Imágenes de páginas

On the 9th October, the President elevated mission confided by Proviat a banquet at Bourdeaux, makes dence." his celebrated declaration, “ Cer- The Proclamation of the Empire tains personnes se disent, L'Empire, follows, on the 1st December. We c'est la guerre; moi je dis, L'Empire, quote one or two sentences of it: c'est la paix.” He developes this idea as follows: “ I take to-day with the crown the name

of Napoleon III., because the logic of the “ It is peace, for France desires it, and people has already given it to me—because when France is satisfied, the world is tran the Senate has legally imposed it, and bequil. Glory associates itself well to the title cause the entire nation has ratified it. of heritage, but not war. War is not made " Is it, however, that by accepting this for pleasure, but from necessity. Woe to title I fall into the error of the Prince vho, him, then, who would first give to Europe returning from exile, declared null and void the signal of a collision, the consequences of all that had been done in his absence ? Far which are incalculable."

from me such an absurdity: not only do I

recognise the governments which have preAnd then he glances at the material ceded me, but I inherit in some degree what progress which he wishes to secure to

they have done of good or of evil; for the France :

governments which succeed one another, spite of their different origins are liable in

solidum for their predecessors. But the more “We have immense territories lying waste I accept all that which, since the last fifty to bring under cultivation-roads to open, vears,' history transmits to us with its inports to construct, rivers to render navi

flexible authority, the less was it permitted gable, canals to terminate, our net-work of

me to pass over in silence the glorious reign railways to complete. We have opposite of the chief of iny family, and the regular, Marseilles a vast kingdom to assimilate to thougli ephemeral, title of his son.” France. We have all our great ports on the west to bring near to the American Conti This closes the year 1852, in which nent, by the rapidity of those communica one step more has been made in the tions in which we are still deficient."

ladder of his ambition. Is it a ju

dicious one ? Ought the man of the On the 16th October, the Prince people to assume the pomp and trapPresident liberates Abd-el-Kader, be- pings of royalty? Should the parcause “the government which has venu attempt to attach to himself preceded me had not kept its engage- traditions which are native only to ments with an unfortunate enemy." antiquity ? Should Louis Napoleon

On the 4th November, he submits aspire after rank, as something difto the Senate a proposition to declare ferent from power? We think not. the Empire. He does not « dissem- We think he would appear in history ble all that there is formidable in in a far nobler and manlier characputting on his head the crown of Na ter, without the attendance of Grand poleon; but my apprehensions dimi- Masters of the Household, Grand nish by the thought, that, represent Chamberlains, Grand Masters of the ing by so many titles the cause of the Horse, and Grand Equerries, although people and the national will, ce sera carrying any number of gold and la nation qui, en m'elevant au trone, silver sticks, and dressed in any se couronnera ellememe.""

amount of lace or embroidery. The On the 7th November, the obedient “ modest state” of Cromwell has seSenate reports in favour of the Em- cured him many voices, which would pire; and on the 25th the intelli- have been loud against him had he gence is communicated by a message assumed a crown. Cæsar, " the foreto the Corps Legislatif, in which he most man in all this world,” would says “The government, you know, have lost half the grand statuesque will only change its form. Devoted dignity of his character if he had asto the great interests which intel- sumed the purple ; and Napoleon ligence produces, and which peace de Bonaparte himself committed treason velopes, it will restrain itself, as in to his nature, and displayed a weakthe past, in the limits of moderation; ness which would otherwise not have for success never inflates with pride been suspected, when he aped the the mind of those who see in their state of the old sovereigns whom he new elevation only a greater duty had so often conquered. imposed by the people-only a more The most important event in the

personal history of the Emperor in 1853, and on the whole the most honorable and satisfactory in his whole career, was his marriage to Eugenie. It almost compensated for the flunkeyism of the empire. He was not yet enslaved by ceremony and state.

His communication of the event to the Senate, the Corps Legislatif, and the Council of State, worded at the Tuilleries—is noble and manly :

“ The union I have contracted," says he, “ is not in accordance with the traditions of ancient policy—that is its advantage. France, by her successive revolutions, has separated herself from the rest of Europe. Every sensible government ought to try to make ber re-enter the pale of the old monarchies; but this will be more surely attained by a straightforward and fran poic y, than by royal alliances."

For himself, he accepts “ Vis à vis de l'Europe, la position de parvenu, titre glorieux lorsqu'on parvient par le libre suffrage d'un grand peuple.”

“I have preferred, gentlemen, a woman whom I love and whom I respect, to an unknown woman whose alliance might have had advantages mixed with sacrifices."

Well done! Emperor, President, Man! These sentiments find an echo everywhere, and have conciliated more ad mirers to you, and softened the animosity of more enemies, than if you had married a princess who could quarter direct from Noah, through the family of Shem!

The year 1854 opens on a different scene. The Russian war has commenced, and the Emperor is engaged heart and soul in the struggle.

On the 29th January, he writes a letter to the Czar, which is here given in extenso. There is nothing remarkable in it. It is moderate and firm. We need not say it led to no result.

His speech at the opening of the Legislative Session, on the 2nd March, 1854, is of course mostly occupied with the war. He makes the memorable declaration, “le temps des conquêtes est passé !” Consequently France has no idea of aggrandising herself.

We doubt the wisdom of such an announcement at the beginning of a war. It has a tendency to induce the enemy to protract the contest beyond what they would do, if they ex.


pected the ordinary penalty of conquest. A nation forced into war has a right to exact compensation from the aggressing state, and that in general can only be secured by appropriating a portion of territory.

We do not think the eloquence of the Emperor so much at home on war as on peace. He is too contemplative ; and we miss altogether, in his addresses to the soldiery – of which there are several in this yearthe fiery grandeur of the speeches of his uncle.

The Session of the Corps Legislative for 1855, for some reason or other, was opened on the 20th Dec., 1854. The speech on that occasion is somewhat vapid. The only memorable sentences are those relating to the English alliance:-“ That alliance," he says, “is not the effect of a fleeting interest, or of a policy of circumstances. It is the union of two powerful nations, associated for the triumph of a cause in which, for more than a century, their greatness has been concerned-namely, the interests of civilization, at the same time with the liberties of Europe." In allusion to the army before Sebastopol he says—“The army of the East has up to this day suffered everything and surmounted everything-epidemic, disease, conflagration, tempest, privation. Each has nobly done his duty, from the Marshal who seemed to make death stand aside till he had conquered, to the soldier and the sailor whose last expiring cry was a wish for France--an acclamation for the Elect of the country.”

This is somewhat of a bathos; the egotism of the empire is affecting his style.

The year 1855 is chiefly memorable for the Emperor's visit to London. His speech at the banquet in Guildball deserves commemoration, as an instance of his felicity in seizing and giving apt expression to the prevailing ideas of the time. He thus speaks of the alliance :

" In effect, England and France find themselves naturally in accord on all the great questions of policy or humanity which agitate the world, from the Baltic even to the Black Sea ; from the abolition of slavery to the wishes for the amelioration of the fate

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arms, bowerer brilliant, are only transitory; it is, in the last resort, public opinion which gains always the last victory."

of the countries of Europe. I see in the moral as well as the political world, for our two nations, only one route to follow, only one end to aim at. There are, therefore, only secondary interests and paltry rivalries which could divide them. Good sense alone will answer for thc future."

About the middle of April the Emperor was attacked by an assassin. In alluding to this, in an address to the Senate, he says-_“I do not fear the attempts of assassins. There are existences which are the instruments of the decrees of Providence. So long as I will not have fulfilled my mission, I incur no danger.”

Fatalism is a characteristic of the race of Bonaparte ; but the fatalism of the nephew is of a more religious cast than that of the uncle. The latter had his star or his sun of Austerlitz, and believed that the bullet which was to kill him had not been cast; but he did not call himself an instrument in the hands of Providence. The difference betwixt the fatalism of the two is this : that you could not gather from the sayings of Napoleon I. that he believed in a God, at least in any other than himself; whereas Napoleon III., in all

all his speeches and professions, implies the existence of a higher power, of which he is the favoured instrument.

At the opening of the extraordinary session of 1855, on 2nd July, the Emperor, as usual, pronounced a discourse. The war, and the Vienna Conferences, are the prominent topics which he discusses.

On the 15th November he delivered a speech at the closing of the Exhibition, which contains several pregnant passages, the influence of which on passing events is yet in force.

Following this address, and closing the volume, is a discourse by the Emperor to the army of the East, which, like his other war speeches, is by po means remarkable.

We have now finished our task, and have traced the career of Louis Napoleon during seven eventful years, step by step, guided by his own speeches selected and arranged by himself. We have done so calmiy, and, so far as we are aware, without any preconceived opinion, for the fact was, and still is, that Louis Na poleon is to us an enigma. Our opinion of his ability and sagacity has, if possible, been increased by the perusal of the contents of this volume ; and we think most of our readers will agree with us also in ranking the Imperial author high as a master of the most difficult quality of style-extreme conciseness coincident with perfect clearness of meaning; and will also admit that Louis Napoleon is equally great in language as in action-one of those very rare men who to a perfect command of language join the greatest sagacity of intellect, the inost cautious and skilful preparation, and the most prompt and vigorous action. Still his moral nature remains an enigma. Are we to believe his professions of conscientiousness, or are we to suppose him a consummate hypocrite ? "We frankly confess we cannot solve the riddle. We have, however, to remark that comparing the opinions expressed in this volume with those of the first and second volumes, we notice a marked improvement in moral tone. Bare, bard expediency is no longer the only test appealed to: noble principles of ethics are openly proclaimed, and the regime of Providence is acknowledged. The great events in which he has lived have evidently had their effect, whether on his intellect alone, if we adopt the less favorable hypothesis, or on his intellect and heart together, if we believe him an honest man. His tone is less arrogant and harsh, and more serious and solemn, and not unfrequently pathetic. Indeed there are some passages which he could not have conceived unless he had felt them; speeches, in the delivery or com

" At the sight of so many marvels dis played to our cyes, the first expression is a desire of peace. Peace alone, in effect, may developo these remarkable products of human intelligence. You ought then all, like me, to wish that this peace be prompt and durable. But in order to be durable, it ought to resolve satisfactorily the question which has produced the war. In order to be prompt it is necessary that Europe pronounce itself ; for without the pressure of general opinion the struggles between great powers threaten to prolong themselves; whereas, on the con. trary, if Europe decides to declare who is wrong or who is right, it will be a great step towards the solution. At the epoch of civilization in which we are, the successes of

position of which the most sceptical must believe in his sincerity, at least, for the time being. But on the other hand, what are we to make of his frequent asseverations of respect for the Constitution, of his wish to maintain things as they were? What of his repudiations of all Coups d'Etat, when it is self-evident he was preparing all along, with the patient skill of a consummate chess-player, for the final move on his adversary ? What of his declamations on liberty, the Republic, and the national will, when all along he was cautiously and pensively forging the iron fetters of despotism?

It is quite true that he manages with marvellous dexterity, always to provide a loophole for his consistency; and that understanding the Republic in his sense as simply the expression of the will of a gross majority, and liberty as the will of that majority to enslave themselves and others, he can

never be actually convicted of false, hood; but then, according to Paley, he who uses words in one sense, knowing that those to whom they are addressed understand them in another, is guilty of virtual falsehood.

As to the future we have no better reliance than on the grounds indicated in our last review; namely, that it is Louis Napoleon's interest to keep well with us and with the rest of the world; and that in general, and in the long run, the wise and the good are coincident, and that no man living is wiser or more sagacious and far-seeing that the present Emperor of the French. We have also this additional security, that he has given hostages to fortune, and that in the Empress Eugenie and her 'fils de France,' we have the best of guarantees that the commanding intellect of the husband and father will be employed for the benefit of France and the peace of the world,




It was spring, and in Italy ; one of those half-dozen days at very most, when, the feeling of winter departed, a gentle freshness breathes through the air; trees stir softly, and as if by magic; the earth becomes carpeted with flowers, whose odors seem to temper, as it were, the exciting atmosphere. An occasional cloud, fleecy and jagged, sails lazily aloft, marking its shadow on the mountain side. In a few days-a few hours perhapsthe blue sky will be unbroken, the air hushed, a hot breath will move among the leaves, or pant over the trickling fountain.

In this fast-flitting period, we dare not call it season, the Cascine of Florence is singularly beautiful : on one side, the gentle river stealing past beneath the shadowing foliage; on the other, the picturesque mountains towards Fiesole, dotted with its palaces and terraced gardens. The ancient city itself is partly seen, and the massive Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio tower proudly above the

trees! What other people of Europe have such a haunt ?--what other people would know so thoroughly how to enjoy it? The day was drawing to a close, and the Piazzone was now filled with equipages. There were the representatives of every European people, and of nations far away over the seas-splendid Russians, brilliant French, splenetic, supercilious English, and ponderous Germans, mingled with the less marked nationalities of Belgium and Holland, and even America. Everything that called itself Fashion was there to swell the tide; and although a choice militaryband was perforining with exquisite skill the favourite overtures of the day, the noise and tumultof conversation almost drowned thoir notes. For the Cascine is to the world of society what the Bourse is to the work of trade. It is the great centre of all news and intelligence, where markets and bargains of intercourse are transacted, and where the scene of past pleasure is revivel, and the plans of futuuc cujoyment are

canvassed. The great and the wealthy niece had a wonderful resemblance are there, to see and to meet with to each other. They were both—that each other. Their proud equipages rarest of all forms of beauty-blond lie side by side, like great liners ; Italians ;—that is, with light hair and while phạtons, like fast frigates, soft, grey eyes. They had a certain shoot swiftly by, and solitary dandies tint of skin, deeper and mellower flit past in varieties of conveyance than we see in northern lands, and an to which sea-craft can offer no analo- expression of mingled seriousness and gies. All are busy, eager and occu- softness that only pertains to the pied. Scandal holds here its festival, south of Europe. There was a cer. and the misdeeds of every capital of tain coquetry in the similarity of Europe are now being discussed. The their dress, which in many parts was higher themes of politics occupy precisely alike; and although the but few : the interests of literature niece was but fifteen, and the aunt attract still less. It is essentially of twenty-seven, it needed not the aid of the world they talk, and it must be flattery to make many mistake one owned they do it like adepts. The for the other. last witticism of Paris—the last duel Beauty, like all the other “ Beaux at Berlin—who has fled from his cre- Arts," has its distinctions. The same ditors in England — who has run public opinion that enthrones the away from her husband at Naples sculptor or the musician, confers its are all retailed with a serious circum crown on female loveliness and by stantiality that would lead one to this acclaim were they declared Queens believe that gossip maintained its of Beauty. To any one visiting Italy

own correspondent" in every city of for the first time, there would have the Continent. Moralists might fan- seemed something very strange in the cy, perhaps, that in the tone these sort of homage rendered them : a subjects are treated, there would reverence and respect only accorded mingle a reprobation of the bad, and elsewhere to royalties-a deference a due estimate of the opposite, if it that verged on actual humiliationever occurred at all; but as surely and yet all this blended with a subtle would they be disappointed. Never familiarity that none but an Italian were censors more lenient - never can ever attain to. The uncovered were critics so charitable. The trans- head, the attitude of respectful attengressions against good breeding—the tion, the patient expectancy of notice, "gaucheries" of manner—thesolecisms the glad air of him under recognition, in dress, language, or demeanour, do were all there; and yet, through these, indeed meet with sharp reproof and there was dashed a strange tone of cutting sarcasm ; but in recompense intimacy, as though the observances for such severity, how gently they were but a thin crust over deeper deal with graver offences. For the feelings. “La Comtessa ”—for she felonies they can always discover was especially “ the Countess," as “ the attenuating circumstances ;" one illustrious man of our own counfor the petty larcenies of fashion they try was “the Duke" — possessed have nothing but whip-cord.

every gift which claims pre-eminence Amidst the various knots where in this fair city. She was eminently such discussions were carried on, one beautiful, young, charming in hermanwas eminently conspicuous. It was ners, with ample fortune; and, lastly around a handsome, open carriage, -ah! good reader, you would surely whose horses, harnessing, and liveries be puzzled to supply that lastly, the were all in the most perfect taste. more as we say that in it lies an exThe equipage might possibly have cellence without which all the rest been deemed showy in Hyde Park; are of little worth, and yet with it but in the Bois de Boulogne, or the are objects of worship, almost of Cascine, it must be pronounced the adoration-she was separated from acmè of elegance. Whatever might her husband! There must have been have been the differences of national an epidemic, a kind of rot among opinion on this point, there could as- husbands at one period ; for we suredly have been none as to the scarcely remember a very pretty wobeauty of those who occupied it. man, from five-and-twenty to five

Though a considerable interval of and-thirty, who had not been obliged years divided them, the aunt and her to leave hers from acts of cruelty, or

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