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The French Republic

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1851
Art. IV. - Discours prononce par M. de Montalembert, Representant du Peuple (Doubs) dans la Discussion du Projet de Loi tendant a ouvrir au Ministre des Finances un Cridit de 1,800,000 Francs, pour Frais de Represen­tation du President de la Republique, Seance du 10 fevrier, 1851.   18mo.   pp. 32.
We always read with interest the eloquent parliamen­tary speeches of Count de Montalembert, for we always find in them a noble spirit, and principles becoming the Christian and the statesman; but we have read none of them with deeper interest or more pleasure than the one now before us; nor any one which has given us so strong a proof of his practical wisdom, and real independence of character. M. de Montalembert is not the man of a party; he is a Christian and a Frenchman. He himself was known to our public, in 1830, as connected with the Abbe de la Mennais, in the religious and political movement represent­ed to some extent by L'Avenir, and which sought to induce the Church to accept and foster the democratic tendencies of the European populations. The movement, under some of its aspects, was noble and praiseworthy, but un­der others it was injudicious and revolutionary, and cal­culated to embroil the Church with the temporal govern­ments, to the serious detriment of religion. It was there­fore disapproved at Rome, and forthwith abandoned by M. de Montalembert, and nearly all those who had pro­jected and sustained it, with the exception of the unhappy Abbe de la Mennais himself, who finally for his persistence incurred excommunication from the Church.
In the Chamber of Peers, of which he was an hereditary member, M. de Montalembert, under the monarchy of July, was not a Philippist nor a Legitimist, a republican nor a dynastic oppositionist, but was generally in opposition to the government, with strong sympathies with the Euro­pean liberal movement. He did not oppose the Orleans dynasty, he did not advocate a republic, but he opposed the government, because it showed itself hostile to relig­ious and civil freedom. His sympathies were with the party struggling for larger liberty, and his parliamentary labors were specially directed to obtaining the freedom of education, which was enslaved by the state through the infidel University, established in its main features by the Convention. He may be said during this period to have represented in Parliament the Catholic party of young France.
In February, 1848, came the revolution that overthrew and exiled the Orleans dynasty, and proclaimed the French republic.     M. de Montalembert was returned a member of the Constituent Assembly, or convention summoned to give France a constitution, and reestablish social and po­litical order.    In this Assembly he took his stand, not as a republican nor as an anti-republican, not as a Legitimist nor as an anti-Legitimist, but as the advocate of order and defender of religious liberty.    He saw that the first want of France was legal order, and that every attempt to found such order without a religious basis must prove abortive. Hence the freedom of the Church and the establishment of social order became his watchwords ; and he proved himself ready to cooperate with any party devoted to the maintenance of order, and able and willing to recognize, as its indispensable conditions, the full  freedom of the Church and of Catholic education.    This position he still maintains.    Without any  preferences  for  a  republic as such, he seems, now that the republican order has been proclaimed, fully disposed to accept it, to give it a fair trial, and a loyal support so long as it is able to maintain social and political order for his country.    As he would never have conspired to  overthrow  the monarchy for the sake of introducing the republic, so  he will never conspire to overthrow the republic for the sake of restoring the mon­archy,  either  in  the  family of the Bourbons or in that of the Bonapartes.    In the present crisis in European, and especially in French affairs, the most pressing  question, he holds, lies not between one form of government and another, but between government and no government, be­tween order and anarchy, civilization and barbarism; and any existing government, able to sustain order and provide' for the wants of civilized society, ought to be loyally sup­ported, irrespective of the claims or pretensions of partic­ular families or individuals.    Governments are instituted for the public good, and power is a sacred trust from God, not a personal right of its depositaries; and whenever these have lost it, it must be suffered to pass into other hands if the public good clearly demand it, for society is paramount to the individual.
We have, ever since we can remember, advocated, and we trust we ever shall advocate, the jus divinum, or gov­ernment by Divine right; for we hold that under the law of nature all men are equal, and that no man, in his own name, has the right to govern another. All dominion of man over man is of the essence of despotism. All power is of God, and no power is legal save as ordained of God; and no man has any right to exercise any authority save as the vicar or delegate of Almighty God, immediately, or mediately, appointed by him to govern. Ministers may be variously appointed according to the respective con­stitutions of different countries ; they may obtain oilice hereditarily, or by popular election ; but always their ulti­mate right to govern derives from God, and they hold it only as his delegates. They are, therefore, bound to exer­cise it according to his will, that is, according to the laws of eternal justice. This is what we mean by the jus divi­num, and holding this, we hold that whoso resists govern­ment in the discharge of its legal functions resists the or-dinance of God, and purchases to himself damnation.
But God authorizes government and invests it with the right to govern for the public good, not for the private good of the governors, and hence power is a trust, and there­fore amissible. It may be forfeited, as any other trust, for it may be abused, and it is abused, whenever it is exercised for a private end, in opposition to the public good. It may be lost, also, without the particular fault of its de­positaries, by such changes in human affairs as render it impracticable or impossible for them to continue to exer­cise it compatibly with the peace and welfare of the pub­lic, or so as to secure the ends for which government is instituted. In France, the old public order has, by suc­cessive revolutions, been completely broken up, and the French statesman is now free, and even bound, to take that course which is most in accordance with the true interests of his country, without reference to the rights of particular families, deriving from an order which has in fact passed away. He is free to support the republic, in total forget-fulness, as it were, of the hereditary claims to reign of the Bourbons or of the Bonapartes, and ought to do so, if in the providence of God and the mutations of human things the republic has become the only practicable order, or the best practicable government for his country; for there is a broad difference between hereditary personal rights and hereditary public trusts; between overthrowing a mon­archy for the sake of establishing a republic, and support­ing a republic after monarchy has been overthrown; and between struggling to sustain a monarchy that is assailed, and struggling to restore a monarchy that has fallen. The first want of France is government, and its second want is wise and efficient government, able alike to protect itself and the freedom of the subject; and the duty of the French statesman is to provide for these wants in the best and speediest manner now practicable. If they can be best provided for by monarchical restoration, royal or impe­rial, in the elder or the younger branch of the Bourbons, then he should labor for such restoration; if they can be best provided for by the republic, princely under Louis Napoleon, or citizen under General Cavaignac, then such republic should be accepted and supported. We regard France, since the revolution of February, as to the consti­tution of political power, as to a great extent thrown back under the law of nature, and as not only free, but bound, to reconstitute government in the manner best adapted to her future welfare, and the question for her to settle is, not the claims of princes, but the political constitution she needs to preserve herself from becoming a prey to the So­cialists and Red Republicans, led on by Mazzini, Ledru-Rollin, and company, those conspirators-general against the rights of nations, the peace of society, and the civili­zation of Europe.
M. de Montalembert, in the speech before us, as we liavq intimated, seems disposed to accept and sustain the republic, and the republic with Louis Napoleon for its chief, lie is not a Bonapartist; his sympathies are rather with the Legitimists; but he contends that Prince Louis has merited well of France and Europe, and, without com­mitting himself for the future, he ably defends the conduct of the President thus far, and awards him the well de­served praise which many from various quarters have de­nied him. He concedes that the President has committed some faults, the gravest of which, however, was his ill-advised letter on Roman affairs to Colonel Edgar Ney, which he hastened immediately to repair, and which has had no grave consequences. He regrets the dismissal of General  Changarnier from  his  important  military command, but thinks it was not wholly without excuse. He also regrets the new ministerial appointments, and would seem to regard the new ministry as not likely to inspire confidence in the friends of order; but he is disposed to judge it by its acts. The President is the responsible head of his administration, and he thus far has proved himself the friend of religion, of order, of legal government, and determined to maintain internal tranquillity, peace and dignity abroad.
To appreciate the merits of the French President, we must take into consideration the very delicate and embar­rassing position in which he has been placed from the first. He received it in charge to maintain the republic at home, and the influence and dignity of France abroad. When he was elected, December 10, 1848, the Convention had promulgated the constitution, - a miserable abortion, satisfactory to nobody, - and the power of the state was in the hands of the so-called moderate republican party, a feeble minority of the nation, and, whatever their good intentions, without political, and especially administrative capacity. The great majority of the French people were and are monarchists, are not and never have been republi­cans, and the republic proclaimed by the Parisian mob in February, 1848, could not have lived a week had it not been acquiesced in and supported by those who did not wish it, had no hand in introducing it, and no sympathy with it. It was impossible for Prince Louis to administer the government without the aid of the monarchists, for the moderate republicans were too few and too imbecile to af­ford him any real support, and the Red Republicans were powerful only in a work of destruction, and were the ene­mies alike of order at home, and of peace and just influence abroad. He must then conciliate the moderate republi­cans, secure the aid of the monarchists, and defy the So­cialists. But if too decidedly republican, he could not count on the support of the monarchists; and if he trusted exclusively the monarchists, he might awaken monarchical hopes and prepare the way for a restoration of monarchy, to the destruction of the republic, - or for the division of the monarchical party, which would allow a triumph of the Red Republicans to the destruction of social order and the peace of Europe.    Here was his great difficulty.
The  solution  of the difficulty  depended  on  the  fact whether the old monarchical party, composed of Legiti­mists, Orleanists, and Bonapartists, had really resolved to let monarchy go, and henceforth to accept without reserve, and to support loyally, the republican order. The republi­cans themselves could not sustain the republic, for the Reds would soon absorb the Moderates, as in the old Rev­olution the Mountain absorbed the Gironde, and a Red Republic is as impracticable as undesirable. The fate of the republic was, then, in the hands of the monarchists, and would not they at the first favorable opportunity seek to restore monarchy ? It was to be feared. At the time of the inauguration of the President, it is true, they seemed to have dismissed all monarchical regrets, and to be pre­pared to support the republic without any after-thought, and the President showed that he had no serious distrust of them, and wished to make no unfavorable distinction between them and the republicans.
Abroad matters were, if possible, still more delicate and embarrassing for a republican President of France. All Europe was divided into two hostile camps, and it was not yet decided which was the strongest. The Holy Father was in exile, and the infamous Triumvirate had established their Reign of Terror in the capital of the Christian world; the Radicals were triumphing in Tus­cany ; Charles Albert was preparing a second invasion of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom ; Austria was maintain­ing an apparently doubtful contest with her Red Repub­lican anarchists and her Magyar rebels ; Central Germany was in flames; and Prussia alternated between Red Re­publicanism and despotism, played fast and loose with an­archy, as her sovereign was drunk or sober, was dazzled by visions of the imperial diadem or feared the loss of his hereditary crown. France held the balance, and the party into whose scale she should throw herself could not fail to preponderate, at least for the time. If she manifested any strong sympathy with the republican camp,'war would blaze out all over Europe. If she did not, and if she threw her influence on the side of authority, then she would stand in the apparently contradictory light of sustaining a republic at home, and exerting herself to suppress republi­canism abroad, and would have to encounter the wrath of all the disorganizers of Europe and of America.
The President does not seem to have hesitated long as to the part he should take. He seems to have resolved to sustain the republic at all hazards, not so much because he was a republican as because he was a Frenchman, and France had had revolutions enough, and to support the party of order abroad, as the party of justice, of right, and because it was the only means of preserving the peace of Europe, alike essential to France and to the other Euro­pean nations. He did not break entirely with the republi­cans at home, but he gave the best pledge possible to the friends of order that he was no revolutionist, that he re­spected the rights of sovereigns as well as of the people, and, above all, the sacred obligations of religion, by restor­ing, in harmony with the other Catholic powers, the Holy Father to his temporal dominions, and by expelling the miserable banditti who professed to govern the Eternal City in the name of the Roman people. He withdrew France from her false position as the head of the European anarchical propagandism, and placed her on the side of re­ligion, of order, of legal right, and therefore on the side of liberty. From that moment the reaction against anarchy became decided, and victorious in every Continental state except Sardinia, and that too without in the least com­promising the dignity or the stability of the French republic. No ordinary credit is due to the man who, without politi­cal experience, could assume the direction of the affairs of such a country as France, at such a time, with such obsta­cles within and without to encounter, and yet bring them to as happy an issue as they had attained to in March, 1850, and Prince Louis may henceforth without a blush call himself " the nephew of my uncle," for his uncle did nothing greater or really more glorious.
Undoubtedly, the President must divide this glory with the monarchists of France, the majority in the Assembly, for if he had had only the republican party, Red or Moder­ate, on which to rely, he could never have carried France and Europe through the crisis ; but the larger share of the glory is unquestionably his own, as the elected chief of the French nation.
Up to March, 1850, the monarchical party seem to have been united to a man, and determined to support the re­public, although they had never desired it. The greater part of them seem still determined to do so, but, unhap­pily, they are no longer united.    The reaction against anarchy having everywhere proved decisive, the imminent danger of Socialism having been somewhat diminished, monarchical regrets seem to have been awakened, and dreams of restoring fallen monarchy to have been in­dulged. A greater danger than France has yet had to meet, we fear, now awaits her, and from this very cause, for without the support of the monarchists the republic cannot stand, and hereditary monarchy, we fear, is hence­forth impracticable in France.
The republicans, including both Moderates and Reds, are, no doubt, a minority, and even a small minority, of the French people.    The monarchists are certainly the major­ity, and, if united, they could without difficulty sustain themselves against their enemies.  But they are not united, and cannot be united.    Three times within the last sixty years they have possessed, and three times they have lost power, through their fatal dissensions.    The old French monarchy expired in 1789, when Louis the Sixteenth be­came, instead of king of France, a constitutional king of the French, and no human power can resuscitate it.    The order instituted in 1789 by the Constituent Assembly, with a few exceptions, was the clear and spontaneous expres­sion of the will of the French nation, including the king, the nobles, the clergy, and the people.    It is worse than idle to attempt to go behind that new order, and under­take to reestablish the throne of Saint Louis.    There is nothing in the habits, the sentiments, or the institutions of the  French  people   at  the  present  time to sustain that throne.    The feudal nobility is gone ; the feudal church is gone;   the distinction of  ranks is abolished;   and  chiv­alry, if not extinct, has taken an entirely new direction. Sixty years of revolution have destroyed loyalty, changed habits of submission into habits of insubordination, oblit­erated the sense of law, of the fixed and permanent, and superinduced a morbid desire of change, an absolute im­patience of all repose as of all restraint.    Here is no place for the throne of Saint Louis, nor even for that of " Le Grand Monarque."   We may or may not regret it, accord­ing to the temper of our minds.    For our part we do regret it, as we regret all modern changes, none of which can we recognize as improvements.    But while we regret it, we hope we have the good sense to conform to the inevitable necessity of things.    We are not in relation to our own country any the less loyally republican because we believe the departure from Mediaeval Europe has been a deteri­oration instead of a progress. We seek no impracticable restorations ; we ask what here and now is our duty, and that is plainly for us to support the republican order established, here and now, alike against monarchy and against mobs.
To attempt to restore the monarchy of 1789, is as idle as to attempt the restoration of the authority of the Brit­ish crown in this country. That monarchy, when it had far more of the sympathy of the nation than it now has, and was surrounded with a prestige which it now wants, could not sustain itself. As a monarchy it rested on a novel basis, and it left too much power in the democracy for a new monarchy. If the order attempted by the Con­stituent Assembly had been the slow and natural growth of ages, it could have sustained itself, and would have been a model government for the civilized world. Its grand defect was that it was new, a novel creation, and therefore without the power to restrain the popular im­pulse which had created it. The same thing will occur again, should there be an attempt to reestablish it, though in a different sense. The monai'chical impulse strong enough to restore it would not stop, and could not be stopped, with it. It would seek to give greater strength to the monarchy; and that would exceed the sentiment of the nation, and provoke a popular reaction against it, which would cause again its overthrow. Without more power in the throne than the constitution of 1789 gave, the mon­archy in these times could not sustain itself, and with more it would become odious, and would be resisted, not obeyed, and could sustain itself only by mere physical force ; and every government obliged to sustain itself by mere physical force, sooner or later inevitably falls.
The empire would stand, perhaps, a better chance; but what chance may be learned from the fate of Napoleon. The empire fell, not solely by foreign bayonets, but through the combined opposition of the Bourbonists and the re­publicans, and chiefly through the opposition of the latter, - led on by Lafayette, whom the United States have far more reason than France to honor, - always powerful to destroy, always impotent to establish. The same causes which overthrew Napoleon would conspire to overthrow anew the empire were it reestablished in the person of his nephew. We have never known political restora­tions to be successful, and in France the great majority of the monarchists are not imperialists ; and if they are to support a monarchy at all, it will most likely be in the, family of the Bourbons. They and the republicans of all shades would unite against the empire, if reestablished, and against the combined opposition of these it could not stand. In our judgment, France cannot again be a mon­archy for any great length of time; for there will always be an opposition strong enough to overthrow it. Suppose Henry the Fifth to be crowned; the Orleanists, the impe­rialists, and the republicans will in a short time combine against him, and against their combined opposition he cannot stand. Suppose the Count of Paris is proclaimed under the regency of the Due de Nemours, the imperial­ists, the republicans, and the Legitimists will oppose him, and he must fall. Suppose, finally, that Prince Louis is proclaimed Emperor, the Legitimists, Orleanists, and re­publicans, especially all the republicans not bribed with office or title, after a little, will unite to oppose him, and his fall become inevitable. Hereditary monarchy, owing to the rooted divisions in the monarchical party, we there­fore believe, whether desirable or not, is henceforth imprac­ticable in France, and such is apparently the conviction of a very considerable portion of the monarchists themselves. We do not profess to be very well versed in French pol­itics, and things change in France so rapidly that a judg­ment sound at the time we are writing may be unsound before we go to press; but looking calmly at French af­fairs from this distance, and with such lights as we have, it strikes us that the true policy of the monarchists is to abandon all monarchical regrets, all thoughts of restoring fallen monarchy, and to accept, loyally, without reticence or after-thought, the republican as the definitive political order for their beautiful country. We do not say this as a republican, as one who holds that the republican order, ab­stractly considered, is preferable to monarchy, but we say it because we believe it now the only practicable order for France. We are for ourselves no fanatical democrats, no republican propagandists, and it was with no pleasure that we heard of the French revolution of February, 1848. We are no more attached to one form of government, abstractly considered, than to another. Perhaps, living as we do under a republic, and, like most people, more impressed by the evils we experience than by those we are ignorant of, we are disposed to underrate the advantages of a pop­ular government, and to think too favorably of monarchy. However this may be, we are sure that, if we have preju­dices, they are not republican prejudices. Moreover, gov­ernment is never an abstract question, and we have never asked ourselves which, abstractly considered, is the best form of government. Government is a thing of practice, not of speculation ; and that is the best form which is best adapted to the people who are to live under it. Despo­tism, whether monarchical or democratic, we detest; but a republican order such as our fathers established here, but which our people are doing their best to revolutionize, we believe the best form of government for us, but we believe it, by way of example, a bad government for Mexico, -not because we are more or less enlightened than the Mex­icans, but because government must be to a great extent a matter of routine, and republicanism is congenial to our habits and is not to theirs. We do not pretend that re­publicanism is better for France than monarchy would be, if practicable; nay, we do not believe it so good, and we think it a great calamity for her that she has abolished monarchy, and rendered its permanent reestablishment henceforth a vain attempt. But a republic is practicable, if the monarchists choose to make it so, and France can live and prosper under it, provided that its constitution and management are not left to those who conspired to intro­duce it.
There is wisdom as well as point in a remark once made by the late Chief Justice Parsons, that " The young man who is not a democrat is a knave, the old man who is, is a fool." We have no confidence in the statesman who is a democrat in principle, for pure democracy is only pure despotism, as we are in this country beginning to ex­perience. The men who can make a revolution for the sake of introducing a popular form of government, can never safely be intrusted with its administration. Our government owes its success not to the democracy of the country, for that is ruining it; but to the fact that it was established, and for the first twelve years of its existence administered, by men who had no democratic sympathies, who were not in their personal preferences even republi­can, but who yet gave the republic a loyal support, be­cause they saw that it was for us the only practicable gov­ernment, except sheer despotism.
We would not speak lightly of the genuine republican party in France, but having studied their history with some care from the time of Henry the Second, - for it is not a party of recent origin, - and witnessed their disas­trous influence on their own country, as well as on other nations, we must be pardoned for saying that we have no confidence either in their integrity or in their capacity,- except for destruction. They are destitute alike of prac­tical wisdom and loyal dispositions. They are moved, not by love of liberty, but by hatred of restraint. What they want is not the freedom and prosperity of France, but power to govern her, and they will be, with some honor­able exceptions, the enemies of every government which they do not govern. No real dependence can be placed on them in or out of office, and the greatest of all conceiva­ble calamities for France would be to give up the republic to their management, and this whether they are Moderates or Reds; for the difference between the two classes is not one of principle, and consists simply in the fact that the Reds arc good and the Moderates bad logicians. The Reds draw boldly the logical consequences of the principles which they and the Moderates hold in common. They say at once two and two make four, while the Moderates stop short, and stammer out two and two make - three, persuading themselves that the poor people will not see that two and-two make three and one more. The republicans have clamored for the republic, and have finally got it. Let them have it. They wanted it because they trusted, if they got it, they could manage it, and control the desti­nies of France; in that let them be disappointed. Let them have the republic and share equally whatever advan­tages it secures, but do not let them be its chiefs.
The republic has thus far been sustained by the men who did not want it, and, if sustained at all, it must con­tinue to be sustained by them. But if they are to do this, they must accept it in good faith, must really resolve to live and die by it, and, if need be, for it. Legitimists, Or-leanists, and imperialists must give their united support to the republic, as they did up to the 31st of March, 1850, and by so doing they can save it from being strangled by its unnatural parents. To do this requires no sacrifice of principle, no change of political creeds; it only requires a little of that chivalry in which French monarchists always abound, and of that readiness to devote themselves to the best interest of their country, in which they ought never to be found deficient. They are not only the majority, but they are the pars sanior el potior of France, and the only danger France can run must come either from their stand­ing aloof from public affairs, or from their dividing their influence by movements designed to prepare the way for a new monarchical, royalist or imperial, restoration. France wants repose; she wants time for her numerous wounds to heal, time to recover habits of order and subordination, for the growth of loyalty, and the love of order, - time for a new generation to spring up, trained under better in­fluences than have heretofore prevailed. She needs to feel that sixty years is as much time as any nation can afford to throw away in revolutions or uncertain experiments for the organization of power, and that she must contemplate no new revolution; that the order now established, wheth­er the best or not the best possible, must be final, in or­der that an end may be put alike to criminal hopes and Utopian dreams. The monarchists have it in their power to make her so feel; and to do it, they have only to per­severe as they commenced, the day after the revolution of February.
The monarchists have nothing to lose by supporting the republic. They have proved this during the last two years. The revolution of 1789 swept away nearly all the privileges of the old French aristocracy, and introduced equality before the laws; the revolution of 1830 abolished the hereditary peerage, and nothing would remain to the old noblesse, even if monarchy were restored, but empty titles and the memory of the glorious deeds of their illus­trious ancestors. These they may retain equally under the republic, and as for distinction, they have shown and are now showing that they can secure that even under universal suffrage. Before the revolution, the republicans talked as if they monopolized all the wisdom and virtue of France, and half persuaded themselves that, under a regime of universal suffrage, the monarchists would be no­body.    The result must have disappointed them, though it has disappointed nobody else. In the struggle, man to man, the monarchists have maintained their former superi­ority over the republicans. They saved the republic from being devoured by its authors ; they took it under their protection, and have rendered it powerful and respectable; they have maintained internal tranquillity and peace, and dignity abroad. With the single exception of General Ca-vaignac, who is a brave officer and a very worthy man, not a single republican has, so far as we can discover at this distance, honorably distinguished himself under the re­public. All who have tried to be leaders, and to become great men, have failed, miserably failed. Of the men who made the republic, not one has proved himself competent to its management, and most of them are now in exile or forgotten. In the assembly, in the cabinet, in the army, in the diplomatic corps, the great men are they who were the great men under the monarchy, and who, whatever their errors, were never identified with the republican party. The republic has wellnigh extinguished the re­publicans. Who hears now-a-days of Lamartine, Arago, Marie, Marast, Cremieux, Gamier-Pages, the more respect­able part of the provisional government and its support­ers ? And who would hear of Lcdru-Rollin, Louis Blanc, Caussidiere, Blanqui, and their compeers, were they not in exile, intriguing with the madmen of Europe against so­ciety itself? The monarchists have maintained, and must continue to maintain, their superiority, and retain the lead in affairs, unless they weaken their strength by division, or by attempting what seems to us an impracticable restora­tion, that is, impracticable as a permanent and peaceful order.
Assuming that the republic, and we mean a republic of order, not a republic democratic and social, which would be only an organized anarchy, is in the present juncture desirable for France, and to be maintained, the true policy of the French statesman cannot be doubtful. It Is, first of all, to prevent the election as its chief of a man whose con­victions and sympathies are with the old republican party. We have a very high regard for General Cavaignac, but we should deprecate his election as the successor of Prince Louis Napoleon. He must be elected, if at all, not as the representative of France, of the French nation, but as the representative of the republican party, a feeble minority of the French people.    He will be elected,  no doubt, if elected, as a Moderate Republican; but that makes little difference.    He will  not be able to command the confi­dence of the monarchical  party, and will   be obliged to strengthen himself by concessions to the Beds, which will only place the republic on the declivity to anarchy.    There is no radical difference between a Moderate Republican and a Red Republican, and all history proves, that, of two branches of the same family, the more consistent will al­ways be the more energetic, and being the more energetic, will, in the long run, be the ruling branch.    We do not distrust the honorable intentions of the distinguished gen­eral who so nobly defended France in the terrible days of June, 1848, but he and Ledru-Rollin adopt the same polit­ical premises, and Ledru-Rollin draws, if more fatal, at the same time  more logical   consequences  from them.    We can give a republic a loyal support, but we detest the mod­ern republican theory of government, whether Moderate or   Red.    It  is  the   modern  republican, or rather demo­cratic, theory of government, namely, the sovereignty of the people, that is false and dangerous, not a republican government itself.    The monarchists of France can accept the republic, and will, if they accept it at all, without ac­cepting the modern democratic theory ; but the republican party cannot.    Hence, in the hands of the former a repub­lican government may be a good government, as in many countries it is the best possible government;  but in the hands of the latter it must always be a bad government, because their principles in their logical development are repugnant to all government.    General Cavaignac's elec­tion, in our judgment, would be the doom of the republic, and plunge France anew into all the horrors of civil war, because it would be the attempt to install a political doc­trine which the majority of the French nation do and will repudiate, and which no civilized nation can safely tolerate. All government, practically considered, is founded more or less on compromise, and no government can stand in France that attempts to exclude any of the great parties now existing.    There must be a compromise of some sort, and that compromise must be honorable to all parties. The  monarchical  party  cannot  abandon   its   principles, and ought not to do so, though it may perhaps give up some  of its  prejudices, and  the  republicans  cannot be expected to become monarchists. A compromise such as M. Guizot proposes, which recognizes the hereditary mon­archy and aristocracy on one side, and the democratic prin­ciple on the other, is impracticable, because it introduces into the fundamental organization of the state two hos­tile and eternally irreconcilable principles. This illustrious statesman seems to us to have been misled by his eclec­ticism, and also to have mistaken the real theory of the British constitution, which he appears to adopt as his model. The monarchical, and aristocratic principle is pre­served in the king and the House of Peers, it is true ; but the basis of the House of Commons is not democracy, or the sovereignty of the people. The British government in its theory - we say nothing of what it is becoming in prac­tice- is a government of estates, and the House of Com­mons represents, not the sovereign people of Great Britain simply restricted in their power by king and Lords, but an estate, the Commons, as its very name implies. This government of estates since 1789 has become impracti­cable in France, for then the estates were abolished, and the Tiers-jitat declared to be the nation. Here was the grand error of 1789. The Constituent, instead of abolish­ing the estates, should have preserved, reformed, and per­fected them, and provided for their regular assembling in parliament; but it is too late to attempt this now.
Checks and balances, as they are called, are undoubt­edly necessary in a government, and without them every government is a despotism ; but no government can stand if organized on two fundamentally irreconcilable principles. This dualism is as objectionable in politics as in religion ; and its objectionable character in the latter is strikingly displayed by the whole history of Protestantism. Diver­sity may be introduced into the organization, and must be, but it must be a diversity with unity for its basis. The compromise that is required cannot be a compromise of principle, but must take place in a sphere that- leaves to each party for itself its own principles, and therefore must be a compromise in the order of facts, not in the order of principles. The monarchists can without any compromise of principle accept and support a republican form of gov­ernment for France, as they have done for the last three years. The republicans can of course do the same. The compromise must be, then, for each to support the republic as a fact, and as a legal fact, the monarchist foregoing the attempt to carry out into fact his monarchical preferences, and the republican forbearing to attempt to make the re­public the embodiment of his theory of popular sover­eignty, not necessary to the establishment or free and salu­tary working of the republic, and necessary at all only as a condition of revolutionizing or overthrowing it. The monarchists must concede the republicans the republican form of government, and with that the republicans must be satisfied, although the republic be not founded on their doctrine of the " sacred right of insurrection," and they must-be held, and, if need be, forced to obey it, as they were to obey the monarchy. This is the only compromise that can be honorably made. The monarchists give up monarchy for the sake of peace, and the republicans get what they pretended to want, a republic, and must in turn give up the attempt to realize anarchical theories. But as they will never do this willingly, they must be compelled to do it, and till they are completely subdued, they must not be in­trusted with power, although the particular individual they put forward as a candidate for popular suffrage should be personally unexceptionable.
We hope our friends in France will not deem us imper­tinent in these remarks, or if we express our conviction that their aim should be to preserve, for the present at least, the princely republic; for we fear that, if any other than Louis Napoleon is chosen as its chief at the next presidential election, disastrous consequences will follow. If it is resolved to maintain the republican order, it will be exceedingly dangerous to change the person of its present chief before it is more perfectly consolidated. We have no prejudices in favor of the Bonapartists, and what preju­dices we have are on the side of the Legitimists. Our own political principles would lead us to wish Henry the Fifth to be king, - to wish the reestablishment of legiti­mate royalty in France, - if we believed the thing prac­ticable ; but we go on the supposition that that is imprac­ticable, and that the long line of the kings of France and kings of the French ended with Louis Philippe. On this supposition, Louis Napoleon seems to us now, even more than in 1848, the most proper person for president of the republic. He may have had visions of an imperial res­toration, but if so, he appears to entertain them no longer.

As far as we can discover from his messages, and, what is more to the purpose, his acts, he has accepted the repub­lic in good faith, with a firm resolution, so far as depends on him, to render it successful. He has nobly redeemed the promises he made on assuming the reins of govern­ment, and has manifested eminent ability as well as loyal intentions; and if now and then we have discovered a Gallican reminiscence in his administration, he has as yet been found on the side of religion, and been surpassed by no sovereign in Europe in yielding what is due to the Church, or in his respect and submission to the Holy See. The revolutions of 1848 had even more at heart the de­struction of the Church than the abolition of monarchy, and the loud wail that is heard over the fall of Mazzini and his Roman republic is far more anti-Catholic than anti-monarchical. But these revolutions have been overruled and made to redound to the glory of the Church against whom they were chiefly designed, and in no country more so than in France. Never since Charlemagne has the Church in France been more free than under the admin­istration of Louis Napoleon. The legitimate kings of France seldom permitted the Church in their dominions to manage her own affairs in her own way, and their ostenta­tious protection of her was often, nay, generally, only her enslavement to the temporal power. Not under the em­pire certainly, not under Louis the Eighteenth, not under Charles the Tenth, nor under Louis Philippe, was there any thing approaching the respect to the Church by the government that has been paid her by the republic, since the terrible days of June, 1848. It may be policy on the part of'the President, but if so it is a wise and just policy, and such as marks the Christian statesman. But we believe it something more than policy, and we are not surprised that a man whose life has been checkered like that of Louis Bonaparte, and the greater part of which lias been passed in exile or in prison, should feel'the need of religion for his own support, as well as for the support of the state. He has shown his respect for religion, not only in his relations with the Holy See, but in the support he has given to the law on instruction, a concession to the Church, not indeed of all that her friends had the right to demand, but of more than any other modern government has conceded, unless it be that of the young Emperor of Austria, and more than under the late monarchy any friend of the freedom of education from the University monop­oly ever thought of asking, and perhaps as much as, in the present state of things, it is prudent to concede. Mod­eration in removing abuses is necessary lest the attempted reform fail, and matters be made worse than before.
The Catholic party in France, it strikes us, should ask themselves very seriously whether religion is not now do­ing well, and whether it would not be more likely to lose than to gain by the restoration of monarchy, with its old Gallican traditions, - traditions which no government will surrender unless forced to do so in order to sustain itself, and which no Bourbon on the throne of France can be forced to surrender, so long as a large minority of France are not Catholic, and a large majority of her statesmen, as statesmen are prone to be, are Gallican. In a country where the majority are Catholics, the government, if it rests on popular suffrage, will be pretty sure to respect the freedom of the Church. A republican government, ac­cepted and supported by the majority, will hardly oppress, for it will have little motive to oppress, the religion of the majority. It was, therefore, with great pleasure that we saw the bishops and clergy of France expressing, with sin­gular frankness and unanimity, their adhesion to the repub­lic. The Church is doing well now, and her friends have comparatively little to complain of, - less than almost everywhere else. Will they have less under a king who will study only to enlarge the sphere of the temporal at the expense of the spiritual authority? Why, then, seek a change ? Why run the risk of losing what is obtained, in the uncertain attempt to get more? We hear good ac­counts of the Count de Chambord, and we doubt not his good intentions; but he is heir to the prejudices and tradi­tions, as well as to the rights, of his family, and the prom­ises of a prince in exile are not precisely the acts of a king firmly seated upon his throne.
The difficulty in the way of the reflection of Prince Na­poleon is that the constitution renders him ineligible for a second term, till after an interval of some years; but there is time enough to amend the constitution, and it ought to be amended in that particular, or at least so as to prolong the term of office beyond three years, to eight or ten. Our experience in the United States may not be in favor of re-eligibility, but it proves clearly that four years are^too short a term for a president to adopt and consolidate any policy, and that a change of administration every four years must very soon unsettle every thing. The restriction in the French constitution, as well as the short term of office ordained by ours, betrays the insane jealousy, inherited from the old English Whigs, which is entertained by mod­ern republicans of the executive power. No government is good for any thing without an efficient executive, and where, as in France, the executive is responsible, and is restricted in great part to the execution of laws made by an independent legislature, elected for a short term of years, the power of the executive h more likely to be too little than too great. Moreover, no large and popu­lous country can long survive the repeated shocks which it must receive from the election of a president with extensive patronage every four years. If we do not lengthen the presidential term to eight or ten years, we Americans shall soon find the whole political business of the country resolving itself, directly or indirectly, into pres­ident-making. No harm can come, but great good must surely come, to France from amending her constitution so as to prolong to eight or ten years the presidential term of office; and she can now do it, though after a few years she will find it for ever too late.
We are aware that some of our French friends object to prolonging the term of office of the present incumbent, lest he attempt to get, himself proclaimed emperor. But is this fear warranted ? Is it generous ? Louis Napoleon has disclaimed all pretensions as the heir of his uncle; he has sworn to maintain the republican constitution; and it is an undeniable fact, that he has thus far observed with scru­pulous fidelity his oath of office, and has labored to protect the republic alike against the anarchical attempts of the Socialists, and the movements of the royalists for a resto­ration of fallen monarchy. What right has any one to distrust his intentions ? For our part, we believe him re­solved to support the republic, and we would rather trust the fate of France in his hands, with legislative power in the hands of the party of order, than, in the present state of opinion, to run the risk of a change in any direction.
But it is time to close. It may be said, that, in the whole of this article, we have been volunteering opinions on matters which only remotely concern us, and on which we can, of course, have only imperfect information.    We cannot deny that there is truth in the charge; but the opin­ion of a disinterested foreigner, who takes a deep interest in French politics, who has no republican prejudices, al­though a supporter of republican government, and   who looks at all political questions mainly in their bearing on religion and morals, perhaps may not be wholly without interest, nor wholly destitute of value, to French states­men.    We offer them in no intermeddlesome spirit, and in no arrogant tone, though we freely and frankly express them.    France is the great central power of Europe, and, with the exception of Austria, the only great European power to which the Catholic in other countries can turn with affection and hope.    Austria has done and is doing well, and the present emperor bids fair to give additional lustre to the illustrious house of  Hapsburg, besides re­moving the stain from its escutcheon caused by the half-insane Joseph the Second.    But France exerts, and must continue to exert, a powerful influence on all Southern and Western Europe, and on our own country in particular. She is as it were the missionary nation of the world, and it is not a matter of indifference to other nations whether she preaches the true Gospel, or another.    Her doctrines have immense weight in England; they reign supreme in this country; Germany reaches us only through France, and from France we import not only our fashions, but our tastes, our principles, our ideas, our philosophy, and our literature.    In France is the fountain whose streams flow either to fertilize or to deluge our land.    This must be our apology for venturing to speak of French politics  very much as if they were our own.    We have spoken kindly, in love of that beautiful country, with which, though we have never seen it, we have so many pleasing associations, and whose literature has had more to do in forming our mind and taste than that of our own mother tongue.   With our mother's milk we drew in a love of France, and we were early taught to be grateful to her for the generous aid she lent our own beloved country in her struggle to be­come a free and independent nation ; and may God bless thee,  beautiful France!   and   give  thee,  after  thy  long struggle, the freedom, the order, the peace, and the repose, thy heart so much needeth.