THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. [From the Spectator, Dec. 13.] FURTHER PARTICULARS.
It is plain, both from the fuller accounts of past days now appearing in the organs of the usurpation, and from such trifling indications ot later events as transpire, that the theatre of immediate conflict in France is transferred from Paris to the provinces. Louis Napoleon bas overpowered the capital in the central department of the Seine ; but be has now serious work on band in the West, in the Centre, in the Sooth, and above all in the frontier districts of the South-east. Three high Commissioners have been sent forth by the minister of the Interior, to pacify the insurgent regions at any cost of life. M. Maurice Duval, of Imperial experiences, is sent to the West; another Commissioner is sent to the North ; and M. Carlier has gone to the strongholds of Socialist Republicanism in Burgundy and Auvergne. The Times of this morning condenses the scattered, evidences of the resistance which the rural populace of France is able to make, while the town populations are overawed by the sight of enormous military power. The whole of the Valley of the Rhone, and a large district to the West and the North of it, in fact the entire district from the town of Joigny, not a hundred miles south- ( east of Paris, to the neighbourhood of Lyons, a district including the departments Cher, Nievre, Allier, Saone et Loire, Rhone, Ardeche — all the frontier region from Poligny in the Jura to | Draguignan on the Mediterranean coast, has bean in a state of conflagration. We have mentioned th? struggles at Clamency in the Nievre ; there was even stubborner fighting, with terrible atro- | cities, at Bezieres in the Herault ; and in the frontier districts abutting on the Sardinian and Swiss Alps, several towns were, at the date of the last accounts, still in the hands of armed thousands of the people. In the departments of Guienne and Gascony along the Gironde to the base of the Pyrennees, the government organs | state, with a strength of assertion betraying sinister motive, that the Bed Republican and Socialist party " have been able to put forth all their fury." Comdon (Gers) fell into the hands of the insurgents, because " the government could not find twenty inhabitants to support it ;" a statement at once confessing the seriousness of the position, and giving an explanation inconsistent with the proiession that the antagonism to Government proceeds from any single political party or sect. If the impression conveyed by the usurper's accounts is true in its basis, the prospect is still serious for Louis Napoleon ; if untrue, the prospect is more serious for France. The Times, indeed, closes its summary with a hint, that as it is on the ground of offering military occupation as a protection against revolutionary excesses that Louis Napoleon rests bis chief pretension to the support of the country, it is not improbable the real amount of the '' popular atrocities " is exaggerated by those who claim the credit of extinguishing and avenging them. A letter of historical interest appeared in the Times of Thursday. It was " a narrative by a Member cf the National Assembly " (whose name, in the present state of France, the journalist, of course, withheld), describing to the ediurofthe ieading journal the events which accompanied the dissolution of the National Assembly of Paris on the 2nd instant. Some general reflections are first put down, to show how false and absurd is the pretence that the Assembly was conspiring against the President, and that the latter only struck in self-defence. In August, the Assembly by an immense majority, voted the revision of the constitution, "simply to legalise the election of Louis Napoleon." In November, after an insulting message from the President, demanding the repeal of an unpopular law originally proposed and sanctioned by the President himself, the Assembly rejected the demand for repeal only by a majority of two votes ; and immediately afterwards, in order to comply with the President's policy, adopted in another form most of the changes he proposed. Shortly afterwards, a proposition of the Questors, in strict conformity with the Constitution, for the defence of the Assembly, was rejected by a large majority, from fear of a collision with the Executive ; the Assembly actually renounced the command of the troops which might have defended it, and made them over to the man who was compassing its ruin. Lastly, a bill on the responsibility of the President, emanating from another independent body, was received in a manner studiously conciliatory ; its provisions were made more mild, and the debate on it was deferred, to avoid the displeasure of the Executive. Were these the acts of enemies or conspirators 1 " That an Assembly of 750 members may have included in that number certain conspirators, it would be absurd to deny. But the manifest truth, proved by its acts, is that the majority of this Assembly instead of conspiring against Louis Napoleou, ought for nothing so much as to avoid a quarrel with him ; that it carried its moderation towards him to the verge of weakness, and its desire of conciliation to a degree of pusillanimity. That is the truth. You may believe my assertions for I participated in none of the passions of its parties, and I have no reason either to flatter or hate them." The acts of the 2nd of December are then described, as the writer &aw and heard them with his own eyes and ears. "When the representatives of the people learned, on waking that morning, that several of tbeir colleagues were arrested, they ran to the Assembly. The doors were guarded by the Chasseurs de Vincennes, a corps of troops recently returned from Africa, and long accustomed to the violence of Algerine dominion ; who, moreover, were stimulated by a donation of 5 francs distributed to every soldier who was in Paiis that day. The representatives, nevertheless, presented themselves to go in ; having at their head one of their Vice-Presidents. M. Daru. This gentleman was violently struck by the so]dier3, and the representatives who accompanied him were driven back at the point of the bayonet. Three of them, M. de Talhouet, Etienne, and Dupare, were slightly wounded. Several others had tluir clothes pierced. Such was the commencement."
They reassembled at the Mairie of the Tenth Arrondisseraent. " Every shade of opinion was represented in this extemporaneous Assembly. But eight-tenths of its members belonged to the different Conservative parties which had consiituted the majority. This Assembly was presided over by two of its Vice-Presidents, M. Vitet and M. Benoist d'Azy. M- Daru was arrested in his own house ; the fourth Vice-President, the illustrious General Bedeau, had been seized that morning in his bed, and band-cuffed like a robber. As for the President, M. Dupin, he was absent ; which surprised no one, as his cowardice was known. Besides its Vice-Presidents, the Assembly was accompanied by its secretaries, its ushers, and even its short-hand writer, who will preserve for posterity the records of this last and memorable sitting." Thus constituted, they passed the following decree :—: — " 'In pursuance of article 68 of the Constitution — viz. the President of the Republic, the Ministers, the agents, and depositaries of public authority, are responsible, each in what concerns themselves respectively, for all the acts of the Government and the Admininistration — any measure by which the President of the Republic dissolves the National Assembly, prorogues it, or places obstacles in the exercise of its powers, is a ! crime ofhigh treason. " 'By this act merely, the President is deprived of all authority, the citizens are bound to withhold their "obedience, the executive power passes in full right to the National Assembly. The Judges of the High Court of Justice will meet immediately under pain of forfeiture ; they will convoke the juries in the place which they will ' select to proceed to the judgment of the PresiJent ' and his accomplices ; they will nominate the magistrates charged to fulfil the duties of public ministers. "'And seeing that the National Assembly is prevented by violence from exercising its powers, it decrees as follows, viz. — i " 'Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is deprived of all authority as President of the Republic. The citizens are enjoined to withhold their obedience. The Executive Court of Justice are enjoined to meet immediately, under pain of forfeiture, to proceed to the judgment of the President and his , accomplices ; consequently all the officers and , functionaries of power and of public authority are bound to obey all requisitions made in the name of the National Assembly, under pain of forfeiture and of high treason. " 'Done and decreed unanimously in public sitting, this 2nd of December, 1851.' " The decree is signed by Benoist D'Azy, President; Vi>et, Vice- President ; Moulin and Chapot,Secretaries ; and by the whole of the two hundred and thirty representatives present, whose names the Times prints at length. General Oudinot was made commander of the public forces ; and M. Tamisier, of the party of the Mountain, was made chief of the staff. " The choice of these two officers from distinct shades of political opinion, showed that the Assembly was animated by one common spirit." 41 A band of soldiers, headed by their officers, sword in hand appeared at the door, without, however, daring to enter the apartment. The Assembly awaited them in perfect silence. The President alone raised his voice, read the decrees which had just been passed to the soldiers, and ordered them to retire. The poor fellows, ashamed of the part they were compelled to play, hesitated. The officers, pale and undecided, declared they should go for further orders. They retired, contenting themselves with blockading the passages leading to the apartment." The soldiers reappeared with two Commissaries oi Police. "The Commissaries entered the room, and, amid the unbroken silence and total immobility of the Assemhly, summoned the representatives to disperse. The President ordered them to retire themselves. One of the Commissaries was agitated and /altered ; the other broke out in invectives. The President said to him, ' Sir, we are here the lawful authority, and sole representative of law and right. We know that we cannot oppose to you material force, but we will only leave this chamber under constraint. We will not disperse. Seize us, and convey us to prison. 'All, all !' exclaimed the members of the Assembly. After much hesitation, the commissaries de police decided to act. They caused the two Presideuts to be seized by the collar. The whole body then rose, and, arm-in-arm, two-and-two, they followed the Presidents, who were led off. In this order we reached the street, and were marched across the city, without knowing whither we were going." They were taken to the barracks of the Q,uai d'Orsay, and shut up there. " Night was coming on, and it was wet and cold. Yet the. Assembly was left two hours in the, open air, as if the government did not deign to remember its existence. The representatives here made their last roll-call in presence of their short-hand writer, who had followed them. The number was 218 ; to whom were added about 20 more in the course of the evening, consisting* of members who had voluntarily caused themselves to, be arrested. Almost all the men known to Fiance and to Europe who formed the majority of the Assembly were gathered together in this place. Few were wantiug, except "those who, like M. Mole, had not been suffered to reach their colleagues. There were present, among others, the Duke de Broglie, who had come, though ill ; the father of the bouse, the venerable Keratry, whose physical strength was inferior to his moral courage, and whom it was necessary to seat on a straw chair in the barrack yard; Odilloaßarrot, Dufaure, Berryer, R6musat, Duvergier de Hauranne, Gustave de Beaumont, de Tocqueville, de Falloux, Lanjuinais, Admiral Lain 6, and Admiral C6cille, Generals Oudinot and Lauriston, the Duke de Luynes, the Duke de Montebello ; twelve ex-mi-nisters, nine * of whom had served under Louis Napoleon himself; eight members of the Institute ; all men who had struggled for three years to defend ' society and to resist the demagogic faction. "When two hours had elapsed, "this assemblage was driven into barrack-rooms up-stairs ; where most of them spent the night, without fire, and almost without food, stretched upon the boards. It only remained to carry off to prison these honourable men, guilty of no crime but the defence of the laws of their country. For this purpose the most distressing and ignominious means were selected. The cellular vans in which formats are conveyed to the bagne were brought up. In these vehicles were shut up men who
had served and honoured their country ; and they were conveyed like- three bands of criminals, some to the fortress of Mont ValGrien, some to the Prison Mazas in Paris, and the remaiuder to Vincennes. The indignation of the public compelled the government two days afterwards to release the greater number of them ; some' are still (the letter has no date) in confinement; unable to obtain either their liberty or their trial." The government has specifically denied the truth of the report in Paris that the High Court of Justice assembled and issued process for commencing the trial of Louis Napoleon on the charge of treason. The member of the Assembly informs the Times that the High Court of Justice did thus perfoim its duly; and he publishes textually the edict of the Court. Nothing could be more formal. In reference to the list of persons whom the government have formed into a " Consultative Commission," the member of the Assembly says — " its object is to induce France to believe that the Executive is not abandoned by every man of respectability and consideration among us. More than half the persons on this list have refused to belong to the Commission ; most of them regard the insertion of their names as dishonour. I may quote among others M. L6jn Faucber, M. Portalis, first President of the Court of Cassation, and the Duke of Albufera, as those best known. ,Not only does the government^ decline to publish ,the letters in which these gentlemen refuse their consent, but even their names are not withdrawn from a list which dishonours them. The names are still retained, in spite of their repeated remonstrances. A day or two ago, one of them, M. Joseph Perier, driven to desperation by this excess' of tyranny, rushed into the street to strike out his own name with his own hands from the public placards ; asking the passers-by to witness that it had been placed there by a lie."
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New Zealand Spectator and Cooks Strait Guardian, New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 704, 1 May 1852
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. [From the Spectator, Dec. 13.] FURTHER PARTICULARS. New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 704, 1 May 1852
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