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nearly allied to superstition, to its prove unsavory to its tastes, or inaid : and thus the fanciful mind may, digestible to its susceptibilities. Paris without taking upon itself the airs of is “ Sir Oracle," and, when it speaks, a Pythoness, give way to a little super- no provincial “ dog dare
bark." stition, and yet, perhaps, be not too Paris, thus, is the great type of strongly condemned of folly. There the mainspring of the national chaexists an old prophecy in France, ema- racter,—which works sometimes, nating from a monk of the middle we allow, for good as well as for ages, the authenticity of which cannot evil:-namely, of that mixture of be doubted, or, at all events, cannot be vanity and overweening conceit, which disputed, in as far as it was in well. may be found at the bottom of almost known existence at the commence- every action of the French. It calls ment of this century. It predicts, in itself "the great capital of the mystic language,—dark, it is true, but civilized world;" and thus considers wonderfully clear after its verification, that, although the departments may be -all the many revolutionary changes admitted to the reflected rays of lustre that have taken place in France, and that emanate from its superior glory, now once more proclaims the reign they must look upon themselves as of the “sons of Brutus." “ Armed mere satellites, created to revolve at its men," it distinctly says, “ will march liking and its high will, and perform upon the doomed city," “ sword and their revolutions in whatever direction fire will prevail against it,” “the it deems fit to make its own revoluwolves will devour each other.” May tion. Let it not be supposed that this the seeming superstition of a fantasti- representation is exaggerated, or that cal question be pardoned! May not it proceeds from the distorted views these words refer to the future out- of a foreigner. Hear the Parisian himbreak of the provinces of France self speak; list to his expressions of against the capital? If they do, in contempt for those unknown and bar. what sense, with what tendencies, to barous regions called departments; forward the views of what party, may mark how he asserts the unutterable it be? Be that as it may, however, superiority of his Parisian essence ; it is not the obscure future that is see how he tosses his head and curls dealt with here, but the present con- his lip with an infinitely aristocratic air, fused and uncertain state of Republic when he condescends to notice them can France.
with a word ; and never was Paris more As it may be inferred from what has eager in the maintenance of its tyranbeen said, Paris, then, has put on its nical supremacy; never was it more crown, as capital, to some purpose. despotically and autocratically disNever did despot assert his right to posed; never more aristocratic, to use dietate his autocratic will to serfs and the pet phrase of the day, than under slaves more authoritatively than does the rule of soi-disant liberty, and of revolutionary and republican Paris liberty of opinion, above all other to the provinces of France. No liberties proclaimed by the French three-tailed Bashaw of old melo- republic. drames could be more imperative in
What were the expressions of the his ordinances, more arrogant in first republican minister of the interior, the conviction of the indisputability that type of republican exclusiveness of his will. The bare supposition and despotism, in his famous and that the provinces could have a will
rather too famous bulletins de la reof their own would strike Paris dumb publique, issued to all France as the with astonishment. Paris has been language and opinions of the governaccustomed to consider itself not only
ment of the day ? Paris, they informed as the heart, but the head, and the the world, was the heart of France, arms and legs to boot, of the whole
from which all life and living principle country. The inert body has no more, emanated, through wh every drop in its consideration, to do, than allow of the country's blood must flow, in itself to be fed with what scanty mor
order that it might beat in unison, and sels of bounty and importance Paris be refreshed with true republican may choose to afford, and then not to vitality. Paris, they said again, was dare to grumble afterwards if the food the hand that had created and fashioned
the republic, and that was to direct its formed the task-how well they emsteps, lead it vigorously forward in its ployed the fiery passions of the mob to way—as it was the head that conceived, produce the desired red-hot effect, and it was the hand that executed: it then strike-is a matter of historical was more than all this, it was the soul fact. of France--the pure and true essence In the elections for the National emanating from the new deity, the re- Assembly, the same dogmas of repubpublic. Paris, they asserted in as lican religion were strenuously enmany direct words, was the mistress forced. No emissaries of the Inquiwhose will was to be obeyed. It is sition ever used more moral violence unnecessary to point out how little to propagate a faith among suspected such declarations were in accordance schismatics, than did these ministers with republican principles, what little of republican despotism to enforce the affinity they had with the three great full, entire, and uttermost doctrines of watchwords of_the day, “Liberty, their creed, even to the minutest Equality, and Fraternity.” Repub- articles. Where the moral influenceaplicanism in France, according to those peared unlikely to penetrate as deeply old traditions, to which those who call into men's hearts as was desired, other themselves the only true and pure re- and more direct methods were adopted publicans seem always to be looking to make entire converts; and, when back as the only true and pure models these methods were found too mild to for their admiration and imitation, work the intended effect, and purge the was always based upon despotism, land of moderatism and anti-wholesupported by constraint, compulsion, hog-ism, another stronger and more violence, and even terrorism; and the racking dose was administered: the first efforts of modern republicanism mob was excited to overawe with were evidently exerted to place their threat and terrorism, and, where it old, newfangled statue of bastard could not prevent, to destroy. How liberty upon the same heterogeneous should the departments dare to have a pedestal. The instructions of the same will of their own? The rebellious Bashaw-minister to the emissaries children were to be whipped like whom he despatched as Bashaws of schoolboys into learning their lessons lesser and fewer tails into the provinces, of pure and undefiled republicanism, to see that they were duly disposed to and reciting them as Master Commisfall down and worship the Goddess Re- sioner taught them; there was no public, that had been set up, were better rod in pickle for such naughty modelled after the same and still urchins than the scourge of the fury rougher fashion.
of a mob, carefully taught another The missionaries were invested with lesson, and one it was not slow of autocratic powers to make and unmake learning-namely, that it was master, according to their own autocratic will; and must constrain obedience to its to send away functionaries who might will; while, in fact, itself obeyed the appear lukewarm in the cause; to put influence, and was the instsument of in their places such acolytes as might the master-spirit that ruled up above, better serve the altars of the goddess, and made the best, or rather the worst and to offer up sacrifices to her, civil use of its rule. That all these meaand military, judicial and political, as sures failed in a great measure—those they might think pleasing to the di- of violence as well as those of moral vinity, or convenient and agreeable to constraint—is attributable to a variety their own hates and prejudices. They of complicated reasons, connected with were particularly requested to travail. the present state of the departments ; ler the country, to torture it, as the and the how and why they failed, French phrase goes; and were taught, will be the subject of a few consideraif they could not hammer the hard and tions presently. unbending metal of departmental What, again, were the expressions feeling to the shape they fancied, just of the more violent and so-called only gently to make the iron red-hot with true republican party in the capital, the fire of terrorism, and then twist it proceeding from its organs, the clubs, to the suitable form. How well the upon the same occasion of the elecworkmen, in many instances, per- tions ? To all the candidates who
presented themselves before them, the have been none the less furious in same question was propounded. If, their expressions of contempt for the when the votes of all France were openly declared will of all France. taken, it should be found that the They had long kicked down their idol departments declared themselves of universal suffrage with disdain, as averse to the establishment of a re soon as they had found that, in spite public, what would be the duty they of all the hidden machinery they had would have to perform—what steps set to work in it, the idol had not would they take? Those who did not obeyed their will, or declared their declare that they would turn against oracles. Universal suffrage they prothat National Assembly, of which nounced a hoax: constraint, tyranny, they themselves might then be mem- anarchy, conspiracy, civil war, were bers, and take up arms to march upon proclaimed by them the only true it, were denounced as traitors to their elements of the only true republic. country, unworthy of the votes of true Frantic with disappointment at the men, and hooted from the tribune, in result of their own maneuvres, by which they had dared to stand forward which they had been caught in their as future representatives of the people. own toils, they seized upon the preIt would have been in vain to insinu- text of sympathy in the sorrows of ate to these good gentlemen, that, in another country; and, aided by the the application of the principle of treachery of certain of their own party universal suffrage, in which every man in authority, invaded the obnoxious was not only an elector, but eligible Assembly, overthrew the government as representative, the voice of the ma- for an hour, and proclaimed a terrorist jority would be the voice of all France; government of their own.
Foiled and that it was for all France, by the again in this audacious attempt, foiled voice of its majority, to decide upon ai least for the time being, they now the form of government best suited to endeavoured to patch up the shaking all France. In vain, indeed. The soil that had given way beneath their ready answer would invariably have feet, and plunged their leaders into a been—that Paris was the mistress of quagmire, and to build new foundations France, and had a right to dictate for fresh aggressions upon the disconits will; that Paris had made the tent of a part of the working-classes. revolution, and that consequently, For this purpose they have taken two Paris was privileged to support the newfangled tools into their hands, the principles of that revolution, and to one of impulsion, the other of repularrogate to itself all its advantages: sion—the one of enthusiasm, the that the country at large, in fact, had other of alarm; and both are so nothing to do but to give in its ap- vaguely fashioned, and of so uninproval, and be happy that its concur- telligible a nature, that the real rence was so far demanded, and that, fact of their existence can never should it dare to have an opinion of be proved, although their use, its own, woe betide it! All this in- their purpose, and their design, in solent bombast of the ultra party in the hands of these men, are very Paris might have been spared, how- clear. The one of these tools is a ever; the cause of “ Paris v. the De- bugbear, a phantom, a bogie, to which partments" was never called into the they endeavour to give as terrific an court of the country. The departments aspect as possible, in order to fright had accepted the establishment of the ignorant men over into their own republic as a fait accompli : they never ranks. This evil spirit, they declare, desired to subvert the new order of has an existence, although no one things by another convulsion, that ever saw it, no one ever felt it, no one would have plunged the country, al- ever knew where it dwells. No superready so miserable, into an increase of stitious people was ever endeavoured misery; but they protested in favour to be worked up into a move irreof a republic of peace and order, upon fragable belief of some mysterious moderate principles; and, lo and be. demon that haunts them in dark hold, Paris itself combined with them woods and obscure places to devour in this desire. The disappointed party them-nor, generally, with more comof the directing master-spirits of Paris plete success over the credulous ; for
fear is the most powerful agent over structure upon the heads of the people, the minds of the masses, and more and crush it for ever beneath them. especially when the fear is of the un- In spite of the infinite harm worked known and mysterious; and certainly upon the spirit of the lower classes by no demon was ever described with a the establishment of the belief in this more hideous or blacker face. This phantom, there would, perhaps, be bogie, phantom, bugbear, is a supposed no real danger in the effect produced influence called " Reaction.' No by the clamours of insensate ultra precise form is given to it, for that journals, the preachings of agitating would be to deprive it of more than demagogues, and the insidious insinuhalf its terrors. No! omne ignotum ations of anarchist meneurs, among the pro terribili is the policy. Nothing crowd, did not certain members of the can be more vague or indefinite than government itself, and some of those this same monster, Reaction; it re- in authority, render themselves parmains an Ossianic cloudlike spectre, ties concerned to the propagation of floating no one knows whence, but the belief, either genuinely, from havbringing death and pestilence in its "ing been themselves carefully inocutrain. If the working-classes suffer, lated with the virus of false fear, until it is the Reaction, they are told, that they have really taken the disease, or is the cause of all their sufferings. If designedly, for the advancement of all their exactions, however exorbi- their own purposes---did they not, tant and impossible, are not conceded in fact, throw a sop continually to at once, it is because that horrible Re- mob-lecturers, by insinuating their action labours that their just demands own conviction in the existence of should be withheld. If the most vio • bogie” by their decrees, edicts, and lent of their own body are not elected proclamations, and, when they are as the true representatives of the called to put down anarchy, never people, it is because that pestilential obey without crying “Reaction” at Reaction has cast a spell over the the same time, and vainly giving the minds of all the electors. The Reaction phantom a slap on the face. As it is has also, potent demon although it be, and herein lies the evil--the people all the freaks and caprices of a lesser are taught that the National Assemimp: it performs the strangest and bly, as it is now constituted, is the most incomprehensible feats—for if a concentrated essence of the spirit of discontented mass of workmen revolt Reaction—that the representatives of unsuccessfully, and gain not their ends, the people, with but few exceptions, it was the Reaction again that was the are the ministering imps in a visible cause of all. The Reaction, for its own form of the invisible demon.
If a vile reactionary purposes, it was, that word of reason is spoken in the Assemtreacherously induced them to revolt, bly against the clamours of unreasonwhen they themselves were naturally able demand—“ Look ye there ! Reinclined to be the most peaceable, action!" is the cry; if it prepares safe contented, and the least exorbitant measures of repression against the people on the earth. See how perfi- open efforts of anarchy—“Reaction;" dious, Machiavelic, and Jesuitical, is if it defends its own existence against this horrible monster Reaction! Pity the subversive attempts of conspirait is that, in order to establish the tors—"reaction;" if it attempts to fact of its real existence, it should not establish the republic upon a firm as yet have made itself visible to and solid, but moderate basis__"remortal eyes in any incarnate form! action;" if it does anything—“ reThe Reaction is, however, no less, action!” if it does nothing" reacmen are told, the enemy of the repub- tion;" if it cannot perform impossible lic, the adversary of all true republican wonders for the amelioration and prosprinciples, labouring ever to overthrow perity of the lower working-classes, it; above all, the enemy of the people --at which, however, it labours most and the people's interests, their under- hard,—"reaction-reaction-reaction; mining serpent, their secret assassin. the reaction of aristocratic feeling It is already sapping, unseen, the foun---the reaction of ill-will—the reaction dations of the republic, and it intends of indifference and indolence ;" thereby to pull down the ruins of that august always meaning reaction against the
true republic, and its true representa- explanations, that are no explanations tives, the lower classes. The phantom at all: they know not themselves what Reaction is thus used as a tool by a they mean. Universal suffrage upon wild and violent party against the its broadest basis, with all the rights present order of things; against the and privileges thereto attached, in moderate majority of the Assembly their most democratic sense, is no more particularly ; against all things democratic republic according to their and all men not suiting its views, its view. What is ? Who can tell ?schemes, its dreams, and its ambi- certainly not they. “They have clations; and the bugbear is not ill got moured for the moon," says a wit of up to scare the credulous of the lower the day, “and the moon has been classes more completely into the toils given them; and now they cry, 'we of the malcontents, with the fear that are betrayed; we wanted the sun, and reaction really may destroy that idol the sun we will have.' But have from which they have been taught to a care! the sun will blind your eyes, expect all the good gifts of “roasted my friends, and you will stagger in larks," for which they have only to still greater darkness; the sun will open their mouths, and “showers of burn your fingers, and you will smart gold," for which they have only to beneath the blisters. But they heed stretch forth their hands—that idol not; they still clamour for the sun." that has been lacquered over with At all events, the banner on which the false gilding of delusive promises flaunts aloft the words—“ Republique by imprudent rulers, and which democratique” is a good rallying banner the many still fancy to be all of for all malcontents, a good banner unsolid gold-in a word, the Republic. der which to enlist the unwary among The reaction, in truth, exists not, or their ranks. It is a cry, a clamour, exists not in the manner that people and all the more enticing because it would be led to believe. If it exists, is vague, unexplained, mysterious in it is in the disgust of the more labori- its fresh promises of some fancied ous and less tumultuous of the lower good that has not yet arrived, full of classes themselves, who, in their in- the great and alluring unknown. Thus creasing misery, would be happy to it serves a purpose. accept the Lama of Thibet, or any But to return from this long digresother abstraction, with an absolute sion upon the efforts of subversive pargovernment, in the place of the false ties, to the state of feeling that subsists idol of their hopes, that has as yet only in Republican France between its now deluded them into greater misery well-sorted and divided elements it is in the reactionary cry of the Paris and the provinces. wretched, who call for “ King Log," or What are, again, the expressions any other senseless ruler that would used by the lower classes with rebring with it peace, and order, and a gard to the departments? what the hope of well-being.
feelings they express ? Ever the The other tool employed by the same. Paris, they declare, makes, has designing malcontents--that of impul- made, and will make all the revolusion-is the banner upon which is in- tions of the country. Paris, consescribed“ Republique Democratique." quently, is all in all in France : Paris We have a republic, it is true, they is the mistress, and the queen, the say, but not the republic of our wishes. supreme arbitress of the destinies of This is only a 'mere republic, like France : Paris must be obeyed in all any other : we want a democratic re- its wishes and its high will. What public, and the democratic republic is were the words of the workmen of the iaken from us; but the democratic national workshops, in a late revolt, to republic we must and will have. Ask the Minister of Public Works? They them what they mean by their were told that there was no longer publique democratique," they will not any work for them in the capital, that be able to inform you. They launch their pretended labour was an irony into phrases which are but phrases; of labour, that the country paid them they lose themselves in a cloudy con- for doing nothing, and that they were fusion of terms and ideas: they pre- eating the bread of idleness under the tend to give you vague and chaotic name of work! they were told that