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TO THE SAME. - Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 2 
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). 2 vols.
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TO THE SAME.
Paris, November, 1848.
Your first letter had determined me to accept the mission which was offered to me.* Still, I did not like to do so till I had spoken to General Cavaignac. I saw him on the day before yesterday. . . .
In the first place, will there be a mediation or a conference? If the Austrian empire falls to pieces, how and where can we negotiate? If, as is more probable, Vienna is retaken, and a monarchical reaction occurs, would the crown in the midst of its triumph be inclined to negotiate? If war broke out again in Italy, could there be negotiations? I might make many more hypotheses; first and foremost, the possibility of our seeing, even before the negotiations are opened, another man take the place of General Cavaignac at the head of our affairs. . . .
We have just heard that a bloody and formidable revolution has broken out in Berlin. Germany, then, is topsyturvy from one end to the other. How will that affect us? I fear in no good way. After a crisis of such violence, I fear a passing but dangerous reaction. . . .
I accept your invitation to London with great pleasure. The affair will benefit by the negotiators meeting. . . . But the more I think of it, the more I doubt whether the Congress at Brussels will ever take place. . . .
TO G. GROTE, ESQ.
Paris, February 27, 1849.
My Dear Mr. Grote,
I have received the books that you were so kind as to send to me. I did not write to you immediately, because I would not write to you before I had read you. I was a long time about this; for nearly a month I was ill, and all the rest of the time I have been very busy. Still I have been able to find leisure to read your fifth volume, which seems worthy of its predecessors. This is as much as to say that it greatly interested, and I might almost say, amused me, if it were proper to use such a word respecting so serious and learned a work. In fact, the impression produced on me by your book is always the same. I feel a grave, intellectual enjoyment at seeing the picture of the ancient, and illustrious society of Greece, by the light of modern knowledge and experience. I knew the edifice well, and yet I am struck by its new aspect. It is as if I saw by daylight an object of which I had only caught a glimpse in the night. Again I beg you to accept not only my thanks, but my sincere congratulations.
I see that our affairs interest you. The events in France during the last year are well calculated to attract the attention of an elevated and thoughtful mind. To a foreigner, who sees the effects without understanding the causes, they must appear most extraordinary. To those who are on the spot, and who have watched the inevitable progress of events, nothing can be more simple and natural. . . .
At any rate, the nation did not wish for a revolution. Still less did it desire a republic; for though in France there is not a particle of attachment for any particular dynasty, the opinion that monarchy is a necessary institution is almost universal. France then wished neither for a revolution nor for a republic. That she has allowed both to be inflicted upon her proceeds from two causes: from the fact that Paris, having become during the last fifty years the first manufacturing town in the country, was able on a given day to furnish the republican party with an army of artizans; and secondly from another fact, which is the off-spring of centralization, that Paris, no matter who speaks in her name, dictates to the rest of France. These two facts, taken together, explain the catastrophe of February, 1848.
The whole of this last year has been one long and painful effort on the part of the nation to recover its equilibrium, and to retake, by the pacific and legal means that universal suffrage has conferred on it, all the benefits of which it was robbed by the surprise of February. Much has been said about the versatility of the French. They are versatile, no doubt, but in my opinion they never were less so than during the last year. Up to the present time their conduct has been singularly consistent. Last March they rose as one man to attend the elections, and, in spite of much intimidation, they elected an Assembly which, though favourable to a republic, was thoroughly anti-anarchical and anti-revolutionary. In June they armed, and rushed to Paris, to prevent another revolution even more frightful than the first. Finally, in December, they designated their ruler by a name, if not monarchical, at least significant of a strong and regular mode of government. I, for my part, deeply regretted this last act, which seemed to me to go too far. I did not join in it. I refused to retain my diplomatic appointment to Brussels. But I must confess that the conduct of the nation on the 10th December was not inconsistent. It acted under dangerous excitement, but in the same spirit which governed its actions in March and in June, and even in the petty details of every day. And now, what will happen? It would be madness to attempt to predict.
Whatever it may be, we cannot possibly be replaced in the position we were in before February. Many fancy that we shall be. But they are fools. They think that by tearing out a page of history they will be able to take it up where they left off. I do not believe a word of it. This revolution has left, in many directions, scars which will never be effaced.
Pray present our kind regards to Mrs. Grote, and accept them yourself.
[*]To represent France in the proposed conference at Brussels on Italian affairs; England and France having offered their mediation, and Austria having accepted it.