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increased from the moment that the imperatorial absolutism was declared; while, at the same time, a degree of man-worship has developed itself, which makes people at a distance almost stand aghast. The same hyperbolical, and, in many cases, blasphemous flattery, which reminded the observer, in the times of Napoleon the First, of imperial Rome, has been repeated since. No one who has attentively followed the events of our times stands in need of instances; they were offered by hundreds, and of a character
3 According to the latest news even the dead are under the control of government, not in the sense of Sidney Smith, by paying taxes, but no one can any longer be buried in Paris except by a chartered company, standing under the close inspection of the police department.
4 Churchmen and laymen, as is well known, vie with each other on such occasions. The blasphemous flattery offered by some dignitaries of the church to Napoleon the First was frightful. We have seen the same when there seemed to be a question who could bid highest in burning incense to the present new Cæsar. The Lord's prayer was travestied. The following “proclamation” is taken from the “Concorde de Seine et Oise,” of October, 1852, because it is not one of the worst :
“Town of Sèvres. Proclamation of the Empire. “Inhabitants—Paris, the heart of France, acclaimed on the 10th of May for its emperor him whose divine mission is every day revealed in such a striking and dazzling manner. At this moment it is the whole of France electrified which salutes her savior, the elect of God, by this new title, which clothes him with sovereign power: "God wills it,' is repeated with one voice— vox populi, vox Dei.” It is the marriage of France with the envoy of God, which is contracted in the face of the universe, under the auspices of all the constituted bodies, and of all the people. That union is sanctified by all the ministers of religion, and by all the princes of the church. These addresses, these petitions, and these speeches, which are at
moment being exchanged between the chief of the state and
that would make the most hardy former tory-worship of the person that wore the crown appear as an innocent blundering; but we cannot pass over the fact that an infatuated yet large part of a nation have for the first time in history, so far as we know, called ideas after a man of action. “Napoleonic ideas" has become a favorite expression. Not only newspapers use this term-a late one condemned free-trade because “free-trade is no Napoleonic idea”—but men whom we have been accustomed to look upon with respect' have fallen into this infatuation. All
France, are the documents connected with that holy union; every one wishes to sign them, as at the church he would sign the marriage-deed at which he is present. Inhabitants of Serres, as the interpreter of your sentiments, I have prepared the deed which makes you take part in this great national movement. Two books are opened at the Mairie to receive your signatures: one of them will be offered in your presence to him whom I from this day desig. nate under the title of emperor. Let us hope that he will deign to accede to the supplications which I shall address to him in your name, to return to the palace of St. Cloud through our territory, by the gate of honor which we possess. The other book, which I shall present for the signature of the prince, will remain in your archives as a happy souvenir of this memorable epoch. Let all the population, without distinction, come, therefore, and sign this document; it sets forth that which is in your heart and in your will."
This document is accompanied by a formal proclamation, appropriately signed—“ Ménager, mayor.”
Plain dealing, however, obliges us to remember, along with such extravagances of foreigners, the repulsive flattery in which some individuals indulged when Mr. Kossuth was among us. Nor must we wholly forget the language of some editors at the time of general Jackson's administration. But these were erratic acts of individuals, and, however disgusting, were not officially received by government.
5 Mr. Chevalier.
of us have heard of christian ethics, christian ideas and sentiments, but we have never heard of Carlo. vingian, Frederician, Julian, Alexandrian, Gregorian or Lutheran ideas. It is a submission to a name, an individual—and an individual, too, be it observed, who distinguished himself as a man of action, which seems to indicate a singular want of self-reliance and self-respect.
Centralized governments can effect certain brilliant acts, but they are on this account seriously liable to fall into a method of carrying on public affairs, which, in the language of stage managers, is significantly called Starring, and which has the serious inconvenience of leading popular attention from solid actions to that which dazzles, from wholesome reality to mere brilliant ideas.
The elevation of Napoleon the Third may be referred in a measure to this error. Huzzaing crowds are never substantial indications of any opinion, whether the crowds are voluntary or subpoenaed. “Where are my enemies?” said Charles the Second when he re-entered London and passed through the crowd of his subjects. He had enough. Prince de Ligne tells us that, when Catharine travelled through Crimea, distant populations were carried to the roadside of the imperial traveller, to wait on her, in costumes delivered to them by the government, and to personate the inhabitants of show villages which had been erected in the background. These sham villages are typical. Still, we can believe that many persons rushed to see the present emperor when he travelled through France, before he made himself
emperor, because they really believed that which had been so often repeated—that Louis Napoleon "had saved society and civilization." Now this is exactly an idea which belongs to the order that has been indicated.
It is founded upon the primary belief that if civilization is lost in France, it is lost for the entire world. It would certainly produce a very serious shock; but the French idea of one leading nation is an anachronism. It belongs to ancient times; the French easily fall into this error, because Paris really leads France. Civilization, however, would not be wholly lost even for France, should Paris be destroyed; or, if the contrary were the truth, what must we think of France ?
Secondly, it is meant, I suppose, that had not Louis Napoleon taken the reins of absolute power, the socialists would have destroyed property, industry and individuality.
The fear which these people have inspired must have been very great, and doubtless the power of doing mischief is immense, in every individual, compared to that of doing good. Even an insect can cause a leak to a man-of-war; but to say that a single man-such a man and by such means—has been the savior of society, is at once so monstrous an exaggeration, and such an avowal of inability to act and to rely on one's self, that this hyperbole—if it be not altogether an error-would have led to no such results with any nation less accustomed to centralism, absolutism, and an absorbing government. All these were necessary to make a nation so rapidly, and apparently good-humoredly, bend to all the exorbitant, and insulting demands of absolutism, to which, unfortunately at this moment, the French nation seems to bow with a peculiar grace.