declamatory in his language—a peculiarity very common Chap.

■with military men, when they become orators or authors,

and one which sensibly impedes their influence. An ultra- 1820Royalist, he included the whole Ministry in his longcherished hatred of M. Decazes, and did not advert to the rapid modification towards Royalist principles which it was undergoing. The Liberals beheld witli satisfaction , c&p those feuds among their adversaries, and loudly applauded i2«, isi^ General Dounadieu in his diatribes against the adminis-21.' tration of the Duke de Richelieu.1

The first public proof of the leaning of the Ministry ge towards the Royalists—which, in truth, had become UU- Accession avoidable from the composition of the Chambers—was &c. to the given by the appointment of M. de Chateaubriand to the M,mstr>embassy at Berlin, which he accepted, at the special request of the Duke de Richelieu. It was arranged between the Royalist chiefs and the Premier that M. de Villele and M. de Corbiere should, at the same time, be taken into the administration; but there was some difficulty in finding, at the moment, places for men of their acknowledged talents and weight in the legislature. It was got over by the moderation of M. de Villele, who, set on higher objects of ambition, stooped to conquer. "Do something for Corbiere: a place in the king's Council is enough for me." It was arranged accordingly that M. Laine should, in the mean time, cede the portfolio of Public Instruction to M. de Corbiere, and that M. de Villele should be admitted without office into the Cabinet; but the appointment did not appear in the Moniteur till after the session commenced. The only»Men) da condition which M. de Villele made on entering the .C1^te?u „ Cabinet, was that a new Municipal Law should be 276,279; introduced by the Government, which was done accord- ibF," 132. ingly.2

The Chambers met on the 20th December, and the speech of the king, which was delivered in the hall of the Louvre bearing the name of Henry IV., on account Cfiap. of the health of his majesty not permitting him to go to

—LI the Palace of the Legislative Body, earnestly counselled

moderation and unanimity. "Everything announced," Speech of said be, " that the modifications introduced into ourelecaixl answer toral system will produce the desired results. Whatever chambers. a(hls to the influence and consideration of the legislature, adds to the authority and dignity of my crown. By strengthening the relations necessary between the monarch and the Chambers, we shall succeed in forming such a system of government as a great monarchy such as France will require in all time to come. It is to accomplish these designs that I would see the days prolonged which Providence may accord to me; and, to insure this great object, desire that You may reckon on my firm and invariable will, and I on your loyal and coustant support." The address was, as usual, au echo of the speeeh; but it terminated with expressions which revealed the ruling feelings of the majority, and furnish the key to nearly the whole subsequeut career of the Royalist administration in France. "To fortify the authority of religion, and purify morals by a system of education at once Christian and monarchical; to give to the armed force that organisation which may secure tranquillity within and peace without; to improve all our institutions which rest on the charter, and are intended to protect our liberties— such are the well-known intentions of your Majesty, and such also are our duties. We will pursue these ameliorations with the moderation which is the accompaniment of strength; we will obtain them by patience, which is the act of awaiting in patience the fruits of the beneficial changes already introduced. May Heaven, measuring the years of your Majesty by the wishes and prayers of your 1 Ann. Hist . people, cause to dawn on France those happy and serene i)oc?Hirt. days which are presaged by the birth of a new heir to sti^'ctp' tne throne."1 "You have expressed," said the monarch vii.'u5. in reply, "my intentions, and your answer is a pledge that you will second them. I repeat it: if I wish to 18-20.

prolong my days, it is to consolidate the institutions I Chap. have given to my people. But whatever may be the intentions of Providence, let us never forget our constitutional maxim, 'The king never dies in France.'"

Although these expressions and allusions seemed to presage au important and perhaps eventful session, yet Measures of it proved otherwise, and the session passed over with fixing the' fewer legislative measures of importance than any which the ""e" had occurred since the Restoration. The reason was {""if'** that the Royalist majority was so decided that the strife of party was over, while, at the same time, as they were still in a minority in the Cabinet, they could not bring forward those measures on which their leaders were set, with a view to modify the general frame and influence of Government. The initiation of laws still belonged to the king's Ministers: the opposition could only introduce their ideas by amendments, which, however, often assumed the importance of original propositions. An important bill in its practical effects, though not so much so in appearance, was introduced and carried, to determine the boundaries of electoral districts. It was intended to increase the Royalist influence, and did so most effectually. Great difficulty was experienced in arranging the details of the municipal law which had been promised to M. de Villele, but at length M. Moumer succeeded in drawing one which met the views of both parties. But being founded on a compromise, it was really acceptable to neither; and it experienced so much resistance in the Chamber that after a prolonged discussion it was at length withdrawn. The king said on ,, „..

b 1 Ann. Hist.

this occasion, " I had abandoned the rights of the crown; si; the Chambers would not permit it: I have learned awajsi'. lesson."1

The strength of the Royalists in the Chamber made Ministers feel the necessity of bringing forward some measure in support of the Church, upon which they were so anxiously set. They did so accordingly, and the law

Chap. they proposed gave the king power to establish twelve Ix' new bishoprics, and to raise considerably the salaries of

1820- the clergy in those situations where it might be deemed Law for necessary. The report of the commission, to whom the wciSti- matter was referred, bore "that religion, resting between mentns!Iow" tne two concordats of 1801 and 1817, without any solid basis, was reduced with its ministers to the most deplorable state, to which the legislature is not sufficiently alive. The absolute absence of religion in the country districts is an evil to which no other is comparable. Civilisation is the perfection of the laws—very different from politeness, which is the perfection of the arts —and is nothing but Christianity applied to the legislation of societies. The law met with very violent opposition from the Liberal party in the Chamber, but it passed by 1Ann Hist.a majority of more than two to one—the numbers bcca9v'iI0: to 'a resu^ which sufficiently indicated the

15^152. vast change which the recent changes in the Electoral Law had made in the popular branch of the legislature.1 The return of peace, and opening of its harbours to Modified- the commerce of all nations, had produced, though in a corn-laws, lesser degree, the same effect in France as in Great Britain. Importation had increased to a degree which excited alarm; and the grain districts loudly demanded some restrictions upon foreign importation, as a protection to native industry. In the course of the discussion, M. de Villele stated, that the annual consumption of France was 160,000,000 hectolitres of grain; that the crop of 1819 had exceeded that amount by a tenth; notwithstanding which 1,400,000 hectolitres, or about & of the annual consumption, had been imported; while the exportation had only been 538,000 hectolitres; leaving a balance of 862,000 hectolitres introduced when not required. The import duty paid on these 862,000 hectolitres was 2,573,000 francs. The importation came chiefly from Odessa, America, and Egypt. The regulations proposed and adopted in consequence were chiefly of a local character, throwing restrictions on the importa- Chap. tion of foreign grain, by limiting the number of places —IX' where it might be received. But the increased importa- m1, tion, even under the considerable protecting duty which existed in France, is a valuable illustration of the eternal law, that the old and rich state is always undersold in the productions of subsistence by the poor one, as much ?A^-^*'as it undersells the latter in the production of manufac- 587.' tures.1 *

A law, which excited much more attention, though not of so much real importance, was brought forward Law for the by Government for an indemnity to the Imperial dona- of the Imtaries. These were the marshals, generals, and others uriea.doilt whom, as explained in a former work, Napoleon had endowed, often richly, out of the revenues of Italy, Germany, and other countries over which his power extended, during the spring-tide of his fortunes,2 but who, ^iat-of by the refluence of his dominion to the limits of Old c. France, had been entirely bereaved of their possessions, and were reduced to great straits in consequence. The distresses of these persons had been such, that they obtained a slight relief from the Treasury by the finance law of 1818, but now it was proposed to give them a durable indemnity. As many of these persons were of the highest rank, and their names associated with the most glorious epochs of the Empire, the proposal excited a very great sensation, and was loudly applauded by the Imperial party, who were to profit by it. The

* The price of wheat at Odessa was, on an average, this year—which was there one of scarcity—12 francs; freight to Marseilles, 3 francs 50 cents, and the import dnty 5 francs 50 cents; in all 20 francs (16s.) the hectolitre, or 48s. the quarter. The usual price at Odessa was 4 francs the hectolitre, which corresponds to about 12 francs (10s.) the quarter. Exportation was permitted in France by the law of 14th December 1814, only when the price in the frontier departments was 23 francs for the best wheat, 21 francs for the second, and 19 francs for the third, which showed that the average cost of production was above the highest of these sums. The import duty was 5 francs 50 cents the hectolitre, but even at this high import duty the influx of foreign grain from America, Odessa, and the Nile had caused a ruinous fall of prices in all the southern provinces.—L'Annuaire Wttorique, iv. 75.


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