derbronn, to make up for lost time, while story. I had listened pacing up and down we went on at a trot for the fortress. thoughtfully, and, hearing me make no re

We followed minutely all the directions mark, she asked, which Zimmer had given us, and the next • Jean Baptiste, do you believe in desday, issuing from the defiles of the Grauf. tiny? Do you believe that our lot is all thal, on the plateau of Phalsbourg, we written out beforehand ?” had but just time to reach the glacis, for That question embarrassed me, and I the Cossacks were covering the plain. took a little time to reflect before I anIf it had been daylight we should have swered. “I believe, grandmother, that been lost.

Catinetta was a good physiognomist The gates were closed. We sent in our that she saw genius in Bernadotte, cournote to Commandant Meunier, who or- age in Zimmer, cleverness in you, and in dered the drawbridge to be let down, and Rosenthal credulity, and a little folly. we entered under escort. Scarcely had With this knowledge it is not so difficult to we gone under the archway of the Hôtel prophesy. No doubt she predicted in the de la Ville de Bâle when the shells began same way for a good many others. In the to fall, and compelled us to run for safety midst of the great events and extraordi. to the casemates, where the commandant nary agitations which followed, some of came to see us and distribute bedclothes. hier predictions might turn out true; othWe received rations during the whole ers failed in the usual order of things. time of the siege and blockade. Zimmer “ In every lottery there are big prizes was still protecting us.

which are necessarily won by somebody, After the capitulation of Paris and the but to know who that somebody shall be disbanding of the army we fell very low. is impossible. I believe, too, that an oak Rosenthal hung his head, and passed cannot grow into a pine, nor a pine be. whole days without speaking.

come an oak. Their destiny is fixed and After the Hundred Days and Waterloo marked out by nature itself. we had a second blockade. The few “ Circumstances may favor or delay or thousand francs saved from the wreck of suspend the development of men's minds, our fortunes were soon spent, and then but they cannot transform them in their we learned the death of our excellent very essence, because the germ runs friend Zimmer, killed by a cannon-ball at through all the phases of the individual the battle of Ligny.

existence of every being that is born and Poor Rosenthal at one time awoke from grows and dies. Every one, according to his stupor to babble of Catinetta la Mar. his race or his kind, is subject to all these seillaise. He accused her of having stolen phases. from him the crown of Sweden and given “I do not believe in absolute and arbiit to Bernadotte. He reproached bimself trary predestination in the case of any for having left his geneological tree at man's life, because I believe in the justice Pirmasens, and wanted to go back and of God and the free-will of man.” claim it. All my observations were use. less, and I think he would have completely lost his reason if a good man, M. le Pasteur Diderich, had not taught him that all the crowns in the world are not to

From The Contemporary Review. be compared with the crowns reserved for CONTEMPORARY LIFE AND THOUGHT IN the elect.

At this time many voices were upraised The anticipations we expressed last against Bernadotte for having joined the January, immediately after the death of coalition against France. They were Gambetta, have been rapidly coming true. right. Never should a man take up arins After a moment of confusion and bewilagainst his own country. But as we were derment, which testified to the gravity of in such trouble, and my first duty was to the loss sustained by the Republican think of my daughter's future, all that the party, moderate men recognized the impeople were saying did not prevent me perative necessity of constituting a gove from writing once more to Charles Jean, ernment worthy of the name and supking of Sweden, to implore his assistance. ported by a steady majority; and they He replied graciously, and pensioned us, turned naturally towards M. Jules Ferry, which enabled us to return to Sainte-Su- as the obvious chief of the only ministry zanne and live creditably.

possible or desirable at the moment.

It was high time, for the sake of our Here ended Grandmother Françoise's foreign relations as well as our internal

[ocr errors]




policy, to put an end to the extraordinary disintegration of the ministry consequent state of confusion and disorganization upon the illness of M. Duclerc, and, later into which things had been thrown by the on, of M. Fallières, and upon the resigna. illness first of M. Duclerc, and afterwards tion of the ministers of war and marine, of M. Fallières, and by the absurd and MM. Billot and Jaureguiberry, who reodious “question of the princes.” Prince fused to carry out the measures proposed Napoleon, with that want of seriousness against the princes holding military rank, and good sense which has always nullified bad revealed the full extent of the danger his remarkable intellectual gifts, had been arising from the want of a compact ma. seized with the unfortunate idea of taking jority in the Chamber of Deputies. It advantage of the death of Gambetta to was clear that the foreign policy of France placard a manifesto to the French people. was threatened with annihilation, and her Two courses were possible - either to internal administration and finance with treat the whole thing as a joke, or to ex. total disorganization, and that, in a word, pel the unseasonable pretender without anarchy in an insidious but most perilous further formality; M. Fallières, the min form was spreading, little by little, through

. ister of the interior, whom the illness of the whole body politic. The Republican M. Duclerc had suddenly left head of the party felt the danger keenly enough to Cabinet, had decided on the latter course.. seek the remedy in the only quarter in Unhappily M. Grévy, always a stickler for which it could be found; they rallied legality, and beset with judicial prejudices, round M. Jules Ferry. refused his assent to a measure not pro- This was the result we foresaw and vided for by the law; and M. Fallières hoped. M. Ferry was the only statesman was weak enough to institute unsuccess at all equal to the difficult inheritance left ful proceedings against the prince, and to by the death of M. Gambetta — the direcpropose to the Chamber a bill for arming tion of the Republican party. He has not, the government against pretenders. How of course, the captivating eloquence, or the came it that, while the public outside re extraordinary personal fascination, of M. mained indifferent and even amused, the Gambetta, nor has he the national popu. excitement in Parliament hereupon be. larity springing from an heroic episode; came so excessive and so universal, that it is even probable that he has neither so M. Floquet could demand the expulsion wide a conception of European policy, of all the members of former reigning nor so high an electoral genius; but his families, and that the most fantastic inferiority in some points is largely com. Orleanist conspiracies were invented or pensated by his superiority in others. He imagined ? The phenomenon can only be has character. He has always known understood by those who know the excita- what he wanted, and said what he thought bility of the French temperament, and the right, without troubling himself to flatter atmosphere of idle gossip, of barren agi- the passions either of the country or of tation and unreflecting terrors, in which the Chamber. He has political courage, many French deputies live and breathe. and that in the highest degree. He comThere was also, among those who were mands the respect of those who are opmost eager for the proscription of the posed to him - at least of such of them as princes, a certain amo nt of calculation. are capable of impartiality. He has a very They knew that the Senate would refuse cultivated and a very open mind, free from to concur in any violent measures, and intellectual prejudices; he is inaccessible they hoped to make use of this opportu: to fear or favor; he is a patient listener; nity for discrediting the Senate and he readily accepts the opinions of compecharging it with Orleanist proclivities. tent men, and knows how to leave a large Happily the business lingered, and every initiative to colleagues or subordinates one had time to recover from the first whose value he has tested. If he is not, burst of emotion, and to perceive its ab- like Gambetta, a tribune of the people — surdity. The Senate threw no acrimony if calumnious stories are told against him into its opposition to the bill sent up by among the people of Paris, because he the Chamber; and if in the end it rejected had the courage to speak sound reason the measure, it was not till it had clearly during the siege of 1870 — he has ac. shown that it recognized the right of the quired a solid and well-founded popularity government to protect itself against any amongst thinking, men, and especially pretender who should go so far as to pla- throughout the whole educational body; card his aspirations,

by the energy with which he has carried This period of barren and absurd agita- out the triple reform of primary, secontion was not quite without its use. The dary, and higher education. In public in.

[ocr errors]

struction he has made himself a name claims for the ministry, so long as it enand a place independent of all political joys the confidence of the majority, the fluctuations and superior to all parties. right of directing Parliamentary business, Thus he did wisely in resuming, on his and of emancipating itself from the bin. return to power, the portfolio of public drances perpetually thrown in its way by instruction; for whatever future may await the bungling initiative of private memhim as president of the Council, his ser-bers, and by their interference in matters vices in the matter of education will al- of administration. Thanks to the abso. ways surround him with sympathizers and lute clearness of the situation he has thus keep a door open for his return to office. produced, and to the conviction that if he The very nature of M. Ferry's political could not govern under these conditions opinions renders him eminently fitted to he would not govern at all, but would be the director and moderator of the Re. either dissolve or resign, M. Ferry – publican party. The party is divided by alone, so far, among the ministers of the two very marked tendencies in opposite republic — has been able to form a madirections, which find their adherents jority composed of homogeneous ele. among very different shades of opinion. ments, taken exclusively from the RepubThe one group holds that the immediate lican Left and the Republican Union need of the country is an energetic govo that is to say, from the moderate party. ernment, knowing its own mind, directing and fortified by the declared hostility of. the deliberations of Parliament, and giv. the Extreme Lest. This is the very oppo. ing a vigorous impulse to the adıninistra- site of the hybrid system attempted by tion of affairs; the other group would M. Freycinet, who tried to unite the Left make the whole duty of the government Centre with the Radical Left and the Exconsist in obedience to the Chambers, treme Left – a fatal system, which ended and the whole duty of the Chambers in in giving to the Extreme Lest an imporobedience to the electoral body. They tance quite disproportionate to their memput forward, under the name of Liberal bers, and still more disproportionate to ism, a sort of soi-disant American sys. their capacity. tem, which, in an old and centralized It was on these principles that M. Ferry country like France, can mean nothing constructed his government. He chose but universal disorganization and the sur-two very capable men who had formed render of public affairs to the most igno- part of M. Gambetta's cabinet — M. Walrant and violent classes of the community. deck-Rousseau and M. Raynal — for the On the other hand, the former group con ministries of the interior and of public tains a certain number of men of strong works; he appointed to the post of forcentralist views, who bring to the work of eign affairs M. Challemel-Lacour, a sena. a republican government the habits and tor and an old friend of Gambetta's, who, principles of despotism. There were as ambassador, had already held a diplomany who, however unjustly, feared in matic post; he gave the ministry of jus. M. Gambetta a possible tyrant; and some tice to M. Martin Feuillée, an able member of the friends who surrounded him un. of the Gambettist party, and the minisdoubtedly urged on him an absolutist tries of finance and agriculture to two policy. M. Ferry has the immense ad- members of the Left, M. Tirard and M. vantage of possessing, to begin with, a de Mahy. We shall speak later on of mind profoundly liberal, moderate, and the ministries of war, of marine, and of flexible, and an honest respect for public commerce. opinion, while he has also a keen sense From a Parliamentary point of view of the duties and requirements of govern- the choice of these ministers was irrement. It is to his credit that he did not proachable. But it is the misfortune of condescend to take office without clearly the existing situation that the choice of indicating the terms on which he accept. ministers is made to depend too much on ed it. lå his relations with the president party considerations, and too little on the of the republic - unhappily too much competence of the men and on the foreign under the influence of his son-in-law, M. relations of the country. M. Hérisson Wilson - he has vindicated for himself was made minister of commerce. He had complete freedom of action; in his rela- beld the post of public works in the late tions with his colleagues he has for the ministry, and his incompetence there had first time established those rights of gen. been notorious. It is not less so in his eral direction and control, without which present position. Nobody knows his the name of prime minister is a mockery; opinions on free trade, protection, and in his relations with the Chambers he tariffs. But he is a member of the Radi.


cal Left, and in keeping him M. Ferry adopted. M. Thibaudin is supported by has secured a few additional votes. In the Radicals with all the more eagerness finance, there was but one man capable of because little sympathy is believed to exextricating the treasury from the embar- ist between him and M. Ferry; and his rassment into which it had been thrown presence thus acts with double force as by M. Freycinet's reckless undertakings an element of discord and of weakness in in the matter of public works — M. Léon the Cabinet. Say. M. Ferry would have liked nothing Such are the fatal consequences of beiter. But M. Léon Say has many ene- that iniserable "question of the princes,” mies; his relations with the Rothschild which the Ferry ministry received as a family have aivakened the envy, and dis- legacy from its predecessors. By one of trust of more than one jealous democrat. those odd inconsistencies not unfrequent Instead of M. Say, the post was conferred in politics, the government found itself on M. Tirard, a financier of irreproacha- powerless against Prince Napoleon, the ble probity, but apparently not very expert solitary offender and the cause of the at figures, for his first budget contained whole difficulty, while the Orleans princes, an error of a hundred millions, - a mis. who had done nothing at all, were de. take not likely to be soon forgotten. prived, not indeed of their military rank, Finally, and worst of all, the unhappy but of their employment; and this was “ question of the princes” made it impos. done after the definitive rejection of the sible for M. Ferry to give the ministries law which was to have authorized the min. of war and marine to the two men who istry to take measures against them, and should naturally have been called to them, by means of a legal provision which had General Campenon and Admiral Cloué. hitherto been exclusively reserved for At the bead of the marine he was obliged cases of misconduct. I am not, however, to put a naval engineer, M. Brun — a sen- among those who are excessively indig. ator and a distinguished inan, but an in. nant at this measure.

I think a great valid, without authority over the officers, mistake has been made in conferring miliand without the energy of character nec- tary appointments on the Orleans princes; essary for the control of a most difficult and it appears to me that, even since the department, in which there is a strong carrying out of this measure, the memtendency the perpetuation of puses, bers of former reigning families have enand which at the present moment has to joyed in France à toleration which has deal with some of the gravest questions, never been accorded to pretenders in any on account of the impulse lately given to other European country. But it is imposthe colonial policy of the country. At the sible not to be scandalized at the illogical War Office matters were still worse. It and arbitrary manner in which they have was necessary to retain General Thibau- been treated during the last ten years. din, as the only person who could be got First they are loaded with favors ; then, to accept the post after the resignation of without any fault of their own, they are General Billot, though he was the object treated as suspects. It is useless to say of almost universal dislike amongst mili- that the republic of 1853 is not the repub tary men, whether on account of his pre. lic of 1874. Theoretically it is the same; vious conduct in the administration of the and it is bound to act on the theory; for infantry departinent of the War Office, or a government without continuity, and because, during the campaign of 1870–71, whose past is no guarantee for its future, when he was a prisoner on his parole in cannot possibly create either confidence Germany, he made his escape, took ser or security. vice again in France under the name of This vexatious question, however, was Commagny, and thus gained his rank as soon forgotten; and indeed the excite. general. M. Ferry was forced to endure ment it produced had been confined within ihe presence of M. Thibaudin in his Cab. a somewhat narrow circle. Its principal inet; but it was not possible that there inconvenience was the dissatisfaction it should exist between them those cordial created in the army. There were other relations and that unity of action so im- questions which caused the government peratively necessary at a moment when more serious embarrassment. the law of recruitment was just about to First came the religious question, which be passed – a law which threatens the had quieted down in the matter of the whole intellectual and artistic activities of non-authorized orders only to blaze up France, and on which even ber military again more fiercely than ever in the maifuture will be staked, if the system of a ter of primary education. In suppressing universal three-years' service should be religious teaching in the schools, the mis. take had been made of substituting for it fused throughout all the lessons; and he the teaching of morality and civic duty. would reduce the proposed instruction in The opposition regarded this as an at the duties of citizenship to the explana. tempt on the part of the government to tion of the essential facts of social life replace the old catechism by a free-think- and of the machinery of administration. ing republican catechism of its own. A It may be questioned, however, whether manual of moral and civic instruction, the teachers are sufficiently intelligent to composed by M. Paul Bert, in which the give this sort of moral instruction out of supernatural was openly denied, and mo- their own heads. And it looks a little narchical institutions were held up to rid. like retreating before the attacks of the icule, confirmed them in this opinion. clericals. The French clericals skilfully turned these Whilst the clerical question thus threat. mistakes to their own advantage. They ens to become a source of embarrassment obtained from the Congregation of the to the government, and perhaps to deprive Index at Rome the condemnation, not the republic of the sympathies of some of only of M. Paul Bert's manual, but also the electors, social questions are forcing of those of M. Compayré and of Madame themselves upon the more thoughtful and H. Gréville, * which are absolutely irre. far-seeing minds. The masses of the proachable from a religious point of view. population naturally look to the republic Bishops and clergy Aung themselves at for an amelioration of their condition. once into the contest, and sorbade Catho. But this amelioration depends only in part lic parents, under the threat of excommu- on the law, and on the degree of liberty nication, to place these impious books in enjoyed by the citizens; it depends printhe hands of their children. True, the cipally on social and economic conditions proceedings of the court of Rome and with which the form of government has ibe clergy were odious enough; the thing nothing whatever to do. The republic was clearly a political intrigue and not meanwhile allows free course to the most a religious question; and it is not to be violent socialistic or anarchist propaganendured that a foreign authority should da; it even allows the adherenis of revointerfere in a matter of public education lutionary ideas to associate and organize in France. But none the less it was em-themselves. , I, for my part, see no imme. barrassing for the government. There diate danger arising from any such propa. are amongst the bourgeoisie and the work- ganda; but the weakness of the governing classes many good Republicans who ment, togetber with a prolonged industrial do not care to quarrel with their priest, crisis, migiit turn a remote contingency and who care a good deal about their into a present peril. After the attempts at children's first communion; and it would Monceaux les Mines and at Lyons, and be at once deplorable and dangerous to the proceedings which resulted in the con. stir up throughout the whole of France an viction of Prince Krapotkin and some antagonism between the schoolmaster and other revolutionists, some few persons the curé. M. Ferry is alive to this dan seriously believed in the creation of a ger; and while energetically undertaking dynamite party in France. A few demaihe defence of the schoolmasters – while gogues, more less sincere, even procuring the condemnation of the bish- ihought the time had come for a noisy agi. ops by the Council of State for the abuse tation in the streets; and, profiting by the of their authority, and even threatening uneasiness among the population of Paris them with the suspension of their sti due to the crisis in the furnishing trade pends in case of a repetition of the offence last winter, they attempted to organize

while vigorously denouncing in the tumultuous demonstrations for the 9th, Congrès des Instituteurs the insolent in. uth, and 18th of March. But the work. tervention of Rome in the internal affairs men of Paris remained absolutely indiffer. of France - he has shown the greatest ent. On the 9th and the ith a lew handanxiety to appease these irritating hostili. fuls of roughs alone responded to the ties. He advocated the suppression of appeal; and on the 18th, when it was direct moral instruction, and the substitu. known that the government had resolved tion of an indirect moral influence dif- firmly to put down any attempt at dis.

order, not a single rioter showed his face One curious incident serves to show the intolerance in the streets. Since that time the revo- or, at least, the puerility of a certain class of per- lutionary party has kept pretty quiet; it The committee of the French Academy which


cannot so much as find an audience for chooses the books proposed for the Prix Monthyon had put down a work by Madame Gréville. It was struck its meetings. The social danger is thus out, because her manual had been put into the Index. held at arm's length for the present by the


« VorigeDoorgaan »