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CHAP. would gladly make them a means of destroying the feli
- city we enjoy, perverting the rising generation, and bring
ing upon their heads the evils which have so long desolated us. I have a repugpance 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 repugnance 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 bave acquired for no other end 1 Mop July 8,
bur, but to gratify private interests, and that we should thus 18:21; Ann. see them reproduce, by the successive triumph of their Hist. iv. 187; Cap. petty ambition, that system of government which, in the vii. 157,
years preceding the Revolution, had done such mischief to France.” 1
When sentiments such as these were expressed by 104. Increasing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in language so unmeairritation of parties, and sured in regard to a body of men who formed part of the of the Minis. 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
condemned also, in no measured terms, the conduct of the CHAP. Government, which, after having obtained, by the revela- tions 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. Siméon, the minister of the Emperor Jérôme ; 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 and moderate disposition of the Duke de Richelieu was sorely tried by these accumulated attacks on every side; and, on tale
1 De la Reshis return from the embassy in London, he complained et du Ministo M. Decazes on the subject. “I wonder you are sur- par M. Gui
zot, 34, 42; prised,” said he : “ they betrayed me, they will betray Cap. vii. you ; it is their part to do so : it is impossible to act 173 with them.” 1
At length matters came to such a pass that M. de Villèle and M. Corbière, 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 procès des troubles du mois de juin le pouvoir ministériel avait reculé devant un système de pénalité trop forte, trop afflictive. De tous ces débats était résultée la certitude qu'il existait un comité actif, dirigeant, dont les chefs et les projets étaient connus. Comment dès lors les Royalistes pouvaient-ils s'expliquer cette insouciance et cette faiblesse qui s'arrêtaient devant certains noms propres ? La Correspondance de M. de Lafayette avec Gohier de la Sarthè révélait les desseins et les plans révolutionnaires : pourquoi ne pas la déposer comme pièce principale d'un acte d'accusation?”-CAPEFIGUE, Hist. de la Restauration, vii. 164.
Rovalists, WuU WILTU VU UUWI and of
CHAP. situations shortly before the parliamentary session came
to a close. Chateaubriand retired with them, greatly re1821.
gretted, from the embassy at Berlin. Negotiations upon 105.
this were opened with Monsieur and the Royalist chiefs, with the
who wished to retain the Duke de Richelieu as premier,
but demanded the Ministry of the Interior for M. de the Riche
Minis- Villèle, the creation of a Ministry of Public Instruction try.
for M. Corbière, 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 Villèle, 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, and 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 Cap.vii. Duke de Richelieu took mortal offence, as seeming to Ann. Hist. imply a doubt of their patriotism and honour.* The iv. 205, 240; Moniteur, king returned a severe answer to the address, † and it was Dec. 15,
for a time thought the triumph of the minister was complete ; but this hope proved fallacious. 1 The Duke de
* "Nous nous félicitons, Sire, de vos relations constamment amicales avec les puissances étrangères; dans la juste confiance qu'une paix si précieuse n'est point achetée par des sacrifices incompatibles areo l'honneur de la nation et areo la dignité de la Couronne."— Moniteur, 30th Nov. 1821. Ann. Hist., iv, 228.
* “Dans l'exil et la persécution, j'ai soutenu mes droits, l'honneur de ma race et celui du nom français ; sur le trône, entouré de mon peuple, je m'indigne à la seule pensée que je puisse jamais sacrifier l'honneur français et la dignité de ma couronne. J'aime à croire que la plupart de ceux qui ont voté cette adresse n'en ont pas pesé toutes les expressions—s'ils avaient eu le temps de les apprécier, ils n'eussent pas souffert une supposition que, comme Roi, je ne dois pas caractériser."--Moniteur, 20th Nov. 1820. CAPEFIGUE, vii. 237.
Richelieu found his situation so painful, with a decided CHAP. majority hostile to him in the Chamber, that, after some conference with the Count d'Artois, in which it was found 182 impossible to come to an understanding, he resolved on resigning with all his colleagues, which was accordingly done on the 13th December. According to established usage, the Duke de Richelieu
106. advised the king whom to send for, to form the new Minis- The new
Ministry. try, and he of course recommended M. de Villèle. There" was no difficulty in forming a Government; the near approach of the crisis had been so long foreseen, that the Royalists had their arrangements all complete. M. de Villèle was President of the Council and Minister of Finance; M. de Peyronnet, Secretary of State and Minister of Justice; Viscount Montmorency, Minister for Foreign Affairs; M. Corbière, Minister of the Interior; Marsbal Victor, of War; the Marquis ClermontTonnerre, of the Marine. In addition to this, the ex-ministers, M. de Serres, General Latour-Maubourg, Count Siméon, Baron Portal, and M. Roy, were appointed members, as usual on such occasions, of the Privy Council ; and, in addition, Latour-Maubourg was appointed Governor of the Invalides. The Ministerial revolution was complete; the Royalists were in entire possession of the government, and the change in all subordinate, as well as the principal offices, was thorough and universal. The king would probably never have consented to so entire a revolution, had he possessed the bodily or mental vigour which he did in the earlier parts of his reign. But this was very far from being the case. His health, which had been long declining, had now become so feeble that his life was almost despaired of; and he had fallen into that state of dependence on those around him, which such a state of debility generally produces. To a monarch who was not able to rise from his chair, who was wheeled about the room, and required to be tended almost with the care of an infant, the
on this event.
CHAP. influence of Monsieur, the Duchess d'Angoulême, and
the Countess Du Cayla, was irresistible. Louis, in fact, 1821.
had almost resigned the reigns of government to his brother. He regarded his reign as having terminated with the retirement of the Duke de Richelieu. “ At last,” said he,“ M. de Villèle triumphs : I know little of the men who are entering my Council along with him : I believe, however, that they have good sense
enough not to follow blindly all the follies of the Right. Dec. 15, For the rest, I consider myself annihilated from this 1821; Ann. Hist. iv. moment; I undergo the usual fate of constitutional vii. 247. monarchs: hitherto, at least, I have defended my crown;
if my brother casts it to the winds, it is his affair.” 1
The fall of M. de Richelieu's administration, and the 107. Reflections accession of a purely Royalist Government, was so great
a change in France, that it was equivalent to a revolution. Nothing appears so extraordinary as that such an event should have taken place, in consequence of a parliamentary majority, so soon after the period when the tide of Liberal opinions set in so strongly in the nation that two successive coups d'état had been deemed necessary by the Government, in September 1816 and March 1819, to mould the two branches of the legislature in conformity with it. But many similar examples of rapid change of opinion, and the setting in of entirely opposite flood-tides of opinion, are to be found both in the previous and subsequent annals of that country; and they are not without a parallel both in the ancient and recent history of this. Whoever studies the changes of public opinion in the reign of Charles II., which within a few years led to the frightful judicial massacres of the Papists, and the inhuman severities of the RyeHouse Plot—or recollects that the same nation which brought in Sir Robert Peel by a majority of 91 in 1841, in the House of Commons, to support Protection, ten years afterwards obliged Lord Derby to abandon itwill see, that, though the variations of opinion in Great