Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE BARON DE TOCQUEVILLE. - Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 1
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TO THE BARON DE TOCQUEVILLE. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 1 
Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville. Translated from the French by the translator of Napoleon’s Correspondence with King Joseph. With large Additions. In Two Volumes (London: Macamillan, 1861). Vol. 1.
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TO THE BARON DE TOCQUEVILLE.
Versailles, May 6, 1830.
I see, my dear brother, from your last letter, that in reality we agree. You perceive the evil, but not the remedy. There are dangers, indeed, on every side. If we adhere to the constiution I do not think that the ministry can stand. It has no ardent supporters. All parties, even the ministers themselves, are aware of its instability. The Premier is an honest man, presumptuous and commonplace, who inspires no confidence. The royalists are undecided, disunited, without zeal; and what is worse, without much fear for the future, because they think that the House of Bourbon alone is threatened, and not monarchy itself; and that a revolution may take place without public disturbance.
Therefore if the charter be acted on, there is not much probability that the ministry will remain. If the King abandons it, there will be a reaction, and the royal authority will fall very low. Still this would be the safest course; for if the King sets his power above that of the charter, he will infallibly lose his throne. Such, at least, is my conviction. Let us consider, for a moment, how he would extricate himself if he were to set aside the law. What support would he have? Certainly not that of public opinion. There is scarcely a man who would approve of the measure. Almost the whole nation would rise up if it were attempted. That of the tribunals? But on the day that the King began to rule by proclamations, the tribunals would refuse to enforce them. I know them well enough to answer for this. He would have then to supersede them by executive commissions, to violate the laws more and more, to reign by military force, to fill the streets with soldiers. But could he be sure that they would long be satisfied with this employment? And then, and this reason is conclusive, is it possible that a man like Charles X., a man of seventy-two, with his kind and easy disposition, could face such consequences, and carry out persistently such a scheme? Is there among all the boasters round his throne one man brave enough to act under him, or skilful enough to act for him? What would happen then if force were resorted to? Perhaps the downfall of the present dynasty, or at any rate, an extreme diminution in the power of the crown. No one in France wants to be governed by proclamations. It is nobody’s interest. The judicial bodies would lose their importance; the peers their rank; men of talent their expectations; military men their promotion; and the lower classes all their security. If so, can he fight against the general will?
I have no private news for you. The expedition to Algiers must have sailed. I am anxious about Louis de Kergorlay, who told me, as a secret, that he is to be the first to land with a light portable battery, which is to open fire long before the arrival of the heavy artillery, and to protect the disembarkation.