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gating these subjects, we must refer them to the work, which, notwithstanding the loose and careless style in which much of it is written, we hope will be re-published in this country. The extensive collection of facts, here brought before the reader, is alone sufficient to entitle it to his attention.
The closing chapters are devoted, by Mr. Bulwer, to a summary of his preceding remarks, and to a review of the policy of the present administration. He speaks of the monarchy as it exists, and theorizes as to the government which would best accord with the habits of the people.
"The monarchy of the middle classes, such as it exists in France, though susceptible of great improvements, is not a government (for the people to whom it is given) that can wisely be repudiated or justly despised. It has achieved, and, if continued, will more perfectly perpetuate, that which legislation long deemed impracticable.
"I mean a constitution containing no privileged class; and yet, in which the monarch is not a cipher, and the people are not slaves.
"Such is the government at present; if called upon to state what it might be with more advantage, I should describe something, not wholly different, but which, giving greater solidity, perhaps majesty, to the throne, would give greater power to the people, greater independence and nationality to the chamber of peers.
"I should say, in short, that the best government for France, without starting forth in quest of any of those extraordinary changes which are to produce theoretical perfection, would be a popular and splendid monarchy; supported here by a national army, there by a citizen guard; administered by a centralized administration, and having, for coadjutors, a chamber of peers, elected from the superiorities of the country, which would represent, as it were, its moral interests; and a chamber of deputies, elected by a large constituency, which would represent its national interests."
Such a government, our author argues, would be better consistent with the condition of the nation,-by uniting the habits which have descended from old France, to the opinions existing in the new,-by bringing the executive branch more within the control of the people, and thus changing their feelings of jealous distrust into those of confidence. Such a government, Mr. Bulwer predicts, will one day arrive, if the present dynasty be not violently overturned by some sudden convulsion.
We must now, with a few extracts, close our notice of "the Monarchy of the Middle Classes." Many chapters of interest we have passed by; the first volume we have not even touched. We have confined our attention to the leading idea of Mr. Bulwer, without diverging into those subjects which are but slightly subsidiary to his main purpose. The extracts which follow, afford a clear and deep insight into the character of the public mind in France.
"Let us see! There has been a conspiracy. Who are at the bar? a
cabinet maker, a certain number of shoemakers, a locksmith, a painter, a button-maker, an engraver, a shopkeeper, a doctor, and a lady, whose more peaceful occupation is to sit at the counter of a café. All eyes are of course turned upon the lady and the chief of this terrible band, whose plots have disquieted the dreams of the good citizen king, and exercised the arms of his valorous national guard.
"Come forth, most renowned Catiline! Who are you?' 'I am the son of a prolétaire, (peasant). I belong to that class which the rich repudiate and misunderstand. My temper is irritable and nervous; chafing at little obstacles,-calm before a battalion with fixed bayonets. I do not know so much as I should wish to know, for education is not gratuitous in France.
"You ask me my life.-A boy, enlisting as volunteer, I fought under Napoleon's eagles. The restoration came, I returned to my father's cottage, and shared the rude labours of the old man. From that cottage, the revolution of July called me. The charter was violated; I wished for a republic. Wounded on the 28th, I leaped into the Louvre on the 29th. In the Tuileries, a sabre-cut maimed this hand. In the Rue de Rohan, a ball entered this shoulder. As I behaved in July, so I behaved in June.'
"President. 'You are accused at that time of homicide with premeditation.'
"Republican. 'I know it.'
"President. You ran about the streets, shouting-To arms!'
"President. 'Did you distribute cartouches ?'
"Republican. When they were wanted.'
"President. 'Did you not fire upon a battalion of the line?"
"Republican. 'I traversed with ten comrades the whole of the first line. Eight fell, and I retired by the street.'
"Such are the answers of a slight young man, with hollow cheeks, penetrating eyes, and black moustaches.
"He had fought for a republic. What did he want? A government without appointments, without taxes. Things, he thought, would go well, if left to themselves.
"Here is one of your 'Young France,' a type of that reckless and imaginative youth, ever ready to rush on the cannon.
"Born of poor parents, with but little education, of daring character, impracticable ideas and good intentions;-consumed by unemployed energies and dissatisfied ambition.
"Requiring action, from his temperament; the very soul of a state at war-a canker into its repose in peace.
"Let us turn to another class and another type!
"It happened to me,' says M. Janin, 'as it has happened to all men of letters, present and past-I entered a literary career without knowing it, and without wishing it. I was a writer in ignorance that I did write ;by necessity, as every body is.
"Oh! I remember my mother, her cottage by the Rhône side, and the diligence which carried me to Paris, on a speculation; for my father, and my uncles, and all my family thought me a real prodigy, and so did the ladies of my village, to whom I wrote verses, and who said that all I wanted was a little education.
"Thus was I sent to the "famous" college-(for my friends were determined that every chance should be in my favour)-to the "famous" college which had gained the prize that year, and which I and my friends considered it a matter of course that I should gain the year following.
"I passed three years at that college, did not gain the prize, and learned little for my pains; that is to say, I learned neither mathematics, nor languages, nor history, not indeed any kind of literary lore; but Í learned something, I confess, of the world's lore; for I learned how one makes friends, and how one keeps them, and also with how little science, and how little merit, and how little industry, one may get on in life.
"This, after all, was no despicable kind of knowledge. My comrades had friends, and prospects dependent on friends. What, alas! has become of most of them?
"I had no expectations, no friends, beyond the walls of that memoryhaunted place-no friends, save an old grand-aunt, eighty years old, who, hobbling along, the dear old creature! by the aid of her hooked stick, came, at last, to take me to her garret, au quatrième, to which she had brought all our old country furniture-the chairs, the table, and the little sofa and bed, the very same I knew so well;-and there we lived four happy years of my life:-Oh! what four happy years those were ! How many passions given to the wind! how much useless poesy! what sighs wafted to the clouds! what labour too, to gain my little livelihood as I could!
"Those years passed by me like a day. I desired nothing, I feared nothing, I envied nothing. Living with my friends, having now and then with them a joyous and savoury repast, happy in the happiness of my old aunt, and sticking up against the wall, when I could buy them, great red and blue daubs, which I thought very beautiful, and which were called Greeks then, as they would be called Poles now.
"That was life!! and what heroines! with what names! Alexandrina, Rose, Lili,-German, Spanish, French,-great lady, or little grisette-all suited us.
"Thus I and those like me lived from day to day, trusting to chance; with little effort, no variety, and but slight privations.
"But I meant to speak of my entry into literature, how was it? Many volumes could be written on a literary life in France! I mean merely to write of my own. It is short, but it will give a pretty good idea of the literary life of my epoch.
"One evening, I remember it well, I was walking backwards and forwards before that theatre, which I then thought the perfection of the dramatic art, "l'Opéra Comique," revolving in my mind, with no small degree of agitation, whether I would or would not give the 44 sous, that the Opéra Comique at that time exacted at its portal.
"At this critical moment, whom should I see but a young man, whose acquaintance I had made in the Luxembourg, by my dog making the acquaintance of his dog, and who had then, under his arm, the arm of an elegant and beautiful lady. What were my feelings when he proposed to me a place in his box, a place by the side of that elegant and beautiful lady, who was no less,-my heart thrilled, than a singer at the opera!
"My friend was a journalist-his happiness decided my profession : I became a journalist too; and a journalist I shall die, because I was walking one beautiful summer's evening before the door of the Opéra Comique.
"It is but the first step that makes us fear-in a balloon, on a railroad, as the editor of a paper;-there you are seated comfortably and calm; and there is the crowd below you, trembling and affrightedvoilà tout!
"Our age is the age of free thought, of independence—our age is the
age of the press-the golden age for the periodical writer. Happy then, and proud am I to belong to that press, to be a periodical writer.
"When I commenced, what existed in France had an immense appearance. It appeared a universe to a gay journalist of twenty. Well, it is all gone-all-vanished-gone, heaven knows where-gone, and devoured by the journal; that power so frail and dwarfish when I commenced my career, exposed as it was to the arbitrary will of a censor, who would cut you off a thought as an executioner does a head.
"By what ruins am I surrounded! What a gulf between the time when I first mended my pen to write, and now when I take it up to trace the recollection of things gone by!
"At first, I was a writer unknown, a writer of the opposition by epigram-harassing and attacking the ministers, of whom I knew little, and who knew less of me. Later, I rose from the little newspaper to the great newspaper-from the popular journal to the aristocratic journal, always the same man, in spite of what people have thought proper to say, always of the opposition, now here and now there.
"They who reproach me with having passed from one paper to another, cannot reproach me with having changed from one opinion to another; always attacking whatever I thought strong; the enemy of the powerful; never guided in my hostilities by my interest, and ever quitting that side which became the victorious one. This is why I left my little liberal journal of the opposition when it triumphed under M. Martignac; this is why I left my great royalist journal of opposition the day that M. Polignac came into power.
"Opposition has been my life as to others is the support of power.' "Such is the most popular journalist's description of his life and opinions."
On the whole, the opinion at which we have arrived, from a view of this subject, is, that the present government of France is a good government, with, however, some inevitable defects; that it is a strong government, because it is founded upon the material interests of the people; that its permanency depends upon a wise administration of its affairs, and that the moment a weak ministry is placed at its head is the commencement of its danger. If the principles upon which the government is established are abandoned, or extended too far,-if the press is permitted to exercise unlimited freedom,--if the people, volatile and capricious as they are, be not confined by salutary restrictions, that moment will the fruits of the revolution wither and decay.
It was a great error when M. Lafitte went into power, after the days of July. The administration was weak, for the doctrinary system was unsuited to the agitation of the times. The idea of governing the French people through their reason, at such a period, was ridiculous. This became evident, and M. Lafitte resigned.
M. Casimir Perier was a man of talent and great energy of character. These were the only qualities by which his administration could have been sustained; for in more than one VOL. XIX.-No. 38.
respect it was neither wise nor politic. It was strong, however; and its force supplied the weakness of the system.
When M. Perier died, there was a deal of intriguing as to his successor. The policy of his administration was to be continued, and to that end the choice was directed. There were three nominees--M. Odillon Barrot, the Duc de Broglie, and M. Dupin. The Duc de Broglie was the only one of the three who would pursue the policy of M. Perier, and therefore the choice fell upon him.
But the Duc de Broglie was too doctrinal in his views--he laid a plan for his administration, and he adhered to his system, notwithstanding the occurrence of circumstances which sometimes render a departure from it advisable. In short, the Duc de Broglie, though a man of acknowledged ability, had not enough of that political generalship which would enable him to manœuvre through the various difficulties into which he was thrown.
There was one man in the kingdom who, more than any other, united the qualifications proper for the administration of the government. Himself the offspring of the revolution of 1830, with no prejudices which are not connected with it--thoroughly acquainted with the men of the epoch, their passions and inclinations--despising doctrinary rule, and squaring his measures as the circumstances of the times may direct, and not according to system, he understands--he has shown that he understands--the rocks and shoals, through which the vessel of state must pursue her dangerous voyage. Bold, quicksighted and skilful--with his hand upon the helm, and his eye upon the landmarks-if there be a man in France who can pilot the good ship to the open sea, that man is M. Thiers.
"Yes," says Mr. Bulwer, two years ago-"you, M. Thiers, are the man of the present monarchy; and to you I address myself: Nam quid ordinatione civilius! Quid libertate pretiosius? Porro quàm turpe si ordinatio, eversione; libertas, servitute muteter! Accedit, quod tibi certamen est tecum; onerat questuræ tuæ fama."
And now-yes, at the moment we are writing-intelligence arrives from the French capital. The ministry has been changed, a new cabinet organized, and M. Thiers is president of the council, and minister of foreign affairs. That which should have been done before, has at last been accomplished, and a new pledge is given to the nation, that the government of France is still the government of the revolution.
That which a government most requires, in order to perpetuate itself, is to continue faithful to the principles on which it was established. In France, a violation of those principles, if of a flagrant nature, would produce a popular convulsion. If the rebellion were succcessful, the government would be