The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon/Chapter III

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On May 29, 1849, the legislative National Assembly convened. On December 2, 1851, it was broken up. This period embraces the term of the Constitutional or Parliamentary public.

In the first French revolution, upon the reign of the Constitutionalists succeeds that of the Girondins; and upon the reign of the Girondins follows that of the Jacobins. Each of these parties in succession rests upon its more advanced element. So soon as it has carried the revolution far enough not to be able to keep pace with, much less march ahead of it, it is shoved aside by its more daring allies, who stand behind it, and it is sent to the guillotine. Thus the revolution moves along an upward line.

Just the reverse in 1848. The proletarian party appears as an appendage to the small traders' or democratic party; it is betrayed by the latter and allowed to fall on April 16, May 15, and in the June days. In its turn, the democratic party leans upon the shoulders of the bourgeois republicans; barely do the bourgeois republicans believe themselves firmly in power, than they shake off these troublesome associates for the purpose of themselves leaning upon the shoulders of the party of Order. The party of Order draws in its shoulders, lets the bourgeois republicans tumble down heels over head, and throws itself upon the shoulders of the armed power. Finally, still of the mind that it is sustained by the shoulders of the armed power, the party of Order notices one fine morning that these shoulders have turned into bayonets. Each party kicks backward at those that are pushing forward, and leans forward upon those that are crowding backward; no wonder that, in this ludicrous posture, each loses its balance, and, after having cut the unavoidable grimaces, breaks down amid singular somersaults. Accordingly, the revolution moves along a downward line. It finds itself in this retreating motion before the last February-barricade is cleared away, and the first governmental authority of the revolution has been constituted.

The period we now have before us embraces the motliest jumble of crying contradictions: constitutionalists, who openly conspire against the Constitution; revolutionists, who admittedly are constitutional; a National Assembly that wishes to be omnipotent yet remains parliamentary; a Mountain, that finds its occupation in submission, that parries its present defeats with prophecies of future victories; royalists, who constitute the "patres conscripti" of the republic, and are compelled by the situation to uphold abroad the hostile monarchic houses, whose adherents they are, while in France they support the republic that they hate; an Executive power that finds its strength in its very weakness, and its dignity in the contempt that it inspires; a republic, that is nothing else than the combined infamy of two monarchies—the Restoration and the July Monarchy—with an imperial label; unions, whose first clause is disunion; struggles, whose first law is in-decision; in the name of peace, barren and hollow agitation; in the name of the revolution, solemn sermonizings on peace; passions without truth; truths without passion; heroes without heroism; history without events; development, whose only moving force seems to be the calendar, and tiresome by the constant reiteration of the same tensions and relaxes; contrasts, that seem to intensify themselves periodically, only in order to wear themselves off and collapse without a solution; pretentious efforts made for show, and bourgeois frights at the danger of the destruction of the world, simultaneous with the carrying on of the pettiest intrigues and the performance of court comedies by the world's saviours, who, in their "laisser aller," recall the Day of Judgment not so much as the days of the Fronde; the official collective genius of France brought to shame by the artful stupidity of a single individual; the collective will of the nation, as often as it speaks through the general suffrage, seeking its true expression in the prescriptive enemies of the public interests until it finally finds it in the arbitrary will of a filibuster. If ever a slice from history is drawn black upon black, it is this. Men and events appear as reversed "Schlemihls,"[1] as shadows, the bodies of which have been lost. The revolution itself paralyzes its own apostles, and equips only its adversaries with passionate violence. When the "Red Spectre," constantly conjured up and exorcised by the counter-revolutionists finally does appear, it does not appear with the Anarchist Phrygian cap on its head, but in the uniform of Order, in the Red Breeches of the French Soldier.

We saw that the Ministry, which Bonaparte installed on December 20, 1849, the day of his "Ascension," was a ministry of the party of Order, of the Legitimist and Orleanist coalition. The Barrot-Falloux ministry had weathered the republican constitutive convention, whose term of life it had shortened with more or less violence, and found itself still at the helm. Changamier, the General of the allied royalists continued to unite in his person the command-in-chief of the First Military Division and of the Parisian National Guard. Finally, the general elections had secured the large majority in the National Assembly to the party of Order. Here the Deputies and Peers of Louis Phillipe met a saintly crowd of Legitimists, for whose benefit numerous ballots of the nation had been converted into admission tickets to the political stage. The Bonapartist representatives were too thinly sowed to be able to build an independent parliamentary party. They appeared only as "mauvaise queue"[2] played upon the party of Order. Thus the party of Order was in possession of the Government, of the Army, and of the legislative body, in short, of the total power of the State, morally strengthened by the general elections, that caused their sovereignty to appear as the will of the people, and by the simultaneous victory of the counter-revolution on the whole continent of Europe.

Never did party open its campaign with larger means at its disposal and under more favorable auspices.

The shipwrecked pure republicans found themselves in the legislative National Assembly melted down to a clique of fifty men, with the African Generals Cavaignac, Lamorciere and Bedeau at its head. The great Opposition party was, however, formed by the Mountain. This parliamentary baptismal name was given to itself by the Social Democratic party. It disposed of more than two hundred votes out of the seven hundred and fifty in the National Assembly, and, hence, was at least just as powerful as any one of the three factions of the party of Order. Its relative minority to the total royalist coalition seemed counterbalanced by special circumstances. Not only did the Departmental election returns show that it had gained a considerable following among the rural population, but, furthermore, it numbered almost all the Paris Deputies in its camp; the Army had, by the election of three under-officers, made a confession of democratic faith; and the leader of the Mountain, Ledru-Rollin had in contrast to all the representatives of the party of Order, been raised to the rank of the "parliamentary nobility" by five Departments, who combined their suffrages upon him. Accordingly, in view of the inevitable collisions of the royalists among themselves, on the one hand, and of the whole party of Order with Bonaparte, on the other, the Mountain seemed on May 29,1849, to have before it all the elements of success. A fortnight later, it had lost everything, its honor included.

Before we follow this parliamentary history any further, a few observations are necessary, in order to avoid certain common deceptions concerning the whole character of the epoch that lies before us. According to the view of the democrats, the issue, during the period of the legislative National Assembly, was, the same as during the period of the constitutive assembly, simply the struggle between republicans and royalists; the movement itself was summed up by them in the catch-word Reaction—night, in which all cats are grey, and allows them to drawl out their drowsy commonplaces. Indeed, at first sight, the party of Order presents the appearance of a tangle of royalist factions, that, not only intrigue against each other, each aiming to raise its own Pretender to the throne, and exclude the Pretender of the Opposite party, but also are all united in a common hatred for and common attacks against the "Republic." On its side, the Mountain appears, in counter-distinction to the royalist conspiracy, as the representative of the "Republic." The party of Order seems constantly engaged in a "Reaction," which, neither more nor less than in Prussia, is directed against the press, the right of association and the like, and is enforced by brutal police interventions on the part of the bureaucracy, the police and the public prosecutor—just as in Prussia; the Mountain on the contrary, is engaged with equal assiduity in parrying these attacks, and thus in defending the "eternal rights of man"—as every so-called people's party has more or less done for the last hundred and fifty years. At a closer inspection, however, of the situation and of the parties, this superficial appearance, which veils the Class Struggle, together with the peculiar physiognomy of this period, vanishes wholly.

Legitimists and Orleanists constituted, as said before, the two large factions of the party of Order. What held these two factions to their respective Pretenders, and inversely kept them apart from each other, what else was it but the lily and the tricolor, the House of Bourbon and the house of Orleans, different shades of royalty? Under the Bourbons, Large Landed Property ruled together with its parsons and lackeys; under the Orleanist, it was the high finance, large industry, large commerce, i.e., Capital, with its retinue of lawyers, professors and orators. The Legitimate kingdom was but the political expression for the hereditary rule of the landlords, as the July monarchy was bur the political expression for the usurped rule of the bourgeois upstarts. What, accordingly, kept these two factions apart was no so-called set of principles, it was their material conditions for life—two different sorts of property—; it was the old antagonism of the City and the Country, the rivalry between Capital and Landed property. That simultaneously old recollections; personal animosities, fears and hopes; prejudices and illusions; sympathies and antipathies; convictions, faith and principles bound these factions to one House or the other, who denies it? Upon the several forms of property, upon the social conditions of existence, a whole superstructure is reared of various and peculiarly shaped feelings, illusions, habits of thought and conceptions of life. The whole class produces and shapes these out of its material foundation and out of the corresponding social conditions. The individual unit to whom they flow through tradition and education, may fancy that they constitute the true reasons for and premises of his conduct. Although Orleanists and Legitimists, each of these factions, sought to make itself and the other believe that what kept the two apart was the attachment of each to its respective royal House; nevertheless, facts proved later that it rather was their divided interest that forbade the union of the two royal Houses. As, in private life, the distinction is made between what a man thinks of himself and says, and that which he really is and does, so, all the more, must the phrases and notions of parties in historic struggles be distinguished from the real organism, and their real interests, their notions and their reality. Orleanists and Legitimists found themselves in the republic beside each other with equal claims. Each side wishing, in opposition to the other, to carry out the restoration of its own royal House, meant nothing else than that each of the two great Interests into which the bourgeoisie is divided—Land and Capital—sought to restore its own supremacy and the subordinacy of the other. We speak of two bourgeois interests because large landed property, despite its feudal coquetry and pride of race, has become completely bourgeois through the development of modern society. Thus did the Tories of England long fancy that they were enthusiastic for the Kingdom, the Church and the beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the admission that their enthusiasm was only for Ground Rent.

The coalized royalists carried on their intrigues against each other in the press, in Ems, in Clarmont—outside of the parliament. Behind the scenes, they don again their old Orleanist and Legitimist liveries, and conduct their old tourneys; on the public stage, however, in their public acts, as a great parliamentary party, they dispose of their respective royal houses with mere courtesies, adjourn "in infinitum" the restoration of the monarchy. Their real business is transacted as Party of Order, i. e., under a Social, not a Political title; as representatives of the bourgeois social system; not as knights of traveling princesses, but as the bourgeois class against the other classes; not as royalists against republicans. Indeed, as party of Order they exercised a more unlimited and harder dominion over the other classes of society than ever before either under the restoration or the July monarchy-a thing possible only under the form of a parliamentary republic, because under this form alone could the two large divisions of the French bourgeoisie be united; in other words, only under this form could they place on the order of business the sovereignty of their class, in lieu of the regime of a privileged faction of the same. If, this notwithstanding, they are seen as the party of Order to insult the republic and express their antipathy for it, it happened not out of royalist traditions only: Instinct taught them that while, indeed, the republic completes their authority, it at the same time undermined their social foundation, in that, without intermediary, without the mask of the crown, without being able to turn aside the national interest by means of its subordinate struggles among its own conflicting elements and with the crown, the republic is compelled to stand up sharp against the subjugated classes, and wrestle with them. It was a sense of weakness that caused them to recoil before the unqualified demands of their own class rule, and to retreat to the less complete, less developed, and, for that very reason, less dangerous forms of the same. As often, on the contrary, as the allied royalists come into conflict with the Pretender who stands before them—with Bonaparte—, as often as they believe their parliamentary omnipotence to be endangered by the Executive, in other words, as often as they must trot out the political title of their authority, they step up as Republicans, not as Royalists—and this is done from the Orleanist Thiers, who warns the National Assembly that the republic divides them least, down to Legitimist Berryer, who, on December 2, 1851, the scarf of the tricolor around him, harangues the people assembled before the Mayor's building of the Tenth Arrondissement, as a tribune in the name of the Republic; the echo, however, derisively answering back to him: "Henry V.! Henry V!"[3]

However, against the allied bourgeois, a coalition was made between the small traders and the workingmen—the so-called Social Democratic party. The small traders found themselves ill rewarded after the June days of 1848; they saw their material interests endangered, and the democratic guarantees, that were to uphold their interests, made doubtful. Hence, they drew closer to the workingmen. On the other hand, their parliamentary representatives—the Mountain—, after being shoved aside during the dictatorship of the bourgeois republicans, had, during the last half of the term of the constitutive convention, regained their lost popularity through the struggle with Bonaparte and the royalist ministers. They had made an alliance with the Socialist leaders. During February, 1849, reconciliation banquets were held. A common program was drafted, joint election committees were empanelled, and fusion candidates were set up. The revolutionary point was thereby broken off from the social demands of the proletariat and a democratic turn given to them; while, from the democratic claims of the small traders' class, the mere political form was rubbed off and the Socialist point was pushed forward. Thus came the Social Democracy about. The new Mountain, the result of this combination, contained, with the exception of some figures from the working class and some Socialist sectarians, the identical elements of the old Mountain, only numerically stronger. In the course of events it had, however, changed, together with the class that it represented. The peculiar character of the Social Democracy is summed up in this that democratic-republican institutions are demanded as the means, not to remove the two extremes—Capital and Wage-slavery—, but in order to weaken their antagonism and transform them into a harmonious whole. However different the methods may be that are proposed for the accomplishment of this object, however much the object itself may be festooned with more or less revolutionary fancies, the substance remains the same. This substance is the transformation of society upon democratic lines, but a transformation within the boundaries of the small traders' class. No one must run away with the narrow notion that the small traders' class means on principle to enforce a selfish class interest. It believes rather that the special conditions for its own emancipation are the general conditions under which alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle avoided. Likewise must we avoid running away with the notion that the Democratic Representatives are all "shopkeepers," or enthuse for these. They may—by education and individual standing—be as distant from them as heaven is from earth. That which makes them representatives of the small traders' class is that they do not intellectually leap the bounds which that class itself does not leap in practical life; that, consequently, they are theoretically driven to the same problems and solutions, to which material interests and social standing practically drive the latter. Such, in fact, is at all times the relation of the "political" and the "literary" representatives of a class to the class they represent.

After the foregoing explanations, it goes with-out saying that, while the Mountain is constantly wrestling for the republic and the so-called "rights of man," neither the republic nor the "rights of man" is its real goal, as little as an army, whose weapons it is sought to deprive it of and that defends itself, steps on the field of battle simply in order to remain in possession of implements of warfare.

The party of Order provoked the Mountain immediately upon the convening of the assembly. The bourgeoisie now felt the necessity of disposing of the democratic small traders' class, just as a year before it had understood the necessity of putting an end to the revolutionary proletariat.

But the position of the foe had changed. The strength of the proletarian party was on the streets; that of the small traders' class was in the National Assembly itself. The point was, accordingly, to wheedle them out of the National Assembly into the street, and to have them break their parliamentary power themselves, before time and opportunity could consolidate them. The Mountain jumped with loose reins into the trap.

The bombardment of Rome by the French troops was the bait thrown at the Mountain. It violated Article V. of the Constitution, which forbade the French republic to use its forces against the liberties of other nations; besides, Article IV. forbade all declaration of war by the Executive without the consent of the National Assembly; furthermore, the constitutive assembly had censured the Roman expedition by its resolution of May 8. Upon these grounds, Ledru-Rollin submitted on June 11, 1849, a motion impeaching Bonaparte and his Ministers. Instigated by the wasp-stings of Thiers, he even allowed himself to be carried away to the point of threatening to defend the Constitution by all means, even arms in hand. The Mountain rose as one man, and repeated the challenge. On June 12, the National Assembly rejected the notion to impeach, and the Mountain left the parliament. The events of June 13 are known: the proclamation by a part of the Mountain pronouncing Napoleon and his Ministers "outside the pale of the Constitution"; the street parades of the democratic National Guards, who, unarmed as they were, flew apart at contact with the troops of Changarnier; etc., etc. Part of the Mountain fled abroad, another part was assigned to the High Court of Bourges, and a parliamentary regulation placed the rest under the school-master supervision of the President of the National Assembly. Paris was again put under a state of siege; and the democratic portion of the National Guards was disbanded. Thus the influence of the Mountain in parliament was broken, together with the power; of the small traders' class in Paris.

Lyons, where the 13th of June had given the signal to a bloody labor uprising, was, together with the five surrounding Departments, likewise pronounced in state of siege, a condition that continues down to this moment.[4]

The bulk of the Mountain had left its vanguard in the lurch by refusing their signatures to the proclamation; the press had deserted: only two papers dared to publish the pronunciamento; the small traders had betrayed their Representatives: the National Guards stayed away, or, where they did turn up, hindered the raising of barricades; the Representatives had duped the small traders: nowhere were the alleged affiliated members from the Army to be seen; finally, instead of gathering strength from them, the democratic party had infected the proletariat with its own weakness, and, as usual with democratic feats, the leaders had the satisfaction of charging "their people" with desertion, and the people had the satisfaction of charging their leaders with fraud.

Seldom was an act announced with greater noise than the campaign contemplated by the Mountain; seldom was an event trumpeted ahead with more certainty and longer beforehand than the "inevitable victory of the democracy." This is evident: the democrats believe in the trombones before whose blasts the walls of Jericho fall together; as often as they stand before the walls of despotism, they seek to imitate the miracle. If the Mountain wished to win in parliament, it should not appeal to arms; if it called to arms in parliament, it should not conduct itself parliamentarily on the street; if the friendly demonstration was meant seriously, it was silly not to foresee that it would meet with a warlike reception; if it was intended for actual war, it was rather original to lay aside the weapons with which war had to be conducted. But the revolutionary threats of the middle class and of their democratic representatives are mere attempts to frighten an adversary; when they have run themselves into a blind alley, when they have sufficiently compromised themselves and are compelled to execute their threats, the thing is done in a hesitating manner that avoids nothing so much as the means to the end, and catches at pretexts to succumb. The bray of the overture, that announces the fray, is lost in a timid growl so soon as this is to start; the actors cease to take themselves seriously, and the performance falls flat like an inflated balloon that is pricked with a needle.

No party exaggerates to itself the means at its disposal more than the democratic, none deceives itself with greater heedlessness on the situation. A part of the Army voted for it, thereupon the Mountain is of the opinion that the Army would revolt in its favor. And by what occasion? By an occasion, that, from the standpoint of the troops, meant nothing else than that the revolutionary soldiers should take the part of the soldiers of Rome against French soldiers. On the other hand, the memory of June, 1848, was still too fresh not to keep alive a deep aversion on the part of the proletariat towards the National Guard, and a strong feeling of mistrust on the part of the leaders of the secret societies for the democratic leaders. In order to balance these differences, great common interests at stake were needed. The violation of an abstract constitutional paragraph could not supply such interests. Had not the constitution been repeatedly violated, according to the assurances of the democrats themselves? Had not the most popular papers branded them as a counter-revolutionary artifice? But the democrat—by reason of his representing the middle class, that is to say, a Transition Class, in which the interests of two other classes are mutually dulled—, imagines himself above all class contrast. The democrats grant that opposed to them stands a privileged class, but they, together with the whole remaining mass of the nation, constitute the "PEOPLE." What they represent is the "people's rights"; their interests are the "people's interests." Hence, they do not consider that, at an impending struggle, they need to examine the interests and attitude of the different classes. They need not too seriously weigh their own means. All they have to do is to give the signal in order to have the "people" fall upon the "oppressors" with all its inexhaustible resources. If, thereupon, in the execution, their interests turn out to be uninteresting, and their power to be impotence, it is ascribed either to depraved sophists, who split up the "undivisible people" into several hostile camps; or to the army being too far brutalized and blinded to appreciate the pure aims of the democracy as its own best; or to some detail in the execution that wrecks the whole plan; or, finally, to an unforeseen accident that spoiled the game this time. At all events, the democrat comes out of the disgraceful defeat as immaculate as he went innocently into it, and with the refreshed conviction that he must win; not that he himself and his party must give up their old standpoint, but that, on the contrary, conditions must come to his aid.

For all this, one must not picture to himself the decimated, broken, and, by the new parliamentary regulation, humbled Mountain altogether too unhappy. If June 13 removed its leaders, it, on the other hand, made room for new ones of inferior capacity, who are flattered by their new position. If their impotence in parliament could no longer be doubted, they were now justified to limit their activity to outbursts of moral indignation. If the party of Order pretended to see in them, as the last official representatives of the revolution, all the horrors of anarchy incarnated, they were free to appear all the more flat and modest in reality. Over June 13 they consoled themselves with the profound expression: "If they but dare to assail universal suffrage . . . then . . . then we will show who we are!" Nous verrons.[5]

As to the "Mountaineers," who had fled abroad, it suffices here to say that Ledru-Rollin—he having accomplished the feat of hopelessly ruining, in barely a fortnight, the powerful party at whose head he stood—, found himself called upon to build up a French government "in partibus;" that his figure, at a distance, removed from the field of action, seemed to gain in size in the measure that the level of the revolution sank and the official prominences of official France became more and more dwarfish; that he could figure as republican Pretender for 1852, and periodically issued to the Wallachians and other peoples circulars in which "despot of the continent" is threatened with the feats that he and his allies had in contemplation. Was Proudhon wholly wrong when he cried out to these gentlemen: "Vous n'etes que des blaqueurs"?[6]

The party of Order had, on June 13, not only broken up the Mountain, it had also established the Subordination of the Constitution to the Majority Decisions of the National Assembly. So, indeed, did the republic understand it, to—wit, that the bourgeois ruled here in parliamentary form, without, as in the monarchy, finding a check in the veto of the Executive power, or the liability of parliament to dissolution. It was a "parliamentary republic," as Thiers styled it. But if, on June 13, the bourgeoisie secured its omnipotence within the parliament building, did it not also strike the parliament itself, as against the Executive and the people, with incurable weakness by excluding its most popular part? By giving up numerous Deputies, without further ceremony to the mercies of the public prosecutor, it abolished its own parliamentary inviolability. The humiliating regulation, that it subjected the Mountain to, raised the President of the republic in the same measure that it lowered the individual Representatives of the people. By branding an insurrection in defense of the Constitution as anarchy, and as a deed looking to the overthrow of society, it interdicted to itself all appeal to insurrection whenever the Executive should violate the Constitution against it. And, indeed, the irony of history wills it that the very General, who by order of Bonaparte bombarded Rome, and thus gave the immediate occasion to the constitutional riot of June 13, that Oudinot, on December 22, 1851, is the one imploringly and vainly to be offered to the people by the party of Order as the General of the Constitution. Another hero of June 13, Vieyra, who earned praise from the tribune of the National Assembly for the brutalities that he had committed in the democratic newspaper offices at the head of a gang of National Guards in the hire of the high finance—this identical Vieyra was initiated in the conspiracy of Bonaparte, and contributed materially in cutting off all protection that could come to the National Assembly, in the hour of its agony, from the side of the National Guard.

June 13 had still another meaning. The Mountain had wanted to place Bonaparte under charges. Their defeat was, accordingly, a direct victory of Bonaparte; it was his personal triumph over his democratic enemies. The party of Order fought for the victory, Bonaparte needed only to pocket it. He did so. On June 14, a proclamation was to be read on the walls of Paris wherein the President, as it were, without his connivance, against his will, driven by the mere force of circumstances, steps forward from his cloisterly seclusion like misjudged virtue, complains of the calumnies of his antagonists, and, while seeming to identify his own person with the cause of order, rather identifies the cause of order with his own person. Besides this, the National Assembly had subsequently approved the expedition against Rome; Bonaparte, however, had taken the initiative in the affair. After he had led the High Priest Samuel back into the Vatican, he could hope as King David to occupy the Tuileries. He had won the parson-interests over to himself.

The riot of June 13 limited itself, as we have seen, to a peaceful street procession. There were, consequently, no laurels to be won from it. Nevertheless, in these days, poor in heroes and events, the party of Order converted this bloodless battle into a second Austerlitz. Tribune and press lauded the army as the power of order against the popular multitude, and the impotence of anarchy; and Changarnier as the "bulwark of society"—a mystification that he finally believed in himself. Underhand, however, the corps that seemed doubtful were removed from Paris; the regiments whose suffrage had turned out most democratic were banished from France to Algiers the restless heads among the troops were consigned to penal quarters; finally, the shutting out of the press from the barracks, and of the barracks from contact with the citizens was systematically carried out.

We stand here at the critical turning point in the history of the French National Guard. In 1830, it had decided the downfall of the restoration. Under Louis Philippe, every riot failed, at which the National Guard stood on the side of the troops. When, in the February days of 1848, it showed itself passive against the uprising and doubtful toward Louis Philippe himself, he gave himself up for lost. Thus the conviction cast root that a revolution could not win without, nor the Army against the National Guard. This was the superstitious faith of the Army in bourgeois omnipotence. The June days of 1548, when the whole National Guard, jointly with the regular troops, threw down the insurrection, had confirmed the superstition. After the inauguration of Bonaparte's administration, the position of the National Guard sank somewhat through the unconstitutional joining of their command with the command of the First Military Division in the person of Changarnier.

As the command of the National Guard appeared here merely an attribute of the military commander-in-chief, so did the Guard itself appear only as an appendage of the regular troops. Finally, on June 13, the National Guard was broken up, not through its partial dissolution only, that from that date forward was periodically repeated at all points of France, leaving only wrecks of its former self behind. The demonstration of June 13 was, above all, a demonstration of the National Guards. True, they had not carried their arms, but they had carried their uniforms against the Army—and the talisman lay just in these uniforms. The Army then learned that this uniform was but a woolen rag, like any other. The spell was broken. In the June days of 1848, bourgeoisie and small traders were united as National Guard with the Army against the proletariat; on June 13, 1849, the bourgeoisie had the small traders' National Guard broken up; on December 2, 1851, the National Guard of the bourgeoisie itself vanished, and Bonaparte attested the fact when he subsequently signed the decree for its disbandment. Thus the bourgeoisie had itself broken its last weapon against the army, from the moment when the small traders' class no longer stood as a vassal behind, but as a rebel before it; indeed, it was bound to do so, as it was bound to destroy with its own hand all its means of defence against absolutism, so soon as itself was absolute.

In the meantime, the party of Order celebrated the recovery of a power that seemed lost in 1848 only in order that, freed from its trammels in 1849, it be found again through invectives against the republic and the Constitution; through the malediction of all future, present and past revolutions, that one included which its own leaders had made; and, finally, in laws by which the press was gagged, the right of association destroyed, and the stage of siege regulated as an organic institution. The National Assembly then adjourned from the middle of August to the middle of October, after it had appointed a Permanent Committee for the period of its absence. During these vacations, the Legitimists intrigued with Ems; the Orleanists with Claremont; Bonaparte through princely excursions; the Departmental Councilmen in conferences over the revision of the Constitution;—occurrences, all of which recurred regularly at the periodical vacations of the National Assembly, and upon which I shall not enter until they have matured into events. Be it here only observed that the National Assembly was impolitic in vanishing from the stage for long intervals, and leaving in view, at the head of the republic, only one, however sorry, figure—Louis Bonaparte's—, while, to the public scandal, the party of Order broke up into its own royalist component parts, that pursued their conflicting aspirations after the restoration. As often as, during these vacations the confusing noise of the parliament was hushed, and its body was dissolved in the nation, it was unmistakably shown that only one thing was still wanting to complete the true figure of the republic: to make the vacation of the National Assembly permanent, and substitute its inscription—"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"—by the unequivocal words, "Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery".

  1. #1 The hero In Chamisso's "Peter Schiemihi," who loses his own shadow.
  2. #2 Practical joke
  3. #3 The candidate of the Bourbons, or Legitimists, for the throne.
  4. #4 January, 1852
  5. #5 We shall see.
  6. #6 You are nothing but fakirs.