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VINDICATION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 1848 1849 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XX - Essays on French History and Historians 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XX - Essays on French History and Historians, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by John C. Cairns (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985).
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VINDICATION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 1848
Dissertations and Discussions, 2nd ed. (1867), II, 335-410. Headed “Vindication of the French Revolution of February 1848, In Reply to Lord Brougham and others”, title footnoted “Letter to the Marquess of Lansdowne, K.G., Lord President of the Council, on the late Revolution in France. By [Henry Peter,] Lord Brougham, F.R.S., Member of the National Institute. London: Ridgway, 1848.—Westminster Review, April 1849.” Running titles “The French Revolution of 1848 / and Its Assailants.” Reprinted from Westminster Review, LI (Apr., 1849), 1-47, where it appears as the lead article, headed with the same information as in the footnote to the D&D title, and the same running titles. Unsigned. Identified in Mill’s bibliography as “A review of Lord Brougham’s pamphlet on the French revolution, in the Westminster Review for April 1849” (MacMinn, 71). Also offprinted with a title page: “Defence of the French Revolution of February, 1848, in Reply to Lord Brougham and Others. From the ‘Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review’ for April, 1849. London: Waterlow and Sons, 1849.” The first page of the offprint has the same title as the D&D version (i.e., the first word is “Vindication” not “Defence”), and the heading from the Westminster is repeated: the running titles are again the same. The offprint includes (50-4) an Appendix giving the French versions of the passages from Tocqueville and Lamartine translated by Mill in his text, the Appendix is also given in D&D, II, 555-63, and is reprinted below as Appendix B. Unsigned. There is no copy of the original article in Mill’s library, Somerville College, the copy of the offprint contains two corrections in ink, both of which were made in D&D, at 330.29 “Dourlens” is altered to “Doullens”; and at 357.5 a comma is added after “presbyterianism”.
The following text, taken from D&D, 2nd ed. (the last in Mill’s lifetime), is collated with that in D&D, 1st ed., that of the offprint, and that in WR. In the footnoted variants, “491” indicates WR, “492” indicates the offprint, “59” indicates D&D, 1st ed. (1859), and “67” indicates D&D, 2nd ed. (1867).
For comment on the essay, see lxxxiii-xci and cvii-cx above.
Vindication of the French Revolution of February 1848
that the transactions and the men of the late French Revolution should find small favour in the eyes of the vulgar and selfish part of the upper and middle classes, can surprise no one: and that the newspaper press, which is the echo, or, as far as it is able, the anticipation, of the opinions and prejudices of those classes, should endeavour to recommend itself by malicious disparagement of that great event, is but in the natural order of things. Justice to the men, and a due appreciation of the event, demand that these unmerited attacks should not remain unprotested against. But it is difficult to grapple with so slippery an antagonist as the writer in a newspaper, and impossible to follow the stream of calumny as it swells by a perpetual succession of infinitesimal infusions from incessant newspaper articles. Unless through some similar medium, in which the day’s falsehood can be immediately met by the day’s contradiction, such assailants are fought at too great a disadvantage. It is fortunate, therefore, when some one, embodying the whole mass of accusation in one general bill of indictment, puts the case upon the issue of a single battle, instead of a multitude of skirmishes. It is an immense advantage to the defenders of truth and justice, when all that falsehood and injustice have got to say is brought together in a moderate compass, and in a form convenient for exposure.
Such an advantage Lord Brougham has afforded by his outpouring of desultory invective against the Revolution and its authors. Among the multitude of performances, similar in intention and often superior in skill, which have issued from the English press since February 1848, ahis pamphleta is the only one which affects to embrace the whole subject, and the only one which bears a known name. bShouldb it seem to any one that more importance is attached to such a performance, than properly belongs to a thing so slight and trivial, let it be considered that the importance of a numerical amount does not so much depend upon the unit which heads it, as upon the number of the figures which follow.
Thinks it a duty incumbent on him, as one who has at various times been a leader in political movements, and had some hand in bringing about the greatest constitutional change that ever was effected without actual violence,[*] to enter calmly but fully upon the consideration of the most extraordinary Revolution which ever altered the face of affairs in a civilized country.[†]
It is very natural and commendable in any one (even though he may not have had the advantage which Lord Brougham so often reminds the reader that he once enjoyed, of being a fellow-minister with the Marquis of Lansdowne)[‡] to endeavour to understand the remarkable event which is the theme of his vituperation. Remarkable, it may justly be called; though the commonplace hyperbole of “the most extraordinary Revolution which ever altered the face of affairs in a civilized country” will scarcely pass muster, even, as a rhetorical flourish. In one respect, indeed, the Revolution of February must be allowed to be extraordinary, if not unexampled. It stands almost alone among revolutions, in having placed power in the hands of men who neither expected nor sought it, nor used it for any personal purpose—not even for that of maintaining, otherwise than by opinion and discussion, the ascendancy of their own party; men whose every act proclaimed them to be that almost unheard-of phenomenon—unselfish politicians; who did not, like the common run of those who fancy themselves sincere, aim at doing a little for their opinions and much for themselves, but, with a disinterested zeal, strove to make their tenure of power produce as much good as their countrymen were capable of receiving, and more than their countrymen had yet learnt to desire. It was not, perhaps, to be expected that men of this stamp should command much of Lord Brougham’s sympathy. Lord Brougham has fought, cboth frequently and effectivelyc , on the people’s side; but few will assert that he doften was muchd in advance of them, ore fought any up-hill battle in their behalf. Even in the days of his fgreatestf glory, it was remarked that he gseldomg joined any cause until its hfirsth difficulties were over, and it had been brought near to the point of success, by labourers iof deeper earnestnessi , and more willing to content themselves without indiscriminate applause. If sympathy, therefore, depends on similarity of character, it was not likely that his lordship should feel any warm admiration for the members of the Provisional Government. But he is probably the only man in Europe, of his reputation and standing, who would have been capable of speaking of them in such a strain as the following:
The instantaneous disappearance of virtues, dominions, princedoms, powers—of all the men who by their station, or their capacity, or their habits of government, or even their habits of business, had a claim to rule the affairs of their country, was succeeded by the sudden lifting up to supreme power of men who, with the single exception of my illustrious friend M. Arago, were either wholly unknown before in any way, even to their very names and existence; or who were known as authors of no great fame, or who were known as of so indifferent reputation, that they had better have not been known at all: and M. Arago, the solitary exception to this actual or desirable obscurity, himself known in the world of science alone.[*]
Remembering that, of the body of men thus spoken of, M. de Lamartine is one, it is difficult not to be amazed at so unbounded a reliance on the ignorance of the public. The literary fame of M. de Lamartine in France and in Europe, can afford to be ignored by Lord Brougham. There was not a single obscure person among the Provisional Government. The seven originally named were all distinguished members of the Chamber of Deputies.[†] Their venerable President, one of the most honoured characters in France, had even held office, if that be a recommendation; he was a member of the first cabinet appointed in 1830, and left the Government when Louis Philippe parted company with popular principles. The “illustrious friend” known only “in the world of science,” had been an active and influential politician for twenty years. Three others were leading members of the Paris bar.[‡] The four whomj, in obedience to the popular voice,j these seven kacceptedk as their colleagues, were the acknowledged leaders of the republican press;[§] and who that had paid the smallest attention to French affairs, was not familiar with the names and reputation of Marrast and of Louis Blanc?
The first sin of the Revolution in the eyes of the pamphleteer is its singularity. “The like of it never was before witnessed among men.” It has “no parallel in the history of nations.” It is “wholly at variance with every principle, as well as all experience.” If it could possibly last, he would “feel bound to make the addition of a new head or chapter” to “a very elaborate work, the Political Philosophy” of “our Useful Knowledge Society.”[¶] If his account of it were true, one would be unable to understand how the Revolution could possibly have happened. It was “the sudden work of a moment—a change prepared by no preceding plan—prompted by no felt inconvenience—announced by no complaint;” “without ground, without pretext, without one circumstance to justify or even to account for it, except familiarity with change” and “proneness to violence.” It was the “work of some half-dozen artisans, met in a printing-office;” “a handful of armed ruffians, headed by a shoemaker and a sub-editor.”[*] Who is meant by the sub-editor, his lordship best knows; the shoemaker, it must be presumed, is M. Adolphe Chenu, whose word Lord Brougham takes for the share he had in the transaction, though a bare reading of his deposition[†] is enough to prove that he was already known to be, what he is now admitted to have been, a police spy. To this “handful,” be it of “artisans” or “ruffians,” everybody submitted, though everybody disapproved. Half-a-dozen obscure men overthrew a government which nobody disliked, and established one which nobody desired. This singular incident, of a government which, so to speak, falls down of itself, does not suggest to the writer that there must have been something faulty in its foundations. It merely proves to him that foundations are of no use. It reveals the “terrible truth,” that it is natural to buildings to fall without a cause, and that henceforth none can be expected to stand. It “for ever destroys our confidence in any system of political power which may be reared,” not only in France, but on the face of the earth. “All sense of security in any existing government” is gone. “None can now be held safe for an hour.”[‡]
The explanation of the Revolution is, in short, that it is entirely inexplicable; and this is intended, not as a confession of ignorance, but as a sufficient theory.
Common sense, however little informed concerning the Revolution, has been unable, from the first, to accept this notion of it. It appears to Lord Brougham very unaccountable that the English journals did not at once declare a determined enmity to the Revolution, but waited a few weeks before assuming their present attitude of hostility.[§] It was because they did not believe, as he professes to do, that the best and wisest of governments had been overthrown by a touch—the mature opinion of the whole country being in its favour. That, too, is the reason why even now, while the grossest misrepresentations of the state of things which the Revolution has produced are universally propagated and very generally believed, hardly any one except the pamphleteer expresses regret for what it swept away. “The illustrious prince, who, with extraordinary ability and complete success, had, in times of foreign and domestic difficulty, steered the vessel of the State in safety and in peace during a period of seventeen years,” and who had invited Lord Brougham to the Tuileries, and listened with apparent resignation to his “earnest and zealous” counsels[*] —has now Lord Brougham for his only, or almost only, regretter and admirer. Why is this? Because everybody, whether acquainted with the facts or not, is able to see that a government which, after seventeen years of almost absolute power over a great country, can be overthrown in a day—which, during that long period, a period too of peace and prosperity, undisturbed by any public calamity, has so entirely failed of creating anywhere a wish for its preservation, that “a capital of one million souls, and a nation of five-and-thirty,” including an army of several hundred thousand, look on quietly while “a shoemaker and a sub-editor,” followed by “an armed mob of two or three thousand,”[†] turn out the Chambers, and proclaim a totally different set of institutions—that such a government, unless it was so lmuchl in advance of the public intelligence as to be out of the reach of appreciation by it, was so greatly in arrear of it as to deserve to fall.
This government, Lord Broughamm confesses, was not without its foibles. The ministry had committed some blunders and indiscretions, and the institutions of the country had a few remaining defects, which the government showed no willingness to remove. There were too many placemen in parliament, and the elective franchise was “too limited,”[‡] being confined, in a nation of thirty-four millions, to about a quarter of a million; distributed, it might have been added, so unequally, that a majority of the constituencies did not exceed 200 or 300 voters. The government should have looked to this. They should have given “votes to all who were liable to serve on juries;” and also “enfranchised, without regard to property, the classes connected with science, letters, and the arts;”[§] which is the same thing twice over, for the jury-list consisted precisely of the electors and of those classes. By this they would have added to the 250,000 electors, and to the large constituencies almost exclusively, some twenty or thirty thousand voters more. The other improvements of which, in Lord Brougham’s judgment, the French Constitution stood in need, were to make the peerage hereditary, and allow land to be entailed.[¶] It would have been treating his friends very hardly, to be severe upon them for not effecting these last specimens of constitutional improvement, since they might, with as much chance of success, have attempted to alter the solar system. Hereditary legislation and entails are not things which a nation takes back, when once it has rid itself of them. It certainly was not for this that the government of Louis Philippe, in the moment of trial, was found to be deserted by all mankind. Accordingly, Lord Brougham can find no mode of accounting for the fact but the selfishness and indifference of the National Guard, who “think only of their shops and their brittle wares; and avoid acting, provided they see no risk of pillage following the outbreak.”[*]
This specimen of philosophizing is not at all Baconian, and does no credit to the political philosopher of the Useful Knowledge Society. The National Guard acted vigorously enough in 1832, and again in 1834, when they assisted the troops in putting down much more formidable insurrections than that of 1848. Their conduct in June last was not, as the pamphlet represents,[†] the exception, but the rule. Their horror of l’émeute amounted to a passion: it was that, and not any attachment to the throne of Louis Philippe, which made them tolerate him for seventeen years. Why, then, in February, did they, for the first and only time, not only not resist, but openly countenance the insurrection? Because the time had come when disgust with the government had become a stronger feeling than even that passionate horror. The ruler of France had made the terror of the bourgeois at the idea of a new revolution, his sole instrument of government, except personal corruption; and that support now gave way under him.
The explanation of this result of seventeen years of power—the reason why a government which, in the first years following its establishment, the most determined and violent attacks had failed to shake, found itself, in 1848, so feeble, that it fell at the first onset, and not a hand was raised to stay its fall—will be found, we believe, principally in two things.
First—it was a government wholly without the spirit of improvement. Not only did it make an obstinate resistance to all and every organic reform, even the most moderate; ton merely legislative or merely administrative improvements it was, in practice, equally inimical: it originated oscarcely anyo itself, and successfully resisted all which were proposed by others. pThis had not always been, in the same degree, its character: in its earlier years it gave to France two of the most important legislative gifts she ever received—the law of Primary Instruction and that of Vicinal (or local) Roads.[‡] But its love of improvement, never strong, had long given place to a conservatism of the worst sort.p There are few instances of a government, in a country calling itself free, so completely sold to the support of all abuses: it rested on a coalition of all the sinister interests[§] in France. Among those who influenced the suffrages of the bodies of 200 or 300 electors who returned the ministerial majority, there were always some to whose interests improvement, be it in what it might, would have been adverse. It made things worse, not better, that the most conspicuous instruments of the system were men of knowledge and cultivation, who had gained the greater part of their reputation as the advocates of improvement. In some of these men it might be personal interest, in others hatred of democracy; but neither scrupled, for the sake of keeping their party together, to make themselves subservient to the purposes of their worst supporters. In order to bind these together in an united band to oppose democracy, they were allowed to have their own way in resisting all other change. This was of itself fatal to the durability of a government, in the present condition of the world. No government can now expect to be permanent, unless it guarantees progress as well as order; nor can it continue really to secure order, unless it promotes progress. It can go on, as yet, with only a little of the spirit of improvementq. Whileq reformers have even a remote hope of effecting their objects through the existing system, they are generally willing to bear with it. But when there is no hope at all; when the institutions themselves seem to oppose an unyielding barrier to the progress of improvement, the advancing tide heaps itself up behind them till it bears them down.
This was one great characteristic of the government of Louis Philippe. The other, equally discreditable, was the more fatal to that government, because identified, still more than the first, in public opinion, with the personal character and agency of the King himself. It wrought almost exclusively through the meaner and more selfish impulses of mankind. Its sole instrument of government consisted in a direct appeal to men’s immediate personal interests or interested fears. It never appealed to, or endeavoured to put on its side, any noble, elevated, or generous principle of action. It repressed and discouraged all such, as being dangerous to it. In the same manner in which Napoleon cultivated the love of military distinction as his one means of action upon the multitude, so did Louis Philippe strive to immerse all France in the culte des intérêts matériels,[*] in the worship of the cash-box and of the ledger. It is not, orr it has not hitherto been, in the character of Frenchmen to be content with being thus governed. Some idea of grandeur, at least some feeling of national self-importance, must be associated with that which they will voluntarily follow and obey. The one inducement by which Louis Philippe’s government recommended itself to the middle classes, was that revolutions and riots sares bad for trade. They are so, but that is a very small part of the considerations which ought to determine our estimation of them. While classes were thus appealed to through their class interest, every individual who, either from station, reputation, or talent, appeared worth gaining, was addressed through whatever personal interest, either of money or vanity, he was thought most likely to be accessible to. Many were attempted unsuccessfully, many successfully. Corruption was carried to the utmost pitch that the resources at the disposal of the government admitted of.
Accordingly, the best spirits in France had long felt, and felt each year more and more, that the government of Louis Philippe was a demoralizing government; that under its baneful influence all public principle, or public spirit, or regard for political opinions, was giving way more and more to selfish indifference in the propertied classes generally, and, in many of the more conspicuous individuals, to the shameless pursuit of personal gain.
It is almost superfluous to adduce testimonies to facts of such universal notoriety; but it is worth while to refer to two documents, which demonstrate, after all that has been said of the unexpectedness of the events of February, how clearly it was seen by competent judges that, from the principles on which the government had long been carried on, such a termination of its career was almost certain to happen at some time, and might happen at any time.
One of these documents is a speech of M. de Tocqueville, delivered in the Chamber of Deputies on the 27th of January 1848, exactly four weeks before the Revolution.[*] In this remarkable and almost prophetic discourse, M. de Tocqueville said that in the class which possessed and exercised political rights, “political morality is declining; it is already deeply tainted, it becomes more deeply so from day to day. More and more, opinions, sentiments, and ideas of a public character are supplanted by personal interests, personal aims, points of view borrowed from private interest and private life.”[†] He called the members of the hostile majority themselves to witness, whether in the five, ten, or fifteen years last elapsed, the number of those who voted for them from private motives was not perpetually increasing, the number who did so from political opinion constantly diminishing?
Let them tell me if around them, under their eyes, there is not gradually establishing itself in public opinion a singular species of tolerance for the facts I have been speaking of,—if, by little and little, there is not forming itself a vulgar and low morality, according to which the man who possesses political rights owes it to himself, owes it to his children, to his wife, to his relations, to make a personal use of those rights for their benefit—if this is not gradually raising itself into a sort of duty of the father of a family?—if this new morality, unknown in the great times of our history, unknown at the commencement of our Revolution, is not developing itself more and more, and making daily progress in the public mind.
He described the acts by which the government of Louis Philippe had made itself accessary to this decline of public spirit. In the first place, by the gigantic strides which it was making towards despotism:
The government has re-possessed itself, especially in these last years, of greater powers, a larger measure of influence, prerogatives more manifold and more considerable, than it had possessed at any other epoch. It has become infinitely more powerful than could have been imagined, not only by those who conferred, but by those who accepted, the reins of government in 1830.
The mischief was aggravated by the indirect and crafty manner in which it was brought about.
It was by reclaiming old powers, which were thought to have been abolished in t1830t , by reviving old rights, which were supposed to have been annulled, by bringing again into activity old laws, which were believed to have been abrogated, and applying new ones in a different meaning from that in which they had been enacted. . . . Do you suppose that this crooked and surreptitious manner of gradually regaining ascendancy, as it were by surprise, through other means than those granted by the constitution,—think you that this strange spectacle of address and savoir-faire, publicly exhibited for several years on so vast a theatre, to a whole nation looking on,—that this spectacle was of a nature to improve public morals?
And supposing, by a great concession, that the men who wrought this evil were themselves persuaded that it was good—
They have not the less effected it by means which morality disavows. They have achieved it by taking men not by their honourable side, but by their bad side—by their passions, their weaknesses, their personal interests, often their vices. . . . And to accomplish these things, it has been necessary for them to call to their assistance, to honour with their favour, to introduce into their daily intercourse, men who wished neither for honest ends nor honest means; who desired but the gross satisfaction of their private interests, by the aid of the power confided to them.
After citing one scandalous instance of a high office of trust conferred on a person notoriously corrupt, M. de Tocqueville added: “I do not regard this fact as a solitary one; I consider it the symptom of a general evil, the most salient trait of an entire course of policy. In the paths which youuhaveuchosen for yourselves, you had need of such men.”
As a consequence of these things, he appealed to the whole body of his hearers, whether it was not true that—
The sentiment, the instinct of instability, that sentiment, the precursor of revolutions, which often presages them, and sometimes causes them to take place—already exists to a most serious degree in the country. . . . Is there not a breeze of revolution in the air? This breeze, no one knows where it rises, whence it comes, nor (believe me) whom it sweeps away. . . . It is my deep and deliberate conviction, that public morals are degenerating, and that the degeneracy of public morals will lead you in a short, perhaps a very short time, to new revolutions. . . . Have you at this very hour the certainty of a to-morrow? Do you know what may happen in France in a year, in a month, perhaps even in a day? You do not, but this you know, that the tempest is in the horizon, that it is marching towards you, will you suffer yourselves to be overtaken by it?
Several changes in legislation have been talked of. I am much inclined to believe that such changes are not only useful, but necessary. I believe in the utility of electoral reform, in the urgency of excluding placemen from parliament. But I am not so senseless as to be unaware, that it is not the laws, in themselves, which make the destiny of peoples, no, it is not the mechanism of the laws, which produces the great events of the world; it is the spirit of the government. Keep your laws if you will, though I think it a great error, keep them—keep even the men, if you like, I for my part will be no obstacle, but, in Heaven’s name, change the spirit of the government, for, I say it again, that spirit is hurrying you to the abyss.[*]
The other document which shall be cited in proof that the natural consequences of Louis Philippe’s system of government were foreseen by near observers, is the evidence of M. Goudchaux, banker at Paris, and for some months Minister of Finance to the Republic; delivered before the Commission d’Enquête on the events of May and June last. M. Goudchaux, who said in his place in the Assembly that the Revolution had come too soon, nevertheless declared in his evidence, that he and some of his political friends felt so convinced that it was impending, that, a few days before it broke out, they held a meeting at his house, to arrange a list of names for a Provisional Government; but disagreed on the question whether to admit or to exclude from the number M. Louis Blanc.[†]
The Revolution, therefore, which appears to Lord Brougham in the singular character of an event without a cause, was so much the natural result of known causes, as to be capable of being foreseen. And when what had been foreseen by the more discerning, actually came to pass, even the undiscerning recognised in it the legitimate consequence of a just popular indignation. M. Garnier-Pagès was justified in his apostrophe, in the National Assembly, on the 24th of last October:
I ask it of everybody:—Did not every one, in the first days, agree that the Revolution which had been accomplished was moral, still more than political? Did not every one agree that this great renovation had been preceded by a real and terrible reaction against corruption, and emanated from all that was honest and honourable in the hearts of the French nation?*
Contrast these representations of the state of the national mind preceding the Revolution, by persons really acquainted with it, with the following specimen from Lord Brougham’s pamphlet: “The lesson is taught by the experience of February 1848, that to change” the form of government of France “requires no long series of complaints, no suffering from oppression, whether chronic or acute, no indignation at abuses, no combination of parties to effect a change, no preparation for converting the opposition to a ministry into a war with a dynasty.”[*] The writer has not the most ordinary knowledge of the public events of his own time. The war with the dynasty began as early as 1831, and was first compelled to mask itself under opposition to a ministry, when the laws of September had made it impossible to attack, through the press, either the King or the monarchy, without the certainty of being ruined and reduced to silence.[†] But public feeling, once sufficiently roused, will force a way through all obstacles; and in spite of the gagging laws, much of the opposition to the Government had latterly become almost avowedly a war against the King. “There was little personal disrespect shown,” says the pamphlet, “towards the illustrious Prince.”[‡] The main political feature of the six months preceding February was the reform banquets, and the most marked circumstance attending these was the premeditated omission, in most of them, to drink the King’s health. Lord Brougham reproaches the reformers with not trusting to “repeated discussion and the exertion of the popular influence”[§] for effecting a reform of the constitution by a vote of parliament. They had little encouragement to rely on such means. The very corruption which was ruining the government in the general opinion, was strengthening it with the narrow and jobbing class who returned a majority of the Chamber. A general election had occurred the summer previous, and the ministerial majority had gained, not lost, in numbers by it. Lord Brougham boasts, through many pages, of the feat performed by Lord Grey’s ministry in effecting a great change in the constitution (the first such change in history which was so accomplished) without an insurrection.[¶] But was it without the fear of an insurrection? If there had been no chance of a rising, would the House of Lords have waved their opposition, or the Duke of Wellington have thrown up the game in despair? If, in England, the mere demonstration of popular force sufficed to effect what elsewhere required its actual exertion, it was because the majority of even the unreformed House of Commons was elected by constituencies sufficiently large for a really powerful and unanimous popular determination to reach it; and because the political usages and long-standing liberties of England allowed of popular meetings and political unions without limit or stint. To the French reformers these means of peaceful demonstration were denied. The nearest approach to them allowed by French law, was the reform dinners; and these, as soon as they began to produce an effect, the government forbade; reviving for that purpose a decree passed in the stormiest period of the first Revolution.[*] It was when this last resource was denied, that popular indignation burst forth, and the monarchy was destroyed.
There never was a greater blunder than to speak of the French Republic as an “improvised government”—“struck out at a heat”—“the result of a sudden thought”—“span new, untried, and even unthought of.”[†] The Revolution, indeed, was unpremeditated, spontaneous; the republican leaders had no more to do with effecting it, than the socialist leaders had with the insurrection of June last. But the republicans, immediately after the crisis, became the directors of the movement, because they alone, of the various sections of the French people, had not to improvise a political creed, but already possessed one. It would require a degree of ignorance of French political discussion from 1830 to 1848, which one would not willingly impute even to the author of the Letter to the Marquess of Lansdowne, not to know that during those years, republicanism, instead of being “unthought of,” had wboth beenw thought of and talked of, in every variety of tone, by friends and enemies, in all corners of France; that several formidable insurrections had broken out in its name; that many well-known chiefs had been, xand somex still were, in the prisons of Ham, Doullens, and Mont St. Michel, for acts done in its behalf; and that, except the remaining adherents of the elder branch, a republic entered into the calculations of all who speculated either on the dethronement of Louis Philippe, or on the minority of his successor.[‡] If William III had been dethroned for following the example of James II, would the people of this country have put a child on the throne, or sent for some other Prince of Orange from beyond sea? Would they not, almost certainly, have fallen back on the Commonwealth? What the English of the seventeenth century would assuredly have done, the French might do in the nineteenth without exciting surprise. And it was the more to be expected that they would do so, since constitutional royalty is in itself a thing as uncongenial to the character and habits of the French, or any other people of the European Continent, as it is suited to the tone of thought and feeling characteristic of England.
From causes which might be traced in the history and development of English society and government, the general habit and practice of the English mind is compromise. No idea is carried out to more than a small portion of its legitimate consequences. Neither by the generality of our speculative thinkers, nor in the practice of the nation, are the principles which are professed ever thoroughly acted upon; something always stops the application half way. This national habit has consequences of very various character, of which the following is one. It is natural to minds governed by habit (which is the character of the English more than of any other civilized people) that their tastes and inclinations become accommodated to their habitual practice; and as in England no principle is ever fully carried out, discordance between principles and practice has come to be regarded, not only as the natural, but as the desirable state. This is not an epigram, or a paradox, but a sober description of the tone of sentiment commonly found in Englishmen. They never feel themselves safe unless they are living under the shadow of some conventional fiction—y some agreement to say one thing and mean another. Now, constitutional royalty is precisely an arrangement of this description. The very essence of it is, that the so-called sovereign does not govern, ought not to govern, is not intended to govern; but yet must be held up to the nation, be addressed by the nation, and even address the nation, as if he or she did govern. This, which was originally a compromise between the friends of popular liberty and those of absolute monarchy, has established itself as a sincere feeling in the mind of the nation; who would be offended, and think their liberties endangered, if a king or zaz queen meddled any further in the government than to give a formal sanction to all acts of parliament, and to appoint as ministry, or rather as minister, the person whom the majority in parliament pointed out; and yet would be unaffectedly shocked, if every considerable act of government did not profess and pretend to be the act and mandate of the person on the throne. The English are fond of boasting that they do not regard the theory, but only the practice of institutions; but their boast stops short of the truth; they actually prefer that their theory should be at variance with their practice. If any one proposed to them to convert their practice into a theory, he would be scouted. It appears to them unnatural and unsafe, either to do the thing which they profess, or to profess the thing which they do. A theory which purports to be the very thing intended to be acted upon, fills them with alarm; it seems to carry with it a boundless extent of unforeseeable consequences. This disagreeable feeling they are only free from, when the principles laid down are obviously matters of convention, which, it is agreed on all parts, are not to be pressed home.
It is otherwise in France: so much so, that few Frenchmen can understand this singular characteristic of the English mind; which, seen imperfectly and by glimpses, is the origin of those accusations of profound hypocrisy, mistakenly brought by many foreigners against the English nation. Englishmen, on their part, can in general as little understand the comparative simplicity and directness of Continental notions. The French impatience of discrepancy between theory and practice, seems to them fancifulness, and want of good sense. It was a Frenchman, not an Englishman, who erected the English practice of constitutional monarchy into a theory: but his maxim, “le roi règne et ne gouverne pas,”[*] took no root on the other side of the Channel. The French had no relish for a system, the forms of which were intended to simulate something at variance with acknowledged afacta . Those who were for a king at all, wanted one who was a substantial power in the State, and not a cipher: while, if the will of the nation was to be the government—if the king was to do nothing but register the nation’s decrees—both the reason and the feelings of the French were in favour of having those decrees pronounced directly by the people’s own delegates.
A constitutional monarchy, therefore, was likely in France, as it is likely in every other country binb Continental Europe, to be but a brief halt on the road from a despotism to a republic. But though a republic, for France, was the most natural and congenial of all the forms of free government, it had two great hindrances to contend with. One was, the political indifference of the majority—the result of want of education, and of the absence of habits of discussion and participation in public business. The other was the dread inspired by the remembrance of 1793 and 1794; a dread which, though much weakened since 1830, did and does in some measure subsist, notwithstanding what was so promptly done by the Provisional Government to disconnect the new republic from whatever was sanguinary in the recollections of the old. These two causes prevented the French nation in general from demanding or wishing for a republican government; and as long as those causes continue, they will render its existence, even now when it is established, more or less precarious.
The Provisional Government knew this. They had no illusions. They were not blind to any of their difficulties. The generation of which they were a part, has neither the ardent faith nor the boundless hope which belonged to the era of its predecessors, and which made it easy for an entire people to be transformed into heroes. It has been publicly stated, that of the eleven members of the Provisional Government, though all or nearly all were republicans, M. Ledru-Rollin alone, before the 24th of February, thought that the time had yet come for a republic: and even he, it would appear, in reliance less on what the public sentiment already was, than on what it might in his opinion be made. It will be the immortal glory of these men with posterity, that they did not need the illusions of political inexperience to make them heroes; that they could act out their opinions with calm determination, without exaggerating to their own minds the measure of success, the amount of valuable result, which probably awaited them. They might regret that the nation was not better prepared for the new régime; but when the old had perished, it was not for them to decide that the institutions of their own preference were too good for their countrymen, but to try whether a republican government, administered by sincere republicans, if it did not find the French people republicans, could make them so.
With this noble hope the members of the Provisional Government, if intentions can be judged from acts, accepted the power which was thrust upon them:[*] and whoever passes judgment on their proceedings according to any other idea of the problem which lay before them, is an incapable appreciator of the situation and its exigency, and grossly unjust to the men.
Never had any man or set of men, suddenly raised to power, a more complicated task before them. It was a more difficult achievement in their case to govern at all, than in the case of almost any other government to govern well. They were nominal dictators, without either soldiers or police whom they could call to their assistance, without even any organized body of adherents. They were absolute rulers, with no means of enforcing obedience. And they actually did rule Paris, for two whole months succeeding a revolution, by means of such obedience only as was given voluntarily. This is the part of their conduct which, to a certain extent, has had least injustice done to it, since it has commonly been admitted to have been a difficult and a meritorious achievement: but the unwilling acknowledgment of merit has stopped in generals; there is hardly one of the acts by which this great feat was accomplished, that has not since been made a subject of reproach to them; though not until the emergency had passed away; and conduct of which the whole benefit had been reaped, could now be criticised at leisure. Lord Brougham, among others, cannot tolerate the speeches by which they calmed the popular effervescence—speeches for which, at the time when they were made, the speakers were worshipped almost as gods by the frightened Parisian bourgeoisie.[†] One would have thought that men whose almost sole engine of government, for months, which in times of revolution are ages, was the effect which they could produce by haranguing an armed populace—who had daily to persuade that populace to forego its demands, at the peril of their lives if it persisted in them—and who succeeded in that object, and kept the frame of government in existence until things became quiet, and authority resumed its course—might claim some indulgence as to the means by which this truly wonderful success was attained. One hardly expected to hear them taunted with fulsome flattery and mob-sycophancy, because they gave fair words to those whose good-will was all they had to depend on for preventing confusion. One would have thought, too, that a people, or a populace if the term is preferred, who actually were induced, by fair words alone, to make themselves a voluntary police, and preserve such order in a great capital that the offences committed were fewer than in ordinary times, deserved some praise from their temporary rulers, and might receive it without subjecting these to any imputation of time-serving. But Lord Brougham cannot admit that any praise can be due to a people who make barricades, and turn out a government. One of the most unworthy points in his pamphlet, is the abusive tone and language into which he breaks out, every time that he has occasion to speak of the working classes; of those among them at least who meddle in insurrections, or think they have anything to do with the government except to obey it.[*] “Rabble,” “dregs of the populace,” “armed ruffians,”[†] are his expressions for the most intelligent and cbest-conductedc labouring class, take it for all in all, to be found on the earth’s surface—the artisans of Paris. His determination to refuse them every particle of honour must be inveterate indeed, since he will not allow them even courage; he will not so much as admit that they actually fought!—the many hundreds of killed and wounded being, it must be supposed, the product of accident.
Even fairer opponents than the pamphleteer, while giving deserved credit to the Provisional Government for having overcome the tremendous difficulty of governing and preserving order, have passed a severe judgment upon the measures of legislation and administration which were adopted by this temporary authority. Some of their acts are censured as exceeding the legitimate powers of a Provisional Government, and deciding questions which ought to have been reserved for the appointed representatives of the nation. Others are condemned as ill-judged and pernicious in themselves.[‡]
How far these charges are merited it will be easier to judge, if we place ourselves in the situation of these men, and endeavour to realize, in imagination, the demands which their position made upon them.
What would have been the proper conduct of men who, believing a democratic republic to be not only in itself the sole form of government which secures due attention to the interests of the great body of the community, but also calculated to work well in their own country—believing, however, that the majority of their countrymen were indifferent, and a great dportiond averse to it—found themselves unexpectedly placed, by an insurrection of their own supporters, in a position in which it seemed in their power to direct, for some time to come, the current of events? Were they to attempt nothing in favour of their own opinions? Were they to assume no initiative? Were they merely to keep things quiet and in statu quo, until the apathetic majority could come together and spontaneously determine whether they would have what these, the leaders, thought the best institutions, or what they regarded as the worst? Were the noblest spirits and most enlightened minds in the country to employ an opportunity such as scarcely occurs once in a thousand years, in simply waiting on the whims and prejudices of the many? Were they who, even on the showing of this pamphlet, formed the only party which had fixed principles and a strong public spirit, to leave all to the decision of those who either had only mean and selfish objects, or had not yet acquired any opinions? Had they done so, they would have deserved to be stigmatized in history as the veriest cravens who ever marred by irresolution the opening prospects of a people.
The democratic principles of these men forbade them to impose despotically, even if they had the power, their political opinions upon an unwilling majority; and compelled them to refer all their acts to the ultimate ratification of a freely and fairly elected representative assembly. But the sovereignty of the whole people does not mean the passiveness of individuals—the negation of all impulse, of all guidance, of all initiative, on the part of the better and wiser few. The more firmly resolved were these men to stand by the government of the majority even if it did not adopt their opinions, the more incumbent was it on them to spare no pains for bringing over the majority to them. Their great task was to republicanize the public mind; to strive by all means, apart from coercion or deception, that the coming election should produce an assembly of sincere republicans. And since this could not but, at the best, be regarded as doubtful, they were bound, as far as prudence permitted, to adopt provisionally as many valuable measures as possible; such measures as the future assembly, though it might have hesitated to pass, would not perhaps venture to abrogate. These two things the Provisional Government did in some measure attempt; and though the enemies of popular institutions have clamoured against them as if they had carried both these courses of action to the most abominable extremities, posterity will have more reason, not for censure, but for regret, that they did not venture far enough in either.
Among their proceedings which aimed at the first object, that of republicanizing the nation, those which have been most commented on were the sending of the much-talked-of commissioners to the departments, and M. Ledru-Rollin’s and M. Carnot’s famous bulletins and circulars.[*]
The deputation of commissioners into all parts of France, to explain what had taken place, to represent the new government, and supersede the authorities appointed under the previous régime, seems so natural and indispensable a proceeding, that the storm of disapprobation which it encountered is only a proof of the blind suspicion and distrust with which the provinces received all they did, and which was one of the greatest difficulties of their situation. Much scandal was given by an expression in M. Ledru-Rollin’s instructions to the commissioners, telling them that their powers were unlimited.[†] Was it not the very necessity of the case, that the authority of the Provisional Government was for the time unlimited, that is, unfettered by any constitutional restraints? and could they have gone on without imparting to their sole representatives in the provinces, subject to responsibility to themselves, the fulness of their own power? Not the power assumed, but the use made of it, is, in a time of revolution, the criterion of right or wrong. The Provisional Government knew that these commissioners, so ridiculously compared to the terrible proconsuls of the Convention, were in small danger of being tempted to any over-exertion of power. They knew that their delegates, like themselves, depended on voluntary obedience for being able to exercise any power at all. These formidable despots, who are painted in as frightful colours as if they had carried with them a guillotine en ambulance, were, more than once, simply taken by the hand and led out of the town on their way back to Paris. The selection of persons for these appointments has also been much cavilled at. Lord Brougham revives the almost forgotten calumny, that “one of his [M. Ledru-Rollin’s] commissioners had been a felon, condemned to the galleys, and had undergone the punishment.”[‡] Any one who has taken as much pains to be informed as is implied in merely reading the French newspapers, knows that the person alluded to was not a delegate of the government, or of M. Ledru-Rollin, but of the clubs. Mistakes no doubt were made in the rapid selection of so great a number of persons, in whom zeal for the principles of the Republic, being the most essential requisite, excluded many persons in other respects eligible. But the maligners of the Provisional Government may be challenged to deny, that the great majority of the selections did honour both to the choosers and to the chosen; that a large proportion acquired, in the districts to which they were sent, great and well-merited popularity, and contributed largely to rally those parts of France to the cause of the Republic; that many are now (or were, up to M. Léon Faucher’s recent ejection en masse) prefects, with general approval, of the departments to which they were delegated; and that where errors had been committed, they were at once corrected, as soon ase brought to light.
As little ground is there for the embittered denunciationsf against the circulars and proclamations. Two only of these documents gave cause for just criticism: the famous sixteenth bulletin,[*] and M. Carnot’s circular. The former was withdrawn on the very day of its appearance, and was afterwards declared to have been published by the mistake of a clerk, the draft never having been seen or approved by the minister or by his secretary, M. Carnot, in his celebrated circular, though he expressed himself unguardedly, could never, by any candid reader, be supposed to mean anything but what he has always declared that he did mean: to impress on those to whom the document was addressed, that it was more important, at that particular juncture, that the assembly to be selected should consist of sincere republicans, than that it should contain the greatest possible number of lettered and instructed men;[†] he knowing, as he had good reason to gknowg , that in the greater part of France, most of those who had gained a reputation as men of letters and acquirements under the old régime, like most others who had thriven under that corrupt system, were not to be relied on by the new. It is false that M. Carnot disparaged knowledge, or panegyrized ignorance. He declared, on the contrary, that to make laws and a constitution was a task for the intellectual élite of France.[‡] But were nine hundred men of talent, nine hundred talkers, needed, or capable of being made useful, for such a task? While thinking only of the exigencies of the moment, M. Carnot gave expression, perhaps unwittingly, to a great general truth. It is not the business of a numerous representative assembly to make laws. Laws are never well made but by a few—often best by only one. The office of a representative body is not to make the laws, but to see that they are made by the right persons, and to be the organ of the nation for giving or withholding its ratification of them. For these functions, good sense, good intentions, and attachment to the principles of free government, are the most important requisites. Highly cultivated intellect is not hessentialh , even if we could expect to find it, in more than a select few; and as for that superficial cleverness—that command of words and skilful management of commonplaces, which pass for talent and instruction on the hustings, at public meetings, and in society—most really cultivated persons, we believe, are agreed in opinion, that of this all legislative assemblies have, and are likely to have, a much greater abundance than at all conduces to the ends for which they purport to exist.
iWheni such are the worst things that can be charged against the Provisional Government, their conduct must indeed be free from serious reproach. In this particular matter, the management of the elections, their behaviour, in all that is known of it, will bear comparison with that of any government in any country. Probably no government that ever existed, certainly no French government, practised so entire an abstinence from illegitimate influence—from any employment whatever of government influence to procure elections in their own favour. It is not intended to claim merit for them on this account. Their principles required it: but let it be said, that under great temptations they were true to their principles. It is an unfortunate fact, that in many things besides this, had they been less disinterested, less upright, less determined to rely solely on the power of honesty, they would probably have effected more both for themselves and for their cause. It is because they persisted in their resolve to owe nothing to any other than fair means, that they have been precipitated from power; and among many varieties of calumny, have not escaped even those charges from which their whole conduct had borne the stamp of the most evident determination to keep free.
It would be astonishing (if the impudence of party calumny could astonish any one) to observe what are the crimes of which the detractors of this noble body of men have accused, and are not ashamed still to continue accusing them. They are even now spoken of in newspapers, as if their management of the elections had been something almost unexampled in tyranny and turpitude; and all this time neither a bribe nor a threat, either to an elector or to a body of electors, has been proved, or it may almost be said alleged, against them. If the verdict of history jwasj gathered from the assertions of cotemporaries, what contempt would it inspire for the judgment of posterity on eminent characters, when we find that these men have been charged individually with embezzling money from the Treasury; that even M. kdek Lamartine has thought it necessary to lay before the public the details of his private fortune and pecuniary transactions, in order to extinguish the slander beyond possibility of revival![*] Not without cause; for though malignity itself is not shameless enough any longer to repeat the charge against him personally, his exculpation has not liberated his colleagues; and there have appeared within these few weeks, in more than one English newspaper, articles in which the financial administration of the Provisional Government has been spoken of as one mass of profligate malversation. There is nothing which the spirit that pursues these men would not dare to assert, when it can venture on this. One member of the Provisional Government has been made a mark for greater inveteracy of assault than the rest—M. Ledru-Rollin. Everybody has heard scandalous stories concerning him; and in his case, some of these were specific, and accompanied with names and circumstances. If those which did not enter into particulars, had no better foundation than those which did, M. Ledru-Rollin, as to pecuniary integrity, is the statesman of most unimpeachable character in Europe; for every accusation of the kind that we are acquainted with, which had any tangible character, was investigated by the Commission d’Enquête,[*] and disproved by the evidence of the persons alleged to have been connected with it. In England, his assailants, and those of his colleagues, seized the opportunity of the appearance of a mass of evidence which they knew nobody would read,[†] to affirm (it must in charity be supposed, without having read it themselves) that it substantiated all the floating rumours of misconduct, and covered the members of the government with indelible disgrace. In France, it was felt even by their enemies to have entirely failed of eliciting the disclosures which had been expected from it. M. Ledru-Rollin instantly rose many degrees in public estimation, and has occupied, since those documents appeared, a position of greater political importance than before.
To speak now of those measures of the Provisional Government which partook of a legislative character; for none of which Lord Brougham can find any other purpose, than “to retain the people’s favour.”[‡] Assuredly to retain that favour, at such a time, was as virtuous an object, considering what depended on it, as any of those which influence the lcoursel of legislation in ordinary times. Yet, if it is meant to be said that for the sake of the people’s favour they performed one act, issued one single edict, which did not, in and for itself, commend itself to them as a thing fit to be done, the assertion is gratuitous, and in opposition to all that is known of the case. Many things were done hastily, to make sure of their being done at all: some were done, which it has since been necessary to undo, but mnom one thing can they be shown to have done, which was not such as, in their deliberate opinion, ought to have been done.
Lord Brougham regards the immediate abolition of colonial slavery as a hasty measure, and beyond the powers of a Provisional Government.[§] Considering what proved to be the character of the National Assembly, who can say, if this great act of justice had been left for it to do, how long nan time would have passed before it would have found the leisure or the will to perform it? Financial difficulties, which have gathered so heavily round the infant Republic, would have been enough of themselves to have caused the postponement of emancipation, if it was to be preceded, not followed, by compensation. The Government did at once what required to be so done; they struck off the fetters of the slave, knowing, and because they knew, that the act, once done, was irrevocable. By thus acting, they not only made sure from the first, that, whatever else might happen, some hundreds of thousands of human beings should have permanent cause to bless the Revolution, but averted the chances of civil war and massacre consequent on the indefinite withholding, in such circumstances, of so clear a omoralo right. The indemnification of the owners they left to the future Assembly; but committed the French nation, as far as it was in the power of a government to commit them, to that act of justice.
Lord Brougham talks also of “their incredible decree making all judges hold office during pleasure, and by popular election;” thus placing “the administration of justice in the hands of the populace.”[*] After this positive assertion, some persons may be surprised to be told that no such decree ever existed. What the writer was confusedly thinking about, must have been the act which removed about half-a-dozen judicial functionaries from office, declaring in the preamble that the inamovability of judges was inconsistent with republican principles.[†] They may have beenp, and we think they were,p wrong in this; but the opinion is one held by a large portion of the republican party; and several of the best writers on judicial establishments, both in France and in England, have sanctioned it by their authority.
A more important subject than this is M. de Lamartine’s circular to the diplomatic agents of the French government, otherwise known as his “Manifeste aux Puissances,” declaratory of the foreign policy of the new Republic.[‡] This has been made by Lord Brougham the occasion of an attack on M. de Lamartine, which surpasses, in its defiance of fact, almost every other specimen of mis-statement in this most uncandid pamphlet.
The Provisional Government, he alleges, by this manifesto—
Held out the hand of fellowship to the insurgents of all nations. . . . M. Lamartine does not, and he cannot deny, that he assured the people of all other countries of assistance from France in case they should fail to work out by force their own emancipation; in other words, he promised that France would help all insurgents who might be defeated by their lawful rulers in their rebellion against established authority. Beyond all question this is the very worst thing that France has done; the most sinning against all principle, the most hurtful to herself and to the world.[*]
In this style he continues for several pages, with the volume before him, or (as the context proves) fresh in his recollection, which, together with M. de Lamartine’s defence of his administration, contains a reprint of every speech and every public document which proceeded from him during his “three months in power.”[†] Not one of these contains anything resembling what M. de Lamartine, as the organ of the French government, is here charged with having said.
The “Manifeste aux Puissances” is, both in spirit and in letter, a declaration of the intention of the French Republic to remain at peace. The only passages which admit of any other construction shall be quoted at length, to leave no excuse for those who may imagine that what is so positively asserted, and if false may be so easily confuted, must be true.
The treaties of 1815 no longer exist as obligatory, in the opinion of the French Republic, but the territorial boundaries fixed by those treaties are an existing fact, which the Republic admits as a basis and a starting point in its relations with other countries.
But, while the treaties of 1815 no longer exist except as a fact, to be modified by common agreement, and while the Republic openly declares that it has a right and a mission to arrive regularly and pacifically at such modifications—the good sense, the moderation, the conscience, the prudence of the Republic exist, and are for Europe a better and more honourable guarantee than the letter of those treaties which she herself has so often violated or modified.
Apply yourself, sir, to make this emancipation of the Republic from the treaties of 1815 understood and admitted, and to point out that this liberation is in no respect irreconcileable with the repose of Europe.
We avow openly, that if the hour of reconstruction for certain oppressed nationalities in Europe or elsewhere, appeared to us to have sounded in the decrees of Providence: if Switzerland, our faithful ally since Francis I, were constrained or menaced in the movement which is taking place within her to lend an additional force to her band of democratic governments; if the independent states of Italy were invaded, if the attempt were made to impose limits or obstacles to their internal transformations, or to contest by force of arms their right of allying themselves with each other to consolidate a common country, the French Republic would consider itself at liberty to take arms for the protection of these legitimate movements of growth and of nationality.[‡]
Does this promise “that France would help all insurgents who might be defeated by their lawful rulers?”[§] Can the most perverse ingenuity find in the preceding words one vestige of a suggestion of such an intention? M. de Lamartine claimed for his country the right, according to its own discretion and judgment, to assist any nation which might be struggling to free itself from the yoke of foreign conquerors. Assistance against foreigners, not against native rulers, was the only assistance of which the smallest mention was made; and the first of the supposed cases, that of an extinguished nationality, was the only one which had anything to do with “insurrection,”[*] even against foreigners. And in that there was not only no promise, but an express reservation to the French government to judge for itself whether the “hour of reconstruction” had arrived or not.
But it is not necessary to rely solely on the words of the manifesto, M. de Lamartine had the advantage, in this case, of being his own commentator. The manifesto was issued on the 4th of March. On the 19th of that month M. de Lamartine received a deputation of Poles, and a deputation of Irish on the 3rd of the month following. Both these deputations asked for the succour, which it is pretended that he had promised to all who might be defeated in a “rebellion” against “their lawful rulers.” To both all succour was refused. It is an abuse of the privilege of short memory to have already forgotten declarations which made no little sensation when delivered, and had no slight influence on the subsequent course of events in Europe.
To the Poles, he said—
The Republic is not at war, either open or disguised, with any existing governments, so long as those governments do not declare themselves at war with France. The Republic will neither commit, nor voluntarily suffer to be committed, any act of aggression and violence against the Germanic nations. . . . The Provisional Government will not allow its policy to be altered by a foreign nation, however greatly we sympathize with it. We love Poland, Italy, all oppressed peoples, but above all we love France, and we are responsible for its destinies, and perhaps for those of Europe at the present moment. This responsibility we will resign to no one but to the nation itself. The Republic must not, and will not, act in contradiction to its professions; the credit of its word is at stake, and shall never be forfeited. What have we said in our manifeste aux puissances? We said, thinking particularly of you—Whenever it shall appear to us that the time fixed by Providence for the resurrection of a nationality unjustly blotted out from the map has arrived, we shall fly to its assistance. But we have, with good right, reserved to France what belongs to her alone,—the appreciation of the hour, the moment, the justice, the cause, and the means by which it would be fitting for us to intervene. The means which up to this time we have chosen and resolved on, are pacific.[†]
To the Irish, after expressing a warm sympathy with Ireland as identified with “liberty courageously defended against privilege,” that is, with the conquests of peaceful agitation, he said,
Any other encouragements it would be improper for us to give, or for you to receive. I have already said it à propos of Switzerland, of Germany, of Belgium, and Italy. I repeat it in the case of every nation which has disputes to adjust, either within itself or with its government. Those whose own blood is not concerned in the affairs of a people, are not free to intervene in its affairs. We are of no party, in Ireland or elsewhere, except the party of justice, of liberty, and of the people’s welfare.
We are at peace, and we desire to remain in friendly and equal relations, not with this or the other portion of Great Britain, but with Great Britain itself. We think this peace useful and honourable, not only for Great Britain and the French Republic, but for the human race. We will do no act, speak no word, utter no insinuation contradictory to the principles of the reciprocal inviolability of nations, which we have proclaimed, and of which the Continent is already reaping the fruits. The monarchy had its treaties and its diplomatists; our diplomatists are peoples, and their sympathies are our treaties. We must be senseless to exchange this diplomacy in open daylight, for underhand and separate alliances with parties, even the most legitimate, in the countries which surround us. We have no title to judge them, nor to prefer one of them to another. Declaring ourselves friends of one, would be proclaiming ourselves enemies of another. We do not desire to be enemies of any of your countrymen; we desire, on the contrary, to dissipate by the loyalty of our republican word, the prepossessions and prejudices which may exist between our neighbours and ourselves.[*]
Many will recollect (for much notice was taken of it at the time) the passage which followed these last words: declaring that he never would imitate the conduct of Pitt, when, even during an acknowledged war, he abetted Frenchmen in carrying on in La Vendée an armed contest against their own countrymen.
This contrast between what M. de Lamartine really said, on the subject of affording aid to foreign insurrection, and what it suits the author of the pamphlet to make him say, speaks for itself without further comment.
What was really new and peculiar in M. de Lamartine’s manifesto, consisted, as has been seen by the extracts, in two things. He repudiated the treaties of 1815; and he asserted a right, though without admitting an obligation, to afford military aid to nations attempting to free themselves from a foreign yoke.
To discuss these fundamental points of M. de Lamartine’s declaration in the manner which they deserve, would require much more space than can be afforded to it. The topics are among the most delicate in political ethics; they are concerned with that nice question, the line which separates the highest right from the commencement of wrong; where one person regards as heroic virtue, what another looks upon as breach of faith, and criminal aggression. To one like Lord Brougham, who isq ostentatiously and to his inmost core a man of the last century, M. de Lamartine’s principles must naturally appear extremely scandalous.
M. de Lamartine repudiated certain treaties. He declared them no longer binding on France. Treaties are national engagements; and engagements, when in themselves allowable, and made by persons who have a right to make them, should be kept: who ever denied it? But another thing must be admitted also, and always has been admitted by the morality and common sense of mankind. This is, that engagements extorted by a certain kind and measure of external force, are not binding. This doctrine is peculiarly applicable to national engagements imposed by foreign armies. If a nation has, under compulsion, surrendered its independence to a conqueror, or even submitted to sacrifices of territory or dignity, greater than according to general opinion could reasonably be imposed, the moral sentiment of mankind has never held engagements of this sort to preclude the nation from re-asserting its independence, or from again resorting to arms, in order that what had been lost by force might be recovered by force. rOn what other principle were Prussia and Austria justified in breaking their treaties with Napoleon after his disasters in Russia?r This was the situation of France with respect to the treaties of 1815. They were imposed by conquest, and were agreed to and signed by an intrusive government, while the territory of the nation was occupied by foreign armies. The nation did not consent to them, for an equivalent advantage, but submitted to them, because it was prostrate at the feet of the invaders, and had no power to refuse anything which they might think fit to demand. Such treaties are never understood to bind nations any longer than they find it their interest to acquiesce in them. M. de Lamartine had no need to rest on the fact that these same treaties have been repeatedly remodelled, and in some cases actually violated, by others of the contracting powers; as in the whole treatment of Poland, and remarkably in the very recent instance of Cracow. Nor is it even necessary to consider what the conditions of the treaties were, and to what extent they were dishonourable or injurious to France. Into this question M. de Lamartine did not profess to enter. He simply claimed the right of deciding it, as inherent in, and never foregone by, France. He denied any moral obligation to keep the treaties; but he disavowed any intention of breaking them. He accepted their territorial and other arrangements as existing facts, to be modified only by mutual consent, or by any of those contingencies which in themselves he deemed legitimate causes of war. If it was possible to have assumed any attitude towards those treaties more just and legitimate, more moderate and dignified, more wisely uniting the re-assertion of the nation’s own proper freedom of action with the regard due to the just rights and security of its neighbours, the world will be obliged to any one who will point it out.
But the doctrine, that one government may make war upon another to assist an oppressed nationality in delivering itself from the yoke! This offends Lord Brougham more than everything else. Such a breach of received principles, such defiance of the law of nations, he finds no words too strong to designate. He can hardly think of anything bad enough to compare it with. And it would be vain to deny, that in this he is backed by a large body of English opinion. Men who profess to be liberal, are shocked at the idea that the King of Sardinia[*] should assist the Milanese in effecting their emancipation. That they should assert their own liberty might be endured; but that any one should help them to do it, is insupportable. It is classed with any unprovoked invasion of a foreign country: the Piedmontese, it would seem, not being fellow-countrymen of the people of Venice and Milan, while the Croats and the Bohemians are.
May we venture, once for all, to deny the whole basis of this edifying moral argumentation? To assist a people struggling for liberty is contrary to the law of nations: Puffendorf perhaps does not approve of it; Burlamaqui says nothing about it; it is not a casus belli set down in Vattel.[†] So be it. But what is the law of nations? Something, which to call a law at all, is a misapplication of terms. The law of nations is simply the custom of nations. It is a set of international usages, which have grown up like other usages, partly from a sense of justice, partly from common interest or convenience, partly from mere opinion and prejudice. Now, are international usages the only kind of customs which, in an age of progress, are to be subject to no improvement? Are they alone to continue fixed, while all around them is changeable? The circumstances of Europe have so altered during the last century, that the constitutions, the laws, the arrangements of property, the distinctions of ranks, the modes of education, the opinions, the manners—everything which affects the European nations separately and within themselves, has changed so much, and is likely to change so much more, than in no great lapse of time they will be scarcely recognisable; and is it in their collective concerns, their modes of dealing with one another, that their circumstances, their exigencies, their duties and interests, are absolutely unchanged? What is called the law of nations is as open to alteration, as properly and even necessarily subject to it when circumstances change or opinions alter, as any other thing of human institution.
And, mark, in the case of a real law, of anything properly called a law, it is possible to maintain (however erroneous may be the opinion) that there is never any necessity for disobeying it; that it should be conformed to while it exists, the alternative being open of endeavouring to get it altered. But in regard to that falsely-called law, the law of nations, there is no such alternative; there is no ordinance or statute to repeal; there is only a custom, and the sole way of altering that, is to act in opposition to it. A legislature can repeal laws, but there is no Congress of nations to set aside international customs, and no common force by which to make the decisions of such a Congress binding. The improvement of international morality can only take place by a series of violations of existing rules; by a course of conduct grounded on new principles, and tending to erect these into customs in their turn.
Accordingly, new principles and practices are, and have been, continually introduced into the conduct of nations towards one another. To omit other instances, one entirely new principle was for the first time established in Europe, amidst general approbation, within the last thirty years. It is, that whenever two countries, or two parts of the same country, are engaged in war, and the war either continues long undecided, or threatens to be decided in a way involving consequences repugnant to humanity or to the general interest, other countries have a right to step in; to settle among themselves what they consider reasonable terms of accommodation, and if these are not accepted, to interfere by force, and compel the recusant party to submit to the mandate. This new doctrine has been acted on by a combination of the great powers of Europe, in three celebrated instances: the interference between Greece and Turkey at Navarino; between Holland and Belgium at Antwerp; and between Turkey and Egypt at St. Jean d’Acre. It is too late in the day, after these precedents, to tell us that nations may not forcibly interfere with one another for the sole purpose of stopping mischief and benefiting humanity.
Can any exigency of this sort be stronger—is any motive to such interference of a more binding character—than that of preventing the liberty of a nation, which cares sufficiently for liberty to have risen in arms for its assertion, from being crushed and trampled out by tyrannical oppressors, and these not even of its own name and blood, but foreign conquerors? The customs, or falsely called laws of nations, laid down in the books, were made for an age like that of Louis XIV to prevent powerful and ambitious despots from swallowing up the smaller states. For this purpose they were well adapted. But the great interests of civilized nations in the present age are not those of territorial attack and defence, but of liberty, just government, and sympathy of opinion. For this state of things what is called the law of nations was not made; and in no state of things at all analogous to this, has that so-called law ever been, in the smallest degree, attended to. There was once in Europe a time when, as much as at present, the most important interests of nations, both in their domestic and in their foreign concerns, were interests of opinion: it was the era of the Reformation. Did any one then pay the least regard to the pretended principle of non-interference? Was not sympathy of religion held to be a perfectly sufficient warrant for assisting anybody? Did not Protestants aid Protestants, wherever they were in danger from their own governments? Did not Catholics support all other Catholics in suppressing heresy? What religious sympathies were then, political ones are now; and every liberal government or people has a right to assist struggling liberalism, by mediation, by money, or by arms, wherever it can prudently do so; as every despotic government, when its aid is needed or asked for, never scruples to aid despotic governments.
A few observations may be permitted on the extreme contempt with which Lord Brougham denounces what he calls
That new-fangled principle, that new speculation in the rights of independent states, the security of neighbouring governments, and indeed the happiness of all nations, which is termed Nationality, adopted as a kind of rule for the distribution of dominion. It seems, [he says,] to be the notion preached by the Paris school of the Law of Nations and their foreign disciples, that one state has a right to attack another, provided upon statistically or ethnologically examining the classes and races of its subjects, these are found to vary. These sages of the international law do not, like their predecessor Robespierre (of whom they compose panegyrics), hold exactly that France may legally assail any sovereign who refuses to abdicate, and bestow upon his people the blessings of republican anarchy. But they hold that if any sovereign has two dominions inhabited by different races. France has a right to assist either in casting off his authority. She may intimate to him that he can only continue to rule over the people who are his countrymen, or, if he was born in neither territory, that he must be put to his election, and choose which he will give up, but cannot be suffered to keep both.[*]
It is far from our intention to defend or apologise for the feelings which make men reckless of, or at least indifferent to, the rights and interests of any portion of the human species, save that which is called by the same name and speaks the same language as themselves. These feelings are characteristic of barbarians; in proportion as a nation is nearer to barbarism it has them in a greater degree: and no one has seen with deeper regret, not to say disgust, than ourselves, the evidence which recent events have afforded, that in the backward parts of Europe, and even (where better things might have been expected) in Germany, the sentiment of nationality so far outweighs the love of liberty, that the people are willing to abet their rulers in crushing the liberty and independence of any people not of their own race and language. But grievous as are these things, yet sso long as they exists , the question of nationality is practically of the very first importance. When portions of mankind, living under the same government, cherish these barbarous feelings—when they feel ttowardst each otheru as enemies, or as strangers,v indifferent to each other—they are scarcely capable of merging into one and the same free people. They have not the fellow-feeling which would enable them to unite in maintaining their liberties, or in forming a paramount public opinion. The separation of feeling which mere difference of language creates, is already a serious hindrance to the establishment of a common freedom. When to this are added national or provincial antipathies, the obstacle becomes almost insuperable. The Government, being the only real link of union, is able, by playing off one race and people against another, to suppress the liberties of wallw . How can a free constitution establish itself in the Austrian empire, when Bohemians are ready to join in putting down the liberties of Viennese—when Croats and xSerbsx are eager to crush Hungarians—and all unite in retaining Italy in slavery to their common despot? Nationality is desirable, as a means to the attainment of liberty; and this is reason enough for sympathizing in the attempts of Italians to re-constitute an Italy, and in those of the people of Posen to become a Poland. So long, indeed, as a people are yincapable ofy self-government, it is often better for them to be under the despotism of foreigners than of natives, when those foreigners are more advanced in civilization and cultivation than themselves. But when their hour of freedom, to use M. de Lamartine’s metaphor,[*] has struck, without their having become merged and blended in the nationality of their conquerors, the re-conquest of their own is often an indispensable condition either to obtaining free institutions, or to the possibility, were they even obtained, of working them in the spirit of freedom.
There remains another measure of the Provisional Government, which opens a still wider field of difficult and important discussion than the preceding: the recognition of the droit au travail; of an obligation on society to find work and wages for all persons willing and able to work, who cannot procure employment for themselves.[†]
This conduct of the Provisional Government will be judged differently, according to the opinions of the person judging, on one of the most controverted questions of the time. To one class of thinkers, the acknowledgment of the droit au travail may very naturally appear a portentous blunder; but it is curious to see who those are that most loudly profess this opinion. It is singular that this act of the Provisional Government should find its bitterest critics in the journalists who dilate on the excellence of the Poor-law of Elizabeth;[‡] and that the same thing should be so bad zinz France, which is perfectly right, in the opinion of the same persons, for England and Ireland. For the “droit au travail” is the Poor-law of Elizabeth, and nothing more. Aid guaranteed to those who cannot work, employment to those who can: this is the Act of Elizabeth, and this the promise, which it is so inexcusable in the Provisional Government to have made to France.
The Provisional Government not only offered no more than the promise made by the Act of Elizabeth, but offered it in a manner, and on conditions, far less objectionable. On the English parochial system, the law gives to every pauper a right to demand work, or support without work, for himself individually. The French Government contemplated no such right. It contemplated action on the general labour market, not alms to the individual. Its scheme was, that when there was notoriously a deficiency of employment, the State should disburse sufficient funds to create the amount of productive employment which was wanting. But it gave no pledge that the State should find work for A or B. It reserved in its own hands the choice of its workpeople. It relieved no individual from the responsibility of finding an employer, and proving his willingness to exert himself. What it undertook was, that there should always be employment to be found. It is needless to enlarge on the incomparably less injurious influence of this intervention of the government in favour of the labourers collectively, than of the intervention of the parish to find employment individually for every able-bodied man who has not honesty or activity to seek and find it for himself.
The droit au travail, as intended by the Provisional Government, is not amenable to the commoner objections against a Poor-law. It is amenable to the most fundamental of the objections; that which is grounded on the principle of population. Except on that ground, no one is entitled to find fault with it. From the point of view of every one who disregards the principle of population, the droit au travail is the most manifest of moral truths, the most imperative of political obligations.
It appeared to the Provisional Government, as it must appear to every unselfish and open-minded person, that the earth belongs, firsta, toa all, to the inhabitants of it; that every person alive ought to have a subsistence, before any one has more; that whosoever works at any useful thing, ought to be properly fed and clothed before any one able to work is allowed to receive the bread of idleness. These are moral axioms. But it is impossible to steer by the light of any single principle, without taking into account other principles by which it is hemmed in. The Provisional Government did not consider, what hardly any of their critics have considered—that although every one of the living brotherhood of humankind has a moral claim to a place at the table provided by the collective exertions of the race, no one of them has a right to invite additional strangers thither without the consent of the rest. If they do, what is consumed by these strangers should be subtracted from their own share. There is enough and to spare for all who are born; but there is not and cannot be enough for all who might be born; and if every person born is to have ban indefeasibleb claim to a subsistence from the common fund, there will presently be no more than a bare subsistence for anybody, and a little later there will not be even that. The droit au travail, therefore, carried out according to the meaning of the promise, would be a fatal gift even to those for whose cespecialc benefit it is intended, unless some new restraint were placed upon the capacity of increase, equivalent to that which would be taken away.
The Provisional Government then were in the right; but those are also in the right who condemn this act of the Provisional Government. Both have truth on their side. A time will come when these two portions of truth will meet together in harmony. The practical result of the whole truth might possibly be, that all persons living should guarantee to each other, through their organ the State, the ability to earn by labour an adequate subsistence, but that they should abdicate the right of propagating the species at their own discretion and without limit: that all classes alike, and not the poor alone, should consent to exercise that power in such measure only, and under such regulations, as society might prescribe with a view to the common good. But before this solution of the problem can cease to be visionary, an almost complete renovation must take place in some of the most rooted opinions and feelings of the present race of mankind. The majority both of the upholders of old things and of the apostles of new, seem at present to agree in the opinion, that one of the most important and responsible of moral acts, that of giving existence to human beings, is a thing respecting which there scarcely exists any moral obligation, and in which no person’s discretion ought on any pretence to be interfered with: a superstition which will one day be regarded with as much contempt, as any of the idiotic notions and practices of savages.
The declaration of the droit au travail was followed by the creation of ateliers nationaux;[*] which, indeed, was its necessary consequence; since, in the great falling-off of employment through the industrial stagnation consequent on the Revolution, it would neither have been honourable nor safe to make no commencement of fulfilling the promise given, and circumstances did not allow of improvising any better mode of temporary employment for the destitute. Some such measure would have been necessary after any revolution. In 1830, large sums were expended in setting the unemployed to work. It was the misfortune, not the fault, of the Provisional Government, that the numbers requiring employment were so much greater than at any former period, and that the other circumstances of the case were such as to render the creation of these ateliers eventually the greatest calamity of the time; since it soon became impossible to provide funds for continuing them, while the first attempt to dissolve them was likely to produce, and did in fact produce, the outbreak dind June.
It was not the fall of the monarchy, or the foundation of the republic, that caused the complete temporary paralysis of industry and commerce; it was the appearance on the stage, of the unexpected and indefinitely dreaded phenomenon of Socialism. And it was owing to the diffusion of Socialism among a portion of the labouring classes, that the first step towards the abolition of the ateliers nationaux became the signal for a determined attempt, by a large section of the workmen of Paris, to follow up the republican revolution by a Socialist one.
Let us here stop to consider what this new phenomenon termed Socialism is, in itself, and in its consequences.
Socialism is the modern form of the protest, which has been raised, more or less, in all ages of any mental activity, against the unjust distribution of social advantages.
No rational person will maintain it to be abstractedly just, that a small minority of mankind should be born to the enjoyment of all the external advantages which life can give, without earning them by any merit or acquiring them by any exertion of their own, while the immense majority are condemned from their birth, to a life of never-ending, never-intermitting toil, requited by a bare, and in general a precarious, subsistence. It is impossible to contend that this is in itself just. It is possible to contend that it is expedient; since, unless persons were allowed, not only to retain for themselves, but to transmit to their posterity, the accumulated fruits of their exertions and of their favourable chances, they would not, it may be said, produce; or if they did, they would not preserve and accumulate their productions. It may also be said that to edeny to people the control of what they havee thus produced and accumulated, and fcompel them to share it withf those who, either through their fault or their misfortune, ghaveg produced and accumulated nothing, would be a still greater injustice than that of which the levellers complain; and that the path of least injustice, is to recognise individual property and individual rights of inheritance.
This is, in few words, the case which the existing order of society can make out against levellers. The levellers of the present day, with few exceptions, acknowledge the force of these arguments; and are by this distinguished from all former opponents of the law of property, and constituted, not levellers in the original sense of the word, but what they term themselves—Socialists.
We grant (they say) that it would be unjust to take from individual capitalists the fruits of their labour and of their frugality. Neither do we propose to do so. But capital is useless without labour, and if capital belongs to the capitalists, labour belongs, by at least as sacred a right, to the labourers. We, the labourers, are at liberty to refuse to work except on such terms as we please. Now, by a system of co-operation among ourselves, we can do without capitalists. We could also, if we had fair play from laws and institutions, carry on productive operations with so much advantage, to our joint benefit, as to make it the interest of capitalists to leave their capital in our hands; because we could offer them a sufficient interest for its use; and because, once able to work for themselves, no labourers of any worth or efficiency would labour for a master, and capitalists would have no means of deriving an income from their capitals except by entrusting them to the associated workpeople.
The system of co-operative production, thus established, would cut up by the root the present partial distribution of social advantages, and would enable the produce of industry to be shared on whatever principle, whether of equality or inequality (for on this point different schools of Socialists have different opinions), might appear to the various communities to be just and expedient. Such a plan would, in the opinion of Socialists, be so vast an improvement on the present order of society, that the government, which exists for the good of society, and especially for that of the suffering majority, ought to favour its introduction by every expedient in its power; ought, in particular, to raise funds by taxation, and contribute them in aid of the formation of industrial communities on the co-operative principle: which funds it is not doubted that the success of the scheme would enable, in a few years, to be paid back with interest.
This is Socialism; and it is not obvious what there is in this system of thought, to hjustifyh the frantic terror with which everything bearing that ominous name is usually received on both sides of the British Channel.
It really seems a perfectly just demandi, in the present circumstances of France,i that the government should aid with its funds, to a reasonable extent, in bringing into operation industrial communities on the Socialist principle. It ought to do so, even if it could be certain beforehand that the attempt would fail; because the operatives themselves cannot possibly be persuaded of this except by trial; because they will not be persuaded of it until everything possible has been done to make the trial successful; and because a national experiment of the kind, by the high moral qualities that would be elicited in the endeavour to make it succeed, and by the instruction that would radiate from its failure, would be an equivalent for the expenditure of many millions on any of the things which are commonly called popular education.
At all events, this view of the subject was the only one which could be practically taken by the Provisional Government. They had been made a government, chiefly by the working classes of Paris. A majority of the active members of those classes, including most of their leaders, were deeply imbued with Socialist principles and feelings: to them a republican revolution, which neither did nor attempted anything for Socialism, would have been a disappointment and a deception, which they would have resented with arms in their hands. The Provisional Government, therefore, did what any government, situated as they were, must have done. They associated with themselves, in the supreme authority, two of the Socialist chiefs, M. Louis Blanc and M. Albert. And, things not being ripe for the adoption of practical measures of a Socialist character, they did the only thing which could be done—they opened an arena for the public discussion of the problem, and invited all competent persons, under the auspices of the government, to contribute their ideas and suggestions towards its solution.
This was the origin of the conferences at the Luxembourg; which, both in themselves, and in respect of the connexion of the Provisional Government with them, have been the subject of such boundless misrepresentation. The prominent feature of those conferences consisted of the Socialist speeches of M. Louis Blanc;[*] of whom Lord Brougham asserts that he has fled to England “to avoid being judged by enlightened freemen, for endeavouring to make his Republic more bloody than it has been since 1794.”[†] The accusation is as devoid of truth as his charge against the Montagne party jin the Assemblyj , of “panting for the guillotine as an instrument of government.”[‡] M. Louis Blanc is not even accused, officially, of being concerned in the insurrection of June; the prosecution against him having reference solely to the affair of May, in which, though the National Assembly was turbulently invaded, “blood,” at all events, was neither shed nor thought of; and even as to this, his defence before the Commission d’Enquête appears conclusive.[§] But with regard to his speeches at the Luxembourg, so far as these have been published (and kit has never been pretendedk that anything has been kept back which would make a contrary impression), nothing could be less inflammatory and provocative than his tone, nor more sober and reasonable than every suggestion which he propounded for immediate adoption. In fact, he proposed nothing more than that degree of aid by government to the experimental establishment of the co-operative system of industry, which, even if the failure were total, would be a cheap price for setting the question at rest. Far from stirring up the people to a Socialist insurrection, everything proves him to have felt that, of all things that could happen, an insurrection like that of June would be the most ruinous to the immediate prospects of his cause.
It was from no inherent tendency in the principles or teaching of the Socialist chiefs, that this insurrection broke out. It arose from the suddenness and unexpectedness of the Revolution of February, which, being effected mainly by Socialists, brought Socialist opinions into a position of apparent power, before the minds of the community generally were prepared for the situation, or had begun seriously to consider this great problem. Hence hopes were excited of an immediate practical realization, when nothing was yet ripe—when discussion and explanation had nearly all their work to do; and as soon as the first inevitable retrograde steps were taken, the frustration of premature hopes provoked a fatal collision.
If the Revolution of February should yet disappoint the glorious expectations which it raised, this collision will be the cause. It has divided the sincere Republicans, already a small minority, into two parties at enmity with one another. It has alienated from the only Republican party which has any elements of stability, the greater part of the effective strength of the democracy; and it has filled the bourgeoisie with such insane terror at the bare thought of great social changes, that the most beneficent projects share the discredit of the most perilous, and they are ready to throw themselves into the arms of any government which will free them from the fear of a second Socialist insurrection. These things are lamentable; but the fatality of circumstances, more than the misconduct of individuals, is responsible for them.
If we are now asked whether we agree in the anticipations of the Socialists; whether we believe that their co-operative associationsl, at all events in the present state of education,l would maintain their ground against individual competition, and secure an adequate amount of the fruits of industry, combined with a just repartition of them—our answer must be, that we do not. It is highly probable that, among a great number of such experiments, some would succeed, while under the influence of the zeal and enthusiasm of the first founders. And, in the face of the evidence which experience affords that mankind may be made capable of almost anything by a persevering application of the power of education in one direction, it would be too much to affirm that a time can never come when the scheme of Owen and of Louis Blanc, of a world governed by public spirit, without needing the vulgar incentives of individual interest, mwillm possess a feasibility which cannot be accorded to it now.
But, in proportion to our distrust of the means which Socialists propose for correcting the unjust inequalities in the lot of mankind, do we deem it incumbent on philosophers and politicians to use their utmost endeavours for bringing about the same end by an adaptation of the existing machinery of society. We hold with Bentham, that equality, though not the sole end, is one of the ends of good social arrangements; and that a system of institutions which does not make the scale turn in favour of equality, whenever this can be done without impairing the security of the property which is the product and reward of personal exertion, is essentially a bad government—a government for the few, to the injury of the many.[*] And the admiration and sympathy which we feel for the glorious band who composed the Provisional Government, and for the party which supported them, is grounded, above all, on the fact that they stand openly identified with this principle, and have in all ways proved their sincere devotion to it. As an exemplification, we extract a few paragraphs from M. de Lamartine’s History of the Girondists, written before the February Revolution was thought of; paragraphs worthy of the noble conduct which has immortalized their illustrious writer, andn to be taken as the creed of an earnest and rational Social Reformer, on the questions connected with property and the distribution of wealth:
An equal repartition of instruction, of faculties, and of the things given by nature, is evidently the legitimate tendency of the human mind. Founders of revealed religions, poets and sages, have eternally revolved this idea in their souls, and have held it up in their Paradise, in their dreams, or in their laws, as the ultimate prospect of humanity. It is, then, an instinct of justice in the human mind. . . . Whatever tends to constitute inequalities of instruction, of rank, of condition, of fortune among mankind, is impious, whatever tends gradually to level these inequalities, which are often injustices, and to share more equitably the common heritage among mankind, is religious. All policy may be judged by this test, as a tree by its fruits. The ideal is but otruth ato a distance.
But the sublimer an pidealp , the more difficult it is to realize in institutions on the earth. The difficulty up to this time has been, to reconcile with equality of goods the inequalities of virtues, of faculties, and of exertions, which distinguish mankind from one another. Between the active and the inert, equality of goods is an injustice, for the one produces and the other merely consumes. In order that this community of goods may be just, we must suppose in all mankind the same conscience, the same application to labour, the same virtue. This supposition is chimerical. What social order can rest solidly upon such a falsehood? Of two things, one society, everywhere present and every where infallible, must be able to compel every individual to the same labour and the same virtue, but then, what becomes of liberty? Society, on this footing, would be universal slavery. Or else, society must distribute daily with its own hands, to each according to his works, a share exactly proportioned to the labour and the services of each in the general association. But in that case, who is to be the judge?
Imperfect human wisdom has found it easier, wiser, and more just to say to every one, “Be thy own judge; take to thyself thy own recompense by thy riches or thy indigence.” Society has established property, has proclaimed the freedom of labour, and has legalized competition.
But property, when established, does not feed those who possess nothing. But freedom of labour does not give the same means of labour to him who has only his hands, and to him who possesses millions of acres of the earth’s surface. But competition is the code of qegoismq ; a war to the death between those who work and those who give work, those who sell, and those who buy; those who revel in abundance, and those who starve. Injustice on all hands! Incorrigible inequalities of nature and of law! The wisdom of the legislator seems to lie in palliating them one by one, generation by generation, law by law. He who seeks to correct everything by one stroke, shatters everything. Possibility is the rnecessaryr condition of spoor human wisdoms . Without pretending to resolve complicated iniquities by a single solution—to correct without intermission, to be always ameliorating, is the justice of imperfect beings like us. . . . Time seems to be one of the elements even of truth itself: to demand the ultimate truth from one moment of time, is to demand from the nature of things more than it can give. Impatience creates illusions and ruins instead of truths. Delusions are truths gathered before their time. The Christian and philosophic community of the good things of the earth, is the ultimate social truth; the delusions are the violences and the systems by which hitherto men have vainly imagined that they could establish this truth, and organize it into institutions.[*]
Although not necessary for the main purpose of the present article—the vindication of the Revolution of February and of its leading characters against systematic misjudgment and misrepresentation—it is not irrelevant to offer a few pages of comment on the advice tendered to France in Lord Brougham’s pamphlet, respecting the formation of a Constitution.
This advice is prefaced by a very plain intimation that it is useless—grounded on the commonplace of essayists and reviewers, that a Constitution cannot be made.[†] “Laws are made; codes and constitutions grow. Those that grow have roots; they bear, they ripen, they endure. Those that are fashioned are like painted sticks planted in the ground, as I have seen trees of liberty: they strike no root, bear no fruit, and swiftly decay.”[‡]
We have never been able to see in this trite dictum, anything more than a truism exaggerated into a paradox. Stripped of its metaphorical language, it amounts to this—that political institutions cannot work well, or subsist durably, unless they have existed as customs before they were enacted as laws. No one can be insensible to the advantage in point of security for stability, possessed by laws which merely annex positive sanctions to usages which the people had already adopted, before the legislature recognised them; such as our mercantile law, grounded on the customs of merchants, to which the courts of justice gradually gave legal validity. But this, so far as it is true at all, is as true of any other laws as of political institutions, and as true of a single law as of a code. Why then confine it to codes and Constitutions? Of codes and Constitutions, no more than of single laws, is this pre-existence as custom, however advantageous to stability, a necessary condition of it. What is necessary is, that they should not violently shock the pre-existing habits and sentiments of the people; and that they should not demand and presuppose qualities in the popular mind, and a degree of interest in, and attachment to, the institutions themselves, which the character of the people, and their state of civilization, render unlikely to be really found in them. These two are the rocks on which those usually split, who by means of a temporary ascendancy establish institutions alien tfromt , or too much in advance of, the condition of the public mind. The founders of the English Commonwealth failed for the first reason. Their republicanism offended the taste for kingship and old institutions, their religious freedom and equality shocked the attachment to prelacy or presbyterianism, which then were pervading principles in the majority of the nation. Charlemagne’s attempt to construct a centralized monarchy amidst the distraction and anarchy of the eighth century, failed for the other of the two reasons specified. Its success would have required, both in the governors and the governed, a more cultivated intelligence, a greater comprehension of large views and extended interests, than existed or was attainable in that age, save by eminently exceptional individuals like Charlemagne himself. If the establishment of republicanism in France should turn out to be premature, it will be for the latter reason. Although no popular sentiment is shocked by it, the event may prove that there is no sufficient attachment to it, or desire to promote its success; but a readiness to sacrifice it to any trivial convenience, personal engouement, or dream of increased security.
Lord Brougham cannot enter on the subject of the French Constitution, without rebuking the Assembly for the indifference they have shown to this their appointed work.
They seem only able to consider, with any interest, personal questions, or party questions; or (if they deviate into more general views) social questions, as the language of the day terms them. Such are the only discussions in which the National Assembly appears to have taken a deep interest. With the work of framing a Constitution they have as yet troubled themselves but little, although their sittings have lasted well nigh six months, at the cost to the people of a pound a-day to each of the 900 members.[*]
These sentences uwere of courseu written before the public discussions on the Constitution had commenced; but that does not excuse omission to take notice of the fact, that the work of framing the Constitution was going on uninterruptedly, and with still greater activity, in the five months which preceded, than in the twov which were occupied by, those public discussions. One of the earliest acts of the Assembly was the nomination of a Committee of thirty of its ablest members, to frame the draft of a Constitution. The draft, when framed, was the subject ofw minute examination and discussion, with closed doors—but of which reports reached the newspapers—in every one of the fifteen bureaux of the Assembly; after which the bureaux elected another Committee, to be associated with the first Committee in revising the original scheme, and framing a second draft, with the lights derived from the discussion; so that when the day arrived for taking this second draft publicly into consideration, the work of framing the Constitution was, in reality, finished. It had received the benefit of the best light, of the best wisdom of the Assembly; it was well known how the votes of the Assembly would go, on all disputable points of considerable moment; and little remained for the public discussion to do, except to send forth the arguments of the majority, and the objections and protests of the minority, to their constituents and to the world. Is not this the way in which a Constitution should be made? Are not all Constitutions, and all laws of any value, the work of a few select minds in the first instance, then discussed and canvassed with a greater number, and finally ratified by the many?
The Constitution thus made, and now solemnly proclaimed and adopted,[*] is such as the ideas and the degree of instruction of the age and nation permitted it to be. Of all charges, that to which it is the least obnoxious is the trivial one of introducing new “theoretical” principles.[†] There is in it a remarkable absence of what, in Lord Brougham’s eyes, is so great a fault in a political Constitution—original ideas. There is not a principle or a provision in it that is not familiar to the public mind. It is, in fact, a digest of the elementary doctrines of representative democracy. To those who disapprove of democracy, it is, of course, unacceptable: but, that being granted as the indispensable datum, from which the framers of the Constitution were not at liberty to depart—any fault which can be found with their work, on the ground of a deficiency of checks to the preponderance of popular will, must be set down to the account not of new theories, but of the want of them. The presence of such checks, not their absence, would have been the novelty in constitution-making. That would really have been the introduction of a principle new in democratic constitutions, and for which no foundation was laid in the national mind.
Lord Brougham has condescended to bestow upon these unapt scholars, his view of some of the essential requisites of a popular Constitution. First among these, is the ancient device, or rather accident, of two Legislative Chambers.[‡] How unsuited this contrivance would be to the state of the French mind, may be known from the fact, that although supported by some of the most individually influential of French orators and politicans, it has been rejected by a larger majority than any of the other conservative amendments that have been proposed; and has numbered among its opponents the greater part of that large party in the Assembly which calls itself Moderate, and is called by others Anti-republican.
The arguments for a second Chamber, when looked at from one point of view, are of great force; being no other than the irresistible arguments for the necessity or expediency of a principle of antagonism in society—of a counterpoise somewhere to the preponderant power in the State. It seems hardly possible that there should be permanently good government, or enlightened progress, without such a counterpoise. xIt may, however, be maintained, with considerable appearance of reason,x that the antagonism may be more beneficially placed in society itself, than in the legislative organ which gives effect to the will of society; that it should have its place in the powers which form public opinion, rather than in that whose proper function is to execute it; that, for example, in a democratic State, the desired counterbalance to the impulses and will of the comparatively uninstructed many, lies in a strong and independent organization of the class whose special business is the cultivation of knowledge; and will better embody itself in Universities, than in Senates or Houses of Lords.
A second Chamber, howsoever composed, is a serious hindrance to improvement. Suppose it constituted in the manner, of all others, least calculated to render it an obstructive body; suppose that an Assembly of y(say)y 600 persons, is elected by universal suffrage, and when elected divides itself, as under the French Directorial Constitution,[*] into two bodies, say of 300 each. Now, whereas if the whole body sat as one Chamber, the opposition of 300 persons, or one-half of the representatives of the people, would be required to throw out an improvement; on the system of separate deliberation, 150, or one-fourth only, would suffice. Without doubt, the division into two sections, which would be a hindrance to useful changes, would be a hindrance also to hurtful ones; and the arrangement therefore must be regarded as beneficial, by those who think that a democratic Assembly is more likely to make hurtful than useful changes. But this opinion, both historical and daily experience contradicts. There cannot be a case more in point than this very instance of France. The National Assembly was chosen in the crisis of a revolution, by a suffrage including all the labouring men of the community; the doctrines of a subversive character which were afloat, were peculiarly favourable to the apparent interests of labouring men; yet the Assembly elected was essentially a conservative body; and it is the general opinion that the legislature now about to be elected will be still more so. The great majority of mankind are, as a general rule, tenacious of things existing: habit and custom predominate with them, in almost all cases, over remote prospects of advantage; and however popular may be the constitution, in the ordinary course of its working the difficulty is not to prevent considerable changes, but to accomplish them even when most essentially needful. Any systematic provision in the Constitution to render changes difficult, is therefore worse than superfluous—it is injurious.
It is true, that in the times which accompany or immediately follow a revolution, this tendency of the human mind may be temporarily and partially reversed; partially, we say—for a people are as tenacious of old customs and ways of thinking in the crisis of a revolution as at any other time, on all points except those on which they have become strongly excited by a perception of evils or grievances; those, in fact, on which the revolution itself turns. On such points, indeed, there may easily arise, at those periods, an ardour of ill-considered change; and it is at such times, if ever, that the check afforded by a second or conservative Chamber might be beneficial. But these are the times when the resistance of such a body is practically null. The very arguments used by the supporters of the institution, to make it endurable, assume that it cannot prolong its resistance in excited times. A second Chamber which, during a revolution, should resolutely oppose itself to the branch of the legislature more directly representing the excited state of popular feeling, would be infallibly swept away. It is the destiny of a second Chamber to become inoperative in the zveryz cases, in which its effective operation awould have the besta chance of producing less harm than good.
If these observations are correct b(and we give them only for what they are worth)b , there is no reason to regret the decision by which the Constituent Assembly of the French Republic has rejected the principle of a double legislature. The same considerations serve to justify their adoption of what is termed universal suffrage. Lord Brougham himself cadmitsc that the operation of universal suffrage has hitherto proved very different from what its enemies had anticipated.[*] If a suffrage extending to every adult male of the community produces, and is likely to produce, a legislature more justly chargeable with too conservative than with too innovative a spirit, what would it have been if, by a taxpaying or other property qualification, the democracy of Paris, Lyons, and other large towns, had been excluded from its share of influence? Lord Brougham repeats, along with other trite and gone-by observations on the social condition of France, that very commonplace one, that Paris is France.[†] It is true that, from the political passiveness of the majority of the French people, and the habit of looking to the government as the sole arbiter of all political interests, the provinces of France usually submit readily to any existing government; but it is not now true, whatever it may have been formerly, that the provinces follow blindly the opinion of Paris; they might more truly be said to be unreasonably jealous of Parisian influences. Paris, with a few of the larger towns, is almost the sole element of progress which exists, politically speaking, in France; instead of having too much power, it has far less than in proportion to its immense superiority in political education and intelligence. Its power is never preponderant but when its insurrectionary element is brought into play; and this received a blow in June last, which has laid it prostrate for some time at least.
The remainder of Lord Brougham’s advice to the French people on constitutional subjects is, that they should have an efficient executive, with power promptly to suppress any attempt at disturbance—a point in which, in the present temper of the French, they are not likely to be found deficient; and lastly, that the legislature should be nothing but a legislature, and should not, by itself attempting to administer, usurp the functions of the executive. On this last topic, Lord Brougham’s observations, dasd far as they go, are just, and to the point.
The legislative body, [he observes,] should be strictly confined to its proper functions, of making the laws, and superintending the administration both of the executive and of all other departments; but excluded from all share in any of those branches. The office of discussing legislative measures or of controlling the conduct of public functionaries, may well be entrusted to a senate, however constituted, as the imposition of public burthens upon the community may not only with equal safety be placed in its hands, but ought almost exclusively to rest there. A representative body, necessarily numerous, because elected by a great people, can well and safely debate such matters; it is peculiarly fitted for their discussion. Such a body is wholly unfit to handle matters merely of an administrative kind, or of a judicial. Its numbers at once pronounce this disqualification, its responsibility to constituents confirms the sentence: its want of individual responsibility precludes all appeal and all doubt. How can an assembly of six or seven hundred persons conduct foreign negotiations, decide questions of peace and war, or dispose of the national force, whether with a view to internal police or foreign operations, offensive or defensive? How can such a body be entrusted with the appointment to places, civil or military, when each man will be quick to help his fellow-member’s job, and none ever feel afraid of constituents who can know little, and care less, about such nominations? Above everything, the judicial office must never be exercised by an assembly like this; and of all appointments from which it should be shut out, those connected with judicial powers fall most certainly under the rule of exclusion.[*]
The principle here contended for is of so much importance, that it deserves to be carried efarthere than is done in this passage, or by any existing school of politicians. fIn general,f if a public function is to be discharged with honesty and skill, some one person, or a very small number, should, if possible, be specifically entrusted with it. A few persons, and still more, one person, will feel a moral responsibility, an amenability to the bar of public opinion, which, even when they cannot be made more directly responsible, will be a far stronger security for fidelity and attention to their trust than can be provided in the case of a numerous body. We dissent altogether from the common opinion of democratic republicans, which tends to multiply the conferring of offices by popular election. The sovereign Assembly, which is the organ of the people for superintending and controlling the government, must of necessity be so elected. But with this exception, it appears to us certain (what even Bentham, though in his earlier speculations he maintained a different opinion, ultimately acknowledged),[*] that judges, administrators, functionaries of all sorts, will be selected with a much more careful eye to their qualifications, if some conspicuous public officer, a President or a minister, has the choice of them imposed on him as part of his peculiar business, and feels his official character and the gtenureg of his own power to depend, not on what the people may now think of the choice made, but on what they will think of it after trial. It seems equally certain that the President, or prime minister, will be better selected by the people’s representatives, than by the people themselves directly. The example of the United States is a strong argument for this opinion. If the President were elected by Congress, he would generally be the leader, and acknowledged ablest man, of his party: elected by the people, he is now always either an unknown mediocrity, or a man whose reputation has been acquired in some other field than that of politics. Nor is this likely to alter; for every politician who has attainedh eminence has made a multitude of, at least political, enemies, which renders him a less available candidate for his party to put forward, than somebody of the same professed principles who is comparatively obscure. It is to be feared that the appointment of a President by the direct suffrages of the community, will prove to be the most serious mistake which the framers of the French Constitution have made. They have introduced by it into the still more fermentable elements of French society, what even in America is felt to be so great an evil—the turmoil of a perpetual canvass, and the baneful habit of making the decision of all great public questions depend less upon their merits, than upon their probable influence on the next presidential election. And, in addition to this, it will probably be found, if their present institutions last, that they have subjected themselves to a series of much worse selections, and will have their Republic presided over by a less able and less creditable succession of men, than if the chief magistrate had been chosen by the legislature.
It is but just to acknowledge, that this very questionable provision was introduced in obedience to the important principle of preventing the legislature from encroaching on the province of the executive. The object was, to make the President independent of the legislature. It was feared that if he were appointed and could be turned out by them, he would be their mere clerk—would exercise no judgment and assume no responsibility of his own, but simply register the decrees of a body unfit to conduct the business of government in detail. There was, however, a means of avoiding this, which would have been perfectly effectual. They might have given to the chief of the executive the power of dissolving the legislature, and appealing afresh to the people. With this safeguard, they might have left to the Assembly the uncontrolled choice of the head of the executive, and the power, by a vote of dismissal, of reducing him to the alternative of either retiring or dissolving the Chamber. The check which, under this arrangement, the legislature and the executive would exercise reciprocally over one another, and the reluctance which each would feel to proceed to an extremity which might end in their own downfall instead of their rival’s, would ini , ordinary cases be j sufficient to restrain each within the constitutional limits of its own authority. Instead of this, it is to be feared that by placing face to face an Assembly and a first magistrate—each emanating directly from popular suffrage, and each elected for a term fixed, only capable of being abridged by death or resignation—the Assembly have organized a perpetual hostility between the two powers, replete with dangers to the stability of the Constitution. For if the President and the National Assembly should hereafter quarrel, there may for three whole years be no means by which either can relieve itself from the hostility of the other, except a coup d’état.
In addition to these considerations, an executive chosen by a select body, and armed with the power of dissolving the legislature, would probably be a more effectual check than any second Chamber upon the conduct of an Assembly engaged in a course of hasty or unjust legislation. An eminent politician, the leader of a great party, and surrounded by the élite of that party as his ministers and advisers, would have more at stake in the good conduct of public affairs, would be more practised and skilful in judging of exigencies, would apply himself to his task with a much deeper sense of permanent responsibility, and, as a consequence of all this, would be likely to carry with him a greater weight of opinion, than an assembly of two or three hundred persons, whether composed of English lords, or of the elective representatives of French or American democracy.
k To correct misstatements is so much more tedious a process than to commit them, that space fails us for pointing out, or even alluding to, a tenth part of those which compose the main bulk of Lord Brougham’s pamphlet. But we have exhibited a sample, and what we have exhibited is a fair specimen of what remains behind. Let us hope that something has been done towards the more important purpose of vindicating the Revolution, and the Provisional Government, from as unjust aspersions as ever clouded the reputation of great actions and eminent characters.
[a-a]491,2 the pamphlet before us
[b-b]491,2 In itself, indeed, this production displays considerably more of the will than of the power to injure. In style, it is a determined attempt at rhetoric, but rhetoric of the tritest kind, with no real command of rhetorical resources. It has all the faults without any of the impressiveness of declamation. Its worth in point of matter will be seen presently. And should.
[[*] ]The first Reform Act, 2 & 3 William IV, c. 45 (1832).
[[†] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 1.
[[‡] ]See, e.g., ibid., pp. 1-2, 5-6, 153-4.
[c-c]491,2 not unfrequently
[d-d]491,2 ever was
[i-i]491,2 more in earnest
[[*] ]Ibid., p. 2.
[[†] ]Jacques Charles Dupont de l’Eure (President), Dominique François Arago, Isaac Adolphe Crémieux, Louis Antoine Garnier-Pagès, Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, and Alexandre Pierre Thomas Amable Marie de Saint-Georges.
[[‡] ]Crémieux, Ledru-Rollin, and Marie de Saint-Georges.
[k-k]491,2 afterwards selected
[[§] ]Louis Blanc, Ferdinand Flocon, Armand Marrast, and Alexandre Martin (“Albert”).
[[¶] ]I.e., Brougham, Political Philosophy, 3 pts. (London: Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and Chapman and Hall, 1842-43).
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 14, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 15, 22, 22, 14, 14, respectively.
[[†] ]In Rapport de la commission d’enquête sur l’insurrection qui a éclaté dans la journée du 23 juin et sur les événements du 15 mai, 3 vols. (Paris: n.p., 1848), Vol. I, pp. 182-90.
[[‡] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 14, 15, 31, 31, respectively.
[[§] ]Ibid., pp. 3-4.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 24, 10.
[[†] ]Ibid., p. 14.
[[‡] ]Ibid., e.g., p. 10.
[[§] ]Ibid., p. 49.
[[¶] ]Ibid., pp. 9, 11-12. The reference is to the Charte constitutionnelle, Bulletin 5, No. 59 (14 Aug., 1830), Bulletin des lois du rovaume de France, 9th ser., Pt. 1, I, 51-64.
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 32.
[[‡] ]Loi sur l’instruction primaire, Bulletin 105, No. 236 (28 June, 1833), Bulletin des lois du royaume de France, 9th ser., Pt. 1, V, 251-62, and Loi sur les chemins vicinaux, Bulletin 422, No. 6293 (21 May, 1836), ibid., XII, 193-200.
[[§] ]The term “sinister interests” derives from Jeremy Bentham; see, e.g., Plan of Parliamentary Reform (1817), in Works, ed. John Bowring, 11 vols. (Edinburgh: Tait; London: Simpkin, Marshall; Dublin: Cumming, 1843), Vol. III, pp. 440, 446.
[q-q]491,2 , while
[[*] ]See p. 176n above.
[r]491,2 at least
[[*] ]See “Discours prononcé à la chambre des députés, le 27 janvier 1848,” in Oeuvres complètes, ed. Mme de Tocqueville [and Gustave de Beaumont], 9 vols. (Paris: Lévy frères, 1864-66), Vol. IX, pp. 520-35.
[[†] ]See App. B below, p. 394.
[u-u]491,2 had [aviez in Source]
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 395-7.
[[†] ]Michel Goudchaux, “Déposition,” in Rapport de la commission d’enquête, Vol. I, p. 288.
[* ]“Je le demande à tous: ‘Est-ce que tout le monde, dans les premiers jours, ne convenait pas que la Révolution qui venait de s’accomplir était politique et morale, morale surtout? Est-ce que tout le monde ne convenait pas que cette grande rénovation avait été précédée par une réaction réelle et terrible contre la corruption, et faite par tout ce qu’il y avait d’honnête dans le coeur de la France?’ ” [Louis Antoine Garnier-Pagès, Speech in the National Assembly (24 Oct., 1848), Le Moniteur Universel, 25 Oct., 1848, p. 2966.v
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 31.
[[†] ]Loi sur les crimes, délits et contraventions de la presse et des autres moyens de publication, Bulletin 155, No. 356 (9 Sept., 1835), Bulletin des lois du royaume de France, 9th ser., Pt. 1, VII, 247-56; Loi sur les cours d’assises, Bulletin 155, No. 357 (9 Sept., 1835), ibid., pp. 256-9; and Loi qui rectifie les articles 341, 345, 346, 347 and 352 du code d’instruction criminelle, et l’article 17 du code pénal, Bulletin 155, No. 358 (9 Sept., 1835), ibid., pp. 259-62.
[[‡] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 24.
[[§] ]Ibid., pp. 48-9.
[[¶] ]Pp. 52-6; cf. p. 320 above.
[[*] ]For the proclamation issued 21 Feb., 1848, see The Times, 23 Feb., 1848, p. 6; for the original decree, see Gazette Nationale, ou Le Moniteur Universel, 1 June, 1792, p. 635, and 14 Aug., 1792, p. 953.
[[†] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 30, 15, 29, 15, 15, respectively.
[w-w]491,2 been both
[[‡] ]Louis Philippe d’Orléans, comte de Paris.
[[*] ]See Louis Adolphe Thiers, leading article, National, 4 Feb., 1830, p. 1.
[[*] ]Cf. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, v. 146 (in The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974], p. 422).
[[†] ]Brougham, Letter, e.g., pp. 3, 15. See, e.g., Lamartine’s two “Discours au peuple” (25 Feb., 1848), in his Trois mois au pouvoir (Paris: Lévy, 1848), pp. 64-6. See also Le Moniteur Universel, 28 Feb., 1848, p. 511, for an account of speeches by Arago, Dupont de l’Eure, and Crémieux, on 27 Feb., 1848.
[[*] ]See Samuel Horsley, The Speeches in Parliament of Samuel Horsley, ed. H. Horsley (Dundee: Chalmers, 1813), pp. 167-8.
[[†] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 88, 88, 14, respectively.
[c-c]491,2 most well-conducted
[[‡] ]See, e.g., Anon., “News of the Week,” Spectator, 11 Mar., 1848, p. 237; Archibald Alison, “Fall of the Throne of the Barricades,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, LXIII (Apr., 1848), 401, 410; John Wilson Croker, “The French Revolution—February 1848,” Quarterly Review, LXXXII (Mar., 1848), 583-7; and William Edward Hickson, “The French Republic,” Westminster Review, L (Oct., 1848), 195-7.
[[*] ]Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, Bulletins de la république, ministère de l’intérieur, in Recueil complet des actes du gouvernement provisoire, ed. Emile Carrey, 2 pts. (Paris: Durand, 1848), Pt. II, pp. 617-79; and Lazare Hippolyte Carnot, Le ministère de l’instruction publique et des cultes, depuis le 24 février jusqu’au 5 juillet 1848 (Paris: Pagnerre, 1848); the “circulaire” is on pp. 23-6.
[[†] ]Ledru-Rollin, Bulletin No. 13 (8 Apr., 1848), in Recueil, Pt. II, p. 658.
[[‡] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 113n. The allusion is to Joseph Calixte Martin, alias Riancourt.
[e]491,2 they were
[[*] ]Ledru-Rollin, Bulletin No. 16 (15 Apr., 1848), in Recueil, Pt. II, pp. 663-4.
[[†] ]Carnot, Le ministère de l’instruction publique, p. 24.
[k-k]+59,67 [the addition in 59,67 of de to Lamartine’s name is not henceforth noted: no reason has been discovered for Mill’s inconsistency in sometimes including it and sometimes not in 491,2]
[[*] ]See Lamartine, “Lettre aux dix départements” (25 Aug., 1848), in Trois mois au pouvoir, pp. 35-9.
[[*] ]See its Rapport, 3 vols. (Paris: n.p., 1848), to which Mill refers for the evidence of Chenu, Goudchaux, and Blanc, at 322, 328, and 353.
[[†] ]Mill is presumably referring to the Rapport.
[[‡] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 120.
[l-l]491,2 cause [printer’s error?]
[[§] ]Ibid. For the abolition of colonial slavery, see Décret and Arrêtés, Bulletin 5, Nos 67-9 (4 Mar., 1848), Bulletin des lois de la république française, 10th ser., I, 53-4.
[n-n]+59,67 [printer’s error?]
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 120.
[[†] ]See Le Moniteur Universel, 18 Apr., 1848, p. 853.
[p-p]491,2 right or
[[‡] ]In Trois mois au pouvoir, pp. 69-78.
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 120-2.
[[†] ]Lamartine, Trois mois au pouvoir, passim. See Brougham, Letter, e.g., pp. 30, 146.
[[‡] ]Translated from Lamartine, Manifeste aux puissances, in Trois mois au pouvoir, pp. 75-6. Cf. App. B, pp. 397-8 below.
[[§] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 121.
[[*] ]Ibid., e.g., p. 128.
[[†] ]Translated from Lamartine, Réponse à une députation des Polonais, in Trois mois au pouvoir, pp. 131, 133, 135. Cf. App. B, p. 398 below.
[[*] ]Translated from Lamartine, Réponse à une députation des citoyens irlandais, in Trois mois au pouvoir, pp. 150-1. Cf. App. B, pp. 398-9 below.
[[*] ]Victor Emmanuel II.
[[†] ]Samuel von Pufendorf, Le droit de la nature et des gens (1672), trans. Jean Barbeyrac, 5th ed., 2 vols. (Amsterdam: De Coup, 1734), Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, Principes du droit naturel (Geneva: Barillot, 1747) and Principes du droit politique (Geneva: Barillot, 1751), and Emerich von Vattel, Le droit des gens, 2 vols. (Leyden: Dépens de la compagnie, 1758).
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 126.
[s-s]491,2 assuming their existence
[y-y]491,2 unfit for
[[*] ]Manifeste, p. 76; cf. App. B, p. 398 below.
[[†] ]See Le Moniteur Universel, 26 Feb., 1848, p. 503.
[[‡] ]43 Elizabeth, c. 2 (1601).
[a-a]491,2,59 of [printer’s error?]
[b-b]491,2 a first
[[*] ]For the latter, see Le Moniteur Universel, 27 Feb., 1848, p. 507.
[e-e]491,2 take from people by force what they had
[f-f]491,2 bestow it on
[h-h]491,2 account for
[[*] ]Printed in Louis Blanc, La révolution de février au Luxembourg (Paris: Lévy, 1849), passim.
[[†] ]Brougham, Letter, p. 57.
[[‡] ]Ibid., p. 80.
[[§] ]In Rapport de la commission d’enquête, Vol. I, pp. 103-13, 238-41.
[k-k]491,2 there is no evidence
[[*] ]See, e.g., Bentham, Principles of the Civil Code (1838), in Works, Vol. I, pp. 302-3, 311-13.]
[o-o]491,2 the truth seen from
[p-p]491,2 idea [printer’s error?]
[s-s]491,2 the miserable wisdom of man
[[*] ]Translated from Lamartine, Histoire des Girondins, 8 vols. (Paris: Coquebert, 1847), Vol. V, pp. 407-10. Cf. App. pp. 399-400 below.
[[†] ]See James Mackintosh, The History of England, 10 vols. (London: Longman, et al., 1830-40), Vol. I, p. 72.
[[‡] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 41-2.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 56, 59.
[u-u]491,2 of course were
[[*] ]Constitution de la république française, Bulletin 87, No. 825 (4 Nov., 1848), Bulletin des lois de la république française, 10th ser., II, 575-605.
[[†] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 40ff.
[[‡] ]Ibid., pp. 59ff.
[x-x]491,2 We, however, incline to believe
[y-y]491,2 , say,
[[*] ]Constitution de la république française, proposée au peuple français par la convention nationale (Paris: Imprimerie de la république, an III ).
[a-a]491,2,59 might have a
[c-c]491,2 is forced to admit,
[[*] ]Brougham, Letter, pp. 75-6.
[[†] ]Ibid., pp. 109ff.
[[*] ]Ibid., pp. 71-2.
[f-f]491,2 We regard it as one of the most fundamental of all practical principles of government, that
[[*] ]For Bentham’s early opinion, see Bentham’s Draught for the Organization of the Judicial Establishment in France (1790), in Works, Vol. IV, pp. 307-9, 354; for his later view, see The Constitutional Code (1827, 1841), ibid., Vol. IX, pp. 529-31.
[k]491,2 It is time to conclude, though much still remains unsaid
[* ]“Je le demande à tous: ‘Est-ce que tout le monde, dans les premiers jours, ne convenait pas que la Révolution qui venait de s’accomplir était politique et morale, morale surtout? Est-ce que tout le monde ne convenait pas que cette grande rénovation avait été précédée par une réaction réelle et terrible contre la corruption, et faite par tout ce qu’il y avait d’honnête dans le coeur de la France?’ ” [Louis Antoine Garnier-Pagès, Speech in the National Assembly (24 Oct., 1848), Le Moniteur Universel, 25 Oct., 1848, p. 2966.v
[v]491,2 [paragraph] M. Guizot, in his little tract on Democracy in France [(Paris: Masson, 1849)], vainly attempts to divert attention from the profligate system of government of which he made himself the agent, by throwing the whole blame of the catastrophe upon “the idolatry of democracy” [p. 2]. We think this tract the weakest performance to which he ever attached his name, and quite unworthy of his reputation. Its denunciation of democracy is made up of vague and declamatory generalities, which, we should think, even those who agree with him in opinion cannot imagine to be the thing now wanted on so hacknied a subject