« PrejšnjaNaprej »
ing with conflagration, and at length upon the landing of Buonaparte, was flooded with the gore of her citizens; in the act of being carried into execuas in the memorable year 1780, when tion, a grenadier of the Coldstream only the firmness of the sovereign, in was observed taking a friendly fareeommanding his troops to act in de well of a cobler with whom he had fence of the peace, saved the capital been quartered. They had exhaust from total destruction.
ed their parting draught, and were We will close this chapter with an shaking hands cordially. “God bless anecdote, trifling in itself, but impor- you, my good fellow," said the soltant as it serves to shew the deep in. dier ; “ do you look after the corn bill terest which the very lowest ranks of at home, and leave me to manage the British public take in the concerns Buonaparte.” The first impulse of of the state ; a circumstance arising the reader may be to laugh; but as solely out of the freedom with which both men were perfectly serious in public measures are submitted to their the division of their public duty, we discussion, and to which the wisest may estimate, from this trifling cirand best-informed foreigners are dis- cumstance, the quantity of patriotism posed to ascribe the peculiar energy in a state where the meanest indivi. of our national character. When the dual considers her safety and fame as order for embarking the Guards for intrusted to his charge, and dependent Flanders, which followed immediately on his efforts.
Internal State of France.-Defects of the Administration.Count de Blacas.
State of Parties.-Royalists, comprehending the Nobles, and Clergy, and Vendeans. Tumult at the Funeral of Mademoiselle de Raucour.--Sepulchral Honours paid to Louis XVI, and his Queen.-Jealous Fears of the Possessors of National Domains.-Republicans.-Buonapartists.-Discontents of the Army.-Constitutionalists. - Purchasers of National Domains.--Resemblance between the State of France and of England after the Restoration.
France, so long the centre of those quicksilver from the grasp of arbitrary successive revolutions which had dis- power, and re-uniting and re-appearturbed the tranquillity of Europe, ap- ing when the prospect of profit and of peared now to be in the situation of security call it forth to action, began an exhausted volcano. The thunders again to put in motion commercial of the eruption seemed over, but its speculations. Marseilles, Nantes, and former ravages were still visible, and Havre, resumed the appearance of trait was manifest to every reflecting ding cities, and again sent merchant mind, that many years must pass away vessels to sea. The cellars of Bourere their traces could be obliterated. deaux were once more emptied of her The very extravagance of those hopes, wines and brandies, and her ware. which were naturally entertained upon houses replenished in lieu of them the restoration of the royal family, with colonial produce. Nor was it a like too early and too luxuriant a show matter of indifference to Paris at least, of blossom, diminished the chance of that crowds of foreigners, and particutheir ripening into the expected fruit, larly of English, rushed thither to and exasperated the disappointment spend large sums of money, and augof the over-sanguine expectants.
ment in no small proportion the reviYet symptoms of recovering pro-ving circulation of wealth. But this sperity began to appear in this rich hopeful commencement was checked country. The manufactures of Rouen, and counterbalanced by many circumLyons, and other French towns, were stances of discontent and disappointresumed with a zeal and readinessment, some arising out of the nature which alarmed their competitors in of things, and totally uncontroulable Great Britain. Capital, which has such by human wisdom, and others out of a wonderful capacity of escaping like the errors of the government, and the
evil passions and contending interestssion in the measures of his governof the governed.
“ Send him back to us,” said The sort of enthusiasm with which an Englishman, who had listened imthe Bourbons had been at first wel- patiently to a Parisian, as he lamentcomed, soon faded into indifference, ed betwixt pity and scorn the king's and indifference was succeeded by incapacity to mount on horseback,doubt, and suspicion, and dislike. The “ send the excellent old man back to fabulist, in the apologue of the frogs us, and you shall have a king will suit who demanded a king, has described you better-we will send you young the sensation produced by a tyrant Astley the equestrian, the best horsesucceeding to a mild and over-easy man in Europe.” But however just the monarch. But it was reserved to reproof, it is no less certain that the France to exhibit the counterpart of bodily infirmities of Louis, and the the fable, and to show how the aqua- want of personal activity which necestic nation would have probably de. sarily attended them, were of great meaned themselves had the indulgence prejudice to his affairs at this critical of Jupiter again substituted a mere period. The gifted eye of Burke passive type of monarchy, and banish- had foreseen, when few but himself ed King Stork to some remote islet. anticipated the possibility of the reIn the person of Louis XVIII. himself, storation of the royal family, that perthe French could indeed find nothing sonal activity would be a quality in to censure, nor any thing to contemn, the highest degree essential to the excepting those corporeal infirmities, restored monarch. “ A king of which disease inflicts upon some, and France," he said, " ought, speaking age upon all . Even the revolutionists literally, to spend six
hours in the day yielded their unwilling assent to his upon horseback.” The necessity of merits -An excellent temper,--a this proved as true as most of his other sound judgment,--a cultivated un- prophecies ; for the deficiency was derstanding,-a disposition to make most severely felt in the king's affairs. every sacrifice for the welfare of the The constitution which the king people,-even honour and good faith had solemnly sanctioned, although it in his engagements, his worst enemies could not be termed perfect, was in were compelled to allow him. He most respects adapted to France in its possessed also a readiness of good-hu- existing state, and contained not only moured repartee, which uses to weigh the elements of a free and representamuch with the French nation, and that tive government, but the means of graoverflowing and kindly quality of the dual improvement, as circumstances heart, which they express by the word should require and experience should bonhommie. He had one quality, and point out. The charter, as it was callonly one of the original monarch of ed, recognized, in the most formal the frogs, but it was the very quality manner, what Britons consider as their on which the veneration due to King most sacred rights. 1. It establishLog suffered shipwreck, -an inertnessed three branches of the legislature, arising from the bodily infirmity at by king, peers, and a house of reprewhich we have hinted, which pre- sentatives, whose concurrence was revented his dazzling the eyes of his quired in framing laws, 2. It guafrivolous subjects, by assuming the ranteed personal liberty, and toleradress and activity of his warlike pre- tion concerning religious faith. 3. • decessor, and something like a corre- It recognized the liberty of the press. sponding want of firmness and deci. 1. The ministers were held respon
sible and subject to be tried by the that it contained, in an irrevocable Chamber of Peers, on the indictment form, a full ratification of the national of the House of Representatives. 5. liberties. But for the king to have The representatives had the sole right acknowledged himself the creature of of proposing taxes. 6. l'he judges the senate's election would have been were recognized as holding their offi- at once to recognize every ephemeral ces permanent; new courts and com- tyranny, which had started up and missions were declared illegal, and fretted its part on the revolutionary the institution of juries was sanction- stage; and to have sanctioned all subed. Theoretically, therefore, the prin- sequent attempts at innovation, since ciples of the charter were admitted to they who make kings and authorities be excellent. But a very ill-timed must have the inherent right to dequestion was stirred concerning the throne them. It should not be forgotten mode in which the constitution had how the British nation acted on the been established.
great occasions of the Restoration and It will be remembered that the se- Revolution ; recognising, at either cri. Date of Buonaparte, in calling the sis, the right of blood to succeed to the king to enjoy the crown under a con- crown, whether vacant by the murstitution of their own framing, at der of Charles I., or the abdication of tempted to burthen their invitation by James II. In principle, too, it may a sordid and selfish arrangement, by be observed, that in all modern Eurowhich they were tosecure the revenues pean nations, the King is nominally of the senatorial order to them and the source both of law and justice, theirs for ever; in consideration of and that statutes are promulgated, which, and upon condition of his ac. and sentences executed in his name, knowledging certain principles laid without inferring that he has the desdown in their plan, they agreed to potic right either to make the one, call Louis XVIII. to the throne. The or to alter the other. Although, King refused to acknowledge the therefore, the constitution of France right of the senate, either to dictate emanated in the usual form of a royal the terms on which he should ascend charter, the king was no more ema throne, his own by hereditary de- powered to recal or innovate its proscent, and to which he had never for- visions, than King John to abrogate feited his claim; or to engross the en- those of the English Magna Charta. dowments provided to their order by Monsieur, the king's brother, had Buonaparte, as their own exclusive promised in his name, upon his soproperty. He therefore assumed the lemn entrance to Paris, thạt Louis crown as the lineal and true represen- would recognise the basis of the contative of him by whom it was last stitution prepared by the senate. This Forn; and issued his own constitu- pledge was fully redeemed by the tional charter as a concession which charter, and wise men would have the spirit of the times demanded, and been more anxious to secure the bewhich he had himself no desire to nefits which it promised, than scrupuwithbold. The objections to this lously to cavil on the mode in which mode of proceeding were, practically they had been conferred. In fact, speaking, of no consequence. It sig. Louis had adopted not only the form nified nothing to the people of France, most consonant to ancient usage, but whether the constitution was proposed that which he thought most likely to to the king by the national represen- satisfy both the royalists and the retatives, or by the king to them, so volutionary party. He ascended the throne as his natural right, and ha- the congress at Vienna, that his di. ving done so, he willingly granted to plomatic skill might be employed in the people, in an irrevocable form, the arranging the exterior relations of substantial principles of a free consti- France with the other powers of Eutution. But both parties were rather rope. Dupont was promoted to the displeased at what they considered as situation of minister at war, owing, lost, than gratified at what they gain perhaps, to the persecution he had ed by this arrangement. The royal- undergone from Buonaparte, in conisis considered the constitution with sequence of bis surrender at Baylen its concessions, as a voluntary aban- to the Spaniards. Soult was afterdonment of the royal prerogative, wards called to this important office, while the revolutionary party exclaim- how recommended, it would be vain ed, that the receiving the charter to enquire; certainly not by bis having, from the king as an act of his will, in the preceding year, fought the batwas in itself a badge of servitude; and tle of l'houlouse, after he was in posthat the same authority which had session of the fact of Buonaparte's abgranted these privileges, might, if re- dication. This appointment was the cognised, be supposed to reserve the more remarkable, as Soult, like Daprivilege of diminishing or resuming voust, had not, like the other mar. them at pleasure. And thus it is, shals, been promoted to the House of that folly, party-spirit, pride, and pas. peers. The charge of the finances sion, can misrepresent the best mea- was entrusted to Abbé Louis, named sures, and so far poison the public to that office by the provisional go. mind, that the very granting the ob- vernment, and who had held several ject of their desires shall be made the situations of trust under Buonaparte. subject of new complaints.
D'Ambray, a royalist, was made The formation of the ministry gave chancellor of France. Ferrand and rise to more serious grounds of ap• Count Blacas d'Aulps, also royalists, prehension and censure. The various were nominated to the confidential si. offices of administration were, upon tuations of director of the posts, and the restoration, left in possession of minister of the household. Berenger, persons selected from those who had director of the Caisse d'amortissement been named by the provisional go- under Buonaparte, was now constituted vernment. All the members of the director-general of the indirect taxes. provisional state council were called But the chief trust of the affairs of to be royal ministers of the state. finance was believed to rest upon the Many of these, though possessed of Ex-Abbé Montesquieu, formerly a reputed talents, were men hackneyed member of the constituent assembly, in the changes of the revolution; and now named minister for the interior. were not, and could not be entrusted Beugnot, by the experience which he with the king's confidence beyond the had acquired as minister of finance in bounds of the province which each ad. the Grand Duchy of Berg, became diministered. Talleyrand, minister for rector of police. The other ministeforeign affairs, whose talents and ex- rial posts were filled with persons of a perience might have given him claim similar description ; nor had the king, to the situation of prime minister, in his ostensible council, any friend of was unpopular, from his political veré his exile, excepting Messieurs D'Amsatility, and it was judged, after a bray, Ferrand, and Blacas d'Aulps. The time, most expedient to send him to consequence of this arrangement was,