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apart, comes to the same point as the Minister's circular, and does no more than gild over the dark, sharp, and striking effect of M. Ledru-Rollin's original bronze. But mark what has followed : M. Ledru-Rollin's circular, though thus delusively disclaimed, has not been revoked; nor could its effect be revoked. Fugit irrevocabile verbum. It electrified the election clubs, and the new circular cannot unelectrify them. Nay, when a deputation of zealous and indignant revolutionists questioned the Provisional Government whether they meant by their proclamation to annul M. Ledru-Rollin's circular, they at first stammered and hesitated, afraid to answer; and, when further pressed, M. Lamartine was forced to evade and quibble with the question in a long rigmaroleof which the result was that the circular was not even disavowed, and that it is now cited as the safeguard and guide of the republic; while hundreds of election-clubs are working out its letter and its spirit with all the diligence of the old Jacobins, and worse than their extravagance. Would Robespierre or St. Just have dared to have promulgated to the nation that ignorance was no disqualification in a legislator?—yet that doctrine bas been taught in a circular (6 March) of M. Carnot, the Minister-can we believe our eyes ?--of Public INSTRUCTION !
We wish we had any good reason to doubt that the National Assembly will be, as the Convention was, packed under the influence of terror by these election clubs—a small but active, and, for the moment and the purpose, powerful minority; but we trust that we are not mistaken in thinking, in spite of all these anarchical appearances, that the first wish of the public mind in France is order, and that it is the strength of this feeling that enables the minority of the Government--the majority being all men of the extremest Radicalism--to maintain a tone of moderation, and even to put some restraint on their more violent colleagues. But in revolutions audacity is power. The secret of revolutionary strength,' said Danton, is l'audace—encore l'audace-toujours l'audace;' and though it was announced that M. Ledru-Rollin had resigned on M. Lamartine's rebuke, we were not at all surprised to find that it was M. Ledru who had obtained the real victory over his mealy-mouthed colleague.
But whatever be the degree of the confusion and violence to which France is destined (and the degree is all that we doubt about), and should even the Assembly fall, as it probably may, into the worst hands, the reign of anarchy cannot be long. In a country so rich and so enlightened as France, the spirit of order and the yearnings for tranquillity, after the warnings of the first Revolution, will soon prevail, and there will emerge some Con
servative form of government under which the wearied people will gladly take refuge. What will that be-a President with a legislature à l'Américaine ? A very probable experiment–is Lafayette were still alive we should have said quite certain. But if, as we fear, the National Assembly should resemble the Convention in its spirit as well as composition, it will be reluctant to part with its power, and will perhaps endeavour to follow out the whole Conventional precedent. In this case there will soon arise a violent struggle of parties, and the return to order will be more speedy.
If they can agree on a President and Legislature after the Transatlantic fashion, the Republic may have a longer duration ; but we cannot contemplate the probability of such a Republic being acclimated in France. The nature of that people seems repugnant to it-we might almost venture to say the nature of man—for we believe that it would not have succeeded even as it has done in America, if there were not the safety-valve of the far West, where misfortune, misery, disappointment, discontent, and the ambition of folly have room to evaporate themselves; but these old countries have no such resource, and France, above all, from her national temper, is, we are satisfied, utterly incapable of being so governed, beyond the period of a brief experiment. What then is the next chance? Something will depend on the length and severity of the anarchical storm, and the peculiar circumstances under which that fated bark--the Republic—may happen to be wrecked; but we have little doubt that the return will be to monarchy, and probably in the spirit of the charter which they so damaged in 1830, and tore to pieces in 1848. They will probably piece it up again. They never, we think, can do anything better. But who will be the monarch?
That is a question that might be most safely answered alors comme alors; but we have, even under the present aspect of things, an opinion on the subject, and think that it may not be useless to turn the thoughts of our readers to considerations that involve our own constitutional interests quite as truly, though happily not so urgently, as those of France.
There are at present three persons whose families have within the last forty years occupied the throne of France-the Duke of Bordeaux, the Count of Paris, and M. Louis Buonaparte. We may perhaps underrate this last gentleman's chances, but—having just shown that we have not forgotten him, nor the party that would adopt him as the least legitimate Candidate—we beg leave to decline drawing any horoscope for the hero of the tame eagle. We will suppose the choice to lie between the legitimate and the quasi-legitimate, and we can have no liesitation in pronouncing
an opinion for the former-for reasons always powerful, but to which this last revolution gives, we think, additional and unanswerable force. If France returns to a monarchy, it will be because she is wearied of revolutions; and she has seen by two recent examples that an intrusive dynasty carries within itself the seeds of dissolution and disorder. The Empire-that stupendous scaffolding of glory and power—went to pieces like a broken toy only because it was a usurpation. It never entered into any man's mind that the victories of Eugene and Marlborough could, in the worst extremity, have dethroned and exiled Louis XIV.; and, in the late instance of Louis-Philippe, we have seen that personal talents, private virtues, the allegiance of a powerful army, the apparent good will of a great majority of the people, could not save him from a series of bloody struggles—in one, and at first the least formidable, of which, the edifice of quasi-legitin which he had been for seventeen years endeavouring to consolidate was overthrown in half an hour,
And, like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Left not a wreck behind.' Louis-Philippe--the quoique Bourbon-was nothing but a symbol -a drapeau—and they chose to change their flag: he had consented to accept the crown from a mob, and the mob have turned him out.
He was like one of their • Trees of Liberty'--transported by the hands of the people to a conspicuous position which did not belong to him and where he had no roots, he stood as fine as crowns and garlands could make him, but, having only a quasi hold of the earth, the delusive pageant was blown down by a gust of wind that would not have damaged a sapling growing in its native soil. Louis XVI. was ignominiously murdered— Charles X. indignantly expelled-Henry V. exiled from his cradle—but there are thousands and tens of thousands in France whose eyes fill and whose hearts beat with loyal emotion at the thoughts of any of those illustrious unfortunates—while Louis-Philippe, after seventeen years of a reign profuse of honours, favours, and flattery, and distinguished, as we have said, both by personal merits and several kingly qualities, does not seem to have left one single soul in France who lamented the change otherwise than as an inconvenient political event, or who felt more for the loss of the King than for the change of a Préfet !
Yet what was wanting to his security? That which can neither be won by courage nor forfeited by weakness—the inherent hereditary birthright of legitimacy. This principle may be scoffed at by the revolutionist, and even by the theorist, as absurd and irrational; but the history of the world, and par
ticularly the history of France for the last forty years, proves that it has a strong hold on the hearts of mankind, and, we think, on their reason also. Why, they ask us, submit to the rule of a woman or a child rather than select the fittest man? Because, in the first place, experience has shown that nations may be great and happy under women and children. When was England more powerful than under Elizabeth and Anne? When was France happier than when Fleury directed the councils of young Louis XV.? And this objection has become still weaker in the modern exercise of constitutional monarchies by responsible advisers. But there is another and better reason; it is safer to accept from the hand of God the risk attending a woman or a child than to incur the spontaneous danger of cutting one another's throats in deciding who is the fittest man. We have already no less than three hereditary pretenders to the throne of France, and we know not how many more candidates the Revolution may bequeath to us; and in this embarras de choix we are disposed to think that the descendant of Saint Louis is likely to be at least as good a constitutional king as Louis Buonaparte or even Louis Blanc. There is a still stronger reason. The evil to be guarded against, in the supposed case, is instability—popular delusion-popular inconstancy-and we therefore adopt the providential circumstance of birthright exactly because it is what the people can neither confer nor take away—and which for that very reason they are the more disposed to reverence. The crown that is given may be taken-but the rights to a crown derived from a long line of ancestors and the acquiescence and sanction of many generations of the people, can never be extinguished in the recollections and feelings, or, if you will, the prejudices of mankind. Whenever, therefore, France shall again desire to close the bloody career of revolution in the stability of a constitutional monarchy, the safest course will undoubtedly be to recognise the natural and indefeasible rights of the heir of the throne of Henry IV. and Louis XIV.-whoever he, at that time, may be.
If the reaction should be very early—if the attempts of the Communistes to fulfil the behests of Louis Blanc and the National, by a real extinction of the bourgeoisie, should arouse the upper and middle classes-if the more respectable portion of the National Guard, now (in Paris at least) overpowered and swamped, should retrieve any weight or consideration, and should unite in the sentiments of order and duty that we believe animates the majority of the army-if, we say, this should be the course of events, it is very possible that in the present ferment they might again turn their eyes to the House of Orleans. If it were not for Louis-Philippe's abdication, his age, and the consequent loss of that energy which
was so essential a part of his power-we should not have despaired of seeing Louis-Philippe himself invited back as the readiest means of arresting anarchy. Failing him, however, it is possible that the Count of Paris may be thought of as a symbol of order. The times are perhaps not ripe for Henry V. The revolutionary spirit, even if so far mastered, will be still so strong that the friends of peace and order, of whatever political party, would be glad to compound with it for whatever they can obtain ; and as the Count of Paris would, we suppose, be, from the very defect in his title, more acceptable to the Revolutionists, he would have the best chance at this moment—or any early one ;-and yet we indulge a hope that his friends would have the prudence to reject the dangerous offer. It would be at best only an adjournment of the difficulty-the Crown so bestowed would be still held of the revolt, and be found to have even less security than his grandfather's. But if the present crisis should pass without a call for the Orleans branch, and the opinion, which every one seems to entertain, of the impracticability of a durable republic be ultimately realised, then we are convinced by evidence and reason that the restoration of the constitutional monarchy in the direct line is the most probable solution of all these complicated difficulties, the happiest fortune that could befall the House of Orleans itself, and the best guarantee for the progressive prosperity of France and the future tranquillity of Europe.
But while we are thus prematurely, and it may seem idly, speculating on the futurity of France, the horizon of all Europe is thickening around us. Even as we write, every hour brings alarming tidings-the oldest monarchies totter, the wisest and boldest statesmen cower; and Europe seems threatened with various forms of anarchy, copied, as if they were the cut of a coat or the shape of a head-dress, from la mode de Paris. We cannot deny that all this is very awful, and that it threatens all the ancient monarchies—we hope we may safely except our own—with the visitation of a hurricane, to be more or less severely felt according to local circumstances and the tempers of nations. But we confidently trust, under the providential dispensations of Heaven, that out of the extent of the danger springs the omen of safety. This French Revolution, starting full armed from the brain, not of Jove, but of M. Louis Blanc, is so causeless in its origin, so wild in its principles and so impracticable in its purposes, that we have no doubt that it is destined to be, not the temptation, but the warning of mankind. It will fail utterly, whether with more or less disaster-at home, and will cease, when brought to any test of practical experience, to be morally forinidable abroad.