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TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH
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HAD hoped to be able to give the History of
the Presidency of Marshal MacMahon in a single volume, but I am obliged to recognise the fact that two volumes are necessary.
The present volume contains the history of the two first cabinets of the Duc de Broglie (May 1873 to May 1874) and an account of the double failure of the attempt to restore the monarchy. The Comte de Chambord was set aside after his letter of October 27th, 1873. The septennate was organised as a provisional system. Soon afterwards, the National Assembly, by turning out the Duc de Broglie at the moment when he offered it a constitutional system, ruined, in anticipation, the hopes of the House of Orleans.
The monarchical past of France was bankrupt, leaving a clear field to the Republic.
In spite of the original inclinations of the Assembly, the Republic was voted by a majority of one in February 1875.
At first, obscure aspirations, then, more and more clearly defined wishes weighed on the resolutions of the Assembly. The inclinations of the country after the War, and after the Commune, bore it towards a
new system of Government. I have thought it necessary to devote to the analysis of this state of public feeling, as also to an account
of the material recovery, and intellectual activity of France, a portion of this present volume, namely, its second part, chapters x., xi., xii., and xiii. This retrospective study in national psychology actually extends over a period of about ten years, from 1871 to 1880.
This explains the necessity, which I found incumbent upon me, of reserving the whole of another volume, the third, to the voting of the Constitution, and the enterprise of May 16th. I hope to be able to publish it after a very short interval ; I shall then have finished a first part, forming a whole in itself : The History of the National Assembly and of the establishment of the Third Republic in France.
It would be impossible for me to express at the present moment all my gratitude for the more and more valuable assistance which I receive, in proportion as my work advances. In every quarter I find the most willing help in my researches. Unpublished documents, both numerous and important, have been entrusted to me. They will be found quoted on very many occasions, sometimes in the narrative, sometimes in the notes.
At the very outset, I must thank Mme. Taine. The fragments of the unpublished correspondence of M. Taine, from which she has been so good as to allow me to make extracts, are jewels, whose value and brilliancy will be appreciated by the public.
Men who were closely concerned in the events described have fully and loyally replied to my ques
I need only mention my eminent colleagues, the Comte d'Haussonville, the Marquis Costa de Beauregard, and the Marquis de Vogüé.