Eustace Clare Grenville Murray.

The men of the third republic; or, The present leaders of France. Reprinted from the London Daily news online

. (page 11 of 22)
Online LibraryEustace Clare Grenville MurrayThe men of the third republic; or, The present leaders of France. Reprinted from the London Daily news → online text (page 11 of 22)
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Mondes on some military or naval question, and,
though unsigned, be known as the work of one of
the exiles, and excite a fortnight's interest. Or
again, some pamphlet by one of them, or an entire


book (" Histoire des Princes de Conde," by the Due
d'Aumale, 1861), would be seized at the printer's ;
or it would be whispered among the initiated that
the Due d'Aumale had paid an incognito visit to
Paris, had been recognised by the Imperial police,
and been allowed forty-eight hours to pack up and
leave ; or again the princes would appear openly
at Baden, hold levdes there, and receive the
homage of distinguished Frenchmen who had
never bowed the neck to despotism. They never
conspired, they only waited upon events. " They
do not exert themselves, yet they advance," said
the Emperor, repeating the uneasy words of Louis
XVIII. about their father. " This activity without
movement disquiets me ; but how can one prevent
men from walking who take no steps ? It is a
difficult problem, and I would willingly spare
the solution of it to my successor." In fact,
though Napoleon III.'s Government could confis-
cate the Orleans princes' property, prohibit the
sale of their photographs, and send the printers
and publishers of their pamphlets to prison, it
could not stamp these much-respected exiles out
of the public mind. Popular affection hallowed


them, popular pity magnified tlieir liigli deeds,
tlieir misfortunes, and their talents, until little by-
little, as faith in the Empire waned, people got to
think of the Prince de Joinville and the Due
d'Aumale as of a Castor-and-Pollux pair of
brothers, who would be ready to run to France's
rescue in case of need, and guide her armies or
lead her fleet to new triumphs, whilst securing
her social system against the onslaughts of

The brothers are back in France now, but
doubtless they both feel that their prestige is a
little shaken. The last war has thrown into the
shade such performances as the bombardment of
Tangiers or the expedition to Biskara ; and as for
learned treatises on warfare, the nation has been
taught by the ever-memorable example of General
Trochu that good writing does not always imply
sound strategy. The Duke d'Aumale was elected
(in 1871) for the Department of the Oise, and
took his seat in the National Assembly after a
scuffle with M, Thiers. He has said something
there about councils of war, about the tri-coloured
flag, and about himself, in the ordinary royal ducal


way. He will maintain commercial treaties ; he
would like to pass the parliamentary session in
Paris, but is too prudent to vote on important
occasions. The Prince de Joinville, who sits for
the Haute Marne, is almost equally discreet, though
he recently gave one casting vote, and some of
the Orleans properties have been therefore restored
by the Republican Government. Frenchmen have
not ceased to believe that Joinville would command
a ship well, and d'Aumale lead an ai'my gallantly,
but their confidence on the subject does not
exceed cool limits. On the other hand, men who
reason upon Government at all ask themselves
whether these two elderly princes are quite as
essential to the well-governing of France as many
have thought, and as they themselves still appear
convinced. What could Joinville or d'Aumale,
acting as lion and unicorn to the Count of Paris,
do for France more than France can do for her-
self at less cost and with less clanger ? In 1849-
50 there was a powerful party for electing Prince
de Joinville President of the Republic ; in the
present year there is another party bent upon
trying the same experiment with the Due


d'Aumale, wlio lias some what supplanted his
brother in Orleanist predilections. It must be
hoped, as much for the Duke's own sake as for
France's, that this burlesque will never be carried
out. It would lead to a revival of the mongrel
royalty which collapsed in 1848 ; and that to a
Communalist Revolution again at an early date.
Now, the Orleans family are an amiable race of
princes, but this is a reason why they deserve
better than to enact the part of monarchical Aunt
Sallies, set up only to be knocked down again.
They have a much nobler and wiser part to play,
if they will only play it — and that is to remain
citizens. If they want a scope for their ambition,
let them simply join with all other honest men in
keeping out of France any disgraceful form of
political brigandage. That will be good work
enough for the present.


TT is something to be accounted tlie leading
journalist in France, and to be credited with
originating a new idea every day, even when that
idea is not often a good one. This is the position
of M. Emile de Girardin, who despite his seventy
years, is still a power in the State, and feels it so
well that he has not ceased to hope in his heart of
hearts that he may yet be a Minister, and perhaps
— for who knows ? — have the guiding of France's
destinies for a brief space all to himself M.
Ingres plumed himself upon being, not a great
painter, but a great fiddler. M. Lamartine was
persuaded that he could play the flute ; Rossini
was prouder of his talent at mixing salads than of
Guillaume Tell or II Barbiere. Similarly M. de
Girardin, who is a journalist, a crack journalist,
and nothing but a journalist, is filled v/ith the
conviction that nature cut him out for a states-


man, and had he been born in America he would
have preceded the late Mr. Greeley as candidate for
the Presidency, though, unlike Mr, Greeley, he would
have retained the editorship of his paper during
the electoral campaign, and trumpeted his own
merits himself to the public every morning, and
probably every afternoon, for he is not the man
to count the cost of a special edition more or less.
One must have known and talked often with
Girardin to realise the amazing jumble of qualities
and defects which it takes to make a founder of a
successful French paper. Quick-eyed and pert of
tongue, blessed with a confidence in himself which
graces bombast, and is amusing in its naiveness,
he talks crisply as if he had many of the cares
of State on his mind, and had no time to waste
in words ; but if you happen to be well versed in
a subject of which he knows nothing, he will
kindly give you hints on that subject, and set you
right on the points where he conceives you to be
wrong. His articles are short, tight strings of
little sentences, round and hard as bullets. He
writes : —

" Pitt was a great man.


Wliy ?

Because lie tolerated liberty and maintained

Order is liberty.

Liberty is order.

"Without order, no liberty ;

"Without liberty, no order.

Order and liberty are sisters who su23port and
strengthen each other.

The}^ have a common crown, which is glory.

Pitt gave glory to his country.

Pitt was a greater man than Monsieur X ."

Then the signature, and after it more articles of
the same value, dragging in other great personages
of history, from Timour the Tartar to Brigham
Young (spelt Brihgam). You think M, de Girar-
din knows all about Timour and Prophet Young.
So he does. He has read up half a page of dic-
tionary about each of them before sitting down to
>\T.'ite, and that is enough. They are not French-
men, and cannot be expected to occupy his at-
tention longer than the time requisite for taking
their peculiarities as examples or warnings to his
own countrymen.


All ! if it were of France, for Frenclimen, Emile
de Girardin were writing, it would be a different
matter ; and from tlie prices of table-frogs per
hundred in tbe fens of Sologne down to the
antecedents of tbe youngest literary tyro wbo has
begun to make bis mark in tbe Paris press, be
would give you information more exbaustive and
sbrewd tban ever bad been beard, besides wind-
ing up witb a propbecy ; for, like Dickens's Mr.
Bunsby, be keeps an eye fixed upon tbe vanishing
point of tbe horizon, and detects there things un-
seen to other men. France is as well known to
him as his own writing-desk. Frenchmen as the
spots of ink thereon. He believes in the " mis-
sion" of France — an enlightening, diverting, and
thrashing mission : that is, France should hold up
the torch of instruction and amusement to other
nations, and thrash them occasionally for their
good and her own. Thus she should have thrashed
Prussia, but did not. Why ? "Was it a visitation ?
No, a lesson. Next time she will thrash Prussia
more completely ; and meanwhile by all means let
M. Thiers keep his place until somebody else gets
into it. What are M. Girardin's politics ? As above


said, lie broaclies an idea a day. On Monday his
idea is that M. Guizot is the man for France ; on
Tuesday his idea is that he was mistaken yester-
day ; on Wednesday he is ready to give the Re-
pubhc a fair trial ; on Thursday he concludes that
the only true government for France is the
Empire ; . Friday, having been imprisoned by the
Empire, he withdraws his allegiance from it in a
solemn leading article ; Saturday finds him agitat-
ing with purse and pen for the plebiscite, and
being couched on the list of promotions to the
Senate, on Sunday, amid the blaze of the Com-
mune, he remains valiantly in Paris conducting a
new paper. La France Federate, and advocates the
parcelling of his country into fifteen States, on the
model of those of America, with himself probably
as President of the lot. Little consistency between
one idea and the other, but in the deductions from
each separate idea logic of the most pyrotechnic
and bewildering kind. He is all enthusiasm — a
man in whose hands new brooms are sure to sweep
clean to-day, and equally, sure to be worthless to-
morrow. With the brazen horn of Joshua he calls
upon his countrymen to worship this fresh man or


that otlier — Louis Napoleon, OUivier, Gambetta —
to give their souls, lives, and fortunes to him, to
let him take care of them, and to sink their mils
in his. Next day he grows cool ; following day,
sulky. On the fourth day he has turned his horn
round the wrong way, and is blowing to all nations
and languages — " Down with the man ! I've made
an error. He's not what I took him for." Cavaignac
imprisoned Girardin. Louis Napoleon, upon whom
he turned as soon as ever he had, by means of the
Presse, secured his election, exiled him, then by-
and-by had him fined. But Girardin is not the
man to be damped by what he would pompously
term martyrdom. He always comes back to the
charge with new reserves of energy, prepared to
champion new causes and give a kick to old ones.
He has no friends, for there is not a Frenchman of
mark with whom he has not first chummed and
then quarrelled, then been reconciled to half-a-
dozen times ; but he ^has a very host of acquaint-
ances, admirers, and, worst of all to say, disciples.
Like Napoleon the Great, whom in face he used to
resemble, and whose abruptness, gestures, and atti-
tudes he used largely to copy (barring his famous


eyeglass play, however, wliicli is all liis own) — like
Napoleon, he patronises and believes in young
men. Any literary aspirant is free to call upon
him without introduction, and solicit employment
on his paper. If he looks a likely man, he is
enlisted on the spot, and remains one of the staff
until the day when he writes his second dull
article, on which occasion he is dismissed without
ceremony. Emile de Girardin has never edited a
dull paper.

M. de Girardin is famous for five things : his
birth, his first marriage, his duel with Armand
Carrel, his introduction of cheap newspapers into
France, and the peremptory note he wrote to Louis
Philippe on the 24th February, 1848, bidding that
astonished monarch abdicate on the spot, and
entrust the Regency to the Duchess of Orleans.
Emile de Girardin was born in Switzerland (possi-
bly on the 22nd of June, 1806 ; but according to
another account in 1802, day not mentioned), and
first went by the name of Delamothe. His parents
were not married, and young Emile was some time
discovering who his father was ; but as soon as he
had learned, he adopted his name without asking


his leave, and stoutly maintained his right to do
so, all laws and customs notwithstanding. With-
in a week after he had taken this bold step he was
appointed by some mysterious influence to a place
in the household of Louis XVIII., under M. de
Genones, who held the sounding title of " Secretary
of the King's Commandments." But he was
abruptly awakened from any dreams he may have
had of official distinction, by the dismissal of his
chief. When turned out of his appointment under
Government, he obtained a very humble employ-
ment from M. Geoffroy, a stockbroker, and
lost all his savings in some absurd speculation.
After that he wanted to enlist in a troop of
hussars, but was refused by the surgeon of the
regiment as too delicate for military service. By-
and-by (1847), his father, General de Girardin,
formally adopted him. Emile de Girardin' s mar-
riage was one of the events of forty years ago, his
wife being the gifted and beautiful Delphine Gay,
one of the sweetest writers among the pleiad of
1830 — the best of wives, the most amiable and
graceful of gentlewomen. The wedding did not
take place without some difficulty, for it was


necessary to produce a register of tlie husband's
birtli, and there was no such document forthcom-
ing. Six" witnesses, however, declared that they
had known M. de Girardin from 1822 to 1823,
and that he then appeared about eighteen years
old. This evidence was held to be suffcient for
the purpose in 'view. The third great event
of Girardin' s life, his killing of Armand Carrel in
a duel, seemed likely at one time to cost him his
own life, for the Liberal journalists of Paris met in
conclave and vowed to avenge the death of their
young and glorious champion by challenging Girar-
din one after the other until he fell. Girardin had
sworn, however, after the death of Carrel (it was
his fourth duel), that he would never fight again,
and a Court of Honour, to which he appealed, laid
it down that he was quite justified in this course.
Of Girardin' s journalistic speculations, and of the
enormous fortunes he made by starting with just a
hundred francs capital, and a like sum in a part-
ner's purse, first the VoUut and then the Presse,
it is almost needless to speak, seeing that the
Presse soon acquired a world-wide celebrity, and
kept mankind tolerably well acquainted during five-


and-twenty years (1836-1856 — 1861-66) with its
editor's doings, public and private, his quarrels
witli other newspaper promoters, and tne actions
lie brought against brother penmen, who attacked
him mercilessly as a charlatan, and assaulted him
publicly, in hopes of inducing him to fight and be
killed. When Girardin finally threw up his con-
nection with the Presse, he started the Liherte, and
again by selling his paper at less than the cost
price until he had gathered a formidable radius of
subscribers round him (when he raised it), drew
down on himself the maledictions of competitors
and the gratitude of the general public. Emile de
Girardin is still occult editor of the Liherte now,
but, being intimate with most of the statesmen at
the head of the Government, he spends a great
deal of his time giving them advice at his dinner-
table or at theirs, and writes less than he used to do.
Perhaps this is not a misfortune to be greatly de-
plored, for Emile de Girardin, whilst familiarizing his
countrjnuen with cheap papers, indoctrinated them
at the same time with cheap and flashy thoughts
— tinsel without, nothing within. He is one of
the men who has most contributed to misguide


the drift of the public mind, to instil into modern
Frenchmen a blind tendency to hero-worship and
to destroy their self-reliance. That he should now
and then have advocated generous and liberal ideas,
does not entitle him to rank as a Liberal. The
Liberal party prefer soldiers who, if less brilliant,
are steadier, less liable to be swayed by contrary
winds, and, above all, less egotistical.

The curtest summary of the events of M. de
Girardin's busy life would fill volumes ; and there
are so many different accounts of most of them,
that it is difficult to select that which is most
worthy of belief. He has written several books —
" Emile ; Fragments sans Suite d'une Histoire sans
Fin," " Bon Sens et Bonne Foi," " Journal d'un
Journaliste au secret," " Questions administratives
et financieres," " Les Cinquante deux," among
others. The best known of his works is " Emile "
(Paris, 1828), wherein he is said to have told his
own story. It is not a good novel, being chiefly
filled with incoherent reflections on himself, his
lodgings, his sweethearts, and the moon. It is,
therefore, only candid to add, that M. de Girardin
did not rush into print till he was driven to do


SO by wliat appeared utter ruin ; but from that
moment liis fortunes brightened, and lie began to
make sucli a noise in the world that three pub-
lishers disputed the copyright of his first work.
M. Pothieu was the successful competitor in this
unusual struggle ; and the book was so well
reviewed, that it had the rare effect of restoring
him to office. It obtained for him the sinecure
appointment of Inspector of the Fine Arts from
M. de Martignac ; and he employed his leisure in
starting his first venture in journalism, which con-
sisted in reprinting the best articles in other
papers, without going through the formality of
paying his contributors. He sent out his adver-
tisements under the Government seal, and for-
warded one of them by post to every mayor and to
every curate in France, taking their names and
addresses from an almanack. He thus got 10,000
subscribers in a month, and was also shot in the
shoulder by an angry author. The latter event
disgusted him of editorship for the moment, but
he preserved his interest in the practical enterprise
he had launched, and soon created another journal,
called La Mode, under the patronage of the


Ducliess de Berri, wlio was offering that sly sort of
opposition to tlie court of Charles X. which kings
have generally to expect from members of their
own family. The Duchess, however, abandoned
the concern in a fright, and M. de Girardin is said
to have gained three thousand new subscribers by
the loss of her royal highness's influence. The
subsequent speculations of M. de Girardin in
cheap journalism have been innumerable. They
seemed very wonderful in France twenty years
ago, but to a generation which has seen halfpenny
papers established as an institution all over the
world they have lost their novelty.

At present, M. de Girardin is giving a qualified
and uncertain support to the Kepublic. He ac-
cepted a seat on the Commission of Inquiry into
the organization and administration of the city of
Paris ; and was one of the syndics of the press
who were deputed to plead before the legislative
commission for the abolition of the stamp tax on
newspapers. An unpublished decree, counter-
signed by M. Eraile Ollivier, dated on the 27th of
July, 1870, and found among the papers at the
Tuilleries after the revolution of the 4 th of Sep-


tember, raised M. de Girardin to tlie dignity of
senator, " in consideration of the services lie had
(also) rendered to the Imperial Government as a
journalist." Indeed, he was perhaps the principal
writer who excited that bellicose spirit among
Frenchmen which brought about the Franco-Ger-
man war ; and one of his ideas was to confide the
conduct of it to M. Haussmann. M. de Girardin' s
latest speculation in journalism has been the pur-
chase of the official French newspaper ; the latest
event of his life, known to the public, is his legal
separation from his second wife, the Countess de


rpHREE years ago, wlien Father Hyacintlie wrote
to the General of the CarmeHtes, and with-
drew from an Order which he said had become
"a prison of the soul" to him, many good people
who were more sanguine than perspicuous foretold
that this monk would be a French Luther, and
head a grand schism which should divide France
into Galileans and Infalliblists. What might have
happened had the Empire lasted in peace there is
no surmising ; but it was already easy to perceive,
in 1869, that France was hurrying towards a
crisis which would confine her attention during
many years to topics wholly political, and under
such circumstances Father Hyacinthe might be
said to have been born at the wrong moment ;
all he could aspire to play Avas the part, not of
Luther, but of Savonarola. Now he has married,
and the news of this event has caused a violent


commotion tlirougliout tlie country, making him
for the moment the most prominent man in
France. The excitement will abate, however,
and resolve itself into a nine days' wonder.
Vilified by many, lukewarmly defended by a
few, blamed by the majority even among the
non-clerical public, he shares to-day the fate of
all men who have ever attempted to war single-
handed against abuses too strong for them. To-
morrow he will be half forgotten. The public
mind is unfortunately not in a mood for discuss-
ing the questions he has raised, and though his
doctrines and his courageous example will fall like
good seed and fructify, he himself will in all like-
lihood not live to see the harvest. This is to be
deplored, for Charles Loyson is both a righteous
and a great man. It is impossible to look into
those honest eyes of his, or to hear the sound of a
voice which has the ring of Christian earnestness
in it, without feeling that here is a preacher who
might be trusted to guide men anywhere. His
is not the Christianity of conclaves or episcopal
courts ; it is the teaching drawn from the fountain-
head — from Christ's own doctrine, taught for the


comfort and enlightenment of men, not, as tlie
Papal See contends, for tlie enslavement of tlieir
minds under the yoke of priestly bondage.
Charles Loyson was born at Orleans in the sum-
mer of 1827. The precise date of his birthday is
not recorded. He was educated at the Academy
of Pau, where his father was rector ; and became
a schoolboy poet. He wrote verses of rare excel-
lence—imaginative, sweet, and idyllic ; and he is
said to have aspired to a literary career, though
on the refusal of a comedy of his at the Paris
Gymnase he supposed modestly that he had
overrated his abilities, and turned his thoughts
towards the Church. In 1845, therefore, he was
entered at the seminary of St. Sulpice ; and after
passing four years in theological study, he was
ordained a priest. There was a great deal in
the quiet life of the priest to tempt the mind
of the poet. Loyson thought of one of those
retired French vicarages by the sea, or in some
wild district of the Yosges or Pyrenees, where a
pastor can study nature, teach his flock, and die
unknown to Fame, yet remembered by the
humble parishioners who love him. His talents


debarred him from sucli a peaceful life. Imme-
diately after his ordination he was sent to teach
philosophy at the Seminary of Avignon, then
theology in that of Nantes, and afterwards
appointed Vicar of St. Sulpice, It was in
these pursuits that the sense of his vocation
awoke. The theology he propounded seemed to
him at best but cumbrous vanity. Why so much
dogma to swathe that simple commandment,
" Love one another," which is the fullest com-
mentary on and epitome of all Christian precepts ?
Loyson felt called to reveal the truth untram-
melled, and to denounce the abuses which made
of the Catholic religion, not the Church of Christ, -
but the institution of an intolerant sect weighing
by oppressive laws on the free development of
human thought. He gave up his parish, and tried
to join the Order of St. Dominic ; but, after a few
months' probation, was dismissed by the master of
the novices in consequence of some misunder-
standing. He then (1860) entered the Carmelite

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Online LibraryEustace Clare Grenville MurrayThe men of the third republic; or, The present leaders of France. Reprinted from the London Daily news → online text (page 11 of 22)