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Meeting of the Opposition Members-Announcement of a Reform Banquet at Paris-The National Guards called upon to appear in uniform-Prohibition of the Banquet by Ministers—It is given up by the Opposition-Address by General Jacqueminot to the National Guards-Act of Impeachment of Ministers-Disturbed state of Paris -Resignation of M. Guizot and his Colleagues-Collisions between the populace and the military-Joy of the mob at the downfall of the Ministry-Lamentable incident at the Hotel of the Minister des Affaires Etrangères-Cruel stratagem of Lagrange and the Republicans -Its momentous Consequences-Barricades erected on the morning of the 24th of February-Count Molé is unable to form a Ministry— M. Thiers sent for by the King-Proclamation by M. Thiers and M. Odillon Barrot-The mob threatens the Tuileries-The National Guards and troops of the line offer no resistance-Abdication of Louis Philippe-Terrible scene in the Chamber of Deputies-The Duchess of Orleans and the young Princes enter the Chamber-Irruption of the mob-Demand of a Provisional Government by M. Marie-Speech of M. Odillon Barrot-Speeches of M. Ledru Rollin and M. de Lamartine-The mob masters of the Chamber-Nomination of a Provisional Government—“To the Hôtel de Ville!”—Scene of tumultuous violence in the Chamber-Proclamation of the REPUBLIC at the Hôtel de Ville -Sanguinary contest at the Palais Royal-Escape of Louis Philippe and the Royal Family-The ex-King and Queen arrive in EnglandFarewell Address by the Duc d'Aumale to the Army in Algeria-The Tuileries in the hands of the mob-Proclamations of the Provisional Government-Distribution of offices-All vestiges of Monarchy swept away-Abolition of titles of nobility-Respect shown for private property in Paris-Devastations in the provinces-Appointment of Barbès as Colonel in the National Guard-The Populace and the ClergyClamours for the "Red Republic" at the Hôtel de Ville-Courageous firmness of M. de Lamartine-Official Proclamation of the RepublicWas France republican at heart?-Decree convoking a Constituent. National Assembly-M. de Lamartine and the Foreign Policy of the New Government-His Manifesto to Europe-Alarming Circulars issued by M. Ledru Rollin and M. Carnot―Their Doctrines disclaimed by the Provisional Government-Quarrel between the National Guard and the Government-The former obliged to give way-Appointment of a Committee of Labour for the Operatives-National Workshops (ateliers) established-Hostility to English Workmen―Regulations for VOL. XC [Q]
payment of Taxes-Financial position of the Republic-Suspension of Cash Payments by the Bank of France, and by Banks in the provinces-Louis Blanc's plan for the Organization of Labour-The Com munists or Socialists-Disturbance created by them on the 16th of April-Election of Deputies for the National Assembly-Riots in various places-Views of the extreme Democrats.
HE Ministry having gained their doubtful triumph in the Chamber, a large meeting of the Members of the Opposition took place on the following day, to consider what course of policy they should adopt. The twelfth arrondissement of Paris had at the beginning of the year determined to celebrate a Reform Banquet on the 19th of January; but in consequence of opposition from the authorities it was from time to time postponed, and it was ultimately fixed that it should take place on Tuesday, the 22nd of February. The intention of the Government was not to prevent the banquet by force, but protest against the proceedings, and afterwards try the question of their legality in a court of law. The Committee, how ever, appointed to organize the public dinner, issued on Sunday the 20th an announcement, in which they prescribed the mode in which the parties intending to be present were to assemble and proceed in procession along the streets to the banquet. At the same time, the National Guards were called upon to attend in uniform "for the purpose of defending liberty, by joining the demonstration, and protecting order and preventing all collision by their presence.'
This was clearly an illegal stepfor it was the attempt of a number of private individuals to usurp the functions of the Executive, and by their own authority effect a dislay of military force in the streets of Paris. The Government, there
fore, determined to prohibit the banquet, and, on the evening of Monday the 21st, the following proclamation was issued and posted on the walls in different parts of the city:
"The Government had interdicted the banquet of the 12th arrondissement. It was within its right in doing this, being authorized by the letter and spirit of the law. Nevertheless, in consequence of the discussion which took place in the Chamber on this subject, thinking that the Opposition was acting with good faith, it resolved to afford it an opportunity for submitting the question of the legality of banquets to the appreciation of the tribunals and the High Court of Cassation. To do this, it had resolved to authorize for to-morrow the entrance into the banquet-room, hoping that the persons present at the manifestation would have the wisdom to retire at the first summons. But, after the manifesto published this morning, calling the public to a manifestation, convoking the National Guards, and assigning them a place ranked by the legions, and ranging them in line, a Government is raised in opposition to the real Government, usurps the public power, and openly violates the Charter. These are acts which the Government cannot tolerate. In consequence, the banquet of the 12th arrondissement will not take place. Parisians! remain deaf to every excitement to
disorder. Do not, by tumultuous assemblages, afford grounds for a repression which the Government would deplore."
On the appearance of this proclamation a meeting of the opposition Deputies was held at the house of M. Odillon Barrot, and it was resolved to abandon the banquet.-Placards were posted on the walls, announcing their determination, and hopes were entertained by the Ministry that no disturbance would take place. In the order of the day issued by General Jacqueminot, Commander-in-chief of the National Guards, he said:"Few among you, without doubt, are disposed to allow yourselves to be led to a culpable step: but I wish to spare them the error and the regret of showing their small number among the 85,000 National Guards of which your legions are composed. It is, then, in the name of the law that I conjure you not to disappoint the confidence of the country, which has confided to you the defence of the constitutional royalty and legal order. You will not refuse to listen to the voice of your Commander-in-chief, who has never deceived you. I rely on your prudence and patriotism, as you may always rely upon my probity and devotedness."
On the following day (Tuesday, 22nd), the attendance of Members in the Chamber of Deputies was scanty, and a languid debate on a bill relative to the Bank of Bordeaux was proceeding, when about five o'clock M. Odillon Barrot advanced to the table and laid upon it an act of impeachment of Ministers, signed by fifty-three Members of the Opposition. It was drawn up in the following terms:
"We propose to place the Minister in accusation as guilty-1. Of
having betrayed abroad the honour and the interest of France. 2. Of having falsified the principles of the constitution, violated the guarantees of liberty, and attacked the rights of the people. 3. Of having, by a systematic corruption, attempted to substitute for the free expression of public opinion the calculations of private interest, and thus perverted the representative government. 4. Of having trafficked for ministerial purposes in public offices, as well as in all the prerogatives and privileges of power. Of having, in the same interest, wasted the finances of the State, and thus compromised the forces and the grandeur of the kingdom. 6. Of having violently despoiled the citizens of a right inherent to every free constitution, and the exercise of which had been guaranteed to them by the charter, by the laws, and by former precedents. 7. Of having, in fine, by a policy overtly counter-revolutionary, placed in question all the conquests of our two revolutions, and thrown the country into a profound agitation."
The President, however, M. Sauzet, abruptly adjourned the Chamber without reading the paper.
In the meantime vast and tumultuous crowds were filling the streets of Paris, and it became more and more difficult to prevent a collision between them and the military. In the Rue St. Florentin and the Rue Marché St. Honoré, attempts were made to erect_barricades, but the troops tore down and removed the materials, and dispersed the mob.
The aspect of affairs, however, had now become most serious, and when the Chamber of Deputies met on Wednesday the 23rd, in
answer to some questions put by M. Vavin, M. Guizot rose and announced the resignation of himself and his colleagues, saying, that the King had sent for Count Molé, in order to confide to him the construction of a cabinet; and that whilst the present Ministers remained in office they would cause order to be respected. But this was more difficult than M. Guizot imagined. The people had assembled in vast crowds early in the morning in the quarters St. Denis and St. Martin, and at ten o'clock they had succeeded in erecting barricades at the Porte St. Denis, in the Rue de Clery, the Rue Neuve Saint Eustache, the Rue de Cadran, and the Rue du PetitCarreau. Firing took place at some of these barricades between the populace and the Municipal Guards. Two young men killed, and a picquet of the Municipal Guards was disarmed.
Throughout the day numerous collisions happened between the populace and the troops, but the mob gave way whenever they were charged, and very few lives were lost. The most ominous circumstance was the demeanour and conduct of the National Guards, who were obviously most unwilling to act against the people, and in some places prevented the Municipal Guards from attacking the crowd. This was the more important, as Marshal Bugeaud, the veteran warrior of Algiers, had been appointed by a royal ordinance Commander-in-chief of the first military division, and of the National Guards of Paris, in place of General Jacqueminot. The populace soon understood this feeling in their favour, and shouted loudly, Vive la Garde Nationale! In the course of the afternoon, the
news spread through Paris that the Ministry had resigned. This was received with enthusiastic expressions of joy, and for a time it appeared as if all further resistance were at an end. Large bodies of the National Guards marched through the streets, both officers and men crying, Vive la Reforme, while the crowd that surrounded them kept up a vociferous cheering. As the evening approached many houses began to light up their windows, and the mob with loud cries demanded a general illumination.
About seven o'clock, an immense body of the working classes, headed by men who carried blazing torches, passed along the Boulevards. They chanted, as they advanced, the two lines of the Girondist song, which was at this time the most popular air in Paris.
"Mourir pour la patrie,
C'est le sort le plus beau, le plus digne
and ceased from it only to shout at intervals, à bas Guizot. The Marseillaise hymn was also frequently heard, mingled with cries of Vive la Reforme. At the hotel of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which abutted close upon the Boulevards, there was posted a strong body of troops, consisting of both infantry and dragoons, who occupied the whole width of the Boulevard, except the pavement near the Rue Basse du Rempart. When the mob reached this spot, the torchbearers filed off past the troops by the pavement, and the whole crowd followed, shouting à bas Guizot! Vive la ligne! Here it was that an event occurred, at a later period of the evening, which may be said to have determined the future course of the Revolution. The populace had collected in large
numbers in the vicinity of M. Guizot's Hotel, and were pressing upon the military, when a man stepped forward, and presenting a pistol at the head of the officer in command, shot him dead on the spot. The troops then immediately fired with fatal effect, and several persons in the crowd were killed. In an incredibly short space of time a funeral procession was formed, the dead bodies were placed upon a cart, and by the glare of torch-light the moving masses followed it towards the Place de Bastile, uttering as they went, in low monotonous cadence, the words "Mourir pour la patrie," and demanding arms in order to avenge the slain.
Such were the events as they appeared on the surface, and were narrated in all the journals of the period. But what was the real history of the events of this fatal night? There is too much reason to believe that the French nation were tricked into a revolution by the despicable stratagem of one crazy enthusiast. That man was M. Lagrange, who soon afterwards went mad; his brain being probably turned by the appalling success of his own experiment. The fact is, that when the change of Ministry was announced, and the populace knew that the King had given way, they were disposed to enjoy their triumph with good humour, and traversed the streets of Paris, exacting illuminations, and vociferating their noisy joy. But Lagrange and a few desperate confederates were resolved to give, if possible, a different turn to events. He therefore having made his preparations, joined a band of citizens, who proceeded along the Boulevards in the direction of the Hôtel des Affaires Etrangères, and when
they reached the spot where the troops were drawn up, he delibe. rately fired a pistol at the officer in command, in order to provoke the soldiers to fire upon the crowd; and thereby ensure the sacrifice of some innocent lives. We have already narrated the result; but it remains to be told that the associates of Lagrange were ready in the adjoining streets with their tumbrils for the dead, whose bodies they arranged in the most tragic form, to excite feelings of rage and horror, and paraded them through the streets. During the night a quantity of bullock's blood was brought and poured upon the pavement where the firing had taken place; and the credulous mob on the following day were too infuriated to notice that it was impossible for the red gore which excited their passion to have proceeded from the few victims who had fallen on the spot.
The news of this unfortunate occurrence spread rapidly through Paris, and a general feeling of exasperation prevailed amongst the people, when they rose on the morning of the following eventful day. Their demands and attitude had undergone a serious change, and it became evident that, unless the troops and National Guards were prepared to act with vigour and promptitude, the dynasty of Louis Philippe was placed in imminent danger. More barricades were hastily erected in many of the principal streets, especially those in the neighbourhood of the Boulevard des Italiens, and were constructed of overturned diligences, omnibuses, and other vehicles, filled with heavy paving stones, and in some places the red flag waved over them.
In the meantime Count Molé