Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE COMTESSE DE CIRCOURT. - Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
TO THE COMTESSE DE CIRCOURT. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO THE COMTESSE DE CIRCOURT.
Sorrento, December 30, 1850.
I was waiting, Madame, to write to you till I had made the acquaintance of General Filangieri, by whom I am sure that I should have been well received, as my letter to him was from you. However, I am obliged, with great regret, to tell you that I am unable to make use of your introduction. The bad effects of our first voyage on the health of Madame de Tocqueville, and our well-founded fears of finding no lodging at Palermo, except in the hotel, determined us to fix ourselves at Sorrento, whence I write to you.
I dare say that you know this charming spot, so I need not describe it to you; and you will have no difficulty in believing that I enjoy it as much as one can ever enjoy oneself away from one’s friends and one’s country. Now and then, as I said before, I think with a sigh of Sicily. I am particularly sorry to lose the opportunity of conversing with General Filangieri, who, as I hear on all sides, is the most distinguished man in this country.
I allow myself as little as possible to think of politics, and I try not to let them annoy me. Hitherto, this mode of life, and especially this admirable climate, have revived me more than I had dared to expect. I really hope to carry back with me to Paris a capital of good health. This capital I shall no doubt spend, and perhaps even, like others, I shall waste it in what is called the great business of life, as if it were not the great business of every one’s life to keep his body in health and his mind at rest.
Although I live like a hermit, and perhaps because I live like a hermit, I am extremely curious to know all that is going on in the world, or, to use the language of hermits, all secular affairs. It would be most kind and charitable in you to tell me, when you answer me (that is, at least, if you really are willing to take so much trouble), some news, and, above all, some of your own news. There is no man who could prize them more highly.
Though solitary, do not think that I am quite without resources. I have brought as companions a few excellent books. It sometimes occurs to me, I tell you this as a secret, that on the whole I prefer living with books to living with authors. One is not always happy with the latter; while books are intelligent companions, without vanity, ill-humour, or caprice; they do not want to talk of themselves, do not dislike to hear others praised; clever people whom one can summon and dismiss just as one pleases. A capital recommendation; for though there is nothing so delightful as agreeable conversation, it shares the fate of all other pleasures, and to be fully enjoyed ought to be taken only when one chooses, and as one chooses. I need not say that my distrust of authors does not extend to my friend Ampère, whom I am impatiently expecting to-morrow, or the day after. His least merit is writing; and I know by experience that no companion can be more agreeable and delightful than he is in retirement. As I wish to keep him as long as possible in our retreat, I have fitted him up a south room, with a grove of orange-trees under his window, and a glimpse of the sea in one corner. I have put in a fireplace and a carpet, two things which are sometimes necessary, though they are rare in this fortunate climate, where few precautions are taken against winter. I hope that he will like his cell; that he will stay as long as we shall at Sorrento; that we shall talk a great deal, and even work a little; for complete idleness is good for nothing; and has never fattened any but fools, so it is said, but even this I doubt.
Adieu, Madame. Forgive all this gossip in consideration of the pleasure that writing to you affords me, and believe in my respectful attachment.
TO M. GUSTAVE DE BEAUMONT.
Sorrento, January 5, 1851.
. . . We continue to delight in Sorrento. I have not had a day’s illness. The accounts you have heard of the cold of Sorrento were exaggerations. I have never known a month of May as uniformly warm and fine as the month of December which has just ended. The thermometer in the night has never fallen below 6° or 8°, and in the day it has in general risen to 12° or 15° (centigrade). Add to this a hot sun, and a total absence of wind, and you have what in France we should call magnificent May weather, minus the poetry which belongs to May—the sudden return of all animated beings to life, and the universal awakening of nature from her long sleep. We live here in utter solitude. Ampère has not yet arrived. His hieroglyphics keep him in Rome. However, though we are most anxious for his company, our isolation does not distress us. I try, as I told you before, to employ my mind without fatiguing myself, and I succeed. If I am pleased with what I am doing, I will read it to you on my return. Writing is a delightful occupation when one has plenty of leisure, and when one’s object is to please oneself and not the public. That judgment of the public in perspective spoils the enjoyment. . . .
The worst part of my present residence is, that one may study everything but Italy. I should like to learn, at least, what is going on close to me in this little space; but I find it very difficult. Fear, ignorance, or perfect indifference, closes every mouth. Besides, I find it hard to make acquaintances, though I am not particular as to the sort. The Italian middle classes, the only class to be found at Sorrento, do not care to visit you, because they do not care that you should visit them; and they do not care that you should visit them, because they live in garrets of which they are ashamed, and which they do not choose to convert into clean and comfortable apartments. You know, too, as well as I do, that conversation, especially in travelling, is an exchange, and that one can learn nothing from those who wish to learn nothing from you. How willingly I would allow these people to dispense with their low bows and their superlatives, if they would change them for the curiosity and precise information of those long Yankees, who used to go on chewing their tobacco while they were talking to us; but who every day taught us something that was new and useful.
I, therefore, learn only what my eyes teach me; and practical observation every day shows me that the population among whom I live is civil, well-behaved, easily led, not given to thieving, extremely ignorant and superstitious; in fact, in perpetual childhood. They are children of good dispositions, but ill brought up. Such a government as this could not be maintained with any other subjects. It is only on near view that one sees this. But how sad it is that, all the world over, governments are just as rascally as nations will allow them to be. This is the only limit to their vices. . . .
Sorrento, January 29, 1851.
. . . The last newspapers which I have received are those of the 19th. I learnt from them the vote of the Assembly on the 18th, adopting Sainte Beuve’s amendment,* and sounding an official note of defiance. . . .
. . . What will be the consequence, I cannot tell; but whatever takes place, I am very glad that it passed.
. . . Always supposing that this triumph of the Assembly will be complete, and that the President will accept his defeat, I no less continue to think, as I have done for a long time past, that the chances for the future are in his favour, and that common prudence will secure them to him. I attach more importance to the general aspect of the country than to any particular accident, however momentous. The general tendency seems to be a movement on the part of the nation from liberty towards a concentrated and permanent power. The fact that the most eminent political and military men are opposed to this movement, does not reassure me, for we live in a democratic age and society, where individuals, even the most distinguished, count for little. To form my own opinion, I listen neither to those who extol, nor to those who depreciate, the talents of the candidates. In these times the man himself is not of consequence, but the means by which he attains to power. A dwarf may be carried on the crest of a wave to the top of a cliff, which a giant could not climb from the beach. . . .
You know that Ampère came here a few days ago; we have also the Seniors, whose society we much enjoy. . . .
The following extracts contain some of the conversations alluded to by M. de Tocqueville, in his letter to Mr. Senior, of the 28th of November, 1851, and mentioned by M. Ampère, in his charming memoir of M. de Tocqueville, published in the Correspondant:—
“We used to take long walks over the mountains, for though so fragile, he was a great walker. Sometimes we halted in some lovely spot, with the sea spread out before us, and the sky of Naples above us. We rested to take breath, and then resumed our conversations.
“His inexhaustible mind, which at no time displayed more activity or more freedom, touched, without undue haste or too rapid transition, but with even flow and infinite variety, one subject after another. They succeeded each other without effort, from the most important and logical discussions down to the most piquant anecdotes. Though always perfectly simple, he preserved, in the most intimate and familiar conversations, the purity of expression and admirable choice of words which was a part of his very nature. While sitting on the rocks around Sorrento, I might have written down (and why did I not?) all that escaped his lips in those moments of friendly intercourse.”
Sorrento, Wednesday, January 29, 1851.
We had just heard the news of the vote of the Assembly of the 18th of January, that it had no confidence in the present French ministry.
“The last time,” said Tocqueville, “that a French Chamber agreed on such a vote was in June, 1830: an ominous recollection; but in 1830, the 221 had the country at their back.
“It is difficult to say how far the country sympathizes with the Assembly. The President makes no undignified appearance in public. His immense patronage throws all France at his feet. The framers of the constitution meant to render him merely the subordinate officer of the Assembly. Within the limits of the constitution the Assembly was to be sovereign; but they have given to the President means of power and influence with which they, the Assembly, find it difficult to cope. And I agree with Thiers, that if, in the struggle, the Assembly yields, we have the empire under another name. It is possible that he may make a compromise with them on the dotation question, give up his ministers, and receive his three millions: which, of course, would be dishonourable to him. It is more probable that his ministers will refuse to continue.
“To be censured by the Assembly, and treated by the President as mere clerks, is paying a high price for office.”
“It is unfortunate,” I said, “that Louis Napoleon has learnt so little in England.”
“He learnt in England,” said Tocqueville, “a good deal. He learnt, for instance, the value of private enterprise and skill. He is less inclined than most of his ministers are to interpose in all great works the action of the government; but he has not learnt even the principles of parliamentary government. He is resolved not only to be his own prime minister, but to be almost sole minister. He will not even submit to be controlled in his cabinet. Hence arises the anomaly, that the leading men in the Assembly vote against the ministry, and yet refuse to take office. They vote against the ministry, because they fancy that they see in them the accomplices of an usurpation; they refuse to take office, because they would incur responsibility without having free agency.”
“It seems to me,” I said, “that the Assembly ought to have made its stand against the autocratic pretensions of the President, in November, 1849; when, in defiance of the spirit of parliamentary government, he dismissed a ministry which was supported by a strong majority. By not resenting that aggression, you invited others.”
“That is true,” he answered; “but the Assembly was new, and the President was new; we were very anxious not to begin so early with a quarrel; and we, the retiring ministry, used our utmost efforts to obtain for our successors a fair trial. But perhaps, as you say, we were wrong.”
“What is the next move,” I asked, “if the ministers remain?”
“There are two means,” he answered, “by which the Assembly might endeavour to coerce the President. The direct taxes, which form the bulk of the revenue, are by the constitution only annual. It might refuse them, or it might pass laws directly aimed at his power. It might change, for instance, the constitution of the army. It might exclude the army from Paris; in fact, exercising despotically the whole power of legislation, on all points that are not determined by the constitution, it might seriously embarrass or even arrest his administration.”
“Would not either of these courses,” I said, “induce the people to take part with the President? Each of them, would in fact, be fighting the battle at the expense of the country, You want, I think, here the expedient of a dissolution. With us, if the King retain Ministers whom the House of Commons disapproves, it stops, or rather threatens to stop, the supplies; not as a party move, but as a means of forcing an appeal to the people. It is dissolved, and the ultimate umpire, the nation, decides. If it sends back, as it did in 1835, a house with the same opinions as its predecessors, the Ministers must go. If it sends one, as it did in 1784, with a ministerial majority, of course they remain. You seem to have no means of consulting the nation, but must wait till the Assembly has sat through its term.”
“A dissolution,” he said, “with us would be a revolution. The President, especially a Bonaparte, could not be left, even for a few weeks, unchecked by a countervailing force. Some years hence, perhaps, if we have then popular institutions, our chief magistrate may be allowed the power given to your sovereign, but not in our present state of transition.”
“But,” I said, “if you refuse to pass laws, and the President remains firm, what is to be the result?”
“If,” he answered, “his conduct were such as to justify our accusing him of an intention to subvert the constitution, we might seize the whole power of the state, and impeach him.”
“And these seditious cries, these promotions of those who uttered them, these dismissals of those who refused to join in them, this removal of the commander, on whose skill and fidelity the Assembly relied for its protection, are strong indications of plans of usurpation?”
“They might be urged,” said Ampère, “as implying a tendency, but the President may certainly keep within the limits of the law, and yet make legal government, except through his own ministers, impossible.”
“Was he wise,” I asked, “in indulging in an expenditure which forces him to apply to the chamber for a further allowance?”
“Very unwise,” answered Tocqueville; “he ought to have lived within his income, as the richest private man in France, without assuming princely magnificence. He would have been more respected, and really more powerful; I have told him so a hundred times; I have implored him to lay aside his extravagant retinue, and to discontinue his ostentatious fêtes.”
“But his instincts are towards expense, and his immediate adherents, who are as bad advisers as it is possible, stimulate an extravagance by which they profit. He is always thinking of his uncle. And the expense of the Imperial Court is, of course, the part of the empire most easily copied.”
“In what way,” I said, “does he get rid of so much money?”
“A great deal of it,” said Tocqueville, “goes in gifts to old officers: much, of course, in dinners and balls; but more in what is called coulage, waste, carelessness.”
“Of course,” I said, “he has gained something by this expenditure, though he may have lost more.”
“If,” answered Tocqueville, “his object be to become a sovereign, he may have forwarded it by accustoming people to see him surrounded by a state and splendour inconsistent with private life. But I do not believe that his extravagance has been the result of any deep political views. I fancy that his real motive has been the pleasure of spending money, of gratifying his immediate vanity, and the vanity of those around him.”
“It is wonderful how many men of talent and ambition have sacrificed their comfort, and even their independence to a taste for expense.”
“All that is going on,” continued Tocqueville, “fills me with uneasiness. I wish well to the President, and I wish well to the Assembly, and I see them on the way to destroy one another.”
“Among all the different courses which events may take, the one which has for some time appeared to me the least objectionable, is the prolongation of Louis Napoleon’s presidency, and I am grieved to see him make it the most objectionable.”
“What,” I asked, “will be the prophecy that I shall hear when I am in Paris next May? During the last three Mays, it has been an insurrection, and twice it has come true.”
“The prophecy,” he answered, “next May, will be a Coup d’État. Some of your friends will tell you that in a week the Assembly will declare itself in danger; appoint a guard of 40,000 men, under the command of one of its members, and use it to take the President to Vincennes.
“Others will assure you that the news which you may expect every morning is, that during the night the Palais National has been occupied by the troops; that the walls are covered with placards, declaring the Assembly dissolved; and that all the leading members of the majority are arrested or concealed. And I will not venture to predict that neither of these events, or, at least, that no event similar to one of them, will occur.
“In the present state of feeling,” he continued, “nothing would be easier than for the President to make himself a constitutional king. It is the form of government under which France has been most prosperous, it is the one which has the most friends, and the most effective ones. If one of the Orleans’ princes were president, we should slide into it almost unconsciously. But this is a rôle utterly repugnant to all Louis Napoleon’s prejudices and tastes. He cannot bear to be controlled by an assembly, to take his ministers from its majority, to submit his conduct to its criticism. I am convinced that he had much rather remain President of the Republic, with a vague, undefined, and, as he thinks, independent power, than become a constitutional king, acting under the advice of his ministers and with little real power of choosing them.
“Of course I do not mean to say that he is satisfied to be a mere president. What I affirm is, merely that he prefers it to being a constitutional king.
“What he would wish, is to be a king like Henry IV. or one of your Tudor sovereigns. He would not object perhaps to a senate, which might always pay him compliments, and sometimes give him advice, which might take on itself the details of legislation, and register and promulgate his decrees.
“But, like his uncle, he wishes to govern.”
Tuesday, February 4, 1851.
We expected, in the evening, letters and papers from France; but a continuance of easterly winds has delayed the packet, and none arrived.
Tocqueville is very uncomfortable.
“I voted,” he said, “against Louis Napoleon, partly for the very reason which induced the great majority to support him, because he is a Bonaparte, and partly from my deep distrust of his character. But when we had him, I was anxious that we should keep on good terms with him. To be sure he is essentially Prince, the rôle of Washington would have no charm for him. He has believed for twenty years that it is his destiny to be the permanent ruler of France, and his rashness is equal to his confidence. Still, I think that it would have been possible, for a time at least, to avoid a rupture, and I have done all in my power to avert one. In all my letters, I have urged my friends to endeavour to conciliate him.
“But now that the conflict has come, I earnestly wish that the Assembly may get the better. If the President succeeds, if his powers, already perhaps too large for a representative government, are prolonged and consolidated, he and his court will become the masters of France. . . . The late debates have shown us for the first time a party, calling itself the President’s friends. They are endeavouring to form into a permanent party, the minority of 286.*
“That minority consisted originally of as many shades as the majority. There were those who wished merely to blame one portion of the conduct of the ministers there there were those who did not intend even to blame, but merely to express regret I trust that it will dissolve now that the accident which created it has passed; but if it does not, if it crystallizes into a party, such a minority, opposed to such a disunited majority, will soon become the most powerful body in the Assembly.
“The people, too, are now in a state of mind in which whatever be its follies, or its usurpations, they will side with the executive. They are thoroughly sick of revolutions, and would sacrifice the constitution to avoid a contest.”
“It is lucky,” I said, “that if your constitution is in danger, it is not a more valuable one. If we were to lose ours, we should think our loss irreparable; but you could run up one as good as this in a few weeks.”
“The constitution,” he answered, “is detestable; but it gives us shelter.
“There is no saying what might happen in the interregnum. It is of some importance, too, to consider what is the character of the man who aspires to be our ruler. You think in England, I know, that he is essentially pacific; that he represents the party of order, and that it is safer to have to deal with him than with the Assembly. Just at present, while he is thinking only of the means of buying friends and crushing enemies, he is quiescent; but he has notions about the part which France ought to play in the affairs of Europe which might make him a very disagreeable, perhaps a very dangerous, member of the political world.”
Sorrento, Sunday, February 9, 1851.
The papers brought us in the evening the meagre result of the “interpellations” addressed to the new French Ministry on the 28th.
“The Assembly,” said Tocqueville, “has acted as a large heterogeneous body may be expected to act. It has made an attack, and recoiled—shown its anger, and perhaps its impotence. I have no fear that what may be called the liberties of France, such as they are, will be diminished. We have now enjoyed legal government for thirty-two years; and we shall retain it. But I fear that the monarchical element in our institutions will gain more strength, and that the representative body will be made weaker than has been the case with either of them since the Empire.
“As for the Assembly, the probability seems to be that until it is roused in May by the great question of the revision of the constitution, it will sink into inactivity. It has, indeed, much to do if it chooses to employ itself. There are the laws respecting mortgages to be almost re-made—there is a poor-law to be invented—there are municipal institutions to be created; but I fear that after the excitement of this struggle, it will be disgusted by its ill success, be unable to act cordially with the President, or with ministers whom it despises, and will fritter away the next two months on trifles, or in undignified disputes between the Royalist parties and the Montagne.”
“Will the revision of the constitution,” I said, “be a matter of earnest debate? I thought that everybody was agreed as to its necessity.”
“Everybody,” answered Tocqueville, “is agreed as to the badness of the constitution; but not only will it be a matter vehemently debated, but I doubt whether the requisite majority, three-fourths, will be obtained. All the parties who fear that it will be altered in a manner unfavourable to themselves will oppose the revision.
“The Montagnards, of course, will oppose it. They know that the next constitution will be less republican than this is; and I am not sure what will be the conduct of either the Legitimists, the Orleanists, or the Imperialists, if any one of them should fear to be a loser.”
Sorrento, February 10, 1851.
The ladies on donkies, the men on foot, walked to the mountain over the Cape, and thence home by a sort of staircase cut or beaten out on the face of the precipice.
We talked of the great writers of the eighteenth century. Les quatre, it was agreed, were Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Buffon.
“Whom,” said Ampère to Tocqueville, “do you put highest?”
“Voltaire,” answered Tocqueville. “Nothing can exceed the clearness, the finesse, the gaiety, and yet the simplicity of his style. He had a right to answer as he did, to a lady who talked to him about the beauty of his phrases. ‘Madame, je n’ai jamais fait une phrase de ma vie.’ ”*
“Next, perhaps as to style, comes Buffon, sometimes indeed a little on stilts; the reader easily believes what we are told, that he never wrote except full dressed, and bien poudré, but brilliant, and flowing, and sometimes even poetical. Montesquieu is a little artificial; and Rousseau in his earlier works, indulged in long sentences, managed it is true, with wonderful skill, but still giving to them a laboured air.—It is on his ‘Confessions’ that his fame will rest.”
We talked of Talleyrand. I said that he appeared to me, to have been very indiscreet—that nothing could be more indiscreet than his celebrated aphorism, “that language was given to a man to disguise his thoughts.”
“I do not know,” answered Tocqueville, “that he is to be called indiscreet; for indiscretion is the frankness of a man who does not know that he is laying bare what ought to be kept covered. Talleyrand knew perfectly well that he was talking imprudently; but he yielded to the temptation of a bon mot, a temptation which no Frenchman resists; and perhaps he was right in doing so, for the charms of his conversation were among the means of his success. It was principally through them that he captivated Bonaparte.”
“Had Bonaparte,” I asked, “good taste in society?”
“Better,” answered Tocqueville, “than in most other things. His feelings were all aristocratic. He liked people of birth and refinement. He never forgot that he was gentilhomme himself; and though there was something brusque in his general manner; he could be delightful when he chose.”
“The empire,” I said, “must have been an amusing time.”
“Not very much,” answered Tocqueville, “for civilians; they were obscured by the military reputations; and military life passed away almost too rapidly to be called amusing. I have heard of whole regiments which in a few years were killed three times over. It seems absurd to say so, but one gets accustomed to being killed. A short time before I left Paris, I was talking to an old friend, Rulhières, who passed through most of the campaigns of the Grand Armée. He told me that at Friedland his men stood motionless for two hours before a Russian battery; the only sound heard was the voice of an officer, who, whenever a man was struck cried, ‘Emportez le, et serrez vos rangs.’ Nothing but twenty years’ of war, that is to say, the traditionary rules of conduct formed during twenty years’ of war, could enable men to exhibit this patient self-devotion.
“Our revolutionary armies were fanatically daring; but they had not this passive heroism. They would have dashed at the battery, and have been blown to pieces.
“Rulhières,” he added, “told me a characteristic story of a Russian. He was a man of high rank, who had been sent to our head-quarters on a mission, and lived for some time on intimate terms with our staff, particularly with Rulhières. At the battle of Eylau Rulhières was taken prisoner. He caught the eye of his Russian friend, who came to offer his services. ‘You can do me,’ said Rulhières, ‘an important service. One of your Cossacks yonder has just seized my horse and cloak. I am dying of fatigue and cold. If you can get them for me, you may save my life.’
“The Russian went to the Cossack, talked to him rather sharply, probably on the wickedness of robbing a prisoner; got possession of the horse and cloak; put on the one, and mounted the other, and Rulhières never saw him again.”
Thursday, February 13, 1851.
We walked and rode to the Camaldoli convent, and returned by the eastern side of the mountain.
Tocqueville talked of the resemblance of the present state of affairs in France to that which existed under the constitution of l’an 3, or of 1795, before the coup d’état of the 18 Fructidor.
“In each case,” said Tocqueville, “the constitution was made by a single Assembly which had succeeded to a constitutional monarchy, and had ruled despotically, comprehending in itself absolute legislative and absolute executive power.
“In each case an attempt was made to keep the powers separate—to have an executive totally deprived of legislative authority, not possessing even a veto, and a legislative body confined to the business of legislation. In the constitution of 1795 the separation was made complete, for members of the legislative body were excluded from all public functions. The present constitution allows them to be ministers.
“At this instant, however, when not a single minister is a member of the Assembly, the practical result of each constitution is the same. And even when the ministers were taken from the Assembly, the number is so small that more than 740 members had nothing to do but to make laws.
“Now this is not enough to occupy them; and, even if it were, an Assembly elected by the people, and believing itself to be the supreme power, cannot resist the temptation to take part in the actual government of the country.
“The least that it requires is that the government should be carried on by ministers in whom it has confidence. But the supreme executive power has the same pretension. Not only the power, but the duty of selecting the ministers belongs to it. Under the constitution of 1795, therefore, as under that of 1848, the choice of ministers became a subject of quarrel between the executive and legislative authorities.
“The Directory was in appearance far less formidable than our President is. It was a composite body, and a fluctuating one. What was more important, it was nominated not by the people, but by the legislature; and what was more important still, the nation was against it.
“The nation, at least that part of the nation which then possessed political power, was royalist. Not, perhaps, Bourbonist, but, as it showed two years after the 18th Fructidor, monarchical. And yet the executive then trampled under foot the legislative, almost without a struggle. It did so, simply because the army was on its side. The mobs of Marseilles and Paris, and the army, were the only democratic bodies in France.
“We had conquered Europe, under the cry of war against kings. Every soldier hoped that, under democratic institutions, he should become an officer; and almost every officer who was a roturier, dreaded that if the ancien régime was re-established, he would lose all hope of advancement, perhaps even his commission. The army, therefore, sided with the democratic executive against the aristocratic or monarchical legislature. And it was irresistible—who can say that it would not be so now?
“Perhaps the best defence of a national guard is the enormous power of the army. It is seldom that a national guard can be relied on against a mob; but it is a great protection against the army, for the soldiers are not easily induced to fire on persons in uniform.”
[*]“The assembly declares that it has not confidence in the ministry, and passes to the order of the day.”—Tr.
[*]On M. St. Beuve’s amendment.—Tr.
[*]“Never wrote a phrase in my life.”