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HARVARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY Preg 22,1946

Laung & Darley

SUBSTANCE

OF SOME

L E T T E R S

WRITTEN FROM PARIS DURING THE LAST REIGN

OF THE

EMPEROR NAPOLEON.

LETTER XX.

Paris, June 7. The chambers met on Saturday last. The peers at the Luxembourgh, the commons at the palace of the legislative body. The former chose two secretaries, Messrs. Thibeaudeau and Valence, who, together with the president Cambaceres, and the Counts Sieyes and Roederer, were named members of a commission for the internal regulation of the assembly. The representatives met at nine o'clock in the morn. ing; the elder member took the chair, and two

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provisional secretaries were appointed, in order to proceed to the formation of the chamber by naming certain commissions, and choosing what they call the bureau, that is the president and vice-presidents, and secretaries, by ballot. A member proposed, that this should be delayed beyond the next day, as the chamber, together with the electoral colleges, was invited by the Emperor to meet him at the Museum; but M. Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely made a motion, that the house should adjourn only until eight o'clock the next morning; adding, with a tone rather factious in a minister, that, on all accounts, the house should rather

itself in the election of a president than in a ceremony, especially as they would have many opportunities of enjoying his Majesty's presence. The next day I was present at the discussion, being shown, without a ticket, into the galleries, in which I was surprised to find so few spectators at first, considering that this was the second day of meeting. I must say, that the appearance of the assembly, entirely popular as it is, was highly creditable, and such as would not disgrace the floor of St. Stephen's. Most of the members were in evening dresses, and three or four generals in uniform. The deputies in the king's time wore a livery of fleurs de lys, which proclaimed their dependence in too striking a manner to be imitated in this assembly. The company in the galleries was of a very inferior cast, in appearance, to that which frequents our house of commons, chiefly workmen (it seemed) between their hours of employ, a class of men which is not found in London ; but which fills, at certain hours, half the coffeehouses and billiard-rooms at Paris. They did not, however, want either as good manners or as much sense as is to be found in any mixed audience of our capital. Two or three women were present, and the reporters sat in a box by themselves. It was not difficult to see at once the cast of character which the new convention would assume ; for, immediately after hearing the proceedings of the meeting of the day before, a Mr. Sibuet, deputy of the department of the Seine and Oise, rose in his place, and in a speech (which wanted none of the action of oratory) proposed that all titles should be dropped in that assembly, in which the most perfect equality ought to reign, and the

occupy

president himself was to be only primus inter pares. He was declaiming, when a member interrupted him by saying, that he was speaking from a speech in his hat, which was contrary to that article of the constitution, forbidding expressly the reading of any written opinion in that assembly; on which Mr. Sibuet turned bis vehemence from the nobility to this article of the constitution itself; but was silenced by being told, that these considerations should be deferred until the chamber was completely organized. Shortly afterward a message from the Emperor, sent by the minister of the interior, informed the house, in reply to its application to know the names of all the peers, before it proceeded to the choice of a president, in order to prevent their electing an individual designated for a member of the higher house, “ that the requisite list would be trans“mitted in due time, but not immediately.” The message was received with murmurs of discontent. They proceeded to ballot for a president, which was done by each member putting his paper into an urn, with a minuteness that gave me an opportunity of seeing all the men of any note who have survived the revolution; for such it seems have been elected in this parliament, which is now confessed to be the most popularly chosen of any since the constituent assembly

There was no little tumult in determining whether the votes given to Lafayette, without the designation of Lafayette the father, should

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