“It is in accordance
with these observations, which denote, in fact,
the true character of our mission, that Monsieur Thiers has made the
following declarations on different points of our programme.
“Respecting the recognition of the Republic, Monsieur Thiers answers for its existence as long as he remains in power. A Republican state was put into his hands, and he stakes his honour on its conservation.”
Ay! it is precisely that which will not satisfy Paris—Paris sighing for peace and liberty. We have all the most implicit faith in Thiers’ honour. We are assured that the words, “French Republic” will head the white Government placards as long as he remains in power. But when Thiers is withdrawn from power—National Assemblies can be capricious sometimes—what assures us that we shall not fall victims to a monarchical or even an imperial restoration? Ghosts can appear in French history as well as in Anne Radcliffe’s novels. To attempt to consider the elected members who sit at Versailles as sincere Republicans is an effort beyond the powers of our credulity. You see that Thiers himself dares not speak his thoughts on what might happen were he to withdraw from power. Thus we find ourselves, as before, in a state of transition, and this state of transition is just what appals us. We address ourselves to the Assembly, and ask of it, “We are Republican; are you Republican?” And the Assembly pretends to be deaf, and the deputies content themselves with humming under their breaths, some the royal tune of “The White Cockade,” and others the imperial air of “Partant pour la Syrie.” This does not quite satisfy us. It is true that Thiers says he will maintain the form of government established in Paris as long as he possibly can; but he only promises for himself, and it results clearly from all this that we shall not keep the Republic long, since its definite establishment depends in fact on the majority in the Assembly, while the Assembly is royalist, with a slight sprinkle of imperialism here and there. But let us continue the reading of the reports.
“Respecting the municipal franchise of Paris, Monsieur Thiers declares that Paris will enjoy its franchise on the same conditions as those of the other towns, according to a common law, such as will be set forth by the Assembly of the representatives of all France. Paris will have the common right, nothing less and nothing more.”
This again is little satisfactory. What will this common right be? What will the law set forth by the representatives of all France be worth? Once more we have the most entire confidence in Thiers. But have we the right to expect a law conformable to our wishes from an assembly of men who hold opinions radically opposed to ours on the point which is in fact the most important in the question—on the form of government?