Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Paris.
world.  His private conduct, too, was such as to disgust moral people.  There seems to have come over the man a great change about the time of the Louis Phillippe revolution.  I well remember that in the spring of 1848 I saw him parading one of the streets of London, arm-in-arm with a son of Sir Robert Peel, both sworn in as special constables to put down the chartists should they attempt a riot.  It was, on that memorable first of April, quite fashionable for members of the best families to be sworn in as special constables to preserve order, and Louis Napoleon who was living with his mistress and children in London, had so far put away the democratic opinions which he once held, that he was ready and eager to show where his sympathies were in the Chartist agitation.

That Louis Napoleon was very shrewd in entering France, and seating himself in the presidential chair, no one will deny, but it is equally true that in violating his oath and shooting down the people of Paris as he did, that he might gain a throne, he also proved himself to be a great villain.  The mere fact that he was successful will not atone for perjury and murder with people of common morality.  But aside from these atrocities, his shameful censorship of the press, and conduct toward some of the noblest men of France, he has acted for the best interests of the country.  He has understood the wants of the people, and his decrees and provisions have met the wishes of the nation.  France has not had the material prosperity for many years that she has at this time.  But the press is dumb.  Literature is in a sickly condition.  Many of the first men of France are either in exile or are silent at home.  It is astonishing to see how few of the really eminent men of France are the friends of Louis Napoleon.  Lamartine does not like him; Eugene Sue was his enemy; the same is true in a modified sense of Alexander Dumas; George Sand dislikes him; Arago while living did the same; and Jules Janin the brilliant critic is no friend of the administration.  Victor Hugo, Ledru Rollin, Louis Blanc, and a score of other brilliant men are in exile, and of course hate the man who exiled them.  It is certainly one of the most singular facts of modern history that Louis Napoleon has few friends, yet is firmly seated upon his throne.  His enemies are so divided, and so hate anarchy, that they all unite in keeping him where he is.  But Paris laughs in its sleeve at all the baptismal splendors over the prince and the sober provisions for the regency made by the emperor.  No one that I could find has the faintest expectation that the baby-boy will rule France, or sit upon a throne.  When the emperor is shot or dies a violent death, then chaos will come, or something better, but not Napoleon IV.  I am confident that this is the universal sentiment, at least throughout Paris, if not over France.  I have asked many a Frenchman his opinion, and the same reply has been given by republican and monarchist.  This is one secret of Napoleon’s strength.  It is thought that with his death great changes must come, and very likely confusion and bloodshed.  No one believes in a Napoleon succession, and therefore all bear his despotism with equanimity.  Those who hate him say his rule will not last forever, while those who wish to advance their own political interests through other royal families, bide their time.

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Paris: With Pen and Pencil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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