No. 375.
Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard .

No. 579.]

Sir: I think I may fully confirm the views submitted in my No. 575, of March 29 last. Those in charge of the political canvass in support of General Boulanger profess most earnestly their intention to respect the constitutional laws in their efforts to revise the same, but neither of the great sections of the Republican party is willing to support him or assume any responsibility in his behalf, nor can I perceive that the monarchical party as such confide in him. Nevertheless, he has very decided partisans heretofore connected with the right as well as the left in the Chamber of Deputies, who profess an intention to secure his election as an Independent Republican. General Boulanger himself professes to consider the Republic as a great force politically, and as the only form of Government which can give France strength and independence, and this profession he can well make in view of the weakness of those in or out of the chamber who seek to restore either the monarchy or the empire.

It is difficult for one unaccustomed to the exaggeration of the French press to understand its violence and misrepresentation. Mr. Floquet, in accepting the responsibility of forming a cabinet, did only what Mr. de Freycinet and Mr. Goblet in turn attempted during the past year, to wit, to unite in the same cabinet four members of each section of the Republican party as represented in the chamber, with a tendency to a liberal, if not a radical, solution of the political questions now at issue. Mr. Rouvier and Mr. Tirard in turn attempted the same concentration so far as individuals were concerned, but with a tendency to prevent the radical solution of those questions, and secure what might be termed a conservative or moderate adjustment thereof.

Mr. Floquet, however, is credited with great political tact and ability, and for some time past it has been pretty well understood that he would be the successor of Mr. Tirard, and that he would succeed in holding power long enough to dissolve the chamber or superintend the elections at the constitutional period of dissolution in 1889. I account for the unusual and extraordinary violence and exaggeration of the opposition press by their fear of such success on his part, and by their desire to unite the moderate Republicans and monarchists in support of a conservative ministry prior to such dissolution.

The selection by Mr. Floquet of Mr. de Freycinet and Mr. Goblet together with Mr. Ricard and Mr. Loubet is quite sufficient to satisfy any impartial observer that he desired to concentrate the support of the entire Republican party, and all four of these gentlemen accepted office under him; two of them, Mr. Ricard and Mr. Loubet, withdrew because of their dissatisfaction with the programme submitted for their consideration, but it was not to the principle thereof they objected and Mr. Rouvier, a former president of the council and minister of finance, who was invited by Mr. Floquet to form part of his cabinet, declined to do so more on personal than political grounds. Indeed his own programme submitted to the chamber in May last covered substantially all the points involved and now at issue, and Mr. Floquet has replaced these three gentlemen with men of like opinion and equal merits. I do not [Page 527] therefore think it impossible that even the three gentlemen to whom I have referred, and certainly some of their friends, will support Mr. Floquet when the chamber meets on the 20th of April. This is by no means the general opinion; but I am accustomed to find the public men of this country, though vehement and impulsive, very reasonable, and persistent in their political action, and I do not anticipate any material diversion from the Republican party in support of a ministry dependent upon or in coalition with the Monarchists.

Entertaining this view I have frequently noted to you my conviction that the dissolution of the chamber and an appeal to the country would be the final means adopted to secure support for a Republican ministry, and it is this same conviction which induces me to think that General Boulanger himself will not undertake the direction of any revolutionary movement against the Government, but will advocate the policy of revision of the constitutional laws and a dissolution of the chamber in conformity therewith.

I have, etc.,

Robert M. McLane.