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The Royalists attack the Ministry—and prevail.- The Chamber of Deputies is assembled-Its Character.—Talleyrand and Fouché resign-Their alleged Reasons.-A new Minist'y is appointe :- Arrest of Ney.—The Court. L'ar. tial declares itself incompetent to try him.-- He is tried by the Chamber of Peers, and found Guilty of High Treason — Attempts to save him-His Exé. cution. --Severities inflicted on France by the Allied Armies.—Dispersion of the National Museum.-Treaty of Peace-Its Conditions.-Speech of the King on opening the Sittings of the Chamber of Deputies.
The parties of France, so far as they the punishment of the principal cul, were avowed and ostensible, were now prits, and that the doctrine of the again merged into two. The first was oblivion of the past, which had been that of the royalists, to whom late preached up for five and twenty years, events had given considerable addi- had been for that long space of time tions—the second that of the consti- the regular sigual for fresh miseries ; tutionalists, with whom must now be that, pronounced after the first disnumbered the late imperialists and re. orders of the revolution, this for. publicans, neither of which factions bearance had led to the murders at were longer in condition to exist as a se- Avignon, from thence to the mas. parate party.. The views and politics sacres of September, and from thence of these parties were decidedly oppo- to the death of the king.
« The sed to each other.
revolution," they said, “ would ne. The royalists clamorously demand- ver have been so fruitful in crimes, ed the punishment of those who had had it not been also fruitful in pardon been most guilty in the late rebellion. and amnesty." The proclamation of They insisted that the infliction of the 24th of July was, in the eyes of just and legal punishment upon a few these z alous royalists, an incomplete leaders would at once intimidate the list of a very few principal criminals, remains of the disaffected, now so most of whom had been permitted to loudly insolent, and put a stop to the elude, by flight, the punishment due private and unauthorized acts of re- to their crimes, while it was proposed venge which were practised in the as the boundary of public vengeance, south. They affirmed, that a real and and thus formed a screen for others not effectual amnesty must be preceded by less guilty than those whose names were inserted in it. A complete purifica- habits ; or, if he could do so, that his tion of the bureaux, or public offices, conduct ought to inspire suspicion and was the next measure which they de. disgust, rather than confidence. His manded. If the authority of prefects versatility was the worst possible pledge and sub-prefects were reposed in the for his fidelity, and it was not probable hands of true loyalists, it was urged that his duty would be well performthat early reports would be obtained ed, when, in order to do so, he must of the mancuvres attempted by the renounce all obligations previously condiscontented. Above all, they de. tracted; since it is difficult to be just, manded a change of ministry in the when justice must fallonour own friends higher departments, and a dismissal and accomplices. Talleyrand (although of these statesmen who had served he had not joined the usurper during Buonaparte until Fortune turned her the last invasion) had little more quarback upon
him. This class of versa- ter. His reputation was said to contile politicians, whom Cardinal du Retz sist in exaggeration and quackery, termed the humble servants of events, “ Under the directory and the empemight be, they said, the saviours of the ror, it was the great victories of the country one day, and yet stand pre- French arms," said these reasoners, pared to destroy is the very next. " and not the talents of the minister,
These last observations were partie that simplified the negociations, and cularly urged against Fouché, and laid Europe at the feet of France." they were followed up by remarks Upon the whole, they urged it as a more pointed and personal. The most distressing prospect for France, former character of this statesman that the statesmen who had the greatest was brought forward in all its atro- share in creating the public misery, city. “ By selecting Fouché as his should now pass for being the only mi. minister," said one of these politi- nisters capable of repairing them. cians, “ the king has revealed one These arguments were urged on all thing to us which is, that he thinks hands by those most attached to the the French people really guilty of the king's person, and by the members of crimes committed in their name, and his own family. They received weight particularly of the greatest of all, from the continued disturbances of the since he does not think that we have country and increased audacity of the a horror of those crimes and the au- agitators, which seemed to imply that thors of them.” It was also strongly the lenient measures hitherto employurged, that Fouche's past life was in ed by the recommendation of Fouché opposition to his present situation; and Talleyrand had been far from atthat his private friendship and affec- taining the end which the king had tions were at war with his duty as a proposed to himself. The proclama. minister ; that he could not with de- tion of the 24th of July had, exceptcency prosecute other criminals for an ing in the solitary case of Labedoyere, offence in which he had cordially join. passed for a dead letter. Most of ed them ; that, upon comparing what the persons named in it were already he had been with what he now was, out of reach ; and as to the decree and his past relations with the present, of banishment, many of those to whom it appeared that, if endowed with any it related were seen openly in Paris feelings of decency, he could not in a long after its appearance. This was so moment abandon his former principles far from obtaining the king any credit and party, his connections and his for lenity, that it exposed him to the
odious suspicion of desiring a revenge, little support to expect from that as. which was frustrated by the inactivity sembly, any more than from the Repreof his minister, and of being supposed sentatives, if deserted by the king. at once weak, timid, and implacable. Talleyrand and Fouché did not The change of ministry, which the think it prudent, and perhaps the lat. king was thus induced to meditate, was ter did not consider it as altogether hastened by the complexion of the safe, to retain their character of miniChamber of Deputies, which were now sters till the Chamber commenced its soon to commence their sitting.
It was already understood The king bad assembled this body that there would be some proposal to by a summons as early as the 13th include Fouché among the persons July, in which, referring to the Cham. whom it was intended to subject to ber, when it should be assembled, the punishment; and that neither his ha. permanent laws of elections, his ma. ving served the king in the capacity of jesty made some provisional regula. minister of police, nor the royal detions, extending the national represen. claration, that no more names should tation to 396 in number, and the qua. be added to the list of 24th July, would lification was fixed at the payment of be admitted to screen him. He resign. 1000 francs of contribution. The high- ed to the king his ministerial office, asness of this qualification was favourable signing areason which formed a strange to the court candidates; for both the contrast with the earlier part of his persons of the law, the higher orders of political life. “ It was proposed,” he commerce, and what remained of the said, “ to support the throne by terold landed proprietors, were favourable ror; he could not, and would not be to the king, while the majority of in- the agent of such a system.” To break ferior citizens, retail-dealers, and smaller his fall, Fouché was nominated the land-holders, were chiefly attached to French envoy to the court of Dresden. the revolution, through which these Talleyrand, and others of the minisranks had been the chief gainers. But try, also gave in their resignation ; and above all, the presidents of the various a letter, containing their reasons for electoral colleges had been chosen by this step, was soon afterwards made the king, with a cautious eye to the public. It called to the king's reloyalty of their principles. Much, ne- membrance the desperate state of the cessarily, depended upon their influence kingdom when they had undertaken the as returning officers, and as it was warm- charge of public affairs, and the zealous ly exerted in favour
of the royal party, efforts they had made in the king's serthe Chamber of Deputies was soon vice. They charged the royalists with understood to be of that complexion. fanatical violence, and alleged that A number of new peers also, chosen the party, terming themselves such from the royalist party, had been in. would prefer the sacrifice of the peace, troduced to fill up the higher Cham- the glory, the strength, and political ber, diminished by such as were de existence of France, to seeing her free prived of their honours by accepting and happy under a liberal constitution. of the same dignity under Buonaparte. “ It had been their wish,” they said, The king had declared the peerage he. “ to have given such a direction to the reditary, which at once gave it a dig- king's government as would bave uni, nity and consistence, and rendered it ted all Frenchmen in love, honour, and more devoted for the time to his fa. obedience to the king. But they mily. The ministers, therefore, had were impeded by the ignorance, pas. sions, and prejudices of those who sur- They next adverted to the severe rounded the monarch. They found terms upon which the allies insisted, their plans thwarted by the adoption in virtue of private treaties between of measures in which they did not them and Louis, of which the ministers participate, and by the excitation of had been suffered to remain ignorant. the royalists in the southern provinces, “ The articles demanded,” they said, whom they were not permitted to sup.
« would consummate the ruin of the press. The Duke of Otranto (a cir- nation ; it became them not to give an cumstance strangely quoted as an act assent which would have rendered them of service to Louis,) had disarmed la culpable to France. Since your maVendee while Napoleon still reigned, jesty," they concluded, " has confided and now it was again in arms. The authority to our hands, we have conminister of war refused to send troops stantly been without the power
of doto suppress the insurrection, and it ing good, --without the power of prewas intimated to them as the in- venting evil. Our opinions have no tention of the court that it should influence ; the cabals of your court not be opposed. We cannot,” they have prevailed. We have to obey, proceeded,” conceal from you, sire, through respect to your majesty, and that these attacks are levelled at your to sanction by our signature, acts throne ; you suffer legitimate authority which we disapprove. We would have to be despised, and the authority of sacrificed our lives to save your majesty faction supplies its place. Factions and the country, but those who are produce revolutions, and those who
near your majesty know that the revotriumph to.day may be overthrown lution which they would excite would to-morrow ; your throne will no longer surround the vessel of the state with have even the support of their illegiti- new perils ; that they would give to mate authority. Your ministers, al. factions to whom you are opposed the ways devoted to your person, still eni- means of seeking a resting place bedeavoured to oppose this re-action; yond the legitimate authority of your the princes of your house, the nobles majesty ; that they would raise preof your court, designated as crimes, tenders to the throne where you are and as attacks upon your crown, their seated. It is not by means of a fac. efforts to restore order and submission tion that your majesty ought to reign, to the laws; we lost all influence with but by a constitution,-by a royal preyour majesty ; we became guilty in rogative, recognized and established. the eyes of the nation.
Let that faction tremble and suspend “ The elections were made; a face their efforts to substitute passion in tious minority directed them ; that mi- their place. Their agents would be the nority alone is represented. The choice first victims, and they would cause the which they recommended to your ma. greatest misfortunes to your majesty." jesty for the Chamber of Peers indi- In this manifesto of the displaced cates the same spirit.
ministers of France there was some un“ Ministers without authority, a deniable truth, but there was also much prey to the persecutions of the court, of the usual cant of statesmen, who without support in the public opinion, wish to represent the safety of the exposed to the opposition of the Cham. country as essentially connected with bers, what should we be able to reply their remaining in power. Although to the clamours of the people, when at Louis was deprived of the services of length they shall demand the reason Talleyrand and Fouché, it did not fol. for so many calamities ?"
low as a necessary consequence that he should throw himself headlong into the While these changes were meditapassionate councils of the princes of ted, other circumstances announced his family. It seems, on the contrary, that the time of indulgence towards as if he had wisely sought counsellors, state prisoners was passed, and that of who, if inferior in experience to those vigour and severity had taken place. who had just resigned, might have been Marshal Ney, who was on all hands more deserving of confidence ; and who regarded as one of the most guilty of might enforce severity where it was those who had figured in the revolu. necessary, without being charged with tion of 20th March, had been arrested inconsistence, or indulge in lenity, at the chateau of Bessonis, near Auwithout the possibility of its being im rillac, which belonged to some rela. puted to selfish or to partial motives. tions of h s wife. À singular circum. The choice of the new ministers was a stance led to his apprehension : Buopledge of the royal intentions.
naparte, whose favours were destined The Duke of Richelieu was placed to be dangerous to him, had, on his at the head of the administration, who, return from Egypt, presented Ney noble by birth and connections, and with a sabre of exquisite beauty and possessing, therefore, an interest with workmanship. Murat alone possessed the pure royalists, was a man of sound a weapon of the same form and elegance sense, knowledge of the world, and of mounting. This remarkable sword liberal principles, unlikely to sacri being left upon a sopha in one of the fice to ancient prejudice or supersti. public rooms, was remarked by : tion the peace and happiness of the chance visitor at the chateau. He de country. He became minister for foscribed it on his return to some per, reign affairs ; Des Cazes, minister of sons of his acquaintance, who, knowing police ; Barbé Marbois, minister of the weapon from his discourse, immejustice; and Corvetto, minister of fi. diately affirmed either Murat or Ney nance; all belong ng to the moderate must be concealed at Bessonis The or constitutional party. All three local authorities learned the rumour, had been employed under Buona. and caused Ney to be arparte, and could not be supposed fa- rested, whom otherwise August 5. vourable to a system of re-action. The Fouché's police would pro. political character of Clarke, (Duke of bably never have disturbed. Feltre) promoted to the situation of mi- An order of the minister of war apnister at war, was different. He was be- pointed him to be tried by a military lieved to incline to the royalist party. tribunal, consisting of marshals and Dubouchage, minister of the marine, lieutenant-generals Amongst these, and Vaublanc, minister of the interior Moncey, Duke (as he was called) of department were both decided royalists. Cornegliano, refused the emba rassing The ministry thus composed, under a duty of acting upon the court martial. premier of sense and moderation, was An ordinance of the king deprived the supposed to have a character sufficient. recusant of his dignities, and condemnly royalist to make it acceptable to the ed him to three months imprisonment. Chamber of Deputies, with as many A court was appointed, of which Jour. checks, at the same time, as might en- dan was president ; Massena, Mortier, able them to avoid the opposite ex. and Augereau, with Generals Gazan, treme of a re-actionary spirit, directed Claperede, and Villate, the members. against all the consequences, good and The public already anticipated the fabad, that have arisen from the revolution. vourable issue of a trial, where most