By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Recollections of Alexis de Tocqueville
Author: Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1805-1859
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "The Recollections of Alexis de Tocqueville" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from scanned images of public domain material

[Transcriber's Note: Words and phrases appearing in italics in the
original publication have been delimited with underscore characters in
this transcription. Additional notes appear at the end of this text.]


[Illustration: Alexis de Tocqueville]






    "C'est tousiours plaisir de veoir les choses escriptes par ceulx
    qui ont essayé comme il les faut conduire."

Alexis de Tocqueville made his entrance in political life in 1839.[1] At
the outbreak of the Revolution of February he was in the prime of his
age and in the maturity of his talent. He threw himself into the
struggle, resolving to devote himself to the interests of the country
and of society, and he was one of the first among those whole-hearted,
single-minded men who endeavoured to keep the Republic within a wise and
moderate course by steering clear of the two-fold perils of Cæsarism on
the one hand and revolution on the other. A dangerous and thankless
enterprise, of which the difficulties were never hidden from a mind so
clear-sighted as his, and of which he soon foresaw the ephemeral

     [1: At the age of 34. Alexis Clérel de Tocqueville was born in
     1805 at Verneuil. His father was the Comte de Tocqueville, who was
     made a peer of France and a prefect under the Restoration; his
     mother, _née_ Mlle. de Rosambo, was a grand-daughter of
     Malesherbes. Alexis de Tocqueville was appointed an assistant
     judge, and in 1831 was sent to America, in company with G. de
     Beaumont to study the penal system in that continent. On his
     return he published a treatise on this subject; and in 1835
     appeared his great work on American Democracy, which secured his
     election to the Academy of Moral Science in 1839 and to the French
     Academy in 1841. Two years earlier he had been sent to the Chamber
     as deputy for the arrondissement of Valognes in Normandy, in which
     the paternal property of Tocqueville was situated; and this seat
     he retained until his withdrawal from political life. He died in
     1859.--A.T. de M.]

After the fall of his short-lived ministry, which had been filled with
so many cares and such violent agitation, thinking himself removed for a
time (it was to be for ever) from the conduct of public affairs, he went
first to Normandy and then to Sorrento, on the Bay of Naples, in search
of the peace and repose of which he stood in need. The intellect,
however, but rarely shows itself the docile slave of the will, and his,
to which idleness was a cause of real suffering, immediately set about
to seek an object worthy of its attention. This was soon found in the
great drama of the French Revolution, which attracted him irresistibly,
and which was destined to form the subject-matter of his most perfect

It was at this time, while Alexis de Tocqueville was also preoccupied by
the daily increasing gravity of the political situation at home, that he
wrote the Recollections now first published. These consisted of mere
notes jotted down at intervals on odds and ends of paper; and it was not
until the close of his life that, yielding to the persuasions of his
intimates, he gave a reluctant consent to their publication. He took a
certain pleasure in thus retracing and, as it were, re-enacting the
events in which he had taken part, the character of which seemed the
more transient, and the more important to establish definitely, inasmuch
as other events came crowding on, precipitating the crisis and altering
the aspect of affairs. Thus those travellers who, steering their
adventurous course through a series of dangerous reefs, alight upon a
wild and rugged island, where they disembark and live for some days, and
when about to depart for ever from its shores, throw back upon it a long
and melancholy gaze before it sinks from their eyes in the immensity of
the waves. Already the Assembly had lost its independence; the reign of
constitutional liberty, under which France had lived for thirty-three
years, was giving way; and, in the words of the famous phrase, "The
Empire was a fact."

We are to-day well able to judge the period described in these
Recollections, a period which seems still further removed from us by the
revolutions, the wars, and even the misfortunes which the country has
since undergone, and which now only appears to us in that subdued light
which throws the principal outlines into especial relief, while
permitting the more observant and penetrating eye to discover also the
secondary features. Living close enough to those times to receive
evidence from the lips of survivors, and not so close but that all
passion has become appeased and all rancour extinguished, we should be
in a position to lack neither light nor impartiality. As witness, for
instance, the impression retained by us of the figure of Ledru-Rollin,
which nevertheless terrified our fathers. We live in a generation which
has beheld Raoul, Rigault and Delescluze at work. The theories of Louis
Blanc and Considérant arouse no feeling of astonishment in these days,
when their ideas have become current coin, and when the majority of
politicians feel called upon to adopt the badge of some socialism or
other, whether we call it Christian, State, or revolutionary socialism.
Cormenin, Marrast and Lamartine belong to history as much as do Sièyes,
Pétion or Mirabeau; and we are able to judge as freely of the men and
the events of 1848 as of those of 1830 or 1789.

Alexis de Tocqueville had the rare merit of being able to forestall this
verdict of posterity; and if we endeavour to discover the secret of this
prescience, of the loftiness of sight with which he was so specially
gifted, we shall find that, belonging to no party, he remained above all
parties; that, depending upon no leader, he kept his hands free; and
that, possessed of no vulgar ambition, he reserved his energies for the
noble aim which he had in view--the triumph of liberty and of the
dignity of man.

Interest will doubtless be taken in the account contained in these
Recollections of the revolutionary period, written by one of the
best-informed of its witnesses, and in the ebbs and flows of the
short-lived ministry which was conducted with so much talent and
integrity. But what will be especially welcome is the broad views taken
by this great mind of our collective history; his profound reflections
upon the future of the country and of society; the firm and
conscientious opinions which he expresses upon his contemporaries; and
the portraits drawn by a master hand, always striking and always alive.
When reading this private record, which has been neither revised nor
corrected by its author, we seem to approach more closely to the
sentiments, the desires, the aspirations, I was almost saying the dreams
of this rare mind, this great heart so ardently pursuing the chimera of
absolute good that nothing in men or institutions could succeed in
satisfying it.

Years passed, and the Empire foundered amid terrible disaster. Alexis de
Tocqueville was no more; and we may say that this proved at that time an
irreparable loss to his country. Who knows what part he might have been
called upon to play, what influence he could have brought to bear to
unmask the guilty intrigues and baffle the mean ambitions under whose
load, after the lapse of more than twenty years, we are still
staggering? Enlightened by his harsh experience of 1848, would he have
once again tried the experiment, which can never be more than an eternal
stop-gap, of governing the Republic with the support of the Monarchists?
Or rather, persuaded as he was that "the republican form of government
is not the best suited to the needs of France," that this "government
without stability always promises more, but gives less, liberty than a
Constitutional Monarchy," would he not have appealed to the latter to
protect the liberty so dear to him? One thing is certain, that he would
never have "subordinated to the necessity of maintaining his position
that of remaining true to himself."

We have thought that the present generation, which so rarely has the
opportunity of beholding a man of character, would take pleasure in
becoming acquainted with this great and stately figure; in spending some
short moments in those lofty regions, in which it may learn a powerful
lesson and find an example of public life in its noblest form, ever
faithful to its early aspirations, ever filled with two great ideas: the
cult of honour and the passion of liberty.




  CHAPTER I                                                       PAGE

  Origin and Character of these Recollections--General aspect of
      the period preceding the Revolution of 1848--Preliminary
      symptoms of the Revolution                                     3


  The Banquets--Sense of security entertained by the
      Government--Anxiety of Leaders of the
      Opposition--Arraignment of Ministers                          19


  Troubles of the 22nd of February--The Sitting of the 23rd--The
      New Ministry--Opinions of M. Dufaure and M. de Beaumont       33


  The 24th of February--The Ministers' Plan of Resistance--The
      National Guard--General Bedeau                                44


  The Sitting of the Chamber--Madame la Duchesse D'Orléans--The
      Provisional Government                                        56



  My Explanation of the 24th of February, and my views as to its
      effects upon the future                                       79


  Paris on the morrow of the 24th of February and the next
      days--The socialistic character of the New Revolution         90


  Vacillation of the Members of the Old Parliament as to the
      attitude they should adopt--My own reflections on my mode
      of action, and my resolves                                   102


  My candidature of the department of la Manche--The aspect of
      the country--The General Election                            114


  The First Sitting of the Constituent Assembly--The appearance
      of this Assembly                                             129


  My relations with Lamartine--His Subterfuges                     145


  The 15th of May 1848                                             156


  The Feast of Concord and the preparations for the Days of June   174


  The Days of June                                                 187


  The Days of June--(_continued_)                                  215


  The Committee for the Constitution                               233



  My return to France--Formation of the Cabinet                    263


  Aspect of the Cabinet--Its first Acts until after the
      insurrectionary attempts of the 13th of June                 278


  Our domestic policy--Internal quarrels in the Cabinet--Its
      difficulties in its relations with the Majority and the
      President                                                    301


  Foreign Affairs                                                  325



  Gustave de Beaumont's version of the 24th of February            379


  Barrot's version of the 24th of February (_10 October 1850_)     385


  Some incidents of the 24th of February 1848                      389


      M. Dufaure's efforts to prevent the Revolution of
          February--Responsibility of M. Thiers, which renders
          them futile                                              389


      Dufaure's conduct on the 24th of February 1848               392


  My conversation with Berryer, on the 21st of June, at an
      appointment which I had given him at my house. We were
      both Members of the Committee for the revision of the
      Constitution                                                 394

  INDEX                                                            399


     _Written in July 1850, at Tocqueville._




Removed for a time from the scene of public life, I am constrained, in
the midst of my solitude, to turn my thoughts upon myself, or rather to
reflect upon contemporary events in which I have taken part or acted as
a witness. And it seems to me that the best use I can make of my leisure
is to retrace these events, to portray the men who took part in them
under my eyes, and thus to seize and engrave, if I can, upon my memory
the confused features which compose the disturbed physiognomy of my

In taking this resolve I have taken another, to which I shall be no less
true: these recollections shall be a relaxation of the mind rather than
a contribution to literature. I write them for myself alone. They shall
be a mirror in which I will amuse myself in contemplating my
contemporaries and myself; not a picture painted for the public. My most
intimate friends shall not see them, for I wish to retain the liberty of
depicting them as I shall depict myself, without flattery. I wish to
arrive truly at the secret motives which have caused them, and me, and
others to act; and, when discovered, to reveal them here. In a word, I
wish this expression of my recollections to be a sincere one; and to
effect this, it is essential that it should remain absolutely secret.

I intend that my recollections shall not go farther back than the
Revolution of 1848, nor extend to a later date than the 30th of October
1849, the day upon which I resigned my office. It is only within these
limits that the events which I propose to relate have any importance, or
that my position has enabled me to observe them well.

My life was passed, although in a comparatively secluded fashion, in the
midst of the parliamentary world of the closing years of the Monarchy of
July. Nevertheless, it would be no easy task for me to recall distinctly
the events of a period so little removed from the present, and yet
leaving so confused a trace in my memory. The thread of my recollections
is lost amid the whirl of minor incidents, of paltry ideas, of petty
passions, of personal views and contradictory opinions in which the life
of public men was at that time spent. All that remains vivid in my mind
is the general aspect of the period; for I often regarded it with a
curiosity mingled with dread, and I clearly discerned the special
features by which it was characterized.

Our history from 1789 to 1830, if viewed from a distance and as a whole,
affords as it were the picture of a struggle to the death between the
Ancien Régime, its traditions, memories, hopes, and men, as represented
by the aristocracy, and New France under the leadership of the middle
class. The year 1830 closed the first period of our revolutions, or
rather of our revolution: for there is but one, which has remained
always the same in the face of varying fortunes, of which our fathers
witnessed the commencement, and of which we, in all probability, shall
not live to behold the end. In 1830 the triumph of the middle class had
been definite and so thorough that all political power, every franchise,
every prerogative, and the whole government was confined and, as it
were, heaped up within the narrow limits of this one class, to the
statutory exclusion of all beneath them and the actual exclusion of all
above. Not only did it thus alone rule society, but it may be said to
have formed it. It ensconced itself in every vacant place, prodigiously
augmented the number of places, and accustomed itself to live almost as
much upon the Treasury as upon its own industry.

No sooner had the Revolution of 1830 become an accomplished fact, than
there ensued a great lull in political passion, a sort of general
subsidence, accompanied by a rapid increase in the public wealth. The
particular spirit of the middle class became the general spirit of the
government; it ruled the latter's foreign policy as well as affairs at
home: an active, industrious spirit, often dishonourable, generally
sober, occasionally reckless through vanity or egoism, but timid by
temperament, moderate in all things, except in its love of ease and
comfort, and wholly undistinguished. It was a spirit which, mingled with
that of the people or of the aristocracy, can do wonders; but which, by
itself, will never produce more than a government shorn of both virtue
and greatness. Master of everything in a manner that no aristocracy had
ever been or may ever hope to be, the middle class, when called upon to
assume the government, took it up as a trade; it entrenched itself
behind its power, and before long, in their egoism, each of its members
thought much more of his private business than of public affairs, and of
his personal enjoyment than of the greatness of the nation.

Posterity, which sees none but the more dazzling crimes, and which loses
sight, in general, of mere vices, will never, perhaps, know to what
extent the government of that day, towards its close, assumed the ways
of a trading company, which conducts all its transactions with a view to
the profits accruing to the shareholders. These vices were due to the
natural instincts of the dominant class, to the absoluteness of its
power, and also to the character of the time. Possibly also King
Louis-Philippe had contributed to their growth.

This Prince was a singular medley of qualities, and one must have known
him longer and more nearly than I did to be able to portray him in

Nevertheless, although I was never one of his Council, I have frequently
had occasion to come into contact with him. The last time that I spoke
to him was shortly before the catastrophe of February. I was then
director of the Académie Française, and I had to bring to the King's
notice some matter or other which concerned that body. After treating
the question which had brought me, I was about to retire, when the King
detained me, took a chair, motioned me to another, and said, affably:

"Since you are here, Monsieur de Tocqueville, let us talk; I want to
hear you talk a little about America."

I knew him well enough to know that this meant: I shall talk about
America myself. And he did actually talk of it at great length and very
searchingly: it was not possible for me, nor did I desire, to get in a
word, for he really interested me. He described places as though he saw
them before him; he recalled the distinguished men whom he had met forty
years ago as though he had seen them the day before; he mentioned their
names in full, Christian name and surname, gave their ages at the time,
related their histories, their pedigrees, their posterity, with
marvellous exactness and with infinite, though in no way tedious,
detail. From America he returned, without taking breath, to Europe,
talked of all our foreign and domestic affairs with incredible
unconstraint (for I had no title to his confidence), spoke very badly of
the Emperor of Russia, whom he called "Monsieur Nicolas," casually
alluded to Lord Palmerston as a rogue, and ended by holding forth at
length on the Spanish marriages, which had just taken place, and the
annoyances to which they subjected him on the side of England.

"The Queen is very angry with me," he said, "and displays great
irritation; but, after all," he added, "all this outcry won't keep me
from _driving my own cart_."[2]

     [2: "_Mener mon fiacre_": to drive my hackney-coach.--A.T. de M.]

Although this phrase dated back to the Old Order, I felt inclined to
doubt whether Louis XIV. ever made use of it on accepting the Spanish
Succession. I believe, moreover, that Louis-Philippe was mistaken, and,
to borrow his own language, that the Spanish marriage helped not a
little to upset his cart.

After three-quarters of an hour, the King rose, thanked me for the
pleasure my conversation had given him (I had not spoken four words),
and dismissed me, feeling evidently as delighted as one generally is
with a man before whom one thinks one has spoken well. This was my last
audience of the King.

Louis-Philippe improvised all the replies which he made, even upon the
most critical occasions, to the great State bodies; he was as fluent
then as in his private conversation, although not so happy or
epigrammatic. He would suddenly become obscure, for the reason that he
boldly plunged headlong into long sentences, of which he was not able to
estimate the extent nor perceive the end beforehand, and from which he
finally emerged struggling and by force, shattering the sense, and not
completing the thought.

In this political world thus constituted and conducted, what was most
wanting, particularly towards the end, was political life itself. It
could neither come into being nor be maintained within the legal circle
which the Constitution had traced for it: the old aristocracy was
vanquished, the people excluded. As all business was discussed among
members of one class, in the interest and in the spirit of that class,
there was no battle-field for contending parties to meet upon. This
singular homogeneity of position, of interests, and consequently of
views, reigning in what M. Guizot had once called the legal country,
deprived the parliamentary debates of all originality, of all reality,
and therefore of all genuine passion. I have spent ten years of my life
in the company of truly great minds, who were in a constant state of
agitation without succeeding in heating themselves, and who spent all
their perspicacity in vain endeavours to find subjects upon which they
could seriously disagree.

On the other hand, the preponderating influence which King
Louis-Philippe had acquired in public affairs, which never permitted the
politicians to stray very far from that Prince's ideas, lest they should
at the same time be removed from power, reduced the different colours of
parties to the merest shades, and debates to the splitting of straws. I
doubt whether any parliament (not excepting the Constituent Assembly, I
mean the true one, that of 1789) ever contained more varied and
brilliant talents than did ours during the closing years of the Monarchy
of July. Nevertheless, I am able to declare that these great orators
were tired to death of listening to one another, and, what was worse,
the whole country was tired of listening to them. It grew unconsciously
accustomed to look upon the debates in the Chambers as exercises of the
intellect rather than as serious discussions, and upon all the
differences between the various parliamentary parties--the majority, the
left centre, or the dynastic opposition--as domestic quarrels between
children of one family trying to trick one another. A few glaring
instances of corruption, discovered by accident, led it to presuppose a
number of hidden cases, and convinced it that the whole of the governing
class was corrupt; whence it conceived for the latter a silent contempt,
which was generally taken for confiding and contented submission.

The country was at that time divided into two unequal parts, or rather
zones: in the upper, which alone was intended to contain the whole of
the nation's political life, there reigned nothing but languor,
impotence, stagnation, and boredom; in the lower, on the contrary,
political life began to make itself manifest by means of feverish and
irregular signs, of which the attentive observer was easily able to
seize the meaning.

I was one of these observers; and although I was far from imagining that
the catastrophe was so near at hand and fated to be so terrible, I felt
a distrust springing up and insensibly growing in my mind, and the idea
taking root more and more that we were making strides towards a fresh
revolution. This denoted a great change in my thoughts; since the
general appeasement and flatness that followed the Revolution of July
had led me to believe for a long time that I was destined to spend my
life amid an enervated and peaceful society. Indeed, anyone who had only
examined the inside of the governmental fabric would have had the same
conviction. Everything there seemed combined to produce with the
machinery of liberty a preponderance of royal power which verged upon
despotism; and, in fact, this result was produced almost without effort
by the regular and tranquil movement of the machine. King Louis-Philippe
was persuaded that, so long as he did not himself lay hand upon that
fine instrument, and allowed it to work according to rule, he was safe
from all peril. His only occupation was to keep it in order, and to
make it work according to his own views, forgetful of society, upon
which this ingenious piece of mechanism rested; he resembled the man who
refused to believe that his house was on fire, because he had the key in
his pocket. I had neither the same interests nor the same cares, and
this permitted me to see through the mechanism of institutions and the
agglomeration of petty every-day facts, and to observe the state of
morals and opinions in the country. There I clearly beheld the
appearance of several of the portents that usually denote the approach
of revolutions, and I began to believe that in 1830 I had taken for the
end of the play what was nothing more than the end of an act.

A short unpublished document which I composed at the time, and a speech
which I delivered early in 1848, will bear witness to these
preoccupations of my mind.

A number of my friends in Parliament met together in October 1847, to
decide upon the policy to be adopted during the ensuing session. It was
agreed that we should issue a programme in the form of a manifesto, and
the task of drawing it up was deputed to me. Later, the idea of this
publication was abandoned, but I had already written the document. I
have discovered it among my papers, and I give the following extracts.
After commenting on the symptoms of languor in Parliament, I continued:

     "... The time will come when the country will find itself once
     again divided between two great parties. The French Revolution,
     which abolished all privileges and destroyed all exclusive rights,
     has allowed one to remain, that of landed property. Let not the
     landlords deceive themselves as to the strength of their position,
     nor think that the rights of property form an insurmountable
     barrier because they have not as yet been surmounted; for our times
     are unlike any others. When the rights of property were merely the
     origin and commencement of a number of other rights, they were
     easily defended, or rather, they were never attacked; they then
     formed the surrounding wall of society, of which all other rights
     were the outposts; no blows reached them; no serious attempt was
     ever made to touch them. But to-day, when the rights of property
     are nothing more than the last remnants of an overthrown
     aristocratic world; when they alone are left intact, isolated
     privileges amid the universal levelling of society; when they are
     no longer protected behind a number of still more controversible
     and odious rights, the case is altered, and they alone are left
     daily to resist the direct and unceasing shock of democratic

     "... Before long, the political struggle will be restricted to
     those who have and those who have not; property will form the great
     field of battle; and the principal political questions will turn
     upon the more or less important modifications to be introduced into
     the rights of landlords. We shall then have once more among us
     great public agitations and great political parties.

     "How is it that these premonitory symptoms escape the general view?
     Can anyone believe that it is by accident, through some passing
     whim of the human brain, that we see appearing on every side these
     curious doctrines, bearing different titles, but all characterized
     in their essence by their denial of the rights of property, and all
     tending, at least, to limit, diminish, and weaken the exercise of
     these rights? Who can fail here to recognise the final symptom of
     the old democratic disease of the time, whose crisis would seem to
     be at hand?"

I was still more urgent and explicit in the speech which I delivered in
the Chamber of Deputies on the 29th of January 1848, and which appeared
in the _Moniteur_ of the 30th.

I quote the principal passages:

     "... I am told that there is no danger because there are no riots;
     I am told that, because there is no visible disorder on the surface
     of society, there is no revolution at hand.

     "Gentlemen, permit me to say that I believe you are deceived. True,
     there is no actual disorder; but it has entered deeply into men's
     minds. See what is passing in the breasts of the working classes,
     who, I grant, are at present quiet. No doubt they are not disturbed
     by political passion, properly so-called, to the same extent that
     they have been; but can you not see that their passions, instead of
     political, have become social? Do you not see that there are
     gradually forming in their breasts opinions and ideas which are
     destined not only to upset this or that law, ministry, or even form
     of government, but society itself, until it totters upon the
     foundations on which it rests to-day? Do you not listen to what
     they say to themselves each day? Do you not hear them repeating
     unceasingly that all that is above them is incapable and unworthy
     of governing them; that the present distribution of goods
     throughout the world is unjust; that property rests on a foundation
     which is not an equitable foundation? And do you not realize that
     when such opinions take root, when they spread in an almost
     universal manner, when they sink deeply into the masses, they are
     bound to bring with them sooner or later, I know not when nor how,
     a most formidable revolution?

     "This, gentlemen, is my profound conviction: I believe that we are
     at this moment sleeping on a volcano. I am profoundly convinced of

            *       *       *       *       *

     "... I was saying just now that this evil would, sooner or later, I
     know not how nor whence it will come, bring with it a most serious
     revolution: be assured that that is so.

     "When I come to investigate what, at different times, in different
     periods, among different peoples, has been the effective cause that
     has brought about the downfall of the governing classes, I perceive
     this or that event, man, or accidental or superficial cause; but,
     believe me, the real reason, the effective reason which causes men
     to lose their power is, that they have become unworthy to retain

     "Think, gentlemen, of the old Monarchy: it was stronger than you
     are, stronger in its origin; it was able to lean more than you do
     upon ancient customs, ancient habits, ancient beliefs; it was
     stronger than you are, and yet it has fallen to dust. And why did
     it fall? Do you think it was by some particular mischance? Do you
     think it was by the act of some man, by the deficit, the oath in
     the Tennis Court, La Fayette, Mirabeau? No, gentlemen; there was
     another reason: the class that was then the governing class had
     become, through its indifference, its selfishness and its vices,
     incapable and unworthy of governing the country.

     "That was the true reason.

     "Well, gentlemen, if it is right to have this patriotic prejudice
     at all times, how much more is it not right to have it in our own?
     Do you not feel, by some intuitive instinct which is not capable of
     analysis, but which is undeniable, that the earth is quaking once
     again in Europe? Do you not feel ... what shall I say? ... as it
     were a gale of revolution in the air? This gale, no one knows
     whence it springs, whence it blows, nor, believe me, whom it will
     carry with it; and it is in such times as these that you remain
     calm before the degradation of public morality--for the expression
     is not too strong.

     "I speak without bitterness; I am even addressing you without any
     party spirit; I am attacking men against whom I feel no
     vindictiveness. But I am obliged to communicate to my country my
     firm and decided conviction. Well then, my firm and decided
     conviction is this: that public morality is being degraded, and
     that the degradation of public morality will shortly, very shortly,
     perhaps, bring down upon you a new revolution. Is the life of kings
     held by stronger threads? Are these more difficult to snap than
     those of other men? Can you say to-day that you are certain of
     to-morrow? Do you know what may happen in France a year hence, or
     even a month or a day hence? You do not know; but what you must
     know is that the tempest is looming on the horizon, that it is
     coming towards us. Will you allow it to take you by surprise?

     "Gentlemen, I implore you not to do so. I do not ask you, I implore
     you. I would gladly throw myself on my knees before you, so
     strongly do I believe in the reality and the seriousness of the
     danger, so convinced am I that my warnings are no empty rhetoric.
     Yes, the danger is great. Allay it while there is yet time; correct
     the evil by efficacious remedies, by attacking it not in its
     symptoms but in itself.

     "Legislative changes have been spoken of. I am greatly disposed to
     think that these changes are not only very useful, but necessary;
     thus, I believe in the need of electoral reform, in the urgency of
     parliamentary reform; but I am not, gentlemen, so mad as not to
     know that no laws can affect the destinies of nations. No, it is
     not the mechanism of laws that produces great events, gentlemen,
     but the inner spirit of the government. Keep the laws as they are,
     if you wish. I think you would be very wrong to do so; but keep
     them. Keep the men, too, if it gives you any pleasure. I raise no
     objection so far as I am concerned. But, in God's name, change the
     spirit of the government; for, I repeat, that spirit will lead you
     to the abyss."[3]

     [3: This speech was delivered in the Chamber of Deputies on the
     27th of January 1848, in the debate on the Address in reply to the
     Speech from the Throne.--Cte. de T.]

These gloomy predictions were received with ironical cheers from the
majority. The Opposition applauded loudly, but more from party feeling
than conviction. The truth is that no one as yet believed seriously in
the danger which I was prophesying, although we were so near the
catastrophe. The inveterate habit contracted by all the politicians,
during this long parliamentary farce, of over-colouring the expression
of their opinions and grossly exaggerating their thoughts had deprived
them of all power of appreciating what was real and true. For several
years the majority had every day been declaring that the Opposition was
imperilling society; and the Opposition repeated incessantly that the
Ministers were ruining the Monarchy. These statements had been made so
constantly on both sides, without either side greatly believing in them,
that they ended by not believing in them at all, at the very moment when
the event was about to justify both of them. Even my own friends
themselves thought that I had overshot the mark, and that my facts were
a little blurred by rhetoric.

I remember that, when I stepped from the tribune, Dufaure took me on one
side, and said, with that sort of parliamentary intuition which is his
only note of genius:

"You have succeeded, but you would have succeeded much more if you had
not gone so far beyond the feeling of the Assembly and tried to frighten

And now that I am face to face with myself, searching in my memory to
discover whether I was actually myself so much alarmed as I seemed, the
answer is no, and I readily recognise that the event justified me more
promptly and more completely than I foresaw (a thing which may sometimes
have happened to other political prophets, better authorized to predict
than I was). No, I did not expect such a revolution as we were destined
to have; and who could have expected it? I did, I believe, perceive more
clearly than the others the general causes which were making for the
event; but I did not observe the accidents which were to precipitate it.
Meantime the days which still separated us from the catastrophe passed
rapidly by.



I refused to take part in the affair of the banquets. I had both serious
and petty reasons for abstaining. What I call my petty reasons I am
quite willing to describe as bad reasons, although they were consistent
with honour, and would have been unexceptionable in a private matter.
They were the irritation and disgust aroused in me by the character and
by the tactics of the leaders of this enterprise. Nevertheless, I
confess that the private prejudice which we entertain with regard to
individuals is a bad guide in politics.

A close alliance had at that time been effected between M. Thiers and M.
Barrot, and a real fusion formed between the two sections of the
Opposition, which, in our parliamentary jargon, we called the Left
Centre and the Left. Almost all the stubborn and intractable spirits
which were found in the latter party had successively been softened,
unbent, subjugated, made supple, by the promises of place spread
broadcast by M. Thiers. I believe that even M. Barrot had for the first
time allowed himself not exactly to be won over, but surprised, by
arguments of this kind. At any rate, the most complete intimacy reigned
between the two great leaders of the Opposition, whatever was the cause
of it, and M. Barrot, who likes to mingle a little simplicity with his
weaknesses as well as with his virtues, exerted himself to his utmost to
secure the triumph of his ally, even at his own expense. M. Thiers had
allowed him to involve himself in this matter of the banquets; I even
think that he had instigated Barrot in that direction without consenting
to involve himself. He was willing to accept the results, but not the
responsibilities, of that dangerous agitation. Wherefore, surrounded by
his personal friends, he stayed mute and motionless in Paris, while
Barrot travelled all over the country for three months, making long
speeches in every town he stopped at, and resembling, in my opinion,
those beaters who make a great noise in order to bring the game within
easy range of the sportsman's gun. Personally, I felt no inclination to
take part in the sport. But the principal and more serious reason which
restrained me was this: and I expounded it pretty often to those who
wanted to drag me to those political meetings:

"For the first time for eighteen years," I used to tell them, "you are
proposing to appeal to the people, and to seek support outside the
middle class. If you fail in rousing the people (and I think this will
be the most probable result), you will become still more odious than you
already are in the eyes of the Government and of the middle classes,
who for a great part support it. In this way you will strengthen the
administration which you desire to upset; while if, on the contrary, you
succeed in rousing the people, you are no more able than I am to foresee
whither an agitation of this kind will lead you."

In the measure that the campaign of the banquets was prolonged, the
latter hypothesis became, contrary to my expectation, the more probable.
A certain anxiety began to oppress the ringleaders themselves; an
indefinite anxiety, passing vaguely through their minds. I was told by
Beaumont, who was at that time one of the first among them, that the
excitement occasioned in the country by the banquets surpassed not only
the hopes, but the wishes, of those who had started it. The latter were
labouring to allay rather than increase it. Their intention was that
there should be no banquet in Paris, and that there should be none held
anywhere after the assembling of the Chambers. The fact is that they
were only seeking a way out of the mischievous road which they had
entered upon. And it was undoubtedly in spite of them that this final
banquet was resolved on; they were constrained to take part in it, drawn
into it; their vanity was compromised. The Government, by its defiance,
goaded the Opposition into adopting this dangerous measure, thinking
thus to drive it to destruction. The Opposition let itself be caught in
a spirit of bravado, and lest it should be suspected of retreating; and
thus irritating each other, spurring one another on, they dragged each
other towards the common abyss, which neither of them as yet perceived.

I remember that two days before the Revolution of February, at the
Turkish Ambassador's ball, I met Duvergier de Hauranne. I felt for him
both friendship and esteem; although he possessed very nearly all the
failings that arise from party spirit, he at least joined to them the
sort of disinterestedness and sincerity which one meets with in genuine
passions, two rare advantages in our day, when the only genuine passion
is that of self. I said to him, with the familiarity warranted by our

"Courage, my friend; you are playing a dangerous game."

He replied gravely, but with no sign of fear:

"Believe me, all will end well; besides, one must risk something. There
is no free government that has not had to go through a similar

This reply perfectly describes this determined but somewhat narrow
character; narrow, I say, although with plenty of brain, but with the
brain which, while seeing clearly and in detail all that is on the
horizon, is incapable of conceiving that the horizon may change;
scholarly, disinterested, ardent, vindictive, sprung from that learned
and sectarian race which guides itself in politics by imitation of
others and by historical recollection, and which restricts its thought
to one sole idea, at which it warms, in which it blinds itself.

For the rest, the Government were even less uneasy than the leaders of
the Opposition. A few days before the above conversation, I had had
another with Duchâtel, the Minister of the Interior. I was on good terms
with this minister, although for the last eight years I had been very
boldly (even too boldly, I confess, in the case of its foreign policy)
attacking the Cabinet of which he was one of the principal members. I am
not sure that this fault did not even make me find favour in his eyes,
for I believe that at the bottom of his heart he had a sneaking fondness
for those who attacked his colleague at the Foreign Office, M. Guizot. A
battle which M. Duchâtel and I had fought some years before in favour of
the penitentiary system had brought us together and given rise to a
certain intimacy between us. This man was very unlike the one I
mentioned above: he was as heavy in his person and his manners as the
other was meagre, angular, and sometimes trenchant and bitter. He was as
remarkable for his scepticism as the other for his ardent convictions,
for flabby indifference as the former for feverish activity; he
possessed a very supple, very quick, very subtle mind enclosed in a
massive body; he understood business admirably, while pretending to be
above it; he was thoroughly acquainted with the evil passions of
mankind, and especially with the evil passions of his party, and always
knew how to turn them to advantage. He was free from all rancour and
prejudice, cordial in his address, easy of approach, obliging, whenever
his own interests were not compromised, and bore a kindly contempt for
his fellow-creatures.

I was about to say that, some days before the catastrophe, I drew M.
Duchâtel into a corner of the conference room, and observed to him that
the Government and the Opposition seemed to be striving in concert to
drive things to an extremity calculated to end by damaging everybody;
and I asked him if he saw no honest way of escape from a regrettable
position, some honourable transaction which would permit everyone to
draw back. I added that my friends and I would be happy to have such a
way pointed out to us, and that we would make every exertion to persuade
our colleagues in the Opposition to accept it. He listened attentively
to my remarks, and assured me that he understood my meaning, although I
saw clearly that he did not enter into it for a moment.

"Things had reached such a pitch," he said, "that the expedient which I
sought was no longer to be found. The Government was in the right, and
could not yield. If the Opposition persisted in its course, the result
might be a combat in the streets, but this combat had long been
foreseen, and if the Government was animated with the evil passions with
which it was credited, it would desire this fighting rather than dread
it, being sure to triumph in the end."

He went on in his complaisant fashion to tell me in detail of all the
military precautions that had been taken, the extent of the resources,
the number of the troops, and the quantity of ammunition.... I took my
leave, satisfied that the Government, without exactly striving to
promote an outbreak, was far from dreading one, and that the Ministry,
in its certainty of ultimate victory, saw in the threatening catastrophe
possibly its last means of rallying its scattered supporters and of
finally reducing its adversaries to powerlessness. I confess that I
thought as he did; his air of unfeigned assurance had proved contagious.

The only really uneasy people in Paris at that moment were the Radical
chiefs and the men who were sufficiently in touch with the people and
the revolutionary party to know what was taking place in that quarter. I
have reason to believe that most of these looked with dread upon the
events which were ready to burst forth, whether because they kept up the
tradition of their former passions rather than these passions
themselves, or because they had begun to grow accustomed to a state of
things in which they had taken up their position after so many times
cursing it; or again, because they were doubtful of success; or rather
because, being in a position to study and become well acquainted with
their allies, they were frightened at the last moment of the victory
which they expected to gain through their aid. On the very day before
the outbreak, Madame de Lamartine betrayed extraordinary anxiety when
calling upon Madame de Tocqueville, and gave such unmistakable signs of
a mind heated and almost deranged by ominous thoughts that the latter
became alarmed, and told me of it the same evening.

It is not one of the least curious characteristics of this singular
revolution that the incident which led to it was brought about and
almost longed for by the men whom it eventually precipitated from power,
and that it was only foreseen and feared by those who were to triumph by
its means.

Here let me for a moment resume the chain of history, so that I may the
more easily attach to it the thread of my personal recollections.

It will be remembered that, at the opening of the session of 1848, King
Louis-Philippe, in his Speech from the Throne, had described the authors
of the banquets as men excited by blind or hostile passions. This was
bringing Royalty into direct conflict with more than one hundred members
of the Chamber. This insult, which added anger to all the ambitious
passions which were already disturbing the hearts of the majority of
these men, ended by making them lose their reason. A violent debate was
expected, but did not take place at once. The earlier discussions on the
Address were calm: the majority and the Opposition both restrained
themselves at the commencement, like two men who feel that they have
lost their tempers, and who fear lest while in that condition they
should perpetrate some folly in word or deed.

But the storm of passion broke out at last, and continued with
unaccustomed violence. The extraordinary heat of these debates was
already redolent of civil war for those who knew how to scent
revolutions from afar.

The spokesmen of the moderate section of the Opposition were led, in the
heat of debate, to assert that the right of assembling at the banquets
was one of our most undeniable and essential rights;[4] that to question
it, was equivalent to trampling liberty itself underfoot and to
violating the Charter, and that those who did so unconsciously made an
appeal, not to discussion, but to arms. On his side M. Duchâtel, who
ordinarily was very dexterous in debate, displayed in this circumstance
a consummate want of tact.[5] He absolutely denied the right of
assemblage, and yet would not say clearly that the Government had made
up its mind to prohibit thenceforth any manifestations of the kind. On
the contrary, he seemed to invite the Opposition to try the experiment
once more, so that the question might be brought before the Courts. His
colleague, M. Hébert, the Minister of Justice, was still more tactless,
but this was his habit. I have always observed that lawyers never make
statesmen; but I have never met anyone who was less of a statesman than
M. Hébert. He remained the Public-Prosecutor down to the marrow of his
bones; he had all the mental and physical characteristics of that
office. You must imagine a little wizened, sorry face, shrunk at the
temples, with a pointed forehead, nose and chin, cold, bright eyes, and
thin, in-drawn lips. Add to this a long quill generally held across the
mouth, and looking at a distance like a cat's bristling whiskers, and
you have a portrait of a man, than whom I have never seen anyone more
resembling a carnivorous animal. At the same time, he was neither stupid
nor even ill-natured; but he was by nature hot-headed and unyielding; he
always overshot his goal, for want of knowing when to turn aside or stop
still; and he fell into violence without intending it, and from sheer
want of discrimination. It showed how little importance M. Guizot
attached to conciliation, that under the circumstances he sent a speaker
of this stamp into the tribune;[6] his language while there was so
outrageous and so provoking that Barrot, quite beside himself and almost
without knowing what he was doing, exclaimed, in a voice half stifled
with rage, that the ministers of Charles X., that Polignac and
Peyronnet, had never dared to talk like that. I remember that I
shuddered involuntarily in my seat when I heard this naturally moderate
man exasperated into recalling, for the first time, the terrible
memories of the Revolution of 1830, holding it up in some sort as an
example, and unconsciously suggesting the idea of repeating it.

     [4: See the speech of M. Duvergier de Hauranne, 7 February
     1848.--Cte. de T.]

     [5: The minister replied to M. Léon de Mandeville. He quoted the
     laws of 1790 and 1791, which empowered the authorities to oppose
     any public meetings which seemed to threaten danger to the public
     peace, and he declared that the Government would be failing in its
     duty if it were to give way before manifestations of any
     description. At the end of his speech he again brought in the
     phrase "blind or hostile passions," and endeavoured to justify
     it.--Cte. de T.]

     [6: Replying to M. Odilon Barrot, M. Hébert maintained that, since
     the right of public meeting was not laid down in the Charter, it
     did not exist.--Cte. de T.]

The result of this heated discussion was a sort of challenge to mortal
combat exchanged between the Government and the Opposition, the scene of
the duel to be the law-courts. It was tacitly agreed that the challenged
party should meet at one final banquet; that the authorities, without
interfering to prevent the meeting, should prosecute its organizers, and
that the courts should pronounce judgment.

The debates on the Address were closed, if I remember rightly, on the
12th of February, and it is really from this moment that the
revolutionary movement burst out. The Constitutional Opposition, which
had for many months been constantly pushed on by the Radical party, was
from this time forward led and directed not so much by the members of
that party who occupied seats in the Chamber of Deputies (the greater
number of these had become lukewarm and, as it were, enervated in the
Parliamentary atmosphere), as by the younger, bolder, and more
irresponsible men who wrote for the democratic press. This change was
especially apparent in two principal facts which had an overwhelming
influence upon events--the programme of the banquet and the arraignment
of Ministers.

On the 20th of February, there appeared in almost all the Opposition
newspapers, by way of programme of the approaching banquet, what was
really a proclamation calling upon the entire population to join in an
immense political demonstration, convoking the schools and inviting the
National Guard itself to attend the ceremony in a body. It read like a
decree emanating from the Provisional Government which was to be set up
three days later. The Cabinet, which had already been blamed by many of
its followers for tacitly authorising the banquet, considered that it
was justified in retracing its steps. It officially announced that it
forbade the banquet, and that it would prevent it by force.

It was this declaration of the Government which provided the field for
the battle. I am in a position to state, although it sounds hardly
credible, that the programme which thus suddenly turned the banquet into
an insurrection was resolved upon, drawn up and published without the
participation or the knowledge of the members of Parliament who
considered themselves to be still leading the movement which they had
called into existence. The programme was the hurried work of a nocturnal
gathering of journalists and Radicals, and the leaders of the Dynastic
Opposition heard of it at the same time as the public, by reading it in
the papers in the morning.

And see how uncertain is the course of human affairs! M. Odilon Barrot,
who disapproved of the programme as much as anyone, dared not disclaim
it for fear of offending the men who, till then, had seemed to be moving
with him; and then, when the Government, alarmed by the publication of
this document, prohibited the banquet, M. Barrot, finding himself
brought face to face with civil war, drew back. He himself gave up this
dangerous demonstration; but at the same time that he was making this
concession to the men of moderation, he granted to the extremists the
impeachment of Ministers. He accused the latter of violating the
Constitution by prohibiting the banquet, and thus furnished an excuse to
those who were about to take up arms in the name of the violated

Thus the principal leaders of the Radical Party, who thought that a
revolution would be premature, and who did not yet desire it, had
considered themselves obliged, in order to differentiate themselves from
their allies in the Dynastic Opposition, to make very revolutionary
speeches and fan the flame of insurrectionary passion. On the other
hand, the Dynastic Opposition, which had had enough of the banquets, had
been forced to persevere in this bad course so as not to present an
appearance of retreating before the defiance of the Government. And
finally, the mass of the Conservatives, who believed in the necessity of
great concessions and were ready to make them, were driven by the
violence of their adversaries and the passions of some of their chiefs
to deny even the right of meeting in private banquets and to refuse the
country any hopes of reform.

One must have lived long amid political parties, and in the very
whirlwind in which they move, to understand to what extent men mutually
push each other away from their respective plans, and how the destinies
of this world proceed as the result, but often as the contrary result,
of the intentions that produce them, similarly to the kite which flies
by the antagonistic action of the wind and the cord.



I did not perceive anything on the 22nd of February calculated to give
rise to serious apprehensions. There was a crowd in the streets, but it
seemed to be composed rather of sight-seers and fault-finders than of
the seditiously inclined: the soldier and the townsman chaffed each
other when they met, and I heard more jokes than cries uttered by the
crowd. I know that it is not safe to trust one's self to these
appearances. It is the street-boys of Paris who generally commence the
insurrections, and as a rule they do so light-heartedly, like schoolboys
breaking up for the holidays.

When I returned to the Chamber, I found a seeming listlessness reigning
there, beneath which one could perceive the inner seething of a thousand
restrained passions. It was the only place in Paris in which, since the
early morning, I had not heard discussed aloud what was then absorbing
all France. They were languidly discussing a bill for the creation of a
bank at Bordeaux; but in reality no one, except the man talking in the
tribune and the man who was to reply to him, showed any interest in the
matter. M. Duchâtel told me that all was going well. He said this with
an air of combined confidence and nervousness which struck me as
suspicious. I noticed that he twisted his neck and shoulders (a common
trick with him) much more frequently and violently than usual; and I
remember that this little observation gave me more food for reflection
than all the rest.

I learnt that, as a matter of fact, there had been serious troubles in
many parts of the town which I had not visited; a certain number of men
had been killed or wounded. People were no longer accustomed to this
sort of incident, as they had been some years before and as they became
still more a few months later; and the excitement was great. I happened
to be invited to dine that evening at the house of one of my
fellow-members of Parliament and of the Opposition, M. Paulmier, the
deputy for Calvados. I had some difficulty in getting there through the
troops which guarded the surrounding streets. I found my host's house in
great disorder. Madame Paulmier, who was expecting her _accouchement_
and who had been frightened by a skirmish that had taken place beneath
her windows, had gone to bed. The dinner was magnificent, but the table
was deserted; out of twenty guests invited, only five presented
themselves; the others were kept back either by material impediments or
by the preoccupations of the day. We sat down with a very thoughtful air
amid all this abundance. Among the guests was M. Sallandrouze, the
inheritor of the great business house of that name, which had made a
large fortune by its manufacture of textile fabrics. He was one of those
young Conservatives, richer in money than in honours, who, from time to
time, made a show of opposition, or rather, of captious criticism,
mainly, I think, to give themselves a certain importance. In the course
of the last debate on the Address, M. Sallandrouze had moved an
amendment[7] which would have compromised the Cabinet, had it been
adopted. At the time when this incident was most occupying attention, M.
Sallandrouze one evening went to the reception at the Tuileries, hoping
that this time, at least, he would not remain unrecognized in the crowd.
And, in fact, no sooner had King Louis-Philippe seen him than he came up
to him with a very assiduous mien, and solemnly took him aside and began
to talk to him eagerly, and with a great display of interest, about the
branch of manufacture to which the young deputy owed his fortune. The
latter, at first, felt no astonishment, thinking that the King, who was
known to be clever at managing men's minds, had selected this little
private road in order to lead round to affairs of State. But he was
mistaken; for, after a quarter of an hour, the King changed not the
conversation but the person addressed, and left our friend standing very
confused amid his carpets and woollen stuffs. M. Sallandrouze had not
yet got over this trick played upon him, but he was beginning to feel
very much afraid that he would be revenged too well. He told us that M.
Émile Girardin had said to him the day before, "In two days, the
Monarchy of July will have ceased to exist." This seemed to all of us a
piece of journalistic hyperbole, and perhaps it was; but the events that
followed turned it into an oracle.

     [7: M. Sallandrouze de Lamornaix' amendment proposed to modify the
     expression "blind or hostile passions," by adding the words: "Amid
     these various demonstrations, your Government will know how to
     recognise the real and lawful desires of the country; it will, we
     trust, take the initiative by introducing certain wise and moderate
     reforms called for by public opinion, among which we must place
     first parliamentary reform. In a Constitutional Monarchy, the union
     of the great powers of the State removes all danger from a
     progressive policy, and allows every moral and material interest of
     the country to be satisfied."--Cte. de T.]

On the next day, the 23rd of February, I learnt, on waking, that the
excitement in Paris, so far from becoming calmer, was increasing. I went
early to the Chamber; silence reigned around the Assembly; battalions of
infantry occupied and closed the approaches, while troops of Cuirassiers
were drawn up along the walls of the Palace. Inside, men's feelings were
excited without their quite knowing the reason.

The sitting had been opened at the ordinary time; but the Assembly had
not had the courage to go through the same parliamentary comedy as on
the day before, and had suspended its labours; it sat receiving reports
from the different quarters of the town, awaiting events and counting
the hours, in a state of feverish idleness. At a certain moment, a loud
sound of trumpets was heard outside. It appeared that the Cuirassiers
guarding the Palace were amusing themselves, in order to pass the time,
by sounding flourishes on their instruments. The gay, triumphant tones
of the trumpets contrasted in so melancholy a fashion with the thoughts
by which all our minds were secretly disturbed, that a message was
hurriedly sent out to stop this offensive and indiscreet performance,
which caused such painful reflections to all of us.

At last, it was determined to speak aloud of what all had been
discussing in whispers for several hours. A Paris deputy, M. Vavin,
commenced to question the Cabinet upon the state of the city. At three
o'clock M. Guizot appeared at the door of the House. He entered with his
firmest step and his loftiest mien, silently crossed the gangway,
ascended the tribune, throwing his head almost back from his shoulders
for fear of seeming to lower it, and stated in two words that the King
had called upon M. Molé to form a new ministry. Never did I see such a
piece of clap-trap.

The Opposition kept their seats, most of them uttering cries of victory
and satisfied revenge; the leaders alone sat silent, busy in communing
with themselves upon the use they would make of their triumph, and
careful not to insult a majority of which they might soon be called upon
to make use. As to the majority, they seemed thunderstruck by this so
unexpected blow, moved to and fro like a mass that sways from side to
side, uncertain as to which side it shall fall on, and then descended
noisily into the semi-circle. A few surrounded the ministers to ask
them for explanations or to pay them their last respects, but the
greater number clamoured against them with noisy and insulting shouts.
"To throw up office, to abandon your political friends under such
circumstances," they said, "is a piece of gross cowardice;" while others
exclaimed that the members ought to repair to the Tuileries in a body,
and force the King to re-consider his fatal resolve.

This despair will arouse no astonishment when it is remembered that the
greater number of these men felt themselves attacked, not only in their
political opinions, but in the most sensitive part of their private
interest. The fall of the Government compromised the entire fortune of
one, the daughter's dowry of another, the son's career of a third. It
was by this that they were almost all held. Most of them had not only
bettered themselves by means of their votes, but one may say that they
had lived on them. They still lived on them, and hoped to continue to
live on them; for, the Ministry having lasted eight years, they had
accustomed themselves to think that it would last for ever; they had
grown attached to it with the honest, peaceful feeling of affection
which one entertains for one's fields. From my seat, I watched this
swaying crowd; I saw surprise, anger, fear and avarice mingle their
various expressions upon those bewildered countenances; and I drew an
involuntary comparison between all these legislators and a pack of
hounds which, with their jaws half filled, see the quarry withdrawn
from them.

I grant, however, that, so far as many of the Opposition were concerned,
it only wanted that they should be put to a similar test in order to
make the same display. If many of the Conservatives only defended the
Ministry with a view to keeping their places and emoluments, I am bound
to say that many of the Opposition seemed to me only to attack it in
order to reap the plunder in their turn. The truth--the deplorable
truth--is that a taste for holding office and a desire to live on the
public money are not with us a disease restricted to either party, but
the great, chronic ailment of the whole nation; the result of the
democratic constitution of our society and of the excessive
centralization of our Government; the secret malady which has undermined
all former powers, and which will undermine all powers to come.

At last the uproar ceased, as the nature of what had happened became
better known: we learnt that it had been brought about by the
insurrectionary inclinations of a battalion of the Fifth Legion and the
applications made direct to the King by several officers of that section
of the Guard.

So soon as he was informed of what was going on, King Louis-Philippe,
who was less prone to change his opinions, but more ready to change his
line of conduct, than any man I ever saw, had immediately made up his
mind; and after eight years of complacency, the Ministry was dismissed
by him in two minutes, and without ceremony.

The Chamber rose without delay, each member thinking only of the change
of government, and forgetting about the revolution.

I went out with M. Dufaure, and soon perceived that he was not only
preoccupied but constrained. I at once saw that he felt himself in the
critical and complicated position of a leader of the Opposition, who was
about to become a minister, and who, after experiencing the use his
friends could be to him, was beginning to think of the difficulties
which their pretentions might well cause him.

M. Dufaure had a somewhat cunning mind, which readily admitted such
thoughts as these, and he also possessed a sort of natural rusticity
which, combined with great integrity, but rarely permitted him to
conceal them. He was, moreover, the sincerest and by far the most
respectable of all those who at that moment had a chance of becoming
ministers. He believed that power was at last within his grasp, and his
ambition betrayed a passion that was the more eager inasmuch as it was
discreet and suppressed. M. Molé in his place would have felt much
greater egoism and still more ingratitude, but he would have been only
all the more open-hearted and amiable.

I soon left him, and went to M. de Beaumont's. There I found every heart
rejoicing. I was far from sharing this joy, and finding myself among
people with whom I could talk freely, I gave my reasons.

"The National Guard of Paris," I said, "has upset a Cabinet; therefore
it is during its good pleasure only that the new Ministers will remain
at the head of affairs. You are glad because the Government is upset;
but do you not see that it is authority itself which is overthrown?"

This sombre view of the political situation was not much to Beaumont's
taste; he was carried away by rancour and ambition.

"You always take a gloomy view of everything," he said. "Let us first
rejoice at the victory: we can lament over the results later."

Madame de Beaumont, who was present at the interview, seemed herself to
share her husband's elation, and nothing ever so thoroughly proved to me
the irresistible power of party feeling. For, by nature, neither hatred
nor self-interest had a place in the heart of this distinguished and
attractive woman, one of the most truly and consistently virtuous that I
have met in my life, and one who best knew how to make virtue both
touching and lovable. To the nobility of heart of the La Fayettes she
added a mind that was witty, refined, kindly and just.

I, nevertheless, sustained my theory against both him and her, arguing
that upon the whole the incident was a regrettable one, or rather that
we should see more in it than a mere incident, a great event which was
destined to change the whole aspect of affairs. It was very easy for me
to philosophize thus, since I did not share the illusions of my friend
Dufaure. The impulse given to the political machine seemed to me to be
too violent to permit of the reins of government falling into the hands
of the moderate party to which I belonged, and I foresaw that they would
soon fall to those who were almost as obnoxious to me as the men from
whose hands they had slipped.

I was dining with another of my friends, M. Lanjuinais, of whom I shall
have to speak often in future. The company was fairly numerous, and
embraced many shades of political opinion. Many of the guests rejoiced
at the result of the day's work, while others expressed alarm; but all
thought that the insurrectionary movement would stop of its own accord,
to break out again later on another occasion and in another form. All
the rumours that reached us from the town seemed to confirm this belief;
cries of war were replaced by cries of joy. Portalis, who became
Attorney-General of Paris a few days later, was of our number: not the
son, but the nephew of the Chief President of the Court of Appeal. This
Portalis had neither his uncle's rare intelligence, nor his exemplary
character, nor his solemn dulness. His coarse, violent, perverse mind
had quite naturally entered into all the false ideas and extreme
opinions of our times. Although he was in relation with most of those
who are regarded as the authors and leaders of the Revolution of 1848, I
can conscientiously declare that he did not that night expect the
revolution any more than we did. I am convinced that, even at that
supreme moment, the same might have been said of the greater number of
his friends. It would be a waste of time to try to discover what secret
conspiracies brought about events of this kind. Revolutions accomplished
by means of popular risings are generally longed for beforehand rather
than premeditated. Those who boast of having contrived them have done no
more than turn them to account. They spring spontaneously into being
from a general malady of men's minds, brought suddenly to the critical
stage by some fortuitous and unforeseen circumstance. As to the
so-called originators or leaders of these revolutions, they originate
and lead nothing; their only merit is identical with that of the
adventurers who have discovered most of the unknown countries. They
simply have the courage to go straight before them as long as the wind
impels them.

I took my leave early, and went straight home to bed. Although I lived
close to the Foreign Office, I did not hear the firing which so greatly
influenced our destinies, and I fell asleep without realizing that I had
seen the last day of the Monarchy of July.



The next morning was the 24th of February. On leaving my bed-room, I met
the cook, who had been out; the good woman was quite beside herself, and
poured out a sorrowing rigmarole, of which I failed to understand a
word, except that the Government was massacring the poor people. I went
downstairs at once, and had no sooner set foot in the street than I
breathed for the first time the atmosphere of revolution. The roadway
was empty; the shops were not open; there were no carriages nor
pedestrians to be seen; none of the ordinary hawkers' cries were heard;
neighbours stood talking in little groups at their doors, with subdued
voices, with a frightened air; every face seemed distorted with fear or
anger. I met a National Guard hurrying along, gun in hand, with a tragic
gait; I accosted him, but I could learn nothing from him, save that the
Government was massacring the people (to which he added that the
National Guard would know how to put that right). It was the same old
refrain: it is easily understood that this explanation explained
nothing. I was too well acquainted with the vices of the Government of
July not to know that cruelty was not one of them. I considered it one
of the most corrupt, but also one of the least bloodthirsty, that had
ever existed, and I only repeat this observation in order to show the
sort of report that assists the progress of revolutions.

I hastened to M. de Beaumont, who lived in the next street. There I
learnt that the King had sent for him during the night. The same reply
was given to my enquiry at M. de Rémusat's, where I went next. M. de
Corcelles, whom I met in the street, gave me his account of what was
happening, but in a very confused manner; for, in a city in state of
revolution, as on a battle-field, each one readily regards the incidents
of which himself is a witness as the events of the day. He told me of
the firing on the Boulevard des Capucines, and of the rapid development
of the insurrection of which this act of unnecessary violence was the
cause or the pretext; of M. Molé's refusal to take office under these
circumstances; and lastly, of the summons to the Palace of Messrs.
Thiers, Barrot and their friends, who were definitely charged with the
formation of a cabinet, facts too well known to permit of my lingering
over them. I asked M. de Corcelles how the ministers proposed to set
about appeasing people's minds.

"M. de Rémusat," said he, "is my authority for saying that the plan
adopted is to withdraw all the troops and to flood Paris with National
Guards." These were his own words.

I have always observed that in politics people were often ruined through
possessing too good a memory. The men who were now charged to put an end
to the Revolution of 1848 were exactly the same who had made the
Revolution of 1830. They remembered that at that time the resistance of
the army had failed to stop them, and that on the other hand the
presence of the National Guard, so imprudently dissolved by Charles X.,
might have embarrassed them greatly and prevented them from succeeding.
They took the opposite steps to those adopted by the Government of the
Elder Branch, and arrived at the same result. So true is it that, if
humanity be always the same, the course of history is always different,
that the past is not able to teach us much concerning the present, and
that those old pictures, when forced into new frames, never have a good

After chatting for a little while on the dangerous position of affairs,
M. de Corcelles and I went to fetch M. Lanjuinais, and all three of us
went together to M. Dufaure, who lived in the Rue Le Peletier. The
boulevard, which we followed to get there, presented a strange
spectacle. There was hardly a soul to be seen, although it was nearly
nine o'clock in the morning, and one heard not the slightest sound of a
human voice; but all the little sentry-boxes which stand along this
endless avenue seemed to move about and totter upon their base, and from
time to time one of them would fall with a crash, while the great trees
along the curb came tumbling down into the roadway as though of their
own accord. These acts of destruction were the work of isolated
individuals, who went about their business silently, regularly, and
hurriedly, preparing in this way the materials for the barricades which
others were to erect. Nothing ever seemed to me more to resemble the
carrying on of an industry, and, as a matter of fact, for the greater
number of these men it was nothing less. The instinct of disorder had
given them the taste for it, and their experience of so many former
insurrections the practice. I do not know that during the whole course
of the day I was so keenly struck as in passing through this solitude in
which one saw, so to speak, the worst passions of mankind at play,
without the good ones appearing. I would rather have met in the same
place a furious crowd; and I remember that, calling Lanjuinais'
attention to those tottering edifices and falling trees, I gave vent to
the phrase which had long been on my lips, and said:

"Believe me, this time it is no longer a riot: it is a revolution."

M. Dufaure told us all that concerned himself in the occurrences of the
preceding evening and of the night. M. Molé had at first applied to him
to assist him to form the new Cabinet; but the increasing gravity of the
situation had soon made them both understand that the moment for their
intervention had passed. M. Molé told the King so about midnight, and
the King sent him to fetch M. Thiers, who refused to accept office
unless he was given M. Barrot for a colleague. Beyond this point, M.
Dufaure knew no more than we did. We separated without having succeeded
in deciding upon our line of action, and without coming to any
resolution beyond that of proceeding to the Chamber so soon as it

M. Dufaure did not come, and I never precisely learnt why. It was
certainly not from fear, for I have since seen him very calm and very
firm under much more dangerous circumstances. I believe that he grew
alarmed for his family, and desired to take them to a place of safety
outside Paris. His private and his public virtues, both of which were
very great, did not keep step: the first were always ahead of the
second, and we shall see signs of this on more than one subsequent
occasion. Nor, for that matter, would I care to lay this to his account
as a serious charge. Virtues of any kind are too rare to entitle us to
vex those who possess them about their character or their degree.

The time which we had spent with M. Dufaure had sufficed to enable the
rioters to erect a large number of barricades along the road by which we
had come; they were putting the finishing touches to them as we passed
on our way back. These barricades were cunningly constructed by a small
number of men, who worked very diligently: not like guilty men hurried
by the dread of being taken in the act, but like good workmen anxious to
get their task done well and expeditiously. The public watched them
quietly, without expressing disapproval or offering assistance. I did
not discover any signs of that sort of general seething which I had
witnessed in 1830, and which made me at the time compare the whole city
to a huge boiling caldron. This time the public was not overthrowing the
Government; it was allowing it to fall.

We met on the boulevard a column of infantry falling back upon the
Madeleine. No one addressed a word to it, and yet its retreat resembled
a rout. The ranks were broken, the soldiers marched in disorder, with
hanging heads and an air that was both downcast and frightened. Whenever
one of them became separated for a mere instant from the main body, he
was at once surrounded, seized, embraced, disarmed and sent back: all
this was the work of a moment.

Crossing the Place du Havre, I met for the first time a battalion of
that National Guard with which Paris was to be flooded. These men
marched with a look of astonishment and an uncertain step, surrounded by
street boys shouting, "Reform for ever!" to whom they replied with the
same cry, but in a smothered and somewhat constrained voice. This
battalion belonged to my neighbourhood, and most of those who composed
it knew me by sight, although I knew hardly any of them. They
surrounded me and greedily pressed me for news; I told them that we had
obtained all we wanted, that the ministry was changed, that all the
abuses complained of were to be reformed, and that the only danger we
now ran was lest people should go too far, and that it was for them to
prevent it. I soon saw that this view did not appeal to them.

"That's all very well, sir," said they; "the Government has got itself
into this scrape through its own fault, let it get out of it as best it

It was of small use my representing to them that it was much less a
question for the Government at present than for themselves:

"If Paris is delivered to anarchy," I said, "and all the Kingdom is in
confusion, do you think that none but the King will suffer?"

It was of no avail, and all I could obtain in reply was this astounding
absurdity: it was the Government's fault, let the Government run the
danger; we don't want to get killed for people who have managed their
business so badly. And yet this was that middle class which had been
pampered for eighteen years: the current of public opinion had ended by
dragging it along, and was driving it against those who had flattered it
until it had become corrupt.

This was the occasion of a reflection which has often since presented
itself to my mind; in France a government always does wrong to rely
solely for support upon the exclusive interests and selfish passions of
one class. This can only succeed with nations more self-interested and
less vain than ours: with us, when a government established upon this
basis becomes unpopular, it follows that the members of the very class
for whose sake it has lost its popularity prefer the pleasure of
traducing it with all the world to the privileges which it assures them.
The old French aristocracy, which was more enlightened than our modern
middle class and possessed much greater _esprit de corps_, had already
given the same example; it had ended by thinking it a mark of
distinction to run down its own privileges, and by thundering against
the abuses upon which it existed. That is why I think that, upon the
whole, the safest method of government for us to adopt, in order to
endure, is that of governing well, of governing in the interest of
everybody. I am bound to confess, however, that, even when one follows
this course, it is not very certain that one will endure for long.

I soon set out to go to the Chamber, although the time fixed for the
opening of the sitting had not yet come: it was, I believe, about eleven
o'clock. I found the Place Louis XV still clear of people, but occupied
by several regiments of cavalry. When I saw all these troops drawn up in
such good order, I began to think that they had only deserted the
streets in order to mass themselves around the Tuileries and defend
themselves there. At the foot of the obelisk were grouped the staff,
among whom, as I drew nearer, I recognized Bedeau, whose unlucky star
had quite recently brought him back from Africa, in time to bury the
Monarchy. I had spent a few days with him, the year before, at
Constantine, and there had sprung up between us a sort of intimacy which
has since continued. So soon as Bedeau caught sight of me, he sprang
from his horse, came up to me, and grasped my hand in a way that clearly
betrayed his excitement. His conversation gave yet stronger evidence of
this, and I was not surprised, for I have always observed that the men
who lose their heads most easily, and who generally show themselves
weakest on days of revolution, are soldiers; accustomed as they are to
have an organized force facing them and an obedient force in their
hands, they readily become confused before the uproarious shouts of a
mob and in presence of the hesitation and the occasional connivance of
their own men. Unquestionably, Bedeau was confused, and everybody knows
what were the results of this confusion: how the Chamber was invaded by
a handful of men within pistol-shot of the squadrons protecting it, and
how, in consequence, the fall of the Monarchy was proclaimed and the
Provisional Government elected. The part played by Bedeau on this fatal
day was, unfortunately for himself, of so preponderating a character
that I propose to stop a moment in order to analyze this man and his
motives for acting as he did. We have been sufficiently intimate both
before and after this event to enable me to speak with knowledge. It is
true that he received the order not to fight; but why did he obey so
extraordinary an order, which circumstances had rendered so

Bedeau was assuredly not timid by nature, nor even, properly speaking,
undecided; for, when he had once made up his mind, you saw him making
for his goal with great firmness, coolness and courage; but his mind was
the most methodical, the least self-reliant, the least adventurous, and
the least adapted for unpremeditated action that can well be imagined.
He was accustomed to consider the action which he was about to undertake
in all its aspects before setting to work, taking the worst aspects
first, and losing much precious time in diluting a single thought in a
multitude of words. For the rest, he was a just man, moderate,
liberal-minded, as humane as though he had not waged war in Africa for
eighteen years, modest, moral, even refined, and religious: the kind of
honest, virtuous man who is very rarely to be met with in military
circles, or, to speak plainly, elsewhere. It was assuredly not from want
of courage that he did certain acts which seemed to point to this
defect, for he was brave beyond measure; still less was treachery his
motive: although he may not have been attached to the Orleans Family, he
was as little capable of betraying those Princes as their best friends
could have been, and much less so than their creatures eventually were.
His misfortune was that he was drawn into events which were greater than
himself, and that he had only merit where genius was needed, and
especially the genius to grapple with revolutions, which consists
principally in regulating one's actions according to events, and in
knowing how to disobey at the right time. The remembrance of February
poisoned General Bedeau's life, and left a cruel wound deep down in his
soul, a wound whose agony betrayed itself unceasingly by endless
recitals and explanations of the events of that period.

While he was engaged in telling me of his perplexities, and in
endeavouring to prove that the duty of the Opposition was to come down
to the streets in a body and calm the popular excitement with their
speeches, a crowd of people glided in between the trees of the
Champs-Elysées and came down the main avenue towards the Place Louis XV.
Bedeau perceived these men, dragged me towards them on foot until he was
more than a hundred paces from his cavalry, and began to harangue them,
for he was more disposed to speech-making than any military man I have
ever known.

While he was holding forth in this way, I observed that the circle of
his listeners was gradually extending itself around us, and would soon
close us in; and through the first rank of sight-seers I clearly caught
sight of men of riotous aspect moving about, while I heard dull murmurs
in the depths of the crowd of these dangerous words, "It's Bugeaud." I
leant towards the general and whispered in his ear:

"I have more experience than you of the ways of the populace; take my
word, get back to your horse at once, for if you stay here, you will be
killed or taken prisoner before five minutes are over."

He took my word for it, and it was well he did. A few moments later,
these same men whom he had undertaken to convert murdered the occupants
of the guard-house in the Rue des Champs-Elysées; I myself had some
difficulty in forcing my way through them. One of them, a short,
thick-set man, who seemed to belong to the lower class of workmen, asked
me where I was going.

I replied, "To the Chamber," adding, to show that I was a member of the
Opposition, "Reform for ever! You know the Guizot Ministry has been

"Yes, sir, I know," replied the man, jeeringly, and pointing to the
Tuileries, "but we want more than that."



I entered the Chamber; the sitting had not yet commenced. The deputies
were wandering about the lobbies like men distraught, living on rumours,
and quite without information. It was not so much an assembly as a mob,
for nobody was leading it.

The leaders of both parties were absent: the ex-ministers had fled, the
new ones had not appeared. Members cried loudly for the sitting to open,
impelled rather by a vague desire for action than by any definite
intention; the President refused: he was accustomed to do nothing
without instructions, and since there was no one left to instruct him,
he was unable to make up his mind. I was begged to go and find him, and
persuade him to take the chair, and I did so. I found this excellent
man--for so he was, in spite of the fact that he often indulged in
well-meaning pieces of trickery, in little pious frauds, in petty
villainies, in all the venial sins which a faint heart and a wavering
mind are able to suggest to an honest nature--I found him, as I have
said, walking to and fro in his room, a prey to the greatest excitement.
M. Sauzet possessed good but not striking features; he had the dignity
of a parish beadle, a big fat body, with very short arms. At times when
he was restless and perplexed--and he almost always was so--he used to
wave his little arms convulsively, and move them about like a swimmer.
His demeanour during our conversation was of the strangest: he walked
about, stopped still, sat down with one foot underneath his clumsy
frame, as he used to do in moments of great excitement, stood up again,
sat down anew, and came to no decision. It was very unfortunate for the
House of Orleans that it had an honest man of this kind to preside over
the Chamber on a day like this: an audacious rogue would have served its
turn better.

M. Sauzet gave me many reasons for not opening the sitting, but one
which he did not give me convinced me that he was right. Seeing him so
helpless and so incapable of adopting any resolution, I considered that
he would only confuse men's minds the more he tried to regulate them. I
therefore left him, and thinking it more important to find protectors
for the Chamber than to open its deliberations, I went out, intending to
proceed to the Ministry of the Interior and ask for help.

As I crossed the Place du Palais-Bourbon with this object, I saw a very
mixed crowd accompanying two men, whom I soon recognized as Barrot and
Beaumont, with loud cheers. Both of them wore their hats crushed down
over their eyes; their clothes were covered with dust, their cheeks
looked hollow, their eyes weary: never were two men in triumph so
suggestive of men about to be hanged. I ran up to Beaumont, and asked
him what was happening. He whispered that the King had abdicated in his
presence, and had taken to flight; that Lamoricière had apparently been
killed when he went out to announce the abdication to the rioters (in
fact, an aide-de-camp had come back to say that he had seen him at a
distance fall from his horse), that everything was going wrong, and
finally, that he and Barrot were now on their way to the Ministry of the
Interior in order to take possession of it, and to try and establish
somewhere a centre of authority and resistance.

"And the Chamber!" I said. "Have you taken any precautions for the
defence of the Chamber?"

Beaumont received this observation with ill-humour, as though I had been
speaking of my own house. "Who is thinking of the Chamber?" he replied
brusquely. "What good or what harm can it do at the present juncture?"

I thought, and rightly, that he was wrong to speak like this. The
Chamber, it is true, was at that moment in a curious state of
powerlessness, its majority despised, and its minority left behind by
public opinion. But M. de Beaumont forgot that it is just in times of
revolution that the very least instruments of the law, and much more its
outer symbols, which recall the idea of the law to the minds of the
people, assume the greatest importance; for it is especially in the
midst of this universal anarchy and turmoil that the need is felt of
some simulacrum of authority and tradition in order to save the remnants
of a half-destroyed constitution or to complete its overthrow. Had the
deputies been able to proclaim the Regency, the latter might have ended
by triumphing, in spite of the unpopularity of the deputies; and, on the
other hand, it is an undoubted fact that the Provisional Government owed
much to the chance which caused it to come into being between the four
walls which had so long sheltered the representatives of the nation.

I followed my friends to the Ministry of the Interior, where they were
going. The crowd which accompanied us entered, or rather swept in,
tumultuously, and even penetrated with us as far as the room which M.
Duchâtel had just quitted. Barrot tried to free himself and dismiss the
mob, but was unable to succeed.

These people, who held two very different sets of opinions, as I was
then enabled to observe, some being Republicans and others
Constitutionalists, began vehemently to discuss with us and among
themselves the measures which were to be taken; and as we were all
squeezed together in a very small space, the heat, dust, confusion, and
uproar soon became unbearable. Barrot, who always launched out into
long, pompous phrases at the most critical moments, and who preserved an
air of dignity, and even of mystery, in the most ludicrous
circumstances, was holding forth at his best _in angustis_. His voice
occasionally rose above the tumult, but never succeeded in quelling it.
In despair and disgust at so violent and ludicrous a scene, I left this
place, where they were exchanging almost as many cuffs as arguments, and
returned to the Chamber.

I reached the entrance to the building without suspecting what was
happening inside, when I saw people come running up, crying that Madame
la Duchesse d'Orléans, the Comte de Paris and the Duc de Nemours had
just arrived. At this news, I flew up the stairs of the Palace, four at
a time, and rushed into the House.

I saw the three members of the Royal Family whom I have named, at the
foot of the tribune, facing the House. The Duchesse d'Orléans was
seated, dressed in mourning, calm and pale; I could see that she was
greatly excited, but her excitement seemed to be that of courageous
natures, more prone to turn to heroism than fright.

The Comte de Paris displayed the carelessness of his age and the
precocious impassiveness of princes. Standing by their side was the Duc
de Nemours, tightly clad in his uniform--cold, stiff, and erect. He was,
to my mind, the only man who ran any real danger that day; and during
the whole time that I saw him exposed to it, I constantly observed in
him the same firm and silent courage.

Around these unhappy Princes pressed the National Guards who had come
with them, some deputies, and a small number of the people. The
galleries were empty and closed, with the exception of the press
gallery, into which an unarmed but clamorous crowd had forced its way. I
was more struck by the cries that issued at intervals from there than by
all else that occurred during the sitting.

Fifty years had passed since the last scene of this kind. Since the time
of the Convention, the galleries had been silent, and the silence of the
galleries had become part of our parliamentary customs. However, if the
Chamber at this moment already felt embarrassed in its actions, it was
not as yet in any way constrained; the deputies were in considerable
numbers, though the party leaders were still absent. I heard enquiries
on every side for M. Thiers and M. Barrot; I did not know what had
become of M. Thiers, but I knew only too well what M. Barrot was doing.
I hurriedly sent one of our friends to tell him of what was happening,
and he came running up with all speed. I can answer for that man that
his soul never knew fear.

After for a moment watching this extraordinary sitting, I had hastened
to take my usual seat on the upper benches of the Left Centre: it has
always been my contention that at critical moments one should not only
be present in the assembly of which one is a member, but occupy the
place where one is generally to be found.

A sort of confused and turbulent discussion had been opened: I heard M.
Lacrosse, who since became my colleague in office, cry amid the uproar:

"M. Dupin wishes to speak!"

"No, no!"

"No," replied M. Dupin, "I made no such request."

"No matter," came from every side; "speak, speak!"

Thus urged, M. Dupin ascended the tribune, and proposed in two words
that they should return to the law of 1842, and proclaim the Duchesse
d'Orléans Regent. This was received with applause in the Assembly,
exclamations in the gallery, and murmurs in the lobbies. The lobbies,
which at first were pretty clear, began to grow crowded in an alarming
manner. The people did not yet come into the Chamber in streams, but
entered little by little, one by one; each moment there appeared a new
face; the Chamber grew flooded as it were by drops. Most of the
new-comers belonged to the lowest classes; many of them were armed.

I witnessed this growing invasion from a distance, and I felt the danger
momentarily increase with it. I cast my eyes round the Chamber in search
of the man best able to resist the torrent; I saw only Lamartine, who
had the necessary position and the requisite capacity to make the
attempt; I remembered that in 1842 he was the only one who proposed the
regency of the Duchesse d'Orléans. On the other hand, his recent
speeches, and especially his recent writings, had obtained for him the
favour of the people. His talent, moreover, was of a kind that appeals
to the popular taste. I was not aware that, half an hour before, he had
been extolling the Republic to an assemblage of journalists and deputies
in one of the offices of the Chamber. I saw him standing by his bench. I
elbowed my way to him, and, when I reached him:

"We shall be lost," I whispered, hurriedly: "you alone can make yourself
heard at this supreme moment; go to the tribune and speak."

I can see him still, as I write these lines, so struck was I with his
appearance. I see his long, straight, slender figure, his eye turned
towards the semi-circle, his fixed and vacant gaze absorbed in inward
contemplation rather than in observing what was passing around him. When
he heard me speak, he did not turn towards me, but only stretched out
his arm towards the place where the Princes stood, and, replying to his
own thought rather than to mine, said:

"I shall not speak so long as that woman and that child remain where
they are."

I said no more; I had heard enough. Returning to my bench, I passed by
the Right Centre, near where Lanjuinais and Billault were sitting, and
asked, "Can you suggest nothing that we could do?" They mournfully shook
their heads, and I continued on my way.

Meantime, the crowd had accumulated to such an extent in the
semi-circle, that the Princes ran the risk of being crushed or
suffocated at any moment.

The President made vain efforts to clear the House; failing in his
endeavours, he begged the Duchesse d'Orléans to withdraw. The courageous
Princess refused, whereupon her friends, with great difficulty,
extricated her from the throng, and made her climb to the top bench of
the Left Centre, where she sat down with her son and the Duc de Nemours.

Marie and Crémieux had just, amid the silence of the deputies and the
acclamations of the people, proposed the establishment of a provisional
government, when Barrot at last appeared. He was out of breath, but not
alarmed. Climbing the stairs of the tribune:

"Our duty lies before us," he said; "the Crown of July lies on the head
of a child and a woman."

The Chamber, recovering its courage, plucked up heart to burst into
acclamations, and the people in their turn were silent. The Duchesse
d'Orléans rose from her seat, seemed to wish to speak, hesitated,
listened to timid counsels, and sat down again: the last glimmer of her
fortune had gone out. Barrot finished his speech without renewing the
impression of his opening words; nevertheless, the Chamber had gathered
strength, and the people wavered.

At that moment, the crowd filling the semi-circle was driven back, by a
stream from outside, towards the centre benches, which were already
almost deserted; it burst and spread over the benches. Of the few
deputies who still occupied them, some slipped away and left the House,
while others retreated from bench to bench, like victims surprised by
the tide, who retreat from rock to rock always pursued by the rising
waters. All this commotion was produced by two troops of men, for the
most part armed, which marched through the two lobbies, each with
officers of the National Guards and flags at its head. The two officers
who carried the flags, of whom one, a swaggering individual, was, as I
heard later, a half-pay colonel called Dumoulin, ascended the tribune
with a theatrical air, waved their standards, and with much skipping
about and great melodramatic gestures, bawled out some revolutionary
balderdash or other. The President declared the sitting suspended, and
proceeded to put on his hat, as is customary; but, since he had the
knack of making himself ridiculous in the most tragic situations, in his
precipitation he seized the hat of a secretary instead of his own, and
pulled it down over his eyes and ears.

Sittings of this sort, as may be believed, are not easily suspended, and
the President's attempts only succeeded in adding to the disorder.

Thenceforth there was nothing but one continuous uproar, broken by
occasional moments of silence. The speakers appeared in the tribune in
groups: Crémieux, Ledru-Rollin, and Lamartine sprang into it at the same
time. Ledru-Rollin drove Crémieux out, and himself held on with his two
great hands, while Lamartine, without leaving or struggling, waited for
his colleague to finish speaking. Ledru-Rollin began incoherently,
interrupted every instant by the impatience of his own friends. "Finish!
finish!" cried Berryer, more experienced than he, and warier in his
dynastic ill-will than was the other in his republican passion.
Ledru-Rollin ended by demanding the appointment of a provisional
government and descended the stair.

Then Lamartine stepped forward and obtained silence. He commenced with a
splendid eulogium on the courage of the Duchesse d'Orléans, and the
people themselves, sensible, as always, to generous sentiments wrapped
up in fine phrases, applauded. The deputies breathed again. "Wait," said
I to my neighbours, "this is only the exordium." And in fact, before
long, Lamartine tacked round and proceeded straight in the same
direction as Ledru-Rollin.

Until then, as I said, all the galleries except the one reserved for the
press had remained empty and closed; but while Lamartine was speaking,
loud blows were heard at the door of one of them, and yielding to the
strain, the door burst into atoms. In a moment the gallery was invaded
by an armed mob of men, who noisily filled it and soon afterwards all
the others. A man of the lower orders, placing one foot on the cornice,
pointed his gun at the President and the speaker; others seemed to
level theirs at the assembly. The Duchesse d'Orléans and her son were
hurried out of the Chamber by some devoted friends and into the corridor
behind the Chair. The President muttered a few words to the effect that
the sitting was adjourned, and stepped, or rather slid, off the platform
on which the chair was placed. I saw him passing before my eyes like a
shapeless mass: never would I have believed that fear could have
inspired with such activity, or rather, suddenly reduced to a sort of
fluidity, so huge a body. All who had remained of the Conservative
members then dispersed, and the populace sprawled over the centre
benches, crying, "Let us take the place of the corrupt crew!"

During all the turbulent scenes which I have just described, I remained
motionless in my seat, very attentive, but not greatly excited; and now,
when I ask myself why I felt no keener emotion in presence of an event
bound to exercise so great an influence upon the destinies of France and
upon my own, I find that the form assumed by this great occurrence did
much to diminish the impression it made upon me.

In the course of the Revolution of February, I was present at two or
three scenes which possessed the elements of grandeur (I shall have
occasion to describe them in their turn); but this scene lacked them
entirely, for the reason that there was nothing genuine in it. We
French, especially in Paris, are prone to introduce our literary or
theatrical reminiscences into our most serious demonstrations; this
often gives rise to the belief that the sentiments we express are not
genuine, whereas they are only clumsily adorned. In this case the
imitation was so evident that the terrible originality of the facts
remained concealed beneath it. It was a time when every imagination was
besmeared with the crude colours with which Lamartine had been daubing
his _Girondins_. The men of the first Revolution were living in every
mind, their deeds and words present to every memory. All that I saw that
day bore the visible impress of those recollections; it seemed to me
throughout as though they were engaged in acting the French Revolution,
rather than continuing it.

Despite the presence of drawn swords, bayonets and muskets, I was unable
to persuade myself for a single instant not only that I was in danger of
death, but that anybody was, and I honestly believe that no one really
was. Bloodthirsty hatreds only showed themselves later: they had not yet
had the time to spring up; the special spirit which was to characterize
the Revolution of February did not yet manifest itself. Meantime, men
were fruitlessly endeavouring to warm themselves at the fire of our
fathers' passions, imitating their gestures and attitudes as they had
seen them represented on the stage, but unable to imitate their
enthusiasm or to be inflamed with their fury. It was the tradition of
violent deeds that was being imitated by cold hearts, which understood
not the spirit of it. Although I clearly saw that the catastrophe of the
piece would be a terrible one, I was never able to take the actors very
seriously, and the whole seemed to me like a bad tragedy performed by
provincial actors.

I confess that what moved me most that day was the sight of that woman
and child, who were made to bear the whole weight of faults that they
had not committed. I frequently looked with compassion towards that
foreign Princess, thrown into the midst of our civil discords; and when
she had fled, the remembrance of the sweet, sad, firm glances which I
had seen her cast upon the Assembly during that long agony came back so
vividly to my memory, I felt so touched with pity when I thought of the
perils attending her flight that, suddenly springing from my seat, I
rushed in the direction which my knowledge of the building led me to
believe that she and her son would have taken to seek a place of safety.
In a moment I made my way through the crowd, crossed the floor, passed
out through the cloak-room, and reached the private staircase which
leads from the entrance in the Rue de Bourgogne to the upper floor of
the Palace. A messenger whom I questioned as I ran past him told me that
I was on the track of the Royal party; and, indeed, I heard several
persons hurriedly mounting the upper portion of the stairs. I therefore
continued my pursuit, and reached a landing; the steps which preceded
me had just ceased. Finding a closed door in front of me, I knocked at
it, but it was not opened. If princes were like God, who reads our
hearts and accepts the intention for the deed, assuredly these would be
pleased with me for what I wished to do that day; but they will never
know, for no one saw me and I told no one.

I returned to the House and resumed my seat. Almost all the members had
left; the benches were occupied by men of the populace. Lamartine was
still in the tribune between the two banners, continuing to address the
crowd, or rather conversing with them; for there seemed to be almost as
many orators as listeners. The confusion was at its height. In a moment
of semi-silence, Lamartine began to read out a list containing the names
of the different people proposed by I don't know whom to take share in
the Provisional Government that had just been decreed, nobody knows how.
Most of these names were accepted with acclamations, some rejected with
groans, others received with jests, for in scenes in which the people
take part, as in the plays of Shakspeare, burlesque often rubs shoulders
with tragedy, and wretched jokes sometimes come to the relief of the
ardour of revolution. When Garnier-Pagès' name was proposed, I heard a
voice cry, "You've made a mistake, Lamartine; it's the dead one that's
the good one;" Garnier-Pagès having had a celebrated brother, to whom he
bore no resemblance except in name.

M. de Lamartine, I think, was beginning to grow greatly embarrassed at
his position; for in a rebellion, as in a novel, the most difficult part
to invent is the end. When, therefore, someone took it into his head to
cry, "To the Hôtel de Ville!" Lamartine echoed, "Yes, to the Hôtel de
Ville," and went out forthwith, taking half the crowd with him; the
others remained with Ledru-Rollin, who, in order, I suppose, to retain a
leading part for himself, felt called upon in his turn to go through the
same mock election, after which he too set out for the Hôtel de Ville.
There the same electoral display was gone through once more; in
connection with which I cannot refrain from repeating an anecdote which
I was told, a few months later, by M. Marrast. It interrupts the thread
of my story a little, but it gives a marvellous picture of two men who
were both at that moment playing a great part, and shows the difference,
if not in their opinions, at least in their education and habits of

"A list of candidates for the Provisional Government," said Marrast,
"had hurriedly been drawn up. It had to be read out to the people, and I
handed it to Lamartine, asking him to read it aloud from the top of the
steps. 'I can't,' replied Lamartine, after looking at it; 'my name is on
it.' I then passed it on to Crémieux, who, after reading it, said,
'You're making fun of me: you're asking me to read out to the people a
list which has not got my name on it!'"

When I saw Ledru-Rollin leave the House, where remained behind none but
the sheer dregs of the insurrection, I saw that there was nothing more
to be done there. I accordingly went away, but as I did not care to find
myself in the middle of the mob marching towards the Hôtel de Ville, I
took the opposite direction, and began to go down those steep steps,
like cellar stairs, which lead to the inner yard of the Palace. I then
saw coming towards me a column of armed National Guards, ascending the
same staircase at a run, with set bayonets. In front of them were two
men in civilian dress, who seemed to be leading them, shouting at the
top of their voices, "Long live the Duchesse d'Orléans and the Regency!"
In one I recognized General Oudinot and in the other Andryane, who was
imprisoned in the Spielberg, and who wrote his Memoirs in imitation of
those of Silvio Pellico. I saw no one else, and nothing could prove more
clearly how difficult it is for the public ever to learn the truth of
events happening amid the tumult of a revolution. I know that a letter
exists, written by Marshal Bugeaud, in which he relates that he
succeeded in getting together a few companies of the Tenth Legion,
inspired them in favour of the Duchesse d'Orléans, and led them at the
double through the yard of the Palais Bourbon and to the door of the
Chamber, which he found empty. The story is true, but for the presence
of the marshal, whom I should most certainly have seen had he been
there; but there was no one, I repeat, except General Oudinot and M.
Andryane. The latter, seeing me standing still and saying nothing, took
me sharply by the arm, exclaiming:

"Monsieur, you must join us, to help to free Madame la Duchesse
d'Orléans and save the Monarchy."

"Monsieur," I replied, "your intention is good, but you are too late:
the Duchesse d'Orléans has disappeared, and the Chamber has risen."

Now, where was the spirited defender of the Monarchy that evening? The
incident is worthy of being told and noted among the many incidents of
versatility with which the history of revolutions abounds.

M. Andryane was in the office of M. Ledru-Rollin, officiating in the
name of the Republic as general secretary to the Ministry of the

To return to the column which he was leading: I joined it, although I
had no longer any hope of success for its efforts. Mechanically obeying
the impulse communicated to it, it proceeded as far as the doors of the
Chamber. There the men who composed it learnt what had taken place; they
turned about for a moment, and then dispersed in every direction. Half
an hour earlier, this handful of National Guards might (as on the
ensuing 15th of May) have changed the fortunes of France. I allowed this
new crowd to pass by me, and then, alone and very pensive, I resumed my
road home, not without casting a last look on the Chamber, now silent
and deserted, in which, during nine years, I had listened to the sound
of so many eloquent and futile words.

M. Billault, who had left the Chamber a few minutes before me by the
entrance in the Rue de Bourgogne, told me that he met M. Barrot in this

"He was walking," he said, "at a rapid rate, without perceiving that he
was hatless, and that his grey hair, which he generally carefully
brushed back along his temples, was falling on either side and
fluttering in disorder over his shoulders; he seemed beside himself."

This man had made heroic efforts all day long to maintain the Monarchy
on the declivity down which he himself had pushed it, and he remained as
though crushed beneath its fall. I learned from Beaumont, who had not
left him during any part of the day, that in the morning M. Barrot faced
and mounted twenty barricades, walking up to each unarmed, meeting
sometimes with insults, often with shots, and always ending by
overcoming with his words those who guarded them. His words, in fact,
were all-powerful with the multitude. He had all that was wanted to act
upon them at a given moment: a strong voice, an inflated eloquence, and
a fearless heart.

While M. Barrot, in disorder, was leaving the Chamber, M. Thiers, still
more distraught, wandered round Paris, not daring to venture home. He
was seen for an instant at the Assembly before the arrival of the
Duchesse d'Orléans, but disappeared at once, giving the signal for the
retreat of many others. The next morning, I learnt the details of his
flight through M. Talabot, who had assisted in it. I was connected with
M. Talabot by fairly intimate party ties, and M. Thiers, I believe, by
former business relations. M. Talabot was a man full of mental vigour
and resolution, very fit for an emergency of that kind. He told me as
follows--I believe I have neither omitted nor added anything:

"It seems," he said, "that M. Thiers, when crossing the Place Louis XV,
had been insulted and threatened by some of the populace. He was greatly
excited and upset when I saw him enter the House; he came up to me, led
me aside, and told me that he would be murdered by the mob if I did not
assist him to escape. I took him by the arm and begged him to go with me
and fear nothing. M. Thiers wished to avoid the Pont Louis XVI, for fear
of meeting the crowd. We went to the Pont des Invalides, but when we got
there, he thought he saw a gathering on the other side of the river, and
again refused to cross. We then made for the Pont d'Iéna, which was
free, and crossed it without any difficulty. When we reached the other
side, M. Thiers discovered some street-boys, shouting, on the
foundations of what was to have been the palace of the King of Rome, and
forthwith turned down the Rue d'Auteuil and made for the Bois de
Boulogne. There we had the good luck to find a cabman, who consented to
drive us along the outer boulevards to the neighbourhood of the
Barrière de Clichy, through which we were able to reach his house.
During the whole journey," added M. Talabot, "and especially at the
start, M. Thiers seemed almost out of his senses, gesticulating,
sobbing, uttering incoherent phrases. The catastrophe he had just
beheld, the future of his country, his own personal danger, all
contributed to form a chaos amid which his thoughts struggled and
strayed unceasingly."


     _Everything contained in this note-book (Chapters I. to XI.
     inclusive) was written in stray moments at Sorrento, in November
     and December 1850, and January, February, and March 1851._



And so the Monarchy of July was fallen, fallen without a struggle, and
before rather than beneath the blows of the victors, who were as
astonished at their triumph as were the vanquished at their defeat. I
have often, since the Revolution of February, heard M. Guizot and even
M. Molé and M. Thiers declare that this event should only be attributed
to a surprise and regarded as a mere accident, a bold and lucky stroke
and nothing more. I have always felt tempted to answer them in the words
which Molière's Misanthrope uses to Oronte:

     Pour en juger ainsi, vous avez vos raisons;

for these three men had conducted the affairs of France, under the
guidance of King Louis-Philippe, during eighteen years, and it was
difficult for them to admit that it was the King's bad government which
had prepared the catastrophe which hurled him from the Throne.

As for me, I have not the same motives for forming an opinion, and I
could hardly persuade myself to be of theirs. I am not prepared to say
that accidents played no part in the Revolution of February: on the
contrary, they played a great one; but they were not the only thing.

I have come across men of letters, who have written history without
taking part in public affairs, and politicians, who have only concerned
themselves with producing events without thinking of describing them. I
have observed that the first are always inclined to find general causes,
whereas the others, living in the midst of disconnected daily facts, are
prone to imagine that everything is attributable to particular
incidents, and that the wires which they pull are the same that move the
world. It is to be presumed that both are equally deceived.

For my part, I detest these absolute systems, which represent all the
events of history as depending upon great first causes linked by the
chain of fatality, and which, as it were, suppress men from the history
of the human race. They seem narrow, to my mind, under their pretence of
broadness, and false beneath their air of mathematical exactness. I
believe (_pace_ the writers who have invented these sublime theories in
order to feed their vanity and facilitate their work) that many
important historical facts can only be explained by accidental
circumstances, and that many others remain totally inexplicable.
Moreover, chance, or rather that tangle of secondary causes which we
call chance, for want of the knowledge how to unravel it, plays a great
part in all that happens on the world's stage; although I firmly believe
that chance does nothing that has not been prepared beforehand.
Antecedent facts, the nature of institutions, the cast of minds and the
state of morals are the materials of which are composed those impromptus
which astonish and alarm us.

The Revolution of February, in common with all other great events of
this class, sprang from general causes, impregnated, if I am permitted
the expression, by accidents; and it would be as superficial a judgment
to ascribe it necessarily to the former or exclusively to the latter.

The industrial revolution which, during the past thirty years, had
turned Paris into the principal manufacturing city of France and
attracted within its walls an entire new population of workmen (to whom
the works of the fortifications had added another population of
labourers at present deprived of work) tended more and more to inflame
this multitude. Add to this the democratic disease of envy, which was
silently permeating it; the economical and political theories which were
beginning to make their way and which strove to prove that human misery
was the work of laws and not of Providence, and that poverty could be
suppressed by changing the conditions of society; the contempt into
which the governing class, and especially the men who led it, had
fallen, a contempt so general and so profound that it paralyzed the
resistance even of those who were most interested in maintaining the
power that was being overthrown; the centralization which reduced the
whole revolutionary movement to the overmastering of Paris and the
seizing of the machinery of government; and lastly, the mobility of all
things, institutions, ideas, men and customs, in a fluctuating state of
society which had, in less than sixty years, undergone the shock of
seven great revolutions, without numbering a multitude of smaller,
secondary upheavals. These were the general causes without which the
Revolution of February would have been impossible. The principal
accidents which led to it were the passions of the dynastic Opposition,
which brought about a riot in proposing a reform; the suppression of
this riot, first over-violent, and then abandoned; the sudden
disappearance of the old Ministry, unexpectedly snapping the threads of
power, which the new ministers, in their confusion, were unable either
to seize upon or to reunite; the mistakes and disorder of mind of these
ministers, so powerless to re-establish that which they had been strong
enough to overthrow; the vacillation of the generals; the absence of the
only Princes who possessed either personal energy or popularity; and
above all, the senile imbecility of King Louis-Philippe, his weakness,
which no one could have foreseen, and which still remains almost
incredible, after the event has proved it.

I have sometimes asked myself what could have produced this sudden and
unprecedented depression in the King's mind. Louis-Philippe had spent
his life in the midst of revolutions, and certainly lacked neither
experience, courage, nor readiness of mind, although these qualities all
failed him so completely on that day. In my opinion, his weakness was
due to his excessive surprise; he was overwhelmed with consternation
before he had grasped the meaning of things. The Revolution of February
was _unforeseen_ by all, but by him more than any other; he had been
prepared for it by no warning from the outside, for since many years his
mind had withdrawn into that sort of haughty solitude into which in the
end the intellect almost always settles down of princes who have long
lived happily, and who, mistaking luck for genius, refuse to listen to
anything, because they think that there is nothing left for them to
learn from anybody. Besides, Louis-Philippe had been deceived, as I have
already said that his ministers were, by the misleading light cast by
antecedent facts upon present times. One might draw a strange picture of
all the errors which have thus been begotten, one by the other, without
resembling each other. We see Charles I. driven to tyranny and violence
at the sight of the progress which the spirit of opposition had made in
England during the gentle reign of his father; Louis XVI. determined to
suffer everything because Charles I. had perished by refusing to endure
anything; Charles X. provoking the Revolution, because he had with his
own eyes beheld the weakness of Louis XVI.; and lastly, Louis-Philippe,
who had more perspicacity than any of them, imagining that, in order to
remain on the Throne, all he had to do was to observe the letter of the
law while violating its spirit, and that, provided he himself kept
within the bounds of the Charter, the nation would never exceed them. To
warp the spirit of the Constitution without changing the letter; to set
the vices of the country in opposition to each other; gently to drown
revolutionary passion in the love of material enjoyment: such was the
idea of his whole life. Little by little, it had become, not his
leading, but his sole idea. He had wrapped himself in it, he had lived
in it; and when he suddenly saw that it was a false idea, he became like
a man who is awakened in the night by an earthquake, and who, feeling
his house crumbling in the darkness, and the very ground seeming to yawn
beneath his feet, remains distracted amid this unforeseen and universal

I am arguing very much at my ease to-day concerning the causes that
brought about the events of the 24th of February; but on the afternoon
of that day I had many other things in my head: I was thinking of the
events themselves, and sought less for what had produced them than for
what was to follow.

I returned slowly home. I explained in a few words to Madame de
Tocqueville what I had seen, and sat down in a corner to think. I cannot
remember ever feeling my soul so full of sadness. It was the second
revolution I had seen accomplish itself, before my eyes, within
seventeen years!

On the 30th of July 1830, at daybreak, I had met the carriages of King
Charles X. on the outer boulevards of Versailles, with damaged
escutcheons, proceeding at a foot pace, in Indian file, like a funeral,
and I was unable to restrain my tears at the sight. This time my
impressions were of another kind, but even keener. Both revolutions had
afflicted me; but how much more bitter were the impressions caused by
the last! I had until the end felt a remnant of hereditary affection for
Charles X.; but that King fell for having violated rights that were dear
to me, and I had every hope that my country's freedom would be revived
rather than extinguished by his fall. But now this freedom seemed dead;
the Princes who were fleeing were nothing to me, but I felt that the
cause I had at heart was lost.

I had spent the best days of my youth amid a society which seemed to
increase in greatness and prosperity as it increased in liberty; I had
conceived the idea of a balanced, regulated liberty, held in check by
religion, custom and law; the attractions of this liberty had touched
me; it had become the passion of my life; I felt that I could never be
consoled for its loss, and that I must renounce all hope of its

I had gained too much experience of mankind to be able to content myself
with empty words; I knew that, if one great revolution is able to
establish liberty in a country, a number of succeeding revolutions make
all regular liberty impossible for very many years.

I could not yet know what would issue from this last revolution, but I
was already convinced that it could give birth to nothing that would
satisfy me; and I foresaw that, whatever might be the lot reserved for
our posterity, our own fate was to drag on our lives miserably amid
alternate reactions of licence and oppression.

I began to pass in review the history of our last sixty years, and I
smiled bitterly when I thought of the illusions formed at the conclusion
of each period in this long revolution; the theories on which these
illusions had been fed; the sapient dreams of our historians, and all
the ingenious and deceptive systems by the aid of which it had been
endeavoured to explain a present which was still incorrectly seen, and a
future which was not seen at all.

The Constitutional Monarchy had succeeded the Ancien Régime; the
Republic, the Monarchy; the Empire, the Republic; the Restoration, the
Empire; and then came the Monarchy of July. After each of these
successive changes it was said that the French Revolution, having
accomplished what was presumptuously called its work, was finished; this
had been said and it had been believed. Alas! I myself had hoped it
under the Restoration, and again after the fall of the Government of the
Restoration; and here is the French Revolution beginning over again, for
it is still the same one. As we go on, its end seems farther off and
shrouded in greater darkness. Shall we ever--as we are assured by other
prophets, perhaps as delusive as their predecessors--shall we ever
attain a more complete and more far-reaching social transformation than
our fathers foresaw and desired, and than we ourselves are able to
foresee; or are we not destined simply to end in a condition of
intermittent anarchy, the well-known chronic and incurable complaint of
old races? As for me, I am unable to say; I do not know when this long
voyage will be ended; I am weary of seeing the shore in each successive
mirage, and I often ask myself whether the _terra firma_ we are seeking
does really exist, and whether we are not doomed to rove upon the seas
for ever.

I spent the rest of the day with Ampère, who was my colleague at the
Institute, and one of my best friends. He came to discover what had
become of me in the affray, and to ask himself to dinner. I wished at
first to relieve myself by making him share my vexation; but I soon
perceived that his impression was not the same as mine, and that he
looked differently upon the revolution which was in progress. Ampère was
a man of intelligence and, better still, a man full of heart, gentle in
manner, and reliable. His good-nature caused him to be liked; and he was
popular because of his versatile, witty, amusing, good-humoured
conversation, in which he made many remarks that were at once
entertaining and agreeable to hear, but too shallow to remember.
Unfortunately, he was inclined to carry the _esprit_ of the salons into
literature and the _esprit_ of literature into politics. What I call
literary _esprit_ in politics consists in seeking for what is novel and
ingenious rather than for what is true; in preferring the showy to the
useful; in showing one's self very sensible to the playing and elocution
of the actors, without regard to the results of the play; and, lastly,
in judging by impressions rather than reasons. I need not say that this
eccentricity exists among others besides Academicians. To tell the
truth, the whole nation is a little inclined that way, and the French
Public very often takes a man-of-letters' view of politics. Ampère held
the fallen Government in great contempt, and its last actions had
irritated him greatly. Moreover, he had witnessed many instances of
courage, disinterestedness, and even generosity among the insurgents;
and he had been bitten by the popular excitement.

I saw that he not only did not enter into my view, but that he was
disposed to take quite an opposite one. Seeing this, I was suddenly
impelled to turn against Ampère all the feelings of indignation, grief
and anger that had been accumulating in my heart since the morning; and
I spoke to him with a violence of language which I have often since
recalled with a certain shame, and which none but a friendship so
sincere as his could have excused. I remember saying to him, _inter

"You understand nothing of what is happening; you are judging like a
poet or a Paris cockney. You call this the triumph of liberty, when it
is its final defeat. I tell you that the people which you so artlessly
admire has just succeeded in proving that it is unfit and unworthy to
live a life of freedom. Show me what experience has taught it! Where are
the new virtues it has gained, the old vices it has laid aside? No, I
tell you, it is always the same, as impatient, as thoughtless, as
contemptuous of law and order, as easily led and as cowardly in the
presence of danger as its fathers were before it. Time has altered it in
no way, and has left it as frivolous in serious matters as it used to be
in trifles."

After much vociferation we both ended by appealing to the future, that
enlightened and upright judge who always, alas! arrives too late.



The night passed without accidents, although not until the morning did
the streets cease to resound with cries and gun-shots; but these were
sounds of triumph, not of combat. So soon as it was light, I went out to
observe the appearance of the town, and to discover what had become of
my two young nephews,[8] who were being educated at the Little Seminary.
The Little Seminary was in the Rue de Madame, at the back of the
Luxembourg, so that I had to cross a great part of the town to reach it.

     [8: Hubert and René de Tocqueville.--Cte. de T.]

I found the streets quiet, and even half deserted, as they usually are
in Paris on a Sunday morning, when the rich are still asleep and the
poor are resting. From time to time, along the walls, one met the
victors of the preceding day; but they were filled with wine rather than
political ardour, and were, for the most part, making for their homes
without taking heed of the passers-by. A few shops were open, and one
caught sight of the frightened, but still more astonished, shopkeepers,
who reminded one of spectators witnessing the end of a play which they
did not quite understand. What one saw most of in the streets deserted
by the people, was soldiers; some walking singly, others in little
groups, all unarmed, and crossing the city on their roads home. The
defeat these men had just sustained had left a very vivid and lasting
impression of shame and anger upon them. This was noticed later, but was
not apparent at the time: the pleasure of finding themselves at liberty
seemed to absorb every other feeling in these lads; they walked with a
careless air, with a light and easy gait.

The Little Seminary had not been attacked nor even insulted. My nephews,
however, were not there; they had been sent home the evening before to
their maternal grandmother. Accordingly, I turned back, taking the Rue
du Bac, to find out what had become of Lamoricière, who was then living
in that street; and it was only after recognizing me that the servants
admitted that their master was at home, and consented to take me to him.

I found this singular person, whom I shall have occasion to mention more
than once, stretched upon his bed, and reduced to a state of immobility
very much opposed to his character or taste. His head was half broken
open; his arms pierced with bayonet-thrusts; all his limbs bruised and
powerless. For the rest, he was the same as ever, with his bright
intelligence and his indomitable heart. He told me of all that happened
to him the day before, and of the thousand dangers which he had only
escaped by miracle. I strongly advised him to rest until he was cured,
and even long after, so as not uselessly to endanger his person and his
reputation in the chaos about to ensue: good advice, undoubtedly, to
give to a man so enamoured of action and so accustomed to act that,
after doing what is necessary and useful, he is always ready to
undertake the injurious and dangerous, rather than do nothing; but no
more effective than all those counsels which go against nature.

I spent the whole afternoon in walking about Paris. Two things in
particular struck me: the first was, I will not say the mainly, but the
uniquely and exclusively popular character of the revolution that had
just taken place; the omnipotence it had given to the people properly
so-called--that is to say, the classes who work with their hands--over
all others. The second was the comparative absence of malignant passion,
or, as a matter of fact, of any keen passion--an absence which at once
made it clear that the lower orders had suddenly become masters of

Although the working classes had often played the leading part in the
events of the First Revolution, they had never been the sole leaders and
masters of the State, either _de facto_ or _de jure_; it is doubtful
whether the Convention contained a single man of the people; it was
composed of _bourgeois_ and men of letters. The war between the Mountain
and the Girondists was conducted on both sides by members of the middle
class, and the triumph of the former never brought power down into the
hands of the people alone. The Revolution of July was effected by the
people, but the middle class had stirred it up and led it, and secured
the principal fruits of it. The Revolution of February, on the contrary,
seemed to be made entirely outside the _bourgeoisie_ and against it.

In this great concussion, the two parties of which the social body in
France is mainly composed had, in a way, been thrown more completely
asunder, and the mass of the people, which had stood alone, remained in
sole possession of power. Nothing more novel had been known in our
annals. Similar revolutions had taken place, it is true, in other
countries and other days; for the history of our own times, however new
and unexpected it may seem, always belongs at bottom to the old history
of humanity, and what we call new facts are oftenest nothing more than
facts forgotten. Florence, in particular, towards the close of the
middle ages, had presented on a small scale a spectacle analogous to
ours; the noble classes had first been succeeded by the burgher classes,
and then one day the latter were, in their turn, expelled from the
government, and a _gonfalonier_ was seen marching barefoot at the head
of the people, and thus leading the Republic. But in Florence this
popular revolution was the result of transient and special causes, while
with us it was brought about by causes very permanent and of a kind so
general that, after stirring up France, it was to be expected that it
would excite all the rest of Europe. This time it was not only a
question of the triumph of a party; the aim was to establish a social
science, a philosophy, I might almost say a religion, fit to be learned
and followed by all mankind. This was the really new portion of the old

Throughout this day, I did not see in Paris a single one of the former
agents of the public authority: not a soldier, not a gendarme, not a
policeman; the National Guard itself had disappeared. The people alone
bore arms, guarded the public buildings, watched, gave orders, punished;
it was an extraordinary and terrible thing to see in the sole hands of
those who possessed nothing all this immense town, so full of riches, or
rather this great nation: for, thanks to centralization, he who reigns
in Paris governs France. Hence the affright of all the other classes was
extreme; I doubt whether at any period of the Revolution it had been so
great, and I should say that it was only to be compared to that which
the civilized cities of the Roman Empire must have experienced when they
suddenly found themselves in the power of the Goths and Vandals. As
nothing like this had ever been seen before, many people expected acts
of unexampled violence. For my part I did not once partake of these
fears. What I saw led me to predict strange disturbances in the near
future--singular crises. But I never believed that the rich would be
pillaged; I knew the men of the people in Paris too well not to know
that their first movements in times of revolution are usually generous,
and that they are best pleased to spend the days immediately following
their triumph in boasting of their victory, laying down the law, and
playing at being great men. During that time it generally happens that
some government or other is set up, the police returns to its post, and
the judge to his bench; and when at last our great men consent to step
down to the better known and more vulgar ground of petty and malicious
human passion, they are no longer able to do so, and are reduced to live
simply like honest men. Besides, we have spent so many years in
insurrections that there has arisen among us a kind of morality peculiar
to times of disorder, and a special code for days of rebellion.
According to these exceptional laws, murder is tolerated and havoc
permitted, but theft is strenuously forbidden; although this, whatever
one may say, does not prevent a good deal of robbery from occurring upon
those days, for the simple reason that society in a state of rebellion
cannot be different from that at any other time, and it will always
contain a number of rascals who, as far as they are concerned, scorn the
morality of the main body, and despise its point of honour when they are
unobserved. What reassured me still more was the reflection that the
victors had been as much surprised by success as their adversaries were
by defeat: their passions had not had time to take fire and become
intensified in the struggle; the Government had fallen undefended by
others, or even by itself. It had long been attacked, or at least keenly
censured, by the very men who at heart most deeply regretted its fall.

For a year past the dynastic Opposition and the republican Opposition
had been living in fallacious intimacy, acting in the same way from
different motives. The misunderstanding which had facilitated the
revolution tended to mitigate its after effects. Now that the Monarchy
had disappeared, the battle-field seemed empty; the people no longer
clearly saw what enemies remained for them to pursue and strike down;
the former objects of their anger, themselves, were no longer there; the
clergy had never been completely reconciled to the new dynasty, and
witnessed its ruin without regret; the old nobility were delighted at
it, whatever the ultimate consequences might be: the first had suffered
through the system of intolerance of the middle classes, the second
through their pride: both either despised or feared their government.

For the first time in sixty years, the priests, the old aristocracy and
the people met in a common sentiment--a feeling of revenge, it is true,
and not of affection; but even that is a great thing in politics, where
a community of hatred is almost always the foundation of friendships.
The real, the only vanquished were the middle class; but even this had
little to fear. Its reign had been exclusive rather than oppressive;
corrupt, but not violent; it was despised rather than hated. Moreover,
the middle class never forms a compact body in the heart of the nation,
a part very distinct from the whole; it always participates a little
with all the others, and in some places merges into them. This absence
of homogeneity and of exact limits makes the government of the middle
class weak and uncertain, but it also makes it intangible, and, as it
were, invisible to those who desire to strike it when it is no longer

From all these united causes proceeded that languor of the people which
had struck me as much as its omnipotence, a languor which was the more
discernible, in that it contrasted strangely with the turgid energy of
the language used and the terrible recollections which it evoked. The
lukewarm passions of the time were made to speak in the bombastic
periods of '93, and one heard cited at every moment the name and example
of the illustrious ruffians whom no one possessed either the energy or
even a sincere desire to resemble.

It was the Socialistic theories which I have already described as the
philosophy of the Revolution of February that later kindled genuine
passion, embittered jealousy, and ended by stirring up war between the
classes. If the actions at the commencement were less disorderly than
might have been feared, on the very morrow of the Revolution there was
displayed an extraordinary agitation, an unequalled disorder, in the
ideas of the people.

From the 25th of February onwards, a thousand strange systems came
issuing pell-mell from the minds of innovators, and spread among the
troubled minds of the crowd. Everything still remained standing except
Royalty and Parliament; yet it seemed as though the shock of the
Revolution had reduced society itself to dust, and as though a
competition had been opened for the new form that was to be given to the
edifice about to be erected in its place. Everyone came forward with a
plan of his own: this one printed it in the papers, that other on the
placards with which the walls were soon covered, a third proclaimed his
loud-mouthed in the open air. One aimed at destroying inequality of
fortune, another inequality of education, a third undertook to do away
with the oldest of all inequalities, that between man and woman.
Specifics were offered against poverty, and remedies for the disease of
work which has tortured humanity since the first days of its existence.

These theories were of very varied natures, often opposed and sometimes
hostile to one another; but all of them, aiming lower than the
government and striving to reach society itself, on which government
rests, adopted the common name of Socialism.

Socialism will always remain the essential characteristic and the most
redoubtable remembrance of the Revolution of February. The Republic
will only appear to the on-looker to have come upon the scene as a
means, not as an end.

It does not come within the scope of these Recollections that I should
seek for the causes which gave a socialistic character to the Revolution
of February, and I will content myself with saying that the discovery of
this new facet of the French Revolution was not of a nature to cause so
great surprise as it did. Had it not long been perceived that the people
had continually been improving and raising its condition, that its
importance, its education, its desires, its power had been constantly
increasing? Its prosperity had also grown greater, but less rapidly, and
was approaching the limit which it hardly ever passes in old societies,
where there are many men and but few places. How should the poor and
humbler and yet powerful classes not have dreamt of issuing from their
poverty and inferiority by means of their power, especially in an epoch
when our view into another world has become dimmer, and the miseries of
this world become more visible and seem more intolerable? They had been
working to this end for the last sixty years. The people had first
endeavoured to help itself by changing every political institution, but
after each change it found that its lot was in no way improved, or was
only improving with a slowness quite incompatible with the eagerness of
its desire. Inevitably, it must sooner or later discover that that which
held it fixed in its position was not the constitution of the
government but the unalterable laws that constitute society itself; and
it was natural that it should be brought to ask itself if it had not
both the power and the right to alter those laws, as it had altered all
the rest. And to speak more specially of property, which is, as it were,
the foundation of our social order--all the privileges which covered it
and which, so to speak, concealed the privilege of property having been
destroyed, and the latter remaining the principal obstacle to equality
among men, and appearing to be the only sign of inequality--was it not
necessary, I will not say that it should be abolished in its turn, but
at least that the thought of abolishing it should occur to the minds of
those who did not enjoy it?

This natural restlessness in the minds of the people, this inevitable
perturbation of its thoughts and its desires, these needs, these
instincts of the crowd formed in a certain sense the fabric upon which
the political innovators embroidered so many monstrous and grotesque
figures. Their work may be regarded as ludicrous, but the material on
which they worked is the most serious that it is possible for
philosophers and statesmen to contemplate.

Will Socialism remain buried in the disdain with which the Socialists of
1848 are so justly covered? I put the question without making any reply.
I do not doubt that the laws concerning the constitution of our modern
society will in the long run undergo modification: they have already
done so in many of their principal parts. But will they ever be
destroyed and replaced by others? It seems to me to be impracticable. I
say no more, because--the more I study the former condition of the world
and see the world of our own day in greater detail, the more I consider
the prodigious variety to be met with not only in laws, but in the
principles of law, and the different forms even now taken and retained,
whatever one may say, by the rights of property on this earth--the more
I am tempted to believe that what we call necessary institutions are
often no more than institutions to which we have grown accustomed, and
that in matters of social constitution the field of possibilities is
much more extensive than men living in their various societies are ready
to imagine.



During the days immediately following upon the 24th of February, I
neither went in search of nor fell in with any of the politicians from
whom the events of that day had separated me. I felt no necessity nor,
to tell the truth, any inclination to do so. I felt a sort of
instinctive repugnance to remembering this wretched parliamentary world,
in which I had spent six years of my life, and in whose midst I had seen
the Revolution sprouting up.

Moreover, at that time I saw the great vanity of any sort of political
conversation or combination. However feeble the reasons may have been
which first imparted the movement to the mob, that movement had now
become irresistible. I felt that we were all in the midst of one of
those great floods of democracy in which the embankments, intended to
resist individuals and even parties, only serve to drown those who build
them, and in which, for a time, there is nothing to be done but to study
the general character of the phenomenon. I therefore spent all my time
in the streets with the victors, as though I had been a worshipper of
fortune. True, I paid no homage to the new sovereign, and asked no
favours of it. I did not even address it, but contented myself with
listening to and observing it.

Nevertheless, after the lapse of some days, I resumed relations with the
vanquished: I once more met ex-deputies, ex-peers, men of letters, men
of business and finance, land-owners, all who in the language of the
moment were commencing to be known as the idle. I found that the aspect
of the Revolution was no less extraordinary when thus seen from above
than it had seemed to me when, at the commencement, I viewed it from
below. I encountered much fear, but as little genuine passion as I had
seen in other quarters; a curious feeling of resignation, no vestige of
hope, and I should almost say no idea of ever returning to the
Government which they had only just left. Although the Revolution of
February was the shortest and the least bloody of all our revolutions,
it had filled men's minds and hearts with the idea of its omnipotence to
a much greater extent than any of its predecessors. I believe this was,
to a great extent, due to the fact that these minds and hearts were void
of political faith and ardour, and that, after so many disappointments
and vain agitations, they retained nothing but a taste for comfort--a
very tenacious and very exclusive, but also a very agreeable feeling,
which easily accommodates itself to any form of government, provided it
be allowed to satisfy itself.

I beheld, therefore, an universal endeavour to make the best of the new
state of things and to win over the new master. The great landlords
were glad to remember that they had always been hostile to the middle
class and always favoured the people; the _bourgeois_ themselves
remembered with a certain pride that their fathers had been working men,
and when they were unable, owing to the inevitable obscurity of their
pedigrees, to trace back their descent to a labourer who had worked with
his hands, they at least strove to discover a plebeian ancestor who had
been the architect of his own fortune. They took as great pains to make
a display of the latter as, not long before, they would have taken to
conceal his existence: so true is it that human vanity, without changing
its nature, can show itself under the most diverse aspects. It has an
obverse and a reverse side, but it is always the same medal.

As there was no longer any genuine feeling left save that of fear, far
from breaking with those of his relations who had thrown themselves into
the Revolution, each strove to draw closer to them. The time had come to
try and turn to account any scapegrace whom one had in one's family. If
good luck would have it that one had a cousin, a brother, or a son who
had become ruined by his disorderly life, one could be sure that he was
in a fair way to succeed; and if he had become known by the promulgation
of some extravagant theory or other, he might hope to attain to any
height. Most of the commissaries and under-commissaries of the
Government were men of this type.

As to King Louis-Philippe, there was no more question of him than if he
had belonged to the Merovingian Dynasty. Nothing struck me more than the
absolute silence that had suddenly surrounded his name. I did not hear
it pronounced a single time, so to speak, either by the people or by the
upper class. Those of his former courtiers whom I saw did not speak of
him, and I honestly believe they did not think of him. The Revolution
had so completely turned their thoughts in another direction, that they
had forgotten their Sovereign. I may be told that this is the ordinary
fate of fallen kings; but what seems more worthy of remark, his enemies
even had forgotten him: they no longer feared him enough to slander him,
perhaps even to hate him, which is one of fortune's greatest, or at
least rarest, insults.

I do not wish to write the history of the Revolution of 1848, I only
wish to retrace my own actions, ideas, and impressions during the course
of this revolution; and I therefore pass over the events that took place
during the weeks immediately following the 24th of February, and come to
the period preceding the General Election.

The time had come to decide whether one cared merely to watch the
progress of this singular revolution or to take part in events. I found
the former party leaders divided among themselves; and each of them,
moreover, seemed divided also within himself, to judge by the
incoherence of the language used and the vacillation of opinion. These
politicians, who had almost all been trained to public business amid the
regulated, restrained movement of constitutional liberty, and upon whom
a great revolution had unexpectedly come, were like river oarsmen who
should suddenly find themselves called upon to navigate their boat in
mid-ocean. The knowledge they had acquired in their fresh water trips
would be of more trouble than assistance to them in this greater
adventure, and they would often display more confusion and uncertainty
than the passengers themselves.

M. Thiers frequently expressed the opinion that they should go to the
poll and get elected, and as frequently urged that it would be wiser to
stand aside. I do not know whether his hesitation arose from his dread
of the dangers that might follow upon the election, or his fear lest he
should not be elected. Rémusat, who always sees so clearly what might,
and so dimly what should be done, set forth the good reasons that
existed for staying at home, and the no less good reasons for going to
the country. Duvergier was distracted. The Revolution had overthrown the
system of the balance of power in which his mind had sat motionless
during so many years, and he felt as though he were hung up in mid-air.
As for the Duc de Broglie, he had not put his head out of his shell
since the 24th of February, and in this attitude he awaited the end of
society, which in his opinion was close at hand. M. Molé alone,
although he was by far the oldest of all the former parliamentary
leaders, and possibly for that very reason, resolutely maintained the
opinion that they should take part in public affairs and try to lead the
Revolution; perhaps because his longer experience had taught him that in
troubled times it is dangerous to play the looker-on; perhaps because
the hope of again having something to lead cheered him and hid from him
the danger of the undertaking; or perhaps because, after being so often
bent in contrary directions, under so many different _régimes_, his mind
had become firmer as well as more supple and more indifferent as to the
kind of master it might serve. On my side, as may be imagined, I very
attentively considered which was the best resolution to adopt.

I should like here to inquire into the reasons which determined my
course of action, and having found them, to set them down without
evasion: but how difficult it is to speak well of one's self! I have
observed that the greater part of those who have written their Memoirs
have only well shown us their bad actions or their weaknesses when they
happened to have taken them for deeds of prowess or fine instincts, a
thing which often occurs. As in the case of the Cardinal de Retz, who,
in order to be credited with what he considers the glory of being a good
conspirator, confesses his schemes for assassinating Richelieu, and
tells us of his hypocritical devotions and charities lest he should fail
to be taken for a clever man. In such cases it is not the love of truth
that guides the pen, but the warped mind which involuntarily betrays the
vices of the heart.

And even when one wishes to be sincere, it is very rarely that one
succeeds in the endeavour. The fault lies, in the first place, with the
public, which likes to see one accuse, but will not suffer him to
praise, himself; even one's friends are wont to describe as amiable
candour all the harm, and as unbecoming vanity all the good, that he
says of himself: so that at this rate sincerity becomes a very thankless
trade, by which one has everything to lose and nothing to gain. But the
difficulty, above all, lies with the subject himself: he is too close to
himself to see well, and prone to lose himself amid the views,
interests, ideas, thoughts and inclinations that have guided his
actions. This net-work of little foot-paths, which are little known even
by those who use them, prevent one from clearly discerning the main
roads followed by the will before arriving at the most important

Nevertheless, I will try to discover myself amid this labyrinth, for it
is only right that I should take the same liberties with myself which I
have taken, and shall often continue to take, with others.

Let me say, then, that when I came to search carefully into the depths
of my own heart, I discovered, with some surprise, a certain sense of
relief, a sort of gladness mingled with all the griefs and fears to
which the Revolution had given rise. I suffered from this terrible
event for my country, but clearly not for myself; on the contrary, I
seemed to breathe more freely than before the catastrophe. I had always
felt myself stifled in the atmosphere of the parliamentary world which
had just been destroyed: I had found it full of disappointments, both
where others and where I myself was concerned; and to commence with the
latter, I was not long in discovering that I did not possess the
necessary qualifications to play the brilliant rôle that I had imagined:
both my qualities and my defects were impediments. I had not the virtues
necessary to command respect, and I was too upright to stoop to all the
petty practices which were at that time essential to a speedy success.
And observe that this uprightness was irremediable; for it forms so
integral a part both of my temperament and my principles, that without
it I am never able to turn myself to any account. Whenever I have, by
ill-luck, been obliged to speak in defence of a bad cause, or to assist
in bad measures, I have immediately found myself deprived of all talent
and all ardour; and I confess that nothing has consoled me more at the
want of success with which my uprightness has often met, than the
certainty I have always been in that I could never have made more than a
very clumsy and mediocre rogue. I also ended by perceiving that I was
absolutely lacking in the art of grouping and leading a large number of
men. I have always been incapable of dexterity, except in _tête-à-tête_,
and embarrassed and dumb in the presence of a crowd; I do not mean to
say that at a given moment I am unable to say and do what will please
it, but that is not enough: those great occasions are very rare in
parliamentary warfare. The trick of the trade, in a party leader, is to
be able to mix continually with his followers and even his adversaries,
to show himself, to move about daily, to play continually now to the
boxes, now to the gallery, so as to reach the level of every
intelligence, to discuss and argue without end, to say the same things a
thousand times in different ways, and to be impassioned eternally in the
face of the same objects. These are all things of which I am quite
incapable. I find it troublesome to discuss matters which interest me
little, and painful to discuss those in which I am keenly concerned.
Truth is for me so rare and precious a thing that, once found, I do not
like to risk it on the hazard of a debate; it is a light which I fear to
extinguish by waving it to and fro. And as to consorting with men, I
could not do so in any habitual and general fashion, because I never
recognize more than a very few. Unless a person strikes me by something
out of the common in his intellect or opinions, I, so to speak, do not
see him. I have always taken it for granted that mediocrities, as well
as men of merit, had a nose, a mouth, eyes; but I have never, in their
case, been able to fix the particular shape of these features in my
memory. I am constantly inquiring the name of strangers whom I see
every day, and as constantly forgetting them; and yet, I do not despise
them, only I consort but little with them, treating them as constant
quantities. I honour them, for the world is made up of them; but they
weary me profoundly.

What completed my disgust was the mediocrity and monotony of the
parliamentary events of that period, as well as the triviality of the
passions and the vulgar perversity of the men who pretended to cause or
to guide them.

I have sometimes thought that, though the habits of different societies
may differ, the morality of the politicians at the head of affairs is
everywhere the same. What is very certain is that, in France, all the
party leaders whom I have met in my time have, with few exceptions,
appeared to me to be equally unworthy of holding office, some because of
their lack of personal character or of real parts, most by their lack of
any sort of virtue. I thus experienced as great a difficulty in joining
with others as in being satisfied with myself, in obeying as in acting
on my own initiative.

But that which most tormented and depressed me during the nine years I
had spent in business, and which to this day remains my most hideous
memory of that time, is the incessant uncertainty in which I had to live
as to the best daily course to adopt. I am inclined to think that my
uncertainty of character arises rather from a want of clearness of idea
than from any weakness of heart, and that I never experienced either
hesitation or difficulty in following the most rugged road, when once I
clearly saw where it would lead me. But amid all these little dynastic
parties, differing so little in aim, and resembling one another so much
in the bad methods which they put into practice, which was the
thoroughfare that led visibly to honour, or even to utility? Where lay
truth? Where falsehood? On which side were the rogues? On which side the
honest men? I was never, at that time, fully able to distinguish it, and
I declare that even now I should not well be able to do so. Most party
men allow themselves to be neither distressed nor unnerved by doubts of
this kind; many even have never known them, or know them no longer. They
are often accused of acting without conviction; but my experience has
proved that this was much less frequently the case than one might think.
Only they possess the precious and sometimes, in politics, even
necessary faculty of creating transient convictions for themselves,
according to the passions and interests of the moment, and thus they
succeed in committing, honourably enough, actions which in themselves
are little to their credit. Unfortunately, I could never bring myself to
illuminate my intelligence with these special and artificial lights, nor
so readily to convince myself that my own advantage was one and the same
with the general good.

It was this parliamentary world, in which I had suffered all the
wretchedness that I have just described, which was broken up by the
Revolution; it had mingled and confounded the old parties in one common
ruin, deposed their leaders, and destroyed their traditions and
discipline. There had issued from this, it was true, a disordered and
confused state of society, but one in which ability became less
necessary and less highly rated than courage and disinterestedness; in
which personal character was more important than elocution or the art of
leadership; but, above all, in which there was no field left for
vacillation of mind: on this side lay the salvation of the country; on
that, its destruction. There was no longer any mistake possible as to
the road to follow; we were to walk in broad daylight, supported and
encouraged by the crowd. The road seemed dangerous, it is true, but my
mind is so constructed that it is less afraid of danger than of doubt. I
felt, moreover, that I was still in the prime of life, that I had few
needs, and, above all, that I was able to find at home the support, so
rare and precious in times of revolution, of a devoted wife, whom a firm
and penetrating mind and a naturally lofty soul would easily maintain at
the level of every situation and above every reverse.

I therefore determined to plunge boldly into the arena, and in defence,
not of any particular government, but of the laws which constitute
society itself, to risk my fortune, my person, and my peace of mind. The
first thing was to secure my election, and I left speedily for Normandy
in order to put myself before the electors.



As every one knows, the Department of la Manche is peopled almost
exclusively by farmers. It contains few large towns, few manufactures,
and, with the exception of Cherbourg, no places in which workmen are
gathered in large numbers. At first, the Revolution was hardly noticed
there. The upper classes immediately bent beneath the blow, and the
lower classes scarcely felt it. Generally speaking, agricultural
populations are slower than others in perceiving, and more stubborn in
retaining, political impressions; they are the last to rise and the last
to settle down again. The steward of my estate, himself half a peasant,
describing what was taking place in the country immediately after the
24th of February, wrote:

"People here say that if Louis-Philippe has been sent away, it is a good
thing, and that he deserved it...."

This was to them the whole moral of the play. But when they heard tell
of the disorder reigning in Paris, of the new taxes to be imposed, and
of the general state of war that was to be feared; when they saw
commerce cease and money seem to sink down into the ground, and when, in
particular, they learnt that the principle of property was being
attacked, they did not fail to perceive that there was something more
than Louis-Philippe in question.

Fear, which had first displayed itself in the upper circles of society,
then descended into the depths of the people, and universal terror took
possession of the whole country. This was the condition in which I found
it when I arrived about the middle of March. I was at once struck by a
spectacle that both astonished and charmed me. A certain demagogic
agitation reigned, it is true, among the workmen in the towns; but in
the country all the landed proprietors, whatever their origin,
antecedents, education or means, had come together, and seemed to form
but one class: all former political hatred and rivalry of caste or
fortune had disappeared from view. There was no more jealousy or pride
displayed between the peasant and the squire, the nobleman and the
commoner; instead, I found mutual confidence, reciprocal friendliness,
and regard. Property had become, with all those who owned it, a sort of
badge of fraternity. The wealthy were the elder, the less endowed the
younger brothers; but all considered themselves members of one family,
having the same interest in defending the common inheritance. As the
French Revolution had infinitely increased the number of land-owners,
the whole population seemed to belong to that vast family. I had never
seen anything like it, nor had anyone in France within the memory of
man. Experience has shown that this union was not so close as it
appeared, and that the former parties and the various classes had drawn
closer rather than mingled together; fear had acted upon them as a
mechanical pressure might upon very hard bodies, which are compelled to
adhere to one another so long as the pressure continues, but which
separate so soon as it is relaxed.

As a matter of fact, from the first moment I saw no trace whatever of
political opinions, properly so-called. One would have thought that the
republican form of government had suddenly become not only the best, but
the only one imaginable for France. Dynastic hopes and regrets were
buried so profoundly in the souls of men that not even the place they
had once occupied was visible. The Republic respected persons and
property, and it was accepted as lawful. In the spectacle I have just
described, I was most struck at witnessing the universal hatred,
together with the universal terror, now for the first time inspired by
Paris. In France, provincials have for Paris, and for the central power
of which Paris is the seat, feelings analogous to those which the
English entertain for their aristocracy, which they sometimes support
with impatience and often regard with jealousy, but which at bottom they
love, because they always hope to turn its privileges to their private
advantage. This time Paris and those who spoke in its name had so
greatly abused their power, and seemed to be giving so little heed to
the rest of the country, that the idea of shaking off the yoke and of
acting for themselves came to many who had never before conceived it:
uncertain and timid desires, it is true, feeble and ephemeral passions
from which I never believed that there was much to be either hoped or
feared; but these new feelings were then turning into electoral ardour.
Everyone clamoured for the elections; for to elect the enemies of the
demagogues of Paris presented itself to public opinion less as the
constitutional exercise of a right, than as the least dangerous method
one could employ of making a stand against the tyrant.

I fixed my head-quarters in the little town of Valognes, which was the
natural centre of my influence; and as soon as I had ascertained the
condition of the country, I set about my candidature. I then saw what I
have often observed under a thousand different circumstances, that
nothing makes more for success than not to desire it too ardently. I
very much wanted to get elected; but in the difficult and critical
condition of affairs then reigning, I easily reconciled myself to the
idea of being rejected; and from this placid anticipation of a rebuff I
drew a tranquillity and clearness of mind, a respect for myself and a
contempt for the follies of the time, that I should perhaps not have
found in the same degree had I been swayed only by a longing to

The country began to fill with roving candidates, hawking their
protestations of Republicanism from hustings to hustings. I refused to
present myself before any other electoral body than that of the place
where I lived. Each small town had its club, and each club questioned
the candidates regarding their opinions and actions, and subjected them
to formulas. I refused to reply to any of these insolent
interrogatories. These refusals, which might have seemed disdainful,
appeared in the light of dignity and independence in the face of the new
rulers, and I was more esteemed for my rebelliousness than the others
for their obedience. I therefore contented myself with publishing an
address and having it posted up throughout the department.

Most of the candidates had resumed the old customs of '92. When writing
to people they called them "Citizens," and signed themselves
"fraternally yours." I would never consent to adopt this revolutionary
nonsense. I headed my address, "Gentlemen," and ended by proudly
declaring myself my electors' "very humble servant."

     "I do not come to solicit your suffrages," I said, "I come only to
     place myself at the orders of my country. I asked to be your
     representative when the times were easy and peaceful; my honour
     forbids me to refuse to be so in a period full of agitation, which
     may become full of danger. That is the first thing I had to tell

I added that I had been faithful to the end to the oath I had taken to
the Monarchy, but that the Republic, which had been brought about
without my aid, should have my energetic support, and that I would not
only accept but assist it. Then I went on:

     "But of what Republic is it a question? There are some who, by a
     Republic, understand a dictatorship exercised in the name of
     liberty; who think that the Republic should not only change
     political institutions but the face of society itself. There are
     some who think that the Republic should needs be of an aggressive
     and propagandist kind. I am not a Republican after this fashion. If
     this were your manner of being Republicans, I could be of no use to
     you, for I should not be of your opinion; but if you understand the
     Republic as I understand it myself, you can rely upon me to devote
     myself heart and soul to the triumph of a cause which is mine as
     well as yours."

Men who show no fear in times of revolution are like princes with the
army: they produce a great effect by very ordinary actions, because the
peculiar position which they occupy naturally places them above the
level of the crowd and brings them very much in view. My address was so
successful that I myself was astonished at it; within a few days it made
me the most popular man in the department of la Manche, and the object
of universal attention. My old political adversaries, the agents of the
old Government, the Conservatives themselves who had so vigorously
opposed me, and whom the Republic had overthrown, came in crowds to
assure me that they were ready not only to vote for me, but to follow my
views in everything.

In the meantime, the first meeting of the electors of the Arrondissement
of Valognes took place. I appeared together with the other candidates. A
shed did duty for a hall; the chairman's platform was at the bottom, and
at the side was a professorial pulpit which had been transformed into a
tribune. The chairman, who himself was a professor at the College of
Valognes, said to me with a loud voice and a magisterial air, but in a
very respectful tone: "Citizen de Tocqueville, I will tell you the
questions which are put to you, and to which you will have to reply;" to
which I replied, carelessly, "Mr Chairman, pray put the questions."

A parliamentary orator, whose name I will not mention, once said to me:

"Look here, my dear friend, there is only one way of speaking well from
the tribune, and that is to be fully persuaded, as you get into it, that
you are the cleverest man in the world."

This had always appeared to me easier to say than to do, in the presence
of our great political assemblies. But I confess that here the maxim was
easy enough to follow, and that I thought it a wonderfully good one.
Nevertheless, I did not go so far as to convince myself that I was
cleverer than all the world; but I soon saw that I was the only one who
was well acquainted with the facts they brought up, and even with the
political language they wished to speak. It would be difficult to show
one's self more maladroit and more ignorant than did my adversaries;
they overwhelmed me with questions which they thought very close, and
which left me very free, while I on my side made replies which were
sometimes not very brilliant, but which always to them appeared most
conclusive. The ground on which they hoped, above all, to crush me was
that of the banquets. I had refused, as I have already said, to take
part in these dangerous demonstrations. My political friends had found
fault with me for abandoning them in that matter, and many continued to
bear me ill-will, although--or perhaps because--the Revolution had
proved me to be right.

"Why did you part from the Opposition on the occasion of the banquets?"
I was asked.

I replied, boldly:

"I could easily find a pretext, but I prefer to give you my real reason:
I did not want the banquets because I did not want a revolution; and I
venture to say that hardly any of those who sat down to the banquets
would have done so had they foreseen, as I did, the events to which
these would lead. The only difference I can see between you and myself
is that I knew what you were doing while you did not know it
yourselves." This bold profession of anti-revolutionary had been
preceded by one of republican faith; the sincerity of the one seemed to
bear witness to that of the other; the meeting laughed and applauded. My
adversaries were scoffed at, and I came off triumphant.

I had won the agricultural population of the department by my address; I
won the Cherbourg workmen by a speech. The latter had been assembled to
the number of two thousand at a patriotic dinner. I received a very
obliging and pressing invitation to attend, and I did.

When I arrived, the procession was ready to start for the
banqueting-hall, with, at its head, my old colleague Havin, who had come
expressly from Saint-Lô to take the chair. It was the first time I had
met him since the 24th of February. On that day, I saw him giving his
arm to the Duchesse d'Orléans, and the next morning I heard that he was
Commissary of the Republic in the department of la Manche. I was not
surprised, for I knew him as one of those easily bewildered, ambitious
men who had found themselves fixed for ten years in opposition, after
thinking at first that they were in it only for a little. How many of
these men have I not seen around me, tortured with their own virtue, and
despairing because they saw themselves spending the best part of their
lives in criticizing the faults of others without ever in some measure
realizing by experience what were their own, and finding nothing to
feed upon but the sight of public corruption! Most of them had
contracted during this long abstinence so great an appetite for places,
honours and money that it was easy to predict that at the first
opportunity they would throw themselves upon power with a sort of
gluttony, without taking time to choose either the moment or the morsel.
Havin was the very type of these men. The Provisional Government had
given him as his associate, and even as his chief, another of my former
colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies, M. Vieillard, who has since
become famous as a particular friend of Prince Louis Napoleon's.
Vieillard was entitled to serve the Republic, since he had been one of
the seven or eight republican deputies under the Monarchy. Moreover, he
was one of the Republicans who had passed through the salons of the
Empire before attaining demagogism. In literature he was a bigoted
classic; a Voltairean in religious belief; rather fatuous, very
kind-hearted; an honest man, and even an intelligent; but a very fool in
politics. Havin had made him his tool: whenever he wished to strike a
blow at one of his own enemies, or to reward one of his own friends, he
invariably put forward Vieillard, who allowed him to do as he pleased.
In this manner Havin made his way sheltered beneath the honesty and
republicanism of Vieillard, whom he always kept before him, as the miner
does his gabion.

Havin scarcely seemed to recognize me; he did not invite me to take a
place in the procession. I modestly withdrew into the midst of the
crowd; and when we arrived at the banqueting-hall, I sat down at one of
the lower tables. We soon got to the speeches: Vieillard delivered a
very proper written speech, and Havin read out another written speech,
which was well received. I, too, was very much inclined to speak, but my
name was not down, and moreover I did not quite see how I was to begin.
A word which one of the orators (for all the speakers called themselves
orators) dropped to the memory of Colonel Briqueville gave me my
opportunity. I asked for permission to speak, and the meeting consented.
When I found myself perched in the tribune, or rather in that pulpit
placed twenty feet above the crowd, I felt a little confused; but I soon
recovered myself, and delivered a little piece of oratorical fustian
which I should find it impossible to recollect to-day. I only know that
it contained a certain appositeness, besides the warmth which never
fails to make itself apparent through the disorder of an improvised
speech, a merit quite sufficient to succeed with a popular assembly, or
even with an assembly of any sort; for, it cannot be too often repeated,
speeches are made to be listened to and not to be read, and the only
good ones are those that move the audience.

The success of mine was marked and complete, and I confess it seemed
very sweet to me to revenge myself in this way on the manner in which
my former colleague had endeavoured to abuse what he considered the
favours of fortune.

If I am not mistaken, it was between this time and the elections that I
made my journey to Saint-Lô, as member of the Council General. The
Council had been summoned to an extraordinary sitting. It was still
composed as under the Monarchy: most of its members had shown themselves
complaisant towards Louis-Philippe's ministers, and may be reckoned
among those who had most contributed to bring that Prince's government
into contempt in our country. The only thing I can recall of the
Saint-Lô journey is the singular servility of these ex-Conservatives.
Not only did they make no opposition to Havin, who had insulted them for
the past ten years, but they became his most attentive courtiers. They
praised him with their words, supported him with their votes, smiled
upon him approvingly; they even spoke well of him among themselves, for
fear of indiscretion. I have often seen greater pictures of human
baseness, but never any that was more perfect; and I think it deserves,
despite its pettiness, to be brought fully to light. I will, therefore,
display it in the light of subsequent events, and I will add that some
months later, when the turn of the popular tide had restored them to
power, they at once set about pursuing this same Havin anew with
unheard-of violence and even injustice. All their old hatred became
visible amid the quaking of their terror, and it seemed to have become
still greater at the remembrance of their temporary complaisance.

Meantime the general election was drawing nigh, and each day the aspect
of the future became more sinister. All the news from Paris represented
the capital as on the point of constantly falling into the hands of
armed Socialists. It was doubted whether these latter would allow the
electors to vote freely, or at least whether they would submit to the
National Assembly. Already in every part of the country the officers of
the National Guard were being made to swear that they would march
against the Assembly if a conflict arose between that body and the
people. The provinces were becoming more and more alarmed, but were also
strengthening themselves at the sight of the danger.

I spent the few days preceding the contest at my poor, dear Tocqueville.
It was the first time I had visited it since the Revolution: I was
perhaps about to leave it for ever! I was seized on my arrival with so
great and uncommon a feeling of sadness that it has left in my memory
traces which have remained marked and visible to this day amid all the
vestiges of the events of that time. I was not expected. The empty
rooms, in which there was none but my old dog to receive me, the
undraped windows, the heaped-up dusty furniture, the extinct fires, the
run-down clocks--all seemed to point to abandonment and to foretell
ruin. This little isolated corner of the earth, lost, as it were, amid
the fields and hedges of our Norman coppices, which had so often seemed
to me the most charming of solitudes, now appeared to me, in the actual
state of my thoughts, as a desolate desert; but across the desolation of
its present aspect I discovered, as though from the depth of a tomb, the
sweetest and most attractive episodes of my life. I wonder how our
imagination gives so much deeper colour and so much more attractiveness
to things than they possess. I had just witnessed the fall of the
Monarchy; I have since been present at the most sanguinary scenes; and
nevertheless I declare that none of these spectacles produced in me so
deep and painful an emotion as that which I experienced that day at the
sight of the ancient abode of my forefathers, when I thought of the
peaceful days and happy hours I had spent there without knowing their
value--I say that it was then and there that I best understood all the
bitterness of revolutions.

The local population had always been well disposed to me; but this time
I found them affectionate, and I was never received with more respect
than now, when all the walls were placarded with the expression of
degrading equality. We were all to go and vote together at the borough
of Saint-Pierre, about one league away from our village. On the morning
of the election, all the voters (that is to say, all the male population
above the age of twenty) collected together in front of the church. All
these men formed themselves in a double column, in alphabetical order.
I took up my place in the situation denoted by my name, for I knew that
in democratic times and countries one must be nominated to the head of
the people, and not place one's self there. At the end of the long
procession, in carts or on pack-horses, came the sick or infirm who
wished to follow us; we left none behind save the women and children. We
were one hundred and sixty-six all told. At the top of the hill which
commands Tocqueville there came a halt; they wished me to speak. I
climbed to the other side of a ditch; a circle was formed round me, and
I spoke a few words such as the circumstances inspired. I reminded these
worthy people of the gravity and importance of what they were about to
do; I recommended them not to allow themselves to be accosted or turned
aside by those who, on our arrival at the borough, might seek to deceive
them, but to march on solidly and stay together, each in his place,
until they had voted. "Let no one," I said, "go into a house to seek
food or shelter [it was raining] before he has done his duty." They
cried that they would do as I wished, and they did. All the votes were
given at the same time, and I have reason to believe that they were
almost all given to the same candidate.

After voting myself, I took my leave of them, and set out to return to



I stopped at Valognes only long enough to bid good-bye to some of my
friends. Many left me with tears in their eyes, for there was a belief
current in the country that the representatives would be exposed to
great danger in Paris. Several of these worthy people said to me, "If
they attack the National Assembly, we will come and defend you." I feel
a certain remorse at having seen only vain words in this promise at the
time; for, as a matter of fact, they did all come, they and many more,
as I shall show later.

It was only when I reached Paris that I learnt that I had received
110,704 votes out of a possible 120,000. Most of my new colleagues
belonged to the old dynastic Opposition: two only had professed
republican principles before the Revolution, and were what was called in
the jargon of the day "Republicans of yesterday." The same was the case
in most parts of France.

There have certainly been more wicked revolutionaries than those of
1848, but I doubt if there were ever any more stupid; they neither knew
how to make use of universal suffrage nor how to do without it. If they
had held the elections immediately after the 24th of February, while the
upper classes were still bewildered by the blow they had just received,
and the people more amazed than discontented, they would perhaps have
obtained an assembly after their hearts; if, on the other hand, they had
boldly seized the dictatorship, they might have been able for some time
to retain it. But they trusted themselves to the nation, and at the same
time did all that was most likely to set the latter against them; they
threatened it while placing themselves in its power; they alarmed it by
the recklessness of their proposals and the violence of their language,
while inviting it to resistance by the feebleness of their actions; they
pretended to lay down the law to it at the very time that they were
placing themselves at its disposal. Instead of opening out their ranks
after the victory, they jealously closed them up, and seemed, in one
word, to be striving to solve this insoluble problem, namely, how to
govern through the majority and yet against its inclination.

Following the examples of the past without understanding them, they
foolishly imagined that to summon the crowd to take part in political
life was sufficient to attach it to their cause; and that to popularize
the Republic, it was enough to give the public rights without offering
them any profits. They forgot that their predecessors, when they gave
every peasant the vote, at the same time did away with tithes, abolished
statute labour and the other seignorial privileges, and divided the
property of the nobles among the peasants; whereas they were not in a
position to do anything of the kind. In establishing universal suffrage
they thought they were summoning the people to the assistance of the
Revolution: they were only giving them arms against it. Nevertheless, I
am far from believing that it was impossible to arouse revolutionary
passions, even in the country districts. In France, every agriculturist
owns some portion of the soil, and most of them are more or less
involved in debt; it was not, therefore, the landlords that should have
been attacked, but the creditors; not the abolition promised of the
rights of property, but the abolition of debts. The demagogues of 1848
did not think of this scheme; they showed themselves much clumsier than
their predecessors, but no less dishonest, for they were as violent and
unjust in their desires as the others in their acts. Only, to commit
violent and unjust acts, it is not enough for a government to have the
will, or even the power; the habits, ideas, and passions of the time
must lend themselves to the committal of them.

As the party which held the reins of government saw its candidates
rejected one after the other, it displayed great vexation and rage,
complaining now sadly and now rudely of the electors, whom it treated as
ignorant, ungrateful blockheads, and enemies of their own good; it lost
its temper with the whole nation; and, its impatience exhausted by the
latter's coldness, it seemed ready to say with Molière's Arnolfe, when
he addresses Agnès:

     "Pourquoi ne m'aimer pas, madame l'impudente?"

One thing was not ridiculous, but really ominous and terrible; and that
was the appearance of Paris on my return. I found in the capital a
hundred thousand armed workmen formed into regiments, out of work, dying
of hunger, but with their minds crammed with vain theories and visionary
hopes. I saw society cut into two: those who possessed nothing, united
in a common greed; those who possessed something, united in a common
terror. There were no bonds, no sympathy between these two great
sections; everywhere the idea of an inevitable and immediate struggle
seemed at hand. Already the _bourgeois_ and the _peuple_ (for the old
nicknames had been resumed) had come to blows, with varying fortunes, at
Rouen, Limoges, Paris; not a day passed but the owners of property were
attacked or menaced in either their capital or income: they were asked
to employ labour without selling the produce; they were expected to
remit the rents of their tenants when they themselves possessed no other
means of living. They gave way as long as they could to this tyranny,
and endeavoured at least to turn their weakness to account by publishing
it. I remember reading in the papers of that time this advertisement,
among others, which still strikes me as a model of vanity, poltroonery,
and stupidity harmoniously mingled:

"Mr Editor," it read, "I make use of your paper to inform my tenants
that, desiring to put into practice in my relations with them the
principles of fraternity that should guide all true democrats, I will
hand to those of my tenants who apply for it a formal receipt for their
next quarter's rent."

Meanwhile, a gloomy despair had overspread the middle class thus
threatened and oppressed, and imperceptibly this despair was changing
into courage. I had always believed that it was useless to hope to
settle the movement of the Revolution of February peacefully and
gradually, and that it could only be stopped suddenly, by a great battle
fought in the streets of Paris. I had said this immediately after the
24th of February; and what I now saw persuaded me that this battle was
not only inevitable but imminent, and that it would be well to seize the
first opportunity to deliver it.

The National Assembly met at last on the 4th of May; it was doubtful
until the last moment whether it would meet at all. I believe, in fact,
that the more ardent of the demagogues were often tempted to do without
it, but they dared not; they remained crushed beneath the weight of
their own dogma of the sovereignty of the people.

I should have before my eyes the picture which the Assembly presented at
its opening; but I find, on the contrary, that only a very confused
recollection of it has lingered in my mind. It is a mistake to believe
that events remain present in one's memory in proportion to their
importance or their greatness alone; rather is it certain little
particularities which occur, and cause them to penetrate deep into the
mind, and fix them there in a lasting manner. I only remember that we
shouted, "Long live the Republic" fifteen times during the course of the
sitting, trying who could out-shout the other. The history of the
Assemblies is full of parallel incidents, and one constantly sees one
party exaggerating its feelings in order to embarrass its opponents,
while the latter feign to hold sentiments which they do not possess, in
order to avoid the trap. Both sides, with a common effort, went either
beyond, or in the contrary direction to, the truth. Nevertheless, I
think the cry was sincere enough; only it responded to diverse or even
contrary thoughts. All at that time wished to preserve the Republic; but
some wished to use it for purposes of attack, others for purposes of
defence The newspapers spoke of the enthusiasm of the Assembly and of
the public; there was a great deal of noise, but no enthusiasm at all.
Everyone was too greatly preoccupied with the immediate future to allow
himself to be carried beyond that thought by sentiment of any kind. A
decree of the Provisional Government laid down that the representatives
should wear the costume of the Conventionals, and especially the white
waistcoat with turn-down collar in which Robespierre was always
represented on the stage. I thought at first that this fine notion
originated with Louis Blanc or Ledru-Rollin; but I learned later that it
was due to the flowery and literary imagination of Armand Marrast. No
one obeyed the decree, not even its author; Caussidière was the only one
to adopt the appointed disguise. This drew my attention to him; for I
did not know him by sight any more than most of those who were about to
call themselves the Montagnards, always with the idea of keeping up the
recollection of '93. I beheld a very big and very heavy body, on which
was placed a sugar-loaf head, sunk deep between the two shoulders, with
a wicked, cunning eye, and an air of general good-nature spread over the
rest of his face. In short, he was a mass of shapeless matter, in which
worked a mind sufficiently subtle to know how to make the most of his
coarseness and ignorance.

In the course of the two subsequent days, the members of the Provisional
Government, one after the other, told us what they had done since the
24th of February. Each said a great deal of good of himself, and even a
certain amount of good of his colleagues, although it would be difficult
to meet a body of men who mutually hated one another more sincerely than
these did. Independently of the political hatred and jealousy that
divided them, they seemed still to feel towards each other that peculiar
irritation common to travellers who have been compelled to live
together upon the same ship during a long and stormy passage, without
suiting or understanding one another. At this first sitting I met again
almost all the members of Parliament among whom I had lived. With the
exception of M. Thiers, who had been defeated; of the Duc de Broglie,
who had not stood, I believe; and of Messrs Guizot and Duchâtel, who had
fled, all the famous orators and most of the better-known talkers of the
political world were there; but they found themselves, as it were, out
of their element, they felt isolated and suspected, they both felt and
inspired fear, two contraries often to be met with in the political
world. As yet they possessed none of that influence which their talents
and experience were soon to restore to them. All the remainder of the
Assembly were as much novices as though we had issued fresh from the
Ancien Régime; for, thanks to our system of centralization, public life
had always been confined within the limits of the Chambers, and those
who were neither peers nor deputies scarcely knew what an Assembly was,
nor how one should speak or behave in one. They were absolutely ignorant
of its most ordinary, everyday habits and customs; and they were
inattentive at decisive moments, and listened eagerly to unimportant
things. Thus, on the second day, they crowded round the tribune and
insisted on perfect silence in order to hear read the minutes of the
preceding sitting, imagining that this insignificant form was a most
important piece of business. I am convinced that nine hundred English
or American peasants, picked at random, would have better represented
the appearance of a great political body.

Continuing to imitate the National Convention, the men who professed the
most radical and the most revolutionary opinions had taken their seats
on the highest benches; they were very uncomfortable up there; but it
gave them the right to call themselves Montagnards, and as men always
like to feed on pleasant imaginations, these very rashly flattered
themselves that they bore a resemblance to the celebrated blackguards
whose name they took.

The Montagnards soon divided themselves into two distinct bands: the
Revolutionaries of the old school and the Socialists. Nevertheless, the
two shades were not sharply defined. One passed from the one to the
other by imperceptible tints: the Montagnards proper had almost all some
socialistic ideas in their heads, and the Socialists quite approved of
the revolutionary proceedings of the others. However, they differed
sufficiently among themselves to prevent them from always marching in
step, and it was this that saved us. The Socialists were the more
dangerous, because they answered more nearly to the true character of
the Revolution of February, and to the only passions which it had
aroused; but they were men of theory rather than action, and in order to
upset Society at their pleasure they would have needed the practical
energy and the science of insurrections which only their colleagues in
any measure possessed.

From the seat I occupied it was easy for me to hear what was said on the
benches of the Mountain, and especially to see what went on. This gave
me the opportunity of studying pretty closely the men sitting in that
part of the Chamber. It was for me like discovering a new world. We
console ourselves for not knowing foreign countries, with the reflection
that at least we know our own; but we are wrong, for even in the latter
there are always districts which we have not visited, and races which
are new to us. I experienced this now. It was as though I saw these
Montagnards for the first time, so greatly did their idioms and manners
surprise me. They spoke a lingo which was not, properly speaking, the
French of either the ignorant or the cultured classes, but which partook
of the defects of both, for it abounded in coarse words and ambitious
phrases. One heard issuing from the benches of the Mountain a ceaseless
torrent of insulting or jocular comments; and at the same time there was
poured forth a host of quibbles and maxims; in turns they assumed a very
humorous or a very superb tone. It was evident that these people
belonged neither to the tavern nor the drawing-room; I think they must
have polished their manners in the cafés, and fed their minds on no
literature but that of the daily press. In any case, it was the first
time since the commencement of the Revolution that this type made any
display in one of our Assemblies; until then it had only been
represented by sporadic and unnoticed individuals, who were more
occupied in concealing than in showing themselves.

The Constituent Assembly had two other peculiarities which struck me as
quite as novel as this, although very different from it. It contained an
infinitely greater number of landlords and even of noblemen than any of
the Chambers elected in the days when it was a necessary condition, in
order to be an elector or elected, that you should have money. And also
there was a more numerous and more powerful religious party than even
under the Restoration: I counted three bishops, several vicars-general,
and a Dominican monk, whereas Louis XVIII. and Charles X. had never
succeeded in securing the election of more than one single abbé.

The abolition of all quit-rents, which made part of the electors
dependent upon the rich, and the danger threatening property, which led
the people to choose for their representatives those who were most
interested in defending it, are the principal reasons which explain the
presence of so great a number of landlords. The election of the
ecclesiastics arose from similar causes, and also from a different cause
still worthier of consideration. This cause was the almost general and
very unexpected return of a great part of the nation towards the
concerns of religion.

The Revolution of 1792, when striking the upper classes, had cured them
of their irreligiousness; it had taught them, if not the truth, at least
the social uses of belief. This lesson was lost upon the middle class,
which remained their political heir and their jealous rival; and the
latter had even become more sceptical in proportion as the former seemed
to become more religious. The Revolution of 1848 had just done on a
small scale for our tradesmen what that of 1792 had done for the
nobility: the same reverses, the same terrors, the same conversion; it
was the same picture, only painted smaller and in less bright and, no
doubt, less lasting colours. The clergy had facilitated this conversion
by separating itself from all the old political parties, and entering
into the old, true spirit of the Catholic clergy, which is that it
should belong only to the Church. It readily, therefore, professed
republican opinions, while at the same time it gave to long-established
interests the guarantee of its traditions, its customs and its
hierarchy. It was accepted and made much of by all. The priests sent to
the Assembly were treated with very great consideration, and they
deserved it through their good sense, their moderation and their
modesty. Some of them endeavoured to speak from the tribune, but they
were never able to learn the language of politics. They had forgotten it
too long ago, and all their speeches turned imperceptibly into homilies.

For the rest, the universal voting had shaken the country from top to
bottom without bringing to light a single new man worthy of coming to
the front. I have always held that, whatever method be followed in a
general election, the great majority of the exceptional men whom the
nation possesses definitively succeed in getting elected. The system of
election adopted exercises a great influence only upon the class of
ordinary individuals in the Assembly, who form the ground-work of every
political body. These belong to very different orders and are of very
diverse natures, according to the system upon which the election has
been conducted. Nothing confirmed me in this belief more than did the
sight of the Constituent Assembly. Almost all the men who played the
first part in it were already known to me, but the bulk of the rest
resembled nothing that I had seen before. They were imbued with a new
spirit, and displayed a new character and new manners.

I will say that, in my opinion, and taken all round, this Assembly
compared favourably with those which I had seen. One met in it more men
who were sincere, disinterested, honest and, above all, courageous than
in the Chambers of Deputies among which I had spent my life.

The Constituent Assembly had been elected to make a stand against civil
war. This was its principal merit; and, in fact, so long as it was
necessary to fight, it was great, and only became contemptible after the
victory, and when it felt that it was breaking up in consequence of
this very victory and under the weight of it.

I selected my seat on the left side of the House, on a bench from which
it was easy for me to hear the speakers and to reach the tribune when I
wished to speak myself. A large number of my old friends joined me
there; Lanjuinais, Dufaure, Corcelles, Beaumont and several others sat
near me.

Let me say a word concerning the House itself, although everybody knows
it. This is necessary in order to understand the narrative; and,
moreover, although this monument of wood and plaster is probably
destined to last longer than the Republic of which it was the cradle, I
do not think it will enjoy a very long existence; and when it is
destroyed, many of the events that took place in it will be difficult to

The house formed an oblong of great size. At one end, against the wall,
was the President's platform and the tribune; nine rows of benches rose
gradually along the three other walls. In the middle, facing the
tribune, spread a huge, empty space, like the arena of an amphitheatre,
with this difference, that this arena was square, not round. The
consequence was that most of the listeners only caught a side glimpse of
the speaker, and the only ones who saw him full face were very far away:
an arrangement curiously calculated to promote inattention and disorder.
For the first, who saw the speaker badly, and were continually looking
at one another, were more engaged in threatening and apostrophizing each
other; and the others did not listen any better, because, although able
to see the occupant of the tribune, they heard him badly.

Large windows, placed high up in the walls, opened straight outside, and
admitted air and light; the walls were decorated only with a few flags;
time had, luckily, been wanting in which to add to them all those
spiritless allegories on canvas or pasteboard with which the French love
to adorn their monuments, in spite of their being insipid to those who
can understand them and utterly incomprehensible to the mass of the
people. The whole bore an aspect of immensity, together with an air that
was cold, solemn, and almost melancholy. There were seats for nine
hundred members, a larger number than that of any of the assemblies that
had sat in France for sixty years.

I felt at once that the atmosphere of this assembly suited me.
Notwithstanding the gravity of events, I experienced there a sense of
well-being that was new to me. For the first time since I had entered
public life, I felt myself caught in the current of a majority, and
following in its company the only road which my tastes, my reason and my
conscience pointed out to me: a new and very welcome sensation. I
gathered that this majority would disown the Socialists and the
Montagnards, but was sincere in its desire to maintain and organize the
Republic. I was with it on these two leading points: I had no monarchic
faith, no affection nor regrets for any prince; I felt called upon to
defend no cause save that of liberty and the dignity of mankind. To
protect the ancient laws of Society against the innovators with the help
of the new force which the republican principle might lend to the
government; to cause the evident will of the French people to triumph
over the passions and desires of the Paris workmen; to conquer
demagogism by democracy--that was my only aim. I am not sure that the
dangers to be passed through before it could be attained did not make it
still more attractive to me; for I have a natural inclination for
adventure, and a spice of danger has always seemed to me the best
seasoning that can be given to most of the actions of life.



Lamartine was now at the climax of his fame: to all those whom the
Revolution had injured or alarmed, that is to say, to the great majority
of the nation, he appeared in the light of a saviour. He had been
elected to the Assembly by the city of Paris and no fewer than eleven
departments; I do not believe that ever anybody inspired such keen
transports as those to which he was then giving rise; one must have seen
love thus stimulated by fear to know with what excess of idolatry men
are capable of loving. The transcendental favour which was shown him at
this time was not to be compared with anything except, perhaps, the
excessive injustice which he shortly afterwards received. All the
deputies who came to Paris with the desire to put down the excesses of
the Revolution and to combat the demagogic party regarded him beforehand
as their only possible leader, and looked to him unhesitatingly to place
himself at their head to attack and overthrow the Socialists and
demagogues. They soon discovered that they were deceived, and that
Lamartine did not see the part he was called upon to play in so simple
a light. It must be confessed that his was a very complex and difficult
position. It was forgotten at the time, but he could not himself forget,
that he had contributed more than any other to the success of the
Revolution of February. Terror effaced this remembrance for the moment
from the public mind; but a general feeling of security could not fail
soon to restore it. It was easy to foresee that, so soon as the current
which had brought affairs to their present pitch was arrested, a
contrary current would set in, which would impel the nation in the
opposite direction, and drive it faster and further than Lamartine could
or would go. The success of the Montagnards would involve his immediate
ruin; but their complete defeat would render him useless and must,
sooner or later, remove the government from his hands. He saw,
therefore, that for him there was almost as much danger and loss in
triumph as in defeat.

As a matter of fact, I believe that, if Lamartine had resolutely, from
the first, placed himself at the head of the immense party which desired
to moderate and regulate the course of the Revolution, and had succeeded
in leading it to victory, he would before long have been buried beneath
his own triumph; he would not have been able to stop his army in time,
and it would have left him behind and chosen other leaders.

I doubt whether, whatever line of conduct he had adopted, he could have
retained his power for long. I believe his only remaining chance was to
be gloriously defeated while saving his country. But Lamartine was the
last man to sacrifice himself in this way. I do not know that I have
ever, in this world of selfishness and ambition in which I lived, met a
mind so void of any thought of the public welfare as his. I have seen a
crowd of men disturbing the country in order to raise themselves: that
is an everyday perversity; but he is the only one who seemed to me
always ready to turn the world upside down in order to divert himself.
Neither have I ever known a mind less sincere, nor one that had a more
thorough contempt for the truth. When I say he despised it, I am wrong:
he did not honour it enough to heed it in any way whatever. When
speaking or writing, he spoke the truth or lied, without caring which he
did, occupied only with the effect he wished to produce at the moment.

I had not seen Lamartine since the 24th of February. I saw him the first
time on the day before the opening of the Assembly in the new house,
where I had gone to choose my seat, but I did not speak to him; he was
surrounded by some of his new friends. The instant he saw me, he
pretended some business at the other end of the house, and hurried away
as fast as he could. He sent me word afterwards by Champeaux (who
belonged to him, half as a friend and half as a servant) that I must not
take it ill of him that he avoided me; that his position obliged him to
act in this way towards the members of the late parliament; that my
place was, of course, marked out among the future leaders of the
Republic; but that we must wait till the first temporary difficulties
were surmounted before coming to an agreement. Champeaux also declared
that he was instructed to ask my opinion on the state of business; I
gave it him very readily, but to very little purpose. This established
certain indirect relations between Lamartine and myself through the
intermediary of Champeaux. The latter often came to see me, to inform
me, on behalf of his patron, of the arrangements that were being
prepared; and I sometimes went to see him in a little room he had hired
on the top floor of a house in the Rue Saint-Honoré, where he used to
receive suspicious visitors, although he had a complete set of rooms at
the Foreign Office.

I usually found him overwhelmed with place-hunters; for in France
political mendicancy exists under every form of government. It even
increases through the very revolutions that are directed against it,
because all revolutions ruin a certain number of men, and with us a
ruined man always looks to the State to repair his fortunes. They were
of all kinds, all attracted by the reflection of power which Lamartine's
friendship very transiently cast over Champeaux. I remember among others
a certain cook, not particularly distinguished in his calling, as far as
I could see, who insisted upon entering the service of Lamartine, who
had, he said, become President of the Republic.

"But he's not President yet!" cried Champeaux.

"If he's not so yet, as you say," said the man, "he's going to be, and
he must already be thinking of his kitchen."

In order to rid himself of this scullion's obstinate ambition, Champeaux
promised to bring his name before Lamartine so soon as the latter should
be President of the Republic. The poor man went away quite satisfied,
dreaming no doubt of the very imaginary splendours of his approaching

I frequented Champeaux pretty assiduously during that time, although he
was exceedingly vain, loquacious, and tedious, because, in talking with
him, I became better acquainted with Lamartine's thoughts and projects
than if I had been talking to the great man himself. Lamartine's
intelligence was seen through Champeaux' folly as you see the sun
through a smoked glass, which shows you the luminary deprived of its
heat-rays, but less dazzling to the eye. I easily gathered that in this
world every one was feeding on pretty well the same chimeras as the cook
of whom I have just spoken, and that Lamartine already tasted at the
bottom of his heart the sweets of that sovereign power which was
nevertheless at that very moment escaping from his hands. He was then
following the tortuous road that was so soon to lead him to his ruin,
struggling to dominate the Mountain without overthrowing it, and to
slacken the revolutionary fire without extinguishing it, so as to give
the country a feeling of security strong enough for it to bless him, not
strong enough to cause it to forget him. What he dreaded above all was
that the conduct of the Assembly should be allowed to fall into the
hands of the former parliamentary leaders. This was, I believe, at the
time his dominant passion. One could see this during the great
discussion on the constitution of the Executive Power; never did the
different parties display more visibly the pedantic hypocrisy which
induces them to conceal their interests beneath their ideas: an ordinary
spectacle enough, but more striking at this time than usual, because the
needs of the moment compelled each party to shelter itself behind
theories which were foreign or even opposed to it. The old royalist
party maintained that the Assembly itself should govern and choose its
ministers: a theory that was almost demagogic; and the demagogues
declared that the Executive Power should be entrusted to a permanent
commission, which should govern and select all the agents of the
government: a system that approached the monarchic idea. All this
verbiage only meant that one side wished to remove Ledru-Rollin from
power, and the other to keep him there.

The nation saw in Ledru-Rollin the bloody image of the Terror; it beheld
in him the genius of evil as in Lamartine the genius of good, and it was
mistaken in both cases. Ledru-Rollin was nothing more than a very
sensual and sanguine heavy fellow, quite without principles and almost
without brains, possessing no real courage of mind or heart, and even
free from malice: for he naturally wished well to all the world, and was
incapable of cutting the throats of any one of his adversaries, except,
perhaps, for the sake of historical reminiscences, or to accommodate his

The result of the debate remained long doubtful: Barrot turned it
against us by making a very fine speech in our favour. I have witnessed
many of these unforeseen incidents in parliamentary life, and have seen
parties constantly deceived in the same way, because they always think
only of the pleasure they themselves derive from their great orator's
words, and never of the dangerous excitement he promotes in their

When Lamartine, who till then had kept silent and remained, I believe,
in indecision, heard, for the first time since February, the voice of
the ex-leader of the Left resounding with brilliancy and success, he
suddenly made up his mind, and spoke. "You understand," said Champeaux
to me the next day, "that before all it was necessary to prevent the
Assembly from coming to a resolution upon Barrot's advice." So Lamartine
spoke, and, according to his custom, spoke in brilliant fashion.

The majority, who had already adopted the course that Barrot had urged
upon them, wheeled round as they listened to him (for this Assembly was
more credulous and more submissive than any that I had ever seen to the
wiles of eloquence: it was novice and innocent enough to seek for
reasons for their decisions in the speeches of the orators). Thus
Lamartine won his cause, but missed his fortune; for he that day gave
rise to the mistrust which soon arose and hurled him from his pinnacle
of popularity more quickly than he had mounted it. Suspicion took a
definite form the very next day, when he was seen to patronize
Ledru-Rollin and force the hand of his own friends in order to induce
them to appoint the latter as his colleague on the Executive Commission.
At this sight there arose in the Assembly and in the nation
inexpressible disappointment, terror and rage. For my part, I
experienced these two last emotions in the highest degree; I clearly
perceived that Lamartine was turning out of the high-road that led us
away from anarchy, and I could not guess into what abyss he might lead
us if we followed the byways which he was treading. How was it possible,
indeed, to foresee how far an always exuberant imagination might go,
unrestrained by reason or virtue? Lamartine's common-sense impressed me
no more than did his disinterestedness; and, in fact, I believed him
capable of everything except cowardly behaviour or vulgar oratory.

I confess that the events of June to a certain extent modified the
opinion I had formed of his manner of proceeding. They showed that our
adversaries were more numerous, better organized and, above all, more
determined than I had thought.

Lamartine, who had seen nothing but Paris during the last two months,
and who had there, so to speak, lived in the very heart of the
revolutionary party, exaggerated the power of the Capital and the
inactivity of the rest of France. He over-estimated both. But I am not
sure that I, on my side, did not strain a point on the other side. The
road we ought to follow seemed to me so clearly and visibly traced that
I would not admit the possibility of deviating from it by mistake; it
seemed obvious to me that we should hasten to profit by the moral force
possessed by the Assembly in order to escape from the hands of the
people, seize upon the government, and by a great effort establish it
upon a solid basis. Every delay seemed to me calculated to diminish our
power, and to strengthen the hand of our adversaries.

It was, in fact, during the six months that elapsed between the opening
of the Assembly and the events of June that the Paris workmen grew bold,
and took courage to resist, organized themselves, procured both arms and
ammunition, and made their final preparations for the struggle. In any
case, I am led to believe that it was Lamartine's tergiversations and
his semi-connivance with the enemy that saved us, while it ruined him.
Their effect was to amuse the leaders of the Mountain, and to divide
them. The Montagnards of the old school, who were retained in the
Government, separated themselves from the Socialists, who were excluded
from it. Had all been united by a common interest, and impelled by
common despair before our victory, as they became since, it is doubtful
whether that victory would have been won. When I consider that we were
almost effaced, although we were opposed only by the revolutionary party
without its leaders, I ask myself what the result of the contest would
have been if those leaders had come forward, and if the insurrection had
been supported by a third of the National Assembly.

Lamartine saw these dangers more closely and clearly than I, and I
believe to-day that the fear of arousing a mortal conflict influenced
his conduct as much as did his ambition. I might have formed this
opinion at the time had I listened to Madame de Lamartine, whose alarm
for the safety of her husband, and even of the Assembly, amounted to
extravagance. "Beware," she said to me, each time she met me, "beware of
pushing things to extremes; you do not know the strength of the
revolutionary party. If we enter into conflict with it, we shall
perish." I have often reproached myself for not cultivating Madame de
Lamartine's acquaintance, for I have always found her to possess real
virtue, although she added to it almost all the faults which can cling
to virtue, and which, without impairing it, render it less lovable: an
imperious temper, great personal pride, an upright but unyielding, and
sometimes bitter, spirit; so much so that it was impossible not to
respect her, and impossible to like her.


     THE 15TH OF MAY 1848.

The revolutionary party had not dared to oppose the meeting of the
Assembly, but it refused to be dominated by it. On the contrary, it well
understood how to keep the Assembly in subjection, and to obtain from it
by constraint what it refused to grant from sympathy. Already the clubs
rang with threats and insults against the deputies. And as the French,
in their political passions, are as argumentative as they are insensible
to argument, these popular meeting-places were incessantly occupied in
manufacturing theories that formed the ground-work of subsequent acts of
violence. It was held that the people always remained superior to its
representatives, and never completely surrendered its will into their
hands: a true principle from which the false conclusion was drawn that
the Paris workmen were the French people. Since our first sitting, a
vague and widespread agitation had never ceased to reign in the town.
The mob met every day in the streets and squares; it spread aimlessly,
like the swell of the waves. The approaches to the Assembly were always
filled with a gathering of these redoubtable idlers. A demagogic party
has so many heads, chance always plays so great, and reason so small, a
part in its actions that it is almost impossible to say, either before
or after the event, what it wants or what it wanted. Nevertheless, my
opinion then was, and has since remained, that the leading demagogues
did not aim at destroying the Assembly, and that, as yet, they only
sought to make use of it by mastering it. The attack directed against it
on the 15th of May seemed intended rather to frighten than to overthrow
it; it was at least one of those equivocal enterprises which so
frequently occur in times of popular excitement, in which the promoters
themselves are careful not to trace or define precisely their plan or
their aim, so as to remain free to limit themselves to a peaceful
demonstration or force on a revolution, according to the incidents of
the day.

Some attempt of this kind had been expected for over a week; but the
habit of living in a continual state of alarm ends in rendering both
individuals and assemblies incapable of discerning, amid the signs
announcing the approach of danger, that which immediately precedes it.
We only knew that there was a question of a great popular demonstration
in favour of Poland, and we were but vaguely disturbed at it. Doubtless
the members of the Government were better informed and more alarmed than
we, but they kept their own counsel, and I was not sufficiently in touch
with them to penetrate into their secret thoughts.

Thus it happened that, on the 15th of May, I reached the Assembly
without foreseeing what was going to happen. The sitting began as any
other sitting might have begun; and what was very strange, twenty
thousand men already surrounded the chamber, without a single sound from
the outside having announced their presence. Wolowski was in the
tribune: he was mumbling between his teeth I know not what commonplaces
about Poland, when the mob at last betrayed its approach with a terrible
shout, which penetrated from every side through the upper windows, left
open because of the heat, and fell upon us as though from the sky. Never
had I imagined that a number of human voices could together produce so
immense a volume of sound, and the sight of the crowd itself, when it
surged into the Assembly, did not seem to me so formidable as that first
roar which it had uttered before showing itself. Many members, yielding
to a first impulse of curiosity or fear, sprang to their feet; others
shouted violently, "Keep your seats!" Everyone sat down again firmly on
his bench, and kept silence. Wolowski resumed his speech, and continued
it for some time. It must have been the first time in his life that he
was listened to in silence; and even now it was not he to whom we
listened, but the crowd outside, whose murmurs grew momentarily louder
and nearer.

Suddenly Degousée, one of our questors, solemnly mounted the steps of
the tribune, silently pushed Wolowski aside, and said, "Contrary to the
wishes of the questors, General Courtais has ordered the Gardes Mobiles
guarding the doors of the Assembly to sheathe their bayonets."

After uttering these few words he stopped. This Degousée, who was a very
good man, had the most hang-dog look and the hollowest voice imaginable.
The news, the man and the voice combined to create a curious impression.
The Assembly was roused, but immediately grew calm again; it was too
late to do anything: the chamber was forced.

Lamartine, who had gone out at the first noise, returned to the door
with a disconcerted air; he crossed the central gangway and regained his
seat with great strides, as though pursued by some enemy invisible to
us. Almost immediately, there appeared behind him a number of men of the
people, who stopped still on the threshold, surprised at the sight of
this immense seated assembly. At the same moment, as on the 24th of
February, the galleries were noisily opened and invaded by a flood of
people, who filled and more than filled them. Pressed forward by the mob
who followed and pushed them without seeing them, the first comers
climbed over the balustrades of the galleries, trusting to find room in
the Chamber itself, the floor of which was not more than ten feet
beneath them, hung down along the walls, and dropped the distance of
four or five feet into the Chamber. The fall of each of these bodies
striking the floor in succession produced a dull concussion which at
first, amid the tumult, I took for the distant sound of cannon. While
one part of the mob was thus falling into the house, the other, composed
principally of the club-leaders, entered by every door. They carried
various emblems of the Terror, and waved flags of which some were
surmounted by a red cap.

In an instant the mob had filled the large empty space in the centre of
the Assembly; and finding itself pressed for room, it climbed all the
little gangways leading to our benches, and crowded more and more into
these narrow spaces without ceasing its agitation. Amid this tumultuous
and incessant commotion, the dust became very thick and the heat so
oppressive that perhaps I would have gone out to breathe some fresh air,
had it been merely a question of the public interest. But honour kept us
glued to our seats.

Some of the intruders were openly armed, others showed glimpses of
concealed weapons, but none seemed to entertain a fixed intention of
striking us. Their expression was one of astonishment and ill-will
rather than enmity; with many of them a sort of vulgar curiosity in
course of gratifying itself seemed to dominate every other sentiment;
for even in our most sanguinary insurrections there are always a number
of people half scoundrels, half sight-seers, who fancy themselves at the
play. Moreover, there was no common leader whom they seemed to obey; it
was a mob of men, not a troop. I saw some drunken men among them, but
the majority seemed to be the prey of a feverish excitement imparted to
them by the enthusiasm and shouting without and the stifling heat, the
close packing and general discomfort within. They dripped with sweat,
although the nature and condition of their clothing was not calculated
to make the heat very uncomfortable for them, for several were quite
bare-breasted. There rose from this multitude a confused noise from the
midst of which one sometimes heard very threatening observations. I
caught sight of men who shook their fists at us and called us their
agents. This expression was often repeated; for several days the
ultra-democratic newspapers had done nothing but call the
representatives the agents of the people, and these blackguards had
taken kindly to the idea. A moment after, I had an opportunity of
observing with what vivacity and clearness the popular mind receives and
reflects images. I heard a man in a blouse, standing next to me, say to
his fellow, "See that vulture down there? I should like to twist its
neck." I followed the movement of his arm and his eyes and saw without
difficulty that he was speaking of Lacordaire, who was sitting in his
Dominican's frock on the top bench of the Left. The sentiment struck me
as very unhandsome, but the comparison was admirable; the priest's long,
bony neck issuing from its white cowl, his bald head surrounded only
with a tuft of black hair, his narrow face, his hooked nose and his
fixed, glittering eyes really gave him a striking resemblance to the
bird of prey in question.

During all this disorder in its midst, the Assembly sat passive and
motionless on its benches, neither resisting nor giving way, silent and
firm. A few members of the Mountain fraternized with the mob, but
stealthily and in whispers. Raspail had taken possession of the tribune
and was preparing to read the petition of the clubs; a young deputy,
d'Adelsward, rose and exclaimed, "By what right does Citizen Raspail
claim to speak here?" A furious howling arose; some men of the people
made a rush at d'Adelsward, but were stopped and held back. With great
difficulty, Raspail obtained a moment's silence from his friends, and
read the petition, or rather the orders, of the clubs, which enjoined us
to pronounce forthwith in favour of Poland.

"No delay, we're waiting for the answer!" was shouted on every side. The
Assembly continued to give no sign of life; the mob, in its disorder and
impatience, made a horrible noise, which by itself alone saved us from
making a reply. Buchez, the President, whom some would make out to be a
rascal and others a saint, but who undoubtedly, on that day, was a great
blockhead, rang his bell with all his might to obtain silence, as though
the silence of that multitude was not, under the present circumstances,
more to be dreaded than its cries.

It was then that I saw appear, in his turn, in the tribune a man whom I
have never seen since, but the recollection of whom has always filled me
with horror and disgust. He had wan, emaciated cheeks, white lips, a
sickly, wicked and repulsive expression, a dirty pallor, the appearance
of a mouldy corpse; he wore no visible linen; an old black frock-coat
tightly covered his lean, withered limbs; he seemed to have passed his
life in a sewer, and to have just left it. I was told it was Blanqui.[9]

     [9: Auguste Blanqui, brother to Jérôme Adolphe Blanqui the
     economist.--A.T. de M.]

Blanqui said one word about Poland; then, turning sharply to domestic
affairs, he asked for revenge for what he called the massacres of Rouen,
recalled with threats the wretchedness in which the people had been
left, and complained of the wrongs done to the latter by the Assembly.
After thus exciting his hearers, he returned to Poland and, like
Raspail, demanded an immediate vote.

The Assembly continued to sit motionless, the people to move about and
utter a thousand contradictory exclamations, the President to ring his
bell. Ledru-Rollin tried to persuade the mob to withdraw, but nobody was
now able to exercise any influence over it. Ledru-Rollin, almost hooted,
left the tribune.

The tumult was renewed, increased, multiplied itself as it were, for the
mob was no longer sufficiently master of itself to be able even to
understand the necessity for a moment's self-restraint in order to
attain the object of its passion. A long interval passed; at last Barbès
darted up and climbed, or rather leapt, into the tribune. He was one of
those men in whom the demagogue, the madman and the knight-errant are so
closely intermingled that it is not possible to say where one ends or
the other commences, and who can only make their way in a society as
sick and troubled as ours. I am inclined to believe that it was the
madman that predominated in him, and his madness became raging when he
heard the voice of the people. His soul boiled as naturally amid popular
passion as water does on the fire. Since our invasion by the mob, I had
not taken my eyes from him; I considered him by far the most formidable
of our adversaries, because he was the most insane, the most
disinterested, and the most resolute of them all. I had seen him mount
the platform on which the President sat, and stand for a long time
motionless, only turning his agitated gaze about the Assembly; I had
observed and pointed out to my neighbours the distortion of his
features, his livid pallor, the convulsive excitement which caused him
each moment to twist his moustache between his fingers; he stood there
as the image of irresolution, leaning already towards an extreme side.
This time, Barbès had made up his mind; he proposed in some way to sum
up the passions of the people, and to make sure of victory by stating
its object in terms of precision:

"I demand," said he, in panting, jerking tones, "that, immediately and
before rising, the Assembly shall vote the departure of an army for
Poland, a tax of a milliard upon the rich, the removal of the troops
from Paris, and shall forbid the beating to arms; if not, the
representatives to be declared traitors to the country."

I believe we should have been lost if Barbès had succeeded in getting
his motion put to the vote; for if the Assembly had accepted it, it
would have been dishonoured and powerless, whereas, if it had rejected
it, which was probable, we should have run the risk of having our
throats cut. But Barbès himself did not succeed in obtaining a brief
space of silence so as to compel us to take a decision. The huge clamour
that followed his last words was not to be appeased; on the contrary, it
continued in a thousand varied intonations. Barbès exhausted himself in
his efforts to still it, but in vain, although he was powerfully aided
by the President's bell, which, during all this time, never ceased to
sound, like a knell.

This extraordinary sitting had lasted since two o'clock; the Assembly
held out, its ears pricked up to catch any sound from the outside,
waiting for assistance to come. But Paris seemed a dead city. Listen as
we might, we heard no rumour issue from it.

This passive resistance irritated and incensed the people; it was like a
cold, even surface upon which its fury glided without knowing what to
catch hold of; it struggled and writhed in vain, without finding any
issue to its undertaking. A thousand diverse and contradictory clamours
filled the air: "Let us go away," cried some.... "The organization of
labour.... A ministry of labour.... A tax on the rich.... We want Louis
Blanc!" cried others; they ended by fighting at the foot of the tribune
to decide who should mount it; five or six orators occupied it at once,
and often all spoke together. As always happens in insurrections, the
terrible was mingled with the ridiculous. The heat was so stifling that
many of the first intruders left the Chamber; they were forthwith
replaced by others who had been waiting at the doors to come in. In this
way I saw a fireman in uniform making his way down the gangway that
passed along my bench. "We can't make them vote!" they shouted to him.
"Wait, wait," he replied, "I'll see to it, I'll give them a piece of my
mind." Thereupon he pulled his helmet over his eyes with a determined
air, fastened the straps, squeezed through the crowd, pushing aside all
who stood in his way, and mounted the tribune. He imagined he would be
as much at his ease there as upon a roof, but he could not find his
words and stopped short. The people cried, "Speak up, fireman!" but he
did not speak a word, and they ended by turning him out of the tribune.
Just then a number of men of the people caught Louis Blanc in their arms
and carried him in triumph round the Chamber. They held him by his
little legs above their heads; I saw him make vain efforts to extricate
himself: he twisted and turned on every side without succeeding in
escaping from their hands, talking all the while in a choking, strident
voice. He reminded me of a snake having its tail pinched. They put him
down at last on a bench beneath mine. I heard him cry, "My friends, the
right you have just won...." but the remainder of his words were lost in
the din. I was told that Sobrier was carried in the same way a little
lower down.

A very tragic incident nearly put an end to these saturnalia: the
benches at the bottom of the house suddenly cracked, gave way more than
a foot, and threatened to hurl into the Chamber the crowd which
overloaded it, and which fled off in affright. This alarming occurrence
put a momentary stop to the commotion; and I then first heard, in the
distance, the sound of drums beating the call to arms in Paris. The mob
heard it too, and uttered a long yell of rage and terror. "Why are they
beating to arms?" exclaimed Barbès, beside himself, making his way to
the tribune afresh. "Who is beating to arms? Let those who have given
the order be outlawed!" Cries of "We are betrayed, to arms! To the Hôtel
de Ville!" rose from the crowd.

The President was driven from his chair, whence, if we are to believe
the version he since gave, he caused himself to be driven voluntarily. A
club-leader called Huber climbed to his seat and hoisted a flag
surmounted by a red cap. The man had, it seemed, just recovered from a
long epileptic swoon, caused doubtless by the excitement and the heat;
it was on recovering from this sort of troubled sleep that he came
forward. His clothes were still in disorder, his look scared and
haggard. He exclaimed twice over in a resounding voice, which, uttered
from aloft, filled the house and dominated every other sound, "In the
name of the people, betrayed by its representatives, I declare the
National Assembly dissolved!"

The Assembly, deprived of its President, broke up. Barbès and the bolder
of the club politicians went out to go to the Hôtel de Ville. This
conclusion to the affair was far from meeting the general wishes. I
heard men of the people beside me say to each other, in an aggrieved
tone, "No, no, that's not what we want." Many sincere Republicans were
in despair. I was first accosted, amid this tumult, by Trétat, a
revolutionary of the sentimental kind, a dreamer who had plotted in
favour of the Republic during the whole existence of the Monarchy.
Moreover, he was a physician of distinction, who was at that time at the
head of one of the principal mad-houses in Paris, although he was a
little cracked himself. He took my hands effusively, and with tears in
his eyes:

"Ah, monsieur," he said, "what a misfortune, and how strange it is to
think that it is madmen, real madmen, who have brought this about! I
have treated or prescribed for each one of them. Blanqui is a madman,
Barbès is a madman, Sobrier is a madman, Huber is the greatest madman of
them all: they are all madmen, monsieur, who ought to be locked up at my
Salpétrière instead of being here."

He would certainly have added his own name to the list, had he known
himself as well as he knew his old friends. I have always thought that
in revolutions, especially democratic revolutions, madmen, not those so
called by courtesy, but genuine madmen, have played a very considerable
political part. One thing at least is certain, and that is that a
condition of semi-madness is not unbecoming at such times, and often
even leads to success.

The Assembly had dispersed, but it will be readily believed that it did
not consider itself dissolved. Nor did it even regard itself as
defeated. The majority of the members who left the House did so with the
firm intention of soon meeting again elsewhere; they said so to one
another, and I am convinced that they were, in fact, quite resolved upon
it. As for myself, I decided to stay behind, kept back partly by the
feeling of curiosity that irresistibly retains me in places where
anything uncommon is proceeding, and partly by the opinion which I held
then, as I did on the 24th of February, that the strength of an assembly
in a measure resides in the hall it occupies. I therefore remained and
witnessed the grotesque and disorderly, but meaningless and
uninteresting, scenes that followed. The mob set itself, amid a
thousand disorders and a thousand cries, to form a Provisional
Government. It was a parody of the 24th of February, just as the 24th of
February was a parody of other revolutionary scenes. This had lasted
some time, when I thought that among all the noise I heard an irregular
sound coming from the outside of the Palace. I have a very quick ear,
and I was not slow in distinguishing the sound of a drum approaching and
beating the charge; for in our days of civil disorder, everyone has
learnt to know the language of these warlike instruments. I at once
hurried to the door by which these new arrivals would enter.

It was, in fact, a drum preceding some forty Gardes Mobiles. These lads
pierced through the crowd with a certain air of resolution, although one
could not clearly say at first what they proposed to do. Soon they
disappeared from sight and remained as though submerged; but a short
distance behind them marched a compact column of National Guards, who
rushed into the House with significant shouts of "Long live the National
Assembly!" I stuck my card of membership in my hat-band and entered with
them. They first cleared the platform of five or six orators, who were
at that moment speaking at once, and flung them, with none too great
ceremony, down the steps of the little staircase that leads to it. At
the sight of this, the insurgents at first made as though to resist; but
a panic seized them. Climbing over the empty benches, tumbling over one
another in the gangways, they made for the outer lobbies and sprang into
the court-yards from every window. In a few minutes there remained only
the National Guards, whose cries of "Long live the National Assembly"
shook the walls of the Chamber.

The Assembly itself was absent; but little by little the members who had
dispersed in the neighbourhood hastened up. They shook the hands of the
National Guards, embraced each other, and regained their seats. The
National Guards cried, "Long live the National Assembly!" and the
members, "Long live the National Guard! and long live the Republic!"

No sooner was the hall recaptured, than General Courtais, the original
author of our danger, had the incomparable impudence to present himself;
the National Guards received him with yells of fury; he was seized and
dragged to the foot of the rostrum. I saw him pass before my eyes, pale
as a dying man among the flashing swords: thinking they would cut his
throat, I cried with all my might, "Tear off his epaulettes, but don't
kill him!" which was done.

Then Lamartine reappeared. I never learnt how he had employed his time
during the three hours wherein we were invaded. I had caught sight of
him during the first hour: he was seated at that moment on a bench below
mine, and he was combing his hair, glued together with perspiration,
with a little comb he drew from his pocket; the crowd formed again and
I saw him no more. Apparently he went to the inner rooms of the Palace,
into which the mob had also penetrated, with the intention of haranguing
it, and was very badly received. I was given, on the next day, some
curious details of this scene, which I would have related here if I had
not resolved to set down only what I have myself observed. They say
that, subsequently, he withdrew to the palace then being built, close at
hand, and destined for the Foreign Office. He would certainly have done
better had he placed himself at the head of the National Guards and come
to our release. I think he must have been seized with the faintness of
heart that overcomes the bravest (and he was one of these) when
possessed of a restless and lively imagination.

When he returned to the Chamber, he had recovered his energy and his
eloquence. He told us that his place was not in the Assembly, but in the
streets, and that he was going to march upon the Hôtel de Ville and
crush the insurrection. This was the last time I heard him
enthusiastically cheered. True, it was not he alone that they applauded,
but the victory: those cheers and clappings were but an echo of the
tumultuous passions that still agitated every breast. Lamartine went
out. The drums, which had beat the charge half-an-hour before, now beat
the march. The National Guards and the Gardes Mobiles, who were still
with us in crowds, formed themselves into order and followed him. The
Assembly, still very incomplete, resumed its sitting; it was six

I went home an instant to take some food; I then returned to the
Assembly, which had declared its sitting permanent. We soon learnt that
the members of the new Provisional Government had been arrested. Barbès
was impeached, as was that old fool of a Courtais, who deserved a sound
thrashing and no more. Many wished to include Louis Blanc, who, however,
had pluckily undertaken to defend himself; he had just escaped with
difficulty from the fury of the National Guards at the door, and still
wore his torn clothes, covered with dust and all disordered. This time
he did not send for the stool on which he used to climb in order to
bring his head above the level of the rostrum balustrade (for he was
almost a dwarf); he even forgot the effect he wished to produce, and
thought only of what he had to say. In spite of that, or rather because
of that, he won his case for the moment. I never considered him to
possess talent except on that one day; for I do not call talent the art
of polishing brilliant and hollow phrases, which are like finely chased
dishes containing nothing.

For the rest, I was so fatigued by the excitement of the day that I have
retained but a dull, indistinct remembrance of the night sitting. I
shall therefore say no more, for I wish only to record my personal
impressions: for facts in detail it is the _Moniteur_, not I, that
should be consulted.



The revolutionaries of 1848, unwilling or unable to imitate the
bloodthirsty follies of their predecessors, consoled themselves by
imitating their ludicrous follies. They took it into their heads to give
the people a series of grand allegorical festivals.

Despite the terrible condition of the finances, the Provisional
Government had decided that a sum of one or two millions should be spent
upon celebrating the Feast of Concord in the Champ-de-Mars.

According to the programme, which was published in advance and
faithfully followed out, the Champ-de-Mars was to be filled with figures
representing all sorts of persons, virtues, political institutions, and
even public services. France, Germany and Italy, hand in hand; Equality,
Liberty and Fraternity, also hand in hand; Agriculture, Commerce, the
Army, the Navy and, above all, the Republic; the last of colossal
dimensions. A car was to be drawn by sixteen plough-horses: "this car,"
said the programme aforesaid, "will be of a simple and rustic shape, and
will carry three trees, an oak, a laurel, and an olive tree,
symbolizing strength, honour, and plenty; and, moreover, a plough in the
midst of a group of flowers and ears of corn. Ploughmen and young girls
dressed in white will surround the car, singing patriotic hymns." We
were also promised oxen with gilded horns, but did not get them.

The National Assembly had not the smallest desire to see all these
beautiful things; it even feared lest the immense gathering of people
which was sure to be occasioned should produce some dangerous riot.
Accordingly, it put the date as far back as possible; but the
preparations were made, there was no possibility of going back from it,
and the date was fixed for the 21st of May.

On that day I went early to the Assembly, which was to proceed on foot,
in a body, to the Champ-de-Mars. I had put my pistols in my pockets, and
in talking to my colleagues I discovered that most of them were secretly
armed, like myself: one had taken a sword-stick, another a dagger;
nearly all carried some weapon of defence. Edmond de La Fayette showed
me a weapon of a peculiar kind. It was a ball of lead sewn into a short
leathern thong which could easily be fastened to the arm: one might have
called it a portable club. La Fayette declared that this little
instrument was being widely carried by the National Assembly, especially
since the 15th of May. It was thus that we proceeded to this Feast of

A sinister rumour ran that some great danger awaited the Assembly when
it should cross through the crowd of the Champ-de-Mars and take up its
place on the stage reserved for it outside the Military College. As a
matter of fact, nothing could have been easier than to make it the
object of an unexpected attack during this progress, which it made on
foot and, so to speak, unguarded. Its real safeguard lay in the
recollection of the 15th of May, and that sufficed. It very rarely
happens, whatever opportunity may present itself, that a body is
affronted the day after its triumph. Moreover, the French never do two
things at a time. Their minds often change their object, but they are
always devoted wholly to that occupying them at the moment, and I
believe there is no precedent of their making an insurrection in the
middle of a fête or even of a ceremony. On this day, therefore, the
people seemed to enter willingly into the fictitious idea of its
happiness, and for a moment to place on one side the recollection of its
miseries and its hatreds. It was animated, without being turbulent. The
programme had stated that a "fraternal confusion" was to prevail. There
was, it is true, extreme confusion, but no disorder; for we are strange
people: we cannot do without the police when we are orderly, and so soon
as we start a revolution, the police seem superfluous. The sight of this
popular joyfulness enraptured the moderate and sincere Republicans, and
made them almost maudlin. Carnot observed to me, with that silliness
which the honest democrat always mingles with his virtue:

"Believe me, my dear colleague, one should always trust the people."

I remember rather brusquely replying, "Ah! why didn't you tell me that
before the 15th?"

The Executive Commission occupied one half of the immense stage that had
been erected along the Military College, and the National Assembly the
other. There first defiled past us the different emblems of all nations,
which took an enormous time, because of the fraternal confusion of which
the programme spoke. Then came the car, and then the young girls dressed
in white. There were at least three hundred of them, who wore their
virginal costume in so virile a fashion that they might have been taken
for boys dressed up as girls. Each had been given a big bouquet to
carry, which they were so gallant as to throw to us as they passed. As
these gossips were the owners of very nervous arms, and were more
accustomed, I should think, to using the laundress's beetle than to
strewing flowers, the bouquets fell down upon us in a very hard and
uncomfortable hail-storm.

One tall girl left her companions and, stopping in front of Lamartine,
recited an ode to his glory. Gradually she grew excited in talking, so
much so that she pulled a terrible face and began to make the most
alarming contortions. Never had enthusiasm seemed to me to come so near
to epilepsy. When she had finished, the people insisted at all costs
that Lamartine should kiss her; she offered him two fat cheeks,
streaming with perspiration, which he touched with the tip of his lips
and with indifferent bad grace.

The only serious portion of the fête was the review. I have never seen
so many armed men in one spot in my life, and I believe that few have
seen more. Apart from the innumerable crowd of sight-seers in the
Champ-de-Mars, one saw an entire people under arms. The _Moniteur_
estimated the number of National Guards and soldiers of the line who
were there at three hundred thousand. This seemed to me to be
exaggerated, but I do not think that the number could be reduced to less
than two hundred thousand.

The spectacle of those two hundred thousand bayonets will never leave my
memory. As the men who carried them were tightly pressed against one
another, so as to be able to keep within the slopes of the
Champ-de-Mars, and as we, from our but slightly raised position, could
only throw an almost horizontal glance upon them, they formed, to our
eyes, a flat and lightly undulating surface, which flashed in the sun
and made the Champ-de-Mars resemble a great lake filled with liquid

All these men marched past us in succession, and we noticed that this
army numbered many more muskets than uniforms. Only the legions from the
wealthier parts of the town presented a large number of National Guards
clad in military uniform. They were the first to appear, and shouted,
"Long live the National Assembly!" with much enthusiasm. In the legions
from the suburbs, which formed in themselves veritable armies, one saw
little but jackets and blouses, though this did not prevent them from
marching with a very warlike aspect. Most of them, as they passed us,
were content to shout, "Long live the Democratic Republic!" or to sing
the _Marseillaise_ or the song of the _Girondins_. Next came the legions
of the outskirts, composed of peasants, badly equipped, badly armed, and
dressed in blouses like the workmen of the suburbs, but filled with a
very different spirit to that of the latter, as they showed by their
cries and gestures. The battalions of the Garde Mobile uttered various
exclamations, which left us full of doubt and anxiety as to the
intention of these lads, or rather children, who at that time more than
any other held our destinies in their hands.

The regiments of the line, who closed the review, marched past in

I witnessed this long parade with a heart filled with sadness. Never at
any time had so many arms been placed at once into the hands of the
people. It will be easily believed that I shared neither the simple
confidence nor the stupid happiness of my friend Carnot; I foresaw, on
the contrary, that all the bayonets I saw glittering in the sun would
soon be raised against each other, and I felt that I was at a review of
the two armies of the civil war that was just concluded. In the course
of that day I still heard frequent shouts of "Long live Lamartine!"
although his great popularity was already waning. In fact, one might say
it was over, were it not that in every crowd one meets with a large
number of belated individuals who are stirred with the enthusiasm of
yesterday, like the provincials who begin to adopt the Paris mode on the
day when the Parisians abandon it.

Lamartine hastened to withdraw from this last ray of his sun: he retired
long before the ceremony was finished. He looked weary and care-worn.
Many members of the Assembly, also overcome with fatigue, followed his
example, and the review ended in front of almost empty benches. It had
begun early and ended at night-fall.

The whole time elapsing between the review of the 21st of May and the
days of June was filled with the anxiety caused by the approach of these
latter days. Every day fresh alarms came and called out the army and the
National Guard; the artisans and shopkeepers no longer lived at home,
but in the public places and under arms. Each one fervently desired to
avoid the necessity of a conflict, and all vaguely felt that this
necessity was becoming more inevitable from day to day. The National
Assembly was so constantly possessed by this thought that one might have
said that it read the words "Civil War" written on the four walls of the

On all sides great efforts of prudence and patience were being made to
prevent, or at least delay, the crisis. Members who in their hearts were
most hostile to the revolution were careful to restrain any expressions
of sympathy or antipathy; the old parliamentary orators were silent,
lest the sound of their voices should give umbrage; they left the
rostrum to the new-comers, who themselves but rarely occupied it, for
the great debates had ceased. As is common in all assemblies, that which
most disturbed the members' minds was that of which they spoke least,
though it was proved that each day they thought of it. All sorts of
measures to help the misery of the people were proposed and discussed.
We even entered readily into an examination of the different socialistic
systems, and each strove in all good faith to discover in these
something applicable to, or at least compatible with, the ancient laws
of Society.

During this time, the national workshops continued to fill; their
population already exceeded one hundred thousand men. It was felt that
we could not live if they were kept on, and it was feared that we should
perish if we tried to dismiss them. This burning question of the
national workshops was treated daily, but superficially and timidly; it
was constantly touched upon, but never firmly taken in hand.

On the other hand, it was clear that, outside the Assembly, the
different parties, while dreading the contest, were actively preparing
for it. The wealthy legions of the National Guard offered banquets to
the army and to the Garde Mobile, in which they mutually urged each
other to unite for the common defence.

The workmen of the suburbs, on their side, were secretly amassing that
great number of cartridges which enabled them later to sustain so long a
contest. As to the muskets, the Provisional Government had taken care
that these should be supplied in profusion; one could safely say that
there was not a workman who did not possess at least one, and sometimes

The danger was perceived afar off as well as near at hand. The provinces
grew indignant and irritated with Paris; for the first time for sixty
years they ventured to entertain the idea of resisting it; the people
armed themselves and encouraged each other to come to the assistance of
the Assembly; they sent it thousands of addresses congratulating it on
its victory of the 15th of May. The ruin of commerce, universal war, the
dread of Socialism made the Republic more and more hateful in the eyes
of the provinces. This hatred manifested itself especially beneath the
secrecy of the ballot. The electors were called upon to re-elect in
twenty-one departments; and in general they elected the men who in their
eyes represented the Monarchy in some form or other. M. Molé was elected
at Bordeaux, and M. Thiers at Rouen.

It was then that suddenly, for the first time, the name of Louis
Napoleon came into notice. The Prince was elected at the same time in
Paris and in several departments. Republicans, Legitimists and
demagogues gave him their votes; for the nation at that time was like a
frightened flock of sheep, which runs in all directions without
following any road. I little thought, when I heard that Louis Napoleon
had been nominated, that exactly a year later I should be his minister.
I confess that I beheld the return of the old parliamentary leaders with
considerable apprehension and regret; not that I failed to do justice to
their talent and discretion, but I feared lest their approach should
drive back towards the Mountain the moderate Republicans who were coming
towards us. Moreover, I knew them too well not to see that, so soon as
they had returned to political life, they would wish to lead it, and
that it would not suit them to save the country unless they could govern
it. Now an enterprise of this sort seemed to me both premature and
dangerous. Our duty and theirs was to assist the moderate Republicans to
govern the Republic without seeking to govern it indirectly ourselves,
and especially without appearing to have this in view.

For my part, I never doubted but that we were on the eve of a terrible
struggle; nevertheless, I did not fully understand our danger until
after a conversation that I had about this time with the celebrated
Madame Sand. I met her at an Englishman's of my acquaintance:
Milnes,[10] a member of Parliament, who was then in Paris. Milnes was a
clever fellow who did and, what is rarer, said many foolish things. What
a number of those faces I have seen in my life of which one can say that
the two profiles are not alike: men of sense on one side, fools on the
other. I have always seen Milnes infatuated with something or somebody.
This time he was smitten with Madame Sand, and notwithstanding the
seriousness of events, had insisted on giving her a literary _déjeûner_.
I was present at this repast, and the image of the days of June, which
followed so closely after, far from effacing the remembrance of it from
my mind, recalls it.

     [10: The Right Honble. Monckton Milnes, the late Lord
     Houghton.--A.T. de M.]

The company was anything but homogeneous. Besides Madame Sand, I met a
young English lady, very modest and very agreeable, who must have found
the company invited to meet her somewhat singular; some more or less
obscure writers; and Mérimée. Milnes placed me next to Madame Sand. I
had never spoken to her, and I doubt whether I had ever seen her (I had
lived little in the world of literary adventurers which she frequented).
One of my friends asked her one day what she thought of my book on
America, and she answered, "Monsieur, I am only accustomed to read the
books which are presented to me by their authors." I was strongly
prejudiced against Madame Sand, for I loathe women who write,
especially those who systematically disguise the weaknesses of their
sex, instead of interesting us by displaying them in their true
character. Nevertheless, she pleased me. I thought her features rather
massive, but her expression admirable: all her mind seemed to have taken
refuge in her eyes, abandoning the rest of her face to matter; and I was
particularly struck at meeting in her with something of the naturalness
of behaviour of great minds. She had a real simplicity of manner and
language, which she mingled, perhaps, with some little affectation of
simplicity in her dress. I confess that, more adorned, she would have
appeared still more simple. We talked for a whole hour of public
affairs; it was impossible to talk of anything else in those days.
Besides, Madame Sand at that time was a sort of politician, and what she
said on the subject struck me greatly; it was the first time that I had
entered into direct and familiar communication with a person able and
willing to tell me what was happening in the camp of our adversaries.
Political parties never know each other: they approach, touch, seize,
but never see one another. Madame Sand depicted to me, in great detail
and with singular vivacity, the condition of the Paris workmen, their
organization, their numbers, their arms, their preparations, their
thoughts, their passions, their terrible resolves. I thought the picture
overloaded, but it was not, as subsequent events clearly proved. She
seemed to be alarmed for herself at the popular triumph, and to take
the greatest pity upon the fate that awaited us.

"Try to persuade your friends, monsieur," she said, "not to force the
people into the streets by alarming or irritating them. I also wish that
I could instil patience into my own friends; for if it comes to a fight,
believe me, you will all be killed."

With these consoling words we parted, and I have never seen her since.



I come at last to the insurrection of June, the most extensive and the
most singular that has occurred in our history, and perhaps in any
other: the most extensive, because, during four days, more than a
hundred thousand men were engaged in it; the most singular, because the
insurgents fought without a war-cry, without leaders, without flags, and
yet with a marvellous harmony and an amount of military experience that
astonished the oldest officers.

What distinguished it also, among all the events of this kind which have
succeeded one another in France for sixty years, is that it did not aim
at changing the form of government, but at altering the order of
society. It was not, strictly speaking, a political struggle, in the
sense which until then we had given to the word, but a combat of class
against class, a sort of Servile War. It represented the facts of the
Revolution of February in the same manner as the theories of Socialism
represented its ideas; or rather it issued naturally from these ideas,
as a son does from his mother. We behold in it nothing more than a blind
and rude, but powerful, effort on the part of the workmen to escape from
the necessities of their condition, which had been depicted to them as
one of unlawful oppression, and to open up by main force a road towards
that imaginary comfort with which they had been deluded. It was this
mixture of greed and false theory which first gave birth to the
insurrection and then made it so formidable. These poor people had been
told that the wealth of the rich was in some way the produce of a theft
practised upon themselves. They had been assured that the inequality of
fortunes was as opposed to morality and the welfare of society as it was
to nature. Prompted by their needs and their passions, many had believed
this obscure and erroneous notion of right, which, mingled with brute
force, imparted to the latter an energy, a tenacity and a power which it
would never have possessed unaided.

It must also be observed that this formidable insurrection was not the
enterprise of a certain number of conspirators, but the revolt of one
whole section of the population against another. Women took part in it
as well as men. While the latter fought, the former prepared and carried
ammunition; and when at last the time had come to surrender, the women
were the last to yield. These women went to battle with, as it were, a
housewifely ardour: they looked to victory for the comfort of their
husbands and the education of their children. They took pleasure in this
war as they might have taken pleasure in a lottery.

As to the strategic science displayed by this multitude, the warlike
nature of the French, their long experience of insurrections, and
particularly the military education which the majority of the men of the
people in turn receive, suffice to explain it. Half of the Paris workmen
have served in our armies, and they are always glad to take up arms
again. Generally speaking, old soldiers abound in our riots. On the 24th
of February, when Lamoricière was surrounded by his foes, he twice owed
his life to insurgents who had fought under him in Africa, men in whom
the recollection of their military life had been stronger than the fury
of civil war.

As we know, it was the closing of the national workshops that occasioned
the rising. Dreading to disband this formidable soldiery at one stroke,
the Government had tried to disperse it by sending part of the workmen
into the country. They refused to leave. On the 22nd of June, they
marched through Paris in troops, singing in cadence, in a monotonous
chant, "We won't be sent away, we won't be sent away...." Their
delegates waited upon the members of the Committee of the Executive
Power with a series of arrogant demands, and on meeting with a refusal,
withdrew with the announcement that next day they would have recourse to
arms. Everything, indeed, tended to show that the long-expected crisis
had come.

When this news reached the Assembly it caused the greatest alarm.
Nevertheless, the Assembly did not interrupt its order of the day; it
continued the discussion of a commercial act, and even listened to it,
despite its excited condition; true, it was a very important question
and a very eminent orator was speaking. The Government had proposed to
acquire all the railways by purchase. Montalembert opposed it; his case
was good, but his speech was excellent; I do not think I ever heard him
speak so well before or since. As a matter of fact, I thought as he did,
this time; but I believe that, even in the eyes of his adversaries, he
surpassed himself. He made a vigorous attack without being as peevish
and outrageous as usual. A certain fear tempered his natural insolence,
and set a limit to his paradoxical and querulous humour; for, like so
many other men of words, he had more temerity of language than stoutness
of heart.

The sitting concluded without any question as to what was occurring
outside, and the Assembly adjourned.

On the 23rd, on going to the Assembly, I saw a large number of omnibuses
grouped round the Madeleine. This told me that they were beginning to
erect barricades in the streets; which was confirmed on my arrival at
the Palace. Nevertheless, a doubt was expressed whether it was seriously
contemplated to resort to arms. I resolved to go and assure myself of
the real state of things, and, with Corcelles, repaired to the
neighbourhood of the Hôtel de Ville. In all the little streets
surrounding that building, I found the people engaged in making
barricades; they proceeded in their work with the cunning and regularity
of an engineer, not unpaving more stones than were necessary to lay the
foundations of a very thick, solid and even neatly-built wall, in which
they generally left a small opening by the side of the houses to permit
of ingress and egress. Eager for quicker information as to the state of
the town, Corcelles and I agreed to separate. He went one way and I the
other; and his excursion very nearly turned out badly. He told me
afterwards that, after crossing several half-built barricades without
impediment, he was stopped at the last one. The men of the lower orders
who were building it, seeing a fine gentleman, in black clothes and very
white linen, quietly trotting through the dirty streets round the Hôtel
de Ville and stopping before them with a placid and inquisitive air,
thought they would make use of this suspicious onlooker. They called
upon him, in the name of the brotherhood, to assist them in their work.
Corcelles was as brave as Cæsar, but he rightly judged that, under these
circumstances, there was nothing better to be done than to give way
quietly. See him therefore lifting paving-stones and placing them as
neatly as possible one atop the other. His natural awkwardness and his
absent-mindedness fortunately came to his aid; and he was soon sent
about his business as a useless workman.

To me no such adventure happened. I passed through the streets of the
Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis quarters without coming across any
barricades to speak of; but the excitement was extraordinary. On my
return I met, in the Rue des Jeûneurs, a National Guard covered with
blood and fragments of brain. He was very pale and was going home. I
asked him what was happening; he told me that his battalion had just
received the full force of a very murderous discharge of musketry at the
Porte Saint-Denis. One of his comrades, whose name he mentioned to me,
had been killed by his side, and he was covered with the blood and
brains of this unhappy man.

I returned to the Assembly, astonished at not having met a single
soldier in the whole distance which I had traversed. It was not till I
came in front of the Palais-Bourbon that I at last perceived great
columns of infantry, marching, followed by cannon.

Lamoricière, in full uniform and on horseback, was at their head. I have
never seen a figure more resplendent with aggressive passion and almost
with joy; and whatever may have been the natural impetuosity of his
humour, I doubt whether it was that alone which urged him at that
moment, and whether there was not mingled with it an eagerness to avenge
himself for the dangers and outrages he had undergone.

"What are you doing?" I asked him. "They have already been fighting at
the Porte Saint-Denis, and barricades are being built all round the
Hôtel de Ville."

"Patience," he replied, "we are going there. Do you think we are such
fools as to scatter our soldiers on such a day as this over the small
streets of the suburbs? No, no! we shall let the insurgents concentrate
in the quarters which we can't keep them out of, and then we will go and
destroy them. They sha'n't escape us this time."

As I reached the Assembly, a terrible storm broke, which flooded the
town. I entertained a slight hope that this bad weather would get us out
of our difficulties for the day, and it would, indeed, have been enough
to put a stop to an ordinary riot; for the people of Paris need fine
weather to fight in, and are more afraid of rain than of grape-shot. But
I soon lost this hope: each moment the news became more distressing. The
Assembly found difficulty in resuming its ordinary work. Agitated,
though not overcome, by the excitement outside, it suspended the order
of the day, returned to it, and finally suspended it for good, giving
itself over to the preoccupations of the civil war. Different members
came and described from the rostrum what they had seen in Paris. Others
suggested various courses of action. Falloux, in the name of the
Committee of Public Assistance, proposed a decree dissolving the
national workshops, and received applause. Time was wasted with empty
conversations, empty speeches. Nothing was known for certain; they kept
on calling for the attendance of the Executive Commission, to inform
them of the state of Paris, but the latter did not appear. There is
nothing more pitiful than the spectacle of an assembly in a moment of
crisis, when the Government itself fails it; it resembles a man still
full of will and passion, but impotent, and tossing childishly amid the
helplessness of his limbs. At last appeared two members of the Executive
Commission; they announced that affairs were in a perilous condition,
but that, nevertheless, it was hoped to crush the insurrection before
night. The Assembly declared its sitting permanent, and adjourned till
the evening.

When the sitting was resumed, we learnt that Lamartine had been received
with shots at all the barricades he attempted to approach. Two of our
colleagues, Bixio and Dornès, had been mortally wounded when trying to
address the insurgents. Bedeau had been shot through the thigh at the
entrance to the Faubourg Saint-Jacques, and a number of officers of
distinction were already killed or dangerously wounded. One of our
members, Victor Considérant, spoke of making concessions to the workmen.
The Assembly, which was tumultuous and disturbed, but not weak, revolted
at these words: "Order, order!" they cried on every side, with a sort of
rage, "it will be time to talk of that after the victory!" The rest of
the evening and a portion of the night were spent in vaguely talking,
listening, and waiting. About midnight, Cavaignac appeared. The
Executive Commission had since that afternoon placed the whole military
power in his hands. In a hoarse and jerky voice, and in simple and
precise words, Cavaignac detailed the principal incidents of the day. He
stated that he had given orders to all the regiments posted along the
railways to converge upon Paris, and that all the National Guards of the
outskirts had been called out; he concluded by telling us that the
insurgents had been beaten back to the barriers, and that he hoped soon
to have mastered the city. The Assembly, exhausted with fatigue, left
its officials sitting in permanence, and adjourned until eight o'clock
the next morning.

When, on quitting this turbulent scene, I found myself at one in the
morning on the Pont Royal, and from there beheld Paris wrapped in
darkness, and calm as a city asleep, it was with difficulty that I
persuaded myself that all that I had seen and heard since the morning
had existed in reality and was not a pure creation of my brain. The
streets and squares which I crossed were absolutely deserted; not a
sound, not a cry; one would have said that an industrious population,
fatigued with its day's work, was resting before resuming the peaceful
labours of the morrow. The serenity of the night ended by over-mastering
me; I brought myself to believe that we had triumphed already, and on
reaching home I went straight to sleep.

I woke very early in the morning. The sun had risen some time before,
for we were in the midst of the longest days of the year. On opening my
eyes, I heard a sharp, metallic sound, which shook the window-panes and
immediately died out amid the silence of Paris.

"What is that?" I asked.

My wife replied, "It is the cannon; I have heard it for over an hour,
but would not wake you, for I knew you would want your strength during
the day."

I dressed hurriedly and went out. The drums were beating to arms on
every side: the day of the great battle had come at last. The National
Guards left their homes under arms; all those I met seemed full of
energy, for the sound of cannon, which brought the brave ones out, kept
the others at home. But they were in bad humour: they thought themselves
either badly commanded or betrayed by the Executive Power, against which
they uttered terrible imprecations. This extreme distrust of its leaders
on the part of the armed force seemed to me an alarming symptom.
Continuing on my way, at the entrance to the Rue Saint-Honoré, I met a
crowd of workmen anxiously listening to the cannon. These men were all
in blouses, which, as we know, constitute their fighting as well as
their working clothes; nevertheless, they had no arms, but one could see
by their looks that they were quite ready to take them up. They
remarked, with a hardly restrained joy, that the sound of the firing
seemed to come nearer, which showed that the insurrection was gaining
ground. I had augured before this that the whole of the working class
was engaged, either in fact or in spirit, in the struggle; and this
confirmed my suspicions. The spirit of insurrection circulated from one
end to the other of this immense class, and in each of its parts, as the
blood does in the body; it filled the quarters where there was no
fighting, as well as those which served as the scene of battle; it had
penetrated into our houses, around, above, below us. The very places in
which we thought ourselves the masters swarmed with domestic enemies;
one might say that an atmosphere of civil war enveloped the whole of
Paris, amid which, to whatever part we withdrew, we had to live; and in
this connection I shall violate the law I had imposed upon myself never
to speak upon the word of another, and will relate a fact which I learnt
a few days later from my colleague Blanqui.[11] Although very trivial, I
consider it very characteristic of the physiognomy of the time. Blanqui
had brought up from the country and taken into his house, as a servant,
the son of a poor man, whose wretchedness had touched him. On the
evening of the day on which the insurrection began, he heard this lad
say, as he was clearing the table after dinner, "Next Sunday [it was
Thursday then] _we_ shall be eating the wings of the chicken;" to which
a little girl who worked in the house replied, "And _we_ shall be
wearing fine silk dresses." Could anything give a better idea of the
general state of minds than this childish scene? And to complete it,
Blanqui was very careful not to seem to hear these little monkeys: they
really frightened him. It was not until after the victory that he
ventured to send back the ambitious pair to their hovels.

     [11: Of the Institute, a brother of Blanqui of the 15th of May.]

At last I reached the Assembly. The representatives were gathered in
crowds, although the time appointed for the sitting was not yet come.
The sound of the cannon had attracted them. The Palace had the
appearance of a fortified town: battalions were encamped around, and
guns were levelled at all the approaches leading to it.

I found the Assembly very determined, but very ill at ease; and it must
be confessed there was enough to make it so. It was easy to perceive
through the multitude of contradictory reports that we had to do with
the most universal, the best armed, and the most furious insurrection
ever known in Paris. The national workshops and various revolutionary
bands that had just been disbanded supplied it with trained and
disciplined soldiers and with leaders. It was extending every moment,
and it was difficult to believe that it would not end by being
victorious, when one remembered that all the great insurrections of the
last sixty years had triumphed. To all these enemies we were only able
to oppose the battalions of the _bourgeoisie_, regiments which had been
disarmed in February, and twenty thousand undisciplined lads of the
Garde Mobile, who were all sons, brothers, or near relations of
insurgents, and whose dispositions were doubtful.

But what alarmed us most was our leaders. The members of the Executive
Commission filled us with profound distrust. On this subject I
encountered, in the Assembly, the same feelings which I had observed
among the National Guard. We doubted the good faith of some and the
capacity of others. They were too numerous, besides, and too much
divided to be able to act in complete harmony, and they were too much
men of speech and the pen to be able to act to good purpose under such
circumstances, even if they had agreed among themselves.

Nevertheless, we succeeded in triumphing over this so formidable
insurrection; nay more, it was just that which rendered it so terrible
which saved us. One might well apply in this case the famous phrase of
the Prince de Condé, during the wars of religion: "We should have been
destroyed, had we not been so near destruction." Had the revolt borne a
less radical character and a less ferocious aspect, it is probable that
the greater part of the middle class would have stayed at home; France
would not have come to our aid; the National Assembly itself would
perhaps have yielded, or at least a minority of its members would have
advised it; and the energy of the whole body would have been greatly
unnerved. But the insurrection was of such a nature that any commerce
with it became at once impossible, and from the first it left us no
alternative but to defeat it or to be destroyed ourselves.

The same reason prevented any man of consideration from placing himself
at its head. In general, insurrections--I mean even those which
succeed--begin without a leader; but they always end by securing one.
This insurrection finished without having found one; it embraced every
class of the populace, but never passed those limits. Even the
Montagnards in the Assembly did not dare pronounce in its favour.
Several pronounced against it. They did not even yet despair of
attaining their ends by other means; they feared, moreover, that the
triumph of the workmen would soon prove fatal to them. The greedy, blind
and vulgar passions which induced the populace to take up arms alarmed
them; for these passions are as dangerous to those who sympathize with
them, without utterly abandoning themselves to them, as to those who
reprove and combat them. The only men who could have placed themselves
at the head of the insurgents had allowed themselves to be prematurely
taken, like fools, on the 15th of May; and they only heard the sound of
the conflict through the walls of the dungeon of Vincennes.

Preoccupied though I was with public affairs, I continued to be
distressed with the uneasiness which my young nephews once more caused
me. They had been sent back to the Little Seminary, and I feared
that the insurrection must come pretty near, if it had not already
reached, the place where they lived. As their parents were not in
Paris, I decided to go and fetch them, and I accordingly again traversed
the long distance separating the Palais-Bourbon from the Rue
Notre-Dame-des-Champs. I came across a few barricades erected during the
night by the forlorn hope of the insurrection; but these had been either
abandoned or captured at daybreak.

All these quarters resounded with a devilish music, a mixture of drums
and trumpets, whose rough, discordant, savage notes were new to me. In
fact, I heard for the first time--and I have never heard it since--the
rally, which it had been decided should never be beaten except in
extreme cases and to call the whole population at once to arms.
Everywhere National Guards were issuing from the houses; everywhere
stood groups of workmen in blouses, listening with a sinister air to the
rally and the cannon. The fighting had not yet reached so far as the Rue
Notre-Dame-des-Champs, although it was very near it. I took my nephews
with me, and returned to the Chamber.

As I approached, and when I was already in the midst of the troops which
guarded it, an old woman, pushing a barrow full of vegetables,
obstinately barred my progress. I ended by telling her pretty curtly to
make way. Instead of doing so, she left her barrow and flew at me in
such a frenzy that I had great difficulty in protecting myself. I was
horrified at the hideous and frightful expression of her face, on which
were depicted all the fury of demagogic passion and the rage of civil
war. I mention this little fact because I beheld in it, and with good
cause, an important symptom. In violently critical times, even actions
which have nothing to do with politics assume a singular character of
anger and disorder, which does not escape the attentive eye, and which
is an unfailing index of the general state of mind. These great public
excitements form a sort of glowing atmosphere in which all private
passions seethe and bubble.

I found the Assembly agitated by a thousand sinister reports. The
insurrection was gaining ground in every direction. Its head-quarters,
or, so to speak, its trunk, was behind the Hôtel de Ville, whence it
stretched its long arms further and further to right and left into the
suburbs, and threatened soon to hug even us. The cannon was drawing
appreciably nearer. And to this correct news were added a thousand lying
rumours. Some said that our troops were running short of ammunition;
others, that a number of them had laid down their arms or gone over to
the insurgents.

M. Thiers asked Barrot, Dufaure, Rémusat, Lanjuinais and myself to
follow him to a private room. There he said:

"I know something of insurrections, and I tell you this is the worst I
have ever seen. The insurgents may be here within an hour, and we shall
be butchered one and all. Do you not think that it would be well for us
to agree to propose to the Assembly, so soon as we think necessary and
before it becomes too late, that it should call back the troops around
it, in order that, placed in their midst, we may all leave Paris
together and remove the seat of the Republic to a place where we could
summon the army and all the National Guards in France to our

He said this in very eager tones and with a greater display of
excitement than is, perhaps, advisable in the presence of great danger.
I saw that he was pursued by the ghost of February. Dufaure, who had a
less vivid imagination, and who, moreover, never readily made up his
mind to associate himself with people he did not care about, even to
save himself, phlegmatically and somewhat sarcastically explained that
the time had not yet come to discuss a plan of this kind; that we could
always talk of it later on; that our chances did not seem to him so
desperate as to oblige us to entertain so extreme a remedy; that to
entertain it was to weaken ourselves. He was undoubtedly right, and his
words broke up the consultation. I at once wrote a few lines to my wife,
telling her that the danger was hourly increasing, that Paris would
perhaps end by falling entirely into the power of the revolt, and that,
in that case, we should be obliged to leave it in order to carry on the
civil war elsewhere. I charged her to go at once to Saint-Germain by
the railroad, which was still free, and there to await my news; told my
nephews to take the letter; and returned to the Assembly. I found them
discussing a decree to proclaim Paris in a state of siege, to abolish
the powers of the Executive Commission, and to replace it by a military
dictatorship under General Cavaignac.

The Assembly knew precisely that this was what it wanted. The thing was
easily done: it was urgent, and yet it was not done. Each moment some
little incident, some trivial motion interrupted and turned aside the
current of the general wish; for assemblies are very liable to that sort
of nightmare in which an unknown and invisible force seems always at the
last moment to interpose between the will and the deed and to prevent
the one from influencing the other. Who would have thought that it was
Bastide who should eventually induce the Assembly to make up its mind?
Yet he it was.

I had heard him say--and it was very true--speaking of himself, that he
was never able to remember more than the first fifteen words of a
speech. But I have sometimes observed that men who do not know how to
speak produce a greater impression, under certain circumstances, than
the finest orators. They bring forward but a single idea, that of the
moment, clothed in a single phrase, and somehow they lay it down in the
rostrum like an inscription written in big letters, which everybody
perceives, and in which each instantly recognizes his own particular
thought. Bastide, then, displayed his long, honest, melancholy face in
the tribune, and said, with a mournful air:

"Citizens, in the name of the country, I beseech you to vote as quickly
as possible. We are told that perhaps within an hour the Hôtel de Ville
will be taken."

These few words put an end to debate, and the decree was voted in the
twinkling of an eye.

I protested against the clause proclaiming Paris in a state of siege; I
did so by instinct rather than reflection. I have such a contempt and so
great a natural horror for military despotism that these feelings came
rising tumultuously in my breast when I heard a state of siege
suggested, and even dominated those prompted by our peril. In this I
made a mistake in which I fortunately found few to imitate me.

The friends of the Executive Commission have asserted in very bitter
terms that their adversaries and the partisans of General Cavaignac
spread ominous rumours on purpose to precipitate the vote. If the latter
did really resort to this trick, I gladly pardon them, for the measures
they caused to be taken were indispensable to the safety of the country.

Before adopting the decree of which I have spoken, the Assembly
unanimously voted another, which declared that the families of those who
should fall in the struggle should receive a pension from the Treasury
and their children be adopted by the Republic.

It was decided that sixty members of the Chamber, appointed by the
committees, should spread themselves over Paris, inform the National
Guards of the different decrees issued by the Assembly, and re-establish
their confidence, which was said to be uncertain and discouraged. In the
committee to which I belonged, instead of immediately appointing
commissioners, they began an endless discussion on the uselessness and
danger of the resolution adopted. In this manner a great deal of time
was lost. I ended by stopping this ludicrous chatter with a word.
"Gentlemen," I said, "the Assembly may have been mistaken; but permit me
to observe that, having passed a two-fold resolution, it would be a
disgrace for it to draw back, and a disgrace for us not to submit."

They voted on the spot; and I was unanimously elected a commissioner, as
I expected. My colleagues were Cormenin and Crémieux, to whom they added
Goudchaux. The latter was then not so well known, although in his own
way he was the most original of them all. He was at once a Radical and a
banker, a rare combination; and by dint of his business occupations, he
had succeeded by covering with a few reasonable ideas the foundation of
his mind, which was filled with mad theories that always ended by making
their way to the top. It was impossible to be vainer, more irascible,
more quarrelsome, petulant or excitable than he. He was unable to
discuss the difficulties of the Budget without shedding tears; and yet
he was one of the valiantest little men it was possible to meet.

Thanks to the stormy discussion in our committee, the other deputations
had already left, and with them the guides and the escort who were to
have accompanied us. Nevertheless, we set out, after putting on our
scarves, and turned our steps alone and a little at hazard towards the
interior of Paris, along the right bank of the Seine. By that time the
insurrection had made such progress that one could see the cannon drawn
up in line and firing between the Pont des Arts and the Pont Neuf. The
National Guards, who saw us from the top of the embankment, looked at us
with anxiety; they respectfully took off their hats, and said in an
undertone, and with grief-stricken accents, "Long live the National
Assembly!" No noisy cheers uttered at the sight of a king ever came more
visibly from the heart, or pointed to a more unfeigned sympathy. When we
had passed through the gates and were on the Carrousel, I saw that
Cormenin and Crémieux were imperceptibly making for the Tuileries, and I
heard one of them, I forget which, say:

"Where can we go? And what can we do of any use without guides? Is it
not best to content ourselves with going through the Tuileries gardens?
There are several battalions of the reserve stationed there; we will
inform them of the decrees of the Assembly."

"Certainly," replied the other; "I even think we shall be executing the
Assembly's instructions better than our colleagues; for what can one say
to people already engaged in action? It is the reserves that we should
prepare to fall into line in their turn."

I have always thought it rather interesting to follow the involuntary
movements of fear in clever people. Fools coarsely display their
cowardice in all its nakedness; but the others are able to cover it with
a veil so delicate, so daintily woven with small, plausible lies, that
there is some pleasure to be found in contemplating this ingenious work
of the brain.

As may be supposed, I was in no humour for a stroll in the Tuileries
gardens. I had set out in none too good a temper; but it was no good
crying over spilt milk. I therefore pointed out to Goudchaux the road
our colleagues had taken.

"I know," he said, angrily; "I shall leave them and I will make public
the decrees of the Assembly without them."

Together we made for the gate opposite. Cormenin and Crémieux soon
rejoined us, a little ashamed of their attempt. Thus we reached the Rue
Saint-Honoré, the appearance of which was perhaps what struck me most
during the days of June. This noisy, populous street was at this moment
more deserted than I had ever seen it at four o'clock on a winter
morning. As far as the eye could reach, we perceived not a living soul;
the shops, doors and windows were hermetically closed. Nothing was
visible, nothing stirred; we heard no sound of a wheel, no clatter of a
horse, no human footstep, but only the voice of the cannon, which seemed
to resound through an abandoned city. Yet the houses were not empty; for
as we walked on, we could catch glimpses at the windows of women and
children who, with their faces glued to the panes, watched us go by with
an affrighted air.

At last, near the Palais-Royal, we met some large bodies of National
Guards, and our mission commenced. When Crémieux saw that it was only a
question of talking, he became all ardour; he told them of what had
happened at the National Assembly, and held forth to them in a little
_bravura_ speech which was heartily applauded. We found an escort there,
and passed on. We wandered a long time through the little streets of
that district, until we came in front of the great barricade of the Rue
Rambuteau, which was not yet taken and which stopped our further
progress. From there we came back again through all those little
streets, which were covered with blood from the recent combats: they
were still fighting from time to time. For it was a war of ambuscades,
whose scene was not fixed but every moment changed. When one least
expected it, one was shot at through a garret window; and on breaking
into the house, one found the gun but not the marksman: the latter
escaped by a back-door while the front-door was being battered in. For
this reason the National Guards had orders to have all the shutters
opened, and to fire on all those who showed themselves at the windows;
and they obeyed these orders so literally that they narrowly escaped
killing several merely inquisitive people whom the sight of our scarves
tempted to put their noses outside.

During this walk of two or three hours, we had to make at least thirty
speeches; I refer to Crémieux and myself, for Goudchaux was only able to
speak on finance, and as to Cormenin, he was always as dumb as a fish.
To tell the truth, almost all the burden of the day fell upon Crémieux.
He filled me, I will not say with admiration, but with surprise. Janvier
has said of Crémieux that he was "an eloquent louse." If only he could
have seen him that day, jaded, with uncovered breast, dripping with
perspiration and dirty with dust, wrapped in a long scarf twisted
several times in every direction round his little body, but constantly
hitting upon new ideas, or rather new words and phrases, now expressing
in gestures what he had just expressed in words, then in words what he
had just expressed in gestures: always eloquent, always ardent! I do not
believe that anyone has ever seen, and I doubt whether anyone has ever
imagined, a man who was uglier or more fluent.

I observed that when the National Guards were told that Paris was in a
state of siege, they were pleased, and when one added that the Executive
Commission was overthrown, they cheered. Never were people so delighted
to be relieved of their liberty and their government. And yet this was
what Lamartine's popularity had come to in less than two months.

When we had done speaking, the men surrounded us; they asked us if we
were quite sure that the Executive Commission had ceased to act; we had
to show them the decree to satisfy them.

Particularly remarkable was the firm attitude of these men. We had come
to encourage them, and it was rather they who encouraged us. "Hold on at
the National Assembly," they cried, "and we'll hold on here. Courage! no
transactions with the insurgents! We'll put an end to the revolt: all
will end well." I had never seen the National Guard so resolute before,
nor do I think that we could rely upon finding it so again; for its
courage was prompted by necessity and despair, and proceeded from
circumstances which are not likely to recur.

Paris on that day reminded me of a city of antiquity whose citizens
defended the walls like heroes, because they knew that if the city were
taken they themselves would be dragged into slavery. As we turned our
steps back towards the Assembly, Goudchaux left us. "Now that we have
done our errand," said he, clenching his teeth, and in an accent half
Gascon and half Alsatian, "I want to go and fight a bit." He said this
with such a martial air, so little in harmony with his pacific
appearance, that I could not help smiling.

He did, in fact, go and fight, as I heard the next day, and so well that
he might have had his little paunch pierced in two or three places, had
fate so willed it. I returned from my round convinced that we should
come out victorious; and what I saw on nearing the Assembly confirmed my

Thousands of men were hastening to our aid from every part of France,
and entering the city by all the roads not commanded by the insurgents.
Thanks to the railroads, some had already come from fifty leagues'
distance, although the fighting had only begun the night before. On the
next and the subsequent days, they came from distances of a hundred and
two hundred leagues. These men belonged indiscriminately to every class
of society; among them were many peasants, many shopkeepers, many
landlords and nobles, all mingled together in the same ranks. They were
armed in an irregular and insufficient manner, but they rushed into
Paris with unequalled ardour: a spectacle as strange and unprecedented
in our revolutionary annals as that offered by the insurrection itself.
It was evident from that moment that we should end by gaining the day,
for the insurgents received no reinforcements, whereas we had all France
for reserves.

On the Place Louis XV., I met, surrounded by the armed inhabitants of
his canton, my kinsman Lepelletier d'Aunay, who was Vice-President of
the Chamber of Deputies during the last days of the Monarchy. He wore
neither uniform nor musket, but only a little silver-hilted sword which
he had slung at his side over his coat by a narrow white linen
bandolier. I was touched to tears on seeing this venerable white-haired
man thus accoutred.

"Won't you come and dine with us this evening?"

"No, no," he replied; "what would these good folk who are with me, and
who know that I have more to lose than they by the victory of the
insurrection--what would they say if they saw me leaving them to take it
easy? No, I will share their repast and sleep here at their bivouac. The
only thing I would beg you is, if possible, to hurry the despatch of the
provision of bread promised us, for we have had no food since morning."

I returned to the Assembly, I believe at about three, and did not go out
again. The remainder of the day was taken up by accounts of the
fighting: each moment produced its event and its piece of news. The
arrival of volunteers from one of the departments was announced; they
were bringing in prisoners; flags captured on the barricades were
brought in. Deeds of bravery were described, heroic words repeated; each
moment we learnt of some person of note being wounded or killed. As to
the final issue of the day, nothing had yet occurred to enable us to
form an opinion.

The President only called the Assembly together at infrequent intervals
and for short periods; and he was right, for assemblies are like
children, and idleness always makes them say or do a number of foolish
things. Each time the sitting was resumed, he himself told us all that
had been learnt for certain during the adjournment. This President, as
we know, was Sénard, a well-known Rouen advocate and a man of courage;
but in his youth he had contracted so deep-seated a theatrical habit in
the daily comedy played at the bar that he had lost the faculty of
truthfully giving his true impressions of a thing, when by accident he
happened to have any. It seemed always necessary that he should add some
turgidity or other of his own to the feats of courage he described, and
that he should express the emotion, which I believe he really felt, in
hollow tones, a trembling voice, and a sort of tragic hiccough which
reminded one of an actor on the stage. Never were the sublime and the
ridiculous brought so close together: for the facts were sublime and the
narrator ridiculous.

We did not adjourn till late at night to take a little rest. The
fighting had stopped, to be resumed on the morrow. The insurrection,
although everywhere held in check, had as yet been stifled nowhere.


     THE DAYS OF JUNE--(_continued_).

The porter of the house in which we lived in the Rue de la Madeleine was
a man of very bad reputation in the neighbourhood, an old soldier, not
quite in his right mind, a drunkard, and a great good-for-nothing, who
spent at the wine-shop all the time which he did not employ in beating
his wife. This man might be said to be a Socialist by birth, or rather
by temperament.

The early successes of the insurrection had brought him to a state of
exaltation, and on the morning of the day of which I speak he visited
all the wine-shops around, and among other mischievous remarks of which
he delivered himself, he said that he would kill me when I came home in
the evening, if I came in at all. He even displayed a large knife which
he intended to use for the purpose. A poor woman who heard him ran in
great alarm to tell Madame de Tocqueville; and she, before leaving
Paris, sent me a note in which, after telling me of the facts, she
begged me not to come in that night, but to go to my father's house,
which was close by, he being away. This I determined to do; but when I
left the Assembly at midnight, I had not the energy to carry out my
intention. I was worn out with fatigue, and I did not know whether I
should find a bed prepared if I slept out. Besides, I had little faith
in the performance of murders proclaimed beforehand; and also I was
under the influence of the sort of listlessness that follows upon any
prolonged excitement. I accordingly went and knocked at my door, only
taking the precaution to load the pistols which, in those unhappy days,
it was common to carry. My man opened the door, I entered, and while he
was carefully pushing the bolts behind me, I asked him if all the
tenants had come home. He replied drily that they had all left Paris
that morning, and that we two were alone in the house. I should have
preferred another kind of _tête-à-tête_, but it was too late to go back;
I therefore looked him straight in the eyes and told him to walk in
front and show a light.

He stopped at a gate that led to the court-yard, and told me that he
heard a curious noise in the stables which alarmed him, begging me to go
with him to see what it was. As he spoke, he turned towards the stables.
All this began to seem very suspicious to me, but I thought that, as I
had gone so far, it was better to go on. I accordingly followed him,
carefully watching his movements, and making up my mind to kill him like
a dog at the first sign of treachery. As a matter of fact, we did hear a
very strange noise. It resembled the dull running of water or the
distant rumble of a carriage, although it obviously came from somewhere
quite near. I never learnt what it was; though it was true I did not
spend much time in trying to discover. I soon returned to the house and
made my companion bring me to my threshold, keeping my eyes on him the
whole time. I told him to open my door, and so soon as he had done so, I
took the candle from his hand and went in. It was not until I was almost
out of his sight that he brought himself to take off his hat and bow to
me. Had the man really intended to kill me, and seeing me on my guard,
with both hands in my pockets, did he reflect that I was better armed
than he, and that he would be well advised to abandon his design? I
thought at the time that the latter had never been very seriously
intended, and I think so still. In times of revolution, people boast
almost as much about the imaginary crimes they propose to commit as in
ordinary times they do of the good intentions they pretend to entertain.
I have always believed that this wretch would only have become dangerous
if the fortunes of the fight had seemed to turn against us; but they
leant, on the contrary, to our side, although they were still undecided;
and this was sufficient to assure my safety.

At dawn I heard some one in my room, and woke with a start: it was my
man-servant, who had let himself in with a private key of the apartment,
which he carried. The brave lad had just left the bivouac (I had
supplied him at his request with a National Guard's uniform and a good
gun), and he came to know if I had come home and if his services were
required. This one was certainly not a Socialist, either in theory or
temperament. He was not even tainted in the slightest degree with the
most general malady of the age, restlessness of mind, and even in other
times than ours it would have been difficult to find a man more
contented with his position and less sullen at his lot. Always very much
satisfied with himself, and tolerably satisfied with others, he
generally desired only that which was within his reach, and he generally
attained, or thought he attained, all that he desired; thus unwittingly
following the precepts which philosophers teach and never observe, and
enjoying by the gift of Nature that happy equilibrium between faculty
and desire which alone gives the happiness which philosophy promises us.

"Well, Eugène," I said, when I saw him, "how are affairs going on?"

"Very well, sir, perfectly well!"

"What do you mean by very well? I can still hear the sound of cannon!"

"Yes, they are still fighting," he replied, "but every one says it will
end all right."

With that he took off his uniform, cleaned my boots, brushed my clothes,
and putting on his uniform again:

"If you don't require me any more, sir," said he, "and if you will
permit me, I will go back to the fighting."

He pursued this two-fold calling during four days and four nights, as
simply as I am writing it down; and I experienced a sort of reposeful
feeling, during these days filled with turmoil and hate, when I looked
at the young man's peaceful and contented face.

Before going to the Assembly, where I did not think there would be any
important measures to take, I resolved to make my way to the places
where the fighting was still going on, and where I heard the sound of
cannon. It was not that I was longing "to go and fight a bit," like
Goudchaux, but I wanted to judge for myself as to the state of things;
for, in my complete ignorance of war, I could not understand what made
the struggle last so long. Besides, shall I confess it, a keen curiosity
was piercing through all the feelings that filled my mind, and from time
to time dominated them. I went along a great portion of the boulevard
without seeing any traces of the battle, but there were plenty just
beyond the Porte Saint-Martin; one stumbled over the _débris_ left
behind by the retreating insurrection: broken windows, doors smashed in,
houses spotted by bullets or pierced by cannon-balls, trees cut down,
heaped-up paving-stones, straw mixed with blood and mud. Such were these
melancholy vestiges.

I thus reached the Château-d'Eau, around which were massed a number of
troops of different sorts. At the foot of the fountain was a piece of
cannon which was being discharged down the Rue Samson. I thought at
first that the insurgents were replying with cannon on their side, but I
ended by seeing that I was deceived by an echo which repeated with a
terrible crash the sound of our own gun. I have never heard anything
like it; one might have thought one's self in the midst of a great
battle. As a matter of fact, the insurgents were only replying with an
infrequent but deadly musketry fire.

It was a strange combat. The Rue Samson, as we know, is not a very long
one; at the end runs the Canal Saint-Martin, and behind the canal is a
large house facing the street. The street was absolutely deserted; there
was no barricade in sight, and the gun seemed to be firing at a target;
only from time to time a whiff of smoke issued from a few windows, and
proclaimed the presence of an invisible enemy. Our sharp-shooters,
posted along the walls, aimed at the windows from which they saw the
shots fired. Lamoricière, mounted on a tall horse in full view of the
enemy, gave his commands amid the whirl of bullets. I thought he was
more excited and talkative than I had imagined a general ought to be in
such a juncture; he talked, shouted in a hoarse voice, gesticulated in a
sort of rage. It was easy to see by the clearness of his thoughts and
expressions that amid this apparent disorder he lost none of his
presence of mind; but his manner of commanding might have caused others
to lose theirs, and I confess I should have admired his courage more if
he had kept more quiet.

This conflict, in which one saw nobody before him, this firing, which
seemed to be aimed only at the walls, surprised me strangely. I should
never have pictured war to myself under this aspect. As the boulevard
seemed clear beyond the Château-d'Eau, I was unable to understand why
our columns did not pass further, nor why, if we wanted first to seize
the large house facing the street, we did not capture it at a run,
instead of remaining so long exposed to the deadly fire issuing from it.
Yet nothing was more easily explained: the boulevard, which I thought
clear from the Château-d'Eau onwards, was not so; beyond the bend which
it makes at this place, it was bristling with barricades, all the way to
the Bastille. Before attacking the barricades, we wanted to become
masters of the streets we left behind us, and especially to capture the
house facing the street, which, commanding the boulevard as it did,
would have impeded our communications. Finally, we did not take the
house by assault, because we were separated from it by the canal, which
I could not see from the boulevard. We confined ourselves, therefore, to
efforts to destroy it by cannon-shots, or at least to render it
untenable. This took a long time to accomplish, and after being
astonished in the morning that the fighting had not finished, I now
asked myself how at this rate it could ever finish. For what I was
witnessing at the Château-d'Eau was at the same time being repeated in
other forms in a hundred different parts of Paris.

As the insurgents had no artillery, the conflict did not possess the
horrible aspect which it must have when the battle-field is ploughed by
cannon balls. The men who were struck down before me seemed transfixed
by an invisible shaft: they staggered and fell without one's seeing at
first anything but a little hole made in their clothes. In the cases of
this kind which I witnessed, I was struck less by the sight of physical
pain than by the picture of moral anguish. It was indeed a strange and
frightful thing to see the sudden change of features, the quick
extinction of the light in the eyes in the terror of death.

After a certain period, I saw Lamoricière's horse sink to the ground,
shot by a bullet; it was the third horse the General had had killed
under him since the day before yesterday. He sprang lightly to the
ground, and continued bellowing his raging instructions.

I noticed that on our side the least eager were the soldiers of the
Line. They were weakened and, as it were, dulled by the remembrance of
February, and did not yet seem quite certain that they would not be told
the next day that they had done wrong. The liveliest were undoubtedly
the Gardes Mobiles of whom we had felt so uncertain; and, in spite of
the event, I maintain that we were right, at the time; for it wanted but
little for them to decide against us instead of taking our side. Until
the end, they plainly showed that it was the fighting they loved rather
than the cause for which they fought.

All these troops were raw and very subject to panic: I myself was a
judge and almost a victim of this. At a street corner close to the
Château-d'Eau was a large house in process of building. Some insurgents,
who doubtless entered from behind across the court-yards, had taken up
their position there, unknown to us; suddenly they appeared on the roof,
and fired a great volley at the troops who filled the boulevard, and who
did not expect to find the enemy posted so close at hand. The sound of
their muskets reverberating with a great crash against the opposite
houses gave reason to dread that a surprise of the same kind was taking
place on that side. Immediately the most incredible confusion prevailed
in our column: artillery, cavalry, and infantry were mingled in a
moment, the soldiers fired in every direction, without knowing what they
were doing, and tumultuously fell back sixty paces. This retreat was so
disorderly and so impetuous that I was thrown against the wall of the
houses facing the Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple, knocked down by the
cavalry, and so hard pressed that I left my hat on the field, and very
nearly left my body there. It was certainly the most serious danger I
ran during the days of June. This made me think that it is not all
heroism in the game of war. I have no doubt but that accidents of this
kind often happen to the very best troops; no one boasts about them, and
they are not mentioned in the despatches.

It was now that Lamoricière became sublime. He had till then kept his
sword in the scabbard: he now drew it, and ran up to his soldiers, his
features distorted with the most magnificent rage; he stopped them with
his voice, seized them with his hands, even struck them with the pummel
of his sword, turned them, brought them back, and, placing himself at
their head, forced them to pass at the trot through the fire in the Rue
du Faubourg-du-Temple in order to take the house from which the firing
had come. This was done in a moment, and without striking a blow: the
enemy had disappeared.

The combat resumed its dull aspect and lasted some time longer, until
the enemy's fire was at length extinguished, and the street occupied.
Before commencing the next operation, there was a moment's pause:
Lamoricière went to his head-quarters, a wine-shop on the boulevard near
the Porte Saint-Martin, and I was at last able to consult him on the
state of affairs.

"How long do you think," I asked, "that all this will last?"

"Why, how can I tell?" he replied. "That depends on the enemy, not on

He then showed me on the map all the streets we had already captured and
were occupying, and all those we had still to take, adding, "If the
insurgents choose to defend themselves on the ground they still hold as
they have done on that which we have won from them, we may still have a
week's fighting before us, and our loss will be enormous, for we lose
more than they do: the first side to lose its moral courage will be the
first to be beaten."

I next reproached him with exposing himself so rashly, and, as I
thought, so uselessly.

"What will you have me do?" said he. "Tell Cavaignac to send generals
able and willing to second me, and I will keep more in the background;
but you always have to expose yourself when you have only yourself to
rely on."

M. Thiers then came up, threw himself on Lamoricière's neck, and told
him he was a hero. I could not help smiling at this effusion, for there
was no love lost between them: but a great danger is like wine, it makes
men affectionate.

I left Lamoricière in M. Thiers' arms, and returned to the Assembly: it
was growing late, and besides, I know no greater fool than the man who
gets his head broken in battle out of curiosity.

The rest of the day was spent as the day before: the same anxiety in the
Assembly, the same feverish inaction, the same firmness. Volunteers
continued to enter Paris; every moment we were told of some tragic event
or illustrious death. These pieces of news saddened, but animated and
fortified, the Assembly. Any member who ventured to propose to enter
into negociations with the insurgents was met with yells of rage.

In the evening I decided to go myself to the Hôtel de Ville, in order
there to obtain more certain news of the results of the day. The
insurrection, after alarming me by its extreme violence, now alarmed me
by its long duration. For who could foresee the effect which the sight
of so long and uncertain a conflict might produce in some parts of
France, and especially in the great manufacturing towns, such as Lyons?
As I went along the Quai de la Ferraille, I met some National Guards
from my neighbourhood, carrying on litters several of their comrades and
two of their officers wounded. I observed, in talking with them, with
what terrible rapidity, even in so civilized a century as our own, the
most peaceful minds enter, as it were, into the spirit of civil war, and
how quick they are, in these unhappy times, to acquire a taste for
violence and a contempt for human life. The men with whom I was talking
were peaceful, sober artisans, whose gentle and somewhat sluggish
natures were still further removed from cruelty than from heroism. Yet
they dreamt of nothing but massacre and destruction. They complained
that they were not allowed to use bombs, or to sap and mine the streets
held by the insurgents, and they were determined to show no more
quarter; already that morning I had almost seen a poor devil shot before
my eyes on the boulevards, who had been arrested without arms in his
hands, but whose mouth and hands were blackened by a substance which
they supposed to be, and which no doubt was, powder. I did all I could
to calm these rabid sheep. I promised them that we should take terrible
measures the next day. Lamoricière, in fact, had told me that morning
that he had sent for shells to hurl behind the barricades; and I knew
that a regiment of sappers was expected from Douai, to pierce the walls
and blow up the besieged houses with petards. I added that they must not
shoot any of their prisoners, but that they should kill then and there
anyone who made as though to defend himself. I left my men a little more
contented, and, continuing my road, I could not help examining myself
and feeling surprised at the nature of the arguments I had used, and the
promptness with which, in two days, I had become familiarized with those
ideas of inexorable destruction which were naturally so foreign to my

As I passed in front of the little streets at the entrance to which, two
days before, I had seen such neat and solid barricades being built, I
noticed that the cannon had considerably upset those fine works,
although some traces remained.

I was received by Marrast, the Mayor of Paris. He told me that the Hôtel
de Ville was clear for the present, but that the insurgents might try in
the night to recapture the streets from which we had driven them. I
found him less tranquil than his bulletins. He took me to a room in
which they had laid Bedeau, who was dangerously wounded on the first
day. This post at the Hôtel de Ville was a very fatal one for the
generals who commanded there. Bedeau almost lost his life. Duvivier and
Négrier, who succeeded him, were killed. Bedeau believed he was but
slightly hurt, and thought only of the situation of affairs:
nevertheless, his activity of mind struck me as ill-omened, and alarmed

The night was well advanced when I left the Hôtel de Ville to go to the
Assembly. I was offered an escort, which I refused, not thinking I
should require it; but I regretted it more than once on the road. In
order to prevent the insurgent districts from receiving reinforcements,
provisions, or communications from the other parts of the town, in which
there were so many men prepared to embrace the same cause, it had very
properly been resolved absolutely to prohibit circulation in any of the
streets. Everyone was stopped who left his house without a pass or an
escort. I was constantly stopped on my way and made to show my medal. I
was aimed at more than ten times by those inexperienced sentries, who
spoke every imaginable brogue; for Paris was filled with provincials,
who had come from every part of the country, many of them for the first

When I arrived, the sitting was over, but the Palace was still in a
great state of excitement. A rumour had got abroad that the workmen of
the Gros-Caillou were about to take advantage of the darkness to seize
upon the Palace itself. Thus the Assembly, which, after three days'
fighting, had carried the conflict into the heart of the districts
occupied by its enemies, was trembling for its own quarters. The rumour
was void of foundation; but nothing could better show the character of
this war, in which the enemy might always be one's own neighbour, and
in which one was never certain of not having his house sacked while
gaining a victory at a distance. In order to secure the Palace against
all surprise, barricades were hurriedly erected at the entrance to all
the streets leading up to it. When I saw that there was only a question
of a false rumour, I went home to bed.

I shall say no more of the June combats. The recollections of the two
last days merge into and are lost in those of the first. As is known,
the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, the last citadel of the civil war, did not
lay down its arms until the Monday--that is to say, on the fourth day
after the commencement of the conflict; and it was not until the morning
of that day that the volunteers from la Manche were able to reach Paris.
They had hurried as fast as possible, but they had come more than eighty
leagues across a country in which there were no railways. They were
fifteen hundred in number. I was touched at recognizing among them many
landlords, lawyers, doctors and farmers who were my friends and
neighbours. Almost all the old nobility of the country had taken up arms
on this occasion and formed part of the column. It was the same over
almost the whole of France. From the petty squire squatting in his den
in the country to the useless, elegant sons of the great houses--all had
at that moment remembered that they had once formed part of a warlike
and governing class, and on every side they gave the example of vigour
and resolution: so great is the vitality of those old bodies of
aristocracy. They retain traces of themselves even when they appear to
be reduced to dust, and spring up time after time from the shades of
death before sinking back for ever.

It was in the midst of the days of June that the death occurred of a man
who perhaps of all men in our day best preserved the spirit of the old
races: M. de Chateaubriand, with whom I was connected by so many family
ties and childish recollections. He had long since fallen into a sort of
speechless stupor, which made one sometimes believe that his
intelligence was extinguished. Nevertheless, while in this condition, he
heard a rumour of the Revolution of February, and desired to be told
what was happening. They informed him that Louis-Philippe's government
had been overthrown. He said, "Well done!" and nothing more. Four months
later, the din of the days of June reached his ears, and again he asked
what that noise was. They answered that people were fighting in Paris,
and that it was the sound of cannon. Thereupon he made vain efforts to
rise, saying, "I want to go to it," and was then silent, this time for
ever; for he died the next day.

Such were the days of June, necessary and disastrous days. They did not
extinguish revolutionary ardour in France, but they put a stop, at least
for a time, to what may be called the work appertaining to the
Revolution of February. They delivered the nation from the tyranny of
the Paris workmen and restored it to possession of itself.

Socialistic theories continued to penetrate into the minds of the people
in the shape of envious and greedy desires, and to sow the seed of
future revolutions; but the socialist party itself was beaten and
powerless. The Montagnards, who did not belong to it, felt that they
were irrevocably affected by the blow that had struck it. The moderate
Republicans themselves did not fail to be alarmed lest this victory had
led them to a slope which might precipitate them from the Republic, and
they made an immediate effort to stop their descent, but in vain.
Personally I detested the Mountain, and was indifferent to the Republic;
but I adored Liberty, and I conceived great apprehensions for it
immediately after these days. I at once looked upon the June fighting as
a necessary crisis, after which, however, the temper of the nation would
undergo a certain change. The love of independence was to be followed by
a dread of, and perhaps a distaste for, free institutions; after such an
abuse of liberty a return of this sort was inevitable. This retrograde
movement began, in fact, on the 27th of June. At first very slow and
invisible, as it were, to the naked eye, it grew swifter, impetuous,
irresistible. Where will it stop? I do not know. I believe we shall have
great difficulty in not rolling far beyond the point we had reached
before February, and I foresee that all of us, Socialists, Montagnards
and Liberal Republicans, will fall into common discredit until the
private recollections of the Revolution of 1848 are removed and effaced,
and the general spirit of the times shall resume its empire.



     [12: There is a great hiatus in this chapter, due to my not
     mentioning the discussions and resolutions relating to _general
     principles_. Many of the discussions were fairly thorough, and most
     of the resolutions were tolerably wise and even courageous. Most of
     the revolutionary and socialistic raptures of the time were
     combated in them. We were prepared and on our guard on these
     general questions.]

I now change my subject, and am glad to leave the scenes of the civil
war and to return to the recollections of my parliamentary life. I wish
to speak of what happened in the Committee for the Constitution, of
which I was a member. This will oblige us to retrace our steps a little,
for the appointment and work of this committee date back to before the
days of June; but I did not mention it earlier, because I did not wish
to interrupt the course of events which was leading us swiftly and
directly to those days. The nomination of the Committee for the
Constitution was commenced on the 17th of May; it was a long
performance, because it had been decided that the members of the
committee should be chosen by the whole Assembly and by an absolute
majority of votes. I was elected at the first time of voting[13]
together with Cormenin, Marrast, Lamennais, Vivien, and Dufaure. I do
not know how often the voting had to be repeated in order to complete
the list, which was to consist of eighteen members.

     [13: I received 496 votes.]

Although the committee had been nominated before the victory of June,
almost all its members belonged to the different moderate sections of
the Assembly. The Mountain had only two representatives on it: Lamennais
and Considérant; and even these were little worse than chimerical
visionaries, especially Considérant, who would have deserved to be sent
to a lunatic asylum had he been sincere--but I fear he deserved more
than that.

Taking the Committee as a whole, it was easy to see that no very
remarkable result was to be expected from it. Some of its members had
spent their lives in conducting or controlling the administration during
the last government. They had never seen, studied, or understood
anything except the Monarchy; and even then they had, for the most part,
applied rather than studied its principles. They had raised themselves
but little above the practice of business. Now that they were called
upon to realize the theories which they had always slighted or opposed,
and which had defeated without convincing them, they found it difficult
to apply any but monarchical ideas to their work; or, if they adopted
republican ideas, they did so now timidly, now rashly, always a little
at hap-hazard, like novices.

As for the Republicans proper on the Committee, they had few ideas of
any sort, except those which they had gathered in reading or writing for
the newspapers; for there were many journalists among them. Marrast had
edited the _National_ for ten years; Dornès was at that time its
editor-in-chief; Vaulabelle, a man of serious but coarse and even
cynical cast of mind, habitually wrote for its columns. He was the man
who, a month later, was himself vastly astonished at becoming Minister
of Public Worship and Instruction.

All this bore very little resemblance to the men, so certain of their
objects and so well acquainted with the measures necessary to attain
them, who sixty years before, under Washington's presidency so
successfully drew up the American Constitution.

For that matter, even if the Committee had been capable of doing its
work well, the want of time and the preoccupation of outside events
would have prevented it.

There is no nation which attaches itself less to those who govern it
than the French Nation, nor which is less able to dispense with
government. So soon as it finds itself obliged to walk alone, it
undergoes a sort of vertigo, which makes it dread an abyss at every
step. At the time I speak of, it had a sort of frenzied desire for the
work of framing the Constitution to be completed, and for the powers in
command to be, if not solidly, at least permanently and regularly
established. The Assembly shared this eagerness, and never ceased urging
us on, although we required but little urging. The recollection of the
15th of May, the apprehensions entertained of the days of June and the
sight of the divided, enervated and incapable government at the head of
affairs were sufficient inducement to us to hasten our labours. But what
especially deprived the Committee of its freedom of thought was, it must
be confessed, the fear of outside matters and the excitement of the
moment. It would be difficult to imagine the effect produced by this
forcing of revolutionary ideas upon minds so little disposed to adopt
them, and how the latter were being incessantly, and even almost
unconsciously, impelled much further than they wished to go, when they
were not pushed altogether out of the direction they desired to take.
Certainly, if the Committee had met on the 27th of June instead of the
16th of May, its work would have been very different.

The discussion opened on the 22nd of May. The first question was to
decide on which side we should tackle this immense work. Lamennais
proposed to commence by regulating the state of the communes. He had
proceeded in this way himself in a proposal for a Constitution which he
had just published, so as to make certain of the first fruits of his
discoveries. Then he passed from the question of sequence to that of the
main point: he began to talk of administrative centralization, for his
thoughts were incapable of sub-dividing themselves; his mind was always
wholly occupied by a single system, and all the ideas contained in it
adhered so closely together that, so soon as one was uttered, the others
seemed necessarily to follow. He therefore explained that a Republic
whose citizens are not clever and experienced enough to govern
themselves was a monster not fit to live.

Thereupon the Committee took fire: Barrot, who, amid the clouds of his
mind, always pretty clearly perceived the necessity for local liberty,
eagerly supported Lamennais. I did the same; Marrast and Vivien opposed
us. Vivien was quite consistent in defending centralization, for the
movement of administrative affairs was his profession, and moreover he
was quite naturally drawn towards it. He had all the qualities of a
clever legist and an excellent commentator, and none of those necessary
to a legislator or statesman. The danger in which he beheld the
institutions so dear to him inflamed him; he grew so excited that he
began to hold that the Republic, far from restraining centralization,
ought even to increase it. One would have said that this was the side on
which the Revolution of February pleased him.

Marrast belonged to the ordinary type of French revolutionaries, who
have always understood the liberty of the people to mean despotism
exercised in the name of the people. This sudden harmony between Vivien
and Marrast did not, therefore, surprise me. I was used to the
phenomenon, and I had long remarked that the only way to bring a
Conservative and a Radical together was to attack the power of the
central government, not in application, but in principle. One was then
sure of throwing them into each other's arms.

When, therefore, people assert that nothing is safe from revolutions, I
tell them they are wrong, and that centralization is one of those
things. In France there is only one thing we can't set up: that is, a
free government; and only one institution we can't destroy: that is,
centralization. How could it ever perish? The enemies of government love
it, and those who govern cherish it. The latter perceive, it is true,
from time to time, that it exposes them to sudden and irremediable
disasters; but this does not disgust them with it. The pleasure it
procures them of interfering with every one and holding everything in
their hands atones to them for its dangers. They prefer this agreeable
life to a more certain and longer existence, and say, "_Courte et
bonne_" like the _roués_ of the Regency: "A short life and a merry one."

The question could not be decided that day; but it was settled in
advance by the determination arrived at that we should not first occupy
ourselves with the communal system.

Next day, Lamennais resigned. Under the circumstances, an occurrence of
this sort was annoying. It was bound to increase and rooten the
prejudices already existing against us. We took very pressing and even
somewhat humble steps to induce Lamennais to reconsider his resolve. As
I had shared his opinion, I was deputed to go and see him and press him
to return. I did so, but in vain. He had only been beaten over a formal
question, but he had concluded from this that he would not be the
master. That was enough to decide him to be nothing at all. He was
inflexible, in spite of all I could say in the interest of the very
ideas which we held in common.

One should especially consider an unfrocked priest if one wishes to
acquire a correct idea of the indestructible and, so to speak, infinite
power which the clerical habit and method of thought wield over those
who have once contracted them. It was useless for Lamennais to sport
white stockings, a yellow waistcoat, a striped necktie, and a green
coat: he remained a priest in character, and even in appearance. He
walked with short, hurried and discreet steps, never turning his head or
looking at anybody, and glided through the crowd with an awkward, modest
air, as though he were leaving the sacristy. Add to this a pride great
enough to walk over the heads of kings and bid defiance to God.

When it was found that Lamennais' obstinacy was not to be overcome, we
proceeded with other business; and so that no more time might be lost in
premature discussions, a sub-committee was appointed to draw up rules
for the regulation of our labours, and to propose them to the Committee.
Unfortunately, this sub-committee was so constituted that Cormenin, our
chairman, was its master and, in reality, substituted himself for it.
The permanent power of initiative which he thus possessed, coupled with
the conduct of the debates which belonged to him as chairman, had the
most baneful influence upon our deliberations, and I am not sure if the
faults in our work should not be mainly attributed to him.

Like Lamennais, Cormenin had drawn up and published a Constitution after
his own idea, and again, like the former, he expected us to adopt it.
But he did not quite know how to put it to us. As a rule, extreme vanity
makes the timidest very bold in speaking. Cormenin's did not permit him
to open his mouth so soon as he had three listeners. He would have liked
to do as one of my neighbours in Normandy did, a great lover of
polemics, to whom Providence had refused the capacity of disputing _vivâ
voce_. Whenever I opposed any of his opinions, he would hurry home and
write to me all that he ought to have told me. Cormenin accordingly
despaired of convincing us, but hoped to surprise us. He flattered
himself that he would make us accept his system gradually and, so to
speak, unknown to ourselves, by presenting a morsel to us every day. He
managed so cleverly that a general discussion could never be held upon
the Constitution as a whole, and that even in each case it was almost
impossible to trace back and find the primitive idea. He brought us
every day five or six clauses ready drawn up, and patiently, little by
little, drew back to this little plot of ground all those who wished to
escape from it. We resisted sometimes; but in the end, from sheer
weariness, we yielded to this gentle, continuous restraint. The
influence of a chairman upon the work of a committee is immense; any one
who has closely observed these little assemblies will understand what I
mean. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that if several of us had
desired to withdraw ourselves from this tyranny, we should have ended by
coming to an understanding and succeeding. But we had no time and no
inclination for long discussions. The vastness and complexity of the
subject alarmed and wearied the minds of the Committee beforehand: the
majority had not even attempted to study it, or had only collected some
very confused ideas; and those who had formed clearer ones were ill at
ease at having to expound them. They were afraid, besides, lest they
should enter into violent, interminable disputes if they endeavoured to
get to the bottom of things; and they preferred to appear to be in
harmony by keeping to the surface. In this way we ambled along to the
end, adopting great principles explicitly for reasons of petty detail,
and little by little building up the whole machinery of government
without properly taking into account the relative strength of the
various wheels and the manner in which they would work together.

In the moments of repose which interrupted this fine work, Marrast, who
was a Republican of the Barras type, and who had always preferred the
pleasures of luxury, the table and women to democracy in rags, told us
little stories of gallantry, while Vaulabelle made broad jests. I hope,
for the honour of the Committee, that no one will ever publish the
minutes (very badly done, for that matter) which the secretary drew up
of our sittings. The sterility of the discussions amid the exuberant
fecundity of the subject-matter would assuredly provoke surprise. As for
myself, I declare that I never witnessed a more wretched display in any
committee on which I ever sat.

Nevertheless, there was one serious discussion. It referred to the
system of a single Chamber. As a matter of fact, the two parties into
which the Committee was silently divided only came to an issue on this
one occasion. It was even less a question of the two Chambers than of
the general character to be given to the new government: Were we to
persevere in the learned and somewhat complicated system of
counterpoises, and place powers held in check, and consequently prudent
and moderate, at the head of the Republic? Or were we to adopt the
contrary course and accept the simpler theory, according to which
affairs are placed in the hands of a single power, homogeneous in all
its parts, uncontrolled, and consequently impetuous in its measures, and
irresistible? This was the subject-matter of the debate. This general
question might have cropped up as the result of a number of other
clauses; but it was better contained than elsewhere in the special
question of the two Chambers.

The struggle was a long one and lasted for two sittings. The result was
not for a moment in doubt; for public opinion had pronounced strongly in
favour of a single Chamber, not only in Paris but in nearly every
department. Barrot was the first to speak in favour of the two Chambers;
he took up my thesis and developed it with great talent, but
intemperately; for during the Revolution of February, his mind had lost
its equilibrium and had never since been able to recover its
self-possession. I supported Barrot and returned time after time to the
charge. I was a little surprised to hear Dufaure pronouncing against us
and doing so with a certain eagerness. Lawyers are rarely able to escape
from one of two habits: they accustom themselves either to plead what
they do not believe or to persuade themselves very easily of what they
wish to plead. Dufaure came under the latter category. The drift of
public opinion, of his own passions or interest, would never have led
him to embrace a cause which he thought a bad one; but it prompted him
with a desire to think it a good one, and that was often sufficient. His
naturally vacillating, ingenious and subtle mind turned gradually
towards it; and he sometimes ended by adopting it, not only with
conviction but with transport. How often have I not been amazed to see
him vehemently defending theories which I had seen him adopt with
infinite hesitation!

His principal reason for voting this time in favour of a single Chamber
in the Legislative Body (and it was the best, I think, that could be
found) was that, with us, the Executive Power wielded by one man
elected by the people would most certainly become preponderant if there
were placed beside him only a legislative body weakened by being divided
into two branches. I remember that I replied that that might be the
case, but that one thing was quite certain, and that was, that two great
powers naturally jealous of one another, and placed in an eternal
_tête-à-tête_ (that was the expression I used), without ever having
recourse to the arbitrament of a third power, would at once be on bad
terms or at war with one another, and would constantly remain so until
one had destroyed the other. I added that, if it was true that a
President elected by the people, and possessing the immense prerogatives
which in France belong to the chief of the public administration, was
sometimes able to curb a divided legislative body, a President who
should feel himself to possess this origin and these rights would always
refuse to become a simple agent and to submit to the capricious and
tyrannical will of a single assembly.

We were both in the right. The problem, thus propounded, was insolvable;
but the nation propounded it thus. To allow the President the same power
that the King had enjoyed, and to have him elected by the people, would
make the Republic impossible. As I said later, one must either
infinitely narrow the sphere of his power, or else have him elected by
the Assembly; but the nation would hear of neither one nor the other.

Dupin completed our defeat: he defended the single Chamber with
surprising vigour. One would have thought that he had never held another
opinion. I expected as much. I knew him to possess a heart that was
habitually self-interested and cowardly, though subject at times to
sudden leaps of courage and honesty. I had seen him for ten years
prowling round every party without joining any, and attacking all the
vanquished: half ape and half jackal, constantly biting, grimacing,
gambolling, and always ready to fall upon the wretch who slipped. He
showed himself in his true colours on the Committee of the Constitution,
or rather he surpassed himself. I perceived in him none of those sudden
leaps of which I have just spoken: he was uniformly commonplace from
beginning to end. He usually remained silent while the majority were
making up their minds; but as soon as he saw them pronounce in favour of
democratic opinions, he rushed to place himself at their head, and often
went far beyond them. Once, he perceived, when he had gone half-way,
that the majority were not going in the direction he had thought;
whereupon he immediately stopped short with a prompt and nimble effort
of the intelligence, turned round, and hurried back at the same run
towards the opinion from which he had been departing.

Almost all the old members of Parliament pronounced in this way against
the dual Chamber. Most of them sought for more or less plausible
pretexts for their votes. Some pretended that a Council of State would
provide the counterpoise of which they acknowledged the necessity;
others purposed to subject the single assembly to forms whose slowness
would safeguard it against its own impulses and against surprise; but in
the end the true reason was always given. On the committee was a
minister of the Gospel, M. Coquerel, who, seeing that his colleagues of
the Catholic clergy were entering the Assembly, wanted to appear there
too, and he was wrong: from the much-admired preacher that he was, he
suddenly transformed himself into a very ridiculous political orator. He
could hardly open his mouth without uttering some pompous absurdity. On
this occasion he was so naïve as to inform us that he continued to
favour the dual Chamber, but that he would vote for the single Chamber
because public opinion was pushing him on, and he did not wish, to use
his own words, to fight against the current. This candour greatly
annoyed those who were acting as he did, and mightily delighted Barrot
and myself; but this was the only satisfaction we received, for, when it
came to voting, there were only three on our side.

This signal defeat disinclined me a little to continue the struggle, and
threw Barrot quite out of humour. He no longer appeared except at rare
intervals, and in order to utter signs of impatience or disdain rather
than opinions.

We passed on to the Executive Power. In spite of all that I have said
of the circumstances of the time and the disposition of the Committee,
it will still be believed with difficulty that so vast, so perplexing,
so novel a subject did not furnish the material for a single general
debate, nor for any very profound discussion.

All were unanimous in the opinion that the Executive Power should be
entrusted to one man alone. But what prerogatives and what agents should
he be given, what responsibilities laid upon him? Clearly, none of these
questions could be treated in an arbitrary fashion; each of them was
necessarily in connection with all the others, and could, above all, be
only decided by taking into special account the habits and customs of
the country. These were old problems, no doubt; but they were made young
again by the novelty of the circumstances.

Cormenin, according to his custom, opened the discussion by proposing a
little clause all ready drawn up, which provided that the head of the
Executive Power, or the President, as he was thenceforward called,
should be elected directly by the people by a relative majority, the
minimum of votes necessary to carry his election being fixed at two
millions. I believe Marrast was the only one to oppose it; he proposed
that the head of the Executive Power should be elected by the Assembly:
he was at that time intoxicated with his own fortune, and flattered
himself, strange though this may seem to-day, that the choice of the
Assembly would fall upon himself. Nevertheless, the clause proposed by
Cormenin was adopted without any difficulty, so far as I can remember;
and yet it must be confessed that the expediency of having the President
elected by the people was not a self-evident truth, and that the
disposition to have him elected directly was as new as it was dangerous.
In a country with no monarchical tradition, in which the Executive Power
has always been feeble and continues to be very limited, nothing is
wiser than to charge the nation with the choice of its representative. A
President who had not the strength which he could draw from that origin
would then become the plaything of the Assemblies; but with us the
conditions of the problem were very different. We were emerging from the
Monarchy, and the habits of the Republicans themselves were still
monarchical. Moreover, our system of centralization made our position an
unique one: according to its principles, the whole administration of the
country, in matters of the greatest and of the smallest moment, belonged
to the President; the thousands of officials who held the whole country
in their hands were dependent upon him alone; this was so according to
the laws, and even the ideas, which the 24th of February had allowed to
continue in force; for we had retained the spirit of the Monarchy, while
losing the taste for it. Under these conditions, what could a President
elected by the people be other than a pretender to the Crown? The office
could only suit those who hoped to make use of it in order to assist in
transforming the Presidential into Royal powers; it seemed clear to me
then, and it seems evident to me now, that if it was desired that the
President should be elected by the people without danger to the
Republic, it was necessary to limit prodigiously the circle of his
prerogatives; and even then, I am not sure that this would have
sufficed, for his sphere, although thus confined in point of law, would,
in habit and remembrance, have preserved its former extent. If, on the
other hand, the President was allowed to retain his power, he should not
be elected by the people. These truths were not put forward; I doubt
whether they were even perceived in the heart of the Committee. However,
Cormenin's clause, although adopted at first, was later made the object
of a very lively attack; but it was attacked for reasons different to
those I have just given. It was on the day after the 4th of June. Prince
Louis Napoleon, of whom no one had thought a few days before, had just
been elected to the Assembly by Paris and three departments. They began
to fear that he would be placed at the head of the Republic if the
choice were left to the people. The various pretenders and their friends
grew excited, the question was raised afresh in the Committee, and the
majority persisted in its original vote.

I remember that, during all the time that the Committee was occupied in
this way, my mind was labouring to divine to which side the balance of
power would most generally lean in a Republic of the kind which I saw
they were going to make. Sometimes I thought that it would be on the
side of the Assembly, and then again on that of the elected President;
and this uncertainty made me very uneasy. The fact is, that it was
impossible to tell beforehand. The victory of one or other of these two
great rivals must necessarily depend upon circumstances and the humours
of the moment. There were only two things certain: the war which they
would wage together, and the eventual ruin of the Republic.

Of all the ideas which I have expounded, not one was sifted by the
Committee; I might even say that not one was discussed. Barrot one day
touched upon them in passing, but did not linger over them. His mind
(which was sleepy rather than feeble, and which was even able to see far
ahead when it took the trouble to look) caught a glimpse of them, as it
were, between sleeping and waking, and thought no more of them.

I myself only pointed them out with a certain hesitation and reserve. My
rebuff in the matter of the dual Chamber left me little heart for the
fight. Moreover, I confess, I was more anxious to reach a quick
decision, and place a powerful leader at the head of the Republic, than
to organize a perfect republican Constitution. We were then under the
divided and uncertain government of the Executive Committee, Socialism
was at our gates, and we were approaching the days of June, as we must
not forget. Later, after these days, I vigorously supported in the
Assembly the system of electing the President by the people, and in a
certain measure contributed to its acceptance. The principal reason
which I gave was that, after announcing to the nation that we would
grant it that right, which it had always ardently desired, it was no
longer possible to withhold it. This was true. Nevertheless, I regret
having spoken on this occasion.

To return to the Committee: unable and even unwilling to oppose the
adoption of the principle, I endeavoured at least to make its
application less dangerous. I first proposed to limit in various
directions the sphere of the Executive Power; but I soon saw that it was
useless to attempt anything serious on that side. I then fell back upon
the method of election itself, and raised a discussion on that portion
of Cormenin's clause which treated of it.

The clause, as I said above, laid down that the President should be
elected directly, by a relative majority, the minimum of this majority
being fixed at two million votes. This method had several very serious

Since the President was to be elected directly by the citizens, the
enthusiasm and infatuation of the people was very much to be feared; and
moreover, the prestige and moral power which the newly elected would
possess would be much greater. Since a relative majority was to be
sufficient to make the election valid, it might be possible that the
President should only represent the wishes of a minority of the nation.
I asked that the President might not be elected directly by the
citizens, but that this should be entrusted to delegates whom the people
would elect. In the second place, I proposed to substitute an actual for
a relative majority; if an absolute majority was not obtained at the
first vote, it would fall to the Assembly to make a choice. These ideas
were, I think, sound, but they were not new; I had borrowed them from
the American Constitution. I doubt whether anyone would have suspected
this, had I not said so; so little was the Committee prepared to play
its great part.

The first part of my amendment was rejected. I expected this: our great
men were of opinion that this system was not sufficiently simple, and
they considered it tainted with a touch of aristocracy. The second was
accepted, and is part of the actual Constitution.

Beaumont proposed that the President should not be re-eligible; I
supported him vigorously, and the proposal was carried. On this occasion
we both fell into a great mistake which will, I fear, lead to very sad
results. We had always been greatly struck with the dangers threatening
liberty and public morality at the hands of a re-eligible president, who
in order to secure his re-election would infallibly employ beforehand
the immense resources of constraint and corruption which our laws and
customs allow to the head of the Executive Power. Our minds were not
supple or prompt enough to turn in time or to see that, so soon as it
was decided that the citizens themselves should directly choose the
President, the evil was irreparable, and that it would be only
increasing it rashly to undertake to hinder the people in their choice.
This vote, and the great influence I brought to bear upon it, is my most
unpleasant memory of that period.

Each moment we came up against centralization, and instead of removing
the obstacle, we stumbled over it. It was of the essence of the Republic
that the head of the Executive Power should be responsible; but
responsible for what, and to what extent? Could he be made responsible
for the thousand details of administration with which our administrative
legislation is overcharged, and over which it would be impossible, and
moreover dangerous, for him to watch in person? That would have been
unjust and ridiculous; and if he was not to be responsible for the
administration proper, who would be? It was decided that the
responsibility of the President should be shared by the ministers, and
that their counter-signature should be necessary, as in the days of the
Monarchy. Thus the President was responsible, and yet he was not
entirely free in his own actions, and he was not able to protect his
agents in agents.

We passed to the constitution of the Council of State. Cormenin and
Vivien took charge of this; it may be said that they set to work like
people who are building up a house for themselves. They did their utmost
to make the Council of State a third power, but without success. It
became something more than an administrative council, but infinitely
less than a legislative assembly.

The only part of our work which was at all well thought out, and
arranged, as I think, with wisdom, was that which related to justice.
Here the committee felt at home, most of its members being, or having
been, barristers. Thanks to these, we were able to save the principle of
the irremovability of the judges; as in 1830, it held good against the
current which swept away all the rest. Those who had been Republicans
from the commencement attacked it nevertheless, and very stupidly, in my
opinion; for this principle is much more in favour of the independence
of one's fellow-citizens than of the power of those who govern. The
Court of Appeal and, especially, the tribunal charged with judging
political crimes were constituted at once just as they are to-day
(1851). Beaumont drew up most of the articles which refer to these two
great courts. What we did in these matters is far in advance of all that
had been attempted in the same direction during sixty years. It is
probably the only part of the Constitution of 1848 which will survive.

It was decided at the instance of Vivien that the Constitution could
only be revised by a Constituent Assembly, which was right; but they
added that this revision could only take place if the National Assembly
demanded it by an express vote, given three times consecutively by a
majority of four-fifths, which rendered any regular revision almost
impossible. I took no part in this vote. I had long been of opinion
that, instead of aiming to make our governments eternal, we should tend
to make it possible to change them in an easy and regular manner. Taken
all round, I thought this less dangerous than the opposite course; and I
thought it best to treat the French people like those madmen whom one
should be careful not to bind lest they become infuriated by the

I noticed casually a number of curious opinions that were emitted.
Martin (of Strasburg), who, not content with being a Republican of
yesterday, one day declared so absurdly in the tribune that he was a
Republican by birth, nevertheless proposed to give the President the
right to dissolve the Assembly, and failed to see that a right of this
kind would easily make him master of the Republic; Marrast wanted a
section to be added to the Council of State charged to elaborate "new
ideas," to be called a section of progress; Barrot proposed to leave to
a jury the decision of all civil suits, as though a judiciary revolution
of this sort could possibly be improvised. And Dufaure proposed to
prohibit substitution in the conscription, and to compel everyone
personally to perform his military service, a measure which would have
destroyed all liberal education unless the time of service had been
greatly reduced, or have disorganized the army if this reduction had
been effected.

In this way, pressed by time and ill prepared to treat such important
subjects, we approached the time appointed for the end of our labours.
What was said was: Let us adopt, in the meantime, the articles proposed
to us; we can afterwards retrace our steps; we can judge from this
sketch how to fix the definitive features and to adjust the portions
among themselves. But we did not retrace our steps, and the sketch
remained the picture.

We appointed Marrast our secretary. The way in which he acquitted
himself of this important office soon exposed the mixture of idleness,
giddiness and impudence which formed the basis of his character. He was
first several days without doing anything, though the Assembly was
constantly asking to know the result of our deliberations, and all
France was anxiously awaiting to learn it. Then he hurriedly wrote his
report in one night immediately preceding the day on which he was to
communicate it to the Assembly. In the morning, he spoke of it to one or
two of his colleagues whom he met by chance, and then boldly appeared in
the tribune and read, in the name of the Committee, a report of which
hardly one of its members had heard a single word. This reading took
place on the 19th of June. The draft of the Constitution contained one
hundred and thirty-nine articles; it had been drawn up in less than a
month. We could not have been quicker, but we might have done better. We
had adopted many of the little articles which Cormenin had brought us in
turns; but we had rejected a yet greater number, which caused their
author an irritation, which was so much the greater in that he had never
had an opportunity of giving vent to it. He turned to the public for
consolation. He published, or caused to be published, I forget which it
was, in all the newspapers an article in which he related what had
passed in the Committee, attributing all the good it had done to M. de
Cormenin, and all the harm to his adversaries. A publication of this
sort displeased us greatly, as may be imagined; and it was decided to
acquaint Cormenin with the feeling inspired by his procedure. But no one
cared to be the spokesman of the company.

We had among us a workman (for in those days they put workmen into
everything) called Corbon, a tolerably right-minded man of firm
character. He readily undertook the task. On the next morning,
therefore, so soon as the sitting of the Committee had opened, Corbon
stood up and, with cruel simplicity and conciseness, gave Cormenin to
understand what we thought. Cormenin grew confused, and cast his eyes
round the table to see if anybody would come to his aid. Nobody moved.
He then said, in a hesitating voice, "Am I to conclude from what has
just happened that the Committee wishes me to leave it?" We made no
reply. He took his hat and went, without anyone interfering. Never was
so great an outrage swallowed with less effort or grimace. I believe
that, although enormously vain, he was not very sensitive to insults in
secret; and as long as his self-love was well tickled in public, he
would not have made many bones about receiving a few cuffs in private.

Many have believed that Cormenin, who from a viscount had suddenly
become a Radical, while remaining a devout Catholic, never ceased to
play a part and to betray his opinions. I would not venture to say that
this was the case, although I have often observed strange
inconsistencies between the things he said when talking and those he
wrote; and to tell the truth, he always seemed to me to be more sincere
in the dread he entertained of revolutions than in the opinions he had
borrowed from them. What always especially struck me in him was the
shortcomings of his mind. No writer ever to a greater extent preserved
in public business the habits and peculiarities of that calling. When he
had established a certain agreement between the different clauses of a
law and drawn it up in a certain ingenious and striking manner, he
thought he had done all that was necessary: he was absorbed in questions
of form, of symmetry, and cohesion.

But what he especially sought for was novelty. Institutions which had
already been tried elsewhere or elsewhen seemed to him as hateful as
commonplaces, and the first merit of a law in his eyes was to resemble
in no way that which had preceded it. It is known that the law laying
down the Constitution was his work. At the time of the General Election
I met him and he said, with a certain complacency, "Has anything in the
world ever been seen like what is seen to-day? Where is the country that
has gone so far as to give votes to servants, paupers and soldiers?
Confess that no one ever thought of it before." And rubbing his hands,
he added, "It will be very curious to see the result." He spoke of it as
though it were an experiment in chemistry.



     _This part was commenced at Versailles on the 16th of September
     1851, during the prorogation of the National Assembly._

     _To come at once to this part of my recollections, I pass over the
     previous period, which extends from the end of the days of June
     1848 to the 3rd of June 1849. I return to it later if I have time.
     I have thought it more important, while my recollections are still
     fresh in my mind, to recall the five months during which I was a
     member of the Government._



While I was thus occupied in witnessing upon the private stage of
Germany one act of the great drama of the European Revolution, my
attention was suddenly drawn towards France and fixed upon our affairs
by unexpected and alarming news. I heard of the almost incredible check
received by our army beneath the walls of Rome, the violent debates
which followed in the Constituent Assembly, the excitement produced
throughout the country by these two causes, and lastly, the General
Election, whose result deceived the expectations of both parties and
brought over one hundred and fifty Montagnards into the new Assembly.
However, the demagogic wind which had suddenly blown over a part of
France had not prevailed in the Department of la Manche. All the former
members for the department who had separated from the Conservative Party
in the Assembly had gone under in the _scrutin_. Of thirteen
representatives only four had survived; as for me, I had received more
votes than all the others, although I was absent and silent, and
although I had openly voted for Cavaignac in the previous month of
December. Nevertheless, I was almost unanimously elected, less because
of my opinions than of the great personal consideration which I enjoyed
outside politics, an honourable position no doubt, but difficult to
retain in the midst of parties, and destined to become very precarious
on the day when the latter should themselves become exclusive as they
became violent.

I set out as soon as I received this news. At Bonn a sudden
indisposition obliged Madame de Tocqueville to stop. She herself urged
me to leave her and to continue my journey, and I did so, although with
regret; for I was leaving her alone in a country still agitated by civil
war; and moreover, it is in moments of difficulty or peril that her
courage and her great sense are so helpful to me.

I arrived in Paris, if I am not mistaken, on the 25th of May 1849, four
days before the meeting of the Legislative, and during the last
convulsions of the Constituent Assembly. A few weeks had sufficed to
make the aspect of the political world entirely unrecognizable, owing
less to the changes which had taken place in outside facts, than to the
prodigious revolution which had in a few days taken place in men's

The party which was in power at my departure was so still, and the
material result of the elections should, I thought, have strengthened
its hands. This party, composed of so many different parties, and
wishing either to stop or drive back the Revolution, had obtained an
enormous majority in the electoral colleges, and would command more than
two-thirds of the new Assembly. Nevertheless, I found it seized with so
profound a terror that I can only compare it with that which followed
February: so true is it that in politics one must argue as in war, and
never forget that the effect of events should be measured less by what
they are in themselves than by the impressions they give.

The Conservatives, who for six months had seen all the bye-elections
invariably turning to their advantage, who filled and dominated almost
all the local councils, had placed an almost unlimited confidence in the
system of universal suffrage, after professing unbounded distrust of it.
In the General Election which was just decided, they had expected not
only to conquer but to annihilate, so to speak, their adversaries, and
they were as much cast down at not attaining the absolute triumph which
they had dreamt of as though they had really been beaten. On the other
hand, the Montagnards, who had thought themselves lost, were as
intoxicated with joy and mad audacity as though the elections had
assured them a majority in the new Assembly. Why had the event thus at
the same time deceived the hopes and fears of both parties? It is
difficult to say for certain, for great masses of men move by virtue of
causes almost as unknown to humanity itself as those which rule the
movements of the sea. In both cases the reasons of the phenomenon are
concealed and, in a sense, lost in the midst of its immensity.

We are, at any rate, entitled to believe that the Conservatives owed
their rebuff mainly to the faults which they themselves committed. Their
intolerance, when they thought their triumph assured, of those who,
without sharing their ideas, had assisted them in fighting the
Montagnards; the violent administration of the new Minister of the
Interior, M. Faucher; and more than all, the poor success of the Roman
expedition prejudiced against them a portion of the people who were
naturally disposed to follow them, and threw these into the arms of the

One hundred and fifty Montagnards, as I said, had been elected. A part
of the peasantry and the majority of the army had voted for them: it was
the two anchors of mercy which had snapped in the midst of the tempest.
Terror was universal: it taught anew to the various monarchical parties
the tolerance and modesty which they had practised immediately after
February, but which they had to a great extent forgotten during the past
six months. It was recognized on every hand that there could no longer
be any question, for the present, of emerging from the Republic, and
that all that remained to be done was to oppose the moderate Republicans
to the Montagnards.

The same ministers whom they had created and instigated they now
accused, and a modification of the Cabinet was loudly demanded. The
Cabinet itself saw that it was insufficient, and implored to be
replaced. At the time of my departure I had seen the committee of the
Rue de Poitiers refuse to admit the name of M. Dufaure to its lists; I
now saw every glance directed towards M. Dufaure and his friends, who
were called upon in the most pathetic manner to take office and save

On the night of my arrival, I heard that some of my friends were dining
together at a little restaurant in the Champs-Elysées. I hastened to
join them, and found Dufaure, Lanjuinais, Beaumont, Corcelles, Vivien,
Lamoricière, Bedeau, and one or two more whose names are not so well
known. I was informed in a few words of the position of affairs. Barrot,
who had been invited by the President to form a cabinet, had for some
days been exhausting himself in vain efforts to do so. M. Thiers, M.
Molé and the more important of their friends had refused to undertake
the government. They had made up their minds, nevertheless, as will be
seen, to remain its masters, but without becoming ministers. The
uncertainty of the future, the general instability, the difficulties and
perhaps the dangers of the moment kept them aloof. They were eager
enough for power, but not for responsibility. Barrot, repulsed on that
side, had come to us. He asked us, or rather he besought us, to become
his colleagues. But which among us to choose? What ministries to allot
to us? What colleagues to give us? What general policy to adopt? From
all these questions had arisen difficulties in execution which, till
then, seemed insurmountable. Already, more than once, Barrot had
returned towards the natural chiefs of the majority; and repelled by
them, had fallen back upon us.

Time passed amid these sterile labours; the dangers and difficulties
increased; the news became each day more alarming, and the Ministry were
liable at any moment to be impeached by the dying but furious Assembly.

I returned home greatly preoccupied, as will be believed, by what I had
heard. I was convinced that it only depended upon the wishes of myself
and my friends to become ministers. We were the necessary and obvious
men. I knew the leaders of the majority well enough to be sure that they
would never commit themselves to taking charge of affairs under a
government which seemed to them so ephemeral, and that, even if they had
the disinterestedness, they would not have the courage to do so. Their
pride and their timidity assured me of their abstention. It was enough
for us, therefore, to stand firm on our ground to compel them to come
and fetch us. But ought we to wish to become ministers? I asked myself
this very seriously. I think I may do myself the justice to say that I
did not indulge in the smallest illusion respecting the true
difficulties of the enterprise, and that I looked upon the future with
a clearness of view which we rarely possess except when we consider the

Everybody expected to see fighting in the streets. I myself regarded it
as imminent; the furious audacity which the result of the elections had
imparted to the Mountain and the opportunity afforded to it by the Rome
affair seemed to make an event of this kind inevitable. I was not,
however, very anxious about the issue. I was convinced that, although
the majority of the soldiers had voted for the Mountain, the army would
fight against it without hesitation. The soldier who individually votes
for a candidate at an election and the soldier acting under pressure of
_esprit de corps_ and military discipline are two different men. The
thoughts of the one do not regulate the actions of the other. The Paris
garrison was very numerous, well commanded, experienced in street
warfare, and still filled with the memory of the passions and examples
which had been left to it by the days of June. I therefore felt certain
of victory. But I was very anxious as to the eventual results of this
victory: what seemed to others the end of the difficulties I regarded as
their commencement. I considered them almost insurmountable, as I
believe they really were.

In whichever direction I looked, I saw no solid or lasting stand-point
for us.

Public opinion looked to us, but it would have been unsafe to rely upon
it for support; fear drove the country in our direction, but its
memories, its secret instincts, its passions could scarcely fail soon to
withdraw it from us, so soon as the fear should have vanished. Our
object was, if possible, to found the Republic, or at least to maintain
it for some time, by governing it in a regular, moderate, conservative,
and absolutely constitutional way; and this could not allow us to remain
popular for long, since everybody wanted to evade the Constitution. The
Mountain wanted more, the Monarchists much less.

In the Assembly it was much worse still. The same general causes were
aggravated by a thousand accidents arising from the interests and
vanities of the party leaders. The latter were quite content to allow us
to assume the government, but we must not expect them to allow us to
govern. So soon as the crisis was passed, we might expect every sort of
ambush on their part.

As to the President, I did not know him yet, but it was evident that we
could not rely upon him to support us in his Council, except where the
jealousy and hatred were concerned with which our common adversaries
inspired him. His sympathies must always lie in an opposite direction;
for our views were not only different, but naturally opposed to one
another. We wanted to make the Republic live: he longed for its
inheritance. We only supplied him with ministers where he wanted

To these difficulties, which were in a sense inherent to the situation
and consequently permanent, were added passing ones which it was not at
all easy to surmount: the revolutionary agitation revived in part of the
country; the spirit and habits of exclusion spread and already rooted in
the public administration; the Roman expedition, so badly conceived and
so badly conducted that it was now as difficult to bring it to an end as
to get out of it; in fact, the whole legacy of mistakes committed by our

There were reasons enough for hesitation; and yet I did not hesitate.
The idea of taking a post from which fear kept so many people off, and
of relieving society from the bad pass in which it had been involved,
flattered at the same time my sense of honour and my pride. I was quite
aware that I should only be passing through power, and that I should not
stay there; but I hoped to stay long enough to be able to render some
signal service to my country and to raise myself. This was enough to
attract me.

I at once took three resolutions:

First, not to refuse office if an opportunity offered;

Second, only to enter the Government together with my principal friends,
directing the principal offices, so that we might always remain the
masters of the Cabinet;

Third and last, to behave every day when in office as though I was to be
out of it the next day, that is to say, without ever subordinating to
the necessity of maintaining my position that of remaining true to

The next five or six days were wholly taken up in fruitless endeavours
to form a ministry. The attempts made were so numerous, so overlapping,
so full of small incidents--great events of one day forgotten the
next--that I find it difficult to retrace them in my memory, in spite of
the prominent part which I myself played in some of them. The problem
was undoubtedly a difficult one to solve under its given conditions. The
President was willing enough to change the appearance of his ministry,
but he was determined to retain in it the men whom he considered his
principal friends. The leaders of the Monarchical parties refused
themselves to take the responsibility of government; but they were not
willing either that it should be entrusted entirely to men over whom
they had no hold. If they consented to admit us, it was only in a very
small number and in second-rate offices. We were looked upon as a
necessary but disagreeable remedy, which it was preferable only to
administer in very small doses.

Dufaure was first asked to join alone, and to be satisfied with the
Public Works. He refused, demanded the Interior, and two other offices
for his friends. After much difficulty they agreed to give him the
Interior, but they refused the rest. I have reason to believe that he
was at one time on the point of accepting this proposal and of again
leaving me in the lurch, as he had done six months ago. Not that he was
treacherous or indifferent in his friendships; but the sight of this
important office almost within reach, which he could honestly accept,
possessed a strange attraction for him. It did not precisely cause him
to abandon his friends, but it distracted his thoughts from them, and
made him ready to forget them. He was firm, however, this time; and not
being able to get him by himself, they offered to take me with him. I
was most in view at that time, because the new Legislative Assembly had
just elected me one of its vice-presidents.[14] But what office to give
me? I only thought myself fit to fill the Ministry of Public
Instruction. Unfortunately that was in the hands of M. de Falloux, an
indispensable man, whom it was equally important to the Legitimists to
retain, of whom he was one of the leaders; to the religious party, who
saw in him a protector; and finally to the President, of whom he had
become the friend. I was offered Agriculture, and refused it. At last,
in despair, Barrot came and asked me to accept the Foreign Office. I
myself had made great efforts to persuade M. de Rémusat to accept this
office, and what happened on this occasion between him and me is so
characteristic that it is worthy of being retold. I was very anxious
that M. de Rémusat should join the ministry with us. He was at once a
friend of M. Thiers and a man of honour, a rather unusual combination;
he alone was able to assure us, if not the support, at least the
neutrality of that statesman, without infesting us with his spirit.
Overcome by the insistency of Barrot and the rest of us, Rémusat one
evening yielded. He had pledged us his word, but the next morning he
came to withdraw it. I knew for certain that he had seen M. Thiers in
the interval, and he confessed to me himself that M. Thiers, who was
then loudly proclaiming the necessity of our accepting office, had
dissuaded him from joining us. "I fully saw," he said, "that to become
your colleague would not be to give you his assistance, but only to
expose myself to be quarrelling with him before long." Those were the
sort of men we had to deal with.

     [14: 1 June 1849, by 336 votes to 261.]

I had never thought of the Foreign Office, and my first impulse was to
refuse it. I thought myself unsuited to fill an office for which nothing
had prepared me. Among my papers I have found a trace of these
hesitations, in the notes of a conversation which took place at a dinner
which some of my friends and I had at that time....

I decided at last, however, to accept the Foreign Office, but I made it
a condition that Lanjuinais should enter the Council at the same time as
myself. I had many very strong reasons for acting as I did. In the first
place, I thought that three ministers were indispensable to us in order
to acquire the preponderance in the Cabinet which we needed in order to
do any good. I thought, moreover, that Lanjuinais would be very useful
to keep Dufaure himself within the lines I wished to follow. I did not
consider myself to have enough hold over him. Above all, I wanted to
have near me a friend with whom I could talk openly of all things: a
great advantage at any time, but especially in such times of suspicion
and variableness as ours, and for a work as hazardous as that which I
was undertaking.

From all these different points of view Lanjuinais suited me admirably,
although we were of very dissimilar natures. His humour was as calm and
placid as mine was restless and anxious. He was methodical, slow,
indolent, prudent, and even over-scrupulous, and he was very backward to
enter upon any undertaking; but having once entered upon it he never
drew back, and showed himself until the end as resolved and stubborn as
a Breton of the true stamp. He was very slow in giving his opinion, and
very explicit, and even candid to the verge of rudeness, when he did
give it. One could not expect from his friendship either enthusiasm,
ardour, or _abandon_; on the other hand, one need not dread either
faint-heartedness, treachery, or after-thoughts. In short, he was a very
safe associate, and taken all round, the most honourable man I ever met
in public life. Of all of us, it was he who seemed to me least to mix
his private or interested views with his love of the public good.

No one objected to the name of Lanjuinais; but the difficulty was to
find him a portfolio. I asked for him that of Commerce and Agriculture,
which had been held since the 20th of December by Buffel, a friend of
Falloux. The latter refused to let his colleague go; I insisted; and the
new Cabinet, which was almost complete, remained for twenty-four hours
as though dissolved. To conquer my resolution, Falloux attempted a
direct measure: he came to my house, where I lay confined to my bed,
urged me, begged me to give up Lanjuinais and to leave his friend Buffel
at the Ministry of Agriculture. I had made up my mind, and I closed my
ears. Falloux was vexed, but retained his self-control and rose to go. I
thought everything had gone wrong: on the contrary, everything had gone

"You are determined," he said, with that aristocratic good grace with
which he was able to cover all his feelings, even the bitterest; "you
are determined, and so I must yield. It shall not be said that a private
consideration has, at so difficult and critical a period, made me break
off so necessary a combination. I shall remain alone in the midst of
you. But I hope you will not forget that I shall be not only your
colleague but your prisoner!"

One hour later the Cabinet was formed,[15] and Dufaure, who told me of
it, invited me to take immediate possession of the Foreign Office.

     [15: The Presidential decree is dated 2 June 1849.]

Thus was born this Ministry which was so painfully and slowly formed and
which was destined to have so short an existence. During the long
childbirth that preceded it, the man who was at the greatest trouble in
France was certainly Barrot: his sincere love for the public weal
inclined him to desire a change of cabinet, and his ambition, which was
more intimately and narrowly bound up with his honesty than might have
been believed, made him long with unequalled ardour to remain at the
head of the new Cabinet. He therefore went incessantly to and fro from
one to the other, addressing very pathetic and sometimes very eloquent
objurations to every one, now turning to the leaders of the majority,
now to us, now again to the new Republicans, whom he regarded as more
moderate than the others. And for that matter, he was equally inclined
to carry either one or the other with him; for in politics he was
incapable of either hatred or friendship. His heart is an evaporating
vase, in which nothing remains.



The ministry was composed as follows:

     Minister of Justice and }
     President of the Council}     Barrot.
     Finance                       Passy.
     War                           Rulhière.
     Navy                          Tracy.
     Public Works                  Lacrosse.
     Public Instruction            Falloux.
     Interior                      Dufaure.
     Agriculture                   Lanjuinais.
     Foreign Affairs               Tocqueville.

Dufaure, Lanjuinais and I were the only new ministers; all the others
had belonged to the previous Cabinet.

Passy was a man of real merit, but not of a very attractive merit. His
mind was narrow, maladroit, provoking, disparaging and ingenious rather
than just. Nevertheless, he was more inclined to be just when it was
really necessary to act than when it was only a question of talking; for
he was more fond of paradox than liable to put it into practice. I never
knew a greater talker, nor one who so easily consoled himself for
troublesome events by explaining the causes which had produced them and
the consequences likely to ensue. When he had finished drawing the most
sombre picture of the state of affairs, he concluded with a smiling and
placid air, saying, "So that there is practically no means of saving
ourselves, and we have only to look forward to the total overthrow of
Society." In other respects he was a cultured and experienced minister;
his courage and honesty were proof against everything; and he was as
incapable of vacillation as of treachery. His ideas, his feelings, his
former intimacy with Dufaure and, above all, his eager animosity against
Thiers made us certain of him.

Rulhière would have belonged to the monarchic and ultra-conservative
party if he had belonged to any, and especially if Changarnier had not
been in the world; but he was a soldier who only thought of remaining
Minister for War. We perceived at the first glance his extreme jealousy
of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Paris; and the intimacy between
the latter and the leaders of the majority, and his influence over the
President, obliged Rulhière to throw himself into our arms, and forcibly
drove him to depend upon us.

Tracy had by nature a weak character, which was, as it were, enclosed
and confined in the very precise and systematic theories which he owed
to the ideological education he had received from his father.[16] But,
in the end, contact with every-day events and the shock of revolutions
had worn out this rigid envelope, and all that remained was a wavering
intelligence and a sluggish, but always honest and kindly, heart.

     [16: Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy, 1754-1836, the
     celebrated ideologist, Condillac's disciple.--A.T. de M.]

Lacrosse was a poor devil whose private affairs were more or less
involved. The chances of the Revolution had driven him into office from
an obscure corner of the Opposition, and he never grew weary of the
delight of being a minister. He gladly leant upon us, but he endeavoured
at the same time to make sure of the good-will of the President of the
Republic by rendering him all sorts of little services and small
compliments. To tell the truth, it would have been difficult for him to
recommend himself in any other way, for he was a rare nonentity, and
understood nothing about anything. We were reproached for taking office
in company with such incapable ministers as Tracy and Lacrosse, and not
without justice, for it was a great cause of ruin: not only because they
did their work badly, but because their notorious insufficiency kept
their succession always open, so to speak, and created a sort of
permanent ministerial crisis.

As to Barrot, he adhered naturally to us from feeling and ideas. His old
liberal associations, his republican tastes, his Opposition memories
attached him to us. Had he been differently connected, he might have
become, however regretfully, our adversary; but, having him once among
us, we were sure of him.

Of all the Ministry, therefore, only Falloux was a stranger to us by his
starting-point, his engagements, and his inclinations. He alone
represented the leaders of the majority on the Council, or rather he
seemed to represent them, for in reality, as I will explain later, he
represented, besides himself, nothing but the Church. This isolated
position, together with the secret aims of his policy, drove him to seek
support beyond us; he strove to establish it in the Assembly and with
the President, but discreetly and cleverly, as he did everything.

Thus constituted, the Cabinet had one great weakness: it was about to
govern with the aid of a composite majority, without itself being a
coalition ministry. But, on the other hand, it possessed the very great
strength which ministers derive from uniform origin, identical
instincts, old bonds of friendship, mutual confidence, and common ends.

I shall doubtless be asked what these ends were, where we were going,
what we wanted. We live in times so uncertain and so obscure that I
should hesitate to reply to that question in the name of my colleagues;
but I will readily reply for myself. I did not believe then, any more
than I do now, that the republican form of government is the best suited
to the needs of France. What I mean when I say the republican form of
government, is the elective Executive Power. With a people among whom
habit, tradition, custom have assured so great a place to the Executive
Power, its instability will always be, in periods of excitement, a
cause of revolution, and in peaceful times, a cause of great uneasiness.
Moreover, I have always considered the Republic an ill-balanced form of
government, which always promised more, but gave less, liberty than the
Constitutional Monarchy. And yet I sincerely wished to maintain the
Republic; and although there were, so to speak, no Republicans in
France, I did not look upon the maintenance of it as absolutely

I wished to maintain it because I saw nothing ready or fit to set in its
place. The old Dynasty was profoundly antipathetic to the majority of
the country. Amid this flagging of all political passion, which was the
result of the fatigue of the revolutions and their vain promises, one
genuine passion remained alive in France: hatred of the Ancien Régime
and mistrust of the old privileged classes who represented it in the
eyes of the people. This sentiment passes through revolutions without
dissolving in them, like the water of those marvellous fountains which,
according to the ancients, passed across the waves of the sea without
mixing with or disappearing in them. As to the Orleans Dynasty, the
experience the people had had of it did not particularly incline them to
return to it so soon. It was bound once more to throw into Opposition
all the upper classes and the clergy, and to separate itself from the
people, as it had done before, leaving the cares and profits of
government to those same middle classes whom I had already seen during
eighteen years so inadequate for the good government of France.
Moreover, nothing was ready for its triumph.

Louis Napoleon alone was ready to take the place of the Republic,
because he already held the power in his hands. But what could come of
his success, except a bastard Monarchy, despised by the enlightened
classes, hostile to liberty, governed by intriguers, adventurers, and

The Republic was doubtless difficult to maintain; for those who favoured
it were, for the most part, incapable or unworthy of governing it, while
those who were fit to conduct it detested it. But it was also rather
difficult to pull down. The hatred borne for it was an easy-going
hatred, as were all the passions which the country then entertained.
Besides, the Government was found fault with, but no other was loved in
its place. Three parties, mutually irreconcilable, more hostile to one
another than either of them was to the Republic, contended with each
other for the future. As to a majority, there was no such thing.

I thought, therefore, that the Government of the Republic, having
existence in its favour, and having no adversaries except minorities
difficult to coalesce, would be able to maintain its position amid the
inertia of the masses, if it was conducted with moderation and wisdom.
For this reason, I was resolved not to lend myself to any steps that
might be taken against it, but rather to defend it. Almost all the
members of the Council thought as I did. Dufaure believed more than I
did in the soundness of republican institutions and in their future.
Barrot was less inclined than I to keep them always respected; but we
all wished at the present time firmly to maintain them. This common
resolution was our political bond and standard.

So soon as the Ministry was formed, it repaired to the President of the
Republic to hold a Council. It was the first time I had come into
contact with him. I had only seen him at a distance at the time of the
Constituent Assembly. He received us with politeness. It was all we
could expect from him, for Dufaure had acted vigorously against him, and
had spoken almost outrageously of his candidature no longer than six
months ago, while both Lanjuinais and myself had openly voted for his

Louis Napoleon plays so great a part in the rest of my narrative that he
seems to me to deserve a special portrait amid the host of
contemporaries of whom I have been content to sketch the features. Of
all his ministers, and perhaps of all the men who refused to take part
in his conspiracy against the Republic, I was the one who was most
advanced in his good graces, who saw him closest, and who was best able
to judge him.

He was vastly superior to what his preceding career and his mad
enterprises might very properly have led one to believe of him. This was
my first impression on conversing with him. In this respect he deceived
his adversaries, and perhaps still more his friends, if this term can be
applied to the politicians who patronized his candidature. The greater
part of these, in fact, elected him, not because of his merits, but
because of his presumed mediocrity. They expected to find in him an
instrument which they could handle as they pleased, and which it would
always be lawful for them to break when they wished to. In this they
were greatly deceived.

As a private individual, Louis Napoleon possessed certain attractive
qualities: an easy and kindly humour, a mind which was gentle, and even
tender, without being delicate, great confidence in his intercourse,
perfect simplicity, a certain personal modesty amidst the immense pride
derived from his origin. He was capable of showing affection, and able
to inspire it in those who approached him. His conversation was brief
and unsuggestive. He had not the art of drawing others out or of
establishing intimate relations with them; nor any facility in
expressing his views. He had the writer's habit, and a certain amount of
the author's self-love. His dissimulation, which was the deep
dissimulation of a man who has spent his life in plots, was assisted in
a remarkable way by the immobility of his features and his want of
expression: for his eyes were dull and opaque, like the thick glass used
to light the cabins of ships, which admits the light but cannot be seen
through. Careless of danger, he possessed a fine, cool courage in days
of crisis; and at the same time--a common thing enough--he was very
vacillating in his plans. He was often seen to change his direction, to
advance, hesitate, draw back, to his great detriment: for the nation had
chosen him in order to dare all things, and what it expected from him
was audacity and not prudence. It was said that he had always been
greatly addicted to pleasures, and not very dainty in his choice of
them. This passion for vulgar enjoyment and this taste for luxury had
increased still more with the facilities offered by his position. Each
day he wore out his energy in indulgence, and deadened and degraded even
his ambition. His intelligence was incoherent, confused, filled with
great but ill-assorted thoughts, which he borrowed now from the examples
of Napoleon, now from socialistic theories, sometimes from recollections
of England, where he had lived: very different, and often very contrary,
sources. These he had laboriously collected in his solitary meditations,
far removed from the contact of men and facts, for he was naturally a
dreamer and a visionary. But when he was forced to emerge from these
vague, vast regions in order to confine his mind to the limits of a
piece of business, it showed itself to be capable of justice, sometimes
of subtlety and compass, and even of a certain depth, but never sure,
and always prepared to place a grotesque idea by the side of a correct

Generally, it was difficult to come into long and very close contact
with him without discovering a little vein of madness running through
his better sense, the sight of which always recalled the escapades of
his youth, and served to explain them.

It may be admitted, for that matter, that it was his madness rather than
his reason which, thanks to circumstances, caused his success and his
force: for the world is a strange theatre. There are moments in it when
the worst plays are those which succeed best. If Louis Napoleon had been
a wise man, or a man of genius, he would never have become President of
the Republic.

He trusted in his star; he firmly believed himself to be the instrument
of destiny and the necessary man. I have always believed that he was
really convinced of his right, and I doubt whether Charles X. was ever
more infatuated with his legitimism than he with his. Moreover, he was
quite as incapable of alleging a reason for his faith; for, although he
had a sort of abstract adoration for the people, he had very little
taste for liberty. The characteristic and fundamental feature of his
mind in political matters was his hatred of and contempt for assemblies.
The rule of the Constitutional Monarchy seemed to him even more
insupportable than that of the Republic. His unlimited pride in the name
he bore, which willingly bowed before the nation, revolted at the idea
of yielding to the influence of a parliament.

Before attaining power he had had time to strengthen his natural taste
for the footman class, which is always displayed by mediocre princes, by
the habits of twenty years of conspiracy spent amid low-class
adventurers, men of ruined fortunes or blemished reputations, and young
debauchees, the only persons who, during all this time, could have
consented to serve him as go-betweens or accomplices. He himself, in
spite of his good manners, allowed a glimpse to pierce through of the
adventurer and the prince of fortune. He continued to take pleasure in
this inferior company after he was no longer obliged to live in it. I
believe that his difficulty in expressing his thoughts otherwise than in
writing attached him to people who had long been familiar with his
current of thought and with his dreamings, and that his inferiority in
conversation rendered him generally averse to contact with clever men.
Moreover, he desired above all things to meet with devotion to his
person and his cause, as though his person and his cause were such as to
be able to arouse devotion: merit annoyed him when it displayed ever so
little independence. He wanted believers in his star, and vulgar
worshippers of his fortune.

This was the man whom the need of a chief and the power of a memory had
placed at the head of France, and with whom we would have to govern.

It would be difficult to imagine a more critical moment in which to
assume the direction of affairs. The Constituent Assembly, before ending
its turbulent existence, had passed a resolution, on the 7th of June
1849, prohibiting the Government from attacking Rome. The first thing I
learnt on entering the Cabinet was that the order to attack Rome had
been sent to the army three days before. This flagrant disobedience of
the injunctions of a sovereign Assembly, this war undertaken against a
people in revolution, because of its revolution, and in defiance of the
terms of the Constitution which commanded us to respect all foreign
nationalities, made inevitable and brought nearer the conflict which we
dreaded. What would be the issue of this new struggle? All the letters
from prefects of departments that were laid before us, all the police
reports that reached us were calculated to throw us into great alarm. I
had seen, at the end of the Cavaignac Administration, how a government
can be supported in its visionary hopes by the self-interested
complaisance of its agents. This time I saw, and much more closely, how
these same agents can work to increase the terror of those who employ
them: contrary effects produced by the same cause. Each one of them,
judging that we were uneasy, wished to signalize himself by the
discovery of new plots, and in his turn to supply us with some fresh
indication of the conspiracy which threatened us. The more they believed
in our success, the more readily they talked to us of our danger. For it
is one of the dangerous characteristics of this sort of information,
that it becomes rarer and less explicit in the measure that the peril
increases and the need for information becomes greater. The agents in
that case, doubting the duration of the government which employs them,
and already fearing its successor, either scarcely speak at all or keep
absolute silence. But now they made a great noise. To listen to them, it
was impossible not to think that we were on the edge of an abyss, and
yet I did not believe a word of it. I was quite convinced then, as I
have been ever since, that official correspondence and police reports,
which may be useful for purposes of consultation when there is question
of discovering a particular plot, only serve to give exaggerated and
incomplete and invariably false notions when one wishes to judge or
foresee great movements of parties. In a matter of this kind, it is the
aspect of the whole country, the knowledge of its needs, its passions
and its ideas, that can instruct us, general _data_ which one can
procure for one's self, and which are never supplied by even the best
placed and best accredited agents.

The sight of these general facts had led me to believe that at this
moment no armed revolution was to be feared: but a combat was; and the
expectation of civil war is always cruel, especially when it comes in
time to join its fury to that of pestilence. Paris was at that time
ravaged by cholera. Death struck at all ranks. Already a large number of
members of the Constituent Assembly had succumbed; and Bugeaud, whom
Africa had spared, was dying.

Had I entertained a moment's doubt as to the imminence of the crisis,
the aspect alone of the new Assembly would have clearly announced it to
me. It is not too much to say that one breathed the atmosphere of civil
war in its midst. The speeches were short, the gestures violent, the
words extravagant, the insults outrageous and direct. We met for the
present in the old Chamber of Deputies. This room, built for 460
members, had difficulty in containing 750. The members, therefore, sat
touching, while detesting, each other; they pressed one against the
other in spite of the hatred which divided them; the discomfort
increased their anger. It was a duel in a barrel. How would the
Montagnards be able to restrain themselves? They saw that they were
sufficiently numerous to entitle them to believe themselves very strong
in the country and in the army. Yet they remained too weak in Parliament
to hope to prevail or even to count there. They were offered a fine
occasion of resorting to force. All Europe, which was still in
commotion, might with one great blow, struck in Paris, be thrown into
revolution anew. This was more than was necessary for men of such savage

It was easy to foresee that the movement would burst forth at the moment
when it should become known that the order had been given to attack Rome
and that the attack had taken place. And this was what in fact occurred.

The order given had remained secret. But on the 10th of June, the
report of the first combat became current.

On the 11th, the Mountain burst into furious speech. Ledru-Rollin made
an appeal from the tribune for civil war, saying that the Constitution
had been violated and that he and his friends were ready to defend it by
every method, including that of arms. The indictment was demanded of the
President of the Republic and of the preceding Cabinet.

On the 12th, the Committee of the Assembly, instructed to examine the
question raised the day before, rejected the impeachment and called upon
the Assembly to pronounce, where it sat, upon the fate of the President
and Ministers. The Mountain opposed this immediate discussion and
demanded that documents should be laid before it. What was its object in
thus postponing the debate? It was difficult to say. Did it hope that
this delay would complete the general irritation, or did it in its heart
of hearts wish to give it time to calm down? One thing is certain, that
its principal leaders, those who were more accustomed to speaking than
to fighting, and who were passionate rather than resolute, displayed
that day, amid all the intemperance of their language, a sort of
hesitation of which they had given no sign the day before. After half
drawing the sword from the scabbard, they appeared to wish to replace
it; but it was too late, the signal had been observed by their friends
outside, and thenceforward they no longer led, but were led in their

During these two days, my position was most cruel. As I have already
stated, I disapproved entirely of the manner in which the Roman
expedition had been undertaken and conducted. Before joining the
Cabinet, I had solemnly declared to Barrot that I declined to take any
responsibility except for the future, and that he must himself be
prepared to defend what had up to that time been done in Italy. I had
only accepted office on this condition. I therefore kept silent during
the discussion on the 11th, and allowed Barrot to bear the brunt of the
battle alone. But when, on the 12th, I saw my colleagues threatened with
an impeachment, I considered that I could no longer abstain. The demand
for fresh documents gave me an opportunity to intervene, without having
to express an opinion upon the original question. I did so vigorously,
although in very few words.

On reading over this little speech in the _Moniteur_, I cannot but think
it very insignificant and badly turned. Nevertheless, I was applauded to
the echo by the majority, because in moments of crisis, when one is in
danger of civil war, it is the movement of thought and the accent of
one's words which make an impression, rather than their value. I
directly attacked Ledru-Rollin. I accused him with violence of only
wanting troubles and of spreading lies in order to create them. The
feeling which impelled me to speak was an energetic one, the tone was
determined and aggressive, and although I spoke very badly, being as
yet unaccustomed to my new part, I met with much favour.

Ledru replied to me, and told the majority that they were on the side of
the Cossacks. They answered that he was on the side of the plunderers
and the incendiaries. Thiers, commenting on this thought, said that
there was an intimate relation between the man they had just listened to
and the insurgents of June. The Assembly rejected the demand for an
impeachment by a large majority, and broke up.

Although the leaders of the Mountain continued to be outrageous, they
had not shown any great firmness, so that we were able to flatter
ourselves that the decisive moment for the struggle had not yet arrived.
But this was a mistake. The reports which we received during the night
told us that the people were preparing to take up arms.

On the next day, in fact, the language of the demagogic papers
proclaimed that the editors no longer relied upon justice, but upon a
revolution, to acquit them. All of them called either directly or
indirectly for civil war. The National Guard, the schools, the entire
population was summoned by them to repair, unarmed, to a certain
locality, in order to go and present themselves in mass before the doors
of the Assembly. It was a 23rd of June which they wished to commence
with a 15th of May; and, in fact, seven or eight thousand people did
meet at about eleven o'clock at the Château-d'Eau. We on our side held
a Council under the President of the Republic. The latter was already in
uniform, and prepared to go out on horseback so soon as he should be
told that the fighting had commenced. For the rest, he had changed
nothing except his clothes. He was exactly the same man as on the day
before: the same rather dejected air, his speech no less slow and no
less embarrassed, his eye no less dull. He showed none of that sort of
warlike excitement and of rather feverish gaiety which the approach of
danger so often gives: an attitude which is perhaps, after all, no more
than the sign of a mind disturbed.

We sent for Changarnier, who explained his preparations to us, and
guaranteed a victory. Dufaure communicated to us the reports he had
received, all of which told of a formidable insurrection. He then left
for the Ministry of the Interior, which was the centre of action, and at
about mid-day I repaired to the Assembly.

The House was some time before it met, because the President, without
consulting us, had declared, when arranging the Order of the Day on the
evening before, that there would be no public sitting on the next day, a
strange blunder which would have looked like treachery in anyone else.
While messengers were being despatched to inform the members at their
own houses, I went to see the President of the Assembly in his private
room: most of the leaders of the majority were there before me. Every
face bore traces of excitement and anxiety; the contest was both feared
and demanded. They began by vehemently accusing the Ministry of
slackness. Thiers, lying back in a big arm-chair, with his legs crossed
one over the other, sat rubbing his stomach (for he felt certain
symptoms of the prevailing epidemic), loudly and angrily exclaiming, in
his shrillest _falsetto_, that it was very strange that no one seemed to
think of declaring Paris in a state of siege. I replied gently that we
had thought of it, but that the moment had not yet come to do so, since
the Assembly had not yet met.

The members arrived from every side, attracted less by the messages
despatched to them, which most of them had not even received, than by
the rumours prevalent in the town. The sitting was opened at two
o'clock. The benches of the majority were well filled, but the top of
the Mountain was deserted. The gloomy silence which reigned in this part
of the House was more alarming than the shouts which came from that
quarter as a rule. It was a proof that discussion had ceased, and that
the civil war was about to commence.

At three o'clock, Dufaure came and asked that the state of siege should
be proclaimed in Paris. Cavaignac seconded him in one of those short
addresses which he sometimes delivered, and in which his mind, which was
naturally middling and confused reached the level of his soul and
approached the sublime. Under these circumstances he became, for a
moment, the man of the most genuine eloquence that I have ever heard
speak in our Assemblies: he left all the mere orators far behind him.

"You have just said," he exclaimed, addressing the Montagnard[17] who
was leaving the tribune, "that I have fallen from power. That is not
true: I retired voluntarily. The national will does not overthrow; it
commands, and we obey. I add--and I want the republican party always to
be able to say so with justice: I retired voluntarily, and, in so doing,
my conduct did honour to my republican convictions. You said that we
lived in terror: history is observing us, and will pronounce when the
time comes. But what I say to you myself is this, that although you have
not succeeded in inspiring me with a feeling of terror, you have
inspired me with a feeling of profound sorrow. Shall I tell you one
thing more? You are Republicans of long standing; whereas I have not
worked for the Republic before its foundation, I have not suffered for
it, and I regret that this is so; but I have served it faithfully, and I
have done more: I have governed it. I shall serve nothing else,
understand me well! Write it down, take it down in shorthand, so that it
may remain engraved upon the annals of our deliberations: _I shall serve
nothing else_! Between you and me, I take it, it is a question as to
which of us will serve the Republic best. Well then, my regret is, that
you have served it very badly. I hope, for the sake of my country, that
it is not destined to fall; but if we should be condemned to undergo so
great a blow, remember--remember distinctly--that we shall accuse your
exaggerations and your fury as being the cause of it."

     [17: Pierre Leroux.]

Shortly after the state of siege had been proclaimed, we learnt that the
insurrection had been extinguished. Changarnier and the President,
charging at the head of the cavalry, had cut in two and dispersed the
column which was making its way towards the Assembly. A few
newly-erected barricades had been destroyed, without striking a blow.
The Montagnards, surrounded in the Conservatoire of Arts and Crafts,
which they had turned into their head-quarters, had either been arrested
or taken to flight. We were the masters of Paris.

The same movement took place in several of the large towns, with more
vigour but no less success. At Lyons, the fighting lasted stubbornly for
five hours, and the victory was for a moment in doubt. But for that
matter, when we were once victorious in Paris, we distressed ourselves
very little about the provinces; for we knew that in France, in matters
both of order and of disorder, Paris lays down the law.

Thus ended the second Insurrection of June, very different to the first
by the extent of its violence and its duration, but similar in the
causes which led to its failure. At the time of the first, the people,
carried away less by their opinions than by their appetites, had fought
alone, without being able to attract their representatives to their
head. This time the representatives had been unable to induce the people
to follow them into battle. In June 1848, the army had no leaders; in
June 1849, the leaders had no army.

They were singular personages, those Montagnards: their quarrelsome
nature and their self-conceit were displayed even in measures which
least allowed of it. Among those who, in their newspapers and in their
own persons, had spoken most violently in favour of civil war, and who
had done the most to cover us with insults, was Considérant, the pupil
and successor of Fourier, and the author of so many socialistic dreams
which would only have been ridiculous at any other time, but which were
dangerous in ours. Considérant succeeded in escaping with Ledru-Rollin
from the Conservatoire, and in reaching the Belgian frontier. I had
formerly had social relations with him, and when he arrived in Brussels,
he wrote to me:

     "My dear Tocqueville,

     (Here followed a request for a service which he asked me to do for
     him, and then he went on):

     "Rely upon me at all times for any personal service. You are good
     for two or three months perhaps, and the pure Whites who will
     follow you are good for six months at the longest. You will both
     of you, it is true, have well deserved what is infallibly bound to
     happen to you a little sooner or a little later. But let us talk no
     more politics and respect the very legal, very loyal, and very
     Odilon Barrotesque state of siege."

To this I replied:

     "My dear Considérant,

     "I have done what you ask. I do not wish to take advantage of so
     small a service, but I am very pleased to ascertain, by the way,
     that those odious oppressors of liberty, the Ministers, inspire
     their adversaries with so much confidence that the latter, after
     outlawing them, do not hesitate to apply to them to obtain what is
     just. This proves that there is some good left in us, whatever may
     be said of us. Are you quite sure that if the position had been
     inverted, I should have been able to act in the same way, I will
     not say towards yourself, but towards such and such of your
     political friends whom I might mention? I think the contrary, and I
     solemnly declare to you that if ever they become the masters, I
     shall consider myself quite satisfied if they only leave my head
     upon my shoulders, and ready to declare that their virtue has
     surpassed my greatest expectations."



We were victorious, but our real difficulties were only about to
commence, and I expected them. I have always held as a maxim, moreover,
that it is after a great success that one generally comes across the
most dangerous chances of ruin: so long as the peril lasts, one has only
his adversaries to deal with, and he triumphs; but after the victory,
one begins to have to reckon with himself, his slackness, his pride, the
imprudent security inspired by victory, and he succumbs.

I was not exposed to this last danger, for I never imagined that we had
surmounted our principal obstacles. I knew that these lay with the very
men with whom we would have to govern the country, and that the rapid
and signal defeat of the Montagnards, instead of guaranteeing us against
the ill-will of the former, would expose us to it without delay. We
should have been much stronger if we had not succeeded so well.

The majority consisted in the main, at that time, of three parties (the
President's party in Parliament was as yet too few in number and of too
evil repute to count). Sixty to eighty members at the utmost were
sincerely with us in our endeavours to found a Moderate Republic, and
these formed the only body we could rely upon in that huge Assembly. The
remainder of the majority consisted of Legitimists, to the number of
some one hundred and sixty, and of old friends or supporters of the
Monarchy of July, for the most part representing those middle classes
who had governed, and above all exploited, France during eighteen years.
I felt at once that of these two parties, that of which we could most
easily make use in our plans was the Legitimist party. The Legitimists
had been excluded from power under the last government; they therefore
had no places and no salaries to regret. Moreover, being for the most
part considerable land-owners, they had not the same need of public
functions as the middle class; or, at least, custom had not taught them
the sweetness of place. Although in principles more irreconcilable to
the Republic than the others, they were better able than most to accept
its duration, for it had destroyed their destroyer, and had opened up to
them a prospect of power; it had served at once their ambition and their
desire for revenge; and it only aroused against itself their fear, which
was, in truth, very great. The old Conservatives, who formed the bulk of
the majority, were much more eager to do away with the Republic; but as
the furious hatred which they bore it was strongly held in check by the
fear of the risk they would run in endeavouring prematurely to abolish
it, and as, moreover, they had long been accustomed to follow in the
wake of power, it would have been easy for us to lead them had we been
able to obtain the support, or even the mere neutrality of their
leaders, of whom the principal were then, as is known, M. Thiers and M.

Appreciating this position of affairs, I understood that it was
necessary to subordinate all secondary objects to the principal end in
view, which was to prevent the overthrow of the Republic and especially
to hinder the establishment of the bastard monarchy of Louis Napoleon.
This was at the time the nearest threatening danger.

I thought first of guaranteeing myself against the mistakes of my
friends, for I have always considered as profoundly sensible the old
Norman proverb which says, "Lord, preserve me from my friends: I will
preserve myself from mine enemies."

At the head of our adherents in the National Assembly was General
Lamoricière, and I greatly dreaded his petulancy, his imprudent
observations, and especially his idleness. I endeavoured to appoint him
to an important and distant embassy. Russia had spontaneously recognized
the new Republic; it was proper that we should resume the diplomatic
relations with her which had been almost interrupted under the last
Government. I cast my eyes upon Lamoricière in order to entrust him with
this extraordinary and distant mission. He was, besides, a man cut out
for a post of this kind, in which few but generals, and celebrated
generals, succeed. I had some difficulty in persuading him, but the most
difficult thing was to persuade the President of the Republic. He at
first resisted, and told me on that occasion, with a sort of simplicity
which pointed less to candour than to his difficulty in finding words in
which to express himself (these very rarely gave utterance to his
thoughts, but sometimes permitted them to glimmer through), that he
wished to be represented at the principal Courts by ambassadors devoted
to himself. This was not my view of the matter; for I, who was called
upon to instruct the ambassadors, was quite determined to devote myself
only to France. I therefore insisted, but I should have failed if I had
not summoned M. de Falloux to my aid. Falloux was the only man in the
Ministry in whom the President at that time had confidence. He persuaded
him with arguments, of which I do not know the purport, and Lamoricière
left for Russia. I shall say later what he did.

His departure reassured me as to the conduct of our friends, and I
thought of winning or retaining the necessary allies. Here the task was
more difficult on all points; for, outside my own department, I was
unable to do anything without the consent of the Cabinet, which
contained a number of the most honest minds that one could meet, but so
inflexible and narrow in matters of politics, that I have sometimes
gone so far as to regret not having rather had to do with intelligent

As to the Legitimists, my opinion was that they should be allowed to
retain great influence in the direction of Public Instruction. This
proposal had its drawbacks, but it was the only one which could satisfy
them, and which could ensure us their support in return, when it should
become a question of restraining the President and preventing him from
upsetting the Constitution. This plan was followed. Falloux was given a
free hand in his own department, and the Council allowed him to bring
before the Assembly the plan of Public Instruction, which since became
law on the 15th of March 1850. I also advised my colleagues to all the
extent of my power to keep up good relations individually with the
principal members of the Legitimist party, and I followed this line of
conduct myself. I soon became and remained, of all the members of the
Cabinet, the one who lived in the best understanding with them. I even
ended by becoming the sole intermediary between them and ourselves.

It is true that my birth and the society in which I had been brought up
gave me great facilities for this which the others did not possess; for,
although the French nobility have ceased to be a class, they have yet
remained a sort of freemasonry, of which all the members continue to
recognize one another through certain invisible signs, whatever may be
the opinions which make them strangers to one another, or even

It so happened, therefore, that after annoying Falloux more than anyone
else had done before entering the Cabinet, I had no sooner joined it
than I easily became his friend. For that matter, he was a man worth
taking the trouble of coaxing. I do not think that during my whole
political career I ever met anyone of a rarer nature. He possessed the
two essentials necessary for good leadership: an ardent conviction,
which constantly drove him towards his aim without allowing itself to be
turned aside by mortifications or dangers, and a mind which was both
firm and supple, and which applied a great multiplicity and prodigious
variety of means to the execution of a single plan. He was sincere in
this sense, that he only considered, as he declared, his cause and not
his private interest; but otherwise very sly, with a very uncommon and
very effective slyness, for he succeeded, for the time being, in
mingling truth and falsehood in his own belief, before serving up the
mixture to the minds of others. This is the great secret which gives
falsehood all the advantages of sincerity, and which permits its
exponent to persuade to the error which he considers beneficial those
whom he works upon or directs.

In spite of all my efforts, I was never able to bring about, I will not
say a good understanding, but even a polite understanding between
Falloux and Dufaure. It must be admitted that these two men had
precisely the opposite qualities and defects. Dufaure, who in the bottom
of his heart had remained a good west-country bourgeois, hostile to the
nobles and the priests, was unable to put up with either Falloux's
principles or his charming, refined manners, however agreeable they
might seem to me. I succeeded, however, with great difficulty, in
persuading him that he must not interfere with him in his own
department; but as to allowing him to exercise the smallest influence
upon what went on at the Ministry of the Interior (even within the
limits where this was permissible and necessary), he would never hear
speak of it. Falloux had in Anjou, where he came from, a prefect with
whom he had reason to find fault. He did not ask that he should be
dismissed, or even refused promotion; all he wanted was that he should
be transferred, as he thought his own position compromised so long as no
change took place, a change which was, moreover, demanded by the
majority of the deputies for Maine-et-Loire. Unfortunately, this prefect
was a declared friend to the Republic; and this was enough to fill
Dufaure with distrust, and to persuade him that Falloux's only object
was to compromise him by making use of him to strike at those of the
Republicans whom he had not been able to reach till then. He refused,
therefore; the other insisted; Dufaure grew still more obstinate. It was
very amusing to watch Falloux spinning round Dufaure, pirouetting
cleverly and gracefully, without finding a single opening by which to
penetrate into his mind.

Dufaure let him have his say, and then confined himself to laconically
replying, without looking at him, or only turning a dull, wry glance in
his direction:

"I should like to know why you did not take advantage of your friend M.
Faucher's period at the Home Office to rid yourself of your prefect."

Falloux contained himself, although he was naturally, I believe, of a
very hasty temper; he came and told me his troubles, and I saw the
bitterest spleen trickling through the honey of his speech. I thereupon
intervened, and tried to make Dufaure understand that this was one of
those demands which one cannot refuse a colleague unless one wishes to
quarrel with him. I spent a month in this way, acting as a daily
intermediary between the two, and expending more effort and diplomacy
than I had employed, during the same period, in treating the great
affairs of Europe. The Cabinet was more than once on the verge of
breaking up over this puny incident. Dufaure gave way at last, but with
such bad grace that it was impossible to thank him for it; so that he
gave up his prefect without getting Falloux in exchange.

But the most difficult portion of our rôle was the conduct which we had
to display towards the old Conservatives, who formed the bulk of the
majority, as I have already said.

These had at one and the same time general opinions which they wished to
force through and a number of private passions which they desired to
satisfy. They wanted us to re-establish order energetically: in this we
were their men; we wanted it as much as they did, and we did it as well
as they could wish, and better than they could have done. We had
proclaimed the state of siege in Lyons and several of the neighbouring
departments, and by virtue of the state of siege we had suspended six
Paris revolutionary papers, cashiered the three regiments of the Paris
National Guard which had displayed indecision on the 13th of June,
arrested seven representatives on the spot, and applied for warrants
against thirty others. Analogous measures were taken all over France.
Circulars addressed to all the agents showed them that they had to do
with a Government which knew how to make itself obeyed, and which was
determined that everything should give way before the law. Whenever
Dufaure was attacked on account of these different acts by the
Montagnards remaining in the Assembly, he replied with that masculine,
nervous, and sharp-edged eloquence of which he was so great a master,
and in the tone of a man who fights after burning his boats.

The Conservatives not only wanted us to administrate with vigour; they
wished us to take advantage of our victory to pass preventive and
repressive laws. We ourselves felt the necessity of moving in this
direction, although we were not willing to go as far as they.

For my part, I was convinced that it was both wise and necessary to make
great concessions in this respect to the fears and the legitimate
resentment of the nation, and that the only means which remained, after
so violent a revolution, of saving liberty was to restrict it. My
colleagues were of the same opinion: we therefore brought in
successively a law to suspend the clubs; another to suppress, with even
more energy than had been done under the Monarchy, the vagaries of the
press; and a third to regulate the state of siege.

"You are establishing a military dictatorship," they cried.

"Yes," replied Dufaure, "it is a dictatorship, but a parliamentary
dictatorship. There are no individual rights which can prevail against
the inalienable right of Society to protect itself. There are imperious
necessities which are the same for all governments, whether monarchies
or republics; and who has given rise to these necessities? To whom do we
owe the cruel experience which has given us eighteen months of violent
agitations, incessant conspiracies, formidable insurrections? Yes, no
doubt you are quite right when you say that, after so many revolutions
undertaken in the name of liberty, it is deplorable that we should be
once again compelled to veil her statue and to place terrible weapons in
the hands of the public powers. But whose fault is it, if not yours,
and who is it that serves the Republic best, those who favour
insurrections, or those who, like ourselves, apply themselves to
suppressing them?"

These measures, these laws and this language pleased the Conservatives
without satisfying them; and to tell the truth, nothing would have
contented them short of the destruction of the Republic. Their instinct
constantly impelled them in that direction, although their prudence and
their reason restrained them on the road.

But what they desired above all things was to oust their enemies from
place and to instal in their stead their partisans or their private
friends. We were again brought face to face with all the passions which
had brought about the fall of the Monarchy of July. The Revolution had
not destroyed them, but only made them the more greedy; this was our
great and permanent danger. Here again, I considered that we ought to
make concessions. There were still in the public offices a very large
number of those Republicans of indifferent capacity or bad character
whom the chances of the Revolution had driven into power. My advice was
to get rid of these at once, without waiting to be asked for their
dismissal, in such a way as to inspire confidence in our intentions and
to acquire the right to defend all the honest and capable Republicans;
but I could never induce Dufaure to consent to this. He had already held
the Ministry of the Interior under Cavaignac. Many of the public
servants whom it would be necessary to dismiss had been either appointed
or supported by him. His vanity was involved in the question of
maintaining them in their positions, and his mistrust of their
detractors would in any event have sufficed to persuade him to oppose
their representations. He accordingly resisted. It was, therefore, not
long before he himself became the object of all their attacks. No one
dared tackle him in the tribune, for he was too sturdy a swordsman
there; but he was constantly struck at from a distance and in the shade
of the lobbies, and I soon saw a great storm gathering against him.

"What is it we have undertaken to do?" I often asked him. "To save the
Republic with the assistance of the Republicans? No, for the majority of
those who bear that name would assuredly kill us together with it; and
those who deserve to bear the name do not number one hundred in the
Assembly. We have undertaken to save the Republic with the assistance of
parties which do not love it. We can only, therefore, govern with the
aid of concessions; only, we must never yield anything substantial. In
this matter, everything depends upon the degree. The best, and perhaps
the only guarantee which the Republic at this moment possesses lies in
our continuance in power. Every honourable means should therefore be
taken to keep us there."

To this he replied that fighting, as he did every day, with the greatest
energy, against socialism and anarchy, he must satisfy the majority; as
though one could ever satisfy men by thinking only of their general
welfare, without taking into account their vanity and their private
interests. If even, while refusing, he had been able to do so
gracefully: but the form of his refusal was still more disobliging than
the matter of it. I could never conceive how a man who was so much the
master of his words in the tribune, so clever in the art of selecting
his arguments and the words best calculated to please, so certain of
always keeping to the expressions which would compel most agreement with
his thought, could be so embarrassed, so sullen, and so awkward in
conversation. This came, I believe, from his original education. He was
a man of much intelligence, or rather talent--for of intelligence
properly so-called he had hardly any--but of no knowledge of the world.
In his youth he had led a laborious, concentrated, and almost savage
life. His entrance into political life had not to any extent changed his
habits. He had held aloof not only from intrigues, but from the contact
of parties, assiduously occupying himself with affairs, but avoiding
men, detesting the movement of assemblies, and dreading the tribune,
which was his only strength. Nevertheless, he was ambitious after his
fashion, but with a measured and somewhat inferior ambition, which aimed
at the management rather than at the domination of affairs. His manner,
as a minister, of treating people was sometimes very strange. One day,
General Castellane, who was then in great credit, asked for an
audience. He was received, and explained at length his pretensions and
what he called his rights. Dufaure listened to him long and attentively;
and then rose, led the general with many bows to the door, and left him
standing aghast, without having answered a single word. When I
reproached him with this conduct:

"I should only have had to say disagreeable things to him," he replied;
"it was more reasonable to say nothing at all!"

It is easy to believe that one rarely left a man of this kind except in
a very bad temper.

Unfortunately, he had as a sort of double a permanent secretary who was
as uncouth as himself, and very stupid besides; so that when the
solicitants passed from the Minister's office into the secretary's, in
the hope of meeting with a little comfort, they found the same
unpleasantness, minus the intelligence. It was like falling from a
quickset hedge on to a bundle of thorns.

In spite of these disadvantages, Dufaure obtained the support of the
Conservatives; but he was never able to win over their leaders.

The latter, as I had indeed foreseen, would neither undertake the
government themselves nor allow any one else to govern with a free hand.
They were unable to see without jealousy ministers at the head of
affairs who were not their creatures, and who refused to be their
instruments. I do not believe that, between the 13th of June and the
last debates on the Roman question, in other words, during almost the
whole life of the Cabinet, a single day passed without some ambush being
laid for us. They did not fight us in the tribune, I admit; but they
incessantly excited the majority secretly against us, blamed our
decisions, criticized our measures, put unfavourable interpretations
upon our speeches; unable to make up their minds to overthrow us, they
arranged in such a way that, finding us wholly unsupported, they were
always in a position, with the smallest effort, to hurl us from power.
After all, Dufaure's mistrust was not always without grounds. The
leaders of the majority wanted to make use of us in order to take
rigorous measures, and to obtain repressive laws which would make the
task of government easy to our successors, and our Republican opinions
made us fitter for this, at that moment, than the Conservatives. They
did not fail to count on soon bowing us out, and on bringing their
substitutes upon the scene. Not only did they wish us not to impress our
influence upon the Assembly, but they laboured unceasingly to prevent us
from establishing it in the mind of the President. They persisted in the
delusion that Louis Napoleon was still happy in their leading-strings.
They continued to beset him, therefore. We were informed by our agents
that most of them, but especially M. Thiers and M. Molé, were constantly
seeing him in private, and urging him with all their might to overthrow,
in concert with them, and at their common expense and to their common
profit, the Republic. They formed, as it were, a secret ministry at the
side of the responsible Cabinet. Commencing with the 13th of June, I
lived in a state of continuous alarm, fearing every day that they would
take advantage of our victory to drive Louis Napoleon to commit some
violent usurpation, and that one fine morning, as I said to Barrot, the
Empire should slip in between his legs. I have since learnt that my
fears were even better founded than I at that time believed. Since
leaving the ministry, I have learnt from an undoubted source that a plot
was formed towards the month of July 1849 to alter the Constitution by
force by the combined enterprise of the President and the Assembly. The
leaders of the majority and Louis Napoleon had come to an agreement, and
the blow only failed because Berryer, who no doubt feared lest he should
be making a fool's bargain, refused his support and that of his
followers. Nevertheless, the idea was not renounced, but only adjourned;
and when I think that at the time when I am writing these lines, that is
to say, two years only after the period of which I speak, the majority
of these same men are growing indignant at seeing the people violate the
Constitution by doing for Louis Napoleon precisely what they themselves
at that time proposed to him to do, I find it difficult to imagine a
more noteworthy example of the versatility of men and of the vanity of
the great words "Patriotism" and "Right" beneath which petty passions
are apt to cloak themselves.

We were no more certain, as has been seen, of the President than of the
majority. In fact, Louis Napoleon was, for ourselves as well as for the
Republic, the greatest and the most permanent danger.

I was convinced of this; and yet, when I had very attentively studied
him, I did not despair of the possibility of establishing ourselves in
his mind, for a time at least, in a fairly solid fashion. I soon
discovered that, although he never refused to admit the majority leaders
to his presence and to receive their advice, which he sometimes
followed, and although he plotted with them when it suited his purpose,
he nevertheless endured their yoke with great impatience; that he felt
humiliated at seeming to walk in their leading-strings; and that he
secretly burned to be free of them. This gave us a point of contact with
him and a hold upon his mind; for we ourselves were quite resolved to
remain independent of these great wire-pullers, and to uphold the
Executive Power against their attacks.

It did not seem impossible to me, moreover, for us to enter partly into
Louis Napoleon's designs without emerging from our own. What had always
struck me, when I reflected upon the situation of that extraordinary man
(extraordinary, not through his genius, but through the circumstances
which had combined to raise his mediocrity to so high a level), was the
need which existed to feed his mind with hope of some kind if we wished
to keep him quiet. That a man of this stamp could, after governing
France for four years, be dismissed into private life, seemed very
doubtful to me; that he would consent to withdraw into private life,
seemed very chimerical; that he could even be prevented, during the
length of his term of office, from plunging into some dangerous
enterprise seemed very difficult, unless, indeed, one were able to place
before his ambition some point of view which might, if not charm, at
least restrain him. This is to what I, for my part, applied myself from
the beginning.

"I will never serve you," I said to him, "in overthrowing the Republic;
but I will gladly strive to assure you a great position in it, and I
believe that all my friends will end by entering into my plan. The
Constitution can be revised; Article 45, which prohibits re-election,
can be changed. This is an object which we will gladly help you to

And as the chances of revision were doubtful, I went further, and I
hinted to him as to the future that, if he governed France peacefully,
wisely, modestly, not aiming at more than being the first magistrate of
the nation, and not its corrupter or its master, he might possibly be
re-elected at the end of his term of office, in spite of Article 45, by
an almost unanimous vote, since the Monarchical parties did not see the
ruin of their hopes in the limited prolongation of his power, and the
Republican party itself looked upon a government such as his as the
best means of accustoming the country to the Republic and giving it a
taste for it.

I told him all this in a tone of sincerity, because I was sincere in
saying it. What I advised him seemed to me, in fact, and still seems to
me, the best thing to be done in the interest of the country, and
perhaps in his own. He readily listened to me, without giving a glimpse
of the impression my language made upon him: this was his habit. The
words one addressed to him were like stones thrown down a well; their
sound was heard, but one never knew what became of them. I believe,
however, that they were not entirely lost; for there were two distinct
men in him, as I was not long in discovering. The first was the
ex-conspirator, the fatalistic dreamer, who thought himself called to
govern France, and through it to dominate Europe. The other was the
epicurean, who luxuriously made the most of his new state of well-being
and of the facile pleasures which his present position gave him, and who
did not dream of risking it in order to ascend still higher. In any
case, he seemed to like me better and better. I admit that, in all that
was compatible with the good of the public service, I made great efforts
to please him. Whenever, by chance, he recommended for a diplomatic
appointment a capable and honest man, I showed great alacrity in placing
him. Even when his _protégé_ was not very capable, if the post was an
unimportant one, I generally arranged to give it him; but most often
the President honoured with his recommendations a set of gaol-birds, who
had formerly thrown themselves in desperation into his party, not
knowing where else to betake themselves, and to whom he thought himself
to be under obligations; or else he attempted to place at the principal
embassies those whom he called "his own men," which most frequently
meant intriguers and rascals. In that case I went and saw him, I
explained to him the regulations, which were opposed to his wish, and
the political reasons which prevented me from complying with it. I
sometimes even went so far as to let him see that I would rather resign
than retain office by doing as he wished. As he was not able to see any
private reasons for my refusal, nor any systematic desire to oppose him,
he either yielded without complaining or postponed the business.

I did not get off as cheaply with his friends. These were unspeakably
eager in their rush for the spoil. They incessantly assailed me with
their demands, with so much importunity, and often impertinence, that I
frequently felt inclined to have them thrown out of the window. I
strove, nevertheless, to restrain myself. On one occasion, however, when
one of them, a real gallows-bird, haughtily insisted, and said that it
was very strange that the Prince should not have the power of rewarding
those who had suffered for his cause, I replied:

"Sir, the best thing for the President to do is to forget that he was
ever a pretender, and to remember that he is here to attend to the
affairs of France and not to yours."

The Roman affair, in which, as I shall explain later, I firmly supported
his policy, until the moment when it became extravagant and
unreasonable, ended by putting me entirely into his good graces: of this
he one day gave me a great proof. Beaumont, during his short embassy in
England at the end of 1848, had spoken very strongly about Louis
Napoleon, who was at that time a candidate for the Presidency. These
remarks, when repeated to the latter, had caused him extreme irritation.
I had several times endeavoured, since I had become a minister, to
re-establish Beaumont in the President's mind; but I should never have
ventured to propose to employ him, capable as he was, and anxious though
I was to do so. The Vienna embassy was to be vacated in September 1849.
It was at that time one of the most important posts in our diplomatic
service, because of the affairs of Italy and Hungary. The President said
to me of his own accord:

"I suggest that you should give the Vienna embassy to M. de Beaumont.
True, I have had great reason to complain of him; but I know that he is
your best friend, and that is enough to decide me."

I was delighted. No one was better suited than Beaumont for the place
which had to be filled, and nothing could be more agreeable to me than
to offer it him.

All my colleagues did not imitate me in the care which I took to gain
the President's good-will without doing violence to my opinions and my
wishes. Dufaure, however, against every expectation, was always just
what he should be in his relations towards him. I believe the
President's simplicity of manners had half won him over. But Passy
seemed to take pleasure in being disagreeable to him. I believe that he
considered that he had degraded himself by becoming the minister of a
man whom he looked upon as an adventurer, and that he endeavoured to
regain his level by impertinence. He annoyed him every day
unnecessarily, rejecting all his candidates, ill-treating his friends,
and contradicting his opinions with ill-concealed disdain. No wonder
that the President cordially detested him.

Of all the ministers, the one who was most in his confidence was
Falloux. I have always believed that the latter had gained him by means
of something more substantial than that which any of us were able or
willing to offer him. Falloux, who was a Legitimist by birth, by
training, by society, and by taste, if you like, belonged at bottom to
none but the Church. He did not believe in the triumph of the Legitimism
which he served, and he only sought, amid all our revolutions, to find a
road by which he could bring back the Catholic religion to power. He had
only remained in office so that he might watch over its interests, and,
as he said to me on the first day with well-calculated frankness, by the
advice of his confessor. I am convinced that from the beginning Falloux
had suspected the advantages to be gained from Louis Napoleon towards
the accomplishment of this design, and that, familiarizing himself at an
early date with the idea of seeing the President become the heir of the
Republic and the master of France, he had only thought of utilizing this
inevitable event in the interest of the clergy. He had offered the
support of his party without, however, compromising himself.

From the time of our entrance into affairs until the prorogation of the
Assembly, which took place on the 13th of August, we did not cease to
gain ground with the majority, in spite of their leaders. They saw us
every day struggling with their enemies before their eyes; and the
furious attacks which the latter at every moment directed against us
advanced us gradually in their good graces. But, on the other hand,
during all that time we made no progress in the mind of the President,
who used to suffer our presence in his counsels rather than to admit us
to them.

Six weeks later it was just the opposite. The representatives had
returned from the provinces incensed by the clamour of their friends, to
whom we had refused to hand over the control of local affairs; and on
the other hand, the President of the Republic had drawn closer to us; I
shall show later why. One would have said that we had advanced on that
side in the exact proportion to that in which we had gone back on the

Thus placed between two props badly joined together and always
tottering, the Cabinet leant now upon one, now upon the other, and was
always liable to tumble between the two. It was the Roman affair which
brought about the fall.

Such was the state of things when the parliamentary session was resumed
on the 1st of October 1849, and when the Roman affair was handled for
the second and last time.



I did not wish to interrupt the story of our home misfortunes to speak
of the difficulties which we encountered abroad, and of which I had to
bear the brunt more than any other. I shall now retrace my steps and
return to that part of my subject.

When I found myself installed at the Foreign Office, and when the state
of affairs had been placed before my eyes, I was alarmed at the number
and extent of the difficulties which I perceived. But what caused me
more anxiety than anything else was myself.

I possess a great natural distrust of self. The nine years which I had
spent rather wretchedly in the last Assemblies of the Monarchy had
tended greatly to increase this natural infirmity, and although the
manner in which I had just undergone the trial of the Revolution of
February had helped to raise me a little in my own opinion, I
nevertheless accepted this great task, at a time like the present, only
after much hesitation, and I did not enter into it without great fear.

Before long, I was able to make a certain number of observations which
tranquillized if they did not entirely reassure me. I began by
perceiving that affairs did not always increase in difficulty as they
increased in size, as would naturally appear at a cursory glance: the
contrary is rather the truth. Their complications do not grow with their
importance; it even often happens that they assume a simpler aspect in
the measure that their consequences become wider and more serious.
Besides, a man whose will influences the destiny of a whole people
always finds ready to hand more men willing to enlighten him, to assist
him, to relieve him of details, more prepared to encourage, to defend
him, than would be met with in second-rate affairs or inferior
positions. And lastly, the size itself of the object pursued stimulates
all the mental forces to such an extent, that though the task may be a
little harder, the workman becomes much more expert.

I should have felt perplexed, full of care, discouragement and
disordered excitement, in presence of petty responsibilities. I felt a
peace of mind and a singular feeling of calm when brought face to face
with larger ones. The sentiment of importance attached to the things I
then did at once raised me to their level and kept me there. The idea of
a rebuff had until then seemed insupportable to me; the prospect of a
dazzling fall upon one of the greatest stages in the world, on which I
was mounted, did not disconcert me; which showed that my weakness was
not timidity but pride. I also was not long before perceiving that in
politics, as in so many other matters--perhaps in all--the vivacity of
impressions received was not in a ratio with the importance of the fact
which produced it, but with the more or less frequent repetition of the
latter. One who grows troubled and excited about the handling of a
trifling piece of business, the only one which he happens to have taken
in hand, ends by recovering his self-possession among greater ones, if
they are repeated every day. Their frequency renders their effect, as it
were, insensible. I have related how many enemies I used formerly to
make by holding aloof from people who did not attract my attention by
any merit; and as people had often taken for haughtiness the boredom
they caused me, I strongly dreaded this reef in the great journey I was
about to undertake. But I soon observed that, although insolence
increases with certain persons in the exact proportion of the progress
of their fortunes, it was different with me, and that it was much easier
for me to display affability and even cordiality when I felt myself
above, than when I was one of, the common herd. This comes from the fact
that, being a minister, I no longer had the trouble of running after
people, nor to fear lest I should be coldly received by them, men making
it a necessity themselves to approach those who occupy posts of that
sort, and being simple enough to attach great importance to their most
trivial words. It comes also from this that, as a minister, I no longer
had to do only with the ideas of fools, but also with their interests,
which always supply a ready-made and easy subject of conversation.

I saw, therefore, that I was not so ill fitted as I had feared for the
part I had undertaken to play. This discovery encouraged me, not only
for the present, but for the rest of my life; and should I be asked what
I gained in this Ministry, so troubled, so thwarted, and so short that I
was only able to commence affairs in it and to finish none, I would
answer that I gained one great advantage, perhaps the greatest advantage
in the world--confidence in myself.

At home and abroad, our greatest obstacles came less from the difficulty
of business than from those who had to conduct it with us. I saw this
from the first. Most of our agents were creatures of the Monarchy, who,
at the bottom of their hearts, furiously detested the Government they
served; and in the name of democratic and republican France, they
extolled the restoration of the old aristocracies and secretly worked
for the re-establishment of all the absolute monarchies of Europe.
Others, on the contrary, whom the Revolution of February had dragged
from an obscurity in which they should have always remained,
clandestinely supported the demagogic parties which the French
Government was combating. But the chief fault of most of them was
timidity. The greater number of our ambassadors were afraid to attach
themselves to any particular policy in the countries in which they
represented us, and even feared to display to their own Government
opinions which might sooner or later have been counted as a crime
against them. They therefore took care to keep themselves covertly
concealed beneath a heap of little facts with which they crammed their
correspondence (for in diplomacy you must always write, even when you
know nothing and wish to say nothing), and they were very careful not to
show what they thought of the events they chronicled, and still less to
give us any indication as to what we were to conclude from them.

This condition of nullity to which our agents voluntarily reduced
themselves, and which, to tell the truth, was in the case of most of
them no more than an artificial perfectioning of nature, induced me, so
soon as I had realized it, to employ new men at the great Courts.

I should have liked in the same way to be able to get rid of the leaders
of the majority; but not being able to do this, I endeavoured to live on
good terms with them, and I did not even despair of pleasing them, while
at the same time remaining independent of their influence: a difficult
undertaking in which I nevertheless succeeded; for, of all the Cabinet,
I was the minister who most strongly opposed their policy and yet the
only one who retained their good graces. My secret, if I must confess
it, lay in flattering their self-conceit while neglecting their advice.

I had made an observation in small affairs which I deemed very
applicable to greater ones: I had found that the most advantageous
negociations are those conducted with human vanity; for one often
obtains very substantial things from it, while giving very little
substance in return. One never does so well when treating with ambition
or cupidity. At the same time, it is a fact that in order to deal
advantageously with the vanity of others, one must put his own entirely
on one side and think of nothing but the success of his plans, an
essential which will always prove a difficulty in the way of this sort
of commerce. I practised it very happily at this time and to my great
advantage. Three men thought themselves specially entitled to direct our
foreign policy, owing to the position they had formerly occupied: these
were M. de Broglie, M. Molé and M. Thiers. I overwhelmed all three of
them with deference; I often sent for them to see me, and sometimes
called upon them to consult them and to ask them, with a sort of
modesty, for advice which I hardly ever followed. But this did not
prevent these great men from displaying every satisfaction. I pleased
them more by asking their opinion without following it than if I had
followed it without asking it. Especially in the case of M. Thiers, this
manoeuvre of mine succeeded admirably. Rémusat, who, although without
any personal pretensions, sincerely wished the Cabinet to last, and who
had become familiarized through an intercourse extending over
twenty-five years with all M. Thiers' weaknesses, said to me one day:

"The world does not know M. Thiers well; he has much more vanity than
ambition; and he prefers consideration to obedience, and the appearance
of power to power itself. Consult him constantly, and then do just as
you please. He will take more notice of your deference to him than of
your actions."

This is what I did, and with great success. In the two principal affairs
that I had to conduct during my time of office, those of Piedmont and
Turkey, I did precisely the opposite to what M. Thiers wished, and,
nevertheless, we remained excellent friends till the end.

As to the President, it was especially in the conduct of foreign affairs
that he showed how badly prepared he still was for the great part to
which blind fortune had called him. I was not slow in perceiving that
this man, whose pride aimed at leading everything, had not yet taken the
smallest steps to inform himself of anything. I proposed to have an
analysis drawn up every day of all the despatches and to submit it to
his inspection. Before this, he knew what happened in the world only by
hearsay, and only knew what the Minister for Foreign Affairs had thought
fit to tell him. The solid basis of facts was always lacking to the
operations of his mind, and this was easily seen in all the dreams with
which the latter was filled. I was sometimes frightened at perceiving
how much there was in his plans that was vast, chimerical, unscrupulous,
and confused; although it is true that, when explaining the real state
of things to him, I easily made him recognize the difficulties which
they presented, for discussion was not his strong point. He was silent,
but never yielded.

One of his myths was an alliance with one of the two great powers of
Germany, of which he proposed to make use to alter the map of Europe and
erase the limits which the treaties of 1815 had traced for France. As he
saw that I did not believe it possible to find either of these powers
inclined for an alliance of this sort, and with such an object, he
undertook himself to sound their ambassadors in Paris. One of them came
to me one day in a state of great excitement to tell me that the
President of the Republic had asked him if, in consideration of an
equivalent, his Court would not consent to allow France to seize Savoy.
On another occasion, he conceived the idea of sending a private agent,
one of his own men,[18] as he called them, to come to a direct
understanding with the German Princes. He chose Persigny, and asked me
to give him his credentials; and I consented, knowing well that nothing
could come of a negociation of this sort. I believe that Persigny had a
two-fold mission: it was a question of facilitating the usurpation at
home and an extension of territory abroad. He went first to Berlin and
then to Vienna; as I expected, he was very well received, handsomely
entertained, and politely bowed out.

     [18: "_Un homme à lui._"--A.T. de M.]

But I have spoken enough of individuals; let us come to politics.

At the time when I took up office, Europe was, as it were, on fire,
although the conflagration was already extinguished in certain
countries. Sicily was conquered and subdued; the Neapolitans had
returned to their obedience and even to their servitude; the battle of
Novara had been fought and lost; the victorious Austrians were
negociating with the son of Charles Albert, who had become King of
Piedmont by his father's abdication; their armies, issuing from the
confines of Lombardy, occupied Parma, a portion of the Papal States,
Placentia, and Tuscany, which they had entered unasked, and in spite of
the fact that the Grand Duke had been restored by his subjects, who have
been but ill rewarded since for their zeal and fidelity. But Venice
still resisted, and Rome, after repelling our first attack, was calling
all the demagogues of Italy to its assistance and exciting all Europe
with its clamour. Never, perhaps, since February, had Germany seemed
more divided or disturbed. Although the dream of German unity had been
dispelled, the reality of the old Teutonic organization had not yet
resumed its place. Reduced to a small number of members, the National
Assembly, which had till then endeavoured to promote this unity, fled
from Frankfort and hawked round the spectacle of its impotence and its
ridiculous fury. But its fall did not restore order; on the contrary, it
left a freer field for anarchy.

The moderate, one may say the innocent, revolutionaries, who had
cherished the belief that they would be able, peacefully, and by means
of arguments and decrees, to persuade the peoples and princes of Germany
to submit to a single government, made way for the violent
revolutionaries, who had always maintained that Germany could only be
brought to a state of unity by the complete ruin of its old systems of
government, and the entire abolition of the existing social order. Riots
therefore followed on every hand upon parliamentary discussion.
Political rivalries turned into a war of classes; the natural hatred and
jealousy entertained by the poor for the rich developed into socialistic
theories in many quarters, but especially in the small states of Central
Germany and in the great Rhine Valley. Wurtemberg was in a state of
agitation; Saxony had just experienced a terrible insurrection, which
had only been crushed with the assistance of Prussia; insurrections had
also occurred in Westphalia; the Palatinate was in open revolt; and
Baden had expelled its Grand Duke, and appointed a Provisional
Government. And yet the final victory of the Princes, which I had
foreseen when travelling through Germany, a month before, was no longer
in doubt; the very violence of the insurrections hastened it. The
larger monarchies had recaptured their capitals and their armies. Their
heads had still difficulties to conquer, but no more dangers; and
themselves masters, or on the point of becoming so, at home, they could
not fail soon to triumph in the second-rate States. By thus violently
disturbing public order, the insurgents gave them the wish, the
opportunity and the right to intervene.

Prussia had already commenced to do so. The Prussians had just
suppressed the Saxon insurrection by force of arms; they now entered the
Rhine Palatinate, offered their intervention to Wurtemberg, and prepared
to invade the Grand-Duchy of Baden, thus occupying almost the whole of
Germany with their soldiers or their influence.

Austria had emerged from the terrible crisis which had threatened its
existence, but it was still in great travail. Its armies, after
conquering in Italy, were being defeated in Hungary. Despairing of
mastering its subjects unaided, it had called Russia to its assistance,
and the Tsar, in a manifesto dated 13 May, had announced to Europe that
he was marching against the Hungarians. The Emperor Nicholas had till
then remained at rest amid his uncontested might. He had viewed the
agitation of the nations from afar in safety, but not with indifference.
Thenceforward, he alone among the great powers of Europe represented the
old state of society and the old traditional principle of authority. He
was not only its representative: he considered himself its champion.
His political theories, his religious belief, his ambition and his
conscience, all urged him to adopt this part. He had, therefore, made
for himself out of the cause of authority throughout the world a second
empire yet vaster than the first. He encouraged with his letters and
rewarded with his honours all those who, in whatever corner of Europe,
gained victories over anarchy and even over liberty, as though they were
his subjects and had contributed to strengthening his own power. He had
thus sent, to the extreme South of Europe, one of his orders to
Filangieri, the conqueror of the Sicilians, and had written that general
an autograph letter to show to him that he was satisfied with his
conduct. From the lofty position which he occupied, and whence he
peacefully watched the various incidents of the struggle which shook
Europe, the Emperor judged freely, and followed with a certain tranquil
disdain, not only the follies of the revolutionaries whom he pursued,
but also the vices and the faults of the parties and princes whom he
assisted. He expressed himself on this subject simply and as the
occasion required, without showing any eagerness to disclose his
thoughts or taking any pains to conceal them.

Lamoricière wrote to me on the 11th of August 1849, in a secret

     "The Tsar said to me this morning, 'You believe, general, that your
     dynastic parties would be capable of uniting with the Radicals to
     overthrow a dynasty which they disliked, in the hope of setting
     their own in its place; and I am certain of it. Your Legitimist
     Party especially would not hesitate to do so. I have long since
     thought that it is the Legitimists who make the Elder Branch of the
     Bourbons impossible. This is one of the reasons why I recognized
     the Republic; and also because I perceive in your nation a certain
     common sense which is wanting in the Germans.'

     "Later, the Emperor also said, 'The King of Prussia, my
     brother-in-law, with whom I was on very close terms of friendship,
     has not taken the slightest heed of my advice. The result is that
     our political relations have become remarkably cool, to such an
     extent that they have affected even our family relations. Look at
     the things he has done: did he not put himself at the head of those
     fools who dream of an United Germany, and now that he has broken
     with the Frankfort Parliament, has he not brought himself to the
     necessity of fighting the troops of the Schleswig-Holstein Duchies,
     which were levied under his patronage! Is it possible to imagine
     anything more disgraceful? And now, who knows how far he will go
     with his constitutional proposals?' He added, 'Do not think that,
     because I intervene in Hungary, I wish to justify the conduct of
     Austria in this affair. She has heaped up, one on the other, the
     most serious faults and the greatest follies; but when all is said
     and done, it had allowed the country to be invaded by subversive
     doctrines, and the government had fallen into the hands of
     disorderly persons. This was not to be endured.'

     "Speaking of the affairs of Italy, 'We others,' he said, 'see
     nothing in those temporal functions fulfilled in Rome by
     ecclesiastics; but it matters little to us how those priests
     arrange things among themselves, provided that something is set up
     which will last and that you constitute the power in such a way
     that it can stand.'"

Hereupon Lamoricière, wounded by this supercilious tone, which smelt
somewhat of the autocrat and betrayed a sort of rivalry as between pope
and pope, began to defend Catholic institutions.

     "'Very well, very well,' said the Emperor, ending the conversation,
     'let France be as Catholic as she pleases, only let her protect
     herself against the insane theories and passions of innovators.'"

Though hard and austere in the exercise of his power, the Tsar was
simple and almost _bourgeois_ in his habits, keeping only the substance
of sovereign power and rejecting its pomp and worries. On the 17th of
July, the French Ambassador at St Petersburg wrote to me:

     "The Emperor is here; he arrived from Warsaw without suite of any
     kind, in an ordinary post-cart--his carriage had broke down sixty
     leagues from here--so as to be in time for the Empress's
     saint's-day, which has just taken place. He did the journey with
     extraordinary rapidity, in two days and a half, and he leaves again
     to-morrow. Every one here is touched with this contrast of power
     and simplicity, with the sight of this Sovereign who, after hurling
     one hundred and twenty thousand men on to the battle-field, races
     along the roads like a _feld-jäger_, so as not to miss his wife's
     saint's-day. Nothing is more in keeping with the spirit of the
     Slavs, among whom one might say that the principal element of
     civilization is the spirit of family."

It would, in fact, be a great mistake to think that the Tsar's immense
power was only based upon force. It was founded, above all, on the
wishes and the ardent sympathies of the Russians. For the principle of
the sovereignty of the people lies at the root of all government,
whatever may be said to the contrary, and lurks beneath the least
independent institutions. The Russian nobles had adopted the principles
and still more the vices of Europe; but the people were not in touch
with our West and with the new spirit which animated it. They saw in the
Emperor not only their lawful Prince, but the envoy of God, and almost
God Himself.

In the midst of this Europe which I have depicted, the position of
France was one of weakness and embarrassment. Nowhere had the
Revolution succeeded in establishing a regular and stable system of
liberty. On every side, the old powers were rising up again from amid
the ruins which it had made--not, it is true, the same as when they
fell, but very similar. We could not assist the latter in establishing
themselves nor ensure their victory, for the system which they were
setting up was antipathetic, I will say not only to the institutions
created by the Revolution of February, but, at the root of our ideas, to
all that was most permanent and unconquerable in our new habits. They,
on their side, distrusted us, and rightly. The great part of restorers
of the general order in Europe was therefore forbidden us. This part,
moreover, was already played by another: it belonged by right to Russia,
and only the second remained for us. As to placing France at the head of
the innovators, this was to be still less thought of, for two reasons:
first, that it would have been absolutely impossible to advise these
latter or to hope to lead them, because of their extravagance and their
detestable incapacity; secondly, that it was not possible to support
them abroad without falling beneath their blows at home. The contact of
their passions and doctrines would have put all France in flame,
revolutionary doctrines at that time dominating all others. Thus we were
neither able to unite with the nations, who accused us of urging them on
and then betraying them, nor with the princes, who reproached us with
shaking their thrones. We were reduced to accepting the sterile
good-will of the English: it was the same isolation as before February,
with the Continent more hostile to us and England more lukewarm. It was
therefore necessary, as it had been then, to reduce ourselves to leading
a small life, from day to day; but even this was difficult. The French
Nation, which had made and, in a certain way, still made so great a
figure in the world, kicked against this necessity of the time: it had
remained haughty while it ceased to be preponderant; it feared to act
and tried to talk loudly; and it also expected its Government to be
proud, without, however, permitting it to run the risks which such
conduct entailed.

Never had France been looked upon with more anxiety than at the moment
when the Cabinet had just been formed. The easy and complete victory
which we had won in Paris on the 13th of June had extraordinary rebounds
throughout Europe. A new insurrection in France was generally expected.
The revolutionaries, half destroyed, relied only upon this occurrence to
recover themselves, and they redoubled their efforts in order to be able
to take advantage of it. The governments, half victorious, fearing to be
surprised by this crisis, stopped before striking their final blow. The
day of the 13th of June gave rise to cries of pain and joy from one end
of the Continent to the other. It decided fortune suddenly, and
precipitated it towards the Rhine.

The Prussian army, already master of the Palatinate, at once burst into
the Grand-Duchy of Baden, dispersed the insurgents, and occupied the
whole country, with the exception of Rastadt, which held out for a few

     [19: Nothing was ever more despicable than the conduct of those
     revolutionaries. The soldiers who, at the commencement of the
     insurrection, had put to flight or killed their officers, turned
     tail before the Prussians. The ringleaders did nothing but dispute
     among themselves and defame one another instead of defending
     themselves, and took refuge in Switzerland after pillaging the
     public treasury and levying contributions upon their own country.

     While the struggle lasted, we took strong measures to prevent the
     insurgents from receiving any assistance from France. Those among
     them who crossed the Rhine, in great numbers, received asylum from
     us, but were disarmed and placed in confinement. The victors, as it
     was easy to foresee, at once abused their victory. Many prisoners
     were put to death, all liberty was indefinitely suspended, and even
     the government which had been restored was kept in very close
     tutelage. I soon perceived that the French representative in the
     Grand-Duchy of Baden not only did not strive to moderate these
     violences, but thoroughly approved of them. I at once wrote to him
     as follows:


          "I am informed that a number of military executions have taken
          place, and that many more are announced. I do not understand
          why these facts have not been reported by you, nor why you
          have not sought to prevent them, without even waiting for
          instructions. We have assisted as much as we could, without
          taking up arms, in suppressing the rebellion; all the more
          reason for desiring that the victory to which we have given
          our aid should not be sullied by acts of violence of which
          France disapproves, and which we regard as both odious and
          impolitic. There is another point which causes us much
          anxiety, and which does not seem to excite your solicitude to
          the same degree: I refer to the political institutions of the
          Grand-Duchy. Do not forget that the object of the Government
          of the Republic in that country has been to assist in putting
          down anarchy, but not in destroying liberty. We can in no way
          lend our hand to an anti-liberal restoration. The
          Constitutional Monarchy felt the need to create or maintain
          free States around France. The Republic is still more obliged
          to do so. The Government therefore asks and imperiously
          insists that each of its agents shall faithfully conform to
          these necessities of our situation. See the Grand Duke, and
          give him to understand what are the wishes of France. We shall
          certainly never allow either a Prussian province or an
          absolute government to be established on our frontier in the
          stead of an independent and constitutional monarchy?"

            *       *       *       *       *

     After some time, the executions ceased. The Grand Duke protested
     his attachment to constitutional forms, and his resolution to
     maintain them. This was for the moment all he was able to do, for
     he reigned only in name. The Prussians were the real masters.]

The Baden revolutionaries took refuge in Switzerland. Refugees were then
arriving in that country from Italy, France, and to tell the truth, from
every corner of Europe, for all Europe, with the exception of Russia,
had undergone or was undergoing a revolution. Their number soon amounted
to ten or twelve thousand. It was an army always ready to fall upon the
neighbouring States. All the Cabinets were alarmed at it.

Austria and especially Prussia, which had already had reason to complain
of the Confederation, and even Russia, which was in no way concerned,
spoke of invading Swiss territory with armed forces and acting as a
police in the name of all the governments threatened. This we could not

I first endeavoured to make the Swiss listen to reason, and to persuade
them not to wait till they were threatened, but themselves to expel from
their territory, as the Law of Nations required them to do, all the
principal ringleaders who openly threatened neighbouring nations.

"If you in this way anticipate what they have the right to ask of you,"
I incessantly repeated to the representative in Paris of the Swiss
Confederation, "you can rely upon France to defend you against any
unjust or exaggerated pretensions put forward by the Courts. We will
rather risk war than permit them to oppress or humiliate you. But if you
refuse to bring reason on your side, you must only rely upon yourselves,
and you will have to defend yourselves against all Europe."

This language had little effect, for there is nothing to equal the pride
and conceit of the Swiss. Not one of those peasants but believes that
his country is able to defy all the princes and all the nations of the
earth. I then set to work in another way, which was more successful.
This was to advise the foreign Governments (who were only too disposed
to agree) to refuse for a certain period all amnesty to such of their
subjects as had taken refuge in Switzerland, and to deny all of them,
whatever their degree of guilt, the right to return to their country. On
our side, we closed our frontiers to all those who, after taking refuge
in Switzerland, wished to cross France in order to go to England or
America, including the inoffensive refugees as well as the ringleaders.
Every outlet being thus closed, Switzerland remained encumbered with
those ten or twelve thousand adventurers, the most turbulent and
disorderly people in all Europe. It was necessary to feed, lodge, and
even pay them, lest they should levy contributions on the country. This
suddenly enlightened the Swiss as to the drawbacks attendant upon the
right of asylum. They could have made arrangements to have kept the
illustrious chiefs for an indefinite period, in spite of the danger with
which these menaced their neighbours; but the revolutionary army was a
great nuisance to them. The more radical cantons were the first to raise
a loud clamour and to ask to be rid of these inconvenient and expensive
visitors. And as it was impossible to persuade the foreign Governments
to open their territory to the crowd of inoffensive refugees who were
able and willing to leave Switzerland, without first driving out the
leaders who would have liked to stay, they ended by expelling these.
After almost bringing all Europe down upon them rather than remove these
men from their territory, the Swiss ended by driving them out of their
own accord in order to avoid a temporary inconvenience and a trifling
expense. No better example was ever given of the nature of democracies,
which, as a rule, have only very confused or very erroneous ideas on
external affairs, and generally solve outside questions only by internal

While these things were happening in Switzerland, the general aspect of
affairs in Germany underwent a change. The struggles of the nations
against the Governments were followed by quarrels of the Princes among
themselves. I followed this new phase of the Revolution with a very
attentive gaze and a very perplexed mind.

The Revolution in Germany had not proceeded from a simple cause, as in
the rest of Europe. It was produced at once by the general spirit of the
time and by the unitarian ideas peculiar to the Germans. The democracy
was now beaten, but the idea of German unity was not destroyed; the
needs, the memories, the passions that had inspired it survived. The
King of Prussia had undertaken to appropriate it and make use of it.
This Prince, a man of intelligence but of very little sense, had been
wavering for a year between his fear of the Revolution and his desire to
turn it to account. He struggled as much as he could against the liberal
and democratic spirit of the age; yet he favoured the German unitarian
spirit, a blundering game in which, if he had dared to go to the length
of his desires, he would have risked his Crown and his life. For, in
order to overcome the resistance which existing institutions and the
interests of the Princes were bound to oppose to the establishment of a
central power, he would have had to summon the revolutionary passions of
the peoples to his aid, and of these Frederic William could not have
made use without soon being destroyed by them himself.

So long as the Frankfort Parliament retained its _prestige_ and its
power, the King of Prussia entreated it kindly and strove to get himself
placed by it at the head of the new Empire. When the Parliament fell
into discredit and powerlessness, the King changed his behaviour
without changing his plans. He endeavoured to obtain the legacy of this
assembly and to combat the Revolution by realizing the chimera of German
unity, of which the democrats had made use to shake every throne. With
this intention, he invited all the German Princes to come to an
understanding with him to form a new Confederation, which should be
closer than that of 1815, and to give him the government of it. In
return he undertook to establish and strengthen them in their States.
These Princes, who detested Prussia, but who trembled before the
Revolution, for the most part accepted the usurious bargain proposed to
them. Austria, which the success of this proposal would have driven out
of Germany, protested, being not yet in a position to do more. The two
principal monarchies of the South, Bavaria and Wurtemberg, followed its
example, but all North and Central Germany entered into this ephemeral
Confederation, which was concluded on the 26th of May 1849 and is known
in history by the name of the Union of the Three Kings.[20]

     [20: Of Prussia, Saxony and Hanover.--A.T. de M.]

Prussia then suddenly became the dominating power in a vast stretch of
country, reaching from Memel to Basle, and at one time saw twenty-six or
twenty-seven million Germans marching under its orders. All this was
completed shortly after my arrival in office.

I confess that, at the sight of this singular spectacle, my mind was
crossed with strange ideas, and I was for a moment tempted to believe
that the President was not so mad in his foreign policy as I had at
first thought him. That union of the great Courts of the North, which
had so long weighed heavily upon us, was broken. Two of the great
Continental monarchies, Prussia and Austria, were quarrelling and almost
at war. Had not the moment come for us to contract one of those intimate
and powerful alliances which we have been compelled to forego for sixty
years, and perhaps in a measure to repair our losses of 1815? France, by
platonically assisting Frederic William in his enterprises, which
England did not oppose, could divide Europe and bring on one of those
great crises which entail a redistribution of territory.

The time seemed so well to lend itself to these ideas that they filled
the imagination of many of the German Princes themselves. The more
powerful among them dreamt of nothing but changes of frontier and
accessions of power at the expense of their neighbours. The
revolutionary malady of the nations seemed to have attacked the

"There is no Confederation possible with eight and thirty States," said
the Bavarian Foreign Minister, Baron von der Pfordten, to our Envoy. "It
will be necessary to mediatize a large number of them. How, for
instance, can we ever hope to re-establish order in a country like
Baden, unless we divide it among sovereigns strong enough to make
themselves obeyed? In that case," he added, "the Neckar Valley would
naturally fall to our share."[21]

     [21: Despatch of the 7th of September 1849.]

For my part, I soon dispelled from my mind, as mere visions, all
thoughts of this kind. I quickly realized that Prussia was neither able
nor willing to give us anything worth having in exchange for our good
offices; that its power over the other German States was very
precarious, and was likely to be ephemeral; that no reliance was to be
placed in its King, who at the first obstacle would have failed us and
failed himself; and, above all, that such extensive and ambitious
designs were not suited to so ill-established a state of society and to
such troubled and dangerous times as ours, nor to transient powers such
as that which chance had placed in my hands.

I put a more serious question to myself, and it was this--I recall it
here because it is bound constantly to crop up again: Is it to the
interest of France that the bonds which hold together the German
Confederation should be strengthened or relaxed? In other words, ought
we to desire that Germany should in a certain sense become a single
nation, or that it should remain an ill-joined conglomeration of
disunited peoples and princes? There is an old tradition in our
diplomacy that we should strive to keep Germany divided among a large
number of independent powers; and this, in fact, was self-evident at the
time when there was nothing behind Germany except Poland and a
semi-savage Russia; but is the case the same in our days? The reply to
this question depends upon the reply to another: What is really the
peril with which in our days Russia threatens the independence of
Europe? For my part, believing as I do that our West is threatened
sooner or later to fall under the yoke, or at least under the direct and
irresistible influence of the Tsars, I think that our first object
should be to favour the union of all the German races in order to oppose
it to that influence. The conditions of the world are new; we must
change our old maxims and not fear to strengthen our neighbours, so that
they may one day be in a condition with us to repel the common enemy.

The Emperor of Russia, on his side, saw how great an obstacle an United
Germany would prove in his way. Lamoricière, in one of his private
letters, informed me that the Emperor had said to him with his ordinary
candour and arrogance:

"If the unity of Germany, which doubtless you wish for no more than I
do, ever becomes a fact, there will be needed, in order to manage it, a
man capable of what Napoleon himself was not able to do; and if this man
were found, if that armed mass developed into a menace, it would then
become your affair and mine."

But when I put these questions to myself, the time had not come to solve
them nor even to discuss them, for Germany was of its own accord
irresistibly returning to its old constitution and to the old anarchy
of its powers. The Frankfort Parliament's attempt in favour of unity had
fallen through. That made by the King of Prussia was destined to meet
with the same fate.

It was the dread of the Revolution which alone had driven the German
Princes into Frederic William's arms. In the measure that, thanks to the
efforts of the Prussians, the Revolution was on all sides suppressed and
ceased to make itself feared, the allies (one might almost say the new
subjects) of Prussia aimed at recovering their independence. The King of
Prussia's enterprise was of that unfortunate kind in which success
itself interferes with triumph, and to compare large things with
smaller, I would say that his history was not unlike ours, and that,
like ourselves, he was doomed to strike upon a rock so soon as, and for
the reason that, he had re-established order. The princes who had
adhered to what was known as the Prussian hegemony seized the first
opportunity to renounce it. Austria supplied this opportunity, when,
after defeating the Hungarians, she was able to re-appear upon the scene
of German affairs with her material power and that of the memories which
attached to her name. This is what happened in the course of September
1849. When the King of Prussia found himself face to face with that
powerful rival, behind whom he caught sight of Russia, his courage
suddenly failed him, as I expected, and he returned to his old part.
The German Constitution of 1815 resumed its empire, the Diet its
sittings; and soon, of all that great movement of 1848, there remained
but two traces visible in Germany: a greater dependence of the small
States upon the great monarchies, and an irreparable blow struck at all
that remains of feudal institutions: their ruin, consummated by the
nations, was sanctioned by the Princes. From one end of Germany to the
other, the perpetuity of ground-rents, baronial tithes, forced labour,
rights of mutation, of hunting, of justice, which constituted a great
part of the riches of the nobility, remained abolished.[22] The Kings
were restored, but the aristocracies did not recover from the blow that
had been struck them.[23]

     [22: Private letter from Beaumont at Vienna, 10 October
     1849.--Despatch from M. Lefèbre at Munich, 23 July 1849.]

     [23: I had foreseen from the commencement that Austria and Prussia
     would soon return to their former sphere and fall back in each case
     within the influence of Russia. I find this provision set forth in
     the instructions which I gave to one of our ambassadors to Germany
     on the 24th of July, before the events which I have described had
     taken place. These instructions are drawn up in my own hand, as
     were all my more important despatches. I read as follows:

          "I know that the malady which is ravaging all the old
          European society is incurable, that in changing its symptoms
          it does not change in character, and that all the old powers
          are, to a greater or lesser extent, threatened with
          modification or destruction. But I am inclined to believe
          that the next event will be the strengthening of authority
          throughout Europe. It would not be impossible that, under the
          pressure of a common instinct of defence or under the common
          influence of recent occurrences, Russia should be willing and
          able to bring about harmony between North and South Germany
          and to reconcile Austria and Prussia, and that all this great
          movement should merely resolve itself into a new alliance of
          principles between the three monarchies at the expense of the
          secondary governments and the liberty of the citizens.
          Consider the situation from this point of view, and give me
          an account of your observations."]

Convinced at an early date that we had no part to play in this internal
crisis in Germany, I only applied myself to living on good terms with
the several contending parties. I especially kept up friendly relations
with Austria, whose concurrence was necessary to us, as I will explain
later, in the Roman business. I first strove to bring to a happy
conclusion the negociations which had long been pending between Austria
and Piedmont; I put the more care into this because I was persuaded
that, so long as no lasting peace was established on that side, Europe
would remain unsettled and liable at any moment to be thrown into great

Piedmont had been negociating to no purpose since the battle of Novara.
Austria at first tried to lay down unacceptable conditions. Piedmont, on
her side, kept up pretensions which the state of her fortunes did not
authorize. The negociations, several times interrupted, had been resumed
before I took office. We had many very strong reasons to desire that
this peace should be concluded without delay. At any moment, a general
war might break out in this little corner of the Continent. Piedmont,
moreover, was too near to us to permit us to allow that she should lose
either her independence, which separated her from Austria, or her
newly-acquired constitutional institutions, which brought her closer to
us: two advantages which would be seriously jeopardized if recourse were
had to arms.

I therefore interposed very eagerly, in the name of France, between the
two parties, addressing to both of them the language which I thought
most likely to convince them. I observed to Austria how urgent it was
that the general peace of Europe should be assured by this particular
peace, and I exerted myself to point out to her what was excessive in
her demands. To Piedmont I indicated the points on which it seemed to me
that honour and interest would permit her to give way. I applied myself
especially to giving her Government in advance clear and precise ideas
as to what it might expect from us, so that it should have no excuse to
entertain, or to pretend to have entertained, any dangerous
illusions[24]. I will not go into details of the conditions under
discussion, which are without interest to-day; I will content myself
with saying that at the end they seemed prepared to come to an
understanding, and that any further delay was due merely to a question
of money. This was the condition of affairs, and Austria assured us
through her Ambassador in Paris of her conciliatory dispositions; I
already looked upon peace as concluded, when I unexpectedly learned that
the Austrian Plenipotentiary had suddenly changed his attitude and his
language, had delivered on the 19th of July a very serious ultimatum,
couched in exceedingly harsh terms, and had only given four days in
which to reply to it. At the end of these four days the armistice was to
be raised and the war resumed. Already Marshal Radetzky was
concentrating his army and preparing to enter upon a fresh campaign.
This news, so contrary to the pacific assurances which we had received,
was to me a great source of surprise and indignation. Demands so
exorbitant, delivered in such arrogant and violent terms, seemed to
announce that peace was not Austria's only object, but that she aimed
rather at the independence of Piedmont and perhaps at her representative
institutions; for so long as liberty shows itself in the smallest
fraction of Italy, Austria feels ill at ease in all the rest.

     [24: Despatch of the 4th of July 1849 to M. de Boislecomte:

          "The conditions laid down for Piedmont by His Majesty the
          Emperor of Austria are no doubt severe; but, nevertheless,
          they do not affect the integrity of the territory of the
          Kingdom nor her honour. They neither take away the strength
          which she should preserve, nor the just influence which she
          is called upon to exercise over the general policy of Europe
          and in particular over the affairs of Italy. The treaty which
          she is asked to sign is a vexatious one, no doubt; but it is
          not a disastrous one; and, after the fate of arms has been
          decided, it does not exceed what was naturally to be feared.

          "France has not neglected, and will not neglect, any effort to
          obtain a mitigation of this proposal; she will persist in her
          endeavours to obtain from the Austrian Government the
          modifications which she considers in keeping not only with the
          interests of Piedmont but with the easy and lasting
          maintenance of the general peace; and to attain this result,
          she will employ all the means supplied to diplomacy: but she
          will not go beyond this. She does not think that, within the
          limits of the question and the degree to which the interests
          of Piedmont are involved, it would be opportune to do more.
          Holding this firm and deliberate opinion, she does not
          hesitate to give utterance to it. To allow, even by her
          silence, a belief to gain ground in extreme resolutions that
          have not been taken; to suggest hopes that we are not certain
          of wishing to realize; to urge indirectly by words to a line
          of action which we should not think ourselves justified in
          supporting by our acts; in a word, to engage others without
          engaging ourselves, or unconsciously to engage ourselves more
          deeply than we think or than we mean: that would be, on the
          part of either the Government or of private individuals, a
          line of conduct which seems to me neither prudent nor

          "You can rely, Sir, that so long as I occupy the post in which
          the President's confidence has placed me, the Government of
          the Republic shall incur no such reproach; it will announce
          nothing that it will not be prepared to carry out; it will
          make no promises that it is not resolved to keep; and it will
          consider it as much a point of honour to declare beforehand
          what it is not ready to do as to execute promptly and with
          vigour that which it has said it would do.

          "You will be good enough to read this despatch to M.

I at once came to the conclusion that we must at no price allow so near
a neighbour to be oppressed, deliver a territory which touched our
frontiers to the Austrian armies, or permit political liberty to be
abolished in the only country in which, since 1848, it had showed itself
moderate. I thought, moreover, that Austria's mode of procedure towards
us showed either an intention to deceive us or else a desire to try how
far our toleration would go, or, as is commonly said, to sound us.

I saw that this was one of those extreme circumstances, which I had
faced beforehand, where it became my duty to risk not only my portfolio
(which, to tell the truth, was not risking much) but the fortunes of
France. I proceeded to the Council and explained the state of affairs.

The President and all my colleagues were unanimous in thinking that I
ought to act. Orders were immediately telegraphed to concentrate the
Army of Lyons at the foot of the Alps, and so soon as I returned home, I
myself wrote (for the flaccid style of diplomacy was not suited to the
circumstances) the following letter:[25]

     "Should the Austrian Government persist in the unreasonable demands
     mentioned in your telegram of yesterday, and, abandoning the limits
     of diplomatic discussion, throw up the armistice and undertake, as
     it says it will, to go and dictate peace at Turin, Piedmont can be
     assured that we should not desert her. The situation would no
     longer be the same as that in which she placed itself before the
     battle of Novara, when she spontaneously resumed her arms and
     renewed the war against our advice. This time it would be Austria
     which would herself take the initiative unprovoked; the nature of
     her demands and the violence of her proceedings would give us
     reason to believe that she is not acting solely with a view to
     peace, but that she is threatening the integrity of Piedmontese
     territory or, at the very least, the independence of the Sardinian

     "We will not allow such designs as these to be accomplished at our
     gates. If, under these conditions, Piedmont is attacked, we will
     defend her."

     [25: Letter to M. de Boislecomte, 25 July 1849.]

I moreover thought it my duty to send for the Austrian representative (a
little diplomatist very like a fox in appearance as well as in nature),
and, convinced that, in the attitude we were taking up, hastiness was
identical with prudence, I took advantage of the fact that I could not
as yet be expected to have become familiar with habits of diplomatic
reserve, to express to him our surprise and our dissatisfaction in
terms so rude that he since admitted to me that he had never been so
received in his life.

Before the despatch of which I have quoted a few lines had reached
Turin, the two Powers had come to an agreement. They had come to terms
on the question of money, which was arranged practically on the
conditions that had been previously suggested by ourselves. The Austrian
Government had only desired to precipitate the negociations by
frightening the other side; it made very little difficulty about the

Prince Schwarzenberg sent me all sorts of explanations and excuses, and
peace was definitely signed on the 6th of August, a peace hardly hoped
for by Piedmont after so many mistakes and misfortunes, since it assured
her more advantages than she had at first ventured to demand.

This affair threw into great relief the habits of English, and
particularly of Palmerstonian, diplomacy: the feature is worth quoting.
Since the commencement of the negociation, the British Government had
never ceased to show great animosity against Austria, and loudly to
encourage the Piedmontese not to submit to the conditions which she
sought to force upon them. My first care, after taking the resolutions I
have described, was to communicate them to England, and to endeavour to
persuade her to take up the same line of conduct. I therefore sent a
copy of my despatch to Drouyn de Lhuys, who was then Ambassador in
London, and instructed him to show it to Lord Palmerston, and to
discover that minister's intentions. Drouyn de Lhuys replied:[26]

     "While I was informing Lord Palmerston of your resolutions and of
     the instructions you had sent M. de Boislecomte, he listened with
     every sign of eager assent; but when I said, 'You see, my lord, how
     far we wish to go; can you tell me how far you will go yourself?'
     Lord Palmerston at once replied, 'The British Government, whose
     interest in this business is not equal to yours, will not lend the
     Piedmontese Government more than a diplomatic assistance and a
     moral support."

     [26: Despatches of the 25th and 26th of June 1849.]

Is not this characteristic? England, protected against the revolutionary
sickness of nations by the wisdom of her laws and the strength of her
ancient customs, and against the anger of princes by her power and her
isolation in the midst of us, is always pleased to play the part of the
advocate of liberty and justice in the internal affairs of the
Continent. She likes to censure and even to insult the strong, to
justify and encourage the weak; but it seems that she does not care to
go further than to assume virtuous airs and discuss honourable theories.
Should her _protégés_ come to need her, she offers her moral support.

I add, in order to finish the subject, that these tactics succeeded
remarkably well. The Piedmontese remained convinced that England alone
had defended them, and that we had very nearly abandoned them. She
remained very popular in Turin, and France very much suspected. For
nations are like men, they love still more that which flatters their
passions than that which serves their interests.

Hardly had we emerged from this bad pass, before we fell into a worse
one. We had witnessed with fear and regret what was happening in
Hungary. The misfortunes of this unlucky people excited our sympathies.
The intervention of the Russians, which for a time subordinated Austria
to the Tsar, and caused the hand of the latter to be more and more
active in the management of the general affairs of Europe, was not
calculated to please us. But all these events happened beyond our reach,
and we were helpless.

     "I need not tell you," I wrote in the instructions I sent
     Lamoricière, "with what keen and melancholy interest we follow
     events in Hungary. Unfortunately, for the present, we can only take
     a passive part in this question. The letter and spirit of the
     treaties open out to us no right of intervention. Besides, our
     distance from the seat of war must impose upon us, in the present
     state of our affairs and of those of Europe, a certain reserve.
     Since we are not able to speak or act to good purpose, it is due to
     our dignity not to display, in respect to this question, any
     sterile excitement or impotent good-feeling. Our duty with regard
     to Hungarian events is to limit ourselves to carefully observing
     what happens and seeking to discover what is likely to take place."

Overwhelmed by numbers, the Hungarians were either conquered or
surrendering, and their principal leaders, as well as a certain number
of Polish generals who had joined their cause, crossed the Danube at the
end of August, and threw themselves into the arms of the Turks at
Widdin. From there, the two principal ones, Dembinski and Kossuth, wrote
to our Ambassador in Constantinople.[27] The habits and peculiarities of
mind of these two men were betrayed in their letters. The soldier's was
short and simple; the lawyer-orator's long and ornate. I remember one of
his phrases, among others, in which he said, "As a good Christian, I
have chosen the unspeakable sorrow of exile rather than the peacefulness
of death." Both ended by asking for the protection of France.

     [27: Letters of the 22nd and 24th of August 1849.]

While the outlaws were imploring our aid, the Austrian and Russian
Ambassadors appeared before the Divan and asked that they might be given
up. Austria based her demand upon the treaty of Belgrade, which in no
way established her right; and Russia hers upon the treaty of Kaïnardji
(10 July 1774), of which the meaning, to say the least of it, was very
obscure. But at bottom they neither of them appealed to an international
right, but to a better known and more practical right, that of the
strongest. This was made clear by their acts and their language. The two
embassies declared from the commencement that it was a question of peace
or war. Without consenting to discuss the matter, they insisted upon a
reply of yes or no, and declared that if this reply was in the negative,
they would at once cease all diplomatic relations with Turkey.

To this exhibition of violence, the Turkish ministers replied, with
gentleness, that Turkey was a neutral country; that the law of nations
forbade them to hand over outlaws who had taken refuge on their
territory; and that the Austrians and Russians had often quoted the same
law against them when Mussulman rebels had sought an asylum in Hungary,
Transylvania or Bessarabia. They modestly submitted that what was
permitted on the left bank of the Danube seemed as though it should also
be permitted on the right bank. They ended by protesting that what they
were asked to do was opposed to their honour and their religion, that
they would gladly undertake to keep the refugees under restraint and
place them where they could do no mischief, but that they could never
consent to deliver them to the executioner.

     "The young Sultan," our ambassador wrote to me, "replied yesterday
     to the Austrian Envoy that, while denouncing what the Hungarian
     rebels had done, he could now only regard them as unhappy men
     seeking to escape death, and that humanity forbade him to surrender
     them. Rechid Pasha, on his part, the Grand Vizier," added our
     Minister, "said to me, 'I shall be proud if I am driven from power
     for this;' and he added, with an air of deep concern, 'In our
     religion, every man who asks for mercy is bound to obtain it.'"

This was talking like civilized people and Christians. The Ambassadors
were content to reply like real Turks, saying that they must give up the
fugitives or undergo the consequences of a rupture which would probably
lead to war. The Mussulman population itself took fire; it approved of
and supported its Government; and the Mufti came to thank our Ambassador
for the support he had given to the cause of humanity and good law.

From the commencement of the discussion, the Divan had addressed itself
to the Ambassadors of France and England. It appealed to public opinion
in the two great countries which they represented, asked their advice,
and besought their help in the event of the Northern Powers executing
their threats. The Ambassadors at once replied that in their opinion
Austria and Russia were exceeding their rights; and they encouraged the
Turkish Government in its resistance.

In the meanwhile, arrived at Constantinople an aide-de-camp of the
Tsar. He brought a letter which that Prince had taken the pains to write
to the Sultan with his own hand, asking for the extradition of the Poles
who had served six months before in the Hungarian war against the
Russian army. This step seems a very strange one when one does not see
through the particular reasons which influenced the Tsar under the
circumstance. The following extract from a letter of Lamoricière's
describes them with great sagacity, and shows to what extent public
opinion is dreaded at that end of Europe, where one would think that it
was neither an organ nor a power:

     "The Hungarian war, as you know," he wrote,[28] "was embarked upon
     to sustain Austria, who is hated as a people and not respected as a
     government; and it was very unpopular. It brought in nothing, and
     cost eighty-four millions of francs. The Russians hoped to bring
     back Bem, Dembinski, and the other Poles to Poland, as the price of
     the sacrifices of the campaign. Especially in the army, there
     reigned a veritable fury against these men. The people and soldiers
     were mad with longing for this satisfaction of their somewhat
     barbaric national pride. The Emperor, in spite of his omnipotence,
     is obliged to attach great value to the spirit of the masses upon
     whom he leans, and who constitute his real force. It is not simply
     a question of individual self-love: the national sentiment of the
     country and the army is at stake."

     [28: Despatches of the 11th and 25th of October 1849.]

These were, no doubt, the considerations which prompted the Tsar to take
the dangerous step I have mentioned. Prince Radziwill presented his
letter, but obtained nothing. He left forthwith, haughtily refusing a
second audience, which was offered him to take his leave; and the
Russian and Austrian Ambassadors officially declared that all diplomatic
relations had ceased between their masters and the Divan.

The latter acted, in these critical circumstances, with a firmness and
propriety of bearing which would have done honour to the most
experienced cabinets of Europe. At the same time that the Sultan refused
to comply with the demands, or rather the orders, of the two Emperors,
he wrote to the Tsar to tell him that he would not discuss with him the
question of right raised by the interpretation of the treaties, but that
he appealed to his friendship and to his honour, begging him to take it
in good part that the Turkish Government refused to take a measure which
would ruin it in the eyes of the world. He offered, moreover, once more,
himself to place the refugees in a position in which they should be
harmless. Abdul Medjid sent one of the wisest and cleverest men in his
Empire, Fuad Effendi, to take this letter to St Petersburg. A similar
letter was written to Vienna, but this was to be handed to the Emperor
of Austria by the Turkish Envoy at that Court, thus very visibly marking
the difference in the value attached to the consent of the two
Sovereigns. This news reached me at the end of September. My first care
was to communicate it to England. At the same time[29] I wrote a private
letter to our Ambassador, in which I said:

     "The conduct of England, who is more interested in this affair than
     we are, and less exposed in the conflict that may arise from it,
     must needs have a great influence upon our own. The English Cabinet
     must be asked clearly and categorically to state _how far_ it is
     prepared to go. I have not forgotten the Piedmont affair. If they
     want us to assist them, they must dot their i's. It is possible
     that, in that case, we shall be found to be very determined;
     otherwise, not. It is also very important that you should ascertain
     the opinions produced by these events upon the Tories of all
     shades; for with a government conducted on the parliamentary
     system, and consequently variable, the support of the party in
     power is not always a sufficient guarantee."

     [29: Private letter, 1 October 1849.]

In spite of the gravity of the circumstances, the English ministers, who
were at that moment dispersed on account of the parliamentary holidays,
took a long time before meeting; for in that country, the only country
in the world where the aristocracy still carries on the government, the
majority of the ministers are both great landed proprietors and, as a
rule, great noblemen. They were at that time on their estates,
recruiting from the fatigue and _ennui_ of business; and they showed no
undue hurry to return to Town. During this interval, all the English
press, without distinction of party, took fire. It raged against the two
Emperors, and inflamed public opinion in favour of Turkey. The British
Government, thus stimulated, at once took up its position. This time it
did not hesitate, for it was a question, as it said itself, not only of
the Sultan, but of England's influence in the world.[30] It therefore
decided, first, that representations should be made to Russia and
Austria; secondly, that the British Mediterranean Squadron should
proceed to the Dardanelles, to give confidence to the Sultan and, if
necessary, defend Constantinople. We were invited to do the same, and to
act in common. The same evening, the order was despatched to the British
Fleet to sail.

     [30: Private letter from M. Drouyn de Lhuys, 2 October 1849.]

The news of these decisive resolutions threw me into great perplexity. I
did not hesitate to think that we should approve the generous conduct of
our Ambassador, and come to the aid of the Sultan;[31] but as to a
warlike attitude, I did not believe that it would as yet be wise to
adopt it. The English invited us to do as they did; but our position was
very different from theirs. In defending Turkey, sword in hand, England
risked her fleet; we, our very existence. The English Ministers could
rely that, in that extremity, Parliament and the nation would support
them; whereas we were almost certain to be abandoned by the Assembly,
and even by the country, if things came so far as war. For our
wretchedness and danger at home made people's minds at that moment
insensible to all beside. I was convinced, moreover, that in this case
threats, instead of serving to forward our designs, were calculated to
frustrate them. If Russia, for it was really with her alone that we had
to do, should chance to be disposed to open the question of the
partition of the East by invading Turkey--a contingency that I found it
difficult to believe in--the sending of our fleets would not prevent the
crisis; and if it was really only a question (as was probably the case)
of taking revenge upon the Poles, it would aggravate it, by making it
difficult for the Tsar to retract, and causing his vanity to join forces
with his resentment.

     [31: Private letters to Lamoricière and Beaumont, 5 and 9 October

I went to the meeting of the Council with these reflections. I at once
saw that the President was already decided and even pledged, as he
himself declared to us. This resolve on his part had been inspired by
Lord Normanby, the British Ambassador, an eighteenth-century
diplomatist, who had worked himself into a strong position in Louis
Napoleon's good graces.... The majority of my colleagues thought as he
did, that we should without hesitation adopt the line of joint action to
which the English invited us, and like them send our fleet to the

Failing in my endeavour to have a measure which I considered premature
postponed, I asked that at least, before it was carried out, they should
consult Falloux, whose state of health had compelled him to leave Paris
for a time and go to the country. Lanjuinais went down to him for this
purpose, reported the affair to him, and came back and reported to us
that Falloux had without hesitation given his opinion in favour of the
despatch of the fleet. The order was sent off at once. However, Falloux
had acted without consulting the leaders of the majority or his friends,
and even without due reflection as to the consequences of his action; he
had yielded to a movement of impulse, as sometimes happened to him, for
nature had made him frivolous and light-headed before education and
habit had rendered him calculating to the pitch of duplicity. It is
probable that, after his conversation with Lanjuinais, he received
advice, or himself made certain reflections, opposed to the opinion he
had given. He therefore wrote me a very long and very involved
letter,[32] in which he pretended to have misunderstood Lanjuinais
(this was impossible, for Lanjuinais was the clearest and most lucid of
men both in speech and action). He revoked his opinion and sought to
evade his responsibility; and I replied at once with this note:

     "My dear Colleague,

     "The Council has taken its resolution, and at this late hour there
     is nothing to be done but await events; moreover, in this matter
     the responsibility of the whole Council is the same. There is no
     individual responsibility. I was not in favour of the measure; but
     now that the measure is taken, I am prepared to defend it against
     all comers."[33]

     [32: Letter from Falloux, 11 October 1849.]

     [33: Letter to Falloux, 12 October 1849.]

While giving a lesson to Falloux, I was none the less anxious and
embarrassed as to the part I was called upon to play. I cared little for
what would happen at Vienna; for in this business I credited Austria
merely with the position of a satellite. But what would the Tsar do, who
had involved himself so rashly and, apparently, so irrevocably in his
relations towards the Sultan, and whose pride had been put to so severe
a test by our threats? Fortunately I had two able agents at St
Petersburg and Vienna, to whom I could explain myself without reserve.

     "Take up the business very gently," I recommended them,[34] "be
     careful not to set our adversaries' self-esteem against us, avoid
     too great and too ostensible an intimacy with the English
     Ambassadors, whose Government is detested by the Court at which you
     are, although nevertheless maintaining good relations with those
     ambassadors. In order to attain success, adopt a friendly tone, and
     do not try to frighten people. Show our position as it is; we do
     not want war; we detest it; we dread it; but we cannot act
     dishonourably. We cannot advise the Porte, when it comes to us for
     our opinion, to commit an act of cowardice; and should the courage
     which it has displayed, and which we have approved of, bring it
     into danger, we cannot, either, refuse it the assistance it asks of
     us. A way must therefore be found out of the difficulty. Is
     Kossuth's skin worth a general war? Is it to the interest of the
     Powers that the Eastern Question should be opened at this moment
     and in this fashion? Cannot a way be found by which everybody's
     honour will be saved? What do they want, after all? Do they only
     want to have a few poor devils handed over to them? That is
     assuredly not worth so great a quarrel; but if it were a pretext,
     if at the bottom of this business lurked the desire, as a matter of
     fact, to lay hands upon the Ottoman Empire, then it would certainly
     be a general war that they wanted; for ultra-pacific though we are,
     we should never allow Constantinople to fall without striking a

     [34: Private letters to Lamoricière and Beaumont, 5 and 9 October

The affair was happily over by the time these instructions reached St
Petersburg. Lamoricière had conformed to them before he received them.
He had acted in this circumstance with an amount of prudence and
discretion which surprised those who did not know him, but which did not
astonish me in the least. I knew that he was impetuous by temperament,
but that his mind, formed in the school of Arabian diplomacy, the wisest
of all diplomacies, was circumspect and acute to the pitch of artifice.

Lamoricière, so soon as he had heard rumours of the quarrel direct from
Russia, hastened to express, very vividly, though in an amicable tone,
that he disapproved of what had happened at Constantinople; but he took
care to make no official, and, above all, no threatening,
representations. Although acting in concert with the British Minister,
he carefully avoided compromising himself with him in any joint steps;
and when Fuad Effendi, bearing Abdul Medjid's letter, arrived, he let
him know secretly that he would not go to see him, in order not to
imperil the success of the negociation, but that Turkey could rely upon

He was admirably assisted by this envoy from the Grand Seignior, who
concealed a very quick and cunning intelligence beneath his Turkish
skin. Although the Sultan had appealed for the support of France and
England, Fuad, on arriving at St. Petersburg, showed no inclination even
to call upon the representatives of these two Powers. He refused to see
anybody before his audience of the Tsar, to whose free will alone, he
said, he looked for the success of his mission.

The Emperor must have experienced a feeling of bitter displeasure on
beholding the want of success attending his threats, and the unexpected
turn that things had taken; but he had the strength to restrain himself.
In his heart he was not desirous to open the Eastern Question, even
though, not long before, he had gone so far as to say, "The Ottoman
Empire is dead; we have only to arrange for its funeral."

To go to war in order to force the Sultan to violate the Law of Nations
was a very difficult matter. He would have been aided in this by the
barbaric passions of his people, but reproved by the opinion of the
whole civilized world. He knew what was happening in England and France.
He resolved to yield before he was threatened. The great Emperor
therefore drew back, to the immeasurable surprise of his subjects and
even of foreigners. He received Fuad in audience, and withdrew the
demand he had made upon the Sultan. Austria hastened to follow his
example. When Lord Palmerston's note arrived at St Petersburg, all was
over. The best would have been to say nothing; but while we, in this
business, had only aimed at success, the British Cabinet had also sought
for noise. It required it to make a response to the irritation of the
country. Lord Bloomfield, the British Minister, presented himself at
Count Nesselrode's the day after the Emperor's decision became known;
and was very coldly received.[35] He read him the note in which Lord
Palmerston asked, in polite but peremptory phrases, that the Sultan
should not be forced to hand over the refugees. The Russian replied that
he neither understood the aim nor the object of this demand; that the
affair to which he doubtless referred was arranged; and that, in any
case, England had nothing to say in the matter. Lord Bloomfield asked
how things stood. Count Nesselrode haughtily refused to give him any
explanation; it would be equivalent, he said, to recognizing England's
right to interfere in an affair that did not concern it. And when the
British Envoy insisted upon at any rate leaving a copy of the note in
Count Nesselrode's hands, the latter, after first refusing, at last
accepted the document with an ill grace and dismissed his visitor,
saying carelessly that he would reply to the note, that it was a
terribly long one, and that it would be very tiresome. "France," added
the Chancellor, "has already made me say the same thing; but she made me
say it earlier and better."

     [35: Letter from Lamoricière, 19 October 1849.]

At this moment when we learnt the end of the dangerous quarrel, the
Cabinet, after thus witnessing a happy conclusion to the two great
pieces of foreign business that still kept the peace of the world in
suspense, the Piedmont War and the Hungarian War--at that moment, the
Cabinet fell.


     I have recently discovered these four notes in the charter-room at
     Tocqueville, where my grandfather had carefully deposited, by the
     side of our most precious family archives, all the manuscripts of
     his brother that came into his possession. They seemed to me to
     throw some light upon the Revolution of February and the question
     of the revision of the Constitution in 1851, and to merit
     publication together with the Recollections.

     Comte de Tocqueville.



I have to-day (24 October 1850) had a conversation with Beaumont which
is worth noting. This is what he told me:

"On the 24th of February, at seven o'clock in the morning, Jules
Lasteyrie and another [I have forgotten the name which Beaumont
mentioned] came to fetch me to take me to M. Thiers, where Barrot,
Duvergier, and several others were expected."

I asked him if he knew what had passed during the night between Thiers
and the King. He replied:

"I was told by Thiers, and especially by Duvergier, who had at once
taken a note of Thiers' narrative, that Thiers had been summoned at
about one o'clock; that he had found the King in an undecided frame of
mind; that he had at once told him that he could only come in with
Barrot and Duvergier; that the King, after raising many objections, had
appeared to yield; that he had put off Thiers till the morning; that
nevertheless, as he showed him to the door, he had told him that as yet
no one was bound one way or the other."

Evidently the King reserved the right of attempting to form another
combination before the morning.

"I must here," continued Beaumont, "tell you a curious anecdote. Do you
know how Bugeaud was occupied during that decisive night, at the
Tuileries itself, where he had just received the command-in-chief?
Listen: Bugeaud's hope and ambition was to become Minister of War when
Thiers should come into power. Things were so turning out, as he clearly
saw, as to make this appointment impossible; but what preoccupied him
was to assure his preponderance at the War Office even if he was not at
the head of it. Consequently, on the night of the 24th of February, or
rather in the early morning, Bugeaud with his own hand wrote to Thiers
from the Tuileries a letter of four pages, of which the substance was:

"'I understand the difficulties which prevent you from making me your
Minister of War; nevertheless I have always liked you, and I am sure
that we shall one day govern together. However, I understand the present
reasons, and I give way before them; but I beg you, at least, to give M.
Magne, who is my friend, the place of Under-Secretary of State at the
War Office.'"

Resuming his general narrative, Beaumont continued:

"When I arrived at the Place Saint-Georges, Thiers and his friends had
already left for the Tuileries. I hastily followed them, and arrived at
the same time as they did. The appearance of Paris was already
formidable; however, the King received us as usual, with the same
copious language and the same mannerisms that you know of. Before being
shown in to him [at least, I believe it was here that Beaumont placed
this incident], we talked about affairs among ourselves. I insisted
urgently upon Bugeaud's dismissal. 'If you want to oppose force to the
popular movement,' I said, 'by all means make use of Bugeaud's name and
audacity; but if you wish to attempt conciliation and you suspend
hostilities[36] ... then Bugeaud's name is a contradiction.' The others
seconded me, and Thiers reluctantly and with hesitation gave way. They
compromised the matter as you know: Bugeaud nominally retained the
command-in-chief, and Lamoricière was placed at the head of the National
Guard. Thiers and Barrot entered the King's closet, and I do not know
what happened there. The order had been given to the troops everywhere
to cease firing, and to fall back upon the Palace and make way for the
National Guard. I myself, with Rémusat, hurriedly drew up the
proclamation informing the people of these orders and explaining them.
At nine o'clock it was agreed that Thiers and Barrot should personally
attempt to make an appeal to the people; Thiers was stopped on the
staircase and induced to turn back, but with difficulty, I am bound to
admit. Barrot set out alone, and I followed him."

     [36: This clearly shows, independently of what Beaumont told me
     positively, how absolutely the new Cabinet had made up its mind to

Here Beaumont's account is identical with Barrot's.

"Barrot was wonderful throughout this expedition," said Beaumont. "I had
difficulty in making him turn back, although when we had once arrived at
the barricade at the Porte Saint-Denis, it would have been impossible to
go further. Our return made the situation worse: we brought in our wake,
by effecting a passage for it, a crowd more hostile than that which we
had traversed in going; by the time we arrived at the Place Vendôme,
Barrot feared lest he should take the Tuileries by assault, in spite of
himself, with the multitude which followed him; he slipped away and
returned home. I came back to the Château. The situation seemed to me
very serious but far from desperate, and I was filled with surprise on
perceiving the disorder that had gained all minds during my absence, and
the terrible confusion that already reigned at the Tuileries. I was not
quite able to understand what had happened, or to learn what news they
had received to turn everything topsy-turvy in this fashion. I was dying
of hunger and fatigue; I went up to a table and hurriedly took some
food. Ten times, during this meal of three or four minutes, an
aide-de-camp of the King or of one of the Princes came to look for me,
spoke to me in confused language, and left me without properly
understanding my reply. I quickly joined Thiers, Rémusat, Duvergier,
and one or two others who were to compose the new Cabinet. We went
together to the King's closet: this was the only Council at which I was
present. Thiers spoke, and started a long homily on the duties of the
King and the paterfamilias. 'That is to say, you advise me to abdicate,'
said the King, who was but indifferently affected by the touching part
of the speech and came straight to the point. Thiers assented, and gave
his reasons. Duvergier supported him with great vivacity. Knowing
nothing of what had happened, I displayed my astonishment and exclaimed
that all was not lost. Thiers seemed much annoyed at my outburst, and I
could not prevent myself from believing that the secret aim of Thiers
and Duvergier had, from the first, been to get rid of the King, on whom
they could no longer rely, and to govern in the name of the Duc de
Nemours or the Duchesse d'Orléans, after forcing the King to abdicate.
The King, who had struck me as very firm up to a certain moment, seemed
towards the end to surrender himself entirely."

Here there is a void in my memory in Beaumont's account, which I will
fill up from another conversation. I come to the scene of the
abdication, which followed:

"During the interval, events and news growing worse and the panic
increasing, Thiers had declared that already he was no longer possible
(which was perhaps true), and that Barrot was scarcely so. He then
disappeared--at least, I did not see him again during the last
moments--which was very wrong of him, for although he declined the
Ministry, he ought not, at so critical a juncture, to have abandoned the
Princes, and he should have remained to advise them, although no longer
their Minister. I was present at the final scene of the abdication. The
Duc de Montpensier begged his father to write and urged him so eagerly
that the King stopped and said, 'But look here, I can't write faster.'
The Queen was heroical and desperate: knowing that I had appeared
opposed to the abdication at the Council, she took my hands and told me
that such a piece of cowardice must not be allowed to be consummated,
that we should defend ourselves, that she would let herself be killed,
before the King's eyes, before they could reach him. The abdication was
signed nevertheless, and the Duc de Nemours begged me to run and tell
Marshal Gérard, who was at the further end of the Carrousel, that I had
seen the King sign, so that he might announce officially to the people
that the King had abdicated. I hastened there, and returned; all the
rooms were empty. I went from room to room without meeting a soul. I
went down into the garden; I there met Barrot, who had come over from
the Ministry of the Interior, and was indulging in the same useless
quest. The King had escaped by the main avenue; the Duchesse d'Orléans
seemed to have gone by the underground passage to the water-side. No
necessity had compelled them to leave the Château, which was then in
perfect safety, and which was not invaded by the people until an hour
after it had been abandoned. Barrot was determined at all costs to
assist the Duchess. He hurriedly had horses prepared for her, the young
Prince and ourselves, and wanted us to throw ourselves all together into
the midst of the people--the only chance in fact, and a feeble one at
that, that remained to us. Unable to rejoin the Duchess, we left for the
Ministry of the Interior. You met us on the road; you know the rest."



(_10 October 1850._)

"I believe that M. Molé only refused the Ministry after the firing had
commenced on the Boulevard. Thiers told me that he had been sent for at
one in the morning; that he had asked the King to appoint me as the
necessary man; that the King had at first resisted and then yielded; and
that at last he had adjourned our meeting to nine o'clock in the morning
at the Palace.

"At five o'clock Thiers came to my house to awake me; we talked; he went
home, and I called for him at eight. I found him quietly shaving. It is
a great pity that the King and M. Thiers thus wasted the time that
elapsed between one and eight o'clock. When he had finished shaving, we
went to the Château; the population already was greatly excited;
barricades were being built, and even a few shots had already been fired
from houses near the Tuileries. However, we found the King still very
calm and retaining his usual manner. He addressed me with the
commonplaces which you can imagine for yourself. At that hour, Bugeaud
was still general-in-chief. I strongly persuaded Thiers not to take
office under the colour of that name, and at least to modify it by
giving the command of the National Guard to Lamoricière, who was there.
Thiers accepted this arrangement, which was agreed to by the King and
Bugeaud himself.

"I next proposed to the King that he should dissolve the Chamber of
Deputies. 'Never, never!' he said; he lost his temper and left the room,
slamming the door in the faces of Thiers and me. It was quite clear that
he only consented to give us office in order to save the first moment,
and that he intended, after compromising us with the people, to throw us
over with the assistance of Parliament. Of course, at any ordinary time,
I should at once have withdrawn; but the gravity of the situation made
me stay, and I proposed to present myself to the people, myself to
apprise them of the formation of the new Cabinet, and to calm them. In
the impossibility of our having anything printed and posted up in time,
I looked upon myself as a walking placard. I must do Thiers the justice
to say that he wished to accompany me, and that it was I who refused, as
I dreaded the bad impression his presence might make.

"I therefore set out; I went up to each barricade unarmed; the muskets
were lowered, the barricades opened; there were cries of 'Reform for
ever! long live Barrot!' We thus went to the Porte Saint-Denis, where we
found a barricade two stories high and defended by men who made no sign
of concurrence in my words and betrayed no intention of allowing us to
pass the barricade. We were therefore compelled to retrace our steps. On
returning, I found the people more excited than when I had come;
nevertheless, I heard not a single seditious cry, nor anything that
announced an immediate revolution. The only word that I heard of grave
import was from Étienne Arago. He came up to me and said, 'If the King
does not abdicate, we shall have a revolution before eight o'clock
to-night.' I thus came to the Place Vendôme; thousands of men followed
me, crying, 'To the Tuileries! to the Tuileries!' I reflected what was
the best thing to do. To go to the Tuileries at the head of that
multitude was to make myself the absolute master of the situation, but
by means of an act which might have seemed violent and revolutionary.
Had I known what was happening at the moment in the Tuileries, I should
not have hesitated; but as yet I felt no anxiety. The attitude of the
people did not yet seem decided. I knew that all the troops were falling
back upon the Château; that the Government was there, and the generals;
I could not therefore imagine the panic which, shortly afterwards,
placed it in the hands of the mob. I turned to the right and returned
home to take a moment's rest; I had not eaten anything yet and was
utterly exhausted. After a few minutes, Malleville sent word from the
Ministry of the Interior that it was urgent that I should come and sign
the telegrams to the departments. I went in my carriage, and was cheered
by the people; from there, I set out to walk to the Palace. I was still
ignorant of all that had happened. When I reached the quay, opposite the
garden, I saw a regiment of Dragoons returning to barracks; the colonel
said to me, 'The King has abdicated; all the troops are withdrawing.' I
hurried; when I reached the wicket-gates, I had great difficulty in
penetrating to the court-yard, as the troops were crowding out through
every opening. At last I reached the yard, which I found almost empty;
the Duc de Nemours was there; I entreated him to tell me where the
Duchesse d'Orléans was; he replied that he did not know, but that he
believed that at that moment she was in the pavilion at the water-side.
I hastened there; I was told that the Duchess was not there. I forced
the door and went through the rooms, which were, in fact, empty. I left
the Tuileries, recommending Havin, whom I met, not to bring the Duchess,
if he found her, to the Chamber, with which there was nothing to be
done. My intention had been, if I had found the Duchess and her son, to
put them on horseback and throw myself with them among the people: I had
even had the horses got ready.

"Not finding the Princess, I returned to the Ministry of the Interior; I
met you on the road, you know what happened there. I was sent for in
haste to go to the Chamber. I had scarcely arrived when the leaders of
the Extreme Left surrounded me and dragged me almost by main force to
the first office; there, they begged me to propose to the Assembly the
nomination of a Provisional Government, of which I was to be a member. I
sent them about their business, and returned to the Chamber. You know
the rest."




     _M. Dufaure's efforts to prevent the Revolution of
     February--Responsibility of M. Thiers, which renders them futile._

To-day (19 October 1850), Rivet recalled and fixed with me the
circumstances of an incident well worth remembering.

In the course of the week preceding that in which the Monarchy was
overthrown, a certain number of Conservative deputies began to feel an
anxiety which was not shared by the Ministers and their colleagues. They
thought that it was more advisable to overthrow the Cabinet, provided
that this could be done without violence, than to risk the adventure of
the banquets. One of them, M. Sallandrouze, made the following proposal
to M. Billault (the banquet was to take place on Tuesday the 22nd) that
on the 21st M. Dufaure and his friends should move an urgent order of
the day, drawn up in consultation with Sallandrouze and those in whose
name he spoke, some forty in number. The order of the day should be
voted by them on condition that, on its side, the Opposition should give
up the banquet and restrain the people.

On Sunday, the 20th of February, we met at Rivet's to discuss this
proposal. There were present, as far as I am able to remember, Dufaure,
Billault, Lanjuinais, Corcelles, Ferdinand Barrot, Talabot, Rivet, and

Sallandrouze's proposal was explained to us by Billault; we accepted it
at once, and drafted an order of the day in consequence. I myself
drafted it, and this draft, with some modifications, was accepted by my
friends. The terms in which it was couched (I no longer remember them)
were very moderate, but the adoption of this order of the day would
inevitably entail the resignation of the Cabinet.

There remained to be fulfilled the condition of the vote of the
Conservatives, the withdrawal of the banquet. We had had nothing to do
with this measure, and consequently we were not able to prevent it. It
was agreed that one of us should at once go in search of Duvergier de
Hauranne and Barrot, and propose that they should act according to the
condition demanded. Rivet was selected for this negociation, and we
adjourned our meeting till the evening to know how he had succeeded.

In the evening he came and reported to us as follows:

Barrot had eagerly entered into the opening offered him; he effusively
seized Rivet's hands, and declared that he was prepared to do all that
he was asked in this sense; he seemed relieved of a great weight on
beholding the possibility of escaping from the responsibility of the
banquet. But he added that he was not engaged in this enterprise alone,
and that he must come to an understanding with his friends, without whom
he could do nothing. How well we knew it!

Rivet went on to Duvergier's, and was told that he was at the
Conservatoire of Music, but that he would return home before dinner.
Rivet waited. Duvergier returned. Rivet told him of the proposal of the
Conservatives and of our order of the day. Duvergier received this
communication somewhat disdainfully; they had gone too far, he said, to
draw back; the Conservatives had repented too late; he, Duvergier, and
his friends could not, without losing their popularity and perhaps all
their influence with the masses, undertake to make the latter give up
the proposed demonstration. "However," he added, "I am only giving you
my first and personal impression; but I am going to dine with Thiers,
and I will send you a note this evening to let you know our final

This note came while we were there; it said briefly that the opinion
expressed by Duvergier before dinner was also that of Thiers, and that
the idea which we had suggested must be abandoned. We broke up at once:
the die was cast!

I have no doubt that, among the reasons for Thiers' and Duvergier's
refusal, the first place must be given to this, which was not expressed:
that if the Ministry fell quietly, by the combined effect of a part of
the Conservatives and ourselves, and upon an order of the day presented
by us, we should come into power, and not those who had built up all
this great machinery of the banquets in order to attain it.


     _Dufaure's conduct on the 24th of February 1848._

Rivet told me to-day (19 October 1850) that he had never talked with
Dufaure of what happened to him on the 24th of February; but that he had
gathered the following from conversation with members of his family or
of his immediate surroundings:

On the 23rd of February, at about a quarter past six, M. Molé, after
concerting with M. de Montalivet, sent to beg Dufaure to come and see
him. Dufaure, on his road to M. Molé's, called on Rivet and asked him to
wait for him, because he intended to come back to Rivet on leaving M.
Molé. Dufaure did not return, and Rivet did not see him till some time
after, but he believed that, on arriving at Molé's, Dufaure had a rather
long conversation with him, and then went away, declaring that he did
not wish to join the new Cabinet, and that, in his opinion,
circumstances called for the men who had brought about the movement,
that is to say, Thiers and Barrot.

He returned greatly alarmed at the appearance of Paris, found his wife
and mother-in-law still more alarmed, and, at five o'clock in the
morning of the 24th, set out with them and took them to Vauves. He
himself came back; I saw him at about eight or nine o'clock, and I do
not remember that he told me he had taken this morning journey. I was
calling on him with Lanjuinais and Corcelles; but we soon separated,
arranging to meet at twelve at the Chamber of Deputies. Dufaure did not
come; it seems that he started to do so, and in fact arrived at the
Palace of the Assembly, which had, doubtless, been just at that moment
invaded. What is certain is that he went on and joined his family at



I thus opened the conversation:

"Let us leave appearances on one side, between you and me. You are not
making a revisionist but an electoral campaign."

He replied, "That is true; you are quite right"

"Very well," I replied; "we shall see presently if you are well advised.
What I must tell you at once is that I cannot join in a manoeuvre of
which the sole object is to save a section only of the moderate party at
the next elections, leaving out of the calculation many others, and
notably that to which I belong. You must either give the moderate
Republicans a valid reason for voting for the Revision, by giving it a
republican character, or else expect us to do our best to spike your

He agreed, but raised difficulties that originated with the passions and
prejudices of his party. We discussed for some time what was to be done,
and at last we came to the policy which he was following.

This is what I said to him on this subject, of which I particularly wish
to retain the impression. I said:

"Berryer, you are dragging us all, in spite of ourselves, into a plight
for which you will have to bear the sole responsibility, you may be
quite sure of that. If the Legitimists had joined those who wished to
fight against the President, the fight might still be possible. You have
dragged your party, in spite of itself, in an opposite direction;
henceforth, we can no longer resist; we cannot remain alone with the
Montagnards; we must give way, since you give way; but what will be the
consequence? I can see your thought, it is quite clear: you think that
circumstances render the President's ascendancy irresistible and the
movement which carries the country towards him insurmountable. Unable to
fight against the current, you throw yourselves into it, at the risk of
making it more violent still, but in the hope that it will land you and
your friends in the next Assembly, in addition to various other sections
of the party of order, which is not very sympathetic with the President.
There alone you think that you will find a solid resting-place from
which to resist him, and you think that, by working his business to-day,
you will be able to keep together, in the next Assembly, a group of men
able to cope with him. To struggle against the tide which carries him at
this moment is to make one's self unpopular and ineligible and to
deliver the party to the Socialists and the Bonapartists, neither of
whom you wish to see triumph: well and good! Your plan has its plausible
side, but it fails in one principal respect, which is this: I could
understand you if the election were to take place to-morrow, and if you
were at once to gather the fruits of your manoeuvre, as at the
December election; but there is nearly a year between now and the next
elections. You will not succeed in having them held in the spring, if
you succeed in having them held at all. Between now and then, do you
imagine that the Bonapartist movement, aided, precipitated by you, will
cease? Do you not see that, after asking you for a Revision of the
Constitution, public opinion, stirred up by all the agents of the
Executive and led by our own weakness, will ask us for something more,
and then for something more still, until we are driven openly to favour
the illegal re-election of the President and purely and simply to work
his business for him? Can you go as far as that? Would your party be
willing to, if you are? No! You will therefore come to a moment when you
will have to stop short, to stand firm on your ground, to resist the
combined effort of the nation and the Executive Power; in other words,
on the one hand to become unpopular, and on the other to lose that
support, or at least that electoral neutrality, of the Government which
you desire. You will have enslaved yourselves, you will have immensely
strengthened the forces opposed to you, and that is all. I tell you
this: either you will pass completely and for ever under the President's
yoke, or you will lose, just when it is ripe for gathering, all the
fruit of your manoeuvre, and you will simply have taken upon
yourself, in your own eyes and the country's, the responsibility of
having contributed to raise this Power, which will perhaps, in spite of
the mediocrity of the man, and thanks to the extraordinary power of
circumstances, become the heir of the Revolution and our master."

Barrot seemed to me to rest tongue-tied, and the time having come to
part, we parted.


Many of the actors in the Revolution of 1848 are comparatively unknown
in England. I did not wish to encumber these Recollections with
foot-notes; and I have preferred, instead, to amplify the following
Index by giving, in the majority of cases, the full names and titles of
these participants, with the dates of their birth and death.

A. Teixeira de Mattos.


  Abdul Medjid, Sultan of Turkey (1823-1861), on question of Hungarian
    refugees, 373.

  d'Adelsward, in the National Assembly, 162.

  Ampère, Jean Jacques (1800-1864), character of, 87.

  Andryane, in the Chamber of Deputies, 72.

  Arago, Étienne, on the barricades, 387.

  Austria, her relations with Hungary and Russia, 335.
    ---- Tsar's views on, 337.

  Austrians, in Italy, 333.
    ---- submits to the influence of Russia, 352 (_foot-note_).
    ---- and Piedmont, 353.
    ---- demands Hungarian refugees from Turkey, 361.


  Baden, revolution put down in, 342.
    ---- Tocqueville interferes on behalf of the rebels (_foot-note_),

  Banquets, the, affair of, 18.

  Banquet in Paris, forbidden by Government, 30.
    ---- Rivet's statement in regard to, 390

  Barbès, Armand (1810-1870), in the National Assembly, 164.
    ---- goes to the Hôtel de Ville, 168.
    ---- impeached by the Assembly, 173.

  Barricades, the, construction of, 47.

  Barrot, Camille Hyacinthe Odilon (1791-1873), alliance of, with
    Thiers, 19.
    ---- replies to Hébert in Chamber of Deputies, 28.
    ---- recoils from Banquet in Paris, 31.
    ---- sent for by Louis-Philippe, 45.
    ---- on the Revolution, 59.
    ---- and the barricades, 74.
    ---- in Committee of Constitution, 243, 246, 250, 255.
    ---- tries to form a new Cabinet, 267.
    ---- succeeds, 277.
    ---- with Beaumont, &c., 379.
    ---- his version of the abdication of Louis-Philippe, 385.

  Bastide, gets the Assembly to appoint Cavaignac Military Dictator,

  Beaumont, Gustave de la Bonninière de (1802-1866), Tocqueville's
    conversation with, 41.
    ---- is sent for by Louis-Philippe, 45.
    ---- tells Tocqueville of abdication of Louis-Philippe, 58.
    ---- meets Tocqueville, 74.
    ---- sits with Tocqueville in National Assembly, 142.
    ---- in Committee of the Constitution, 252.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and political friends, 267.
    ---- sent as Ambassador to Vienna, 321.
    ---- letter of Tocqueville to, on the Hungarian refugees, 370.
    ---- his account of the abdication of Louis-Philippe, 379.

  Beaumont, Madame de, notice of, 41.

  Bedeau, General Marie Alphonse (1804-1863), on the Place Louis XV, 51.
    ---- character of, 52.
    ---- nearly killed in Insurrection, 227.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and his political friends, 267.

  Berlin, Persigny sent to, 323.

  Berryer, Pierre Antoine (1790-1868), his discussion with Tocqueville
    on the proposed Constitution, 394.

  Billault, Auguste Adolphe Marie (1805-1863), in the Chamber of
    Deputies, 74.
    ---- and banquets, 390.

  Blanc, Jean Joseph Louis (1811-1882), in the National Assembly, 166.

  Blanqui, Louis Auguste (1805-1881), in the National Assembly, 163.

  Blanqui, Adolphe Jérôme (1798-1854), anecdote of, 197.

  Bloomfield, John Arthur Douglas Bloomfield, Lord (1802-1879),
    British Minister at St Petersburg, 374.
    ---- snubbed by Nesselrode, _idem_.

  Broglie, Achille Charles Léonce Victor Duc de (1785-1870), his
    seclusion, 106.
    ---- and foreign affairs, 330.

  Buchez, Philippe Benjamin Joseph (1769-1865), in the National
    Assembly, 162.

  Bugeaud, Thomas Robert Marshal, Marquis de la Piconnerie, Duc d'Isly
    (1784-1849), in favour of the Duchesse d'Orléans, 72.
    ---- dying of cholera, 290.
    ---- his ambition, 380.

  Buffel, Minister of Agriculture, 276.


  Cabinet, Members of the, 278.

  Cavaignac, General Louis Eugène (1802-1857), in the Insurrection of
    June, 195.
    ---- made Military Dictator, 204.
    ---- Tocqueville votes for, 263.
    ---- speech of, 297.

  Chamber of Deputies, the, state of in 1848, 10.
    ---- Tocqueville's speech in, on 27th January 1848, 14.
    ---- Speeches in, by Hébert and Barrot, 28.
    ---- state of, on 22nd February, 33.
    ---- state of, on 23rd February, 36.
    ---- Guizot in, 36.
    ---- state of, on 24th February, 56.
    ---- Tocqueville's estimate of its utility, 58.
    ---- Duchesse d'Orléans in, 60.
    ---- invaded by the people, 62.

  Chambers, one or two? debate on, in the Committee of the Constitution,

  Changarnier, General Nicolas Anne Théodule (1793-1877), Rulhière's
    jealousy of, 279.
    ---- sent for, 295.
    ---- puts down insurrection, 298.

  Champeaux, his relation with Lamartine, 147.
    ---- his relation with Tocqueville, 149.

  Charles X., King of France and Navarre (1757-1836), flight of, in
    1830, 85.

  Chateaubriand, François René, Vicomte de (1768-1848), death of, 230.

  Committee for the Constitution, appointed, 233.
    ---- proceedings of, 235.

  Considérant, Victor, appointed on
    Committee of the Constitution, 233.
    ---- escapes after insurrection, 299.

  Constituent Assembly, prohibits Government from attacking Rome, 288.

  Coquerel, Athanase Laurent Charles (1795-1875), in the Committee of
    the Constitution, 246.

  Corbon, on the Committee of the Constitution, 257.

  Corcelles, with Lanjuinais and Tocqueville on the boulevards, 48.
    ---- sits with Tocqueville in National Assembly, 142.
    ---- in the Insurrection of June, 191.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and his political friends, 267.

  Cormenin, Louis Marie de la Haye, Vicomte de (1788-1868), appointed a
    Commissioner for Paris, 206.
    ---- appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 232.
    ---- in the Committee of the Constitution, 247, 257.

  Council General, the, meets at Saint-Lô, 125.

  Courtais, General, in the National Assembly, 171.
    ---- impeached by Assembly, 173.

  Crémieux, Isaac Adolphe (1796-1880), in the Chamber of Deputies, 65.
    ---- appointed a Commissioner for Paris, 206.
    ---- what Janvier said of him, 210.


  Degousée, in the National Assembly, 159.

  Dembinski, General Henry (1791-1864), flees to the Turks, 361.

  Dornès, appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 235.

  Dufaure, Jules Armand Stanislas (1798-1881), Tocqueville's
    conversation with, 17.
    ---- character of, 40.
    ---- tells Tocqueville of his interview with Louis-Philippe, 47.
    ---- sits with Tocqueville in National Assembly, 142.
    ---- converses with Tocqueville, Thiers, Barrot, Rémusat, and
           Lanjuinais, 203.
    ---- appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 233.
    ---- conduct of, in the Committee, 243, 255.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and his political friends, 267.
    ---- made Minister of the Interior, 272.
    ---- with the President, 296.
    ---- rupture with Falloux, 307.
    ---- speech in Assembly, 310.
    ---- character of, 313.
    ---- with the President, 322.
    ---- and banquets, 390.
    ---- his conduct on 24th February 1848, 393.

  Duchâtel, Charles Marie Tannequi, Comte (1803-1867), Minister of the
    Interior, character of and conversation with, 23.
    ---- want of tact in his speech on the banquets, 27.
    ---- flight of, 136.

  Dupin, André Marie Jean Jacques (1783-1865), speech of, in the Chamber
    of Deputies, 62.
    ---- in the Committee of the Constitution, 243.

  Duvergier de Hauranne, Prosper (1798-1881), interview with, 22.
    ---- with Beaumont, &c., 379.
    ---- refuses to compromise on the banquet, 392.

  Duvivier, killed in Insurrection, 227.


  England, Tocqueville's estimate of the policy of, 359.
    ---- on question of Hungarian refugees in Turkey, 366.


  Falloux, Alfred Frédéric Pierre, Comte de (1811-1886), proposes the
    dissolution of the National Workshops, 193.
    ---- Minister of Public Instruction, 273.
    ---- leader of majority in the Cabinet, 281.
    ---- his influence with Louis Napoleon, 303.
    ---- intercourse with Tocqueville, 305.
    ---- rupture with Dufaure, 307.
    ---- with the President, 322.
    ---- on the question of the Hungarian refugees, 369.

  Faucher, Léon (1803-1854), Minister of the Interior, 266.

  Feast of Concord, the, proposal to hold, and celebration of, 174.

  France, state of, when Tocqueville becomes Minister of Foreign
    Affairs, 339.

  Frederic William IV., King of Prussia (1795-1861), the Tsar's opinion
    of, 337.
    ---- his character and his aims for Germany, 346.
    ---- his coquetting with revolt, 351.
    ---- submits to the influence of Russia, 352 (_foot-note_).


  General Election, the, antecedents of, 105.
    ---- new, 265.

  Germany, state of, 333.
    ---- Confederation of States in, 347.
    ---- views of Baron Pfordten in regard to, 348.
    ---- views of Tocqueville in regard to, 349.
    ---- views of Tsar in regard to, 350, 353.

  Goudchaux, Michel (1797-1862), appointed a Commissioner for Paris,
    ---- his conduct in that capacity, 213.

  Guizot, François Pierre Guillaume (1787-1874), opinion of, 9.
    ---- in Chamber of Deputies, 36.
    ---- resigns Government, 36.
    ---- opinion of, on the Revolution, 79.
    ---- flight of, 136.


  Havin, Léonor Joseph (1799-1868), chairs meeting for Tocqueville, 122.
    ---- and Barrot, 389.

  Hébert, Minister of Justice, character of and speech by, 28.

  Houghton, Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord (1809-1885), Tocqueville
    breakfasts with, 184.

  Huber, in National Assembly, 167.

  Hungary, revolting against Austria, 335.
    ---- Tsar's views on, 337.
    ---- Tocqueville's instructions concerning, 360.


  Insurrection of June, nature of narrative of, 187.

  Italy, the Tsar's views on, 338.


  Kossuth, Louis (1802-1894), flees to the Turks, 361.


  Lacordaire, Jean Baptiste Henri Dominique (1802-1861), in the National
    Assembly, 161.

  Lacrosse, character of, 280.

  La Fayette, Edmond de, and his life-preserver, 175.

  Lamartine, Alphonse Marie Louis Prat de (1790-1869), in the Chamber of
    Deputies, 62, 66.
    ---- reads out the list of the Provisional Government, 70.
    ---- gets embarrassed in the Chamber of Deputies, 71.
    ---- his conduct and character, 145.
    ---- Tocqueville's relations with, 147.
    ---- his connexion with Champeaux, 147.
    ---- his speech in the Assembly, 151.
    ---- his sudden departure from the Assembly, 159.
    ---- reappears in National Assembly, 171.
    ---- at the Feast of Concord, 180.
    ---- shot at in the Insurrection of June, 194.

  Lamartine, Madame de, notice of, 154.

  Lamennais, Hugues Félicité Robert de (1782-1855), appointed on
    Committee of the Constitution, 233.

  Lamoricière, General Christophe Léon Louis Juchault de (1806-1865),
    character of, 91.
    ---- in Insurrection of June, 192, 220.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and his political friends, 267.
    ---- sent as Ambassador to Russia, 303.
    ---- letter about the Tsar of Russia, 336.
    ---- instructions of Tocqueville to, 360.
    ---- letter of, to Tocqueville, 364.
    ---- letter of Tocqueville to, on Hungarian refugees, 370.
    ---- conduct of, in regard to them, 372.

  Lanjuinais, Victor Ambroise de (1802-1869), Tocqueville in company of,
    ---- with Tocqueville and Corcelles on the boulevards, 46.
    ---- sits with Tocqueville in the National Assembly, 142.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and his political friends, 267.
    ---- joins the Council, 274.
    ---- on the question of the Hungarian refugees, 369.

  Ledru-Rollin, Alexandre Auguste (1807-1874), in the Chamber of
    Deputies, 65, 71.
    ---- character of, 150.
    ---- in the National Assembly, 163.
    ---- has to escape from the National Assembly, 173.
    ---- demands the indictment of Louis Napoleon, 292.
    ---- escapes after the Insurrection, 299.

  Legitimists, views and condition of, 302.

  Lepelletier d'Aunay, Tocqueville meets, 213.

  Louis Napoleon, Prince President of the French Republic (1808-1873),
    elected to the National Assembly, 183.
    ---- President of the Republic, 270.
    ---- character of, 283.
    ---- orders the attack on Rome, 289.
    ---- attacked in Assembly, 292.
    ---- puts down Insurrection, 298.
    ---- intrigues with Thiers and Molé, 315.
    ---- in connexion with Tocqueville, 317.
    ---- with Beaumont, Dufaure and Passy, 321-2.
    ---- his general ignorance, 331.
    ---- wishes to take Savoy, 332.
    ---- Tocqueville and Berryer's discussion about the powers of, 394.

  Louis-Philippe, King of the French (1773-1850), Tocqueville's
    interview with, 7.
    ---- his opinion of Lord Palmerston, _idem_.
    ---- of the Tsar Nicholas, _idem_.
    ---- refers to Queen Victoria, _idem_.
    ---- influence of, 10.
    ---- on the Banquets, 26.
    ---- Sallandrouze, conversation with, 35.
    ---- sends for Molé, 37.
    ---- sends for Beaumont, 45.
    ---- abdicates, 58.
    ---- character of, and of his Government, 81.
    ---- finally disappears from France, 105.
    ---- Beaumont's account of abdication of, 379.

  Lyons, insurrection in, 298.


  Manche, la, department of, 114.
    ---- proceedings in election of, 117.
    ---- election of Tocqueville for, 263.

  Marrast, Armand (1780-1852), and the Provisional Government, 71.
    ---- suggests costume for National Representatives, 135.
    ---- as Mayor of Paris, 227.
    ---- appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 233.
    ---- conduct of, in the Committee, 241, 247, 255.
    ---- appointed Secretary of the Committee, 256.

  Martin, on the Committee of the Constitution, 254.

  Middle Class, the, government of, 5.
    ---- despair of, 133.

  Molé, Matthieu Louis, Comte (1781-1855), sent for by Louis-Philippe,
    ---- declines office, 45.
    ---- opinion of, on the Revolution, 79.
    ---- on General Election, 107.
    ---- elected to the National Assembly, 182.
    ---- refuses to take office, 267.
    ---- intrigues with the President, 315.
    ---- on Foreign Affairs, 330.
    ---- and abdication of Louis-Philippe, 385.
    ---- with Rivet and Dufaure, 393.

  Montagnards, the description of, 137.
    ---- separation of, from the Socialists, 154.
    ---- crushed, 231.
    ---- strengthened at the new election, 263.
    ---- supporters of, 266.
    ---- feelings towards the President, 292.

  Montalembert, Charles Forbes René, Comte de (1810-1870), opposes the
    Government scheme on railways, 190.

  Montpensier, Antoine d'Orléans, Duc de (1824-1890), at the abdication
    of Louis-Philippe, 384.


  National Assembly, the, meets on 4th of May, 133.
    ---- description of, 133.
    ---- Tocqueville's opinion of, 142.
    ---- speech of Lamartine in, 151.
    ---- invaded by the mob, 160.
    ---- breaks up, 168.
    ---- National Guards take possession of, 170.
    ---- addresses from provinces, in support of, 182.
    ---- agrees to pension families of men killed in putting down the
           Insurrection, 206.
    ---- threatened, 228.
    ---- state of the new Assembly, 265, 270, 291.

  National Guard, the, invited by Radical party to the banquet in Paris,
    ---- on the morning of the 24th February, 44.
    ---- shouting "Reform," 49.
    ---- Detachment of, in the Chamber of Deputies, 61, 72.
    ---- disappearance of, 94.
    ---- take possession of National Assembly, 170.
    ---- at Feast of Concord, 178.
    ---- in Insurrection of June, 200.
    ---- shout "Long live the National Assembly," 207.
    ---- eager to put down the Insurrection, 213.
    ---- wounded of, being carried away, 226.
    ---- surrounded, 294.
    ---- three regiments of, cashiered, 309.

  National Workshops, the, create anxiety in the Assembly, 181.
    ---- Falloux proposes dissolution of, 193.
    ---- supply weapons to insurgents in June, 198.

  Négrier, killed in the Insurrection, 227.

  Nemours, Louis Charles Philippe Raphael d'Orléans, Duc de (1814-1896),
    thought of as Regent, 383.
    ---- and Barrot, 388.

  Nesselrode, Charles Robert, Count (1780-1862), snubs Lord Palmerston,

  Nicholas I., Tsar of all the Russias (1796-1855), supports Austria
    against Hungary, 335.
    ---- his general policy, 336.
    ---- Lamoricière's letter about, 336.
    ---- his family affection, 339.
    ---- the real support of his power, 339.
    ---- views of, on an United Germany, 350.
    ---- demands Hungarian refugees from Turkey, 364.
    ---- his irritation about Hungarian refugees, 373.

  Normanby, Constantine Henry Phipps, Marquess of (1797-1863),
    Ambassador in Paris, 368.

  Novara, Battle of, 323.


  D'Orléans, Hélène, Duchesse (1814-1858), in the Chamber of Deputies,
    ---- and the abdication of Louis-Philippe, 384.
    ---- and Barrot, 389.

  Oudinot, General Nicolas Charles Victor, Duc de Reggio (1791-1863), in
    the Chamber of Deputies, 72.


  Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount (1784-1865) on Piedmont and
    Austria, 359.
    ---- snubbed by Nesselrode, 374.

  Paris, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Comte de (1838-1894), in the Chamber
    of Deputies, 60.

  Passy, character of, 272.
    ---- with the President, 322.

  Paulmier, Tocqueville dines with, on the 22nd February, 34.

  Persigny, Jean Gilbert Victor Fialin, Duc de (1808-1872), sent to
    Berlin and Vienna, 323.

  Piedmont and Austria, 353.

  Portalis, character of, 42.

  Presidency, condition of, discussed in the Committee of the
    Constitution, 246.

  Provisional Government, the, proclaimed, 59.
    ---- Lamartine reads list of, in the Chamber of Deputies, 70.
    ---- appoints a costume for National Representatives, 134.
    ---- reports its proceedings to the National Assembly, 135.


  Radetzky, Field-Marshal Johann Joseph Wenzel Anton Franz Carl, Count
    (1766-1858), and Piedmont, 355.

  Radical Party, state of the, in January 1848, 25.

  Raspail, François Vincent (1794-1878), in the National Assembly, 162.

  Revolutionaries, description of the, 137.
    ---- in the National Assembly, 158.

  Rivet, his conversation with Tocqueville, 389.
    ---- consultation of, with Liberals, on the subject of the banquets,
    ---- another conversation with Tocqueville, 392.
    ---- with Molé and Dufaure, 393.

  Rome, the French Army at, 263.
    ---- difficulties about, 269.
    ---- secret order to the army to attack, 291.

  Rulhière, character of, 279.


  Saint-Lô, meeting of the Council General at, 125.

  Sallandrouze de Lamornaix meets Tocqueville at dinner at Paulmier's,
    ---- snubbed by Louis-Philippe, _idem_.

  Sand, George (1804-1876), Tocqueville's conversation with, 183.

  Sauzet, President of the Chamber of Deputies, 57.

  Savoy, Louis Napoleon wishes to seize, 332.

  Schwarzenberg, Felix Ludwig Johann Friedrich, Prince von (1808-1852),
    and Tocqueville, 358.

  Sénard, President of the Assembly, 214.

  Sicily, state of, 333.

  Sobrier, in National Assembly, 167.

  Socialism, influence of theories of, 97.
    ---- Dufaure's conflict with, 312.

  Socialists, the, description of, 137.
    ---- separation of, from Montagnards, 154.

  Switzerland, Tocqueville's correspondence with, on the subject of the
    refugees, 343.


  Talabot, and Thiers, 75.

  Thiers, Louis Adolphe (1797-1877), alliance of, with Barrot, 19.
    ---- sent for by Louis-Philippe, 45.
    ---- wandering round Paris, 74.
    ---- opinion of, on the Revolution, 79.
    ---- on the General Election, 106.
    ---- defeated at the General Election, 136.
    ---- elected to the National Assembly, 182.
    ---- addresses Barrot, Dufaure, Rémusat, Lanjuinais and Tocqueville
           in private, 202.
    ---- with Lamoricière, 225.
    ---- refuses to take office, 267.
    ---- with the President, 296.
    ---- intrigues with the President, 315.
    ---- on foreign affairs, 330.
    ---- with Beaumont, &c., 379.
    ---- advises Louis-Philippe to abdicate, 383.
    ---- his interview with Barrot, 385.
    ---- refuses to compromise on the banquets, 392.

  Tocqueville, Charles Alexis Henri Maurice Clérel de (1805-1859), his
    purpose in writing these memoirs, 3.
    ---- his intercourse with Louis-Philippe, 7.
    ---- his estimate of the state of France in January 1848, 9.
    ---- picture of the state of the Chamber of Deputies in 1847, 12.
    ---- his speech in the Chamber of Deputies, 29th January 1848, 14.
    ---- remarks on this speech by Dufaure and others, 17.
    ---- his position on the affair of the banquets, 19.
    ---- his estimate of Duchâtel, Minister of the Interior, 23.
    ---- his thoughts on the policy of the Radical party, 25.
    ---- his knowledge of how the affair of the banquets passed into an
           insurrection, 30.
    ---- in the Chamber of Deputies on 22nd and 23rd February, when the
           gloom of the Revolution began to gather, 33.
    ---- his estimate of the selfishness of both sides, 39.
    ---- private conversation with Dufaure, 40.
    ---- private conversation with Beaumont, 41.
    ---- private conversation with Lanjuinais, 42.
    ---- hears of the firing in the streets on 24th February 1848, 44.
    ---- sees preparations for barricades, 46.
    ---- meets a defeated party of National Guards on the boulevards,
           and hears shouts of "Reform," 49.
    ---- reflections which this occasions, 50.
    ---- goes to Chamber of Deputies on 24th February, 51.
    ---- recognises Bedeau on his way, 52.
    ---- character of Bedeau and condition on that day, 53.
    ---- appearance presented by the Chamber of Deputies, 56.
    ---- sees the Duchesse d'Orléans and the Comte de Paris there, 60.
    ---- tries to get Lamartine to speak, 63.
    ---- his interest in the Duchess and her son, 69.
    ---- seeks to protect them, 69.
    ---- leaves the Chamber and meets Oudinot and Andryane, 72.
    ---- contradicts an assertion of Marshal Bugeaud, 72.
    ---- converses with Talabot about the movements of Thiers, 75.
    ---- his reflections on the fate of the Monarchy, 80.
    ---- spends the evening with Ampère, 87.
    ---- goes to inquire about his nephews on the 25th February, 90.
    ---- walks about Paris in the afternoon, 92.
    ---- reflections on what he sees, 93.
    ---- keeps in retirement for some days, 102.
    ---- further reflections on the Revolution, 103.
    ---- his own individual feelings and intentions, 107.
    ---- resolves to seek re-election, 113.
    ---- visits the Department of la Manche, 114.
    ---- makes Valognes his head-quarters, 117.
    ---- publishes his address to the electors, 118.
    ---- meets the electors at Valognes, 120.
    ---- addresses workmen at Cherbourg, 122.
    ---- goes to Saint-Lô to the General Council, 125.
    ---- his reflections on a visit to Tocqueville, 126.
    ---- returns to Paris and finds himself elected, 129.
    ---- his view of the state of politics and of Paris, 130.
    ---- National Assembly meets, 133.
    ---- his opinion of the Montagnards, 138.
    ---- his estimate of the Assembly, 141.
    ---- his character of Lamartine, 146.
    ---- his intercourse with Champeaux, 149.
    ---- his observation of the popular mind, 161.
    ---- his interview with Trétat, 168.
    ---- at the Feast of Concord, 175.
    ---- conversation with Carnot, 176.
    ---- anticipations of the Insurrection of June, 183.
    ---- conversation with Madame Sand, 183.
    ---- sees barricades of the Insurrection, 190.
    ---- interview with Lamoricière, 192.
    ---- goes about Paris in time of insurrection, 197.
    ---- describes the Assembly, 198.
    ---- writes to his wife, 203.
    ---- protests against Paris being declared in a state of siege, 205.
    ---- elected a Commissioner for Paris, 206.
    ---- as such, walks through Paris, 208.
    ---- his scene with his porter, 215.
    ---- his scene with his man-servant, 217.
    ---- in the streets in the Insurrection, 219.
    ---- on his way to the Hôtel de Ville, 225.
    ---- his account of the Montagnards, Socialists, &c., 231.
    ---- appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 233.
    ---- his narrative of its proceedings, 234.
    ---- on the duality of the Chambers, 242.
    ---- on the conditions of the Presidency, 246.
    ---- re-elected for la Manche, 263.
    ---- leaves his wife ill at Bonn, 264.
    ---- his opinion of the new Assembly, 264.
    ---- his interview with Dufaure, &c., 267.
    ---- ought he to enter the Ministry?, 268.
    ---- accepts the Foreign Office, 273.
    ---- intimacy with Lanjuinais, 275.
    ---- his opinion of his colleagues, 278.
    ---- his opinion of France and the Republic, 281.
    ---- his opinion of Louis Napoleon, 284.
    ---- speech in Assembly on the Roman expedition, 293.
    ---- his letters to and from Considérant, 299.
    ---- his view of affairs after the Insurrection, 301.
    ---- sends Lamoricière to Russia, 303.
    ---- his difficulties with Falloux and Dufaure, 306.
    ---- his advice to Louis Napoleon, 317.
    ---- sends Beaumont to Vienna, 321.
    ---- his view of Foreign and Domestic Affairs when he became Foreign
           Minister, 325.
    ---- his despatch to the French Minister in Bavaria (_foot-note_),
    ---- his dealings with Switzerland about the refugees, 344.
    ---- his observations on the Revolution in Germany, 345.
    ---- his intervention between Austria and Piedmont, 353.
    ---- his interposition in support of Turkey on the Hungarian
           refugees question, 361.
    ---- his instruction to Lamoricière and Beaumont, 371.
    ---- narrative of Beaumont to, on the abdication, 379.
    ---- narrative of Barrot to, on the abdication, 385.
    ---- Rivet and De Tocqueville's efforts to prevent Revolution, 389.
    ---- discussion of, with Berryer on the Constitution, 394.

  Tocqueville, Madame de, _née_ Mottley, her report of firing in Paris,
    ---- taken ill at Bonn, 264.

  Tocqueville, Manor of, Tocqueville visits, 126.

  Tracy, character of, 279.

  Trétat, and Tocqueville, 168.

  Turkey, refuses to surrender the Hungarian refugees, 362.


  Valognes, town of, head-quarters in Tocqueville's election, 117.

  Valognes, Tocqueville at, 130.

  Vaulabelle, appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 235.

  Victor Emmanuel II., King of Piedmont (1820-1878), ascends the throne
    on the abdication of Charles Albert, 333.

  Vieillard speaks at the meeting for the election of Tocqueville, 123.

  Vienna, Beaumont sent as Ambassador to, 321.
    ---- Persigny sent to, 323.

  Vivien appointed on the Committee of the Constitution, 233.
    ---- in the Committee of Constitution, 253.
    ---- his interview with Tocqueville and his political friends, 267.


  Wolowski, Louis (1810-1876), in the National Assembly on 15th
    May, 158.



INDEX OF AUTHORS                          PAGE

  Abbott, Angus Evan,                        414

  Alison, William,                           413

  Basile, Giovanni Battista,                 415

  Bate, Francis,                             414

  Beerbohm, Max,                             414

  Burton, Sir Richard, K.C.M.G.,        414, 415

  Cobban, J. MacLaren,                       416

  Common, Thomas,                            415

  Connell, F. Norreys,                       414

  Creswick, Paul,                            414

  Dearmer, Mrs Percy,                        414

  Dobson, Austin,                            414

  Donovan, Major C.H.W.,                     416

  Dowson, Ernest,                            414

  Farrar, Evelyn L.,                         416

  Farrar, Very Rev. Dean F.W.,               416

  Field, Michael,                            414

  Garnett, Dr Richard,                       414

  Gosse, Edmund,                             414

  Gray, John,                           414, 415

  Guiffrey, Jules J.,                        413

  Haussmann, William A., Ph.D.,              415

  Herrick, Robert,                           414

  Hobbes, John Oliver,                       414

  Housman, Lawrence,                         414

  Hoytema, Th. van,                          416

  Image, Selwyn,                             414

  Jepson, Edgar,                             414

  Johnson, Lionel,                           414

  Jones, Alfred,                             414

  Langley, Hugh,                             416

  Le Gallienne, Richard,                     414

  MacColl, D.S.,                             414

  Maeterlinck, Maurice,                      414

  Mann, Mary E.,                        414, 416

  Marriott Watson, Rosamond,                 414

  Molesworth, Mrs.,                          414

  Moore, T. Sturge,                          414

  Muther, Richard,                           413

  Nietzsche, Friedrich,                      415

  Oudinot, Maréchale, Duchesse de Reggio,    413

  Pain, Barry,                               414

  Plarr, Victor,                             414

  Powell, F. York,                           414

  Purcell, Edward,                           414

  Ricketts, Charles,                         414

  Rubens, Paul,                              414

  Ruvigny et Raineval, Marquis de,           416

  Scull, W. Delaplaine,                      414

  Shannon, Charles Hazelwood,                414

  Spalding, Thomas Alfred,                   416

  Stiegler, Gaston,                          413

  Strange, E.F.,                             414

  Strange, Captain H.B.,                     414

  Teixeira de Mattos, Alexander,             413

  Tille, Alexander, Ph.D.,                   415

  Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Comte,            414

  Volz, Johanna,                             415

  White, Gleeson,                            414

  Widdrington, George,                       416

  Wood, Starr,                               414

  Zimmern, Helen,                            415


     Compiled from the hitherto unpublished Souvenirs of the DUCHESSE DE
     MATTOS. With Two Portraits in Heliogravure. _Demy 8vo, crimson
     cloth extra, in a cover adorned with the Marshal's arms, gilt top,
     17s. net; 10 copies on Japanese vellum, £3, 3s. net._

     By JULES J. GUIFFREY. Translated from the French by WILLIAM ALISON.
     One Vol. folio. With Nineteen Etchings of Paintings (now etched for
     the first time), Eight Heliogravures, and upwards of One Hundred
     Illustrations in the Text. _Folio, grey buckram extra, adorned with
     the painter's arms. Edition limited to 250 copies, numbered, £4,
     4s. net; 10 copies on Japanese vellum, £12, 12s. net._ (_Only two
     copies remain unsold._)

"A truly sumptuous and imposing volume."--_Globe._

"A great book on a great painter."--_St James's Gazette._

     By RICHARD MUTHER, Professor of Art History at the University of
     Breslau, Late Keeper of the Royal Collection of Prints and
     Engravings at Munich. 2304 pages. Over 1300 Illustrations. _Three
     Volumes imperial 8vo, dark blue cloth extra, with a cover design
     by_ HOWARD STRINGER, _gilt top and lettering, other edges uncut,
     £2, 15s. net; Library Edition, green half morocco, gilt top, £3,
     15s. net. This work is also published in 36 Parts at 1s. net, or in
     16 Parts at 2s. 6d. net._

"There need be no hesitation in pronouncing this work of Muther the most
authoritative that exists on the subject, the most complete, the best
informed of all the general histories of Modern Art."--_Times_.

"Not only the best, but the only history of Modern Painting which has
any pretension to cover the whole ground."--_Times_ (_second notice_).

"A monumental work ... of cyclopædic value.... This author is distinctly
cheering. He has no slavish and indiscriminate admiration for the old
masters, and his enthusiasm and his hopes are with the art of his
time.... There are many illustrations, a copious bibliography, and a
good index.... It is incomparably the best work of its kind; in some
respects, the only one of its kind."--_Daily News_.

"A history as crowded and as stirring as a novel."--_Saturday Review_.

"A great book on a great subject."--_Graphic_.

"Not merely readable, but at times fascinating.... The book, although
not an exhaustive record, is indispensable for one's shelves of
reference, and worth careful reading."--_Studio_.

  THE PAGEANT, 1897.
     Twenty-six Full-Page Illustrations (including a Woodcut in Four
     Colours and Gold) and Ten Illustrations in the Text. _Crown 4to,
     chocolate cloth extra, with a cover design by_ CHARLES RICKETTS,
     _and a coloured wrapper by_ GLEESON WHITE, _6s. net_; _Large Paper
     Edition (limited to 150 copies), £1, 5s. net. These copies contain
     a special reproduction in photogravure of Rossetti's_ "Hamlet and

  _Contributions in Art by_--


  _Contributions in Literature by_--


  THE PAGEANT, 1896.
     Edited by C.H. SHANNON and GLEESON WHITE. _Ordinary Edition, 6s.
     net. Large Paper Edition, 150 Copies only. The price of the few
     that remain for sale has been raised to £1, 5s. net._

  THE PARADE, 1897.
     A Gift-Book for Boys and Girls. Edited by GLEESON WHITE. With 35
     Full-Page Illustrations; 3 Coloured Plates; 10 Head-and
     Tail-Pieces; Illustrated Initials, Devices, &c. _Crown 4to, scarlet
     cloth extra, with a Cover designed by_ PAUL WOODROFFE, _coloured
     edges, 6s. net_.

  _Contributions in Literature by_--


  _Contributions in Art by_--


     Being a Translation by the Late Sir RICHARD BURTON, K.C.M.G., of
     "Il Pentamerone; overo lo Cunto de li Cunte, trattenemiento de li
     peccerille," of GIOVANNI BATTISTA BASILE, Count of Torone (Gian
     Alessio Abbattutis). _Two volumes, demy 8vo, black cloth gilt, £3,
     3s. net. Large Paper Edition, on hand-made paper (limited to 150
     copies), royal 8vo, black cloth gilt_, £5, 5_s._ _net_.

This is the only unabridged and unexpurgated edition of "Il Pentamerone"
in the English language.

     Edited by ALEXANDER TILLE, PH.D., Lecturer at the University of
     Glasgow. Sole Authorized English and American Edition; issued under
     the supervision of the "Nietzsche Archiv" at Naumburg. _Eleven
     Volumes, medium 8vo, dark blue buckram extra, with a cover design
     by_ GLEESON WHITE, £5, 19_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

  _The following Volumes are ready_:

                   TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS; THE ANTICHRIST. Translated
                   by THOMAS COMMON. 10_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

                   TILLE, Ph.D. 17_s._ _net_.

     Vol.    X.  A GENEALOGY OF MORALS. Translated by WILLIAM A.
                   HAUSSMANN, Ph.D. POEMS. Translated by JOHN GRAY.
                   8_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

  _The following will appear successively within two or three years_:

     Vol.  IX.  BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. Translated by HELEN ZIMMERN.
                  10_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

     Vol.  VI.  DAWN OF THE DAY. Translated by JOHANNA VOLZ.
                  13_s._ _net_.

     Vol.  IV.  HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN, I. Translated by HELEN ZIMMERN.
                  13_s._ _NET_.

     Vol.   V.  HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN, II. Translated by HELEN ZIMMERN.
                  13_s._ _net_.

     Vol. VII.  JOYFUL SCIENCE. Translated by THOMAS COMMON. Poems
                  Translated by JOHN GRAY. 13_s._ _net_.

     Vol.  II.  INOPPORTUNE CONTEMPLATIONS, I. and II. Translated by
                  JOHANNA VOLZ. 7_s._ _net_.

     Vol. III.  INOPPORTUNE CONTEMPLATIONS, III. and IV. Translated by
                  JOHANNA VOLZ. 7_s._ _net_.

     Vol.   I.  THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY. Translated by WILLIAM A.
                  HAUSSMANN, Ph.D. 7_s._ _net_.

"Nietzsche is worse than shocking; he is simply awful: his epigrams are
written with phosphorus or brimstone. The only excuse for reading him is
that before long you must be prepared either to talk about Nietzsche, or
else retire from society, especially from aristocratically minded
society.... His sallies, petulant and impossible as some of them are,
are the work of a rare spirit, and pregnant with its vitality."--MR
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW in the _Saturday Review_.

"Lurking behind the intellectual movements of Europe in philosophy as in
everything else, England is just now beginning to hear of the existence
of Friedrich Nietzsche."--MR ERNEST NEWMAN in the _Free Review_.

"Nietzsche is, without doubt, an extraordinarily interesting figure ...
the greatest spiritual force which has appeared since Goethe."--MR
HAVELOCK ELLIS in the _Savoy_.

  FEDERATION AND EMPIRE: A Study in Politics.
     By THOMAS ALFRED SPALDING, LL.B., Author of "The House of Lords: a
     Retrospect and a Forecast," "Elizabethan Demonology," &c. _Demy
     8vo, dark blue buckram extra_, 10_s._ 6_d._ _net_.

     By MAJOR G.H.W. DONOVAN (of the Army Service Corps). With a Map and
     Numerous Illustrations from Photographs. _Demy 8vo, dark blue cloth
     extra_, 18_s._

     Edited by the MARQUIS DE RUVIGNY and RAINEVAL. With 8 Genealogical
     Tables and a Portrait of the King and Queen of Spain, France, and
     Navarre. _Crown 8vo, white art linen, limited to 500 copies_, 5_s._

"A real curiosity."--_Review of Reviews_.

"It is just possible that the volume may one day obtain a success of
curiosity, and be eagerly sought after by collectors of odd

     By EVELYN L. FARRAR. With an Introductory Chapter on the
     Unspeakable Value of Early Lessons in Scripture, by her Father, the
     Very Rev. F.W. FARRAR, D.D., Dean of Canterbury; and Twelve
     Illustrations, printed in colour, and a Cover Design, by REGINALD
     HALLWARD. _Crown 4to, dark green cloth extra_, 3_s._ 6_d._

     Told, Drawn, and Lithographed by T. VAN HOYTEMA. Containing Twenty
     Pictures in four colours, drawn on the stone by the Artist. _Crown
     4to, picture boards_, 2_s._ 6_d._

     By EDGAR JEPSON, Author of "Sybil Falcon." _Large crown 8vo, gold
     art canvas_, 6_s._

     Being the Journal of a Young Man, Basil Brooke. Edited by his
     Friend, HUGH LANGLEY. _Large crown 8vo, crimson art canvas_, 6_s._

     By GEORGE WIDDRINGTON. _Crown 8vo, heliotrope cloth elegant_, 5_s._

     By MARY E. MANN, Author of "Susannah." With a Frontispiece by ALAN
     WRIGHT. _Crown 8vo, blue cloth elegant_, 3_s._ 6_d._

     By J. MACLAREN COBBAN, Author of "The Red Sultan." New and Cheaper
     Edition. With a Frontispiece by ALAN WRIGHT. _Crown 8vo, brown and
     scarlet cloth extra_, 3_s._ 6_d._

     By MARY E. MANN, Author of "When Arnold Comes Home." New and
     Cheaper Edition. With a Frontispiece by ALAN WRIGHT. _Crown 8vo,
     blue cloth_, 3_s._ 6_d._

LONDON: H. HENRY & CO., LTD., 93 St Martin's Lane, W.C.

[Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious typesetting errors have been corrected. Questionable, vintage
and British spellings have been left as printed in the original
publication. Variations in spelling have been left as printed, unless
otherwise noted in the following.

Footnotes in the original text were marked at the page level, beginning
at footnote 1 each time footnotes appeared on a page. Footnote numbers
for the whole text have been replaced with sequential footnote numbers,
from 1 to 36.

Inconsistencies in the use of "St" and "St." as an abbreviation for
"Saint" have been normalized in this transcription to "St".

Page 238: Transcribed "likes" as "like". As originally printed: "likes
the _roués_ of the Regency".

Page 343 (footnote 19): The concluding sentence in a quoted letter by
the author ends with a question mark in the original publication, a
likely typesetting error for a period at the end of the sentence which
would agree with the context. The punctuation has been left as printed
in the original publication.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Recollections of Alexis de Tocqueville" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.