No. 152.
Mr. Noyes to Mr. Evarts.

No. 195.]

Sir: The administration of President Grévy is now fairly organized and in operation. The cabinet has been reconstituted, with M. Waddington as premier, most of the members of the last ministry being retained.

Mr. Dufaure, the veteran statesman, who had borne himself in the recent crisis with a masterly ability and a firmness worthy of his austere and authoritative name, when he saw the new president inaugurated, and all the parts of the government at last thoroughly republican and bidding fair to work together harmoniously, determined to retire to the tranquility which his great age required, saying that the new era which had opened required new men. He takes with him into his retirement the respect of all France.

Mr. Waddington, who was charged by the President with the formation of the new cabinet, and who is therefore prime minister, retains his portfolio of minister of foreign affairs, to the general satisfaction of the diplomatic corps, and becomes president of the council.

Mr. Le Royer, life senator, is minister of justice, and keeper of the seals, the portfolio held by M. Dufaure. He is a distinguished advocate, was a prominent member of the national assembly, where he took an active part in framing the constitution. He is an effective orator, a clear thinker, a moderate but very decided republican.

Mr. Marcère remains minister of the interior, to which the department of public worship has been temporarily added, being detached from public instruction.

Mr. Lèon Say and General Gresley continue at their respective posts, finances and war.

Vice-Admiral Jauréguibery takes the place of Vice-Admiral Pothnan, as minister of the marine and the colonies.

* * * * * * *

Mr. Jules Ferry, one of the most brilliant members of the chamber of deputies, orator, author, and advocate, is minister of public instruction and fine arts, replacing his friend M. Bardoux, whose retirement is viewed with regret by all friends of education and culture, notwithstanding the acceptability of the new incumbent.

Mr. Freycinet remains minister of public works, and will thus continue Ms policy of amalgamating the minor railroads under the control of the state.

Mr. Lepère, deputy, is minister of agriculture and commerce in place of Mr. Teisserenc de Bort. He belongs to the extreme left, was a determined opponent of the empire, and has been an able member of the national assembly and of the chamber of deputies.

A new portfolio has been created, and Mr. Cochery, member of the chamber of deputies, has been appointed minister of post-offices and telegraphs, this department having been detached from the ministry of finances. He is a veteran in politics, was a distinguished functionary in the republican government of February, 1848, defended the liberal journals in trials which drew universal attention. He was a stern enemy of the empire, voted against the war with Prussia, and on the memorable 4th of September, 1870, aided Mr. Grévy to prevent the chamber from being invaded, whence they went in the name of the corps [Page 335] legislatif to the Hotel de Ville to the support of the provisional government.

It maybe said generally that the cabinet, as reorganized, makes a step of progress towards the left. It represents the political position of the new president pretty fairly, and may be considered as in advance of Mr. Dufaure, and a little behind Mr. Gambetta, and the majority of the republicans in the chamber; as Mr. Gambetta remarked, it approaches more nearly than the former ministry the political center of gravity.

The president’s message was read to the chamber yesterday by Mr. Waddington, and its brief, dignified, and simple character receives general commendation. It is rather a declaration of principles than a programme of measures, and leaves to the ministers, where it belongs under this parliamentary system, the duty of proposing the laws necessary to carry out the policy and perfect the harmony of the government and the republican institutions of France. The French have so long been accustomed to personal government, avowed or indirect, that the tendency of the people is to look up for direction 5 and this respectful reserve on the part of the President is a hopeful and healthful sign that the self-government is becoming a reality.

Gambetta, on yesterday, also took the chair as president of the chamber, succeeding Mr. Grévy, and assumed his new functions with a short speech, of which, as well as of the message, I send you here with translations.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 195.—Translation.]

president grévy’s message.

Messieurs: In raising me to the presidency of the republic, the National Assembly has imposed great duties on me. I shall apply myself unremittingly to their accomplishment, and shall be happy if, with sympathetic support of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, I may be able not to remain beneath what France has the right to expect from my efforts and devotedness. Sincerely submissive as I am to the grand law of parliamentary rule, I will never enter into contest with the national will as expressed by its constitutional organs. In the bills which it will present to the chambers, and in the questions raised by parliamentary initiative, the government will take heed to the real needs, the certain wishes of the country, in a spirit of progress and appeasement; it will more particularly pay attention to the maintenance of tranquillity, security and confidence—the most ardent among the wishes of Prance, the most imperious of her necessities. In the application of the laws which give to general policy its character and direction, the government will be guided by the idea which dictated them. It will be liberal, just toward all, the protector of every legitimate interest and the resolute defender of those of the state. In its solicitude for the great institutions which are the columns of the social edifice, it will give a large portion to our army, the honor and interests of which will be the constant objects of its most cherished regards, taking a just account of required rights and services rendered, now that the two great powers of the state are animated by the same feeling, which is that of France 5 it will see that the republic shall be served by functionaries who will not be either its enemies or its detractors; it will continue to cultivate and develop the friendly relations which exist between France and the foreign powers, and thus to contribute to the consolidation of the general peace. By such a liberal and really conservative policy the great powers of the republic, always in harmony and animated with the same spirit, and ever advancing with prudence, will cause its natural fruits to be borne by the government which France, taught by her misfortunes, has adopted as the only one that can secure her tranquillity and promote the development of her prosperity, strength, and grandeur.

[Page 336]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 195.—Translation.]

gambetta’s speech.

The president said:

In taking possession of the post of honor which the vote of the house has confided to me, I wish to express my deep gratitude. Permit me to add that the historic circumstances which preceded and determined this mark of your confidence have rendered it all the more precious, and at the same time more formidable to me. I succeed, in fact, a great citizen—to the man whom the suffrages of the representatives of the country have spontaneously called to the presidency of the French Republic, to which functions he is followed by the unalterable fidelity of Parliament, and the esteem of the world. If he is to-day the chief of the nation, he remains to be our instructor and our model. (Cheers.) We shall follow his lessons and his footsteps without the pretension of replacing them, but with the firm intention of reproducing the principal characteristics of his magistracy; a vigilant attention to all your discussions, impartiality to all parties (cheers), a scrupulous adhesion to our regulations, and a jealous observance of the freedom of the tribune. (More cheers.)

Elected by the Republican majority, the resolute guardian of your rights and prerogatives, I know my duties of protection towards the minorities. I hope to secure their alliance to the respect which each here present owes to the constitution and the powers of the republic. (Loud applause.)

We can and ought at the present moment to feel that the governments of combat have had their day. Our republic, at length, issuing victoriously from the strife of parties, ought to enter in an organic and creative period. (Approval.) Therefore, Messieurs, I would more particularly invite you to concentrate your ardor, foresight, talents, all your efforts, on the great scholastic, military, financial, trade, and economical questions which are before you, the solution of which is legitimately expected by the young generation, the army, the workers, the producers—in a word, by the nation. (Approval.) Representatives by the twofold consecration of universal suffrage, you have obeyed its chief wish in saving the republic. (Cheers.) You will execute the others in assuring for the nation, in accord with the government, the benefits of peace, the guarantees of liberty, and the reforms claimed by opinion and founded on justice. (Prolonged applause.)