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CHAP. the “ Electoral Fever” had become as common as, in IX.
after days, that of the approach of the cholera was to be. Ministers felt strongly the importance of the ensuing election, and exerted themselves to the utmost to gain popularity before it came on. The king visited frequently the magnificent exhibition of the productions of native industry, which was held in the Louvre, and was prodigal of those flattering expressions of which he was so accomplished a master : not a manufacturer withdrew without believing that he had captivated the royal taste. Crosses of the Legion of Honour were profusely bestowed, but yet with discernment, and without regard to party; and the circulars to the prefects earnestly inculcated the utmost lenity in prosecution of offenders, and diligence in encouraging every object of social improvement. The prosecution of the assassins of Marshal Brune was authorised, if they could be discovered; the proscribed returned in crowds from Belgium; while, to conciliate the Royalists, the concordat with the court of Rome was modified; bulls were given to the new French bishops; and the sacred ceremonies frequently announced the installation of a new bishop in his diocese. A million of francs (£40,000) was devoted to the establishment of new parish priests; while, to evince their impartiality, three new Protestant ministers were endowed at the same time with the Catholic bishops; and the presidents of the
electoral colleges were all chosen from the Centre of the 1 Cap, vi. 216, 219. Assembly, and taken from men of moderation and
It was all in vain; and the elections of 1819, which 17. Theirresult: had an important effect on the destinies of the monarchy,
'Abbe afford another example of the truth exemplified by so Grégoire.
many passages of contemporary history—that in periods of excitement, when the passions are violently roused, moderate men are assailed on both sides, and it is the extremes on either who alone prove successful. All that
the king and the
little went to
their demands, an
the king and the ministers had done for the Liberal party CHAP. —and it was not a little—went for nothing; or rather, they only encouraged them to rise in their demands, and 18. return representatives who would extort what they wished from the Government. The Royalists in many places coalesced with them to throw out the ministerial candidates : their journals openly advised them to do so, inculcating the doctrine, “ Better the Jacobins than the Ministerialists; for the Jacobins will bring matters to a crisis.” In truth, however, the crisis was nearer than they imagined, and it was brought on very much by their policy. Five-and-thirty extreme Liberals were returned, fifteen Ministerialists, and only four Royalists. Among those whom the Liberals returned were GENERAL Foy, the most distinguished popular orator of the Restoration, and two extreme Jacobins, whose appearance in the returned lists excited universal consternation — M. Cap. . Lambrecht, and the ABBÉ GRÉGOIRE, the Jacobin and Lac. ii. 330, constitutional bishop of Blois, whose name was identified vi. 221, 222. with several of the worst acts of the Convention.1
The Abbé Grégoire, who had left the Church of Rome during the Revolution, and received in return from the Biography, civil authorities the bishopric of Blois, had not actually Grégoire. voted for the death of Louis XVI., having been absent on a mission at the time; but he had given several subsequent votes, which evinced his approval of that great legislative murder. His language had always been violent and immeasured against royalty and the Bourbons; and no one had spread brief sarcastic sayings against them more widely, or done more to injure their cause with the great body of the people, with whom stinging epithets or bold assertions often prevail more than sound argument or truth in the statement of facts. A mute senator under the Empire, he had possessed good sense enough to abstain from joining in the movement which followed the return of Napoleon from Elba, which prevented his being in
• 335; Lam.
of the Abbé
CHAP. cluded in the sentence of banishment pronounced against
those concerned in that event, and paved the way for his 1819.
return as a member of the Chamber of Deputies. He had never been wholly faithless to the cause of Christianity, though he had to that of the court of Rome, in whose service he had been; and there were many worse
men in the Convention. But it was impossible to find 1 Lam. vi. 222, 223;, one more personally obnoxious to the Bourbons, or whose Cap.vi.227, 229. return was considered a more decided triumph by the
party which aimed at their overthrow.
GENERAL Foy, a far nobler and superior character, General though not so much dreaded at the time, proved a much Foy: his biography.
more formidable enemy in the end to the Government of the Restoration. Born at Havre in 1775, he had early served under Dumourier, Pichegru, and Dampierre in the legions of the Revolution. Subsequently he was wounded by the side of Desaix, in one of the campaigns in Germany; and he served under Massena in the campaign of Zurich in 1799. He early evinced, however, an independent spirit, and devoted his leisure hours, in the intervals of his campaign, to the study of law and social questions. He refused to sign the servile addresses which were sent by the troops with whom he acted to Napoleon, fell, in consequence, under the imperial displeasure, and was sent to Spain to expiate his offence in the dreadful campaigns in that country. To this circumstance we owe his very interesting account of the early campaigns in that memorable war. He joined the Bourbons in 1814; but, without being implicated, like so many others, in the revolt of 1815, he hastened to the scene of danger when
the independence of France was menaced; and none 2 Lam. vi. combated with more gallantry both at Quatre-Bras and 225, 227; Biog. Univ. Waterloo. In 1815, he returned to private life, on the Ixiv, 288, 294. ' disbanding of the army, and employed his leisure hours
in writing the annals of his campaigns.
The only man in the Chamber who, on the Ministerial
side, was capable of balancing the power of General Foy CHAP. on the Liberal, was M. DE SERRES. He was in every sense a very eminent man, and seemed to have inherited the spirit of Mirabeau without being stained by his vices, and M. de Serenlightened by experience and subsequent events. He was fitted by nature, if any man was, to have brought about the marriage of the hereditary monarchy with the liberty of the Revolution, which that great man, in the close of his career, endeavoured to effect, but which his own violence at that period had contributed to render impossible. A Royalist by descent, born on 12th March 1776, of a noble family in Lorraine, he had, in the first instance, served with the other emigrants in the army of the Prince of Condé against the Revolution. But his inclination led him to peaceful studies rather than warlike pursuits, and he returned to France on occasion of Napoleon's amnesty in 1801, and began his studies for the bar. Such, however, at that period, from long residence abroad, was his ignorance of his own language, that he required to study it as a foreign tongue. He made his debut at the provincial bar of Metz, and in a few years had distinguished himself so much that in 1811 Napoleon appointed him public prosecutor there, and soon after President of the Imperial Court at Hamburg. In that situation he remained till 1814, when, having declared his adhesion to the Bourbons on the fall of Napoleon, he was appointed President of the Royal Court at Colmar, a situation
* 1 Biog. which he held when he was named deputy for that Univ.
Ixxxii. department in 1815. With that commenced his parlia- 133, 134. mentary and ministerial career.1
His principles were Royalist from birth and early impressions, and he was of a religious disposition ; but when his charachis reason was fully developed, his opinions inclined to ter. the Liberal side, and then he readily fell into the alliance of the Royalist Liberals, of whom M. Decazes was the head, and which Louis XVIII. adopted as the basis
CHAP. of his government. He was more remarkable for the
power of his eloquence, and the commanding flow of 1819.
his oratory, than the consistency of his political conduct. His soul was ardent, his imagination rich, his words impassioned, his elocution clear and emphatic. He was thus the most powerful debater, the most brilliant orator on the ministerial side, and was put forward by them on all important occasions as their most valuable supporter. Such was the force of his language, and the generous liberality of his sentiments, that he not only never failed to command general attention, but often to elicit the warmest applause from both sides of the Chamber-an intoxicating but dangerous species of homage, to which the consistency of more than one very eminent man, on both sides of the Channel, has fallen a sacrifice. His previous life and known principles still obtained for him the applause of the Royalists, while the newborn liberality of his sentiments extorted the cheers of the Liberals on the left. Thus his parliamentary influence at the moment was extensive-more so, perhaps, than that of any other man; but it was not likely to be durable. Mere talent, how great soever, will not long secure the suffrages of any body of men, least of all of an assembly in which ambition is the ruling principle of action in the great majority. Both sides applaud him so long as both hope to gain him, but when his decision is once taken, the party which he has abandoned becomes his bitterest enemy. Wisdom of thought and consistency of conduct, though often exposed to obloquy at the time, are
the only secure foundation for lasting fame, because they 1 Lam. vi.
alone can lead to a course upon which time will stamp its approval.1
The result of the elections, and in an especial manner the return of the Abbé Grégoire, acted like a clap of thunder on Louis XVIII. and M. Decazes, to whose Electoral Law it was obviously to be ascribed. It was no longer