Page images


Considerations on the Circumstances that appeared favorable, or unfavorable, to the Permanence of

Louis the Eighteenth's Government after his first Restoration. His Personal Character and Habits.The Node in which he was restored. The Interests of the French Marshals to support Louis considered.The Appointment of the Duke of Wellington to be Ambassador at Paris injudicious in this Point of View.-The great Mass of the Nation interested in the Continuance of Peace.-The Agricultural Clase.The Manufacturing and Commercial Classes.-Dispositions of the Clergy towards Louis.Effects produced by the Revolution on the State of Religion.

The situation in which Louis XVIII. was plac- But Louis XVIII. besides being naturally BOOK XII. ed, was one of extreme difficulty, requiring not only attached to the emigrants, it was supposed bad talents of a superior kind, but also address and de- lent himself too much to the influence of the Chap. IV. licacy in the management and application of them. priests. France, indeed, during the revolution,

1814. bad fallen back into such a state of indifference Those, therefore, who were well-acquainted with him, and wbo were not disposed to flatter him, or disbelief with regard to religion, that a moor to conceal his wants and his failings, and who, narch who would, by wise and prudent measures, at the same time, were sincere and zealous friends, and by his own example, have brought them not only of the

Bourbons but also of the new order back into the right path, would have proved a of things in France, were not without consider- great blessing to them and to the world at large; able apprehensions for the permanence and tran- for their love of military glory, and their ambition quillity of bis throne. These apprehensions had of conquest, had been greatly fed and strengthened their origin and foundation in several circum- by the looseness of their moral and religious prin. stances. In the first place, with respect to the ciples. But they were in such a critical state, personal character of Louis himself, he was that it required great caution and circumspection allowed, by all parties, to be-naturally inactive in bringing about this change; and if Louis enand indolent, and by no means possessed of that deavoured to effect it by morose and severe regucomprehension and firmness of mind which are lations, it was much to be feared, that he would desirable and useful in a sovereign in all cases, injure his own influence, and the permanence of and which were more especially requisite in the his government, without promoting the object case of Louis. These deficiencies might, however, wbich he had in view. be in a great measure supplied by a choice of But there were other difficulties and dangers wise and prudent ministers. But here again be that surrounded the restored monarch, besides was exposed to considerable difficulties and dan- those which had their origin and foundation in gers; for it was naturally to be imagined, that his personal character and babits, as contrasted the emigrants, those who had surrounded bim in with the national character and babits of his subthe time of bis adversity, whose sentiments and jects. He had been restored by means of the conduct had been similar to his own, would ob- successes and conquests of foreign power; by tain a very large portion of bis countenance, sup- their successes and conquests over the French port, and favor. And speaking of the emigrants people. This reflection could not but be exas a body, they certainly were not distinguished tremely galling to them; even to those who were either for talents or prudence; and it might well most weary of the tyranny and oppression of Bobe doubted, without any great breach of penetra- naparte, and most desirous of the restoration of tion or candour, whether their sufferings had the Bourbons : for it is an extraordinary and untaught them wisdom. They were too apt, also, doubted fact, that many of the most loyal of the to rate their own services and sufferings too emigrants rejoiced at and were proud of the vichighly: these indeed, except in some particular tories of their countrymen, eveli when they were cases, were not entitled to much merit or reward; gained over the allies who were fighting their for it may be doubted whether, if they had con- cause, abd by Bonaparte, towards whom, as the tinued in a body in France at the commence- enemy of the Bourbons and their own enemy, ment of the revolution, and not have deserted they bore a most deep and deadly hatred. Such their king, that event would have proceeded is the influence of the love of national glory in and ripened into crime and destruction, as it had the bosons of Frenchmen, that it overpowers all done.

regard to national benefit, and even smothers for

BOOK XII. a time the feelings of loyalty and personal interest. youthful mind in the lower ranks of society;

It was to be feared, therefore, that Louis XVIII., whilst in the higher, a great number are profes. Chap. IV. having been restored to the throne of bis ances- sionally devoted to it; whose sole hopes of future

tors by the victories of the allies over France, advancement depend upon the subsisting demand 1814.

would for a long time recall to the minds of a for their services. Modern armies are so numeconsiderable portion of his subjects, their national rous, that a long war cannot be maintained withdefeat and disgrace; and there be regarded by out rendering the military class entirely disprono means in a favorable point of view.

portioned to the general mass composing a state; But these unfavorable impressions towards and the greater the necessity for keeping up its their restored monarch would also be strengthen- numbers, the more consequence will be attached ed by the reflection, that he had been restored to it. If this circumstance coincides with a naprincipally by the perseverance and bravery of tional spirit naturally martial and unquiet, it may Britain in the conquest; of that country wbich happen, that an aversion to resume the pacific chawas the natural enemy of France, which had uni- racter shall become almost the ruling passion of formly set herself up against every attempt of a people. Now, modern bistory scarcely affords France to obtain the great object of every French- an instance in which these causes of a fondness man, the preponderancy in Europe, if not the for war bave concurred more efficaciously than conquest of the continental part of that quarter of in France, which, from the period of its revolu. the world. Louis, too, bad found a refuge in Bri. tion, had almost continually been involved in tain at a period when no other state dared receive hostilities, domestic or foreign ; and which, during and protect him. These considerations could not many years, had submitted to the despotic rule be pleasing to Frenchmen. It was not to be sup- of a man of unbounded ambition, and of talents posed, that they would give us credit for all that peculiarly adapted to military enterprize. The disinterestedness, purity, and benevolence to astonishing success attending his schemes of agwbich we laid claim; and when we declared, that grandiseurent had raised the power and glory of our object was the benefit and prosperity of the nation to a height greatly beyond that of its France, as well as the tranquillity and indepen- proudest days; and the armies which he led dence of Europe, they must have recollected the into the field surpassed in magnitude those of any. ancient rivalry between the two countries, and period in French history. It is true, his gigantic · been incredulous.

plans had lately wrought their own subversion, On these and several other accounts, the situ- and he had been the author of a more extensive ation of Louis was extremely critical and difficult and tragical waste of lives to his own troops on his restoration to the throne of bis ancestors. than can be paralleled in modern times. Still, He entered a country, a great proportion of the however, a great mass of past glory adhered inhabitants of which had either been born or been to his name, and his admirers could find excuses educated at a period when the Bourbons were for his failures, in unforeseen circumstances, and considered as pretenders to the throne of France; in that desertion by former allies which they deas a race who had forfeited all claims to it, not nominated perfidy. To this they attributed bis only by the fault of Louis XVI. but also by lav final miscarriage; and resentment for his supposing united themselves with those powers who ed wrongs took place in their feelings of blame were opposing the glory and conquests of France. for his rashness, or abhorrence for his tyranny. He ascended ihe throne of his ancestors unknown Further, the pride of the nation spurned the idea to military fame, incapable from his infirmities of of being conquered; and to escape from it, they leading into the field a nation now almost all war- willingly cherished the notion, that if treachery riors, and who had long been accustomed to re- had not prevented Napoleon from executing his gard as synonymous terms their monarch and a plan of operations, he would have compelled the conqueror. If he looked around him, he saw allied armies to retreat with disgrace from the nearly half a million of soldiers attached to Bo- French territory. naparte, both by the habits of their lives, and by On the other hand, if Louis looked at the great their relation to him as the man who led them to bulk of the French nation, he found them excor quest and plunder. These men could not hausted with the pressure of the war, and glad of like peace; they could still less like the person repose and peace: here, then, he might expect who was to rule over them by having deposed attachment to his person and government, for by their favorite, and who, in all points that were his restoration they would obtain what they so calculated excite their esteem and confidence, much needed and so apxiously desired. But be was so very unlike their favorite.

must have been ignorant, indeed, of the French The military life, notwithstanding all its hard character, if he expected that, after they had breathships, by its varied scenes and licentious indul- ed a little, they would not recall to mind the glories gencies, seldom fails to prove alluring to the and conquests of Bonaparte's reign, and contrast them unfavorably with the events of the reign of and Louis had great reason to hope, that the in- BOOK XII. Louis.

babitants of France, and of Paris in particular, But it might have been supposed that the fa- would manifest their gratitude in the manner Chap. IV. vorable terms granted to France by the allies which would be most acceptable to the former,

1814. would have won on the gratitude of that people; by becoming loyal, obedient, and peaceful suband this, indirectly, contributed to the popularity jects to the latter. This was not much to expect, of Louis XVIII. and the permanence of his go- since it was only expecting that Frenchmen would vernment, since there could be no doubt, that it discover their gratitude for being restored to was principally on his account that such favor- peace and tranquillity, for being freed from a tyable terms were granted to them. If the French rant, and, for having their country and capital nation bad only contrasted the behaviour of the spared by the conquerors, in that manner which allies with the behaviour of Bonaparte when he alone could secure to themselves the blessings was victorious, the impression must have been wbich they enjoyed. highly favorable to the former. The allies, after But those who were intimately acquainted with having suffered the greatest degradation from the French character doubted whether these Bonaparte, after they had seen their respective considerations would have their proper effect countries desolated by the conqueror, and them- upon them. Indeed, in a very short time this selves obliged to bend to his will, become mas- volatile and vain nation began to call in question ters of France: the capital of that country is in the claims of the allies to regard themselves as the their power; their soldiers, who feelingly recol- conquerors of France; and when once this was lect all the misery to which their own country doubted, the debt of gratitude was speedily debad been exposed from France,-many or most nied. France, they said, had been overrun by of whom could recall to mind their houses de treachery; and Paris itself would not have been stroyed, and their nearest and dearest relations won, if it had been properly defended. They did murdered, -behold Paris before them completely not, however, think proper to recollect, that, even in their power; they pant for vengeance; they allowing all this to be true, they were not the less expect it from their leaders ; it is due not only to indebted to the allies for their clemency: they did their own sufferings, but also, by the laws and not recollect, for how many of her victories and usages of war, to the victories and conquests conquests France had been indebted to treachery: which they have so gloriously achieved. "And these things they forgot, and contented themselves yet, under all these circumstances, the allies spare with the reflection, that if France had been true Paris! they enter it, not as conquerors, not as to herself she never could have been conquered. avengers of their own wrongs, but as friends! As soon as this feeling and belief sprang up, it They treat it with as much respect and tenderness was evident that attachment to Louis would be as if it had been one of their own capitals. Could weakened. such conduct fail to produce its proper impression Notwithstanding, however, all these circumon the minds of the Parisians, and of Frenchmen stances contributed to render the foundation of in general. The former, in particular, must have Louis's government rather insecure, there were dreaded far different conduct; they must have other circumstances, of a much more powerful recollected all that the allies had suffered from and general nature, which greatly counterbaFrance, and that the people of Paris were always Janced the former. In the first place, the ready to lend themselves to the most tyrannical French marshals, though several of them were acts of Bonaparte's government: they must bave slow and reluctant in sending in their adhesion recollected these things generally; but a more to the new government, it was natural to suppose particular recollection must have dwelt upon their would rally round Louis if he showed them prominds, of the recent devastation of a large portion per attention. They had indeed been raised to of Russia, and of the conflagration of the ancient the rank and fortune which they enjoyed by Bocapital of that empire, of a capital which was re- naparte ; and it might have been imagined, that garded as holy by those soldiers who were now they would have felt a strong attachment to him: masters of the capital of France. What reason, but, on the other hand, they knew that the favors therefore, had they to expect that Paris would be which they had received from him were bestowed treated io a ditterent manner from Moscow ? Cer- "from consideration of his own personal interests : tainly, none. What ought, therefore, to have been some of them recollecting whence he had risen, their feelings towards the allied powers when might be induced to think that they were as deParis was spared; when it was not only spared, serving of the imperial rank as hē, while

others but when the allied armies entered it as friends? he had treated with great haughtiness. But the And what ought to have been their feelings to- consideration which would weigh most with the wards Louis XVIII., on whose account princi- French marshals was, that Bonaparte, by the pally the allies conducted themselves in such an blindness and madness of his ambition, bad


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

BOOK XII. pardy : it is well known, that they did not ap- the people of France, and particularly to the

prove of the Russian campaign, and still less of French marshals; for how had he been serviceChap. IV. his conduct during the campaign in Germany in able to Louis, but by conquering the French ar.

the subsequent year.-It had always been sup- mies ? and yet he was sent to Louis's court, posed, that one of the principal obstacles to a where he was sure constantly to meet those whom counter-revolution in France would be the he had defeated, and who must always recollec change of property, and the possession of rank when they saw Louis paying bim particular at. by those who would be stript of it in case of that tention and honor, that it was because he had event. With respect to the latter circumstance, defeated them! Setting aside, however, this as long as Bonaparte's measures secured the appointment, there was nothing either in the possession of rank, or contributed to raise it conduct of Louis, or of the allies, but what higher, so long he would be defended by those was calculated to conciliate and attach the who were anxious about it: but it was also evi- marshals to the new order of things : and the deut, that he would be deserted as soon as his prudence and policy of this conduct soon dismeasures threatened the ruin of those whom he played itself; for though these undoubtedly was had raised, provided they saw less danger in great dissatisfaction in the army, and though joining a counter-revolution. This was precisely Paris was often threatened with disturbance, yet the case when the allies gained possession of nothing serious occurred ; and, as far as could be Paris : Bonaparte's attacks were desperate; if the judged, the minds of the soldiery and of the inmarshals continued to adhere to bim, they must habitants of Paris, (by far the most important share his fate: the allies promised them the portion of the population of France,) were gracontinuance of their rank and fortune, if they dually yielding themselves up to the new order deserted him and joined Louis; and they followed of things at the close of the year 1814. Contbe direction of their own interest.

pected with this view of the probable stability of This was extremely fortunate for Louis ; for, Louis's government, as depending on the ideas while he could secure the marshals and gene- and dispositions of the military, it may be menrals of the French army, he bad not much to tioned, that he took a very wise step by appointdread from the soldiers themselves; not because ing Marshal Soult minister of war: this marshal they also saw their interest in adhering to the was undoubtedly the first military character in new government, or because the marshals had France, and was besides a great favorite with sueh influence over them as to lead tbem to the soldiers : it was therefore of great importance forego their interest; but because without leaders to hold him up, by placing him in an official they could do nothing. Louis therefore acted situation so intimately connected with the army, prudently and wisely in endeavouring to attach as attached to the government of Louis. Bethe marshals and generals still more to himself, sides, his talents and habits, being those of a by paying them great attention. It may be man of business, and of a vigorous, olear, and doubted, however, whether the views of Louis in comprehensive mind, would (independently of this respect were wisely seconded by the British all other considerations) have rendered this apgovernment in the appointment of an ambassador pointment judicious and popular. at Paris. The Marquis of Wellington, on his But we must now advert to some other cir. return to England, was received with the highest cumstances, which appeared favorable to the honors. (which we shall notice hereafter more permanence of Louis's government.--It has particularly) that could be bestowed on a sub- already been seen that Talleyrand was partiject: he was raised to the rank of duke; re- cularly active in bringing about the counter-received, in the most flattering manier possible, the volution; and while the allied monarchs were in thanks of both bouses of parliament, which voted Paris, great attention was paid to him by them. a very large sum for the purchase of an estate Louis also placed him at the head of the governto be vested in his fainily: nor were his prince or ment; and intrusted him (as will afterwards be his countrymen less anxious to show bim how particularly noticed) with the entire management bigbly they thought of bis services. After staying of the negociations at the congress of Vienna. a short time in London, he was appointed aiu- With respect to the political honesty of Talleybassador at Paris; and this, as we hinted above, rand, great doubts may justly be entertained: he was certainly not an appointment likely to be of had undoubtedly found no difficulty in accomservice to Louis XVIIL It no doubt was in- modating bis conscience to the republican form of tended as a compliment to him, by sending the government at the commencement of the revoluperson of whom Britain thought most bigbly, and tiou, and afterwards to the despotism of Bonato whorn Louis must have considered himself as parte. In justice to bim, however, it must be most chiefly indebted for his restoration: but this stated, that during the latter years of Bonavery circumstance must have rendered the ap- parte's reign he had not enjoyed the favor of pointment of the Duke of Wellington grating to his master, it is said, because he objected to his

[ocr errors]

schemes against Spain,--tbough it may be ques. the overgrown preponderance of the capital ; BOOK XIL tioned whether his objections arose from any con- and these causes were favourable to the permasiderations, or feelings, with respect to the atrocity nence of a mild and peaceable_government. Crap. IV. and injustice of those schemes: they were more Formerly, the great body of the French nation

1814. probably derived from the belief, that an attempt were insignificant and of no weight; they were to conquer Spain would end in disappointment entirely under the power of the noblesse, who and disgrace.- But, whatever opinion may be generally residing in Paris added to the importformed of the principles of Talleyrand, bis ta- ance and preponderance of that city. But the lents are universally acknowledged; and they revolution, dividing the overgrown estates of the are of that order which Loais more particularly noblesse into possessions of a much more morequired. It was of the utmost consequence to derate size; and thus increasing the number of show to the French nation, that they had not those who were desirous of peace, and at the sunk far in the scale of European nations by same time placing the agricultural tenancy of the conquest of their country ;-while, at the the kingdom on a more respectable and indesame time, it was indispensably necessary not pendent footing than they had previously been, to alarm or irritate the allies by grasping too soon rendered the inhabitants of the country of much or too eagerly at the recovery of their ancient more weight and importance. Over these also rank and importance. No man was so well cal- the revolution had shed much less of its baneful culated to conduct the affairs of France, in this effects than over the inhabitants of Paris, and critical emergency, as Talleyrand : cool, pene. the other large cities: their manners were less trating, and cautious, he could bring his wonder- frivolous ; their morals less corrupt ; their uns fal talents and almost unequalled experience to derstandings and feelings were not so completely bear on the object which he had in view, and turned aside from what was really respectable, yet not excite the suspicion of those with whom dignified, and useful, to what was gaudy, unsubhe had to deal. There were only two circum- stantial and evanescent; wbile, feeling their own stances which operated against the policy of the importance and weight in the state, they were appointment of Talleyrand to his high situation : not disposed, as formerly, to give place on all in the first place, those of the French nation who occasions to the inhabitants of the metropolis.still were attached to Bonaparte beheld him with On this class of people, therefore, Louis might dislike, as they considered him as having be- safely rely for support, provided be secured to trayed their favorite and his former master : in them their possessions, and that portion of rethe second place, there was good reason to ap- spectability and liberty to which they were disprehend that his attachment to the Bourbons posed to look up as their undoubted right. would continue only while their power seemed The agricultural portion of the population of permanent; and that he would desert them, France on many accounts wished for repose and as he had deserted Bonaparte, in the time of peace: even in the midst of the anarchy and the greatest need. Setting aside, however, the tyranny of the revolution they bad advanced in. consideration of these two circumstances, there the knowledge and practice of their business : could be no doubt that while he was at the head feeling themselves now more their own masters of affairs in France, he would essentially contri- than they had been while under the old nobute to heal the wounds inflicted by the revolu- blesse, and that they were now working for tion and by the tyranny and oppression of Bona- themselves, and not merely for them, they parte, by judicious and wise imernal regulations; roused themselves to a degree of activity and while, as far as the honor and external relations intelligence of which they before were scarcely of the country were concerned, he would contri- thought capable. But they still required peace, bute to raise her as nearly as possible to her former to reap all the fruits of their labour. They knew rank and glory.

that, with the natural advantages in respect But it was to the disposition and feelings of to soil and climate which France enjoyed, if the great bulk of the French nation that Louis they had peace, they could raise corn not merely was to look for the support and permanence of for their own supply, but also for the supply his government; not because of their loyalty to the of foreign nations; while the same desirable house of Bourbon, (for that was in a great mea- event would open a way for those commodities: sure worn out,) but from the operation of causes of higher value and a rarer kind, their wines, more deeply and permanently implanted in bu- fruits, &c. On these accounts the agricultural poman nature. It has frequently been remarked, pulation of France, provided no attempts were that Paris is more to France than the capital of made to disturb the existing divisions of proany other nation is to the nation in which it ex: perty, were sure to be the friends of Louis ists. This was undoubtedly the fact previous to. XVIII. and during the revolution : but that event in- The manufacturing and commercial portion of volved causes which were gradually destroying the population, also, must have seen their interest.

« PreviousContinue »