Front Page Titles (by Subject) EXTRACT FROM MR. SENIOR'S JOURNAL. - Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville, vol. 2
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EXTRACT FROM MR. SENIOR’S JOURNAL. - 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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EXTRACT FROM MR. SENIOR’S JOURNAL.
St. Cyr, Tuesday, February 24, 1854.
I reached St. Cyr this morning. We talked of the state of parties.
“I am very sorry,” said Tocqueville, “that you have not penetrated more into the salons of the Legitimists; you have never got farther than a Fusionist.
“The Legitimists are not the Russians that Z. describes them; still less do they desire to see Henri V. restored by foreign intervention. They and their cause have suffered too bitterly for having committed that crime, or that fault, for them to be capable of repeating it. They are anti-national so far as not to rejoice in any victories obtained by France under this man’s guidance; but I cannot believe that they would rejoice in her defeat.
“They have ceased to be anxious about anything, but to be let alone. But they are a large, and rich, and comparatively well-educated body, and it will always be difficult to govern without their concurrence.
“I quite agree,” he continued, “with Z. as to the necessity of this war.
“Your interests may be more immediate and greater, but ours are very great. When I say ours, I mean those of France, as a country that is resolved to enjoy Constitutional Government.
“I am not sure that if Russia were to become mistress of the Continent, she would not allow France to continue a quasi-independent despotism under her Protectorate. But she will never willingly allow us to be powerful and free.
“I sympathise, too, with Z.’s fears as to the result. I do not believe that Napoleon himself, with all his energy, and all his diligence, and all his intelligence, would have thought it possible to conduct a great war to which his Minister of War was opposed. A man who has no heart in his business will neglect it, or do it imperfectly. His first step would have been to dismiss St. Arnaud.
“The real Prime Minister is, without doubt, Louis Napoleon himself. But he is not a man of business. He does not understand details. He may order certain things to be done; but he will not be able to ascertain whether the proper means have been taken. He does not know, indeed, what these means are. He does not trust those who do. A war which would have tasked all the power of Napoleon, and of Napoleon’s ministers and generals, is to be carried on, without any master mind to direct it, or any good instruments to execute it. I fear some great disaster.
“Such a disaster might throw,” he continued, “this man from the eminence on which he is balanced, not rooted; it might produce a popular outbreak, of which the anarchical party might take advantage. Or, what is, perhaps, more to be feared, it might frighten Louis Napoleon into a change of policy. He is quite capable of turning short round—giving up everything—Key of the Grotto, Protectorate of the Orthodox, even the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, to Nicholas, and asking to be repaid by the Rhine.
“I cannot escape from the cauchemar* that, a couple of years hence, France and England may be at war. Nicholas’s expectations have been deceived; but his plan was not unskilfully laid. He had a fair right to conjecture that you would think the dangers of this alliance such as to be even greater than those of allowing him to obtain his Protectorate.
“In deciding otherwise, you have taken the brave and the magnanimous course. I hope that it may prove the successful one.
“I am sorry,” continued Tocqueville, “to see the language of your newspapers as to the Fusion. I did not take part in it. But as a mere measure of precaution, it is a wise one. It decides what shall be the conduct of the Royalist party, in the event, not an improbable one, of France being suddenly left without a ruler.
“Your unmeasured praise of Louis Napoleon,” he continued, “and your unmeasured abuse of the Bourbons, are to a certain degree the interference in our politics which you professedly disclaim. I admit the anti-English prejudices of the Bourbons, and I admit that they are not likely to be abated by your alliance with a Bonaparte; but the opinions of a constitutional sovereign do not, like those of a despot, decide the conduct of his country. The country is anxious for peace, and, above all, for peace with you—for more than peace, for mutual good-feeling. The Bourbons cannot return, except with a constitution. It has become the tradition of the family, it is their title to the throne. There is not a vieille marquise in the Faubourg St. Germain who believes in divine right.
“The higher classes in France are Bourbonists, because they are constitutionalists, because they believe that constitutional monarchy is the government best suited to France, and that the Bourbons offer us the fairest chance of it.
“Among the middle classes there is, without doubt, much inclination for the social equality of a republic. But they are alarmed at its instability. They have never known one live for more than a year or two, or die except in convulsions.
“As for the lower classes, the country people think little about politics. The sensible portion of the artizans care about nothing but cheap bread and regular work. The others are socialists, and next to the government of a Rouge Assembly, wish for that of a Rouge despot.
“In London,” I said, “a few weeks ago, I came across a French socialist, not, indeed, of the lower orders, for he was a Professor of Mathematics, but participating in their feelings.
“ ‘I prefer,’ he said to me, ‘a Bonaparte to a Bourbon. A Bonaparte must rely on the people. One can always get something out of him.’ ‘What have you got,’ I asked, ‘from this man?’ ‘A great deal,’ he answered. ‘We got the Orleans’ confiscation; that was a great step. It was an attack on the rights of property. Then he represents the power and majesty of the people. He is like the people, above all law: Les Bourbons nous chicanaient.’*
“That was the true faith of a Rouge,” said Tocqueville.
“If this man,” he added, “had any self-control; if he would allow us a very moderate degree of liberty, he might enjoy a reign, probably found a dynasty. He had everything in his favour, the prestige of his name, the acquiescence of Europe, the dread of the socialists, and the contempt felt of the republicans.
“We were tired of the Branche cadette. We remembered the Branche aînée only to dislike it, and the Assembly only to despise it. We never shall be loyal subjects; but we might have been discontented ones, with as much moderation as is in our nature.
“I am alarmed,” he continued, “by your Reform Bill. Your new six-pound franchise must, I suppose, double the constituencies. It is a further step to universal suffrage, the least remediable of institutions.
“While you preserve your aristocracy, you will preserve your freedom. If that goes, you are in danger of falling into the worst of tyrannies—that of a despot appointed and controlled, if controlled at all, by a mob.”
[*]“Used the law to oppress us.”