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Mass; whist; ceremonies as usual - In vain a Deputation waited on M. de Polignac- Confusion among the troops-Camps of Lunéville and St. Omer ordered to march-Ministers ignorant even on the 29th of the real state of things - The Duc de Raguse's advice to the Council; M. de Polignac's opinion-Mission of M. d'Argout and M. de Sémonville to St. Cloud - The disposition in which they found the King - The Ordonnances recalled by the advice of the Ministry— New Administration formed with General Gérard and M. de Mortemart, and M. Périer - Charles X. would not sign any order but that which named M. de Mortemart Président du Conseil '-Fatal effects of delayThe fortunes of Charles X. and General Lafayette once more in opposition.
On the 26th the Journals had agreed to the protestation I have spoken of, and many electors, assembled at the bureau of the 'National,' had determined to refuse the payment of taxes. A meeting of liberal deputies had also taken place at M. de Laborde's. At this meeting opinions were divided. Monsieur de Laborde himself, M. Villemain, M. Daunou, contended that a violation of the Charta had released the people from their obligations, that such an opinion should be loudly pronounced by the Deputies at Paris, and that the force which the crown arrayed against the nation should be met by such force as the national representatives
could bring against the crown! Monsieur Périer was for more moderate councils:-he considered the Chamber legally dissolved; the Ordonnances themselves he looked upon as unwise and imprudent edicts, though justified by the letter of the Charta. "Even," said he, “if they be not so, the power to decide between the sovereign and the people cannot be assumed by any set of individuals.”
“Let us,” he continued, "as the guardians of the public peace, confine ourselves to presenting a respectful address to the monarch, requesting the repeal of measures by which that peace seems likely to be disturbed."
M. C. Périer* spoke reasonably. A resistance improvised against a government which has had the means of preparing for its defence—is in most cases a hazardous expedient. An unsuccessful recourse to arms is more fatal to the popular cause than the most passive submission; and it is only in very rare and very extreme cases that a sound policy will justify the more violent instead of the more moderate course; which, if it promise less than the former, also risks less.
Moreover, it is idle to disguise the fact. The right assumed by Charles the Tenth would, if left to the calm decision of lawyers, have
* Called in public life, M. Périer, M. C. Périer, indiscriminately.
involved a doubtful claim. But there are cases which lawyers can never be called upon calmly to decide. If we can fancy a people with eyes bent on the ground, and arms folded, lost in the most peaceable and profound meditation, coming to an eminent jurisconsult, and requesting mildly to know whether they have a right to resist their government, whatever might be their right, it would be their wisdom and their policy not to do so. But when a whole people feel at once, as by inspiration-feel without pause, or without reflection-that their government is changed-that their liberties are violated, that their laws are broken through – they do not err, they cannot err, if all the lawyers in the universe, consulting all the laws that ever were written, declared the contrary— they have a right to resist, nay, more—they are certain to resist with success.
Monsieur Périer, and those who adopted M. Périer's opinions, spoke and thought then like reasonable men; but in all great crises, that part of our minds which is the most passionate and imaginative rises above our ordinary reason. It has a more powerful and comprehensive judgment; a clearer and more sympathetic prescience. In great emergencies, your man of feeling is right, your man of calculation
is wrong. A few passionate words of Mirabeau judged and decided the revolution of 1789.The meeting at M. Laborde's was without result. On the 27th a similar meeting took place at M. Périer's. Here Messrs. Mauguin, Bertin de Vaux, De Puyraveau, were of the opinion expressed the day before by M. de Laborde; Messrs. Sébastiani and M. Dupin adopted the previous opinion of M. Périer.* After some debate on the propriety of a letter to Charles the Tenth, this meeting ended like the former, with an appointment for the morrow.
On the 28th, M. de Puyraveau, M. Mauguin,
* An assemblage of electors at M. G. Gassicourt's produced more important results. It was there agreed to form twelve committees to correspond with the twelve arrondissements of Paris; twelve committees sitting permanently, and organizing and exciting resistance in their several districts.
These boards were to have a common centre, and communicate through M. Schonen with the liberal deputies.
Such was the existing difference of opinion, even at this time, in respect to active resistance, that M. Périer said to M. Schonen, who was exciting the peopleVous nous rendez en sortant de la legalité- vous nous faites quitter une position superbe. On the same evening, M. Odillon Barrot said that war was declared, that force alone could decide the contest, and that it was the duty of every one to take arms.
M. Lafitte, and General Lafayette (who had then arrived), pronounced all reconciliation impossible, and were for inviting the Chamber to place itself behind the barricades of the people. Messrs. Dupin, Sébastiani, and Guizot, still protested against any act contrary to the law, and declared that the Chamber should remain as a mediator in the conflict, and pronounce itself merely the advocate of public order. A proclamation, much in this sense, containing a compromise between the two parties, although opposed by M. Lafitte as beneath the exigencies of the occasion, was at last agreed to: it was moreover resolved to send a deputation to the Duc de Raguse with an order, delivered in the name of the law, to stay, on his personal responsibility, the fury of the troops. This first meeting on the 28th separated at two o'clock, to meet at four.*
Its result had been the proclamation,† which however was not to be published till the following day, the deputation to the Duc de Raguse, and a declaration from General Lafayette, ex
*To meet at M. Bérard's.
+ This proclamation, given to M. Coste, the editor of the Temps,' for insertion, was rendered by him more popular and more energetic than it was originally conceived.