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[267] intended to commemorate the victories of Napoleon, and indeed worthy of them. It is the largest triumphal arch ever built. The train of carriages in the Champs Élysees to-day was immense. Dined by invitation with M. Érard; and at dinner sat between two French ladies. Two or three eminent musical persons were present. The dinner was neat and pleasant. I must record M. Érard's ignorance with regard to America. He asked me, with the greatest simplicity, if our noblest and most respectable families were not the descendants of Montezuma! And yet he is a man of considerable position; and at the head of his business in Paris, perhaps in the world!

March 12. To-day commenced a struggle in the Chamber of Deputies, in order to unseat the ministry. The English ministry have just passed through their trial; and now a similar one awaits the French. The contest took place on the question of secret funds, which the ministry demanded as usual in their budget, and at the same time gave out that they wished to regard the vote on this subject as a vote of confidence. A large number of spectators were drawn together by this annunciation. I had a ticket to one of the reserved tribunes, and yet was obliged to repair to it full two hours before the house opened, which was at two o'clock. The house is beautiful, larger than that of the Peers; but not so large as ours at Washington. The President's seat is in the axis of the radii of the semi-circumference of which the chamber is composed; and directly in front of it is the tribune, from which all speeches, other than mere explanations, are made. The banc des ministres is the middle of the front row of seats. The members all had desks before them. At the foot of the tribune sat a whole row of huissiers,—corresponding perhaps to our serjeant-at-arms,—with swords, and also with chains about their necks. They appeared to have little or nothing to do, except to receive a letter or billet occasionally from a member; a service which might have been done by one boy. Over the President's chair is a large painting representing the king, Louis Philippe, receiving the charter in 1830, in which are portraits of most of the leading men of that period,—Lafayette, Constant,1 Guizot,2 Laffitte, &c. The picture is historically interesting, but as a work of art there is little in it to excite admiration. Each of the ministers had a red portfolio, which gives occasion to the newspapers to speak of the contest for the ‘portfolios’ of office, &c. At two o'clock I heard a sound of drums, and immediately M. Dupin,3 the President, entered the chamber, having been attended from his house,

1 Henri Benjamin Constant (Constant de Rebecque), 1767-1830; a distinguished political writer and editor.

2 1787-1874.

3 Andre Marie Jean Jacques Dupin, 1783-1865; the eminent lawyer and statesman. He defended Marshal Ney in 1815, and was much engaged in political trials while he remained at the bar. His career in the Chamber of Deputies was long and distinguished. He was elected its President eight times. As an orator he was remarkable for striking expressions. ‘At times his bon-mots have created a majority or upset a cabinet.’ He was appointed Procureur-General in the Court of Cassation, after the Revolution of 1830, of which he was one of the leading promoters; and, resigning at one time, was reappointed in 1857. He wrote many books upon jurisprudence and politics, but gave too little time to their preparation.

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