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ding expressly the reading of any written opinion in that assembly; on which Mr. Sibuet turned his 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
be permitted to pass in favour of the elder or the younger,
of that name.
There seemed considerable eagerness in some members that Lafayette should not be chosen ; and, after the election, when a member of the chamber informed me on the steps of the palace that Lanjuinais had been elected, and not Lafayettte, he took me by the hand, though I knew him not, saying, “ Wish us joy, sir; we have not
got that man, but one of the right sort; a “ bold decisive man, no trimmer.” One of the door-keepers, who overheard him, rejoined,
Yes, Mr. Lanjuinais is an honest and a bold man, as I can tell; for I was the man who
brought him the first news, in 1793, of his “ being proscribed. I concealed him, and shall
never forget the intrepidity of his conduct.” Mr. Lanjuinais voted against the imperial title, and was one of the opposition in the late chamber of peers. He has been always distinguished as a true patriot, firm, but moderate ; a supporter of all the first principles, but stained with none of the excesses, of the revolution. Four hundred and seventy-two members voted at the first balloting: one hundred and eighty-nine were for Mr. Lanjuinais ; seventy-four for Mr. Flaugergues (an eloquent person, and celebrated for his boldness in the legislative assembly in
1813, and his speech upon the court of cassation in the chamber of deputies) ; fifty-one for Lafayette, the father ; seventeen for Lafayette, without any designation ; forty-one for Count Merlin ; twenty-nine for Mr. Dupont; and a smaller number to some other members, of whom Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely was one. When the first vote was given for him, I recollect that my neighbours in the galleries burst into a laugh ; and one said he must have put that vote in himself. We are mistaken in England, and unjust, in supposing that the French have no sense of morality. If capacity alone could insure respect, Mr. Regnault would not have a character too pronounced in a certain way, to incapacitate him even for the chance of the presidency. Both Mr. Merlin and Mr. Bedoch would have had more supporters had not one been a counsellor of state and solicitor general of the court of cassation, and the other imperial solicitor and ex-counsellor extraordinary of the Emperor' in several departments. Any connexion with the court would be fatal to greater favourites than either of those two gentlemen in being candidates for the president's chair : but Mr. Bedoch is elected a secretary. You have already seen that the support which the representatives may give to the government
may be entirely independent of all considerations but those of duty to their constituents. You are, perhaps, not aware that the presidency of the French chamber does not answer exactly to the chair of the house of commons, at least, not in our times; and that it is not only the organ, but, in some measure, the mirror of the assembly, whose general complexion 'may be judged from, and is also a little dependent upon, the character of the man of their choice. Mr. Lanjuinais could not be chosen for that dignity of manner or person so useful in our Speaker ; but for the known firmness and honesty which would render him a faithful and fit channel of communication between the representatives of the people and the monarch. The assembly has the same object in view in the selection of the four vice-presidents, of whom Mr. Flaugergues was the first chosen, Mr. Dupont the second, Mr. Lafayette the third, and General Grenier the fourth ; all of them men notorious for that independence of either court, of Louis or Napoleon, wbich recommended them to the representatives.
The day following the choice of the president I was again in the galleries, when a scene arose which has decided the character of the as
sembly. The provisional president announced that he had informed the Emperor of their choice of Mr. Lanjuinais, and had received for answer, that his majesty would communicate with them by a chamberlain. The most violent murmurs instantly burst out on all sides ; many members rose at once ; some spoke from their places, others struggled to reach the tribune. At last a member declared a chamberlain to be a very unfit channel of official correspondence between the Emperor and the representatives of the people; and this sentiment was repeated by the patriotic Dumolard, one of the opposition in the late chamber of deputies, who added, that the president could hardly have heard his majesty's answer distinctly. Mr. Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely agreed withi Dumolard, and left the chamber, which adjourned its sitting, to wait for the Emperor's reply. Mr. Regnault returned not long after, with the approval at the bottom of the message transmitted by the provisional president, simply in these words“ I approve.-Napoleon." Lanjuinais made a short speech, and ascended to the chair amidst the shouts of the assembly
It was the representation of Mr. Regnault which occasioned this change in the decision