Compliments of the London Press regarding him

“Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not,
Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow?”
DURING the Revolution of 1830, in France, the following proclamations
were issued to the French people:—
“_Addressed to the French by the deputies of departments assembled
at Paris._
“FRENCHMEN! France is free. Absolute power raised its standard; the
heroic population of Paris has overthrown it. Paris, attacked, has
made the sacred cause triumph by arms,—which had triumphed in vain in
the elections. A power which usurped our rights and disturbed our
repose, threatened at once liberty and order. We return to the
possession of order and liberty. There is no more fear for acquired
rights; no more barrier between us and the rights which we still need.
A government which may without delay secure to us these advantages is
now the first want of our country. Frenchmen, those of your deputies
who are already at Paris, have assembled, and till the Chambers can
regularly intervene, they have invited a Frenchman who has never
fought but for France—the Duke of Orleans—to exercise the function of
lieutenant-general of the kingdom. This is, in their opinion, the
surest means promptly to accomplish by peace the success of the most
legitimate defence.
“The Duke of Orleans is devoted to the national and constitutional
cause. He has always defended its interests and professed its
principles. He will respect our rights, for he will derive his own
from us. We shall secure to ourselves by laws all the guarantees
necessary to liberty strong and durable.”
[Illustration: LOUIS PHILIPPE.]
From the _Journal du Commerce_, Paris, July 31, noon:—
“INHABITANTS OF PARIS: The deputies of France, at this moment
assembled at Paris, have expressed to me the desire that I should
repair to this capital to exercise the functions of lieutenant-general
of the kingdom.
“I have not hesitated to come and share your dangers, to place myself
in the midst of your heroic population, and exert all my efforts to
preserve you from the calamities of civil war and anarchy.
“_On returning to the city of Paris, I wore with pride those glorious
colors which you have resumed, and which I, myself, long wore._
“The Chambers are going to assemble; they will consider the means of
securing the reign of the laws, and the maintenance of the nation.
“The Constitution will henceforth be a reality.
“_Municipal Commission of Paris, July 31._
“INHABITANTS OF PARIS! Charles X. has ceased to reign over France. Not
being able to forget the origin of his authority, he has always
considered himself the enemy of our country, and of its liberties,
which he could not understand. After having clandestinely attacked our
institutions by all the means which fraud and hypocrisy gave him, he
resolved, when he thought himself strong enough, to destroy them
openly; to drown them in the blood of the French. Some five days have
sufficed to annihilate his corrupted government, which has been only a
permanent conspiracy against the liberty and prosperity of France. The
nation alone is standing adorned with those national colors which it
has conquered with its blood. It will have a government and laws
worthy of itself.”
“_Staff of the National Guard._
“_Sent to the Municipality of Paris._
“General La Fayette announces to the mayors and members of the
different arrondissements, that he has accepted the command-in-chief
of the National Guard, which has been offered to him by the voice of
the public, and which has been unanimously conferred upon him by the
deputies now assembled at the house of M. Lafitte. He invites the
mayor and municipal committees of each arrondissement to send an
officer to receive the orders of the general at the Hôtel de Ville, to
which he is now proceeding, and to wait for him there.
“By order of GENERAL LA FAYETTE, member of the constitutional
municipal committee of Paris.
“FELLOW-CITIZENS: You have, by an unanimous acclamation, elected me your
general. I shall prove myself worthy of the choice of the Parisian
National Guard. We fight for our laws and our liberties.
“Fellow-Citizens, our triumph is certain. I beseech you to obey the
orders of the chiefs that will be given you, and that cordially. The
troops of the line have already given way. The guards are ready to do
the same. The traitors who have excited the civil war, and who thought
to massacre the people with impunity, will soon be forced to account
before the tribunals, for their violation of the laws and their
sanguinary plots.
“Signed at general quarters,
“Le général du Bourg,
The following order of the day was issued by General La Fayette, on
accepting the command of the National Guard:—
“AUG. 2.
“During the glorious crisis in which the Parisian energy has
re-conquered our rights, everything still remains provisional; there is
nothing definitive but the sovereignty of those national rights, and the
eternal remembrance of the glorious work of the people; but amidst the
various powers instituted through the necessity of our situation, the
reorganization of the National Guard is a most necessary defence for the
public order, and one which is highly called for. The opinion of the
prince exercising the high station of lieutenant-general of the kingdom,
is that I should, for the present, take that command. In 1790 I refused
to accept such an offer, made to me by 3,000,000 of my comrades, as that
office would have been a permanent one, and might one day have become a
very dangerous one. Now that circumstances are altered, I think it my
duty, in order to serve liberty and my country, to accept the station of
general commandant of the National Guard of France.
The _Niles Register_, published at Baltimore, thus writes at this time
concerning the Revolution of 1830:—
“The details are long and exceedingly interesting. Charles has abdicated
the throne of France, as well as his son, in favor of the Duke of
Bordeaux, his grandson; but the French have now so little regard for the
‘divine rights’ of the Bourbons, as to refuse having a _baby_ for their
king; and it is highly probable that the Duke of Orleans will be
invested with the sovereignty, according to the charter, with, perhaps,
some small modifications. Our old friend, La Fayette, has so far
fulfilled his best hopes, in preserving much respect for order amidst
the bustling events that have lately happened in Paris, and his
coadjutors seem entitled to the highest praise for the firmness and
discretion with which they have acted; but the _people_ have earned even
more glory by their moderation, if it be possible, than by their valor.
The result is wonderful indeed. A complete revolution effected in less
than ten days, and extending all over France, and the people settled
down into their usual avocations in peace! the tri-colored flag floats
everywhere in the breeze; the Marseillaise Hymn is sung in the theatres;
liberty is regained, and licentiousness has not followed in its train!
“In August the deputies proceeded in a body and on foot, escorted by the
National Guard, to the Palais Royal, to offer the throne, which they had
declared vacant, to the Duke of Orleans. To the declaration of the
Chamber, read by M. Lafitte, in the presence of the Duke of Orleans, he
thus replied:—
“‘I receive, with profound emotion, the declaration you present to me. I
look upon it as the expression of the national will, and it appears to
me in harmony with the principles I have professed all my life. Filled
with recollections which always have induced me to wish that it might
never be my destiny to ascend a throne, exempt from ambition, and
accustomed to the peaceful life which I have led in the midst of my
family, I cannot conceal from you all the emotions which agitate my
heart on this most important occasion; but there is one that overmasters
them all, and that is love of my country. I feel what it requires of me,
and I will do it.’
“After this reply, delivered with much emotion, General La Fayette
taking the arm of the Duke of Orleans, said in a loud voice:—
“‘This is such a prince as I desired.’
“The peers speedily followed the deputies, and waited upon the ‘citizen
king,’ as they called him.
“The deputies having declared the throne vacant by the flight of the
king and his family, proceeded to make certain alterations in the
constitution, which, having passed through all necessary forms, and been
accepted also by the Duke of Orleans, he took the oaths as king of
France, on the 9th of August, and was proclaimed accordingly.”
Charles X., at different periods of his reign, having, for the purpose
of obtaining a majority in the House of Peers, created many new peers,
the following proposition was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies by M.
“All nominations and creations of peers made under the reign of Charles
X. are declared void and of none effect. The 27th article of the charter
(giving the king power to create peers) shall be subjected to a new
discussion in the sittings of 1831.”
These propositions being before the house, General La Fayette having
ascended the tribune, amidst the most profound silence, thus spoke:—
“In mounting this tribune for the purpose of expressing an opinion
opposed to that of many friends of liberty, I am not yielding to a
momentary impulsion, nor am I courting popularity, which I never
preferred to my duty. (Cheers.) The republican principles which I have
professed throughout my life, and under all governments, do not prevent
me from being the defender of a constitutional throne raised by the
people. The same sentiments animate me under the present circumstances,
when it is judged desirable to raise to a constitutional throne, the
prince lieutenant-general, and I am bound to avow that this choice the
more perfectly fulfils my wishes the more I become acquainted with him.
(Cheers.) I do not partake in the opinion entertained by many of my
fellow-citizens as to an hereditary peerage. (Hear! hear!) A disciple of
the American school, I have always conceived it to be necessary that the
legislative body should be divided into two chambers, differently
constituted; but I have never been able to comprehend how people could
be hereditary legislators and judges. I have always thought that the
introduction of aristocracy into public institutions was mixing them
with a bad ingredient. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that I find
you occupied with a project that meets the sentiments I have professed
throughout my life, and which I only now repeat. My conscience forced me
to make this repetition, and declare that I hope shortly to see the
hereditary peerage suppressed. My fellow-citizens will do me the justice
to acknowledge that if I have always been the upholder of liberty, I
have at the same time been the supporter of public order.”
General La Fayette was everywhere received as a kind father. He had many
able coadjutors in the great work performed, especially Lafitte and
The total number killed in Paris during the three days’ fighting in this
revolution of 1830 was about eight thousand. La Fayette and his son
devoted themselves with great kindness to the wounded, encouraging the
surgeons and personally bestowing attentions and favors upon the
The following letters written by La Fayette to various friends at this
time will give a clear and concise idea of his opinions regarding this
political upheaval in France.
The first two were addressed by La Fayette to General Bernard of
Washington; the last, to a gentlemen in New York.
“PARIS, Sept. 8, 1830.
“MY DEAR GENERAL: Abundance of news must have reached you through the
periodical papers. Nevertheless, I think it will be pleasing to you to
receive some written details. You will have received some publications
relating to our memorable week. You will also have read an account of
the review by the king in the Champ de Mars, for the distribution of our
tri-colored flags to the National Guard. The ceremony was as splendid as
that of the federation of 1790. We had five hundred thousand spectators,
and every one was struck with the celerity with which in less than three
weeks we have organized nearly fifty thousand men of National
Guard—armed, equipped, and filing off like veteran troops. The king
handed successively to the general commander-in-chief the forty-eight
tri-colored flags, each surmounted with a cock in lieu of the old
imperial eagle, with this motto, ‘Liberty—Public Order—Days of 27th,
28th, 29th, July, 1830.’ The commander-in-chief took himself the new
oath, and had it administered to the National Guard. The colors were
entrusted to flag-bearers selected from among the mechanics who had
distinguished themselves in fighting in the barricades. The National
Guard are organizing throughout France. We have already fourteen
thousand men for the two arrondissements only of St. Denis and Seaux.
“I send to you the order of the day which I addressed to the National
Guard of the kingdom. Next week a law will be proposed for the final
organization of the French National Guard. All the citizens will compose
the stationary guard; the young men the movable National Guard. From
seven to eight hundred thousand fighting men will thus form good corps
of reserve.
“You know that some disturbances have taken place in Belgium; they will
end, I think, by the separation of that country from Holland, under the
same sovereign. We have not interfered except to signify that we shall
not suffer that any foreign army should exercise any right of
interference, leaving the nations to manage their own affairs according
to their will, but not willing that other governments shall interfere to
oppress our neighbors.
“I send you the exact account of what has taken place in the Chamber
relative to South America and Mexico. You will see that I took care to
mark the order of the recognitions already made, and to give to our dear
United States the share which belongs to them.
“Our republican throne has been recognized immediately by the English
government, and will soon, I hope, be recognized by the other powers.
You will readily suppose that I did not say that _this was the best of
republics_. I do not think so; and the constitution of the United States
appears to me far preferable. But I believe we have done for the best in
the present circumstances; and have prepared under a popular throne all
republican institutions. There are not in France patriots more sincere
and enlightened than the king and his son. I knew them but little
before, but they have inspired me with the greatest friendship and
confidence; and this sentiment is reciprocal.
“This, my dear general, is the point at which we have arrived. I do not
mention to you some slight disturbances or errors among the mechanics.
There is not in all this any ill intention, and reasoning alone has been
sufficient to persuade them. After all, most of these slight disorders
of which our adversaries have made so much have been instigated by
disguised enemies; and there have been no real troubles but at Nismes;
and the zeal of the neighboring National Guard and that of the line,
under the tri-colored flag, soon repressed them.
“Receive the new assurances of my old and constant friendship.
“_To the National Guards of the Kingdom of France,
Sept. 1, 1830._
“The general commanding-in-chief the National Guard of the kingdom,
called by the confidence of the people to the head of the public forces
in the glorious days of our late revolution, has thought it his duty,
notwithstanding his refusal in 1790, to accept under the new state of
things the important command conferred on him by the confidence of a
patriot monarch, himself placed by the wishes of his fellow-citizens on
the constitutional throne of the king of the French. But in
consideration of the importance and multiplicity of his duties, the
general commander-in-chief must necessarily rely (of which he has,
indeed, the happy certainty) on the patriotism, upon the zeal, and, he
may be permitted to add, the personal affection of his brothers in arms
throughout the vast extent of our brave and free country of France.
“After forty years of memorable vicissitudes the old tri-colored flag of
’89, the flag of the national sovereignty, of liberty, and of public
order, has just been gloriously, generously, and forever re-established;
around this standard has rallied, with a spontaneous movement, and will
soon be legally organized, all France in arms.
“The French people, profiting by the lessons of experience, by the
progress of light and civic intelligence, and appreciating the glory and
benefits of our political storms, casting off all that deprived their
first impulses of their purity, feel much the more necessity for general
and personal security, now that the happy division of property and the
advancement of industry render it more and more necessary. Filled with
respect and good will for the rights of other nations, and their bosoms
glowing with ardor for all the rights, without distinction, of
individual, civil and religious liberty, they cannot but maintain with
firmness, and if it be necessary defend with energy, their own rights of
independence, liberty, of legal order, the laws to which they have
consented, and the popular throne which they have founded.
“It is the National Guard to whom these great duties are particularly
confided; and as no foreign influence can prevail against the French
nation, proud as she is of her retrospections, of her strength, and of
the great and virtuous example she has just presented to the world,
holding in her hands the sacred arms of liberty; so neither can any
domestic intrigue, any of those temptations to disorder which the odious
tactics of our adversaries formerly rendered so oppressive, now triumph
over the spirit of wisdom, moderation, and at the same time of energy
and persevering patriotism, which now characterize France as it is, and
which was so admirably evinced by her brave men during _the three great
“The general commander-in-chief, ready at all times to assist his
fellow-soldiers with all the efforts of his devotion and of his personal
independence, communicates to them this day some provisionary
instructions through the medium of the inspector-general, whose long
experience has greatly aided his labors.
“There will be no delay by the government in the presentation of a law
for the final organization of the National Guard. It will have for its
basis the law of ’91, and especially the vital principle of election by
the citizens; but this is only an additional motive for forwarding at
present with all our zeal the spontaneous movement which does honor and
gives strength to France, and which presents her such as she ought to be
to her friends, and, in case of need, to her enemies.
“PARIS, Aug. 17, 1830.
“How much I should wish to be with you, my dear general, to rejoice
together in the result of this last glorious and virtuous revolution.
The people alone have achieved the whole; they have shown themselves as
great in the victory as daring and intrepid in the struggle. Bodies of
courageous mechanics were led by young students, and chiefly by pupils
of the Polytechnique School, who were far more admirable than I can
“Our losses, during these three bloody days, have been great; those of
our adversaries have been considerable. No sooner was a regiment engaged
in the streets to carry off the barricades than new ones were thrown up
in the rear. The attacks on the Louvre, Tuileries, and Hôtel de Ville
were made with incredible valor. Levasseur was severely wounded, but we
shall save him. I was, on the morning of the third day, established in
the Hôtel de Ville, which had been taken and retaken; and the tricolored
flag was waving over our heads. The king having halted at Rambouillet
with ten or twelve thousand men, I ordered from fifteen to twenty
thousand Parisians to march against him; the enemy retreated. Afterwards
the Count d’Artois and family reached the port of embarkation, under the
escort of our commissaries, without receiving the least insult during
their journey through the French territory.
“The National Guard is organizing throughout France. The king we have
elected is patriotic and popular. I would not say, as has been reported,
that this is the best of republics, but I do say that it is a very
republican monarchy, susceptible of improvement.
“Adieu, my dear general. I love you, and embrace you, with all my heart.
The following letter was written by La Fayette to a friend in New York:—
“We might have declared a pure republic; but not without a great
division of opinion, nor without danger both internal and external. And
therefore the republicans generously preferred uniting themselves to the
moderate monarchists (perhaps the majority of the nation), on condition
that it should be a _republican_ monarchy. The Duke of Orleans was
chosen by the Chamber of Deputies in the name of the people, who seem
well satisfied; and having recognized the principle that he derives his
title from the will of the people, Louis Philippe reascends a popular
“I did not say, as some newspapers related it, ‘that this was the best
of republics.’ I declared, on the contrary, my doctrines, which are of
the American school; but I perceive that, under all the circumstances,
this is the best thing to be done; and from what I have since seen of
the new king and his family, I am confirmed in the opinion that we have
done right.
“We have now entered a progressive career of legislation, which will
lead to a very liberal state of things.
“Thus the cause of the people—the liberty of Europe—has made in three
days an immense stride, and this new revolution has sustained a
character for disinterestedness, grandeur of soul, and generosity, which
places what are called the lowest orders of the people in the first rank
of French society. France is now her own sovereign, and every day
confirms her title.
The following are extracts of a letter of the Parisian correspondent of
the London _Morning Chronicle_. Its date is the 8th of August.
“I think we shall have peace! But believe me, that question depends on
the voice of one man—and that man is General La Fayette. If, on Friday
night, when twelve thousand of the bravest and most intelligent of the
youths of Paris marched down to the Chamber of Deputies to demand that
there should be no hereditary peerage, and, in fact, no Chamber of
Peers; if, I say, at that moment General La Fayette had said to those
brave young men, ‘Yes, my friends, we will have a republic,’ before
twenty-four hours France would have been declared a republic by the
people. I do not say by the peers—by the deputies—by the bankers—by the
rich merchants, or men of property; but I do say, by the people. And
even yesterday if, in the Chamber of Deputies, when La Fayette rose to
address the house, when there was the silence of death, and when each
one dared not to breathe till they heard some words from the republican
hero—if then La Fayette had said, ‘Gentlemen, I protest against your
proceedings. France shall have a charter—but shall not have a king,’
France would have had no king, and France would have maintained her
position though millions should have been slain. It is to General La
Fayette that the Duke of Orleans owes the crown, which to-morrow will be
placed upon his head. The Royalists and Ultra-royalists were prepared,
to a man, to support the Republican party.”

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Another correspondent of the London papers pays La Fayette the following
“Amidst various admirable plans and measures, I must direct your
attention above all to a proposition of abolishing the punishment of
death. La Fayette gave a distinguishing proof of the real nature of his
spirit by seconding, in a time of revolution, the abolishment of this
penalty. He is no dealer in men’s lives—no hunter after blood. He saved
Louis XVI. from the fury of a mob, Charles X. from destruction, the
state from anarchy; and now he would even protect from ignominious death
the authors of those fatal ordinances which have produced the shedding
of so much blood, and left so many to mourn over the loss of husband,
father, and friend. France is erecting to La Fayette a splendid
monument: but posterity will do more; our grandchildren will call him
the saviour of the liberties of France.”
In the Chamber of Deputies, on the 21st of August, a proposition being
submitted to abolish the punishment of death (on which no decision had
been made), General La Fayette rose and said:—
“I conceive, differing with my honorable colleague, that the abolition
of the penalty of death is a principle, or rather a sentiment, that
ought to be at once examined. It is no new idea that is now laid before
you—the abolition of this penalty has been called for at every period;
it was demanded by some highly respectable members of the Constituent
Assembly, by Adrian Duport; it was demanded by the father of our
honorable friend, the author of the commentary on Montesquieu. How
deeply have we all to regret that it had not been abolished ages back!
It is in the present day loudly called for in the United States of
America. From this, gentlemen, you will perceive that many have formed a
decided opinion upon the subject. For my own part, I shall demand the
abolition of the penalty of death until I am convinced that human
judgment is infallible. What frightful use of this penalty was made
during our former revolution. The reflection fills my soul with horror!
No man, I believe, ever made use of it during those disastrous times,
without afterwards wishing it were possible he could redeem with his own
blood the condemnations in which he had joined. But our present
revolution has a character of generosity as well as of patriotism, and
it would adorn its commencement were we to consummate this act of
humanity. I, therefore, vote for its being taken into consideration.”
Extract of a letter from Paris, dated Aug. 10, to the editor of the
Boston _Sentinel_:—
“General La Fayette can now be ranked with Washington without
exaggeration. His late conduct has capped the climax of his glory. Few
people at present realize the degree to which he is entitled to our
admiration. When, on the first day of the contest, I was told that he
had come to Paris from La Grange to accept the dangerous post of leader
of the armed people, I could hardly credit the news. Who could then have
divined the issue? And had it not proved successful, think of the
terrible consequence to the old veteran. To escape to America with his
life was the utmost he could have hoped in such an event. But he not
only accepted the command, but did not fear to appear on horseback in
military dress, in various parts of Paris, in prosecution of his arduous
“But his fearless devotion to the cause of liberty constitutes the
smallest part of his claim to our admiration. It is his magnanimity, his
wonderful disinterestedness, and the purity of his patriotism that rank
him with Washington. It must be recollected that he is an avowed
republican, that he has always desired a republic for France. And yet
the new king, Louis Philippe, is indebted to him personally for his
crown. Yes, I am confident of this extraordinary fact. It is not
generally known that a republic would certainly have been established,
of which La Fayette might have been at the head, had it not been for his
noble and disinterested preference of his country to himself. But he
reflected that a republic, at this crisis, would be at the risk of
foreign or civil war, or both. He was not afraid of either. He knew that
he and the people could maintain a republic against both foreign and
domestic foes.
“But he knew, also, that the Duke of Orleans would make a ‘republican
king,’ and at the same time not endanger the public tranquillity. The
magnanimous La Fayette then did not hesitate to give the duke his
support, without which he never could have reigned. This I gather, not
from newspapers, but from the state of the public mind expressed in
innumerable ways, and particularly when the people came so near stopping
the deliberations of the Chamber of Deputies the other day, and when
nobody could calm them but La Fayette. People now cry about the streets
medals of La Fayette, _père des Français_.”
_From the London Morning Chronicle._
“In answer to a communication as to the light in which the French people
would view the subscriptions for the sufferers at Paris, the following
letter has been received:—
“‘HÔTEL DE VILLE, Aug. 10, 1830.
“‘DEAR SIR: We have had a conference with General La Fayette on the
subject of your letter, and beg you will communicate its results to the
free men of England.
“‘We think that the cause of liberty would be essentially served if a
deputation were named at a general meeting in London to present to
General La Fayette, as commander of the National Guard, the
subscriptions for the wounded of the sufferers, and at the same time to
be the bearer of an address to the inhabitants of Paris, on the late
events. We think it would be a noble occasion for each to give evidence
to the other of their love of freedom and peace, and of their mutual
esteem and friendship. It would be a step—a great step—towards the union
of two cultivated nations; it would be a glorious example to the rest;
it would be to supersede the holy alliance of kings by the holier
alliance of the people.
“‘After the arrival of this deputation in Paris, a deputation would be
named here to be the bearers of an address to the inhabitants of London,
thanking them for their friendly exertions, and expressive of our hope
for the establishment of the extension of liberty and good government.
“‘These, my dear Bowring, are the suggestions which we respectfully
submit to the consideration of our kind friends. These we desire to be
known in England, and to the world. This is a happy moment. Let us
profit by it for the universal cause of man.
“‘An order of the day is at this moment being published, announcing to
the people of Paris what the people of London are doing in their favor.
All hearts are united in this good work. The Americans, too, are coming
“‘Now then, zealously for the good cause! and let us place the charters
of liberty beyond the race of tyrants.
“‘Yours wholly,
A Paris paper says:—
“A great many women took an active part in the combats in Paris, and
several distinguished themselves by feats of extraordinary courage. A
young and pretty girl, nineteen years of age, who, during the three
days, appeared in front of the combatants armed with a musket, acquired
such an ascendency over the citizens that they regarded her almost as
their captain. Intrepid on the field of battle, she lavished her kind
attentions on the wounded when the firing had ceased. So much heroism,
devotion, and humanity excited the enthusiasm of all who witnessed it.
On Saturday night this young girl was borne in triumph through the
streets of Paris. A great crowd accompanied her, shouting cries of joy.
In one hand she held a sword, and in the other the tricolored flag.
Lighted torches shed a brilliancy on this gay _cortège_.”
The _Niles Register_, February, 1831, thus describes the resignation of
La Fayette:—
“The sitting of the Chamber of Deputies on the 27th of December, 1830,
was numerously attended in consequence of the extraordinary degree of
interest excited by recent occurrences. The Chamber was proceeding to
the discussion of the law relative to the National Guard when La Fayette
entered, and was received with universal applause, upwards of one
hundred members going up to him and shaking his hand. The general then
went to the president, and after a short conversation with him,
addressed the Chamber as follows:—
“‘In a neighboring nation it is the custom when a citizen retires from a
distinguished office, for him to come before his fellow-citizens and
explain the cause, and I am sure the Chamber will grant me the same
favor. I have always considered that the post of commander-in-chief of
the National Guard of France was incompatible with a constitutional
monarchy, except under circumstances of the most absolute necessity. It
was this conviction that led me in 1790, when 3,000,000 of National
Guards wished to elect me their commander at the federation by 14,000
deputies, to apply to the Constituent Assembly, and urge them to issue a
decree in opposition to this desire.
“‘Such still was my opinion when the lieutenant-general of the kingdom,
who has since become our king, wished me to accept the same appointment,
and I felt myself bound to accept it, but always retaining the intention
of laying it down as soon as I was satisfied that it was no longer
necessary for me to continue to hold it; earlier if peace remained
unbroken, but at a later period had war ensued. The declared opinion of
the Chamber has hastened the period, and out of respect for it I have
not waited till the law was submitted to the other branches of the
“‘It is merely a matter of date; but I should be deeply hurt if any one
imagined—and no one who has been acquainted with me during the last
fifty-four years of my life can believe—that my conduct has been
dictated by any personal feeling. I will go further, and say that this
opinion of the Chamber has afforded me an opportunity. The high
authority with which I was invested has given umbrage which you,
gentlemen, must have heard of; and this umbrage has even been felt in
certain diplomatic circles. The cause is now at an end, and I have no
other honor than that of being one of your colleagues.
“‘One word more, gentlemen: I should not have given in my resignation,
which the king has accepted with all that goodness he has ever shown
toward me, before the crisis we have now happily gotten over was at an
end. At this time my conscientious love of public order is satisfied,
but I cannot say the same of my conscientious love of liberty. We must
all recollect the programme announced at the Hôtel de Ville,—a popular
throne supported by republican institutions. It was accepted, but we
have not all put the same construction upon it: it has not always been
interpreted by the councils of the king in the same sense in which it
was understood by me, who am more impatient than others that it should
be realized; and whatever may have been my personal independence in all
situations I feel myself at the present moment more at my ease in
discussing my opinions with you.
“‘For the rest, there are points upon which we shall always be in
accord: we shall ever be united against our enemies, whether at home or
from abroad. I still think that in the measures taken in the revolution
of July we not only did that which we verily believed was for the best,
but that we did all that was possible to be done. I am the more
convinced of this since I have become intimately acquainted with the
personage we have placed on the throne. On throwing off my uniform I
have not changed my motto, “Liberty, Public Order.”
“‘Besides, how many legal means we have of expressing our thoughts and
making our wishes known; for there is the tribune of this Chamber, and
for every citizen there is the press which has rendered the country so
many services; and then there is the peaceable mode of petitions. Having
thus yielded to my desire of laying all my sentiments before you, I
trust I shall still and ever retain your esteem and friendship.’”
“With what feelings,” says the _National Gazette_, “must the government
of Austria view the present situation of La Fayette, whom it so long
held as a malefactor in a dungeon! It is stated of Franklin that when he
signed at Paris the treaty of alliance between the United Colonies and
France, he put on the same coat which he wore when he was grossly
insulted by Widderburn and the lords of the Privy Council in London. If
La Fayette has retained the suit in which he escaped from Olmütz, he
might resume it by the side of Philip when the Austrian ambassador has
his first audience of the _citizen king_.”
_Niles Register_, November, 1830, quotes the following speech of La
Fayette in the French Chamber of Deputies:—
“At a recent sitting of the Chamber, General La Fayette made the
following remarks relative to the suppression of the slave trade. Our
readers will see that on this, as on all other occasions, he was careful
to render justice to the United States, whose character or institutions
he omits no proper opportunity of holding up to respect and admiration.
The annunciation of the minister of the marine is important as to
destroying the distinction of color.
“GENERAL LA FAYETTE. ‘I feel always ready to unite in whatever tends to
alleviate the unfortunate condition of the ancient and unhappy colony of
St. Domingo; but after the debate which has just occupied our attention
the Chamber will not be disappointed if I pass over the present question
to the situation of the colonies which are still in our possession. I
regret very much that, at the time of the Constituent Assembly, the
resolutions were not persisted in, which united the free people of color
with the other colonists, in declaring them entitled to the same rights.
I also wish that the slave trade had been rigorously interdicted, and
that a law for the gradual abolition of slavery had prevented the
misfortunes occasioned by a sudden and imprudent emancipation. And,
since, have we not had sufficient reason to lament this consular and
imperial system, which sent our best troops to perish in the sad
expedition to St. Domingo, and which caused the double outrage of
re-establishing slavery and the slave trade at a time when none but
French capital was engaged in this infamous traffic? Now, gentlemen,
after so many sacrifices and misfortunes, we find ourselves behind with
many other nations, at least in the suppression of the slave trade.
“The United States first, the English immediately afterwards, have
assimilated it with piracy, the only means of repressing it, whilst the
guilty can obtain pecuniary indemnification from those who employ them,
who, for example, send ships to St. Thomas to carry on the direct trade
for slaves. It is to avoid consuming time with special propositions and
reference to the offices, that I entreat the minister of marine, who is
present (and of whose favorable intentions in this respect I am well
aware), to communicate to us, decidedly, the determination of government
on this subject, and on the condition of the free men of color in our
“THE MINISTER OF MARINE. ‘I have the honor of stating to the Chamber
that I agree entirely in the justice and humanity of the sentiments
manifested by the illustrious general who has just descended from the
tribune. The government proposes to present to the Chamber a law which
will condemn all those to the penalties of piracy, who engage for the
future in this infamous trade for human beings. It must be acknowledged
that the trade has diminished, though, in spite of the precautions taken
by government, it still exists in a great degree. The penalties enacted
against piracy can alone suppress it entirely. Something may, at this
time, however, be mentioned honorable to France, which is, that of all
the European nations who have a maritime commerce, she is least of all
given to this odious traffic. As to the fate of the free people of the
colonies, the government acknowledges that free men can no longer exist
in different conditions; thus the legislation which will be presented to
you will give you an opportunity of consecrating this principle, that
all free men, of whatever class or color they may be, are equal in the
eyes of the law.’”
The Chamber ordered the petition to be referred to the ministers of
finance and foreign affairs.
At the sitting of the Chamber of Deputies, on the 14th of December,
1830, speaking of certain propositions concerning the National Guard, La
Fayette said:—
“I decline to enter into the question of cantons and communes. But if I
am asked if you are now to discuss whether all France shall be armed, I
answer, the question is already decided; the people did not wait in
1789, or in 1830, to deliberate, but marched against the enemy
[sensation]; we must, therefore, prepare for war, as the best means of
securing peace. We cannot hope to make all Europe in love with our
institutions; there are those who still look with a jaundiced eye upon
the accession of a citizen king to our throne.
“The revolution of Belgium, the eldest daughter of one great week, may
yet excite uneasiness. At this moment you see Poland [Hear, hear!] ready
to rival, in zeal and patriotism, the friends of liberty, not only in
France, but in all other countries [fresh movements]. Poland [Hear,
hear!] is, perhaps, upon the point of repairing the shame of the last
year of Louis XV., and the immense fault which Napoleon committed when
he neglected the occasion of restoring that fine country, after the
three divisions which had destroyed it [loud acclamations from the
“We have announced our rule to be that we will not allow other powers to
interfere, not only in our affairs, but in the affairs of other
countries. Suppose foreign powers should think proper to seize upon
Belgium, or to assist Holland; could we look on in cold blood? Certainly
not [loud cheers]. The same thing may happen on the side of Poland.
Suppose Austria, prevailed upon by Prussia, or for any selfish purpose
of her own, was to make herself a party to the quarrel in Russian
Poland—” [violent murmurs and marks of disapprobation. Several voices,
“This supposition is unreasonable.”].
M. La Fayette (turning towards General Sebastian). “I speak in the
presence of the minister of foreign affairs, who knows that the
supposition is very natural. Why not, then, place ourselves in the
fittest posture for defence?” [cheers].
La Fayette thus sums up the results obtained by the Revolution of 1830,
in a paper found among his manuscripts:—
“The victory having been entirely popular, it has baffled the
combinations of the liberal aristocracy as much as those of the
aristocratic nobility and of foreign countries.
“The dynasty of right divine has been expelled; the national sovereignty
has been not only recognized, but exercised, more clearly than it had
ever been in Europe, because, in the English Revolution of 1788, there
were applied again in England the principles of legitimacy. William III.
was elected because he was son-in-law of James II. and to avoid breaking
the line of succession: the acts were signed William and Mary.
“In the French Revolution of ’89, the national sovereignty found itself
declared in the right, but in fact had preserved the line legitimate, in
the person of Louis XVI. To-day the crown has been given in the name of
the people, and accepted as such by Louis Philippe, who is called thus
because he had in his family six predecessors of that name. He was not
saluted king only after he had signed and sworn to the conditions
imposed upon him, in the name of the people, and ratified by the
unhesitating assent of the population of Paris and of the departments.
“The National Guard have been re-established in an original institution;
arms have been given to all Frenchmen; the officers have been chosen by
the citizens, very much the same as in the United States they are
nominated by the executive power. It is certainly a militia, the most
universal and the most democratic which has ever existed.
“The liberty of the press has been rendered complete by the suppression
of obstacles which yet existed, because one can regard as already
decreed those proposed resolutions relative to printers, to libraries,
and to securities.
“The trial by jury has been applied not only to the press, but also to
other political misdemeanors, with immense advantage, and one will hear
soon of applying the jury to other questions.
“The absurdities relative to double voting have been suppressed by the
nomination of definite presidents and provisionary bureaux, by executive
power. The age required for the electors has been reduced from thirty
years to twenty-five, and for those eligible, from forty to thirty. It
is conceded in advance that the new electoral law will lower the census
as much for the electors as for those eligible, unless even that should
be entirely suppressed.
“The succession to the Chamber of Peers has received a blow from which
it cannot recover itself.
“The tri-colored flag is re-established throughout all France, and
carries into all foreign countries the love and the example of liberty.
“The municipalities, the councils of departments, chosen by the old
government from amongst the enemies of liberty, have been replaced by
elective administrations, and established as a sort of republican and
administrative federation. Behold then, in spite of hesitations,
obstacles, and delays, we have advanced thus far at present! It remains
to know what we have to do, for a complete revolution.
“1. To lower as much as we can the census of the new electoral law; even
to introduce there, if possible, such amendments as shall tend to give
an indirect participation of the representation of the people to those
who are not admitted by election.
“2. To render the administration, communal and departmental, as popular
as we can, increasing their importance and diminishing that of the
prefects who have not been commissioned by the executive power.
“3. That each Chamber of Deputies should find itself reorganized into a
large party by more than one hundred resignations, which will give to
each side a force of nearly one hundred voices; and as it will be at
present impossible to dissolve the Chamber before the end of the
session, as certain laws pertaining to the National Guard necessitate
the continuation of the actual session, it is desirable that the next
session should give to us a new Chamber; since the new law, though
imperfect, will necessarily be very much preferable to the actual law.
“There will surely be a great diminishing of the civil list, and of the
reforms appertaining to the budget. As to the rest, those of the budget
can be modified at each session. It is necessary to demand the reform of
the penal code.”
La Fayette here leaves this paper unfinished, but enough is given to
form an opinion of his ideas of political reform.
The following is from _Galigani’s Messenger_:—
“A deputation of gentlemen from Philadelphia have been received at the
Hôtel de Ville by the prefect of the Seine. The Americans presented an
address expressive of the admiration entertained by the inhabitants of
Philadelphia for the noble conduct of the Parisians during the glorious
days of July. The deputation was introduced by General La Fayette. In
the evening a grand dinner was given in honor of the occasion, at which
Mr. Rives, the American minister, returned thanks for a toast of ‘the
United States and the health of President Jackson’; in this speech Mr.
Rives addressed the company as follows:—
“‘Permit me, gentlemen, to thank you for the honor you have done my
country,—an honor, it may, at least, claim to merit by its cordial
sentiments for France. It was my good fortune, gentlemen, to be an
eye-witness of your glorious revolution of July, and to see, with
unbounded admiration, how a population—brave and generous—can be
forbearing after having been subjected to the most terrific trials; and
what moderation it can exercise in the midst of a victory purchased by
so many noble sacrifices. But it was not necessary to have been a
personal witness of your revolution to admire and appreciate it. At the
distance of more than a thousand leagues beyond the Atlantic Ocean it
has been felt and appreciated in all its noble grandeur.
“‘The three memorable days have been hailed by every people as the
triumph of human liberty; but with us, they have given rise to the same
rejoicings as our national victories; we have celebrated your 29th July,
as we celebrate our own 4th of July, with illuminations, processions,
salutes, and all the demonstrations of patriotic exultation. This is a
proof that the ties which formerly connected the two nations in a
glorious alliance, still retain all their moral force; the evidence of a
sympathy and fidelity to ancient recollections, which, I hope, will
insure their cordial union under the auspices of an enlightened and
upright king, whose constitutional throne and noble character present
the best of guarantees at the same time for his own people and for
foreign powers. I have the honor to propose a toast, which emanates from
the bottom of all American hearts—“The king of the French, and the
French nation.”’”
We cannot resist adding an extract from the animated speech of General
La Fayette upon this occasion:—
“Here I find, happily mingled together, all the recollections—all the
sentiments and feelings of my life. I am surrounded by the grandsons of
my early American companions, the sons of my comrades of ’89, and my new
brethren in arms of 1830. In this Hôtel de Ville, twice the cradle of
the freedom of Europe, have this day been presented the resolutions of
the city of Philadelphia—of that city where, on the 4th of July, 1776,
was proclaimed the declaration of independence, the date of a new era of
liberty for the two worlds—of a liberty that, for the first time, was
founded upon the genuine rights of the human race.
“Five years ago, at the commemoration of a great anniversary at Boston,
on proposing as a toast, ‘The emancipation of the American hemisphere,’
which had been effected in the course of half a century, I prophesied
that before the next fiftieth anniversary came round, the toast would
be, ‘The emancipation of Europe.’ May this prediction be verified! A
disciple of the American school, as you all well know,—and were I
capable of forgetting it, there are many who would remind me of it,—it
is most natural that I should drink to the memory of my teacher—my
adopted father: I propose to you, ‘The memory of Washington.’”