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THE ATHEN ÆUM.
MEMOIRS OF LAFAYETTE.* M. SARRANS has acted for some years in the capacity of private secretary to General Lafayette : he appears to have been thoroughly acquainted with the part which that distinguished individual took in the late revolution especially; and everything that came to his knowledge upon that subject, he has here set down, as he assures us, with the greatest fidelity, and without reserve. Indeed, he acknowledges that in the latter respect he has been guilty of an indiscretion, perhaps it will be said of an abuse of confidence. We can easily understand this confession. It will be convenient for the General to say that he has not sanctioned the publication, as it discloses matter with respect to which, probably, he might have been expected to have observed a discreet silence during his life. It cannot be supposed that M. Sarrans would have sacrificed his character as a man of honor, by publishing against the avowed wishes of his friend and patron.
Passing this point over as a matter, to the public at least, of little interest, it must, we think, be admitted by every person who peruses these rolumes, that they throw a hood of light upon the history of the late revolution, and upon the present confused, motley, unsatisfactory, and, indeed, porientous state of parties in France. The political arena of Paris is at this moment, and has been for upwards of two years, a stage upon which all are actors; no man appears upon it in his own natural character; every body is masked and dominoed, apparently engaged in watching the movements of those around him, with the ultimate view of pushing his fortunes as soon as the moment most favorable to his purposes shall have arrived. In other words, the active politicians, at present conspicuous in France, are little more or less than a set of gamblers, playing at dice, the stakes being places in the cabinet, instead of sums of money. There is not among them any one of a powerful and transcendent mind, capable of collecting men of ability within the shadow of his name, and of restraining thein there by the attraction of his personal influence. The king has shown much doggednes..., but
* Memoirs of General Lafayette, and the French Revolution of 1830. By B. Sarrans, Secretary to General Lafayette. In two volumes, 8vo. London : Bentley (late Col. burn & Bentley), 1932.
no talents that can command respect, no disposition that can win regard. We believe that he is generally disliked in France, and that since the commencement of his war against the press, he is looked upon as in nowise a better Bourbon than Charles X. Laffitte was tried, and found inadequate to meet the difficulties that beset his ministry : Perier, who promised well, has fallen a victim to his new occupations ; Louis Philippe has succeeded him, and plays king and minister, until he can find another Perier. Everything looks unsettled; the trade of France becomes every day more embarrassed; the government has been thrown back into a provisional siate; and it is too little thought of, that, during all this time of ministerial interregnum, the military spirit of the nation is becoming more and more inflamed against the autocrat of the north, and the wily.diplomacy of Vienna. 'Parties vie one with another,' says M. Sarrans, . in artifice. One affects confidence in the midst of alarm, another joy, when overwhelmed with grief; one, which lives only on its fond recollections of the past, pretends to plead for the future; and another yields to existing things, only to arrive the more surely at things which do not exist. Interested policy everywhere takes place of honesty and energy, and the spirit of expectation and disguise overrules all circumstances. To describe this multiplicity of interests and views, is the object of the present work ; a most interesting enterprise it is, in every point of vicw, and a very successful one, so far as we, who are placed at a distance from the scene of action, are enabled to judge.
The late revolution was so utterly improvised; it was so sudden in its origin, so rapid in its progress, so decisive in giving victory to the people, that no one had time to think of the principles upon which the popular victory might be turned to the greatest advantage of the nation. A few words pronounced by Lafayette-'a popular throne surrounded by republican institutions,' had the effect of a talisman : they afforded the hope of immediate tranquillity to the timid, who feared a republici they flattered and directed the enthusiasm of the bold, who were freshi from the battle against the old monarchy. But though the new king accepted the throne upon the republican conditions with which it was accompanied, it has been his constant aim, under a variety of pretexts, to get rid of the conditions, and to look upon himself rather as a suc cessor to the throne, called to it out of his turn by circumstances, than elected to it by the representatives of the people. The vice of family pride appears to be as predominant in his character, as in that of the unhappy Duchess d'Angouleme herself; and it has led him into a train of policy, which will certainly terminate in his expulsion from France,
and in the establishment of republican institutions without any throne · at all.
M. Sarrans commences his work with a brief review of the early life of Lafayette, into which it is not our intention to enter, as it is already sufficiently well known. It is also known, that during the combat which in Paris followed the famous ordinances, Lafayette was the first to propose the idea of a provisional government. But it is not equally
well known—at least we never heard, until we perused these volumes that at one of the conferences held bs the deputies during the earlier stages of the revolution, Perier 'confidentially proposed offering some millions to Marmont, to seduce him to the cause of the people; and even insisted that M. Laffitte, who had pecuniary transactions with Marmont, should undertake the negociation. But Lafayette resisted this idea, and suggested that Marmont should be ordered to stop the firing on the people. It is a curious fact, that the first meetings of the deputies were well attended, though they had yet no notion of making a revolution : but as soon as the people received a check, not half the number of deputies attended ; and, in point of fact, the declaration which was issued as if signed by sixty-three deputies, was signed only by eight, the names of the others were added without their consent being even solicited. 'Should we be vanquished,' said M. Laffitte, 'they will belie us, and prove that we are only eight: if, on the other hand, we are conquerors, be satisfied, the signatures will be matter of emulation. One party was for bold and decisive measures ; another, still for compromise with the reigning dynasty ; and when it was proposed to raise the tri-colored cockade, the dissentients retired, and thus reduced the patriotic party to five!-Lafayette, Laffitte, de Laborde, Maugin, and Audry de Puyraveau. This was on the memorable night of the 28th of July; the night when the barricades were erected. Early the next day, all the probabilities of victory declared for the people: a prosisional government, or rather an imaginary government, bearing the names of Lafayette, Gerard, and Choiseul, was assumed to have been formed : a rallying point was thus given to the people, and they triumphed at all points. Laffitte's house was the great centre of operations, whence were supplied cartridges, orders, commanders, and sometimes even bread. By this time the meetings of the deputies were again increased : as many as thirty or forty attended, and deliberated under the presidency of their host; but even still they lagged behind the people in their exertions. The people, in short, achieved everything; the deputies, at least the great majority of them, did nothing, until they could no longer help it. Up to this moment, Lafayette was busy everywhere, and everywhere received with enthusiasm by the people; but the deputies seemed afraid or jealous of his interference, and were anxious, if possible, to dispense with his services. But his offer at the critical moment to take upon himself the command of all the military forces, could not be refused, and from that time he became one of the principal leaders of the revolution. He was borne to the Hotel de Ville in triumph, a municipal commission having been organized at the same time. The author thus sums up the events of the momentous preceding days.
"From the moment of the publication of the ordinances, some men, devoted during many years to the interests of the house of Orleans, had conceived the project of substituting the younger for the elder branch of the reigning house, and all their proceedings, during the three days' struggle, tended towards this result. ?M. Laffitte was especially the patron of this dénouement.* The Duke of Orleans was at Neuilly ; between the court, which committed the error of not suminoning him to St. Cloud, and Paris, to the insurrection of which he was a total stranger. So early as eight o'clock on Wednesday morning, M. Laffitte, who had arrived only a few hours previously, sent for M. Oudart, secretary to the Duchess of Orleans, and despatched him to Neuilly, with notice to the Prince, of the meeting of deputies which was to take place at noon, at the house of M. Audry de Puyraveau, and to entreat his royal highness to be careful to avoid the emissaries of St. Cloud. This opening, which no doubt was not confined to a simple message of prudential advice, was made on Wednesday morning, a period when cverything was still in suspense. His royal highness, therefore, kept bis thoughts close, and said little. The Duke of Orleans, however, was sensible of the tender solicitude of M. Laffitte, and in pure condescension to the recommendation of his banker, condemned himself to the inconvenience of passing the entire night in a kiosk, concealed in the middle of the park, around which vigilant and faithful friends were on the watch. On Thursday inorning, M. Laffitte again sent M. Oudart to Neuilly ; his importunities were now pressing: he informed the prince of all that had passed in the meetings of the preceding dars, of the exasperation of the public spirit against the elder branch, of the singular importance of his present situation, and of the necessity in which the Duke of Orleans stood of choosing, within twenty-four hours, between a crown and a passport. It is said, that already the choice was no longer doubtful; and that this time his royal highness's reply was such as to satisfy his partizans upon the eruc! sacrifice they exacted of his patriotism ; in fact, the die was cast, and the Duke of Orleans submitted to place upon his citizen head that crown of thorns, up to which, as every body knows, he had never elevated his ambition. Therefore, had M. Laffitte, who, during the whole of Wednesday, and the morning of Thurs. day, exchanged several messages with the Duke of Orleans, already dexterously
repared the minds of the deputies, and ot' several members of the provisional government, in favor of the lieutenancy of the kingdom by the Duke of Orleans, wien Lafayette and the municipal commission installed themselves in the Hotels de-Ville.
While the military chiefs were taking measures to consolidate the victory achieved by the people alone, and the municipal commission, with the commissioners entrusted with the different departments, were re-organizing the general advice, a fraction of the chamber of deputies, in a meeting at M. Latñttes, were empaying themselves in arranging a new order of things. A deputation, composed of M. M. d'Argout, Sénonville, and Vitrolles, had presented itself at the Hotel-de-Ville, to treat in the name of Charles X., and to announce to the commission that the ordinances were withdrawn, and a new ministry nominated, which included M, M. Casimir Perier, and Gérard. These envoys were introduced to the municipal commission, and the presence of Lafayette was requested. The answer was not delayed: the people had fought to the cry of Doron with the Bourbons, and it was too late ; the Bourbons had ceased to reign. This was what M. M. Lafayette, Audry de Puyraveau, and Maugin, formally declared to the ambassadors from St. Cloud, in the presence of M. Perier, who kept silence. The royal commissaries were about to retire, when M. de Sémonville having addressed himself to Lafayette, the latter asked him if the Bourbons had yet assumed the tri-colored cockade ; and on his answer that it was a serious consideration, the general replied, that they might now dispense with any pain this act might cost them, as it was already too late : all was over.
• The next day, M. de Sussy, the bearer of a letter from M. de Mortemart, the
** This idea was of many years' standing. The discourse pronounced by the deputy of the Seine, on the 10th of February, 1817, on the subject of the project of law relative to the finances, and in which he maintained that the English are indebted for their liberty, to the revolution which passed the crown to William III., is still remembered. Not only was this bold opinion then made the text of the most violent attacks upon M. Laffitte by the journals of the restoration, but it gave occasion to the prime minister. the Duke of Richelieu, to demand of the honorable deputy a categorical answer, whether or no his intentions had been to excite a movement in favor of the Duke of Orleans.
new prime minister of Charles X., and an enclosure containing the recall of the ordinances, found Lafayette surrounded by his officers, and a crowd of citizens. 6. We need be under no constraint," said he to M. de Sussy, “I am here in the midst of my friends, and have no secrets with them ;” and opening the papers, the contents of which he read in a loud voice—“Well!” said he to the people, 6 what answer shall we make?” “No more negociations !" was the cry from all sides. “ You hear," continued Lafayette," it is too late."
Some time afterwards, a patriot orator, sent to some regiments which covered the court, having brought back information that the commander of the royal troops, on the bridge of St. Cloud, complained that since the recall of the ordinances, no explanation had been made to them, and asked a categorical answer; Lafayette sent him back immediately, with a billet couched in the following terms:
6"I am asked for an explicit answer on the situation of the royal family, since its last aggression upon the public liberty, and the victory of the Parisian population ; I shall give it frankly: it is, that all conciliation is impossible, and that the royal family has ceased to reign.
6" LAFAYETTE." I Since their propositions were obstinately rejected at the Hotel-de-Ville, the commissioners of Charles X. hoped to find a better reception at M. Laffitte's. About nine or ten o'clock in the evening, M. d' Argout presented himself to the members of the Chamber, who were sitting at the house of this deputy, and declared to them, that he was commissioned to announce to them, in the name of the king, his master, the recall of the ordinances, and the formation of a ministry composed of characters more acceptable to the country; that matters were there. fore re-established as before the violation of the charter, andtha: Charles X. made no doubt but the national representation would interpose its mediation to bring the people back to their allegiance. The answer of M. Laffitte was as peremptory as had been that of M. Lafayette, at the Hotel-de-Ville. “War has decided," said he to M. d' Argout; “ Charles X. is no longer king of France." M. d' Argout withdrew, after vainly insisting on the guarantees of inviolability with which the constitution still surrounded the person of the king. Some moments afterwards, M. Forbin Janson came to announce that his brother-in-law, the Duke de Mortemart, claimed a safe conduct, to present himself before the meeting of the deputies. This demand was acceded to, and M. Laffitte was solely charged to answer the overtures of the new president of Charles X.'s council of ministers; but M. de Mortemart did not appear.
From that moment the cause of the elder branch of the Bourbons was irrecov. erably lost, not only in the will of the people, but in the thoughts of the two centres of action, which had possessed themselves of the direction of affairs. The Hotel-de-Ville, and the Laffitte meeting, were agreed as to the definite expulsion of the reigning family, but by no means so as to the form of government ulteriorly to be adopted, or the new dynasty to be elected. These capital questions were subjects of warm controversy at the Hotel-de-Ville ; while at Laffitte's, almost an entire unanimity prevailed upon the choice of the Duke of Orleans, or rather upon the proclamation of his choice, already prepared by the efforts and the maneuvres of the honorable banker.
Here, then, were two parties already formed at the head of the revolution : Lafayette and his military colleagues being, as we may believe, for a republic upon the American plan, and Laffitte and the other members of the municipal commission being for placing the crown on the head of the Duke of Orleans. The latter project is described by M. Sarrans as ' a great intrigue,' brought about chiefly by the exertions of Laffitte. Neither party, we must here observe, seems to have thought of consulting the people,—the people to whom alone the victory belonged : Laffitte and his friends actually appear to have managed the whole affair, as if it had been a mere matter of business with