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government.” “It is impossible for me," rejoined the CHAP: Count d'Artois, “to remain at the Tuileries when M. – Decazes, openly accused of the murder of my son, sits 1820. at the council : I beseech you to allow me to retire to Compiègne." The Duchess d'Angoulême united her instances to those of the Count d'Artois, and at length, the king, dreading a total rupture of the royal family, 299, 300;
| Cap. vi. said, “ You are determined on it; well, we shall see 317, 319. you shall be satisfied.”1
When M. Decazes heard of the result of this conference, he saw it was no longer possible to maintain his Resignation
of M. Deposition, and he accordingly sent in his resignation. The cazes, and king, deeply affected, felt himself constrained to receive the Rich it. “My child,” said he, “it is not against you, but lieu ser against me that the stroke is directed. The Pavillon Marsan would deprive me of all power. I will not have M. de Talleyrand : the Duke de Richelieu alone shall replace you. Go and convince him of the necessity of his agreeing to the sacrifice which I demand of him. As for you, I shall show these gentlemen that you have in noways lost my confidence." The Duke de Richelieu accordingly was commissioned to form a ministry, but he evinced the utmost repugnance at undertaking the task, and it was only at the earnest solicitation of the king, and as a matter of patriotic duty, that he at length agreed. M. Siméon was made Minister of the Interior, and M. Portalis under-secretary to the Minister of Justice. No other changes were made in the Cabinet; and M. Decazes was appointed ambassador at London, with magnificent allowances. He was so far from losing his influence, however, by his departure, that the king corresponded with him almost daily after he was settled in London. The Duke de Richelieu made the absolute and uncon- a can vi ditional support of the Royalists a condition of his taking 319, 323;
8 Lam, vị. office, and this the Count d'Artois engaged to secure;2 and 303, 305;
Lac. ii, 381, as a pledge of the cordiality of the alliance, M. Capelle, 382. his private secretary, was made principal secretary to
nic attach: ments,
CHAP. the Minister of the Interior. The Ministry therefore was IX.
materially modified by the introduction of Royalist members, though it still retained, as a whole, its Liberal character. But a still more material change took place at this period in the private disposition of the king, owing to a change of favourites, which materially influenced his policy during the remainder of his reign.
Although the age and infirmities of the king prevented The king's him from becoming the slave of the passions which had inclination 1: for Plato" disgraced so many of his race, and his disposition had
always made him more inclined to the pleasures of the table than to those of love, yet he was by no means insensible to female charms, and extremely fond of the conversation of elegant and well-informed women. He piqued himself, though neither young nor handsome, upon his power of rendering himself agreeable to them in the way which he alone desired, which was within the limits of Platonic attachment. He had a remarkable facility in expressing himself, both verbally and in writing, in elegant and complimentary language towards them : he spent several hours every day in this refined species of trifling, and prided himself as much on the turn of his flattery in notes to ladies, as on the charter which was to give liberty to France and peace to Europe. Aware of this disposition on the part of the sovereign, the Royalists, in whose saloons such a person was most likely to be found, had for long been on the look-out for some lady attached to their principles, who might win the confidence of Louis, and insensibly insinuate her ideas on politics in the midst of the complimentary trifling or unreserved confidence of the boudoir. Such a person was found in a young and beautiful woman then in Paris, who united a graceful exterior
to great powers of conversation, and an entire command i Lam. vi. 279, 280. of diplomatic tact and address; and to her influence the
future policy of his reign is in a great degree to be traced.
Madame, the Countess Du CAYLA, was the daughter of M. Talon, who held a respectable position in the ancient
magistracy of France, and had taken an active part, in CHAP. concert with Mirabeau and the Count de la Marche, in the intrigues which preceded the Revolution. He was
1820. said to be possessed of some valuable papers, implicating The CounLouis XVIII., then Count of Provence, in the affair for Cayla. which the Marquis de Favras suffered death in 1789, and these had descended after his decease to his daughter. She had been brought up in the school of diplomacy under Madame Campan, and was intimate both with the Empress Joséphine, and Hortense Queen of Holland, since Duchess of St Leu. She was married early in life to an old man of fortune, whose temper was soon found to be incompatible with her own, and having separated from him, without reproach, after the French fashion, she was living without scandal in the family of the Prince of Condé, with whose natural daughter, the Countess de Rully, she was intimate, when the Royalist leaders cast
i Lam. vi. their eyes upon her as a person likely to confirm their 281, 282. ascendancy in the royal councils.1
The Viscount de la Rochefoucauld was the person intrusted with the management of this delicate affair, Her first
interview and he did so with great tact and address. He first im- with Louis, pressed upon the young and charming countess that she
She proves sucwould confer inestimable services on the cause of religion cessfu and her country if she would take advantage of the gift of pleasing which Providence had bestowed upon her, and reclaim the sovereign to the system of government which would alone secure the interests of his religion, his people, or his family.* The mind of Madame Du Cayla,
* "Louis a besoin d'aimer ceux à qui il permet de le conseiller, son cæur est pour moitié dans la politique. Madame de Balbi, M. Duvarny, M. de Blacas autrefois, M. Decazes aujourd'hui, sont les preuves encore vivantes de cette disposition de sa nature. Il faut lui plaire pour avoir le droit de l'influencer. Des femmes illustres par leur crédit, utile ou funeste, sur le cour et sur l'esprit de nos rois, ont tour à tour perdu ou sauvé la royauté en France et en Espagne. C'est d'une femme seule aujourd'hui que peut venir le salut de la religion et de la monarchie. La nature, la naissance, l'éducation, le malheur même, semblent vous avoir désignée pour ce rôle. Voulez-vous être le salut des princes, l'amie du roi, l' Esther des royalistes, la Maintenon ferme et irré. prochable d'une cour qui se perd et qu'une femme peut réconcilier et sauver ?
CHAP. as her published letters demonstrate, at once pious and
tender, and endowed with a reach of thought equal to either Madame de Sévigné or the Princess des Ursins, readily embraced the duty thus assigned to her by the political party to which she was attached. “It was necessary,” said she afterwards, playfully, “ to have an Esther for that Ahasuerus." The next point was to throw her in the king's way, and this was easily brought about by the unfortunate circumstances in which she was placed. Her husband, with whom she had come to open rupture, at once claimed her fortune, and insisted upon obtaining delivery of her children; and the disconsolate mother solicited an interview with Louis, to throw herself at his feet, and solicit his interest and support in the difficult circumstances in which she was placed. The king granted it, and the result was entirely successful. Dazzled by her beauty, captivated by her grace, impressed by her talents, melted by her tears, the king promised to aid her to the utmost of his power, and invited her to a second interview. So great was the ascendancy which her genius and charms of manner soon gave her, that she became necessary to the monarch, who spent several hours every day in her
society, without any of the scandal arising which in ordiLettres, nary cases follows such interviews. Great was the effect Du Cayla, of this secret influence on the future destinies of France, 39,94;Lam. vi. 281, 296. especially after the removal of M. Decazes to London had
removed the chief counterpoise on the other side.1 Demandez au roi une audience sous prétexte d'implorer sa protection dont vous avez besoin pour vous et pour vos enfants. Montrez-lui comme par hasard ces trésors de grâce, de bon sens, et d'esprit que la nature vous a prodigués, non pour l'ombre et la retraite, mais pour l'entretien d'un roi appréciateur passionné des dons de l'âme; charmez-le par une première conversation; retournez quand il vous rappellera; et quand votre empire inaperçu sera fondé dans un attachement par les habitudes, employez peu à peu cet empire à déraciner de son conseil le favori dont il est fasciné, et à réconcilier le roi avec son frère, avec les princes, et à lui faire adopter de concert, dans la personne de M. de Villèle, et de ses amis, un ministère à la fois royaliste et constitutionnel qui remette le trône à plomb sur la base monarchique, et qui prévienne les prochaines catastrophes dont la train est menacée.”—Paroles de M. de la Rochefoucauld à Madame la Comtesse Du Cayla. LAMARTINE, Hist. de la Restauration, vi. 290, 292.
Thus fell, never again to rise, M. Decazes ; for though CHAP. he was appointed ambassador to London, and retained – the confidence of the king, yet he never again formed part of the Ministry, and his career as a public man Character of was at an end. It is impossible to deny that he was possessed of considerable abilities. No man raises himself from a humble station to the rule of empire, without being possessed of some talents, which, if they are not of the first order, are at least of the most marketable description. It is generally characters of that description which are most successful in maintaining themselves long at the head of affairs. Genius anticipates the march of events, and is often shipwrecked because the world is behind its views ; heroism recoils from the concessions requisite for success, and fails to conquer, because it disdains to stoop. It is pliant ability which discerns the precise mode of elevation, and adopts the principles requisite for immediate success. M. Decazes bad this pliant ability in the very highest degree. Discerning in character, he at once scanned the king's disposition, and perceived the foibles which required to be attended to in order to gain his confidence. Able in the conduct of affairs, he made himself serviceable in his employment, and attracted his notice by the valuable information which he communicated, both in his own department and that of others. Energetic and ready in the tribune, he defended the ministerial measures with vigour and success against the numerous attacks with which they were assailed.
He acquired the surprising ascendancy which he gained over the mind of the king mainly by studying his dispo- Merits of sition, and proposing measures in the Cabinet which were sur in a manner the reflection of those which he perceived statesman. were already contemplated in the royal breast; but the temporary success which they met with proved that both had correctly discerned, if not the ultimate consequences of their measures, at least the immediate signs of the
sures as a statesman,