« PreviousContinue »
be considered; and I see that your friend Mr. S. Canning has conferred upon the cantons what he calls the advantage of participating in the present honourable contest. This being the case, the prefect Baron Baude has advised us to return to Paris, to procure the necessary permission from Marshal Davoust; and we have resolved upon this journey, intending to retire immediately to the frontier upon procuring our permission to pass. Our casual acquaintance here would advise us to remain at Bourg for a day or two longer, in which time Geneva will be, say they, in the hands of the French, and we may proceed thither without interruption. Our host has promised to transmit a letter or two to Geneva for us, which may account for this alteration in our movements. The Moniteur of the 21st is just arrived. The lower chamber on the 20th finally determined to commence its labours on the constitution, by choosing a representative from the members of each department, and forming the eighty-seven thus chosen into eight committees, which, together with a ninth from the commercial deputations, may prepare respective projects until the presidents of each committee, formed into a central committee, can compare the several propositions and unite them in one project for the discussion
and adoption of the whole assembly. One of the motives for hastening the formation of the commission, stated by M. Duchesne, was to provide a law relative to any addition to the empire, which the late victory might render it natural to expect; the additional act only relating to exchanges of territory*.
The Moniteur of the 21st says not one word of this victory, a circumstance which we have taken the liberty to remark to our French ac quaintance here, as a sign by no means equivocal, that the "complete victory" over the Prussians and English cannot have been so complete as was at first imagined. The details must have reached Paris before the date of this Moniteur, and, had they been favourable, would have appeared in the columns of this number. The people here draw no such conclusions; they look upon a drawn battle as impossible, and, judging from the spirit of all the neighbouring depart
The house appears to have thought it expedient to strengthen themselves and their constituents, whilst the Emperor was adding to his personal prêtensions. It must be recollected that the representatives voted the formation of this magna charta at the instant that one hundred and one cannons were announcing the victory of Ligny, and the new claims of Napoleon to the confidence and gratitude of France.
ments, are confident of present and final success. I must inform you, that from Fontainbleau to the frontiers, though all the country which we have traversed, there appears but one sentiment, that of defending the national cause to the last. In the Jura and the long line of frontier we have pursued, the whole population is in arms. Posts and beacons are established at every turn of the road, and guarded by peasants of all ages, with pikes and fowling-pieces. In Franche Comté the school children have enrolled themselves, and a body of them actually passed in review before a general at Dole: a hundred of these infant warriors last year cast consternation into the Austrian garrison at Salines, by some pranks which they played to alarm them during the night. I do not say that the Emperor, in these countries, is the object of unqualified regard, but I do assert that the Bourbons are much less so; and that scarcely any innkeeper or postmaster fails to tell some tale to their disadvantage, with which these princes furnished them in their unpaid progresses through the provinces. The usual character given of Napoleon here is, that he is a great man, fit for France and Frenchmen, but too fond of war. The predominant wish, I may say passion, of the people and soldiers, in every part of the country I have seen, is peace, which the ignorant san
guinary statesmen of congress will not see or allow, because they are in want of war themselves. Nothing but the general recognition of the necessity of defending their independence, could have prompted the noble exertions which, whatever may be their issue, must give them claim to an admiration that no belligerents, since the struggles of the Swiss and Dutch republics, can extort from an unprejudiced observer. M. Duchesne has a right to tell the representatives that "this time the justice of their cause is cer"tain," "and France, fighting for her independence, ought to be for ever invincible." I trust he has added the latter sentence in a spirit of prophecy, and I should express the same wish were any other name inserted in the place of France-why else do we drink "to the cause "of liberty all over the world?"
I shall write from Paris: we go across the country to Macon, and return to the capital by the great Lyons road.
Paris, June 28.
OUR surmises at Bourg have been more than justified, by the stupendous event which overpowers the imagination, and which would seem likely to be the last of those mighty shocks that have so often appeared to exhaust all the principles of convulsion, but have been too often repeated to allow us to hope that we have sur vived them all.
We had passed Macon, and had arrived at the little town of St. Albin, the next stage: the horses were put to our carriages, when a man on horseback begged to say a word to us, and asked in a whisper whether we had heard the news. What news? Why, bad news, the worst. The Emperor had returned to Paris-had abdicated. Two merchants, passing through Tournus on their way to Lyons, had shewn a Paris journal stating the fact. What journal? The Journal Général. It was natural that we should add, "You must not believe that journal,