Sivut kuvina

sary to tell you fairly how I comprehend my mission.

"To maintain in the army placed under my orders the strict and severe discipline established by my honourable predecessor.

"To preserve to each rank the influence and authority to which it is entitled by the articles of war.

"To respect and cause to be respected on every occasion the rights and powers established by the constitution.

"To support energetically the authorities in the execution of the laws; such are our common duties.

"I feel assured that we shall not fail; your past reputation and mine are sure guarantees of that. "Baraouay D'hilliers.

"Paris, Jan. 0, 1851."

The feeling of the Assembly towards the new Ministry was soon put to the test, for on the 10th of January M. de Ilemusat rose and said, that he expected, in presence of the grave aud extraordinary facts proclaimed to France in the Moniteur of the morning, that Ministers would come forward and explain why the former Administration had withdrawn and the new one been formed. Their conduct, he said, was unaccountable. The silence of the Cabinet imposed upon the Assembly an obligation to speak. It would, he was sure, prove true to its mission. It had saved the country, and others had merely followed its footsteps. He accordingly called upon the Assembly to retire into its bureaux and devise measures commanded by the gravity of circumstances. Let the Assembly speak, and break a too long and generous silence.

M. Baroche, Minister of the Interior, said, that he felt a certain embarrassment in replying to the questions put to him by M. de

Remusat. He had never questioned the eminent services rendered by the Assembly. Yes, it had saved France, but it was by the harmony that had invariably prevailed between the legislative and executive powers since December, 1848. He would appeal to the Assembly, and, if necessary, to the country itself. He would appeal to the conscience of those whose co-operation they hoped to obtain. ("Yes! yes!" "No! no!") "What!" continued M. Baroche, "I am asked to explain our policy, and you interrupt me by negative cries before you hear me. You wage war upon our persons and not on our policy." All were aware of the generous and constant efforts of the executive power since 1848, and it would be the height of injustice and ingratitude to contest the part that power had had in promoting a prosperity which the recent agitation had not yet impaired. He was asked what was the policy of the new Cabinet. It was indicated beforehand by their past acts. It was not for the pitiful honour of remaining on the Ministerial bench that he or any of his colleagues would consent to forget their past conduct. Their policy was to be found in the Presidential Message of the 12th of November, 1850, which had been applauded by the great majority of the Assembly. The Cabinet was determined to enforce respect for the constitution, that sheet-anchor of the country, and to persevere in a loyal and courageous defence of the rights and privileges of the Executive. That was the programme of the Cabinet—nothing more nor less. It would be judged by its acts. It wished to transact the business of the country, and would show itself actively devoted to its interests. (M. Vezin:—"Your presence is an act of hostility against the Assembly." "Do not mind the interruption," exclaimed General Lebreton; "it is the expression of an individual opinion which we do not share.") M. Baroche, in conclusion, appealed for support to all those who were anxious to devote themselves with them to the interests of the country, and he trusted his appeal would be responded to by the former majority.

M. Berryer next rose, and said that he had not intended to speak, but after the vague and contradictory reply he had heard he could not remain silent. How did it happen that a Cabinet so united and unanimous, divided into two parts, had resigned after a vote of the Assembly, approving the conduct of General Chargarnier, who was attacked by a journal whose intercourse with the Executive was known? The General was called to account. The Ministry had nothing to say in the affair, since none of its members were in office at the time the document alluded to was issued, and yet, after the whole Assembly had given' a solemn assent to the words of the General, the Ministry considered it the moment to tender their resignation! It behoved the Assembly to give the General a testimony of its high esteem and confidence. M. Berryer then asked why General Luliitto, who had avenged the dignity of France in a difference with a nation jealous of her prosperity and power, was one of the Ministers sacrificed? In conclusion, he called on the Minister to explain the motive of the retirement of that Minister and the rest of the Cabinet.

M. Baroche replied that the date of the retirement of the

Cabinet sufficiently explained the motives of its resolution. They had adopted it after a series of acts which had wounded the feelings and dignity of the Administration. The Assembly might remember a certain discussion on an important point of which the Administration demanded the adjournment, and which the Assembly refused to grant. He was asked why he remained in office? It was because an appeal was addressed to his devotion and to that of his colleagues in the name of the general interest, and in consequence of a situation which could not last. He concurred with M. Berryer in his praise of General Lahitte's conduct, which was part of the energetic policy pursued both at home and abroad by the Cabinet . In conclusion, he begged the Assembly to postpone its judgment until the acts of the Cabinet were known.

M. Dufaure said that the question at issue was of a higher and graver order. The National Assembly was daily attacked by the Ministerial press in all parts of the country. It was described as in a state of constant aggression against the Executive. The Government press regularly copied articles published in England against that Assembly. He could make certain disclosures relative to the part the English press had acted in the reviews of Satory. Those attacks were calculated to bring the Assembly into disrepute. It was proclaimed unworthy of the nation it represented for the purpose of restoring in France a Government, which the existence during 36 years of a Parliamentary Government rendered impossible. Why those seditious cries, uttered by the troops, if criminal intentions were not entertained? They had pre-occupied the Permanent Committee, who had had the generosity to keep its procis-verbaux under seal. M. Baroche said, "Judge us by our acts." Was not the dismissal of General Changarnier a sufficiently significant act? It was an additional insult offered to the Assembly, after its vote of approbation, which it could not but resent.

M. Rouher, Minister of Justice, repeated the declaration already made by his colleague of the Interior, and protested the sincere desire of the Cabinet was to maintain the constitution, and not to interfere with the right of the nation to confide its destinies to whomever it pleased. M. Dufaure had spoken of the attacks directed by a certain press against the Legislativepower, and of seditious cries. Were the Opposition journals less sober in their attacks against the constitution and less audacious in proclaiming their factious sympathies? The Cabinet had thought proper to suppress the double command placed in the hands of General Changarnier by the decree of the 13th of June, 1850, proposed by M. Dufaure himself. In doing so it had merely carried into effect a clause of that decree of M. Dufaure, which stipulated that so abnormal a situation should cease the moment public tranquillity was restored in the capital.

General Bedeau, who followed, condemned the conduct of the Executive in not prosecuting the officers guilty of the seditious cries uttered in the plains of Satory, and in dismissing General Neumayer, who had recently refused to obey an order contrary to military regulations. The proof of the guilt of those officers could be arrived at, if the seals were removed

from the proces-verbaux of the Permanent Committee.

M. Remusat declared himself dissatisfied with the explanations of the Cabinet, and insisted on the Assembly retiring into its bureaux, and appointing a Committee to draw up and submit to the Assembly an energetic resolution or proclamation to the people.

M. Baroche combated the motion, both as a member of the Assembly and a citizen. He entreated his colleagues to pause and weigh the gravity of the proposed resolution, which was without precedent in Parliamentary annals, and was a flagrant violation of the division of powers and of the rights of the Executive.

After the Minister had left the tribune, M. Dupin consulted the Assembly as to the "urgency"of the resolution moved by M. Remusat; which was adopted by a considerable majority.

The President was next preparing to put to the vote the immediate retirement to the bureaux, when a division was loudly demanded on all sides. A ballot took place, which gave the following result:—

For the motion . . . 330

Against it .... 273 The motion was accordingly adopted, and the Assembly retired into its bureaux.

The bureaux next nominated a Committee to draw up a report, and M. de Broglie was appointed president, and M. Lanjuinais secretary or reporter.

At the sitting of the 14th the report of the Committee was brought forward and read by M. Lanjuinais. The following are its most important passages:—

"Gentlemen—A few days back, in the sitting of the 3rd of January, you approved the reply of the Commander-in-Chief of the army of Paris to the interpellations which had been addressed to him, and you accepted the homage which he paid to the right conferred on you by the Constitution to dispose of the troops necessary for your safety.

"The next day the Ministry was dissolved, and after eight days of laborious negotiations it marked its return to power by the dismissal of General Changarnier. It was under these circumstances that M. de Remusat, in the sitting of January 10, demanded explanations from the Ministry, at the end of which you adopted an order of the day motive, declaring that the representatives should at once withdraw to their bureaux to nominate a Committee for the purpose of proposing such measures as the circumstances appeared to call for.

"Your Committee, named on the evening of the 10th instant, was retarded in its labours by the printing of the proch-verbaux of the Permanent Committee, and could only name its reporter last evening. After having heard several times the Ministers of War and the Interior, and deliberating d'urgence, your Committee not the less examined most maturely all the questions connected with the constitutional relations existing between the great powers of the State. But you must comprehend, Gentlemen, that the narrow terms prescribed to your reporter have not permitted him to present to you all the developments which are connected with this subject. However, as by their nature and the theatre on which the facts took place a mistake may be made as to their importance, we hasten to

say to you that, in our opinion, there is not any reason to carry back the responsibility further than the Ministry.

"It is true that the President of the Republic, in his message of October 31, 1849, claimed for himself the general responsibility of the acts of his Ministers; but the constitution, the nature of things, and the practice both before and after the 31st of October, 1849, have maintained, and will always maintain, a real distinction between the Ministerial power and that of the President of the Republic.

"It is impossible to shut one's eyes to the fact, that for a long time there has been on the part of the Executive power a tendency to place little confidence in our institutions, to consider as transitory and ephemeral the form of government under which we live, to disseminate amongst every rank of society doubts as to the future, to cry up the supposed benefits of an absolute government, and to aspire, within an undetermined time, after a sort of Imperial restoration.

"The tendency which we point out to you has not been opposed by the Government, and even has been encouraged by some of its acts. The seditious cries of' Vive VEmpereur!' were uttered at reviews; and a general officer, who resisted the impulse so given, was dismissed.

"The press, enjoying the privilege of being sold in the streets, has been full of insult and calumny against the National Assembly, apparently for the object of disparaging it and undermining its moral power; and, in fine, a more important fact, and one which appears to us connected with the preceding ones, the dismissal of General Changarnier.has attracted your attention.

"Each of these acts has been maturely examined in the Committee. The first, namely, the cry of 'Vive VEmpereur,' not only was not punished, but even encouraged. The information collected by your Permanent Committee, and that in particular of the General-inChief of the army of Paris, does not leave any doubt as to the fact, nor on other facts of a nature to compromise military discipline.

"The Minister of the Interior has denied those facts, and to the acts which passed at Satory opposed the evidence of what he saw himself. The Minister might be right on some particular facts, but so absolute a denial, whatever may be the good faith of the person making it, appears to us to depart from the truth.

"The dismissal of General Neumayer is a fact still more grave, the circumstances of which you are acquainted with. That General, being asked by an officer under him whether he ought to give his men orders to cry out, replied that 'silence under arms appeared to him the attitude most in conformity with military discipline.' That was the only reason that caused him to be deprived of his command; and his dismissal took place in spite of the exertions to the contrary of his superior officer, the General-in-Chief of the army of Paris.

"It remains to us to speak of the act which led to the mission intrusted to us, the dismissal of the General-in-Chief of the army of Paris. Two circumstances mark its character: one, that this act is correlative with the facts already

mentioned; and the next, that it took place the day after the Legislative Assembly had given to General Changarnier the testimony of its approbation.

"Your Committee has thought that it is in those circumstances that must be sought the real sense of that act. The explanations given by the Ministers have not changed its opinion. They have certainly stated that, for some time before the 3rd of January, the former Ministry had resolved to suppress the double command of the army of Paris and of the National Guard of the Seine, and to modify the conditions of that command. But the approbation given to the General by the Assembly caused several of the Ministers to hesitate. Then there were partial resignations, and next a collective one, destined to leave to the President a greater facility for the formation of a new Ministry. Negotiations took place with several members of the former Cabinet, on the basis of the suppression of the general command of the army of Paris. The negotiation showed, besides, that without that suppression, said the Minister, there could not be obtained from one of the general officers, as was desired, the acceptance of the portfolio of the War Department.

"These explanations would be plausible inordinary circumstances. It is certain, in fact, that whether by its extent or by the extraordinary powers with which he is invested, or by the movement of troops and ammunition, the general command of the army of Paris had conditions altogether special, which the re-establishment of order could cause to be modified. But after

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