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sergues, a Royalist of the extreme Right, a respectable Chap. man, but of an impassioned temperament and credulous IX" disposition, said in the Chamber of Deputies, "There is 1820, no law which prescribes the mode of impeaching ministers; but justice requires it should be done in public sitting, and in the face of France. I propose to the Chamber to institute a prosecution against M. Decazes, Minister of the Interior, as accomplice in the assassination." The Chamber revolted against such an accusation, and only twenty-five voices supported it. General Foy said, "If such an event is deplorable for all, it is in an especial manner so for the friends of freedom, since there can be 2 LaIll vi no doubt that their adversaries will take advantage of' this execrable crime to wrest from the nation the liberties A?nwhich the king has bestowed upon it, and which he is so 82,33.' anxious to maintain."1
From the moment when the Duke de Berri breathed his last, the king foresaw the immense advantage it would The king give to the ultra-Royalists, and the efforts they would support '° make to force him to abandon the system of governmenthim' and public servants to whom he was so much attached. "My child," said he to M. Decazes next day, "the ultras are preparing against us a terrible war; they will make the most of my grief. It is not your system that they will attack—it is mine; it is not at you their blows are levelled—it is at me." "Should your Majesty," answered M. Decazes, "deem my retiring for the good of your service, I am ready to resign, though grieved to think my retreat will lead to such fatal consequences." "I insist upon your remaining," replied the monarch; "they shall not separate you from me." Then, after weeping in common over the deplorable event which had altered the destinies of France, and let loose the parties 3 ^ ^ who tore its entrails with such fury against each other, ^3°?: they agreed on the measures to be adopted in conse- 273,274^ quence ;2 and these were, that the Chamber of Peers 372. should be summoned as a supreme court to try the assas
Chap. sin of the Duke de Berri: and that laws, restrictive of
. the license of the press, and giving the Government extra
i82u. ordinary powers of arrest, and modifying the Electoral
Law, should be introduced into the lower Chamber. 42 But how determined soever the king might be to supHeatien^h port his favourite minister and system of government, the dfsmUsai." tide of public feeling soon became so strong that it was impossible to resist it. The terrible words of M. de Chateaubriand regarding M. Decazes in the Conservateur, "His feet have slipped in blood," vibrated in every heart. The accusation against him, though quashed in the Chamber of Deputies, and repudiated by every unprejudiced mind, still hung over him in general opinion. People did not believe him guilty, but he had been openly accused, and no proof of his innocence had been adduced. The agitation of the public mind was indescribable, and soon assumed such a magnitude as portended great changes, and is always found, for good or for evil, to be irresistible. The terrible nature of the catastrophe—its irreparable consequences on the future of the monarchy—the chances of future and unknown dangers which it had induced, were obvious to every apprehension. Every one trembled for his fortune, his life; a few for the public liberties. The Liberals became subdued and downcast, the Royalists vehement and exulting. Matters were at last brought to a crisis by a conversation which ensued between the king and the principal members of the royal family. The Count d'Artois demanded the dismissal of the primeminister, and a change in the system of government. "We are hastening to a revolution, sire," said the Duchess d'Angouleme, "but there is still time to arrest it. M. Decazes has injured the Royalists too deeply for any accommodation to take place between them: let him cease to be a member of your Cabinet, and all will hasten to tender to you their services." "I do not suppose," replied the king, "that you propose to force my will: it belongs to me .alone to determine the policy of my government." "It is impossible for me," rejoined the Chap.
Count d'Artois, "to remain at the Tuileries when M. .—
Decazes, openly accused of the murder of my son, sits im' at the council: I beseech you to allow me to retire to Compiegne." The Duchess d'Angoule'me united her instances to those of the Count d'Artois, and at length , the king, dreading a total rupture of the royal family, 299,aoo;" said, "You are determined on it; well, we shall seew,819. you shall be satisfied."1
When M. Decazes heard of the result of this con- 43 ference, he saw it was no longer possible to maintain his Resignation position, and he accordingly sent in his resignation. The Mazes', and king, deeply affected, felt himself constrained to receive aVi«ch£ it. "My child," said he, "it is not against you, but ^8ent against me that the stroke is directed. The Pavilion Marsan would deprive me of all power. I will not have M. de Talleyrand: the Duke de Richelieu alone shall replace you. Go and convince him of the necessity of his agreeing to the sacrifice which I demand of him. As for you, I shall show these gentlemen that you have in noways lost my confidence." The Duke de Richelieu accordingly was commissioned to form a ministry, but he evinced the utmost repugnance at undertaking the task, and it was only at the earnest solicitation of the king, and as a matter of patriotic duty, that he at length agreed. M. Simeon was made Minister of the Interior, and M. Portalis under-secretary to the Minister of Justice. No other changes were made in the Cabinet; and M. Decazes was appointed ambassador at London, with magnificent allowances. He was so far from losing his influence, however, by his departure, that the king corresponded with him almost daily after he was settled in London. The Duke de Richelieu made the absolute and uncon-, Cap vi ditional support of the Royalists a condition of his taking f^3^?' office, and this the Count d'Artois engaged to secure;2 and Wjs^ as a pledge of the cordiality of the alliance, M. Capelle, 882. his private secretary, was made principal secretary to
Chap. the Minister of the Interior. The Ministry therefore was IX' materially modified by the introduction of Royalist memim' bers, though it still retained, as a whole, its Liberal character. But a still more material change took place at this period in the private disposition of the king, owing to a change of favourites, which materially influenced his policy during the remainder of his reign.
Although the age and infirmities of the king prevented The king'a him from becoming the slave of the passions which had for Ptet*-" disgraced so many of his race, and his disposition had menu!"*1" always made him more inclined to the pleasures of the table than to those of love, yet he was by no means insensible to female charms, and extremely fond of the conversation of elegant and well-informed women. He piqued himself, though neither young nor handsome, upon his power of rendering himself agreeable to them in the way which he alone desired, which was within the limits of Platonic attachment. He had a remarkable facility iu expressing himself, both verbally and in writing, in elegant and complimentary language towards them: he spent several hours every day in this refined species of trifling, and prided himself as much on the turn of his flattery in notes to ladies, as on the charter which was to give liberty to France and peace to Europe. Aware of this disposition on the part of the sovereign, the Royalists, in whose saloons such a person was most likely to be found, had for long been on the look-out for some lady attached to their principles, who might win the confidence of Louis, and insensibly insinuate her ideas on politics in the midst of the complimentary trifling or unreserved confidence of the boudoir. Such a person was found in a young and beautiful woman then in Paris, who united a graceful exterior ,L»m v- to Sreat powers of conversation, and an entire command 279,2fto.' of diplomatic tact and address; and to her influence the future policy of his reign is in a great degree to be traced.1 Madame, the Countess Du Cayla, was the daughter of M. Talon, who held a respectable position in the ancient magistracy of France, and had taken an active part, in Chap. concert with Mirabeau and the Count de la Marche, in IX' the intrigues which preceded the Revolution. He was said to be possessed of some valuable papers, implicating The CounLouis XVIII., then Count of Provence, in the affair for c»yia.u which the Marquis de Favras suffered death in 1789, and these had descended after his decease to his daughter. She had been brought up in the school of diplomacy under Madame Campal), and was intimate both with the Empress Josephine, and Hortense Queen of Holland, since Duchess of St Leu. She was married early in life to an old man of fortune, whose temper was soon found to be incompatible with her own, and having separated from him, without reproach, after the French fashion, she was living without scandal in the family of the Prince of Conde-, with whose natural daughter, the Countess de Rully, she was intimate, when the Royalist leaders cast i their eyes upon her as a person likely to confirm their 281,202!' ascendancy in the royal councils.1
The Viscount de la Rochefoucauld was the person intrusted with the management of this delicate affair, Her first and he did so with great tact and address. He first im- wUhLouii, pressed upon the young and charming countess that she h would confer inestimable services on the cause of religion and her country if she would take advantage of the gift of pleasing which Providence had bestowed upon her, and reclaim the sovereign to the system of government which would alone secure the interests of his religion, his people, or his family.* The mind of Madame Du Cayla,
* "Louis a besom d'aimer ceux a qui il permet de le conscillcr, Bon coeur est pour moitie dans la politique. Madame de Balbi, M. Duvarny, M. de Blacas autrefois, M. Decazcs aujourd'hui, sout les preuves encore vivantes do cette disposition de sa nature. 11 faut lui plaire pour avoir le droit de l'influenoer. Des femmcs illustres par leur crtdit, utile ou funeste, sur le coeur et sur l'csprit de nos rois, ont tour a tour perdu ou sauve la roynute en France et en Espagne. C'est d'une femme seule aujourd'hui que peut venir le salut de la religion et de la monarchie. La nature, la naissance, l'education, le malheur nifime, semblent vous avoir designee pour ce r61o. Voulez-vous Stre le salut des princes, l'amie du roi, rEtther des royalistcs, la Maintenon ferme ct irrepxochable d'une cour qui se perd et qu'une femme peut reconcilier et sauver 1