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was of a nature to open even a most friendly eye to the weakness of the Latitte Administration. Some deputies resolved to speak out to the Chamber, and to excite it from its apparent and false security. M. Guizot attacked the Ministry from the Tribune, and the Ministry replied by announcing an early dissolution of the Cabinet. The fall of the Lafltte Administration was one of the greatest blessings ever conferred on France or on Europe. Whilst it boasted of its pacific and moderate intentions, it encouraged the hopes, and raised the expectations of the ultra- Liberal party. Whilst it affected independence and a great love of national honour, it was, like the Melbourne Administration, the slave of a faction, and the ally of revolutionists. Whilst it gave daily and solemn promises to the ambassadors of foreign powers that it desired to cultivate the best possible understanding with the Governments they represented, it at the same time encouraged secretly the hopes of the Poles without meaning to help them; told the French party in Belginm that it was convinced that the union of that province with France was the only means of putting for ever at rest the agitations of the Low Countries; supplied means to the Spanish Liberals to carry on their political intrigues and their border insurrections; kept the Italian refugees in a state of suspense, sometimes encouraging and at other times discouraging them; and, in one won), preached peace, but encouraged war—preached order, and yet was the author of anarchy.
Casimir Perier neither excited nor restrained those who took the lead in their subversion of a Government of clubs, ementes, and mob dominion. He felt that the time w as at hand, but he thought the moment had scarcely arrived; he resolved not to undertake the task of governing without having at least reasonable chances of success. He did not desire office for the sake of its glitter or show; he had more ambition than that. Naturally an enemy of disorder—profoundly attached to all ideas of authority—of subordination—of respect—inaccessible to speculative illusions—full of contempt and irony for the polities of romancers and poets—he saw with some severity and some disgust the agitations of modern society, and, above all, that feverish, unhealthy, irritable state de
veloped by the Revolution of 1830. He felt, then, neither joy nor happiness when he saw the day arrive for him to seize the reins of Government; but casting on his country a firm but a sad look of distrust and sorrow, he accepted the mission with the sentiment of a man who has a great duty to perform—with the distrust of a mind chagrined, but with the courage of a great and noble heart.
March 13, His celebrated Ministry of 1831,wasnohastycombination. Before forming it, he was resolved to know the real state of the police, the finance, and the diplomacy of the country. He saw and conferred with the former Council; he deliberated a long time before he declared his resolution; lie really and truly hesitated more than once, and he did not consent to he chief of the Cabinet till he had sounded well all the questions, resolved, at least in principle, all the difficulties, and examined profoundly all the repugnances, as well as all the objections. He wished that, from the moment the Ministry should be named, it should begin to act. Unity—an entire, and well-based, and well-considered unity was that which he regarded as indispensable. The difficulty was great to bring all together to one way of thinking and to one system of action, but yet he succeeded; and when he saw the Ministry ready to be formed and to act, he received ft om the hand of Louis Philippe thecommission to unite the proposed members into a Cabinet. He was one of those who would not consent to accept the confidence of a prince without being assured that he possessed the means of rendering himself worthy. The situation of France when Casimir Perier accepted office and formed his Ministry was most deplorable. She had no ally but England; she had no public opinion; her finances wero in a most melancholy situation; her public credit was gone; her trade and commerce wero in a stato of ruin; her manufactories were closed; her nobility were emigrating, or selling their properties and funds and converting all into ready money; her metropolis was daily exposed to the agitation of street emeutes and insurrections in the public place; her political and revolutionary clubs were increasing every week, and were demanding new concessions every day; her press insulted the throne, tho altar, and the privileged classes — preached anarchy and levelling in broad day; and, whilst the ambassadors of foreign powers were insulted in their hotels, the clergy were thrown into the Seine, or hunted down like wild beasts when they appeared in public. The working classes necessarily suffered much from this sad state of depression, misery, and anarchy. The Propagandist party urged them to pillage—and the modern Robespierrian demagogues counselled the sans culottes to proceed to the Faubourg St Germain and rob the hotels of the absent nobility — or hang those they might find at the next lamp-posts. There was no cry heard but for a general war, and those who discouraged this notion were stigmatised as traitors and scoundrels. We remember to have witnessed in Paris the emeute of 13th February, 1831, and to have asked some of the leaders the objects they had in view; but they could give no other account of their principles and wishes than " il faut la guerre." "War 1 War!" was their only cry— but it was war to the cottage as well as to the throne—war to the altar as well as to the home—and war to all who possessed, on the part of those who did not.
The policy of tho Cabinet of the 13th of March was the natural policy of the monarchy of 1830—but it was never recognised nor proclaimed till Casimir Perier undertook to do so. Oh, how loud was that howl which proceeded from all parts, when Casimir Perier proclaimed that the policy of his Administration would be " peace, liberty, and public order 1" His true merit was, not that of having discovered the system, for from the moment Louis Philippe was named King ho declared he would adopt no other; but Casimir Perier was the first Minister who proclaimed that these were his intentions—he was the first who said, " Mine shall be a system of resistance "—not a negative policy, but a policy of action; he was the first who gave that tone of authority which is so necessary to a Government, and which commands confidence. He was the first who rallied round the Government not only the interests,but the convictions and devotedness of the middling classes, and assured, to the cold and chilling system of repression and counter-revolution, the support of the convictions, and even of tho
enthusiasm of all thinking and energetic men. It was at a moment of peril like that we have described, that Casimir Perier, renouncing the ease of a brilliant position, and of an untouched popularity, delivered himself up, without illusions, sacrificing all his ease and all his popularity at once, to the perfidy and menaces of all the factions then so powerful and sanguinary—ready to defend his cause against the authors of the Revolution — not underratinsr any obstacle or peril—but rather regarding the horizon as more charged and more black than even was tho case. He was indeed superior, hut not insensible to calumny and injustice. He knew and felt that to govern France then, was to renounce all repose, all security, all ease ; and yet, though his health was most frail, and his constitution most feeble, he entered the arena—ay, and by no means certain of victory. He regarded the Revolution of 1830 as a most dangerous experiment. He knew that that experiment must fail if any other policy were adopted than that which he proposed, but he was by no means certain that even that policy would succeed. He was also no theorist. He had not, therefore, the consolation derived by some men from a belief in abstract principles. He had no great confidence in political friends, and none in political partisans. He endeavoured to imagine that he should be deserted by all, and even conducted as a victim to some revolutionary orgies, to be offered up as a sacrifice to their mad and brutal passions ; and all this he realised in his own mind; and yet, with all these motives for renouncing, instead of accepting the terrific duties of Prime Minister at that moment, he accepted the combat, feeling, as he was, the only man who at that moment could stand in the breach. Nor must it be forgotten that at the palace and the court Casimir Perier had some personal enemies. He was proud, haughty, domineering; had strong passions and strong dislikes; and was resolved to be a real bona fide President of the Council, presiding himself over all the meetings of tho Cabinet, and not allowing Louis Philippe to continue his favourite system of presiding himself. He was willing to undertake all his responsibility of an undivided presidentship, but he saw resolved that it should be undivided.
When Casimir Perier took office, the approaching dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, rendered essential by the fact of tho Revolution of 1830, was likewise unfavourable to the developement of his system. Who could predict what a new Chamber mightsay, think, anddecide? The press —the clubs—the schools—the young and ardent portion of the army and National Guards, were all opposed to the system of " peace, liberty, and public order." Their cry was still for war. The whole of the west of France was in a state of agitation. The question of Belginm was So wholly undecided, that the question of peace or war was still in suspense. Poland still fought valiantly with broken swords. Nearly all the press excited daily the warlike dispositions of the lower orders—and by degrees all France had become inoculated with the mania for war. It became necessary then to give confidence to Europe, without abandoning the new French dynasty; to satisfy France, without allowing her passions to be gratified; and to bring one party to resign itself to the Revolution of 1830, as understood by the conservateurs—and to bring the other to be contented with the simple change of dynasty, and with the revision of a few of the articles of the Charta of 1814. Yet Casimir Perier had to fulfil the promises made by the Charta of 1830; and deeply did he regret one of those promises, viz. the destruction of the Hereditary Peerage. He had also at once to show to Europe that he did not fear war whilst he offered peace; and that the sword was at his side whilst the olive-branch was in his hand. And in the midst of all these difficulties he was surrounded every where by distrust—for no mind was confiding—every where by uncertainty—for no one was satisfied. He had but one idea, one reply, to oppose to all this—and that was
"Jt veux la paix, et jt nt veux que la Charte"
In other words, he insisted that the monarchy of 1830 should be, and should also be considered, as a definitive and regular Government " Wisdom and pride," said Casimir Perier, "should be inscribed on the banner of our national Revolution."
But that which be said, it was ne
cessary also for him to prove. In polities a system is not every thing. The system should be reasonable and wise; but it is the execution of that system which assures to it success, which constitutes its glory. What did M. Perier bring along with him in support of tho system which he proclaimed? One only thing—but it was a great one—the security offered to France by his own character. M. Perier said at the Tribune, "Pour garder la paix au dehors, comme pour la conserver au dedans, il ne faut peut-etre qn'une chose—e'est que la France soil gouvernee."
Under the preceding Administrations France had often asked, " Where is the Government?" And echo answered, " Where?" But with Casimir Perier the question could bo put no longer. Franco soon knew, and soon felt, that she was governed indeed.
On one occasion an old friend of himself and of his family, attached to the cause of Bonaparte, and believing that the Government of Napoleon II. was practicable, attacked, in no very measured terms, the President of the Council, in his private dressing-room, to which he was always admitted at an early hour in the morning. "M. Perier," said the Bonapartist, "your system cannot stand—all France is opposed to you—you aro only supported by the bankers and capitalists of the Bourse —your system is selfish, pecuniary, disgraceful to France—and anti-national; France requires the old fractions of the empire—the destruction of the treaties of Vienna—the emancipation of the people of Europe, who are her natural allies—and not the kings of this continent, who can never sympathise with the Revolution of 1830. Your system cannot last"
To all this he replied, " The Franco you know is the France of the kennels, of the gutters, of the dregs of society, of the moh, of the clubs, of the schools; beardless boys, indolent vagabonds, and dissatisfied speculators. The France which supports my system [is opulent France, industrious France, honest and laborious France—wellprincipled France, which loves order as well as liberty, and peace better than conquest. We shall see which France will prevail. If yours shall succeed, do not imagine you will stop at even the terrorism of 1793—you will go beyond that. The social revolution you will then witness will exceed all the anarchy yet witnessed on the earth. If my France shall succeed, you will see the Revolution of 1830 every where respected and looked up to—our new dynasty confided in and honoured—peace and order succeed to the present state of incipient anarchy—and France will have gained all she proposed by the Revolution of July."
To this prediction the Bonapartist replied, that the system of Casimir Perier would lead back France to the institutions of the Restoration; and that, if plans and policy should succeed, France would soon have no more liberty than she enjoyed under the reigns of Louis XVIII. and Charles X. His answer to this observation was truly characteristic .
"More liberty than under the Restoration I More freedom than under the reigns of Louis XVII I. and Charles X. 1 Why, you do not know what you talk about; no ! tell your party— ,your Imperialists—your Republicans —tell them all, that if I live, they shall weep tears o^bLood to have back again the liberties of the Restoration! During no period of the history of France, has so groat a degree of liberty been enjoyed as during that portion of her existence. Take you back to the Rest'iration I ah, indeed I should be happy, happy beyond expression, if I could ever hope again to see France as free, as prosperous, as blessed as she was under the Restoration!"
The Bonapartist could say nomore. This was the system of Casimir Perier, and he summed up all by saying, "Je veux la paix, et je ne veux que la Charte."
It would bo as unnecessary as it would be tedious to recount all the facts of his powerful and wise administration. It was conceived and directed by himself—and its object was clear and precise. At the commencement it astonished even those whom it satisfied. Even those who desired most ardently its success were sceptical as to its duration Those who were in heart republicans still affected to love the new monarchy, and to desire its strength. For it must not be forgotten that, even after the defeated emeutc of the 14th July, 1831, the Republicans had not raised the standard of the Republic. They still vowed their attachment to the dynasty of
Orleans, and their apprehensions lest the policy of M. Perier should be unfavourable to its existence. The Conservatives themselves could not believe in the possibility of their own success. It was too good to be true. Some even said, " that he carried resistance too far;" and many a time was he obliged not only to attack the hydra of anarchy and Propagandism, but also to devote a portion of each day to encourage his timid though sincere followers.
The elections of 1831 afforded a great scope for the exercise of his energy and talents. He derived vast assistance from the advice of M. Guizot, and both publicly and privately acknowledged it to the end of' his life. The struggle was desperate between wisdom and passion, false patriotism and real love of country; between the love of glory in the French character, and the rising desire for peace; between the enthusiasm and fauaticism of the moh, and the calm and dignified love of rational liberty of the superior and middling classes. When the Chamber met, it was unknown to itself as it was to the Government. Its new members arrived, and many, many of its old.ones too—with all their suspicions, all the doubts, and misgivings of the country, and with all its illusions. The old Liberal party was there with all its exigencies, though it confided in its own patriotism, and w;;s willing to find a guide and a commander. During the Restoration, the old Liberal party had been too much a party, and too little a principal. This Casimir Perier knew—this he felt,— and this he deplored. No one professed more formally than he did the constitutional necessity of a bond of union between the Chamber and the Ministry; but no one held in more profound contempt that ambiguous policy which gave out that each measure and each law must be judged of isolately, without paying any attention to the necessities of the Government, and the wants of the majority. When, then, the Deputies of 1831 elected M. Lafitte, the chief of the last Cabinet, President of the Chamber, CasiMir Perier gave in his resignation; and, but for the unexpected attack made by the King of the Pays Bas on the rebel province of Bolginm, this eminent statesman had resolved to leave office. That was a moment of profound danger for the new French dynasty. If Casimir Perier had not con
sented to remain, a war with Europe would, apparently at least, have been inevitable. How great was the anxiety of the king and of the Conservative interests of the country during that moment of uncertainty. How loud was the laugh of joy and deiision when the name of Lafitte came out of the ballotting urn with a majority for him as President of the Chamber of Deputies! The majority was but One—but Casimir Perier was no Lord Melbourne or Count Mole. He understood the principle of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies very differently to them; he acted on the principle which decided the Duke of Wellington, when he resigned power because a majority of Three was against him But the mirth and the satisfaction of the ultra-Liberal party was of short duration. Casimir Perier con-sented to remain in power, notwithstanding the defeat he sustained at the Chamber, or at least he consented to make another trial of the new Deputies. His decision was a wise one. The joy of the Revolutionary party at the momentary defeat of Casimir Perier was a lesson to the Chamber itself; and when it read in the columns of the Revolutionary prints the invectives poured forth against the Conservative policy of that statesman, and the curses heaped upon him when he consented to make anothcr trial of the Chamber, the Deputies hesitated no longer. A majority, then, frank, loyal, and decided, rallied round the Conservative drapeau, and from that moment no Minister was over supported by a more compact and decided majority. But still the Opposition both within aud without the Chamber was formidable and numerous. Still the most dangerous theories were promulgated in the most seductive forms, and it was not only necessary to defend against calumnious attacks and gloomy predictions a line of policy not yet in full operation, and the success of which was necessarily slow, if not even doubtful; but it was also essential to prove to those who loved a rational liberty, that to regulato is not to stifle it—that to keep it within bounds is not to crush it—and that resistance is not treason. This was the task which every day Casimir Perier had to recommence with passion, ardour, and conviction, day after day of a laborious session. M. Gui
zot was one of his principal supporters in this Herculean combat, and some effective aid was also supplied by M. Dupin. Many a day during this session will be noted in the Parliamentary annals of France; but none more so than when the debate arose on the "ordre du join motive." Warsaw had fallen, and its fall had produced a profound impression in France. All the fractions of the Opposition united to avail themselves of this event, and to convert it into instruments of vengeance, revolt, and war. Paris had a sad and menacing aspect—tumultuous mobs appeared. One of them surrounded and wished to insult M. Perier himself. They spoke of marching against the Tuileries — of marching against the Chambers; and at the same time the question of Poland—i. e.t the question of war or of peace—was brought under the attention of the Chandler. This was the sitting of the 21st of September. M. Perier, however, trinmphed, and the peace of the world was decided by a majority of one hundred and sixteen. We say advi.-edly, " The peace of the world." For if that day M. Casimir Perier had not trinmphed, an universal war, a war of principles, a revolutionary war, must have followed, which would have reproduced the ensemble of the war of the Convention, as well as the war of Napoleon.
From the moment that Casimir Perier had assured so formidable a majority for his system of peace, ho marched with firmness in the course he had chalked out. His conferences with foreign ambassadors were frequent. His morning walks with Count d'Appony, in a gardeu close to the Bois de Boulogue, were discovered. There he endeavoured to convince the diplomatist, and through him all Europe, that the intentions of the new dynasty were essentially Conservative; and whilst Prince Talleyrand pledged himself in London for the truth of this declaration, the whole of the policy, as well as the assurances of M. Perier at Paris, guarantee'd the truth and accuracy of both their statements.
At last one year passed away, and M. Perier beheld himself, on the 18th March, 1832, still the leader and chief of the Conservative Administration of the former year. This was a great trinmph. Twelve months of existence to a Ministry at such an epoch, was in