w:aY ENGLAND MIGHT ENVY FRANCE HER DICTATOR.
3d February 1852. Stu—With the knowledge of France and the French which frequent visits to that country during many years have given me, I cannot help com- paring the editors of our English newspapers to the "Friend of Humanity" m Canninea Anti-Jacobin, who wasted his time in trying to prove to a con- tented Knife-Grinder how very unhappy he ought to be. I believe that, with the exception of Louis Napoleon's competitors for power,—whom he is treating most unscrupulously, and who are doubtless great sufferers,—the French are quite reconciled to their new lot, and even thankful for a Go- vernment, which is not one of Mr. Carlyle's "shams," but knows how to govern—not to talk about it. Not more then three months ago, I was complaining to a bookseller in Paris on the slow progress made in publishing the Departmental maps of France, which have been begun on a grand scale. "Que voulez-vous? " was his reply ; "how can any great work be carried on in a nation so torn by factions as ours? See how our railroads are behind those of the rest of Europe. We want a government qui nous fern alter; no matter what." This is only one out of many indications I could give you of the popular feeling. And„ if such be the popular feeling, it is surely not the Spectator which would put in the balance against it the murmurs of an aristocratic section, whatever virtues or talents that section may possess. We may pity their misfortunes, but we must not be blinded by them to the wishes of the great majority of the people.
"Are such the feelings and wishes of the people?" cries the Friend of Humanity. "Sordid, unfeeling, reprobate, degraded, spiritless outcasts!" It may be so, but we shall not make matters better by abusing them. Re- collect the fate of Moliere's gentleman who remonstrates with Sganarelle for beating his wife. It has the effect of reconciling the happy couple who i *
join in attacking their officious counsellor. If anything is wanting to wanting the French admire Napoleon, and hug their chains, more than they do already, it is the contemptuous pity of perfide Albion." Louis Philippe could tell you, if he were alive, how much he was aided in his project of fortifying Paris by the remarks of the English press, who assured his sub- jects that they were spending a great deal of money only to enslave them- selves.
But, after all, do the French deserve our contempt? are they so mistaken in their views? Liberty is a great good, but prosperity is also a great good; and suppose the two to be incompatible. In one of your able articles last Saturday you showed how things were coming to a stand-still in Eng- land from our excess of liberty, which prevents any government, in the true sense of the word, from being possible. We have an Administration, but we have no Government ; and we see no chance of having one. And if a Louis Napoleon arose here, who codified our laws, drained our cities, regulated our Colonies, set our Courts of Chancery in order, swept Doctors' Commons, vietualled our Navy, economized our expenses, and made people in office do their duty—would this nation be greatly to be pitied, although he did send Lord john Russell to Sydney, and Lord Grey to the Milbank Penitentiary ?
When a man is in a pit he will catch at anything to get out of it, though it be the tail of the Devil.