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destined to give him a control over the fate of a CHAP.
mighty nation. He enlisted in the army as a common •—*—'—■ soldier; but the officers of his corps were so well pleased with the young man, and so admired the high spirit with which he met his change of fortune, that their goodwill soon caused him to be raised from the ranks. It was perhaps his knowledge about horses which first caused him to be attached to the Staff of the President.
From his temperament and his experience of life it resulted that Fleury cared a great deal for money, or the things which money can buy, and was not at all disposed to stand still and go without it. He was daring and resolute, and his daring was of the kind which holds good in the moment of danger. If Prince Louis Bonaparte was bold and ingenious in designing, Fleury was the man to execute. The one was skilful in preparing the mine and laying the train; the other was the man standing by with a lighted match, and determined to touch the fuse. The support of such a comrade as Fleury in the barrack-yard at Strasburg or at Boulogne might have brought many lives into danger, but it would have prevented the enterprise from coming to a ridiculous end. In truth, the nature of the one man was the complement of the nature of the other; and between them they had a set of qualities so puissant for dealing a sudden blow, that, working together, and with all the appliances of the Executive Government at their command, they were a pair who might well be able to make a strange dream come true. It CHAP, would seem that from the moment when Fleury be•—*-^> came a partaker of momentous secrets, the President ceased to be free. At all events, he would have found it costly to attempt to stand still, rieury The language held by the generals who declared
in Algeria that they would act under the authority of the st At- Minister of War, and not without it, suggested the contrivance which was resorted to. Fleury determined to find a military man capable of command, capable of secrecy, and capable of a great venture. The person chosen was to be properly sounded, and, if he seemed willing, was to be admitted into the plot. He was then to be made Minister of War, in order that through him the whole of the land-forces should be at the disposal of the plotters. Fleury went to Algeria to find the instrument required; and he so well performed his task that he hit upon a general officer who was christened, it seems, Jacques Arnaud Le Roy, but was known at this time as Achille St Arnaud. Of some of the adventures of this person it will be right to speak hereafter.* There was nothing in his past life, nor in his then plight, which made it at all dangerous for Fleury st At- to approach him with the words of a suborner. He suborned readily entered into the plot. From the moment Minister that Prince Louis Bonaparte and his associates had intrusted their secret to the man of Fleury's selection, it was perhaps hardly possible for them to flinch; for the exigencies of St Arnaud, formerly Le Roy, were not likely to be on so modest a scale as to consist with the financial arrangements of a Re- CHAP.
* In Volume IL
XIV. public governed by law; and the discontent of a —^-^
person of his quality, with a secret like that in his charge, would plainly bring the rest of the brethren into danger. He was made Minister of War. This was on the 27th of October.
At the same time M. Maupas, or De Maupas, was Maupas. brought into the Ministry. In the previous July this person had been Prefect of the Department of the Upper Garonne. Of him his friends say that he had property, and that he has never been used to obtain money dishonestly. His zeal had led him to desire that thirty-two persons, including three members of the Council-General, should be seized and thrown into prison on a charge of conspiring against the Government. The legal authorities of the department refused to suffer this, because they said there was no ground for the charge. Then this Maupas, or De Maupas, proposed that the want of all ground for accusing the men should be supplied by a stratagem, and with that view he deliberately offered to arrange that incriminating papers and arms and grenades should be secretly placed in the houses of the men whom he wanted to have accused. Naturally the legal authorities of the department were horrorstruck by the proposal, and they denounced the Prefect to the Keeper of the Seals. Maupas was ordered to Paris.4' From the indignant and scorn
* See the 'Bulletin Frangais,' p. 98 et seq. This publication appeared under auspices which make it a safe authority. It is to be regretted that its statements extend to only a portion of the events connected with the 2d of December.
CHAP, ful presence of M. Faucher he came away sobbing, •—*-^-> and people who knew- the truth supposed him to be for ever disgraced and ruined; but he went and told his sorrows to the President. The President of course He is instantly saw that the man could be suborned. He and made admitted him into the plot, and on the 27th of OctoPoiice. ber appointed him Prefect of Police. Persigny. Persigny, properly Fialin, was in the plot. He was descended, on one side, of an ancient family, and, disliking his father's name, he seems to have called himself for many years after the name of his maternal grandfather.* He began life as a non-commissioned officer. As he himself said, t his instinct was 'to serve;' and at first he served the Legitimists, but chance brought him into contact with Louis Bonaparte, and he very soon became the attached friend of the Prince, and his partner in all his plans and adventures. If Morny was merely taking up the Bonaparte cause as one of many other money speculations, Persigny could truly say that he had made it • for years his profession, and had even tried as well as he could to raise it to the dignity of a real political principle. But the part intrusted to Persigny on this occasion, though possibly an important one, was not of a conspicuous sort. It is said that, the firmness of the Prince Louis Bonaparte being distrusted by his comrades, Persigny, who was of a sanguine, hopeful nature, was to remain constantly at the Elysee in order to receive the tidings which would be CHAP, coming in during the period of danger, and prevent •—*—. them from reaching the President in such a way as to shake him and cause despondency. At all events, it would seem that the hand of Persigny was not the hand employed to execute the measures of the Elyse'e; and to this circumstance he owes it that he will not always have to stand in the same sentences with Morny, and Fleury, and Maupas, and St Arnaud, formerly Le Koy.
* This, I think, was the account which he gave upon his trial in 1840 He was tried by the description of Fialin dit Persigny. t Before the Chamber of Peers, 1840.
It was necessary to take measures for paralysing contrivthe National Guard; but the force was under the p^aiysing command of General Perrot, a man whose honesty tionai* could not be tampered with. To dismiss him sud- Guarddenly would be to excite suspicion. The following expedient was adopted; The President appointed as Chief of the Staff of the National Guard a person named Vieyra. The past life and the then repute of this person were of such a kind, that General Perrot, it seems, conceived himself insulted by the nomination, and instantly resigned. That was what the brethren of the Elyse'e wanted. On Sunday the 30th General Lawsestine was appointed to the command. He was a man who had fought in the great wars, but, now in his grey hairs, he was not too proud to accept the part designed for him. His function was, not to lead the force of which he took the command, but to prevent it from acting. It was unnecessary to admit either Lawsestine or Vieyra to a complete knowledge of the plot, because all that they were to do was to frustrate the assembly of the