« AnteriorContinua »
In this document the government attempted a last deception upon the French, by representing to the Chambers and the public that they had been left in doubt, until after the occupation of Paris, of the ultimate designs of the allies. We have already mentioned, that the first negociators whom they dispatched to the headquarters of the sovereigns at Haguenau, had been at the first conference distinctly informed, that though the allies had no purpose of dictating as to the internal government or constitution of France, yet they insisted on her receiving back the pacific and friendly dynasty of the Bourbons, as the best guarantee for the tranquillity of Europe. But this answer the government did not venture to make public; and the concealment of the truth at first now forced them on a second falsehood.
The Peers were in debate upon the declaration of national rights of the French nation which had been con cocted by the Representatives, when the fatal message of the provisional government was read to them by the Compte de Valence. They dispersed in silence, resigning to superior force the power and rank which force alone had conferred on them.
The Representatives, contumacious by profession, were less passive under the sentence of dissolution. Monsieur Manuel concluded an animated protest with the words of Mirabeau. "We are here by the will of the people; we will not be removed otherwise than by the point of the bayonet." They continued accordingly to sit and debate for some hours, after receiving the message of the government, until the president prorogued the meeting till eight o'clock the next morning. This adjournment he performed in defiance of several voices, who called upon him to maintain the literal perma
it had nevertheless been accomplished by the destruction of the military power of France, the slaughter and discomfiture of her finest armies, the devastation of her provinces by hostile troops, the taking of her frontier fortresses, and the occupation of her capital itself by foreign victors. The constitutionalists, who might have most wished the return of Louis, would not perhaps have desired it at a price so dear to national pride; and even the royalists looked askance at the means by which an event they so greatly desired, had been finally achieved.
nence of the sitting, upon some such principle, we must suppose, as that of the Eternal Club, mentioned in the Spectator. They dispersed, however, and a few of the most zealous returning to the hall the next morning, found the entrance centinelled by the national guards, who, with great calmness, refused them admittance. Frenchmen can laugh on all occasions, and the disappointed and indignant legislators became the ridicule of the by-standers, who accompanied the arrival and retreat of each member with a laugh and acclamation, loud in proportion to the excess of his mortification.
On the 8th of July, Louis re-entered his capital, attended by a very large body of the national guards and royal volunteers, as well as by his household troops. In the rear of these soldiers, came a numerous etatmajor, among who were distinguished the Marshals Victor, Marmont, Macdonald, Oudinot, Gouvion SaintCyr, Moncey, and Lefebvre. An immense concourse of citizens received, with acclamations, the legitimate monarch; and the females were observed to be particularly eager in their expressions of joy. Thus was Louis once more installed in the palace of his ancestors, over which the white banner once more floated. Much, however, remained to be done for consolidating, and rendering permanent, the power he had once more acquired, and still more was necessary for reconciling the passions and prejudices of his people. is certain, that whatever regret attended the retreat of Louis, whatever joy greeted his return, the manner in which his restoration had taken place was calculated to injure his cause in the eyes of a great proportion of the French people. A measure in itself just and necessary,
It was at this crisis that the voice of Burke might be heard speaking, as it were, from his tomb, and recommending an energy of exertion, too much perhaps to be expected from the age and infirmities of Louis, but certainly not more than was necessary for the welfare of his kingdom. In foreseeing the restoration of the Bourbons, when it was accounted an event altogether beyond the bounds of probability, this great political prophet also foretold the perils by which they would be surrounded. "What support, or what limitations, the restored monarch must have, may be a doubt, or how it will pitch and settle at last. But one thing I conceive to be far beyond a doubt:-that the settlement cannot be immediate, but that it must be preceded by some sort of power, equal at least in vigour, vigilance, promptitude, and decision, to a military government. In such a preparatory government, no slow-paced, methodical, formal, lawyer-like system, still less that of a shewy, superficial, trifling, intriguing court, guided by cabals of ladies, or men like ladies; least of all, a philosophic, theoretic, disputatious school of sophistry; none of these ever will, or ever can, lay the foundations of an order that can last. Whoever claims a right by birth to
govern there, must find in his breast, or must conjure up in it, an energy not to be expected, perhaps not always to be wished for, in well-ordered states. The lawful prince must have in every thing but crime, the character of an usurper. He is gone, if he imagines himself the quiet possessor of a throne. He is to contend for it, as much AFTER AN APPARENT CONQUEST as before. His task is to win it; he must leave posterity to enjoy, and to adorn it. No velvet-cushion for him. He is to be always (I speak nearly to the letter) on horseback. This opinion is the result of much patient thinking on the subject, which I conceive no event is likely to alter."
Louis XVIII. had not the energy here required, nor could it be expected from him. He had, however, an excellent disposition, and was disposed to make every sacrifice to the welfare of his subjects. Of this he had already given a proof, by the dismissal of the Compte de Blacas. The terms in which it was conveyed, showed that the king's private feelings suffered on this occasion. "I owe it to the repose June 19. of the few days that I have to live, to the tranquillity of the world, and to the counsel of my allies, to remove from my government persons who are very dear to me, and among whom I particularly distinguish you. Carry with you into your retreat the testimony of the satisfaction of your king, and the certainty of being always his friend."
Louis had, therefore, to form a ministry; and as he was, in the difficult choice, obliged to pay deference to the opinions of others, and those founded upon arguments which jarred with each other, it was no wonder that the texture of the new cabinet was somewhat anomalous. By a royal
"Baron Pasquier, Secretary of State for the Department of Justice, and Keeper of the Seals.
"Marshal Gouvion St Cyr, Peer of France, Secretary of State for the Department of War.
"The Duke de Richelieu, Peer of France, Secretary of State for the Department of the Household.
"The Port-folio of the Minister of the Interior shall be provisionally confided to the Minister of Justice."
The Duke de Richelieu, who had long held the important government of Odessa, in the south of Russia, and who was a man of unquestioned honour and talents, was supposed to be named with some purpose of conciliating the Emperor Alexander. It was, in a very great degree, the English influence, which so commended Fouché to the king's councils, not from respect to his character, but from a sincere belief that his interest was strongly and intimately connected with that of the king; that his acquaintance with the state of parties and conflicting inte
rests in France, was more extensive than that of any other individual; and, above all, because, by employing this sagacious, though unprincipled statesman, the king gave a token of a disposition to conciliate the erring part of his subjects. The revolt had, indeed, been so general, that it became indispensable to put the minds of the nation at ease concerning the extent of the punishment to be inflicted, lest fear should drive those who had but too good reason for en tertaining it into desperate courses. The reposing the formidable powers of the police in the hands of Fouché, a companion of their crime, was an assurance that measures of re-action would not be hastily resorted to. His instructions to the prefects on the duties of the police were also of a nature consolatory to those who had reason to apprehend rigorous enquiry and punishment. "The will of the king," said these instructions," has cast a veil over common errors and faults. Thus his majesty has left the punishment of crimes and treasons to the laws; and that suspicion might not be extended, he has been pleased to designate the accused, and to limit their number. There is then security for all; no ground, no pretext for disquietude or irritation is left to malevolence. All things in their existing state are under the guarantee of the law, and the ægis of a monarch, who wishes to be the father of all Frenchmen. Stability is the first object of his majesty's attention, and of the measures which he has prescribed to his ministers. Every sort of reaction, being subversive of stability, would be a crime. It would disturb the tranquillity of the state by destroying all confidence."
The king, notwithstanding, stood pledged by his declaration from Cambrai, to punish as well as to pardon;
and had he not shewn some determination to avenge his own cause, and that of the state, France would probably have imputed such unbounded lenity to imbecility, cowardice, or a sense that he had no title to resent the usage he had received. The latter sentiment had already spread wide through the kingdom; there seemed to be a general idea, that the whole revolution of the 20th March was a mere frolic, in which the perpetrators harmlessly indulged themselves; and that if the sin of rebellion, as we are assured in Scripture, resem bles that of witchcraft, it is only because the punishment of both is expunged from modern codes of legis lature.
Accordingly, an ordinance, moderate in the cir- July 24, cumstances, appeared soon after the king had entered Paris, declaring thirty-eight peers of France to have virtually resigned their dignity, by accepting functions with which it was incompatible, by sitting in the Chamber of Peers nominated by Buonaparte. Amongst this list were the Marshals and Generals Rapp, Suchet, Mortier, Augereau, Lebrun and Savary, and the well-known political characters Cornudet, Lacepede, Pontecoulant, Segur, Valence, and others, distinguished as jacobins or imperialists. A second ordinance, of the same date, provided as follows:
"Article I.-The generals and officers who have betrayed the King before the 23d of March, or who have attacked France and the government with arms in their hands, and those who by violence have obtained possession of power, shall be arrested and carried before the competent councils of war, in their respective divisions, viz.
"Ney, Labedoyere, the two Lallemants, Drouet d'Erlon, Le Febre Des
nouettes, Ameilh, Brayer, Gilly, Mouton-Duvernet, Grouchy, Clausel, Laborde, Debelle, Bertrand, Drouet, Cambrone Lavalette, Rovigo.
"2. The individuals whose names follow, viz.
"Soult, Alix, Excelmans, Bassano, Marbot, Felix Lepelletier, Boulay de la Meurthe, Mehée, Fressinet, Thibaudeau, Carnot, Vandamme, Lamarque, Lobau, Harel, Peré, Barrere, Arnault, Pommereuil, Regnault de St Jean d'Angely, Arrighi (Padua), Dejean (the son), Garnau, Real, Bouvier Dumolard, Merlin of Douay, Durbach, Dirat, Defermont, Bory St Vincent, Felix Desportes, Garnier de Saintes, Mollinet, Hullin, Cluys, Courtin, Forbin Janson (the eldest son), Lorgne Dideville, shall quit the city of Paris in three days, and shall retire into the interior of France, to places which our minister of general police shall point out, and where they shall remain under his superintendence, until the Chambers decide upon such among them as shall be sent out of the kingdom, or be delivered over for trial to the tribunals.
"Those of the above list shall be immediately arrested who do not repair to the place assigned them by our minister of general police.
"3. The individuais who shall be condemned to quit the kingdom, shall have the power to sell their goods and property in the delay of one year, to dispose of it, and to send the produce out of the kingdom, and to receive during that time the revenue in foreign countries, furnishing, however, the proof of their obedience to the present ordonnance.
4. The lists of all the individuals to whom the 1st and 2d articles shall be applicable, are, and remain closed by the nominal designations contained in these articles, and shall never be extended to others for any cau
VOL. VIII. PART I.
ses and under any pretext whatever, other than in the form, and according to the constitutional laws which are expressly departed from for this case alone.
It is sufficiently evident, that as the execution of these ordinances was submitted to Fouché, and the police under his management, it was not likely that they would be severely executed. It was known that this minister had recommended to the king measures amounting to an act of general and unlimited oblivion. He urged, in a report on the state of July 20. France, that it was impossible to aim at any one of those heads who were considered as dangerous, without threatening thousands, and exciting a general sense of insecurity, which would sooner or later produce fresh convulsions. If it were wished to remove a few individuals, it was but necessary, according to this statesman, to give them a signal through the police, and they would disappear of themselves. Arrests and sentences he promised to avoid, by such a dexterous application of the power in his own hands, as should neither destroy security, nor compromise the king's character for clemency. In the same tone, we must understand Fouché's part of the well-known correspondence betwixt him and his late colleague Carnot. The former, placed under the superintendence of the police by the ordinances of 24th July, demanded of Fouché, in a succinct billet, "Whither am I to go, trai tort" to which the Minister replied as laconically, "Wherever thou wilt, simpleton."The threats, therefore, of trials and superintendence by the police, were presumed to be merely thrown out to hasten the departure of the obnoxious individuals. In many cases, this course succeeded. The