The History of a Crime, by Victor Hugo

Chapter vi.

The Consultative Committee

Al danger being over, all scruples vanished. Prudent and wise people could now give their adherence to the coup d’état, they allowed their names to be posted up.

Here is the placard:

“FRENCH REPUBLIC.

In the name of the French People.

“The President of the Republic,

“Wishing, until the reorganization of the Legislative Body and the
Council of State, to be surrounded by men who justly possess the esteem
and the confidence of the country,

“Has created a Consultative committee, which is composed of MM. —

“Abbatucci, ex-Councillor of the Court of Cassation (of the Loiret).
General Achard (of the Moselle).
André, Ernest (of the Seine).
André (of the Charente).
D’Argout, Governor of the Bank, ex-Minister.
General Arrighi of Padua (of Corsica).
General de Bar (of the Seine).
General Baraguay-d’Hilliers (of Doubs).
Barbaroux, ex-Procureur–General (of the Réunion).
Baroche, ex-Minister of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs,
  Vice–President of the Committee (of the Charente–Inférieure).
Barret (Ferdinand), ex-Minister (of the Seine).
Barthe, ex-Minister, first President (of the Cour de Comptes).
Bataille (of the Haute–Vienne).
Bavoux (Evariste) (of the Seine-et-Marne).
De Beaumont (of the Somme).
Bérard (of the Lot-et-Garonne).
Berger, Prefect of the Seine (of Puy-de-Dôme).
Bertrand (of the Yonne).
Bidault (of the Cher).
Bigrel (of the Côtes-du-Nord).
Billault, barrister.
Bineau, ex-Minister (of the Maine-et-Loire).
Boinvilliers, ex-President of the body of barristers (of the Seine).
Bonjean, Attorney–General of the Court of Cassation (of the Drome).
Boulatignier.
Bourbousson (of Vaucluse).
Bréhier (of the Manche).
De Cambacérès (Hubert).
De Cambacérès (of the Aisne).
Carlier, ex-Prefect of Police.
De Casabianca, ex-Minister (of Corsica).
General de Castellane, Commander-in-Chief at Lyons.
De Caulaincourt (of Calvados).
Vice–Admiral Cécile (of the Seine–Inférieure).
Chadenet (of the Meuse).
Charlemagne (of the Indre).
Chassaigne–Goyon (of Puy de Dôme).
General de Chasseloup–Laubat (of the Seine–Inférieure).
Prosper de Chasseloup–Laubat (Charente–Inférieure).
Chaix d’Est–Ange, Barrister of Paris (of the Marne).
De Chazelles, Mayor of Clermont–Ferrand (of Puy-de-Dôme).
Collas (of the Gironde).
De Crouseilhes, ex-Councillor of the Court of Cassation, ex-Minister
  (of the Basses–Pyrénées).
Curial (of the Orne).
De Cuverville (of the Côtes-du-Nord).
Dabeaux (of the Haute–Garonne).
Dariste (of the Basses–Pyrénées).
Daviel, ex-Minister.
Delacoste, ex-Commissary–General (of the Rhône).
Delajus (of the Charente–Inférieure).
Delavau (of the Indre).
Deltheil (of the Lot).
Denjoy (of the Gironde).
Desjobert (of the Seine–Inférieure).
Desmaroux (of the Allier).
Drouyn de Lhuys, ex-Minister (of the Seine-et-Marne).
Théodore Ducos, Minister of the Marine and of the Colonies (of the
  Seine).
Dumas (of the Institut) ex-Minister (of the Nord).
Charles Dupin, of the Institut (of the Seine–Inférieure).
General Durrieu (of the Landes).
Maurice Duval, ex-Prefect.
Eschassériaux (of the Charente–Inférieure).
Marshal Excelmans, Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor.
Ferdinand Favre (of the Loire–Inférieure) General de Flahaut,
  ex-Ambassador.
Fortoul, Minister of Public Instruction (of the Basses–Alpes).
Achille Fould, Minister of Finance (of the Seine).
De Fourment (of the Somme).
Fouquier-d’Hérouël (of the Aisne).
Fremy (of the Yonne).
Furtado (of the Seine).
Gasc (of the Haute Garonne).
Gaslonde (of the Manche).
De Gasparin (ex-Minister).
Ernest de Girardin (of the Charente).
Augustin Giraud (of Maine-et-Loire).
Charles Giraud, of the Institut, member of the Court of Public
  Instruction, ex-Minister.
Godelle (of the Aisne).
Goulhot de Saint–Germain (of the Manche).
General de Grammont (of the Loire).
De Grammont (of the Haute–Saône).
De Greslan (of the Réunion).
General de Grouchy (of the Gironde).
Kallez Claparède (of the Bas–Rhin).
General d’Hautpoul, ex-Minister (of the Aude).
Hébert (of the Aisne).
De Heeckeren (of the Haut–Rhin).
D’Hérembault (of the Pas-de-Calais).
Hermann.
Heurtier (of the Loire).
General Husson (of the Aube).
Janvier (of the Tarn-et-Garonne).
Lacaze (of the Hautes–Pyrénées).
Lacrosse, ex-Minister (of Finistère).
Ladoucette (of the Moselle).
Frédéric de Lagrange (of the Gers).
De Lagrange (of the Gironde).
General de La Hitte, ex-Minister.
Delangle, ex-Attorney–General.
Lanquetin, President of the Municipal Commission.
De la Riboissière (of Ille-et-Vilaine).
General Lawoestine.
Lebeuf (of the Seine-et-Marne).
Genéral Lebreton (of the Eure-et-Loir).
Le Comte (of the Yonne).
Le Conte (of the Côtes-du-Nord).
Lefebvre–Duruflé, Minister of Commerce (of the Eure).
Lélut (of the Haute–Saône).
Lemarois (of the Manche).
Lemercier (of the Charente). Lequien (of the Pas-de-Calais).
Lestiboudois (of the Nord).
Levavasseur (of the Seine–Inférieure).
Le Verrier (of the Manche).
Lezay de Marnésia (of Loir-et-Cher).
General Magnan, Commander-in-chief of the Army of Paris.
Magne, Minister of Public Works (of the Dordogne).
Edmond Maigne (of the Dordogne).
Marchant (of the Nord).
Mathieu Bodet, Barrister at the Court of Cassation.
De Maupas, Prefect of Police.
De Mérode (of the Nord).
Mesnard, President of the Chamber of the Court of Cassation.
Meynadier, ex-Prefect (of the Lozère).
De Montalembert (of the Doubs).
De Morny (of the Puy-de-Dôme).
De Mortemart (of the Seine–Inférieure).
De Mouchy (of the Oise).
De Moustiers (of the Doubs).
Lucien Murat (of the Lot).
General d’Ornano (of the Indre-et-Loire).
Pepin Lehalleur (of the Seine-et-Marne).
Joseph Périer, Governor of the Bank.
De Persigny (of the Nord).
Pichon, Mayor of Arras (of the Pas de Calais).
Portalis, First President of the Court of Cassation.
Pongerard, Mayor of Pennes (of the Ille-et-Vilaine).
General de Préval.
De Rancé (of Algeria).
General Randon, ex-Minister, Governor–General of Algeria.
General Regnauld de Saint–Jean-d’Angély, ex-Minister (of the
  Charente–Inférieure).
Renouard de Bussière (of the Bas–Rhin).
Renouard (of the Lozère).
General Rogé.
Rouher, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice (of the Puy-de-Dôme).
De Royer, ex-Minister, Attorney–General at the Court of Appeal of
  Paris.
General de Saint–Arnaud, Minister of War.
De Saint–Arnaud, Barrister at the Court of Appeal of Paris.
De Salis (of the Moselle).
Sapey (of the Isère).
Schneider, ex-Minister.
De Ségur d’Aguesseau (of the Hautes–Pyréneés).
Seydoux (of the Nord).
Amédée Thayer.
Thieullen (of the Côtes-du-Nord).
De Thorigny, ex-Minister.
Toupot de Béveaux (of the Haute–Marne).
Tourangin, ex-Prefect. Troplong, First President of the Court of
  Appeal.
De Turgot, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Vaillant, Marshal of France.
Vaisse, ex-Minister (of the Nord).
De Vandeul (of the Haute–Marne).
General Vast–Vimeux (of the Charente–Inférieure).
Vauchelle, Mayor of Versailles.
Viard (of the Meurthe).
Vieillard (of the Manche).
Vuillefroy.
Vuitry, Under–Secretary of State at the Ministry of Finance De Wagram.

“The President of the Republic,

“LOUIS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.

“Minister of the Interior, DE MORNY.”

The name of Bourbousson is found on this list.

It would be a pity if this name were lost.

At the same time as this placard appeared the protest of M. Daru, as follows:—

“I approve of the proceedings of the National Assembly at the Mairie
of the Tenth Arrondissement on the 2d of December, 1851, in which I was
hindered from participating by force.

“DARU.”

Some of these members of the Consultative Committee came from Mazas or from Mount Valerien. They had been detained in a cell for four-and-twenty hours, and then released. It may be seen that these legislators bore little malice to the man who had made them undergo this disagreeable taste of the law.

Many of the personages comprised in this menagerie possessed no other renown but the outcry caused by their debts, clamoring around them. Such a one had been twice declared bankrupt, but this extenuating circumstance was added, “not under his own name:” Another who belonged to a literary or scientific circle was reputed to have sold his vote. A third, who was handsome, elegant, fashionable, dandified, polished, gilded, embroidered, owed his prosperity to a connection which indicated a filthiness of soul.

Such people as these gave their adherence with little hesitation to the deed which “saved society.”

Some others, amongst those who composed this mosaic, possessed no political enthusiasm, and merely consented to figure in this list in order to keep their situations and their salaries; they were under the Empire what they had been before the Empire, neuters, and during the nineteen years of the reign, they continued to exercise their military, judicial, or administrative functions unobtrusively, surrounded with the right and proper respect due to inoffensive idiots.

Others were genuine politicians, belonging to that learned school which begins with Guizot, and does not finish with Parieu, grave physicians of social order, who reassure the frightened middle-classes, and who preserve dead things.

“Shall I lose my eye?” asked Messer Pancrace.
“Not at all, my friend, I hold it in my hand.”

In this quasi Council of State there were a goodly number of men of the Police, a race of beings then held in esteem, Carlier, Piétri, Maupas, etc.

Shortly after the 2d of December under the title of Mixed Commissions, the police substituted itself for justice, drew up judgments, pronounced sentences, violated every law judicially without the regular magistracy interposing the slightest obstacle to this irregular magistracy: Justice allowed the police to do what it liked with the satisfied look of a team of horses which had just been relieved.

Some of the men inscribed on the list of this commission refused: Léon Faucher Goulard, Mortemart, Frédéric Granier, Marchand, Maillard Paravay, Beugnot. The newspapers received orders not to publish these refusals.

M. Beugnot inscribed on his card: “Count Beugnot, who does not belong to the Consultative Committee.”

M. Joseph Périer went from corner to corner of the streets, pencil in hand, scratching out his name from all the placards, saying, “I shall take back my name wherever I find it.”

General Baraguay d’Hilliers did not refuse. A brave soldier nevertheless; he had lost an arm in the Russian war. Later on, he has been Marshall of France; he deserved better than to have been created a Marshal by Louis Bonaparte. It did not appear likely that he would have come to this. During the last days of November General Baraguay d’Hilliers, seated in a large arm-chair before the high fireplace of the Conference Hall of the National Assembly, was warming himself; some one, one of his colleagues, he who is writing these lines, sat down near him on the other side of the fireplace. They did not speak to each other, one belonging to the Right, the other to the Left; but M. Piscatory came in, who belonged a little to the Right and a little to the Left. He addressed himself to Baraguay d’Hilliers: “Well, general, do you know what they are saying?”

“What?”

“That one of these days the President will shut the door in our faces.”

General Baraguay d’Hilliers answered, and I heard the answer — “If M. Bonaparte should close the door of the Assembly against us, France will fling it wide open again.”

Louis Bonaparte at one moment thought of entitling this committee the “Executive Commission.” “No,” said Morny to him, “that would be to credit them with courage. They will willingly be supporters; they will not be proscribers.”

General Rulhière was dismissed for having blamed the passive obedience of the army.

Let us here mention an incident. Some days after the 4th of December, Emmanuel Arago met M. Dupin, who was going up the Faubourg Saint Honoré.

“What!” said Arago, “are you going to the Elysée?”

M. Dupin answered, “I never go to disreputable houses.”

Yet he went there.

M. Dupin, it may be remembered, was appointed Attorney–General at the Court of Cessation.

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:38