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where the masses were in part engulphed. It was at this point that the flood of invaders, meeting with resistance on the part of the defenders, produced the greatest tumult, confusion, and cries.
“ Lamartine is a traitor!-Do not listen to Lamartine!-Down with the mystificator!—To the lantern with the traitor!-Lamartine's head-his head!" shouted a group of furious men, whose arms he elbowed as he forced his way along.
Lamartine stopped a moment at the step of the first stair, and looking at the more vociferous of his assailants with an eye of confidence, and a slightly sarcastic but not a provoking smile
"My head, citizens!” he said to them, “I wish to heaven that you all had it this moment on your shoulders! you would be much calmer, and much better behaved, and the work of the revolution would have a chance of being completed!”
At these words the curses were changed into bursts of laughter, and the threats of death into graspings of hands. Lamartine cast off with a vigorous effort one of the leaders, who wished to oppose himself to his addressing the people on the square.
" We know that thou art brave and honest,” said this young man to him with a tragical gesture," but thou art not the man to measure thyself with the people! thou wouldst let their victory fall asleep; thou art only a lyre! Go and sing!"
“Leave it to me," answered Lamartine, without losing his temper at such reproaches; “ the people have my head as a forfeit: if I betray them, I betray myself first. You shall see if I have the soul of a poet, or that of a citizen.”
And disengaging the collar of his coat from the hands that held him, he got down, harangued the multitude on the square, brought them back to reason, and awakened their enthusiasm. The applause of the mob without resounded within the building, and under the vaults of the palace. These bravos of 10,000 voices intimidated the insurgents: they felt that the people were with Lamartine. Lamartine returned and reascended the stairs, amidst the applause and profuse embraces of those very men who shouted for his head as he came down.
It is surprising how little may turn the scale in moments of frenzied revolution-upon what small points success or defeat, power or humiliation and death, depend. Apart from the bad taste which dictated such a poetical narrative, too much cannot be said in praise of the moral and physical courage exhibited by the “poet-orator" upon this great occasion. He was not even in health at the time, yet he bore the most extraordinary fatigue, and went through what to most would have been an overwhelming amount of trials and labour. Sleepless, oppressed with the great sense of danger and responsibility, his mind and body not only showed themselves equal to the occasion, but appeared to have attained superhuman and inexhaustible power.
At the same time another meeting was also held in the great hall of Saint-Jean, where, by the glare of torches, the question as to the form of government was discussed by orators who rivalled one another in violence of language and opinions. A detachment from this assembly invaded the Hôtel de Ville, and Lamartine and his colleagues were now obliged to barricade the door with chairs and tables, as well as with their own bodies. But, reduced to capitulate, Lamartine was obliged to repair to the Hall of Popular Deliberations to explain the objects and intentions of the proposed provisional government, which he did with so much oratorical success as to win over these partisans of violence. The next day even still more serious difficulties remained to be over
The south was Royalist. The Prince de Joinville, a favourite with the sailors, commanded a fleet at sea ; the Dukes D'Aumale and Montpensier had under them a hundred thousand men in Algeria ; government opposed to them nothing but rapidity of movement, and confidence in the revolution being accepted by all
. Admiral Baudin was sent out to take the command of the fleet, and Ledru Rollin despatched
his commissaries to take the places of the prefects of the monarchy. Caussidière and Sobrier were disputing with one another possession of the prefecture of Paris, sword in hand, their faces covered with powder, and their clothes torn and stained with blood. The armed followers of the first were bivouacked in the courts and corridors of the prefecture, to the number of five or six thousand. Lamartine excuses himself for having sided with these Montagnards, by saying that, having gone to quiet the belligerents," the soldier-like but humane energy of Caussidière pleased
He saw that this partizan chieftain possessed as generous a heart as he had a strong hand; that he was satisfied with and proud of victory; but that that same pride made it a point of honour with him to keep down licence. He resolved, therefore, to support Caussidière in that kind of half-submission, which, by giving him a supremacy over disorder, would interest him the more in keeping down excesses. Lamartine says he feared the youth of Paris more than the men; he made the ingenious calculation, that 25,000 youngsters given up to sedition, or 25,000 soldiers enrolled under government, would make an actual difference of 50,000 men in the cause of order against that of anarchy. He laid the case before his colleagues, who received it with a smile of approbation. The paper on the table was exhausted. Payer tore a fragment from another decree, and upon that was written, on the spur of the moment, power to enrol twenty-four battalions of Garde Mobile; and this order was put in execution that same night. “The force,” adds M. Lamartine, “ destined to support and to temper the revolution was thus extracted from the revolution itself. The Garde Mobile was destined to save Paris from disorder for four months, and to save society from chaos during the fifth. Its creation was the presentiment of the safety of the Republic in the days of June. It has since experienced the ingratitude of the citizens for whom it spilt its blood."
During the day and night that Lamartine affirms that he and his colleagues were thus busy, they had nothing but a crust of bread and a little wine, left by an usher of the prefect, to support them. At midnight the former quitted the Hôtel de Ville in the company of three friends. On their way they harangued the different groups of insurrectionists with whom they came in contact. It is surprising to see the colouring that strong enthusiasm and a poetical temperament can impart to circumstances which would be viewed with dismay by the general mass of mankind. These armed groups of insurrectionists and conspirators are designated by Lamartine as posts of volunteers watching their own honour, and an obstacle to crime dishonouring their victory; and the musket-shots resounding along the streets, and the balls occasionally whistling through the air, were notices to the troops whose disposition was as yet unknown, that the people-army was on foot, and surprise impossible ! “ Here and there,” he continues, " a few of the combatants of the three days wandered about in groups without a head, inebriated with fire and wine filling the air with shouts of victory, knocking at the doors with the butt-end of their muskets or with the handles of their swords, and firing in files, as a sign of joy rather than of destruction !"
After changing his clothes, torn in the struggles of the day, and taking a few hours' rest, Lamartine returned to the Hôtel de Ville at about four in the morning. Most of the insurrectionists were asleep on the barricades; but, wandering here and there, Lamartine remarked a number of conspirators, who wore, as a badge of distinction, red ribands
in their caps and buttonholes. These men belonged to the Terrorists, a faction with whom revolutions are a sole and ultimate object ; who have no other theory of government than that of a state of prolonged convulsion ; without faith, without law, and without morality. Carried away for a moment by enthusiasm, this faction soon began to conspire again, and to dispute power with the Provisional Government. No sooner had day broken, than groups of these ultra-republicans began to assemble round the Hôtel de Ville, each distinguished by its red flag. When other groups arrived, bearing the tricolor flag, they assaulted them, and endeavoured to drive them away. The Hôtel de Ville was put into as good a state of defence as possible; the invaders of the night before became the defenders of the next day, under the orders of Lagrange and Colonel Rey. The numbers of the Red Republicans made them, however, resistless ; and at the very first onset they broke through the barriers opposed to them, and dispersed themselves through the interior of the palace, singing an interminable “ Marseillaise.” A temporary diversion was effected by Flocon, who led away a mass of many thousands to Vincennes, where he distributed muskets among them, under promise that they should be used in defence of the Provisional Government. Such, at least, is the version Lamartine gives of this rash and strange proceeding; but his poetic phraseology is even more than usually obscure concerning it. The verbal conflict that went on in the mean time in the palace between the self-instituted Government and the Red Republicans, appears to have been of the most terrific and, at the same time, fantastic character.
Many of the orators, after exhausting themselves by words and gestures, fainted in the arms of their comrades. One scene Lamartine relates at great length, of a leader of the Red Republicans, who, answered in vain by Crémieux, Marie, and others, and appealing momentarily to his musket, was at length actually brought by the poet-orator's eloquence to tears of repentance. The crowd without were dreadfully enraged at this sentimental dénouement to their mission of civil war and terrorism. The members of government, Lamartine among them, again went out to endeavour to calm them and bring them to reason. These victories of oratory were, however, essentially brief — they could not be otherwise; the dominion of passion and lawlessness can only be quelled by physical force. The first thing the Terrorists did with the arms with which Flocon bad so rashly entrusted them, was to shoot the donor ; the next, was to come to strengthen the ranks of the invaders of the Hôtel de Ville. Lamartine once more arrested the crowd for a moment by the apostrophe to the tricolor flag, now so familiar to all: “The red flag which you bring us has never been beyond the Champ de Mars, where it was dragged through the blood of the people in '91 and in '93 ; whilst the tricolor flag has been carried round the world, an emblem of the name, the glory, and the liberty of the country.” One of the crowd, of whom the poet gives a detailed and striking description, but whose chief peculiarity appears to have consisted in his nose having been carried off by an evil-intentioned musket-ball
, rushed up to embrace the orator, bathing him with blood. “ Lamartine held out his hand and his cheek,” he adds, “and contemplated in ecstatic tenderness this magnanimous personification of the multitude !" The scene, however, was not without effect upon the mob, and the effect was heightened by Louis Blanc being borne past, senseless from exhaustion, at the very
moment, upon the shoulders of the people. To us the whole thing appears disgustingly ludicrous.
To the report that the government was besieged in the Hôtel de Ville, which had for some time been circulating through the city, was now added a rumour that Lamartine was wounded. Numbers of lovers of order rushed down; mingled with the crowd ; argued with and reprimanded the Terrorists. The tricolor flag was once more raised ; the “ Marseillaise” was again sung by “ a hundred thousand voices ;" the red flag slunk away in the direction of the Bastille ; and the
remained in the possession of two or three hundred National Guards.
The Red Republicans being thus for the time defeated, the Provisional Government was enabled to assemble in a better apartment than heretofore, and to consult upon those great legislative ameliorations which should astonish France and Europe. The worn-out subject of abolition of slavery appears to have been the first great idea that presented itself to their minds; fraternity proclaimed as a principle among nations, was the second ; and these were followed by the discussion of grievances nearer home, among which the electoral laws and laws of September appear to have been the greatest.
“As these great democratic truths, rapidly felt rather than coldly discussed, were converted into decrees, the decrees passed into proclamations to the people, under the hand of one of the ministers, or of one of the secretaries of government. A portable press, set up in the corridor at the door of the council chamber, received the decrees, printed them, and scattered them by the windows to the crowd, and by the couriers to the departments. It was the improvisation of an age to which a revolution had just given utterance; the rational explosion of all the Christian, philosophical, and democratic truths which had been maturing for half a century in the minds of enlightened and initiated men, or in the little-defined aspirations of the nation.”
Lamartine terminated the meeting by proposing the abolition of punishment of death ; but the consideration of so important a subject was postponed. Advantage was taken of the intervening night to urge upon the friends of government to assemble the next day in force around the Hôtel de Ville, to defend it from the invasions of the Red Republicans. Lamartine says that he particularly addressed himself to the students upon this occasion. His excuse is, that " he knew the ascendancy of youth upon the people, who respect in it the flower of the age.” The real feeling might be expressed with much less circumlocution. By these means, five or six thousand armed citizens were collected by break of day at the Hôtel de Ville ; and when the columns of Red Republicans poured down from head-quarters, they found the arena of insurrection pre-occupied by the supporters of government. This day, the attitude which the Republic should assume towards the fallen dynasty and its friends, was the main object of discussion. Lamartine says, of 300,000 francs was voted to protect the royal family and the ministry in their flight, and give them means of subsistence; but it was not required. This accomplished, the question of abolition of punishment of death was taken up, and carried with such an amount of enthusiasm, that Lamartine tells us, “Dupont de l'Eure, Lamartine, Arago, Marie, Crémieux, and Pagnerre, threw themselves into one another's arms, like men who have just saved humanity from a shipwreck of blood.” They put on their tricolor scarfs—the only badge of their
sovereign functions—and then went down to present to the people the ratification of the great decree which they had given forth in its name.” The decree, he afterwards says, was received as “a gospel of humanity;" and the rest of the day was given up to joy and to mutual congratulations.
When night came, Lamartine went out alone and on foot, wrapped in a cloak so as not to be recognised, and paid a visit to M. de Montalivet, the friend and confidant of the ex-King. Lamartine felt convinced that M. de Montalivet knew the intentions and the road taken by the royal family. He assured him that government dreaded more seizing the fugitives than they could themselves dread being captured. He told him of the sum of money placed at his disposal to facilitate their evasion, and to assure them of relief when in exile : but M. de Montalivet knew nothing but the road that they bad taken; and Lamartine had to content himself with appointing commissaries bound to the coast, to give whatever aid might be desirable or necessary.
The next day Government was occupied upwards of five hours in receiving deputations of workmen, who insisted upon what they termed organisation of labour, and the appointment of Louis Blanc as minister of progress! Lamartine was opposed to this vague and indefinite appointment, and discarded the vain notion of organised labour. All the other members of government, he says, were likewise opposed to all forms of industrial socialism, and especially the violation of the liberty of capital ; and for this time they succeeded in carrying conviction with them. The members of government then repaired to the Place de la Bastille, to solemnise the public proclamation of the Republic, and to review the National Guard.
Arago, bare-headed, and offering his white hair to the sun and wind, walked by the side of Lamartine. · These two names received with the loudest acclamations. That of Dupont de l'Eure appeared to inspire most veneration; that of Ledru Rollin more passion; that of Louis Blanc more fanaticism.” The proclamation made, it took four hours for the 20,000 armed citizens to defile before the Provisional Government. Lamartine describes himself as avoiding with the greatest difficulty being promenaded in triumph. He took refuge in M. Victor Hugo's house. « The genius of an eternal popularity,” he says, gave refuge to the popularity of a day;" and, making his escape by a back wall, he jumped into a cab, the driver of which showed him his whip, broken in assisting, two days before, the evasion of one of the late ministers. Lamartine pondered upon the vicissitudes of human affairs, by which, within a period of two days, the same humble vehicle should save one politician from pursuit, and another from triumph.
Not till the evening of the sixth day was Lamartine enabled to obtain possession of the ministry of foreign affairs. He had taken the precaution to send M. Bastide to get the hotel evacuated by the insurrectionists. He felt, to use his own expression, that the name of Bastide, that of an old standing republican, would, by its notoriety, shield the name of Lamartine, whose republicanism, up to the present moment of a purely philosophical character, would be suspected by the people. Whatever feelings these confessions may give rise to as to M. de Lamartine's sincerity, there can be only one as to his discretion. The hotel was still occupied by the soldiery on his arrival, but the cabinet of M. Guizot had not been violated. The furniture, bed, tables,