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advance of their own force, though deprived of their author, like a mass which, launched into space, must arrive by its own gravity at: its destined goal. There is no need to reconstruct the system of the emperor ; be patient, and it will reconstruct itself. Sovereigns and peoples all will aid in working out its re-establishment, because every sensible man will see in it a guarantee of order, of peace, and of prosperity.' And thus he sums up the result of his retrospect. “The period of the Empire was the period of war against the old Europeansystem. The old system triumphed; but notwithstanding the fall of Napoleon, his “Ideas” have spread and are still spreading in every direction. The conquerors themselves have adopted the ideas of the conquered ; and nations are wearying themselves with efforts to restore that which Napoleon established, or at least sought to establish among them. In France, especially, there is an incessant demand, under other names and other forms, for the realisation of the ideas of the emperor. Whenever a great work or a great public measure is to be carried into effect, it is generally a project of Napoleon that is executed, or merely completed. Every act of power, every proposition of the Chamber, is made in some way or other to refer to Napoleon, in order to obtain popularity. From one word which falls from his lips men now construct an entire system.'
From the middle of the year 1838 down to the month of August 1840, when he left England for Boulogne, not for the purpose of exciting a sanguinary revolution, as has sometimes been asserted, but simply with the hope and object of eliciting a spontaneous expression of the national will of the French people in reference to the government of Louis Philippe, and to the form and principles of government most in harmony with the wishes and interests of the nation at large, Louis Napoleon continued to live in England; and here he imbibed those amicable feelings which he has ever cherished, both as a member of the Republic and as head of the Empire of France, towards the country which extended to him the ægis of its hospitality and protection when exiled and hunted from the land of his adoption. These feelings of sincere friendship, it is only right to remark here, he has never been contented with professing, but has always carried out in fact; and if ever he has alluded to the necessity of revenging the defeat of Waterloo,' it is scarcely necessary to remark that there is a peaceful as well as a warlike manner in which retaliation may be made for every defeat.
And if, while resident in London, the prince did not spend his time in indolence, still less did he make use of it in order to take note of our weak points, so as to profit hereafter by his knowledge of them. It was never said or breathed against him that he went down surreptitiously to Portsmouth or Plymouth, in order to ascertain the weakness of our national defences, with a view to attack us hereafter. On the contrary, he studied English men, English women, and English literature ; studied our countrymen in themselves and as
they are ; mingling in general society with but little reserve, and endeavouring to gain that stand-point from which he could take an intelligent and appreciative view of our thoughts, our habits, our laws, and our institutions. He was to be seen at our theatres, our operas, our concerts, and on our race-courses, and he played his part, as one of the contending knights, in the revival of that display of mediæval chivalry, the Eglinton tournament, in the autumn of 1839.
It was while he was thus living in England that the Socialist émeute under Barbès occurred in France. It was scarcely to be supposed that any movement of the kind could fail to interest the prince; but he speedily saw through its meaning, and refused in any way to countenance it. He had plenty of enemies, indeed, ready to accuse him of complicity in it; and one at least of the London daily papers did not hesitate to express its belief that he was at the bottom of the plot. But he publicly and emphatically denied the charge by a letter published at the time in the public journals, so that, with all wellinformed and well-meaning persons of every shade of opinion, he was acquitted of all connection with the levelling and bloodthirsty objects of such a Socialist conspiracy. In his letter on this occasion, the prince remarked, that if he were the life and soul of a conspiracy, he would dare to be the leader of it in the day of danger, and would not deny it after a defeat. It was felt that these indeed were words of truth and sincerity. He had shewn them once to be true at Strasbourg, and the day was perhaps nearer than either he or any one else then thought, when he should be called to prove them true again. Indeed, it must be owned that, without perfect truthfulness and sincerity, he never could have achieved that success which has ultimately astonished the world.
On the 6th of August 1840, with but little preparation and concerted action, and attended only by Count Montholon and General Voison, and a few faithful followers, Louis Napoleon ventured upon an enterprise even more rash and inconsiderate than that of Strasbourg—nothing less than a hostile invasion of France. Overcome by the intensity of his convictions, and apparently not reckoning the consequences, he crossed over to Boulogne from the English coast, and landed on the shore of France, in order, as it appeared, to make an experiment on the feelings of the nation towards the imperial House and the eagle of the Empire. He scattered around him a few copies of a printed proclamation announcing a change in the government. The little party marched through the town to the guard-house, shouting the well-remembered cry of Vive l'Empereur. The soldiers were called out to join the prince's standard; but probably on account of the suddenness of the coup de inain, and a doubt as to the identity of the newly landed stranger with the nephew of the great Napoleon, the main body of soldiers, and their officers, with the exception of a single subaltern, refused to follow his lead. The prince therefore retreated towards the Column of Napoleon, and there planted the imperial flag. As it was yet very early in the morning, but few people were about in the streets; and so the prince, finding himself all but hemmed in by the soldiery and gens d'armes, thought it prudent to beat a retreat. It was too late, however, to make good his escape to the boat from which he had landed; and without much difficulty, and with the loss of only one or two lives, the prince and his two comrades were taken prisoners. They were hurriedly conveyed to Paris ; and as the government of Louis Philippe felt more safe than it had done four years before, they were ordered to be brought to trial on a charge of treason before the Chamber of Peers.
Like the ‘Affair of Strasbourg,' the attack on Boulogne was the result, not of an idle and chimerical dreamer, nor of a disordered brain, but of a 'profound conviction,' to use the prince's own words, 'that though his party was nowhere, his cause was everywhere,' and that such a step was necessary in order to elicit an expression of genuine feeling, if not in order to keep alive the cause which ever lay nearest to his heart. These efforts, crude and hasty as they were, must be regarded as the offspring of generous and confiding impulses, which would fain have believed that all who entertained the same opinions with himself were inspired with equal devotion to the imperial cause. His object was not to force himself into the imperial seat against the will of the nation, much less 'to wade through slaughter to a throne,' but simply to give his fellow-countrymen an opportunity of recording their verdict in favour of the imperial or the Orleanist régime; and there can be little doubt that if the nation at large could then have expressed its will, the verdict would have been largely in favour of the Empire, and probably of himself also as its embodiment. There were many who called him a 'madman' when he failed in this enterprise, who, as he himself remarked, would have praised him without measure if he had triumphed. It was to obey his destiny, to follow his star, to sound France with the sword of Napoleon, to bring to light what feelings of affection its people cherished for the once magic name of Bonaparte and the Empire, and to call upon the people, as one man, to declare their verdict upon the system which, he firmly believed, was most dear to them—this was the object which Louis Napoleon had in view when he landed on the shore at Boulogne on that August morning in 1840. Still, it is obvious that, on the mere strength of an idea, he attempted to subvert a settled government, and had consequently rendered himself amenable to the existing law of the country.
At Paris, the prosecution of the prince and his friends was conducted in a harsh and severe manner by the law-officers of the government, who were resolved to resort to every means in order to insure a conviction : at the same time, we have to bear in mind that there was nothing singular in this; all dynasties which feel themselves unsafe are naturally jealous and vengeful. The prince was defended by M. Berryer; and when called on for his defence, he pleaded the twenty years of unmerited and cruel proscription through which he had passed, and his love of France in spite of all that he had suffered. He avowed that he, and he alone, was responsible for the abortive effort which he had made to ascertain the will of the French people with respect to the Empire, and to give them an opportunity of replying to the question : Republic or Monarchy ? Empire or Kingdom?' and of recovering for France her lost place in the scale of European nations. He ended his speech thus : 'One word more, gentlemen. I represent before you a principle, a cause, and a defeat. The principle is the sovereignty of the people; the cause is that of the Empire; the defeat is that of Waterloo. The principle-you have recognised it; the cause-you have served it; the defeat-you would revenge it. No, then, there is no discord between you and me..... Representing a political cause, I cannot accept a political tribunal as the judge of my intentions and of my acts. Nobody will be imposed on by your forms. In the struggle which is taking place, there will be but one conqueror and one vanquished party. If you are in the ranks of the conqueror, I cannot expect justice at your hands, and I will not accept your generosity.'
M. Berryer's eloquence was exerted in the cause of the prince, but in vain. After some days, the court delivered its judgment and sentence. It is almost needless to state that the prince and his companions were found guilty. Count Montholon was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment; the young officer who had responded to Napoleon's call at Boulogne, to transportation ; and Prince Louis Napoleon himself to imprisonment for life in a French fortress.
It was towards the close of the same year (1840) that he found himself the inmate of two lonely and dreary rooms in the fortress of Ham, in Picardy, not far from the frontiers of Belgium.
For a forced seclusion that was destined to be life-long, he at once began to prepare himself, if not with content, at all events with dignity, declaring-in harmony with his constant assertion—that the knowledge that he was breathing the air of France and treading its soil would be ample solace in his solitude. His active and welldisciplined mind, too, found employment in pursuits worthy of one who had ever looked to political science as his rôle, and who, even in a prison, was far from abandoning the hopes and aspirations which belonged to a great cause. In the solitude of his prison he wrote a pamphlet on The Extinction of Pauperism, and a book entitled Fragments Historiques. Meantime, he found means to keep up some correspondence with friends outside the fortress, and in these he never failed to allude to the cause and the principle the ministers of Louis Philippe, to certain indignities from which his rank as a prince ought to have exempted him, he protested against them in the strongest terms, as unfair to one who was born on the steps of a throne.' "The sovereignty of the people made my uncle an emperor, my father a king, and me a prince by birth. Have I not, then, even as a prisoner, a right to the respect and regard of all those in whose eyes the voice of a great people, glory and misfortune, are everything?"
Two, three, four years passed by without bringing any change to the prisoner of Ham,' though from time to time the continued imprisonment of the prince was made the subject of not very complimentary remarks by the English journals, whose writers remarked that it was no very strong proof of the security of the throne of Louis Philippe. During this time, more than once he received messages sounding him as to his willingness to accept a pardon upon the condition of quitting France and abandoning his pretensions and claims; but to all such offers he turned a deaf ear, or rather regarded them as insults. . Either he would be released by death, or by the king without terms; else he would be contented to live on even within the gates of a prison.
At this time he wrote to a friend as follows: 'If to-morrow the doors of my prison were to be opened to me, and I were told: “You are free ; come and seat yourself as a citizen amid the hearths of your native country-France no longer repudiates her children," ah! then indeed a lively feeling of joy would seize my soul. But if, on the contrary, they were to come to offer me to exchange my present condition for that of an exile, I should refuse such a proposition, because it would be in my view an aggravation of punishment. I prefer being a captive on the soil of France to being a free man in a foreign land. .... In a word, I should repeatsupposing that the occasion presented itself to me—that which I declared before the Court of Peers—“I will not accept of generosity, because I know how much it costs.”
In 1845 he applied to the French government for leave to hasten to the bedside of his father at Florence, promising on his honour to return to his prison on receiving notice from the government; but his request was curtly and peremptorily refused by Louis Philippe, except upon terms by which he refused to be bound. Attempts were made by several kind and well-meaning friends to obtain some concession in the prince's interest; but he declined to avail himself of their offices, for fear of being thought even for a moment to compromise those principles which had been the guide of his life. One advantage, however, he gained from his petition and its refusal--a knowledge of the true position in which he stood to Louis Philippe, and a feeling that henceforth there must be uncompromising war between the imperial name and the House of Orleans.