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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

A Prominent French Statesman Prophecies War

A Prominent French Statesman Prophecies War.

A cable message from Paris, of 30th March, states that "M. Ste. Hilaire says that war between France and Germany is inevitable, and every day France's opportunity for revenge draws nearer."

When a veteran savan, statesman, and historian such as the aged and highly, cultured M. Barthélemy Sainte Hilaire (one of the most prominent living Frenchmen of the century) gives expression to an opinion so grave in its predictions as that just quoted the situation presents even more disturbing aspects. M. Ste. Hilaire has been a spectator of, and intimately connected with all the varied political phase and movements in France during the last sixty years. Notwithstanding his great age his mental faculties appear unimpaired, as is evidenced by his two most recent works, which the Press highly eulogised—"Philosophy in its Relation to the Sciences and Religion," published in 1889, and "Francis Bacon," in 1890. both works of a profound and erudite character. M. Ste. Hilaire's history, political and literary, embraces a wide experience and keen observation, and a ripe knowledge of affairs. He occupied the Chair of Greek and Roman Philosophy in 1838. and next year was made a member of the French Academy, and for some years was Minister of Finance. After the Revolution of 1848 he entered the Republican Assembly, where he was one of the leaders of the Moderate Party. On the occurrence of the coup d'etat in December, 1851, he was among those representatives who were arrested and imprisoned, and when Napoleon III. made himself Emperor, M. Ste. Hilaire refused to take the oath of allegiance to Napoleon, and resigned his appointments. After the Franco-Prussian War, and the restoration of the Republic, he was, in 1871, returned to the Assembly, where he was a steadfast supporter of President Thiers. Five years later he was made a life Senator, and in 1880-81 he held the portfolio of Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet of M. Jules Ferry From all this it follows, that,—coming from a statesman of his qualifications and experience in. the history and troubles of France, and of the conflicts of Europe page 37 since the early days of Louis Phillipe's reign—an opinion like that with which he is now accredited as having published gives cause for disquietude. That impression may be abated to some extent if it is argued that the opinion of the philosopher and statesman may arise from exaggerated alarm, a not uncommon accompaniment of extreme old age. But if so then the utility of transmitting the intelligence is not sufficiently apparent.