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this purpose the most distressing and ignominious means were selected. The cellular vans in which forcaU are conveyed to the bagne were brought up. In these vehicles were shut up the men who had served and honoured their country; and they were conveyed like three bands of criminals, some to the fortress of Mont Valerien, some to the Prison Mazas in Paris, and the remainder to Vincennes. The indignation of the public compelled the Government two days afterwards to release the greater number of them; some are still in confinement, unable to obtain either their liberty or their trial."
Nor was the High Court of Justice wanting in its duty at this crisis. It met on the 2nd, and formally drew up the following edict or judgment:—
"The High Court of Justice,— considering the 68th article of the Constitution, considering that printed placards commencing with the words 'The President of the Republic,' and bearing at the end the signatures of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte and De Morny, Minister of the Interior, which placards announce, among other things, the dissolution of the National Assembly, have this day been affixed to the walls of Paris; that this fact of the dissolution of the Assembly by the President of the Republic would fall under the case provided for by the 68th article of the Constitution, and render the convocation of the High Court of Justice imperative;—by the terms of that article declares that the High Court is constituted, and names M. Renouard, Councillor of the Court of Cassation, to fill the duties of Public Accuser, and to fill those of Greffier, M. Bernard, Greffier in Chief of the Court of Cassa
tion ;. and to proceed further in pursuance of the terms of the said 68th article of the Constitution; adjourns until to-morrow, the 3rd of December, at the hour of noon.
"Done and deliberated in the Council Chamber. Present, M. Hardouin, President, M. Pataille, M. Moreau, M. de la Palme, and M. Cauchy, Judges, this 2nd day of December, 1851."
The new Ministry was composed of M. de Morny, Interior; Fould, Finance; Rouher, Justice; Magne, Public Works; Le Rouche, Marine; Casabianca, Commerce; St. Arnaud, War; Fortoul, Public Instruction; Turgot, Foreign Affairs.
On the following day, December 3rd, General St. Arnaud addressed a circular to the generals and chiefs of corps, in which he ordered that the soldiers should vote within 48 hours from the receipt of the circular, " Yes" or " No" simply, on the following proposition :—
"The French people wishes the maintenance of the authority of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and intrusts him with the powers necessary to frame a Constitution on the basis mentioned in his proclamation of the 2nd instant."
At first it was intended that the soldiers should vote by ballot, but this idea was soon abandoned, and a safer mode was adopted for securing their adhesion. They were ordered to vote openly in their respective regiments, and thus the whole weight of authority and example was brought to bear upon those amongst them who might be disposed to answer in the negative the question propounded for their acceptance. The result was, that by an overwhelming majority the army voted in the affirmative.
In order more effectually to extinguish the existence of the Legislative Assembly, Louis Napoleon ordered that the building called Salle Provisoire, erected after the revolution of 1848, in which they met after the coup d'etat, should be destroyed. His next step was to promulgate a decree calling upon the people to exercise the right of universal suffrage, and declare whether they were willing to entrust him with the power to frame a new Constitution. It ran as follows :—
"Considering that the sovereignty resides in the universality of the citizens, and that no fraction of the people can attribute to itself the exercise thereof; considering the laws and decrees which have hitherto regulated the mode of appeal to the people, and particularly the decrees of the 5th Fructidor, year II., the 24th and 25th Frimaire, in the year VIII. of the Republie, the decree of the 20th Floreal, year X., and the Senatus Consulte of the 28th Floreal, year XII.; the President of the Republic decrees as follows:"—
The decree then convoked the people in their districts, for the 14th instant, to accept or reject the following plebiscite:—
"The French people wills the maintenance of the authority of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and delegates to him the powers necessary to frame a Constitution on the basis proposed in his proclamation of the 2nd of December." All Frenchmen aged 21, and enjoying their civil rights, were called on to vote. The period of voting was to be the eight days ending on the 21st instant.
At the same time a Consultative Commission was appointed in place of the Council of State, which was abolished; and a list appeared in
the official organs of the President, containing the names of the members; but many of these promptly declined the proffered honour, and publicly disavowed the authority to make use of their names as giving sanction to the usurpation.
The following spirited letter was written by M. Leon Faucher, and appeared in the columns of the Journal des Debate:—
"Mons. le President—It is with painful astonishment that I see my name figure amongst the members of an Administrative Commission that you desire to institute. I did not imagine that I could have given you the right to offer me this insult. The services which I have rendered you, while believing I rendered them to the country, perhaps authorized me to expect from you a different return. In any case, my character merited more respect. You know that during my career, already long, I never belied my principles of liberty, any more than my devotedness to the cause of order. I have never participated, directly or indirectly, in the violation of the laws; and to determine me to decline the mandate that you confide to me, I have only to recall that given me by the people, and which I yet retain."
And Count Mole also published a letter, in which he said,—" After having been this morning expelled from the residence of M. Daru, Vice-President of the National Assembly, with all the rest of my colleagues who had assembled there to protest against violence and oppression, I vainly attempted to join the members of the Assembly who had met at the Tenth Arrondissement." "I join fully in the conduct and acts of my colleagues assembled at the Mairie of the Tenth Arrondissement, and if it had depended on me I should have shared their fate."
The 230 deputies who were arrested at the hotel of the Tenth Mairie were soon afterwards offered their liberty on condition that they would not act hostilely to the President; but they refused to make any such promise, and in a day or two they were all, with the exception of about fourteen, set free. Eight of the members arrested on the morning of the 2nd, viz., Generals Changarnier, Cavaignae, Lamoriciere, Charras, Bedeau, and Leflo, and MM. Baze and Roger du Nord, were conveyed as prisoners to the fortress of Ham, where Louis Napoleon himself had been confined after his abortive landing at Boulogne in 1840.
On the 4th of December the President published the following decree:—
"In the name of the French People. The President of the Republie, considering that the mode of election promulgated by the decree of the 2nd of December had been adopted in other circumstances as guaranteeing the sincerity of election; but, considering that the essential object of the decree is to obtain the free and sincere expression of the will of the people; decrees — The articles 2, 3, and 4, of the decree of the 2nd of December are modified as follows :—Art. 2. The election will take place by universal suffrage. All Frenchmen aged 21 years, in the enjoyment of their civil and political rights, are called to vote. Art. 3. They must justify, either by their being inscribed on the electoral lists drawn up in virtue of the law of the 15th of March, 1849,
or by the accomplishment, since that period, of the conditions required by that law. Art. 4. The ballot will be opened during the days of the 20th and 21st of December, in the capital of each commune, from 8 A.m. till 4 P.m.
"The suffrage will take place by secret ballot; by yes or by no; by means of a bulletin, either manuscript or printed.
"Done at the Elysee, the 4th of December, 1851.
"Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. "The Minister of the Interior, "de Morny."
So sudden and unexpected was the blow struck by Louis Napoleon, and so skilfully had he taken his measures to overwhelm any resistance that might be offered to the execution of his scheme, that the inhabitants of Paris were paralyzed, and gazed at first in an attitude of stupid wonder at what was going on, without attempting any demonstration; but on the morning of the 3rd symptoms of disturbance began to appear. About 10 o'clock one of the members of the Assembly, M. Baudin, a member of the party of the Mountain, suddenly appeared on horseback in the Rue St. Antoine. He wore a travellingcap, and carried a naked sword in his hand, followed by six other representatives. The hour was that at which the workmen of the faubourg leave their workshops to breakfast. M. Baudin's appearance attracted a great many groups; whom he harangued, and summoned to take up arms for the delivery of the representatives arrested, who were still at the prison of Mazas, in the neighbourhood. He was aided in his efforts by his colleagues, and soon the cry of "Aux armes!" was heard. A great deal of agitation was the consequence ; and many of the workmen ran about to look for arms. Their first attempt was made against the guardhouse of Montreuil, which they surrounded, and soon succeeded in disarming the few soldiers that were there, overpowered as they were by numbers and at a distance from all aid. Others of the insurgents set about making barricades. They succeeded in making two; which, however, were composed only of an omnibus, a dung-cart, and a cabriolet. Troops were soon dispatched to the scene, and the insurgents were without difficulty dispersed. But barricades now began to be formed in different places, and immense bodies of the military occupied the streets, patrolling the city in every direction. Next day the whole of the Boulevards Montmartre and des Italiens were lined by infantry and cavalry, and the head of the column was opposite a strong barricade erected in the Rue St. Denis. An attack was made upon this with artillery and musketry, and it was, after some sharp firing and considerable loss of life, carried. In the mean time, owing to some incomprehensible cause, whether it was panic, or, as was alleged, because a stray shot had been fired from one of the houses lining the Boulevards, the troops began a murderous fire upon the windows of the houses on each side of them along the Boulevards. Even cannon were directed against the houses, and the walls were shattered, while the unfortunate inhabitants fled for shelter to their cellars, or wherever they imagined they might escape the balls and shot. This onslaught was nothing but a murderous outrage, disgraceful to the character of the French
army, for they kept up a deadly fire upon peaceable citizens who offered neither attack nor resistance, and a great many innocent lives were lost.
A very interesting letter was published by an Englishman, Captain Jesse, who was an eyewitness of the scene that took place in the Boulevards, and from this we give a few extracts. Speaking of the events of the 4th of December, he said—" Before proceeding to relate the details of the events of this day, I will endeavour to explain the exact position of the apartments I occupied, and the extent of ground comprised within my view, and state the distances between the extreme points. From the northern extremity of the Rue de Richelieu to the Boulevard du Temple, the several Boulevards Montmartre, Poissonniere, Bonne Nouvelle, St. Denis, and St. Martin, form one unbroken line of about 2000 yards, running nearly east and west. The boulevards westward of the Rue de Richelieu turn from that point to the southwest, and the Boulevard Italien with that of Montmartre form at that point an obtuse angle, so that a person in the Cafe Cardinal, at the west corner of the Rue Richelieu, could only see a very few houses, and those on the north side, on the last-mentioned boulevard. From this cafe to my apartments, on the south side of the boulevard, three doors from the Rue Montmartre, the distance is rather more than 200 yards, and from this spot I had an uninterrupted view eastward for almost 800 yards—in short, nearly as far as the Porte St. Denis, where the more distant boulevards retire a little from the direct line. It is therefore to these 1000 yards —that is to say, from the Rue Richelieu to the eastern extremity of the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle —that my remarks apply.
"Opposite my apartment is the Restaurant Bonnefoy, and leaving this about half-past 10, a countryman on a cart-horse was pointed out to me as having just had his waggon taken from him to help to form a barricade near the Porte St. Denis. The circulation of carriages in that direction very soon ceased, and at 11 the shopkeepers commenced putting up their shutters. Between this hour and 1 o'clock I was at the Minister of the Interior's, Rue de Grenelle; and, both going there and returning everything seemed quiet: there was no apparent movement amongst the troops within the iron railings of the Tuileries or on the Carrousel; the shops, however, were closed in the Rue Richelieu. At 2 o'clock, when approaching the extremity of the Rue Vivienne, I observed the troops passing along the boulevard, which they cleared, driving the people into the side streets, who ran down it, crying out, 'Sauvez-vous.' I sought refuge with my wife in a shop, and subsequently reached my own house. At 3 o'clock, returning from the Place de la Bourse, it was with the greatest difficulty I got back again. The guns had been distinctly heard for some time in the direction of the Faubourg St. Denis, and the passage of troops that way continued for a quarter of an hour after I came back. Having written a note, I went to the balcony at which my wife was standing, and remained there watching the troops. The whole boulevard, as far as the eye could reach, was crowded with them, principally infantry, in
sub-divisions at quarter distance, with here and there a batch of Impounders and howitzers, some of which occupied the rising ground on the Boulevard Poissonniere. The windows were crowded with people, principally women, tradesmen, servants, and children, or, like ourselves, the occupants of apartments. The mounted officers were smoking their cigars—a custom introduced into the army, as I have understood, by the Princes of the Orleans family— not a very soldierlike one, but, at such a moment, particularly reassuring, as it forbad the idea that their services were likely to be called into immediate requisition. Of the Boulevard des Italiens I could see but little, on account of the angle I have mentioned, but in the direction of the Porte St. Denis, I could see distinctly as far as the end of the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle. Suddenly, and while I was intently looking with my glass at the troops in the distance eastward, a few musket shots were fired at the head of the column, which consisted of about 3000 men. In a few moments it spread, and after hanging a little came down the boulevard in a waving sheet of flame. So regular, however, was the fire that at first I thought it was a feu-de-joie for some barricade taken in advance, or to signal their position to some other division, and it was not till it came within 50 yards of me that I recognised the sharp ringing report of ball-cartridge; but even then I could scarcely believe the evidence of my ears, for as to my eyes, I could not discover any enemy to fire at, and I continued looking at the men until the company below me were actually raising their firelocks, and one vaga