overthrow of a nation, it is the
great figure of the Chancellor of the German Empire that fills the
scene, moving apparently at his will kings, emperors, and ambassadors,
and influencing, even at this late day, every measure of the government
of the capital and the nation by an enduring Consternation,--by a fear
that does but increase from year to year. The incompetence of the
Emperor, the folly of the Empress, probably but served to aid or to
accelerate the ruin which Bismarck thought necessary to secure his great
building,--the Confederation of the North German states had been
consolidated by the defeat of Austria at Sadowa, but France, he was
convinced, would never consent to the re-establishment of the German
Empire. Even the vanquished admit that he did not want war for the sake
of war; but, by his own admission, in 1892, he was willing to secure
this necessary result by any trick, even that of the forger.


After a photograph.]

Despite the recent assertions of the French minister, M. Ollivier, it is
probable that the Empire of Louis Napoleon had lost all its allies.
Austria, anxious to avenge Sadowa, was restrained by the threat of the
intervention of Russia; that power still considered the dual empire its
rival in the Balkans and still remembered the Crimea; an offensive and
defensive alliance had been concluded by Prussia with the German states
south of the Main. Thus prepared, the chancellor waited for an
opportunity, and as none presented itself soon enough, he made one. The
revolution in Spain in 1868 had driven Queen Isabella into exile and
left her throne vacant; Marshal Prim, who retained the reins of power,
was negotiating in the different courts of Europe to find an acceptable
new sovereign. At the beginning of July, 1870, Paris was surprised to
hear that the candidate chosen by him, and who would probably be
proclaimed by the Cortès, was Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern. This
negotiation had been carried on secretly, the French ambassador at
Madrid had been informed of nothing, and from Marshal Prim's documents
it was afterward learned that Bismarck himself had suggested the prince
for the crown. It was very certain that France would oppose this union
of the dynasties of Berlin and Madrid, and, in fact, on the 6th of July
the government sent a message to the Chamber protesting against this
candidature and declaring that it would be compelled to oppose it, if
necessary, to the last extremity.

Three days later, M. Benedetti, the French ambassador at Berlin, sought
an interview with the King of Prussia at Ems, where he was taking the
waters, and requested him, as head of the Hohenzollern family, not to
give his consent to the candidature of Prince Leopold. The king replied
that, in this affair, he had intervened not as King of Prussia but as
head of the family, and the interview ended without any definite
assurances on his part. However, Prince Anthony of Hohenzollern, the
father of Leopold, officially announced that his son was no longer a
candidate. Then the French diplomacy came to Bismarck's aid by
committing a great blunder; M. Benedetti sought another interview with
the king, who had not yet heard of this withdrawal, informed him of it,
and requested him to give the French government formal assurance that
Prince Leopold would abide by it. This promise the king refused to give,
but he notified the ambassador that he would inform him when he had
received a confirmation of the renunciation. When this was received, he
sent word to M. Benedetti by an aide-de-camp, refusing him the third
audience which he requested, stating that he approved of the prince's
decision, but declining to bind himself with regard to any future

An official statement of these interviews was drawn up under the eyes of
the king by his private councillor Abeken, and telegraphed to Bismarck,
with authority to publish it. This statement contained nothing that need
inflame the national feeling in either Germany or France, but, as
re-edited by the chancellor, it represented the French ambassador as
unduly importunate, and as having received a flat refusal from the
monarch. The patriotism on both sides took fire; and war was declared on
the 19th of July. The Germans assert that it would have been inevitable
in any case, without this falsification of the despatch of Ems, but the
Iron Chancellor is convicted, on his own testimony, of having desired it
and of having wrought to bring it about.

M. Émile Ollivier, Louis Napoleon's minister, president of the Conseil,
whose "light heart" for the "great responsibility" of the war with
Germany has earned him a special measure of obloquy, has within the last
two or three years appeared again in public, in his own defence. In an
interview granted an editor of the _Gil Blas_ on the twenty-sixth
anniversary of his fall, the ex-minister made a series of statements
justifying the men and measures of that fatal period, and contributing
some very important assertions to history. "We committed no faults,"
said M. Ollivier; "we were unfortunate, that was all, and I have
nothing, nothing with which to reproach myself." France, he declares,
was assured of the alliance of Austria and Italy, even after
Reischoffen; the plan of campaign, which has been so much criticised,
the scattering of the troops along the frontier, was imposed by the
Austrian general staff. Sedan, however, chilled these allies, and
delivered Germany, as Bismarck himself wrote, from all danger of a
coalition against her. The inertia of the Emperor, who was ill with the
stone, who could not command himself, and "would suffer no one to take
the command in his place;" the errors of the generals, including
Mac-Mahon; the treason of Bazaine, and the council of war held by the
ministers and presided over by the Empress, at which the fatal march on
Sedan was determined upon, all combined to ruin the national cause. The
Empress would not comprehend, notwithstanding the instances of the
Emperor, of Mac-Mahon, of Prince Napoleon, that "it was at Paris alone
that the Empire could be defended, at Paris that France could be armed,
at Paris that the allies, who had promised their aid, could be
constrained to pronounce their adherence." Through a false conception of
the interests of the dynasty, it was resolved to go to Sedan,
notwithstanding the Emperor, who said to Mac-Mahon: "Since it is so, let
us go and get our heads broken." The last volume of M. Ollivier's work,
_L'Empire libéral: études, récits et souvenirs_, has appeared in this
present year (1898), and completes an able and very interesting defence
of a dynasty which has not found many apologists as yet.

General Trochu, military commandant of Paris during the siege, has also,
in his _Mémoires_, published in 1896, dwelt upon the all-important part
which the capital might have played in the great drama of the national
defence. "I dreamed," he says, "of a Parisian population forgetting
before the grandeur of the common peril its animosity toward the Empire,
in order to associate itself with us in the supreme effort which we were
about to make in conjunction with it; of Paris, with its immense
resources, put in a state of defence by the labor of a hundred thousand
arms and, after a brief delay, rendered impregnable." This theory of the
great importance of the capital is, however, by no means held by all the
military critics of the war.


It is, perhaps, well to dwell, at some length, in any effort--however
superficial--to appreciate the present condition and the promise for the
future of this nation and this capital, on this period of the war with
Germany, for the burden of contemporary testimony seems to be that there
has been, practically, no recovery from the blow. Nothing is more
interesting in contemporary sociology than the tone of depression,
almost of humility, of lack of national elasticity and self-assertiveness,
in the current French literature. There are still to be met with, of
course, the familiar assertions that France is "the cradle of
enlightened liberties," the "hope of struggling nationalities," and
similar vague phrases, but always qualified with some allusion to the
present depression and extinguishment. These admissions appear on every
hand:--in _Le Temps_, of November 7, 1898, in its review of the second
volume of M. Samuel Denis's _Histoire contemporaine: La chute de
L'Empire_, we read: "The period comprised between the 15th of July,
1870, and the last months of the year 1875 is, perhaps, of all our
national history, the most fruitful in dramatic events. It is, without
any doubt, that which has for us all the keenest interest,--the most
poignant. The history of these days of mourning, it is what our fathers
did, with their tears and with their blood, and it is the history of
events which still oppress with all their weight our national life. It
is that which constitutes our malady; it is, that after twenty-eight
years, we are still the vanquished." The Duc de Broglie, in an article
in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, July 1, 1896, a review of the colonial
policy of the Third Republic between the years 1871 and 1896, a period
in which her ministers strove--with very doubtful success, he thinks--to
recover in some degree the prestige lost in the war and in the
subsequent check in Egypt, _vis-à-vis_ with England, sums up: "We are
not alone in bearing the heavy heritage of the war of 1870; all the
world has its part in the sentiment of general uneasiness, from which no
one escapes. It is the common condition, and even though France should
be the only one to suffer from it, the other peoples, still, should not
resign themselves to it without mortification.... Well! behold it
revived, this sombre right of conquest, in all its nakedness, in all its
rigor;--it has installed itself in the very centre, in the full light of
civilization, and all, statesmen as well as doctors of philosophy,
political and social, have bowed before it.... So long as this spectacle
lasts, a brand is imprinted upon the front of modern society like a
_memento homo_ which recalls to it that the progress with which it
flatters itself has purified only the surface and which notifies
democracy, so proud of its puissance, that it is only a dust of men, a
plaything, like all human things, of all the winds that blow of brute
strength or of fortune."

Some interesting details have recently appeared concerning the official
residence, the Tuileries, under the last of the French Empires. For the
commonplace furniture which they found there, the Emperor and the
Empress gradually substituted other, much more luxurious. His apartments
were on the ground-floor, communicating by a small stairway with those
of the Empress on the floor above. There, the first salon, in pale green
and gold, reserved for the chamberlains and the ladies of honor, was
furnished with a great mirror in which were reflected all the gardens,
the Champs Élysées and the Arch of Triumph in the distance; this room
gave access to the pink salon, of which the chimney-piece was in white
marble, set off with lapis-lazuli and gold, and the ceiling represented
the Arts rendering homage to her Majesty. From this salon the visitor
entered the blue one, where she gave private audience, "always receiving
her guests graciously and manifesting an unwillingness to part with
them." Beyond the _salon bleu_ was a little cabinet with a secretary, a
little boudoir, the library with small ebony tables, the dressing-room,
the oratory, entered through folding-doors, and finally the bedchamber
of the Empress.

The Imperial couple breakfasted in their apartments _tête-à-tête_ but
the dinner was served in state and in full dress. On Sundays, after
_déjeuner_, the court heard mass in the chapel, the voices of the
singers were accompanied by harps, and the sermon was never to exceed a
half-hour in length. The Emperor, wearing the uniform of a general, sat
through the service in imperturbable gravity, his hands crossed. On Good
Friday, the _Stabat Mater_ was chanted by the best artists; the ladies
were in black, with long black veils.

A species of military discipline was imposed upon all those who were
lodged in the palace. All the doors were closed at midnight, and the
officer of the guard reported next morning all the delinquents who came
in later. No workman from outside was admitted into the palace, all
alterations and repairs were under the charge of the officials of the
_Régie_. In addition to the military guard, a brigade of special police
exercised a constant surveillance over the neighborhood and all the
entrances of the building. The agents, costumed _en parfaits gentlemen_,
stood about in groups at all the doors, and, without interrupting their
conversation, watched narrowly all those who presented themselves for
admission. When the Emperor went out, in a phaeton or brake, driving
himself, a small unpretentious coupé or brougham followed him
everywhere, a short distance behind, and in it was the chief of police
attached to his person. At the masked balls of the Tuileries, every
gentleman was obliged to remove his mask on entering; police officials
were stationed at all the doors, and several of them, wearing the
Imperial livery, passed about among the guests, serving refreshments.
The official balls of the Tuileries were splendid, but invitations to
the balls of the Empress on "Mondays," were the most prized. For this
information, we are indebted to an article in the _Century Magazine_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by ebook transcriber:








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