Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

little become accustomed to it. They have space of some weeks. The air was full of recognized that there is a great advantage this street-ballad, and, as usual in France, in being protected agaiost their own im- dignity could not be maintained against pulses by the complications of the parlia- ridicule. The old man had perforce to mentary machine, and a large majority of quit office. M. Carnot, who succeeded them would not willingly abandon it to him, bears one of the greatest names of day.

the Republican party, as grandson of the The working of this republican, demo. illustrious war minister of the revolution. cratic and parliamentary institution, how-Carnot may not exactly be defined as a ever, suffers from great difficulties, arising man of deeds — and perhaps this very from the very succession of events which quality fits him for the post he now fills led to its establishment; for each of the - but whenever he acts as president he governments overthrown during the last does so with such sure tact and skill century has still its partisans, and is still as to prove that his want of more promirepresented in the French Chamber. Dent action springs, perhaps, rather from Thus we find there Legitimists, Orleanists, a designed reticence than from a lack of Bonapartists, all of whom alike would ability. He certainly has a good career desire to overthrow the republic, though behind him. not one party is agreed as to what they A brilliant pupil at the Lycée Bonaparte, would put in its place. The Republican Carnot early became under-secretary to majority, too, which exists in both Cham. the Committee of Pons et Chaussées, and bers is much subdivided, and hence weak. was sent by them, when quite a young ened in force. Certainly the education of man, into Savoy to direct important engithe democracy in France is as yet far from neering works. His success in this line complete. It is only very recently that gained him medals at the Universal Exhithis democracy has been given the instru. Lition of 1867. In January, 1871, during ments necessary to iheir education the war, he placed himself at the orders of freedom of press and freedom of public the government of the National Defence, meeting. France does not yet possess and submitted to it at Tours the model of freedom of combination ; and one may a mitrailleuse gun of his owo invention. say that all that conceri.s the strong or- Introduced by Gambetta to De Freycinet, ganization of parties, their discipline, the he served the latter for a short time as strict definition of their programmes, and secretary, helping him to organize the the concentration of their forces, is still army of the defence in the valley of the unknown in that country, or very nearly Lower Seine. He was among those who

Consequently, the French Parliament protested against the fatal armistice signed commonly presents a spectacle rather of by the government of Paris, and, when the coalition for particular purposes than of peace took place, Carnot, who had been combined action for a comprehensive a member of the guerre à outrance party, policy.

resigned his post with a dignified protest, Thiers, as we have said, was succeeded winding up thus: “In coming here, by the victor of Magenta. Seven years charged with the mission of organizing is the legal term of office for a French our forces of defence, I was accepting a president, but the marshal resigned ere it militant post, the only raison d'être of had expired. He was accused of conspir- which lay in a fierce and resolute Chamber ing to use his opportunities for the resto- such as Gambetta dreamed of, excluding ration of the monarchy, and the strength partisans of peace at any price. To reof the Republican opposition, led by main faithful to the line of conduct which Gambetta, left him no alternative. He I had traced out for myself, I hand over was succeeded by Grévy, an ex-barrister, my function and beg you to accept my whose moderation and firmness were be- resignation.” lieved to be a guarantee for the republic, Elected deputy, he voted against the but who at the end of 1887 had to resign peace of Frankfort, although his own on account of a criminal prosecution which father voted for it. Both sat in the Rewas brought against his son in-law, Wil. publican Left, of which Sadi Carnot was son, for utilizing for his own f.nancial ends secretary. In 1878 Carnot was appointed information he was able to procure thanks under-secretary of public works by M. de to the official position of his father-in-law. Freycinet, and, after the latter had been The circumstances of the case showed obliged to resign on account of his action at least culpable weakness on Grévy's in the matter of the religious bodies (Car.part. “Ah, quel malheur que d'avoir un not is openly anti-clerical), he still contin. gendre!” sang the gamins of Paris for the ued to hold' his post. His task was to

so.

[ocr errors]

modify, as far as possible, the gigantic, his friend Dreyfus was to get back from and disastrous schemes of De Freycinet, the Treasury all the taxes he had paid. who was engaged in organizing immense M. Rouvier, wishing to draw a contrast projects of engineering reform all over the between the minister who had ordered this country. It was Carnot's endeavor to restoration and an upright functionary, condense and simplify these schemes. said: “Yes, it is clearly shown by the

When Gambetta came into power in documents that one of my predecessors, 1881, Carnot became again a simple dep. M. Sadi Carnot, refused to make the resuty. Despite his attitude during the war, toration asked of him.” At these words he was never really a friend of Gambetta. the whole Chamber rang with loud apCarnot was more moderate than the Gam- plause and cheers for Carnot. betta party when it was radical, and re- Then followed Grévy's resignation and mained more liberal when it joined hands the preparation for the presidential elec. with Ferry and became domineering. He tion. The four prominent candidates were never formed a part of the Union Répub- Ferry, De Freycinet, Floquet, and Brislicaine. For a short time he was a mem- son, of whom we shall have more to say: ber of the Union Démocratique; but when There were objections to all. Ferry's the non-radical elements of the Chamber, election would have broker up the Repubin 1885, fused under the name of Union lican party, driving away the Reds, and des Gauches, Carnot remained outside all bringing about a coalition between the groups. Temperate in all things, he gen- remainder and the reactionaries. De erally voted with the ministry, but kept Freycinet's disastrous policy in Egypt himself aloof from the too-absorbing influ- and his public works scheme were too ence of leading men.

fresh in men's minds. Floquet had inWhen the De Freycinet ministry was sulted the czar by crying in his face, formed, Carnot for the second time became Vive la Pologne !” Brisson had had minister of finance, with the difficult task the misfortune to be in power when a of presenting the budget of 1887 to the strong Conservative minority had been Chamber. The Chamber would none of returned at the elections. Carnot was a it, yet this budget had one great merit - Moderate, independent of all groups. The that of sincerity. Carnot had frankly faced only question was — - Could he be induced the situation, and did nothing to hide the to stand ? On December i three members huge deficit, which he was prepared to of the Chamber waited on him at his house meet by a loan and by a tax on alcoholic and laid before him the proposal, which drinks. But the Chamber had had enough Carnot accepted under the condition that of loans; it clamored for economy in the he should have to take no steps whatever various administrative branches. The in canvassing or soliciting his candidature. ministry of finance was first passed in re- If France chose to elect him for this high view ; Carnot hid nothing, and quietly post, he should think it his duty to accept ; pointed out various possible economies. but he would not appear to thrust himself He spoke, as he always did, calmly and upon the nation. He was elected by an coldly, with no waving of arms, no gesticu. overwhelming majority. News of his selations or elaborate phrases. Certain pro- lection for the post of president came like posed economies, however, he would not oil on the troubled waters, for at Belleville hear of; and his plans were defeated by a and Montmartre the Reds were already large majority: Neverthe:ess, after the gnashing their teeth and preparing to go ministry had fallen, when a new commis- "down into the streets.” sion was named to examine the budget of Since he has been president, Carnot Carnot's successor, so, deep was the im- has, both socially and politically, acted pression of absolute trustworthiness which with the greatest tact and discretion, and Carnot had inspired in the Chamber that proved himself more than ever a man of he was elected first on the list of the unimpeachable integrity. In his social commission.

duties he is ably seconded by his wife, a a few months later, during the Wilson daughter of the political economist Duscandal, a fact came to light which paved pont-White, who was secretary-general of the way to Carnot's future presidentship. justice in 1848. M. Rouvier, minister of finance and president of the Council, was discussing a Although Léon Gambetta is no longer motion as to the appointment of the com. one of the living, it is not possible to mission to examine into the recent scan- speak of French statesmen of the last dals. One of the facts alleged was that decade without mentioning bim. Indeed, President Grévy had given directions that his influence over public affairs has been so important, that for a proper compre- I think I can sum up my whole policy in two hension of the state of parties in actual lines – to bring about the triumph of the France it is necessary to cast a rapid sur policy engendered by universal suffrage, vey over the career of the man who for a both in internal affairs and in the managetime dominated the whole situation with ment of external affairs ; in a word, against all the prestige of a veritable dictator. the existing circumstances, to prove that Gambetta, who was a true parvenu, be the republic is henceforth the primary longed to a family of the Riviera of Genoa, condition of salvation for France interand was a meridional in every sense and nally, and of the equilibrium of Europe." acceptation of that term. His father came In September, 1870, Gambetta was one to Cahors, where he set up a cheap bazaar of the ministers of the National Defence, for the sale of southern products — that and it was on that occasion, for the puris to say, vegetables, fruits, and groceries pose of rousing up the zeal of the country, - and here Léon was born on April 2, that he made his famous balloon journey 1838. He studied for the bar, and was in order to escape from the siege of Paris. first remarked in the conferences of the His appeal to provincial France to co-opyoung lawyers for the active part he took erate in defence of Paris was eloquent in in the electoral meeting of 1863. In the the extreme; no less vigorous was his courts he seemed to shun rather than seek reorganization of the military forces and occasions for speaking. Like many a of the civil administration. It was thanks Southerner, he was nursing his force for to him that the first army of the Loire use when the moment should be ripe, was set on its feet again; thanks to him, waiting for a political trial to occur. This too, that the French armies gained a few occasion came to him in 1868, when an victories, though. they were unimportant action was brought against certain news and too late to be of real service. He papers which had opened a subscription himself looked forward to an indefinite for Baudin's monument. The Réveil, prolongation of the war, and believed that which had headed the subscription, con- France would eventually succeed. Notfided its cause to Gambetta. It was on withstanding that he had drained the rethis occasion that the future tribune spoke sources of the country to the uttermost, his magnificent philippic against the sec- he was everywhere greeted, if not with ond of December. “This anniversary,” enthusiasm, at least with implicit obedi. he said, addressing his enemies of the im. ence. perial party, “which you fain would not Gambetta's last act as head of the govhave had, we claim, we take it for our own, ernment was the decree calling upon the we will keep it eternally. Every year it citizens to vote the election of a National shall be our All Souls' Day, till that day Assembly, charged to decide for peace comes when the country, once more its or war, and declaring ineligible all who own master, shall have executed a great under the empire had been ministers, senpational expiation in the name of Liberty, ators, or councillors of state. The proc. Equality, and Fraternity." Turning di-lamation gave a pretext to Bismarck for rectly to the imperial advocate, he contin-interference. The German chancellor ued, “ You may shrug your shoulders; let protested in the name of the liberty of me tell you that I fear neither your con- election stipulated by the armistice. duct nor your threats. You can strike us, France was obliged to yield, and Gambut you can neither dishonor nor vanquish betta to recall his decree. But in doing

so he resigned his office. He refused to With this speech Gambetta laid the vote the treaty of peace. When Alsace foundation of his personal influence. He and Lorraine were ceded to Germany he had brought together in it, in the most able quitted the Chamber, together with the way, civilians and soldiers, Liberals and deputies for those departments. Conservatives. It was a prelude to his For eleven years Gambetta labored indominating idea the union of all on the defatigably to increase the influence of ground of practical liberty, the concert of republican ideas, and it may be said of all forces in a Republican State vigorously hin that the one great peculiarity which organized, resting on the national consent. distinguished him

was “that he widened Scarcely six months later Gambetta was the limits of the field of action in which elected with an enormous majority as all Frenchmen could meet to work together deputy for Paris. He soon became the under the flag of the republic.” When real head of the Democratic party. A the Constitution of 1875 was voted, Gamforeshadowing of his future programme is betta made his famous speech, in which found in a private letter. HC writes: “I he pointed out how he and his party had

us.

made every concession possible to the re- Accused, later, of dictatorship, he deactionaries, and warned them not to miss fended himself at Belleville by declaring perhaps the only chance of founding a that he had twice helped to overturn des. firm, legal, and moderate republic. potism, by which he referred to Napoleon

It was after this that Gambetta frankly III. and MacMahon. But his own gove adopted an opportunist policy. In one ofernment much resembled a despotism his speeches he openly stated: “I make wielded in the name of liberty. He him. my policy square with my philosophy. Iself, perhaps, became aware of this later, deny the absolute in everything; so you for, when speaking of the moral condition will quite uoderstand that I am not likely of the democracy and bourgeoisie, he to introduce it into my political beliefs. I said : “ This is what inspired me to break belong to a school which believes only in with the past, and to say to myself, “Your the relative, in analysis, in observation, in life must be consecrated to doing away the study of facts, in the comparison and with the spirit of violence which has so combination of ideas; to a school which often led democracy, to keep it from maktakes into consideration surroundings, ing a fetish of absolute formulas, to direct race, tendencies, prejudices, and enmities. it towards the study of facts, to teach it to A political creed never is, never can be, take into consideration traditions, cus. always the same. The policy of to-day, in toms, prejudices, which are forces only to 1876, will not be the policy of 1877, nor of be overcome by persuasion. You must 1878, nor of 1880. It will change with our endeavor to remove the incentives to fear interests, with our needs, with our enmi- which might push the bourgeoisie into reties, with what will happen in Europe, in actionary measures; you must present such-and-such a market, in the face of yourself as a kind of peacemaker between such-and-such economical, financial, and the interests of both parties; and, if you military conditions which may displace can succeed in obtaining this alliance of the axis of this policy. And thus I say the people and the bourgeoisie, you will that it is expedient to modify our political have founded a republic on an immutable conduct according to the changes through basis.”” which the world passes. You see, there. In 1881 Gambetta was charged to form fore, that politics require tact, study, ob- a ministry. Most of the men whom he servation, and exactitude."

would have selected to form a Cabinet reThe importance of the above speech lies fused to serve under him, with the result in its negativing the assertions of some that he had to select minor men, and was of Gambetta's biographers, who represent then charged with having made a ministry him as being all of one piece, which be of his own followers. His programme, certainly was not. He was a series of among other matters, aimed at freeing the incarnations, not a full-fledged prophet. administrative functionaries from personal

Again and again, but in vain, Gambetta influence and local rivalries. Members attempted to reconcile the republican par. who had been accustomed to ask for ties of all shades in the Chamber; no easy places and favors for their electors and task, for each of these men had an idea of protégés were up in arms. The word his own as to what a republic should be, * dictatorship.” was heard both on the left and they are not willing to merge their and right of the Chamber. The ministry personal fancies for the purposes of patri- was doomed, and when Gambetta further otic unity. He next attacked clericalism. expounded his programme, which included Speaking in the Chamber of the election a revision of the Constitution, the project of M. de Mun, the well-known clerical set the whole Chamber in a blaze. He deputy, he said: “It is no question here had been but four months in office when of defending religion, which no one is he saw himself obliged to resign. The attacking or threatening; and when we excitement in France at the fall of the speak of the clerical party we mean neither ministry was great, for Gambetta was very religion, nor sincere catholicism, nor the popular throughout the provinces. The national clergy. What we want to do is most notable of his political schemes and to bring the clergy back into the Church, the one that survived him was the introand not allow the pulpit to be made a duction of the system of voting known as political rostrum; it is to have the liberty the scrutin de liste. of the elector recognized, it is to insure a He was succeeded by De Freycinet. fair field for political opinions which have The minister and dictator became once nothing to do with clerical questions.” | more a simple deputy. He was, however, He summed up the clerical question in not inactive, and showed himself especially the words, “ Le péril social le voilà.” eager as a partisan of an alliance with Eos might be.

gland. He wished France to act in con- who devoted himself to the education of cert with her in Egypt, and clearly foretold his two sons, bringing them up as pugnathe future, which has come about, if she cious Republicans. Jules was destined did not do so.

for the bar, and was educated at the Lycée Oc November 28, 1882, the news went of Strasburg; hence he has, besides that forth that Gambetta, who was at that time tie of patriotism which appears to bind staying in his country house, bad wounded every Frenchman to Alsace now they have himself in the hand with a revolver. The lost it (for before the war it was no offence bulletins issued announced that the acci- to hear Alsace spoken of as Germany), dent was of no consequence, and that the the added one of a personal love for Straswound was healing, but on December 16 burg, where in his youth he made many fever declared itself, and on the last day friendships to which he has remained true of the year the dictator died. How did in later years. He also married an Alsathe accident happen? By the overloading cienne of a highly respected family. of a pistol? Such was the official version. After the death of his father, Ferry, No one believed it. By the hand of a finding himself possessed of a fair income, woman? All France believed it. Any left the bar to enter upon the domain of how, po judicial investigation was made, politics. He soon grouped around him a and the matter was hushed up as far as number of men of merit, such as Floquet,

Emile Ollivier, Hérold. The empire was

in those days in its full tyrannical power, Wheo Gambetta died there was in office and these men, all discontented, discussed one of those mushroom ministries, surviv- ways and means of opposing the governing but a few weeks, of which France, to ment. The press was shackled; but, nevher misfortune, has seen but too many ertheless, here and there, in articles of a during the last two decades. Early in the literary form, this group managed to crityear, M. Fallières was succeeded by M. icise the government of the Third NapoFerry, who found himself thus for the sec- leon. They wrote for Emile de Girardin's ond time in office, and who was to hold the paper, La Presse, and Clément Duverreins for the next two years.

nois's Courrier de Paris. Emile Ollivier Will M. Ferry's hour ever come again ? and Duvernois soon after abandoned the This is a question that asked in opposition party, and went over to the France. He is recognized on all sides as imperial camp; but Ferry stuck to his a political force, but the extent to which colors, and in 1863 published a book which he has pushed his anti-clerical views has involved him in a political trial. It conmade him a dangerous man in the eyes of sisted of a series of revelations about the many, while on the other hand his foreign means employed in official candidature, policy has brought him much opprobrium. and was denounced by the government The “ Tonkinese," as he was called in dis- party as a Republican manifesto. Soon dain, became an object of popular loath- after this Ferry began to write in Le ing. For, with the ready ignorance and Temps, and there published his remarkforgetfulness of the past that distinguishes able onslaught on the prefect of the Seine, nations, the people disregarded the fact entitled “ Comptes fantastiques de Haussthat, though M. Jules Ferry conquered mann." Elected deputy for the sixth Tonquin, it was not he who first suggested arrondissement of Paris in 1869, he conthe war, but rather those who reproached tioued in the House his double campaign him with it at a later period. Recently against official candidature and the adminthere has been a slight reaction in favor istration of Baron Haussmann. All his of Tonquin — affairs there being so much efforts at amendment were thwarted by a more prosperous. In any case the lesson servile majority. But he soon became one taught by that difficult conquest has not of the most formidable antagonists of his been lost; and for the present the French aforetime colleague, Emile Ollivier, and, in nation, wiser by experience, no longer lis- the frequent struggles between them in tens to the insinuating voice of those who the House, Ferry generally got the better recommend distant adventures.

of the arguments. Ferry's name is not, as some people In 1870 came the war — that war upon have tried to make out, of Italian origin; which Emile Ollivier embarked so lightFerry is merely, in the patois of the heartedly, and which was to prove so utVosges, a contraction of Frederick, for terly disastrous to his party and to France. from time immemorial his family have in- Ferry took an active part in the opposition habited the little town of Saint Dié. His made by the little group of the Left to the father was a lawyer of considerable means, government project, whose criminal fool.

66

« ElőzőTovább »