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Fifth Series, Volume XLIX.


No. 2123.- February 28, 1885.

From Beginning,




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Chambers' Journal,
Macmillan's Magazine,
Good Words,
Fortnightly Review,
Blackwood's Magazine,
Chambers' Journal,

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For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.

Single Numbers of THE LIVING AGE, 18 cents.

ON AN OLD SONG. LITTLE snatch of ancient song What has made thee live so long? Flying on thy wings of rhyme Lightly down the depths of time, Telling nothing strange or rare, Scarce a thought or image there, Nothing but the old, old tale Of a hapless lover's wail; Offspring of some idle hour, Whence has come thy lasting power? By what turn of rhythm or phrase, By what subtle, careless grace, Can thy music charm our ears After full three hundred years?

Little song, since thou wert born
In the Reformation morn,
How much great has past away,
Shattered or by slow decay!
Stately piles in ruins crumbled,
Lordly houses lost or humbled,
Thrones and realms in darkness hurled,
Noble flags forever furled,

Wisest schemes by statesmen spun,
Time has seen them one by one
Like the leaves of autumn fall-
A little song outlives them all.

There were mighty scholars then
With the slow, laborious pen
Piling up their works of learning,
Men of solid, deep discerning,
Widely famous as they taught
Systems of connected thought,
Destined for all future ages.
Now the cobweb binds their pages,
All unread their volumes lie
Mouldering so peaceably,
Coffined thoughts of coffined men ;
Never more to stir again
In the passion and the strife,
In the fleeting forms of life;
All their force and meaning gone
As the stream of thought flows on.

Art thou weary, little song,
Flying through the world so long?
Canst thou on thy fairy pinions
Cleave the future's dark dominions?
And with music soft and clear
Charm the yet unfashioned ear,
Mingling with the things unborn
When perchance another morn
Great as that which gave thee birth
Dawns upon the changing earth?
It may be so, for all around
With a heavy crashing sound,
Like the ice of polar seas
Melting in the summer breeze,
Signs of change are gathering fast,
Nations breaking with their past.

The pulse of thought is beating quicker,
The lamp of faith begins to flicker,
The ancient reverence decays
With forms and types of other days;

And old beliefs grow faint and few
As knowledge moulds the world anew,
And scatters far and wide the seeds
Of other hopes and other creeds;
And all in vain we seek to trace
The fortunes of the coming race,
Some with fear and some with hope,
None can cast its horoscope.
Vap'rous lamp or rising star,
Many a light is seen afar,
And dim shapeless figures loom
All around us in the gloom -
Forces that may rise and reign
As the old ideals wane.

Landmarks of the human mind,
One by one are left behind,
And a subtle change is wrought
In the mould and cast of thought.
Modes of reasoning pass away,
Types of beauty lose their sway,
Creeds and causes that have made
Many noble lives, must fade;
And the words that thrilled of old
Now seem hueless, dead, and cold;
Fancy's rainbow tints are flying,
Thoughts, like men, are slowly dying;
All things perish, and the strongest
Often do not last the longest;
The stately ship is seen no more,
The fragile skiff attains the shore;
And while the great and wise decay,
And all their trophies pass away,
Some sudden thought, some careless rhyme,
Still floats above the wrecks of time.

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From The Edinburgh Review. SECRET PAPERS OF THE SECOND


By a decree published in the Journal Officiel of the French Republic on Sep tember 7, 1870, the minister of the interior appointed a commission charged with the collection, classification, and publica tion of the papers and correspondence of the imperial family which had been seized at the Tuileries on the overthrow of the empire, three days before. The president of this commission was M. André Lavertujon, who, on October 12, addressed a report to M. Jules Favre, then interim minister of the interior, indicating the progress made up to that date by the commission, and suggesting the appointment of M. Taxile Delord, Laurent-Pichat, and Ludovic Lalaune, to replace MM. de Kératry, Estancelin, and André Cochut,

who had been called to the exercise.of

other functions, the first-named of the three being made prefect of police. This report, approved and countersigned by M. Jules Favre, states that on September 24, the first fasciculus of the papers in question had been published; that fasciculi, composed each of two octavo leaves, had succeeded nearly every other day; and that the contents of a volume of five hundred pages had been already passed through the press. Copies of each number, as they appeared, had been sent to the public prints; and not only had most of the documents been republished by them in entirety, but counterfeits had been circulated among the public, with which the commission had not regarded it as any part of their duty to interfere. The commission insist, in a brief preface, that the publication of these papers has an absolutely official and impersonal character, the work having been undertaken in the sole interest of the truth. The commission, according to the preface, did not judge it simply drew up an inventory; it attempted no polemical work, but impartially prepared the materials of history. The documents, copied under the responsibility of the secretaries to the commission, were examined by the president, and

submitted to the control of the government of the national defence. After publication the original documents, carefully catalogued, were deposited in the national archives.

Such is the account, given with all the dry precision of an official report, of a publication of a more startling nature than often comes within the purview of the historian. Amid the portentous echoes of the time, when the ears of men were stunned by such tidings as those of the capitulation of Sedan, the collapse of the empire, the siege of Paris, and the deathstruggle of France, it might well be the case that items of what might almost be called personal gossip, which in less tempestuous times would have rung through Europe, would appear dwarfed to undue proportions by the terrible news of each day. We are not prepared to say that any effort was made by those who were most compromised by the papers in ques tion to collect and to destroy the published copies. But the rarity of the volume — only one other copy than the one before us having met our eyes, and that on the table of an ambassador - certainly tends to confirm that not unnatural supposition. At all events it will be, as the commission has said, "in the interest of truth" to adduce a few of the proofs thus unexpectedly furnished of what the second empire cost France.

It is difficult to approach an enquiry of the kind without a strong sense of the grim humor of the event. The ink will hardly run from the pen without leaving traces of a certain amount of malice, using the word in its French, and not in its En. glish, sense. That those very documents which, by reason of their intimately private nature, should be entrusted to no minister, secretary, or archivist, but kept in the personal custody of the sovereign himself, should be thus collected, kept, and at last made public for the special service and delectation of King Mob, is a new incident of the drama of la République dans les carrosses du Roi.* The

A similar incident had, however, twice before occurred in the course of the French Revolution, when

• Papiers et Correspondance de la Famille Im- the mob broke into the Tuileries, and pillaged the périale. Paris: 1870.

private papers of the sovereign. The documents found

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which | They commence with the brief announcement, as an excuse for failing to come to dinner with Barras: "Bonaparte est arrivé cette nuit," written by Josephine, who signs herself Lapagerie Bonaparte, to Botot, secretary to Barras, then director, at the Luxembourg, on December 5, 1797. Of this curious letter, containing the words, "Vous connaissez mieux que per. sonne, mon cher Botot, ma position," a facsimile is given in the volume. The last entry is a despairing telegram, headed "Maire à Guerre, Paris ” (“ Guerre" being the minister for war), dated SainteMarie, September 3, 1870, 4.30 P.M., to the following effect: "In a few days Strasburg will be nothing but a heap of ruins. Schlestadt, which has just been invested, will doubtless share the same fate. Have we no one to come to the succor of our unhappy Alsace?" Later in actual time, though earlier in the book, comes a despatch from the director of the telegraph at Lyons to the director general at Paris, dated 1.50 P.M. on September 4: despatch: "French Republic, Commune of I am compelled to transmit the following

scene in fiction if it be fiction
the event most closely resembles, is that
of the hurried destruction of the most pri-
vate papers of the Duc de Mora in the
terrible eighteenth chapter of Alphonse
Daudet's tale, "Le Nabab." No more
characteristic instance of the mutability
"of fate, and chance, and change in human
life" has been inscribed on the pages of
history since "the lofty grave tragedians"
of Greece first showed how powerful a
charm the tale of the reverses met by the
most conspicuous actors on the world's
stage exercises on the human mind. The
rapacity of the solicitors that begirt the
temporary throne; the more than ques-
tionable titles by which in many cases the
imperial charity was drained; the mystery
hanging over some entries; the broad,
fierce, garish light in which others stand
revealed; the magnitude of the sums de-
rived by the Bonaparte family, its depen-
dants, its tools, and its flatterers, from the
taxpayers of France, during a term of
eighteen years; the base servility of the
applicants; the utter nakedness to which
France was stripped by a horde of plun-
derers, as was shown in the time of her
need, these things are well adapted to
overcome us with special wonder. It was
in the court of Louis XIV. that the creed
of the courtier was thus briefly formu-
lated: -

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Lyons. The Provisional Committee of Public Safety of Lyons to the Municipal Council of Marseilles: Republic proclaimed at Lyons. Immediate organization of a Republican Gov. ernment, and of necessary measures for the defence of the country." A commissary of the Provisional Committee is in permanence in my cabinet. Armed men guard the entry of the post. What are your orders?

In 1815 events marched almost as rapidly, though revolution then lacked the magic aid of the electric telegraph. But we now turn to the papers which relate more especially to the second empire.

The third document printed is a facsimile receipt, dated Elysée National, April 26, 1851, and signed “Louis-Napo léon Bonaparte," acknowledging a loan of five hundred thousand francs from Marshal Narvaez, then chief of the Spanish ministry; a loan repaid on June 2, 1852. This is followed by a series of notes, without either signature or date, but appearing from internal evidence to have been written between the months of July and August, 1852, on the characters of the prefects of the republic after the coup d'état

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Sire, It is I again, but I come all in a tremble; for this time I am very frightened. Your Majesty will perhaps weary of his bounty, and send me roughly away. I beg him not to be angry, and to pardon me if I am really tiresome.

I have learned that there are several places of chamberlain vacant at this moment; and as this position was occupied by my grandfather, the Count de - under the Emperor Napoleon I., I have always hoped to obtain one day of your Majesty this great favor for my hus band, who is so ardent in his desire and ambi

favor! My husband is not too young; he is thirty-three, and the livery of your servants would become him so, Sire. It is so easy for you, Sire, to make people happy, and you family. Sire, do not refuse meat once, at know how a charge of this kind flatters a whole all events. I have such an ardent desire to succeed. Pardon me, I conjure you, and give your poor little subject a pretty word of consent. I lay at the feet of your Majesty my tender and respectful homage.

of December, 1851. These functionaries are divided into "prefects to dismiss" (those of whom the dismissal is urgent and indispensable being distinguished by an asterisk); " prefects to change; " "prefects whose situation does not for the moment require either dismissal or change, but with whom one or other measure will soon become proper," and "prefects who can be, for the present, maintained at their posts, some of them being advanced." The first quality which appears to be regarded by the reporter is that of "devotion to obtain it. Sire, pray grant me this tion," a word the use of which is enough to show that the speedy proclamation of the empire was in contemplation in July, 1852. The notes do not err either by circumlocution or by excess of courtesy Thus of Ponsard (Loire) it is written: "Neither brilliant qualities nor prominent defects; has recently committed faults in his department which prove a want of political tact that compromises his situation in the Loire." First for character (such as it is) comes Foy (Ardennes). "Absolute devotion; character frank and loyal; good sense; active and laborious; thoroughly knows his department, where he is loved and esteemed." Another runs thus: "Féart (Gers). Sincere devotion, intelligent and active administrator; of fends by excess of ardor, and by too much care of his personality." At the head of the prefects whom it is urgent to change comes "De Saulxure (Ardèche). Nature mediocre and vulgar; has created, by his maladresse and want of tact, a situation which it will be inconvenient for the government to prolong in the Ardèche." Intended, no doubt, for few eyes but those of the prince president, this cynical and measured document bears the heading "Ministry of General Police." The minister must have required perfect command of his features when politely receiving public officers whose fates were thus indicated, and whose characters were thus dissected and weighed, in a report that may have lain on his desk during the interview.

With unusual gallantry the commission has suppressed the name of a great lady who adopts the coaxing style of mendicancy.

It is not only from poor little subjects of the gentler sex that the cry, "Give, give," eehoes through the imperial correspondence. Not that the ladies had by any means less than their fair share of the bounty. A "note of the sums paid by the emperor to Miss Howard" (created Comtesse de Beauregard), between March 24, 1853, and January 1, 1855, amounts to five million, four hundred and forty-nine thousand francs. On July 24 following, however, we find a letter from this lady to an unnamed friend (probably Mocquard), which she begs him to burn, complaining of the non-fulfilment of engagements to wards her, and apparently wanting two million five hundred thousand francs more. "You know," she says, "my position. I pray God that there may be no more question of money between me and him who has quite another kind of interest in my heart." A brief note sans date runs: "There has been sent into Spain to Madame the Comtesse de Montijo, by the means of MM. de Rothschild, (1) on Feb. ruary 4, six hundred thousand francs; (2) on April 2, eighty-nine thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine francs; (3) on May 27 (Mocquard), six hundred and sixtyeight thousand four hundred and twenty

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