Marshal MacMahon, the Duke of Magenta, was of Irish descent, his ancestors having followed James II. into exile, and distinguished themselves at the Battle of the Boyne. Their descendant, Patrice (or Patrick), the subject of this sketch, was the sixteenth of seventeen children.

He was born when French glory was at its height, under the First Empire, in the summer of 1806. When he was seventeen he was sent to the military school at Saint-Cyr. There his Irish dash and talent soon won him renown. In Algeria he acquired fame and fortune and the Cross of the Legion of Honor. In 1830 he went to the siege of Antwerp, at the time when the French insisted on promoting a revolution in Belgium, and the moment that enterprise was over, he retired to Algeria. At twenty-five he was a captain and had distinguished himself at the siege of Constantine, fighting side by side with the Duc de Nemours and that other French officer of Irish descent, Marshal Niel. At forty-four he was a general of division, and had seen twenty-seven years of service. The Arabs called him the Invulnerable.

He went to the Crimean War, and there led the attack on the Malakoff, holding his post until the place was won. Devoted to his profession, he was diffident in society. He was named a senator by Napoleon III. after his return from the Crimea, but declined to take his seat, refusing at the same time some other proffered honors. He was sent back to Algeria at his own request, and stayed there, fighting the Arabs, for five years. Then, returning to Paris, he took his seat in the Senate, where he opposed some of the arbitrary decrees of the emperor.[1]

[Footnote 1: Temple Bar, "Courts of the three Presidents, Thiers, MacMahon, and Grevy," 1884.]

In the Italian War in 1859 he fought with distinguished bravery, and on the battlefield of Magenta was made a Marshal of France and Duke of Magenta. After being ambassador at Berlin he was sent to bear the emperor's congratulations to King William on his accession, and to attend his coronation. He was again sent to Algeria as its governor-general. He had already married Marie, daughter of the Duc de Castries. She was very rich, and connected with some of the most opulent bankers in Vienna.

Marshal MacMahon came back to France at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, and was given the command of the First Army Corps; but the emperor insisted on commanding his own armies as general-in-chief. The day before the surrender at Sedan, Marshal MacMahon had been badly wounded, and had to resign his command to General Ducrot. Ducrot being also wounded, it became the sad duty of General Wimpffen to sign the capitulation. Marshal MacMahon was taken as a prisoner to Wiesbaden, where he remained till the close of the war. He got back to Paris forty-eight hours before the outbreak of the Commune. A commander was needed for the forces of France. M. Thiers chose Marshal MacMahon, who with tears in his eyes thanked him for the opportunity of retrieving his lost reputation and doing service for France. After he had collected his army, which it took some weeks to bring back from Germany, to equip, and to reorganize, his men fought desperately for seven days, pushing their way step by step into the heart of the capital, till on May 28, 1871, the marshal addressed a proclamation to France, informing Frenchmen that the Commune was at an end. He then passed out of public sight, eclipsed by the superior radiance of Thiers and Gambetta. But as time went on, and it was determined by the Monarchists to coalesce with the extreme Radicals and get rid of M. Thiers, who was laboring to establish a law and order Republic, the newspapers of both the Conservative and Radical parties began to exalt the marshal's merits at the expense of "that sinister old man," M. Thiers. After six months of this trumpet-blowing by the opposition Press, the idea was planted in the minds of Frenchmen that Marshal MacMahon was the statesman who might bring France out of all her difficulties.

It was ascertained by the Monarchists that Marshal MacMahon would accept the presidency if it were offered him, and would consider himself a stop-gap until such time as France should make up her mind whether the Comte de Chambord or some one else should be her king.

The attack on M. Thiers was then organized. M. Thiers was defeated. He sent in his resignation, and it was accepted by a small majority in the Chamber. A moment after, Marshal MacMahon was proposed as his successor, and immediately elected (May 24, 1873).

At this time the parties in the French Chamber were seven, and their policy was for two or more of them to combine for any temporary object. Legitimists, Orleanists, and Bonapartists formed the Right; Anarchists, Red Republicans, and decided Republicans formed the Left; while the Centre was made up of men of moderate opinions of all parties who were willing to accept an orderly and stable government of any kind. This party may be said to represent to the present hour the prevailing state of public feeling in France.

The three parties on the Left quarrelled fiercely among themselves; the three parties on the Right did the same. Both Left and Right, however, were eager to rally the Centre to their side. The coalitions, hatreds, and misunderstandings of these seven parties constitute for eighteen years almost the entire history of the Third Republic.

In 1873 the Monarchists, - that is, the three parties on the Right - were stronger than the combined parties on the Left, but not so strong if the Moderates of the Centre voted with the Left Republicans. Again, if the Legitimists, Orleanists, and the Centre should unite, and the Bonapartists should go over to the Left, the Left would be the stronger.

The Duc de Broglie, an excellent man, grandson of Madame de Stael, was made President MacMahon's prime minister. So far the Monarchists had prospered. They had command of the president, the Assembly, and the army. These were all prepared to accept Henri V., provided he would retreat from the position he had taken up in 1871, consent to become a constitutional sovereign, give up his White Flag, and accept the Tricolor. The Monarchists appointed a Committee of Nine to negotiate this matter with the prince at Froehsdorf; but Marshal MacMahon gave them this warning: "If the White Flag is raised against the Tricolor, the chassepots will go off of themselves, and I cannot answer for order in the streets or for discipline in the army."

With great difficulty the nine succeeded in procuring an assurance from the Comte de Chambord that he would leave the question of the flag to be decided in concert with the Assembly after his restoration. Meantime he came to Versailles and remained hidden in the house of one of his supporters. Everybody urged him to accept the conditions on which alone he could reign, and fulfil the hopes of his faithful followers. They implored him to ascend the throne as a constitutional sovereign, and to accept the Tricolor, in deference to the wishes of the people and his friends.

He passed an entire night in miserable indecision, walking up and down his friend's dining-room, debating with himself whether he would give way. It had been arranged that the next day he should present himself suddenly in the Assembly, be hailed with acclamation by his supporters, and be introduced by the marshal-president himself as Henri Cinq. The building was to be guarded by faithful troops, the telegraph was prepared to flash the news through France, the very looms at Lyons were weaving silks brocaded with fleurs de lys. But Henri V. could not bring himself to comply. He fled away from Versailles before dawn. "He is an honest man," said M. Thiers, "and will not put his flag in his pocket." A few days later he published at Salzburg a letter in which he protested against the pressure his friends had brought to bear on him. "Never," he said, "will I become a revolutionary king," by which he meant a king who reigned under a constitution; never, he protested, would he sacrifice his honor to the exigencies of parties; "and," he concluded, "never will I disclaim the standard of Arques and of Ivry!"

"The count," said an English newspaper, "seems to have forgotten that Arques and Ivry were Protestant victories."

"My person," continued the count, "is nothing; my principle is everything. I am the indispensable pilot, the only man capable of guiding the vessel into port, because for this I have mission and authority."

Thus ended all chances for Henri V. The Orleans princes, having concluded a compact with him as his heirs, felt themselves bound in honor to refuse to accept any compromise which "the head of the family" did not approve.

It can be easily imagined how provoked and disappointed were all those who had rallied to the king's party. There remained nothing to do but to strengthen the Republic and to provide it with a permanent constitution. A Committee of Thirty was appointed to draw up the document. The constitution was very conservative. It has now been in force nineteen years, but it has never worked smoothly, and the object of the extreme Republicans, who have clamored for "revision," has been to eliminate its conservative elements and make it Red Republican. It is impossible for a people who change their government so often to have much respect or love for any constitution.

The Marshal-Duke of Magenta had accepted the presidency without any great desire to retain it; nevertheless, he established his household on a semi-royal footing, as though he intended, as some thought, that there should be at least a temporary court, to prepare the way for what might be at hand. M. Thiers had been a bourgeois president; the marshal was a grand seigneur. M. Thiers' servants had been clothed in black; the marshal's wore gay liveries of scarlet plush, and gray and silver. When M. Thiers took part in any public ceremony he drove in a handsome landau with a mounted escort of Republican Guards, and his friends (he never called them his suite) followed as they pleased in their own carriages. But the marshal's equipages were painted in three shades of green, and lined with pearl-gray satin. They were drawn by four gray horses, with postilions and outriders. To see M. Thiers on business was as easy as it is to see the President at the White House. Anybody could be admitted on sending a letter to his secretary. To journalists he was always accessible, believing himself still to belong to their profession. But to approach the marshal was about as hard as to approach a king, and he hated above all things newspaper writers.

In 1873 the Shah of Persia came to Paris, and the marshal entertained him magnificently. He gave him a torch-light procession of soldiers, a gala performance at the Grand Opera, and a banquet in the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles. The Parisians regretted that the visit had not been made in M. Thiers' time, when society might have been amused by stories of how the omniscient little president had instructed the shah, through an interpreter, as to Persian history and the etymology of Oriental languages; but society had a good story connected with the visit, after all. During the state banquet at Versailles the shah turned to the Duchess of Magenta, and asked her, in a French sentence some one had taught him for the occasion, why her husband did not make himself emperor.

The marshal was content to hold his place as president, and the Duc de Broglie governed for him, except in anything relating to military affairs. On these the marshal always had his way.

The Duc de Broglie's government, which was all in the interest of the monarchical principle, became distrusted and unpopular. In one year twenty-one Republicans and six Bonapartists gained seats in the Assembly, while the Orleanist and Legitimist parties gained not one. By 1874 the cause of royalty in France was at a low ebb. In this year - a year after the downfall of M. Thiers - the Duc de Broglie was defeated in the Chamber on some measure of small importance; but his defeat turned him summarily out of office. The Left Centre - that is, the Republicans from conviction - was the strongest of the seven parties. The Republic seemed established on a basis of law and order.

According to the constitution, the president was chosen for seven years, with the chance of re-election; the Chamber of Deputies was elected for seven years by universal suffrage, but every year one third of its members had to retire into private life or stand for a new election. The Senate was chosen by a complicated arrangement, - partly by the Chamber, partly by a sort of electoral college, the members of which were drawn from the councils of departments, the arrondissements, and the municipalities of cities. As Gambetta said: "So chosen, it could not be a very democratic assemblage."

"Arrondissement," in the political language of our Southern States, would be translated electoral districts either in town or country. In the Northern States it would mean districts for the cities, townships in the country.

The Speaker, or President of the Chamber, at Tours, at Bordeaux, and at Versailles, until a month before the downfall of M. Thiers, had been the immaculately respectable M. Jules Grevy, who had entered public life in 1848. He had been deposed during the period when the Monarchists had strength and felt sure of the throne for Henri V., and he had been replaced by a M. Buffet. It was M. Buffet who became prime minister on the downfall of the Duc de Broglie. Marshal MacMahon by no means relished being governed by a cabinet composed of men of more advanced republican opinions than his own. But it is useless to go deeper into the parliamentary squabbles of this period.

Then began the quarrel of which we have read so often in Associated Press telegrams, - the dispute concerning the scrutin de liste and the scrutin d'arrondissement. "Scrutin" means ballot; "scrutin de liste" means that electors might choose any Frenchman as their candidate; "scrutin d'arrondissement," that they must confine their choice to some man living in the district for which he wished to stand. The Left disapproved the scrutin d'arrondissement, which gave too much scope, it said, for local interests to have weight over political issues. In our own country local interests are provided for by State legislatures, and in elections for Congress the scrutin d'arrondissement is adopted.

On the last day of December, 1875, the National Assembly was dissolved. Confused, uninteresting, factious as it had been on points of politics, it had at least taught Frenchmen something of parliamentary tactics and the practical system of compromise. The American government is said to be based on compromise. In France, "all or nothing" had been the cry of French parties from the beginning.

The leader of the Left was now Gambetta, who managed matters with discretion and in a spirit of compromise. From this policy his immediate followers have been called "opportunists," because they stood by, watching the course of events, ready to promote their own plans at every opportunity.

The new Assembly proved much too republican to please the marshal. In every way his situation perplexed and worried him. He was not a man of eminent ability, and had never been trained to politics. He had been used to govern as a soldier. His head may have been a little turned by the flatteries so freely showered on him before his election, and he had come to entertain a belief that he was indispensable to France. He saw himself the protector of order against revolutionary passions, and conceived himself to be adored as the sole hope of the people. "Believing this, he could hardly have been expected to conform to the simple formulas which govern the councils of constitutional kings." Moreover, behind the marshal was his friend the Duc de Broglie, "now counselling compromise and now resistance, but always meditating a sudden blow in favor of monarchy."

By the close of 1876 it became so evident that the government of France could not be carried on upon strictly conservative principles that even the Duc de Broglie advised the marshal to form a Cabinet from the Left, under the prime ministership of M. Jules Simon. This gentleman had been one of the five Jules's in the Committee of Defence in 1870. He was an upright man, very liberal in his opinions, and philosophic in his tendencies, which made him especially unacceptable to Marshal MacMahon.

Simon formed a ministry, which governed, with perpetual parliamentary disputes, till May 16, 1877. On that day Marshal MacMahon sent a letter to his prime minister, telling him that he did not appear to have sufficient support in the Chamber to carry on the government, and reproaching him with his Radical tendencies. Of course the minister and his colleagues at once resigned. The marshal then dissolved the Chamber, and appealed to the people, placing the Duc de Broglie ad interim at the head of affairs.

In spite of all the marshal and his friends could do to secure a Conservative majority in the new Chamber, it was largely and strongly Republican. There was no help for it; as Gambetta said, the marshal must either se soumettre, ou se demettre, - choose submission or dismission.

He had a passing thought of again dissolving the unruly Chamber, and governing by the Senate alone. He found, however, that the country did not consider him indispensable, and was prepared to put M. Thiers in his place if he resigned.

But M. Thiers did not live to receive that proof of his country's gratitude. He died, as we have seen, in the summer of 1877, and the next choice of the Republican party was M. Jules Grevy.

For two years longer the marshal held the reins of government, but he resigned on being required to sign a resolution changing the generals who commanded the four army corps. "In a letter full of dignity," says M. Gabriel Monod, "and which appeared quite natural on the part of a soldier more concerned for the interests of the army than for those of politics, he tendered his resignation. The two Chambers met together, and in a single sitting, without noise or disturbance, M. Jules Grevy was elected, and proclaimed president of the French Republic for seven years."

It is said that in 1830, when Charles X. published his ordinances and placarded his proclamation on the walls of Paris, a young law-student, who was tearing down one of them, was driven off with a kick by one of the king's officers. The officer was Patrice MacMahon; the law-student Jules Grevy.

M. Grevy was pre-eminently respectable. He was born in the Jura mountains, Aug. 15, 1813. His father was a small proprietor. Diligence and energy rather than brilliancy distinguished the young Jules in his college career. When his college life ended, he went up to Paris and studied for the Bar. MacMahon's kick roused his pugnacity. He went home, took down an old musket, and joined the insurgents, leading an attack upon some barracks where the fighting was severe. The Revolution having ended in a constitutional monarchy, he went into a lawyer's office, and plodded on in obscurity for eighteen years.

In 1848 he rendered services to the Provisional Government, and the farmers of his district in the Jura elected him their deputy. He went into the Chamber as an Advanced Republican, and voted for the banishment of the Orleans family, for a republic without a president, and for other extreme measures. Before long he was elected vice-president of the Chamber.

Then came the Empire, and M. Grevy went back to his law-books. He and his brother must have prospered at the Bar, for in 1851 they had houses in Paris, in which after the coup d'etat Victor Hugo and his friends lay concealed.

When the emperor attempted constitutional reforms, in 1869, Grevy was again elected deputy from the Jura. He acted with dignity and moderation, though he voted always with the advanced party. Gambetta he personally disliked, having an antipathy to his dictatorial ways. When the National Assembly met at Bordeaux to decide the fate of France, Grevy was made its Speaker, or president; but when the coup d'etat in favor of Henri V. was meditated, he was got rid of beforehand, after he had presided for two turbulent years over an Assembly distracted and excited. Everyone respected M. Grevy. There was very little of the typical Frenchman in his composition. He was of middle height, rather stout, with a large bald, well-shaped head. He was no lover of society, but was a diligent worker, and his favorite amusements were billiards and the humble game of dominoes. His wife was the good woman suited to such a husband; but his daughter, his only child, was considered by Parisian society pretentious and a blue-stocking. She married, after her father's elevation to the presidency, M. Daniel Wilson, a Frenchman, in spite of his English name. M. Grevy's Eli-like toleration of the sins of his daughter's husband caused his overthrow.

In Marshal MacMahon's time there were two points on which he as president insisted on having his own way; that is, anything relating to army affairs, or to the granting civilians the cross of the Legion of Honor. He did not object to the decoration of civilians, but he insisted upon knowing the antecedents of the gentlemen recommended for the distinction. Well would it have been for M. Grevy had he followed the example of his predecessor. The marshal would never give the cross to a man whom he knew to be a free-thinker. His reply to such applications always was: "If he is not a Christian, what does he want with a cross?"

It is said that in 1877, when the marshal thought of resigning rather than accepting such an advanced Republican as M. Jules Simon as chief of his Cabinet, he sent for M. Grevy, and asked him point-blank: "Do you want to become president of the Republic?" "I am not in the least ambitious for that honor," replied M. Grevy. "If I were sure you would be elected in my place, I would resign," continued the marshal; "but I do not know what would happen if I were to go." "My strong advice to you is not to resign," said M. Grevy; "only bring this crisis to an end by choosing your ministers out of the Republican majority, and you will be pleased with yourself afterwards for having done your duty."

"Well, you are an honest man, M. Grevy; I wish there were more like you," said the marshal; and having shaken hands with M. Grevy, he dismissed him, though without promising to follow his advice. He reflected on it that night, however, and adopted it the next morning. But when advised to take Gambetta for his minister, he replied: "I do not expect my ministers to go to mass with me or to shoot with me; but they must be men with whom I can have some common ground of conversation, and I cannot talk with ce monsieur-la." Indeed, Gambetta was often shy and awkward in social intercourse, seldom giving the impression in private life of the powers of burning eloquence with which he could in public move friend or foe. Nor had M. Grevy been by any means always in accord with the fiery Southerner. At Tours he objected to Gambetta's measures as wholly unconstitutional. "You are one of those men," retorted Gambetta, "who expect to make omelettes without breaking the eggs." "You are not making omelettes, but a mess," retorted M. Grevy.

Both the marshal and his successor were sportsmen and gave hunting-parties, those of the marshal being as much in royal style as possible. M. Grevy preferred republican simplicity. When he was allowed, as Speaker of the House, to live in Marie Antoinette's apartments in the Chateau of Versailles, he might have been seen any day sauntering about the streets with his hands in his pockets, or smoking his cigar at the door of a cafe. He had a brougham, but he rarely used it. His coachman grumbled at having to follow him at a foot-pace when he took long walks into the country. His servants did not, like the marshal's, wear gray and scarlet liveries, but his household arrangements were more dignified and liberal than those of M. Thiers. He had a curious way of receiving his friends sans ceremonie. Three mornings in the week his old intimate associates, - artists, journalists, deputies, etc., - entered the presidential palace unannounced, and went straight to an apartment fitted up for fencing. There, taking masks and foils, they amused themselves, till presently M. Grevy would come in, make the tour of the room, speak a few words to each, and invite one or two of them to breakfast with him.

Both M. Grevy and Marshal MacMahon held their Cabinet meetings in that salle of the Elysee which is hung round with the portraits of sovereigns. Opposite to M. Grevy's chair hung a portrait of Queen Victoria; and it was remarked that he always gazed at her while his ministers discoursed around him. But his happiness, poor man! was in his private apartments, where his daughter, her husband, M. Wilson, and his little grandchild made part of his household.

M. Greevy gave handsome dinners at the Elysee, and Madame Grevy and Madame Wilson gave receptions, and occasionally handsome balls. Everything was done "decently and in order," much like an American president's housekeeping, but without show or brilliancy.

Having indulged in this gossip about the courts of the presidents (for much of which I am indebted to a writer in "Temple Bar"), we will turn to graver history.

When M. Grevy became president, Gambetta succeeded to his place as president of the Chamber. He did not desire the post of prime minister. His new position made him the second man in France, and seemed to point him out as the future candidate for the presidency.

M. Defavre became chief of the Cabinet, and M. Waddington Minister for Foreign Affairs. But Gambetta, whether in or out of office, was the leader of his party, and a sense of the responsibilities of leadership made him far more cautious and less fiery than he had been in former days. Yet even then he had said emphatically: "No republic can last long in France that is not based on law, order, and respect for property."

In August, 1880, however, eighteen months after M. Grevy's elevation to the presidency, Gambetta became prime minister. He flattered himself that he might do great things for France, for he believed that he could count on the support of every true Republican. He was mistaken. Three months after he accepted office, the Radicals and the Conservatives combined for his overthrow. He was defeated in the Chamber on a question of the scrutin de liste, and resigned.

Gambetta's disappointment was very great. He had counted on his popularity, and had hoped to accomplish great things. He was a man of loose morals and of declining health, for, unsuspected by himself, a disorder from which he could never have recovered, was undermining his strength; this made him irritable. On the 30th of August, 1882, he was visiting, at a country house near Paris, a lady of impaired reputation; there he was shot in the hand. The wound brought on an illness, of which he died in December. It has never been known whether the shot was fired by the woman, as was generally suspected, or whether his own pistol, as he asserted, was accidentally discharged.

He was buried at Pere la Chaise, without religious services; but his coffin was followed by vast crowds, and all Frenchmen (even his enemies, and they were many) felt that his country had lost an honest patriot and a great man.

On the centennial anniversary of the opening act of the French Revolution, a statue of Gambetta was unveiled in the Place du Carrousel, the courtyard of French kings. No future king, if any such should be, will dare to displace it. Gambetta's life was a sad one, and his death was sadder still. With all his noble qualities, - and there are few things nobler in history than the manner in which he effaced himself to give place to his rival, - how great he might have been, had he learned early to apply his power of self-restraint to lesser things!

Gambetta wanted Paris to remain the city of cities, the centre of art, fashion, and culture; and he took up the Emperor Napoleon's policy of beautifying and improving it by costly public works. "Je veux ma republique belle, bien paree" ("I want my republic beautiful and well dressed") was a sentence which brought him into trouble with the Radicals, who said he had no right to say "my republic," as if he were looking forward to being its dictator. He voted for the return of the Communists from New Caledonia, and during the last two years of his life these returned exiles never ceased to thwart him and revile him. Some one had prophesied to him that this would be the case. "Bah!" he answered, "the poor wretches have suffered enough. I might have been transported myself, had matters turned out differently in 1870."[1] Had he lived, it is probable that in 1886 he would have supplanted M. Grevy. "Nor," says one of his friends, "can it be doubted that, loving the Republic as he did, and having served it with so much devotion and honesty, he would have found in his love a power of self-restraint to keep him from courses that might have been hurtful to his own work." For the establishment of the Republic was principally "his own work." He proclaimed its birth, standing in a window of the Hotel de Ville in 1870; he gave it a baptism of some glory in the fiery, though hopeless, resistance he opposed to the German invasion; and he kept it standing at a time when it needed the support of a sturdy, vigilant champion. To the end it must be believed that he would, as far as in him lay, have preserved it from harm. Not long before his death, during a lull in his pain, which for a moment roused a hope of his recovery, he said to his doctor: "I have made many mistakes, but people must not imagine I am not aware of them; I often think over my faults, and if things go well I shall try the patience of my friends less often. On se corrige!"

[Footnote 1: Cornhill Magazine, 1883.]

When Gambetta was dead, the man who stepped into his place was Jules Ferry. He was a lawyer, born in the Vosges in 1832. He had never been personally intimate with Gambetta, but he succeeded to his political inheritance, became chief of his party, secured the majority that Gambetta never could get in the Chamber, and did all that Gambetta had failed to do.

His attention when prime minister was largely devoted to the development of French industry in colonies. He began a war in Tonquin, he annexed Tunis, and commenced aggressions in Madagascar. All of these enterprises have proved difficult, unprofitable, and wasteful of life and money.

The position of France with relation to other powers has become very isolated. Her best friend, strange to say, is Russia, - the young Republic and the absolute czar! Germany, Austria, and Italy form the alliance called the Dreibund. But their military force united is not quite equal to that of France and Russia combined. If Russia ever attacks the three powers of Central Europe on the East, it is not to be doubted that France will rush upon Alsace and Lorraine. The mob of Paris, in 1884, put M. Grevy to much annoyance and embarrassment by hissing and hooting the young king of Spain on his way through the French capital because he had accepted the honorary colonelcy of a German regiment, and M. Grevy and his Foreign Minister had profoundly to apologize. The incident was traceable, it was said at the time, to the indiscretions of M. Daniel Wilson, the president's son-in-law, whose melancholy story remains to be told.

Shortly before Gambetta's death, occurred that of the Prince Imperial in Zululand, and that of the Comte de Chambord in Austria.

The son of Napoleon III. had been educated at Woolwich, the West Point Academy of England. When the Zulu war broke out, all his young English companions were ordered to Africa, and he entreated his mother to let him go. He wanted to learn the art of war, he said, and perhaps too he wished to acquire popularity with the people of England, in view of a future alliance with a daughter of Queen Victoria. The general commanding at the seat of war was far from glad to see him. He knew the dangers of savage warfare, and felt the responsibility of such a charge. For some time he kept the prince working in an office, but at last permitted him to go on a reconnoitring expedition, where little danger was anticipated. There is no page in history so dishonorable to the valor and good conduct of an English gentleman as that which records how, when surprised by Zulus, the young prince was deserted by his superior officer and his companions, and while trying to mount his restive horse, was slain.

He left a will leaving his claims (such as they were) to the imperial throne of France to his young cousin Victor Napoleon, thus overlooking the father of that young prince, Jerome Napoleon, the famous Plon-Plon.

The reconciliation which in 1873 took place between the Comte de Chambord and his distant cousins of the house of Orleans never resulted in cordial relations, though the Comte de Paris, as his cousin's heir, visited the Comte de Chambord at Froehsdorf. The Comtesse de Chambord despised and disliked the family of Orleans, and the Monarchist party in France still remained divided into Legitimists and Orleanists, the latter protesting that they only desired a constitutional sovereign, and did not hold to the doctrine of right divine.

The Comte de Chambord died Aug. 24, 1883. His malady was cancer in the stomach, complicated by other disorders. The Orleanist princes hastened to Froehsdorf to attend his funeral, but they were so disdainfully treated by his widow that they deemed it due to their self-respect to retire before the obsequies. This is how "Figaro," a leading Legitimist journal in Paris, speaks of the Comte de Chambord: -

"He had noble qualities and great virtues. What most distinguished him was an intense feeling of royal dignity, which he guarded most jealously by act and word. But we may be permitted to doubt whether the fifty-three years he had passed in exile had qualified him to understand and to sympathize with the great changes in public opinion in his own country, and the true tendencies of the present and the rising generation. In his youth he was entirely guided by others, but after the coup d'etat of 1851 he took things into his own hands, and directed his course up to the last moment with a firmness which admitted of neither contradiction nor dispute. He sincerely wished to promote liberty; there was nothing in him of the despot, but he had lived all his life out of France, and could not comprehend the preferences and the habits which had grown into national feeling. He was kindly, genial, intelligent, witty, dignified, and affable. He only needed to have been brought up among his people to have made an admirable sovereign. Had the first plan of the Revolution of 1830 been carried out, and the young prince been made king, with Louis Philippe lieutenant-general till his majority, it is possible that France might have been spared great tribulations. For our own part," continues the "Figaro," "we have always looked upon monarchy as the best government for the peace, prosperity, and liberty of France; but with the personal politics of the Comte de Chambord we could not agree. After all France had gone through, it was necessary to nationalize the king, and to royalize the nation. M. le Comte de Chambord utterly refused to yield anything to constitutional ideas and to become what he called the king of the Revolution. It is true that the White Flag of the Bourbons had been associated with a long line of glories in France, but for a hundred years the Tricolor had been the flag under which French soldiers had marched to victory. It was this matter of the flag that prevented the success of the plan of restoration in 1873, two months after the Comte de Paris had so patriotically sacrificed some of his own most cherished feelings by his reconciliation (for his country's sake) with his cousin at Froehsdorf. The party could do nothing without its head. The Orleanist princes would not act without their chief, and the opportunity passed, perhaps never to return."

"Henri V. never hesitated about the matter of the flag," says another writer. "He regarded its color as above everything important. The question of white or tricolor was to him a vital thing. He said: 'Kings have their private points of personal honor like mere citizens. I should feel myself to be sacrificing my honor, since I was born a king, if I made any concessions on the subject of the White Flag of my family. With respect to other things I may concede; but as to that, never, never! The only thing for which I have ever reproached Louis XVI. was for having for one moment suffered the bonnet rouge to be placed upon his head to save his royalty. Now you are proposing to me to do the same thing. No!' The count had drawn up a constitution for France after his own ideas, but he would show it to no man. No human being had any power to influence him. But he was heard to say more than once: 'I will never diminish the power of the sovereign. I desire liberty and progress to emanate from the king. Royalty should progress with the age, but never cease to be itself in all things.' He deemed the authority he claimed to be his by right divine; but one may be permitted to think," concludes this writer, "that this authority, if it came from Heaven, has been recalled there."

Four months before his death he had a touching interview with his heir, the Comte de Paris, at Froehsdorf. The count little expected then that he would be prevented from taking the part of chief mourner at the funeral which took place Sept. 1, 1883, at Goeritz, when the king, who had never reigned, was laid beside Charles X., his grandfather.

We may best conclude this account of the Comte de Chambord with some touching words which he addressed to his disappointed supporters in 1875: -

"Sometimes I am reproached for not having chosen to reign when the opportunity was offered me, and for having perhaps lost that opportunity forever. This is a misconception. Tell it abroad boldly. I am the depositary of Legitimate Monarchy. I will guard my birthright till my last sigh. I desire royalty as my heritage, as my duty, but never by chance or by intrigue. In other times I might have been willing (as some of my ancestors have been) to recover my birthright by force of arms. What would have been possible and reasonable formerly, is not so now. After forty years of revolution, civil war, invasion, and coups d'etat, the monarchy I represent can only commend itself to Europe and the French people as one of peace, conciliation, and preservation. The king of France must return to France as a shepherd to his fold, or else remain in exile. If I must not return, Divine Providence will bear me witness before the French people that I have done my duty with honest intentions. In the midst of the prevailing ignominies of the present age it is well that the life and policy of an exiled king should stand out white in all their loyalty."

There was little of general interest in French politics during the remaining years of M. Grevy's first administration, which ended early in 1886. He was the first French president who had reached the end of his term. He was quietly re-elected by the joint vote of the two Chambers, not so much because he was popular as because there seemed no one more eligible for the position. He had not had much good fortune in his administration. M. Ferry's colonization schemes had cost great sums of money and had led to jealousies and disputes with foreign nations. French finances had become embarrassed. The French national debt in 1888 was almost twice as great as that of England, and the largest additions to it were made during M. Grevy's presidency, when enormous sums were spent on public works and on M. Ferry's colonial enterprises. The mere interest on the debt amounts annually to fifty millions of dollars, and every attempt at reduction is frustrated by the Chambers, which are unwilling to approve either new taxes or new loans.

The two principal points of interest during the latter years of M. Grevy's first term of office concerned the persecution of the Church and the persecution of the princes of the house of Orleans.

The Republic began by taking down the crucifixes in all public places, such as court-rooms, magistrates' offices, and public schools; for in France men swear by holding up a hand before the crucifix, instead of by our own irreverent and dirty custom of "kissing the book." Then the education of children was made compulsory; but schools were closed that had been taught by priests, monks, or nuns. Next, sisters of charity were forbidden to nurse in the hospitals, their places being supplied by women little fitted to replace them.

As to the Orleans princes, in 1886, the year of M. Grevy's second election, they were summarily ordered to quit France; not that they had done anything that called for exile, but because Prince Napoleon (who called himself the Prince Imperial and head of the Bonaparte dynasty) had put forth a pamphlet concerning his pretensions to the imperial throne. This led to the banishment of all members of ex-royal families from French soil, and their erasure from the army list, if they were serving as French soldiers.

This decree was particularly hard upon the Duc d'Aumale, who was a French general, and had done good service under Chanzy and Gambetta in the darkest days of the calamities of France.

The Comte de Paris deeply felt the outrage. He gave the world to understand that he had never conspired against the French Republic while living on his estates in France, but felt free to do so after this aggression.

The Duc d'Aumale avenged himself by an act of truly royal magnificence. He published part of his will, bequeathing to the French Institute, of which he was a member, that splendid estate and palace of Chantilly which he had inherited from his godfather, the old Duke of Bourbon. With its collections, its library, its archives, and its pictures, the gift is valued at from thirty-five to forty millions of francs. The revenue of the estate is to be spent in enriching the collections, in encouraging scientific research, in pensioning aged authors, artists, and scientific discoverers.

"It is the grandest gift," says M. Gabriel Monod, "ever given to a country. It is worthy of a prince who joins to the attractive grace of noble breeding and the finest qualities of a soldier, the talents of a man of letters, the learning of a scholar, and the taste of an artist."

M. Grevy - le vieux, "the old fellow," as his Parisians irreverently called him - was deeply attached to his daughter, whose husband, M. Daniel Wilson, a presumptuous, speculative person, had made himself obnoxious to society and to all the political parties. This man lived at the Elysee with his family, and made free use of presidential privileges. It is said that by using the president's right of franking letters for his business affairs, he saved himself in postage forty-thousand francs per annum. He also made use of information that he obtained as son-in-law of the president to further his own interests, and once or twice he got M. Grevy into trouble by the unwarrantable publication of certain matters in a newspaper of which he was the proprietor. Besides this he was at the head of a great number of financial schemes, whose business he conducted under the roof of the Elysee. Before he married Mademoiselle Grevy, a conseil de famille had deprived him of any control over his property till he came of age, on account of his recklessness; but he was what in America we call "a smart man," and M. Grevy was very much attached to him.

In the early days of 1887 a person who considered himself defrauded in a nefarious bargain he was trying to make with an adventuress, denounced to the police of Paris a Madame Limouzin, to whom he had paid money on her promise to secure for him the decoration of the Legion of Honor. He wanted it to promote the sale of some kind of patent article in which he was interested. To the astonishment of the police, when they raided the residence of Madame Limouzin, letters were found compromising two generals, - General Caffarel, who had been high in the War Department when General Boulanger was minister, and General d'Andlau, author of a book, much commended by military authorities, on the siege of Metz.

General Caffarel was a gallant old officer, and it is said the scene was most piteous when, as part of his punishment, the police tore from his coat his own decoration of the Legion of Honor. The War Minister tried to smother the scandal and to save the generals, but it got into the public prints, with many exaggerations. General d'Andlau took to flight. The police arrested Madame Limouzin, her accomplice, Madame Ratazzi, and several other persons. The public grew very much excited. It was said that state secrets were given over to pillage, that they were sold to the Germans, that the Government was at the mercy of thieves and jobbers. "One figure," wrote M. Monod, "stood out from the rest as a mark for suspicion. It was that of M. Daniel Wilson. He had never been popular with frequenters of the Elysee. He was a rich man, both on his own and his wife's side, and was an able man and a man of influence in business affairs. He had been Under-Secretary of Finance and President of the Committee of the Budget." Many thought he had the best chance of any man for succeeding M. Grevy as president of France. He was, however, one of those unquiet spirits who may be found frequently among speculators and financiers. He had no scruple about using his position to promote his own business interests and the interests of the schemes in which he was engaged, nor did he hesitate to give useful information to leaders who favored his own views in the Chambers and were in opposition to the ministers he disliked. Thus the son-in-law of the president intrigued against the president's ministers, and Jules Ferry, leader of the Republican law and order party in the Chamber, and his followers, could not forgive him for having thus betrayed them. Wilson belonged to the advanced section of the Republican party, the Reds; but he was not so popular with them that they were unwilling to attack him, provided they could thereby get rid of M. Grevy, and put a more advanced Republican in his place.

No positive accusation, however, in the matter of Madame Limouzin could have been brought against M. Wilson, had it not been discovered by that lady's counsel that two of the letters seized and held as evidence - letters from M. Wilson to Madame Limouzin - were written on paper manufactured after their date, - an incident not unfamiliar to readers of old-fashioned English novels. The real letters, therefore, had undoubtedly been abstracted, and replaced by others of a less compromising kind.

The Ministry, which up to the time of this discovery had endeavored to keep the name of the president's son-in-law from being connected with the sale of decorations of the Legion of Honor, was obliged to authorize his prosecution; and the Prefect of Police, who was suspected of having given back to M. Wilson his own letters, was forced to resign.[1]

[Footnote 1: There is a similar incident in Balzac's "Cousin Pons."]

When the trial of M. Wilson and the prefect came on, they were acquitted, not by a verdict of Not Guilty, but because the French Code contained no clause that constituted it an offence for a man to obtain possession of his own letters. The judge, when he acquitted the accused, stated that there was no doubt whatever of the substitution. Then from all sides information began to pour in from people who had paid money to M. Wilson to procure them ministerial or presidential favors, and such disclosures could not but reflect on M. Grevy. Instantly his enemies seized their opportunity. For once, Monarchists and Anarchists united and endeavored to force the president to resign; but the old man stood by his son-in-law in his hour of adversity, and would not go.

Then the coalition changed its base, and attacked M. Rouvier, the prime minister. He was outvoted in the Chamber on some insignificant question; and having no parliamentary majority, he was forced to resign. By no efforts could M. Grevy get anyone to take his place. Once he thought he had persuaded M. Clemenceau, a Radical leader, to form a ministry; but his party gave him to understand that they would not support him.

The president, then seventy-five years of age, was in a position in which anyone but a partisan political opponent must have been moved to pity him. He had been so long and so loudly extolled for his extreme respectability and his austere virtues that he had never dreamed that public opinion on such a point as this could turn against him. He could not endure the idea of being dismissed with contempt less than two years after his re-election to the presidency by the unanimous vote of all Republicans. He was willing to go, but he did not choose to be forced to go by the brutal summons of an infuriated public. Yet France, pending his decision, was without a government. Something had to be done. He employed every device to gain time. He had interviews with men of various parties. He grew more and more care-worn and aged. His troubles showed themselves in his carriage and his face. "By turns he was insinuating, eloquent, lively, pathetic. He showed a suppleness and a tenacity of purpose that amazed those brought into contact with him. If he could but gain time, he hoped that the Republicans would disagree about his successor, and decide to rally round him; but at last he was forced to send in his resignation. He did so Dec. 1, 1887, in a message which, by the confusion of its language, betrayed the anguish of his mind." A few days after giving up his quarters at the Elysee as president of the Republic, he was stricken down by paralysis.

When the resignation of M. Grevy had been accepted, came the question, Who should succeed him? If the Republican party split and failed to choose a president, the Monarchists might seize their opportunity. The candidate most acceptable to the Moderate Republicans was M. Jules Ferry, but he was unpopular with the Radicals. He had belonged to the Committee of Defence and the Government of Versailles which had put down the Commune. His colonial policy had not been a success, and he was known to have no toleration for the Reds. Mobs collected in the streets shouting "A bas Ferry!" He was accused of being the candidate of the Comte de Paris, of the pope, of Bismarck. He was "Ferry the traitor! Ferry the Prussian! Ferry the clerical! Ferry the Orleanist!" The Radicals, with the ex-Communist, General Eudes, at their head, swore to take up arms if Ferry were elected by the Chambers. The Moderate Republicans were not strong enough, without help, to carry his election. It was a case when a "dark horse" was wanted, an obscure man, against whom nothing was known.

The Radicals proposed two candidates, - M. De Freycinet, who, though not a Radical, was thought weak enough to be ruled by them, and M. Floquet. But the Moderates would not lend their aid to elect either of these men. At last both parties united on M. Sadi-Carnot.

There were two reasons for his election: the first lay in his name; he was the grandson of Lazare Carnot, elected deputy in 1792 to the National Convention from Arras, at the same time as his friend Robespierre. This man and Robespierre had belonged to the same Literary Society in Arras, - a club into which no one could be admitted without writing a love-song.[1] Lazare Carnot was the good man of the Revolution. Not a stain rests upon his character. He organized the glorious armies of the Republic, and was afterwards one of the members of the Directory. His son, Hippolyte Camot, as the oldest member in the Senate in 1887, had the duty of announcing to his own son, Sadi-Carnot, his election to the highest office in the gift of his countrymen. M. Hippolyte Carnot was a man of high character, who during a long life had filled many public offices. He was also a man of letters, and wrote a Life of Barere, - a book that will be best remembered by having come under the lash of Macaulay. Every cut inflicted upon Barere tells, and we delight in its severity.

The second reason for Sadi-Carnot's election was the popularity he acquired from its being supposed that when he was at the head of the Committee of Finance he had resisted some illegal demands made on the Treasury by M. Wilson. The demands were resisted, it is true, but not more by M. Carnot than by his colleagues. "He was made president of the French Republic," some one said, "for an act of integrity he had never committed, and for giving himself the trouble to be born, like any heir of royalty."

He is a good man, who has made no enemies, either in public or private life. It may also be added that he seems to have attracted few personal friends. The Republic has grown in strength, and factious opposition has decreased during his administration. His republicanism is not advanced or rabid. He is rigidly honest. He has a charming wife, who, though slightly deaf, enjoys society and gives brilliant receptions.

[Footnote 1: See Robespierre's in the "Editor's Drawer," Harper's Magazine, 1889.]

Poor M. Grevy passed away into sorrow and obscurity. He took up his residence on his estate in the Department of the Jura, where, in September, 1891, he died. M. Wilson appears first to have made all his own relations rich, and then by speculations to have ruined them.

In contemplating the disastrous end of M. Grevy we must remember that the scandal which caused his fall, after so many years of honorable service for his country, amounts, so far as he was concerned, to very little. The only fault of which he can be accused was that of too great toleration of the speculative propensities of his son-in-law. It was proved, indeed, that there were agencies in the hands of disreputable persons in Paris for the purchase and sale of influence and honors, but there was little or no evidence that these agencies had had any influence with the public departments. The existence of such agencies under the Empire would have excited little comment. That the trials of Madame Limouzin, General Caffarel, and M. Wilson so excited the public and produced such consequences, may be proof, perhaps, of a keener sense of morality in the Parisian people.

Some one said of M. Grevy that he was a Radical in speech and a Moderate in action, so that he pleased both parties. The strongest accusation against him was his personal love of economy, and his entire indifference to show, literature, or art. It was also considered a fault in him as a French president that he showed little inclination to travel. Socially, the polite world accused him of wearing old hats and no gloves. On cold days he put his hands in his pockets, which in the eyes of some was worse than putting them for his own purposes into the pockets of other people.