Friday, June 29, 2012

Lucien Bonaparte


‘…The debate of the day, remarkable as the last in which the republican party enjoyed the full freedom of speech in France, was opened on 19th Brumaire, at two o'clock, Lucien Bonaparte being president Gaudin, a member of the moderate party, began by moving, that a committee of seven members should be formed, to report upon the state of the Republic; and that measures should be taken for opening a correspondence with the Council of Ancients. He was interrupted by exclamations and clamour on the part of the majority.

"The constitution!" "The constitution or death!" was echoed and re-echoed on every side. "Bayonets frighten us not," said Delbrel; "we are free men." "Down with the dictatorship—no dictators!" cried other members. Lucien in vain endeavoured to restore order. Gaudin was dragged from the tribune; the voice of other moderates was overpowered by clamour— never had the party of democracy shown itself fiercer or more tenacious than when about to receive the death-blow.

"Let us swear to preserve the constitution of the year Three!" exclaimed Delbrel; and the applause which followed the proposition was so general, that it silenced all resistance. Even the members of the moderate party—nay, even Lucien Bonaparte himself—were compelled to take the oath of fidelity to the constitution, which he and they were leagued to destroy."The oath you have just taken," said Bigonnet, "will occupy a place in the annals of history, beside the celebrated vow taken in the tennis-court. The one was the foundation of liberty, the other shall consolidate the structure." ...’

Lucien Bonaparte was often at odds with his older brother, Napoleon.  The political environment in which he endeavored was difficult as well, as the passage above from Sir Walter Scott’s “The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte” indicates.  Lucien Bonaparte died on June 29, 1840, outliving Napoleon by 19 years.

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