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[37] prodigious movement, but I need not tell you that there are many here who are much disturbed by it. The rich and the commercial classes feel that property is rendered insecure, and with many of these the pocket is the chief sensorium. Mr. Webster, I am told, condemns this revolution, saying it is a movement of communists and socialists. . . . Lamartine's position is one of incalculable influence, not only over the destinies of France, but the progress of civilization. I trust he may feel, as I believe he does, how important it is that the triumphs of freedom should be joined with the triumphs of peace. His letter to the Foreign Minister, which I read after midnight, alone quite lifted me from my seat. . . . The National Assembly has an important task, which will require more calmness than is generally supposed to belong to the French character. Its vast size will enhance the difficulty. I wonder the provisional government did not think of the saying of Cardinal de Retz, that every assembly of more than one hundred becomes a mob. . . . It is obviously impossible to establish a property qualification; but may not France set the example of founding her republic on intelligence, by requiring that every voter shall read and write? . . . Have you considered whether the president or chief of the nation should be eligible for more than a single term? It is not always safe to argue front the state of things in our country; but I have sometimes thought that it would be better for us if , our President was not eligible for more than a single term.1 If this were the case, it seems to me that his selfish aspirations would all be quieted, and he would be left to act, not to secure a, re-election, but to promote the true welfare of his country. If he were confined to a single term, I should extend it to a Roman lustrum,—perhaps to seven or eight years.

April 14. The feeling in Boston is counter to the revolution. This movement is in advance of the sentiment here. the commercial interest is disturbed by the shock that property has received. John E. Thayer, the rich broker, who has risen since your day, tells me that he regards France as a “wreck.” I suspect that he speaks the opinions of his class. Mr. Cabot 2 told me that I was the first person he had seen who had hope in the future of France. I do not disguise my anxiety. France has fearful trials in store, the necessary incident of a transition state. She is moving from one house to another. Indeed, it is ignore than this,—she is fleeing from a burning house; so doing, she must feel present discomfort, but I do not doubt the future of that great country. . . . I trust that the patronage of the new government will be given directly to the people in their localities. It should not centre at Paris. If the whole apparatus is there and all the secret springs, then a mob may at any time overturn it; but if the prefects and officers of the provinces are all chosen by the people where they live, then the central power will be shorn of that peculiar influence which it has thus far exerted.

April 18. Our anxiety for tidings is very great. We look to the next packet with a thrilling interest. The people who dominate in Boston are all anti-revolutionists; they have no hope. To them the future of France is full of guillotines, battles, and blood. I do not fear them, though I know there must be much trial and struggle.

1 Sumner as a senator adhered to this view,—Works, vol. XI. pp. 98-101, XIV. pp. 320-326; XV. pp. 157-161, 220.

2 Henry Cabot.

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