side, was capable of balancing the power of General Foy Chap.

on the Liberal, was M. De Serres. He was in every sense ——

a very eminent man, and seemed to have inherited the '^J9spirit of Mirabeau without being stained by his vices, and M. de serenlightened by experience and subsequent events. He was fitted by nature, if any man was, to have brought about the marriage of the hereditary monarchy with the liberty of the Revolution, which that great man, in the close of his career, endeavoured to effect, but which his own violence at that period had contributed to render impossible. A Royalist by descent, born on 12th March 1776, of a noble family in Lorraine, he had, in the first instance, served with the other emigrants in the army of the Prince of Condd against the Revolution. But his inclination led him to peaceful studies rather than warlike pursuits, and he returned to France on occasion of Napoleon's amnesty in 1801, and began his studies for the bar. Such, however, at that period, from long residence abroad, was his ignorance of his own language, that he required to study it as a foreign tongue. He made his dSbut at the provincial bar of Metz, and in a few years had distinguished himself so much that in 1811 Napoleon appointed him public prosecutor there, and soon after President of the Imperial Court at Hamburg. In that situation he remained till 1814, when, having declared his adhesion to the Bourbons on the fall of Napoleon, he was appointed President of the Royal Court at Colmar, a situation i which he held when he was named deputy for that Univ." department in 1815. With that commenced his parliamentary and ministerial career.1

His principles were Royalist from birth and early impressions, and he was of a religious disposition; but when nuchirachis reason was fully developed, his opinions inclined to ter" the Liberal side, and then he readily fell into the alliance of the Royalist Liberals, of whom M. Decazes was the head, and which Louis XVIII. adopted as the basis

Chap. of his gOYcrnmcnt. He was more remarkable for the IX' power of his eloquence, and the commanding flow of l819- his oratory, than the consistency of his political conduct. His soul was ardent, his imagination rich, his words impassioned, his elocution clear and emphatic. He was thus the most powerful debater, the most brilliant orator on the ministerial side, and was put forward by them on all important occasions as their most valuable supporter. Such was the force of his language, and the generous liberality of his sentiments, that he not only never failed to command general attention, but often to elicit the warmest applause from both sides of the Chamber—an intoxicating but dangerous species of homage, to which the consistency of more than one very eminent man, on both sides of the Channel, has fallen a sacrifice. His previous life and known principles still obtained for him the applause of the Royalists, while the newborn liberality of his sentiments extorted the cheers of the Liberals on the left. Thus his parliamentary influence at the moment was extensive—more so, perhaps, than that of any other man; but it was not likely to be durable. Mere talent, how great soever, will not long secure the suffrages of any body of men, least of all of an assembly in which ambition is the ruling principle of action in the great majority. Both sides applaud him so long as both hope to gain him, but when his decision is once taken, the party which he has abandoned becomes his bitterest enemy. Wisdom of thought and consistency of conduct, though often exposed to obloquy at the time, are i the only secure foundation for lasting fame, because they

•2\iT'v1" alone can lead to a course upon which time will stamp its approval.1

The result of the elections, and in an especial manner the return of the Abbe Gregoire, acted like a clap of thunder on Louis XVIII. and M. Decazes, to whose Electoral Law it was obviously to be ascribed. It was no longer possible to shut their eyes to the danger. Every successive Chap. election, since the coup d'etat of September 5, 1816, had IX" proved more unfavourable than the preceding; and the last had turned out so disastrous, both in the general Conversaresults and the character of the individuals returned, that xvi°iL«nd not a doubt could remain that the next would give a$A^sn'n decided majority in the Chamber to the declared enemies theel*cti(mof the Bourbon family. Immense was the sensation which these untoward results produced at the Tuileries; and the evidence of facts was now too clear and convincing for the king any longer to shut his eyes to the inferences deducible from them. On the evening of the day when intelligence had been received of the return of the Abbe' Gregoire, the Count d'Artois thus addressed Louis: "Well, my brother, you see at last whither they are leading you." "I know it, my brother," replied the king, softening his voice, and in an under-tone, "I know it, and will provide against it." Confidence was by these words immediately re-established between the heir-apparent and the throne. A long and cordial conversation ensued between the two brothers, in the course of which it was agreed that an Electoral Law, which had induced suchasuccession of defeats to the Government and insults to the throne, evidently required to be altered. The very same evening M. Decazes received orders to prepare a new electoral bill. The minister saw that his master's mind was made up, and at once agreed to do so. M. de Serres, whose early prepossessions and imaginative turn of mind inclined him to the same side, and even to magnify the approaching dangers, readily fell into the same views, and M. Portal, the Minister of Marine, adopted them also. On the other hand, the President, General Dessolles, General Gouvion St Cyr, War Minister, and Baron Louis, the i L(un Ti Finance Minister, were decidedly in favour of the exist- ^J-fft. mg system; so that the Cabinet was divided on the sub- uc.ii.339. ject, as well as the country.1

Chap. When a division bad taken place in the Cabinet on so

IX • • • •

. vital a subject as the Electoral Law, it was impossible that 1819- it could be adjusted without a change in the composition Change in of the Ministry. The king and M. Decazes, aware of the the mis- danger 0f guying symptoms of division in their own camp, in presence of an enterprising and insatiable enemy, made great efforts to avert the rupture, and laboured hard to convince the Liberal members of the administration that no change involving principle was contemplated, but only such a modification in details as circumstances had rendered necessary. But the ministers adverse to a change stood firm, and resolved to resign rather than enter into the proposed compromise. On the other hand, the king was fortified in his view of the case by the accession of M. Pasquier, who laid before him a very able memoir, in which the dangers of the present law were clearly pointed out, and its further maintenance was shown to be inconsistent with the existence of the monarchy. The Liberal journals, made aware of the danger of their chiefs, sounded the alarm in the loudest possible notes, and praised General Dessolles, General Gouvion St Cyr, and Baron Louis to the skies, as the sole patriotic ministers, and the only ones who had the interest of the people and the support of the national liberties really at heart. But it was all in vain. The king's mind was made up: the danger was too obvious and pressing to be any longer disregarded; and as no compromise was found to be practicable, the result was a great and important change in the Ministry. M. Decazes was sent for by the king, and declared President of the Council. He reserved for himself the situation of 235^254' Mmister of the Interior, for which his talents and habits 228°2ss- peculiarly qualified him. M. Pasquier was appointed Lac'.ii.339. Minister of Foreign Affairs; General Latour Maubourg, Minister-at-War; and M. Roy, Finance Minister.1 It was comparatively a matter of little difficulty to make a change in the Ministry, but it was not so easy to see Chap. how the alteration was to be supported in the Cham- Ix' ber, or rendered palatable to the public press, in both of i819which Liberal principles were in the ascendant. Every- violet atthing depended on the Centre of the Assembly, and to ^ Mm!!.1 secure its support the new Cabinet Ministers had been tr*b>'the

. press.

taken from its ranks; and to gain time for the parties to arrange themselves, the opening of the Chambers was adjourned to the 29th November. But meanwhile, both the journals and the pamphleteers on the Liberal side, now freed from the restraints of the censorship, commenced a war to the knife with the new Ministry. M. Decazes, so recently the object of general idolatry as long as he headed the movement, was instantly assailed with the most virulent reproaches; none are so much so as public men who change their line, or are unfaithful to their principles, especially when the change conduces, as in this instance it did, to their own advantage. Nor were publications awanting of a higher stamp, and which had greater weight with persons of thought and reflection. In particular, M. de Stael, son of the illustrious authoress, in a pamphlet of great ability, defended the contemplated change in the Electoral Law, pointed out the evils of the existing system, and proposed, to remedy them, the duplication of the Chamber of Deputies, elections by arrondissements and chief places, and a renewal of the entire Chamber every five years, instead of the annual renewal of a fifth. The Doctrinaires, including M. de Stael, M. Guizot, and M. de Broglie, tendered their powerful support to the new Cabi- , Cap v. net, demanding only, as a guarantee for its sincerity, two '^259; portfolios, one for M. Royer-Collard, and one for M. de 228, m Broglie or M. de Barante.1

The king's speech, at the opening of the Chamber on November 29, gave tokens of the apprehensions with which the royal mind was inspired, and of the change of

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