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traversed the streets of Paris, demanding the red flag of anarchy instead of the tricolor of the Republic, Alphonse de Lamartine, a member of the revolutionary government, appeared before them, and in a passionate burst of eloquence calmed their feelings and brought them back to reason. Never before in history had oratory won a triumph like this, and it placed Lamartine high among political orators. Known before as a poet of splendid powers, and as a historian by his brilliant “History of the Girondists,” Lamartine, in 1848, became the master spirit and the moderator of the revolution, repressing the tendency to violence by admirable displays of eloquence, courage and magnanimity, and winning an immense popularity, which, however, was not long lived. His decline in public estimation was shown in the election for President in December, 1848, in which he received only 8000 votes. During the remainder of his life he produced a number of valuable historical works.

0 N the 25th of February, 1848, when a seditious and furious mob


[Lamartine's views of the true character of the French Revolution and of the benefits which remained after its reign of terror had passed away, are well shown in the following extract from one of his speeches.]

What, then, is the French Revolution ? Is it, as the adorers of the

past say, a great sedition of a nation disturbed for no reason, and destroy

ing in their insensate convulsions their church, their monarchy, their

classes, their institutions, their nationality, and even rending the map of

Europe? No! the Revolution has not been a miserable sedition of


France; for a sedition subsides as it rises, and leaves nothing but corpses and ruins behind it. The Revolution has left scaffolds and ruins, it is true; therein is its remorse; but it has also left a doctrine; it has left a spirit which will be enduring and perpetual so long as human reason shall exist. We are not inspired by the spirit of faction | No (actious idea enters our thoughts. We do not wish to compose a faction—we compose opinion, for it is nobler, stronger, and more invincible. Shall we have, in our first struggles, violence, oppression and death 2 No, gentlemen let us give thanks to our fathers; it shall be liberty which they have bequeathed to us, liberty which now has its own arms, its pacific arms, to develop itself without anger and excess. Therefore shall we triumph—be sure of it ! and if you ask what is the moral force that shall bend the government beneath the will of the nation, I will answer you ; it is the sovereignty of ideas, the royalty of mind, the Republic, the true Republic of intelligence; in one word, opinion—that modern power whose very name was unknown to antiquity. Gentlemen, public opinion was born on the very day when Gutenberg, who has been styled the artificer of a new world, invented, by printing, the multiplication and indefinite communication of thought and human reason. This incomprehensible power of opinion needs not for its sway either the brand of vengeance, the sword of justice, or the scaffold of terror. It holds in its hands the equilibrium between ideas and institutions, the balance of the human mind. In one of the scales of this balance—understand it well—will be for a long time placed mental superstitions, prejudices self-styled useful, the divine right of kings, distinctions of right among classes, international animosities, the spirit of conquest, the venal alliance of Church and state, the censorship of thought, the silence of tribunes, and the ignorance and systematic degradation of the masses. In the other scale, we ourselves, gentlemen, will place the lightest and most impalpable thing of all that God has created— light, a little of that light which the French Revolution evoked at the close of the last century—from a volcano, doubtless, but from a volcano

of truth.

[From Lamartine's remarkable speeches of 1848 we select the following eloquent appeal for the Republic, as the only security against the reign of anarchy and bloodshed which was threatened in the temper of the populace.]

For my part, I see too clearly the series of consecutive catastrophes

I should be preparing for my country, to attempt to arrest the avalanche

of such a Revolution, on a descent where no dynastic force could retain it

without increasing its mass, its weight, and the ruin of its fall. There is,


I repeat to you, a single power capable of preserving the people from the danger with which a revolution, under such social conditions, menaces them, and this is the power of the people; it is entire liberty. It is the suffrage, will, reason, interest, the hand and arm of all—the Republic! Yes, it is the Republic alone which can now save you from anarchy, civil and foreign war, spoliation, the scaffold, the decimation of property, the overthrow of society and foreign invasion. The remedy is heroic, I know, but at crises of times and ideas like these in which we live, there is no effective policy but one as great and audacious as the crisis itself. By giving, to-morrow, the Republic in its own name to the people, you will instantly disarm it of the watchword of agitation. What do I say ? You will instantly change its anger into joy, its fury into enthusiasm. All who have the Republican sentiment at heart, all who have had a dream of the Republic in their imaginations, all who regret, all who aspire, all who reason, all who dream in France,—Republicans of the secret societies, Republicans militant, speculative Republicans, the people, the tribunes, the youth, the schools, the journalists, men of hand and men of head— will utter but one cry, will gather round their standard, will arm to defend it, but will rally, confusedly at first, but in order afterwards, to protect the government, and to preserve society itself behind this government of all—a supreme force which may have its agitations, never its dethronements and its ruins; for this government rests on the very foundations of the nation. It alone appeals to all. This government only can maintain itself; this alone can govern itself; this only can unite, in the voices and hands of all, the reason and will, the arms and suffrages; necessary to serve not only the nation from servitude, but society, the family relation, property and morality, which are menaced by the cataclysm of ideas which are fermenting beneath the foundations of this half-crumbled throne. If anarchy can be subdued, mark it well, it is by the Republic If communism can be conquered, it is by the Republic | If revolution can be moderated, it is by the Republic | If blood can be spared, it is by the Republic | If universal war, if the invasion it would perhaps bring on as the reaction of Europe upon us, can be avoided, understand it well once more, it is by the Republic. This is why, in reason, and in conscience,

as a statesman, before God and before you, as free from illusion as from fanaticism, if the hour in which we deliberate is pregnant with a revolu

tion, I will not conspire for a counter-revolution. I conspire for none— but if we must have one, I will accept it entire, and I will decide for the Republic |


HIERS was one of that patriotic band who vigorously opposed T the imperial methods of Louis Napoleon, not, like Victor Hugo, in exile, but on the floor of the French Parliament. He was an orator of the opposition in the latter years of Louis Philippe's reign, and when Napoleon seized the empire he ceased to be his partisan and became his persistent foe. In 1867 he made a strong speech against Napoleon's foreign policy, and in 1870 he vigorously opposed the war with Prussia, declaring that Napoleon had committed another blunder. When the French Republic was organized, in 1871, he was elected its President, but resigned in 1873, after having done much to overcome the evil effects of the war. As a historical author he is known for his “History of the Revolution" and “History of the Consulate and Empire,” two works that have been very widely read. As a statesman he was a man of indomitable courage and of deep and genuine patriotism.


[As a favorable example of the oratorical manner of M. Thiers, we offer a selection from his specch in the Budget of June 2, 1865, in which he points out, with a critical and sarcastic clearness that must have been very annoying to the administration, the wilful blindness with which the revenues of the empire were being expended.]

Since our new institutions diminished the share which our nation took in managing its own affairs, it was feared that the activity of mind with which I am reproached might be dangerous, unless means should be found to occupy the attention of the country. These means, sometimes dangerous, always odious, have been wars abroad, and enormous expenditure and great speculations at home. After great wars come small ones— small, if we consider the number of men engaged, but large if we consider


their distance and the serious complications they may cause. The war
in Mexico has already cost us more than the Italian war, to say nothing
of the complications it may entail. The war expenditure, has, of course,
been met by loans, and the public debt has consequently been consider-
ably increased. Next come our great public works, an excellent employ-
ment for the country's savings in times of peace, as every sensible man
will acknowledge; but we ought to proceed prudently.
It is a mistake to suppose, as some do, that there need be no limit to
the application of our savings to public works; agriculture and manufac-
tures ought to have their share, and if only a portion should be employed
by the State in improving roads, canals and other means of communica-
tion, still less should be devoted to the mere embellishment of towns. It
is certainly necessary to widen the streets and improve the salubrity of
cities, but there is no necessity for such vast changes as have been oper-
ated in Paris, where, I think, all reasonable limits have been exceeded.
The contagion of example is to be feared The proverb says that he who
commits one folly is wise. If Paris only were to be rebuilt I should not
have much to say against it, but you know what La Fontaine wittily says:
- “Every citizen must build like a lord,
Every little prince have his ambassadors,
Every marquis have his pages.”
The glory of the Prefect of the Seine has troubled all the prefects.
The Prefect of the Seine has rebuilt the Tuileries, and the Prefect of the
Bouches-du-Rhône wants to have his Tuileries also.
Last year the Minister of State answered me that only a trifling
expenditure was intended, not more than six millions; but it appears
from the debates of the Council-General that the expense will be twelve
or fourteen millions, and some persons say as much as twenty millions.
I know that the Prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhône is a senator; but if it
takes twelve millions to build him a residence, that is a large sum. All
the other prefects will be eager to follow his example, as the Prefect of
Lisle is already. The sub-prefects, also, will want new residences and
new furniture. Where would all this lead to ? The Minister of Public
Works, full of glory, must have more consideration for the cares of the
Minister of Finance. But here we have a new Minister of Public Works,
with a new glory to make, and demands for millions multiply.
The Minister of Finance defends himself as well as he can, but
appears to be conquered ; he might resist by resigning, certainly; but
that is a means borrowed from past days. A compromise is at least
effected. To spare the Treasury, one hundred millions are to be obtained
by selling part of the State forests. For this, however, your consent is

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