Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Chap. intention of Government was to make this grant to the Ix' time-honoured relics of the Imperial regime a precedent

1821. for the great indemnity which they meditated to the emigrants and others who had been dispossessed of their estates by the Revolution; for after the Liberals had unanimously supported grants from the public funds for the relief of their chiefs who had lost their possessions by the calamities of war, it was not easy to see on what principle they could oppose a similar grant to the sufferers under the confiscations of the Revolution. The Royalists, however, did not see this, or they had no faith in the existing Ministry carrying out this design, as Marshal Macdonald, who introduced the project in 1814, had intended, and it met accordingly with the most impassioned resistance from the Right of the Assembly. No words can describe the indignation of the Royalists when they heard the names of the chief persons to be benefited by the new law, embracing the principal leaders of the Napoleonist party, and those most deeply implicated in the conspiracy of 1815.* "It is," said M. Duplessis "a reward for conspirators." The indemnity proposed was an inscription on the Grand Livre—in other words, the gift of so much stock in the Five per Cents, bearing date 22d Sept. 1821, in certain fixed proportions. t The bill underwent many amendments in committee; iv. U5,r.28j but at length, after great hesitation, indicative of weakul',149. ness on the part of Ministers, it passed as originally proposed by a majority of 203 to 125.1

The question of the censorship of the press still reLawregard- mained, which afforded as regular a subject for the encouneWp'ofthe ter of parties in France as that of Catholic Emancipress. pation did in England. Although the Ministry was now of so mixed a character that it might reasonably have

* They were, MM. Jean-Bon Saint André, Jean do Bry, Quinettc, General Hullin, Labédoyere, Marshal Noy, Count d'Estar, General Lefavre-Desnouettes, General Gilly, General Mouton-Duvernet, General Clauzel, Count de Laborde, General Excelmans, the Duke de Bassano, General Lainarque, Baron Méchin. —Capefiguk, Hid. de la Reatauration, vii. 149.

[ocr errors]

1821.

been supposed that both sets of journalists, having each Chap. something to hope from the Government, would support it, yet it proved otherwise; and there is no period in the whole annals of the Restoration when the press was more violent, or parties were more exasperated against each other. Perhaps this was unavoidable: the effect of the change in the Electoral Law was now evident, and a party in possession of power is never so exasperated as when it sees the reins gradually but perceptibly slipping from its hands. The Minister of the Interior accordingly, Count Simeon, brought forward a project for continuing the censorship, alleging, in justification of the proposal, that it had during the past year been so gently exercised, that no fair discussion had ever been interfered with, but intemperate abuse alone excluded. The commission, however, to which the matter was referred, reported against the project, and Government, in the Chamber itself, were defeated on an amendment proposed by M. Courtarvel, on the part of the Liberals, that the restriction should continue only three months after the commencement of the session of 1821. Thus modified, how- > Ann. Hist, ever, the proposal passed into a law in the Deputies by a '195.'' majority of 214 to 112 ; in the Peers, by 83 to 45.1

This debate was chiefly memorable for the first open declaration of opinion on the part of Ministers, which Speech of revealed an irreconcilable division of opinion and ap- m proaching rupture in the Cabinet. "If the censorship," j^y6 said M. Pasquier, "has been useful, it has been chiefly in what relates to foreign affairs, and certainly it has rendered great services, in that respect, not only to France, but to Europe. We are accused of having enmities and partialities; yes, I admit I have a repugnance to those men, to whatever party they belong, who wish to trouble, or, without intending it, do trouble, the tranquillity of our country, who disunite minds when they should be united. I have a repugnance to the men who, too often exhuming from the tomb the revolutionary maxims,

Chap. would gladly make them a means of destroying the felicity we enjoy, perverting the rising generation, and bring

[ocr errors]

mi. mg upon their heads the evils which have so long desolated us. I have a repugnance to the men who, by odious recriminations, generally unjust, always impolitic, furnish arms and auxiliaries to those whom I have designated. As I distrust every usurpation, I have a repugnauce to a small body of men who would claim exclusively for themselves the title of Royalists.—who would wish to monopolise for themselves the sentiments which belong to the French nation; and who would every day contract a circle which it is for the interest of all should be expanded. Still more have I a repugnance to the same men, when they evince too clearly the design of making of a thing so sacred as royalty, and the power which emanates from it, the instrument of their passions, their interests, or their ambition. I have a repugnance to these men, but chiefly because I feel assured that if they obtained all that they desire, they would make use of the power they have acquired for no other end jj[°n8iteur» but to gratify private interests, and that we should thus Hist:ivDn' see ^era reproduce, by the successive triumph of their 187; cap. petty ambition, that system of government which, in the 168. ' years preceding the Revolution, had done such mischief to France."1

104 When sentiments such as these were expressed by Increasing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in language so unmeaparties, and sured in regard to a body of men who formed part of the ofSeMinis- Ministry, who had a majority in both Chambers, and try- whose support was essential to their existence, it was evident that the dissolution of the Government was at hand. The difficulties of Ministers and the irritation of parties increased rapidly after the session of the legislature terminated. The Count d'Artois and the Royalists were dissatisfied that, when they had a majority in the Chambers, they had not one in the Ministry, and that M. Polignac and Peyronnet had not seats in the Cabinet. They

[ocr errors]

1821.

condemned also, in no measured terms, the conduct of the Chap. Government, which, after having obtained, by the revelations made in the course of the trial of the conspirators of August 19th, decisive evidence of the accession of the Liberal leaders, especially Lafayette and Manuel, to the design of overthrowing the Government, let them escape untouched, and chastised even the inferior delinquents only with subordinate penalties. * "M. de Richelieu is an honest man, but weak; M. de Serres, uncertain; M. de Pasquier, a Buonapartist in disguise; M. Portal, worst of all, a Protestant; M. Roy, a representative of the Hundred Days; M. Simeon, the minister of the Emperor Jerdme; M. Mounier, secretary to the usurper." Such was the language of the Royalists, and the Liberals and Doctrinaires were not behind them in vehemence. In particular, M. Guizot published a pamphlet entitled, "On the Restoration of the Present Ministry," which made a great noise, chiefly by the graphic picture it presented of their difficulties and divisions. The bland temper aud moderate disposition of the Duke de Richelieu was sorely tried by these accumulated attacks on every side; and, on Luration,es" his return from the embassy in London, he complained tl^"^"^ to M. Decazes on the subject. "I wonder you are sur-r»tr^ prised," said he: " they betrayed me, they will betray you; it is their part to do so: it is impossible to act us!' with them."1

At length matters came to such a pass that M. de Villele and M. Corbiere, finding they could no longer preserve terms with the Royalists on the one hand, and the semi-liberal Ministry on the other, resigned their

* "Dans le proces des troubles du mois de juin lo pouvoir ministérial avait reculd devant un systame do pénalité trop forte, trop afflictive. De tons ces débats était resultee la certitude qu'il existait un comité actif, dirigeant, dont los chefs et les projets étaient connus. Comment des lore les Royalistes pouvaient-ils s'expliquer cetto insouciance et cette faiblesso qui s'arretaient devant certains noms propres1 La Correspondance de M. de Lafayette avec Oobier de la Sarthe révélait les desseins et les plans revolutionnaires: pourquei no pas la déposcr comme pièce principale d'un acte d'accusation 1"—Capetigue, Hut. dc la Jieatauration, vii. 164.

Chap, situations shortly before the parliamentary session came

.— to a close. Chateaubriand retired with them, greatly re

18ai" EF^ted, from the embassy at Berlin. Negotiations upon Rupture this were opened with Monsieur and the Royalist chiefs, Roniiato, who wished to retain the Duke de Richelieu as premier, thodRi"hc- but demanded the Ministry of the Interior for M. de ium Minis- Villele, the creation of a Ministry of Public Instruction for M. Corbiere, the embassy at London for M. de Chateaubriand, and' another embassy for M. de Vitrolles. The Cabinet offered the Ministry of the Marine to M. de Villele, but held firm for retaining M. Mounier in the Ministry of the Interior, by far the most important for political influence of any in the Government. The negotiations broke off on this vital point, and Ministers, without the support of the Right, ventured to face the next session. In their expectations, however, of being able to go on without their support, they soon found themselves mistaken. The elections of 1821 considerably augmented the Royalist majority, already so great, aud on the first division in the Chamber the latter were victorious by an immense majority. The speech of the Crown was studiously guarded, so as if possible to avoid a division; but in the answer of the Chamber to the king, a passage was inserted at which both the monarch and the 22o*P247-'' Duke de Richelieu took mortal offence, as seeming to ■An.LMi'^ imply a doubt of their patriotism and honour.* The

iv. 205,240; . r J r

Moniteur, king returned a severe answer to the address, t and it was i82i.' for a time thought the triumph of the minister was complete; but this hope proved fallacious.1 The Duke do

* "Nous nous felicitons, Sire, de vos relations constomment amicalcs avec les puissances etrangeres; dans la juste con fiance qu'une paix si precieuse n'est point achette par des sacrifices incompatibles area 1'honneur de la nation et atec la digniti de la Couronne."Moniteur, 30th Nov. 1821. Ann. Hist., iv. 228.

t " Dans l'exil et la pers6cution, j'ai soutenu mes droits, 1'honneur de ma race et celui du nom francais; sur le trone, entoure de mon peuple, je m'indigne a la Bcuio pensee quo je puisse jamais sacrificr 1'honneur francais et la dignitfi do ma couronne. J'aime a croire quo la plupart do ceux qui ont vote cette adresso n'en ont pas pesfi toutes les expressions—s'ils avaient eu le temps de les apprecier, ils n'eussent pas souffcrt une supposition que, comme Roi, je ne dois pas caracteriser."—Moniteur, 20th Nov. 1820. Capefiqce, vii. 237.

« ForrigeFortsett »