« PreviousContinue »
vernment was once established, and had begun to act, they should be much less restricted in their discussions of the claim of Napoleon the Second, than when the fear of anarchy, together with an attachment to the abdicated Emperor, tended to strengthen the partisans of the imperial dynasty. The supreme authority, once in vigorous hands, would enable them to give that maturity to their deliberations, which the necessity of waiting for the insiruction of events convinced them to be so requisite for their own character and the public safety. In the nomination of the commission the two houses shewed that their first thoughts were directed to their country, independent of all personal attachments. M. Carnot is represented to have given his opinion against the abdication in the council that decided that measure; but both he and M. Fouché are well known to have no other propensities towards the imperial family, than such as are excited by their love for the national independence ; which, although it may appear connected with the support of Napoleon, more to the soldier than to the statesman, must be supposed the motive of all the actions of both. General Grenier is a decided constitutionalist. The Duke of Vicenza may, perhaps, be called the most respectable person of Napoleon's court, of which he has long been the principal ornament, without losing any of that personal consideration which it is so difficult for a courtier to retain. Originally a man of fortune and family, he served the Emperor, not for advancement, but in compliance with his notions of the duty of a citizen, and the post he obtained rather received than conferred a dignity by being so supplied. The Bourbon faction in France, and the courts of Europe, have chosen to attach to his name the odium of a transaction in which he was not concerned; but as he must attribute that obloquy to his immediate connexion with the Emperor, who, perhaps, might have taken more pains to acquit him of the charge, if, by so doing, he would not have condemned his own deed, it is not surprising that he should regard himself under very few obligations to his master, and that a notion should prevail of his personal independence, and of his having served the monarchy without being attached to the man. Of Baron Quinette I know nothing; but, from the complexion of the other four members of the commission, especially of the Duke of Otranto, it is not to be imagined that Napoleon the Second will stand in the way of any arrangements for the good of the nation in this tremendous emergency. It is in the hopes of obtaining better terms that the chambers appear undecided in their choice of a monarch; but I have no doubt that, under the supposition either of resistance being possible, or of no conditions being granted to the present authorities, Napoleon the Second would have been proclaimed immediately upon his father's abdication. For my own part, as he was half proclaimed the following day, I am one of those who think that measure, and the nomination of a regency, would have answered every purpose,
and would have enabled the chamber either to stand or fall with greater dignity. I am the more confirmed in this opinion from what I heard at the police, and from the declaration of the royalists, publicly pronounced, that all accommodation with the chambers will be rejected by Louis, whom they consider as already restored. I confess I should not have voted for Napoleon the Second to reward Napoleon the First, but in order to display to the allies the resolution of the representatives of the nation to be not only independent, but consistent and just in observing the conditions of that constitution, by which they were called to the exercise of their important functions. The chance of war has wrung from them their allegiance to Napoleon the First, but their next stand might be made with his son. Napoleon, in the treaty of Fontainbleau, abdicated for him. self and family, and, to maintain the treaty of Paris, the allies renewed the war; but they have declared the removal of Napoleon to be their sole object : they have disclaimed all interference in the national choice after he should be dethroned, and, consequently, the treaty of Paris, of which Louis XVIII. was a contracting party, is not, according to their pretences, to be entirely maintained. It cannot, therefore, be supposed that the choice of Napoleon the Second would be made a preliminary objection to all negotiation on the part of the allies. The nomination of the five members of the executive com. mission, under the title of a regency, would have carried with it a character of greater dignity and decision than the recognition of the title of Napoleon the Second, as a motive for proceeding to the order of the day, which took place upon the proposition of M. Manuel, in the sitting of the next morning; and which shewed the real inclinations of the assembly, at the same time that it bespoke the apprehension which had before commanded their caution and their silence.
The chamber of representatives met at half past eleven on the 23d, and, after some discussion on the propriety of establishing a shorthand journal, M. Berenger proposed, in a speech in which he compared Napoleon'to Marcus Aurelius and Titus, that the commission of government should be declared responsible collectively. To this M. Defermon objected, because Napoleon the Second had, he said, necessarily succeeded to his father, and that, by declaring this, the chamber would give a sanction to the rumours which had gone abroad to the national guard and the nation, hintings that the representatives waited for Louis XVIII. -The whole assembly here rose, held up their hats, and exclaimed, “No, no; Vive L'Em
pereur!" with an enthusiasm which it was proposed to note in the procès verbal. M. Berenger replied, and M. Boulay de la Meurthe then took the opportunity of speaking decisively as to the necessity of making some explicit declaration of the succession of Napoleon the Second, by proclaiming him Emperor. He said he knew there was a party for the Duke of Orleans in the house, but this faction was purely royalist. M. Penières would have had this question deferred; but M. Regnault exclaimed, “ What, shall we wait until Wellington is at
our gate?” The General Mouton Duvernet continued on the same side, saying, “The armies “ will be at the disposal of the nation for the ser“ vice of Napoleon the Second," when M. Flaugergues quickly interrupted him, “ An the sol