Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

in future times. It was with the Doctrinaires that the Chap. rupture first took place. This party, which afterwards, . from the talents of some of its members, became so cele- 1820brated, had already become important, from its position Rp^ure between the two great parties which divided the state, Doctrinand its power, by inclining to either side, to give a pre- Mresponderauce to either. The conduct of the leaders of this party during the session, if not decidedly hostile to the Ministry, had been equivocal; and the increasing leaning of Government to the Royalist side, since the great reaction consequent on the death of the Duke de Berri, had rendered the position which they still held under the Administration precarious and painful. At the same time Government could not dispense with the support of the Royalists, for it was by their aid alone that the majorities, slender as they were, in the Chamber of Deputies had been obtained. The Doctrinaires had become sensible of the great error into which they had fallen in supporting the coup d'etat of 5th September 1816, which changed the Electoral Law ; and it was by the secession of a part of their members from the Liberal ranks that the amendment of M. Boin, which again changed it, had been carried. But on other points they were decidedly opposed to the Government as now constituted; and the divergence before the close of the session had become so evident, that neither the security of the one party, nor the character of the other, would admit of their longer remaining united. The Duke dc Richelieu, accordingly, at the instigation of M. Laine, who had been much hurt by a speech of M. Royer-Collard on the budget, took his resolution, in which he was unanimously supported by the Cabinet; and the Moniteur, in announcing, after the close of the session, the names of the Council of State, omitted those of Royer-Collard, Guizot, Barante, Camille-Jourdan, and Mirbel. Four prefects, who were known to belong to 1 cag. T«. the same party, were dismissed from office.1 At the same vi.'337,33«; time, the Duke de Richelieu had several conferences

Chap, with M. de Villele and M. Corbiere, on the conditions

IX ... .

of a cordial union with the Royalist party.

1820" Although the great abilities of the persons thus disViews of missed from the Government deprived them of very powertrieJ?es. ful support, especially in debate, yet in truth the severance was unavoidable, for there was an irreconcilable difference between them. It arose from principle, and an entirely different view of the most desirable structure of society, or of what was practicable under existing circumstances. The Doctrinaires were conservative in their views, but they were so on the principles of the Revolution. They adored the equality which was at once the object of its ambition, and the victory it had achieved. They thought it was possible, on the basis of absolute equality, to construct the fabric of constitutional monarchy and regulated freedom. They wished a hierarchy, but it was one, not of rank, or territories, or fortune, but of talent; and, being conscious of great abilities in themselves, they indulged the secret hope that under such a system they would rise to the power and eminence which they were conscious their capacity deserved. They had the natural jealousy which intellectual always feels of political power, and felt the utmost repugnance at the restoration of those distinctions in society which tended to re-establish the ancient supremacy of rank or fortune. In a word, they were the philosophers of the Revolution; and philosophers, when they are not the sycophants, are always jealous of nobles. 8g The Royalists, on the other hand, were set upon an Vievsof the entirely different set of objects. They were as well aware Royaiuu. as tjie Doct;rmajrea that the old regime could not be reestablished, that feudality was for ever abolished, and that general liberty was at once the birthright and greatest blessing of man. But they thought it could only be secured by the continuance of the monarchy, and that constitutional government was impossible without the reconstruction of a territorial nobility and ecclesiastical hierarchy, who might be at once a support of *the throne Chap. and a check upon its power. Absolute equality, accord- .—lx" ing to them, was the best possible foundation for Eastern 1820despotism, but the worst for European freedom; you might as well construct a palace out of the waves of the ocean, as a constitutional monarchy out of the absolute equality of classes. Infidelity had been the principle of the Revolution in matters of belief; the only foundation for the monarchy was to be found in the restoration of the influence of the ancient faith. The centralisation of all power in the capital by the system of the Revolution, and the destruction of all power in the provinces by the division of property, threatened, in their view, the total destruction of public freedom, and would leave France no other destiny but that of an armed democracy or an irresistible despotism. The sequel of this history will show which of these sets of opinions was the better founded; in the mean time, it is obvious that they were wholly irreconcilable with each other, and that no harmonious cabinet could by possibility be constructed out of the leaders of such opposite parties.*

The great military conspiracy, which was to have broken out on 19th August, had its ramifications in the provinces, and in several places the disturbances which ensued

* M. do Châteaubriand, in an article in the Contervateur, on 30th Nov. 1819, has well explained the views and intentions of the Royalists at this period; and subsequent events have rendered his words prophetic: "Voilà donc les Royalistes au pouvoir, fermement résolus a maintenir la charte; tout leur édifice sera posé sur ce fondement; mais, au lieu do bâtir une démocratie, ils élèveront une monarchie. Ainsi leur premier devoir, comme leur premier soin, serait de changer la loi des élections. I1b feraient en mémo temps retrancher do la loi do recrutement le titre VI.,+ et rendraient ainsi à la couronne, une des plus importantes prérogatives. Ils rétabliraient dans la loi sur la liberté do la presse le mot "Religion," qu'à leur honte éternelle, de prétendus hommes d'Etat en ont banni. Ministres! vous fondez une législation, et elle produira des mœurs conformes à vos règles.

"Après la modification des lois capitales, les Royalistes proposeraient les lois les plus monarchiques, sur l'organisation des communes et sur la Garde Nationale. Ils affaibliraient le système de centralisation; ils rendraient uno puissance salutaire aux conseils généraux. Créant, partout, des agrégations

+ That regulating the promotion of officers irrcsitcctive of the Crown.—Anle, ch. vi. S 47.

Chap, required to be coerced by open force. At Brest, M. IX' Ballart, the deputy, was openly insulted by the. populace, and tbe national guard evinced such symptoms of dis

[ocr errors]

89.

Disturb- affection that it required to be dissolved. At Saumur, tiTpr" M. Benjamin Constant was threatened by the scholars tèmai'm^ of the military school for cavalry. Everything indicated Govern-1119 approach of the most fearful of all contests—a conment- test of classes. The exasperation of parties, as usual in cases where they are nearly balanced, was extreme; the Royalists were excited by the prospect of ere long attaining power, the Liberals exasperated at the thoughts of losing it. The ruling principle with the Duke de Richelieu, and which had directed the distribution of the honours of the Cordon Bleu, had been to form a new hierarchy, drawn from all classes, around the throne, and thus to interest in its support alike the Liberals, Imperialists, and Royalists. This maxim had been acted upon with great discrimination and success ; but now the violent i cap vii exasPerat'on °f pai'ties, and the ascertained conspiracies 110,112/ in the army, rendered it advisable to adopt still more «,V ' vigorous measures of conciliation, and those resolved on were the following.1

A new organisation was given to the household of the king, which embraced a considerable extension. It was

d'intérêts, ils les substitueraient à ces individualités trop favorables à rétablissement de la tyrannie En un mot, ils recomposeraient l'aristocratie, troisième pouvoir qui manque à nos institutions, et dont l'absence produit le frottement dangereux quo l'on remarque aujourd'hui entre la puissance royale et la puissance populaire. C'est dans cette vue, que les Royalistes solliciteraient les substitutions en faveur de la Pairie. Ils chercheraient à arrêter, par tous les moyens légaux, la division des propriétés, division qui, dans trente ans, en réalisant la loi agraire, nous fera tomber en démocratie forcée.

"Une autre mesure importante Berait encore prise par l'administration Royaliste. Cette administration demanderait aux Chambres, tant dans l'intérêt des acquéreurs que dans celui des anciens propriétaires, une juste indemnité pour les familles qui ont perdu leurs bicuB dans le cours de la Révolution. Les deux espèces de propriétés qui existent parmi nous, et qui créent, pour ainsi dire, deux peuples sur le moment, sont la grande plaie do la Franco. Pour la guérir, les Royalistes n'auraient que le mérite de faire revivre la proposition de M. le Maréchal Macdonald ; 'On apprend tout dans les camps Français: la justice comme la gloire.'"— Conservateur, 30 Nov. 1819; and Œuvra de M. Chateaubriand, Xx. 270, 271.

divided into six departments, the heads of four of which Chap. were great officers of the Crown, and the other two great IX' officers of the household. * The king regulated these 1820, departments entirely himself, and never would permit Changes in any interference on the part of his Cabinet Ministers. hoid^°USB" He said, and not without reason, that as he left them j^o.1' the disposal of all the offices of state, they might leave him the patronage of his own household. In filling up the situations, however, he carried out to its full extent the system of fusion, on which he was so much bent. M. de Lauriston was put at the head of the household, in reward of his military services, and recent activity in suppressing the disturbances in Brest. His devotion to the royal family, good sense, and discernment, justified the choice. But so far did the king go in his desire to conciliate all parties, that he appointed General Rapp, a brave and distinguished, but rough and homespun veteran of Napoleon's, Grand Master of the Wardrobe. The old soldier, however, soon showed, that if he had been bred in camps, he could take on, late in life, if not the polish, at least the address of courts; for, on occasion of the death of Napoleon, which soon after ensued, having been gently chid by the king for the extreme grief which Jj^pjtm'he manifested, he replied: "Ah! Sire, I owe him every- Lac', m. do. thing—even the happiness of serving your Majesty."1

A more important change was adopted soon after, which tended, more than anything else, to the prolonged New orgaexistence of the dynasty of the Restoration. This WaS an the army, entirely new organisation of the army. The object of the former division of the troops into departmental legions had been, to destroy the disaffected spirit of the Imperial army, by breaking up the regiments from whose esprit de corps its continuance was chiefly to be appre

* Viz.: " Do la grande Aumonerio, du grand Maitre, du grand Chambellan, du grand ficuyer, du grand Veneur, du grand Maitre des Ceremonies. Le grand Vcneur et le grand Mattro des Ceremonies 6taient grands omciers do la maison; les autres, grands omciers de la couronne."—Hiitoire de la liestauraliun, vii. 114.

« ForrigeFortsett »