3 APRIL 1852, Page 2

The farcical has come to preponderate so decidedlyit the pro-

ceedings of the French President, that it is impossible to criticize them with that gravity which their dangerous consequences de- serve. It is difficult to imagine how among a people so acute to perceive the ridiculous, and so prompt to express their sense of it, the grave hypocrisy of the President's opening address to his Le- gislative Body did not provoke a burst of laughter. Not one of Tartuffe's most unctuous orations is more palpably hollow and un- real. To be sure, the galleries as well as the arena were filled with actors ; but the farce was broad enough in all conscience to have moved the risible muscles even of actors.

The theatrical displays of the "Prince President" and his liveried legislators, with their embroidery and feathers, cannot be taken as any indication of what is really doing or impending in France. They are the juggler's grimace to distract attention from his tricks of sleight-of-hand; they have no connexion with the thoughts and emotions which are struggling in French society ; and the extinction of real "Parliamentary government," and the silencing of the press, together with the espionage of the post- office and the police, render it impossible to detect what is at work behind or beneath them. "The Empire," or a Red Republic —paralysis of the nation's political action, or anarchy—anything is on the cards.