Imatges de pÓgina

fidence to my people. When I first reappeared among you, I found men's minds agitated, and heated by conflicting passions. My views encountered on every side nothing but difficulties and obstacles. My government was liable to commit errorsperhaps it did commit them. There are times when the purest intentions are insufficient to direct, or sometimes they even mislead.

Experience alone could teach; it shall not be lost. All that can save France is my wish.

"Mysubjects have learned by cruel trials, that the principle of the legitimacy of sovereigns is one of the fundamental bases of social order,-the only one upon which, amidst a great nation, a wise and well-ordered liberty can be established. This doctrine has just been proclaimed as that of all Europe. I had previously consecrated it by my charter; and I claim to add to that charter all the guarantees which can secure the benefits of it.

"The unity of ministry is the strong est that I can offer. I mean that it should exist, and that the frank and firm march of my council should guarantee all interests, and calm all in quietudes.

"Some have talked latterly of the restoration of tithes and feudal rights. This fable, invented by the common enemy, does not require confutation. It will not be expected, that the king should stoop to refute calumuies and lies: the success of the treason has too clearly indicated their source. If the purchasers of national property have felt alarm, the charter should suffice to re-assure them. Did I not myself propose to the Chambers, and cause to be executed, sales of such property? This proof of my sincerity is unanswerable. In these latter times, my subjects of all classes have given me equal proofs of love and fi

delity. I wish them to know how sensibly I feel them, and that it is from among all Frenchmen I shall delight to choose those who are to approach my person and my family. I wish to exclude from my presence none but those whose celebrity is matter of grief to France, and of horror to Europe. In the plot which they hatched, I perceive many of my subjects misled, and some guilty.

I promise-I who never promised in vain (all Europe knows it)-to pardon misled Frenchmen, all that has passed since the day I quitted Lille, amidst so many tears, up to the day when I re-entered Cambrai, amidst so many acclamations.

"But the blood of my people has flowed, in consequence of a treason of which the annals of the world present no example. That treason has summoned foreigners into the heart of France. Every day reveals to me a new disaster. I owe it, then, to the dignity of my crown, to the interest of my people, to the repose of Europe, to except from pardon the instigators and authors of this horrible plot. They shall be designated to the vengeance of the laws by the two Chambers, which I propose forthwith to assemble.

"Frenchmen, such are the sentiments which he brings among you, whom time had not been able to change, nor calamities fatigue, nor injustice made to stoop. The king, whose fathers reigned for eight centuries over your's, returns to consecrate the remainder of his days in defending and consoling you.

"Given at Cambrai, this 28th of June, in the year of our Lord 1815, and of our reign the 21st. (Signed)

"By the King.


"Prince TALLEYRANY, "Minister Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs."

In vindicating himself from the char ges brought against his government, Louis acted like a prudent monarch; and, in the language he held towards his misled or guilty subjects, that of one willing to blend justice with clemency. But he has been censured for following that path to the throne which was opened to him by the sword of his allies, and for claiming the throne as his hereditary right, and for affirming that the doctrine of legitimacy of sovereigns had been just proclaimed as that of all Europe. It is clear the solution of the first of these scruples must rest upon that applied to the second. For if Louis XVIII. had a lawful right to the throne from which he was expelled, his title to use his own proper force, or to avail himself of that of his allies for its recovery, cannot admit of an instant's doubt. The allied army were the auxiliaries of Louis, as the English troops had formerly been those of his ancestor, Henry IV., and a victory gained by them was essentially a victory in the king's cause, and of which he was, therefore, free to avail himself. The prudence of losing no time in reassuming, or endeavouring to reassume, the reins of government, the policy of suppressing the machinations of the factious by his early reappearance in his capital, the humanity and paternal spirit which induced him as speedily as possible to interfere, by his presence and his mediation, between the allied generals and his erring but suffering subjects, are all so plain and evident, that it is unnecessary to waste words upon them,

That the doctrine of legitimacy had just been recognized by the sanction of united Europe, was as true as that the treaty of Vienna had been subscribed by the plenipotentiaries of the four greatest powers of Europe, and adhered to by all the rest. That treaty had for its express object and pur

pose, "the maintaining entire the conditions of peace concluded at Paris on the 30th May 1814," and the stipu lations determined upon, and signed at the Congress of Vienna, in order to complete the disposition of that treaty. Now, by the treaty of Paris, as well as by the stipulations of the Congress, the influencing cause of all the favourable conditions granted to France, is unequivocally declared to be," her being replaced under the paternal government of her kings;" so that the right of Louis to the crown was in fact the basis of the whole treaty. We shall hereafter see, that the French, always ingenious in bottoming their diplomatic pleading upon some separate and detached principle, caught at the declaration of the Allied Powers, and of Britain in particular, that they did not consider themselves as bound to prosecute the war with a view to imposing any particular government; but it is clear that the reserving to themselves the privilege of making no further exertions in the behalf of the Bourbons, in case of events proving unpropitious to them, than was consistent with what they owed to their own states, by no means limited or prevented the allies from doing all in their power to contribute to the auspicious event of the restoration of their allies the Bourbons, should circumstances render that consummation attainable. Of this, we will speak more fully presently.

We will, however, though averse to abstract discussions on the origin and nature of government, take this opportunity of looking somewhat closely into the nature of this doctrine of legitimacy, which has become such a dreadful bug-bear to modern politicians. That the men who had aided to murder one king and dethrone another, should be vehement against the restoration of the latter, arose

out of the nature of things. That those who had aided Buonaparte to attain his usurped power, had swindled him out of it in his adversity, and had assumed the government into their own hands, should be loth to part with it to the lawful owner, was equally natural; even granting they had no reason to have apprehended merited punishment, as one necessary consequence of his restoration. It was also a matter of course that they should exclaim, in their anguish of mortification and fear, "Give us for our king the English Wellingtonthe Cossack Platoff-any one but the lawful monarch, who comes with the right to punish our rebellion and treachery." These sentiments, so generally and so naturally entertained, not by the people of France at large, but by the demagogues who had seized the helm of state when it escaped the palsied grasp of Buonaparte, are precisely the feelings of thieves or robbers, who will throw away their stolen goods for the benefit of the first stranger that chances to pass by, rather than acknowledge themselves guilty of the theft, by restoring them to the rightful owner; law being to such depredators the same natural object of terror that legitimate right is to rebels and traitors. But that the gibberish with which these men sought to vindicate their fears, and white-wash their miserable cause, should have found tongues and pens to re-echo it in any other country that there should be a certain class of politicians in Britain, who cannot even pronounce this word legitimacy (in itself, surely, not merely an innocent but a venerable sound,) save with spitting, hissing, and braying, as at once a term of ridicule and reprobation-that all this should be, might indeed be a matter of won der, were those who have witnessed


the strange actions, opinions, and revolutions of the last quarter of a century, entitled to wonder at any thing. If there be faith in derivation, this alarming word legitimacy comes from the Latin, and implies neither divine nor indefeasible right in the party to whom the quality belongs, but a claim arising out of birth or descent. Such claims have been received at all times, and among all nations, even the most barbarous. The poet, indeed, has made a ranting hero exclaim, in a tone which would fit some modern agitators,

I am as free as nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

But it seems doubtful whether such a state of absolute and unrestrained freedom ever existed, except perhaps in the solitary case of Adam, before the creation of Eve; for when our first parent had a wife and family, they became subjects to his paternal authority. It is speedily found expedient to transfer to the eldest son that office of head of the family which becomes vacant by the death of the father. It passes to him with its advantages of power and property, and, rightly viewed, with the relative duties of advising, restraining, and protecting the younger branches of the family. In one respect or other, such laws of succession subsist in all countries; the feudal constitutions, for certain reasons peculiar to their structure, gave even greater weight to the principle. It is recognized by all the nations of Europe, and, strange as it may seem, we have heard of no zealous friend of liberty, either in France or Britain, who has repudiated the succession of his fathers, because, to the prejudice of younger brothers and sisters worthier perhaps than himself,

it has descended upon him by the tyrannical, absurd, and ridiculous principle of legitimacy.

A regulation so useful in ordinary life, is adopted from analogy into national government. While states, indeed, are small, and before laws are settled, and when much depends on the personal ability and talents of the monarch; the power, which, for aught we know, may be among the abstracted rights of man, of chusing each chief magistrate after the death of his predecessor, or perhaps more frequently, may be exercised without much inconvenience. But as states become extended, and their constitutions circumscribed and bounded by laws, which leave less scope and less necessity for the exercise of the sovereign's magisterial functions, men are glad to exchange the licentious privilege of a Tartarian couroultai, or a Polish diet, for the principle of legitimacy, because the chance of a hereditary successor proving adequate to the duties of his situation, is, at least, equal to that of a popular election lighting upon a worthy candidate; and be cause, in the former case, the nation is spared the convulsions occasioned by previous competition and solicitation, and succeeding heart-burnings, factions, civil war, and ruin, uniformly found to attend the latter.

The doctrine of legitimacy is peculiarly valuable in a limited monarchy, because it affords a degree of stability otherwise unattainable. The principle of hereditary monarchy, join ed to that which declares that the king can do no wrong, provides for the permanence of the executive government, and represses that ambition which would animate so many bosoms, were there a prospect of the supreme sway becoming vacant, or subject to election from time to time. The king's ministers, on the other hand, being responsible for his actions, remain a

check, for their own sakes, upon the exercise of his power; and thus provision is made for the correction of all ordinary evils of administration, sinee, to use an expressive though vulgar simile, it is better to rectify any occasional deviation from the regular course by changing the coachman, than by overturning the carriage.

Such, therefore, is the principle of legitimacy, invoked by Louis XVIII., and recognized by the allies. But it must not be confounded with the slavish doctrine, that the right thus vested is by divine origin indefeasible. The heir-at-law in private life may dissipate by his folly, or forfeit by his crimes, the patrimony which the law conveys to him; and the legitimate monarch may most unquestionably, by departing from the principles of the constitution under which he is called to reign, forfeit, for himself and for his heirs if the legis lature shall judge it proper, that crown which the principle we have recognized bestowed on him as his birth-right. This is an extreme case, provided, not in virtue of the constitution, which recognizes no possible delinquency in the sovereign, but because the constitution has been attacked and infringed upon by the monarch, and therefore can no longer be permitted to afford him shelter. The crimes by which this high penalty is justly incurred, must therefore be of an extraordinary nature, and beyond the reach of those correctives for which the constitution provides, by the punishment of ministers and counsellors. The constitutional buckler of impeccability covers the monarch (personally) for all blamewor thy use of his power, providing it is exercised within the limits of the constitution; it is when he stirs beyond it, and not sooner, that it becomes no defence for the bosom of a tyrant. A King of Britain, for example, may

wage a rash war, or make a disgraceful peace, in the lawful, though injudic ous and blame-worthy, exercise of the power vested in him by the constitution. His ad isers, not he himself, shall be called, in such a case, to their responsibility. But if, like James It., be infringes upon, or endeavours to destroy the constitution, it is then that resistance becomes lawful and honourable, and the king is justly held to have forfeited the right which descended to him from his forefathers.

The principles of hereditary monarchy, of the inviolability of the person of the king, and of the responsibility of ministers, were recognized by the constitutional charter of France. Louis XVII. was, therefore, during the year previous to Buonaparte's return, the lawful sovereign of France, and it remains to be shown by what act of treason to the constitution he had forfeited his right of legitimacy. If the reader will turn back to our sixth chapter, (and we are not conscious of having spared the conduct of the Bourbons) he will probably be of opinion with us, that the errors of his government were not only fewer than might have been expected in circumstances so new and difficult, but were of such a nature as an honest, wellmeaning, and upright opposition would soon have checked; he will find that not one of them could be person ally attributed to Louis XVIII., and that, far from having incurred the

forfeiture of his legitimate rights, he had, during these few months, laid a strong claim to the love, veneration, and gratitude of his subjects. He had fallen a sacrifice, in some degree, to the humours and rashness of the princes of his family-still more to causeless jealousies and unproved doubts, the water-colours which insurrection never lacks to paint her cause with but, above all, to the fickleness of the French people, who became tired of his simple, orderly, and peaceful government, and to the dissatisfaction of a licentious and licensed soldiery, and of moody banditti, panting for a time of pell-mell havoc and confusion. The forcible expulsion of Louis XVIII., arising from such motives, could not break the solemn compact entered in. to by France with all Europe, when she received her legitimate monarch from the hand of her clement conquerors, and with him, and for his sake, such conditions of peace as she was in no condition to demand, and could never have otherwise obtained. His misfortune, as it arose from no fault of his own, could inter no for feiture of his vested right. Europe, the virtual guarantee of the treaty of Pa ris, had also a title, leading back the lawful king in her armed and victorious hand, to require of France his re-instatement in his rights; and the termination which she thus offered to the war was as just and equitable, as its conduct during this brief campaign had been honourable and successtuk


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