The Paris Sketch Book, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Napoleon and his System

ON PRINCE LOUIS NAPOLEON’S WORK.

Any person who recollects the history of the absurd outbreak of Strasburg, in which Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte figured, three years ago, must remember that, however silly the revolt was, however, foolish its pretext, however doubtful its aim, and inexperienced its leader, there was, nevertheless, a party, and a considerable one in France, that were not unwilling to lend the new projectors their aid. The troops who declared against the Prince, were, it was said, all but willing to declare for him; and it was certain that, in many of the regiments of the army, there existed a strong spirit of disaffection, and an eager wish for the return of the imperial system and family.

As to the good that was to be derived from the change, that is another question. Why the Emperor of the French should be better than the King of the French, or the King of the French better than the King of France and Navarre, it is not our business to inquire; but all the three monarchs have no lack of supporters; republicanism has no lack of supporters; St. Simoninnism was followed by a respectable body of admirers; Robespierrism has a select party of friends. If, in a country where so many quacks have had their day, Prince Louis Napoleon thought he might renew the imperial quackery, why should he not? It has recollections with it that must always be dear to a gallant nation; it has certain claptraps in its vocabulary that can never fail to inflame a vain, restless, grasping, disappointed one.

In the first place, and don’t let us endeavor to disguise it, they hate us. Not all the protestations of friendship, not all the wisdom of Lord Palmerston, not all the diplomacy of our distinguished plenipotentiary, Mr. Henry Lytton Bulwer — and let us add, not all the benefit which both countries would derive from the alliance — can make it, in our times at least, permanent and cordial. They hate us. The Carlist organs revile us with a querulous fury that never sleeps; the moderate party, if they admit the utility of our alliance, are continually pointing out our treachery, our insolence, and our monstrous infractions of it; and for the Republicans, as sure as the morning comes, the columns of their journals thunder out volleys of fierce denunciations against our unfortunate country. They live by feeding the natural hatred against England, by keeping old wounds open, by recurring ceaselessly to the history of old quarrels, and as in these we, by God’s help, by land and by sea, in old times and late, have had the uppermost, they perpetuate the shame and mortification of the losing party, the bitterness of past defeats, and the eager desire to avenge them. A party which knows how to exploiter this hatred will always be popular to a certain extent; and the imperial scheme has this, at least, among its conditions.

Then there is the favorite claptrap of the “natural frontier.” The Frenchman yearns to be bounded by the Rhine and the Alps; and next follows the cry, “Let France take her place among nations, and direct, as she ought to do, the affairs of Europe.” These are the two chief articles contained in the new imperial programme, if we may credit the journal which has been established to advocate the cause. A natural boundary — stand among the nations — popular development — Russian alliance, and a reduction of la perfide Albion to its proper insignificance. As yet we know little more of the plan: and yet such foundations are sufficient to build a party upon, and with such windy weapons a substantial Government is to be overthrown!

In order to give these doctrines, such as they are, a chance of finding favor with his countrymen, Prince Louis has the advantage of being able to refer to a former great professor of them — his uncle Napoleon. His attempt is at once pious and prudent; it exalts the memory of the uncle, and furthers the interests of the nephew, who attempts to show what Napoleon’s ideas really were; what good had already resulted from the practice of them; how cruelly they had been thwarted by foreign wars and difficulties; and what vast benefits WOULD have resulted from them; ay, and (it is reasonable to conclude) might still, if the French nation would be wise enough to pitch upon a governor that would continue the interrupted scheme. It is, however, to be borne in mind that the Emperor Napoleon had certain arguments in favor of his opinions for the time being, which his nephew has not employed. On the 13th Vendemiaire, when General Bonaparte believed in the excellence of a Directory, it may be remembered that he aided his opinions by forty pieces of artillery, and by Colonel Murat at the head of his dragoons. There was no resisting such a philosopher; the Directory was established forthwith, and the sacred cause of the minority triumphed, in like manner, when the General was convinced of the weakness of the Directory, and saw fully the necessity of establishing a Consulate, what were his arguments? Moreau, Lannes, Murat, Berthier, Leclerc, Lefebvre — gentle apostles of the truth! — marched to St. Cloud, and there, with fixed bayonets, caused it to prevail. Error vanished in an instant. At once five hundred of its high-priests tumbled out of windows, and lo! three Consuls appeared to guide the destinies of France! How much more expeditious, reasonable, and clinching was this argument of the 18th Brumaire, than any one that can be found in any pamphlet! A fig for your duodecimos and octavos! Talk about points, there are none like those at the end of a bayonet; and the most powerful of styles is a good rattling “article” from a nine-pounder.

At least this is our interpretation of the manner in which were always propagated the Idées Napoléoniennes. Not such, however, is Prince Louis’s belief; and, if you wish to go along with him in opinion, you will discover that a more liberal, peaceable, prudent Prince never existed: you will read that “the mission of Napoleon” was to be the “testamentary executor of the revolution;” and the Prince should have added the legatee; or, more justly still, as well as the EXECUTOR, he should be called the EXECUTIONER, and then his title would be complete. In Vendemiaire, the military Tartuffe, he threw aside the Revolution’s natural heirs, and made her, as it were, ALTER HER WILL; on the 18th of Brumaire he strangled her, and on the 19th seized on her property, and kept it until force deprived him of it. Illustrations, to be sure, are no arguments, but the example is the Prince’s, not ours.

In the Prince’s eyes, then, his uncle is a god; of all monarchs, the most wise, upright, and merciful. Thirty years ago the opinion had millions of supporters; while millions again were ready to avouch the exact contrary. It is curious to think of the former difference of opinion concerning Napoleon; and, in reading his nephew’s rapturous encomiums of him, one goes back to the days when we ourselves were as loud and mad in his dispraise. Who does not remember his own personal hatred and horror, twenty-five years ago, for the man whom we used to call the “bloody Corsican upstart and assassin?” What stories did we not believe of him? — what murders, rapes, robberies, not lay to his charge? — we who were living within a few miles of his territory, and might, by books and newspapers, be made as well acquainted with his merits or demerits as any of his own countrymen.

Then was the age when the Idées Napoléoniennes might have passed through many editions; for while we were thus outrageously bitter, our neighbors were as extravagantly attached to him by a strange infatuation — adored him like a god, whom we chose to consider as a fiend; and vowed that, under his government, their nation had attained its highest pitch of grandeur and glory. In revenge there existed in England (as is proved by a thousand authentic documents) a monster so hideous, a tyrant so ruthless and bloody, that the world’s history cannot show his parallel. This ruffian’s name was, during the early part of the French revolution, Pittetcobourg. Pittetcobourg’s emissaries were in every corner of France; Pittetcobourg’s gold chinked in the pockets of every traitor in Europe; it menaced the life of the godlike Robespierre; it drove into cellars and fits of delirium even the gentle philanthropist Marat; it fourteen times caused the dagger to be lifted against the bosom of the First Consul, Emperor, and King — that first, great, glorious, irresistible, cowardly, contemptible, bloody hero and fiend, Bonaparte, before mentioned.

On our side of the Channel we have had leisure, long since, to re-consider our verdict against Napoleon; though, to be sure, we have not changed our opinion about Pittetcobourg. After five-and-thirty years all parties bear witness to his honesty, and speak with affectionate reverence of his patriotism, his genius, and his private virtue. In France, however, or, at least among certain parties in France, there has been no such modification of opinion. With the Republicans, Pittetcobourg is Pittetcobourg still — crafty, bloody, seeking whom he may devour; and perfide Albion more perfidious than ever. This hatred is the point of union between the Republic and the Empire; it has been fostered ever since, and must be continued by Prince Louis, if he would hope to conciliate both parties.

With regard to the Emperor, then, Prince Louis erects to his memory as fine a monument as his wits can raise. One need not say that the imperial apologist’s opinion should be received with the utmost caution; for a man who has such a hero for an uncle may naturally be proud of and partial to him; and when this nephew of the great man would be his heir likewise, and, hearing his name, step also into his imperial shoes, one may reasonably look for much affectionate panegyric. “The empire was the best of empires,” cries the Prince; and possibly it was; undoubtedly, the Prince thinks it was; but he is the very last person who would convince a man with the proper suspicious impartiality. One remembers a certain consultation of politicians which is recorded in the Spelling-book; and the opinion of that patriotic sage who avowed that, for a real blameless constitution, an impenetrable shield for liberty, and cheap defence of nations, there was nothing like leather.

Let us examine some of the Prince’s article. If we may be allowed humbly to express an opinion, his leather is not only quite insufficient for those vast public purposes for which he destines it, but is, moreover, and in itself, very BAD LEATHER. The hides are poor, small, unsound slips of skin; or, to drop this cobbling metaphor, the style is not particularly brilliant, the facts not very startling, and, as for the conclusions, one may differ with almost every one of them. Here is an extract from his first chapter, “on governments in general:"—

“I speak it with regret, I can see but two governments, at this day, which fulfil the mission that Providence has confided to them; they are the two colossi at the end of the world; one at the extremity of the old world, the other at the extremity of the new. Whilst our old European centre is as a volcano, consuming itself in its crater, the two nations of the East and the West, march without hesitation, towards perfection; the one under the will of a single individual, the other under liberty.

“Providence has confided to the United States of North America the task of peopling and civilizing that immense territory which stretches from the Atlantic to the South Sea, and from the North Pole to the Equator. The Government, which is only a simple administration, has only hitherto been called upon to put in practice the old adage, Laissez faire, laissez passer, in order to favor that irresistible instinct which pushes the people of America to the west.

In Russia it is to the imperial dynasty that is owing all the vast progress which, in a century and a half, has rescued that empire from barbarism. The imperial power must contend against all the ancient prejudices of our old Europe: it must centralize, as far as possible, all the powers of the state in the hands of one person, in order to destroy the abuses which the feudal and communal franchises have served to perpetuate. The last alone can hope to receive from it the improvements which it expects.

“But thou, France of Henry IV., of Louis XIV., of Carnot, of Napoleon — thou, who wert always for the west of Europe the source of progress, who possessest in thyself the two great pillars of empire, the genius for the arts of peace and the genius of war — hast thou no further mission to fulfil? Wilt thou never cease to waste thy force and energies in intestine struggles? No; such cannot be thy destiny: the day will soon come, when, to govern thee, it will be necessary to understand that thy part is to place in all treaties thy sword of Brennus on the side of civilization.”

These are the conclusions of the Prince’s remarks upon governments in general; and it must be supposed that the reader is very little wiser at the end than at the beginning. But two governments in the world fulfil their mission: the one government, which is no government; the other, which is a despotism. The duty of France is IN ALL TREATIES to place her sword of Brennus in the scale of civilization. Without quarrelling with the somewhat confused language of the latter proposition, may we ask what, in heaven’s name, is the meaning of all the three? What is this épée de Brennus? and how is France to use it? Where is the great source of political truth, from which, flowing pure, we trace American republicanism in one stream, Russian despotism in another? Vastly prosperous is the great republic, if you will: if dollars and cents constitute happiness, there is plenty for all: but can any one, who has read of the American doings in the late frontier troubles, and the daily disputes on the slave question, praise the GOVERNMENT of the States? — a Government which dares not punish homicide or arson performed before its very eyes, and which the pirates of Texas and the pirates of Canada can brave at their will? There is no government, but a prosperous anarchy; as the Prince’s other favorite government is a prosperous slavery. What, then, is to be the épée de Brennus government? Is it to be a mixture of the two? “Society,” writes the Prince, axiomatically, “contains in itself two principles — the one of progress and immortality, the other of disease and disorganization.” No doubt; and as the one tends towards liberty, so the other is only to be cured by order: and then, with a singular felicity, Prince Louis picks us out a couple of governments, in one of which the common regulating power is as notoriously too weak, as it is in the other too strong, and talks in rapturous terms of the manner in which they fulfil their “providential mission!”

From these considerations on things in general, the Prince conducts us to Napoleon in particular, and enters largely into a discussion of the merits of the imperial system. Our author speaks of the Emperor’s advent in the following grandiose way:—

“Napoleon, on arriving at the public stage, saw that his part was to be the TESTAMENTARY EXECUTOR of the Revolution. The destructive fire of parties was extinct; and when the Revolution, dying, but not vanquished, delegated to Napoleon the accomplishment of her last will, she said to him, ‘Establish upon solid bases the principal result of my efforts. Unite divided Frenchmen. Defeat feudal Europe that is leagued against me. Cicatrize my wounds. Enlighten the nations. Execute that in width, which I have had to perform in depth. Be for Europe what I have been for France. And, even if you must water the tree of civilization with your blood — if you must see your projects misunderstood, and your sons without a country, wandering over the face of the earth, never abandon the sacred cause of the French people. Insure its triumph by all the means which genius can discover and humanity approve.’

“This grand mission Napoleon performed to the end. His task was difficult. He had to place upon new principles a society still boiling with hatred and revenge; and to use, for building up, the same instruments which had been employed for pulling down.

“The common lot of every new truth that arises, is to wound rather than to convince — rather than to gain proselytes, to awaken fear. For, oppressed as it long has been, it rushes forward with additional force; having to encounter obstacles, it is compelled to combat them, and overthrow them; until, at length, comprehended and adopted by the generality, it becomes the basis of new social order.

“Liberty will follow the same march as the Christian religion. Armed with death from the ancient society of Rome, it for a long while excited the hatred and fear of the people. At last, by force of martyrdoms and persecutions, the religion of Christ penetrated into the conscience and the soul; it soon had kings and armies at its orders, and Constantine and Charlemagne bore it triumphant throughout Europe. Religion then laid down her arms of war. It laid open to all the principles of peace and order which it contained; it became the prop of Government, as it was the organizing element of society. Thus will it be with liberty. In 1793 it frightened people and sovereigns alike; then, having clothed itself in a milder garb, IT INSINUATED ITSELF EVERYWHERE IN THE TRAIN OF OUR BATTALIONS. In 1815 all parties adopted its flag, and armed themselves with its moral force — covered themselves with its colors. The adoption was not sincere, and liberty was soon obliged to reassume its warlike accoutrements. With the contest their fears returned. Let us hope that they will soon cease, and that liberty will soon resume her peaceful standards, to quit them no more.

“The Emperor Napoleon contributed more than any one else towards accelerating the reign of liberty, by saving the moral influence of the revolution, and diminishing the fears which it imposed. Without the Consulate and the Empire, the revolution would have been only a grand drama, leaving grand revolutions but no traces: the revolution would have been drowned in the counter-revolution. The contrary, however, was the case. Napoleon rooted the revolution in France, and introduced, throughout Europe, the principal benefits of the crisis of 1789. To use his own words, ‘He purified the revolution, he confirmed kings, and ennobled people.’ He purified the revolution, in separating the truths which it contained from the passions that, during its delirium, disfigured it. He ennobled the people in giving them the consciousness of their force, and those institutions which raise men in their own eyes. The Emperor may be considered as the Messiah of the new ideas; for — and we must confess it — in the moments immediately succeeding a social revolution, it is not so essential to put rigidly into practice all the propositions resulting from the new theory, but to become master of the regenerative genius, to identify one’s self with the sentiments of the people, and boldly to direct them towards the desired point. To accomplish such a task YOUR FIBRE SHOULD RESPOND TO THAT OF THE PEOPLE, as the Emperor said; you should feel like it, your interests should be so intimately raised with its own, that you should vanquish or fall together.”

Let us take breath after these big phrases — grand round figures of speech — which, when put together, amount like certain other combinations of round figures to exactly 0. We shall not stop to argue the merits and demerits of Prince Louis’s notable comparison between the Christian religion and the Imperial-revolutionary system. There are many blunders in the above extract as we read it; blundering metaphors, blundering arguments, and blundering assertions; but this is surely the grandest blunder of all; and one wonders at the blindness of the legislator and historian who can advance such a parallel. And what are we to say of the legacy of the dying revolution to Napoleon? Revolutions do not die, and, on their death-beds, making fine speeches, hand over their property to young officers of artillery. We have all read the history of his rise. The constitution of the year III. was carried. Old men of the Montagne, disguised royalists, Paris sections, PITTETCOBOURG, above all, with his money-bags, thought that here was a fine opportunity for a revolt, and opposed the new constitution in arms: the new constitution had knowledge of a young officer who would not hesitate to defend its cause, and who effectually beat the majority. The tale may be found in every account of the revolution, and the rest of his story need not be told. We know every step that he took: we know how, by doses of cannon-balls promptly administered, he cured the fever of the sections — that fever which another camp-physician (Menou) declined to prescribe for; we know how he abolished the Directory; and how the Consulship came; and then the Empire; and then the disgrace, exile, and lonely death. Has not all this been written by historians in all tongues? — by memoir-writing pages, chamberlains, marshals, lackeys, secretaries, contemporaries, and ladies of honor? Not a word of miracle is there in all this narration; not a word of celestial missions, or political Messiahs. From Napoleon’s rise to his fall, the bayonet marches alongside of him: now he points it at the tails of the scampering “five hundred,”— now he charges with it across the bloody planks of Arcola — now he flies before it over the fatal plain of Waterloo.

Unwilling, however, as he may be to grant that there are any spots in the character of his hero’s government, the Prince is, nevertheless, obliged to allow that such existed; that the Emperor’s manner of rule was a little more abrupt and dictatorial than might possibly be agreeable. For this the Prince has always an answer ready — it is the same poor one that Napoleon uttered a million of times to his companions in exile — the excuse of necessity. He WOULD have been very liberal, but that the people were not fit for it; or that the cursed war prevented him — or any other reason why. His first duty, however, says his apologist, was to form a general union of Frenchmen, and he set about his plan in this wise:—

“Let us not forget, that all which Napoleon undertook, in order to create a general fusion, he performed without renouncing the principles of the revolution. He recalled the émigrés, without touching upon the law by which their goods had been confiscated and sold as public property. He reestablished the Catholic religion at the same time that he proclaimed the liberty of conscience, and endowed equally the ministers of all sects. He caused himself to be consecrated by the Sovereign Pontiff, without conceding to the Pope’s demand any of the liberties of the Gallican church. He married a daughter of the Emperor of Austria, without abandoning any of the rights of France to the conquests she had made. He reestablished noble titles, without attaching to them any privileges or prerogatives, and these titles were conferred on all ranks, on all services, on all professions. Under the empire all idea of caste was destroyed; no man ever thought of vaunting his pedigree — no man ever was asked how he was born, but what he had done.

“The first quality of a people which aspires to liberal government, is respect to the law. Now, a law has no other power than lies in the interest which each citizen has to defend or to contravene it. In order to make a people respect the law, it was necessary that it should be executed in the interest of all, and should consecrate the principle of equality in all its extension. It was necessary to restore the prestige with which the Government had been formerly invested, and to make the principles of the revolution take root in the public manners. At the commencement of a new society, it is the legislator who makes or corrects the manners; later, it is the manners which make the law, or preserve it from age to age intact.”

Some of these fusions are amusing. No man in the empire was asked how he was born, but what he had done; and, accordingly, as a man’s actions were sufficient to illustrate him, the Emperor took care to make a host of new title-bearers, princes, dukes, barons, and what not, whose rank has descended to their children. He married a princess of Austria; but, for all that, did not abandon his conquests — perhaps not actually; but he abandoned his allies, and, eventually, his whole kingdom. Who does not recollect his answer to the Poles, at the commencement of the Russian campaign? But for Napoleon’s imperial father-inlaw, Poland would have been a kingdom, and his race, perhaps, imperial still. Why was he to fetch this princess out of Austria to make heirs for his throne? Why did not the man of the people marry a girl of the people? Why must he have a Pope to crown him — half a dozen kings for brothers, and a bevy of aides-de-camp dressed out like so many mountebanks from Astley’s, with dukes’ coronets, and grand blue velvet marshals’ bâtons? We have repeatedly his words for it. He wanted to create an aristocracy — another acknowledgment on his part of the Republican dilemma — another apology for the revolutionary blunder. To keep the republic within bounds, a despotism is necessary; to rally round the despotism, an aristocracy must be created; and for what have we been laboring all this while? for what have bastiles been battered down, and king’s heads hurled, as a gage of battle, in the face of armed Europe? To have a Duke of Otranto instead of a Duke de la Tremouille, and Emperor Stork in place of King Log. O lame conclusion! Is the blessed revolution which is prophesied for us in England only to end in establishing a Prince Fergus O’Connor, or a Cardinal Wade, or a Duke Daniel Whittle Harvey? Great as those patriots are, we love them better under their simple family names, and scorn titles and coronets.

At present, in France, the delicate matter of titles seems to be better arranged, any gentleman, since the Revolution, being free to adopt any one he may fix upon; and it appears that the Crown no longer confers any patents of nobility, but contents itself with saying, as in the case of M. de Pontois, the other day, “Le Roi trouve convenable that you take the title of,” &c.

To execute the legacy of the revolution, then; to fulfil his providential mission; to keep his place — in other words, for the simplest are always the best — to keep his place, and to keep his Government in decent order, the Emperor was obliged to establish a military despotism, to re-establish honors and titles; it was necessary, as the Prince confesses, to restore the old prestige of the Government, in order to make the people respect it; and he adds — a truth which one hardly would expect from him — “At the commencement of a new society, it is the legislator who makes and corrects the manners; later, it is the manners which preserve the laws.” Of course, and here is the great risk that all revolutionizing people run — they must tend to despotism; “they must personify themselves in a man,” is the Prince’s phrase; and, according as is his temperament or disposition — according as he is a Cromwell, a Washington, or a Napoleon — the revolution becomes tyranny or freedom, prospers or falls.

Somewhere in the St. Helena memorials, Napoleon reports a message of his to the Pope. “Tell the Pope,” he says to an archbishop, “to remember that I have six hundred thousand armed Frenchmen, qui marcheront avec moi, pour moi, et comme moi.” And this is the legacy of the revolution, the advancement of freedom! A hundred volumes of imperial special pleading will not avail against such a speech as this — one so insolent, and at the same time so humiliating, which gives unwittingly the whole of the Emperor’s progress, strength, and weakness. The six hundred thousand armed Frenchmen were used up, and the whole fabric falls; the six hundred thousand are reduced to sixty thousand, and straightway all the rest of the fine imperial scheme vanishes: the miserable senate, so crawling and abject but now, becomes of a sudden endowed with a wondrous independence; the miserable sham nobles, sham empress, sham kings, dukes, princes, chamberlains, pack up their plumes and embroideries, pounce upon what money and plate they can lay their hands on, and when the allies appear before Paris, when for courage and manliness there is yet hope, when with fierce marches hastening to the relief of his capital, bursting through ranks upon ranks of the enemy, and crushing or scattering them from the path of his swift and victorious despair, the Emperor at last is at home — where are the great dignitaries and the lieutenant-generals of the empire? Where is Maria Louisa, the Empress Eagle, with her little callow king of Rome? Is she going to defend her nest and her eaglet? Not she. Empress-queen, lieutenant-general, and court dignitaries, are off on the wings of all the winds — profligati sunt, they are away with the money-bags, and Louis Stanislas Xavier rolls into the palace of his fathers.

With regard to Napoleon’s excellences as an administrator, a legislator, a constructor of public works, and a skilful financier, his nephew speaks with much diffuse praise, and few persons, we suppose, will be disposed to contradict him. Whether the Emperor composed his famous code, or borrowed it, is of little importance; but he established it, and made the law equal for every man in France except one. His vast public works and vaster wars were carried on without new loans or exorbitant taxes; it was only the blood and liberty of the people that were taxed, and we shall want a better advocate than Prince Louis to show us that these were not most unnecessarily and lavishly thrown away. As for the former and material improvements, it is not necessary to confess here that a despotic energy can effect such far more readily than a Government of which the strength is diffused in many conflicting parties. No doubt, if we could create a despotical governing machine, a steam autocrat — passionless, untiring, and supreme — we should advance further, and live more at ease than under any other form of government. Ministers might enjoy their pensions and follow their own devices; Lord John might compose histories or tragedies at his leisure, and Lord Palmerston, instead of racking his brains to write leading articles for Cupid, might crown his locks with flowers, and sing [Greek text omitted], his natural Anacreontics; but alas! not so: if the despotic Government has its good side, Prince Louis Napoleon must acknowledge that it has its bad, and it is for this that the civilized world is compelled to substitute for it something more orderly and less capricious. Good as the Imperial Government might have been, it must be recollected, too, that since its first fall, both the Emperor and his admirer and would-be successor have had their chance of re-establishing it. “Fly from steeple to steeple” the eagles of the former did actually, and according to promise perch for a while on the towers of Notre Dame. We know the event: if the fate of war declared against the Emperor, the country declared against him too; and, with old Lafayette for a mouthpiece, the representatives of the nation did, in a neat speech, pronounce themselves in permanence, but spoke no more of the Emperor than if he had never been. Thereupon the Emperor proclaimed his son the Emperor Napoleon II. “L’Empereur est mort, vive l’Empereur!” shouted Prince Lucien. Psha! not a soul echoed the words: the play was played, and as for old Lafayette and his “permanent” representatives, a corporal with a hammer nailed up the door of their spouting-club, and once more Louis Stanislas Xavier rolled back to the bosom of his people.

In like manner Napoleon III. returned from exile, and made his appearance on the frontier. His eagle appeared at Strasburg, and from Strasburg advanced to the capital; but it arrived at Paris with a keeper, and in a post-chaise; whence, by the orders of the sovereign, it was removed to the American shores, and there magnanimously let loose. Who knows, however, how soon it may be on the wing again, and what a flight it will take?

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 19:07