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Like flowers that are born
Of the beams at morn,
And whose love is repelled with scorn,
D. F. 2). C.
EUGENE CAVAIGNAC (chief of the executive government of the French Republic) was born at Paris, on the 15th October, 1802. He is the se. cond son of Jean Baptiste Cavaignac, and the younger brother of Godefroi Cavaignac (the celebrated political writer), and nephew of Lieutenant-General Cavaignac, an officer who served with much distinction in the armies of Napoleon. Jean Baptiste Cavaignac, the father of Godefroi and of Eugene, was well known in the times of the first French Revolution, as an ardent friend of liberty. When the re. volutionary struggle commenced, he was a barrister at Toulouse, and embraced with zeal the cause of the republican party. In 1792, he was elected a deputy of the National Convention, for the department of Lot, and took an active part in all its proceedings, either as a deputy or as a commissioner in the provinces. Jean Baptiste Cavaignac was the friend of Vergniaud, Sieyès, Brissot, Guadet, Condorcet, and Gensommé. During the terrible scenes of anarchy, confusion and violence, that took place in those sad times, he appears to have acted with the party of the Girondists, of whom Vergniaud was the well. meaning leader. Jean Baptiste Cavaignac was one of the 387 deputies who, in company with Vergniaud and the Duke of Orleans, voted for the death of Louis XVI. The true friends of order and of liberty in France deeply regretted the stain which was cast on the French Republic by the cruel and unnecessary execution of a king who had already been deprived of all political power. The Giron. dists discovered, when too late, the fatal error they had committed, in yielding the life of a dethroned king to the violence of the Jacobins. Jean Baptiste Cavaignac, however, acted with a large, though a mistaken, party; and it must be remembered, to his honour, that he and his friends after. wards prevailed upon the convention, in 1795, to decree unanimously, as their last legislative act, the abolition of the punishment of death. Jean Baptiste was sent to Verdun, as
commissioner of the convention, after that town had been taken by the Prussians, and reported, in terms of severity and harshness, against the conduct of various persons. He afterwards, in 1793, was sent as commissioner into the western provinces, and was in Brest when the news of the revolutionary movements in Paris, on the 31st of May, arrived. He appears to have been much disgusted at the scenes of violence that then took place in the convention, and shortly afterwards, with his colleagues, Merlin and Sivêste, signed an energetic protest against the injury done to the popular cause by the violent proceedings of the Jacobin party. This manifesto was widely circulated in the west of France, and Jean Baptiste Cavaignac was denounced to the Convention as its author. In all probability he would have suffered for his boldness, in daring to state the truth in those days of terror, had not the convention been appeased by receiving on the very day that the denunciation was made the news that by his valour and skill, he had succeed. ed in raising the siege of Nantes, which was then invested by the royalist party. Jean Baptiste remained for some time in La Vendeè, where he did good service in the republican armies. A few months after leaving La Vendeè, he was sent as commissioner to the army of the Western Pyrennees. He spent some time in organising this corps, and assisted in the military operations which ended in the total defeat of the Spanish army. During his mission in the south-west of France, he appears to have acted with much cruelty towards the persons who were then called aristocrats. In one of his letters he says__"The aristocrats are pursued, arrested, and all their estates confiscated ; every day some of their heads roll on the scaffold. We must order the arrest of all the former nobles and of the pricsts—we must strike them, and destroy them.”
However barbarous these words may seem, it ought to be remembered that the whole of France was in those days given up to the same excesses, by order of the Jacobin party. Jean Baptiste
chivalrous Ney), gratified the vengeance of the royalists, by decreeing that all the former members of the convention, who had taken part in the death of Louis XVI., should be banished from France.
In consequence of this decree, Jean Baptiste was obliged to leave his native country, and after ten years spent in exile, died at Brussels on 24th March, 1829. His political opinions are thus stated by his son Godefroi, at the bar of a court of justice, when the latter was tried and acquitted on a charge of treason against Louis Phi. lippe :
Cavaignac was at this time charged with an atrocious crime. His accuser stated that at Dax, in the depart ment of the Landes, one Labarriere had been condemned to death for a political offence, and that his daughter, a young woman of great personal attractions, consented to become the mistress of Cavaignac on consideration of his saving her father's life, and that he took advantage of the filial affection of the poor girl, while, at the same time, he allowed the father to perish on the scaffold. This charge caused great excitement, but the convention (hay ing made the fullest inquiry into the matter) honorably acquitted him; and the committee unanimously determined that the charge was false and calumnious. He was defended on this occasion by his friend, Boissy d'Anglas.
Jean Baptiste had shown so much skill in military operations in the Vendeè, and in the South of France, that he was sent as commissioner to the army of the Rhine and Moselle. After returning from this latter mission, he was entrusted with a military command in Paris, and assisted in preserving order during the insurrectionary attempts in 1775 and 1776. After the dissolution of the National Convention, he became a member of the Council of Five Hundred, and was present when that body was expelled from the council-chamber in the palace of St. Cloud, by Napoleon Buonaparte, on the 18th Brumaire, 1797. During the consulate, he was sent as commissary-general to Pondicherry, from which place he returned to Paris in 1805. After his return to France from India, in consequence of his great administrative abilities, he was invited by Joseph Buonaparte (then king of Naples), to assist him in arranging the Neapolitan finances. In the reign of Murat, he became a Neapolitan privy-councillor, and his two sons, Godefroi and Eugene, were made pages to the king. But in conse quence of an imperial order relating to Frenchmen in the service of foreign powers, Jean Baptiste Cavaignac gave up the lucrative offices he held at Naples, and returned to France. He was rewarded for his various services by an appointment as prefect. On the return of the Bourbons to France, in 1815, Louis XVIII. (not satisfied with the execution of the gallant and
"My father.” said Godefroi to his judges. “ was one of those illustrious members of the convention who had the courage, in the face of allied Europe, to declare that royalty had ceased to exist in France, and that our native country was a republic. Owing to the genius, to the skill, and to the courage of my father and his political associates, the armies of the French Republic were victorious and successful against the allied forces of the European sovereigns. My father battled for the republic in her armies and in the senate. For this crime-for the crime of loving France as a patriot-he died in unmerited exile, a victim to the vengeance of Louis XVIII. Notwithstanding the attempt of the Bourbons and the party of reaction, France still reaps some of the fruits of that great revolution, which my father helped to produce. Although some few of the men who owe their origin to the republic have accepted places and office from the Bourbons, my father and his companions in exile suffered for the sacred cause of liberty, to which others have been traitors. Devotion to liberty and suffering in exile were the last of ferings of feeble old age by those who, in their manhood, exerted themselves so gallantly in the defence of the rights and liberties of their country.”
Jean Baptiste Cavaignac was much attached to his children, and spared no pains in their education. At an early age, the best authors were placed in their hands; and their father, regardless of the fatigue occasioned by his public duties, employed his leisure in instructing his sons in their duties as French citizens. Actuated by his own strong feelings as a republican, he allowed no opportunity to escape him of inculcating the same principles in the minds of his sons. It has often been remarked how
much men are indebted for success in after life to the education of their earlier years. This truism has been very apparent in the case both of Gode. froi and of Eugene Cavaignac. On the exile of her husband, their mother, Madame Cavaignac, settled herself in Paris, and devoted her whole time to superintending, under the advice of her husband, the education of her sons.
Eugene was destined by his parents for a military life, and after passing a severe examination, on October 1st, 1820, was admitted, when eighteen years old, as a pupil in the Ecole Polytechnique. He remained two years at the academy, and after going through the usual course of mathematical and theoretical military studies, was sent to the practical school at Metz, where he was entered in the 2nd Regiment of Engineers. After remaining at Metz two years, and making himself thoroughly acquainted with the practical duties of an engin neer and of an artilleryman, Eugene received his commission, as second lieutenant, on 1st October, 1826, and of first lieutenant on the 12th January, 1827. At the period when Eugene entered the army, liberal opinions were far from being acceptable to the Bourbon dynasty. He did not, however, conceal the republic can principles he had been taught by his father. By a strict performance of his military duties, by a rigid observance of discipline, and by the energy he displayed in the various professional matters entrusted to his charge, Lieutenant Cavaignac gained the respect and esteem of his superior officers. He received his commission as second captain on 1st October,
bad first an opportunity of seeing real war, and of carrying into practice the knowledge he had acquired at Metz. On the return of the army to France, in the early part of the year 1830, Captain Cavaignac was stationed at Arras, and received a commission as full captain. Charles X. at this time reigned in France. It had long been evident to every one at all acquainted with the feelings of the French, that the unconstitutional system of government pursued by Charles X. must lead to the downfall of his dynasty. The antiquated prejudices of the king, added to his total disregard of the warnings of history—the undue influence exercised over his weak mind by the priests and the emigrés—the absurd preference shown by him in his appointments to heraldic rank over per. sonal merit-determined a vast majority of the middle classes to take ad. vantage of the first opportunity to expel him from a throne which he was so unfitted in this enlightened age to fill. When, therefore, in July, 1830, Charles X. and the Prince Polignac published the famous ordonnances by which, in violation of the charter, a newly-elected chamber of deputies was dissolved, by which the liberty of the press was abolished, and by which the law of election was illegally altered, the citi. zens of Paris armed themselves in de. fence of their rights. M. Thiers, and other editors of the Parisian journals, published a counter proclamation, stating their intentions to resist these illegal proceedings. France, as is well known, responded to the appeal of the journalists, and the middle classes compelled Charles X. to quit the throne of France. While the result of the struggle in Paris was as yet unknown in the provinces, the larger towns of France rose in favour of liberty. At Arras, the editor of the Propagateur, M. Frédéric de George, published his journal in spite of the attempts of the royalists to repress it. A large portion of the troops in garrison at Arras determined to march to the assistance of the liberals in Paris. Captain Cavaignac and the men in his company in the 2nd Regi. ment of Engineers, were among the foremost to range themselves on the side of the people, and to proclaim their attachment to liberty. The known republican principles of Captain Ca. vaignac, and his relationship to Gode
France and England were at this time engaged in the settlement of the affairs of Greece. Captain Cavaignac requested to be employed in the expedition sent by France to co-operate with England in suppressing the bar barities committed by the Turks in that country. After the battle of Navarino had decided the fate of Greece, Captain Cavaignac was employed as an engineer in taking possession of some fortresses which it was thought necessary to secure, in order to complete the independence of the new kingdom of Greece. It was in this classic land that Captain Cavaignac
froi Cavaignac, at that time the popu. and of enlightened liberty. With the lar editor of the Tribune, a demo impetuous spirit of youth, however, he cratical newspaper, pointed out that was not content to enforce his politiofficer as a fit person to command cal opinions merely with his pen, but the volunteers from Arras; he was held himself in readiness to use force in accordingly appointed their leader. resisting the new government, should The arrangements made in Paris, by his duty to his country require him so which Louis Philippe became King of to do. With this view, he and other arthe French, rendered the advance of dent republicans enlisted themselves Captain Cavaignac's party to Paris in the artillery of the National Guard unnecessary. The men in his com- of Paris, in order that that powerful pany, however, had the satisfaction of weapon of destruction might be on ascertaining that their captain, though the side of the people, in case their a strict disciplinarian, was prepared liberties should be attacked by the to defend with his sword the rights of ministry in power. A knowledge that a Frenchman, should circumstances Godefroi Cavaignac and his republican require him to act.
friends had taken this step, gave great On the evening before the final ar- umbrage to Louis Philippe. The king rangements were made, as to the go- unwisely took the opportunity of some vernment that was to be adopted in disturbances which occurred on the France, his brother Godefroi and other occasion of the trial of the ex-Minisyoung republicans, at the request ofters of Charles X., to bring Godefroi Louis Philippe, had an interview with and other republicans to trial, on prethe latter, at his house in the Palaistence of their having been engaged Royal. After a lengthened conversa. in an attempted insurrection, but tion on the state of affairs, Louis in reality for their attachment to the Philippe stated his own opinion to be cause of republicanism. This trial, that a republic was unsuited to France which caused great excitement in in her present situation. He then France, ended in a verdict of not attacked the principles of the leaders guilty. Various political clubs were of the National Convention in for- now formed in all parts of the country, mer times. “You forget, sir," said with the view of opposing the policy Godefroi, sternly, " that my father of Casimir Perrier (the unpopular was a member of that body."' " And minister of Louis Philippe), and of mine, too," sir, returned the crafty putting down the party of reaction, prince, " and I never knew a more A national association was formed by respectable man.” Godefroi and his M. Dornez, at Metz, in 1831, ostenrepublican friends, who had been en- sibly with the view of preventing the gaged during three days at the bar return of the elder branch of the ricades, in fighting for the cause of Bourbons to France, but in reality to the people, took leave of Louis Phi check the proceedings of Louis Phi. lippe, much dissatisfied with the va- lippe. Captain Cavaignac was a memrious opinions the future monarch ex- ber of this association. The governpressed. A few days later, Louisment dismissed from public employPhilippe was declared King of the ment all members of these clubs, and French. Godefroi and Eugene Ca placed on temporary half-pay all milivaignac were among the earliest to tary officers who were connected with discover, and to avow in public, how them. He, consequently, was obliged little the friends of good government to retire from active service for a had in reality gained by the revolution short time. During this temporary of July.
leisure, he was able to make himself Godefroi had at this time earned a acquainted with the plans of his browell-merited reputation by his various ther Godefroi and of the other leading contributions to the Tribune, the Re- liberals. Captain Cavaignac, however, form and the National newspapers. soon became tired of a life of inaction Enthusiastic in his attachment to in Paris, and at length obtained his republican principles, his articles reinstatement in active military sershowed great originality of thought, vice. an intimate acquaintance with the best Europe at this time was in profound writers on political subjects, and, peace, and the only field of military above all, a love of order, of justice, distinction t offered itself to French