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Title: Memoirs To Illustrate The History Of My Time - Volume 1
Author: Guizot, M. (François), 1787-1874
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs To Illustrate The History Of My Time - Volume 1" ***

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Transcriber's note

Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer
errors have been changed and are listed at the end. All other
inconsistencies are as in the original.






   ETC. ETC.


   Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.






       *       *       *       *       *





   My Reasons for publishing these Memoirs during my Life.--My
   Introduction into Society.--My First Acquaintance with
   M. de Châteaubriand, M. de Suard, Madame de Staël, M. de Fontanes,
   M. Royer-Collard.--Proposal to appoint me Auditor in the Imperial
   State Council.--Why the Appointment did not take place.--I enter
   the University and begin my Course of Lectures on Modern
   History.--Liberal and Royalist Parties.--Characters of the
   different Oppositions towards the Close of the Empire.--Attempted
   resistance of the Legislative Body.--MM. Lainé, Gallois,
   Maine-Biran, Raynouard, and Flaugergues.--I leave Paris for
   Nismes.--State of Paris and France in March, 1814.--The Restoration
   takes place.--I return to Paris, and am appointed Secretary-General
   to the Ministry of the Interior.                                    1




   Sentiments with which I commenced Public Life.--True Cause and
   Character of the Restoration.--Capital Error of the Imperial
   Senate.--The Charter suffers from it.--Various Objections to the
   the Charter.--Why they were Futile.--Cabinet of King
   Louis XVIII.--Unfitness of the Principal Ministers for
   Constitutional Government.--M. de Talleyrand.--The
   Abbé de Montesquieu.--M. de Blacas.--Louis XVIII.--Principal Affairs
   in which I was concerned at that Epoch.--Account of the State of the
   Kingdom laid before the Chambers.--Bill respecting the Press.--Decree
   for the Reform of Public Instruction.--State of the Government
   and the Country.--Their Common Inexperience.--Effects of the Liberal
   System.--Estimate of Public Discontent and Conspiracies.--Saying of
   Napoleon on the Facility of his Return.                            27




   I immediately leave the Ministry of the Interior, to resume my
   Lectures.--Unsettled Feeling of the Middle Classes on the Return
   of Napoleon.--Its Real Causes.--Sentiments of Foreign Nations
   and Governments towards Napoleon.--Apparent Reconciliation,
   but Real Struggle, between Napoleon and the Liberals.--The
   Federates.--Carnot and Fouché.--Demonstration of Liberty
   during the Hundred Days, even in the Imperial Palace.--Louis XVIII.
   and his Council at Ghent.--The Congress and M. de Talleyrand
   at Vienna.--I go to Ghent on the part of the Constitutional
   Royalist Committee at Paris.--My Notions and Opinions during this
   Journey.--State of Parties at Ghent.--My Conversation with
   Louis XVIII.--M. de Blacas.--M. de Châteaubriand.--M. de Talleyrand
   returns from Vienna.--Louis XVIII. re-enters France.--Intrigue
   planned at Mons and defeated at Cambray.--Blindness and Imbecility of
   the Chamber of Representatives.--My Opinion respecting the Admission
   of Fouché into the King's Cabinet.                                 58




   Fall of M. de Talleyrand and Fouché.--Formation of the
   Duke de Richelieu's Cabinet.--My Connection as Secretary-General of
   the Administration of Justice with M. de Marbois, Keeper
   of the Great Seal.--Meeting and Aspect of the Chamber of
   Deputies.--Intentions and Attitude of the Old Royalist
   Faction.--Formation, and Composition of a New Royalist
   Party.--Struggle of Classes under the cloak of Parties.--Provisional
   Laws.--Bill of Amnesty.--The Centre becomes the Government Party, and
   the Right, the Opposition.--Questions upon the connection between
   the State and the Church.--State of the Government beyond the
   Chambers.--Insufficiency of its Resistance to the spirit of
   Re-action.--The Duke of Feltri and General Bernard.--Trial of
   Marshal Ney.--Controversy between M. de Vitrolles and Me.--Closing
   of the Session.--Modifications in the Cabinet.--M. Lainé Minister of
   the Interior.--I leave the Ministry of Justice and enter the State
   Council as Master of Requests.--The Cabinet enters into Contests with
   the Right-hand Party.--M. Decazes.--Position of MM. Royer-Collard and
   De Serre.--Opposition of M. de Châteaubriand.--The Country declares
   against the Chamber of Deputies.--Efforts of M. Decazes to bring
   about a Dissolution.--The King determines on it.--Decree of the 5th
   of September, 1816.                                                97




   Composition of the New Chamber of Deputies.--The Cabinet in a
   Majority.--Elements of that Majority, the Centre properly so
   called, and the Doctrinarians.--True character of the
   Centre.--True character of the Doctrinarians, and real cause of
   their Influence.--M. de la Bourdonnaye and M. Royer-Collard at the
   Opening of the Session.--Attitude of the Doctrinarians in the
   Debate on the Exceptional Laws.--Electoral Law of February
   5th, 1817.--The part I took on that occasion.--Of the Actual
   and Political Position of the Middle Classes.--Marshal Gouvion
   St. Cyr, and his Bill for recruiting the Army, of the 10th
   of March, 1818.--Bill respecting the Press, of 1819, and
   M. de Serre.--Preparatory Discussion of these Bills in the State
   Council.--General Administration of the Country.--Modification of
   the Cabinet from 1816 to 1820.--Imperfections of the Constitutional
   System.--Errors of Individuals.--Dissensions between the Cabinet and
   the Doctrinarians.--The Duke de Richelieu negotiates, at
   Aix-la-Chapelle, the entire Retreat of Foreign Troops from
   France.--His Situation and Character.--He attacks the Bill on
   Elections.--His Fall.--Cabinet of M. Decazes.--His
   Political Weakness, notwithstanding his Parliamentary
   Success.--Elections of 1819.--Election and Non-admission of
   M. Grégoire.--Assassination of the Duke de Berry.--Fall of
   M. Decazes.--The Duke de Richelieu resumes Office.--His Alliance
   with the Right-hand Party.--Change in the Law of
   Elections.--Disorganization of the Centre, and Progress
   of the Right-hand Party.--Second Fall of the
   Duke de Richelieu.--M. de Villèle and the Right-hand Party obtain
   Power.                                                            150




   Position of M. de Villèle on assuming Power.--He finds himself
   engaged with the Left and the Conspiracies.--Character of the
   Conspiracies.--Estimate of their Motives.--Their connection
   with some of the Leaders of the Parliamentary
   Opposition.--M. de La Fayette.--M. Manuel.--M. D'Argenson.--Their
   Attitude in the Chamber of Deputies.--Failure of the Conspiracies,
   and Causes thereof.--M. de Villèle engaged with his Rivals within
   within and by the side of the Cabinet.--The Duke
   de Montmorency.--M. de Châteaubriand Ambassador at
   London.--Congress of Verona.--M. de Châteaubriand becomes Minister of
   Foreign Affairs.--Spanish War.--Examination of its Causes and
   Results.--Rupture between M. de Villèle and
   M. de Châteaubriand.--Fall of M. de Châteaubriand.--M. de Villèle
   engaged with an Opposition springing from the Right-hand Party.--The
   'Journal des Débats' and the Messrs. Bertin.--M. de Villèle falls
   under the Yoke of the Parliamentary Majority.--Attitude and Influence
   of the Ultra-Catholic Party.--Estimate of their conduct.--Attacks to
   which they are exposed.--M. de Montlosier.--M. Béranger.--Acuteness
   of M. de Villèle.--His decline.--His Enemies at the
   Court.--Review and Disbanding of the National Guard of
   Paris.--Anxiety of Charles X.--Dissolution of the Chamber of
   Deputies.--The Elections are Hostile to M. de Villèle.--He
   retires.--Speech of the Dauphinists to Charles X.                 223




   My Retirement at the Maisonnette.--I publish four incidental
   Essays on Political Affairs: 1. Of the Government of France
   since the Restoration, and of the Ministry in Office (1820); 2.
   Of Conspiracies and Political Justice (1821); 3. Of the Resources
   of the Government and the Opposition in the actual State of
   France (1821); 4. Of Capital Punishment for Political Offences
   (1822).--Character and Effects of these Publications.--Limits of
   my Opposition.--The Carbonari.--Visit of M. Manuel.--I commence
   my Course of Lectures on the History of the Origin of
   Representative Government.--Its double Object.--The Abbé
   Frayssinous orders its Suspension.--My Historical Labours--on
   the History of England; on the History of France; on the Relations
   and Mutual Influence of France and England; on the Philosophic
   and Literary Tendencies of that Epoch.--The French
   Review.--The Globe.--The Elections of 1827.--My Connection
   with the Society, 'Help thyself and Heaven will help thee.'--My
   Relations with the Administration of M. de Martignac; he
   authorizes the Re-opening of my Course of Lectures, and restores
   my Title as a State-Councillor.--My Lectures (1828-1830) on
   the History of Civilization in Europe and in France.--Their
   Effect.--I am elected Deputy for Lisieux (December, 1829).        278




   Menacing, and at the same time inactive attitude of the
   Ministry.--Lawful Excitement throughout the Country.--Association
   for the ultimate Refusal of the non-voted Taxes.--Character and
   Views of M. de Polignac.--Manifestations of the Ministerial
   Party.--New Aspect of the Opposition.--Opening of the
   Session.--Speech of the King.--Address of the Chamber of
   Peers.--Preparation of the Address of the Chamber of
   Deputies.--Perplexity of the Moderate Party, and of
   M. Royer-Collard.--Debate on the Address.--The part taken in it by
   M. Berryer and myself.--Presentation of the Address to the
   King.--Prorogation of the Session.--Retirement of MM. de Chabrol and
   Courvoisier.--Dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies.--My Journey to
   Nismes for the Elections.--True Character of the
   Elections.--Intentions of Charles X.                              330

       *       *       *       *       *

   HISTORIC DOCUMENTS                                                359

       *       *       *       *       *

*** This Work has been translated by J. W. Cole, Esq., who also
translated the 'Celebrated Characters' of M. de Lamartine.








I adopt a course different from that recently pursued by several of my
contemporaries; I publish my memoirs while I am still here to answer for
what I write. I am not prompted to this by the weariness of inaction, or
by any desire to re-open a limited field for old contentions, in place
of the grand arena at present closed. I have struggled much and ardently
during my life; age and retirement, as far as my own feelings are
concerned, have expanded their peaceful influence over the past. From a
sky profoundly serene, I look back towards an horizon pregnant with many
storms. I have deeply probed my own heart, and I cannot find there any
feeling which envenoms my recollections. The absence of gall permits
extreme candour. Personality alters or deteriorates truth. Being
desirous to speak of my own life, and of the times in which I have
lived, I prefer doing so on the brink, rather than from the depths of
the tomb. This appears to me more dignified as regards myself, while,
with reference to others, it will lead me to be more scrupulous in my
words and opinions. If objections arise, which I can scarcely hope to
escape, at least it shall not be said that I was unwilling to hear them,
and that I have removed myself from the responsibility of what I have

Other reasons, also, have induced this decision. Memoirs, in general,
are either published too soon or too late. If too soon, they are
indiscreet or unimportant; we either reveal what would be better held
back for the present, or suppress details which it would be both
profitable and curious to relate at once. If too late, they lose much of
their opportunity and interest; contemporaries have passed away, and can
no longer profit by the truths which are imparted, or participate in
their recital with personal enjoyment. Such memoirs retain only a moral
and literary value, and excite no feeling beyond idle curiosity.
Although I well know how much experience evaporates in passing from one
generation to another, I cannot believe that it becomes altogether
extinct, or that a correct knowledge of the mistakes of our fathers, and
of the causes of their failures, can be totally profitless to their
descendants. I wish to transmit to those who may succeed me, and who
also will have their trials to undergo, a little of the light I have
derived from mine. I have, alternately, defended liberty against
absolute power, and order against the spirit of revolution,--two leading
causes which, in fact, constitute but one, for their disconnection leads
to the ruin of both. Until liberty boldly separates itself from the
spirit of revolution, and order from absolute power, so long will France
continue to be tossed about from crisis to crisis, and from error to
error. In this is truly comprised the cause of the nation. I am grieved,
but not dismayed, at its reverses. I neither renounce its service, nor
despair of its triumph. Under the severest disappointments, it has ever
been my natural tendency, and for which I thank God as for a blessing,
to preserve great desires, however uncertain or distant might be the
hopes of their accomplishment.

In ancient and in modern times, the greatest of great historians,
Thucydides, Xenophon, Sallust, Cæsar, Tacitus, Macchiavelli, and
Clarendon, have written, and some have themselves published, the annals
of the passing age and of the events in which they participated. I do
not venture on such an ambitious work; the day of history has not yet
arrived for us, of complete, free, and unreserved history, either as
relates to facts or men. But my own personal and inward history; what I
have thought, felt, and wished in my connection with the public affairs
of my country; the thoughts, feelings, and wishes of my political
friends and associates, our minds reflected in our actions,--on these
points I can speak freely, and on these I am most desirous to record my
sentiments, that I may be, if not always approved, at least correctly
known and understood. On this foundation, others will hereafter assign
to us our proper places in the history of the age.

I only commenced public life in the year 1814. I had neither served
under the Revolution nor the Empire: a stranger to the first from youth,
and to the second from disposition. Since I have had some share in the
government of men, I have learned to do justice to the Emperor Napoleon.
He was endowed with a genius incomparably active and powerful, much to
be admired for his antipathy to disorder, for his profound instincts in
ruling, and for his energetic rapidity in reconstructing the social
framework. But this genius had no check, acknowledged no limit to its
desires or will, either emanating from Heaven or man, and thus remained
revolutionary while combating revolution: thoroughly acquainted with the
general conditions of society, but imperfectly, or rather, coarsely
understanding the moral necessities of human nature; sometimes
satisfying them with the soundest judgment, and at others depreciating
and insulting them with impious pride. Who could have believed that the
same man who had established the Concordat, and re-opened the churches
in France, would have carried off the Pope from Rome, and kept him a
prisoner at Fontainebleau?

It is going too far to apply the same ill-treatment to philosophers and
Christians, to reason and faith. Amongst the great men of his class,
Napoleon was by far the most necessary for the times. None but himself
could have so quickly and effectually substituted order in place of
anarchy; but no one was so chimerical as to the future, for after having
been master of France and Europe, he suffered Europe to drive him even
from France. His name is greater and more enduring than his actions, the
most brilliant of which, his conquests, disappeared suddenly and for
ever, with himself. In rendering homage to his exalted qualities, I feel
no regret at not having appreciated them until after his death. For me,
under the Empire, there was too much of the arrogance of power, too much
contempt of right, too much revolution, and too little liberty.

It is not that at that period I was much engaged in politics, or
over-impatient for the freedom that should open to me the road I
desired. I associated myself with the Opposition, but it was an
Opposition bearing little resemblance to that which we have seen and
created during the last thirty years. It was formed from the relics of
the philosophic world and liberal aristocracy of the eighteenth century,
the last representatives of the saloons in which all subjects whatever
had been freely proposed and discussed, through the impulse of
inclination, and the gratification of mental indulgence, rather than
from any distinct object of interest or ambition. The errors and
disasters of the Revolution had not led the survivors of that active
generation to renounce their convictions or desires; they remained
sincerely liberal, but without practical or urgent pretension, and with
the reserve of men who had suffered much and succeeded little in their
attempts at legislative reform. They still held to freedom of thought
and speech, but had no aspirations after power. They detested and warmly
criticized despotism, but without any open attempt to repress or
overthrow existing authority. It was the opposition of enlightened and
independent lookers-on, who had neither the opportunity nor inclination
to interfere as actors.

After a long life of fierce contention, I recur with pleasure to the
remembrance of this enchanting society. M. de Talleyrand once said to
me, "Those who were not living in and about the year 1789, know little
of the enjoyments of life." In fact, nothing could exceed the pleasure
of a great intellectual and social movement, which, at that epoch, far
from suspending or disturbing the arrangements of the world, animated
and ennobled them by mingling serious thoughts with frivolous
recreations, and as yet called for no suffering, or no sacrifice, while
it opened to the eyes of men a dazzling and delightful perspective. The
eighteenth century was, beyond all question, the most tempting and
seductive of ages, for it promised to satisfy at once the strength and
weakness of human nature; elevating and enervating the mind at the same
time; flattering alternately the noblest sentiments and the most
grovelling propensities; intoxicating with exalted hopes, and nursing
with effeminate concessions. Thus it has produced, in pellmell
confusion, utopians and egotists, sceptics and fanatics, enthusiasts and
incredulous scoffers, different offspring of the same period, but all
enraptured with the age and with themselves, indulging together in one
common drunkenness on the eve of the approaching chaos.

When I first mixed with the world in 1807, the storm had for a long time
burst; the infatuation of 1789 had completely disappeared. Society,
entirely occupied with its own re-establishment, no longer dreamed of
elevating itself in the midst of mere amusement; exhibitions of force
had superseded impulses towards liberty. Coldness, absence of
fellow-feeling, isolation of sentiment and interests,--in these are
comprised the ordinary course and weary vexations of the world. France,
worn out with errors and strange excesses, eager once more for order and
common sense, fell back into the old track. In the midst of this general
reaction, the faithful inheritors of the literary saloons of the
eighteenth century held themselves aloof from its influence; they alone
preserved two of the noblest and most amiable propensities of their
age--a disinterested taste for pleasures of the mind, and that readiness
of sympathy, that warmth and ardour of curiosity, that necessity for
moral improvement and free discussion, which embellish the social
relations with so much variety and sweetness.

In my own case, I drew from these sources a profitable experience. Led
into the circle I have named, by an incident in my private life, I
entered amongst them very young, perfectly unknown, with no other title
than a little presumed ability, some education, and an ardent taste for
refined pleasures, letters, and good company. I carried with me no ideas
harmonizing with those I found there. I had been brought up at Geneva,
with extremely liberal notions, but in austere habits and religious
convictions entirely opposed to the philosophy of the eighteenth
century, rather than in coincidence with or in admiration of its works
and tendencies. During my residence in Paris, German metaphysics and
literature had been my favourite study; I read Kant and Klopstock,
Herder and Schiller, much more frequently than Condillac and Voltaire.
M. Suard, the Abbé Morellet, the Marquis de Boufflers, the frequenters
of the drawing-rooms of Madame d'Houdetot and of Madame de Rumford, who
received me with extreme complaisance, smiled, and sometimes grew tired
of my Christian traditions and Germanic enthusiasm; but, after all, this
difference of opinion established for me, in their circle, a plea of
interest and favour instead of producing any feeling of illwill or even
of indifference. They knew that I was as sincerely attached to liberty
and the privileges of human intelligence as they were themselves, and
they discovered something novel and independent in my turn of thought,
which inspired both esteem and attraction. At this period, they
constantly supported me with their friendship and interest, without ever
attempting to press or control me on the points on which we disagreed.
From them especially, I have learned to exercise in practical life, that
expanded equity, joined to respect for the freedom of others, which
constitute the character and duty of a truly liberal mind.

This generous disposition manifested itself on every opportunity. In
1809, M. de Châteaubriand published 'The Martyrs.' The success of this
work was at first slow, and strongly disputed. Amongst the disciples of
the eighteenth century and of Voltaire, a great majority treated
M. de Châteaubriand as an enemy, while the more moderate section looked
on him with little favour. They rejected his ideas even when they felt
that they were not called upon to contest them. His style of writing
offended their taste, which was divested of all imagination, and more
refined than grand. My own disposition was entirely opposed to theirs. I
passionately admired M. de Châteaubriand in his ideas and language: that
beautiful compound of religious sentiment and romantic imagination, of
poetry and moral polemics, had so powerfully moved and subdued me, that,
soon after my arrival at Paris in 1806, one of my first literary
fantasies was to address an epistle, in very indifferent verse, to
M. de Châteaubriand, who immediately thanked me in prose, artistically
polished and unassuming. His letter flattered my youth, and 'The
Martyrs' redoubled my zeal. Seeing them so violently attacked, I
resolved to defend them in the 'Publicist,' in which I occasionally
wrote. M. Suard, who conducted that journal, although far from
coinciding with the opinions I had adopted, lent himself most obligingly
to my desire. I have met with very few men of a natural temperament so
gentle and liberal, and with a mind at the same time scrupulously
refined and fastidious. He was much more disposed to criticize than to
admire the talent of M. de Châteaubriand; but he admitted the great
extent of his ability, and on that ground dealt with him gently,
although with delicate irony. Besides which, the talent was full of
independence, and exerted in opposition to the formidable tendencies of
Imperial power. These qualities won largely upon the esteem of M. Suard,
who, in consequence, allowed me an unfettered course in the 'Publicist,'
of which I availed myself to espouse the cause of 'The Martyrs' against
their detractors.

M. de Châteaubriand was deeply affected by this, and hastened to express
his acknowledgments. My articles became the subject of a correspondence
between us, which I still refer to with pleasure.[1] He explained to me
his intentions and motives in the composition of his poem, discussed
with susceptibility and even with some degree of temper concealed under
his gratitude, the strictures mixed with my eulogiums, and finished by
saying: "In conclusion, Sir, you know the tempests raised against my
work, and from whence they proceed. There is another wound, not
exhibited, which is the real source of all this rage. It is that
_Hierocles_ massacres the Christians in the name of _philosophy_ and
_liberty_. Time will do me justice, if my work deserves it, and you will
greatly accelerate this justice by the publication of your articles,
provided you could be induced to change and modify them to a certain
point. Show me my faults, and I will correct them. I only despise those
critics who are as base in their language as in the secret motives which
induce them to speak. I can find neither reason nor principle in the
mouths of those literary mountebanks hired by the police, who dance in
the gutters for the amusement of lacqueys.... I do not give up the hope
of calling to see you, or of receiving you in my hermitage. Honest men
should, particularly at present, unite for mutual consolation; generous
feelings and exalted sentiments become every day so rare, that we ought
to consider ourselves too happy when we encounter them.... Accept, I
entreat you, once more, the assurance of my high consideration, of my
sincere devotion, and if you will permit, of a friendship which we
commence under the auspices of frankness and honour."

Between M. de Châteaubriand and myself, frankness and honour, most
certainly, have never been disturbed throughout our political
controversies; but friendship has not been able to survive them. The
word is too rare and valuable to be hastily pronounced.

When we have lived under a system of real and serious liberty, we feel
both an inclination and a right to smile when we consider what, in other
times, has been classed as factious opposition by the one side, and
courageous resistance by the other. In August, 1807, eighteen months
before the publication of 'The Martyrs,' I stopped some days in
Switzerland, on my way to visit my mother at Nismes; and with the
confident enthusiasm of youth, as anxious to become acquainted with
living celebrities as I was myself unknown, I addressed a letter to
Madame de Staël, requesting the honour of calling upon her. She invited
me to dinner at Ouchy, near Lausanne, where she then resided. I was
placed next to her; I came from Paris; she questioned me as to what was
passing there, how the public were occupied, and what were the topics
of conversation in the saloons. I spoke of an article by
M. de Châteaubriand, in the 'Mercury,' which was making some noise at
the moment of my departure. A particular passage had struck me, which I
quoted according to the text, as it had strongly impressed itself on my
memory. "When, in the silence of abject submission, we hear only the
chains of the slave and the voice of the informer, when all tremble
before the tyrant, and it is as dangerous to incur favour as to merit
disgrace, the historian appears to be charged with the vengeance of
nations. It is in vain that Nero triumphs. Tacitus has been born in the
Empire; he grows up unnoticed near the ashes of Germanicus, and already
uncompromising Providence has handed over to an obscure child the glory
of the master of the world." My tone of voice was undoubtedly excited
and striking, as I was myself deeply moved and arrested by the words.
Madame de Staël, seizing me by the arm, exclaimed, "I am sure you would
make an excellent tragedian; remain with us and take a part in the
'Andromache.'" Theatricals were at that time the prevailing taste and
amusement in her house. I excused myself from her kind conjecture and
proposal, and the conversation returned to M. de Châteaubriand and his
article, which was greatly admired, while at the same time it excited
some apprehension. The admiration was just, for the passage was really
eloquent; neither was the alarm without grounds, for the 'Mercury' was
suppressed precisely on account of this identical paragraph. Thus, the
Emperor Napoleon, conqueror of Europe and absolute master of France,
believed that he could not suffer it to be written that his future
historian might perhaps be born under his reign, and held himself
compelled to take the honour of Nero under his shield. It was a heavy
penalty attached to greatness, to have such apprehensions to exhibit,
and such clients to protect!

Exalted minds, who felt a little for the dignity of human nature, had
sound reason for being discontented with the existing system; they saw
that it could neither establish the happiness nor the permanent
prosperity of France; but it seemed then so firmly established in
general opinion, its power was so universally admitted, and so little
was any change anticipated for the future, that even within the haughty
and narrow circle in which the spirit of opposition prevailed, it
appeared quite natural that young men should enter the service of
Government, the only public career that remained open to them. A lady of
distinguished talent and noble sentiments, who had conceived a certain
degree of friendship for me, Madame de Rémusat, was desirous that I
should be named Auditor in the State Council. Her cousin, M. Pasquier,
Prefect of Police, whom I sometimes met at her house, interested himself
in this matter with much cordiality, and, under the advice of my most
intimate friends, I acceded to the proposition, although, at the bottom
of my heart, it occasioned me some uneasiness. It was intended that I
should be attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. M. Pasquier named
me to the Duke of Bassano, then at the head of the department, and to
Count d'Hauterive, Comptroller of the Archives. The Duke sent for me. I
also had an interview with M. d'Hauterive, who possessed a fertile and
ingenious mind, and was kindly disposed towards young men of studious
habits. As a trial of ability, they ordered me to draw up a memorial on
a question respecting which, the Emperor either was, or wished to
appear, deeply interested--the mutual exchange of French and English
prisoners. Many documents on the subject were placed in my hands. I
completed the memorial; and, believing that the Emperor was sincere,
carefully set forward those principles of the law of nations which
rendered the measure desirable, and the mutual concessions necessary for
its accomplishment. My work was duly submitted to the Duke of Bassano. I
have reason to conclude that I had mistaken his object; and that the
Emperor, looking upon the English detained in France as of more
importance than the French confined in England, and believing also that
the number of the latter pressed inconveniently on the English
Government, had no serious intention of carrying out the proposed
exchange. Whatever might be the cause, I heard nothing more either of my
memorial or nomination, a result which caused me little regret.

Another career soon opened to me, more suitable to my views, as being
less connected with the Government. My first attempts at writing,
particularly my Critical Notes on Gibbon's 'History of the Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire,' and the 'Annals of Education,' a periodical
miscellany in which I had touched upon some leading questions of public
and private instruction, obtained for me the notice of literary men.[2]
With gratuitous kindness, M. de Fontanes, Grand Master of the
University, appointed me Assistant Professor to the Chair of History,
occupied by M. de Lacretelle, in the Faculty of Letters in the Academy
of Paris. In a very short time, and before I had commenced my class, as
if he thought he had not done enough to evince his esteem and to attach
me strongly to the University, he divided the Chair, and named me
Titular Professor of Modern History, with a dispensation on account of
age, as I had not yet completed my twenty-fifth year. I began my
lectures at the College of Plessis, in presence of the pupils of the
Normal School, and of a public audience few in number but anxious for
instruction, and with whom modern history, traced up to its remote
sources, the barbarous conquerors of the Roman Empire, presented itself
with an urgent and almost contemporaneous interest. In his conduct
towards me, M. de Fontanes was not entirely actuated by some pages of
mine he had read, or by a few friendly opinions he had heard expressed.
This learned Epicurean, become powerful, and the intellectual favourite
of the most potent Sovereign in Europe, loved literature for itself with
a sincere and disinterested attachment. The truly beautiful touched him
as sensibly as in the days of his early youth and poetical inspirations.
What was still more extraordinary, this refined courtier of a despot,
this official orator, who felt satisfied when he had embellished
flattery with noble eloquence, never failed to acknowledge, and render
due homage to independence. Soon after my appointment, he invited me to
dinner at his country-house at Courbevoie. Seated near him at table, we
talked of studies, of the different modes of teaching, of ancient and
modern classics, with the freedom of old acquaintances, and almost with
the association of fellow-labourers. The conversation turned upon the
Latin poets and their commentators. I spoke with warm praise of the
great edition of Virgil by Heyne, the celebrated professor of the
University of Göttingen, and of the merit of his annotations.
M. de Fontanes fiercely attacked the German scholars. According to him,
they had neither discovered nor added anything to the earlier
commentaries, and Heyne was no better acquainted with Virgil and the
ancients than Père La Rue. He fulminated against German literature in
the mass, philosophers, poets, historians, or philologists, and
pronounced them all unworthy of attention. I defended them with the
confidence of conviction and youth; when M. de Fontanes, turning to his
neighbour on the other side, said to him, with a smile, "We can never
make these Protestants give in." But, instead of taking offence at my
obstinacy, he was cordially pleased with the frankness of this little
debate. His toleration of my independence was, not long after, subjected
to a more delicate trial.

When I was about to commence my course, in December, 1812, he spoke to
me of my opening address, and insinuated that I ought to insert in it a
sentence or two in praise of the Emperor. It was the custom, he said,
particularly on the establishment of a new professorship, and the
Emperor sometimes demanded from him an account of these proceedings. I
felt unwilling to comply, and told him, I thought this proposal scarcely
consistent. I had to deal exclusively with science, before an audience
of students; how then could I be expected to introduce politics, and,
above all, politics in opposition to my own views? "Do as you please,"
replied M. de Fontanes, with an evident mixture of regard and
embarrassment; "if you are complained of, it will fall upon me, and I
must defend you and myself as well as I can."[3]

He displayed as much clear penetration and good sense as generosity, in
so quickly and gracefully renouncing the proposition he had suggested.
In regard to the master he served, the opposition of the society in
which I lived had in it nothing of practical or immediate importance. It
was purely an opposition of ideas and conversation, without defined plan
or effective influence, earnest in philosophic inquiry, but passive in
political action; disposed to be satisfied with tranquil life, in the
unshackled indulgence of thought and speech.

On entering the University, I found myself in contact with another
opposition, less apparent but more serious, without being, at the
moment, of a more active character. M. Royer-Collard, at that time
Professor of the History of Philosophy, and Dean of the Faculty of
Letters, attached himself to me with warm friendship. We had no previous
acquaintanceship; I was much the younger man; he lived quite out of the
world, within a small circle of selected associates; we were new to each
other, and mutually attractive. He was a man, not of the old system, but
of the old times, whose character had been developed, though not
controlled, by the Revolution, the principles, transactions, and
leading promoters of which he judged with rigid independence, without
losing sight of the primary and national cause. His mind, eminently
liberal, highly cultivated, and supported by solid good sense, was more
original than inventive, profound rather than expanded, more given to
sift thoroughly a single idea than to combine many; too much absorbed
within himself, but exercising a singular power over others by the
commanding weight of his reason, and by an aptitude of imparting, with a
certain solemnity of manner, the unexpected brilliancy of a strong
imagination, continually under the excitement of very lively
impressions. Before being called to teach philosophy, he had never made
this particular branch of science the object or end of his special
study, and throughout our political vicissitudes between 1789 and 1814
he had never taken an important position, or connected himself
prominently with any party. But, in youth, under the influence of the
traditions of Port-Royal, he had received a sound classical and
Christian education; and after the _Reign of Terror_, under the
government of the Directory, he joined the small section of Royalists
who corresponded with Louis XVIII., less to conspire, than to enlighten
the exiled Prince on the true state of the country, and to furnish him
with suggestions equally advantageous for France and the House of
Bourbon, if it were destined that the House of Bourbon and France should
be re-united on some future day. He was therefore decidedly a
spiritualist in philosophy, and a royalist in politics. To restore
independence of mind to man, and right to government, formed the
prevailing desire of his unobtrusive life. "You cannot believe," he
wrote to me in 1823, "that I have ever adopted the word _Restoration_ in
the restricted sense of an individual fact; but I have always regarded,
and still look upon this fact as the expression of a certain system of
society and government, and as the condition on which, under the
circumstances of France, we are to look for order, justice, and liberty;
while, without this condition, disorder, violence, and irremediable
despotism, springing from things and not from men, will be the necessary
consequence of the spirit and doctrines of the Revolution." Passionately
imbued with this conviction, an aggressive philosopher and an expectant
politician, he fought successfully in his chair against the
materialistic school of the eighteenth century, and watched from the
retirement of his study, with anxiety but not without hope, the chances
of the perilous game on which Napoleon daily staked his empire.

By his lofty and intuitive instincts, Napoleon was a spiritualist: men
of his order have flashes of light and impulses of thought, which open
to them the sphere of the most exalted truths. In his hours of better
reflection, spiritualism, reviving under his reign, and sapping the
materialism of the last century, was sympathetic with and agreeable to
his own nature. But the principle of despotism quickly reminded him that
the soul cannot be elevated without enfranchisement, and the
spiritualistic philosophy of M. Royer-Collard then confused him as much
as the sensual ideology of M. de Tracy. It was, moreover, one of the
peculiarities of Napoleon's mind, that his thoughts constantly reverted
to the forgotten Bourbons, well knowing that he had no other
competitors for the throne of France. At the summit of his power he
more than once gave utterance to this impression, which recurred to him
with increased force when he felt the approach of danger. On this
ground, M. Royer-Collard and his friends, with whose opinions and
connections he was fully acquainted, became to him objects of extreme
suspicion and disquietude. Not that their opposition (as he was also
aware) was either active or influential; events were not produced
through such agencies; but therein lay the best-founded presentiments of
the future; and amongst its members were included the most rational
partisans of the prospective Government.

Hitherto they had ventured nothing beyond vague and half-indulged
conversations, when the Emperor himself advanced their views to a
consistence and publicity which they were far from assuming. On the 19th
of December, 1813, he convened together the Senate and the Legislative
Body, and ordered several documents to be laid before them relative to
his negotiations with the Allied Powers, demanding their opinions on the
subject. If he had then really intended to make peace, or felt seriously
anxious to convince France, that the continuance of the war would not
spring from the obstinacy of his own domineering will, there can be no
doubt that he would have found in these two Bodies, enervated as they
were, a strong and popular support. I often saw and talked
confidentially with three of the five members of the Commission of the
Legislative Body, MM. Maine-Biran, Gallois, and Raynouard, and through
them I obtained a correct knowledge of the dispositions of the two
others, MM. Lainé and Flaugergues. M. Maine-Biran, who, with
M. Royer-Collard and myself formed a small philosophical association, in
which we conversed freely on all topics, kept us fully informed as to
what passed in the Commission, and even in the Legislative Assembly
itself. Although originally a Royalist (in his youth he had been
enrolled amongst the bodyguards of Louis XVI.), he was unconnected with
any party or intrigue, scrupulously conscientious, even timid when
conviction did not call for the exercise of courage, little inclined to
politics by taste, and, under any circumstances, one of the last men
to form an extreme resolution, or take the initiative in action.
M. Gallois, a man of the world and of letters, a moderate liberal of the
philosophic school of the eighteenth century, occupied himself much more
with his library than with public affairs. He wished to discharge his
duty to his country respectably, without disturbing the peaceful tenor
of his life. M. Raynouard, a native of Provence and a poet, had more
vivacity of manner and language, without being of an adventurous
temperament. It was said that his loud complaints against the tyrannical
abuses of the Imperial Government, would not have prevented him from
being contented with those moderate concessions which satisfy honour for
the present, and excite hope for the future. M. Flaugergues, an honest
Republican, who had put on mourning for the death of Louis XVI.,
uncompromising in temper and character, was capable of energetic but
solitary resolutions, and possessed little influence over his
colleagues, although he talked much. M. Lainé, on the contrary, had a
warm and sympathetic heart under a gloomy exterior, and an elevated
mind, without much vigour or originality. He spoke imposingly and
convincingly when moved by his subject; formerly a Republican, he had
paused as a simple partisan of liberal tendencies, and being promptly
acknowledged as the head of the Commission, consented without hesitation
to become its organ. But, like his colleagues, he had no premeditated
hostility or concealed engagement against the Emperor. All were desirous
of conveying to him a true impression of the desires of France;
externally for a pacific policy, and internally for a respect for public
rights and the legal exercise of power. Their Report contained nothing
beyond a guarded expression of these moderate sentiments.

With such men, animated by such views, a perfect understanding was
anything but difficult. Napoleon would not even listen to them. It is
well known how he suddenly suppressed the Report and adjourned the
Legislative Body, and with what rude but intentional violence he
received the Deputies and their Commissioners on the 1st of January,
1814. "Who are you who address me thus? I am the sole representative of
the nation. We are one and inseparable. I have a title, but you have
none.... M. Lainé, your mouthpiece, is a dishonest man who corresponds
with England through the Advocate Desèze. I shall keep my eye upon him.
M. Raynouard is a liar." In communicating to the Commission the papers
connected with the negotiation, Napoleon had forbidden his Minister of
Foreign Affairs, the Duke of Vicenza, to include that which specified
the conditions on which the Allied Powers were prepared to treat, not
wishing to pledge himself to any recognized basis. His Minister of
Police, the Duke of Rovigo, took upon himself to carry to extremity the
indiscretion of his anger. "Your words are most imprudent," said he to
the members of the Commission, "when there is a Bourbon in the field."
Thus, in the very crisis of his difficulties, under the most emphatic
warnings from heaven and man, the despot at bay made an empty parade of
absolute power; the vanquished conqueror displayed to the world that the
ostensible negotiations were only a pretext for still trying the chances
of war; the tottering head of the new dynasty proclaimed himself that
the old line was there, ready to supplant him.

The day had arrived when glory could no longer repair the faults which
it still covers. The campaign of 1814, that uninterrupted masterpiece of
skill and heroism, as well on the part of the leader as of his
followers, bore, nevertheless, the ineffaceable stamp of the false
calculations and false position of the Emperor. He wavered continually
between the necessity of protecting Paris, and the passion of
reconquering Europe; anxious to save his throne without sacrificing his
ambition, and changing his tactics at every moment, as a fatal danger or
a favourable change alternately presented itself. God vindicated reason
and justice, by condemning the genius which had so recklessly braved
both, to sink in hesitation and uncertainty, under the weight of its own
incompatible objects and impracticable desires.

While Napoleon in this closing struggle wasted the last remnants of his
fortune and power, he encountered no disappointment or obstacle from any
quarter of France, either from Paris or the departments, the party in
opposition, or the public in general. There was no enthusiasm in his
cause, and little confidence in his success, but no one rose openly
against him; all hostility was comprised in a few unfavourable
expressions, some preparatory announcements, and here and there a change
of side as people began to catch a glimpse of the approaching issue. The
Emperor acted in full liberty, with all the strength that still
pertained to his isolated position, and the moral and physical
exhaustion of the country. Such general apathy was never before
exhibited in the midst of so much national anxiety, or so many
disaffected persons abstaining from action under similar circumstances,
with such numerous partisans ready to renounce the master they still
served with implicit docility. It was an entire nation of wearied
spectators who had long given up all interference in their own fate, and
knew not what catastrophe they were to hope or fear to the terrible game
of which they were the stake.

I grew impatient of remaining a motionless beholder of the shifting
spectacle; and not foreseeing when or how it would terminate, I
determined, towards the middle of March, to repair to Nismes, and pass
some weeks with my mother, whom I had not seen for a considerable time.
I have still before my eyes the aspect of Paris, particularly of the Rue
de Rivoli (then in progress of construction), as I passed along on the
morning of my departure. There were no workmen and no activity;
materials heaped together without being used, deserted scaffoldings,
buildings abandoned for want of money, hands, or confidence, and in
ruins before completion. Everywhere, amongst the people, a discontented
air of uneasy idleness, as if they were equally in want of labour and
repose. Throughout my journey, on the highways, in the towns, and in the
fields, I noticed the same appearance of inactivity and agitation, the
same visible impoverishment of the country; there were more women and
children than men, many young conscripts marching mournfully to their
battalions, sick and wounded soldiers returning to the interior; in
fact, a mutilated and exhausted nation. Side by side with this physical
suffering, I also remarked a great moral perplexity, the uneasiness of
opposing sentiments, an ardent longing for peace, a deadly hatred of
foreign invaders, with alternating feelings, as regarded Napoleon, of
anger and sympathy. By some he was denounced as the author of all their
calamities; by others he was hailed as the bulwark of the country, and
the avenger of her injuries. What struck me as a serious evil, although
I was then far from being able to estimate its full extent, was the
marked inequality of these different expressions amongst the divided
classes of the population. With the affluent and educated, the prominent
feeling was evidently a strong desire for peace, a dislike of the
exigencies and hazards of the Imperial despotism, a calculated
foreshadowing of its fall, and the dawning perspective of another system
of government. The lower orders, on the contrary, only roused themselves
up from lassitude to give way to a momentary burst of patriotic rage, or
to their reminiscences of the Revolution. The Imperial rule had given
them discipline without reform. Appearances were tranquil, but in truth
it might be said of the popular masses as of the emigrants, that they
had forgotten nothing, and learned nothing. There was no moral unity
throughout the land, no common thought or passion, notwithstanding the
common misfortunes and experience. The nation was almost as blindly and
completely divided in its apathy, as it had lately been in its
excitement. I recognized these unwholesome symptoms; but I was young,
and much more disposed to dwell on the hopes than on the perils of the
future. While at Nismes, I soon became acquainted with the events that
had taken place in Paris. M. Royer-Collard wrote to press my return. I
set out on the instant, and a few days after my arrival, I was appointed
Secretary-General to the Ministry of the Interior, which department the
King had just confided to the Abbé de Montesquiou.


[Footnote 1: I have inserted, amongst the "Historic Documents" at the
end of the Volume, three of the letters which M. de Châteaubriand
addressed to me, at the time, on this subject. (Historic Documents, No.

[Footnote 2: Amongst the "Historic Documents" at the end of this volume,
I have included a letter, addressed to me from Brussels, by the
Count de Lally-Tolendal, on the 'Annals of Education,' in which the
character of the writer and of the time are exhibited with agreeable
frankness. (Hist. Documents, No. II.)]

[Footnote 3: Notwithstanding its imperfections, of which, no one is more
sensible than I am, this address may be read, perhaps, with some little
interest. It was my first historical lecture and first public discourse,
and remains locked up in the Archives of the Faculty of Letters, from
the day when it was delivered, now forty-five years ago. I have added it
to the "Historic Documents" (No. III.).]





Under these auspices, I entered, without hesitation, on public life. I
had no previous tie, no personal motive to connect me with the
Restoration; I sprang from those who had been raised up by the impulse
of 1789, and were little disposed to fall back again. But if I was not
bound to the former system by any specific interest, I felt no
bitterness towards the old Government of France. Born a citizen and a
Protestant, I have ever been unswervingly devoted to liberty of
conscience, equality in the eye of the law, and all the acquired
privileges of social order. My confidence in these acquisitions is
ample and confirmed; but, in support of their cause, I do not feel
myself called upon to consider the House of Bourbon, the aristocracy of
France, and the Catholic clergy, in the light of enemies. At present,
none but madmen exclaim, "Down with the nobility! Down with the
priests!" Nevertheless, many well-meaning and sensible persons, who are
sincerely desirous that revolutions should cease, still cherish in their
hearts some relics of the sentiments to which these cries respond. Let
them beware of such feelings. They are essentially revolutionary and
antisocial; order can never be thoroughly re-established as long as
honourable minds encourage them with secret complaisance. I mean, that
real and enduring order which every extended society requires for its
prosperity and permanence. The interests and acquired rights of the
present day have taken rank in France, and constitute henceforward the
strength and vitality of the country; but because our social system is
filled with new elements, it is not therefore new in itself; it can no
more deny what it has been, than it can renounce what it has become; it
would establish perpetual confusion and decline within itself, if it
remained hostile to its true history. History is the nation, the
country, viewed through ages. For myself, I have always maintained an
affectionate respect for the great names and actions which have held
such a conspicuous place in our destinies; and being as I am, a man of
yesterday, when the King, Louis XVIII., presented himself with the
Charter in his hand, I neither felt angry nor humiliated that I was
compelled to enjoy or defend our liberties under the ancient dynasty of
the Sovereigns of France, and in common with all Frenchmen, whether
noble or plebeian, even though their old rivalries might sometimes prove
a source of mistrust and agitation.

It was the remembrance of foreign intervention that constituted the
wound and nightmare of France under the Government of the Restoration.
The feeling was legitimate in itself. The jealous passion of national
independence and glory doubles the strength of a people in prosperity,
and saves their pride under reverses. If it had pleased Heaven to throw
me into the ranks of Napoleon's soldiers, in all probability that single
passion would also have governed my soul. But, placed as I was, in civil
life, other ideas and instincts have taught me to look elsewhere than to
predominance in war for the greatness and security of my country. I have
ever prized, above all other considerations, just policy, and liberty
restrained by law. I despaired of both under the Empire; I hoped for
them from the Restoration. I have been sometimes reproached with not
sufficiently associating myself with general impressions. Whenever I
meet them sincerely and strongly manifested, I respect and hold them in
account, but I cannot feel that I am called upon to abdicate my reason
for their adoption, or to desert the real and permanent interest of the
country for the sake of according with them. It is truly an absurd
injustice to charge the Restoration with the presence of those
foreigners which the mad ambition of Napoleon alone brought upon our
soil, and which the Bourbons only could remove by a prompt and certain
peace. The enemies of the Restoration, in their haste to condemn it
from the very first hour, have plunged into strange contradictions. If
we are to put faith in their assertions, at one time they tell us that
it was imposed on France by foreign bayonets; at another, that in 1814,
no one, either in France or Europe, bestowed a thought upon the subject;
and again, that a few old adherences, a few sudden defections, and a few
egotistical intrigues alone enabled it to prevail. Puerile blindness of
party spirit! The more it is attempted to prove that no general desire,
no prevailing force, from within or without, either suggested or
produced the Restoration, the more its inherent strength will be brought
to light, and the controlling necessity which determined the event. I
have ever been surprised that free and superior minds should thus fetter
themselves within the subtleties and credulities of prejudice, and not
feel the necessity of looking facts in the face, and of viewing them as
they really exist. In the formidable crisis of 1814, the restoration of
the House of Bourbon was the only natural and solid solution that
presented itself; the only measure that could be reconciled to
principles not dependent on the influence of force and the caprices of
human will. Some alarm might thence be excited for the new interests of
French society; but with the aid of institutions mutually accepted, the
two benefits of which France stood most in need, and of which for
twenty-five years she had been utterly deprived, peace and liberty,
might also be confidently looked for. Under the influence of this double
hope, the Restoration was accomplished, not only without effort, but in
despite of revolutionary remembrances, and was received throughout
France with alacrity and cheerfulness. And France did wisely in this
adoption, for the Restoration, in fact, came accompanied by peace and

Peace had never been more talked of in France than during the last
quarter of a century. The Constituent Assembly had proclaimed, "No more
conquests;" the National Convention had celebrated the union of nations;
the Emperor Napoleon had concluded, in fifteen years, more pacific
negotiations than any preceding monarch. Never had war so frequently
ended and recommenced; never had peace proved such a transient illusion;
a treaty was nothing but a truce, during which preparations were making
for fresh combats.

It was the same with liberty as with peace. Celebrated and promised, at
first, with enthusiasm, it had quickly disappeared under civil discord,
even before the celebration and the promise had ceased; thus, to
extinguish discord, liberty had also been abolished. At one moment
people became maddened with the word, without caring for the reality of
the fact; at another, to escape a fatal intoxication, the fact and the
word were equally proscribed and forgotten.

True peace and liberty returned with the Restoration. War was not with
the Bourbons a necessity or a passion; they could reign without having
recourse every day to some new development of force, some fresh shock to
the fixed principles of nations. Treating with them, foreign Governments
could and did believe in a sincere and lasting peace. Neither was the
liberty which France recovered in 1814, the triumph of any particular
school in philosophy or party in politics. Turbulent propensities,
obstinate theories and imaginations, at the same time ardent and idle,
were unable to find in it the gratification of their irregular and
unbounded appetites. It was, in truth, social liberty, the practical and
legalized enjoyment of rights, equally essential to the active life of
the citizens and to the moral dignity of the nation.

What were to be the guarantees of liberty, and consequently of all the
interests which liberty itself was intended to guarantee? By what
institutions could the control and influence of the nation in its
government be exercised? In these questions lay the great problem which
the Imperial Senate attempted to solve by its project of a Constitution
in April, 1814, and which, on the 4th of June following, the King, Louis
XVIII., effectually decided by the Charter.

The Senators of 1814 have been much and justly reproached for the
selfishness with which, on overthrowing the Empire, they preserved for
themselves, not only the integrity, but the perpetuity of the material
advantages with which the Empire had endowed them;--a cynical error, and
one of those which most depreciate existing authorities in the
estimation of the people, for they are offensive, at the same time, to
honest feelings and envious passions. The Senate committed another
mistake less palpable, and more consistent with the prejudices of the
country, but in my judgment more weighty, both as a political blunder,
and as to the consequences involved. At the same moment when it
proclaimed the return of the ancient Royal House, it blazoned forth the
pretension of electing the King, disavowing the monarchical right, the
supremacy of which it accepted, and thus exercising the privilege of
republicanism in re-establishing the monarchy:--a glaring contradiction
between principles and acts, a childish bravado against the great fact
to which it was rendering homage, and a lamentable confounding of rights
and ideas. It was from necessity, and not by choice, on account of his
hereditary title, and not as the chosen candidate of the day, that Louis
XVIII. was called to the throne of France. There was neither truth,
dignity, nor prudence, but in one line of conduct,--to recognize openly
the royal claim in the House of Bourbon, and to demand as openly in
return the national privileges which the state of the country and the
spirit of the time required. Such a candid avowal and mutual respect for
mutual rights, form the very essence of free government. It is by this
steady union that elsewhere monarchy and liberty have developed and
strengthened themselves together; and by frank co-operation, kings and
nations have extinguished those internal wars which are denominated
revolutions. Instead of adopting this course, the Senate, at once
obstinate and timid, while wishing to place the restored monarchy under
the standard of republican election, succeeded only in evoking the
despotic in face of the revolutionary principle, and in raising up as a
rival to the absolute right of the people, the uncontrolled authority of
the King.

The Charter bore the impress of this impolitic conduct; timid and
obstinate in its turn, and seeking to cover the retreat of royalty, as
the Revolution had sought to protect its own, it replied to the
pretensions of the revolutionary system by the pretensions of the
ancient form, and presented itself as purely a royal concession, instead
of proclaiming its true character, such as it really was, a treaty of
peace after a protracted war, a series of new articles added by common
accord to the old compact of union between the nation and the King.

In this point lay the complaint of the Liberals of the Revolution
against the Charter, as soon as it appeared. Their adversaries, the
supporters of the old rule, assailed it with other reproaches. The most
fiery, such as the disciples of M. de Maistre, could scarcely tolerate
its existence. According to them, absolute power, legitimate in itself
alone, was the only form of government that suited France. The
moderates, amongst whom were M. de Villèle in the reply he published at
Toulouse to the declaration of Saint-Ouen, accused this plan for a
constitution, which became the Charter, of being an importation from
England, foreign to the history, the ideas, and the manners of France;
and which, they said, "would cost more to establish than the ancient
organization would require for repairs."

I do not here propose to enter upon any discussion of principles, with
the apostles of absolute power; as applied to France and our own time,
experience, and a very overwhelming experience, has supplied an answer.
Absolute power, amongst us, can only belong to the Revolution and its
representatives, for they alone can (I do not say for how long) retain
the masses in their interest, by withholding from them the securities of

For the House of Bourbon and its supporters, absolute power is
impossible; under them France must be free; it only accepts their
government by supplying it with the eye and the hand.

The objections of the moderate party were more specious. It must be
admitted that the government established by the Charter had, in its
forms at least, something of a foreign aspect. Perhaps too there was
reason for saying that it assumed the existence of a stronger
aristocratic element in France, and of a more trained and disciplined
spirit of policy, than could, in reality, be found there. Another
difficulty, less palpable but substantial, awaited it; the Charter was
not alone the triumph of 1789 over the old institutions, but it was the
victory of one of the Liberal sections of 1789 over its rivals as well
as its enemies, a victory of the partisans of the English Constitution
over the framers of the Constitution of 1791, and over the republicans
as well as the supporters of the ancient monarchy,--a source teeming
with offences to the self-love of many, and a somewhat narrow basis for
the re-settlement of an old and extensive country.

But these objections had little weight in 1814. The position of affairs
was urgent and imperative; it was necessary that the old monarchy should
be reformed when restored. Of all the measures of improvement proposed
or attempted since 1789, the Charter comprised that which was the most
generally recognized and admitted by the public at large, as well as by
professed politicians. At such moments controversy subsides; the
resolutions adopted by men of action, present an epitome of the ideas
common to men of thought. A republic would be to revive the Revolution;
the Constitution of 1791 would be government without power; the old
French Constitution, if the name were applicable, had been found
ineffective in 1789, equally incapable of self-maintenance or
amelioration. All that it had once possessed of greatness or utility,
the Parliaments, the different Orders, the various local institutions,
were so evidently beyond the possibility of re-establishment, that no
one thought seriously of such a proposition. The Charter was already
written in the experience and reflection of the country. It emanated as
naturally from the mind of Louis XVIII., returning from England, as from
the deliberations of the Senate, intent on renouncing the yoke of the
Empire. It was the produce of the necessities and convictions of the
hour. Judged by itself, notwithstanding its inherent defects and the
objections of opponents, the Charter was a very practicable political
implement. Power and liberty found ample scope there for exercise and
defence; the workmen were much less adapted to the machine than the
machine to the work.

Thoroughly distinguished from each other in ideas and character, and
extremely unequal in mind and merit, the three leading Ministers of
Louis XVIII. at that epoch, M. de Talleyrand, the Abbé de Montesquiou,
and M. de Blacas, were all specially unsuited to the government they
were called on to found.

I say only what I truly think; yet I do not feel myself compelled, in
speaking of those with whom I have come in contact, to say all that I
think. I owe nothing to M. de Talleyrand; in my public career he
thwarted rather than assisted me; but when we have been much associated
with an eminent man, and have long reciprocated amicable intercourse,
self-respect renders it imperative to speak of him with a certain degree
of reserve. At the crisis of the Restoration, M. de Talleyrand
displayed, in a very superior manner, the qualities of sagacity, cool
determination, and preponderating influence. Not long after, at Vienna,
he manifested the same endowments, and others even more rare and
apposite, when representing the House of Bourbon and the European
interests of France. But except in a crisis or a congress, he was
neither able nor powerful. A courtier and a politician, no advocate upon
conviction, for any particular form of government, and less for
representative government than for any other, he excelled in negotiating
with insulated individuals, by the power of conversation, by the charm
and skilful employment of social relations; but in authority of
character, in fertility of mental resources, in promptitude of
resolution, in command of language, in the sympathetic association of
general ideas with public passions,--in all these great sources of
influence upon collected assemblies, he was absolutely deficient.
Besides which, he had neither the inclination nor habit of sustained,
systematic labour, another important condition of internal government.
He was at once ambitious and indolent, a flatterer and a scoffer, a
consummate courtier in the art of pleasing and of serving without the
appearance of servility; ready for everything, and capable of any
pliability that might assist his fortune, preserving always the mien,
and recurring at need to the attractions of independence; a diplomatist
without scruples, indifferent as to means, and almost equally careless
as to the end, provided only that the end advanced his personal
interest. More bold than profound in his views, calmly courageous in
danger, well suited to the great enterprises of absolute government, but
insensible to the true atmosphere and light of liberty, in which he felt
himself lost and incapable of action. He was too glad to escape from the
Chambers and from France, to find once more at Vienna a congenial sphere
and associations.

As completely a courtier as M. de Talleyrand, and more thoroughly
belonging to the old system, the Abbé de Montesquiou was better suited
to hold his ground under a constitutional government, and occupied a
more favourable position for such a purpose, at this period of
uncertainty. He stood high in the estimation of the King and the
Royalists, having ever remained immovably faithful to his cause, his
order, his friends, and his sovereign. He was in no danger of being
taxed as a revolutionist, or of having his name associated with
unpleasant reminiscences. Through a rare disinterestedness, and the
consistent simplicity of his life, he had won the confidence of all
honest men. His character was open, his disposition frank, his mind
richly cultivated, and his conversation unreserved, without being
exceptious as to those with whom he might be conversing. He could render
himself acceptable to the middle classes, although indications of pride
and aristocratic haughtiness might be occasionally detected in his words
and manner. These symptoms were only perceptible to delicate
investigators; by the great majority he was considered affable and
unassuming. In the Chambers he spoke with ease and animation, if not
with eloquence, and often indulged in an attractive play of fancy. He
could have rendered good service to the constitutional government, had
he either loved or trusted it; but he joined it without faith or
preference, as a measure of necessity, to be evaded or restrained even
during the term of endurance. Through habit, and deference for his
party, or rather for his immediate coterie, he was perpetually recurring
to the traditions and tendencies of the old system, and endeavouring to
carry his listeners with him by shallow subtleties and weak arguments,
which were sometimes retorted upon himself. One day, partly in jest, and
partly in earnest, he proposed to M. Royer-Collard to obtain for him
from the King the title of Count. "Count?" replied M. Royer-Collard, in
the same tone, "make yourself a Count?" The Abbé de Montesquieu smiled,
with a slight expression of disappointment, at this freak of citizen
pride. He believed the old aristocracy to be beaten down, but he wished
to revive and strengthen it by an infusion with the new orders. He
miscalculated in supposing that none amongst the latter class would,
from certain instinctive tendencies, think lightly of a title which
flattered their interests, or that they could be won over by
conciliation without sympathy. He was a thoroughly honourable man, with
a heart more liberal than his ideas, of an enlightened and accomplished
mind, naturally elegant, but volatile, inconsiderate, and absent; little
suited for long and bitter contentions, formed to please rather than to
control, and incapable of leading his party or himself in the course in
which reason suggested that they should follow.

In the character of M. de Blacas there were no such apparent
inconsistencies. Not that he was either an ardent, or a decided and
stirring partisan of the contra-revolutionary reaction; he was moderate
through coldness of temperament, and a fear of compromising the King, to
whom he was sincerely devoted, rather than from clear penetration. But
neither his moderation nor his loyalty gave him any insight into the
true state of the country, or any desire to occupy himself with the
subject. He remained at the Tuileries what he had been at Hartwell, a
country gentleman, an emigrant, a courtier, and a steady and courageous
favourite, not deficient in personal dignity or domestic tact, but with
no political genius, no ambition, no statesmanlike activity, and almost
as entirely a stranger to France as before his return. He impeded the
Government more than he pretended to govern, taking a larger share in
the quarrels and intrigues of the palace, than in the deliberations of
the Council, and doing much more injury to public affairs by utter
neglect, than by direct interference.

I do not think it would have been impossible for an active, determined
monarch to employ these three ministers profitably, and at the same
time, however much they differed from one another. Neither of them
aspired to the helm, and each, in his proper sphere, could have rendered
good service. M. de Talleyrand desired nothing better than to negotiate
with Europe; the Abbé de Montesquiou had no desire to rule at court, and
M. de Blacas, calm, prudent, and faithful, might have been found a
valuable confidant in opposition to the pretensions and secret intrigues
of courtiers and princes. But Louis XVIII. was not in the least capable
of governing his ministers. As a King he possessed great negative or
promissory qualities, but few that were active and immediate. Outwardly
imposing, judicious, acute, and circumspect, he could reconcile,
restrain, and defeat; but he could neither inspire, direct, nor give the
impulse while he held the reins. He had few ideas, and no passion.
Persevering application to business was as little suited to him, as
active movement. He sufficiently maintained his rank, his rights, and
his power, and seldom committed a glaring mistake; but when once his
dignity and prudence were vindicated, he allowed things to take their
own course; with too little energy of mind and body to control men, and
force them to act in concert for the accomplishment of his wishes.

From my inexperience, and the nature of my secondary post in a special
department, I was far from perceiving the full mischief of this
absence of unity and supreme direction in the Government. The
Abbé de Montesquiou sometimes mentioned it to me with impatience and
regret. He was amongst the few who had sufficient sense and honesty not
to deceive themselves as to their own defects. He reposed great
confidence in me, although even within his most intimate circle of
associates, efforts had been made to check this disposition. With
generous irony, he replied to those who objected to me as a Protestant,
"Do you think I intend to make him Pope?" With his habitual unrestraint,
he communicated to me his vexations at the Court, his differences with
M. de Blacas, his impotence to do what he thought good, or to prevent
what he considered evil. He went far beyond this freedom of
conversation, by consigning to me, in his department, many matters
beyond the duties of my specific office, and would have allowed me to
assume a considerable portion of his power.[4] Thus I became associated,
during his administration, with three important circumstances, the only
ones I shall dwell on, for I am not writing the history of the time; I
merely relate what I did, saw, and thought myself, in the general course
of events.

The Charter being promulgated, and the Government settled, I suggested
to the Abbé de Montesquiou that it would be well for the King to place
before the Chambers a summary of the internal condition of France, as he
had found it, showing the results of the preceding system, and
explaining the spirit of that which he proposed to establish. The
Minister was pleased with the idea, the King adopted it, and I
immediately applied myself to the work. The Abbé de Montesquiou also
assisted; for he wrote well, and took personal pleasure in the task. On
the 12th of July, the statement was presented to the two Chambers, who
thanked the King by separate addresses. It contained, without
exaggeration or concealment, a true picture of the miseries which
unlimited and incessant war had inflicted on France, and the moral and
physical wounds which it had left to be healed,--a strange portrait,
when considered with reference to those which Napoleon, under the
Consulate and the dawning Empire, had also given to the world; and which
eulogized, with good reason at the time, the restoration of order, the
establishment of rule, the revival of prosperity, with all the excellent
effects of strong, able, and rational power. The descriptions were
equally true, although immeasurably different; and precisely in this
contrast lay the startling moral with which the history of the Imperial
despotism had just concluded. The Abbé de Montesquiou ought to have
placed the glorious edifices of the Consulate side by side with the
deserved ruins of the Empire. Instead of losing by this course, he would
have added to the impression he intended to produce; but men are seldom
disposed to praise their enemies, even though the effect should be to
injure them. By alluding only to the disasters of Napoleon, and their
fatal consequences, the exposition of the state of the kingdom in 1814
was undignified, and appeared to be unjust. The points in which it
reflected honour on the authority from whence it emanated, were the
moral tone, the liberal spirit, and the absence of all quackery, which
were its leading features. These recommendations had their weight with
right-minded, sensible people; but they passed for little with a public
accustomed to the dazzling noise and bustle of the power which had
recently been extinguished.

Another exposition, more special, but of greater urgency, was presented
a few days after, by the Minister of Finance, to the Chamber of
Deputies. This included the amount of debt bequeathed by the Empire to
the Restoration, with the Ministerial plan for meeting the arrear, as
well as providing for the exigencies of 1814 and 1815. Amongst all the
Government officials of my time, I have never been acquainted with any
one more completely a public servant, or more passionately devoted to
the public interest, than the Baron Louis. Ever resolved to cast aside
all other considerations, he cared neither for personal risk nor labour,
in promoting the success of what that interest demanded. It was not only
the carrying out of his financial measures that he so ardently desired;
he made these subservient to the general policy of which they were a
portion. In 1830, in the midst of the disturbances occasioned by the
Revolution of July, I one day, as Minister of the Interior, demanded
from the Council, in which the Baron Louis also had a seat as Minister
of Finance, the allocation of a large sum. Objections were made by
several of our colleagues, on account of the embarrassed state of the
treasury. "Govern well," said the Baron Louis to me, "and you will never
spend as much money as I shall be able to supply." A judicious speech,
worthy of a frank, uncompromising disposition, controlled by a firm and
consistent judgment. The Baron Louis's financial scheme was founded on a
double basis,--constitutional order in the State, and probity in the
Government. With these two conditions, he reckoned confidently on public
prosperity and credit, without being dismayed by debts to be paid, or
expenses incurred. His assertions as to the closing state of the
finances under the Empire, drew from the Count Mollien, the last
Minister of the Imperial treasury, a man as able as he was honest, some
well-founded remonstrances, and his measures were in consequence
severely opposed in the Chambers. He had to contend with dishonest
traditions, the passions of the old system, and the narrow views of
little minds. The Baron Louis maintained the struggle with equal
enthusiasm and perseverance. It was fortunate for him that
M. de Talleyrand and the Abbé de Montesquiou had been his associates in
the Church in early youth, and had always maintained a close intimacy
with him. Both having enlightened views on political economy, they
supported him strongly in the Council and in the Chambers. The
Prince de Talleyrand even undertook to present his bill to the Chamber
of Peers, adopting boldly the responsibility and the principles. This
sound policy was well carried through by the whole cabinet, and justly
met with complete success, in spite of prejudiced or ignorant

It was not exactly the same with another measure in which I took a more
active part,--the bill relating to the press, presented to the Chamber
of Deputies on the 5th of July by the Abbé de Montesquiou, and which
passed into law on the 21st of the following October, after having
undergone, in both assemblies, animated debates and important

In its first conception, this bill was reasonable and sincere. The
object was to consecrate by legislative enactment the liberty of the
press, both as a public right and as a general and permanent institution
of the country; and at the same time, on the morrow of a great
revolution and a long despotism, and on the advent of a free government,
to impose some temporary and limited restrictions. The two persons who
had taken the most active part in framing this bill, M. Royer-Collard
and myself, were actuated simply and solely by this double end. I may
refer the reader to a short work which I published at the time,[5] a
little before the introduction of the bill, and in which its spirit and
intention are stated without reserve.

It must be evident that the King and the two Chambers had the right of
prescribing in concert, temporarily, and from the pressure of
circumstances, certain limitations to one of the privileges recognized
by the Charter. This cannot be denied without repudiating constitutional
government itself, and its habitual practice in those countries in which
it is developed with the greatest vigour. Provisional enactments have
frequently modified or suspended, in England, the leading constitutional
privileges; and with regard to the liberty of the press in particular,
it was not until five years after the Revolution of 1688 that, under the
reign of William III. in 1693, it was relieved from the censorship.

I recognize no greater danger to free institutions than that blind
tyranny which the habitual fanaticism of partisanship, whether of a
faction or a small segment, pretends to exercise in the name of liberal
ideas. Are you a staunch advocate for constitutional government and
political guarantees? Do you wish to live and act in co-operation with
the party which hoists this standard? Renounce at once your judgment and
your independence. In that party you will find upon all questions and
under all circumstances, opinions ready formed, and resolutions settled
beforehand, which assume the right of your entire control. Self-evident
facts are in open contradiction to these opinions--you are forbidden to
see them. Powerful obstacles oppose these resolutions--you are
not allowed to think of them. Equity and prudence suggest
circumspection--you must cast it aside. You are in presence of a
superstitious _Credo_, and a popular passion. Do not argue--you would no
longer be a Liberal. Do not oppose--you would be looked upon as a
mutineer. Obey, advance--no matter at what pace you are urged, or on
what road. If you cease to be a slave, you instantly become a deserter!

My clear judgment and a little natural pride revolted invincibly against
this yoke. I never imagined that even the best system of institutions
could be at once imposed on a country without some remembrance of recent
events and actual facts, both as regarded the dispositions of a
considerable portion of the country itself and of its necessary rulers.
I saw not only the King, his family, and a great number of the old
Royalists, but even in new France, a crowd of well-meaning citizens and
enlightened minds--perhaps a majority of the middle and substantial
classes--extremely uneasy at the idea of the unrestricted liberty of the
press, and at the dangers to which it might expose public peace, as well
as moral and political order. Without participating to the same extent
in their apprehensions, I was myself struck by the excesses in which the
press had already begun to indulge; by the deluge of recriminations,
accusations, surmises, predictions, animated invectives, or frivolous
sarcasms, which threatened to rouse into hostility all parties, with all
their respective errors, falsehoods, fears, and antipathies. With these
feelings and facts before me, I should have considered myself a madman
to have treated them lightly, and therefore I decided at once that a
temporary limitation of liberty, in respect to journals and pamphlets
alone, was not too great a sacrifice for the removal of such perils and
fears, or at least to give the country time to overcome by becoming
accustomed to them.

But to ensure the success of a sound measure, open honesty is
indispensable. Whether in the proposition or the debate, Government
itself was called upon to proclaim the general right, as well as the
limits and reasons for the partial restriction which it was about to
introduce. It ought not to have evaded the principle of the liberty or
the character of the restraining law. This course was not adopted.
Neither the King nor his advisers had formed any fixed design against
the freedom of the press; but they were more disposed to control it in
fact than to acknowledge it in right, and wished rather that the new
law, instead of giving additional sanction to the principle recorded in
the Charter, should leave it in rather a vague state of doubt and
hesitation. When the bill was introduced, its true intent and bearing
were not clearly indicated. Weak himself, and yielding still more to the
weaknesses of others, the Abbé de Montesquiou endeavoured to give the
debate a moral and literary, rather than a political turn. According to
his view, the question before them was the protection of literature and
science, of good taste and manners, and not the exercise and guarantee
of an acknowledged public right. An amendment in the Chamber of Peers
was necessary to invest the measure with the political and temporary
character which it ought to have borne from the beginning, and which
alone confined it to its real objects and within its legitimate limits.
The Government accepted the amendment without hesitation, but its
position had become embarrassed. Mistrust, the most credulous of all
passions, spread rapidly amongst the Liberals. Those who were not
enemies to the Restoration had, like it, their foibles. The love of
popularity had seized them, but they had not yet acquired foresight.
They gladly embraced this opportunity of making themselves, with some
display, the champions of a Constitutional principle which in fact was
in no danger, but which power had assumed the air of eluding or
disavowing. Three of the five honourable members who had been the first
to restrain the Imperial despotism--Messrs. Raynouard, Gallois, and
Flaugergues--were the declared adversaries of the bill; and in
consequence of not having been boldly presented, from the opening, under
its real and legitimate aspect, the measure entailed more discredit on
the Government than it afforded them security.

The liberty of the press, that stormy guarantee of modern civilization,
has already been, is, and will continue to be the roughest trial of free
governments, and consequently of free people, who are greatly
compromised in the struggles of their rulers; for in the event of
defeat, they have no alternative but anarchy or tyranny. Free nations
and governments have but one honourable and effective method of dealing
with the liberty of the press,--to adopt it frankly, without undue
complaisance. Let them not make it a martyr or an idol, but leave it in
its proper place, without elevating it beyond its natural rank. The
liberty of the press is neither a power in the State, nor the
representative of the public mind, nor the supreme judge of the
executive authorities; it is simply the right of all citizens to give
their opinions upon public affairs and the conduct of Government,--a
powerful and respectable privilege, but one naturally overbearing, and
which, to be made salutary, requires that the constituted authorities
should never humiliate themselves before it, and that they should impose
on it that serious and constant responsibility which ought to weigh upon
all rights, to prevent them from becoming at first seditious, and
afterwards tyrannical.

The third measure of importance in which I was concerned at this epoch,
the reform of the general system of public instruction, by a Royal
ordinance of the 17th of February, 1815, created much less sensation
than the Law of the Press, and produced even less effect than noise; for
its execution was entirely suspended by the catastrophe of the 20th of
March, and not resumed after the Hundred Days. There were more important
matters then under consideration. This measure was what is now called
the de-centralization of the University.[6] Seventeen separate
Universities, established in the principal cities of the kingdom, were
to be substituted for the one general University of the Empire. Each of
these local colleges was to have a complete and separate organization,
both as regarded the different degrees of instruction and the various
scholastic establishments within its jurisdiction. Over the seventeen
Universities a Royal Council and a great Normal School were appointed,
one to superintend the general course of public teaching, and the other
to train up for professors the chosen scholars who had prepared
themselves for that career, and who were to be supplied from the local
Universities. There were two motives for this reform. The first was a
desire to establish, in the departments, and quite independent of Paris,
leading centres of learning and intellectual activity; the second, a
wish to abolish the absolute power which, in the Imperial University,
held sole control over the establishments and the masters, and to bring
the former under a closer and more immediate authority, by giving the
latter more permanence, dignity, and independence in their respective
positions. These were sound ideas, to carry out which the decree of the
17th of February, 1815, was but a timid rather than an extended and
powerful application. The local Universities were too numerous. France
does not supply seventeen natural centres of high learning. Four or five
would have sufficed, and more could not have been rendered successful or
productive. The forgotten reform which I am here recalling had yet
another fault. It was introduced too soon, and was the result, at once
systematic and incomplete, of the meditations of certain men long
impressed with the deficiencies of the University system, and not really
the fruit of public impulse and opinion. Another influence also appeared
in it, that of the clergy, who silently commenced at that time their
struggle with the University, and adroitly looked for the extension of
their personal power in the progress of general liberty. The decree of
the 17th of February, 1815, opened this arena, which has since been so
fiercely agitated. The Abbé de Montesquiou hastened to bestow on the
clergy an early gratification, that of seeing one of their most justly
esteemed members, M. de Beausset, formerly Bishop of Alais, at the head
of the Royal Council. The Liberals of the University gladly seized this
occasion of increasing their action and independence; and the King,
Louis XVIII., voluntarily charged his civil list with an additional
million for the immediate abolition of the University tax, until a new
law, contained in the preamble of the decree, should come into operation
to complete the reform, and provide from the public funds for all the
requirements of the new system.

It becomes my duty here to express my regret for an error which I ought
to have endeavoured more urgently to prevent. In this reform, the
opinion and situation of M. de Fontanes were not sufficiently estimated.
As head of the Imperial University, he had rendered such eminent
services to public instruction, that the title of Grand Officer of the
Legion of Honour was far from being a sufficient compensation for the
retirement which the new system rendered, in his case, desirable and
almost necessary.

But neither reform in public education, nor any other reform, excited
much interest at that moment, when France was entirely given up to
different considerations. Having scarcely entered on the new system, a
sudden impression of alarm and mistrust began to rise and expand from
day to day. This system was liberty, with its uncertainties, its
contests, and its perils. No one was accustomed to liberty, and liberty
contented no one. From the Restoration, the men of old France promised
themselves the ascendency; from the Charter, new France expected
security. Both were dissatisfied. They found themselves drawn up in
presence of each other, with their opposing passions and pretensions. It
was a sad disappointment for the Royalists to find the King victorious
without their being included in the triumph; and it was a bitter
necessity which reduced the men of the Revolution to the defensive after
they had so long domineered. Both parties felt surprised and irritated
at their position, as equally an insult to their dignity and an attack
upon their rights. In their irritation, they gave themselves up, in
words and projects, to all the fantasies and transports of their wishes
and apprehensions. Amongst the rich and powerful of the old classes,
many indulged, towards the influential members of the new, in menaces
and insults. At the Court, in the drawing-rooms of Paris, and much more
in the provinces, by newspapers, pamphlets, and conversation, and in the
daily conduct of their private lives, the nobles and the citizens, the
clergy and the laity, the emigrants and the purchasers of national
property, allowed their animosities, their ill humour, their dreams of
hope and fear, to exhibit themselves without disguise. This was nothing
more than the natural and inevitable consequence of the extreme novelty
of the system which the Charter, seriously interpreted and exercised,
had suddenly introduced into France. During the Revolution there was
contest; under the Empire silence; but the Restoration introduced
liberty into the bosom of peace. In the general inexperience and
susceptibility, the excitement and stir of freedom amounted to civil war
on the eve of re-commencement.

To meet the difficulties of such a state of things, to preserve at the
same time liberty and peace, to cure the wounds without restraining the
blows, no Government could have been too strong or too able. Louis
XVIII. and his advisers were unequal to the task. With regard to a
liberal system, they were neither more experienced nor inured than
France herself. Their acts appeared to be regulated by no steady
conviction: they believed that the Charter would check the birth of
discontent; but when discontent manifested itself rather vehemently,
they hastened to calm it down by abandoning or modifying the measures
through which it had been excited. The celebrated rescript of Count
Beugnot,[7] on the observance of Sundays and religious festivals, ended
in an abortive law which never came into operation. The offensive
expressions of Count Ferrand, on introducing to the Chamber of Deputies
the bill for the restitution of unsold estates to their old
proprietors,[8] was loudly disavowed, not only in the speeches, but in
the resolutions and conduct of the Government in that matter. In
reality, the interests which imagined themselves threatened were in no
danger whatever; and in the midst of the alarms and remonstrances of
France, the King and his principal ministers were much more inclined to
yield than to contend. But having performed this act of constitutional
wisdom, they believed themselves emancipated from all care, and relapsed
back into their old tastes and habits, desirous also to live in peace
with their ancient and familiar friends. It was indeed but a modified
power, which attached importance to its oaths, and conceived no
formidable designs against the new rights and interests of the country;
but it was also an authority without leading vigour, isolated and a
stranger in its own kingdom, divided and embarrassed within itself, weak
with its enemies, weak with its friends, seeking only for personal
security in repose, and called upon hourly to deal with a stubborn and
restless people, who had suddenly passed from the rugged shocks of
revolution and war to the difficult exercise of liberty.

Under the prolonged influence of this liberty, such a Government,
without obstinate prejudices, and disposed to follow public opinion when
clearly expressed, might have corrected while strengthening itself, and
from day to day have become more competent to its task. But this
required time and the concurrence of the country. The country,
discontented and unsettled, neither knew how to wait nor assist. Of all
the knowledge necessary to a free people, the most essential point is to
learn how to bear what displeases them, that they may preserve the
advantages they possess, and acquire those they desire.

There has been much discussion as to what plots and conspirators
overthrew the Bourbons, and brought back Napoleon, on the 20th of March,
1815,--a question of inferior importance, and interesting only as an
historical curiosity. It is certain that from 1814 to 1815 there
existed in the army and with the remnants of the Revolution, amongst
generals and conventionalists, many plans and secret practices against
the Restoration, and in favour of a new Government,--either the Empire,
a regency, the Duke of Orleans, or a republic. Marshal Davoust promised
his support to the Imperial party, and Fouché offered his to all. But if
Napoleon had remained motionless at the island of Elba, these
revolutionary projects would, in all probability, have successively
failed, as did those of the Generals d'Erlon, Lallemand, and Lefèvre
Desnouettes, even so late as the month of March. The fatuity of the
contrivers of conspiracy is incalculable; and when the event seems to
justify them, they attribute to themselves the result which has been
achieved by mightier and much more complicated causes than their
machinations. It was Napoleon alone who dethroned the Bourbons in 1815,
by calling up, in his own person, the fanatical devotion of the army,
and the revolutionary instincts of the popular masses.

However tottering might be the monarchy lately restored, it required
that great man and a combination of these great social powers to subvert
it. Stupefied and intimidated, France left events to their course,
without opposition or confidence. Napoleon adopted this opinion, with
his admirable penetration:--"They allowed me to arrive," he said to
Count Mollien, "as they permitted the others to depart."

Four times in less than half a century we have seen kings traverse their
realms as fugitives. Different enemies have described, with evident
pleasure, their helplessness and destitution in flight,--a mean and
senseless gratification, which no one, in the present day, has a right
to indulge. The retreats of Napoleon in 1814 and 1815 were neither more
brilliant nor less bitter than those of Louis XVIII. on the 20th of
March, 1815, of Charles X. in 1830, and of Louis Philippe in 1848. Each
state of greatness endured the same degradation; every party has the
same need of modesty and mutual respect. I myself, as much as any
participator, was impressed, on the 20th of March, 1815, with the
blindness, the hesitation, the imbecility, the misery of every
description, to which that terrible explosion gave birth. It would
afford me no pleasure, and would lead to no advantage, to repeat them.
People are too much inclined at present to conceal their own weaknesses
under a display of the deficiencies of royalty. I prefer recording that
neither royal nor national dignity were wanting at that epoch in noble
representatives. The Duchess d'Angoulême, at Bordeaux, evinced courage
equal to her misfortunes, and M. Lainé, as president of the Chamber of
Deputies, protested fearlessly on the 28th of March, in the name of
justice and liberty, against the event at that time fully accomplished,
and which no longer encountered, through the wide extent of France, any
resistance beyond the solitary accents of his voice.


[Footnote 4: Included in the "Historic Documents," are two letters
addressed to me by the Abbé de Montesquiou in 1815 and 1816, which
furnish an idea of my intimacy with him, and show the natural and
amiable turn of his mind. (Historic Documents, No. IV.)]

[Footnote 5: 'Thoughts upon the Liberty of the Press,' 52 pages, 8vo,
Paris, 1814. Amongst the "Historic Documents" at the end of this volume,
some passages from this pamphlet are inserted, which indicate clearly
its object and character. (Historic Documents, No. V.)]

[Footnote 6: Amongst the "Historic Documents" I include the text of this
decree, and the report to the King which explains its object and
bearing. (Historic Documents, No. VI.)]

[Footnote 7: June 7th, 1814.]

[Footnote 8: September 13th, 1814.]





The King having quitted, and the Emperor having re-entered Paris, I
resumed my literary pursuits, determined to keep aloof from all secret
intrigue, all useless agitation, and to occupy myself with my historical
labours and studies, not without a lively regret that the political
career which had scarcely opened to me, should be so suddenly closed.[9]
It is true I did not believe that I was excluded beyond the possibility
of return. Not but that the miraculous success of Napoleon had convinced
me there was a power within him which, after witnessing his fall, I was
far from believing. Never was personal greatness displayed with more
astounding splendour; never had an act more audacious, or better
calculated in its audacity, arrested the imagination of nations. Neither
was external support wanting to the man who relied so much on himself,
and on himself alone.

The army identified itself with him, with an enthusiastic and blind
devotion. Amongst the popular masses, a revolutionary and warlike
spirit, hatred of the old system and national pride, rose up at his
appearance and rushed madly to his aid. Accompanied by fervent
worshippers, he re-ascended a throne abandoned to him on his approach.
But by the side of this overwhelming power, there appeared almost
simultaneously a proportionate weakness. He who had traversed France in
triumph, and who by personal influence had swept all with him, friends
and enemies, re-entered Paris at night, exactly as Louis XVIII. had
quitted that capital, his carriage surrounded by dragoons, and only
encountering on his passage a scanty and moody populace. Enthusiasm had
accompanied him throughout his journey; but at its termination he found
coldness, doubt, widely disseminated mistrust, and cautious reserve;
France divided, and Europe irrevocably hostile.

The upper, and particularly the middle classes, have often been
reproached with their indifference and selfishness. It has been said
that they think only of their personal interests, and are incapable of
public principle and patriotism. I am amongst those who believe that
nations, and the different classes that constitute nations--and, above
all, nations that desire to be free--can only live in security and
credit under a condition of moral perseverance and energy; with feelings
of devotion to their cause, and with the power of opposing courage and
self-sacrifice to danger. But devotion does not exclude sound sense, nor
courage intelligence. It would be too convenient for ambitious
pretenders, to have blind and fearless attachment ever ready at their
command. It is often the case with popular feeling, that the multitude,
army or people, ignorant, unreflecting, and short-sighted, become too
frequently, from generous impulse, the instruments and dupes of
individual selfishness, much more perverse and more indifferent to their
fate than that of which the wealthy and enlightened orders are so
readily accused. Napoleon, perhaps more than any other eminent leader of
his class, has exacted from military and civil devotion the most trying
proofs; and when, on the 21st of June, 1815, his brother Lucien, in the
Chamber of Representatives, reproached France with not having upheld him
with sufficient ardour and constancy, M. de la Fayette exclaimed, with
justice: "By what right is the nation accused of want of devotion and
energy towards the Emperor Napoleon? It has followed him to the burning
sands of Egypt, and the icy deserts of Moscow; in fifty battle-fields,
in disaster as well as in triumph, in the course of ten years, three
millions of Frenchmen have perished in his service. We have done enough
for him!"

Great and small, nobility, citizens, and peasants, rich and poor,
learned and ignorant, generals and private soldiers, the French people
in a mass had, at least, done and suffered enough in Napoleon's cause to
give them the right of refusing to follow him blindly, without first
examining whether he was leading them, to safety or to ruin.

The unsettled feeling of the middle classes in 1815 was a legitimate and
patriotic disquietude. What they wanted, and what they had a right to
demand, for the advantage of the entire nation as well as for their own
peculiar interests, was that peace and liberty should be secured to
them; but they had good reason to question the power of Napoleon to
accomplish these objects.

Their doubts materially increased when they ascertained the Manifesto of
the Allied Powers assembled at the Congress of Vienna, their declaration
of March 13th, and their treaty of the 25th. Every reflecting mind of
the present day must see, that unless the nation had obstinately closed
its eyes, it could not delude itself as to the actual situation of the
Emperor Napoleon, and his prospects for the future. Not only did the
Allied Powers, in proclaiming him the enemy and disturber of the peace
of the whole world, declare war against him to the last extremity, and
engage themselves to unite their strength in this common cause, but they
professed themselves ready to afford to the King of France and the
French nation the assistance necessary to re-establish public
tranquillity; and they expressly invited Louis XVIII. to give his
adhesion to their treaty of March 25th. They laid it down also as a
principle, that the work of general pacification and reconstruction
accomplished in Paris by the treaty of the 30th of May, 1814, between
the King of France and confederated Europe, was in no degree nullified
by the violent outbreak which had recently burst forth; and that they
should maintain it against Napoleon, whose return and sudden
success--the fruit of military and revolutionary excitement--could
establish no European right whatever, and could never be considered by
them as the prevailing and true desire of France:--a solemn instance of
the implacable judgments that, assisted by God and time, great errors
draw down upon their authors!

The partisans of Napoleon might dispute the opinion of the Allied Powers
as to the wishes of France; they might believe that, for the honour of
her independence, she owed him her support; but they could not pretend
that foreign nations should not also have their independence at heart,
nor persuade them that, with Napoleon master of France, they could ever
be secure. No promises, no treaties, no embarrassments, no reverses,
could give them confidence in his future moderation. His character and
his history deprived his word of all credit.

It was not alone governments, kings, and ministers who showed themselves
thus firmly determined to oppose Napoleon's return; foreign nations were
even more distrustful and more violent against him. He had not alone
overwhelmed them with wars, taxes, invasions, and dismemberments; he had
insulted as much as he had oppressed them. The Germans, especially, bore
him undying hatred. They burned to revenge the injuries of the Queen of
Prussia, and the contempt with which their entire race had been treated.
The bitter taunts in which he had often indulged when speaking of them
were repeated in every quarter, spread abroad and commented on, probably
with exaggeration readily credited. After the campaign in Russia, the
Emperor was conversing, one day, on the loss sustained by the French
army during that terrible struggle. The Duke of Vicenza estimated it at
200,000 men. "No, no," interrupted Napoleon, "you are mistaken; it was
not so much." But, after considering a moment, he continued, "And yet
you can scarcely be wrong; but there were a great many Germans amongst
them." The Duke of Vicenza himself related this contemptuous remark to
me; and the Emperor Napoleon must have been pleased both with the
calculation and reply, for on the 28th of June, 1813, at Dresden, in a
conversation which has since become celebrated, he held the same
language to the Prime Minister of the first of the German Powers, to
M. de Metternich himself. Who can estimate the extent of indignation
roused by such words and actions, in the souls not only of the heads of
the government and army--- amongst the Steins, Gneisenaus, Blüchers, and
Müfflings--but in those of the entire nation? The universal feeling of
the people of Germany was as fully displayed at the Congress of Vienna
as the foresight of their diplomatists and the will of their sovereigns.

Napoleon, in quitting Elba, deceived himself as to the disposition of
Europe towards him. Did he entertain the hope of treating with and
dividing the Coalition? This has been often asserted, and it may be
true; for the strongest minds seldom recognize all the difficulties of
their situation. But, once arrived at Paris, and informed of the
proceedings of the Congress, he beheld his position in its true light,
and his clear and comprehensive judgment at once grappled with it in all
its bearings. His conversations with the thinking men who were then
about him, M. Molé and the Duke of Vicenza, confirm this opinion. He
sought still to keep the public in the uncertainty that he himself no
longer felt. The Manifesto of the Congress of the 13th of March was not
published in the 'Moniteur' until the 5th of April, and the treaty of
the 25th of March only on the 3rd of May. Napoleon added long
commentaries to these documents, to prove that it was impossible they
could express the final intentions of Europe. At Vienna, both by
solemnly official letters and secret emissaries, he made several
attempts to renew former relations with the Emperor Francis, his
father-in-law, to obtain the return of his wife and son, to promote
disunion, or at least mistrust, between the Emperor Alexander and the
sovereigns of England and Austria, and to bring back to his side Prince
Metternich, and even M. de Talleyrand himself. He probably did not
expect much from these advances, and felt little surprise at not
finding, in family ties and feelings, a support against political
interests and pledges. He understood and accepted without a sentiment of
anger against any one, and perhaps without self-reproach, the situation
to which the events of his past life had reduced him. It was that of a
desperate gamester, who, though completely ruined, still plays on,
alone, against a host of combined adversaries, a desperate game, with no
other chance of success than one of those unforeseen strokes that the
most consummate talent could never achieve, but that Fortune sometimes
bestows upon her favourites.

It has been, pretended, even by some of his warmest admirers, that at
this period the genius and energy of Napoleon had declined; and they
sought in his tendency to corpulence, in his attacks of languor, in his
long slumbers, the explanation of his ill fortune. I believe the
reproach to be unfounded, and the pretext frivolous. I can discover in
the mind or actions of Napoleon during the hundred days, no symptoms of
infirmity; I find, in both, his accustomed superiority. The causes of
his ultimate failure were of a deeper cast: he was not then, as he had
long been, upheld and backed by general opinion, and the necessity of
security and order felt throughout a great nation; he attempted, on the
contrary, a mischievous work, a work inspired only by his own passions
and personal wants, rejected by the morality and good sense, as well as
by the true interests of France. He engaged in this utterly egotistical
enterprise with contradictory means, and in an impossible position. From
thence came the reverses he suffered, and the evil he produced.

It presented a strange spectacle to intelligent spectators, and one
slightly tinged with the ridiculous, on both sides, to see Napoleon and
the heads of the Liberal party arranged against each other, not to
quarrel openly, but mutually to persuade, seduce, and control. A
superficial glance sufficed to convince that there was little sincerity
either in their dispute or reconciliation. Both well knew that the real
struggle lay in other quarters, and that the question upon which their
fate depended would be settled elsewhere than in these discussions.

If Napoleon had triumphed over Europe, assuredly he would not long have
remained the rival of M. de La Fayette and the disciple of Benjamin
Constant; but when he lost the day of Waterloo, M. de La Fayette and his
friends set themselves to work to complete his overthrow.

From necessity and calculation, the true thoughts and passions of men
are sometimes buried in the recesses of their hearts; but they quickly
mount to the surface as soon as an opportunity occurs for their
reappearing with success. Frequently did Napoleon resign himself, with
infinite pliability, shrewdness, and perception, to the farce that he
and the Liberals were playing together; at one moment gently, though
obstinately, defending his old policy and real convictions; and at
another yielding them up with good grace, but without positive
renunciation, as if out of complaisance to opinions which he hesitated
to acknowledge. But now and then, whether from premeditation or
impatience, he violently resumed his natural character; and the despot,
who was at once the child and conqueror of the Revolution, reappeared in
complete individuality.

When an attempt was made to induce him to insert, in the Additional Act
to the Constitutions of the Empire, the abolition of the confiscation
proclaimed by the Charter of Louis XVIII., he exclaimed passionately,
"They drive me into a path that is not my own; they enfeeble and enchain
me. France will seek, and find me no longer. Her opinion of me was once
excellent; it is now execrable. France demands what has become of the
old arm of the Emperor, the arm which she requires to control Europe.
Why talk to me of innate virtue, of abstract justice, of natural laws?
The first law is necessity; the first principle of justice is public
safety ... Every day has its evil, every circumstance its law, every man
his own nature; mine is not that of an angel. When peace is made, we
shall see." On another occasion, on this same question of preparing the
Additional Act, and with reference to the institution of an hereditary
peerage, he yielded to the excursive rapidity of his mind, taking the
subject by turns under different aspects, and giving unlimited vent to
contradictory observations and opinions. "Hereditary peerage," said he,
"is opposed to the present state of public opinion; it will wound the
pride of the army, deceive the expectations of the partisans of
equality, and raise against myself a thousand individual claims. Where
do you wish me to look for the elements of that aristocracy which the
peerage demands?... Nevertheless a constitution without an aristocracy
resembles a balloon lost in the air. A ship is guided because there are
two powers which balance each other; the helm finds a fulcrum. But a
balloon is the sport of a single power; it has no fulcrum. The wind
carries it where it will, and control is impossible."

When the question of principle was decided, and the nomination of his
hereditary house of peers came under consideration, Napoleon was anxious
to include many names from amongst the old Royalists; but after mature
reflection, he renounced this idea, "not," says Benjamin Constant,
"without regret," and exclaimed, "We must have them sooner or later; but
memories are too recent. Let us wait until after the battle--they will
be with me if I prove the strongest."

He would thus willingly have deferred all questions, and have done
nothing until he came back a conqueror; but with the Restoration liberty
once more re-entered France, and he himself had again woke up the
Revolution. He found himself in conflict with these two forces,
constrained to tolerate, and endeavouring to make use of them, until the
moment should arrive when he might conquer both.

He had no sooner adopted all the pledges of liberty that the Additional
Act borrowed from the Charter, than he found he had still to deal with
another ardent desire, another article of faith, of the Liberals, still
more repugnant to his nature. They demanded an entirely new
constitution, which should confer on him the Imperial crown by the will
of the nation, and on the conditions which that will prescribed. This
was, in fact, an attempt to remodel, in the name of the sovereign
people, the entire form of government, institutional and dynastic; an
arrogant and chimerical mania which, a year before, had possessed the
Imperial Senate when they recalled Louis XVIII., and which has vitiated
in their source nearly all the political theories of our time.

Napoleon, while incessantly proclaiming the supremacy of the people,
viewed it in a totally different light. "You want to deprive me of my
past," said he, to his physicians; "I desire to preserve it. What
becomes then of my reign of eleven years? I think I have some right to
call it mine; and Europe knows that I have. The new constitution must be
joined to the old one; it will thus acquire the sanction of many years
of glory and success."

He was right: the abdication demanded of him was more humiliating than
that of Fontainebleau; for, in restoring the throne to him, they at the
same time compelled him to deny himself and his immortal history. By
refusing this, he performed an act of rational pride; and in the
preamble as well as in the name of the Additional Act, he upheld the old
Empire, while he consented to modified reforms. When the day of
promulgation arrived, on the 1st of June, at the Champ de Mai, his
fidelity to the Imperial traditions was less impressive and less
dignified. He chose to appear before the people with all the outward
pomp of royalty, surrounded by the princes of his family arrayed in
garments of white taffeta, by the great dignitaries, in orange-coloured
mantles, by his chamberlains and pages:--a childish attachment to
palatial splendour, which accorded ill with the state of public affairs,
and deeply disgusted public feeling, when, in the midst of this
glittering pageant, twenty thousand soldiers were seen to march past and
salute the Emperor, on their road to death.

A few days before, a very different ceremony had revealed another
embarrassing inconsistency in the revived Empire. While discussing with
the Liberal aristocracy his new constitution, Napoleon endeavoured to
win over and subdue, while he flattered, the revolutionary democrats.
The population of the Faubourgs St. Antoine and St. Marceau became
excited, and conceived the idea of forming themselves into a federation,
as their fathers had done, and of demanding from the Emperor leaders and
arms. They obtained their desire; but they were no longer _Federates_,
as in 1792; they were now called _Confederates_, in the hope that, by a
small alteration of name, earlier reminiscences might be effaced. A
police regulation minutely settled the order of their progress through
the streets, provided against confusion, and arranged the ceremonial of
their introduction to the Emperor, in the courtyard of the Tuileries.
They presented an address, which was long and heavy to extreme
tediousness. He thanked them by the name of "federated soldiers"
(_soldats fédérés_), carefully impressing upon them, himself, the
character in which it suited him to regard them. The next morning, the
'Journal de l'Empire' contained the following paragraph:--"The most
perfect order was maintained, from the departure of the Confederates
until their return; but in several places we heard with pain the
Emperor's name mingled with songs which recall a too memorable epoch."
This was being rather severely scrupulous on such an occasion.

Some days later, I happened to pass through the garden of the Tuileries.
A hundred of these Federates, shabby enough in appearance, had assembled
under one of the balconies of the palace, shouting, "_Long live the
Emperor!_" and trying to induce him to show himself. It was long before
he complied; but at length a window opened, the Emperor came forward,
and waved his hand to them; but almost instantly the window was
re-closed, and I distinctly saw Napoleon retire, shrugging his
shoulders; vexed, no doubt, at being obliged to lend himself to
demonstrations so repugnant in their nature, and so unsatisfactory in
their limited extent.

He was desirous of giving more than one pledge to the revolutionary
party. Before reviewing their battalions in the court of his palace, he
had taken into council the oldest and most celebrated of their leaders;
but I scarcely think he expected from them any warm co-operation.
Carnot, an able officer, a sincere republican, and as honest a man as an
idle fanatic can possibly be, could not fail to make a bad Minister of
the Interior; for he possessed neither of the two qualities essential to
this important post,--knowledge of men, and the power of inspiring and
directing them otherwise than by general maxims and routine.

Napoleon knew better than anybody else how Fouché regulated the
police,--for himself first, and for his own personal power; next for the
authority that employed him, and just as long as he found greater
security or advantage in serving than in betraying that authority. I
only met the Duke of Otranto twice, and had but two short conversations
with him. No man ever so thoroughly gave me the idea of fearless,
ironical, cynical indifference, of imperturbable self-possession
combined with an inordinate love of action and prominence, and of a
fixed resolution to stop at nothing that might promote success, not from
any settled design, but according to the plan or chance of the moment.
He had acquired from his long associations as a Jacobin proconsul, a
kind of audacious independence; and remained a hardened pupil of the
Revolution, while, at the same time, he became an unscrupulous implement
of the Government and the Court. Napoleon assuredly placed no confidence
in such a man, and knew well that, in selecting him as a minister, he
would have to watch more than he could employ him. But it was necessary
that the revolutionary flag should float clearly over the Empire under
its proper name; and he therefore preferred to endure the presence of
Carnot and Fouché in his cabinet, rather than to leave them without, to
murmur or conspire with certain sections of his enemies. At the moment
of his return, and during the first weeks of the resuscitated Empire, he
probably reaped from this double selection the advantage that he
anticipated; but when the dangers and difficulties of his situation
manifested themselves, when he came to action with the distrustful
Liberals within, and with Europe without,--Carnot and Fouché became
additional dangers and difficulties in his path. Carnot, without
absolute treachery, served him clumsily and coldly; for in nearly all
emergencies and questions he inclined much more to the Opposition than
to the Emperor; but Fouché betrayed him indefinitely, whispering and
arguing in an under tone, of his approaching downfall, with all who
might by any possible chance happen to be his successors; just as an
indifferent physician discourses by the bedside of a patient who has
been given over.

Even amongst his most trusted and most devoted adherents, Napoleon no
longer found, as formerly, implicit faith and obedient temperaments,
ready to act when and how he might please to direct. Independence of
mind and a feeling of personal responsibility had resumed, even in his
nearest circle, their scruples and their predominance. Fifteen days
after his arrival in Paris, he summoned his Grand Marshal, General
Bertrand, and presented to him, for his counter-signature, the decree
dated from Lyons, in which he ordered the trials and sequestration of
property of the Prince de Talleyrand, the Duke of Ragusa, the
Abbé de Montesquiou, M. Bellard, and nine other persons, who in 1814,
before the abdication, had contributed to his fall. General Bertrand
refused. "I am astonished," said the Emperor, "at your making such
objections; this severity is necessary for the good of the State." "I do
not believe it, Sire." "But I do, and I alone have the right to judge. I
have not asked your concurrence, but your signature, which is a mere
matter of form, and cannot compromise you in the least." "Sire, a
minister who countersigns the decree of his sovereign becomes morally
responsible. Your Majesty has declared by proclamation that you granted
a general amnesty. I countersigned that with all my heart; I will not
countersign the decree which revokes it."

Napoleon urged and cajoled in vain; Bertrand remained inflexible, the
decree appeared without his signature: and Napoleon might, even on the
instant, have convinced himself that the Grand Marshal was not the only
dissentient; for, as he crossed the apartment in which his aides-de-camp
were assembled, M. de La Bédoyère said, loud enough to be overheard, "If
the reign of proscriptions and sequestrations recommences, all will soon
be at an end."

When liberty reaches this point in the interior of the palace, it may be
presumed that it reigns predominantly without. After several weeks of
stupor, it became, in fact, singularly bold and universal. Not only did
civil war spring up in the western departments, not only were flagrant
acts of resistance or hostility committed in several parts of the
country, and in important towns, by men of consequence,--but everywhere,
and particularly in Paris, people thought, and uttered their thoughts
without reserve; in public places as well as in private drawing-rooms,
they went to and fro, expressing hopes and engaging in hostile plots, as
if they were lawful and certain of success; journals and pamphlets,
increased daily in number and virulence, and were circulated almost
without opposition or restraint. The warm friends and attached servants
of the Emperor testified their surprise and indignation.

Fouché pointed out the mischief, in his official reports to Napoleon,
and requested his concurrence in taking measures of repression. The
'Moniteur' published these reports; and the measures were decreed.
Several arrests and prosecutions took place, but without vigour or
efficacy. From high to low, the greater portion of the agents of
government had neither zeal in their cause, nor confidence in their
strength. Napoleon was aware of this, and submitted, as to a necessity
of the moment, to the unlicensed freedom of his opponents, maintaining,
without doubt, in his own heart, the opinion he had declared aloud on a
previous occasion,--"I shall have them all with me if I prove the

I question whether he appreciated justly, and at its true value, one of
the causes, a hidden but powerful one, of the feebleness that
immediately succeeded his great success. Notwithstanding the
widely-spread discontent, uneasiness, mistrust, and anger that the
Government of the Restoration had excited, a universal feeling soon
sprang up, that there was not enough to justify a revolution, the
opposition of an armed force against authority legally established, or
the involvement of the country in the dangers to which it was exposed.
The army had been drawn towards its old chief by a strong sentiment of
attachment and generous devotion, rather than from views of personal
interest; the army, too, was national and popular; but nothing could
change the nature of acts or the meaning of words. The violation of an
oath, desertion with arms in their hands, the sudden passing over from
one camp to another, have always been condemned by honour as well as
duty, civil or military, and denominated treason. Individuals, nations,
or armies, men under the influence of a controlling passion, may
contemn, at the first moment, or perhaps do not feel the moral
impression which naturally attaches itself to their deeds; but it never
fails to present itself, and, when seconded by the warnings of prudence
or the blows of misfortune, it soon regains its empire.

It was the evil destiny of the Government of the Hundred Days that the
influence of moral opinion ranged itself on the side of its adversaries
the Royalists; and that the conscience of the nation, clearly or
obscurely, spontaneously or reluctantly, justified the severe judgments
to which its origin had given rise.

I and my friends attentively watched the progress of the Emperor's
affairs and of the public temper. We soon satisfied ourselves that
Napoleon would fall, and that Louis XVIII. would re-ascend the throne.
While this was our impression of the future, we felt hourly more
convinced that, from the deplorable state into which the enterprise of
the Hundred Days had plunged France, abroad and at home, the return of
Louis XVIII. would afford her the best prospect of restoring a regular
government within, peace without, and the reassumption of her proper
rank in Europe. In public life, duty and reason equally dictate to us to
encourage no self-delusion as to what produces evil; but to adopt the
remedy firmly, however bitter it may be, and at whatever sacrifice it
may demand. I had taken no active part in the first Restoration; but I
concurred, without hesitation, in the attempts of my friends to
establish the second under the most favourable conditions for
preserving the dignity, liberty, and repose of France.

Our tidings from Ghent gave us much uneasiness. Acts and institutions,
all the problems of principle or expediency which we flattered ourselves
had been solved in 1814, were again brought forward. The struggle had
recommenced between the Constitutional Royalists and the partisans of
absolute power, between the Charter and the old system. We often smile
ourselves, and seek to make others smile, when we revert to the
discussions, rival pretensions, projects, hopes, and fears which
agitated this small knot of exiles, gathered round an impotent and
throneless monarch. Such an indulgence is neither rational nor
dignified. What matters it whether the theatre be great or small,
whether the actors fail or succeed, or whether the casualties of human
life are displayed with imposing grandeur or contemptible meanness? The
true measurement lies in the subjects discussed and the future destinies
prepared. The question in debate at Ghent was how France should be
governed when this aged King, without state or army, should be called on
a second time to interpose between her and Europe. The problem and the
solution in perspective were sufficiently important to occupy the minds
of reflecting men and honest citizens.

The intelligence from Vienna was no less momentous. Not that in reality
there was either doubt or hesitation in the plans or union of the Allied
Powers. Fouché, who had for some time been in friendly correspondence
with Prince Metternich, made many overtures to him which the Chancellor
of Austria did not absolutely reject. Every possible modification which
promised a government to France was permitted to suggest itself. All
were discussed in the cabinets or drawing-rooms of the Ministers, and
even in the conferences of the Congress. In these questions were
included, Napoleon II. and a Regency, the Duke of Orleans, and the
Prince of Orange. The English Ministry, speaking with the authority of
Parliament, announced that they had no intention of carrying on war
merely for the purpose of imposing any particular form of government or
dynasty on France; and the Austrian Cabinet seconded this declaration.
But these were only personal reserves, or an apparent compliance with
circumstances, or methods of obtaining correct knowledge, or mere topics
of conversation, or the anticipation of extreme cases to which the
leaders of European politics never expected to be reduced. Diplomacy
abounds in acts and propositions of little moment or value, which it
neither denies nor acknowledges; but they exercise no real influence on
the true convictions, intents, and labours of the directors of

Without wishing to proclaim it aloud, or to commit themselves by formal
and public declarations, the leading kingdoms of Europe, from principle,
interest, or honour, looked upon their cause at this period as allied,
in France, with that of the House of Bourbon. It was near Louis XVIII.
in his exile, that their ambassadors continued to reside; and with all
the European Governments, the diplomatic agents of Louis XVIII.
represented France. By the example and under the guidance of
M. de Talleyrand, all these agents, in 1815, remained firm to the Royal
cause, either from fidelity or foresight, and satisfied themselves, with
him, that in that cause lay final success.

But, side by side with this general disposition of Europe in favour of
the House of Bourbon, a balancing danger presented itself,--an
apprehension that the sovereigns and diplomatists assembled at Vienna
had become convinced that the Bourbons were incapable of governing
France. They had all, for twenty years, treated with and known France
such as the Revolution and the Empire had made her. They still feared
her, and deeply pondered over her position. The more uneasy they became
at her leaning towards anarchy and war, the more they judged it
indispensable that the ruling power should be placed in the hands of
considerate, able, and prudent men, capable of understanding their
functions, and of making themselves understood in their turn. For a
considerable time they had ceased to retain any confidence in the
companions of exile and courtiers of Louis XVIII.; and late experience
had redoubled their mistrust. They looked upon the old Royalist party as
infinitely more capable of ruining kings than of governing states.

A personal witness to these conflicting doubts of the foreign Powers as
to the future they were tracing themselves, M. de Talleyrand, at Vienna,
had also his own misgivings. Amidst all the varied transformations of
his life and politics, and although the last change had made him the
representative of the ancient royalty, he did not desire, and never had
desired, to separate himself entirely from the Revolution; he was linked
to it by too many decided acts, and had acknowledged and served it
under too many different forms, not to feel himself defeated when the
Revolution was subdued. Without being revolutionary either by nature or
inclination, it was in that camp that he had grown up and prospered, and
he could not desert it with safety. There are certain defections which
skilful egotism takes care to avoid; but the existing state of public
affairs, and his own particular position, pressed conjointly and
weightily upon him at this juncture. What would become of the
revolutionary cause and its partisans under the second Restoration, now
imminently approaching? What would even be the fate of this second
Restoration if it could not govern and uphold itself better than its
predecessor? Under the second, as under the first, M. de Talleyrand
played a distinguished part, and rendered important services to the
Royal cause. What would be the fruit of this as regarded himself? Would
his advice be taken, and his co-operation be accepted? Would the
Abbé de Montesquiou and M. de Blacas still be his rivals? I do not
believe he would have hesitated, at this epoch, as to which cause he
should espouse; but feeling his own power, and knowing that the Bourbons
could scarcely dispense with him, he allowed his predilections for the
past and his doubts for the future to betray themselves.

Well informed of all these facts, and of the dispositions of the
principal actors, the Constitutional Royalists who were then gathered
round M. Royer-Collard, considered it their duty to lay before Louis
XVIII., without reserve, their opinions of the state of affairs, and of
the line of conduct it behoved him to adopt. It was not only desirable
to impress on him the necessity of perseverance in a system of
constitutional government, and in the frank acknowledgment of the state
of social feeling in France, such as the new times had made it; but it
was also essential to enter into the question of persons, and to tell
the King that the presence of M. de Blacas near him would militate
strongly against his cause; to request the dismissal of that favourite,
and to call for some explicit act or public declaration, clearly
indicating the intentions of the monarch on the eve of re-assuming
possession of his kingdom; and finally to induce him to attach much
weight to the opinions and influence of M. de Talleyrand, with whom it
must be observed that, at this period, none of those who gave this
advice had any personal connection, and to the greater part of whom he
was decidedly objectionable.

Being the youngest and most available of this small assembly, I was
called on to undertake a mission not very agreeable in itself. I
accepted the duty without hesitation. Although I had then little
experience of political animosities and their blind extremes, I could
not avoid perceiving which party of opponents would one day be likely to
turn on me for taking this step; but I should feel ashamed of myself if
fear of responsibility and apprehensions for the future could hold me
back when circumstances call upon me to act, within the limits of duty
and conviction, as the good of my country demands.

I left Paris on the 23rd of May. One circumstance alone is worthy of
notice in my journey--the facility with which I accomplished it. It is
true there were many police restrictions on the roads and along the
frontier; but the greater part of the agents were neither zealous nor
particular in enforcing them. Their speech, their silence, and their
looks, implied a kind of understood permission and tacit connivance.
More than one official face appeared to say to the unknown traveller,
"Pass on quickly," as if they dreaded making a mistake, or damaging a
useful work by interfering with its supposed design. Having arrived at
Ghent, I called first on the men I knew, and whose views corresponded
with my own, MM. de Jaucourt, Louis, Beugnot, de Lally-Tolendal, and
Mounier. I found them all faithful to the cause of the Constitution, but
sad as exiles, and anxious as advisers without repose in banishment; for
they had to combat incessantly with the odious or absurd passions and
plans of the spirit of reaction.

The same facts furnish to different parties the most opposite
conclusions and arguments; the catastrophe, which again attached some
more firmly than ever to the principles and politics of the Charter, was
to others the sentence of the Charter; and a convincing proof that
nothing but a return to the old system could save the monarchy. I need
not repeat the details, given to me by my friends, of the advice with
which the counter-revolutionists and partisans of absolutism beset the
King; for in the idleness that succeeds misfortune, men give themselves
up to dreams, and helpless passion engenders folly. The King stood firm,
and agreed with his constitutional advisers. The Report on the state of
France presented to him by M. de Châteaubriand a few days before we
arrived, in the name of the whole Council, and which had just been
published in the 'Moniteur of Ghent,' contained an eloquent exposition
of the liberal policy acknowledged by the monarch. But the party thus
rejected were not disposed to yield; they surrounded the King they were
unable to control, and found their strongest roots in his own family and
bosom friends. The Count d'Artois was their ostensible chief, and
M. de Blacas their discreet but steady ally. Through them they hoped to
gain a victory as necessary as it was difficult.

I requested the Duke de Duras to demand for me a private audience of the
King. The King received me the next day, June 1st, and detained me
nearly an hour. I have no turn for the minute and settled parade of such
interviews; I shall therefore only relate of this, and of the
impressions which it produced on me, what still appears to be worthy of

Two points have remained strongly imprinted upon my memory--the
impotence and dignity of the King. There was in the aspect and attitude
of this old man, seated immovably and as if nailed to his arm-chair, a
haughty serenity, and, in the midst of his feebleness, a tranquil
confidence in the power of his name and rights, which surprised and
touched me. What I had to say could not fail to be displeasing to him;
and from respect, not calculation, I began with what was agreeable: I
spoke of the royalist feeling which day by day exhibited itself more
vehemently in Paris. I then related to him several anecdotes and
couplets of songs, in corroboration of this. Such light passages
entertained and pleased him, as men are gratified with humorous
recitals, who have no sources of gaiety within themselves.

I told him that the hope of his return was general. "But what is
grievous, Sire, is that, while believing in the re-establishment of the
monarchy, there is no confidence in its duration." "Why is this?" I
continued; "when the great artisan of revolution is no longer there,
monarchy will become permanent; it is clear that, if Bonaparte returns
to Elba, it will only be to break out again; but let him be disposed of,
and there will be an end to revolutions also.--People cannot thus
flatter themselves, Sire; they fear something beyond Bonaparte, they
dread the weakness of the royal government; its wavering between old and
new ideas, between past and present interests, and they fear the
disunion, or at least the incoherence of its ministers."

The King made no reply. I persisted, and mentioned M. de Blacas. I said
that I was expressly charged by men whom the King knew to be old,
faithful, and intelligent servants, to represent to him the mistrust
which attached itself to that name, and the evil that would result from
it to himself. "I will fulfil all that I have promised in the Charter;
names are not concerned with that; France has nothing to do with the
friends I entertain in my palace, provided no act emanates from them
injurious to the country? Speak to me of more serious causes of
uneasiness." I entered into some details, and touched on various points
of party intrigues and menaces. I also spoke to the King, of the
Protestants in the south, of their alarms, of the violence even of
which, in some instances, they had already been the objects. "This is
very bad," said he: "I will do all I can to stop it; but I cannot
prevent everything,--I cannot, at the same time, be a liberal and an
absolute king." He questioned me upon several recent occurrences, and
respecting some members of the Imperial Administration. "There are two,
Sire, who, knowing that I was about to seek an audience of the King,
have requested me to mention their names, and to assure him of their
devotion." "Who are they?"--"The Arch-chancellor and M. Molé." "For
M. Molé, I rely upon him, and am glad of his support; I know his worth.
As to M. Cambacérès, he is one of those whom I neither ought nor wish to
hear named." I paused there. I was not ignorant that at that time the
King was in communication with Fouché, a much more objectionable
regicide than Cambacérès; but I was a little surprised that the secret
relations caused by pressing emergency did not prevent him from
maintaining aloud, and as a general theory, a line of conduct most
natural under his circumstances. He was certainly far from foreseeing
the disgust that would ensue from his connection with the Duke of
Otranto. He dismissed me with some commonplace words of kindness,
leaving on me the impression of a sensible and liberal mind, outwardly
imposing, shrewd with individuals, careful of appearances, thinking
little, and not profoundly informed, and almost as incapable of the
errors which destroy, as of the great strokes which establish the future
of royal dynasties.

I then visited M. de Blacas. He had evinced some prepossession against
me. "What brings this young man here?" said he to Baron d'Eckstein,
Commissary-General of Police to the King of the Netherlands, at Ghent.
"He comes from I know not who, with some mission that I am ignorant of,
to the King." He was fully acquainted both with my mission and my
friends. However, he received me with perfect civility, and I must add
with honourable frankness, inquiring what they said at Paris, and why
they were so incensed against him. He spoke to me even of his
differences with the Abbé de Montesquiou, complaining of the sallies and
whims which had embroiled them to the detriment of the King's service. I
replied with equal candour; and his bearing during the whole of our
interview was dignified, with a slight degree of reserve, expressing
more surprise than irritation. I find in some notes written after I left
him, this sentence:--"I am much mistaken if his mistakes do not chiefly
proceed from the mediocrity of his intellect."

The situation of M. de Châteaubriand at Ghent was singular. A member of
the King's Council, he brilliantly exposed its policy in official
publications, and defended them in the 'Moniteur of Ghent' with the same
attractive power; but he was dissatisfied with everybody, and no one
placed much confidence in him. I believe that neither then nor later did
the King or the different Cabinets understand M. de Châteaubriand, or
sufficiently appreciate his concurrence or hostility. He was, I admit, a
troublesome ally; for he aspired to all things, and complained of all.
On a level with the rarest spirits and most exalted imaginations, it was
his chimera to fancy himself equal to the greatest masters in the art of
government, and to feel bitterly hurt if he were not looked upon as the
rival of Napoleon as well as of Milton. Prudent men did not lend
themselves to this complaisant idolatry; but they forgot too much what,
either as friend or enemy, he to whom they refused it was worth. They
might, by paying homage to his genius and satisfying his vanity, have
lulled to rest his ambitious dreams; and if they had not the means of
contenting him, they ought in either case, from prudence as well as from
gratitude, not only to have humoured, but to have gained him over
completely to their side. He was one of those towards whom ingratitude
was as dangerous as unjust; for they resent passionately, and know how
to revenge without treachery. He lived at Ghent in great intimacy with
M. Bertin, and assumed thenceforward that influence over the 'Journal
des Débats' which he afterwards so powerfully employed. Notwithstanding
the cordiality of our first acquaintance, there had been for some time a
considerable coolness between us. In 1814 he was discontented with, and
spoke ill of the Abbé de Montesquiou and his friends. I was nevertheless
equally surprised at and sorry for the injustice and error committed in
thinking so little of one they used so much, and I regretted not meeting
him oftener, and on a more amicable footing.

In the midst of these discussions, not only of principles and parties,
but of private interests and coteries, we waited, at a distance from
France, and scarcely knowing how to occupy our minds or time, the issue
of the struggle between Napoleon and Europe;--a most painful situation,
which I endured to serve the cause I believed and have never ceased to
believe just, though I hourly felt its complicated vexations. I shall
not linger here to describe them; nothing is more repugnant to my
nature than to volunteer a display of my own feelings, especially when I
am well aware that many, who listen, cannot or will not understand or
believe me. I care little for mistake or invective; either is the
natural condition of public life: but I do not feel called upon to enter
into useless controversies in my own defence; I know how to wait for
justice without demanding it.

The battle of Waterloo terminated our passive anxiety. The King quitted
Ghent on the 22nd of June, urged by his trustiest friends, and by his
own judgment, not to lose a moment in placing himself between divided
France and foreign invasion. I set out the next day with M. Mounier, and
on the same evening we rejoined the King at Mons, where he had paused in
his journey.

Then burst forth, through the agency of new actors, and by contrivances
still unexplained, the _dénoûment_ that I had been despatched to
accomplish--the fall of M. de Blacas. I am not disposed to discuss the
various accounts given by several who were witnesses of or interested in
the event; I shall simply relate what I myself saw on the spot, as I
find it detailed in a letter written at Cambray, six days
afterwards,[10] to the person to whom, in the absence of immediate
communication, I had the pleasure of relating all that occurred:--

"As we entered Mons (M. Mounier and I), we were told that M. de Blacas
had been dismissed, and was going as ambassador to Naples; but our
surprise was great when we also learned that M. de Talleyrand, who had
lately left Vienna for Brussels, to be within reach of coming events,
and had arrived at Mons a few hours after the King, had at the same time
tendered his resignation; that the King, while refusing to accept it,
had received M. de Talleyrand himself coldly, and that he had set out
again for Brussels, while, contrary to his advice, the King repaired to
Cateau-Cambresis, at that moment the head-quarters of the English army.
We understood nothing whatever of these conflicting incidents, and our
uneasiness equalled our surprise. We have since been everywhere, we have
seen everybody,--those of our friends who preceded us to Mons, and the
foreign ministers who followed the King--MM. de Jaucourt, Louis,
Beugnot, de Châteaubriand, Pozzo di Borgo, de Vincent;--and, between
half confidences, restrained anger, deceptive smiles, and sincere
regrets, we have arrived at last at a tolerably clear understanding of
the whole matter. The little court of the Count d'Artois, knowing that
M. de Talleyrand advised the King not to hurry, and that the Duke of
Wellington, on the contrary, recommended him to advance rapidly into
France, thought nothing could be better than to drive away both
M. de Blacas and M. de Talleyrand, and to separate the King from his
constitutional advisers, as well as from his favourite, by inducing him
to set out quickly for the head-quarters of the English army, surrounded
only by the partisans of _Monsieur_, from whom they hoped he would
select his ministers.

"Our friends were much excited, and the foreigners greatly displeased.
The latter demanded in whom they could have confidence with regard to
the French question, and with whom they should treat in such a crisis?
M. de Talleyrand had returned from Vienna with a great reputation for
ability and success; in the eyes of Europe he represented France and the
King. The Austrian Minister had just said to him at Brussels, 'I am
ordered to consult you on every occasion, and to be guided entirely by
your advice.' He himself haughtily maintained his discontent, and
sharply repulsed those who would have persuaded him to rejoin the King.
After six hours of rather stormy conversation, it was agreed that Pozzo
di Borgo should repair to Cateau, and persuade the Duke of Wellington to
take some step which should put an end to this strange misunderstanding;
and that MM. de Jaucourt, Louis, and Beugnot should at the same time say
to the King, that the men in whom he appeared to confide entertained
ideas and projects so diametrically opposed to theirs, that it was
impossible they could serve him usefully, and therefore requested
permission to retire. It is probable that reflections and measures in
conformity with these resolutions had already taken place at Cateau; for
on the morning of the 25th, at the same time that we received news of
the occurrences at Paris, the abdication of Napoleon, and the embassy of
the Commissioners to the Allied Sovereigns, a letter arrived at Mons,
from the Duke of Wellington to M. de Talleyrand, couched, as I have been
assured, in these exact terms:--

"'I regret much that you have not accompanied the King to this place; it
is I who have earnestly requested him to enter France at the same time
with ourselves. If I could have told you the motives which sway me in
this matter, I have no doubt that you would have given the King the
same advice. I trust that you will come to hear them.' M. de Talleyrand
decided upon setting out instantly; and we determined to accompany him.
We rejoined the King here on the 26th. It was high time; for already a
proclamation, dated from Cateau, drawn up, it is said, by M. Dambray,
gave a false colouring to the re-entrance of his Majesty. We have
hastened to substitute another, of which M. Beugnot is the principal
author, and which prognosticates a wholesome policy. The King signed it
without hesitation. It appeared yesterday, to the great satisfaction of
the public of Cambray. I hope it may produce a similar effect in all
other quarters."

We indeed hoped and believed that the end of the great crisis which had
overthrown France, as well as the smaller one which had agitated the
immediate circle of royalty, was at hand. On all sides affairs appeared
to tend towards the same issue. The King was in France; a moderate and
national line of policy prevailed in his councils, and animated his
words. A feeling of loyalty displayed itself everywhere during his
progress, not only with his old party, but amongst the masses; every
hand was raised towards him, as to a plank of safety in a shipwreck. The
people care little for consistency. At this time I saw, in the northern
departments, the same popularity surround the exiled King and the
vanquished army. Napoleon had abdicated in Paris, and, notwithstanding a
few unworthy alternations of dejection and feverish excitement, of
resignation and momentary energy, he was evidently incapable of renewing
the struggle. The Chamber of Representatives, which, from its first
institution, had shown itself unfavourable to the Imperial system, and
opposed to revolutionary excesses, appeared to be earnestly occupied in
threading a perilous defile, by avoiding all violence and every
irrevocable engagement. Popular passion sometimes murmured, but suffered
itself to be easily restrained, and even stopped voluntarily, as if
unaccustomed to action or dominion. The army, the scattered corps of
which had successively re-united round Paris, had given itself up to
patriotic fervour, and, together with France, had plunged into an abyss
to prove its devotion and avenge its injuries: but amongst its oldest
and most illustrious chiefs, some--such as Gouvion St. Cyr, Macdonald,
and Oudinot--had refused to join Napoleon, and openly espoused the Royal
cause; others--like Ney, Davoust, Soult, and Masséna--protested with
stern candour against fatal delusions, considering that their well-tried
courage entitled them to utter melancholy truths, to offer sage advice,
and to repress, even by the sacrifice of party credit, military
excitement or popular disorder; others, in fine, like Drouot, with an
influence conferred by true courage and virtue, maintained discipline in
the army in the midst of the mortifications of the retreat behind the
Loire, and secured its obedience to the authority of a detested civil
power. After so many mistakes and misfortunes, and in the midst of all
differences of opinion and situation, there existed still a spontaneous
desire and a general effort to preserve France from irreparable errors
and total ruin.

But tardy wisdom does not avail, and, even when they wish to become
prudent, political genius is wanting to those nations who are not
accustomed to decide their own affairs or their own destiny. In the
deplorable state into which the enterprise of an heroic and chimerical
egotism had thrown France, there was evidently only one line of conduct
to pursue,--to recognize Louis XVIII., to accept his liberal
concessions, and to act in concert with him while treating with the
foreign Powers. This was absolutely necessary; for the most limited mind
could foresee that the return of the House of Bourbon was an inevitable,
and all but an accomplished fact. Such a course became also a duty, to
promote peace and to afford the best means of counteracting the evils of
invasion; for Louis XVIII. could alone repel them with any show of
authority. An auspicious future was thus opened to liberty; for reason
whispered, and experience demonstrated, that, after what had passed in
France since 1789, despotism could never more be attempted by the
princes of the House of Bourbon--an insurmountable necessity compelled
them to adopt defined and constitutional government,--if they resorted
to extremes, their strength would prove unequal to success. To accept
without hesitation or delay the second restoration, and to place the
King, of his own accord, between France and the rest of Europe, became
the self-evident dictate of patriotism and sound policy.

Not only was this left undone, but every endeavour was used to make it
appear that the Restoration was exclusively the work of foreign
interference, and to bring upon France, in addition to her military
defeat, a political and diplomatic overthrow. It was not independence of
the Empire, or good intentions towards the country, that were wanting
in the Chamber of the Hundred Days, but intelligence and resolution. It
neither lent itself to imperial despotism nor revolutionary violence; it
was not the instrument of either of the extreme parties,--it applied
itself honestly to preserve France, on the brink of that abyss towards
which they had driven her; but it could only pursue a line of negative
policy, it tacked timidly about before the harbour, instead of boldly
entering,--closing its eyes when it approached the narrow channel,
submitting, not from confidence, but from imbecility, to the blindness
or infatuation of the old or new enemies by whom the King was
surrounded, and appearing sometimes, from weakness itself, to consent to
combinations which in reality it tried to elude;--at one moment
proclaiming Napoleon II., and at another any monarch whom the sovereign
people might please to select.

To this fruitless vacillation of the only existing public authority, one
of the most fatally celebrated actors of the worst times of the
Revolution, Fouché, owed his importance and ephemeral success.

When honest men fail to understand or execute the designs of Providence,
dishonesty undertakes the task. Under the pressure of circumstances, and
in the midst of general weakness, corrupt, sagacious, and daring spirits
are ever at hand, who perceive at once what may happen, or what may be
attempted, and make themselves the instruments of a triumph to which
they have no natural claim, but of which they assume the credit, to
appropriate the fruits. Such a man was the Duke of Otranto during the
Hundred Days,--a revolutionist transformed into a grandee; and desirous
of being consecrated in this double character by the ancient royalty of
France, he employed, to accomplish his end, all the cleverness and
audacity of a reckless intriguer more clear-sighted and sensible than
his associates. Perhaps also--for justice ought to retain its scruples
even towards those who have none themselves--perhaps a desire to save
his country from violence and useless suffering may have had some share
in the series of treasons and imperturbable changes of side, by means of
which, while deceiving and playing alternately with Napoleon, La
Fayette, and Carnot, the Empire, the Republic, and the regicidal
Convention, Fouché gained the time that he required to open for himself
the doors of the King's cabinet, while he opened the gates of Paris to
the King.

Louis XVIII. offered some resistance, but, notwithstanding what he had
said to me at Ghent respecting Cambacérès, I doubt whether he objected
strongly. He was one of those who are dignified from habit and decorum
rather than from a real and powerful emotion of the soul; and propriety
disappeared before emergency. He had, as vouchers for the necessities of
the case, two authorities who were the best calculated to influence his
decision and uphold his honour; the Duke of Wellington and the Count
d'Artois both urged him to accept Fouché as a minister:--Wellington, to
secure an easy return for the King, and also that he himself, and
England with him, might remain the principal author of the Restoration
by promptly terminating the war before Paris, where he feared to be
compromised through the violent hatred of the Prussians; the Count
d'Artois, with impatient levity, always ready to promise and agree, and
already entangled through his most active confidant, M. de Vitrolles, in
the snare which Fouché had spread for the Royalists on every side.

I do not believe in the necessity which they urged upon the King. Fouché
had no control over Paris; the army had retired; the Federates were more
noisy than powerful; the Chamber of Representatives consoled themselves,
by discussing a constitution, for not having dared or known how to form
a government; no party was either able or disposed to arrest effectually
the tide which carried the King along. A little less eagerness, and a
little more determination, would have spared him a sad dishonour. By
waiting a few days he would have incurred the risk, not of fatal
resolutions or violence, but merely of the temporary continuance of
disorder and alarm. Necessity presses upon people as well as on kings:
that with which Fouché armed himself to become minister to Louis XVIII.
was factitious and ephemeral; that which brought Louis XVIII. back to
the Tuileries was real, and became hourly more urgent. There was no
occasion for him to receive the Duke of Otranto into his cabinet at
Arnouville; he might have remained there patiently, for they would soon
have sought him. I thought thus at the time, after having passed two
days in Paris, where I arrived on the 3rd of July, when the manoeuvres
of Fouché were following their course. All that I subsequently saw and
heard tended to confirm me in this opinion.


[Footnote 9: I owe it to myself to repeat here the retractation of an
error (I am not disposed to use any other word) entertained in regard to
my connection with the Hundred Days, and the part I took at that period.
This retractation, which appeared thirteen years ago in the 'Moniteur
Universel' of the 4th of February, 1844, is couched in the following
terms:--"Several journals have recently said or implied that M. Guizot,
the present Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was Secretary-General to
the Ministry of the Interior in 1814 and 1815, had retained his office
during the Hundred Days, under General Count Carnot, appointed Minister
of the Interior by the Imperial decree of the 20th of March, 1815; that
he had signed the Additional Act, and that he had been subsequently
dismissed. One of these journals has invoked the testimony of the
'Moniteur.' These assertions are utterly false. M. Guizot, now Minister
of Foreign Affairs, had, on the 20th of March, 1815, quitted the
department of the Interior; and by an Imperial decree of the 23rd of the
same month, his office of Secretary-General was conferred upon Baron
Basset de Châteaubourg, formerly Prefect (see the 'Bulletin des Lois,'
no. v. p. 34). The notice in the 'Moniteur' of the 14th of May, 1815,
page 546, did not refer to M. François Guizot, but to M. Jean-Jacques
Guizot, head-clerk at that time in the Ministry of the Interior, who was
actually dismissed from his office in the course of May 1815."

Notwithstanding this official refutation, founded on official acts, and
published in 1844 in the 'Moniteur,' where the error had originated, the
same mis-statement appeared in 1847, in the 'History of the Two
Restorations,' by M. Vaulabelle (2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 276), and
again in 1851, in the 'History of the Restoration,' by M. de Lamartine
(vol. iv. p. 15).]

[Footnote 10: June 29th, 1815.]





Three months had scarcely elapsed and neither Fouché nor
M. de Talleyrand were any longer in the Ministry. They had fallen, not
under the pressure of any new or unforeseen event, but by the evils
connected with their personal situation, and their inaptitude for the
parts they had undertaken to play. M. de Talleyrand had effected a
miracle at Vienna; by the treaty of alliance concluded on the 3rd
January, 1815, between France, England, and Austria, he had put an end
to the coalition formed against us in 1813, and separated Europe into
two parties, to the advantage of France. But the event of the 20th of
March had destroyed his work; the European coalition was again formed
against the Emperor and against France, who had made herself, or had
permitted herself to be made, the instrument of Napoleon. There was no
longer a chance of breaking up this formidable alliance. The same
feeling of uneasiness and mistrust of our faith, the same desire for a
firm and lasting union, animated the sovereigns and the nations. They
had speedily arranged at Vienna the questions which had threatened to
divide them. In this fortified hostility against France the Emperor
Alexander participated, with extreme irritation towards the House of
Bourbon and M. de Talleyrand, who had sought to deprive him of his
allies. The second Restoration was no longer like the first, the
personal glory and work of M. de Talleyrand; the honour was chiefly due
to England and the Duke of Wellington. Instigated by self-love and
policy, the Emperor Alexander arrived at Paris on the 10th of July,
1815, stern and angrily disposed towards the King and his advisers.

France and the King stood, nevertheless, in serious need of the goodwill
of the Russian Emperor, encompassed as they were by the rancorous and
eager ambition of Germany. Her diplomatists drew up the geographical
chart of our territory, leaving out the provinces of which they desired
to deprive us. Her generals undermined, to blow into the air, the
monuments which recalled their defeats in the midst of their victories.
Louis XVIII. resisted with much dignity these acts of foreign barbarism;
he threatened to place his chair of state upon the bridge of Jena, and
said publicly to the Duke of Wellington, "Do you think, my Lord, that
your Government would consent to receive me if I were again to solicit a
refuge?" Wellington restrained to the utmost of his power the violence
of Blücher, and remonstrated with him by arguments equally urgent and
politic; but neither the dignity of the King, nor the amicable
intervention of England were sufficient to curb the overweening
pretensions of Germany. The Emperor Alexander alone could keep them
within bounds. M. de Talleyrand sought to conciliate him by personal
concessions. In forming his cabinet, he named the Duke de Richelieu, who
was still absent, Minister of the Royal Household, while the Ministry of
the Interior was held in reserve for Pozzo di Borgo, who would willingly
have left the official service of Russia to take part in the Government
of France. M. de Talleyrand placed much faith in the power of
temptations; but, in this instance, they were of no avail. The
Duke de Richelieu, probably in concert with the King himself, refused;
Pozzo di Borgo did not obtain, or dared not to solicit, the permission
of his master to become, once more, a Frenchman. I saw him frequently,
and that mind, at once quick and decisive, bold and restless, felt
keenly its doubtful situation, and with difficulty concealed its
perplexities. The Emperor Alexander maintained his cold reserve, leaving
M. de Talleyrand powerless and embarrassed in this arena of negotiation,
ordinarily the theatre of his success.

The weakness of Fouché was different, and sprang from other causes. It
was not that the foreign sovereigns and their ministers regarded him
more favourably than they did M. de Talleyrand, for his admission into
the King's cabinet had greatly scandalized monarchical Europe; the Duke
of Wellington alone persisted in still upholding him; but none amongst
the foreigners either attacked him or appeared anxious for his downfall.
It was from within that the storm was raised against him. With a
strangely frivolous presumption, he had determined to deliver up the
Revolution to the King, and the King to the Revolution, relying upon his
dexterity and boldness to assist him in passing and repassing from camp
to camp, and in governing one by the other, while alternately betraying
both. The elections which took place at this period throughout France,
signally falsified his hopes. In vain did he profusely employ agents,
and circular addresses; neither obtained for him the slightest
influence; the decided Royalists prevailed in nearly every quarter,
almost without a struggle. It is our misfortune and our weakness, that
in every great crisis the vanquished become as the dead. The Chamber of
1815 as yet appeared only in the distance, and already the Duke of
Otranto trembled as though thunderstruck by the side of the tottering
M. de Talleyrand. In this opposite and unequal peril, but critical for
both, the conduct of these two men was very different. M. de Talleyrand
proclaimed himself the patron of constitutional monarchy, boldly and
greatly organized as in England. Modifications conformable to the views
of the Liberal party were in some instances immediately acceded to, and
in others promised by the Charter. Young men were permitted to enter
the Chamber of Deputies. Fourteen Articles relative to the constitution
of this Chamber were submitted for the inspection of the next
Legislative Assembly. The Peerage was made hereditary. The censorship,
to which works under twenty printed sheets had been subjected, was
abolished. A grand Privy Council, on important occasions, united the
principal men of every party. It was neither the urgent necessity of the
moment, nor prevailing public opinion, that imposed on restored royalty
these important reforms: they were enacted by the Cabinet from a desire
of encouraging free institutions, and of giving satisfaction to the
party,--I ought rather to say to the small section of enlightened and
impatient spirits.

The real intentions and measures of Fouché were of a more personal
nature. Violently menaced by the reaction in favour of royalty, he at
first endeavoured to appease by feeding it. He consented to make himself
the instrument of proscription against the very men who, but a short
time before, were his agents, his confederates, his accomplices, his
colleagues, and his friends. At the same time that he published
memorials and circulars showing the necessity of clemency and
forgetfulness of the past, he placed before the Royal Council a list of
one hundred and ten names, to be excluded from all amnesty; and when
strict inquiry had reduced this number to eighteen, subject to
courts-martial, and to thirty-eight provisionally banished, he
countersigned without hesitation the decree which condemned them. A few
days afterwards, and upon his request, another edict revoked all the
privileges hitherto accorded to the daily papers, imposed upon them the
necessity of a new license, and subjected them to the censorship of a
commission, in which several of the principal royalist writers, amongst
others Messieurs Auger and Fiévée, refused to sit under his patronage.
As little did the justice or national utility of his acts affect the
Duke of Otranto in 1815, as in 1793; he was always ready to become, no
matter at what cost, the agent of expediency. But when he saw that his
severe measures did not protect himself, and perceived the rapidly
approaching danger, he changed his tactics; the minister of the
monarchical reaction became again the factious revolutionist. He caused
to be secretly published and circulated, "Reports to the King," and the
"Notes to the Foreign Ministers," less calculated to enlighten the
authorities he addressed, than to prepare for himself arms and allies
against the Government and the party, from which he saw that he was
about to be excluded. He was of the number of those who try to make
themselves feared, by striving to injure when they are no longer
permitted to serve.

Neither the liberal reforms of M. de Talleyrand, nor the revolutionary
menaces of the Duke of Otranto, warded off the danger which pressed on
them. Notwithstanding their extraordinary abilities and long experience,
both mistook the new aspect of the times, either not seeing, or not
wishing to see, how little they were in unison with the contests which
the Hundred Days had revived. The election of a Chamber decidedly
Royalist, surprised them as an unexpected phenomenon; they both fell at
its approach, and within a few days of each other; left, nevertheless,
after their common downfall, in opposite positions. M. de Talleyrand
retained credit; the King and his new Cabinet loaded him with gifts and
royal favours; his colleagues during his short administration, Messieurs
de Jaucourt, Pasquier, Louis and Gouvion St. Cyr, received signal marks
of royal esteem, and retired from the scene of action as if destined to
return. Having accepted the trifling and distant embassy to Dresden,
Fouché hastened to depart, and left Paris under a disguise which he only
changed when he reached the frontier, fearful of being seen in his
native land, which he was fated never again to behold.

The Cabinet of the Duke de Richelieu entered upon office warmly welcomed
by the King, and even by the party which had gained the ascendency
through the present elections. It was indeed a new and thoroughly
royalist Ministry. Its head, recently arrived in France, honoured by all
Europe, and beloved by the Emperor Alexander, was to King Louis XVIII.
what the king himself was to France, the pledge of a more advantageous
peace. Two of his colleagues, Messieurs Decazes and Dubouchage, had
taken no part in public affairs previous to the Restoration. The four
others, Messieurs Barbé-Marbois, de Vaublanc, Coretto, and the Duke of
Feltri, had recently given proofs of strong attachment to the regal
cause. Their union inspired hope without suspicion, in the public mind,
as well as in that of the triumphant party. I was intimately acquainted
with M. de Marbois; I had frequently met him at the houses of
Madame de Rumford and Madame Suard. He belonged to that old France
which, in a spirit of generous liberality, had adopted and upheld, with
enlightened moderation, the principles most cherished by the France of
the day. I held under him, in the capacity of a confidential friend, the
post of Secretary-General to the Ministry of Justice, to which
M. Pasquier, then keeper of the great seal, had nominated me under the
Cabinet of M. de Talleyrand. Hardly was the new minister installed in
office, when the Chamber of Deputies assembled, and in its turn
established itself. It was almost exclusively Royalist. With
considerable difficulty, a few men, members of other parties, had
obtained entrance into its ranks. They found themselves in a state of
perpetual discomfort, isolated and ill at ease, as though they were
strangers of suspicious character; and when they endeavoured to declare
themselves and explain their sentiments, they were roughly driven back
into impotent silence. On the 23rd of October, 1815, in the debate on
the Bill presented by M. Decazes for the temporary suspension of
personal liberty, M. d'Argenson spoke of the reports which had been
spread abroad respecting the massacre of Protestants in the south. A
violent tumult arose in contradiction of his statements; he explained
himself with great reserve. "I name no facts," replied he, "I bring
forward no charges; I merely say that vague and contradictory rumours
have reached me; ... the very vagueness of these rumours calls for a report
from the minister, on the state of the kingdom." M. d'Argenson was not
only defeated in his object, and interrupted in his speech, but he was
expressly called to order for having alluded to facts unfortunately too
certain, but which the Government wished to smother up by silencing all
debate on the question.

For the first time in five-and-twenty years, the Royalists saw
themselves in the ascendant. Thoroughly believing that they had obtained
a legitimate triumph, they indulged unreservedly in the enjoyment of
power, with a mixture of aristocratic arrogance and new-born zeal, as
men do when little accustomed to victory, and doubtful of the strength
they are so eager to display.

Very opposite causes plunged the Chamber of 1815 into the extreme
reaction which has stamped its historical character. In the first place,
and above all others, may be named, the good and evil passions of the
Royalists, their moral convictions and personal resentments, their love
of order and thirst for vengeance, their pride in the past and their
apprehensions for the future, their determination to re-establish honour
and respect for holy observances, their old attachments, their sworn
pledges, and the gratification of lording it over their conquerors. To
the violence of passion was joined a prudent calculation of advantage.
To strengthen their party, and to advance individual fortunes, it was
essential for the new rulers of France to possess themselves everywhere
of place and power; therein lay the field to be worked, and the
territory to be occupied, in order to reap the entire fruits of victory.
Finally must be added, the empire of ideas, more influential than is
commonly supposed, and often exercising more power over men, without
their being conscious of it, than prejudice or interest. After so many
years of extraordinary events and disputes, the Royalists had, on all
political and social questions, systematic views to realize, historical
reminiscences to act upon, requirements of the mind to satisfy. They
hastened to apply their hands to the work, believing the day at last
arrived when they could, once more, assume in their own land, morally as
well as physically, in thought and deed, the superiority which had so
long been wrested from them.

As it happens in every great crisis of human associations, these
opposing principles in the reaction of 1815, had each its special and
exclusively effective representative in the ranks of the Royalists. The
party had their fighting champion, their political advocate, and their
philosopher. M. de la Bourdonnaye led their passions, M. de Villèle
their interests, and M. de Bonald their ideas; three men well suited to
their parts, for they excelled respectively, the first in fiery attack,
the second in prudent and patient manoeuvring, and the third in
specious, subtle, and elevated exposition; and all three, although
unconnected by any previous intimacy, applied their varied talents with
unflinching perseverance to the common cause.

And what, after all, was the cause? What was, in reality, the end which
the leaders of the party, apparently on the very verge of success,
proposed to themselves? Had they been inclined to speak sincerely, they
would have found it very difficult to answer the question. It has been
said and believed by many, and probably a great portion of the Royalists
imagined, in 1815, that their object was to abolish the Charter, and
restore the old system: a commonplace supposition of puerile credulity;
the battle-cry of the enemies, whether able or blind, of the
Restoration. In the height of its most sanguine hopes, the Chamber of
1815 had formed no idea so extreme or audacious. Replaced as conquerors
upon the field, not by themselves, but by the errors of their
adversaries and the course of European events, the old Royalist party
expected that the reverses of the Revolution and the Empire would bring
them enormous advantages, and restitution; but they were yet undecided
as to the use they should make of victory in the government of France,
when they found themselves in the undisturbed possession of power. Their
views were as unsettled and confused as their passions were violent;
above all things, they coveted victory, for the haughty pleasure of
triumph itself, for the definitive establishment of the Restoration, and
for their own predominance, by holding power at the centre of
government, and throughout the departments by administration.

But in those social shocks there are deeper questions involved than the
actors are aware of. The Hundred Days inflicted on France a much heavier
evil than the waste of blood and treasure it had cost her; they lit up
again the old quarrel which the Empire had stifled and the Charter was
intended to extinguish,--the quarrel between old and new France, between
the emigrants and the revolutionists. It was not alone between two
political parties, but between two rival classes, that the struggle
recommenced in 1815, as it originally exploded in 1789.

An unfavourable position for founding a Government, and, above all, a
free Government. A certain degree of excitement and emulation invariably
exists between the people and the political parties, which constitutes
the very life of the social body, and encourages its energetic and
wholesome development. But if this agitation is not confined to
questions of legislature and the conduct of public affairs,--if it
attacks society in its very basis,--if, instead of emulation between
parties, there arises hostility amongst classes, the movement ceases to
be healthy, and changes to a destroying malady, which leads on to the
most lamentable disorders, and may end in the dissolution of the State.
The undue ascendency of one class over another, whether of the
aristocracy or the people, becomes tyranny. The bitter and continued
struggle of either to obtain the upper hand, is in fact revolution,
imminently impending or absolutely declared. The world has witnessed, in
two great examples, the diametrically opposite results to which this
formidable fact may lead. The contest between the Patricians and
Plebeians held Rome for ages between the cruel alternations of despotism
and anarchy, which had no variety but war. As long as either party
retained public virtue, the republic found grandeur, if not social
peace, in their quarrel; but when Patricians and Plebeians became
corrupted by dissension, without agreeing on any fixed principle of
liberty, Rome could only escape from ruin by falling under the despotism
and lingering decline of the Empire. England presents to modern Europe a
different spectacle. In England also, the opposing parties of nobles and
democrats long contended for the supremacy; but, by a happy combination
of fortune and wisdom, they came to a mutual compromise, and united in
the common exercise of power: and England has found, in this amicable
understanding between the different classes, in this communion of their
rights and mutual influence, internal peace with greatness, and
stability with freedom.

I looked forward to an analogous result for my own country, from the
form of government established by the Charter. I have been accused of
desiring to model France upon the example of England. In 1815, my
thoughts were not turned towards England; at that time I had not
seriously studied her institutions or her history. I was entirely
occupied with France, her destinies, her civilization, her laws, her
literature, and her great men. I lived in the heart of a society
exclusively French, more deeply impregnated with French tastes and
sentiments than any other. I was immediately associated with that
reconciliation, blending, and intercourse of different classes, and even
of parties, which seemed to me the natural condition of our new and
liberal system. People of every origin, rank, and calling, I may almost
say of every variety of opinion,--great noblemen, magistrates,
advocates, ecclesiastics, men of letters, fashion, or business, members
of the old aristocracy, of the Constituent Assembly, of the Convention,
of the Empire,--lived in easy and hospitable intercourse, adopting
without hesitation their altered positions and views, and all apparently
disposed to act together in goodwill for the advantage of their country.
A strange contradiction in our habits and manners! When social
relations, applicable to mental or worldly pleasures, are alone
involved, there are no longer distinctions of classes, or contests;
differences of situation and opinion cease to exist; we have no thought
but to enjoy and contribute in common our mutual possessions,
pretensions, and recommendations. But let political questions and the
positive interests of life once more spring up,--let us be called upon,
not merely to assemble for enjoyment or recreation, but to assume each
his part in the rights, the affairs, the honours, the advantages, and
the burdens of the social system,--on the instant, all dissensions
re-appear; all pretences, prejudices, susceptibilities, and oppositions
revive; and that society which had seemed so single and united, resumes
all its former divisions and differences.

This melancholy incoherence between the apparent and actual state of
French society revealed itself suddenly in 1815. The reaction provoked
by the Hundred Days destroyed in the twinkling of an eye the work of
social reconciliation carried on in France for sixteen years, and caused
the abrupt explosion of all the passions, good or evil, of the social
system, against all the works, beneficial or mischievous, of the

Attacked also by another difficulty, the party which prevailed at the
opening of the session, in the Chamber of 1815, fell into another
mistake. The aristocratic classes in France, although generously
devoted, in public dangers, to the king and the country, knew not how to
make common cause either with the crown or the people; they have
alternately blamed and opposed, royal power and public liberty.
Isolating themselves in the privileges which satisfied their vanity
without giving them real influence in the State, they had not assumed,
for three centuries, either with the monarch, or at the head of the
nation, the position which seemed naturally to belong to them. After all
they had lost, and in spite of all they ought to have learned at the
Revolution, they found themselves in 1815, when power reverted to their
hands, in the same undefined and shifting position. In its relations
with the great powers of the State, in public discussion, in the
exercise of its peculiar rights, the Chamber of 1815 had the merit of
carrying into vigorous practice the constitutional system, which, in
1814, had scarcely emerged from its torpor under the Empire; but in its
new work it lost sight of equity, moderation, and the favourable moment.
It wished at the same time to control France and the King. It was
independent and haughty, often revolutionary in its conduct towards the
monarch, and equally violent and contra-revolutionary as regarded the
people. This was to attempt too much; it ought to have chosen between
the two, and to have declared itself either monarchical or popular. The
Chamber of 1815 was neither the one nor the other. It appeared to be
deeply imbued with the spirit of the old system, envenomed by the ideas
or examples of the spirit of the revolution; but the spirit of
government, even more essential under constitutional than under absolute
power, was wanting altogether.

Thus, an opposition was seen to spring up quickly within its own
bosom,--an opposition which became at once popular and monarchical, for
it equally defended against the ruling party, the crown they had so
rashly insulted, and the country they had profoundly disturbed. After
some sharp contests, sustained with acrimonious determination on both
sides, this opposition, strong in the royal support as in public
sympathy, frequently obtained a majority, and became the party of the

I had no seat at that time in the Chamber of Deputies. It has often been
said that I took a more important share in the Government of the day
than could be attributed to me with truth. I have never complained of
this, nor shall I complain now. I accept the responsibility, not only of
my own actions, but of those of the friends I selected and supported.
The monarchical and constitutional party formed in 1815, became on the
instant my own. I shall acknowledge frankly what experience has taught
me of their mistakes, while I feel proud of having been enrolled in
their ranks.

This party was formed abruptly and spontaneously, without premeditated
object, without previous or personal concert, under the simple necessity
of the moment, to meet a pressing evil, and not to establish any
particular system, or any specific combination of ideas, resolutions, or
designs. Its sole policy was at first confined to the support of the
Restoration against the reaction: a thankless undertaking, even when
most salutary; for it is useless to contend with a headlong
counter-current. While you are supporting the power whose flag serves as
a cloak to reaction, it is impossible to arrest the entire mischief you
desire to check; and you seem to adopt that which you have been unable
to subdue. This is one of the inevitable misconstructions which honest
men, who act conscientiously, in stormy days, must be prepared to

Neither in its composition nor plans had the new Royalist party any
special or decided character. Amongst its rising leaders, as in its more
undistinguished ranks, there were men of every origin and position,
collected from all points of the social and political horizon.
M. de Serre was an emigrant, and had been a lieutenant in the army of
Condé; MM. Pasquier, Beugnot, Siméon, Barante and St. Aulaire, had
possessed influence under Napoleon; MM. Royer-Collard and Camille Jordan
were opposed to the Imperial system. The same judgment, the same opinion
upon the events of the day and the chances of the morrow, upon the
rights and legitimate interests of the throne and country, suddenly
united these men, hitherto unknown to each other. They combined, as the
inhabitants of the same quarter run from all sides and, without
acquaintance and never having met before, work in concert to extinguish
a great fire.

A fact, however, disclosed itself, which characterized already the new
royalist party in the impending struggle. Equally disturbed by the
pretensions of the old aristocrats, the monarchy and the citizens formed
a close league for mutual support. Louis XVIII. and young France resumed
together the policy of their fathers. It is fruitless for a people to
deny or forget the past; they cannot either annihilate or abstract
themselves from it; situations and emergencies will soon arise to force
them back into the road on which they have travelled for ages.

Selected as President by the Chamber itself, and also by the King,
M. Lainé, while preserving, with a dignity at the same time natural and
slightly studied, the impartiality which his situation required,
inclined nevertheless towards the opinions of the moderate minority, and
supported them by his moral influence, sometimes even by his words. The
ascendency of his character, the gravity of his manners, and, at
certain moments, the passionate overflowing of his soul, invested him
with an authority which his abilities and knowledge would scarcely have
sufficed to command.

The Session had not been many days open, and already, from conversation,
from the selection of the officials, from the projects of interior
movement which were announced, the Deputies began to know and arrange
themselves, but still with doubt and confusion; as, in a battalion
unexpectedly called together, the soldiers assemble in disorder, looking
for their arms and colours. The Government propositions soon brought the
different parties to broad daylight, and placed them in contest. The
Session commenced, as might be expected, with measures arising from
incidental circumstances. Of the four bills evidently bearing this
character, two--the suspension of personal liberty, and the
establishment of prevôtal courts--were proposed as exceptional and
purely temporary; the others--for the suppression of seditious acts, and
for a general amnesty--were intended to be definitive and permanent.

Measures of expediency, and exceptional laws, have been so often and so
peremptorily condemned in France, that their very name and aspect
suffice to render them suspicious and hateful,--a natural impression,
after so much and such bitter experience! They supply notwithstanding,
and particularly under a constitutional government, the least dangerous
as well as the most efficacious method of meeting temporary and urgent
necessities. It is better to suspend openly, and for a given time, a
particular privilege, than to pervert, by encroachment and subtlety,
the fixed laws, so as to adapt them to the emergency of the hour. The
experience of history, in such cases, confirms the suggestions of
reason. In countries where political liberty is finally established, as
in England, it is precisely after it has obtained a signal triumph, that
the temporary suspension of one or more of its special securities has,
under pressing circumstances, been adopted as a Government measure. In
ruder and less intelligent times, under the dominion of momentary
danger, and as an immediate defence, those rigorous and artful statutes
were enacted in perpetuity, in which all tyrannies have found arms ready
made, without the odium of forging them, and from which a more advanced
civilization, at a later period, has found it so difficult to escape.

It is necessary, I admit, to enable these exceptional laws to accomplish
their end without too much danger, that, beyond the scope of their
operation and during their continuance, the country should retain enough
general liberty, and the authorities sufficient real responsibility, to
confine these measures within their due limits, and to control their
exercise. But, in spite of the blindness and rage of the beaten parties,
we have only to read the debates in the Chambers of 1815, and the
publications of the time, to be convinced that at that epoch liberty was
far from having entirely perished; and the history of the ministers who
were then in power unanswerably demonstrates that they sustained the
weight of a most effective responsibility.

Of the two temporary bills introduced into the Chamber in 1815, that
respecting the prevôtal courts met with the least opposition. Two very
superior men, MM. Royer-Collard and Cuvier, had consented to become its
official advocates, in the character of Royal Commissioners; and during
the discussion, M. Cuvier took the lead. The debate was a very short
one; two hundred and ninety members voted for the bill, ten only
rejected it. The division may create surprise. The bill, in principle,
comprised the heaviest possible infringement on common right, and the
most formidable in practical application, by the suppression, in these
courts, of the greater part of the privileges accorded in the ordinary
modes of jurisdiction. A clause in the bill went almost to deprive the
King of his prerogative of pardon, by ordering the immediate execution
of the condemned criminals, unless the prevôtal court itself assumed the
functions of grace by recommending them to royal clemency. One of
the most enthusiastic Royalists of the right-hand party,
M. Hyde de Neuville, objected energetically, but without effect, to a
clause so harsh and anti-monarchical. The two most intractable of
passions, anger and fear, prevailed in the Chamber; it had its own
cause, as well as that of the King, to defend and avenge, and persuaded
itself that it could neither strike too soon nor too strongly when both
were attacked.

On this occasion, as well as on others, the memory of M. Cuvier has been
unjustly treated. He has been accused of pusillanimity and servile
ambition. The charge indicates little knowledge of human nature, and
insults a man of genius on very slight grounds. I lived much with
M. Cuvier. Firmness in mind and action was not his most prominent
quality; but he was neither servile, nor governed by fear in opposition
to his conscience. He loved order, partly for his own personal security,
but much more for the cause of justice, civilization, the advantage of
society, and the progress of intellect. In his complaisance for power,
he was more governed by sincere inclination than egotism. He was one of
those who had not learned from experience to place much confidence in
liberty, and whom the remembrance of revolutionary anarchy had rendered
easily accessible to honest and disinterested apprehensions. In times of
social disturbance, men of sense and probity often prefer drifting
towards the shore, to running the risk of being crushed, with many dear
objects, on the rocks upon which the current may carry them.

In the debate on the bill which suspended for a year the securities for
personal liberty, M. Royer-Collard, while supporting the Government,
marked the independence of his character, and the mistrustful foresight
of the moralist with regard to the power which the politician most
desired to establish. He demanded that the arbitrary right of
imprisonment should be entrusted only to a small number of functionaries
of high rank, and that the most exalted of all, the Ministers, should in
every case be considered distinctly responsible. But these amendments,
which would have prevented many abuses without interfering with the
necessary power, were rejected. Inexperience and precipitation were
almost universal at the moment. The Cabinet and its most influential
partisans in the Chambers had scarcely any knowledge of each other;
neither had yet learned to conceive plans in combination, to settle the
limits or bearing of their measures, or to enter on a combat with
preconcerted arrangements.

A combined action and continued understanding, however, between the
Government and the moderate Royalists, became every day more
indispensable; for the divergence of several new parties which began to
be formed, and the extent of their disagreements, manifested themselves
with increasing strength from hour to hour. In proposing the act
intended to repress sedition, M. de Marbois, a gentle and liberal
nature, inclined to mild government, and little acquainted with the
violent passions that fermented around him, had merely looked upon these
acts as ordinary offences, and had sent the criminals before the
tribunals of correctional police, to be punished by imprisonment only.
Better informed as to the intentions of a portion of the Chamber, the
committee appointed to examine the bill, of which M. Pasquier was the
chairman, endeavoured to restrain the dissentients, while satisfying
them to a certain extent. Amongst seditious acts, the committee drew a
line between crimes and offences, assigning crimes to the Court of
Assizes, to be punished by transportation, and prescribing for simple
offences fine and imprisonment. This was still too little for the
ultra-members of the party. They demanded the penalty of death, hard
labour, and confiscation of property. These additions were refused, and
the Chamber, by a large majority, passed the bill as amended by the
committee. Undoubtedly there were members of the right-hand party who
would not have dared to contest the propositions of MM. Piet and
de Salaberry, but who rejoiced to see them thrown out, and voted for the
bill. How many errors would men escape, and how many evils would they
avoid, if they had the courage to act as they think right, and to do
openly what they desire!

All these debates were but preludes to the great battle ready to
commence, on the most important of the incidental questions before the
Chamber. It is with regret that I use the word _question_. The amnesty
was no longer one. On returning to France, the King, by his proclamation
from Cambray, had promised it; and, with kings, to promise is to
perform. What sovereign could refuse the pardon, of which he has given a
glimpse to the condemned criminal? The royal word is not less pledged to
a nation than to an individual. But in declaring, on the 28th of June,
1815, that he would only except from pardon "the authors and instigators
of the plot which had overturned the throne," the King had also
announced "that the two Chambers would point them out to the punishment
of the laws;" and when, a month later, the Cabinet had, upon the report
of the Duke of Otranto, arrested the individuals excepted in the two
lists, the decree of the 24th of July again declared that "the Chambers
should decide upon those amongst them who should be expatriated or
brought to trial." The Chambers were therefore inevitably compromised.
The amnesty had been declared, and yet it still remained a question, a
bill was still considered necessary.

Four members of the Chamber of Deputies hastened to take the
initiative in this debate, three of them with extreme violence,
M. de la Bourdonnaye being the most vehement of the three. He had
energy, enthusiasm, independence, political tact as a partisan, and a
frank and impassioned roughness, which occasionally soared to eloquence.
His project, it was said, would have brought eleven hundred persons
under trial. Whatever might be the correctness of this calculation, the
three propositions were tainted with two capital errors: they assumed,
in fact, that the catastrophe of the 20th of March had been the result
of a widely-spread conspiracy, the authors of which ought to be punished
as they would have been in ordinary times, and by the regular course of
law, if they had miscarried; they assigned to the Chambers the right of
indicating, by general categories, and without limit as to number, the
conspirators to be thus dealt with, although the King, by his decree of
the 24th of July preceding, had merely conferred on them the power of
deciding, amongst the thirty-eight individuals specially excepted by
name, which should be banished and which should be brought to trial.
There was thus, in these projects, at the same time, an act of
accusation under the name of amnesty, and an invasion of the powers
already exercised, as well as of the limits already imposed, by the
royal authority.

The King's Government by no means mistook the bearing of such
resolutions, and maintained its rights, its acts, and promises with
suitable dignity. It hastened to check at once the attempt of the
Chamber. The bill introduced by the Duke de Richelieu on the 8th of
December, was a real act of amnesty, with no other exceptions than the
fifty-six persons named in the two lists of the decree of the 24th of
July, and belonging to the family of the Emperor Napoleon. A single
additional clause, the fatal consequences of which were assuredly not
foreseen, had been introduced into the preamble: the fifth article
excepted from the amnesty all persons against whom prosecutions had been
ordered or sentences passed before the promulgation of the law,--a
lamentable reservation, equally contrary to the principle of the measure
and the object of its framers. The character and essential value of an
amnesty consist in assigning a term to trials and punishments, in
arresting judicial action in the name of political interest, and in
re-establishing confidence in the public mind, with security in the
existing state of things, at once producing a cessation of sanguinary
scenes and dangers. The King's Government had already, by the first list
of exceptions in the decree of the 24th of July, imposed on itself a
heavy burden. Eighteen generals had been sent before councils of war.
Eighteen grand political prosecutions, after the publication of the
amnesty, would have been much even for the strongest and
best-established government to bear. The Duke de Richelieu's Cabinet, by
the fifth article of the bill, imposed on itself, in addition, the
prospective charge of an indefinite number of political prosecutions,
which might rise up in an indefinite time; and no one could possibly
foresee in what part of the kingdom, or under what circumstances. The
evil of this short-sightedness continued, with repeated instances
rapidly succeeding each other, for more than two years. It was the
prolonged application of this article which destroyed the value and
almost the credit of the amnesty, and compromised the royal Government
in that reaction of 1815 which has left such lamentable reminiscences.

A member of the right-hand party, who was soon destined to become its
leader, and who until then had taken no share in the debate,
M. de Villèle, alone foresaw the danger of the fifth article, and
hesitated not to oppose it. "This article," said he, "seems to me too
vague and expansive; exceptions to amnesty, after such a rebellion as
that which has taken place in our country, deliver over inevitably to
the rigour of the laws all the excepted individuals. Now rigorous
justice demands that, in such cases, none should be excepted but the
most guilty and the most dangerous. Having no pledge or certain proof
that the individuals attainted by the fifth article have deserved this
express exception, I vote that the article be struck out." Unfortunately
for the Government, this vote of the leader of the opposition passed
without effect.

Independently of the question itself, this discussion produced an
important result: it settled the division of the Chamber into two great
parties, the right-hand side and the centre; the one the opponent, and
the other the ally of the Cabinet. The differences of opinion which
manifested themselves on this occasion were too keen, and were
maintained on both sides with too much animosity, not to become the
basis of a permanent classification. The right-hand party persisted in
requiring several categories of exceptions to the amnesty, confiscations
under the name of indemnity for injuries done to the State, and the
banishment of the regicides who had been implicated during the Hundred
Days. The centre, and the Cabinet in union, firmly resisted these
propositions. M. Royer-Collard and M. de Serre, amongst others,
exhibited in the course of this debate as much political intelligence
as moral rectitude and impassioned eloquence. "It is not always the
number of executions that saves empires," said M. Royer-Collard; "the
art of governing men is more difficult, and glory is acquired at a
loftier price. If we are prudent and skilful, we shall find that we have
punished enough; never, if we are not so." M. de Serre applied himself
chiefly to oppose the confiscations demanded under the title of
indemnities. "The revolutionists have acted thus," said he; "they would
do the same again if they could recover power. It is precisely for this
reason that you ought not to imitate their detestable example; and by a
distorted interpretation of an expression which is not open and sincere,
by an artifice scarcely worthy of the theatre.... Gentlemen, our
treasury may be low, but let it be pure." The categories and the
indemnities were definitively rejected. At the last moment, and in the
midst of almost universal silence, the banishment of the regicides was
alone inscribed upon the act. Under the advice of his ministers, the
King felt that he could not, in obedience to the will of Louis XVI.,
refuse his sanction to the amnesty, and leave this formidable question
in suspense. There are Divine judgments which human authority ought not
to forestall; neither is it called upon to reject them when they are
declared by the course of events.

To the differences on the questions of expediency, every day were added
the disagreements on the questions of principle. The Government itself
excited but few. A bill on elections, introduced by the Minister of the
Interior, M. de Vaublanc, was the only one which assumed this
character. The debate was long and animated. The leading men on the
opposite sides of the Chamber, MM. de Villèle, de la Bourdonnaye,
de Bonald, Royer-Collard, Pasquier, de Serre, Beugnot, and Lainé,
entered into it anxiously. But the ministerial plan was badly conceived,
based upon incompatible foundations, and giving to the elections more of
an administrative than of a political character. The principal orators
of the Centre rejected it, as well as a counter-project proposed by the
committee, in which the right-hand party prevailed, and which the
Cabinet also disapproved. The last proposal was ultimately carried, but
with important amendments, and vehemently opposed to the last. The
Chamber of Deputies passed it by a weak majority, and in the Chamber of
Peers it was thrown out. Although the different parties had clearly
indicated their impressions and desires on the electoral system, the
details were as yet obscure and unsettled. The question remained in
abeyance. From the Chamber itself emanated the other propositions which
involved matters of principle; they sprang from the right-hand party,
and all tended to the same point--the position of the Church in the
State. M. de Castelbajac proposed that the bishops and ministers should
be authorized to receive and hold in perpetuity, without requiring the
sanction of Government, all donations of property, real or personal, for
the maintenance of public worship or ecclesiastical establishments.
M. de Blangy demanded that the condition of the clergy should be
materially improved, and that the married priests should no longer enjoy
the pensions which had been given to them in their clerical character.
M. de Bonald called for the abolition of the law of divorce.
M. Lachèze-Murel insisted that the custody of the civil records should
be given back to the ministers of religion. M. Murard de St. Romain
attacked the University, and argued that public education should be
confided to the clergy. The zeal of the new legislators was, above all
other considerations, directed towards the re-establishment of religion
and the Church, as the true basis of social power.

At the outset, the uneasiness and opposition excited by these proposals
were less animated than we can at present imagine. More immediate
dangers occupied the adversaries of Government and the public mind. A
general sentiment in favour of religion as a necessary principle of
order and morality, prevailed throughout the country; a sentiment
revived even by the crisis of the Hundred Days, the moral wounds which
that crisis had revealed, and the social dangers it had partially
disclosed. The Catholic Church had not yet become the mark of the
reaction which a little later was raised against it. The clergy took no
direct part in these debates. The University had been, under the Empire,
an object of suspicion and hostility on the part of the Liberals. The
movement in favour of religious influences scarcely astonished those
whom it displeased. But in the very bosom of the Chamber whence this
movement emanated, there were enlightened understandings, who at once
perceived its full range, and I foresaw the angry dissensions which
sooner or later would be stirred up in the new social system by some of
these propositions, so utterly opposed to its most fundamental and
cherished principles. They applied themselves, with resolute good
sense, to extract from the measures introduced, a selection conformable
to the true interests of society and the Church. The law of divorce was
abolished. The position of the parish priests, of the assistant
ministers, and of several ecclesiastical establishments received
important amelioration. The scandal of married clergymen still receiving
official pensions ceased. But the proposal of assigning to the clergy
the care of the civil records, and the control of public instruction,
fell to the ground. The University, well defended and directed by
M. Royer-Collard, remained intact. And with regard to the privilege
demanded for the clergy, of receiving every kind of donation without the
interference of the civil authorities, the Chamber of Peers, on a
report, as judicious as it was elegantly composed, by the
Abbé de Montesquiou, reduced it to these conditions,--that none but
religious establishments recognized by law should exercise this right,
and that in every individual instance the authority of the King should
be indispensable. The Chamber of Deputies adopted the measure thus
amended, and from this movement, which threatened to disturb so
completely the relations of the Church and State, nothing eventuated to
infringe seriously either on the old maxims or the modern principles of
French society.

The Cabinet co-operated loyally in these debates and wise resolutions,
but with less decision and ascendency than that evinced by the moderate
Royalists in the Chambers. It brought into the question neither the
depth of thought, nor the power of eloquence, which give a Government
the control over legislative assemblies, and raise it, even in spite of
its deficiencies, in public estimation. The Duke de Richelieu was
universally respected. Amongst his colleagues, all men of high character
and loyalty, there were several who were endowed with rare knowledge,
ability, and courage. But the Cabinet wanted unity and brilliant
reputation; important conditions under any system, but pre-eminently so
under a free government.

Outside the Chambers, the Ministry had to sustain a still more weighty
load than the pressure from within, and one which they were not better
able to encounter. France had become a prey, not to the most tyrannical
or the most sanguinary, but to the most vexatious and irritating of all
the passing influences which the vicissitudes of frequent revolutions
impose upon a nation. A party long vanquished, trampled on, and finally
included in a general amnesty, the party of the old Royalty, suddenly
imagined that they had become masters, and gave themselves up
passionately to the enjoyment of a new power which they looked upon as
an ancient right. God forbid that I should revive the sad remembrances
of this reaction! I only desire to explain its true character. It was,
in civil society, in internal administration, in local affairs, and
nearly throughout the entire land of France, a species of foreign
invasion, violent in certain places, offensive everywhere, and which
occasioned more evil to be dreaded than it actually inflicted; for these
unexpected victors threatened and insulted even where they refrained
from striking. They seemed inclined to indemnify themselves by arrogant
temerity, for their impotence to recover all that they had lost; and to
satisfy their own consciences in the midst of their revenge, they tried
to persuade themselves that they were far from inflicting on their
enemies the full measure of what they had themselves suffered.

Strangers to the passions of this party, impressed with the mischief
they inflicted on the Royal cause, and personally wounded by the
embarrassments they occasioned to the Government, the Duke de Richelieu
and the majority of his colleagues contended with honest sincerity
against them. Even by the side of the most justly condemned proceedings
during the reaction of 1815, and which remained entirely unpunished, we
find traces of the efforts of the existing authorities either to check
them, prevent their return, or at least to repel the sad responsibility
of permitting them. When the outrages against the Protestants broke out
in the departments of the south, and more than six weeks before
M. d'Argenson spoke of them in the Chamber of Deputies, a royal
proclamation, countersigned by M. Pasquier, vehemently denounced them,
and called upon the magistrates for their suppression. After the
scandalous acquittal, by the Court of Assize at Nismes, of the assassin
of General Lagarde, who had protected the free worship of the
Protestants, M. Pasquier demanded and obtained, from the Court of
Appeal, the annulment of this sentence, in the name of the law, and as a
last protestation of discarded justice. In spite of every possible
intervention of delay and impediment, the proceedings commenced at
Toulouse, and ended in a decree of the prevôtal court at Pau, which
inflicted five years' imprisonment on two of the murderers of General
Ramel. Those of Marshal Brune had never been seriously pursued; but
M. de Serre, being appointed Chancellor, compelled justice to resume its
course; and the Court of Assize at Riom condemned to death, in default
of appearance, the assassins they were unable to apprehend. Tardy and
insufficient amends, which reveal the weakness of authority, as well as
the resistance with which it was opposed! Even the ministers most
subservient to the extreme royalist party endeavoured to check while
supporting them, and took care to contribute less assistance than they
had promised. At the very time when the Government divided the old army
into classes, to get rid of all the suspected officers, the Minister of
War, the Duke of Feltri, summoned to the direction of the staff of his
department General de Meulan, my brother-in-law, a brave soldier, who
had entered the service as a private in 1797, and had won his promotion
on the field of battle by dint of wounds. M. de Meulan was a royalist,
but extremely attached to the army and his comrades, and deeply grieved
by the severities with which they were oppressed. I witnessed his
constant efforts to obtain justice for them, and to secure the
continuance in the ranks, or re-admission, of all those whom he believed
to be disposed to serve the King with honest loyalty. The undertaking
was difficult. In 1816, one of our most able and distinguished officers
of engineers, General Bernard, had been placed on half-pay, and lived in
exile at Dôle. The United States of America offered him the command of
that branch of service in the Republic, with considerable advantages. He
accepted the proposal, and asked the permission of his minister. The
Duke of Feltri summoned him to his presence, and tried to induce him to
abandon this design, by offering to appoint him to any situation in
France which he considered suitable. "You promise me," said Bernard,
"what you are unable to perform; place me as you intend, and in a
fortnight I shall be so denounced that you will have no power to support
me, and so harassed that I should voluntarily resign. While the
Government has no more strength than at present, it can neither employ
nor protect me. In my corner, I am at the mercy of a sub-prefect and
police magistrate, who can arrest and imprison me; who sends for me
every day, and compels me to wait in his ante-chamber to be ill received
at last. Suffer me to go to America. The United States are the natural
allies of France. I have decided, and, unless imprisoned, I shall
certainly take my departure." His passport was then given to him. The
Duke de Berry complained to General Haxo of the course adopted by
General Bernard. "After the manner in which he has been treated,"
replied Haxo, "I am only surprised that he has not gone before; it is by
no means certain that I shall not some day follow his example."

Nothing can explain, better than this simple fact, the situation of the
King's ministers at that time, and the sincerity as well as the timidity
of their wishes to be prudent and just.

A great act, resolutely conceived and accomplished, on a great occasion,
was necessary to raise the executive authority from the reputation as
well as the actual mischief of this weakness, and to emancipate it from
the party under which it succumbed while resisting. Today, so long
removed as we are from that time, the more I reflect on it in the calm
freedom of my judgment, the more I am convinced that the trial of
Marshal Ney afforded a most propitious opportunity for such an act as
that to which I now allude. There were undoubtedly weighty reasons for
leaving justice to its unfettered course. Society and the royal power
both required that respect for, and a salutary dread of, the law should
repossess men's minds. It was important that generations formed during
the vicissitudes of the Revolution and the triumphs of the Empire,
should learn, by startling examples, that all does not depend on the
strength and success of the moment; that there are certain inviolable
duties; that we cannot safely sport with the fate of governments and the
peace of nations; and that, in this momentous game, the most powerful
and the most eminent risk their honour and their lives. In a political
and moral sense these considerations were of the greatest importance.
But another prominent truth, equally moral and political, ought to have
weighed heavily in the balance against an extreme decision. The Emperor
Napoleon had reigned long and brilliantly, acknowledged and admired by
France and Europe, and supported by the devotion of millions of men,--by
the people as well as by the army. Ideas of right and duty, sentiments
of respect and fidelity, were confused and antagonistic in many minds.
There were two actual and natural governments in presence of each other;
and many, without perversity, might have hesitated which to choose. The
King, Louis XVIII. and his advisers might in their turn, without
weakness, have taken into consideration this moral confusion, of which
Marshal Ney presented the most illustrious example. The greater his
offence against the King, with the more safety could they place clemency
by the side of justice, and display, over his condemned head, that
greatness of mind and heart which has also its full influence in
establishing power and commanding fidelity. The very violence of the
reaction in favour of royalty, the bitterness of party passions, their
thirst for punishment and vengeance, would have imparted to this act a
still greater brilliancy of credit and effect; for boldness and liberty
would have sprung from it as natural consequences. I heard at that
time a lady of fashion, usually rational and amiable, call
Mademoiselle de Lavalette "a little wretch," for aiding her mother in
the escape of her father. When such extravagancies of feeling and
language are indulged in the hearing of kings and their advisers, they
should be received as warnings to resist, and not to submit.
Marshal Ney, pardoned and banished after condemnation, by royal letters
deliberately promulgated, would have given to kingly power the aspect of
a rampart raising itself above all, whether friends or enemies, to stay
the tide of blood; it would have been, in fact, the reaction of 1815
subdued and extinguished, as well as that of the Hundred Days.

I do not pretend to have thought and said then, all that I say and think
at present. I was sorrowful and perplexed. The King's ministers were in
a similar predicament. They believed that they neither could nor ought
to recommend clemency. In this momentous contingency, power knew not how
to be great, sometimes the only method of becoming strong. Controlled
but not overthrown, and irritated while defeated, by these alternations
of concession and resistance, the Right-hand party, now become decidedly
the Opposition, sought, while complaining and hesitating, some channel
of escape from their position at once powerful and impotent,--some
breach through which they might give the assault to the Government,
enter the citadel, and establish themselves firmly there. A man of mind
and courage, ambitious, restless, clever, and discontented, as well on
his own account as for the sake of his party, ventured an attack
extremely daring in reality, but circumspect in form, and purely
theoretical in appearance. M. de Vitrolles, in a short pamphlet entitled
'Of the Ministry under a Representative Government,' said:--"France in
every quarter expresses the necessity, profoundly acknowledged, of
sterner action in the Government. I have examined the causes of this
universal feeling, and the reasons which could explain why the different
Administrations that have succeeded each other within the last eighteen
months have not given the King's Cabinet the character of strength and
unity which the Ministers themselves feel to be so essential. I believe
that I have found them in the incoherence which existed between the
nature of the adopted government and the ministerial organization, which
it had not been considered necessary to modify, while at the same time
we received a new division of power, and that power assumed an entirely
new character of action." Appealing at every sentence to the practice
and example of England, M. de Vitrolles argued that the Ministry, which
he called _an institution_, should have perfect unity in itself, a
predominant majority in the Chambers, and an actual responsibility in
the conduct of affairs, which would ensure for it, with the Crown, the
requisite influence and dignity. On these three conditions alone could
the Government be effective. A strange reminiscence to refer to at the
present day! By the most confidential intimate of the Count d'Artois,
and to establish the old royalist party in power, parliamentary
legislation was for the first time recommended and demanded for France,
as a necessary consequence of representative government.

I undertook to repulse this attack by unmasking it.[11] I explained, in
reply, the essential principles of representative government, their true
meaning, their real application, and the conditions under which they
could be usefully developed, in the state in which France had been
plunged by our revolutions and dissensions. Above all, I endeavoured to
expose the bitterness of party spirit which lay behind this polished and
erudite tilting-match between political rhetoricians, and the underhand
blows which, in the insufficiency of their public weapons, they secretly
aimed at each other. I believe my ideas were sound enough to satisfy
intelligent minds who looked below the surface and onwards to the
future; but they had no immediate and practical efficacy. When the great
interests of nations and the contending passions of men are at stake,
the most ingenious speculative arguments are a mere war of display,
which has no influence on the course of events. As soon as the budget
was voted, and on the very day of its announcement, the session was
closed, and the Chambers of 1815 retired, having strenuously exercised,
both in defence and attack, the free privileges conferred on France by
the Charter; but divided into two Royalist parties: the one wavering and
uneasy, although in the possession of power; the other full of
expectation, and looking forward, with the opening of the next session,
to a more decisive success, and both in a state of mutual irritation.

Notwithstanding their doubts and weaknesses, the advantage remained with
the Cabinet and its adherents. For the first time since France had been
a prey to the Revolution, the struggles of liberty assisted the
advocates of a moderate policy, and essentially checked, if not
completely subdued, their opponents. The waves of reaction murmured, but
rose no more. The Cabinet, strongly supported in the Chambers, possessed
the confidence of the King, who entertained a high esteem for the Duke
de Richelieu, and a friendly disposition, becoming daily more warm,
towards his young Minister of Police, M. Decazes. Eight days after the
closing of the session, the Cabinet gained an important accession to its
internal strength, and an eloquent interpreter of its public policy.
M. Lainé replaced M. de Vaublanc as Minister of the Interior. As a slight
compensation to the right-hand party, M. de Marbois, who had rendered
himself very objectionable to them, was dismissed from the Ministry of
Justice, and the Chancellor, M. Dambray, resumed the seals.
M. de Marbois was one of those upright and well-informed men, but at the
same time neither quick-sighted nor commanding, who assist power by
opinion rather than force. He had opposed the reaction with more
integrity than energy, and served the King with dignity, without
acquiring personal influence. In October 1815, at a moment of the most
violent agitation, the King expressed much anxiety for the introduction
of the bill respecting the prevôtal courts. It was settled in council
that the Chancellor and the Minister of War should prepare it together.
A few days after, the King asked for it rather impatiently. "Sire,"
answered M. de Marbois, "I am ashamed to tell your Majesty that it is
ready." He resigned office honourably, although with some regret. At the
same time I left the post of Secretary-General to the Ministry of
Justice. While there, M. de Marbois had treated me with confidence
inspired by sympathy. Finding it disagreeable to remain under
M. Dambray, to whom my Protestant extraction and opinions were equally
unsuited, I re-assumed the place of Master of Requests in the State

The Chambers had scarcely adjourned, when the conspiracy of Grenoble,
planned by Didier, and that called the plot of the patriots, at Paris,
in 1816, came, one upon the other, to put the moderation of the Cabinet
to the proof. The details forwarded by the magistrates of the department
of the Isère were full of exaggeration and declamatory excitement. The
mode of repression ordered by the Government was precipitately rigorous.
Grenoble had been the cradle of the Hundred Days. It was thought
expedient to strike Bonapartism heavily, in the very place where it had
first exploded. A natural opportunity presented itself here of dealing
firmly with the abettors of treason, while in another quarter strong
resistance was opposed to the advocates of reaction. Moderation
sometimes becomes impatient of its name, and yields to the temptation of
forgetting it for the moment.

The Government nevertheless continued to be moderate, and the public
were not deceived as to the course adopted. Although M. Decazes, from
the nature of his department, was the minister on whom measures of
inquiry and suppression devolved, he was at the same time looked upon,
and truly, as the protector of the oppressed, and of all who were
suspected without cause. By natural disposition and magisterial habit,
he loved justice in his heart. A stranger to all party antipathies,
penetrating, fearless, indefatigably active, and as prompt in
benevolence as in duty, he exercised the power which the special laws
conferred on him with measure and discretion; enforcing them as much
against the spirit of reaction and persecution as against detected
conspiracy, and continually occupied himself in preventing or repairing
the abuses in which the inferior authorities indulged. Thus he advanced
equally in the good opinion of the country and the favour of the King.
People and parties have an infallible instinct by which they recognize,
under the most complicated circumstances, those who attack and those who
defend them, their friends and their enemies. The ultra-royalists soon
began to look upon M. Decazes as their chief adversary, and the
moderates to regard him as their most valuable ally.

At the same time, and during the silence of the tribune, the chief
representatives of moderate policy in the Chambers eagerly sought
opportunities of bringing their views before the public, of proclaiming
their principles, and of rallying, round the King and the constitutional
government, the still hesitating support of the nation at large. It
affords me much gratification to recall here the words, perhaps
forgotten, of three justly celebrated men, all personal friends of my
own; they demonstrate (as I think, with some brilliancy) the spirit of
the monarchical party attached to the state of society which the times
had engendered in France, and the opinions and sentiments they were
anxious to disseminate.

On the 6th of July, 1816, M. de Serre, in establishing, as first
President, the Royal Court at Colmar, spoke as follows:--"Liberty, that
pretext of all seditious ambition,--liberty, which is nothing more than
the reign of law, has ever been the first privilege buried with the laws
under the ruins of the throne. Religion itself is in danger when the
throne and laws are attacked; for everything on earth is derived from
heaven, and there is perfect harmony between all divine and human
institutions. If the latter are overturned, the former cannot be
respected. Let all our efforts, then, be exerted to combine, purify, and
strengthen that monarchical and Christian spirit which inspires the
sentiment of every sacrifice to duty! Let our first care be to obtain
universal respect for the Charter which the King has granted to us.
Undoubtedly our laws, our Charter, may be improved; and we neither
require to interdict regret for the past nor hope for the future. But
let us commence by submitting heartily and without reserve to the laws
as they exist; let us place this first check on the impatient
restlessness to which we have been surrendered for twenty-five years;
let us teach ourselves this primary conviction, that we know how to
adopt and to be satisfied with a defined system. The rest may be left to

Six weeks later, on the 19th of August, M. Royer-Collard, when presiding
over the distribution of prizes at the general meeting of the
University, addressed these words to the young students:--"Today, when
the reign of falsehood has ceased, and the legitimacy of power, which is
truth in government, permits a more unshackled play to all salutary and
generous doctrines, public instruction beholds its destinies elevated
and expanded. Religion demands from it pure hearts and disciplined
minds; the State looks for habits profoundly monarchical; science,
philosophy, and literature expect new brilliancy and distinction. These
will be the benefits bestowed by a prince to whom his people already owe
so much gratitude and love. He, who has made public liberty flourish
under the shadow of his hereditary throne, will know well how to base,
on the tutelary principles of empires, a system of teaching worthy of
the enlightened knowledge of the age, and such as France demands from
him, that she may not descend from the glorious rank she occupies
amongst nations."

At the expiration of eight days more, in an assembly exclusively
literary, a man who had never held public office, but for half or more
than half a century a sincere and steady friend to liberty, M. Suard,
perpetual secretary of the French Academy, in giving an account to that
body of the examination in which he had decreed the prize to
M. Villemain for his 'Panegyric on Montesquieu,' expressed himself in
these terms:--"The instability of governments generally proceeds from
indecision as to the principles which ought to regulate the exercise of
power. A prince enlightened by the intelligence of the age, by
experience, and a superior understanding, bestows on royal authority a
support which no other can replace, in that Charter which protects the
rights of the monarch, while it guarantees to the nation all those that
constitute true and legitimate liberty. Let us rally under this signal
of alliance between the people and their king. Their union is the only
certain pledge for the happiness of both. Let the Charter be for us what
the holy ark that contained the tables of the law was for the Hebrews of
old. If the shade of the great publicist who has shed light on the
principles of constitutional monarchies could be present at the triumph
which we now award him, he would confirm with his sanction the
sentiments I venture to express."

An assembly so unanimous in opinion and intention, composed of such men,
representing so many important sections of society, and voluntarily
grouped round the King and his ministers, constituted in themselves a
great political fact. A certain index was supplied, that, in the opinion
of the moderate party, enlightened minds were not wanting to comprehend
the conditions of the new system, or serious dispositions for its
support. As yet, however, they only formed the scattered elements and
seeds of a great conservative party under a free government. Time was
necessary for this party to unite, to consolidate its natural strength,
and to render itself acceptable to the country. Would time be given for
this difficult undertaking? The question was doubtful. A formidable
crisis approached; the Chamber of 1815 was on the point of re-opening,
and undoubtedly still more ardent and aggressive than during the
preceding session. The party which prevailed there had not only to
retrieve their checks, and pursue their designs, but they had also
recent insults to avenge. During the recess they had been the objects of
animated attack. The Government everywhere opposed their influence; the
public loudly manifested towards them mistrust and antipathy; they were
alternately charged with fanaticism and hypocrisy, with incapacity and
vindictive obstinacy. Popular-anger and ridicule assailed them with
unrestrained license. From notes collected at the time, I quote
literally a few specimens of the sarcastic hostility with which they
were pursued:--

"April 10th, 1816.--Before adjourning, the Chamber of Deputies has
organized itself into a chapel. Treasurer and secretary, M. Laborie.
Contractor for burials, M. de La Bourdonnaye. Grave-digger,
M. Duplessis-Grénédan. Superintendent, M. de Bouville, and in his
capacity of vice-president--rattlesnake. Dispenser of holy water
(promise-maker), M. de Vitrolles. General of the Capuchins,
M. de Villèle; and he deserves the post for his voice. Grand almoner,
M. de Marcellus, who gives a portion of his own estate to the poor.
Bellringers, M. Hyde de Neuville," etc. etc.

"May, 1816.--Here is the Charter which a majority of the Chamber
proposes to confer upon us.--_Article._ The fundamental principles of
the constitution may be changed as often as we wish; nevertheless,
seeing that stability is desirable, they shall not be changed more than
three times a year.--_Art._ Every law emanates from the King; this is
the first evidence of the right of petition accorded to all
frenchmen.--_Art._ The laws shall be executed according to the pleasure
of the Deputies, each in their respective departments.--_Art._ Every
representative shall have the nomination to all posts within his

"July 1816.--They say the King is slightly indisposed. He will be very
ill indeed if he is obliged to keep his _Chamber_ for five years."

Such were the public expressions respecting this assembly, one of the
most honourable members of which, M. de Kergorlay, said, a few months
before, "The Chamber had not yet whispered when the former Ministry
already fell; let it speak, and the present Government will scarcely
last eight days."

The Ministry, however, had held its ground, and still continued to do
so; but it was evidently impossible that it could stand firm against the
Chamber, once more assembled with redoubled animosity. They well knew
that the Opposition was determined to renew the most violent attacks
upon the existing authorities. M. de Châteaubriand printed his 'Monarchy
according to the Charter;' and although this able pamphlet was not yet
published, everybody knew the superior skill with which the author could
so eloquently blend falsehood with truth, how brilliantly he could
compound sentiments and ideas, and with what power he could entangle the
blinded and unsettled public in this dazzling chaos. Neither the
Ministry nor the Opposition attempted to deceive themselves as to the
nature and consequences of the struggle about to commence. The question
of persons was merely the symbol and cloak of the great social and
political topics in dispute between the two parties. The point to be
decided was, whether power should pass over to the _Right-hand_ party,
such as it had exhibited itself during the session lately terminated;
that is, whether the theories of M. de Bonald and the passions of
M. de La Bourdonnaye, feebly qualified by the prudence and influence, as
yet unripened, of M. de Villèle, should become the rule of the King's

I am not now, neither was I in 1815, amongst those who considered the
_Right-hand_ party unfit to govern France. On the contrary, I had
already, although less profoundly and clearly than at present, adopted
the opinion, that a concurrence of all the enlightened and independent
classes, whether old or new, was absolutely necessary to rescue our
country from the impending alternations of anarchy or despotism, and
that without their union we could never long preserve order and liberty
together. Perhaps too I might include this natural tendency amongst the
reasons, not absolutely defined, which led me to desire the Restoration.
Hereditary monarchy, become constitutional, presented itself to my mind
both as a principle of stability, and as a natural and worthy means of
reconciliation and conversion amongst the classes and parties who had
been so long and continually at war. But in 1816, so soon after the
revolutionary shock of the Hundred Days, and before the
counter-revolutionary reaction of 1815 had subsided, the accession of
the _Right-hand_ party to power, would have been very different from the
victory of men capable of governing without social disturbance, although
under an unpopular system. It would have been the Revolution and the
Counter-revolution once more in active contest, under an attack of
raging fever; and thus the Throne and the Charter, the internal peace
and security of France as well as her liberties, would be endangered by
this struggle, before the eyes of Europe encamped within our territory
and in arms around the combatants.

Under these menacing circumstances, M. Decazes had the rare merit of
finding and applying a remedy to the gigantic evil. He was the first,
and for some time the only one amongst the Ministers, who looked upon
the dissolution of the Chamber of 1815 as equally necessary and
possible. Undoubtedly personal interest had a share in his bold
perspicuity; but I know him well enough to feel convinced, that his
devotion to the country and the King powerfully contributed to his
enlightened decision; and his conduct at this crisis displayed at least
as much patriotism as ambition.

He had a double labour of persuasion to accomplish; first to win over
his two principal colleagues, the Duke de Richelieu and M. Lainé, and
afterwards the King himself. Both sincerely attached to a moderate
policy, the Duke and M. Lainé were undecided, timid under great
responsibility, and more disposed to wait the progress of difficulties
and dangers, than to surmount by confronting them. Amongst the Duke's
immediate circle were many ultra-royalists, who exercised no influence
over him, and whom he even treated rudely when they displayed their
violence; but he was unwilling to declare open war against them.
M. Lainé, scrupulous in his resolves and fearful for their consequences,
was sensitive on the point of vanity, and disinclined to any measure not
originating with himself.[12] The King's irresolution was perfectly
natural. How could he dissolve the first Chamber, avowedly royalist,
which had been assembled for twenty-five years,--a Chamber he had
himself declared incomparable, and which contained so many of his oldest
and most faithful friends? What dangers to himself and his dynasty might
spring up on the day of such a decree! and even now, what discontent and
anger already existed in his family and amongst his devoted adherents,
and consequently what embarrassment and vexation thereby recoiled upon

But Louis XVIII. had a cold heart and an unfettered mind. The rage and
ill-temper of his relatives affected him little, when he had once firmly
resolved not to be influenced by them. It was his pride and pleasure to
fancy himself a more enlightened politician than all the rest of his
race, and to act in perfect independence of thought and will. On more
than one occasion, the Chamber, if not in direct words, at least in act
and manner, had treated him with disrespect almost amounting to
contempt, after the fashion of a revolutionary assembly. It became
necessary for him to show to all, that he would not endure the display
of such feelings and principles either from his friends or enemies. He
regarded the Charter as his own work, and the foundation of his glory.
The right-hand party frequently insulted and sometimes threatened a
direct attack upon the Charter. The defence lay with the King. This gave
him an opportunity of re-establishing it in its original integrity.
During the administration of M. de Talleyrand he had, reluctantly and
against his own conviction, modified several articles, and submitted
fourteen others to the revision of the legislative authorities. To cut
short this revision, and to return to the pure Charter, was to restore
it a second time to France, and thus to establish, for the country and
himself, a new pledge of security and peace.

During more than two months, M. Decazes handled all these points with
much ability and address; determined, but not impatient, persevering,
yet not obstinate, changing his topic according to the tempers he
encountered, and day by day bringing before these wavering minds the
facts and arguments best adapted to convince them. Without taking his
principal friends unconnected with the Cabinet into the full and daily
confidence of his labours, he induced them, under a promise of secrecy,
to assist him by reasons and reflections which he might bring under the
eyes of the King, while they gave variety to his own views. Several
amongst them transmitted notes to him with this object; I contributed
one also, particularly bearing on the hopes which those numerous middle
classes placed in the King, who desired no more than to enjoy the
productive repose they derived from him, and whom he alone could secure
from the dangerous uncertainty to which the Chamber had reduced them.
Different in origin and style, but all actuated by the same spirit and
tending to the same end, these argumentative essays became gradually
more and more efficacious. Having at last decided, the Duke de Richelieu
and M. Lainé concurred with M. Decazes to bring over the King, who had
already formed his resolution, but chose to appear undecided, it being
his pleasure to have no real confidant but his favourite. The three
ministers who were known to be friends of the right-hand party,
M. Dambray, the Duke of Feltri, and M. Dubouchage, were not consulted;
and it was said that they remained in total ignorance of the whole
affair to the last moment. I have reason to believe that, either from
respect to the King, or from reluctance to enter into contest with the
favourite, they soon reconciled themselves to a result which they plainly

Be this as it may, on Wednesday, the 14th of August, the King held a
cabinet council; the sitting was over, and the Duke of Feltri had
already risen to take his departure. The King desired him to resume his
place again. "Gentlemen," said he, "there is yet a question of immediate
urgency,--the course to be taken with respect to the Chamber of
Deputies. Three months ago I had determined to re-assemble it. Even a
month since, I retained the same intention; but all that I have seen,
and all that comes under my daily observation, proves so clearly the
spirit of faction by which that Chamber is governed, the dangers which
it threatens to France and to myself have become so apparent, that I
have entirely changed my opinion. From this moment, then, you may
consider the Chamber as dissolved. Start from that point, gentlemen,
prepare to execute the measure, and in the meantime preserve the most
inviolable secrecy on the subject. My decision is absolute." When Louis
XVIII. had formed a serious resolution and intended to be obeyed, he had
a tone of dignity and command which cut short all remonstrance. During
three weeks, although the question deeply occupied all minds, and in
spite of some returns of hesitation on the part of the King himself, the
secret of the resolution adopted was so profoundly kept, that the Court
believed the Chamber would re-assemble. It was only on the 5th of
September, after the King had retired to bed, that _Monsieur_ received
information through the Duke de Richelieu, from his Majesty, that the
decree for the dissolution was signed, and would be published in the
'Moniteur' on the following morning.

The surprise and anger of _Monsieur_ were unbounded; he would have
hastened at once to the King; the Duke de Richelieu withheld him, by
saying that the King was already asleep, and had given peremptory orders
that he should not be disturbed. The Princes, his sons, accustomed to
extreme reserve in the King's presence, appeared to approve rather than
condemn. "The King has acted wisely," said the Duke de Berry; "I warned
those gentlemen of the Chamber that they had indulged in too much
license." The Court was thrown into consternation, on hearing of a
stroke so totally unexpected. The party against whom it was aimed,
attempted some stir in the first instance. M. de Châteaubriand added an
angry _Postscript_ to his 'Monarchy according to the Charter,' and
evinced symptoms of resistance, more indignant than rational, to the
measures decreed, in consequence of some infraction of the regulations
of the press, to retard the publication of his work.[13] But the party,
having reflected a little, prudently stifled their anger, and began
immediately to contrive means for re-engaging in the contest. The
public, or, I ought rather to say, the entire land, loudly proclaimed
its satisfaction. For honest, peaceably disposed people, the measure was
a signal of deliverance; for political agitators, a proclamation of
hope. None were ignorant that M. Decazes had been its first and most
effectual advocate. He was surrounded with congratulations, and promises
that all men of sense and substance would rally round him; he replied
with modest satisfaction, "This country must be very sick indeed for me
to be of so much importance."


[Footnote 11: In a publication entitled 'Of Representative Government,
and the Actual Condition of France,' published in 1816.]

[Footnote 12: I insert amongst the "Historic Documents" a note which he
transmitted to the King, in the course of the month of August, on the
question of the dissolution of the Chamber; and in which the
fluctuations and fantasies of his mind, more ingenious than judicious,
are revealed. (Historic Documents, No. VII.)]

[Footnote 13: I have added to the "Historic Documents" the letters
exchanged on this occasion between M. de Châteaubriand, M. Decazes, and
the Chancellor Dambray, which characterize strongly the event and the
individuals. (Historic Documents, No. VIII.)]





A violent outcry was raised, as there ever has been and always will be,
against ministerial interference at the elections. This is the sour
consolation of the beaten, who feel the necessity of accounting for
their defeat. Elections, taken comprehensively, are almost always more
genuine than interested and narrow-minded suspicion is disposed to
allow. The desires and ability of the powers in office, exercise over
them only a secondary authority. The true essence of elections lies in
the way in which the wind blows, and in the impulse of passing events.
The decree of the 5th of September, 1816, had given confidence to the
moderate party, and a degree of hope to the persecuted of 1815. They all
rallied round the Cabinet, casting aside their quarrels, antipathies,
and private rancours, combining to support the power which promised
victory to the one and safety to the other.

The victory, in fact, remained with the Cabinet, but it was one of those
questionable triumphs which left the conquerors still engaged in a
fierce war. The new Chamber comprised, in the centre a ministerial
majority, on the right a strong and active opposition, and on the left a
very small section, in which M. d'Argenson and M. Lafitte were the only
names recognized by the public.

The ministerial majority was formed from two different although at that
time closely-united elements,--the centre, properly called the grand
army of power, and the very limited staff of that army, who soon
received the title of _doctrinarians_.

I shall say of the centre of our assemblies since 1814, what I have just
said of M. Cuvier; it has been misunderstood and calumniated, when
servility and a rabid desire for place have been named as its leading
characteristics. With it, as with others, personal interests have had
their weight, and have looked for their gratification; but one general
and just idea formed the spirit and bond of union of the party,--the
idea that, in the present day, after so many revolutions, society
required established government, and that to government all good
citizens were bound to render their support. Many excellent and
honourable sentiments,--family affection, a desire for regular
employment, respect for rank, laws, and traditions, anxieties for the
future, religious habits,--all clustered round this conviction, and had
often inspired its votaries with rare and trusting courage. I call these
persevering supporters of Government, citizen Tories; their defamers are
weak politicians and shallow philosophers, who neither understand the
moral instincts of the soul, nor the essential interests of society.

The _doctrinarians_ have been heavily attacked. I shall endeavour to
explain rather than defend them. When either men or parties have once
exercised an influence over events, or obtained a place in history, it
becomes important that they should be correctly known; this point
accomplished, they may rest in peace and submit to judgment.

It was neither intelligence, nor talent, nor moral dignity--qualities
which their acknowledged enemies have scarcely denied them--that
established the original character and political importance of the

Other men of other parties have possessed the same qualities; and
between the relative pretensions of these rivals in understanding,
eloquence, and sincerity, public opinion will decide. The peculiar
characteristic of the doctrinarians, and the real source of their
importance in spite of their limited number, was that they maintained,
against revolutionary principles and ideas, ideas and principles
contrary to those of the old enemies of the Revolution, and with which
they opposed it, not to destroy but to reform and purify it in the name
of justice and truth. The great feature, dearly purchased, of the French
revolution was, that it was a work of the human mind, its conceptions
and pretensions, and at the same time a struggle between social
interests. Philosophy had boasted that it would regulate political
economy, and that institutions, laws, and public authorities should only
exist as the creatures and servants of instructed reason,--- an insane
pride, but a startling homage to all that is most elevated in man, to
his intellectual and moral attributes! Reverses and errors were not slow
in impressing on the Revolution their rough lessons; but even up to 1815
it had encountered, as commentators on its ill-fortune, none but
implacable enemies or undeceived accomplices,--the first thirsting for
vengeance, the last eager for rest, and neither capable of opposing to
revolutionary principles anything beyond a retrograde movement on the
one side, and the scepticism of weariness on the other. "There was
nothing in the Revolution but error and crime," said the first; "the
supporters of the old system were in the right."--"The Revolution erred
only in excess," exclaimed the second; "its principles were sound, but
carried too far; it has abused its rights." The doctrinarians denied
both these conclusions; they refused to acknowledge the maxims of the
old system, or, even in a mere speculative sense, to adhere to the
principles of the Revolution. While frankly adopting the new state of
French society, such as our entire history, and not alone the year 1789,
had made it, they undertook to establish a government on rational
foundations, but totally opposed to the theories in the name of which
the old system had been overthrown, or the incoherent principles which
some endeavoured to conjure up for its reconstruction. Alternately
called on to combat and defend the Revolution, they boldly assumed from
the outset, an intellectual position, opposing ideas to ideas, and
principles to principles, appealing at the same time to reason and
experience, affirming rights instead of maintaining interests, and
requiring France, not to confess that she had committed evil alone, or
to declare her impotence for good, but to emerge from the chaos into
which she had plunged herself, and to raise her head once more towards
heaven in search of light.

Let me readily admit that there was also much pride in this attempt; but
a pride commencing with an act of humility, which proclaims the mistakes
of yesterday with the desire and hope of not repeating them today. It
was rendering homage to human intelligence while warning it of the
limits of its power, respecting the past, without undervaluing the
present or abandoning the future. It was an endeavour to bestow on
politics sound philosophy, not as a sovereign mistress, but as an
adviser and support.

I shall state without hesitation, according to what experience has
taught me, the faults which progressively mingled with this noble
design, and impaired or checked its success. What I anxiously desire at
present is to indicate its true character. It was to this mixture of
philosophical sentiment and political moderation, to this rational
respect for opposing rights and facts, to these principles, equally new
and conservative, anti-revolutionary without being retrograde, and
modest in fact although sometimes haughty in expression, that the
doctrinarians owed their importance as well as their name.
Notwithstanding the numerous errors of philosophy and human reason, the
present age still cherishes reasoning and philosophical tastes; and the
most determined practical politicians sometimes assume the air of acting
upon general ideas, regarding them as sound methods of obtaining
justification or credit. The doctrinarians thus responded to a profound
and real necessity, although imperfectly acknowledged, of French minds:
they paid equal respect to intellect and social order; their notions
appeared well suited to regenerate, while terminating the Revolution.
Under this double title they found, with partisans and adversaries,
points of contact which drew them together, if not with active sympathy,
at least with solid esteem: the right-hand party looked upon them as
sincere royalists; and the left, while opposing them with acrimony,
could not avoid admitting that they were neither the advocates of the
old system, nor the defenders of absolute power.

Such was their position at the opening of the session of 1816: a little
obscure still, but recognized by the Cabinet as well as by the different
parties. The Duke de Richelieu, M. Lainé, and M. Decazes, whether they
liked the doctrinarians or not, felt that they positively required their
co-operation, as well in the debates of the Chambers as to act upon
public opinion. The left-hand party, powerless in itself, accorded with
them from necessity, although their ideas and language sometimes
produced surprise rather than sympathy. The right, notwithstanding its
losses at the elections, was still very strong, and speedily assumed the
offensive. The King's speech on opening the session was mild and
somewhat indistinct, as if tending rather to palliate the decree of the
5th of September, than to parade it with an air of triumph: "Rely," said
he, in conclusion, "on my fixed determination to repress the outrages of
the ill-disposed, and to restrain the exuberance of overheated zeal."
"Is that all?" observed M. de Châteaubriand, on leaving the royal
presence; "if so, the victory is ours:" and on that same day he dined
with the Chancellor. M. de la Bourdonnaye was even more explicit. "The
King," said he, with a coarse expression, "once more hands his
ministers over to us!" During the session of the next day, meeting
M. Royer-Collard, with whom he was in the habit of extremely free
conversation, "Well," said he, "there you are, more rogues than last
year." "And you not so many," replied M. Royer-Collard. The right-hand
party, in their reviving hopes, well knew how to distinguish the
adversaries with whom they would have to contend.

As in the preceding session, the first debates arose on questions of
expediency. The Cabinet judged it necessary to demand from the Chambers
the prolongation, for another year, of the two provisional laws
respecting personal liberty and the daily press. M. Decazes presented a
detailed account of the manner in which, up to that period, the
Government had used the arbitrary power committed to its hands, and also
the new propositions which should restrain it within the limits
necessary to remove all apprehended danger. The right-hand party
vigorously rejected these propositions, upon the very natural ground
that they had no confidence in the Ministers, but without any other
reasoning than the usual commonplace arguments of liberalism. The
doctrinarians supported the bills, but with the addition of commentaries
which strongly marked their independence, and the direction they wished
to give to the power they defended. "Every day," said M. de Serre, "the
nature of our constitution will be better understood, its benefits more
appreciated by the nation; the laws with which you co-operate, will
place by degrees our institutions and habits in harmony with
representative monarchy; the government will approach its natural
perfection,--that unity of principle, design, and action which forms the
condition of its existence. In permitting and even in protecting legal
opposition, it will not allow that opposition to find resting-points
within itself. It is because it can be, and ought to be, watched over
and contradicted by independent men, that it should be punctually
obeyed, faithfully seconded and served by those who have become and wish
to remain its direct agents. Government will thus acquire a degree of
strength which can dispense with the employment of extraordinary means:
legal measures, restored to their proper energy, will be found
sufficient." "There is," said M. Royer-Collard, "a strong objection
against this bill; the Government may be asked, 'Before you demand
excessive powers, have you employed all those which the laws entrust to
you? have you exhausted their efficacy?' ... I shall not directly answer
this question, but I shall say to those who put it, 'Take care how you
expose your Government to too severe a trial, and one under which nearly
all Governments have broken down; do not require from it perfection;
consider its difficulties as well as its duties.' ... We wish to arrest
its steps in the course it pursues at present, and to impose daily
changes. We demand from it the complete development of institutions and
constitutional enactments; above all, we require that vigorous unity of
principles, system, and conduct without which it will never effectually
reach the end towards which it advances. But what it has already done,
is a pledge for what it will yet accomplish. We feel a just reliance
that the extraordinary powers with which we invest it will be exercised,
not by or for a party, but for the nation against all parties. Such is
our treaty; such are the stipulations which have been spoken of: they
are as public as our confidence, and we thank those who have occasioned
their repetition, for proving to France that we are faithful to her
cause, and neglect neither her interests nor our own duties."

With a more gentle effusion of mind and heart, M. Camille Jordan held
the same language; the bills passed; the right-hand party felt as blows
directed against itself the advice suggested to the Cabinet, and the
Cabinet saw that in that quarter, as necessary supporters, they had also
haughty and exacting allies.

Their demands were not fruitless. The Cabinet, uninfluenced either by
despotic views or immoderate passions, had no desire to retain
unnecessarily the absolute power with which it had been entrusted. No
effort was requisite to deprive it of the provisional laws; they fell
successively of themselves,--the suspension of the securities for
personal liberty in 1817, the prevôtal courts in 1818, the censorship of
the daily press in 1819; and four years after the tempest of the Hundred
Days, the country was in the full enjoyment of all its constitutional

During this interval, other questions, more and less important, were
brought forward and decided. When the first overflowing of the reaction
of 1815 had a little calmed down, when France, less disturbed with the
present, began once more to think of the future, she was called upon to
enter on the greatest work that can fall to the lot of a nation. There
was more than a new government to establish; it was necessary that a
free government should be imbued with vigour. It was written, and it
must live,--a promise often made, but never accomplished. How often,
from 1789 to 1814, had liberties and political rights been inscribed on
our institutes and laws, to be buried under them, and held of no
account. The first amongst the Governments of our day, the Restoration,
took these words at their true meaning; whatever may have been its
traditions and propensities, what it said, it did; the liberties and
rights it acknowledged, were taken into real co-operation and action.
From 1814 to 1830, as from 1830 to 1848, the Charter was a truth. For
once forgetting it, Charles X. fell.

When this work of organization, or, to speak more correctly, when this
effectual call to political life commenced in 1816, the question of the
electoral system, already touched upon, but without result, in the
preceding session, was the first that came under notice. It was included
in the scope of the fortieth article of the Charter, which ran
thus:--"The electors who nominate the Deputies can have no right of
voting, unless they pay a direct contribution of 300 francs, and have
reached the age of thirty,"--an ambiguous arrangement, which attempted
more than it ventured to accomplish. It evidently contained a desire of
placing the right of political suffrage above the popular masses, and of
confining it within the more elevated classes of society. But the
constitutional legislator had neither gone openly to this point, nor
attained it with certainty; for if the Charter required from the
electors who were actually to name the Deputies, 300 francs of direct
contribution, and thirty years of age, it did not forbid that these
electors should be themselves chosen by preceding electoral assemblies;
or rather it did not exclude indirect election, nor, under that form,
what is understood by the term universal suffrage.

I took part in drawing up the bill of the 5th of February, 1817, which
comprised, at that time, the solution given to this important question.
I was present at the conferences in which it was prepared. When ready,
M. Lainé, whose business it was, as Minister of the Interior, to present
it to the Chamber of Deputies, wrote to say that he wished to see me: "I
have adopted," he said, "all the principles of this bill, the
concentration of the right of suffrage, direct election, the equal
privilege of voters, their union in a single college for each
department; and I really believe these are the best that could be
desired: still, upon some of these points, I have mental doubts and
little time to solve them. Help me in preparing the exposition of our
objects." I responded, as I was bound, to this confiding sincerity, by
which I felt equally touched and honoured. The bill was brought in; and
while my friends supported it in the Chamber, from whence my age for the
present excluded me, I defended it, on behalf of the Government, in
several articles inserted in the 'Moniteur.' I was well informed as to
its intent and true spirit, and I speak of it without embarrassment in
presence of the universal suffrage, as now established. If the electoral
system of 1817 disappeared in the tempest of 1848, it conferred on
France thirty years of regular and free government, systematically
sustained and controlled; and amidst all the varying influences of
parties, and the shock of a revolution, this system sufficed to maintain
peace, to develop national prosperity, and to preserve respect for all
legal rights. In this age of ephemeral and futile experiments, it is the
only political enactment which has enjoyed a long and powerful life. At
least it was a work which may be acknowledged, and which deserves to be
correctly estimated, even after its overthrow.

A ruling idea inspired the bill of the 5th of February, 1817,--to fix a
term to the revolutionary system, and to give vigour to the
constitutional Government. At that epoch, universal suffrage had ever
been, in France, an instrument of destruction or deceit,--of
destruction, when it had really placed political power in the hands of
the multitude; of deceit, when it had assisted to annul political
rights for the advantage of absolute power, by maintaining, through the
vain intervention of the multitude, a false appearance of electoral
privilege. To escape, in fine, from that routine of alternate violence
and falsehood, to place political power in the region within which the
conservative interests of social order naturally predominate with
enlightened independence, and to secure to those interests, by the
direct election of deputies from the country, a free and strong action
upon its Government,--such were the objects, without reserve or
exaggeration, of the authors of the electoral system of 1817.

In a country devoted for twenty-five years, on the subject of political
elections, whether truly or apparently, to the principle of the
supremacy of number, so absurdly called the sovereignty of the people,
the attempt was new, and might appear rash. At first, it confined
political power to the hands of 140,000 electors. From the public, and
even from what was already designated the liberal party, it encountered
but slight opposition; some objections springing from the past, some
apprehensions for the future, but no declared or active hostility. It
was from the bosom of the classes specially devoted to conservative
interests, and from their intestine discussions, that the attack and the
danger emanated.

During the session of 1815, the old royalist faction, in its moderated
views, and when it renounced systematic and retrograding aspirations,
had persuaded itself that, at least, the King's favour and the influence
of the majority would give it power in the departments as at the seat of
government. The decree of the 5th of September, 1816, abolished this
double expectation. The old Royalists called upon the new electoral
system to restore it, but at once perceived that the bill of the 5th of
February was not calculated to produce such an effect; and forthwith
commenced a violent attack, accusing the new plan of giving over all
electoral power, and consequently all political influence, to the middle
classes, to the exclusion of the great proprietors and the people.

At a later period, the popular party, who neither thought nor spoke on
the subject in 1817, adopted this argument in their turn, and charged,
on this same accusation of political monopoly for the benefit of the
middle classes, their chief complaint, not only against the electoral
law, but against the entire system of government of which that law was
the basis and guarantee.

I collect my reminiscences, and call back my impressions. From 1814 to
1848, under the government of the Restoration, and under that of July, I
loudly supported and more than once had the honour of carrying this flag
of the middle classes, which was naturally my own. What did we
understand by it? Have we ever conceived the design, or even admitted
the thought, that the citizens should become a newly privileged order,
and that the laws intended to regulate the exercise of suffrage should
serve to found the predominance of the middle classes by taking, whether
in right or fact, all political influence, on one side from the relics
of the old French aristocracy, and on the other from the people?

Such an attempt would have been strangely ignorant and insane. It is
neither by political theories nor articles in laws, that the privileges
and superiority of any particular class are established in a State.
These slow and pedantic methods are not available for such a purpose; it
requires the force of conquest or the power of faith. Society is
exclusively controlled by military or religious ascendency; never by the
influence of the citizens. The history of all ages and nations is at
hand to prove this to the most superficial observer.

In our day, the impossibility of such a predominance of the middle
classes is even more palpable. Two ideas constitute the great features
of modern civilization, and stamp it with its formidable activity; I sum
them up in these terms:--There are certain universal rights inherent in
man's nature, and which no system can legitimately withhold from any
one; there are individual rights which spring from personal merit alone,
without regard to the external circumstances of birth, fortune, or rank,
and which every one who has them in himself should be permitted to
exercise. From the two principles of legal respect for the general
rights of humanity, and the free development of natural gifts, ill or
well understood, have proceeded, for nearly a century, the advantages
and evils, the great actions and crimes, the advances and wanderings
which revolutions and Governments have alternately excited in the bosom
of every European community. Which of these two principles provokes or
even permits the exclusive supremacy of the middle classes? Assuredly
neither the one nor the other. One opens to individual endowments every
gate; the other demands for every human being his place and his portion:
no greatness is unattainable; no condition, however insignificant, is
counted as nothing. Such principles are irreconcilable with exclusive
superiority; that of the middle classes, as of every other, would be in
direct contradiction to the ruling tendencies of modern society.

The middle classes have never, amongst us, dreamed of becoming
privileged orders; and no rational mind has ever indulged in such dreams
for them. This idle accusation is but an engine of war, erected under
cover of a confusion of ideas, sometimes by the hypocritical dexterity,
and at others by the blind infatuation of party spirit. But this does
not prevent its having been, or becoming again, fatal to the peace of
our social system; for men are so constructed that chimerical dangers
are the most formidable they can encounter: we fight boldly with
tangible substances, but we lose our heads, either from fear or anger,
when in presence of phantoms.

It was with real dangers that we had to cope in 1817, when we discussed
the electoral system of France. We saw the most legitimate principles
and the most jealous interests of the new state of society indistinctly
menaced by a violent reaction. We felt the spirit of revolution spring
up and ferment around us, arming itself, according to old practice, with
noble incentives, to cover the march and prepare the triumph of the most
injurious passions. By instinct and position, the middle classes were
the best suited to struggle with the combined peril. Opposed to the
pretensions of the old aristocracy, they had acquired, under the Empire,
ideas and habits of government. Although they received the Restoration
with some mistrust, they were not hostile to it; for under the rule of
the Charter, they had nothing to ask from new revolutions. The Charter
was for them the Capitol and the harbour; they found in it the security
of their conquests, and the triumph of their hopes. To turn to the
advantage of the ancient monarchy, now become constitutional, this
anti-revolutionary state of the middle classes, to secure their
co-operation with that monarchy by giving them confidence in their own
position, was a line of policy clearly indicated by the state of facts
and opinions. Such was the bearing of the electoral bill of 1817. In
principle this bill cut short the revolutionary theories of the
supremacy of numbers, and of a specious and tyrannical equality; in
fact, it brought the new society under shelter from the threats of
counter-revolution. Assuredly, in proposing it, we had no intention of
establishing any antagonism between the great and small proprietors; but
when the question was so laid down, we evinced no hesitation; we
supported the bill firmly, by maintaining that the influence, not
exclusive but preponderating, of the middle classes was confirmed, on
one side by the spirit of free institutions, and on the other in
conformity with the interests of France as the Revolution had changed
her, and with the Restoration itself as the Charter had defined when
proclaiming it.

The election bill occupied the session of 1816. The bill for recruiting
was the great subject and work of the session of 1817. The right-hand
party opposed it with vehement hostility: it disputed their traditions
and disturbed their monarchical tendencies. But the party had to contest
with a minister as imperturbable in his convictions and will as in his
physiognomy. Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr had a powerful, original, and
straightforward mind, with no great combination of ideas, but
passionately wedded to those which emanated from himself. He had
resolved to give back to France what she no longer possessed--an army.
And an army in his estimate was a small nation springing from the large
one, strongly organized, formed of officers and soldiers closely united,
mutually knowing and respecting each other, all having defined rights
and duties, and all well trained by solid study or long practice to
serve their country effectually when called upon.

Upon this idea of an army, according to the conception of Marshal St.
Cyr, the principles of his bill were naturally framed. Every class in
the State was required to assist in the formation of this army. Those
who entered in the lowest rank were open to the highest, with a certain
advantage in the ascending movement of the middle classes. Those who
were ambitious of occupying at once a higher step, were compelled in the
first instance to pass certain examinations, and then to acquire by
close study the particular knowledge necessary to their post. The term
of service, active or in reserve, was long, and made military life in
reality a career. The obligations imposed, the privileges promised, and
the rights recognized for all, were guaranteed by the bill.

Besides these general principles, the bill had an immediate result which
St. Cyr ardently desired. It enrolled again in the new army, under the
head of veterans and reserve, the remains of the old discharged legions,
who had so heroically endured the penalty of the errors committed by
their crowned leader. It effaced also, in their minds, that reminiscence
of a distasteful past, while by a sort of special Charter it secured
their future.

No one can deny that this plan for the military organization of France,
embraced grand ideas and noble sentiments. Such a bill accorded with the
moral nature and political conduct of Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, who
possessed an upright soul, a proud temperament, monarchical opinions,
and republican manners; and who, since 1814, had given equal proofs of
loyalty and independence. When he advocated it in the tribune, when,
with the manly solemnity and disciplined feeling of an experienced
warrior, at once a sincere patriot and a royalist, he recapitulated the
services and sufferings of that nation of old soldiers which he was
anxious for a few years longer to unite with the new army of France, he
deeply moved the public and the Chambers; and his powerful language, no
less than the excellent propositions of his bill, consecrated it on the
instant in the affectionate esteem of the country.

Violently attacked in 1818, Marshal St. Cyr's recruiting bill has been
since that date several times criticised, revised, and modified. Its
leading principles have resisted assault, and have survived alteration.
It has done more than last, through soundness of principle; it has
given, by facts, an astounding denial to its adversaries. It was accused
of striking a blow at the monarchy; on the contrary, it has made the
army more devotedly monarchical than any that France had ever known,--an
army whose fidelity has never been shaken, either in 1830 or 1848, by
the influence of popular opinion, or the seduction of a revolutionary
crisis. Military sentiment, that spirit of obedience and respect, of
discipline and devotion, one of the chief glories of human nature, and
the necessary pledge of the honour as of the safety of nations, had been
powerfully fomented and developed in France by the great wars of the
Revolution and the Empire. It was a precious inheritance of those rough
times which have bequeathed to us so many burdens. There was danger of
its being lost or enfeebled in the bosom of peaceful inaction, and
during endless debates on liberty. It has been firmly maintained in the
army which the law of 1818 established and incessantly recruits. This
military sentiment is not only preserved; it has become purified and
regulated. By the honesty of its promises and the justice of its
arrangements in matters of privilege and promotion, the bill of Marshal
St. Cyr has imbued the army with a permanent conviction of its rights,
of its own legal and individual rights, and, through that feeling, with
an instinctive attachment to public order, the common guarantee of all
rights. We have witnessed the rare and imposing sight of an army capable
of devotion and restraint, ready for sacrifices, and modest in
pretension, ambitious of glory, without being athirst for war, proud of
its arms, and yet obedient to civil authority. Public habits, the
prevailing ideas of the time, and the general character of our
civilization have doubtless operated much upon this great result; but
the bill of Marshal St. Cyr has had its full part, and I rejoice in
recording this honourable distinction, which, amongst so many others,
belongs to my old and glorious friend.

The session of 1818, which opened in the midst of a ministerial crisis,
had to deal with another question not more important, but even more
intricate and dangerous. The Cabinet determined to leave the press no
longer under an exceptional and temporary law. M. de Serre, at that time
Chancellor, introduced three bills on the same day, which settled
definitively the penalty, the method of prosecution, and the
qualification for publishing, in respect to the daily papers, while at
the same time they liberated them from all censorship.

I am one of those who have been much assisted and fiercely attacked by
the press. Throughout my life, I have greatly employed this engine. By
placing my ideas publicly before the eyes of my country, I first
attracted her attention and esteem. During the progress of my career, I
have ever had the press for ally or opponent; and I have never hesitated
to employ its weapons, or feared to expose myself to its blows. It is a
power which I respect and recognize willingly, rather than compulsorily,
but without illusion or idolatry. Whatever may be the form of
government, political life is a constant struggle; and it would give me
no satisfaction--I will even say more--I should feel ashamed of finding
myself opposed to mute and fettered adversaries. The liberty of the
press is human nature displaying itself in broad daylight, sometimes
under the most attractive, and at others under the most repelling
aspect; it is the wholesome air that vivifies, and the tempest that
destroys, the expansion and impulsive power of steam in the intellectual
system. I have ever advocated a free press; I believe it to be, on the
whole, more useful than injurious to public morality; and I look upon it
as essential to the proper management of public affairs, and to the
security of private interests. But I have witnessed too often and too
closely its dangerous aberrations as regards political order, not to
feel convinced that this liberty requires the restraint of a strong
organization of effective laws and of controlling principles. In 1819,
my friends and I clearly foresaw the necessity of these conditions; but
we laid little stress upon them, we were unable to bring them all into
operation, and we thought, moreover, that the time had arrived when the
sincerity as well as the strength of the restored monarchy was to be
proved by removing from the press its previous shackles, and in risking
the consequences of its enfranchisement.

The greater part of the laws passed with reference to the press, in
France or elsewhere, have either been acts of repression, legitimate or
illegitimate, against liberty, or triumphs over certain special
guarantees of liberty successively won from power, according to the
necessity or opportunity of gaining them. The legislative history of the
press in England supplies a long series of alternations and arrangements
of this class.

The bills of 1819 had a totally different character. They comprised a
complete legislation, conceived together and beforehand, conformable
with certain general principles, defining in every degree liabilities
and penalties, regulating all the conditions as well as the forms of
publication, and intended to establish and secure the liberty of the
press, while protecting order and power from its licentiousness;--an
undertaking very difficult in its nature, as all legislative enactments
must be which spring from precaution more than necessity, and in which
the legislator is inspired and governed by ideas rather than commanded
and directed by facts. Another danger, a moral and concealed danger,
also presented itself. Enactments thus prepared and maintained become
works of a philosopher and artist, the author of which is tempted to
identify himself with them through an impulse of self-love, which
sometimes leads him to lose sight of the external circumstances and
practical application he ought to have considered. Politics require a
certain mixture of indifference and passion, of freedom of thought and
restrained will, which is not easily reconciled with a strong adhesion
to general ideas, and a sincere intent to hold a just balance between
the many principles and interests of society.

I should be unwilling to assert that in the measures proposed and passed
in 1819, on the liberty of the press, we had completely avoided these
rocks, or that they were in perfect harmony with the state of men's
minds, and the exigencies of order at that precise epoch. Nevertheless,
after an interval of nearly forty years, and on reconsidering these
measures now with my matured judgment, I do not hesitate to look on them
as grand and noble efforts of legislation, in which the true points of
the subject were skilfully embraced and applied, and which, in spite of
the mutilation they were speedily doomed to undergo, established an
advance in the liberty of the press, properly understood, which sooner
or later cannot fail to extend itself.

The debate on these bills was worthy of their conception. M. de Serre
was gifted with eloquence singularly exalted and practical. He supported
their general principles in the tone of a magistrate who applies, and
not as a philosopher who explains them. His speech was profound without
abstraction, highly coloured but not figurative; his reasoning resolved
itself into action. He expounded, examined, discussed, attacked, or
replied without literary or even oratorical preparation, carrying up the
strength of his arguments to the full level of the questions, fertile
without exuberance, precise without dryness, impassioned without a
shadow of declamation, always ready with a sound answer to his
opponents, as powerful on the impulse of the moment as in prepared
reflection, and, when once he had surmounted a slight hesitation and
slowness at the first onset, pressing on directly to his end with a firm
and rapid step, and with the air of a man deeply interested, but
careless of personal success, and only anxious to win his cause by
communicating to his listeners his own sentiments and convictions.

Different adversaries presented themselves during the debate, from those
who had opposed the bills for elections and recruiting the army. The
right-hand party attacked the two latter propositions; the left assailed
the measures regarding the press. MM. Benjamin Constant, Manuel,
Chauvelin, and Bignon, with more parliamentary malice than political
judgment, overwhelmed them with objections and amendments slightly
mingled with very qualified compliments. Recent elections had lately
readmitted into the assembly these leaders of the Liberals in the
Chamber of the Hundred Days. They seemed to think of nothing but how to
bring once more upon the scene their party, for three years beaten down,
and to re-establish their own position as popular orators. Some of the
most prominent ideas in the drawing up of these three bills, were but
little in conformity with the philosophic and legislative traditions
which since 1791 had become current on the subject. They evidently
comprised a sincere wish to guarantee liberty, and a strong desire not
to disarm power. It was a novel exhibition to see Ministers frankly
recognizing the liberty of the press, without offering up incense on its
shrine, and assuming that they understood its rights and interests
better than its old worshippers. In the opposition of the left-hand
party at this period, there was much of routine, a great deal of
complaisance for the prejudices and passions of the press attached to
their party, and a little angry jealousy of a cabinet which permitted
liberal innovation. The public, unacquainted with political factions,
were astonished to see bills so vehemently opposed which diminished the
penalties in force against the press, referred to a jury all offences of
that class, and liberated the journals from the censorship,--measures
which in their eyes appeared too confident. The right-hand party held
dexterously aloof, rejoicing to see the Ministers at issue with reviving
opponents who were likely soon to become their most formidable enemies.

It was during this debate that I ascended the tribune for the first
time. M. Cuvier and I had been appointed, as Royal Commissioners, to
support the proposed measures,--a false and weak position, which
demonstrates the infancy of representative government. We do not argue
politics as we plead a cause or maintain a thesis. To act effectively in
a deliberative assembly, we must ourselves be deliberators; that is to
say, we must be members, and hold our share with others in free
thought, power, and responsibility. I believe that I acquitted myself
with propriety, but coldly, of the mission I had undertaken. I
sustained, against M. Benjamin Constant, the general responsibility for
the correctness of the accounts given of the proceedings of the
Chambers, and, against M. Daunou, the guarantees required by the bill
for the establishment of newspapers. The Chamber appeared to appreciate
my arguments, and listened to me with attention. But I kept on the
reserve, and seldom joined in the debate; I have no turn for incomplete
positions and prescribed parts. When we enter into an arena in which the
affairs of a free country are discussed, it is not to make a display of
fine thoughts and words; we are bound to engage in the struggle as true
and earnest actors.

As the recruiting bill had established a personal and political
reputation for Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, so the bills on the press
effected the same for M. de Serre. Thus, at the issue of a violent
crisis of revolution and war, in presence of armed Europe, and within
the short space of three sessions, the three most important questions of
a free system--the construction of elective power, the formation of a
national army, and the interference of individual opinions in public
affairs through the channel of the press--were freely proposed, argued,
and resolved; and their solution, whatever might be the opinion of
parties, was certainly in harmony with the habits and wishes of that
honest and peaceably disposed majority of France who had sincerely
received the King and the Charter, and had adopted their government on
mature consideration.

During this time, many other measures of constitutional organization,
or general legislation, had been accomplished or proposed. In 1818, an
amendment of M. Royer-Collard settled the addition to the budget of an
annual law for the supervision of public accounts; and in the course of
the following year, two ministers of finance, the Baron Louis and
M. Roy, brought into operation that security for the honest
appropriation of the revenue. By the institution of smaller
"Great-books" of the national debt, the state of public credit became
known in the departments. Other bills, although laid before the
Chambers, produced no result; three, amongst the rest, may be named: on
the responsibility of Ministers, on the organization of the Chamber of
Peers into a court of justice, and on the alteration of the financial
year to avoid the provisional vote of the duty. Others again, especially
applicable to the reform of departmental and parochial administrations,
and to public instruction, were left in a state of inquiry and
preliminary discussion. Far from eluding or allowing important questions
to linger, the Government laboriously investigated them, and forestalled
the wishes of the public, determined to submit them to the Chambers as
soon as they had collected facts and arranged their own plans.

I still preserve a deep remembrance of the State Council in which these
various bills were first discussed. This Council had not then any
defined official existence or prescribed action in the constitution of
the country; politics nevertheless were more prominently argued there,
and with greater freedom and effect, than at any other time; every
shade, I ought rather to say every variation, of the royalist party,
from the extreme right to the edge of the left, were there represented;
the politicians most in repute, the leaders of the majority in the two
Assemblies, were brought into contact with the heads of administration,
the old senators of the Empire, and with younger men not yet admissible
to the Chambers, but introduced by the Charter into public life.
MM. Royer-Collard, de Serre, and Camille Jordan sat there by the side of
MM. Siméon, Portalis, Molé, Bérenger, Cuvier, and Allent; and
MM. de Barante, Mounier, and myself deliberated in common with
MM. de Ballainvilliers, Laporte-Lalanne, and de Blaire, unswerving
representatives of the old system. When important bills were examined by
the Council, the Ministers never failed to attend. The Duke de Richelieu
often presided at the general sittings. The discussion was perfectly
free, without oratorical display or pretension, but serious, profound,
varied, detailed, earnest, erudite, and at the same time practical. I
have heard Count Bérenger, a man of disputatious and independent temper,
and a quasi-republican under the Empire, maintain there, with ingenious
and imposing subtlety, universal suffrage, and distinctions of
qualification for voting, against direct election and the concentrated
right of suffrage. MM. Cuvier, Siméon, and Allent were the constant
defenders of traditional and administrative influence. My friends and I
argued strongly for the principles and hopes of liberty strongly based,
which appeared to us the natural consequences of the Charter and the
necessary conditions for the prosperity of the Restoration. Reforms in
criminal legislation, the application of trial by jury to offences of
the press, the introduction of the elective principle into the
municipal system, were argued in the Council of State before they were
laid before the Chambers. The Government looked to the Council, not only
for a study of all questions, but for a preparatory and amicable
experience of the ideas, desires, and objections it was destined to
encounter at a later period, in a rougher contest, and a more tumultuous

The Cabinet, composed as it was at the time when the decree of the 5th
of September, 1816, appeared, was not equal to that line of policy,
continually increasing in moderation, sometimes resolutely, liberal,
and, if not always provident, at least perpetually active. But the same
progress which accompanied events, affected individuals. During the
course of the year 1817, M. Pasquier, Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, and
M. Molé replaced M. Dambray, the Duke of Feltri, and M. Dubouchage in
the departments of justice, war, and the marine. From that time the
Ministers were not deficient either in internal unity, or in
parliamentary and administrative talent. They endeavoured to infuse the
same qualities into all the different branches and gradations of
government, and succeeded tolerably in the heart of the State. Without
reaction or any exclusive spirit, they surrounded themselves with men
sincerely attached to a constitutional policy, and who by their
character and ability had already won public esteem. They were less firm
and effective in local administration; although introducing more changes
than are generally believed, they were unable to reconcile them with
their general policy. In many places, acts of violence, capricious
temper, haughty inexperience, offensive pretension and frivolous alarm,
with all the great and little party passions which had possessed the
Government of 1815, continued to weigh upon the country. These
proceedings kept up amongst the tranquil population a strong sentiment
of uneasiness, and sometimes excited active malcontents to attempts at
conspiracy and insurrection, amplified at first with interested or
absurd credulity, repressed with unmitigated rigour, and subsequently
discussed, denied, extenuated, and reduced almost to nothing by
never-ending explanations and counter-charges. From thence arose the
mistakes, prejudices, and false calculations of the local authorities;
while the supreme powers assumed alternately airs of levity or weakness,
which made them lose, in the eyes of the multitude, the credit of that
sound general policy from which they, the masses, experienced little
advantage. The occurrences at Lyons in June 1817, and the long debates
of which they became the subject after the mission of redress of the
Duke of Ragusa, furnish a lamentable example of the evils which France
at this period had still to endure, although at the head of government
the original cause had disappeared.

Things are more easily managed than men. These same Ministers, who were
not always able to compel the prefects and mayors to adopt their policy,
and who hesitated to displace them when they were found to be obstinate
or incapable, were ever prompt and effective when general administration
was involved, and measures not personal were necessary for the public
interest. On this point, reflection tells me that justice has not been
rendered to the Government of the day; religious establishments, public
instruction, hospital and prison discipline, financial and military
administration, the connection of power with industry and commerce, all
the great public questions, received from 1816 to 1820 much salutary
reform and made important advances. The Duke de Richelieu advocated an
enlightened policy and the public good; he took pride in contributing to
both. M. Lainé devoted himself with serious and scrupulous anxiety to
the superintendence of the many establishments included in his
department, and laboured to rectify existing abuses or to introduce
salutary limitations. The Baron Louis was an able and indefatigable
minister, who knew to a point how regularity could be established in the
finances of the State, and who employed for that object all the
resources of his mind and the unfettered energy of his will. Marshal
Gouvion St. Cyr had, on every branch of military organization, on the
formation and internal system of the different bodies, on the scientific
schools as well as on the material supplies, ideas at once systematic
and practical, derived either from his general conception of the army or
from long experience; and these he carried into effect in a series of
regulations remarkable for the unity of their views and the profound
knowledge of their details. M. Decazes was endowed with a singularly
inquiring and inventive mind in seeking to satisfy doubts, to attempt
improvements, to stimulate emulation and concord for the advantage of
all social interests, of all classes of citizens, in connection with the
Government; and these combined objects he invariably promoted with
intelligent, amiable, and eager activity. In a political point of view,
the Administration left much to regret and to desire; but in its proper
sphere it was liberal, energetic, impartial, economical from probity and
regularity, friendly to progress at the same time that it was careful of
order, and sincerely impressed with the desire of giving universal
prevalence to justice and the public interest.[14]

Here was undoubtedly a sensible and sound Government, in very difficult
and lamentable circumstances; and under such rule the country had no
occasion to lament the present or despair of the future. Nevertheless
this Government gained no strength by permanence; its enemies felt no
discouragement, while its friends perceived no addition to their power
or security. The Restoration had given peace to France, and laboured
honestly and successfully to restore her independence and rank in
Europe. Under this flag of stability and order, prosperity and liberty
sprang up again together. Still the Restoration was always a disputed

If we are to believe its enemies, this evil was inherent and inevitable.
According to them the old system, the emigrants, the foreigners, the
hatreds and suspicions of the Revolution devoted the House of Bourbon to
their obstinately precarious situation. Without disputing the influence
of such a fatal past, I cannot admit that it exercised complete empire
over events, or that it suffices in itself to explain why the
Restoration, even in its best days, always was and appeared to be in a
tottering state. The mischief sprang from more immediate and more
personal causes. In the Government of that date there were organic and
accidental infirmities, vices of the political machine and errors of the
actors, which contributed much more than revolutionary remembrances to
prevent its firm consolidation.

A natural and important disagreement exists between the representative
government instituted by the Charter, and the administrative monarchy
founded by Louis XIV. and Napoleon. Where administration and policy are
equally free, when local affairs are discussed and decided by local
authorities or influences, and neither derive their impulse nor solution
from the central power, which never interferes except when the general
interest of the State absolutely requires it to do so,--as in England,
and in the United States of America, in Holland and Belgium, for
instances,--the representative system readily accords with an
administrative Government which never appeals to its co-operation except
on important and rare occasions. But when the supreme authority
undertakes at the same time to govern with freedom, and to administer by
centralization,--when it has to contend, at the seat of power, for the
great affairs of the State, and to regulate, under its own
responsibility, in all the departments, the minor business of every
district,--two weighty objections immediately present themselves: either
the central power, absorbed by the care of national questions, and
occupied with its own defence, neglects local affairs, and suffers them
to fall into disorder and inaction; or it connects them closely with
general questions, making them subservient to its own interests; and
thus the whole system of administration, from the hamlet to the palace,
degenerates into an implement of government in the hands of political
parties who are mutually contending for power.

I am certainly not called upon today to dwell on this evil; it has
become the hackneyed theme of the adversaries of representative
government, and of political liberty. It was felt long before it was
taken advantage of; but instead of employing it against free
institutions, an attempt was made to effect its cure. To achieve this
end, a double work was to be accomplished; it was necessary to infuse
liberty into the administration of local affairs, and to second the
development of the local forces capable of exercising authority within
their own circle. An aristocracy cannot be created by laws, either at
the extremities or at the fountain-head of the State; but the most
democratic society is not stripped of natural powers ready to display
themselves when called into action. Not only in the departments, but in
the divisions, in the townships and villages, landed property, industry,
employments, professions, and traditions have their local influences,
which, if adopted and organized with prudence, constitute effectual
authority. From 1816 to 1848, under each of the two constitutional
monarchies, whether voluntarily or by compulsion, the different cabinets
have acted under this conviction; they have studied to relieve the
central Government, by remitting a portion of its functions, sometimes
to the regular local agents, and at others to more independent
auxiliaries. But, as it too often happens, the remedy was not rapid
enough in operation; mistrust, timidity, inexperience, and routine
slackened its progress; neither the authorities nor the people knew how
to employ it with resolution, or to wait the results with patience. Thus
compelled to sustain the burden of political liberty with that of
administrative centralization, the newly-born constitutional monarchy
found itself compromised between difficulties and contradictory
responsibilities, exceeding the measure of ability and strength which
could be reasonably expected from any Government.

Another evil, the natural but not incurable result of these very
institutions, weighed also upon the Restoration. The representative
system is at the bottom, and on close analysis, a system of mutual
sacrifices and dealings between the various interests which coexist in
society. At the same time that it places them in antagonism, it imposes
on them the absolute necessity of arriving at an intermediate term, a
definite measure of reciprocal understanding and toleration which may
become the basis of laws and government. But also, at the same time, by
the publicity and heat of the struggle, it throws the opposing parties
into an unseemly exaggeration of vehemence and language, and compromises
the self-love and personal dignity of human nature. Thus, by an
inconsistency teeming with embarrassment, it daily renders more
difficult that agreement or submission which, in the end, it has also
made indispensable. Herein is comprised an important difficulty for this
system of government, which can only be surmounted by a great exercise
of tact and conciliation on the part of the political actors
themselves, and by a great preponderance of good sense on that of the
public, which in the end recalls parliamentary factions and their
leaders to that moderation after defeat, from which the inflated passion
of the characters they have assumed too often tends to estrange them.

This necessary regulator, always difficult to find or institute, was
essentially wanting to us under the Restoration; on entering the course,
we were launched, without curb, on this precipice of extreme
demonstrations and preconceived ideas, the natural vice of parties in
every representative government. How many opportunities presented
themselves from 1816 to 1830, when the different elements of the
monarchical party could, and in their struggle ought to have paused on
this brink, at the point where the danger of revolution commenced for
all! But none had the good sense or courage to exercise this provident
restraint; and the public, far from imposing it on them, excited them
still more urgently to the combat,--as at a play, in which people
delight to trace the dramatic reflection of their own passions.

A mischievous, although inevitable, distribution of parts between the
opposing parties aggravated still more, from 1816 to 1820, this want of
forecast in men, and this extravagance of public passions. Under the
representative system, it is usually to one of the parties distinctly
defined and firmly resolved in their ideas and desires, that the
government belongs: sometimes the systematic defenders of power, at
others the friends of liberty, then the conservatives, and lastly the
innovators, direct the affairs of the country; and between these
organized and ambitious parties are placed the unclassed opinions and
undecided wishes, that political chorus which is ever present watching
the conduct of the actors, listening to their words, and ready to
applaud or condemn them according as they satisfy or offend their
unfettered judgment. This is, in fact, the natural bias and true order
of things under free institutions. It is well for Government to have a
public and recognized standard, regulated on fixed principles, and
sustained in action by steady adherents; it derives from that position,
not only the strength and consistent coherence that it requires, but the
moral dignity which renders power more easy and gentle by placing it
higher in the estimation of the people. It is not the chance of events
or the personal ambition of men alone, but the interests and inclination
of the public, which have produced, in free countries, the great,
acknowledged, permanent, and trusty political parties, and have usually
confided power to their hands. At the Restoration it was impossible,
from 1816 to 1820, to fulfil this condition of a Government at once
energetic and restrained. The two great political parties which it found
in action, that of the old system and of the revolution, were both at
the time incapable of governing by maintaining internal peace with
liberty; each had ideas and passions too much opposed to the established
and legal order they would have had to defend; they accepted with great
reluctance, and in a very undefined sense, the one the Charter, and the
other the old Monarchy. Through absolute necessity, power returned to
the hands of the political choir; the floating and impartial section of
the Chambers, the centre, was called to the helm. Under a free system,
the Centre is the habitual moderator and definitive judge of Government,
but not the party naturally pretending to govern. It gives or withholds
the majority, but its mission is not to conquer it. And it is much more
difficult for the centre than for strongly organized parties to win or
maintain a majority; for when it assumes government, it finds before it,
not undecided spectators who wait its acts to pass judgment on them, but
inflamed adversaries resolved to combat them beforehand;--a weak and
dangerous position, which greatly aggravates the difficulties of
Government, whether engaged in the display of power, or the protection
of liberty.

Not only was this the situation of the King's Government from 1816 to
1820, but even this was not regularly and powerfully established. Badly
distributed amongst the actors, the characters were doubtfully filled in
the interior of this new and uncertain party of the centre, on whom the
government, through necessity, devolved. The principal portion of the
heads of the majority in the Chambers held no office. From 1816 to 1819,
several of those who represented and directed the centre, who addressed
and supported it with prevailing influence, who defended it from the
attacks of the right and left-hand parties, who established its power in
debate and its credit with the public, MM. Royer-Collard, Camille
Jordan, Beugnot, and de Serre, were excluded from the Cabinet. Amongst
the eminent leaders of the majority, two only, M. Lainé and M. Pasquier
were ministers. The Government, therefore, in the Chambers, relied on
independent supporters who approved of their policy in general, but
neither bore any part in the burden, nor acknowledged any share in the

The doctrinarians had acquired their parliamentary influence and moral
weight by principles and eloquence rather than by deeds; they maintained
their opinions without applying them to practice; the flag of thought
and the standard of action were in different hands. In the Chambers, the
Ministers often appeared as the clients of the orators; the orators
never looked upon their cause as identical with that of the Ministers;
they preserved this distinction while supporting them; they had their
own demands to make before they assented; they qualified their approval,
and even sometimes dissented altogether. As the questions increased in
importance and delicacy, so much the more independence and discord
manifested themselves in the bosom of the ministerial party, with
dangerous notoriety. During the session of 1817, M. Pasquier, then
Chancellor, presented a bill to the Chamber of Deputies, which, while
temporarily maintaining the censorship of the daily papers, comprised in
other respects some modifications favourable to the liberty of the
press. M. Camille Jordan and M. Royer-Collard demanded much greater
concessions, particularly the application of trial by jury to press
offences; and the bill, reluctantly passed by the Chamber of Deputies,
was thrown out by the Chamber of Peers, when the Duke de Broglie urged
the same amendments on similar principles. In 1817 also, a new Concordat
had been negotiated and concluded at Rome by M. de Blacas. It contained
the double and contradictory defect of invading by some of its
specifications the liberties of the old Gallican Church; while, by the
abolition of the Concordat of 1801, it inspired the new French society
with lively alarms for its civil liberties. Little versed in such
matters, and almost entirely absorbed in the negotiations for relieving
France from the presence of foreigners, the Duke de Richelieu had
confided this business to M. de Blacas, who was equally ignorant and
careless of the importance of the old or new liberties of France,
whether civil or religious. When this Concordat, respecting which the
Ministers themselves were discontented and doubtful when they had
carefully examined it, was presented to the Chamber of Deputies by
M. Lainé, with the measures necessary for carrying it into effect, it
was received with general disfavour. In committee, in the board
appointed to report on it, in the discussions in the hall of conference,
all the objections, political and historical, of principle or
circumstance, that the bill could possibly excite, were argued and
explained beforehand, so as to give warning of the most obstinate and
dangerous debate. The doctrinarians openly declared for this premature
opposition; and their support produced a strong effect, as they were
known to be sincere friends to religion and its influences. It is true,
M. Royer-Collard was accused of being a Jansenist; and thus an attempt
was made to depreciate him in the eyes of the true believers of the
Catholic Church. The reproach was frivolous. M. Royer-Collard had
derived, from family traditions and early education, serious habits,
studious inclinations, and an affectionate respect for the exalted minds
of Port-Royal, for their virtue and genius; but he neither adopted their
religious doctrines nor their systematic conclusions on the relative
ties between Church and State. On all these questions he exercised a
free and rational judgment, as a stranger to all extreme passion or
sectarian prejudice, and not in the least disposed, either as Catholic
or philosopher, to engage in obscure and endless quarrels with the
Church. "I seek not to quibble with religion," he was wont to say; "it
has enough to do to defend itself and us from impiety." The opposition
of M. Royer-Collard to the Concordat of 1817 was the dissent of a
politician and enlightened moralist, who foresaw the mischief which the
public discussion, and adoption or rejection of this bill, would inflict
on the influence of the Church, the credit of the Restoration, and the
peace of the country. The Cabinet had prudence enough not to brave a
danger which it had created, or suffered to grow on its steps. The
report on the bill was indefinitely adjourned, and a fresh negotiation
was opened with Rome by sending Count Portalis on a special mission,
which ended in 1819 by the tacit withdrawal of the Concordat of 1817.
The Duke de Richelieu, pressed by his colleagues, and his own tardy
reflections, coincided in this retrograde movement; but he maintained a
feeling of displeasure at the opposition of the doctrinarians and others
on this occasion, which he sometimes gratified himself by indulging. In
the month of March, 1818, some one, whose name I have forgotten,
demanded of him a trifling favour. "It is impossible," replied he
sharply; "MM. Royer-Collard, de Serre, Camille Jordan, and Guizot will
not suffer it."

I had no reason to complain that my name was included in this
ebullition. Although not a member of the Chamber, I openly adopted the
opinions and conduct of my friends; I had both the opportunity and the
means, in the discussions of the Council of State, in the drawing-room,
and through the press,--channels which all parties employed with equal
ardour and effect. In spite of the shackles which restrained the papers
and periodical publications, they freely exercised the liberty which the
Government no longer attempted to dispute, and to which the most
influential politicians had recourse, to disseminate far and wide the
brilliant flames or smouldering fire of their opposition.
M. de Châteaubriand, M. de Bonald, M. de Villèle, in the 'Conservative,'
and M. Benjamin Constant in the 'Minerva,' maintained an incessant
assault on the Cabinet. The Cabinet in its defence, multiplied similar
publications, such as the 'Moderator,' the 'Publicist,' and the
'Political and Literary Spectator.' But, for my friends and our cause,
the defences of the Cabinet were not always desirable or sufficient; we
therefore, from 1817 to 1820, had our own journals and periodical
miscellanies,--the 'Courier,' the 'Globe,' the 'Philosophical,
Political, and Literary Archives,' and the 'French Review;' and in these
we discussed, according to our principles and hopes, sometimes general
questions, and at others the incidental subjects of current policy, as
they alternately presented themselves. I contributed much to these
publications. Between our different adversaries and ourselves the
contest was extremely unequal: whether they came from the right or the
left, they represented old parties; they expressed ideas and sentiments
long in circulation; they found a public predisposed to receive them.
We were intruders in the political arena, officers seeking to recruit an
army, moderate innovators. We attacked, in the name of liberty, theories
and passions long popular under the same denomination. We defended the
new French society according to its true rights and interests, but not
in conformity with its tastes or habits. We had to conquer our public,
while we combated our enemies. In this difficult attempt our position
was somewhat doubtful: we were at the same time with and against the
Government, royalists and liberals, ministerialists and independents; we
acted sometimes in concert with the Administration, sometimes with the
Opposition, and we were unable to avail ourselves of all the weapons of
either power or liberty. But we were full of faith in our opinions, of
confidence in ourselves, of hope in the future; and we pressed forward
daily in our double contest, with as much devotion as pride, and with
more pride than ambition.

All this has been strenuously denied; my friends and I have often been
represented as deep plotters, greedy for office, eager and shrewd in
pushing our fortunes through every opening, and more intent on our own
ascendency than on the fate or wishes of the country,--a vulgar and
senseless estimate, both of human nature and of our contemporary
history. If ambition had been our ruling principle, we might have
escaped many efforts and defeats. In times when the most brilliant
fortunes, political or otherwise, were easily within reach of those who
thought of nothing else, we only desired to achieve ours on certain
moral conditions, and with the object of not caring for ourselves.
Ambition we had, but in the service of a public cause; and one which,
either in success or adversity, has severely tried the constancy of its

The most clear-sighted of the cabinet ministers in 1817, M. Decazes and
M. Pasquier, whose minds were more free and less suspicious than those
of the Duke de Richelieu and M. Lainé, were not deceived on this point:
they felt the necessity of our alliance, and cultivated it with anxiety.
But when it becomes a question of how to govern in difficult times,
allies are not enough; intimate associates are necessary, devoted
adherents in labour and peril. In this character, the doctrinarians, and
particularly M. Royer-Collard, their leader in the Chambers, were
mistrusted. They were looked upon as at once imperious and undecided,
and more exacting than effective. Nevertheless, in November, 1819, after
the election of M. Grégoire and in the midst of their projected reforms
in the electoral law, M. Decazes, at the strong instigation of
M. de Serre, proposed to M. Royer-Collard to join the Cabinet with one
or two of his friends. M. Royer-Collard hesitated at first, then acceded
for a moment, and finally declined. "You know not what you would do,"
said he to M. Decazes; "my method of dealing with affairs would differ
entirely from yours: you elude questions, you shift and change them, you
gain time, you settle things by halves; I, on the contrary, should
attack them in front, bring them into open view, and dissect them before
all the world. I should compromise instead of assisting you."
M. Royer-Collard was in the right, and defined himself admirably,
perhaps more correctly than he imagined. He was more calculated to
advise and contest than to exercise power. He was rather a great
spectator and critic than an eminent political actor. In the ordinary
course of affairs he would have been too absolute, too haughty, and too
slow. In a crisis, I question whether his mental reservations, his
scruples of conscience, his horror of all public excitement, and his
prevailing dread of responsibility, would have permitted him to preserve
the cool self-possession, with the firm and prompt determination, which
circumstances might have required. M. Decazes pressed him no further.

Even at this moment, after all I have seen and experienced, I am not
prone to be discouraged, or inclined to believe that difficult
achievements are impossible. However defective may be the internal
constitution and combinations of the different parties who co-operate in
carrying on public affairs, the upright conduct of individuals may
remedy them; history furnishes more than one example of vicious
institutions and situations, the evil results of which have been
counteracted by the ability of political leaders and the sound sense of
the public. But when to the evils of position, the errors of men are
added,--when, instead of recognizing dangers in their true tendency, and
opposing firm resistance, the chiefs and followers of parties either
yield to or accelerate them, then the mischievous effects of pernicious
courses inevitably and rapidly develop themselves. Errors were not
wanting from 1816 to 1820 in every party, whether of Government or
Opposition, of the centre, the right, or the left, of the ministers or
doctrinarians. I make no parade of impartiality; in spite of their
faults and misfortunes, I continue, with a daily increasing conviction,
to look upon the Government I served, and the party I supported, to have
been the best; but, for our own credit, let leisure and reflection teach
us to acknowledge the mistakes we committed, and to prepare for our
cause--which assuredly will not die with us--a more auspicious future.

The centre, in its governing mission, had considerable advantages; it
suffered neither from moral embarrassments nor external clogs, it was
perfectly free and unshackled,--essential qualifications in a great
public career, and which at that time belonged neither to the right nor
to the left-hand party.

The right had only accepted the Charter on the eve of its promulgation,
and after strenuous resistance; a conspicuous and energetic section of
the party still persisted in opposing it. That division which had seats
in the Chambers, sided from day to day with the constitutional
system,--the officers as intelligent and reflecting men, the soldiers as
staunch and contented royalists; but neither, in these recognized
capacities, inspired confidence in the country, which looked upon their
adhesion to the Charter as constrained or conditional, always insincere
and covering other views. The right, even while honestly accepting the
Charter, had also party interests to satisfy; when it aspired to power,
it was not solely to govern according to its principles, and to place
the restored monarchy on a solid basis: it had private misfortunes to
repair and positions to re-assume. It was not a pure and regular party
of Tory royalists. The emigrants, the remains of the old court and
clergy, were still influential amongst them, and eagerly bent on
carrying out their personal expectations. By its composition and
reminiscences, the party was condemned to much reserve and imprudence,
to secret aspirations and indiscreet ebullitions, which, even while it
professed to walk in constitutional paths, embarrassed and weakened its
action at every step.

The situation of the left was no less confused. It represented, at that
exact epoch, not the interests and sentiments of France in general, but
the interests and sentiments of that portion of France which had
ardently, indistinctly, and obstinately promoted and sustained the
Revolution, under its republican or imperial form. It cherished against
the House of Bourbon and the Restoration an old habit of hostility,
which the Hundred Days had revived, which the most rational of the party
could scarcely throw off, the most skilful with difficulty concealed,
and the gravest considered it a point of honour to display as a protest
and corner-stone. In November 1816, a man of probity, as sincere in the
renunciation of his opinions of 1789 as he had formerly been in their
profession, the Viscount Matthieu de Montmorency, complained, in a
drawing-room of the party, that the Liberals had no love for legitimacy.
A person present defended himself from this reproach. "Yes," said
M. de Montmorency, with thoughtless candour, "you love legitimacy as we
do the Charter." A keen satire on the false position of both parties
under the government of the Charter and of legitimacy!

But if the right-hand party or the left, if the members of either in the
Chambers, had followed only their sincere convictions and desires, the
greater portion, I am satisfied, would have frankly accepted and
supported the Restoration with the Charter, the Charter with the
Restoration. When men are seriously engaged in a work and feel the
weight of responsibility, they soon discover the true course, and would
willingly follow it. But, both in the right and left, the wisest and
best-disposed feared to proclaim the truth which they saw, or to adopt
it as their rule of conduct; both were under the yoke of their external
party, of its passions as of its interests, of its ignorance as of its
passions. It has been one of the sorest wounds of our age, that few men
have preserved sufficient firmness of mind and character to think
freely, and act as they think. The intellectual and moral independence
of individuals disappeared under the pressure of events and before the
heat of popular clamours and desires. Under such a general slavery of
thought and action, there are no longer just or mistaken minds, cautious
or rash spirits, officers or soldiers; all yield to the same controlling
passion, and bend before the same wind; common weakness reduces all to
one common level; hierarchy and discipline vanish; the last lead the
first; for the last press and drive onwards, being themselves impelled
by that tyranny from without, of which they have been the most blind and
ready instruments.

As a political party, the centre, in the Chambers from 1816 to 1820, was
not tainted by this evil. Sincere in its adoption of the Restoration and
the Charter, no external pressure could disturb or falsify its position.
It remained unfettered in thought and deed. It openly acknowledged its
object, and marched directly towards it; selecting, within, the leaders
most capable of conducting it there, and having no supporters without
who looked for any other issue. It was thus that, in spite of its other
deficiencies for powerful government, the centre was at that time the
fittest party to rule, the only one capable of maintaining order in the
State, while tolerating the liberty of its rivals.

But to reap the full fruits of this advantage, and to diminish at the
same time the natural defects of the centre in its mission, it was
necessary that it should adopt a fixed idea, a conviction that the
different elements of the party were indispensable to each other; and
that, to accomplish the object pursued by all with equal sincerity,
mutual concessions and sacrifices were called for, to maintain this
necessary union. When Divine wisdom intended to secure the power of a
human connection, it forbade divorce. Political ties cannot admit this
inviolability; but if they are not strongly knit, if the contracting
parties are not firmly resolved to break them only in the last extremity
and under the most imperious pressure, they soon end, not only in
impotence, but in disorder; and by their too easy rupture, policy
becomes exposed to new difficulties and disturbances. I have thus
pointed out the discrepancies and different opinions which, from the
beginning, existed between the two principal elements of the centre: the
Ministers, with their pure adherents, on the one side, and the
doctrinarians on the other. From the second session after the decree of
the 5th of September, 1816, these differences increased until they grew
into dissensions.

While acknowledging the influence of the doctrinarians in the Chambers,
and the importance of their co-operation, neither the Ministers nor
their advocates measured correctly the value of this alliance, or the
weight of the foundation from which that value was derived. Philosophers
estimate too highly the general ideas with which they are prepossessed;
politicians withhold from general ideas the attention and interest they
are entitled to demand. Intelligence is proud and sensitive; it looks
for consideration and respect, even though its suggestions may be
disallowed; and those who treat it lightly or coldly sometimes pay
heavily for their mistake. It is, moreover, an evidence of narrow
intellect not to appreciate the part which general principles assume in
the government of men, or to regard them as useless or hostile because
we are not disposed to adopt them as guides. In our days, especially,
and notwithstanding the well-merited disrepute into which so many
theories have fallen, philosophic deduction, on all the leading
questions and facts of policy, is a sustaining power, on which the
ablest and most secure ministers would do wisely to rely. The
doctrinarians at that period represented this power, and employed it
fearlessly against the spirit of revolution, as well as in favour of the
constitutional system. The Cabinet of 1816 undervalued the part they
played, and paid too little attention to their ideas and desires. The
application of trial by jury to offences of the press was not, I admit,
unattended by danger; but it was much better to try that experiment, and
by so doing to maintain union in the Government party, than to divide
it by absolutely disregarding, on this question, M. Camille Jordan,
M. Royer-Collard, and their friends.

All power, and, above all, recent power, demands an impression of
grandeur in its acts and on its insignia. Order, and the regular
protection of private interests, that daily bread of nations, will not
long satisfy their wants. To secure these is an inseparable care of
Government, but they do not comprise the only need of humanity. Human
nature finds the other enjoyments for which it thirsts in opposite
distinctions, moral or physical, just or unjust, solid or ephemeral. It
has neither enough of virtue nor wisdom to render absolute greatness
indispensable; but in every position it requires to see, conspicuously
displayed, something exalted, which may attract and occupy the
imagination. After the Empire, which had accustomed France to all the
delights of national pre-eminence and glory, the spectacle of free and
lofty thought displaying itself with moral dignity, and some show of
talent, was not deficient in novelty or attraction, while the chance of
its success outweighed the value of the cost.

The Ministers were not more skilful in dealing with the personal tempers
than with the ideas of the doctrinarians, who were as haughty and
independent in character as they were elevated in mind, and ready to
take offence when any disposition was evinced to apply their opinions
and conduct without their own consent. Nothing is more distasteful to
power than to admit, to any great extent, the independence of its
supporters; it considers them treated with sufficient respect if taken
into confidence, and is readily disposed to view them as servants.
M. Lainé, then Minister of the Interior, wrote one morning to M. Cuvier
to say that the King had just named him Royal Commissioner, to second a
bill which would be presented on the following day to the Chamber of
Deputies. He had not only neglected to apprise him before of the duty he
was to undertake, but he did not even mention in the note the particular
bill he instructed him to support. M. Cuvier, more subservient than
susceptible, with power, made no complaint of this treatment, but
related it with a smile. A few days before, the Minister of Finance,
M. Corvetto, had also appointed M. de Serre Commissioner for the defence
of the budget, without asking whether this appointment was agreeable to
him, or holding any conference even on the fundamental points of the
budget he was expected to carry through. On receiving notice of this
nomination, M. de Serre felt deeply offended. "It is either an act of
folly or impertinence," said he loudly; "perhaps both." M. de Serre
deceived himself; it was neither the one nor the other. M. Corvetto was
an extremely polite, careful, and modest person; but he was of the
Imperial school, and more accustomed to give orders to agents than to
concert measures with members of the Chambers. By habits as well as
ideas, the doctrinarians belonged to a liberal system,--troublesome
allies of power, on the termination of a military and administrative

I know not which is the most difficult undertaking,--to transform the
functionaries of absolute power into the supporters of a free
Government, or to organize and discipline the friends of liberty into a
political party. If the Ministers sometimes disregarded the humour of
the doctrinarians, the doctrinarians in their turn too lightly
estimated the position and task of the Ministers. They had in reality,
whatever has been said of sectarian passions and ideas, neither the
ambition nor the vanity of a coterie; they possessed open, generous, and
expanded minds, extremely accessible to sympathy; but, too much
accustomed to live alone and depend on themselves, they scarcely thought
of the effect which their words and actions produced beyond their own
circle; and thus social faults were laid to their charge which they had
not the least desire to commit. Their political mistakes were more real.
In their relations with power, they were sometimes intemperate and
offensive in language, unnecessarily impatient, not knowing how to be
contented with what was possible, or how to wait for amelioration
without too visible an effort. These causes led them to miscalculate the
impediments, necessities, and practicable resources of the Government
they sincerely wished to establish. In the Chambers, they were too
exclusive and pugnacious, more intent on proving their opinions than on
gaining converts, despising rather than desiring recruits, and little
gifted with the talent of attraction and combination so essential to the
leaders of a party. They were not sufficiently acquainted with the
difficulties of carrying out a sound scheme of policy, nor with the
infinite variety of efforts, sacrifices, and cares which are comprised
in the art of governing.

From 1816 to 1818 the vices of their position and the mistakes
committed, infused into the Government and its party a continual
ferment, and the seeds of internal discord which prevented them from
acquiring the necessary strength and consistency. The mischief burst
forth towards the end of 1818, when the Duke de Richelieu returned from
the conferences of Aix-la-Chapelle, reporting the withdrawal of the
foreign armies, the complete evacuation of our territory, and the
definitive settlement of the financial burdens which the Hundred Days
had imposed on France. On his arrival he saw his Cabinet on the point of
dissolution, and vainly attempted to form a new one, but was finally
compelled to abandon the power he had never sought or enjoyed, but
which, assuredly, he was unwilling to lose by compulsion in the midst of
his diplomatic triumph, and to see it pass into hands determined to
employ it in a manner totally opposed to his own intentions.

A check like this, at such a moment, and to such a man, was singularly
unjust and unseasonable. Since 1815, the Duke de Richelieu had rendered
valuable services to France and to the King. He alone had obtained some
mitigation to the conditions of a very harsh treaty of peace, which
nothing but sincere and sad devotion had induced him to sign, while
feeling the full weight of what he sacrificed in attaching to it his
illustrious name, and seeking no self-glorification from an act of
honest patriotism. No man was ever more free from exaggeration or
quackery in the display of his sentiments. Fifteen months after the
ratification of peace, he induced the foreign powers to consent to a
considerable reduction in the army of occupation. A year later, he
limited to a fixed sum the unbounded demands of the foreign creditors of
France. Finally, he had just signed the entire emancipation of the
national soil four years before the term rigorously prescribed by
treaties. The King, on his return, thanked him in noble words:
"Duke de Richelieu," he said, "I have lived long enough, since, thanks
to you, I have seen the French flag flying over every town in France."
The sovereigns of Europe treated him with esteem and confidence. A rare
example of a statesman, who, without great actions or superior
abilities, had, by the uprightness of his character and the unselfish
tenor of his life, achieved such universal and undisputed respect!
Although the Duke de Richelieu had only been engaged in foreign affairs,
he was better calculated than has been said, not so much to direct
effectively as to preside over the internal government of the
Restoration. A nobleman of exalted rank, and a tried Royalist, he was
neither in mind or feeling a courtier nor an Emigrant; he had no
preconceived dislike to the new state of society or the new men; without
thoroughly understanding free institutions, he had no prejudice against
them, and submitted to their exercise without an effort. Simple in his
manners, true and steady in his words, and a friend to the public good,
if he failed to exercise a commanding influence in the Chambers, he
maintained full authority near the King; and a constitutional
Government, resting on the parliamentary centre, could not, at that
period, have possessed a more worthy or more valuable president.

But at the close of 1818 the Duke de Richelieu felt himself compelled,
and evinced that he was resolved, to engage in a struggle in which the
considerations of gratitude and prosperity I have here reverted to
proved to be ineffective weapons on his side. In virtue of the Charter,
and in conformity with the electoral law of the 5th of February, 1817,
two-fifths of the Chamber of Deputies had been renewed since the
formation of his Cabinet. The first trial of votes, in 1817, had proved
satisfactory to the Restoration and its friends; not more than two or
three recognized names were added to the left-hand party, which, even
after this reinforcement, only amounted to twenty members. At the second
trial in 1818, the party acquired more numerous and much more
distinguished recruits; about twenty-five new members, and amongst them
MM. de La Fayette, Benjamin Constant, and Manuel, were enrolled in its
ranks. The number was still weak, but important as a rallying point, and
prognostic. An alarm, at once sincere and interested, exhibited itself
at court and in the right-hand party; they found themselves on the eve
of a new revolution, but their hopes were also excited: since the
enemies of the House of Bourbon were forcing themselves into the
Chamber, the King would at length feel the necessity of replacing power
in the hands of his friends. The party had not waited the issue of these
last elections to attempt a great enterprise. _Secret notes_, drawn up
under the eye of the Count d'Artois, and by his most intimate
confidants, had been addressed to the foreign sovereigns, to point out
to them this growing mischief, and to convince them that a change in the
advisers of the crown was the only safe measure to secure monarchy in
France, and to preserve peace in Europe. The Duke de Richelieu, in
common with his colleagues, and with a feeling of patriotism far
superior to personal interest, felt indignant at these appeals to
foreign intervention for the internal government of the country.
M. de Vitrolles was struck off from the Privy Council, as author of the
principal of the three _Secret notes_. The European potentates paid
little attention to such announcements, having no faith either in the
sound judgment or disinterested views of the men from whom they
emanated. Nevertheless, after the elections of 1818, they also began to
feel uneasy. It was from prudence, and not choice, that they had
sanctioned and maintained the constitutional system in France; they
looked upon it as necessary to close up the Revolution. If, on the
contrary, it once again opened its doors, the peace of Europe would be
more compromised than ever; for then the Revolution would assume the
semblance of legality. But neither in France nor in Europe did any one
at that time, even amongst the greatest alarmists and the most
intimidated, dream of interfering with the constitutional system; in
universal opinion it had acquired with us the privileges of citizenship.
The entire evil was imputed to the law of elections. It was at
Aix-la-Chapelle, while surrounded by the sovereigns and their ministers,
that the Duke de Richelieu was first apprised of the newly-elected
members whom this law had brought upon the scene. The Emperor Alexander
expressed to him his amazement; the Duke of Wellington advised Louis
XVIII. "to unite himself more closely with the Royalists." The
Duke de Richelieu returned to France with a determination to reform the
electoral law, or no longer to incur the responsibility of its results.

Institutions attacked have no voice in their own defence, and men
gladly charge on them their individual errors. I shall not commit this
injustice, or abandon a sound idea because it has been compromised or
perverted in application. The principle of the electoral law of the 5th
of February, 1817, was good in itself, and still remains good, although
it was insufficient to prevent the evil of our own want of foresight and
intemperate passions.

When a free government is seriously desired, we must choose between the
principle of the law of the 5th of February, 1817, and universal
suffrage,--between the right of voting confined to the higher classes of
society and that extended to the popular masses. I believe the direct
and defined right of suffrage to be alone effectual in securing the
action of the country upon the Government. On this common condition, the
two systems may constitute a real control over power, and substantial
guarantees for liberty. Which is to be preferred?--this is a question of
epoch, of situation, of degree of civilization, and of form of
government. Universal suffrage is well suited to republican
associations, small or federative, newly instituted or mature in wisdom
and political virtue. The right of voting confined to a more elevated
class, and exercised in a strong assumption of the spirit of order, of
independence, and intelligence, is more applicable to great single and
monarchical states. This was our reason for making it the basis of the
law of 1817. We dreaded republican tendencies, which with us, and in our
days, are nearly synonymous with anarchy; we regarded monarchy as
natural, and constitutional monarchy as necessary, to France; we wished
to organize it sincerely and durably, by securing under this system, to
the conservative elements of French society as at present constituted,
an influence which appeared to us as much in conformity with the
interests of liberty as with those of power.

It was the disunion of the monarchical party that vitiated the electoral
system of 1817, and took away its strength with its truth. By placing
political power in the hands of property, intelligence, independent
position, and great interests naturally conservative, the system rested
on the expectation that these interests would be habitually united, and
would defend, in common accord, order and right against the spirit of
license and revolution, the fatal bias of the age. But, from their very
first steps, the different elements of the great royalist party, old or
new, aristocratic or plebeian, plunged into discord, equally blind to
the weakness with which it infected them all, and thus opening the door
to the hopes and efforts of their common enemies, the revolutionists.
From thence, and not from the electoral law of 1817, or from its
principle, came the mischief which in 1818 it was considered desirable
to check by repealing that enactment.

I am ready to admit in express terms, for it may be alleged with
justice, that, when in 1816 and 1817 we prepared and defended the law of
elections, we might have foreseen the state of general feeling under
which it was to be applied. Discord between the components of the
monarchical party was neither a strange nor a sudden fact; it existed at
that time; the Royalists of old and new France were already widely
separated. I incline to think that, even had we attached more
importance to their future contests, we should still have pursued the
same course. We were in presence of an imperative necessity: new France
felt that she was attacked, and required defence; if she had not found
supporters amongst the Royalists, she would have sought for them, as she
has too often done, in the camp of the Revolution. But what may explain
or even excuse a fault cannot effect its suppression. Our policy in 1816
and 1817 regarded too lightly the disagreements of the monarchical
party, and the possible return of the Revolutionists; we miscalculated
the extent of both dangers. It is the besetting error of men
entrammelled in the fetters of party, to forget that there are many
opposite facts which skilful policy should turn to profitable account,
and to pass over all that are not inscribed with brilliancy on their

On leaving Aix-la-Chapelle, where he had been so fortunate, the
Duke de Richelieu, although far from presumptuous, expected, I have no
doubt, to be equally successful in his design of repealing the law of
elections. Success deceives the most unassuming, and prevents them from
foreseeing an approaching reverse. On his arrival, he found the
undertaking much more difficult than he had anticipated. In the Cabinet,
M. Molé alone fully seconded his intentions. M. Decazes and Marshal
Gouvion St. Cyr declared strongly for the law as it stood. M. Lainé,
while fully admitting that it ought to be modified, refused to take any
part in the matter, having been, as he said, the first to propose and
maintain it. M. Roy, who had lately superseded M. Corvetto in the
department of finance, cared little for the electoral question, but
announced that he would not remain in the Cabinet without M. Decazes,
whom he considered indispensable, either in the Chambers or near the
King's person. Discord raged within and without the Ministry. In the
Chambers, the centre was divided; the left defended the law vehemently;
the right declared itself ready to support any minister who proposed its
reform, but at the same time repudiated M. Decazes, the author of the
decree of the 5th of September, 1816, and of all its consequences. The
public began to warm into the question. Excitement and confusion went on
increasing. It was evidently not the electoral law alone, but the
general policy of the Restoration and the Government of France, that
formed the subject of debate.

In a little work which the historians of this period, M. de Lamartine
amongst others, have published, the King, Louis XVIII. himself has
related the incidents and sudden turns of this ministerial crisis, which
ended, as is well known, in the retirement of the Duke de Richelieu,
with four of his colleagues, and in the promotion of M. Decazes, who
immediately constructed a new Cabinet, of which he was the head, without
appearing to preside, while M. de Serre, appointed to the seals, became
the powerful organ in the Chambers, and the maintenance of the law of
elections was adopted as the symbol. Two sentiments, under simple forms,
pervade this kingly recital: first, a certain anxiety, on the part of
the author, that no blame should be attached to him in his royal
character, or in his conduct towards the Duke de Richelieu, and a desire
to exculpate himself from these charges; secondly, a little of that
secret pleasure which kings indulge in, even under heavy embarrassments,
when they see a minister fall whose importance was not derived from
themselves, and who has served them without expecting or receiving

"If I had only consulted my own opinion," says the King, in concluding
his statement, "I should have wished M. Decazes, uniting his lot, as he
had always intended, with that of the Duke de Richelieu, to have left
the Ministry with him." It would have been happy for M. Decazes if this
desire of the King had prevailed. Not that he erred in any point of duty
or propriety by surviving the Duke de Richelieu in office, and in
forming a Cabinet without him; an important misunderstanding on a
pressing question had already separated them. M. Decazes, after
tendering his resignation, had raised no obstacle to the Duke's efforts
at finding new colleagues; it was only on the failure of those attempts,
frankly avowed by the Duke himself, and at the formal request of the
King, that he had undertaken to form a ministry. As a friend of
M. de Richelieu, and the day before his colleague, there were certainly
unpleasant circumstances and appearances attached to this position; but
M. Decazes was free to act, and could scarcely refuse to carry out the
policy he had recommended in council, when that which he had opposed
acknowledged itself incapable. Yet the new Cabinet was not strong enough
for the enterprise it undertook; with the centre completely shaken and
divided, it had to contend against the right-hand party more irritated
than ever, and the left evidently inimical, although through decency it
lent to Government a precarious support. The Cabinet of M. Decazes, as
a ministerial party, retained much inferior forces to those which had
surrounded the Duke de Richelieu, and had to contest with two bitter
enemies, the one inaccessible to peace or truce, the other sometimes
appearing friendly, but suddenly turning round and attacking the
Ministry with eager malevolence, when an opportunity offered, and with
hesitating hostility when compelled to dissemble.

The doctrinarians, who, in co-operation with M. Decazes, had defended
the law of elections, energetically supported the new Cabinet, in which
they were brilliantly represented by M. de Serre. Success was not
wanting at the commencement. By a mild and active administration, by
studied care of its partisans, by frequent and always favourably
received appeals to the royal clemency in behalf of the exiles still
excepted from amnesty, even including the old regicides, M. Decazes
sought and won extensive popularity; Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr satisfied
the remnants of the old army, by restoring to the new the ablest of its
former leaders; M. de Serre triumphantly defended the Ministry in the
Chambers; his bills, boldly liberal, and his frank opposition to
revolutionary principles, soon acquired for him, even with his
adversaries, a just reputation for eloquence and sincerity. In the
parliamentary arena it was an effective and upright Ministry; with the
country it was felt to be a Government loyally constitutional. But it
had more brilliancy than strength; and neither its care of individual
interests, nor its successes in the tribune, were sufficient to rally
round it the great Government party which its formation had divided.
Discord arose between the Chambers themselves. The Chamber of Peers, by
adopting the proposition of the Marquis Barthélemy, renewed the struggle
against the electoral law. In vain did the Chamber of Deputies repel
this attack; in vain did the Cabinet, by creating sixty new Peers, break
down the majority in the palace of the Luxembourg; these half triumphs
and legal extremes decided nothing. Liberal governments are condemned to
see the great questions perpetually revived which revolutions bequeath
to society, and which even glorious despotism suspends without solving.
The right-hand party was passionately bent on repossessing the power
which had recently escaped them. The left defended, at any cost, the
Revolution, more insulted than in danger. The centre, dislocated and
doubtful of the future, wavered between the hostile parties, not feeling
itself in a condition to impose peace on all, and on the point of being
confounded in the ranks of one side or the other. The Cabinet, ever
victorious in daily debate, and supported by the King's favour, felt
itself nevertheless feebly surrounded and precariously placed, with the
air of expecting a favourable or a hostile incident, to bring the
security it wanted, or to overthrow it altogether.

The events which men call accidents are never wanting in such
situations. During the space of a few months the Cabinet of 1819
experienced two,--the election of M. Grégoire, and the assassination of
the Duke de Berry; and these two decided its fate.

It is difficult to look upon the election of M. Grégoire as an accident;
it was proposed and settled beforehand in the central committee
established at Paris to superintend elections in general, and which was
called the managing committee. This particular election was decided on
at Grenoble in the college assembled on the 11th of September, 1819, by
a certain number of votes of the right-hand party, which at the second
round of balloting were carried to the credit of the left-hand
candidate, and gave him a majority which otherwise he could not have
obtained. To excuse this scandal, when it became known, some apologists
pretended that M. Grégoire was not in fact a regicide, because, even
though he had approved of the condemnation of Louis XVI. in his letters
to the Convention, his vote at least had not been included in the fatal
list. Again, when the admission of the deputy was disputed in the
Chamber, the left-hand party, to get rid of him, while eluding the true
cause of refusal, eagerly proposed to annul the election on the ground
of irregularity. When improvident violence fails, men gladly shelter
themselves under pusillanimous subtlety. It was unquestionably in the
character of a Conventional regicide, and with premeditated reflection,
not by any local or sudden accident, that M. Grégoire had been elected.
No act was ever more deliberately arranged and accomplished by party
feelings. Sincere in the perverse extravagancies of his mind, and
faithful to his avowed principles, although forgetful and weak in their
application, openly a Christian, and preaching tolerance under the
Convention, while he sanctioned the most unrelenting persecution of the
priests who refused to submit to the yoke of its new church; a
republican and oppositionist under the Empire, while consenting to be a
senator and a Count, this old man, as inconsistent as obstinate, was
the instrument of a signal act of hostility against the Restoration, to
become immediately the pretext for a corresponding act of weakness. A
melancholy end to a sad career!

The assassination of the Duke de Berry might with much more propriety be
called an accident. On the trial it was proved by evidence that Louvel
had no accomplices, and that he was alone in the conception as in the
execution of his crime. But it was also evident that hatred against the
Bourbons had possessed the soul and armed the hand of the murderer.
Revolutionary passions are a fire which is kindled and nourished afar
off; the orators of the right obtained credit with many timid and
horror-stricken minds, when they called this an accident;--as it is also
an accident if a diseased constitution catches the plague when it
infects the air, or if a powder-magazine explodes when you strike fire
in its immediate neighbourhood.

M. Decazes endeavoured to defend himself against these two heavy blows.
After the election of M. Grégoire, he undertook to accomplish alone what
at the close of the preceding year he had refused to attempt in concert
with the Duke de Richelieu. He determined to alter the law of elections.
It was intended that this change should take place in a great
constitutional reform meditated by M. de Serre, liberal on certain
points, monarchical on others, and which promised to give more firmness
to royalty by developing representative government. M. Decazes made a
sincere effort to induce the Duke de Richelieu, who was then travelling
in Holland, to return and reassume the presidency of the Council, and to
co-operate with him in the Chambers for the furtherance of this bold
undertaking. The King himself applied to the Duke de Richelieu, who
positively declined, more from disgust with public affairs and through
diffidence of his own power, than from any remains of ill-humour or
resentment. Three actual members of the Cabinet of 1819, General
Dessoles, Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, and Baron Louis, declared that they
would not co-operate in any attack on the existing law of elections.
M. Decazes determined to do without them, as he had dispensed with the
Duke de Richelieu, and to form a new Cabinet, of which he became the
president, and in which M. Pasquier, General Latour-Maubourg, and M. Roy
replaced the three retiring ministers. On the 29th of November the King
opened the session. Two months passed over, and the new electoral system
had not yet been presented to the Chamber. Three days after the
assassination of the Duke de Berry, M. Decazes introduced it suddenly,
with two bills to suspend personal liberty, and re-establish the
censorship of the daily press. Four days later he fell, and the
Duke de Richelieu, standing alone before the King and the danger,
consented to resume power. M. Decazes would have acted more wisely had
he submitted to his first defeat, and induced the King after the
election of M. Grégoire, to take back the Duke de Richelieu as minister.
He would not then have been compelled to lower with his own hand the
flag he had raised, and to endure the burden of a great miscarriage.

The fall of the Cabinet of 1819, brought on a new crisis, and a fresh
progress of the evil which disorganized the great Government party
formed during the session of 1815, and by the decree of the 5th of
September, 1816. To the successive divisions of the centre, were now
added the differences between the doctrinarians themselves. M. de Serre,
who had joined the Cabinet with M. Decazes to defend the law of
elections, now determined, although sick and absent, to remain there
with the Duke de Richelieu to overthrow it, without any of the
compensations, real or apparent, which his grand schemes of
constitutional reform were intended to supply. I tried in vain to
dissuade him from his resolution.[15] In the Chamber of Deputies,
M. Royer-Collard and M. Camille Jordan vehemently attacked the new
electoral plan; the Duke de Broglie and M. de Barante proposed serious
amendments to it in the Chamber of Peers. All the political ties which
had been cemented during five years appeared to be dissolved; every one
followed his own private opinion, or returned to his old bias. In the
parliamentary field, all was uncertainty and confused opposition; a
phantom appeared at each extremity, revolution and counter-revolution,
exchanging mutual menaces, and equally impatient to come to issue.

Those who wish to give themselves a correct idea of parliamentary and
popular excitement, pushed to their extreme limit, and yet retained
within that boundary by legal authority and the good sense of the
public,--sufficient to arrest the country on the brink of an abyss,
although too weak to block up the road that leads to it,--should read
the debate on the new electoral bill introduced into the Chamber of
Deputies on the 17th of April, 1820, by the second Cabinet of the Duke
de Richelieu, and discussed for twenty-six days in that Chamber,
accompanied with riotous gatherings without, thoughtlessly aggressive
and sternly repressed. If we are to believe the orators of the left,
France and her liberties, the Revolution and its conquests, the honour
of the present, and the security of the future, were all lost if the
ministerial bill should pass. The right, on the other hand, looked upon
the bill as scarcely strong enough to save the monarchy for the moment,
and declared its resolution to reject every amendment which might
diminish its powers. On both sides, pretensions and claims were equally
ungovernable. Attracted and excited by this legal quarrel, the students,
the enthusiastic young Liberals, the old professional disturbers, the
idlers and oppositionists of every class, were engaged daily with the
soldiers and the agents of police, in conflicts sometimes sanguinary,
and the accounts of which redoubled the acrimony of the debate
withindoors. In the midst of this general commotion, the Cabinet of 1820
had the merit of maintaining, while repressing all popular movement, the
freedom of legislative deliberation, and of acting its part in these
stormy discussions with perseverance and moderation. M. Pasquier, their
Minister for Foreign Affairs, endowed with rare self-command and
presence of mind, was on this occasion the principal parliamentary
champion of the Cabinet; and M. Mounier, Director-General of the
Police, controlled the street riots with as much prudence as active
firmness. The charge so often brought against so many ministers, against
M. Casimir Perrier in 1831, as against the Duke de Richelieu in 1820, of
exciting popular commotions only to repress them, does not deserve the
notice of sensible men. At the end of a month, all these debates and
scenes, within and without, ended in the adoption, not of the
ministerial bill, but of an amendment which, without destroying in
principle the bill of the 5th of February, 1817, so materially vitiated
it, to the advantage of the right, that the party felt themselves bound
to be satisfied. The greater portion of the centre, and the more
moderate members of the left, submitted for the sake of public
peace. The extreme left and the extreme right, M. Manuel and
M. de la Bourdonnaye entered a protest. The new electoral system was
clearly destined to shift the majority, and, with the majority, power,
from the left to the right; but the liberties of France, and the
advantages gained by the Revolution, were not endangered by the change.

This question once settled, the Cabinet had to pay its debts to the
right-hand party,--rewards to those who had supported it, and
punishments to its opposers. In spite of old friendships, the
doctrinarians figured of necessity in the last category. If I had
desired it, I might have escaped. Not being a member of either Chamber,
and beyond the circle of constrained action, I could in my capacity of
State Councillor have maintained reserve and silence after giving my
advice to the Government; but on entering public life, I had resolved on
one uniform course,--to express my true thoughts on every occasion, and
never to separate myself from my friends. M. de Serre included me, with
good reason, in the measure which removed them from the Council; on the
17th of June, 1820, he wrote to MM. Royer-Collard, Camille Jordan,
Barante, and myself, to inform us that we were no longer on the list.
The best men readily assume the habits and style of absolute power.
M. de Serre was certainly not deficient in self-respect or confidence in
his own opinions; he felt surprised that in this instance I should have
obeyed mine, without any other more coercive necessity, and evinced this
feeling by communicating my removal with unqualified harshness. "The
evident hostility," he said to me, "which, without the shadow of a
pretext, you have lately exhibited towards the King's Government, has
rendered this step inevitable." My answer was simply this:--"I expected
your letter. I might have foreseen, and I did anticipate it, when I
openly evinced my disapprobation of the acts and speeches of the
Ministry. I congratulate myself that I have nothing to alter in my
conduct. Tomorrow, as yesterday, I shall belong only and entirely to

The decisive step was taken; power had changed its course with its
friends. After having turned it to this new direction, the
Duke de Richelieu and his colleagues made sincere efforts during two
years to arrest its further progress. They tried all methods of
conciliation or resistance; sometimes they courted the right, at others
the remains of the centre, and occasionally even the left, by
concessions of principle, and more frequently of a personal nature.
M. de Châteaubriand was sent as Ambassador to Berlin, and General
Clauzel was declared entitled to the amnesty. M. de Villèle and
M. Corbière obtained seats in the Cabinet, the first as minister without
a portfolio, and the other as president of the Royal Council of Public
Instruction; they left it, however, at the expiration of six months,
under frivolous pretexts, but foreseeing the approaching fall of the
Ministry, and not wishing to be there at the last moment. They were not
deceived. The elections of 1821 completed the decimation of the weak
battalion which still endeavoured to stand firm round tottering power.
The Duke de Richelieu, who had only resumed office on a personal promise
from the Count d'Artois of permanent support, complained loudly, with
the independent spirit of a nobleman of high rank and of a man of
honour, that the word of a gentleman, pledged to him, had not been kept.
Vain complaints, and futile efforts! The Cabinet obtained time with
difficulty; but the right-hand party alone gained ground. At length, on
the 19th of December, 1821, the last shadow of the Government of the
Centre vanished with the ministry of the Duke de Richelieu. The right
and M. de Villèle seized the reins of power. "The counter-revolution is
approaching!" exclaimed the left, in a mingled burst of satisfaction and
alarm. M. de Villèle thought differently; a little before the decisive
crisis, and after having, in his quality of vice-president, directed for
some days the deliberations of the Chamber of Deputies, he wrote as
follows to one of his friends:--"You will scarcely believe how my four
days of presidency have succeeded. I received compliments on every side,
but particularly, I own it to my shame, from the left, whom I have never
conciliated. They expected, without doubt, to be eaten up alive by an
_ultra_. They are inexhaustible in eulogium. Finally, those to whom I
never speak, now address me with a thousand compliments. I think in this
there is a little spite against M. Ravez. But, be that as it may, if a
president were just now to be elected, I should have almost every vote
in the Chamber.... For myself, impartiality costs me nothing. I look
only to the success of the affairs I have undertaken, and have not the
slightest prejudice against individuals. I am born for the end of


[Footnote 14: I have recapitulated amongst the "Historic Documents" the
chief measures of general administration, which were adopted by
M. Lainé, M. Decazes and Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, in their respective
departments, during this period. These short tables clearly exhibit the
spirit of improvement and the rational care of public interests which
animated the Cabinet. (Historic Documents, No. IX.)]

[Footnote 15: I insert in the "Historic Documents" the letter I
addressed to him, with this object, on the 12th of April, 1820, to Nice,
whither he had repaired towards the middle of the month of January, to
seek relief from a crisis of the chest complaint which finally caused
his death. I am struck today, as undoubtedly all will be who read this
letter with attention, by the mixture of truth and error, of foresight
and improvidence therein contained. Subsequent events alternately
verified and disproved what I then wrote. (Historic Documents, No. X.)]

[Footnote 16: I insert at length amongst the "Historic Documents" the
correspondence interchanged on this occasion between M. de Serre,
M. Pasquier, and myself. (Historic Documents, No. XI)]





I now change position and point of view. It was no longer as an actor
within, but as a spectator without, that I watched the right-hand party,
and am enabled to record my impressions,--a spectator in opposition,
who has acquired light, and learned to form a correct judgment, from

In December 1821, M. de Villèle attained power by the natural highroad.
He reached his post through the qualities he had displayed and the
importance he had acquired in the Chambers, and at the head of his
party, which he brought in with himself. After a struggle of five years,
he accomplished the object prematurely conceived by M. de Vitrolles in
1815,--that the leader of the parliamentary majority should become the
head of the Government. Events are marked by unforeseen contradictions.
The Charter conducted to office the very individual who, before its
promulgation, had been its earliest opponent.

Amongst the noted men of our time, it is a distinctive feature in the
career of M. de Villèle, that he became minister as a partisan, and
retained that character in his official position, while at the same time
endeavouring to establish, amongst his supporters, general principles of
government in preference to the spirit of party. This moderator of the
right was ever strictly faithful to the interests of that side. Very
often unacquainted with the ideas, passions, and designs of his party,
he opposed them indirectly and without positive disavowal, resolved
never to desert his friends, even though he might be unable to control
their course. Not from any general and systematic conviction, but from a
sound practical instinct, he readily perceived the necessity of a strong
attachment from the leader to his army, to secure a reciprocal feeling
from the army to its chief. He paid dearly for this pertinacity; for it
justly condemned him to bear the weight of errors which, had he been
unfettered, he would never in all probability have committed; but
through this sacrifice he held power for six years, and saved his party,
during that period, from the extreme mistakes which, after his
secession, led rapidly to their ruin. As minister of a constitutional
monarchy, M. de Villèle has furnished France with one of the first
examples of that fixity of political ties which, in spite of many
inconveniences and objections, is essential to the great and salutary
effects of representative government.

When M. de Villèle was called on to form a Cabinet, he found the country
and the Government under the influence of a violent excitement. There
were not alone storms in the Chamber and tumults in the streets; secret
societies, plots, insurrections, and a strong effort to overthrow
established order, fermented and burst forth in every quarter,--in the
departments of the east, west, and south, at Béfort, Colmar, Toulon,
Saumur, Nantes, La Rochelle, and even at Paris itself, under the very
eyes of the Ministers, in the army as well as in the civil professions,
in the royal guards as in the regiments of the line. In less than three
years, eight serious conspiracies attacked and endangered the

Today, after the lapse of more than thirty years, after so many events
of greater importance, when an honest and rational man asks himself what
motives could have excited such fierce anger and rash enterprises, he
can find none either sufficient or legitimate. Neither the acts of power
nor the probabilities of the future had so wounded or threatened the
rights and interests of the country as to justify these attempts at
utter subversion. The electoral system had been artfully changed; power
had passed into the hands of an irritating and suspected party; but the
great institutions were still intact; public liberty, though disputed,
still displayed itself vigorously; legal order had received no serious
blow; the country prospered and regularly advanced in strength. The new
society was disturbed, but not disarmed; it was in a condition to wait
and defend itself. There were just grounds for an animated and public
opposition, but none for conspiracy or revolution.

Nations that aspire to be free incur a prominent danger,--the danger of
deceiving themselves on the question of tyranny. They readily apply that
name to any system of government that displeases or alarms them, or
refuses to grant all that they desire. Frivolous caprices, which entail
their own punishment! Power must have inflicted on a country many
violations of right, with repeated acts of injustice and oppression
bitter and prolonged, before revolution can be justified by reason, or
crowned with triumph in the face of its inherent faults. When such
causes are wanting to revolutionary attempts, they either fail miserably
or bring with them the reaction which involves their own punishment.

But from 1820 to 1823 the conspirators never dreamed of asking
themselves if their enterprises were legitimate; they entertained no
doubt on the subject. Very different although simultaneous passions,
past alarms and prospective temptations, influenced their minds and
conduct. The hatreds and apprehensions that attached themselves to the
words emigration, feudal system, old form of government, aristocracy,
and counter-revolution, belonged to bygone times; but these fears and
antipathies were in many hearts as intense and vivid as if they were
entertained towards existing and powerful enemies. Against these
phantoms, which the folly of the extreme right had conjured up, without
the power of giving them substantial vitality, war in any shape was
considered allowable, urgent, and patriotic. It was believed that
liberty could best be served and saved by rekindling against the
Restoration all the slumbering revolutionary fires. The conspirators
flattered themselves that they could at the same time prepare a fresh
revolution, which should put an end, not only to the restored monarchy,
but to monarchy altogether, and by the re-establishment of the Republic
lead to the absolute triumph of popular rights and interests. To the
greater part of these young enthusiasts, descended from families who had
been engaged in the old cause of the first Revolution, dreams of the
future united with traditions of the domestic hearth; while maintaining
the struggles of their fathers, they indulged their own Utopian

Those who conspired from revolutionary hatred or republican hope, were
joined by others with more clearly defined but not less impassioned
views. I have elsewhere said, in speaking of Washington, "It is the
privilege, often corruptive, of great men, to inspire attachment and
devotion without the power of reciprocating these feelings." No one ever
enjoyed this privilege more than the Emperor Napoleon. He was dying at
this very moment upon the rock of St. Helena; he could no longer do
anything for his partisans; and he found, amongst the people as well as
in the army, hearts and arms ready to do all and risk all for his
name,--a generous infatuation for which I am at a loss to decide whether
human nature should be praised or pitied.

All these passions and combinations would in all probability have
remained futile and unnoticed, had they not found exponents and chiefs
in the highest political circles and in the bosom of the great bodies of
the State. The popular masses are never sufficient for themselves; their
desires and designs must be represented by visible and important
leaders, who march at their head and accept the responsibility of the
means and end. The conspirators of from 1820 to 1823 knew this well; and
upon the most widely separated points, at Béfort as at Saumur, and at
each fresh enterprise, they declared that they would not act unless
well-known political leaders and Deputies of reputation were associated
with them. Everybody knows, at the present day, that the co-operation
they required was not withheld.

In the Chamber of Deputies, the opposition to the Government of the
Right was comprised of three sections united against it, but differing
materially in their views and in their means of hostility. I shall only
name the principal members of this confederacy, and who have themselves
clearly defined their respective positions. M. de La Fayette and
M. Manuel acknowledged and directed the conspiracies. Without ignoring
them, General Foy, M. Benjamin Constant, and M. Casimir Perrier,
disapproved of their proceedings and declined association.
M. Royer-Collard and his friends were absolutely unacquainted with them,
and stood entirely aloof.

When my thoughts revert to M. de La Fayette, I am saddened by
affectionate regret. I never knew a character more uniformly sincere,
generous, and kind, or more ready to risk everything for his pledged
faith and cause; his benevolence, although rather indiscriminate in
particular cases, was not the less true and expanded towards humanity in
general. His courage and devotedness were natural and earnest, serious
under an exterior sometimes light, and as genuine as they were
spontaneous. Throughout his life he maintained consistency in sentiments
and ideas; and he had his days of vigorous resolution, which would have
reflected honour on the truest friend of order and resistance to
anarchy. In 1791, he opened fire, in the Champ de Mars, on the revolt
set up in the name of the people; in 1792, he came in person to demand,
on behalf of his army, the suppression of the Jacobins; and he held
himself apart and independent under the Empire. But, taking all points
into account, he failed in political judgment, in discernment, in a just
estimate of circumstances and men; and he had a yielding towards his
natural bent, a want of foresight as to the probable results of his
actions, with a constant but indistinct yearning after popular favour,
which led him on much further than he intended, and subjected him to the
influence of men of a very inferior order, directly against his moral
nature and political situation. At the first moment, in 1814, he seemed
to be well disposed towards the Restoration; but the tendencies of
power, and the persevering rancour of the Royalists, soon threw him back
into the ranks of opposition. At the close of the Hundred Days, his
hostility to the House of Bourbon became declared and active; a
republican in soul, without being sufficiently strong or daring to
proclaim the Republic, he opposed as obstinately as vainly the return of
royalty; and before the Chamber of 1815, excited but not dismayed, he
pledged himself, while the Restoration lasted, to enter and never to
desert the ranks of its most inveterate enemies. From 1820 to 1823 he
was, not the ostensible head, but the instrument and ornament, of every
secret society, of every plot and project of revolution; even of those
the results of which he would inevitably have denounced and resisted,
had they been crowned with success.

No two people could less resemble each other than M. Manuel and M. de La
Fayette. While one was open, improvident, and rash in his hostility, the
other was in an equal degree reserved, calculating, and prudent even in
his violence, although in real character bold and determined. M. de La
Fayette was not exactly a high and mighty lord,--that expression does
not apply to him,--but a noble gentleman, liberal and popular, not
naturally a revolutionist, but one who by enthusiasm or example might be
led and would himself lead to repeated revolutions. M. Manuel was the
obedient child and able defender of the past revolution, capable of
joining Government for its interest--a liberal Government, if animated
with revolutionary objects, an absolute Government if unlimited power
should be necessary to their supremacy,--but determined to uphold
revolution in every case and at any price. His mind was limited and
uncultivated, and, either in his general life or in parliamentary
debate, without any impress of great political views, or of sympathetic
or lofty emotions of the soul, beyond the firmness of his attitude and
the lucid strength of his language. Although no advocate, and a little
provincial in his style, he spoke and acted as a man of party, calmly
persevering and resolved, immovable in the old revolutionary arena, and
never disposed to leave it either to become a convert to new measures or
to adopt new views. The Restoration, in his opinion, was in fact the old
system and the counter-revolution. After having confronted it in the
Chambers with all the opposition which that theatre permitted, he
encouraged, without, every plot and effort of subversion; less ready
than M. de La Fayette to place himself at their head, less confident in
their success, but still determined to keep alive by these means hatred
and war against the Restoration, watching at the same time for a
favourable opportunity of launching a decisive blow.

M. d'Argenson had less weight with the party than either of his
colleagues, although perhaps the most impassioned of the three. He was a
sincere and melancholy visionary, convinced that all social evils spring
from human laws, and bent on promoting every kind of reform, although he
had little confidence in the reformers. By his position in society, the
generous tone of his sentiments, the seriousness of his convictions, the
attraction of an affectionate although reserved disposition, and the
charm of a refined and elegant mind, which extracted from his false
philosophy bold and original views, he held, in the projects and
preliminary deliberations of the conspiring opposition, a tolerably
important place; but he was little suited for action, and ready to
discourage it, although always prepared for personal engagement. A
chimerical but not hopeful fanaticism is not a very promising
temperament for a conspirator.

The issue of all these vain but tragical plots is well known. Dogged at
every step by authority, sometimes even persecuted by the interested
zeal of unworthy agents, they produced, in the space of two years, in
various parts of France, nineteen capital condemnations, eleven of which
were carried into effect. When we look back on these gloomy scenes, the
mind is bewildered, and the heart recoils from the spectacle of the
contrast which presents itself between sentiments and actions, efforts
and results; we contemplate enterprises at the same time serious and
harebrained, patriotic ardour joined to moral levity, enthusiastic
devotion combined with indifferent calculation, and the same blindness,
the same perseverance, united to similar impotence in old and young, in
the generals and the soldiers. On the 1st of January, 1822, M. de La
Fayette arrived in the vicinity of Béfort to place himself at the head
of the insurrection in Alsace. He found the plot discovered, and several
of the leaders already in arrest; but he also met others, MM. Ary
Scheffer, Joubert, Carrel, and Guinard, whose principal anxiety was to
meet and warn him by the earliest notice, and to save him and his son
(who accompanied him) by leading them away through unfrequented roads.
Nine months later, on the 21st of September in the same year, four young
non-commissioned officers, Bories, Raoulx, Goubin, and Pommier,
condemned to death for the conspiracy of Rochelle, were on the point of
undergoing their sentence; M. de La Fayette and the head committee of
the _Carbonari_ had vainly endeavoured to effect their escape. The poor
sergeants knew they were lost, and had reason to think they were
abandoned. A humane magistrate urged them to save their lives by giving
up the authors of their fatal enterprise. All four answered, "We have
nothing to reveal," and then remained obstinately silent. Such devotion
merited more thoughtful leaders and more generous enemies.

In presence of such facts, and in the midst of the warm debates they
excited in the Chamber, the situation of the conspiring Deputies was
awkward; they neither avowed their deeds nor supported their friends.
The violence of their attacks against the Ministry and the Restoration
in general, supplied but a poor apology for this weakness. Secret
associations and plots accord ill with a system of liberty; there is
little sense or dignity in conspiring and arguing at the same time. It
was in vain that the Deputies who were not implicated endeavoured to
shield their committed and embarrassed colleagues; it was in vain that
General Foy, M. Casimir Perrier, M. Benjamin Constant, and M. Lafitte,
while protesting with vehemence against the accusations charged upon
their party, endeavoured to cast the mantle of their personal innocence
over the actual conspirators, who sat by their sides. This manoeuvre,
more blustering than formidable, deceived neither the Government nor the
public; and the conspiring Deputies lost more reputation than they
gained security, by being thus defended while they were disavowed, in
their own ranks. M. de La Fayette became impatient of this doubtful and
unworthy position. During the sitting of the 1st of August, 1822, with
reference to the debate on the budget, M. Benjamin Constant complained
of a phrase in the act of accusation drawn up by the Attorney-General of
Poictiers, against the conspiracy of General Berton, and in which the
names of five Deputies were included without their being prosecuted.
M. Lafitte sharply called upon the Chamber to order an inquiry into
transactions "which," said he, "as far as they affect myself are
infamous falsehoods." M. Casimir Perrier and General Foy supported the
motion for inquiry. The Cabinet and the right-hand party rejected it,
while defending the Attorney-General and his statements. The Chamber
appeared perplexed. M. de La Fayette demanded to be heard, and, with a
rare and happy expression of ironical pride, said, "Whatever may be my
habitual indifference to party accusations and enmities, I feel called
upon to add a few words to what has been said by my honourable friends.
Throughout the course of a career entirely devoted to the cause of
liberty, I have constantly desired to be a mark for the malevolence of
the adversaries of that cause, under whatever forms, whether despotic,
aristocratic, or monarchical, which they may please to select, to
contest or pervert it. I therefore make no complaint, although I may
claim the right of considering the word _proved_, which the
Attorney-General has thought proper to apply to me, a little free; but I
join with my friends by demanding, as far as we can, the utmost
publicity, both within the walls of this Chamber and in the face of the
entire nation. Thus I and my accusers, in whatever rank they may be
placed, can say to each other, without restraint, all that we have had
mutually to reproach ourselves with during the last thirty years."

The challenge was as transparent as it was fierce. M. de Villèle felt
the full range of it, which extended even to the King himself; and
taking up the glove at once, with a moderation which in its turn was not
deficient in dignity, "The orator I follow," said he, "placed the
question on its true footing when he said, in speaking of the Chamber,
'as far as we can.' Yes, it is of the utmost importance that, on the
subject under discussion, the truth or falsehood should be correctly
known; but do we adopt the true method of ascertaining either? Such is
not my opinion; if it were, I should at once vote for the inquiry. The
proper mode of proceeding appears to me to be, to leave justice to its
ordinary course, which no one has a right to arrest.... If members of
this Chamber have been compromised in the act of accusation, do they not
find their acquittal in the very fact that the Chamber has not been
called upon to give them up to be added to the list of the accused? For,
gentlemen, it is maintaining a contradiction to say, on the one hand,
'You have placed our names in the requisition for indictment,' and on
the other, 'The minister in office has not dared to prosecute, since the
Chamber has not been required to surrender us.' And the demand has not
been made, because the nature of the process neither imposed it as a
duty nor a necessity on the part of the minister to adopt that course. I
declare openly, before France, we do not accuse you, because there was
nothing in the process which rendered it either incumbent or essential
that we should do so. And we should the more readily have fulfilled that
duty, since you cannot suppose us so little acquainted with the human
heart as not to know that there would be less danger in subjecting you
to direct prosecution than in following simply and openly the line
marked out by the ordinary course of justice."

At the close of this sitting, M. de Villèle assuredly had good reason to
be satisfied with his position and himself. He had exhibited, at the
same time, firmness and moderation; by confining himself within the
ordinary resources of justice, by disclaiming prosecution to extremity,
he had exhibited the arm of power restrained, but ready to strike if
necessity should require; he had thus, to a certain extent, defied while
he tranquillized the patrons of the conspirators, and had satisfied his
own party without irritating their passions. On that day he combined the
minister with the tactician of the Chamber.

At the time of which we are speaking, M. de Villèle stood in the first
and best phase of his power; he defended monarchy and order against
conspiracy and insurrection; in the Chamber of Deputies he had to repel
the furious attacks of the left-hand party, and in the Chamber of Peers
the more temperate but vigilant illwill of the friends of the
Duke de Richelieu. The danger and acrimony of the contest united his
whole party around him. Before such a situation, the rivalries and
intrigues of the Chamber and the Court hesitated to show themselves;
unreasonable expectations were held in check; fidelity and discipline
were evidently necessary; the associates of the chief could not desert,
and dared not to assail him with their importunities.

But during the course of the year 1822 the conspiracies were subdued,
the perils of the monarchy dissipated, the parliamentary combats,
although always bitter, had ceased to be questions of life and death,
and the preponderance of the right-hand party appeared to be firmly
established in the country as in the Chambers. Other difficulties and
dangers then began to rise up round M. de Villèle. He had no longer
menacing enemies to hold his friends in check; disagreements, demands,
enmities, and intrigues beset him on every side. The first attacks
sprang from questions of internal policy, and originated in the bosom of
his own Cabinet.

I have no desire to pronounce severe judgment on the revolutions which
agitated Southern Europe from 1820 to 1822. It is hard to say to nations
badly governed, that they are neither wise nor strong enough to remedy
their own evils. Above all, in our days, when the desire for good
government is intense, and none believe themselves too weak to
accomplish what they wish, unrestrained truth on this subject offends
many sincere friends of justice and humanity. Experience, however, has
supplied numerous inferences. Of the three revolutions which occurred in
1820, those of Naples and Turin evaporated in a few months, without any
blow being struck, before the sole appearance of the Austrian troops.
The Spanish revolution alone survived, neither abandoned nor
established, pursuing its course by violent but uncertain steps,
incapable of founding a regular government and of suppressing the
resistance with which it was opposed, but still strong enough to keep
alive anarchy and civil war. Spain, under the influence of such
commotions, was a troublesome neighbour to France, and might become
dangerous. The conspirators, defeated at home, found shelter there, and
began to weave new plots from that place of refuge. In their turn, the
Spanish counter-revolutionists found an asylum in France, and prepared
arms on both sides of the Pyrenees. A sanatory line of troops, stationed
on our frontier to preserve France from the contagion of the
yellow-fever which had broken out in Catalonia, soon grew into an army
of observation. The hostile feeling of Europe, much more decided and
systematic, co-operated with the mistrust of France. Prince Metternich
dreaded a new fit of Spanish revolutionary contagion in Italy; the
Emperor Alexander imagined himself called upon to maintain the security
of all thrones and the peace of the world; England, without caring much
for the success of the Spanish revolution, was extremely anxious that
Spain should continue entirely independent, and that French influence
should not prevail in the Peninsula. The French Government had to deal
with a question not only delicate and weighty in itself, but abounding
with still more important complications, and which might lead to a
rupture with some, if not with the whole of her allies.

M. de Villèle on succeeding to office, had no very defined ideas as to
foreign affairs, or any decidedly arranged plans beyond an unbiassed
mind and sensible predilections. During his short association with the
Cabinet of the Duke de Richelieu, he had closely observed the policy
adopted towards Spain and Italy,--a peaceful policy of non-intervention,
and of sound advice to kings and liberals, to liberals as to kings, but
of little efficacy in act, and tending, above all other considerations,
to keep France beyond the vortex of revolutions and counter-revolutions,
and to prevent a European conflagration. In the main, M. de Villèle
approved of this policy, and would have desired nothing better than to
continue it. He was more occupied with internal government than external
relations, and more anxious for public prosperity than diplomatic
influence; but, in the accomplishment of his views, he had to contend
against the prepossessions of his party, and in this struggle his two
principal associates, M. de Montmorency, as Minister for Foreign
Affairs, and M. de Châteaubriand, as ambassador at London, contributed
more embarrassment than assistance.

On the formation of the Cabinet, he proposed to the King to give
M. de Montmorency the portfolio of foreign affairs. "Take care," replied
Louis XVIII. "He has a very little mind, somewhat prejudiced and
obstinate; he will betray you, against his will, through weakness. When
present, he will say he agrees with you, and may perhaps think so at the
time; when he leaves you, he will suffer himself to be led by his own
bias, contrary to your views, and, instead of being aided, you will be
thwarted and compromised." M. de Villèle persevered; he believed that,
with the right-hand party, the name and influence of M. de Montmorency
were of importance. Not long after, he had an opportunity of satisfying
himself that the King had judged correctly. M. de Serre having refused
to hold office in the new Cabinet, M. de Villèle, to remove him with the
semblance of a compliment, requested the King to appoint him ambassador
at Naples. M. de Montmorency, who wanted this post for his cousin the
Duke de Laval, went so far as to say that he should resign if it were
refused to him. The King and M. de Villèle kept their resolution;
M. de Serre went to Naples, and M. de Montmorency remained in the
Ministry, but not without discontent at the preponderance of a colleague
who had treated him with so little complaisance.

M. de Châteaubriand, by accepting the embassy to London, relieved
M. de Villèle from many little daily annoyances; but he was not long
satisfied with his new post. He wished to reign in a coterie, and to
receive adulation without constraint. He produced less effect in English
society than he had anticipated; he wanted more success and of a more
varied character; he was looked upon as a distinguished writer, rather
than as a great politician; they considered him more opinionated than
profound, and too much occupied with himself. He excited curiosity, but
not the admiration he coveted; he was not always the leading object of
attention, and enjoyed less freedom, while he called forth little of the
enthusiastic idolatry to which he had been accustomed elsewhere. London,
the English court and drawing-rooms, wearied and displeased him; he has
perpetuated the impression in his Memoirs:--"Every kind of reputation,"
he says, "travels rapidly to the banks of the Thames, and leaves them
again with the same speed. I should have worried myself to no purpose by
endeavouring to acquire any knowledge of the English. What a life is a
London season! I should prefer the galleys a hundred times."

An opportunity soon presented itself, which enabled him to seek in
another direction more worldly excitement and popularity. Revolution and
civil war went on increasing in Spain from day to day; tumults, murders,
sanguinary combats between the people and the royal guards, the troops
of the line and the militia, multiplied in the streets of Madrid. The
life of Ferdinand VII. appeared to be in question, and his liberty was
actually invaded.

M. de Metternich, whose importance and influence in Europe had greatly
increased ever since he had so correctly foreseen the weakness, and so
rapidly stifled the explosion, of the Italian revolutions, applied his
entire attention to the affairs of the Spanish Peninsula, and urged the
sovereigns and their ministers to deliberate on them in common accord.
As soon as it was settled that a Congress should assemble with this
object, at Verona, M. de Châteaubriand made powerful applications,
directly and indirectly, to M. de Montmorency and M. de Villèle, to be
included in the mission. M. de Montmorency had no idea of acceding to
this, fearing to be opposed or eclipsed by such a colleague. The King,
Louis XVIII., who had no confidence either in the capacity of
M. de Montmorency or the judgment of M. de Châteaubriand, was desirous
that M. de Villèle himself should repair to Verona, to maintain the
prudent policy which circumstances required. M. de Villèle objected. It
would be, he said to the King, too decided an affront to his minister of
foreign affairs and his ambassador in London, who were naturally called
to this duty; it would be better to send them both, that one might
control the other, and to give them specific instructions which should
regulate their attitude and language. The King adopted this advice. The
instructions, drawn up by M. de Villèle's own hand, were discussed and
settled in a solemn meeting of the Cabinet; M. de Châteaubriand knew to
a certainty that he owed the accomplishment of his desires to
M. de Villèle alone; and eight days after the departure of
M. de Montmorency, the King, to secure the preponderance of
M. de Villèle, by a signal mark of favour, appointed him President of
the Council.

The instructions were strictly defined; they prescribed to the French
plenipotentiaries to abstain from appearing, when before the Congress,
as reporters of the affairs of Spain, to take no initiative and enter
into engagement as regarded intervention, and, in every case, to
preserve the total independence of France, either as to act or future
resolve. But the inclinations of M. de Montmorency accorded ill with his
orders; and he had to treat with sovereigns and ministers who wished
precisely to repress the Spanish revolution by the hand of France,--in
the first place, to accomplish this work without taking it upon
themselves, and also to compromise France with England, who was
evidently much averse to French interference. The Prince de Metternich,
versed in the art of suggesting to others his own views, and of urging
with the air of co-operation, easily obtained influence over
M. de Montmorency, and induced him to take with the other Powers the
precise initiative, and to enter into the very engagements, he had been
instructed to avoid. M. de Châteaubriand, who filled only a secondary
post in the official negotiation, kept at first a little on the
reserve: "I do not much like the general position in which he has
placed himself here," wrote M. de Montmorency to Madame Recamier;[17]
"he is looked upon as singularly sullen; he assumes a stiff and uncouth
manner, which makes others feel ill at ease in his presence. I shall use
every effort, before I go, to establish a more congenial intercourse
between him and his colleagues." M. de Montmorency had no occasion to
trouble himself much to secure this result. As soon as he had taken his
departure, M. de Châteaubriand assumed a courteous and active demeanour
at the Congress. The Emperor Alexander, alive to the reputation of the
author of the 'Genius of Christianity,' and to his homage to the founder
of the 'Holy Alliance,' returned him compliment for compliment, flattery
for flattery, and confirmed him in his desire of war with the Spanish
revolution, by giving him reason to rely, for that course of policy and
for himself, upon his unlimited support. Nevertheless, in his
correspondence with M. de Villèle, M. de Châteaubriand still expressed
himself very guardedly: "We left," said he, "our determination in doubt;
we did not wish to appear impracticable; we were apprehensive that, if
we discovered ourselves too much, the President of the Council would not
listen to us."

I presume that M. de Villèle fell into no mistake as to the pretended
doubt in which M. de Châteaubriand endeavoured to envelop himself. I
also incline to think that he himself, at that epoch, looked upon a war
with Spain as almost inevitable. But he was still anxious to do all in
his power to avoid it, if only to preserve with the moderate spirits,
and the interests who dreaded that alternative, the attitude and
reputation of an advocate for peace. Sensible men are unwilling to
answer for the faults they consent to commit. As soon as he ascertained
that M. de Montmorency had promised at Verona that his Government would
take such steps at Madrid, in concert with the three Northern Powers, as
would infallibly lead to war, M. de Villèle submitted to the King in
council these premature engagements, declaring at the same time that,
for his part, he did not feel that France was bound to adopt the same
line of conduct with Austria, Prussia, and Russia, or to recall at once,
as they wished to do, her Minister at Madrid, and thus to give up all
renewed attempts at conciliation. It was said that, while using this
language, he had his resignation already prepared and visible in his
portfolio. Powerful supporters were not wanting to this policy. The Duke
of Wellington, recently arrived in Paris, had held a conversation with
M. de Villèle, and also with the King, on the dangers of an armed
intervention in Spain, and proposed a plan of mediation, to be concerted
between France and England, to induce the Spaniards to introduce into
their constitution the modifications which the French Cabinet itself
should indicate as sufficient to maintain peace. Louis XVIII. placed
confidence in the judgment and friendly feeling of the Duke of
Wellington; he closed the debate in the Council by saying, "Louis XIV.
levelled the Pyrenees; I shall not allow them to be raised again. He
placed my family on the throne of Spain; I cannot let them fall. The
other sovereigns have not the same duties to fulfil. My ambassador
ought not to quit Madrid, until the day when a hundred thousand
Frenchmen are in march to replace him." The question thus decided
against the promises he had made at Verona, M. de Montmorency, on whom a
few days before, and at the suggestion of M. de Villèle, the King had
conferred the title of Duke, suddenly tendered his resignation. The
'Moniteur,' in announcing it, published a despatch which M. de Villèle,
while holding _ad interim_ the portfolio of foreign affairs, addressed
to Count de Lagarde, the King's minister at Madrid, prescribing to him
an attitude and language which still admitted some chance of
conciliation; and three days later M. de Châteaubriand, after some
display of appropriate hesitation, replaced M. de Montmorency as Foreign

Three weeks had scarcely passed over, when the Spanish Government,
controlled by a sentiment of national dignity more magnanimous than
enlightened, by popular enthusiasm, and by its own passions, refused all
constitutional modification whatever. The ambassadors of the three
Northern Powers had already quitted Madrid. The Count de Lagarde
remained there. On the refusal of the Spaniards, M. de Châteaubriand
recalled him, on the 18th of January, 1823, instructing him at the same
time, in a confidential despatch, to suggest the possibility of amicable
measures; and of this he also apprised the English Cabinet. These last
overtures proved as futile as the preceding ones. At Madrid they had no
confidence in the French Ministry; and the Government of London placed
too little dependence either on the power or discretion of that of
Madrid, to commit itself seriously by engaging the latter, through the
weight of English influence, to submit to the concessions, otherwise
reasonable, which France required. Affairs had reached the point at
which the ablest politicians, without faith in the efficacy of their own
views, were unwilling to adopt decided measures.

On the 28th of January, 1823, M. de Villèle determined on war, and the
King announced this decision in his speech on opening the session of
both Chambers. Nevertheless eight days later, M. de Châteaubriand
declared to Sir Charles Stuart, the English ambassador at Paris, that,
far from dreaming of establishing absolute power in Spain, France was
still ready to entertain the constitutional modifications she had
proposed to the Spanish Government, "as sufficient to induce her to
suspend hostile preparations, and to renew friendly intercourse between
the two countries on the old footing." At the very moment of engaging in
war, M. de Châteaubriand, who desired, and M. de Villèle, who was averse
to, these extreme measures, equally endeavoured to escape from the
responsibility attached to them.

I have nothing to say on the war itself and the course of its incidents.
In principle it was unjust, for it was unnecessary. The Spanish
revolution, in spite of its excesses, portended no danger to France or
the Restoration. The differences to which it gave rise between the two
Governments might have been easily arranged without violating peace. The
revolution of Paris, in February, 1848, produced much more serious and
better-founded alarms to Europe in general, than the Spanish revolution
in 1823 could have occasioned to France. Nevertheless Europe, with
sound policy, respected towards France the tutelary principle of the
internal independence of nations, which can never be justly invaded
except under an absolute and most urgent necessity. Neither do I think
that in 1823 the throne and life of Ferdinand VII. were actually in
danger. All that has since occurred in Spain justifies the conclusion,
that regicide has no accomplices there, and revolution very few
partisans. The great and legitimate reasons for war were therefore
wanting. In fact, and notwithstanding its success, it led to no
profitable result either for Spain or France. It surrendered up Spain to
the incapable and incurable tyranny of Ferdinand VII., without putting
an end to revolutions; and substituted the barbarities of popular
absolutism for popular anarchy. Instead of securing the influence of
France beyond the Pyrenees, it compromised and annulled it to such an
extent that, towards the close of 1823, it was found necessary to have
recourse to the mediation of Russia, and to send M. Pozzo di Borgo to
Madrid to compel Ferdinand VII. to select more moderate advisers. The
Northern Powers and England alone retained any credit in Spain,--the
first with the King and the Absolutists, the latter with the Liberals;
victorious France was there politically vanquished. In the eyes of
clear-sighted judges, the advantageous and permanent effects of the war
were of no more value than the causes.

As an expedient of restless policy, as a mere _coup-de-main_ of dynasty
or party, the Spanish war fully succeeded. The sinister predictions of
its opponents were falsified, and the hopes of its advocates surpassed.
Brought under proof together, the fidelity of the army and the impotence
of the conspiring refugees were clearly manifested. The expedition was
easy but not inglorious, and added much to the personal credit of the
Duke d'Angoulême. The prosperity and tranquillity of France received no
check. The House of Bourbon exhibited a strength and resolution which
the Powers who urged it on scarcely expected; and England, who would
have restrained the effort, submitted to it patiently, although with
some dissatisfaction. Regarding matters in this light only,
M. de Châteaubriand was correct in writing to M. de Villèle from Verona,
"It is for you, my dear friend, to consider whether you ought not to
seize this opportunity, which may never occur again, of replacing France
in the rank of military powers, and of re-establishing the white
cockade, in a short war almost without danger, and in favour of which
the opinion of the Royalists and of the army so strongly impels you at
this moment." M. de Villèle was mistaken in his answer: "May God grant,"
said he, "for my country and for Europe, that we may not persist in an
intervention which I declare beforehand, with the fullest conviction,
will compromise the safety of France herself."

After such an event, in which they had taken such unequal shares, the
relative positions of these two statesmen became sensibly changed; but
the alteration did not yet appear for some time. M. de Châteaubriand
endeavoured to triumph with modesty, and M. de Villèle, not very
sensitive to the wounds of personal vanity, treated the issue of the war
as a general success of the Cabinet, and prepared to turn it to his own
advantage, without considering to whom the principal honour might be
due. Accustomed to power, he exercised it without noise or parade, and
was careful not to clash with his adversaries or rivals, who thus felt
themselves led to admit his preponderance as a necessity, rather than
humiliated to endure it as a defeat. The dissolution of the Chamber of
Deputies became his fixed idea and immediate object. The liberal
Opposition was too strong there to allow him to hope that he could carry
the great measures necessary to satisfy his party. The Spanish war had
led to debates, continually increasing in animosity, which in time
produced violence in the stronger, and anger in the weaker party, beyond
all previous example. After the expulsion of M. Manuel on the 3rd of
March, 1823, and the conduct of the principal portion of the left-hand
party, who left the hall with him when he was removed by the gendarmes,
it was almost impossible to expect that the Chamber could resume its
regular place or share in the government. On the 24th of December, 1823,
it was in fact dissolved, and M. de Villèle, putting aside the
differences of opinion on the Spanish war, applied his whole attention
to ensure the success of the elections and the formation of a new
Chamber, from which he could demand with confidence what the right-hand
party expected from him, and which, according to his expectation, should
secure a long duration of his influence both with that party and with
the Court.

M. de Châteaubriand had no such objects to contemplate or effect.
Unacquainted with the internal government of the country, and the daily
management of the Chambers, he enjoyed the success of _his_ Spanish
war, as he called it, with tranquil pride,--ready, on provocation, to
become active and bitter. He wanted exactly the qualities which
distinguished M. de Villèle, and he possessed those, or rather the
instinct and inclination of those, in which M. de Villèle was deficient.
Entering late on public life, and until then unknown, with a mind but
slightly cultivated, and little distracted from business by the force or
variety of his imaginative ideas, M. de Villèle had ever one leading
object,--to reach power by faithfully serving his party; and, power once
obtained, to hold it firmly, while exercising it with discretion.

Launched on the world almost from infancy, M. de Châteaubriand had
traversed the whole range of ideas, attempted every career, aspired to
every renown, exhausted some, and approached others; nothing satisfied
him. "My capital defect," said he himself, "has been _ennui_, disgust
with everything, perpetual doubt." A strange temperament in a man
devoted to the restoration of religion and monarchy! Thus the life of
M. de Châteaubriand had been a constant and a perpetual combat between
his enterprises and his inclinations, his situation and his nature. He
was ambitious, as the leader of a party, and independent, as a volunteer
of the forlorn hope; captivated by everything great, and sensitive even
to suffering in the most trifling matters, careless beyond measure of
the common interests of life, but passionately absorbed, on the stage of
the world, in his own person and reputation, and more annoyed by the
slightest check than gratified by the most brilliant triumph; in public
life, more jealous of success than power, capable in a particular
emergency, as he had just proved, of conceiving and carrying out a great
design, but unable to pursue in government, with energy and patience, a
well-cemented and strongly-organized line of policy. He possessed a
sympathetic understanding of the moral impressions of his age and
country; more able however, and more inclined, to win their favour by
compliance than to direct them to important and lasting advantages; a
noble and expanded mind, which, whether in literature or politics,
touched all the exalted chords of the human soul, but more calculated to
strike and charm the imagination than to govern men; greedy, to an
excess, of praise and fame, to satisfy his pride, and of emotion and
novelty, as resources from constitutional weariness.

At the very moment when he was achieving a triumph in Spain for the
House of Bourbon, he received disappointments from the latter quarter,
the remembrance of which he has thought proper to perpetuate
himself:--"In our ardour," said he, "after the arrival of the
telegraphic despatch which announced the deliverance of the King of
Spain, we Ministers hastened to the palace. There I received a warning
of my fall,--a pailful of cold water which recalled me to my usual
humility. The King and _Monsieur_ took no notice of us. The Duchess
d'Angoulême, bewildered with the glory of her husband, distinguished no
one.... On the Sunday following, before the Council met, I returned to
pay my duty to the royal family. The august Princess said something
complimentary to each of my colleagues; to me she did not deign to
address a single word: undoubtedly I had no claim to such an honour. The
silence of the Orphan of the Temple can never be considered
ungrateful." A more liberal sovereign undertook to console
M. de Châteaubriand for this royal ingratitude; the Emperor Alexander,
with whom he had continued in intimate correspondence, being anxious to
signalize his satisfaction, conferred on him and M. de Montmorency, and
on them alone, the great riband of the Order of St. Andrew.

M. de Villèle was not insensible to this public token of imperial favour
bestowed on himself and his policy; and the King, Louis XVIII., showed
that he was even more moved by it. "Pozzo and La Ferronays," said he to
M. de Villèle, "have made me give you, through the Emperor Alexander, a
slap on the cheek; but I shall be even with him, and mean to pay for it
in coin of a better stamp. I name you, my dear Villèle, a knight of my
Orders; they are worth more than his." And M. de Villèle received from
the King the Order of St. Esprit. It was in vain that a little later,
and on the mutual request of the two rivals, the Emperor Alexander
conferred on M. de Villèle the Grand Cross of St. Andrew, and the King,
Louis XVIII., gave the Saint Esprit to M. de Châteaubriand; favours thus
extorted cannot efface the original disappointments.

To these courtly slights were soon added causes of rupture more serious.
The dissolution of the Chamber had succeeded far beyond the expectations
of the Cabinet. The elections had not returned from the left, or the
left centre, more than seventeen oppositionists. Much more exclusively
than that of 1815, the new Chamber belonged to the right-hand party; the
day had now arrived to give them the satisfaction they had long looked
for. The Cabinet immediately brought in two bills, which appeared to be
evident preparatives and effectual pledges for the measures most
ardently desired. By one, the integral remodelling of the Chamber of
Deputies every seven years was substituted for the partial and annual
reconstruction as at present in force. This was bestowing on the new
Chamber a guarantee of power as of durability. The second bill proposed
the conversion of the five per cent. annuities into three per cents;
that is to say, a reimbursement, to the holders of stock, of their
capital at par, or the reduction of interest. To this great financial
scheme was joined a political measure of equal importance,--indemnity to
the Emigrants, with preparations for carrying it into effect. The two
bills had been discussed and approved in council. On the question of the
septennial renewal of the Chamber of Deputies, M. de Châteaubriand
proposed the reduction of age necessary for electors; he failed in this
object, but still supported the bill. With respect to the conversion
of the funds, the friends of M. de Villèle asserted that
M. de Châteaubriand warmly expressed his approbation of the measure, and
was even anxious that, by a previous arrangement with the bankers,
M. de Villèle should secure the means of carrying it, as a preface to
that which was intended to heal the most festering wound of the

But the debate in the Chambers soon destroyed the precarious harmony of
the Cabinet. The conversion of the funds was vigorously opposed, not
only by the numerous interests thereby injured, but by the unsatisfied
feeling of the public on a new measure extremely complicated and
ill understood. In both Chambers, the greater portion of
M. de Châteaubriand's friends spoke against the bill; it was said that
he was even hostile to it himself. Some observations were attributed to
him on the imprudence of a measure which no one desired, no public
necessity called for, and was merely an invention of the bankers,
adopted by a Minister of Finance, who hoped to extract reputation from
what might lead to his ruin. "I have often seen," he was accused of
saying, "people break their heads against a wall; but I have never,
until now, seen people build a wall for the express purpose of running
their heads against it." M. de Villèle listened to these reports, and
expressed his surprise at them; his supporters inquired into the cause.
Hints were uttered of jealousy, of ambition, of intrigues to depose the
President of the Council, and to occupy his place. When the bill had
passed the Chamber of Deputies, the debate in the Chamber of Peers, and
the part that M. de Châteaubriand would take in it, were looked forward
to with considerable misgivings. He maintained profound silence, not
affording the slightest support; and when the bill was thrown out,
approaching M. de Villèle, he said to him, "If you resign, we are ready
to follow you." He adds, while relating this proposal himself,
"M. de Villèle, for sole answer, honoured us with a look which we still
have before us. This look, however, made no impression."

It is well known how M. de Châteaubriand was dismissed two days after
the sitting. From whence proceeded the rudeness of this dismissal? It is
difficult to decide. M. de Châteaubriand attributed it to M. de Villèle
alone. "On Whit Sunday, the 6th of June, 1824," says he, "at half-past
ten in the morning I repaired to the palace. My principal object was to
pay my respects to _Monsieur_. The first saloon of the Pavillon Marsan
was nearly empty; a few persons entered in succession, and seemed
embarrassed. An aide-de-camp of _Monsieur_ said to me, 'Viscount, I
scarcely hoped to see you here; have you received no communication?' I
answered, 'No; what am I likely to receive?' He replied, 'I fear you
will soon learn.' Upon this, as no one offered to introduce me to
_Monsieur_, I went to hear the music in the chapel. I was quite absorbed
in the beautiful anthems of the service, when an usher told me some one
wished to speak with me. It was Hyacinth Pilorge, my secretary. He
handed to me a letter and a royal ordinance, saying at the same time,
'Sir, you are no longer a minister.' The Duke de Rauzan, Superintendent
of Political Affairs, had opened the packet in my absence, and had not
ventured to bring it to me. I found within, this note from
M. de Villèle; 'Monsieur le Vicomte,--I obey the orders of the King, in
transmitting without delay to your Excellency a decree which his Majesty
has just placed in my hand:--The Count de Villèle, President of our
Ministerial Council, is charged, _ad interim_, with the portfolio of
Foreign Affairs, in place of the Viscount de Châteaubriand.'"

The friends of M. de Villèle assert that it was the King himself, who in
his anger dictated the rude form of the communication. "Two days after
the vote," say they, "as soon as M. de Villèle entered the royal
cabinet, Louis XVIII. said to him: 'Châteaubriand has betrayed us like
a----; I do not wish to receive him after Mass; draw up the order for
his dismissal, and let it be sent to him in time; I will not see him.'
All remonstrances were useless; the King insisted that the
decree should be written at his own desk and immediately forwarded.
M. de Châteaubriand was not found at home, and his dismissal was only
communicated to him at the Tuileries, in the apartments of _Monsieur_."

Whoever may have been the author of the measure, the blame rests with
M. de Villèle. If it was contrary to his desire, assuredly he had credit
enough with the King to prevent it. Contrary to his usual habit, he
exhibited more temper on this occasion than coolness or foresight. There
are allies who are necessary, although extremely troublesome; and
M. de Châteaubriand, despite his pretensions and his whims, was less
dangerous as a rival than as an enemy.

Although without connection in the Chambers, and with no control as an
orator, he immediately became a brilliant and influential leader of the
Opposition, for opposition was his natural bent as well as the
excitement of the moment. He excelled in unravelling the instincts of
national discontent, and of continually exciting them against authority
by supplying them with powerful motives, real or specious, and always
introduced with effect. He also possessed the art of depreciating and
casting odium on his adversaries, by keen and polished insults
constantly repeated, and at the same time of bringing over to his side
old opponents, destined soon to resume their former character, but for
the moment attracted and overpowered by the pleasure and profit of the
heavy blows he administered to their common enemy. Through the favour
of the MM. Bertin, he found on the instant, in the 'Journal des Débats,'
an important avenue for his daily attacks. As enlightened and
influential in politics as in literature, these two brothers possessed
the rare faculty of collecting round themselves by generous and
sympathetic patronage, a chosen cohort of clever writers, and of
supporting their opinions and those of their friends with manly
intelligence. M. Bertin de Veaux, the more decided politician of the
two, held M. de Villèle in high esteem, and lived in familiar intimacy
with him. "Villèle," said he to me one day, "is really born for public
business; he has all the necessary disinterestedness and capacity; he
cares not to shine, he wishes only to govern; he would be a Minister of
Finance in the cellar of his hotel, as willingly as in the drawing-rooms
of the first story." It was no trifling matter which could induce the
eminent journalist to break with the able minister. He sought an
interview with M. de Villèle, and requested him, for the preservation of
peace, to bestow on M. de Châteaubriand the embassy to Rome. "I shall
not risk such a proposition to the King," replied M. de Villèle. "In
that case," retorted M. Bertin, "you will remember that the 'Débats'
overthrew the ministries of Decazes and Richelieu, and will do the same
by the ministry of Villèle."--"You turned out the two first to establish
royalism," said M. de Villèle; "to destroy mine you must have a

There was nothing in this prospect to inspire M. de Villèle with
confidence, as the event proved; but thirteen years later,
M. Bertin de Veaux remembered the caution. When, in 1837, under
circumstances of which I shall speak in their proper place, I separated
from M. Molé, he said to me with frankness, "I have certainly quite as
much friendship for you as I ever had for M. de Châteaubriand, but I
decline following you into Opposition. I shall not again try to sap the
Government I wish to establish. One experiment of that nature is

At Court, as in the Chamber, M. de Villèle was triumphant; he had not
only conquered, but he had driven away his rivals, M. de Montmorency and
M. de Châteaubriand, as he had got rid of M. de La Fayette and
M. Manuel. Amongst the men whose voices, opinions, or even presence
might have fettered him, death had already stepped in, and was again
coming to his aid. M. Camille Jordan, the Duke de Richelieu, and
M. de Serre were dead; General Foy and the Emperor Alexander were not
long in following them. There are moments when death seems to delight,
like Tarquin, in cutting down the tallest flowers. M. de Villèle
remained sole master. At this precise moment commenced the heavy
difficulties of his position, the weak points of his conduct, and his
first steps towards decline.

In place of having to defend himself against a powerful opposition of
the Left, which was equally to be feared and resisted by the Right and
the Cabinet, he found himself confronted by an Opposition emanating from
the right itself, and headed, in the Chamber of Deputies, by
M. de la Bourdonnaye, his companion during the session of 1815; in the
Chamber of Peers and without, by M. de Châteaubriand, so recently his
colleague in the Council. As long as he had M. de Châteaubriand for an
ally, M. de Villèle had only encountered as adversaries, in the interior
of his party, the ultra-royalists of the extreme right,
M. de la Bourdonnaye, M. Delalot, and a few others, whom the old
counter-revolutionary spirit, intractable passions, ambitious
discontent, or habits of grumbling independence kept in a perpetual
state of irritation against a power, moderate without ascendency, and
clever without greatness. But when M. de Châteaubriand and the 'Journal
des Débats' threw themselves into the combat, there was then seen to
muster round them an army of anti-ministerialists of every origin and
character, composed of royalists and liberals, of old and young France,
of the popular and the aristocratic throng. The weak remains of the
left-hand party, beaten in the recent elections, the seventeen old
members of the Opposition, liberals or doctrinarians, drew breath when
they looked on such allies; and, without confounding their ranks, while
each party retained its own standard and arms, they combined for mutual
support, and united their forces against M. de Villèle.
M. de Châteaubriand has gratified himself by inserting in his Memoirs
the testimonies of admiration and sympathy proffered to him at that time
by M. Benjamin Constant, General Sebastiani, M. Étienne, and other heads
of the liberal section. In the Parliamentary struggle, the left-hand
party could only add to the opposers of the right a very small number of
votes; but they brought eminent talents, the support of their journals,
their influence throughout the country; and, in a headlong, confused
attack,--some under cover of the mantle of Royalism, others shielded by
the popularity of their allies,--they waged fierce war against the
common enemy.

In presence of such an Opposition, M. de Villèle fell into a more
formidable danger than that of the sharp contests he had to encounter to
hold ground against it: he was given over without protection or refuge
to the influence and views of his own friends. He could no longer awe
them by the power of the left-hand party, nor find occasionally in the
unsettled position of the Chamber a bulwark against their demands. There
had ceased to be a formidable balance of oppositionists or waverers; the
majority, and a great majority, was ministerial and determined to
support the Cabinet; but it had no real apprehension of the
adversaries by whom it was attacked. It preferred M. de Villèle to
M. de la Bourdonnaye and M. de Châteaubriand, believing him more capable
of managing with advantage the interests of the party; but if
M. de Villèle went counter to the wishes of that majority, if it ceased
to hold a perfect understanding with him, it could then fall back on
MM. de Châteaubriand and de la Bourdonnaye. M. de Villèle had no
resource against the majority; he was a minister at the mercy of his

Amongst these were some of opposite pretensions, and who lent him their
support on very unequal conditions. If he had only had to deal with
those I shall designate as the politicals and laymen of the party, he
might have been able to satisfy and govern in concert with them.
Notwithstanding their prejudices, the greater part of the
country-gentlemen and royalist citizens were neither over-zealous nor
exacting; they had fallen in with the manners of new France, and had
either found or recovered their natural position in present society,
reconciling themselves to constitutional government, since they were no
longer considered as the vanquished side. The indemnity to the
emigrants, some pledges of local influence, and the distribution of
public functions, would have long sufficed to secure their support to
M. de Villèle; but another portion of his army, numerous, important, and
necessary, the religious department, was much more difficult to satisfy
and control.

I am not disposed to revive any of the particular expressions which were
then used as weapons of war, and have now become almost insulting. I
shall neither speak of the _priestly_, nor of the _congregational
party_, nor even of the _Jesuits_. I should reproach myself for reviving
by such language and reminiscences the evil, heavy in itself, which
France and the Restoration were condemned at that time, the one to fear,
and the other to endure.

This evil, which glimmered through the first Restoration, through the
session of 1815, and still exists, in spite of so many storms and such
increasing intelligence, is, in fact a war declared by a considerable
portion of the Catholic Church of France, against existing French
society, its principles, its organization, political and civil, its
origin and its tendencies. It was during the ministry of M. de Villèle,
and above all when he found himself alone and confronted with his party,
that the mischief displayed its full force.

Never was a similar war more irrational or inopportune. It checked the
reaction, which had commenced under the Consulate, in favour of creeds
and the sentiment of religion. I have no desire to exaggerate the value
of that reaction; I hold faith and true piety in too much respect to
confound them with the superficial vicissitudes of human thought and
opinion. Nevertheless the movement which led France back towards
Christianity was more sincere and serious than it actually appeared to
be. It was at once a public necessity and an intellectual taste.
Society, worn out with commotion and change, sought for fixed points on
which it could rely and repose; men, disgusted with a terrestrial and
material atmosphere, aspired to ascend once more towards higher and
purer horizons; the inclinations of morality concurred with the
instincts of social interest. Left to its natural course, and supported
by the purely religious influence of a clergy entirely devoted to the
re-establishment of faith and Christian life, this movement was likely
to extend and to restore to religion its legitimate empire.

But instead of confining itself to this sphere of action, many members
and blind partisans of the Catholic clergy descended to worldly
questions, and showed themselves more zealous to recast French society
in its old mould, and so to restore their church to its former place
there, than to reform and purify the moral condition of souls. Here was
a profound mistake. The Christian Church is not like the pagan Antæus,
who renews his strength by touching the earth; it is on the contrary, by
detaching itself from the world, and re-ascending towards heaven, that
the Church in its hours of peril regains its vigour. When we saw it
depart from its appropriate and sublime mission, to demand penal laws
and to preside over the distribution of offices; when we beheld its
desires and efforts prominently directed against the principles and
institutions which constitute today the essence of French society; when
liberty of conscience, publicity, the legal separation of civil and
religious life, the laical character of the State, appeared to be
attacked and compromised,--on that instant the rising tide of religious
reaction stopped, and yielded way to a contrary current. In place of the
movement which thinned the ranks of the unbelievers to the advantage of
the faithful, we saw the two parties unite together; the eighteenth
century appeared once more in arms; Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and
their worst disciples once more spread themselves abroad and recruited
innumerable battalions. War was declared against society in the name of
the Church, and society returned war for war:--a deplorable chaos, in
which good and evil, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, were
confounded together, and blows hurled at random on every side.

I know not whether M. de Villèle thoroughly estimated, in his own
thoughts, the full importance of this situation of affairs, and the
dangers to which he exposed religion and the Restoration. His was not a
mind either accustomed or disposed to ponder long over general facts and
moral questions, or to sound them deeply. But he thoroughly
comprehended, and felt acutely, the embarrassment which might accrue
from these causes to his own power; and he tried to diminish them by
yielding to clerical influence in the government, imposing though
limited sacrifices, flattering himself that by these means he should
acquire allies in the Church itself, who would aid him to restrain the
overweening and imprudent pretensions of their own friends. Already, and
shortly after his accession to the ministry, he had appointed an
ecclesiastic in good estimation, and whom the Pope had named Bishop of
Hermopolis, the Abbé Frayssinous, to the head-mastership of the
University. Two months after the fall of M. de Châteaubriand, the Abbé
Frayssinous entered the Cabinet as Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs
and Public Instruction--a new department created expressly for him. He
was a man of sense and moderation, who had acquired, by Christian
preaching without violence, and conduct in which prudence was blended
with dignity, a reputation and importance somewhat superior to his
actual merits, and which he had no desire to compromise. In 1816 he had
been a member of the Royal Commission of Public Education, over which
M. Royer-Collard at that time presided; but soon retired from it, not
wishing either to share the responsibility of his superior or to act in
opposition to him. He generally approved of the policy of M. de Villèle;
but although binding himself to support it, and while lamenting the
blind demands of a portion of the clergy, he endeavoured, when
opportunity offered, to excuse and conceal rather than reject them
altogether. Without betraying M. de Villèle, he afforded him little aid,
and committed him repeatedly by his language in public, which invariably
tended more to maintain his own position in the Church than to serve the

Three months only had elapsed since M. de Villèle, separated from his
most brilliant colleagues and an important portion of his old friends,
had sustained the entire weight of government, when the King Louis
XVIII. died. The event had long been foreseen, and M. de Villèle had
skilfully prepared for it: he was as well established in the esteem and
confidence of the new monarch as of the sovereign who had just passed
from the Tuileries to St. Denis; Charles X., the Dauphin, and the
Dauphiness, all three looked upon him as the ablest and most valuable of
their devoted adherents. But M. de Villèle soon discovered that he had
changed masters, and that little dependence could be placed on the mind
or heart of a king, even though sincere, when the surface and the
interior were not in unison. Men belong, much more than is generally
supposed, or than they believe themselves, to their real convictions.
Many comparisons, for the sake of contrast, have been drawn between
Louis XVIII. and Charles X.; the distinction between them was even
greater than has been stated. Louis XVIII. was a moderate of the old
system, and a liberal-minded inheritor of the eighteenth century;
Charles X. was a true emigrant and a submissive bigot. The wisdom of
Louis XVIII. was egotistic and sceptical, but serious and sincere; when
Charles X. acted like a sensible king, it was through propriety, from
timid and short-sighted complaisance, from being carried away, or from
the desire of pleasing,--not from conviction or natural choice. Through
all the different Cabinets of his reign, whether under the
Abbé de Montesquiou, M. de Talleyrand, the Duke de Richelieu,
M. Decazes, and M. de Villèle, the government of Louis XVIII. was ever
consistent with itself; without false calculation or premeditated
deceit, Charles X. wavered from contradiction to contradiction, from
inconsistency to inconsistency, until the day when, given up to his own
will and belief, he committed the error which cost him his throne.

During three years, from the accession of Charles X. to his own fall,
M. de Villèle not only made no stand against the inconsiderate
fickleness of the King, but even profited by it to strengthen himself
against his various enemies. Too clear-sighted to hope that Charles X.
would persevere in the voluntary course of premeditated and steady
moderation which Louis XVIII. had followed, he undertook to make him at
least pursue, when circumstances allowed, a line of policy sufficiently
temperate and popular to save him from the appearance of being
exclusively in the hands of the party to whom in fact his heart and
faith were devoted. Skilful in varying his advice according to the
necessities and chances of the moment, and aptly availing himself of the
inclination of Charles X. for sudden measures, whether lenient or
severe, M. de Villèle at one time abolished, and at another revived, the
censorship of the journals, occasionally softened or aggravated the
execution of the laws, always endeavouring, and frequently with success,
to place in the mouth or in the name of the King, liberal demonstrations
and effusions, by the side of words and tendencies which recalled the
old system and the pretensions of absolute power. The same spirit
governed him in the Chambers. His bills were so conceived and presented,
as we may say, to the address of the different parties, that all
influential opinions were conciliated to a certain extent. The
indemnity to the emigrants satisfied the wishes and restored the
position of the entire lay party of the right. The recognition of the
Republic of Hayti pleased the Liberals. Judicious reforms in the
national budget and an administration friendly to sound regulations and
actual services, obtained for M. de Villèle the esteem of enlightened
men and the general approbation of all public functionaries. The bill on
the system of inheritance and the right of primogeniture afforded hope
to those who were prepossessed with aristocratic regrets. The bill on
sacrilege fostered the passions of the fanatics, and the views of their
theorists. Parallel with the spirit of reaction which predominated in
these legislative deliberations, as in the enactments of power, an
intelligent effort was ever visible to contrive something to the
advantage of the spirit of progress. While faithfully serving his
friends, M. de Villèle sought for and availed himself of every
opportunity that offered of making some compensation to his adversaries.

It was not that the state of his mind was changed in principle, or that
he had identified himself with the new and liberally-disposed society
which he courted with so much solicitude. After all, M. de Villèle
continued ever to be a follower of the old system, true to his party
from feeling as well as on calculation. But his ideas on the subject of
social and political organization were derived from tradition and habit,
rather than from personal and well-meditated conviction. He preserved,
without making them his sole rule of conduct, and laid them aside
occasionally, without renunciation. A strong practical instinct, and
the necessity of success, were his leading characteristics; he had the
peculiar tact of knowing what would succeed and what would not, and
paused in face of obstacles, either judging them to be insurmountable,
or to demand too much time for removal. I find, in a letter which he
wrote on the 31st of October, 1824, to Prince Julius de Polignac, at
that time ambassador in London, on the projected re-establishment of the
law of primogeniture, the strong expression of his inward thought, and
of his clear-sighted prudence in an important act. "You would be wrong
to suppose," said he, "that it is because entailed titles and estates
are perpetual, we do not create any. You give us too much credit; the
present generation sets no value on considerations so far removed from
their own time. The late King named Count K---- a peer, on the proviso
of his investing an estate with the title; he gave up the peerage,
rather than injure his daughter to the advantage of his son. Out of
twenty affluent families, there is scarcely one inclined to place the
eldest son so much above the rest. Egotism prevails everywhere. People
prefer to live on good terms with all their children, and, when
establishing them in the world, to show no preference. The bonds of
subordination are so universally relaxed, that parents, I believe, are
obliged to humour their own offspring. If the Government were to propose
the re-establishment of the law of primogeniture, it would not have a
majority on that question; the difficulty is more deeply seated; it lies
in our habits, still entirely impressed with the consequences of the
Revolution. I do not wish to say that nothing can be done to ameliorate
this lamentable position; but I feel that, in a state of society so
diseased, we require time and management, not to lose in a day the
labour and fruit of many years. To know how to proceed, and never to
swerve from that path, to make a step towards the desired end whenever
it can be made, and never to incur the necessity of retreat,--this
course appears to me to be one of the necessities of the time in which I
have arrived at power, and one of the causes which have led me to the
post I occupy."

M. de Villèle spoke truly; it was his rational loyalty to the interests
of his party, his patient perseverance in marching step by step to his
object, his calm and correct distinction between the possible and
impossible, which had made and kept him minister. But in the great
transformations of human society, when the ideas and passions of nations
have been powerfully stirred up, good sense, moderation, and cleverness
will not long suffice to control them; and the day will soon return
when, either to promote good or restrain evil, defined convictions and
intentions, strongly and openly expressed, are indispensable to the
heads of government. M. de Villèle was not endowed with these qualities.
His mind was accurate, rather than expanded; he had more ingenuity than
vigour, and he yielded to his party when he could no longer direct it.
"I am born for the end of revolutions," he exclaimed when arriving at
power, and he judged himself well; but he estimated less correctly the
general state of society: the Revolution was much further from its end
than he believed; it was continually reviving round him, excited and
strengthened by the alternately proclaimed and concealed attempts of
the counter-principle. People had ceased to conspire; but they
discussed, criticized, and contended with undiminished ardour in the
legitimate field. There were no longer secret associations, but opinions
which fermented and exploded on every side. And, in this public
movement, impassioned resistance was chiefly directed against the
preponderance and pretensions of the fanatically religious party. One of
the most extraordinary infatuations of our days has been the blindness
of this party to the fact that the conditions under which they acted,
and the means they employed, were directly opposed to the end in view,
and leading from rather than conducting to it. They desired to restrain
liberty, to control reason, to impose faith; they talked, wrote, and
argued; they sought and found arms in the system of inquiry and
publicity which they denounced. Nothing could be more natural or
legitimate on the part of believers who have full confidence in their
creed, and consider it equal to the conversion of its adversaries. The
latter are justified in recurring to the discussion and publicity which
they expect to serve their cause. But those who consider publicity and
free discussion as essentially mischievous, by appealing to these
resources, foment themselves the movement they dread, and feed the fire
they wish to extinguish. To prove themselves not only consistent, but
wise and effective, they should obtain by other means the strength on
which they rely: they should gain the mastery; and then, when they have
silenced all opposition, let them speak alone, if they still feel the
necessity of speaking. But until they have arrived at this point, let
them not deceive themselves; by adopting the weapons of liberty, they
serve liberty much more than they injure it, for they warn and place it
on its guard. To secure victory to the system of order and government to
which they aspire, there is but one road;--the Inquisition and Philip
II. were alone acquainted with their trade.

As might naturally be expected, the resistance provoked by the attempts
of the fanatical party soon transformed itself into an attack. One
royalist gentleman raised the flag of opposition against the policy of
M. de Villèle; another assailed the religious controllers of his
Cabinet, and not only dragged them before public opinion, but before the
justice of the country, which disarmed and condemned them, without
inflicting any other sentence than that of its disapprobation in the
name of the law.

No one was less a philosopher of the eighteenth century, or a liberal of
the nineteenth, than the Count de Montlosier. In the Constituent
Assembly he had vehemently defended the Church and resisted the
Revolution; he was sincerely a royalist, an aristocrat, and a Catholic.
People called him, not without reason, the feudal publicist. But,
neither the ancient nobility nor the modern citizens were disposed to
submit to ecclesiastical dominion. M. de Montlosier repulsed it, equally
in the name of old and new France, as he would formerly have denied its
supremacy from the battlements of his castle, or in the court of Philip
the Handsome. The early French spirit re-appeared in him, free, while
respectful towards the Church, and as jealous of the laical independence
of the State and crown, as it was possible for a member of the Imperial
State Council to show himself.

At the same moment, a man of the people, born a poet and rendered still
more poetical by art, celebrated, excited, and expanded, through his
songs, popular instincts and passions in opposition to everything that
recalled the old system, and above all against the pretensions and
supremacy of the Church. M. Béranger, in his heart, was neither a
revolutionist nor an unbeliever; he was morally more honest, and
politically more rational, than his songs; but, a democrat by conviction
as well as inclination, and carried away into license and want of
forethought by the spirit of democracy, he attacked indiscriminately
everything that was ungracious to the people, troubling himself little
as to the range of his blows, looking upon the success of his songs as a
victory achieved by liberty, and forgetting that religious faith and
respect for things holy are nowhere more necessary than in the bosom of
democratic and liberal associations. I believe he discovered this a
little too late, when he found himself individually confronted by the
passions which his ballads had fomented, and the dreams he had
transformed to realities. He then hastened, with sound sense and
dignity, to escape from the political arena, and almost from the world,
unchanged in his sentiments, but somewhat regretful and uneasy for the
consequences of the war in which he had taken such a prominent part.
Under the Restoration, he was full of confidence and zeal, enjoying his
popularity with modesty, and more seriously hostile and influential than
any sonneteer had ever been before him.

Thus, after six years of government by the right-hand party, and three
of the reign of Charles X., matters had arrived at this point--that two
of the chief royalist leaders marched at the head of an opposition, one
against the Cabinet, and the other against the Clergy, both becoming
from day to day more vigorous and extended, and that the Restoration
enumerated a ballad-maker in the first rank of its most dangerous

This entire mischief and danger was universally attributed to
M. de Villèle; on the right or on the left, in the saloons and the
journals, amongst the Moderates and the extreme Radicals, he became more
and more an object of attack and reproach. As the judicial bodies had
acted in affairs which regarded religion, so the literary institutions,
on questions which concerned their competence, eagerly seized the
opportunity of manifesting their opposition. The University, compressed
and mutilated, was in a state of utter discontent. The French Academy
made it a duty of honour to protest, in an address which the King
refused to receive, but which was nevertheless voted, against the new
bill on the subject of the press, introduced to the Chamber in 1826, and
withdrawn by the Cabinet three months afterwards. In his own Chamber of
Peers, M. de Villèle found neither general goodwill nor a certain
majority. Even at the Palais Bourbon and the Tuileries, his two
strongholds, he visibly lost ground; in the Chamber of Deputies, the
ministerial majority declined, and became sad even in triumph; at the
court, several of the King's most trusty adherents, the
Dukes de Rivière, de Fitz-James, and de Maillé, the Count de Glandères,
and many others,--some through party spirit, and some from monarchical
uneasiness,--desired the fall of M. de Villèle, and were already
preparing his successors. Even the King himself, when any fresh
manifestation of public feeling reached him, exclaimed pettishly, on
entering his closet, "Always Villèle! always against Villèle!"

In truth, the injustice was shameful. If the right-hand party had held
office for six years, and had used power so as to maintain it, if
Charles X. had not only peaceably succeeded Louis XVIII., but had ruled
without trouble, and even with some increase of popularity, it was to
M. de Villèle, above all others, that they were indebted for these
advantages. He had accomplished two difficult achievements, which might
have been called great had they been more durable: he had disciplined
the old royalist party, and from a section of the court, and a class
which had never been really active except in revolutionary contests, he
had established during six years a steady ministerial support; he had
restrained his party and his power within the general limits of the
Charter, and had exercised constitutional government for six years under
a prince and with friends who were generally considered to understand it
little, and to adopt it with reluctance. If the King and the right-hand
party felt themselves in danger, it was themselves, and not
M. de Villèle, whom they ought to have accused.

Nevertheless M. de Villèle, on his part, had no right to complain of the
injustice to which he was exposed. For six years he had been the head of
the Government; by yielding to the King and his partisans when he
disapproved their intentions, and by continuing their minister when he
could no longer prevent what he condemned, he had admitted the
responsibility of the faults committed under his name and with his
sanction, although in spite of himself. He endured the penalty of his
weakness in the exercise of power, and of his obstinacy in retaining it
under whatever sacrifices it might cost him. We cannot govern under a
free system, to enjoy the merit and reap the fruit of success, while we
repudiate the errors which lead to reverse.

Justice to M. de Villèle requires the acknowledgment that he never
attempted to withdraw himself from the responsibility of his government,
whether as regarded his own acts or his concessions to his friends. He
was never seen to reproach the King or his party with the errors to
which he became accessory. He knew how to preserve silence and endure
the blame, even while he had the power of justification. In 1825, after
the Spanish war, and during the financial debates to which it had given
rise, M. de la Bourdonnaye accused him of having been the author of the
contracts entered into in 1823, with M. Ouvrard, at Bayonne, for
supplying the army, and which had been made the subject of violent
attacks. M. de Villèle might have closed his adversary's mouth; for on
the 7th of April, 1823, he had written to the Duke d'Angoulême expressly
to caution him against M. Ouvrard and his propositions. He took no
advantage of this, but contented himself with explaining to the King in
a Council, when the Dauphin was present, the situation in which he was

The Dauphin at once authorized him to make use of his letter. "No,
Monseigneur," replied M. de Villèle; "let anything happen to me that
Heaven pleases, it will be of little consequence to the country; but I
should be guilty towards the King and to France, if, to exculpate myself
from an accusation, however serious it may be, I should give utterance,
beyond the walls of this cabinet, to a single word which could
compromise the name of your Royal Highness."

When, notwithstanding his obstinate and confiding disposition, he saw
himself seriously menaced, when the cries of "Down with the Ministers!
Down with Villèle!" uttered by several battalions of the National Guard,
both before and after the review by the King in the Champ-de-Mars on the
29th of April, 1827, had led to their disbanding, and had equally
excited the public and disturbed the King himself,--when M. de Villèle
felt distinctly that, both in the Chambers and at the Court, he was too
much attacked and shaken to govern with efficiency, he resolutely
adopted the course prescribed by the Charter and called for by his
position; he demanded of the King the dissolution of the Chamber of
Deputies, and a new general election, which should either re-establish
or finally overthrow the Cabinet.

Charles X. hesitated; he dreaded the elections, and, although not
disposed to support his Minister with more firmness, the chance of his
fall, and doubt in the selection of his successors, disturbed him, as
much as it was possible for his unreflecting nature to be disturbed.
M. de Villèle persisted, the King yielded, and, in defiance of the
electoral law which, in 1820, M. de Villèle and the right-hand party had
enacted, in spite of their six years of power, in spite of all the
efforts of Government to influence the elections, they produced a result
in conformity with the state of general feeling,--a majority composed of
different elements, but decidedly hostile to the Cabinet. After having
carefully examined this new ground, and after having received from
various quarters propositions of accommodation and alliance,
M. de Villèle, having clearly estimated his chances of strength and
durability, retired from office, and recommended the King to return
towards the centre, and to call together a moderate Ministry, which he
assisted him to construct. Charles X. received his new councillors as he
quitted his old ones, with sadness and apprehension, not acting as he
wished, and scarcely knowing whether what he did would tend to his
advantage. More decided, not through superiority of mind, but by natural
courage, the Dauphiness said to him, when she ascertained his
resolution, "In abandoning M. de Villèle, you have descended the first
step of your throne."

The political party of which M. de Villèle was the head, and which had
its own peculiar destinies, with which those of royalty had never been
closely allied, might indulge in more gloomy anticipations on their own
account; they had employed and lost the only man, belonging to their own
ranks, who was capable of showing them legitimately how to acquire and
how to exercise power.


[Footnote 17: On the 17th October, and the 22nd of November, 1822.]





When I was struck from the list of State-Councillors, with
MM. Royer-Collard, Camille Jordan, and Barante, I received from all
quarters testimonies of ardent sympathy. Disgrace voluntarily
encountered, and which imposes some sacrifices, flatters political
friends and interests indifferent spectators. I determined to resume, in
the Faculty of Letters, my course of modern history. We were then at the
end of July. Madame de Condorcet offered to lend me for several months a
country-house, ten leagues from Paris, near Meulan. My acquaintance with
her had never been intimate; her political sentiments differed
materially from mine; she belonged thoroughly and enthusiastically to
the eighteenth century and the Revolution: but she possessed an elevated
character, a strong mind, and a generous heart, capable of warm
affection; a favour offered by her sincerely, and for the sole pleasure
of conferring it, might be received without embarrassment. I accepted
that which she tendered me, and with the beginning of August I
established myself at the Maisonnette, and there recommenced my literary

At that time I was strongly attached, and have ever since remained so,
to public life. Nevertheless I have never quitted it without
experiencing a feeling of satisfaction mixed with my regret, as that of
a man who throws off a burden which he willingly sustained, or who
passes from a warm and exciting atmosphere into a light and refreshing
temperature. From the first moment, my residence at the Maisonnette
pleased me. Situated halfway up a hill, immediately before it was the
little town of Meulan, with its two churches, one lately restored for
worship, the other partly in ruins and converted into a magazine; on the
right of the town the eye fell upon L'Ile Belle, entirely parcelled out
into green meadows and surrounded by tall poplar-trees; in front was
the old bridge of Meulan, and beyond it the extensive and fertile
valley of the Seine. The house, not too small, was commodious and neatly
arranged; on either side, as you left the dining-hall, were large trees
and groves of shrubs; behind and above the mansion was a garden of
moderate extent, but intersected by walks winding up the side of the
hill and bordered by flowers. At the top of the garden was a small
pavilion well suited for reading alone, or for conversation with a
single companion. Beyond the enclosure, and still ascending, were woods,
fields, other country-houses and gardens scattered on different
elevations. I lived there with my wife and my son Francis, who had just
reached his fifth year. My friends often came to visit me. In all that
surrounded me, there was nothing either rare or beautiful. It was nature
with her simplest ornaments, and family life in the most unpretending
tranquillity. But nothing was wanting. I had space, verdure, affection,
conversation, liberty, and employment,--the necessity of occupation,
that spur and bridle which human indolence and mutability so often
require. I was perfectly content. When the soul is calm, the heart full,
and the mind active, situations the most opposite to those we have been
accustomed to possess their charms, which speedily become happiness.

I sometimes went to Paris on affairs of business. I find, in a letter
which I wrote to Madame Guizot during one of these journeys, the
impressions I experienced. "At the first moment I feel pleasure at
mixing again and conversing with the world, but soon grow weary of
unprofitable words. There is no repetition more tiresome than that
which bears upon popular matters. We are eternally listening to what we
know already; we are perpetually telling others what they are as well
acquainted with as we are: this is, at the same time, insipid and
agitating. In my inaction, I prefer talking to the trees, the flowers,
the sun, and the wind. Man is infinitely superior to nature; but nature
is always equal, and inexhaustible in her monotony; we know that she
remains and must remain what she is; we never feel in her presence that
necessity of moving in advance, which makes us impatient or weary of the
society of men when they fail to satisfy this imperative demand. Who has
ever fancied that the trees ought to be red instead of green, or found
fault with the sun of today for resembling the sun of yesterday? We
demand of nature neither progress nor novelty; and this is why nature
draws us from the weariness of the world, while she brings repose from
its excitement. It is her attribute to please for ever without changing;
but immovable man becomes tiresome, and he is not strong enough to be
perpetually in motion."

In the bosom of this calm and satisfying life, public affairs, the part
I had begun to take in them, the ties of mutual opinion and friendship I
had formed, the hopes I had entertained for my country and myself,
continued nevertheless to occupy much of my attention. I became anxious
to declare aloud my thoughts on the new system under which France was
governed; on what that system had become since 1814, and what it ought
to be to keep its word and accomplish its object. Still a stranger to
the Chambers, it was there alone that I could enter personally into the
field of politics, and assume my fitting place. I was perfectly
unfettered, and at an age when disinterested confidence in the empire of
truth blends with the honest aspirations of ambition; I pursued the
success of my cause, while I hoped for personal distinction. After
residing for two months at the Maisonnette, I published, under this
title, 'On the Government of France since the Restoration, and the
Ministry now in Office,' my first oppositional treatise against the
policy which had been followed since the Duke de Richelieu, by allying
himself with the right-hand party to change the electoral law, had also
changed the seat and tendency of power.

I took up the question, or, to speak more truly, I entered into the
contest, on the ground on which the Hundred Days and the Chamber of 1815
had unfortunately placed it:--Who are to exercise, in the government of
France, the preponderating influence? the victors or the vanquished of
1789? the middle classes, elevated to their rights, or the privileged
orders of earlier times? Is the Charter the conquest of the newly
constituted society, or the triumph of the old system, the legitimate
and rational accomplishment, or the merited penalty of the revolution?

I borrow from a preface which I added last year to a new edition of my
'Course of Lectures on the History of Civilization in France,' some
lines which today, after more than forty years of experience and
reflection, convey the faithful impress of my thoughts.

"It is the blind rivalry of the high social classes, which has
occasioned the miscarriage of our efforts to establish a free
government. Instead of uniting either in defence against despotism, or
to establish practical liberty, the nobility and the citizens have
remained separate, intent on mutually excluding or supplanting each
other, and both refusing to admit equality or superiority. Pretensions
unjust in principal, and vain in fact! The somewhat frivolous pride of
the nobility has not prevented the citizens of France from rising, and
taking their place on a level with the highest in the State. Neither
have the rather puerile jealousies of the citizens hindered the nobility
from preserving the advantages of family celebrity and the long tenure
of situation. In every arranged society which lives and increases there
is an internal movement of ascent and acquisition. In all systems that
are destined to endure, a certain hierarchy of conditions and ranks
establishes and perpetuates itself. Justice, common sense, public
advantage, and private interest, when properly understood, all require a
reciprocal acknowledgment of these natural facts of social order. The
different classes in France have not known how to adopt this skilful
equity. Thus they have endured, and have also inflicted on their
country, the penalty of their irrational egotism. For the vulgar
gratification of remaining, on the one side insolent, on the other
envious, nobles and citizens have continued much less free, less
important, less secure in their social privileges, than they might have
been with a little more justice, foresight, and submission to the divine
laws of human associations. They have been unable to act in concert, so
as to become free and powerful together; and consequently they have
given up France and themselves to successive revolutions."

In 1820, we were far from this free and impartial appreciation of our
political history and the causes of our disasters. Re-engaged for five
years in the track of the old rivalries of classes and the recent
struggles of revolution, we were entirely occupied with the troubles and
dangers of the moment, and anxious to conquer, without bestowing much
thought on the price or future embarrassments of victory. I upheld with
enthusiasm the cause of the new society, such as the Revolution had made
it, holding equality in the eye of the law as the first principle, and
the middle classes as the fundamental element. I elevated this cause,
already so great, by carrying it back to the past, and by discovering
its interests and vicissitudes in the entire series of our history. I
have no desire to palliate my thoughts or words. "For more than thirteen
centuries," I said, "France has comprised two races, the victors and the
vanquished. For more than thirteen centuries, the beaten race has
struggled to throw off the yoke of its conquerors. Our history is the
history of this contest. In our own days, a decisive battle has been
fought. That battle is called the Revolution.... The result was not
doubtful. Victory declared for those who had been so long subdued. In
turn they conquered France, and in 1814 were in possession beyond
dispute. The Charter acknowledged this fact, proclaimed that it was
founded on right, and guaranteed that right by the pledge of
representative government. The King, by this single act, established
himself as the chief of the new conquerors. He placed himself in their
ranks and at their head, engaging himself to defend with them, and for
them, the conquests of the Revolution, which were theirs. The Charter
implied such an engagement, beyond all question; for war was on the
point of recommencing. It was easy to foresee that the vanquished party
would not tamely submit to their defeat. Not that it reduced them to the
condition to which they had formerly humiliated their adversaries; they
found rights, if they lost privileges, and, while falling from high
supremacy, might repose on equality; but great masses of men will not
thus abdicate human weakness, and their reason ever remains far in the
rear of their necessity. All that preserved or restored to the ancient
possessors of privilege a gleam of hope, urged and tempted them to grasp
it. The Restoration could not fail to produce this effect. The fall of
privilege had entrained the subversion of the throne; it might be hoped
that the throne would restore privilege with its own re-establishment.
How was it possible not to cherish this hope? Revolutionary France held
it in dread. But even if the events of 1814 had not effected the
Restoration, if the Charter had been given to us from another source and
by a different dynasty, the mere establishment of the representative
system, the simple return to liberty, would have sufficed to inflame and
rouse up once more to combat the old race, the privileged orders. They
exist amongst us; they live, speak, circulate, act, and influence from
one end of France to the other. Decimated and scattered by the
Convention, seduced and kept under by Napoleon, as soon as terror and
despotism cease (and neither are durable) they re-appear, resume
position, and labour to recover all that they have lost.... We have
conquered the old system, we shall always conquer it; but for a long
time still we shall have to combat with it. Whoever wishes to see
constitutional order established in France, free elections, independent
Chambers, a tribune, liberty of the press, and all other public
liberties, must abandon the idea that, in this perpetual and animated
manifestation of all society, the counter-revolution can remain mute and

At the very moment when I recapitulated, in terms so positive and
forcible, the situation in which the Revolution, the Restoration, and
the Charter had placed France, I foresaw that my words and ideas might
be perverted to the advantage of revolutionary passions; and to confine
them within their just interpretation, I hastened to add, "In saying
that, since the origin of our monarchy, the struggle between two races
has agitated France, and that the Revolution has been merely the triumph
of new conquerors over the ancient possessors of power and territory, I
have not sought to establish any historical filiation, or to maintain
that the double fact of conquest and servitude was perpetual, constant,
and identical through all ages. Such an assertion would be evidently
falsified by realities. During this long progression of time, the
victors and the vanquished, the possessors and the possessions--the two
races, in fact--have become connected, displaced, and confounded; in
their existence and relations they have undergone innumerable
vicissitudes. Justice, the total absence of which would speedily
annihilate all society, has introduced itself into the effects of power.
It has protected the weak, restrained the strong, regulated their
intercourse, and has progressively substituted order for violence, and
equality for oppression. It has rendered France, in fact, such as the
world has seen her, with her immeasurable glory and her intervals of
repose. But it is not the less true that throughout thirteen centuries,
by the result of conquest and feudalism, France has always retained two
positions, two social classes, profoundly distinct and unequal, which
have never become amalgamated or placed in a condition of mutual
understanding and harmony; which have never ceased to combat, the one to
conquer right, the other to retain privilege. In this our history is
comprised; and in this sense I have spoken of two races, victors and
vanquished, friends and enemies; and of the war, sometimes open and
sanguinary, at others internal and purely political, which these two
conflicting interests have mutually waged against each other."

On reading over these pages at the present day, and my entire work of
1820, I retain the impression, which I still desire to establish. On
examining things closely and by themselves, as an historian and
philosopher, I scarcely find any passage to alter. I continue to think
that the general ideas therein expressed are just, the great social
facts properly estimated, the political personages well understood and
drawn with fidelity. As an incidental polemic, the work is too positive
and harsh; I do not sufficiently consider difficulties and clouds; I
condemn situations and parties too strongly; I require too much from
men; I have too little temperance, foresight, and patience. At that time
I was too exclusively possessed by the spirit of opposition.

Even then I suspected this myself; and perhaps the success I obtained
inspired the doubt. I am not naturally disposed to opposition; and the
more I have advanced in life, the more I have become convinced that it
is a part too easy and too dangerous. Success demands but little merit,
while considerable virtue is requisite to resist the external and innate
attractions. In 1820, I had as yet only filled an indirect and secondary
position under the Government; nevertheless I fully understood the
difficulty of governing, and felt a degree of repugnance in adding to it
by attacking those to whom power was delegated. Another conviction began
also from that time to impress itself upon me. In modern society, when
liberty is displayed, the strife becomes too unequal between the party
that governs and those who criticize Government. With the one rests all
the burden and unlimited responsibility; nothing is looked over or
forgiven: with the others there is perfect liberty and no
responsibility; everything that they say or do is accepted and
tolerated. Such is the public disposition, at least in France as soon as
we become free. At a later period, and when in office, I endured the
weight of this myself; but I may acknowledge without any personal
reluctance, that while in Opposition I first perceived the unjust and
injurious tendency of this feeling.

By instinct, rather than from any reflective or calculated intention, I
conceived the desire, as soon as I had committed an act of declared
hostility, of demonstrating what spirit of government was not foreign to
my own views. Many sensible men inclined to think that from the
representative system, in France at least, and in the state in which
the Revolution had left us, no sound plan could emanate, and that our
ardent longings for free institutions were only calculated to enervate
power and promote anarchy. The Revolutionary and Imperial eras had
naturally bequeathed this idea; France had only become acquainted with
political liberty by revolutions, and with order by despotism; harmony
between them appeared to be a chimera. I undertook to prove, not only
that this chimera of great minds might become a reality, but that the
realization depended upon ourselves; for the system founded by the
Charter alone contained, for us, the essential means of regular
government and of effective opposition, which the sincere friends of
power and liberty could desire. My work, entitled, 'On the Means of
Government and Opposition in the Actual State of France,' was entirely
dedicated to this object.

In that treatise I entered into no general or theoretic exposition of
policy, the idea of which I expressly repudiated. "Perhaps," I said, in
my preface, "I may on some future occasion discuss more general
questions of predominant interest in regard to the nature and principles
of constitutional government, although their solution has nothing to do
with existing politics, with the events and actors of the moment. I wish
now to speak only of power as it is, and of the best method of governing
our great and beautiful country." Entirely a novice and doctrinarian as
I then was, I forgot that the same maxims and arts of government must be
equally good everywhere, and that all nations and ages are, at the same
moment, cast in a similar mould. I confined myself sedulously to my own
time and country, endeavouring to show what effective means of
government were included in the true principles and regular exercise of
the institutions which France held from the Charter, and how they might
be successfully put in practice for the legitimate advantage and
strengthening of power. With respect to the means of opposition, I
followed the same line of argument, convinced myself, and anxious to
persuade the adversaries of the then dominant policy, that authority
might be controlled without destroying it, and that the rights of
liberty might be exercised without shaking the foundations of
established order. It was my strong desire and prepossession to elevate
the political arena above the revolutionary track, and to imbue the
heart of the constitutional system with ideas of strong and legal

Thirty-six years have since rolled on. During this long interval I
participated, for eighteen of those years, in the efforts of my
generation for the establishment of a free government. For some time I
sustained the weight of this labour. That government has been
overthrown. Thus I have myself experienced the immense difficulty, and
endured the painful failure, of this great enterprise. Nevertheless, and
I say it without sceptical hesitation or affected modesty, I read over
again today what I wrote in 1821, upon the means of government and
opposition in the actual state of France, with almost unmingled
satisfaction. I required much from power, but nothing, I believe, that
was not both capable and necessary of accomplishment. And
notwithstanding my young confidence, I remembered, even then, that other
conditions were essential to success. "I have no intention," I wrote,
"to impute everything to, and demand everything from, power itself. I
shall not say to it, as has often been said, 'Be just, wise, firm, and
fear nothing;' power is not free to exercise this inherent and
individual excellence. It does not make society, it finds it; and if
society is impotent to second power, if the spirit of anarchy prevails,
if the causes of dissolution exist in its own bosom, power will operate
in vain; it is not given to human wisdom to rescue a people who refuse
to co-operate in their own safety."

When I published these two attacks upon the attitude and tendencies of
the Cabinet, conspiracies and political prosecutions burst forth from
day to day, and entailed their tragical consequences. I have already
said what I thought on the plots of that epoch, and why I considered
them as ill based, as badly conducted, without legitimate motives or
effectual means. But while I condemned them, I respected the sincere and
courageous devotion of so many men, the greater part of whom were very
young, and who, though mistaken, lavished the treasures of their minds
and lives upon a cause which they believed to be just. Amongst the
trials of our time, I scarcely recognize any more painful than that of
these conflicting feelings, these perplexities between esteem and
censure, condemnation and sympathy, which I have so often been compelled
to bestow on the acts of so many of my contemporaries. I love harmony
and light in the human soul as well as in human associations; and we
live in an epoch of confusion and obscurity, moral as well as social.

How many men have I known, who, gifted with noble qualities, would in
other times have led just and simple lives, but who, in our days,
confounded in the problems and shadows of their own thoughts, have
become ambitious, turbulent, and fanatical, not knowing either how to
attain their object or how to continue in repose!

In 1820, although still young myself, I lamented this agitation of minds
and destinies, almost as sad to contemplate as fatal to be engaged in;
but while deploring it, I was divided between severe judgment and
lenient emotion, and, without seeking to disarm power in its legitimate
defence, I felt a deep anxiety to inspire it with generous and prudent
equity towards such adversaries.

A true sentiment does not readily believe itself impotent. The two works
which I published in 1821 and 1822, entitled, the first, 'On
Conspiracies and Political Justice,' and the second, 'On Capital
Punishment for Political Offences,' were not, on my part, acts of
opposition; I endeavoured to divest them of this character. To mark
distinctly their meaning and object, it will suffice for me to repeat
their respective epigraphs. On the title-page of the first I inscribed
this passage from the prophet Isaiah: "Say ye not, _a confederacy_, to
all them to whom this people shall say, _a confederacy_;" and on that of
the second, the words of St. Paul: "O death, where is thy sting? O
grave, where is thy victory?" What I chiefly desired was to convince
power itself that sound policy and true justice called for very rare
examples of trial and execution in political cases; and that in
exercising against all offenders the utmost severity of the laws, it
created more perils than it subdued. Public opinion was in accordance
with mine; sensible and independent men, taking no part in the passions
of the parties engaged in this struggle, found, as I did, that there was
excess in the action of the police with reference to these plots, excess
in the number and severity of the prosecutions, excess in the
application of legal penalties. I carefully endeavoured to restrain
these complaints within their just limits, to avoid all injurious
comparisons, all attempts at sudden reforms, and to concede to power its
necessary weapons. While discussing these questions, which had sprung up
in the bosom of the most violent storms, I sought to transfer them to an
elevated and temperate region, convinced that by that course alone my
ideas and words would acquire any permanent efficacy. They obtained the
sanction of a much more potent ally than myself. The Court of Peers,
which at that time had assumed the place assigned to it by the Charter,
in judgment on political prosecutions, immediately began to exercise
sound policy and true discrimination. It was a rare and imposing sight,
to behold a great assembly, essentially political in origin and
composition,--a faithful supporter of authority; and at the same time
sedulously watchful, not only to elevate justice above the passions of
the moment, and to administer it with perfect independence, but also to
apply, in the appreciation and punishment of political offences, that
intelligent equity which alone could satisfy the reason of the
philosopher and the charity of the Christian. A part of the honour due
to this grand exhibition belongs to the authorities the time, who not
only made no attempt to interfere with the unshackled impartiality of
the Court of Peers, but refrained even from objection or complaint.
Next to the merit of being themselves, and through their own
convictions, just and wise, it is a real act of wisdom on the part of
the great ones of the earth, when they adopt without murmur or
hesitation the good which has not originated with themselves.

I have lived in an age of political plots and outrages, directed
alternately against the authorities to whom I was in opposition and
those I supported with ardour. I have seen conspiracies occasionally
unpunished, and at other times visited by the utmost rigour of the law.
I feel thoroughly convinced that in the existing state of feelings,
minds, and manners, the punishment of death in such cases is an
injurious weapon which heavily wounds the power that uses it for safety.
It is not that this penalty is without denunciatory and preventive
efficacy; it terrifies and holds back from conspiracies many who would
otherwise be tempted to engage in them. But by the side of this salutary
consequence, it engenders others which are most injurious. Drawing no
line of distinction between the motives and dispositions which have
incited men to the acts it punishes, it stifles in the same manner the
reprobate and the dreamer, the criminal and the enthusiast, the wildly
ambitious and the devotedly fanatical. By this gross indifference, it
offends more than it satisfies moral feeling, irritates more than it
restrains, moves indifferent spectators to pity, and appears to those
who are interested an act of war falsely invested with the forms of a
decree of justice. The intimidation which it conveys at first,
diminishes from day to day; while the hatred and thirst of vengeance it
inspires become hourly more intense and expansive; and at last the time
arrives when the power which fancies itself saved is exposed to the
attacks of enemies infinitely more numerous and formidable than those
who have been previously disposed of.

A day will also come, I confidently feel, when, for offences exclusively
political, the penalties of banishment and transportation, carefully
graduated and applied, will be substituted in justice as well as in fact
for the punishment of death. Meanwhile I reckon, amongst the most
agreeable reminiscences of my life, the fact of my having strenuously
directed true justice and good policy to this subject, at a moment when
both were seriously compromised by party passions and the dangers to
which power was exposed.

These four works, published successively within the space of two years,
attracted a considerable share of public attention. The leading members
of Opposition in the two Chambers thanked me as for a service rendered
to the cause of France and free institutions. "You win battles for us
without our help," said General Foy to me. M. Royer-Collard, in pointing
out some objections to the first of these Essays ('On the Government of
France since the Restoration'), added, "Your book is full of truths; we
collect them with a shovel." I repeat without hesitation these
testimonies of real approbation. When we seriously undertake to advocate
political measures, either in speeches or publications, it becomes most
essential to attain our object. Praise is doubly valuable when it
conveys the certainty of success. This certainty once established, I
care little for mere compliments, from which a certain degree of
puerility and ridicule is inseparable; sympathy without affected words
has alone a true and desirable charm. I had a right to set some value on
that which the Opposition evinced towards me; for I had done nothing to
gratify the passions or conciliate the prejudices and after-thoughts
which fermented in the extreme ranks of the party.

I had as frankly supported royalty, as I had opposed the Cabinet; and it
was evident that I had no desire to consign either the House of Bourbon
or the Charter to their respective enemies.

Two opportunities soon presented themselves of explaining myself on this
point in a more personal and precise manner. In 1821, a short time after
the publication of my 'Essay on Conspiracies and Political Justice,' one
of the leaders of the conspiring faction, a man of talent and honour,
but deeply implicated in secret societies, that inheritance of
tyrannical times which becomes the poison of freedom, came to see me,
and expressed with much warmth his grateful acknowledgments. The boldest
conspirators feel gratified, when danger threatens, by shielding
themselves under the principles of justice and moderation professed by
men who take no part in their plots. We conversed freely on all topics.
As he was about to leave me, my visitor, grasping me by the arm,
exclaimed, "Become one of ours!"--"Who do you call yours?"--"Enter with
us into the _Charbonnerie_; it is the only association capable of
overthrowing the Government by which we are humiliated and
oppressed."--I replied, "You deceive yourself, as far as I am concerned;
I do not feel humiliation or oppression either for myself or my
country."--"What can you hope from the people now in power?"--"It is not
a question of hope; I wish to preserve what we possess; we have all we
require to establish a free government for ourselves. Actual power
constantly calls for resistance. In my opinion it does so at this
moment, but not to the extent of being subverted. It is very far from
having done anything to give us either the right or the means of
proceeding to that extremity. We have legal and public arms in abundance
to produce reform by opposition. I neither desire your object nor your
method of attaining it; you will bring much mischief on all, yourselves
included, without success; and if you should succeed, matters would be
still worse."

He went away without anger, for he felt a friendship for me; but I had
not in the slightest degree shaken his passion for plots and secret
societies. It is a fever which admits of no cure, when the soul is once
given up to it, and a yoke not to be thrown off when it has been long

A little later, in 1822, when the publications I have spoken of had
produced their effect, I received one day a visit from M. Manuel. We had
occasionally met at the houses of mutual friends, and lived on terms of
good understanding without positive intimacy. He evidently came to
propose closer acquaintanceship, with an openness in which perhaps the
somewhat restricted character of his mind was as much displayed as the
firmness of his temperament; he passed at once from compliments to
confidence, and, after congratulating me on my opposition, opened to me
the full bearing of his own. He neither believed in the Restoration nor
the Charter, held the House of Bourbon to be incompatible with the
France of the Revolution, and looked upon a change of dynasty as a
necessary consequence of the total alteration in the social system. He
introduced, in the course of our interview, the recent death of the
Emperor Napoleon, the security which thence resulted to the peace of
Europe, and the name of Napoleon II. as a possible and perhaps the best
solution of the problems involved in our future. All this was expressed
in guarded but sufficiently definite terms, equally without passion or
circumlocution, and with a marked intention of ascertaining to what
extent I should admit or reject the prospects on which he enlarged. I
was unprepared, both for the visit and the conversation; but I stood on
no reserve, not expecting to convert M. Manuel to my own views, and with
no desire to conceal mine from him. "Far from thinking," I said in
reply, "that a change of dynasty is necessary for France, I should look
upon it as a great misfortune and a formidable peril. I consider the
Revolution of 1789 to be satisfied as well as finished. In the Charter
it possesses all the guarantees that its interests and legitimate
objects require. I have no fear of a counter-revolution. We hold against
it the power of right as well as of fact; and if people were ever mad
enough to attempt it, we should always find sufficient strength to
arrest their progress. What France requires at present is to expel the
revolutionary spirit which still torments her, and to exercise the free
system of which she is in full possession. The House of Bourbon is
extremely well suited to this double exigence of the country. Its
government is anti-revolutionary by nature, and liberal through
necessity. I should much dread a power which, while maintaining order,
would either in fact or appearance be sufficiently revolutionary to
dispense with being liberal. I should be apprehensive that the country
would too easily lend itself to such a rule. We require to be a little
uneasy as regards our interests, that we may learn how to maintain our
rights. The Restoration satisfies while it keeps us on our guard. It
acts at the same time as a spur and a bridle. Both are good for us. I
know not what would happen if we were without either." M. Manuel pressed
me no longer; he had too much sense to waste time in useless words. We
continued to discourse without further argument, and parted thinking
well, I believe, of each other, but both thoroughly satisfied that we
should never act in concert.

While engaged in the publication of these different treatises, I was
also preparing my course of lectures on Modern History, which I
commenced on the 7th of December, 1820. Determined to make use of the
two influential organs with which public instruction and the press
supplied me, I used them nevertheless in a very different manner. In my
lectures, I excluded all reference to the circumstances, system, or acts
of the Government; I checked every inclination to attack or even to
criticize, and banished all remembrance of the affairs or contests of
the moment. I scrupulously restrained myself within the sphere of
general ideas and by-gone facts. Intellectual independence is the
natural privilege of science, which would be lost if converted into an
instrument of political opposition. For the effective display of
different liberties, it is necessary that each should be confined within
its own domain; their strength and security depend on this prudent

While imposing on myself this line of conduct, I did not evade the
difficulty. I selected for the subject of my course the history of the
old political institutions of Christian Europe, and of the origin of
representative government, in the different forms in which it had been
formerly attempted, with or without success. I touched very closely, in
such a subject, on the flagrant embarrassments of that contemporaneous
policy to which I was determined to make no allusion. But I also found
an obvious opportunity of carrying out, through scientific paths alone,
the double object I had in view. I was anxious to combat revolutionary
theories, and to attach interest and respect to the past history of
France. We had scarcely emerged from the most furious struggle against
that old French society, our secular cradle; our hearts, if not still
overflowing with anger, were indifferent towards it, and our minds were
confusedly imbued with the ideas, true or false, under which it had
fallen. The time had come for clearing out that arena covered with
ruins, and for substituting, in thought as in fact, equity for
hostility, and the principles of liberty for the arms of the Revolution.
An edifice is not built with machines of war; neither can a free system
be founded on ignorant prejudices and inveterate antipathies. I
encountered, at every step throughout my course, the great problems of
social organization, under the name of which parties and classes
exchanged such heavy blows,--the sovereignty of the people and the
right divine of kings, monarchy and republicanism, aristocracy and
democracy, the unity or division of power, the various systems of
election, constitution, and action of the assemblies called to
co-operate in government. I entered upon all these questions with a firm
determination to sift thoroughly the ideas of our own time, and to
separate revolutionary excitement and fantasies from the advances of
justice and liberty, reconcilable with the eternal laws of social order.
By the side of this philosophic undertaking, I pursued another,
exclusively historical; I endeavoured to demonstrate the intermitting
but always recurring efforts of French society to emerge from the
violent chaos in which it had been originally formed, sometimes produced
by the conflict, and at others by the accordance of its different
elements--royalty, nobility, clergy, citizens, and people,--throughout
the different phases of that harsh destiny, and the glorious although
incomplete development of French civilization, such as the Revolution
had compiled it after so many combats and vicissitudes. I particularly
wished to associate old France with the remembrance and intelligence of
new generations; for there was as little sense as justice in decrying or
despising our fathers, at the very moment when, equally misled in our
time, we were taking an immense step in the same path which they had
followed for so many ages.

I expounded these ideas before an audience little disposed to adopt or
even to take any interest in them. The public who at that time attended
my lectures were much less numerous and varied than they became some
years later. They consisted chiefly of young men, pupils of the
different scientific schools, and of a few curious amateurs of great
historical disquisitions. The one class were not prepared for the
questions I proposed, and wanted the preparatory knowledge which would
have rendered them acceptable. With many of the rest, preconceived ideas
of the eighteenth century and the Revolution, in matters of historical
and political philosophy, had already acquired that strength, derived
from inveterate habit, which rejects discussion, and listens coldly and
distrustfully to all that differs from their own opinions. Others again,
and amongst these were the most active and accessible dispositions, were
more or less engaged in the secret societies, hostile intrigues and
plots. With these, my opposition was considered extremely supine. I had
thus many obstacles to surmount, and many conversions to effect, before
I could bring over to my own views the small circle that listened to my

But there is always, in a French audience, whatever may be their
prejudices, an intellectual elasticity, a relish for efforts of the mind
and new ideas boldly set forward, and a certain liberal equity, which
disposes them to sympathize, even though they may hesitate to admit
conviction. I was at the same time liberal and anti-revolutionary,
devoted to the fundamental principles of the new French social system,
and animated by an affectionate respect for our ancient reminiscences. I
was opposed to the ideas which constituted the political faith of the
greater portion of my auditors. I propounded others which appeared
suspicious to them, even while they seemed just; they considered me as
made up of obscurities, contradictions, and prospective views, which
astonished and made them hesitate to follow me. At the same time they
felt that I was serious and sincere; they became gradually convinced
that my historic impartiality was not indifference, nor my political
creed a leaning towards the old system, nor my opposition to every kind
of subversive plot a truckling complaisance for power. I gained ground
in the estimation of my listeners: some amongst the most distinguished
came decidedly over to my views; others began to entertain doubts on the
soundness of their theories and the utility of their conspiring
practices; nearly all agreed with my just appreciation of the past, and
my recommendation of patient and legal opposition to the mistakes of the
present. The revolutionary spirit in this young and ardent section of
the public was visibly on the decline, not from scepticism and apathy,
but because other ideas and sentiments occupied its place in their
hearts, and drove it out to make room for their own admission.

The Cabinet of 1822 thought differently. It looked upon my lectures as
dangerous; and on the 12th of October in that year, the Abbé
Frayssinous, who a few months before had been appointed by M. de Villèle
Head Master of the University, commanded me to suspend them. I made no
complaint at the time, and I am not now astonished at the measure. My
opposition to the Ministry was unconcealed, and although not in the
slightest degree mixed up with my course of public instruction, many
persons were unable to separate as distinctly as I did, in their
impressions, my lectures on the history of past ages from my writings
against the policy of the day. I am equally convinced that the
Government, by sanctioning this proceeding, deceived itself to its own
detriment. In the struggle which it maintained with the spirit of
revolution, the ideas I propagated in my teaching were more salutary
than the opposition I carried on through the press was injurious; they
added more strength to the monarchy, than my criticisms on incidental
questions and situations could abstract from the Cabinet. But my free
language disturbed the blind partisans of absolute power in the Church
and State, and the Abbé Frayssinous, short-witted and weak though
honest, obeyed with inquietude rather than reluctance the influences
whose extreme violence he dreaded without condemning their exercise.

In the division of the monarchical parties, that which I had opposed
plunged more and more into exclusive and extreme measures. My lectures
being interdicted, all immediate political influence became impossible
to me. To struggle, beyond the circle of the Chambers, against the
existing system, it was necessary either to conspire, or to descend to a
blind, perverse, and futile opposition. Neither of these courses were
agreeable; I therefore completely renounced all party contentions, even
philosophical and abstracted, to seek elsewhere the means of still
mentally serving my cause with reference to the future.

There is nothing more difficult and at the same time more important in
public life, than to know how at certain moments to resign ourselves to
inaction without renouncing final success, and to wait patiently without
yielding to despair.

It was at this epoch that I applied myself seriously to the study of
England, her institutions, and the long contests on which they were
founded. Enthusiastically devoted to the political future of my own
country, I wished to learn accurately through what realities and
mistakes, by what persevering efforts and prudent acts, a great nation
had succeeded in establishing and preserving a free government. When we
compare attentively the history and social development of France and
England, we find it difficult to decide by which we ought to be most
impressed,--the differences or the resemblances. Never have two
countries, with origin and position so totally distinct, been more
deeply associated in their respective destinies, or exercised upon each
other, by the alternate relations of peace and war, such continued
influence. A province of France conquered England; England for a long
time held possession of several provinces of France; and on the
conclusion of this national strife, already the institutions and
political wisdom of the English were, with the most political spirits of
the French, with Louis XI. and Philip de Comines, for example, subjects
of admiration. In the bosom of Christianity the two nations have served
under different religious standards; but this very distinction has
become between them a new cause of contact and intermixture. In England
the French Protestants, and in France the persecuted English Catholics,
have sought and found an asylum. And when kings have been proscribed in
their turn, in France the monarch of England, and in England the
sovereign of France, was received and protected. From these respective
havens of safety, Charles II., in the seventeenth century, and Louis
XVIII. in the nineteenth, departed to resume their dominions. The two
nations, or, to speak more correctly, the high classes of the two
nations, have mutually adopted ideas, manners, and fashions from each
other. In the seventeenth century, the court of Louis XIV. gave the tone
to the English aristocracy. In the eighteenth, Paris went to London in
search of models. And when we ascend above these historical incidents to
consider the great phases of civilization in the two countries, we find
that, after considerable intervals in the course of ages, they have
followed nearly the same career; and that similar attempts and
alternations of order and revolution, of absolute power and liberty,
have occurred in both, with singular coincidences and equally remarkable

It is, therefore, on a very superficial and erroneous survey that some
persons look upon French and English society as so essentially
different, that the one could not draw political examples from the other
except by factitious and barren imitations. Nothing is more completely
falsified by true history, and more opposed to the natural bias of the
two countries. Their very rivalries have never broken the ties, apparent
or concealed, that exist between them; and, whether they know or are
ignorant of it, whether they acknowledge or deny the fact, they cannot
avoid being powerfully acted upon, by each other; their ideas, their
manners, and their institutions intermingle and modify mutually, as if
by an amicable necessity.

Let me at the same time admit, without hesitation, that we have
sometimes borrowed from England too completely and precipitately. We
have not sufficiently calculated the true character and social condition
of French society. France has increased and prospered under the
influence of royalty seconding the ascending movement of the middle
classes; England, by the action of the landed aristocracy, taking under
its charge the liberties of the people. These distinctions are too
marked to disappear, even under the controlling uniformity of modern
civilization. We have too thoroughly forgotten them. It is the rock and
impediment in the way of innovations accomplished under the name of
general ideas and great examples, that they do not assume their
legitimate part in real and national facts. But how could we have
escaped this rock? In the course of her long existence, ancient France
has made, at several regular intervals, great efforts to obtain free
government. The most powerful influences have either resisted, or failed
in the attempt; her best institutions have not co-operated with the
necessary changes, or have remained politically ineffective;
nevertheless, by a just sentiment of her honour as of her interest,
France has never ceased to aspire to a true and permanent system of
political guarantees and liberties. She demanded and desired this system
in 1789. Through what channels was it sought? From what institution was
it expected? So often deceived in her hopes and attempts within, she
looked beyond home for lessons and models,--a great additional obstacle
to a work already so difficult, but an inevitable one imposed by

In 1823, I was far from estimating the obstacles which beset us in our
labour of constitutional organization as correctly as I do now. I was
impressed with the idea that our predecessors of 1789 had held old
France, her social traditions and her habits, in too much contempt; and
that to bring back harmony with liberty into our country, we ought to
lay more stress on our glorious past. At the same moment, therefore,
when I placed before the eyes of the French public the history and
original monuments of the institutions and revolutions of England, I
entered with ardour into the study and exposition of the early state of
French society, its origin, laws, and different gradations of
development. I was equally desirous to give to my readers information on
a great foreign history, and to revive amongst them a taste and
inclination for the study of our own.

My labours were certainly in accord with the instincts and requirements
of the time; for they were received and seconded by the general movement
which then manifested itself in the public mind, and with reference to
the Government so much a subject of dispute. It is the happy tendency of
the French temperament to change the direction of its course without
slackening speed. It is singularly flexible, elastic, and prolific. An
obstacle impedes it, it opens another path; if burdened by fetters, it
still walks on while bearing them; if restrained on a given point, it
leaves it, and rebounds elsewhere. The Government of the right-hand
party restrained political life and action within a narrow circle, and
rendered them more difficult; the generation which was then beginning to
stir in the world, sought, not entirely independent of, but side by side
with politics, the employment of its strength and the gratification of
its desires: literature, philosophy, history, policy, and criticism
assumed a new and powerful flight. While a natural and unfortunate
reaction brought back into the field of combat the eighteenth century
with its old weapons, the nineteenth displayed itself with its original
ideas, tendencies, and features.

I do not quote particular names; those which deserve to be remembered
require no repetition; it is the general character of the intellectual
movement of the period that I wish to bring into light. This movement
was neither exclusively nor directly applied to politics, yet it was
from politics that it emanated; it was both literary and philosophic:
the human mind, disengaging itself from the interests and disputes of
the day, pressed forward through every path that presented itself, in
the search and enjoyment of the true and beautiful; but the first
impulse came from political liberty, and the hope of contributing to the
establishment of a free system was plainly perceptible in the most
abstract labours as in the most poetic flights. My friends and I, while
originating in 1827 one of the leading periodicals of the age, the
'Revue Française,' selected for its motto this verse of Ovid,--

   "Et quod nunc ratio est, impetus ante fuit:"--

"What is now reason, was at first an impulse of passion."

We thus truly conveyed the prevailing spirit around us, and our own
personal conviction. The 'Revue Française' was devoted to philosophy,
history, literary criticism, and moral and scientific lucubrations; at
the same time it was impregnated with the grand political inspirations
which for forty years had agitated France. We declared ourselves
distinct from our precursors of 1789, strangers to their passions, and
not enslaved to their ideas, but inheritors and continuators of their
work. We undertook to bring back the new French society to purer
principles, to more elevated and equitable sentiments, and to firmer
foundations; to that great subject of interest, to the accomplishment of
its legitimate hopes and the assurance of its liberties, our efforts and
desires were incessantly directed.

Another miscellany, commenced in 1824, and more popular than the
'Revue'--the 'Globe'--bore the same features in a polemic of greater
animation and variety. Some young doctrinarians, associated with other
writers of the same class, and animated by the same spirit, although
with primary ideas and ultimate tendencies of a very different
character, were the ordinary editors. Their distinguishing symbols were,
in philosophy, spiritualism; in history, intelligent inquiry, impartial
and even sympathetic as regarded ancient times and the progressive
conditions of human society; in literature, a taste for novelty,
variety, liberty, and truth, even under the strangest forms and the most
incongruous associations. They defended, or rather advanced their banner
with the ardour and pride of youth; enjoying, in their attempts at
philosophical, historical, poetical, and critical reform, the
satisfaction, at once personal and disinterested, which forms the
sweetest reward of intellectual activity; and promising themselves, as
always happens, a too extensive and too easy success. Two faults were
mingled with these generous aspirations: the ideas developed in the
'Globe' were deficient in a fixed basis and a defined limit; their form
was more decided than their foundation; they exhibited minds animated by
a noble impulse, but not directed to any single or certain end; and open
to an easy, unrestricted course, which excited apprehension that they
might themselves drift towards the rocks they cautioned others to avoid.
At the same time the spirit of partisanship, inclining men to be wrapped
up and isolated in the narrow circle of their immediate associates,
without remembering the general public for whom they labour and to whom
they speak, exercised too much influence in the pages of the 'Globe.'
Turgot intended to write several articles for the 'Encyclopædia.'
D'Alembert came one day to ask him for them. Turgot declined: "You
incessantly say _we_," he replied; "the public will soon say _you_; I do
not wish to be so enrolled and classed." But these faults of the
'Globe,' apparent today, were concealed, thirty years ago, by the merit
of its opposition; for political opposition was at the bottom of this
miscellany, and obtained favour for it with many in the party opposed to
the Restoration, to whom its philosophical and literary opinions were
far from acceptable. In February, 1830, under the ministry of
M. de Polignac, the 'Globe,' yielding to its inclination, became
decidedly a great political journal; and from his retirement at
Carquerannes, near Hyères, where he had gone to reconcile his labour
with his health, M. Augustine Thierry wrote to me as follows:--"What
think you of the 'Globe' since it has changed its character? I know not
why I am vexed to find in it all those trifling points of news and daily
discussion. Formerly we concentrated our thoughts to read it, but now
that is no longer possible; the attention is distracted and divided.
There are still the same spirit and the same articles, but it is
disagreeable to encounter by their side these commonplace and every-day
matters." M. Augustine Thierry was right. The 'Globe' sank materially by
becoming a political journal, like so many others; but it had not been
the less essentially political from its commencement, in tendency and
inspiration. Such was the general spirit of the time; and, far from
avoiding this, the 'Globe' was deeply impregnated with it.

Even under the controlling influence of the right-hand party, the
Restoration made no attempt to stifle this actual but indirect
opposition, which they felt to be troublesome though not openly hostile:
justice requires that we should remember this to the credit of that
epoch. In the midst of the constant alarms excited by political liberty
and the efforts of power to restrain it, intellectual freedom maintained
itself and commanded respect. This freedom does not supply all the rest;
but it prepares them, and, while their accomplishment is suspended,
preserves the honour of nations who have not yet learned to conquer or
preserve their rights.

While this movement of the mind developed itself and gained strength
from day to day, the Government of M. de Villèle pursued its course,
more and more perplexed by the pretensions and quarrels of the party
which its leader vainly endeavoured to restrain. One of my friends,
endowed with penetrating and impartial judgment, thus wrote to me in
December, 1826, from the interior of his department:--"Men who are at
the head of a faction are really destined to tremble before their own
shadow. I cannot recollect any time when this nullity of the ruling
party was more complete. They do not propound a single doctrine or
conviction, or a hope for the future. Even declamation itself seems to
be exhausted and futile. Surely M. de Villèle must be allowed the merit
of being well acquainted with their helplessness; his success springs
from that cause; but this I look upon as an instinctive knowledge: he
represents without correctly estimating these people. Otherwise he would
discover that he might refuse them everything except places and
appointments; provided also that he lends himself to no connection with
opposite opinions." When the party, proceeding from exigence to
exigence, and the Cabinet from weakness to weakness, found themselves
unable to act longer together,--when M. de Villèle, in November 1827,
appealed to an election for defence against his rivals in the Chamber
and at Court,--we resolutely encountered our share in the contest. Every
opposition combined. Under the motto, _Aide-toi, le Ciel t'aidera_,
"Help thyself, and Heaven will help thee," a public association was
formed, in which was comprised men of very different general ideas and
definitive intentions, who acted in concert with the sole design of
bringing about, by legal measures, a change of the majority in the
Chamber of Deputies, and the fall of the Cabinet. I as readily joined
them, with my friends, as in 1815 I had repaired alone to Ghent to
convey to the King, Louis XVIII., the wishes of the constitutional
Royalists. Long revolutions engender two opposite vices, rashness and
pusillanimity; men learn from them either to plunge blindly into mad
enterprises, or to abstain timidly from the most legitimate and
necessary actions. We had openly opposed the policy of the Cabinet; it
now challenged us to the electoral field to decide the quarrel: we
entered it with the same frankness, resolved to look for nothing beyond
fair elections, and to accept the difficulties and chances, at first of
the combat, and afterwards of the success, if success should attend our

In the 'Biography' which Béranger has written of himself, I find this
paragraph:--"At all times I have relied too much on the people, to
approve of secret associations, in reality permanent conspiracies, which
uselessly compromise many persons, create a host of inferior rival
ambitions, and render questions of principle subordinate to private
passions. They rapidly produce suspicion, an infallible cause of
defection and even of treachery, and end, when the labouring classes are
called in to co-operate, by corrupting instead of enlightening them....
The society, _Aide-toi, le Ciel t'aidera_, which acted openly, has alone
rendered true service to our cause." The cause of M. Béranger and ours
were totally distinct. Which of the two would profit most by the
electoral services derived from the society of _Aide-toi, le Ciel
t'aidera_? The question was to be speedily solved by the King, Charles

The results of the election of 1827 were enormous; they greatly exceeded
the fears of the Cabinet and the hopes of the Opposition. I was still in
the country when these events became known. One of my friends wrote to
me from Paris, "The consternation of the Ministers, the nervous attack
of M. de Villèle, who sent for his physician at three o'clock in the
morning, the agony of M. de Corbières,[18] the retreat of M. de Polignac
to the country, from whence he has no intention to return, although he
may be vehemently requested to do so, the terror at the palace, the ever
brilliant shooting-parties of the King, the elections so completely
unexpected, surprising, and astounding,--here are more than subjects
enough to call for prophecies, and to give rise to false predictions on
every consequence that may be anticipated." The Duke de Broglie, absent,
like myself, from Paris, looked towards the future with more confident
moderation. "It will be difficult," he wrote to me, "for the general
sound sense which has presided at these elections not to react, to a
certain extent, on the parties elected. The Ministry which will be
formed during the first conflict, will be poor enough; but we must
support it, and endeavour to suppress all alarm. It has already reached
me here, that the elections have produced great apprehensions; if I am
not deceived, this terror is nothing more than a danger of the moment.
If, after the fall of the present Ministry, we are able to get through
the year quietly, we shall have won the victory."

When the Ministry of M. de Villèle fell, and the Cabinet of
M. de Martignac was installed, a new attempt at a Government of the
Centre commenced, but with much less force, and inferior chances of
success, than that which in 1816 and 1821, under the combined and
separate directions of the Duke de Richelieu and M. Decazes, had
defended France and the crown against the supremacy of the right and
left-hand parties. The party of the centre, formed at that time under a
pressing danger of the country, had drawn much strength from that very
circumstance, and either from the right or the left had encountered
nothing but animated opposition, but still raw and badly organized, and
such as in public estimation was incapable of government. In 1828, on
the contrary, the right hand-party, only just ejected from power, after
having held it for six years, believed that they were as near recovering
as they were capable of exercising office, and attacked with exuberant
hope the suddenly created successors who had stepped into their places.
In other quarters, the left and the left centre, brought into contact
and almost confounded by six years of common opposition, reciprocated
mutual understanding in their relations with a Cabinet which they were
called on to support, although not emanating from their ranks. As it
happens in similar cases, the violent and extravagant members of the
party, paralyzed or committed the more moderate and rational to a much
greater extent than the latter were able to restrain and guide their
troublesome associates. Thus assailed in the Chambers by ambitious and
influential rivals, the rising power found there only lukewarm or
restrained allies. While from 1816 to 1821 the King, Louis XVIII., gave
his sincere and active co-operation to the Government of the Centre, in
1828 the King, Charles X., looked upon the Cabinet which replaced
immediately round him the leaders of the right-hand party as an
unpleasant trial he was doomed to undergo; but to which he submitted
with uneasy reluctance, not believing in its success, and fully
determined to endure it no longer than strict necessity compelled.

In this weak position, two individuals, M. de Martignac, as actual head
of the Cabinet, without being president, and M. Royer-Collard, as
president of the Chamber of Deputies, alone contributed a small degree
of strength and reputation to the new Ministry; but they were far from
being equal to its difficulties or dangers.

M. de Martignac has left on the minds of all who were acquainted with
him, either in public or private life, whether friends or adversaries, a
strong impression of esteem and goodwill. His disposition was easy,
amiable, and generous; his mind just, quick, and refined, at once calm
and liberal; he was endowed with natural, persuasive, clear, and
graceful eloquence; he pleased even those from whom he differed. I have
heard M. Dupont de l'Eure whisper gently from his place, while listening
to him, "Be silent, Siren!" In ordinary times, and under a well-settled
constitutional system, he would have been an effective and popular
minister; but either in word or act he had more seduction than
authority, more charm than power. Faithful to his cause and his friends,
he was unable to carry either into government or political debate that
simple, fervent, and persevering energy, that insatiable desire and
determination to succeed, which rises before obstacles and under
defeats, and often controls wills without absolutely converting
opinions. On his own account, more honest and epicurean than ambitious,
he held more to duty and pleasure than to power. Thus, although well
received by the King and the Chambers, he neither exercised at the
Tuileries nor at the Palais Bourbon the authority, nor even the
influence, which his sound mind and extraordinary talent ought to have
given to him.

M. Royer-Collard, on the contrary, had reached and occupied the chair of
the Chamber of Deputies through the importance derived from twelve years
of parliamentary contest, recently confirmed by seven simultaneous
elections, and by the distinguished mark of esteem which the Chamber and
the King had conferred on him. But this importance, real in moral
consideration, was politically of little weight. Since the failure of
the system of government he had supported, and his own dismissal from
the State Council by M. de Serre in 1820, M. Royer-Collard had, I will
not say fallen, but entered into a state of profound despondency. Some
sentences in letters written to me from his estate at Château-vieux,
where he had passed the summer, will more readily explain the condition
of his mind at that time. I select the shortest:--

"_Aug. 1, 1823._--There is no trace of man here, and I am ignorant of
what can be found in the papers; but I do not believe there is anything
more to hear. At all events, I am careless on the subject. I have no
longer any curiosity, and I well know the reason. I have lost my cause,
and I much fear you will lose yours also; for you assuredly will as soon
as it becomes a bad one. In these sad reflections the heart closes
itself up, but without resignation."

"_Aug. 27, 1826._--There cannot be a more perfect or innocent solitude
than that in which I have lived until this last week, which has brought
M. de Talleyrand to Valençay. It is only through your letter and his
conversation, that I am again connected with the world. I have never
before so thoroughly enjoyed this kind of life,--some hours devoted to
study, the meditations they occasion, a family walk, and the care of a
small, domestic administration. Nevertheless, in the midst of this
profound tranquillity, on observing what passes, and what we have to
expect, the fatigue of a long life entirely wasted in wishes
unaccomplished and hopes deceived, makes itself sensibly felt. I hope I
shall not give way under it; in the place of illusions, there are still
duties which assert their claims."

"_Oct. 22, 1826._--After having thoroughly enjoyed this year of the
country and of solitude, I shall return with pleasure to the society of
living minds. At this moment that society is extremely calm; but without
firing cannon, it gains ground, and insensibly establishes its power. I
have formed no idea of the coming session. I believe it to be merely
through habit and remembrance, that any attention is yet paid to the
Chamber of Deputies. It belongs to another world; our time is still
distant, fortune has thrown you into the only course of life which has
now either dignity or utility. It has done well for you and for us."

M. Royer-Collard was too ambitious and too speedily cast down. Human
affairs do not permit so many expectations, and supply greater
resources. We should expect less, and not so soon give way to despair.
The elections of 1827, the advent of the Martignac Ministry, and his
own situation in the chair of the Chamber of Deputies, drew
M. Royer-Collard a little from his despondency, but without much
restoring his confidence. Satisfied with his personal position, he
supported and seconded the Cabinet in the Chamber, but without warmly
adopting its policy; preserving carefully the attitude of a gracious
ally who wishes to avoid responsibility. In his intercourse with the
King he held the same reserve, speaking the truth, and offering sage
advice, but without in the slightest degree conveying the idea that he
was ready to put in practice the energetic and consistent policy he
recommended. Charles X. listened to him with courtesy and surprise,
confiding in his loyalty, but scarcely understanding his words, and
regarding him as an honest man tainted with inapplicable or even
dangerous ideas. Sincerely devoted to the King, and friendly to the
Cabinet, M. Royer-Collard served them advantageously in their daily
affairs and perils, but held himself always apart from their destiny as
from their acts, and without bringing to them, through his co-operation,
the strength which ought to have attached to the superiority of his mind
and the influence of his name.

I did not at that time return to public office. The Cabinet made no such
proposition to me, and I refrained from suggesting it; on either side we
were right. M. de Martignac came from the ranks of M. de Villèle's
party, and was obliged to keep measures with them; it would not have
been consistent in him to hold intimate relations with their
adversaries. For my own part, even though I should consider it
necessary, I am badly adapted to serve a floating system of policy,
which resorts to uncertain measures and expedients instead of acting on
fixed and declared ideas. At a distance, I was both able and willing to
support the new Ministry. In a close position I should have compromised
them. I had, however, my share in the triumph. Without calling me back
to exercise the functions of State-Councillor, the title was restored to
me; and the Minister of Public Instruction, M. de Vatimesnil, authorized
the reopening of my course.

I retain a deep impression of the Sorbonne which I then entered, and of
the lectures I delivered there during two years. This was an important
epoch in my life, and perhaps I may be permitted to add, a moment of
influence on my country. With more care even than in 1821, I kept my
lectures free of politics. Not only did I abstain from opposition to the
Martignac Ministry, but I scrupulously avoided embarrassing them in the
slightest degree. In other respects, I proposed an object to myself
sufficiently important, as I thought, to occupy my entire attention. I
was anxious to study and describe, in their parallel development and
reciprocal action, the various elements of our French society, the Roman
world, the Barbarians, the Christian Church, the Feudal System, the
Papacy, Chivalry, Monarchy, the Commonalty, the Third Estate, and
Reform. I desired not only to satisfy the scientific or philosophic
curiosity of the public, but to accomplish a double end, real and
practical. I proposed to demonstrate that the efforts of our time to
establish a system of equal and legal justice in society, and also of
political guarantees and liberties in the State, were neither new nor
extraordinary,--that in the course of her history, more or less
obscurely or unfortunately, France had at several intervals embraced
this design, and that the generation of 1789, grasping it with
enthusiasm, had committed both good and evil,--good, in resuming the
glorious attempt of their ancestors,--evil in attributing to themselves
the invention and the honour, and in believing that they were called
upon to create, through their own ideas and wishes, a world entirely
new. Thus, while promoting the interests of existing society, I was
desirous of bringing back amongst us a sentiment of justice and sympathy
for our early recollections and ancient customs; for that old French
social system which had lived actively and gloriously for fifteen
centuries, to accumulate the inheritance of civilization which we have
gathered. It is a lamentable mistake, and a great indication of
weakness, in a nation, to forget and despise the past. It may in a
revolutionary crisis rise up against old and defective institutions; but
when this work of destruction is accomplished, if it still continues to
treat its history with contempt, if it persuades itself that it has
completely broken with the secular elements of its civilization, it is
not a new state of society which it can then form, it is the disorder of
revolution that it perpetuates. When the generation who possess their
country for a moment, indulge in the absurd arrogance of believing that
it belongs to them, and them alone; and that the past, in face of the
present, is death opposed to life; when they reject thus the sovereignty
of tradition and the ties which mutually connect successive races, they
deny the distinction and pre-eminent characteristic of human nature, its
honour and elevated destiny; and the people who resign themselves to
this flagrant error, also fall speedily into anarchy and decline; for
God does not permit that nature and the laws of His works should be
forgotten and outraged to such an extent with impunity.

During my course of lectures from 1828 to 1830, it was my prevailing
idea to contend against this injurious tendency of the public mind, to
bring it back to an intelligent and impartial appreciation of our old
social system, to inspire an affectionate respect for the early history
of France; and thus to contribute, as far as I could, to establish
between the different elements of our ancient and modern society,
whether monarchical, aristocratic, or popular, that mutual esteem and
harmony which an attack of revolutionary fever may suspend, but which
soon becomes once more indispensable to the liberty as well as to the
prosperity of the citizens, to the strength and tranquillity of the

I had some reason to think that I succeeded to a great extent in my
design. My audience, numerous and diversified, youths and experienced
men, natives and foreigners, appeared to take a lively interest in the
ideas I expounded. These notions assimilated with the general
impressions of their minds, without demanding complete subservience, so
as to combine the charms of sympathy and novelty. My listeners found
themselves, not thrown back into retrograding systems, but urged forward
in the path of just and liberal reflection. By the side of my historical
lessons, but without concert, and in spite of wide differences of
opinion between us, literary and philosophic instruction received from
my two friends, MM. Villemain and Cousin, a corresponding character and
impulse. Opposite breezes produced the same movement; we bestowed no
thought on the events and questions of the day, and we felt no desire to
bring them to the attention of the public by whom we were surrounded. We
were openly and freely devoted to great general interests, great
recollections, and great hopes for man and human associations; caring
only to propagate our ideas, not indifferent as to their possible
results, but not impatient to attain them; gratified by the intellectual
advance in the midst of which we lived, and confident in the ultimate
ascendency of the truth which we flattered ourselves we should possess
and in the liberty we hoped to enjoy.

It would certainly have been profitable for us, and as I also believe
for the country, if this intention could have been prolonged, and if our
minds could have fortified themselves in their calm meditations before
being once more engaged in the passions and trials of active life. But,
as it happens almost invariably, the errors of men stepped in to
interrupt the progress of ideas by precipitating the course of events.
The Martignac Ministry adopted a moderate and constitutional policy. Two
bills, honestly intended and ably discussed, had given effectual
guarantees, the one, to the independence of elections, and the other, to
the liberty of the press. A third, introduced at the opening of the
session of 1829, secured to the elective principle a share in the
administration of the departments and townships, and imposed on the
central Government new rules and limitations for local affairs. These
concessions might be considered too extensive or too narrow; but in
either case they were real, and the advocates of public liberty could do
nothing better than accept and establish them. But in the Liberal party
who had hitherto supported the Cabinet, two feelings, little politic in
their character, the spirit of impatience and the love of system, the
desire for popularity and the severity of reason, were indisposed to be
satisfied with those slow and imperfect conquests. The right-hand party,
by refusing to vote, left the Ministry in contest with the wants of
their allies. Despite the efforts of M. de Martignac, an amendment, more
formidable in appearance than in reality, attacked in some measure the
plan of the bill upon departmental administration. With the King, and
also with the Chambers, the Ministry had reached the term of its credit;
unable to obtain from the King what would give confidence to the
Chambers, or from the Chambers what would satisfy the King, it
voluntarily declared its impotence by hastily withdrawing the two bills,
and still remained standing, although struck by a mortal wound.

How could it be replaced? The question remained in suspense for three
months. Three men alone, M. Royer-Collard, M. de Villèle, and
M. de Châteaubriand seemed capable of forming a new Cabinet that might
last, although compounded of very different shades. The two first were
entirely out of the question. Neither the King nor the Chambers
contemplated the idea of making a Prime Minister of M. Royer-Collard. He
perhaps had thought of it himself, more than once, for nothing was too
bold to cross his mind in his solitary reveries; but these were merely
inward lucubrations, not actually ambitious designs; if power had been
offered to him he would assuredly have refused it; he had too little
confidence in the future, and too much personal pride, to encounter
such a risk of failure.

M. de Villèle, still suffering from the accusations first whispered
against him in 1828, and which had remained in abeyance in the Chamber
of Deputies, had formally refused to attend the session of 1829, and
held himself in retirement at his estate near Toulouse; it was evident
that he could not return to power, and act with the Chamber that had
thrown him out. Neither the King nor himself would have consented, as I
think, to encounter at that time the hazard of a new dissolution.

M. de Châteaubriand was at Rome. On the formation of the Cabinet of
M. de Martignac he had accepted that embassy, and from thence, with a
mixture of ambition and contempt he watched the uncertain policy and
wavering position of the Ministers at Paris. When he learned that they
were beaten, and would in all probability be compelled to retire, he
immediately commenced an active agitation. "You estimate correctly my
surprise," he wrote to Madame Recamier, "at the news of the _withdrawal_
of the two bills. Wounded self-love makes men children, and gives them
very bad advice. What will be the end of all this? Will the Ministers
endeavour to hold place? Will they retire partially or all together? Who
will succeed them? How is a Cabinet to be composed? I assure you that,
were it not for the pain of losing your society, I should rejoice at
being here, out of the way, and at not being mixed up in all these
enmities and follies, for I find that all are equally in the wrong....
Attend well to this; here is something more explicit: if by chance the
portfolio of Foreign Affairs should be offered to me (and I have no
reason to expect it), I should not refuse. I should come to Paris, I
should speak to the King, I should arrange a Ministry without being
included in it; for myself, I should propose, to attach me to my own
work, a suitable position. I think, as you know, that it belongs to my
ministerial reputation, as well as to revenge me for the injury I
sustained from Villèle, that the portfolio of Foreign Affairs should be
given to me for the moment. This is the only honourable mode in which I
could rejoin the Administration. But that done, I should immediately
retire, to the great satisfaction of all new aspirants, and pass the
remainder of my life near you in perfect repose."[19]

M. de Châteaubriand was not called to enjoy this haughty vengeance, or
to exhibit such a demonstration of generosity. While he still dreamed of
it in the Pyrenees, whither he had repaired to rest from the labours of
the Conclave which gave Pius VIII. as successor to Leo X., the
Prince de Polignac, brought over from London by the King, arrived in
Paris on the 27th of July; and on the 9th of August, eight days after
the closing of the session, his Cabinet was officially announced in the
'Moniteur.' What course would he propose to himself? What measures would
he adopt? No one could tell; not even M. de Polignac and the King
themselves any more than the public. But Charles X. had hoisted upon the
Tuileries the flag of the Counter-Revolution.

Politics soon became the absorbing consideration of every mind. From all
quarters a fierce struggle was foreseen in the approaching session; all
parties hastened to congregate beforehand round the scene of action,
seeking to draw some anticipation as to what would occur, and how to
secure a place. On the 19th of October, 1829, the death of the learned
chemist, M. Vauquelin, left open a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, in
which he had represented the division of Lisieux and Pont-l'Évêque,
which formed the fourth electoral district in the department of
Calvados. Several influential persons of the country proposed to
substitute me in his place. I had never inhabited or even visited that
province. I had no property there of any kind. But since 1820, my
political writings and lectures had given popularity to my name. The
young portions of the community were everywhere favourably disposed
towards me. The Moderates and active Liberals mutually looked to me to
defend them, and their cause, should occasion arrive. As soon as the
proposition became known at Lisieux and Pont-l'Évêque, it was cordially
received. All the different shades of the Opposition, M. de La Fayette
and M. de Châteaubriand, M. Dupont de l'Eure and the Duke de Broglie,
M. Odillon Barrot and M. Bertin de Veaux, seconded my candidateship.
Absent, but supported by a strong display of opinion in the district, I
was elected on the 23rd of February, 1830, by a large majority.

At the same moment M. Berryer, whose age, as in my own case, had until
then excluded him from the Chamber of Deputies, was elected by the
department of the Higher Loire, where a seat had also become vacant.

On the day following that on which my election was known in Paris, I
had to deliver my lecture at the Sorbonne. As I entered the hall, the
entire audience rose and received me with a burst of applause. I
immediately checked them, and said: "I thank you for your kind
reception, by which I am sensibly affected. I request two favours of
you; the first is to preserve always the same feelings towards me; the
second is, never to evince them again in this manner. Nothing that
passes without should resound within these walls. We come here to treat
of pure, unmingled science, which is essentially impartial,
disinterested, and estranged from all external occurrences, important or
insignificant. Let us always maintain for learning this exclusive
character. I hope that your sympathy will accompany me in the new career
to which I am called; I will even presume to say that I reckon upon it.
Your silent attention here is the most convincing proof I can receive."


[Footnote 18: He was, in fact, extremely ill at the moment of this

[Footnote 19: February 23rd, and April 20th, 1829.]





Whether, attention is arrested by the life of an individual or the
history of a nation, there is no spectacle more imposing than that of a
great contrast between the surface and the interior, the appearance and
the reality of matters. To be excited under the semblance of immobility,
to do nothing while we expect much, to look on the calm while we
anticipate the tempest,--this, perhaps, of all human situations, is the
most oppressive for the mind to endure, and the most difficult to
sustain for any length of time.

At the commencement of the year 1830, such was the common position of
all,--of the Government and the nation, of the ministers and citizens,
of the supporters and opponents of power. No one acted directly, and all
prepared themselves for unknown chances. We pursued our ordinary course
of life, while we felt ourselves on the brink of a convulsion.

I proceeded quietly with my course at the Sorbonne. There, where
M. de Villèle and the Abbé Frayssinous had silenced me, M. de Polignac
and M. de Guernon-Ranville permitted me to speak freely. While enjoying
this liberty, I scrupulously preserved my habitual caution, keeping
every lecture entirely divested of all allusion to incidental questions,
and not more solicitous of winning popular favour, than apprehensive of
losing ministerial patronage. Until the meeting of the Chamber, my new
title of Deputy called for no step or demonstration, and I sought not
for any factitious opportunity. In some paragraphs of town and court
gossip, several of the papers in the interest of the extreme right
asserted that meetings of Deputies had been held at the residence of the
late President of the Chamber. M. Royer-Collard, upon this, wrote
immediately to the 'Moniteur:'--"It is positively false that any meeting
of Deputies has taken place at my residence since the closing of the
session of 1829. This is all I have to say; I should feel ashamed of
formally denying absurd reports, in which the King is not more respected
than the truth." Without feeling myself restricted to the severe
abstinence of M. Royer-Collard, I sedulously avoided all demonstrative
opposition; my friends and I were mutually intent on furnishing no
pretext for the mistakes of power.

But in the midst of this tranquil and reserved life, I was deeply
occupied in reflecting on my new position, and on the part I was
henceforward to assume in the uncertain fortune of my country. I
revolved over in my mind every opposite chance, looking upon all as
possible, and wishing to be prepared for all, even for those I was most
desirous to avert. Power cannot commit a greater error than that of
plunging imaginations into darkness. A great public terror is worse than
a great positive evil; above all, when obscure perspectives of the
future excite the hopes of enemies and blunderers, as well as the alarms
of honest men and friends. I lived in the midst of both classes.
Although no longer interested in the electoral object which had
occasioned its institution in 1827, the society called, "Help thyself
and Heaven will help thee" existed still, and I still continued to be a
member. Under the Martignac Ministry I considered it advisable to remain
amongst them, that I might endeavour to moderate a little the wants and
impatience of the external opposition, which operated so powerfully on
the opposition in Parliament. Since the formation of the Polignac
Cabinet, from which everything was to be apprehended, I endeavoured to
maintain a certain degree of interest in this assembly of all opposing
parties, Constitutionalists, Republicans, and Buonapartists, which, in
the moment of a crisis, might exercise itself such preponderating
influence on the destiny of the country. At the moment, I possessed
considerable popularity, especially with the younger men, and the ardent
but sincere Liberals. I felt gratified at this, and resolved to turn it
to profitable use, let the future produce what it might.

The temper of the public resembled my own, tranquil on the surface but
extremely agitated at the heart. There was neither conspiracy, nor
rising, nor tumultuous assembly; but all were on the alert, and prepared
for anything that might happen. In Brittany, in Normandy, in Burgundy,
in Lorraine, and in Paris, associations were publicly formed to resist
payment of the taxes, if the Government should attempt to collect them
without a legal vote of the legal Chambers. The Government prosecuted
the papers which had advertised these meetings; some tribunals acquitted
the responsible managers, others, and amongst them the Royal Court of
Paris, condemned them, but to a very slight punishment, "for exciting
hatred and contempt against the King's government, in having imputed to
them the criminal intention either of levying taxes which had not been
voted by the two Chambers, or of changing illegally the mode of
election, or even of revoking the constitutional Charter which has been
granted and confirmed in perpetuity, and which regulates the rights and
duties of every public authority." The ministerial journals felt their
position, and saw that their patrons were so reached by this sentence,
that, in publishing it, they suppressed all observations.

In presence of this opposition, at once so decided and restrained, the
Ministry remained timid and inactive. Evidently doubtful of themselves,
they feared the opinion in which they were held by others. A year before
this time, at the opening of the session of 1829, when the Cabinet of
M. de Martignac still held power, and the department of Foreign Affairs
had fallen vacant by the retirement of M. de la Ferronnays,
M. de Polignac had endeavoured, in the debate on the address in the
Chamber of Peers, to dissipate, by a profession of constitutional faith,
the prejudices entertained against him. His assurances of attachment to
the Charter were not, on his part, a simply ambitious and hypocritical
calculation; he really fancied himself a friend to constitutional
government, and was not then meditating its overthrow; but in the
mediocrity of his mind, and the confusion of his ideas, he neither
understood thoroughly the English society he wished to imitate, nor the
French system he desired to reform. He believed the Charter to be
compatible with the political importance of the old nobility, and with
the definitive supremacy of the ancient Royalty; and he flattered
himself that he could develop new institutions by making them assist in
the preponderance of influences which it was his distinct object to
limit or abolish. It is difficult to measure the extent of conscientious
illusions in a mind weak but enthusiastic, ordinary, but with some
degree of elevation, and mystically vague and subtle. M. de Polignac
felt honestly surprised at not being acknowledged as a minister devoted
to constitutional rule; but the public, without troubling themselves to
inquire into his sincerity, had determined to regard him as the champion
of the old system, and the standard-bearer of the counter-revolution.
Disturbed by this reputation, and fearing to confirm it by his acts,
M. de Polignac did nothing. His Cabinet, sworn to conquer the Revolution
and to save the Monarchy, remained motionless and sterile. The
Opposition insultingly taxed them with their impotence: they were
christened "the Braggadocio Ministry," "the most helpless of Cabinets;"
and to all this they gave no answer, except by preparing the expedition
to Algiers, and by convoking the assembly of the Chambers, ever
protesting their fidelity to the Charter, and promising themselves, as
means of escape from their embarrassments, a conquest and a majority.

M. de Polignac was ignorant that a minister does not entirely govern by
his own acts, and that he is responsible for others besides himself.
While he endeavoured to escape from the character assigned to him, by
silence and inaction,--his friends, his functionaries, his writers, his
entire party, masters and servants, spoke and moved noisily around him.
He expressed his anger when they discussed, as an hypothesis, the
collection of taxes not voted by the Chambers; and at that same moment
the Attorney-General of the Royal Court at Metz, M. Pinaud, said, in a
requisition, "Article 14 of the Charter secures to the King a method of
resisting electoral or elective majorities. If then, renewing the days
of 1792 and 1793, the majority should refuse the taxes, would the King
be called upon to deliver up his crown to the spectre of the Convention?
No; but in that case he ought to maintain his right, and save himself
from the danger by means respecting which it is proper to keep silence."
On the 1st of January, the Royal Court of Paris, who had just given a
proof of their firm adherence to the Charter, presented themselves,
according to custom, at the Tuileries; the King received and spoke to
them with marked dryness; and when arriving in front of the Dauphiness,
the first President prepared to address his homage to her, "Pass on,
pass on," exclaimed she brusquely; and while complying with her words,
M. Seguier said to the Master of the Ceremonies, M. de Rochemore, "My
Lord Marquis, do you think that the Court ought to inscribe the answer
of the Princess in its records?" A magistrate high in favour with the
Minister, M. Cotta, an honest but a light and credulous individual,
published a work entitled, 'On the Necessity of a Dictatorship.' A
publicist, a fanatical but sincere reasoner, M. Madrolle, dedicated to
M. de Polignac a memorial, in which he maintained the necessity of
remodelling the law of elections by a royal decree. "What are called
_coups d'état_," said some important journals, and avowed friends of the
Cabinet, "are social and regular in their nature when the King acts for
the general good of the people, even though in appearance he may
contravene the existing laws." In fact France was tranquil, and legal
order in full vigour; neither on the part of authority nor on that of
the people had any act of violence called for violence in return; and
yet the most extreme measures were openly discussed. In all quarters
people proclaimed the imminence of revolution, the dictatorship of the
King, and the legitimacy of _coups d'état_.

In a moment of urgent danger, a nation may accept an isolated _coup
d'état_ as a necessity; but it cannot, without dishonour and decline,
admit the principle of such measures as the permanent basis of its
public rights and government. Now this was precisely what M. de Polignac
and his friends pretended to impose on France. According to them, the
absolute power of the old Royalty remained always at the bottom of the
Charter; and to expand and display this absolute power, they selected a
moment when no active plot, no visible danger, no great public
disturbance, threatened either the Government of the King or the order
of the State. The sole question at issue was, whether the Crown could,
in the selection and maintenance of its advisers, hold itself entirely
independent of the majority in the Chambers, or the country; and
whether, in conclusion, after so many constitutional experiments, the
sole governing power was to be concentrated in the Royal will. The
formation of the Polignac Ministry had been, on the part of the King,
Charles X., an obstinate idea even more than a cry of alarm, an
aggressive challenge as much as an act of suspicion. Uneasy, not only
for the security of his throne, but for what he considered the
unalienable rights of his crown, he placed himself, to maintain them, in
the most offensive of all possible attitudes towards the nation. He
assumed defiance rather than defence. It was no longer a struggle
between the different parties and systems of government, but a question
of political dogma, and an affair of honour between France and her King.

In presence of a subject under this aspect, passions and intentions
hostile to established order could not fail to resume hope and appear
once more upon the stage. The sovereignty of the people was always at
hand, available to be invoked in opposition to the sovereignty of the
Monarch. Popular strokes of policy were to be perceived, ready to reply
to the attempts of royal power. The party which had never seriously put
faith in or adhered to the Restoration, had now new interpreters,
destined speedily to become new leaders, and younger, as well as more
rational and skilful than their predecessors. There were no
conspiracies, no risings in any quarter; secret machinations and noisy
riots were equally abandoned; everywhere a bolder and yet a more
moderate line of conduct was adopted, more prudent, and at the same time
more efficacious. In public discussion, appeal was made to examples from
history and to the probabilities of the future. Without directly
attacking the reigning power, lawful freedom in opposition was pushed to
its extremest limits, too clearly to be taxed with hypocrisy, and too
ingeniously to be arrested in this hostile proceeding. In the more
serious and intelligent organs of the party, such as the 'National,'
they did not absolutely propound anarchical theories, or revolutionary
constitutions; they confined themselves to the Charter from which
Royalty seemed on the point of escaping, either by carefully explaining
the import, or by peremptorily demanding the complete and sincere
execution; by making it clearly foreseen that compromising the national
right would also compromise the reigning dynasty. They avowed themselves
decided and prepared, not to anticipate, but to accept without
hesitation the last trial evidently approaching, and the rapid progress
of which they clearly indicated to the public from day to day.

The conduct to be held by the constitutional Royalists who had laboured
in honest sincerity to establish the Restoration with the Charter,
although less dangerous, was even more complex and difficult. How could
they repulse the blow with which Royalty menaced the existing
institutions, without inflicting on Royalty a mortal wound in return?
Should they remain on the defensive, wait until the Cabinet committed
acts, or introduced measures really hostile to the interests and
liberties of France, and reject them when their character and object had
been clearly developed in debate? Or should they take a bolder
initiative, and check the Cabinet in its first steps, and thus prevent
the unknown struggles which at a later period it would be impossible to
direct or restrain? This was the great practical question, which, when
the Chambers were convened, occupied, above all other considerations,
those minds which were strangers to all preconcerted hostility, and to
every secret desire of encountering new hazards.

Two figures have remained, since 1830, impressed on my memory; the King,
Charles X., at the Louvre on the 2nd of March, opening the session of
the Chambers; and the Prince de Polignac at the Palais Bourbon on the
15th and 16th of March, taking part in the discussion on the address of
the Two Hundred and Twenty-One Deputies. The demeanour of the King was,
as usual, noble and benevolent, but mingled with restrained agitation
and embarrassment. He read his speech mildly, although with some
precipitation, as if anxious to finish; and when he came to the sentence
which, under a modified form, contained a royal menace,[20] he
accentuated it with more affectation than energy. As he placed his hand
upon the passage, his hat fell; the Duke d'Orléans raised and presented
it to him, respectfully bending his knee. Amongst the Deputies, the
acclamations of the right-hand party were more loud than joyful, and it
was difficult to decide whether the silence of the rest of the Chamber
proceeded from sadness or apathy. Fifteen days later, at the Chamber of
Deputies, and in the midst of the secret committee in which the address
was discussed, in that vast hall, void of spectators, M. de Polignac was
on his bench, motionless, and little attended even by his friends, with
the air of a stranger surprised and out of place, thrown into a world
with which he is scarcely acquainted, where he feels that he is
unwelcome, and charged with a difficult mission, the issue of which he
awaits with inert and impotent dignity. In the course of the debate, he
was reproached with an act of the Ministry in reference to the
elections, to which he replied awkwardly by a few short and confused
words, as if not thoroughly understanding the objection, and anxious to
resume his seat. While I was in the tribune, my eyes encountered his,
and I was struck by their expression of astonished curiosity. It was
manifest that at the moment when they ventured on an act of voluntary
boldness, neither the King nor his minister felt at their ease; in the
two individuals, in their respective aspects as in their souls, there
was a mixture of resolution and weakness, of confidence and uncertainty,
which at the same moment testified blindness of the mind and the
presentiment of coming evil.

We waited with impatience the address from the Chamber of Peers. Had it
been energetic, it would have added strength to ours. Whatever has been
said, their address was neither blind nor servile, but it was far from
forcible. It recommended respect for institutions and national
liberties, and protested equally against despotism and anarchy.
Disquietude and censure were perceptible through the reserve of words;
but these impressions were dimly conveyed and stripped of all
power. Their unanimity evinced nothing beyond their nullity.
M. de Châteaubriand alone, while signifying his approbation, considered
them insufficient. The Court declared itself satisfied. The Chamber
seemed more desirous of discharging a debt of conscience, and of
escaping from all responsibility in the evils which it foresaw, than of
making a sound effort to prevent them. "If the Chamber of Peers had
spoken out more distinctly," said M. Royer-Collard to me, shortly after
the Revolution, "it might have arrested the King on the brink of the
abyss, and have prevented the Decrees." But the Chamber of Peers had
little confidence in their own power to charm away the danger, and
feared to aggravate it by a too open display. The entire weight of the
situation fell upon the Chamber of Deputies.

The perplexity was great,--great in the majority of sincere Royalists,
in the Committee charged to draw up the Address, and in the mind of
M. Royer-Collard who presided, both in the Committee and the Chamber,
and exercised on both a preponderating influence. One general sentiment
prevailed,--a desire to stay the King in the false path on which he had
entered, and a conviction that there was no hope of succeeding in this
object, but by placing before him an impediment which it would be
impossible for him personally to misunderstand. It was evident, when he
dismissed M. de Martignac and appointed M. de Polignac to succeed him,
that he was not alone influenced by his fears as a King. In this act
Charles X. had, above all considerations, been swayed by his passions of
the old system. It became indispensable that the peril of this tendency
should be clearly demonstrated to him, and that where prudence had not
sufficed, impossibility should make itself felt. By expressing, without
delay or circumlocution, its want of confidence in the Cabinet, the
Chamber in no way exceeded its privilege; it expressed its own judgment,
without denying to the King the free exercise of his, and his right of
appealing to the country by a dissolution. The Chamber acted
deliberately and honestly; it renounced empty or ambiguous words, to
assert the frank and strong measures of the constitutional system. There
was no other method of remaining in harmony with the public feeling so
strongly excited, and of restraining it by legitimate concessions. There
was reason to hope that language at once firm and loyal would prove as
efficacious as it was necessary; already, under similar circumstances,
the King had not shown himself intractable, for two years before, in
January, 1828, he had dismissed M. de Villèle, almost without a
struggle, after the elections had produced a majority decidedly opposed
to his Cabinet.

During five days, the Committee, in their sittings, and M. Royer-Collard
in his private reflections, as well as in his confidential intercourse
with his friends, scrupulously weighed all these considerations, as well
as all the phrases and words of the Address. M. Royer-Collard was not
only a staunch Royalist, but his mind was disposed to doubt and
hesitation; he became bewildered in his resolves as he looked on the
different aspects of a question, and always shrank from important
responsibility. For two years he had observed Charles X. closely, and
more than once during the Martignac Administration he had said to some
of the more rational oppositionists, "Do not press the King too closely;
no one can tell to what follies he might have recourse." But at the
point which matters had now reached, called upon as he was to represent
the sentiments and maintain the honour of the Chamber, M. Royer-Collard
felt that he could not refuse to carry the truth to the foot of the
throne; and he flattered himself that on appearing there, with a
respectful and affectionate demeanour, he would be in 1830, as in 1828,
if not well received, at least listened to without any fatal explosion.

The Address in fact bore this double character: never had language more
unpresuming in its boldness, and more conciliating in its freedom, been
held to a monarch in the name of his people.[21] When the President read
it to the Chamber for the first time, a secret satisfaction faction of
dignity mingled in the most moderate hearts with the uneasiness they
experienced. The debate was short and extremely reserved, almost even to
coldness. On all sides, the members feared to commit themselves by
speaking; and there was an evident desire to come to a conclusion. Four
of the Ministers, MM. de Montbel, de Guernon-Ranville, de Chantelauze,
and d'Haussez took part in the discussion, but almost exclusively on the
general question. In the Chamber of Deputies, as in the Chamber of
Peers, the leader of the Cabinet remained mute. It is on more lofty
conditions that political aristocracies maintain or raise themselves.
When they came to the last paragraphs, which contained the decisive
phrases, the individual members of the different parties maintained the
contest alone. It was then that M. Berryer and I ascended the tribune
for the first time, both new to the Chamber, he as a friend and I as an
opponent of the Ministry; he to attack and I to defend the Address. It
gives me pleasure, I confess, to retrace and repeat today, the ideas and
arguments by which I supported it at the time. "Under what auspices," I
asked the Chamber, "and in the name of what principles and interests has
the present Ministry been formed? In the name of power menaced, of the
Royal prerogative compromised, of the interests of the Crown ill
understood and sustained by their predecessors. This is the banner under
which they have entered the lists, the cause they have promised to make
triumphant. We had a right to expect from their entrance on office that
authority should be exercised with vigour, the Royal prerogative in
active operation, the principles of power not only proclaimed but
practised, perhaps at the expense of the public liberty, but at least
for the advantage of that power itself. Gentlemen, has this happened?
Has power strengthened itself within the last seven months? Has it been
exercised with activity, energy, confidence, and efficacy? Either I
grossly deceive myself, or during these seven months power has suffered
in confidence and energy, to the full extent of what the public have
lost in security."

"But power has lost more than this. It is not entirely comprised in the
positive acts it commits or the materials it employs; it does not always
end in decrees and circulars. The authority over minds, the moral
ascendency, that ascendency so suitable to free countries, for it
directs without controlling public will,--in this is comprised an
important component of power, perhaps the first of all in efficiency.
But beyond all question, it is the re-establishment of this moral
ascendency which is at this moment the most essential need of our
country. We have known power extremely active and strong, capable of
great and difficult undertakings; but whether from the inherent vice of
its nature, or by the evil of its position, moral ascendency, that easy,
regular, and imperceptible empire, has been almost entirely wanting. The
King's government, more than any other, is called upon to possess this.
It does not extract its right from force. We have not witnessed its
birth; we have not contracted towards it those familiar associations,
some of which always remain attached to the authorities at the infancy
of which those who obey them were present. What has the actual Ministry
done with that moral ascendency which belongs naturally, without
premeditation or labour, to the King's government? Has it exercised it
skilfully, and increased it in the exercise? Has it not, on the
contrary, seriously compromised this great element, by placing it at
issue with the fears to which it has given rise, and the passions it has

"Gentlemen, your entire mission is not to control, or at the least to
oppose power; you are not here solely to retrieve its errors or injuries
and to make them known to the country; you are also sent here to
surround the government of the King--to enlighten it while you surround,
and to support it while you enlighten.... Well, then, what is at this
moment the position in the Chamber of the members who are the most
disposed to undertake the character of those who are the greatest
strangers to the spirit of faction, and unaccustomed to the habits of
opposition? They are compelled to become oppositionists; they are made
so in spite of themselves; they desire to remain always united to the
King's government, and now they are forced to separate from it; they
wish to support, and are driven to attack. They have been propelled from
their proper path. The perplexity which disturbs them has been created
by the Ministry in office; it will continue and redouble as long as they
continue where they are."

I pointed out the analogous perturbation which existed everywhere, in
society as in the Chambers; I showed how the public authorities, in
common with the good citizens, were thrown out of their natural duties
and position; the tribunals, more intent on restraining the Government
itself than in repressing disorders and plans directed against it; the
papers, exercising with the tolerance, and even with the approbation of
the public, an unlimited and disorderly influence. I concluded by
saying: "They tell us that France is tranquil, that order is not
disturbed. It is true; material order is not disturbed; everything
circulates freely and peaceably; no commotion deranges the current of
affairs.... The surface of society is calm,--so calm that the Government
may well be tempted to believe that the interior is perfectly secure,
and to consider itself sheltered from all peril. Our words, gentlemen,
the frankness of our words, comprises the sole warning that power can at
this moment receive, the only voice that can reach it and dissipate its
illusions. Let us take care not to diminish their force or to enervate
our expressions; let them be respectful and even gentle, but let them at
the same time be neither timid nor ambiguous. Truth already finds it
difficult enough to penetrate into the palaces of kings; let us not send
her there weak and trembling; let it be as impossible to misunderstand
what we say, as to mistake the loyalty of our sentiments."

The Address passed as it was drawn up, with uneasy sadness, but with a
profound conviction of its necessity. Two days after the vote, on the
18th of March, we repaired to the Tuileries to present it to the King.
Twenty-one members alone joined the official deputation of the Chamber.
Amongst those who had voted for the Address, some were little anxious of
supporting by their presence, under the eyes of the King, such an act
of opposition; others, from respect for the Crown, had no wish to give
to this presentation additional solemnity and effect. Our entire
number amounted only to forty-six. We waited some time in the
"Salon de la Paix," until the King returned from Mass. We stood there in
silence; opposite to us, in the recesses of the windows, were the King's
pages and some members of the royal establishment, inattentive and
almost intentionally rude. The Dauphiness crossed the saloon on her way
to the chapel, rapidly and without noticing us. She might have been much
colder still before I could have felt that I had any right either to be
surprised or indignant at her demeanour. There are crimes whose
remembrance silences all other thoughts, and misfortunes before which we
bow with a respect almost resembling repentance, as if we ourselves had
been the author of them.

When we were introduced into the hall of the throne, M. Royer-Collard
read the address naturally and suitably, with an emotion which his voice
and features betrayed. The King listened to him with becoming dignity
and without any air of haughtiness or ill humour; his answer was brief
and dry, rather from royal habit than from anger, and, if I am not
mistaken, he felt more satisfied with his own firmness than uneasy for
the future. Four days before, on the eve of the debate on the address,
in his circle at the Tuileries, to which many Deputies were invited, I
saw him bestow marked intention on three members of the Commission,
MM. Dupin, Étienne, and Gautier. In two such opposite situations, it was
the same man and almost the same physiognomy, identical in his manners
as in his ideas, careful to please although determined to quarrel, and
obstinate from want of foresight and mental routine, rather than from
the passion of pride or power.

On the day after the presentation of the address, the 19th of March, the
session was prorogued to the 1st of September. Two months later, on the
16th of May, the Chamber of Deputies was dissolved; the two most
moderate members of the Cabinet, the Chancellor and the Minister of
Finance, M. Courvoisier and M. de Chabrol, left the Council; they had
refused their concurrence to the extreme measures already debated there,
in case the elections should falsify the expectations of power. The most
compromised and audacious member of the Villèle Cabinet,
M. de Peyronnet, became Minister of the Interior. By the dissolution,
the King appealed to the country, and at the same moment he took fresh
steps to separate himself from his people.

Having returned to the private life from which he never again emerged,
M. Courvoisier wrote to me on the 29th of September 1831, from his
retirement at Baume-les-Dames: "Before resigning the Seals, I happened
to be in conversation with M. Pozzo di Borgo on the state of the
country, and the perils with which the throne had surrounded itself.
What means, said he to me, are there of opening the King's eyes, and of
drawing him from a system which may once again overturn Europe and
France?--I see but one, replied I, and that is a letter from the hand of
the Emperor of Russia.--He shall write it, said he; he shall write it
from Warsaw, whither he is about to repair.--We then conversed together
on the substance of the letter. M. Pozzo di Borgo often said to me that
the Emperor Nicholas saw no security for the Bourbons, but in the
fulfilment of the Charter."

I much doubt whether the Emperor Nicholas ever wrote himself to the
King, Charles X.; but what his ambassador at Paris had said to the
Chancellor of France, he himself repeated to the Duke de Mortemart, the
King's ambassador at St. Petersburg:--"If they deviate from the Charter,
they will lead direct to a catastrophe; if the King attempts a
_coup-d'état_, the responsibility will fall on himself alone." The
councils of monarchs were not more wanting to Charles X., than the
addresses of nations, to detach him from his fatal design.

As soon as the electoral glove was thrown down, my friends wrote to me
from Nismes that my presence was necessary to unite them all, and to
hold out in the College of the department any prospect of success. It
was also desired that I should go, of my own accord, to Lisieux; but
they added that if I was required elsewhere, they thought, even in my
absence, they could guarantee my election. I trusted to this assurance,
and set out for Nismes on the 15th June, anxious to sound myself, and on
the spot, the real dispositions of the country; which we so soon forget
when confined to Paris.

I have no desire to substitute for my impressions of that epoch my ideas
of the present day, or to attribute to my own political conduct and to
that of my friends an interpretation which neither could assume. I
republish, without alteration, what I find in the confidential letters I
wrote or received during my journey. These supply the most
unobjectionable evidences of what we thought and wished at the time.

On the 26th of June, some days after my arrival at Nismes, I wrote as

"The contest is very sharp, more so than you can understand at a
distance. The two parties are seriously engaged, and hourly oppose each
other with increasing animosity. An absolute fever of egotism and
stupidity possesses and instigates the administration. The opposition
struggles, with passionate ardour, against the embarrassments and
annoyances of a situation, both in a legal and moral sense, of extreme
difficulty. It finds in the laws means of action and defence, which
impart the courage necessary to sustain the combat, but without
inspiring the confidence of success; for almost everywhere, the last
guarantee is wanting, and after having fought long and bravely, we
always run the risk of finding ourselves suddenly disarmed, and
helpless. A similar anxiety applies to the moral position: the
opposition despises the ministry, and at the same time looks upon it as
its superior; the functionaries are in disrepute, but still they take
precedence; a remembrance of imperial greatness and power yet furnishes
them with a pedestal; they are looked on disdainfully, with a mingled
sensation of fear and anger. In this state of affairs there are many
elements of agitation, and even of a crisis. Nevertheless, no sooner
does an explosion appear imminent, or even possible, than every one
shrinks from it in apprehension. In conclusion, all parties at present
look for their security in order and peace. There is no confidence
except in legitimate measures."

On the 9th of July, I received the following from Paris:--

"The elections of the great colleges have commenced. If we gain any
advantage there, it will be excellent; above all, for the effect it may
produce on the King's mind, who can expect nothing more favourable to
him than the great colleges. At present, there are no indications of a
_coup d'état_. The 'Quotidienne' announces this morning that it looks
upon the session as opened, admitting at the same time that the Ministry
will not have a majority. It appears delighted at there being no
prospect of an address exactly similar to that of the Two Hundred and

And again, on the 12th of July:--

"Today the 'Universel'[22] exclaims against the report of a _coup
d'état_, and seems to guarantee the regular opening of the session by a
speech from the King. This speech, which will annoy you, will have the
advantage of opening the session on a better understanding. But the
great point is to have a session; violent extremes become much more
improbable when we are constitutionally employed. But you will find it
very difficult to draw up a new address; whatever it may be, the right
and the extreme left will look upon it in the light of a
retractation,--the right as a boast, the left as a complaint. You will
have to defend yourselves against those who wish purely and simply a
repetition of the former address, and who hold to it as the last words
of the country. Having acquired a victory at the elections, and the
alternative of dissolution being no longer available to the King, we
shall have evidently a new line of conduct to adopt. Besides, what
interest have we in compelling the King to make a stand? France has
every thing to gain by years of regular government; let us be careful
not to precipitate events."

I replied on the 16th of July:--"I scarcely know how we are to extricate
ourselves from the new address. It will be an extremely difficult
matter, but in any case we are bound to meet this difficulty, for
evidently we must have a session. We should be looked upon as children
and madmen if we were merely to recommence what we have taken in hand
for four months. The new Chamber ought not to retreat; but it should
adopt a new course. Let us have no _coup d'état_, and let constitutional
order be regularly preserved. Whatever may be the ministerial
combinations, real and ultimate success will be with us."

"Amongst the electors by whom I am surrounded here, I have met with
nothing but moderate, patient, and loyal dispositions. M. de Daunant has
just been elected, on the 13th of July instant, by the Divisional
College of Nismes; he had 296 votes against 241 given in favour of
M. Daniel Murjas, president of the college. When the result was
announced, the official secretary proposed to the assembly to pass a
vote of thanks to the president, who, notwithstanding his own
candidateship, had presided with most complete impartiality and loyalty.
The vote was carried on the instant, in the midst of loud cries of "Long
live the King!" and the electors, as they retired, found in all quarters
the same tranquillity and gravity which they had themselves preserved in
the discharge of their own duties."

On the 12th of July, when news of the capture of Algiers arrived, I
wrote thus:--"And so the African campaign is over, and well over; ours,
which must commence in about two months, will be rather more difficult;
but no matter; I hope this success will not stimulate power to the last
madness, and I prefer our national honour to all parliamentary

I do not pretend to assert that the foregoing sentiments were those of
all who, whether in the Chambers or in the country, had approved the
Address of the Two Hundred and Twenty-one, and who, at the elections,
voted for its support. The Restoration had not achieved such complete
conquests in France. Inactive, but not resigned, the secret societies
were ever in existence; ready, when opportunity occurred, to resume
their work of conspiracy and destruction. Other adversaries, more
legitimate but not less formidable, narrowly watched every mistake of
the King and his Government, and sedulously brought them under public
comment, expecting and prognosticating still more serious errors, which
would lead to extreme consequences. Amongst the popular masses, a deeply
rooted instinct of suspicion and hatred to all that recalled the old
system and the invasion of the foreigners, continued to supply arms and
inexhaustible hopes to the enemies of the Restoration. The people
resemble the ocean, motionless and almost immutable at the bottom,
however violent may be the storms which agitate the surface.
Nevertheless, the spirit of legality and sound political reason had made
remarkable progress; even during the ferment of the elections, public
feeling loudly repudiated all idea of a new revolution. Never was the
situation of those who sincerely wished to support the King and the
Charter more favourable or powerful; they had given evidences of
persevering firmness by legitimate opposition, they had lately
maintained with reputation the principles of representative government,
they enjoyed the esteem and even the favour of the public; the more
violent party, through necessity, and the country, with some hesitation,
mingled with honest hope, followed in their rear. If at this critical
moment they could have succeeded with the King as with the Chambers and
the country,--if Charles X., after having by the dissolution pushed his
royal prerogative to the extreme verge, had listened to the strongly
manifested wishes of France, and selected his advisers from amongst
those of the constitutional Royalists who stood the highest in public
consideration, I say, with a feeling of conviction which may appear
foolhardy, but which I maintain to this hour, that there was every
reasonable hope of surmounting the last decisive trial; and that the
country taking confidence at once in the King and in the Charter, the
Restoration and constitutional government would have been established

But the precise quality in which Charles X. was deficient, was that
expansive freedom of mind which conveys to a monarch a perfect
intelligence of the age in which he lives, and endows him with a sound
appreciation of its resources and necessities. "There are only M. de La
Fayette and I who have not changed since 1789," said he, one day; and he
spoke truly. Through all the vicissitudes of his life he ever remained
what his youthful training had made him at the Court of Versailles and
in the aristocratic society of the eighteenth century--sincere and
light, confident in himself and in his own immediate circle, unobservant
and irreflective, although of an active spirit, attached to his ideas
and his friends of the old system as to his faith and his standard.
Under the reign of his brother Louis XVIII., and during the scission of
the monarchical party, he became the patron and hope of that Royalist
opposition which boldly availed itself of constitutional liberties, and
presented in his own person a singular mixture of persevering intimacy
with his old companions, and of a taste for the new popularity of a
Liberal. When he found himself on the throne, he made more than one
coquettish advance to this popular disposition, and sincerely flattered
himself that he governed according to the Charter, with his old friends
and his ideas of earlier times. M. de Villèle and M. de Martignac lent
themselves to his views in this difficult work; and after their fall,
which he scarcely opposed, Charles X. found himself left to his natural
tendencies, in the midst of advisers little disposed to contradict, and
without the power of restraining him. Two fatal mistakes then
established themselves in his mind; he fancied that he was menaced by
the Revolution, much more than was really the fact; and he ceased to
believe in the possibility of defending himself, and of governing by the
legal course of the constitutional system. France had no desire for a
new revolution. The Charter contained, for a prudent and patient
monarch, certain means of exercising the royal authority and of securing
the Crown. But Charles X. had lost confidence in France and in the
Charter. When the Address of the Two Hundred and Twenty-one Deputies
came triumphant through the elections, he believed that he was driven to
his last entrenchment, and reduced to save himself without the Charter,
or to perish by a revolution.

A few days before the Decrees of July, the Russian ambassador, Count
Pozzo di Borgo, had an audience of the King. He found him seated before
his desk, with his eyes fixed on the Charter, opened at Article 14.
Charles X. read and re-read that article, seeking with honest inquietude
the interpretation he wanted to find there. In such cases, we always
discover what we are in search of; and the King's conversation, although
indirect and uncertain, left little doubt on the Ambassador's mind as to
the measures in preparation.


[Footnote 20: "Peers of France, Deputies of Departments, I have no doubt
of your co-operation in carrying out the good measures I propose. You
will repulse with contempt the perfidious insinuations which malevolence
seeks to propagate. If criminal manoeuvres were to place obstacles in
the way of my government, which I neither can, nor wish to, foresee, I
should find the power of surmounting them in a resolution to maintain
the public peace, in the just confidence of the French people, and in
the devotion which they have always demonstrated for their King."]

[Footnote 21: I think no one who reads the six concluding paragraphs of
this Address, which alone formed the subject of debate, can fail to
appreciate, in the present day, the profound truth of the sentiments and
the apt propriety of the language.

"Assembled at your command from all points of the kingdom, we bring to
you, Sire, from every quarter, the homage of a faithful people, still
further inspired by having found you the most beneficent of all, in the
midst of universal beneficence, and which reveres in your person the
accomplished model of the most exemplary virtues. Sire, this people
cherishes and respects your authority; fifteen years of peace and
liberty which it owes to your august brother and to yourself, have
deeply rooted in its heart the gratitude due to your august family: its
reason, matured by experience and freedom of discussion, tells it that
in questions of authority, above all others, antiquity of possession is
the holiest of titles, and that it is as much for the happiness of
France as for your personal glory, that ages have placed your throne in
a region inaccessible to storms. The conviction of the nation accords
then with its duty in representing to it the sacred privileges of your
crown as the surest guarantee of its own liberties, and the integrity of
your prerogatives as necessary to the preservation of public rights."

"Nevertheless, Sire, in the midst of these unanimous sentiments of
respect and affection with which your people surround you, there has
become manifest in the general mind a feeling of inquietude which
disturbs the security France had begun to enjoy, affects the sources of
her prosperity, and might, if prolonged, become fatal to her repose. Our
conscience, our honour, the fidelity we have pledged and which we shall
ever maintain, impose on us the duty of unveiling to you the cause."

"Sire, the Charter which we owe to the wisdom of your august
predecessor, and the benefits of which your Majesty has declared a firm
determination to consolidate, consecrate as a right the intervention of
the country in the deliberation of public interests. This intervention
ought to be, and is in fact, indirect, wisely regulated, circumscribed
within limits minutely defined, and which, we shall never suffer any one
to exceed; but it is also positive in its result; for it establishes a
permanent concurrence between the political views of your government,
and the wishes of your people, as an indispensable condition of the
regular progress of public affairs. Sire, our loyalty and devotion
compel us to declare that this concurrence does not exist."

"An unjust suspicion of the sentiments and ideas of France forms the
fundamental conviction of the present Ministry; your people look on this
with sorrow, as injurious to the Government itself, and with uneasiness,
as it appears to menace public liberty."

"This suspicion could find no entrance in your own noble heart. No,
Sire, _France is not more desirous of anarchy than you are of
despotism_.[23] She is worthy of your having faith in her loyalty, as
she relies implicitly on your promises."

"Between those who misrepresent a nation so calm and loyal, and we, who
with a deep conviction deposit in your bosom the complaints of an entire
people, jealous of the esteem and confidence of their King, let the
exalted wisdom of your Majesty decide! Your royal prerogatives have
placed in your hands the means of establishing between the authorities
of the State, that constitutional harmony, the first and most essential
condition for the security of the Throne and the greatness of the

[Footnote 22: One of the ministerial journals of the time.]

[Footnote 23: The words used by the Chamber of Peers in their address.]



No. I.


_Val-de-Loup, May 12th, 1809._


I return you a thousand thanks. I have read your articles with extreme
pleasure. You praise me with so much grace, and bestow on me so many
commendations, that you may easily afford to diminish the latter. Enough
will always remain to satisfy my vanity as an author, and assuredly more
than I deserve.

I find your criticisms extremely just; one in particular has struck me
by its refined taste. You say that the Catholics cannot, like the
Protestants, admit a Christian mythology, because we have not been
trained and accustomed to it by great poets. This is most ingenious; and
if my work should be considered good enough to induce people to say that
I am the first to commence this mythology, it might be replied that I
come too late, that our taste is formed upon other models, etc. etc.
etc.... Nevertheless there will always be Tasso, and all the Latin
Catholic poems of the Middle Ages. This appears to me the only solid
objection that can be raised against your remark.

In truth, and I speak with perfect sincerity, the criticisms which,
before yours, have appeared on my work, make me feel to a certain extent
ashamed of the French. Have you observed that no one seems to have
comprehended its design? That the rules of epic composition are so
generally forgotten, that a work of thought and immense labour is judged
as if it were the production of a day, or a mere romance? And all this
outcry is against the marvellous! Would it not imply that I am the
inventor of this style? that it has been hitherto unheard of, and is
singular and new? And yet we have Tasso, Milton, Klopstock, Gessner, and
even Voltaire! And if we are not to employ the marvellous in a Christian
subject, there can no longer be an epic in modern poetry, for the
marvellous is essential to that style of composition, and I believe no
one would be inclined to introduce Jupiter in a subject taken from our
own history. All this, like every thing else in France, is insincere.
The question to be decided was, whether my work was good or bad as an
epic poem; all was comprised in this point, without attempting to
ascertain whether it was or was not contrary to religion; and a thousand
other arguments of the same kind.

I cannot deliver an opinion on my own work; I can only convey to you
that of others. M. Fontanes is entirely in favour of 'The Martyrs.' He
finds this production much superior to what I have written before, in
plan, style, and characters.

What appears singular to me is, that the third Book, which you condemn,
seems to him one of the best of the whole! With regard to style, he
thinks that I have never before reached so high a point as in the
description of the happiness of the just, in that of the light of
Heaven, and in the passage on the Virgin. He tolerates the length of the
two dialogues between the Father and Son, on the necessity of
establishing the epic machinery. Without these dialogues there could be
no more narrative or action; the narrative and action are accounted for
by the conversation of the uncreated beings.

I mention this, Sir, not to convince, but to show you how sound
judgments can see the same object under different aspects. With you I
dislike the description of torture, but I consider it absolutely
necessary in a work upon Martyrs. It has been consecrated by all history
and every art. Christian painting and sculpture have selected these
subjects; herein lies the real controversy of the question. You, Sir,
who are well acquainted with the details, know to what extent I have
softened the picture, and how much I have suppressed of the _Acta
Martyrum_, particularly in holding back physical agony, and in opposing
agreeable images to harrowing torments. You are too just not to
distinguish between the objections of the subject and the errors of the

For the rest, you, Sir, well know the tempest raised against my work,
and the source from whence they proceed. There is another sore not
openly displayed, and which lies at the root of all this anger. It is
that _Hierocles_ massacres the Christians in the name of _philosophy_
and _liberty_. Time will do me justice if my book deserves it, and you
will greatly accelerate this judgment by publishing your articles, if
you could be induced to modify them to a certain extent. Show me my
faults and I will correct them. I only despise those writers, who are as
contemptible in their language as in the secret reasons which prompt
them to speak. I can neither find reason nor honour in the mouths of
those literary mountebanks in the hire of the Police, who dance in the
kennels for the amusement of lacqueys.

I am in my cottage, where I shall be delighted to hear from you. It
would give me the greatest pleasure to receive you here, if you would be
so kind as to visit me. Accept the assurance of my profound esteem and
high consideration.



_Val-de-Loup, May 30th, 1809._


Far from troubling me, you have given me the greatest pleasure in doing
me the favour to communicate your ideas. This time I shall condemn the
introduction of the marvellous in a Christian subject, and am willing to
believe with you, that it will never be adopted in France. But I cannot
admit that 'The Martyrs' are founded on a heresy. The question is not of
a _redemption_, which would be absurd, but of an _expiation_, which is
entirely consistent with faith. In all ages, the Church has held that
the blood of a martyr could efface the sins of the people, and deliver
them from their penalties. Undoubtedly you know, better than I do, that
formerly, in times of war and calamity, a monk was confined in a tower
or a cell, where he fasted and prayed for the salvation of all. I have
not left my intention in doubt, for in the third Book I have caused it
to be positively declared to the Eternal that Eudore will draw the
blessings of Heaven upon the Christians through the merits of the blood
of the Saviour. This, as you see, is precisely the orthodox phrase, and
the exact lesson of the catechism. The doctrine of expiation, so
consolatory in other respects, and consecrated by antiquity, has been
acknowledged in our religion: its mission from Christ has not destroyed
it. And I may observe, incidentally, that I hope the sacrifice of some
innocent victim, condemned in the Revolution, will obtain from Heaven
the pardon of our guilty country. Those whom we have slaughtered are,
perhaps, praying for us at this very moment. Surely you cannot wish to
renounce this sublime hope, which springs from the tears and blood of

In conclusion, the frankness and sincerity of your conduct make me
forget for a moment the baseness of the present age. What can we think
of a time when an honest man is told, "You will pronounce on such a
work, such an opinion; you will praise or blame it, not according to
your conscience, but according to the spirit of the journal in which you
write"! We are too happy to find critics like you, who stand up against
such conventional baseness, and preserve the tradition of honour for
human nature. As a conclusive estimate, if you carefully examine 'The
Martyrs,' undoubtedly you will find much to reprehend; but taking all
points into consideration, you will see that in plan, characters, and
style, it is the best and least defective of my feeble writings.

I have a nephew in Russia, named Moreau, the grandson of a sister of my
mother; I am scarcely acquainted with him, but I believe him to be an
honourable man. His father, who was also in Russia, returned to France
about a year ago. I have been delighted with the opportunity which
has procured for me the honour of becoming acquainted with
Mademoiselle de Meulan; she has appeared to me, as in all that she
writes, full of mind, good taste, and sense. I much fear that I
inconvenienced her by the length of my visit; I have the fault of
remaining wherever I find amiable acquaintances, and especially when I
meet exalted characters and noble sentiments.

I repeat most sincerely the assurance of my high esteem, gratitude, and
devotion. I look forward with impatience to the moment when I can either
receive you in my hermitage, or visit you in your solitude.

   Accept, I pray you, my sincerest compliments.


_Val-de-Loup, June 12th, 1809._


I happened to be absent from my valley for several days, which has
prevented me from replying sooner to your letters. Behold me thoroughly
convinced of heresy. I admit that the word _redeemed_ escaped me
inadvertently, and in truth contrary to my intention. But there it is,
and I shall efface it from the next edition.

I have read your first two articles, and repeat my thanks for them. They
are excellent, and you praise me far beyond what I deserve. What has
been said with respect to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is quite
correct. The description could only have been given by one who knows the
localities. But the Holy Sepulchre itself might easily have escaped the
fire without a special miracle. It forms, in the middle of the circular
nave of the church, a kind of catafalque of white marble: the cupola of
cedar, in falling, might have crushed it, but could not have set it on
fire. It is nevertheless a very extraordinary circumstance, and one
worthy of much longer details than can be confined within the limits of
a letter.

I wish much that I could relate these particulars to you, personally, in
your retirement. Unfortunately, Madame de Châteaubriand is ill, and I
cannot leave her. But I do not give up the idea of paying you a visit,
nor of receiving you here in my hermitage. Honourable men ought,
particularly at present, to unite for mutual consolation. Generous ideas
and exalted sentiments become every day so rare that we ought to be too
happy when we encounter them. I should be delighted if my society could
prove agreeable to you, as also to M. Stapfer, to whom I beg you will
convey my warmest thanks.

Accept once more, I pray you, the assurance of my high consideration and
sincere devotion, and if you will permit me to add, of a friendship
which is commenced under the auspices of frankness and honour.


The best description of Jerusalem is that of Danville; but his little
treatise is very scarce. In general, all travellers are very exact as to
Palestine; there is a letter in the 'Lettres Édifiantes' ('Missions to
the Levant'), which leaves nothing to be desired. With regard to
M. de Volney, he is valuable on the government of the Turks, but it is
evident that he has not been at Jerusalem. It is probable that he never
went beyond Ramleh or Rama, the ancient Arimathea. You may also consult
the 'Theatrum Terræ Sanctæ' of Adrichomius.

No. II.


_Brussels, April 27th, 1811._


You will be unable to account for my silence, as I found it difficult to
understand the tardy arrival of the prospectuses you had promised me in
your letter of the fourth of this month. I must explain to you that the
porter here had confounded that packet with the files of unimportant
printed papers addressed to a Prefecture, and if the want of a book had
not induced me to visit the private study of the Prefect, I should
perhaps have not yet discovered the mistake. I thank you for the
confidence with which you have treated me on this occasion. You are
aware that no one renders you more than I do, the full justice to which
you are entitled, and you also know that I accord it equally from
inclination and conviction. My generation has passed away, yours is in
full action, and a third is on the point of rising. I see you placed
between two, to console the first, to do honour to the second, and to
form the third. Endeavour to make the last like yourself; by which I do
not mean that I wish all the little boys to know as much as you do, or
all the little girls to resemble in everything, your more than amiable
partner. We must not desire what we cannot obtain, and I should too much
regret my own decline if such an attractive age were about to commence.
But restrain my idea within its due limits, and dictate like Solon the
best laws which the infancy of the nineteenth century can bear or
receive; this will abundantly suffice. Today the _mox progeniem daturos
vitiosiorem_ would make one's hair stand on end.

Madame de la Tour du Pin, a Baroness of the Empire for two years, a
Prefectess of the Dyle for three, and a religious mother for twenty,
will recommend your journal with all the influence of her two first
titles, and subscribes to it with all the interest that the last can
inspire. I, who have no other pretension, and desire no other, than that
of a father and a friend, request your permission to subscribe for my
daughter, who, commencing the double education of a little Arnaud and a
little Léontine, will be delighted to profit by your double instruction.
I believe also that the grandfather himself will often obtain knowledge,
and always pleasure, from the same source. It seems to me that no
association could be more propitious to the union of the _utile dulci_.
If I were to allow free scope to my pen, I feel assured that I should
write thus like a madman to one of the two authors: "Not being able to
make myself once more young, to adore your merits, I become an old
infant, to receive your lessons. I kiss from a distance the hand of my
youthful nurse, with the most profound respect, but not sufficiently
abstracted from some of those emotions which have followed my first
childhood, and which my second education ought to correct. Is it
possible to submit to your rod with more ingenuousness? At least I
confess my faults. As I am bound to speak the truth, I dare not yet add,
_this can never happen to me again_. But the strong resolution will come
with weak age; and the more I can transform myself, the nearer I shall
approach perfection."

Will you be so kind as to present my respects to Madame and Mademoiselle
de Meulan. Have you not a very excellent and amiable young man (another
of the few who are consoled by elevation and purity of mind), the nephew
of M. Hocher, residing under the same roof with yourself? If so, I beg
you to recall me to his remembrance, and through him to that of his
uncle, from whom I expect, with much anxiety, an answer upon a matter of
the greatest interest to the uncle of my son-in-law, in the installation
of the Imperial Courts. But nothing has arrived by the post.

I shall say nothing to you of our good and estimable friends of the
Place Louis Quinze, for I am going to write to them directly.

But it has just occurred to me to entreat a favour of you before I close
my letter. When, in your precepts to youth, you arrive at the chapter
and age which treats of the choice of a profession, I implore you to
insert something to this effect: "If your vocation leads you to be a
publisher or editor of any work, moral, political, or historical, it
matters not which, do not consider yourself at liberty to mutilate an
author without his previous knowledge, and above all, one who is
tenacious of the inviolability of his text more from conscience than
self-love. If you mutilate him on your own responsibility, which is
tolerably bold, do not believe that you are permitted to substitute a
fictitious member of your own construction for the living one you have
lopped off; and be cautious lest, without being aware of it, you replace
an arm of flesh by a wooden leg. But break up all your presses rather
than make him say, under the seal of his own signature, the contrary of
what he has written, thought, or felt. To do this is an offence almost
amounting to a moral crime." I write more at length on this topic to my
friends of the Place Louis Quinze, and I beg you to speak to none but
them of my enigma, which assuredly you have already solved; I hope that
what has now offended and vexed me will not happen again. In saying what
was necessary, I used very guarded expressions. I do not wish a rupture,
the vengeance of which might fall on cherished memories or living
friends. My letter has taken a very serious turn; I little thought, when
I began, that it would lead me to this conclusion. I feel that I am in
conversation with you, and carried away by full confidence. It is most
gratifying to me to have added an involuntary proof of this sentiment to
the spontaneous expression of all those with which you have so deeply
inspired me, and the assurance of which I have the honour to repeat,
accompanied by my sincere salutations.


P.S. Allow me to enclose the addresses for the two subscriptions.

No. III.

_Discourse delivered by M. GUIZOT, on the opening of his first Course of
Lectures on Modern History. December 11th, 1812._

A statesman equally celebrated for his character and misfortunes, Sir
Walter Raleigh, had published the first part of a 'History of the
World;' while confined in the Tower, he employed himself in finishing
the second. A quarrel arose in one of the courts of the prison; he
looked on attentively at the contest, which became sanguinary, and left
the window with his imagination strongly impressed by the scene that had
passed under his eyes. On the morrow a friend came to visit him, and
related what had occurred. But great was his surprise when this friend,
who had been present at and even engaged in the occurrence of the
preceding day, proved to him that this event, in its result as well as
in its particulars, was precisely the contrary of what he had believed
he saw. Raleigh, when left alone, took up his manuscript and threw it in
the fire; convinced that, as he had been so completely deceived with
respect to the details of an incident he had actually witnessed, he
could know nothing whatever of those he had just described with his pen.

Are we better informed or more fortunate than Sir Walter Raleigh? The
most confident historian would hesitate to answer this question directly
in the affirmative. History relates a long series of events, and depicts
a vast number of characters; and let us recollect, gentlemen, the
difficulty of thoroughly understanding a single character or a solitary
event. Montaigne, after having passed his life in self-study, was
continually making new discoveries on his own nature; he has filled a
long work with them, and ends by saying, "Man is a subject so
diversified, so uncertain and vain, that it is difficult to pronounce
any fixed and uniform opinion on him." He is, in fact, an obscure
compound of an infinity of ideas and sentiments, which change and modify
themselves reciprocally, and of which it is as difficult to disentangle
the sources as to foresee the results. An uncertain produce of a
multiplicity of circumstances, sometimes impenetrable, always
complicated, often unknown to the person influenced by them, and not
even suspected by those who surround him, man scarcely learns how to
know himself, and is never more than guessed at by others. The simplest
mind, if it attempted to examine and describe itself, would impart to us
a thousand secrets, of which we have not the most remote suspicion. And
how many different men are comprised in an event! how many whose
characters have influenced that event, and have modified its nature,
progress, and effects! Bring together circumstances in perfect
accordance; suppose situations exactly similar: let a single actor
change, and all is changed. He is urged by fresh motives, and desires
new objects. Take the same actors, and alter but one of those
circumstances independent of human will, which are called chance or
destiny; and all is changed again. It is from this infinity of details,
where everything is obscure, and nothing isolated, that history is
composed; and man, proud of what he knows, because he forgets to think
of how much he is ignorant, believes that he has acquired a full
knowledge of history when he has read what some few have told him, who
had no better means of understanding the times in which they lived, than
we possess of justly estimating our own.

What then are we to seek and find in the darkness of the past, which
thickens as it recedes from us? If Cæsar, Sallust, or Tacitus have only
been able to transmit doubtful and imperfect notions, can we rely on
what they relate? And if we are not to trust them, how are we to supply
ourselves with information? Shall we be capable of disembarrassing our
minds of those ideas and manners, and of that new existence, which a new
order of things has produced, to adopt momentarily in our thoughts other
manners and ideas, and a different character of being? Must we learn to
become Greeks, Romans, or Barbarians, in order to understand these
Romans, Barbarians, or Greeks, before we venture to judge them? And even
if we could attain this difficult abnegation of an actual and imperious
reality, should we become then as well acquainted with the history of
the times of which they tell us, as were Cæsar, Sallust, or Tacitus?
After being thus transported to the midst of the world they describe, we
should find gaps in their delineations, of which we have at present no
conception, and of which they were not always sensible themselves. That
multiplicity of facts which, grouped together and viewed from a
distance, appear to fill time and space, would present to us, if we
found ourselves placed on the ground they occupy, as voids which we
should find it impossible to fill up, and which the historians leave
there designedly, because he who relates or describes what he sees, to
others who see equally with himself, never feels called upon to
recapitulate all that he knows.

Let us therefore refrain from supposing that history can present to us,
in reality, an exact picture of the past; the world is too extensive,
the night of time too obscure, and man too weak for such a portrait to
be ever a complete reflection.

But can it be true that such important knowledge is entirely interdicted
to us?--that in what we can acquire, all is a subject of doubt and
error? Does the mind only enlighten itself to increase its wavering?
Does it develope all its strength, merely to end in a confession of
ignorance?--a painful and disheartening idea, which many men of superior
intellect have encountered in their course, but by which they ought
never to have been impeded!

Man seldom asks himself what he really requires to know, in his ardent
pursuit of knowledge; he need only cast a glance upon his studies, to
discover two divisions, the difference between which is striking,
although we may be unable to assign the boundaries that separate them.
Everywhere we perceive a certain innocent but futile labour, which
attaches itself to questions and inquiries equally inaccessible and
without results--which has no other object than to satisfy the restless
curiosity of minds, the first want of which is occupation; and
everywhere, also, we observe useful, productive, and interesting
inquiry, not only advantageous to those who indulge in it, but
beneficial to human nature at large. What time and talent have men
wasted in metaphysical lucubrations! They have sought to penetrate the
internal nature of things, of the mind, and of matter; they have taken
purely vague combinations of words for substantial realities; but these
very researches, or others which have arisen out of them, have
enlightened us upon the order of our faculties, the laws by which they
are governed, and the progress of their development; we have acquired
from thence a history, a statistic of the human mind; and if no one has
been able to tell us what it is, we have at least learned how it acts,
and how we ought to act to strengthen its justice and extend its range.

Was not the study of astronomy for a long time directed to the dreams of
astrology? Gassendi himself began to investigate it with that view; and
when science cured him of the prejudices of superstition, he repented
that he so openly declared his conversion, because, he said, many
persons formerly studied astronomy to become astrologers, and he now
perceived that they ceased to learn astronomy, since he had condemned
astrology. Who then can prove to us that, without the restlessness of
anticipation which had led men to seek the future in the stars, the
science, by which today our ships are directed, would ever have reached
its present perfection?

It is thus that we shall ever find, in the labours of man, one half
fruitless, by the side of another moiety profitable; we shall then no
longer condemn the curiosity which leads to knowledge; we shall
acknowledge that, if the human mind often wanders in its path, if it has
not always selected the most direct road, it has finally arrived, by the
necessity of its nature, at the discovery of important truths; but, with
progressive enlightenment, we shall endeavour not to lose time, to go
straight to the end by concentrating our strength on fruitful inquiries
and profitable results; and we shall soon convince ourselves that what
man cannot do is valueless, and that he can achieve all that is

The application of this idea to history will soon remove the difficulty
which its uncertainty raised at the outset. For example, it is of little
consequence to us to know the exact personal appearance or the precise
day of the birth of Constantine; to ascertain what particular motives or
individual feelings may have influenced his determination or conduct on
any given occasion; to be acquainted with all the details of his wars
and victories in the struggles with Maxentius or Licinius: these minor
points concern the monarch alone; and the monarch exists no longer. The
anxiety some scholars display in hunting them out is merely a
consequence of the interest which attaches to great names and important
reminiscences. But the results of the conversion of Constantine, his
administrative system, the political and religious principles which he
established in his empire,--these are the matters which it imports the
present generation to investigate; for they do not expire with a
particular age, they form the destiny and glory of nations, they confer
or take away the use of the most noble faculties of man; they either
plunge them silently into a state of misery alternately submissive and
rebellious, or establish for them the foundation of a lasting

It may be said, to a certain extent, that there are two pasts, the one
entirely extinct and without real interest, because its influence has
not extended beyond its actual duration; the other enduring for ever by
the empire it has exercised over succeeding ages, and by that alone
preserved to our knowledge, since what remains of it is there to
enlighten us upon what has perished. History presents us, at every
epoch, with some predominant ideas, some great events which have decided
the fortune and character of a long series of generations. These ideas
and events have left monuments which still remain, or which long
remained, on the face of the world; an extended trace, in perpetuating
the memory and effect of their existence, has multiplied the materials
suitable for our guidance in the researches of which they are the
object; reason itself can here supply us with its positive data to
conduct us through the uncertain labyrinth of facts. In a past event
there may have been some particular circumstance at present unknown,
which would completely alter the idea we have formed of it. Thus, we
shall never discover the reason which delayed Hannibal at Capua, and
saved Rome; but in an effect which has endured for a long time, we
easily ascertain the nature of its cause. The despotic authority which
the Roman Senate exercised for ages over the people, explains to us the
ideas of liberty within which the Senators restricted themselves when
they expelled their kings. Let us then follow the path in which we can
have reason for our guide; let us apply the principles, with which she
furnishes us, to the examples borrowed from history. Man, in the
ignorance and weakness to which the narrow limits of his life and
faculties condemn him, has received reason to supply knowledge, as
industry is given to him in place of strength.

Such, gentlemen, is the point of view under which we shall endeavour to
contemplate history. We shall seek, in the annals of nations, a
knowledge of the human race; we shall try to discover what, in every age
and state of civilization, have been the prevailing ideas and
principles in general adoption, which have produced the happiness or
misery of the generations subjected to their power, and have influenced
the destiny of those which succeeded them. The subject is one of the
most abundant in considerations of this nature. History presents to us
periods of development, during which man, emerging from a state of
barbarism and ignorance, arrives gradually at a condition of science and
advancement, which may decline, but can never perish, for knowledge is
an inheritance that always finds heirs. The civilization of the
Egyptians and Phoenicians prepared that of the Greeks; while that of
the Romans was not lost to the barbarians who established themselves
upon the ruins of the Empire. No preceding age has ever enjoyed the
advantage we possess, of studying this slow but real progression: while
looking back on the past, we can recognize the route which the human
race has followed in Europe for more than two thousand years. Modern
history alone, from its vast scope, from the variety and extent of its
duration, offers us the grandest and most complete picture which we
could possibly possess of the civilization of a certain portion of the
globe. A rapid glance will suffice to indicate the character and
interest of the subject.

Rome had conquered what her pride delighted to call the world. Western
Asia, from the frontiers of Persia, the North of Africa, Greece,
Macedonia, Thrace, all the countries situated on the right bank of the
Danube, from its source to its mouth, Italy, Gaul, Great Britain, and
Spain, acknowledged her authority. That authority extended over more
than a thousand leagues in breadth, from the Wall of Antoninus and the
southern boundaries of Dacia, to Mount Atlas;--and beyond fifteen
hundred leagues in length, from the Euphrates to the Western Ocean. But
if the immense extent of these conquests at first surprises the
imagination, the astonishment diminishes when we consider how easy they
were of accomplishment, and how uncertain of duration. In Asia, Rome
had only to contend with effeminate races; in Europe, with ignorant
savages, whose governments, without union, regularity, or vigour, were
unable to contend with the strong constitution of the Roman aristocracy.
Let us pause a moment to reflect on this. Rome found it more difficult
to defend herself against Hannibal than to subjugate the world; and as
soon as the world was subdued, Rome began to lose, by degrees, all that
she had won by conquest. How could she maintain her power? The
comparative state of civilization between the victors and the vanquished
had prevented union or consolidation into one substantial and
homogeneous whole; there was no extended and regular administration, no
general and safe communication; the provinces were only connected with
Rome by the tribute they paid; Rome was unknown in the provinces, except
by the tribute she exacted. Everywhere, in Asia Minor, in Africa, in
Spain, in Britain, in the North of Gallia, small colonies defended and
maintained their independence; all the power of the Emperors was
inadequate to compel the submission of the Isaurians. The whole formed a
chaos of nations half vanquished and semi-barbarous, without interest or
existence in the State of which they were considered a portion, and
which Rome denominated the Empire.

No sooner was this Empire conquered, than it began to dissolve, and that
haughty city which looked upon every region as subdued where she could,
by maintaining an army, appoint a proconsul, and levy imposts, soon saw
herself compelled to abandon, almost voluntarily, the possessions she
was unable to retain. In the year of Christ 270, Aurelian retired from
Dacia, and tacitly abandoned that territory to the Goths; in 412,
Honorius recognized the independence of Great Britain and Armorica; in
428, he wished the inhabitants of Gallia Narbonensis to govern
themselves. On all sides we see the Romans abandoning, without being
driven out, countries whose obedience, according to the expression of
Montesquieu, _weighed upon them_, and which, never having been
incorporated with the Empire, were sure to separate from it on the first

The shock came from a quarter which the Romans, notwithstanding their
pride, had never considered one of their provinces. Even more barbarous
than the Gauls, the Britons, and the Spaniards, the Germans had never
been conquered, because their innumerable tribes, without fixed
residences or country, ever ready to advance or retreat, sometimes threw
themselves, with their wives and flocks, upon the possessions of Rome,
and at others retired before her armies, leaving nothing for conquest
but a country without inhabitants, which they re-occupied as soon as the
weakness or distance of the conquerors afforded them the opportunity. It
is to this wandering life of a hunting nation, to this facility of
flight and return, rather than to superior bravery, that the Germans
were indebted for the preservation of their independence. The Gauls and
Spaniards had also defended themselves courageously; but the one,
surrounded by the ocean, knew not where to fly from enemies they could
not expel; and the other, in a state of more advanced civilization,
attacked by the Romans, to whom the Narbonnese province afforded, in the
very heart of Gaul itself, an impregnable base, and repulsed by the
Germans from the land into which they might have escaped, were also
compelled to submit. Drusus and Germanicus had long before penetrated
into Germany; they withdrew, because the Germans always retreating
before them, they would, by remaining, have only occupied territory
without subjects.

When, from causes not connected with the Roman Empire, the Tartar tribes
who wandered through the deserts of Sarmatia and Scythia, from the
northern frontiers of China, marched upon Germany, the Germans, pressed
by these new invaders, threw themselves upon the Roman provinces, to
conquer possessions where they might establish themselves in
perpetuity. Rome then fought in defence; the struggle was protracted;
the skill and courage of some of the Emperors for a long time opposed a
powerful barrier; but the Barbarians were the ultimate conquerors,
because it was imperative on them to win the victory, and their swarms
of warriors were inexhaustible. The Visigoths, the Alani, and the Suevi
established themselves in the South, of Gaul and Spain; the Vandals
passed over into Africa; the Huns occupied the banks of the Danube; the
Ostrogoths founded their kingdom in Italy; the Franks in the North of
Gaul; Rome ceased to call herself the mistress of Europe; Constantinople
does not apply to our present subject.

Those nations of the East and the North who transported themselves in a
mass into the countries where they were destined to found States, the
more durable because they conquered not to extend but to establish
themselves, were barbarians, such as the Romans themselves had long
remained. Force was their law, savage independence their delight; they
were free because none of them had ever thought or believed that men as
strong as themselves would submit to their domination; they were brave
because courage with them was a necessity; they loved war because war
brings occupation without labour; they desired lands because these new
possessions supplied them with a thousand novel sources of enjoyment,
which they could indulge in while giving themselves up to idleness. They
had chiefs because men leagued together always have leaders, and because
the bravest, ever held in high consideration, soon become the most
powerful, and bequeath to their descendants a portion of their own
personal influence. These chiefs became kings; the old subjects of Rome,
who at first had only been called upon to receive, to lodge, and feed
their new masters, were soon compelled to surrender to them a portion of
their estates; and as the labourer, as well as the plant, attaches
himself to the soil that nourishes him, the lands and the labourers
became the property of these turbulent and lazy owners. Thus feudalism
was established,--not suddenly, not by an express convention between the
chief and his followers, not by an immediate and regular division of the
conquered country amongst the conquerors, but by degrees, after long
years of uncertainty, by the simple force of circumstances, as must
always happen when conquest is followed by transplantation and continued

We should be wrong in supposing that the barbarians were destitute of
all moral convictions. Man, in that early epoch of civilization, does
not reflect upon what we call duties; but he knows and respects, amongst
his fellow-beings, certain rights, some traces of which are discoverable
even under the empire of the most absolute force. A simple code of
justice, often violated, and cruelly avenged, regulates the simple
intercourse of associated savages. The Germans, unacquainted with any
other laws or ties, found themselves suddenly transported into the midst
of an order of things founded on different ideas, and demanding
different restrictions. This gave them no trouble; their passage was too
rapid to enable them to ascertain and supply what was deficient in their
legislature and policy. Bestowing little thought on their new subjects,
they continued to follow the same principles and customs which recently,
in the forests of Germany, had regulated their conduct and decided their
quarrels. Thus the conquered people were, at first, more forgotten than
vanquished, more despised than oppressed; they constituted the mass of
the nation, and this mass found itself controlled without being reduced
to servitude, because they were not thought of, and because the
conquerors never suspected that they could possess rights which they
feared to defend. From thence sprang, in the sequel, that long disorder
at the commencement of the Middle Ages, during which everything was
isolated, fortuitous, and partial; hence also proceeded the absolute
separation between the nobles and the people, and those abuses of the
feudal system which only became portions of a system when long
possession had caused to be looked upon as a right, what at first was
only the produce of conquest and chance.

The clergy alone, to whom the conversion of the victors afforded the
means of acquiring a power so much the greater that its force and extent
could only be judged by the opinion it directed, maintained their
privileges, and secured their independence. The religion which the
Germans embraced became the only channel through which they derived new
ideas, the sole point of contact between them and the inhabitants of
their adopted country. The clergy, at first, thought only of their own
interest; in this mode of communication, all the immediate advantages of
the invasion of the barbarians were reaped by them for themselves. The
liberal and beneficent influences of Christianity expanded slowly; that
of religious animosity and theological dispute was the first to make
itself felt. It was only in the class occupied by those dissensions, and
excited by those rancorous feelings, that energetic men were yet to be
found in the Roman Empire; religious sentiments and duties had revived,
in hearts penetrated with their importance, a degree of zeal long
extinguished. St. Athanasius and St. Ambrose had alone resisted
Constantine and Theodosius; their successors were the sole opponents who
withstood the barbarians. This gave rise to the long empire of spiritual
power, sustained with devotion and perseverance, and so weakly or
fruitlessly assailed. We may say now, without fear, that the noblest
characters, the men most distinguished by their ability or courage,
throughout this period of misfortune and calamity, belonged to the
ecclesiastical order; and no other epoch of history supplies, in such a
remarkable manner, the confirmation of this truth, so honourable to
human nature, and perhaps the most instructive of all others,--that the
most exalted virtues still spring up and develope themselves in the
bosom of the most pernicious errors.

To these general features, intended to depict the ideas, manners, and
conditions of men during the Middle Ages, it would be easy to add
others, not less characteristic, and infinitely more minute. We should
find poetry and literature, those beautiful and delightful emanations of
the mind, the seeds of which have never been choked by all the follies
and miseries of humanity, take birth in the very heart of barbarism, and
charm the barbarians themselves by a new species of enjoyment. We should
find the source and true character of that poetical, warlike, and
religious enthusiasm which created chivalry and the crusades. We should
probably discover, in the wandering lives of the knights and crusaders,
the reflected influence of the roving habits of the German hunters, of
that propensity to remove, and that superabundance of population, which
ever exist where social order is not sufficiently well regulated for man
to feel satisfied with his condition and locality; and before laborious
industry has taught him to compel the earth to supply him with certain
and abundant subsistence. Perhaps, also, that principle of honour which
inviolably attached the German barbarians to a leader of their own
choice, that individual liberty of which it was the fruit, and which
gives man such an elevated idea of his own individual importance; that
empire of the imagination which obtains such control over all young
nations, and induces them to attempt the first steps beyond physical
wants and purely material incitements, might furnish us with the causes
of the elevation, enthusiasm, and devotion which, sometimes detaching
the nobles of the Middle Ages from their habitual rudeness, inspired
them with the noble sentiments and virtues that even in the present day
command our admiration. We should then feel little surprised at seeing
barbarity and heroism united, so much energy combined with so much
weakness, and the natural coarseness of man in a savage state blended
with the most sublime aspirations of moral refinement.

It was reserved for the latter half of the fifteenth century to witness
the birth of events destined to introduce new manners and a fresh order
of politics into Europe, and to lead the world towards the direction it
follows at present. Italy, we may say, discovered the civilization of
the Greeks; the letters, arts, and ideas of that brilliant antiquity
inspired universal enthusiasm. The long quarrels of the Italian
Republics, after having forced men to display their utmost energy, made
them also feel the necessity of a period of repose ennobled and charmed
by the occupations of the mind. The study of classic literature supplied
the means; they were seized with ardour. Popes, cardinals, princes,
nobles, and men of genius gave themselves up to learned researches; they
wrote to each other, they travelled to communicate their mutual labours,
to discover, to read, and to copy ancient manuscripts. The discovery of
printing came to render these communications easy and prompt; to make
this commerce of the mind extended and prolific. No other event has so
powerfully influenced human civilization. Books became a tribune from
which the world was addressed. That world was soon doubled. The compass
opened safe roads across the monotonous immensity of the seas. America
was discovered; and the sight of new manners, the agitation of new
interests which were no longer the trifling concerns of one town or
castle with another, but the great transactions of mighty powers,
changed entirely the ideas of individuals and the political intercourse
of States.

The invention of gunpowder had already altered their military relations;
the issue of battles no longer depended on the isolated bravery of
warriors, but on the power and skill of leaders. It has not yet been
sufficiently investigated to what extent this discovery has secured
monarchical authority, and given rise to the balance of power.

Finally, the Reformation struck a deadly blow against spiritual
supremacy, the consequences of which are attributable to the bold
examination of the theological questions and political shocks which led
to the separation of religious sects, rather than to the new dogmas
adopted by the Reformers as the foundation of their belief.

Figure to yourselves, gentlemen, the effect which these united causes
were calculated to produce in the midst of the fermentation by which the
human species was at that time excited, in the progress of the
superabundant energy and activity which characterized the Middle Ages.
From that time, this activity, so long unregulated, began to organize
itself and advance towards a defined object; this energy submitted to
laws; isolation disappeared; the human race formed itself into one great
body; public opinion assumed influence; and if an age of civil wars, of
religious dissensions, presents the lengthened echo of that powerful
shock which towards the end of the fifteenth century staggered Europe,
under so many different forms, it is not the less to the ideas and
discoveries which produced that blow that we are indebted for the two
centuries of splendour, order, and peace during which civilization has
reached the point where we find it in the present day.

This is not the place to follow the march of human nature during these
two centuries. That history is so extensive, and composed of so many
relations, alternately vast and minute, but always important; of so many
events closely connected, brought about by causes so mixed together, and
causes in their turn productive of such numerous effects, of so many
different labours, that it is impossible to recapitulate them within a
limited compass. Never have so many powerful and neighbouring States
exercised upon each other such constant and complicated influence; never
has their interior structure presented so many ramifications to study;
never has the human mind advanced at once upon so many different roads;
never have so many events, actors, and ideas been engaged in such an
extended space, or produced such interesting and instructive results.
Perhaps on some future occasion we may enter into this maze, and look
for the clew to guide us through it. Called upon, at present, to study
the first ages of modern history, we shall seek for their cradle in the
forests of Germany, the country of our ancestors; after having drawn a
picture of their manners, as complete as the number of facts which have
reached our knowledge, the actual state of our information, and my
efforts to reach that level will permit, we shall then cast a glance
upon the condition of the Roman Empire at the moment when the barbarians
invaded it to attempt establishment; after that we shall investigate the
long struggles which ensued between them and Rome, from their irruption
into the West and South of Europe, down to the foundation of the
principal modern monarchies. This foundation will thus become for us a
resting-point, from whence we shall depart again to follow the course of
the history of Europe, which is in fact our own; for if unity, the fruit
of the Roman dominion, disappeared with it, there are always,
nevertheless, between the different nations which rose upon its ruins,
relations so multiplied, so continued, and so important, that from them,
in the whole of modern history taken together, an actual unity results
which we shall be compelled to acknowledge. This task is enormous; and
when we contemplate its full extent, it is impossible not to recoil
before the difficulty. Judge then, gentlemen, whether I ought not to
tremble at such an undertaking; but your indulgence and zeal will make
up for the weakness of my resources: I shall be more than repaid if I am
able to assist you in advancing even a few steps on the road which leads
to truth!

No. IV.


_March 31st, 1815._

I am not, my dear Sir, so lost to my friends that I have forgotten their
friendship: yours has had many charms for me. I do not reproach myself
with the poor trick I have played you. Your age does not run a long
lease with mine. We can only show the public the objects worthy of their
confidence; and I congratulate myself with having left them an
impression of you which will not readily be effaced. I have been less
fortunate on my own account, and can only deplore that fatality which
has triumphed over my convictions, my repugnances, and the immeasurable
consolations which friendship has bestowed on me. Let my example be
profitable to you on some future occasion. Give to public affairs the
period of your strength, but not that which requires repose alone; the
interval will be long enough, at your time of life, to enable you to
arrive at much distinction. I shall enjoy it with the interest which you
know I feel, and with all the warm feelings with which your attachment
has inspired me. Present my respects to Madame Guizot; it is to her I
offer my apologies for having disturbed her tranquillity. But I hope her
infant will profit by the strong food we have already administered to
it. Allow me to request some token of remembrance from her as well as
from yourself, for all the sentiments of respect and friendship I have
vowed to you for life.


_Plaisance, June 8th, 1816._

I was expecting to hear from you, my dear friend, with much impatience,
and I now thank you sincerely for having written to me. It was not that
I doubted your philosophy; you know that those who precede their age
learn too soon the uncertainty of all human affairs; but I feared lest
your taste for your early avocations might induce you to abandon public
affairs, for which you have evinced such ready ability; and we are not
rich enough to make sacrifices. I feel very happy at being satisfied on
this point, and leave the rest to the caprices of that destiny which can
scarcely be harsh towards you. You will be distinguished at the Council,
as you have been in all other situations; and it must naturally follow,
that the better you are known, your career will become the more
brilliant and secure. Youth, which feels its power, ought always to say,
with the Cardinal de Bernis, "My Lord, I shall wait." The more I see of
France, the more I am impressed with the truth, that those who believe
they have secured the State by compromising the royal authority in these
distant departments, have committed a mistake. All that are honest and
rational are royalists; but, thanks to our own dissensions, they no
longer know how to show themselves such. They thought until then, that
to serve the King was to do what he required through the voice of his
ministers, and they have been lately told that this was an error, but
they have been left in ignorance as to who are his Majesty's real
organs. The enemies to our repose profit by this. The most absurd
stories are propagated amongst the people, and all are the people at so
great a distance. I can imagine that the character of these disturbers
varies in our different provinces. In this, where we have no large
towns, and no aristocracy, we lie at the mercy of all who pretend to
know more than ourselves. Great credit thus attaches to the Half-pays,
who, belonging more to the people than to any other class, and not being
able to digest their last disappointment, trade upon it in every
possible manner, and are always believed because they are the richest in
their immediate locality. The gentlemen Deputies come next upon the
list, estimating themselves as little proconsuls, disposing of all
places, and setting aside prefects. Thus you see how little authority
remains with the King, whose agents are masters and do nothing in his
name. As to the administration of justice, you may readily suppose that
no one thinks of it. The people are in want of bread; their harvest rots
under continual rains; the roads are horrible, the hospitals in the
greatest misery; nothing remains but dismissals, accusations, and
deputations. If you could change them for a little royal authority, we
might still see the end of our sufferings; but make haste, for when the
month of October has arrived it will be too late.

Adieu, my dear friend, present my respects to Madame Guizot, and receive
the fullest assurance of my good wishes.

No. V.

_Fragments selected from a Pamphlet by_ M. GUIZOT, _entitled 'Thoughts
upon the Liberty of the Press,' 1814._

Many of the calamities of France, calamities which might be indefinitely
prolonged if they were not attacked at their source, arise, as I have
just said, from the ignorance to which the French people have been
condemned as to the affairs and position of the State, to the system of
falsehood adopted by a Government which required everything to be
concealed, and to the indifference and suspicion with which this
habitual deceit and falsehood had inspired the citizens. It is truth,
therefore, which ought to appear in broad daylight; it is obscurity
which ought to be dissipated, if we wish to re-establish confidence and
revive zeal. It will not suffice that the intentions of Government
should be good, or its words sincere; it is requisite that the people
should be convinced of this, and should be supplied with the means of
satisfying themselves. When we have been for a long time tricked by an
impostor, we become doubtful even of an honest man; and all our proverbs
on the melancholy suspicion of old age are founded on this truth ...

The nation, so long deceived, expects the truth from every quarter; at
present, it has a hope of accomplishing this object. It demands it with
anxiety from its representatives, its administrators, and from all who
are believed capable of imparting it. The more it has been withheld up
to this period, the more precious it will be considered. There will be
this advantage, that it will be hailed with transport by the people as
soon as they satisfy themselves that it may be trusted; and there will
be a corresponding evil,--they will listen to it without fear, when they
discover that they are left in freedom to deliver their opinions, and to
labour openly in its support. No one questions the embarrassments which
truth will dissipate, or the references it will supply. A nation from
whom it has been sedulously withheld, soon believes that something
hostile is in agitation, and recoils back into mistrust. But when the
truth is openly manifested, when a Government displays a noble
confidence in its own sentiments and in the good feeling of its
subjects, this confidence excites theirs in return, and calls up all
their zeal.... The French, certain to understand, and quick to utter
truth, will soon abandon that injurious tendency to suspicion which
leads them from all esteem for their head, and all devotion to the
State. The most indifferent spirits will resume an interest in public
affairs, when they discover that they can take a part in them; the most
apprehensive will cease their fears when they cease to live in clouds;
they will no longer be continually occupied in calculating how much they
should reject out of the speeches that are addressed to them, the
recitals delivered and the portions presented for investigation; or how
much artifice, dangerous intention, or afterthought remains hidden in
all that proceeds from the throne.... An extended liberty of the press
can alone, while restoring confidence, give back that energy to the King
and the people which neither can dispense with: it is the life of the
soul that requires to be revived in the nation in which it has been
extinguished by despotism; that life lies in the free action of the
press, and thought can only expand and develope itself in full
publicity. No one in France can longer dread the oppression under which
we have lived for ten years; but if the want of action which weakness
engenders were to succeed that which tyranny imposes;--if the weight of
a terrible and mute agitation should be replaced only by the languor of
repose, we should never witness a renewal in France of that national
activity, that brave and generous disposition which makes many
sacrifices to duty;--finally, of that confidence in the sovereign, the
necessity of which will be more acknowledged every day. We should merely
obtain from the nation a barren tranquillity, the insufficiency of which
would compel recourse to measures evil in themselves, and very far
removed from the paternal intentions of the King.

Let us, on the contrary, adopt a system of liberty and frankness; let
truth circulate freely from the throne to the people, and from the
people to the throne; let the paths be opened to those who ought to
speak freely, and to others who desire to learn; we shall then see
apathy dissipate, suspicion vanish, and loyalty become general and
spontaneous, from the certainty of its necessity and usefulness.

Unfortunately, during the twenty-five years which have recently elapsed,
we have so deplorably abused many advantages, that, at present, to name
them suffices to excite the most deplorable apprehensions. We are not
inclined to take into consideration the difference of the times, of
situation, of the march of opinion, or of the temperament of men's
minds: we look upon as always dangerous what has once proved fatal; we
think and act as mothers might do, who, because they saw the infant
fall, would prevent the youth from walking.... This inclination is
general; we retrace it under every form; and those who have closely
observed it will have little trouble in satisfying themselves that
perfect liberty of the press, at least with regard to political
questions, would, in the present day, be almost without danger. Those
who fear it fancy themselves still at the beginning of the
Revolution--at that epoch when all passions sought only to display
themselves, when violence was the popular characteristic, and reason
obtained only a contemptuous smile. Nothing can be more dissimilar than
that time and the present; and, from the very cause that unlicensed
freedom then gave rise to the most disastrous evils, we may infer,
unless I deceive myself, that very few would now spring from the same

Nevertheless, as many people appear to dread such a result; as I am
unwilling to affirm that the experiment might not be followed by certain
inconveniences, more mischievous from the fear they would inspire than
from the actual consequences they might introduce;--as in the state in
which we find ourselves, without a guide in the experience of the past,
or certain data for the future, it is natural that we should advance
cautiously; and as the spirit of the nation seems to indicate that in
every respect circumspection is necessary, the opinions of those who
think that some restrictions should be imposed, ought, perhaps, to
prevail. For twenty-five years the nation has been so utterly a stranger
to habits of true liberty, it has passed through so many different forms
of despotism, and the last was felt to be so oppressive, that, in
restoring freedom, we may dread inexperience more than impetuosity; it
would not dream of attack, but it might prove unequal to defence; in the
midst of the necessity for order and peace which is universally felt, in
the midst of a collision of opposing interests which must be carefully
dealt with, Government may wish, and with reason, to avoid the
appearance of clashing and disturbance, which might probably be without
importance, but the danger of which would be exaggerated by imagination.

The question then reduces itself to this:--What are, under existing
circumstances, the causes which call for a certain restraint in the
liberty of the press? and by what restrictions, conformable to the
nature of these causes, can we modify without destroying its freedom?
and how shall we gradually remove these qualifications, for the present
considered necessary?

All liberty is placed between oppression and license: the liberty of man
in the social state is necessarily restrained by certain laws, the abuse
or oblivion of which are equally dangerous; but the circumstances which
expose society to either of these perils are different. In a
well-established government, solidly constituted, the danger against
which the friends of liberty have to contend is oppression: all is there
combined for the maintenance of law; all tends to support vigorous
discipline, against which every individual labours to retain the share
of freedom which is his due; the function of government is to support
order; that of the governed to watch over liberty.

The state of things is entirely different in a government only
commencing. If it follows a period of misfortune and disturbance, during
which morality and reason have been equally perverted,--when passions
have been indulged without curb, when private interests have been
paraded without shame,--then oppression falls within the number of
dangers which are only to be anticipated, while license is that which
must be directly opposed. Our Government has not yet attained its full
strength; it is not yet possessed of all the means which are to be
placed at its disposal to maintain order and rule: before acquiring all,
it will be careful not to abuse any; and the governed, who are still
without some of the advantages of order, wish to possess all those of
confusion. They are not yet sufficiently sure of their own tranquillity,
to abstain from attacking that of others. Every one is ready to inflict
the blow he is exposed to receive; we offend with impunity the laws
which have not yet foreseen all the methods that may be adopted to elude
them; we brave without danger the authorities which cannot yet appeal,
in their own support, to the experience of the happiness enjoyed under
their auspices. It is, then, against particular attempts that constant
watch should be kept; thus it becomes necessary to protect liberty from
the outrages of license, and sometimes to prevent a strong government
from being reduced to defence when uncertain of commanding obedience.

Thus, unrestricted liberty of the press, without detrimental
consequences in a state of government free, happy, and strongly
constituted, might prove injurious under a system only commencing, and
in which the citizens have still to acquire liberty and prosperity. In
the first case there is no danger in allowing freedom of thought and
utterance to all, because, if the order of things is good, the great
majority of the members of society will be disposed to support it, and
also because the nation, enlightened by its actual happiness, will not
be easily drawn to the pursuit of something always represented as
better, but ever uncertain of acquirement. In the second case, on the
contrary, the passions and interests of many individuals, differing in
themselves, and all, more or less, abstracted from any feeling for the
public good, are neither instructed by prosperity nor enlightened by
experience; there exist therefore in the nation very few barriers
against the plotters of evil, while in the government there are many
gaps through which disorder may introduce itself: every species of
ambition revives, and none can tell on what point to settle; all seek
their place, without being sure of finding it; common sense, which
invents nothing, but knows how to select, has no fixed rule upon which
to act; the bewildered multitude, who are directed by nothing and have
not yet learned to direct themselves, know not what guide to follow; and
in the midst of so many contradictory ideas, and incapable of separating
truth from falsehood, the least evil that can happen is, that they may
determine to remain in their ignorance and stupidity. While information
is still so sparingly disseminated, the license of the press becomes an
important obstacle to its progress; men, little accustomed to reason
upon certain matters, and poor in positive knowledge, adopt too readily
the errors which are propagated from every quarter, and find it
difficult to distinguish readily the truth when presented to them;
thence originate a host of false and crude notions, a multiplicity of
judgments adopted without examination, and a pretended acquirement, the
more mischievous as, occupying the place which reason alone should hold,
it for a long time interdicts her approach.

The Revolution has proved to us the danger arising from knowledge so
erroneously obtained. From this danger we are now called on to protect
ourselves. It is better to confess the fact: we have learned wisdom from
misfortune; but the despotism of the last ten years has extinguished,
for the greater part of the French people, the light we might thence
have derived. Some individuals, undoubtedly, have continued to reflect,
to observe, and to study--they have been instructed by the very
despotism which oppressed them; but the nation in general, crushed and
unfortunate, has found itself arrested in the development of its
intellectual faculties. When we look closely into the fact, we feel
surprised and almost ashamed of our national thoughtlessness and
ignorance; we feel the necessity of emerging from it. The most
oppressive yoke alone was able to reduce, and could again reduce it for
a certain time to silence and inaction; but it requires to be propped
and guided, and, after so much experimental imprudence, for the interest
even of reason and knowledge, the liberty of the press, which we have
never yet enjoyed, ought to be attempted with caution.

Regarded in this point of view, the restrictions which may be applied
will less startle the friends of truth and justice; they will see in
them nothing more than a concession to existing circumstances, dictated
solely by the interest of the nation; and if care is taken to limit this
concession so that it may never become dangerous; if, in establishing a
barrier against license, a door is always left open for liberty; if the
object of these restrictions is evidently to prepare the French people
to dispense with them, and to arrive hereafter at perfect freedom; if
they are so combined and modified that the liberty may go on
increasing until the nation becomes more capable of enjoying it
profitably;--finally, if, instead of impeding the progress of the human
mind, they are only calculated to assure it, and to direct the course of
the most enlightened spirits;--so far from considering them as an attack
upon the principles of justice, we shall see in them a measure of
prudence, a guarantee for public order, and a new motive for hoping that
the overthrow of that order will never again occur to disturb or retard
the French nation in the career of truth and reason.

No. VI.

_Report to the King, and Royal Decree for the Reform of Public
Instruction, February 17th, 1815._

Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre, to all who may
receive these presents, they come greeting.

Having had an account delivered to us, of the state of public
instruction in our kingdom, we have observed that it rested upon
institutions destined to advance the political views of the Government
which had formed them, rather than to extend to our subjects the
advantages of moral education, conformable with the necessities of the
age. We have rendered justice to the wisdom and zeal of all who were
appointed to watch over and direct instruction. We have seen with
satisfaction that they have never ceased to struggle against the
obstacles which the times opposed to them, and also to the institutions
which they were called to put in force. But we have felt the necessity
of reforming these institutions, and of bringing back national education
to its true object; which is, to disseminate sound doctrines, to
maintain good manners, and to train men who, by their knowledge and
virtue, may communicate to society the profitable lessons and wise
examples they have received from their masters.

We have maturely considered these institutions, which we now propose to
reform; and it appears to us that a system of single and absolute
authority is incompatible with our paternal intentions and with the
liberal spirit of our government;

That this authority, essentially occupied in the direction of the whole,
was to a certain extent condemned to be in ignorance or neglectful of
those details of daily examination, which can only be intrusted to local
supervisors better informed as to the necessities, and more directly
interested in the prosperity of the establishments committed to their

That the right of nomination to all these situations, concentrated in
the hands of a single person, left too much opening for error, and too
much influence to favour, weakening the impulse of emulation, and
reducing the teachers to a state of dependence ill suited to the
honourable post they occupied, and to the importance of their functions;

That this dependence and the too frequent removals which are the
inevitable result, rendered the position of the teachers uncertain and
precarious; was injurious to the consideration they ought to enjoy to
induce them to work zealously in their laborious vocations; and
prevented, between them and the relations of their pupils, that
confidence which results from long service and old habits; and thus
deprived them of the most gratifying reward they could attain--the
respect and affection of the countries to which they have dedicated
their talents and their lives;

Finally, that the tax of one-twentieth of the costs of instruction,
levied upon all the pupils of the lyceums, colleges, and schools, and
applied to expenses from which those who pay it derive no immediate
advantage, and which charges may be considerably reduced, are in
opposition to our desire of favouring good and profitable studies, and
of extending the benefits of education to all classes of our subjects.

Wishing to enable ourselves, as soon as possible, to lay before the two
Chambers the bills which are intended to establish the system of public
instruction throughout France, and to provide for the necessary
expenses, we have resolved to establish provisionally the reforms best
adapted to supply the experience and information which we still require,
to accomplish this object; and in place of the tax of one-twentieth on
the costs of instruction, the abolition of which we are not inclined to
defer, it has pleased us to appropriate, from our Civil List, the sum of
one million, which will be employed during the present year, 1815, for
the use of public instruction in this our kingdom.

For these reasons, and on the report of our Minister the Secretary of
State for the Department of the Interior, and by and with the advice of
our Council of State, we have decreed, and do decree, as follows:--


_General Arrangements._

Article 1. The divisions arranged under the name of _Academies_ by the
decree of the 17th of May, 1808, are reduced to seventeen, conformably
to the table at present annexed. They will assume the title of

The Universities will be named after the Head Town assigned to each.

The Lyceums at present established will be called _Royal Colleges_.

2. Each University will be composed, first, of a council, presided over
by a rector; secondly, of faculties; thirdly, of colleges; fourthly, of
district colleges.

3. The mode of teaching and discipline in all the Universities will be
regulated and superintended by a Royal Council of Public Instruction.

4. The Normal School of Paris will be common to all the Universities; it
will provide, at the expense of the State, the number of professors and
masters which may be required to give instruction in science and


_Respecting the Universities._

Section 1.

_The Councils of the Universities._

5. The Council of each University will consist of a presiding rector, of
the deans of faculty, of the provost of the royal college of the Head
Town, or of the oldest provost if there are more than one royal college;
and of at least three of the principal inhabitants, selected by our
Royal Council of Public Instruction.

6. The bishop and prefect will be members of this council, and will have
votes in the meetings, above the rector.

7. The council of the University can visit, whenever they consider it
proper to do so, the royal and district colleges, the institutes,
boarding-schools, and other seminaries of instruction, through two
appointed inspectors; who will report on the state of teaching and
discipline within the jurisdiction of the University, according to the
instructions delivered to them.

The number of inspectors for the University of Paris may amount to six.

8. The council will select each of these inspectors from two candidates
recommended by the rector.

9. The council will also select, each from two candidates recommended by
the rector, the provosts, the censors or inspectors of studies, the
professors of philosophy, rhetoric, and higher mathematics, the
chaplains, and bursars of the royal colleges.

10. The inspectors of the Universities will be selected from the
provosts, the superintendent-masters, the professors of philosophy,
rhetoric, and mathematics of the royal colleges, and from the head
masters of the district colleges; the superintendent-masters in the
royal colleges will be chosen from the professors of philosophy,
rhetoric, or superior mathematics in the same colleges.

11. The council of the University can revoke, if they see cause, any
appointment they may make: in these cases their resolutions must be
notified and accounted for, and cannot take effect until sanctioned by
our Royal Council of Public Instruction.

12. No one can establish an institution or a boarding-school, or become
head of an institution or a boarding-school already established,
without having been previously examined and duly qualified by the
council of the University, and unless their qualification has been
approved of by the Royal Council of Public Instruction.

13. The council of the University will examine and decide on the
accounts of the faculties, and of the royal colleges; they will also
examine the accounts of general expenditure handed in by the rector,
and, after having decided on them, will transmit the same to our Royal
Council of Public Instruction.

14. The council will keep a registry of its proceedings, and will
forward a copy once a month to our Royal Council.

15. In public ceremonies, the council will rank after the Council of

Section 2.

_Of the Rectors of Universities._

16. The rectors of the Universities are appointed by us, each selected
from three candidates presented by our Royal Council of Public
Instruction, and chosen from rectors already appointed, from
inspectors-general of study, of whom we shall speak hereafter, from the
professors of faculty, the professors of the Universities, the provosts,
the censors, and the professors of philosophy, rhetoric, and superior
mathematics in the royal colleges.

17. The rectors of the Universities appoint the professors, doctors of
faculty, and masters in all the colleges, with the exception of the
professors of philosophy, rhetoric, and superior mathematics in the
royal colleges, who are appointed as already named in Article 9.

18. The rectors will select the candidates from amongst the professors,
doctors of faculty, and masters already employed in the old or new
establishments of education, or from the pupils of the Normal School,
who, having completed their courses, have received the degree of

19. The professors and doctors of faculty thus appointed can only be
removed by the council of the University upon the explained proposition
of the rector.

20. The professors and doctors of faculty, appointed by one or more
rectors, not being those of the Universities in which they are actually
employed, can choose the University and select the employment they may
prefer; but they are bound to notify their decision, one month before
the commencement of the scholastic year, to the rector of the University
to which they belong.

21. The pupils of the Normal School selected by rectors not belonging to
the University from whence they were sent, have the same privilege of
option, on giving similar notice.

22. The rector of the University will preside, whenever he thinks
proper, at the examinations which precede the conferring of degrees in
the different faculties.

23. The rector has the entire charge of correspondence.

24. He will lay before the council of the University all matters that
require to be submitted to them, appoint the reporters, if necessary,
regulate the order of discussion, and sign the resolutions.

25. If opinions are equally divided, he has the casting vote.

Section 3.

_Of the Faculties._

26. The number and composition of the Faculties in each University are
settled by us, on the proposition of our Royal Council of Public

27. The faculties are placed immediately under the authority, direction,
and supervision of that Council.

28. The Council appoints their deans, each from two candidates, who will
be nominated for selection.

29. It appoints the professors for life, each from four candidates, two
of whom must be presented by the faculty in which a chair has become
vacant, and the other two by the council of the University.

30. Over and above the special teaching with which they are charged, the
faculties will confer, after examination, and according to the
established rules, the degrees which are or may become necessary for the
various ecclesiastical, political, and civil functions and professions.

31. The diplomas of degrees are issued in our name, signed by the dean,
and countersigned by the rector, who can refuse his _visa_ if he has
reason to think that the prescribed conditions have not been correctly

32. In the Universities which as yet have no faculties of science or
literature, the degree of Bachelor in Letters may be conferred after the
prescribed examinations by the provost, the inspector of studies, and
the professors of philosophy and rhetoric of the royal college of the
Head Town of the district. The inspector of studies will perform the
functions of dean; he will sign the diplomas, and will take his place in
the sittings of the councils of the University, after the provost.

Section 4.

_Of the Royal and District Colleges._

33. The Royal Colleges are governed by a provost, and the District
Colleges by a principal.

34. The provosts and principals will execute and cause to be executed
the regulations regarding instruction, discipline, and compatibility.

35. The administration of the royal college of the Head Town is placed
under the immediate superintendence of the rector and the council of the

36. All the other colleges, royal or provincial, are placed under the
immediate superintendence of a committee of administration composed of
the sub-prefect, the mayor, and at least three of the principal
inhabitants of the place, appointed by the council of the University.

37. This committee will propose, in each case, two candidates to the
rector, who will select from them the principals of the local colleges.

38. The principals, thus appointed, can only be removed by the council
of the University, upon the proposition of the committee, and by the
decision of the rector.

39. The Committee of Administration will examine and decide on the
accounts of the local colleges.

40. The Committee will also examine and decide on the accounts of the
royal colleges, except only on those of the royal college of the Head
Town, and will transmit them to the council of the University.

41. The Committee will also keep a register of its proceedings, and
transmit the same once in every month to the council of the University.

42. The president of this Committee will be the sub-prefect, or, in his
absence, the mayor.

43. The bishops and prefects are members of all the Committees in their
diocese or department; and when present they will have votes above the

44. The heads of institutions and masters of boarding-schools
established within the boundaries of cities or towns in which there are
either royal or local colleges, are required to send their boarders as
day-scholars to the classes of the said colleges.

45. The second Ecclesiastical School which has been or may be
established in each department, in virtue of our decree of ..., is
excepted from this obligation: but the said school cannot receive
day-scholars of any description.


_Of the Normal School._

46. Each University will send, every year, to the Normal School at
Paris, a number of pupils proportioned to the necessities of education.

This number will be regulated by our Royal Council of Public

47. The council of the University will select these pupils from those
who, having finished their courses in rhetoric and philosophy, are
intended, with the consent of their relatives, for public teachers.

48. The pupils sent to the Normal School will remain there three years,
after which they will be examined by our Royal Council of Public
Instruction, who will deliver to them, on approbation, the brevet of

49. The pupils who have received this brevet, if not summoned by the
rector of other Universities, will return to that to which they
originally belonged, where they will be placed by the rector, and
advanced according to their capacity and services.

50. The head master of the Normal School will hold the same rank, and
exercise the same prerogatives, with the rectors of the Universities.


_Of the Royal Council of Public Instruction._

51. Our Royal Council of Public Instruction will be composed of a
president and eleven councillors appointed by us.

52. Two of this number will be selected from the clergy, two from our
State Council, or from the Courts, and the seven others from individuals
who have become eminent for their talents or services in the cause of
public instruction.

53. The president of our Royal Council is alone charged with the
correspondence; he will introduce all subjects of discussion to the
Council, name the reporters, if necessary, establish the order of
debate, sign and despatch the resolutions, and see them carried into

54. In case of an equal division of opinions, he will have the casting

55. Conformably with Article 3 of the present decree, our Royal Council
will prepare, arrange, and promulgate the general regulations concerning
instruction and discipline.

56. The Council will prescribe the execution of these rules to all the
Universities, and will watch over them through the Inspectors-General of
Studies, who will visit the Universities whenever directed by the
Council to do so, and will report on the state of all the schools.

57. The number of the Inspectors will be twelve; that is to say, two for
the faculties of law, two for those of medicine, and the remaining eight
for the faculties of science and literature and for the royal and local

58. The Inspectors-General of Studies will be appointed by us, each
being selected from three candidates proposed by our Royal Council of
Public Instruction, and who will have been chosen from amongst the
rectors and inspectors of the Universities, the deans of faculty, the
provosts, the censors of study, and the professors of philosophy,
rhetoric, and superior mathematics in the royal colleges.

59. On the report of the Inspectors-General of Studies, our Royal
Council will give such instructions to the councils of the Universities
as may appear essential; they will detect abuses, and provide the
necessary reforms.

60. The Council will furnish us with an annual account of the state of
public instruction throughout our kingdom.

61. It will propose all such measures as may be considered suitable to
advance instruction, and for which it may be requisite to appeal to our

62. It will induce and encourage the production of such books as may
still be wanting for general purposes of education, and will decide on
those which are to be preferred.

63. It will remove, if necessary, the deans of faculty, and will propose
to us the removal of the rectors of Universities.

64. It will examine and decide on the accounts of the general
administration of the Universities.

65. The Normal School is placed under the special authority of the Royal
Council; the Council can either appoint or remove the administrators and
masters of that establishment.

66. The Council holds the same rank with our Court of Appeal and Court
of Accounts, and will take place, in all public ceremonies, immediately
after the last-named.

67. It will keep a registry of all its proceedings, and will deposit a
copy with our Minister the Secretary of State for the department of the
Interior, who will furnish us with an account of the same, and on whose
report we shall exercise the right of reforming or annulling them.


_Of Receipts and Expenses._

68. The tax of one-twentieth on the expenses of studies, imposed upon
the pupils of colleges and schools, is abolished from the date of the
publication of the present decree.

69. Excepting always: 1. The charges for terms, examinations, and
degrees, applied to the benefit of the faculties; 2. The subscriptions
paid by the pupils of the royal and local colleges for the advantage of
those establishments; 3. The annual contributions of the heads of
seminaries and boarding-schools, for the use of the Universities.

70. The townships will continue to supply the funds for scholars on the
foundation, and the sums they have hitherto contributed under the title
of help to their colleges: with this object, the total of these sums, as
also of the burses, will be included in their respective budgets with
the fixed expenses; and no deviation whatever from this will take place,
unless previously submitted to our Royal Council of Instruction.

71. The townships will also continue to supply and keep in repair the
buildings requisite for the Universities, the faculties, and colleges.

72. The councils of the Universities will settle the budgets for the
colleges and faculties.

73. The faculties and royal colleges, of which the receipts exceed the
expenses, will apply the surplus to the treasury of the University.

74. The councils of the universities will receive the annual
contributions of the heads of seminaries and boarding schools.

75. They will manage the property belonging to the University of France
situated in the district of each provincial university, and will collect
the revenue.

76. In case the receipts of the faculties, or those assigned for the
expenses of general administration, should prove inadequate, the
councils of the universities will make a distinct requisition, and will
state the sums required to replace each deficiency.

77. This requisition will be addressed to our Royal Council of Public
Instruction, who will transmit it, with suggestions, to our Minister the
Secretary of State for the department of the Interior.

78. The expenses of the faculties and Universities, as settled by our
Minister the Secretary of State for the department of the Interior, will
be paid on his order from our Royal Treasury.

79. There will also be paid from our Royal Treasury, in like manner--1,
the expenses of our Royal Council of Public Instruction; 2, those of the
Normal School; 3, the Royal donations.

80. For these purposes the annual income of 400,000 francs, forming the
appanage of the University of France, is placed at the disposal of our
Minister the Secretary of State for the department of the Interior.

81. Further, and in provisional replacement of the tax abolished by Art.
68 of this present Decree, our Minister the Secretary of State for the
department of the Interior, is authorized by us for the promotion of
public instruction in our kingdom, during the year 1815, to apply to the
Minister of our Household, who will place at his disposal the sum of one
million, to be deducted from the funds of our Civil List.

82. The funds proceeding from the reduction of one twenty-fifth of the
appointments in the University of France, will be applied to retiring
pensions; our Royal Council is charged to propose to us the most
eligible mode of appropriating this fund, and also to suggest the means
of securing a new one for the same purpose, in all the universities.


_Temporary Arrangements._

83. The members of our Royal Council of Public Instruction, who are to
be selected in conformity with Art. 52, the inspectors-general of
studies, the rectors and inspectors of universities, will be appointed
by us, in the first instance, from amongst all those who have been or
are now actually employed in the different educational establishments.

The conditions of eligibility settled by that Article, as also by
Articles 10, 16, and 58, apply to situations which may hereafter become

84. The members of suppressed universities and societies, who have taken
degrees as professors in the old faculties, or who have filled the posts
of superiors and principals of colleges, or chairs of philosophy or
rhetoric, as also councillors, inspectors-general, rectors and
inspectors of academies, and professors of faculties in the University
of France, who may find themselves out of employment by the effect of
the present decree, are eligible to all places whatever.

85. The fixed salaries of the deans and professors of faculties, and
those of the provosts, inspectors of studies, and professors in the
Royal colleges are not to be altered.

86. The deans and professors of the faculties that will be continued,
the provosts and doctors of faculty of the district colleges at present
in office, are to retain the same rights and privileges, and will be
subject to the same regulations of repeal, as if they had been appointed
in pursuance of the present decree.

We hereby inform and command our courts, tribunals, prefects, and
administrative bodies to publish and register these presents wherever
they may deem it necessary to do so. Moreover we direct our
attorneys-general and prefects to see that this is done, and to certify
the same; that is to say, the courts and tribunals to our Chancellor,
and the prefects to our Minister the Secretary of State for the
department of the Interior.

Given at Paris, in our Castle of the Tuileries, February 17, in the year
of grace 1815, and in the twentieth of our reign.

   (Signed)  LOUIS.

By the King; the Minister Secretary of State for the Interior.


No. VII.

_Note drawn up and laid before the King and Council in August 1816, on
the question of dissolving the Chamber of 1815; by M. Lainé, Minister of
the Interior._

It being considered probable that the King may be obliged to dissolve
the Chamber after its assembly, let us consider what will be the

Dissolution during the session is an extreme measure. It is a sort of
appeal made in the midst of passions in full conflict. The causes which
lead to it, the feelings of resentment to which it will give rise, will
spread throughout France.

The convocation of a new Chamber will require much time, and will render
it almost impossible to introduce a budget this year. To hold back the
budget until the first month of the year ensuing, is to run the risk of
seeing the deficit increase and the available resources disappear.

This would in all probability render us incapable of paying the

After such an unusual dissolution, justified by the danger which the
Chamber may threaten, it is difficult to suppose that the electoral
assemblies would be tranquil. And if agitation should exhibit itself,
the return of the foreigners is to be apprehended from that cause. The
dread of this consequence, in either case, will induce the King to
hesitate; and whatever attempts may be made to disturb the public peace
or to assail the Royal authority, his Majesty's heart, in the hope that
such evils would be merely transitory, will decide with reluctance on
such an extreme remedy as dissolution.

If then, the necessity of dissolving the Chamber becomes pressing, will
it not be better, before it meets, to adopt means of preserving us from
this menacing disaster?

The renewal of one-fifth of the members, which, under any circumstances,
seems to me indispensable to carry out the Charter, and which I regret
to say we too much neglected in the month of July 1815, will scarcely
diminish the probable necessity of dissolution.

The members returned for the fourth series are, with a few exceptions,
moderate; they have no disposition whatever to disturb public repose, or
interfere with the Royal prerogative, which alone can maintain order by
giving confidence to all classes. The other four-fifths remain
unchanged; the apprehended dangers are consequently as imminent.

This consideration induces me to recommend the adoption of a measure
which might facilitate a complete return to the Charter, by recalling
the decree of the 13th of July, which infringed it in the articles of
age and number, and has also reduced to problems many more of its

This measure would be to summon, by royal letters, only such deputies as
have reached the age of forty, and according to the number stipulated in
the Charter.

To effect this, we should choose the deputies who have been first named
in each electoral college. We should thus pay a compliment to the
electors by summoning those who appear to hold the most distinguished
places in their confidence.

It is true it will be said that the Chamber not being dissolved, the
present deputies have a kind of legal possession.

But the electors and the deputies they have chosen, only hold their
power from the Decree.

The same authority which conferred that power can recall it by revoking
the Decree.

The King in his opening speech appeared to say that it was only owing to
an extraordinary circumstance that he had assembled round the throne a
greater number of deputies. That extraordinary circumstance has passed
away. Peace is made, order is re-established, the Allies have retired
from the heart of France and from the Capital.

This idea furnishes an answer to the objection that the operations of
the Chamber are nullified.

The King had the power of making it what it is, in consequence of
existing circumstances.

The Chamber of Deputies does not alone make the laws. The Chamber of
Peers, and the King, who in France is the chief branch of the
legislative body, have co-operated in that enactment.

If this objection could hold good in the present case, it would equally
hold good in all the rest. In fact, either after the dissolution, or
under any other circumstances, the King will return to the Charter, in
regard to age and number. On this hypothesis, it might be said that the
operations of the existing Chamber are nullified. Article 14 of the
Charter could always be explained by the extraordinary circumstances,
and its complete re-establishment by the most sacred motives. To return
to the Charter without dissolution is not then to nullify the operations
of the Chamber more than to return to the Charter after dissolution.

Will it be said that the King is not more certain of a majority after
the proposed reduction than at present? I reply that the probability is
greatly increased.

An assembly less numerous will be more easily managed; reason will be
more readily attended to. The Royal authority which is exercised in the
reduction will be increased and secured.

Again, in the event of a dissolution, would the King be more certain of
a majority? How many chances are against this! On one side the ultras,
whose objection to transfer a portion of the Royal authority to what
they call the aristocracy, occupy nearly all the posts which influence
the operations of the electoral assemblies. On the other, they will be
vehemently opposed by the partisans of a popular liberty not less
hostile to the Kingly power. The struggles which will take place at the
electoral assemblies, will be repeated in the Chamber, and what
description of majority will emanate from such a contest?

If the plan of reduction appears inadmissible;--if on the other hand, it
should be decided that the hostile spirit of the Chamber compels the
dissolution after convocation;--I should not hesitate to prefer
immediate dissolution to the danger which seems so likely to arise from
dissolution after assembly.

But if immediate dissolution were to lead to the forming of a new
Chamber animated by the same spirit and views, it would then become
necessary to find remedies, to preserve the Royal authority, and to save
France from the presence of foreigners.

The first method would be to sacrifice the Ministers, who are ready to
lay down their places and their lives to preserve the King and France.

The above notes are exclusively founded on the probable necessity of
dissolution after the Chamber is convoked.

This measure will become necessary if, under the pretext of amendments,
the King's wishes are trifled with; if the budget should be thrown out,
or too long delayed; or if the amendments or propositions are of a
nature to alarm the country, and in consequence to call in the

The customs adopted during the last session, the bills announced, the
acrimony exhibited, the evidences we have thence derived, the hostility
already prepared by ambitious disturbers, the determination evinced to
weaken the Kingly authority by declaiming against the modified
centralization of government, all supply powerful reasons for expecting
the probable occurrences which will necessitate the dissolution of the

Taking another view, it ought not to be easily believed that a few
misguided Frenchmen, compromising the fortune of their country by
continuing to oppose the Royal authority, may go the length of exposing
themselves to the double scourge of foreign invasion and civil war, or
that they be content with the loss of certain provinces through
imprudent propositions, legally unjust, or....

Are we permitted to hope that in presenting such bills as religion and
devotion to the King and the country may inspire us to frame, these
bills will not be rejected?

Shall we be enabled to draw up these bills in such a manner as to
convince the Session and the world that malevolent opposition alone can
defeat them?

Notwithstanding the great probabilities that the dissolution may become
necessary, the danger would be less formidable, if the King, at the
opening of the session, were to express his wishes energetically; if he
were to issue previous decrees, revoking all that has not been yet
carried out in the Decrees of July 1815; if, above all, after having
declared his will by solemn acts, his Majesty would firmly repeat those
acts in the the immediate vicinity of the throne, by removing from his
person all those who might be inclined to misrepresent or oppose his

To avoid resistance and contest, would the following plan be available?

When the bills, the decrees, and the other regulations are ready, would
it be suitable for the King to hold an Extraordinary Council, to which
he should summon the Princes of the Royal family, the Archbishop of
Rheims, etc. Let all the bills to be brought forward be discussed and
settled in that Council, and let the Princes and the chief Bishops
declare which of these are to be adopted by unanimous consent. If, after
this Council, all the great and influential personages summoned by his
Majesty were to announce that such was the common wish of the King and
the whole of the Royal family, France would perhaps be saved.

But the great remedy lies in the King's pleasure. Let that once be
manifested, and let its execution be recommended by his Majesty to all
who surround him, and the danger disappears.

"Domine dic tantum verbum, et sanabitur Gallia tua!"


_Correspondence between the Viscount de Châteaubriand, the Count
Decazes, Minister of General Police, and M. Dambray, Chancellor of
France, on occasion of the seizure of 'Monarchy according to the
Charter,' in consequence of an infraction of the laws and regulations
relative to printing. September, 1816._


_October 19th, 1816._

On the 18th of September, in execution of the warrant of his Excellency,
dated on that day, authorizing the seizure of a work entitled, 'Of
Monarchy according to the Charter,' by M. de Châteaubriand, printed by
Le Normant, Rue de Seine, No. 8, and which work had been on sale without
the deposit of five copies having been made at the office for the
general regulation of the book-trade, I went, with Messrs. Joly and
Dussiriez, peace-officers and inspectors, to the house of the abovenamed
M. Le Normant, where we arrived before ten o'clock in the morning.

M. Le Normant admitted to us that he had given notice of the work of
M. de Châteaubriand, but that he had not yet deposited the five copies.
He affirmed that on the same morning, at nine o'clock, he had sent to
the office for the general regulation of bookselling, but that he was
told that the office was not open. Of this he produced no proof.

He admitted that he had printed two thousand copies of this work,
intending to make a fresh declaration, the first having only been for
fifteen hundred copies; that he had delivered several hundreds copies to
the author; that, finally, he had transmitted others on sale to the
principal booksellers of the Palais-Royal, Delaunay, Petit, and Fabre.

While I was drawing up a report of these facts and statements,
M. de Wilminet, peace-officer, came in with an individual in whose hands
he had seen, near the Bridge of the Arts, the work now in question, at
the moment when the person, who says his name is Derosne, was looking
over the title. M. Derosne has admitted that he bought it for four
francs, on the same day, the 18th, at about nine and a half in the
morning. This copy has been deposited in our hands, and M. Le Normant
has reimbursed the cost to M. Derosne.

We seized, in the second warehouse on the first floor, thirty stitched
copies which we added to that of M. Derosne. In the workshops on the
ground-floor, I seized a considerable quantity of printed sheets of the
same work, which M. Le Normant estimates at nine thousand sheets; and
thirty-one printing-forms which had been used for printing these sheets.

As it was sufficiently proved, both by facts and the admissions of the
printer, that the work had been offered for sale before the five copies
were deposited, we took possession of the stitched copies, the sheets,
and the forms. The sheets were subsequently piled up in a carriage in
the courtyard, and the stitched volumes made into a parcel, were
deposited at the foot of the staircase at the entrance of the house. The
forms, to the number of thirty-one, were placed under the steps of the
garden, tied together with cord. Our seal had been already placed on the
top, and M. de Wilminet prepared to affix it also on the lower parts.
All this was done without the slightest disturbance or opposition, and
with a perfect respect for the authorities.

Suddenly tumultuous cries were heard at the bottom of the entrance
court. M. de Châteaubriand arrived at that moment, and questioned some
workmen who surrounded him. His words were interrupted by cries of "Here
is M. de Châteaubriand!" The workshops resounded with his name; all the
labouring men came out in a crowd and ran towards the court, exclaiming,
"Here is M. de Châteaubriand! M. de Châteaubriand!" I myself distinctly
heard the cry of "Long live M. de Châteaubriand!"

At the same instant a dozen infuriated workmen arrived at the gate of
the garden, where I then was with M. de Wilminet and two inspectors,
engaged in finishing the seals on the forms. They broke the seals and
prepared to carry off the forms; they cried loudly and with a
threatening air, "Long live the liberty of the press! Long live the
King!" We took advantage of a moment of silence to ask if any order had
arrived to suspend our work. "Yes, yes, here is our order. Long live the
liberty of the press!" cried they with violent insolence: "Long live the
King!" They approached close to us to utter these cries. "Well" said I
to them, "if there is such an order, so much the better; let it be
produced;" and we all said together, "You shall not touch these forms,
until we have seen the order." "Yes, yes," cried they again, "there is
an order; it comes from M. de Châteaubriand, he is a Peer of France. An
order from M. de Châteaubriand is worth more than one from the
Minister." Then they repeated violently the cries of "Long live the
liberty of the press! Long live the King!"

In the meantime, the peace-officers and inspectors continued to guard
the articles seized or sequestered, and prevented their being carried
off. They took the parcel of stitched copies from the hands of a workman
who was bearing it away.

The peace-officer who was affixing the seals, being compelled by
violence to suspend the operation, addressed M. de Châteaubriand, and
asked him if he had an order from the Minister. He replied, with
passion, that an order from the Minister was nothing to him; he came to
oppose what was going on; he was a Peer of France, the defender of the
Charter, and particularly forbade anything to be taken away. "Moreover,"
he added, "this proceeding is useless and without object; I have
distributed fifteen thousand copies of this work through all the
different departments." The workmen then repeated that the order of
M. de Châteaubriand was worth more than that of the Minister, and
renewed, more violently than before, their cries of "Long live the
liberty of the press! M. de Châteaubriand for ever! Long live the King!"

The peace-officer was surrounded. A man of colour, appearing much
excited, said to him violently, "The order of M. de Châteaubriand is
worth more than that of the Minister." Tumultuous cries were renewed
round the peace-officer. I left the garden, leaving the forms in charge
of the inspectors, to advance towards that side. During my passage,
several workmen shouted violently, "Long live the King!" I held out my
hand as a sign of peace, to keep at a respectful distance those who were
disposed to come too near; and replied by the loyal cry of "Long live
the King!" to the same shout uttered in a seditious spirit by the
bewildered workmen.

M. de Châteaubriand was at this time in the entrance court, apparently
intent on preventing the carriage laden with the sheets of his work from
departing for its destination. I ascended the staircase for the purpose
of signifying to M. Le Normant that it would be better for him to second
my orders by using whatever influence he might possess over his workmen,
so as to induce them to return to their workshops; and to let him know
before them that he would be held responsible for what might happen.
M. de Châteaubriand appeared at the foot of the staircase, and uttered,
in a very impassioned tone, with his voice vehemently raised, in the
midst of the workmen, who appeared to second him enthusiastically,
nearly the following words:--

"I am a Peer of France. I do not acknowledge the order of the Ministry;
I oppose it in the name of the Charter, of which I am the defender, and
the protection of which every citizen may claim. I oppose the removal of
my work. I forbid the transport of these sheets. I will only yield to
force, and when I see the gendarmes."

Immediately, raising my voice to a loud tone, and extending my arm from
the first landing-place of the staircase on which I then stood, I
replied to him who had just manifested to myself formally and personally
his determined resistance to the execution of the orders of his
Majesty's minister, and had thereby shown that he was the real exciter
of the movements that had taken place; I said--

"And I, in the name and on the part of the King, in my quality of
Commissary of Police, appointed by his Majesty, and acting under the
orders of his Excellency the Minister of General Police, demand respect
for constituted authority. Let everything remain untouched; let all
tumult cease, until the arrival of fresh orders which I expect from his

While I uttered these words, profound silence was maintained. Calm had
succeeded to tumult. Soon after, the gendarmes arrived. I then ordered
the workmen to return to their workshops. M. de Châteaubriand, as soon
as the gendarmes entered, retired into the apartments of M. Le Normant,
and appeared no more. We then finished our work and prepared the report
of all that had occurred, after having despatched to the Ministry of
Police the articles seized, and committed the forms to the guard, and
under the responsibility of M. Le Normant.

At the moment of the disturbance one of the stitched copies disappeared.
Subsequently we seized, at the house of M. Le Marchand, a book-stitcher,
and formerly a bookseller, in the Rue de la Parcheminerie, seven parcels
of copies of the same work; and at No. 17, Rue des Prêtres, in a
wareroom belonging to M. Le Normant, we placed eight forms under seal,
and seized four thousand sheets of the same work.

I have forwarded to the Ministry of Police reports of these different
operations, with the sheets and copies seized of the work of
M. de Châteaubriand.

M. Le Normant appeared to me to conduct himself without blame during
these transactions, which were carried into effect at his
dwelling-place, and during the tumult which M. de Châteaubriand promoted
on the occasion of the seizure of his work. But it is sufficiently
proved by his own admission and by facts, that he has issued for sale to
various booksellers, and has sold himself copies of this work before he
had deposited the five as required by the laws.

As to M. de Châteaubriand, I am astonished that he should have so
scandalously compromised the dignity of the titles with which he is
decorated, by exhibiting himself under these circumstances, as if he had
been nothing more than the leader of a troop of workmen, whom he had
stirred up to commotion.

He was the cause of the workmen profaning the sacred cry of "Long live
the King!" by using it in an act of rebellion against the authority of
the Government, which is the same as that of the King.

He has excited these misguided men against a Commissary of Police, a
public functionary appointed by his Majesty, and against three
peace-officers in the execution of their duty, and without arms against
a multitude.

He has committed an offence against the Royal government, by saying that
he would acknowledge force alone, in a system based upon quite a
different force from that of bayonets, and which only uses such coercive
measures against persons who are strangers to every sentiment of honour.

Finally, this scene might have led to serious consequences if, imitating
the conduct of M. de Châteaubriand, we had forgotten for a moment that
we were acting by the orders of a Government as moderate as firm, and
as strong in its wisdom as in its legitimacy.


   _Paris, September 18th, 1816._

   My Lord Count,

I called at your residence this morning to express my surprise. At
twelve this day, I found at the house of M. Le Normant, my bookseller,
some men who said they were sent by you to seize my new work, entitled
'Of Monarchy according to the Charter.'

Not seeing any written order, I declared that I would not allow the
removal of my property unless gendarmes seized it by force. Some
gendarmes arrived, and I then ordered my bookseller to allow the work to
be carried away.

This act of deference to authority has not allowed me to forget what I
owe to my rank as a Peer. If I had only considered my personal
interests, I should not have interfered; but the privileges of the
Peerage having been compromised, I have thought it right to enter a
protest, a copy of which I have now the honour of forwarding to you. I
demand, in the name of justice, the restitution of my work; and I
candidly add, that if I do not receive it back, I shall employ every
possible means that the political and civil laws place within my reach.

   I have the honour to be, etc. etc.,



   _Paris, September 18th, 1816._

   My Lord Viscount,

The Commissary of Police and the peace-officers, against whom you have
thought proper to excite the rebellion of M. Le Normant's workmen, were
the bearers of an order signed by one of the King's ministers, and in
accordance with a law. That order was shown to the printer named, who
read it several times, and felt that he had no right to oppose its
execution, demanded in the King's name. Undoubtedly it never occurred to
him that your rank as a Peer could place you above the operation of the
laws, release you from the respect due by all citizens to public
functionaries in the execution of their duty, and, above all, justify a
revolt of his work-people against a Commissary of Police, and officers
appointed by the King, invested with the distinctive symbols of their
office, and acting under legal instructions.

I have seen with regret that you have thought otherwise, and that you
have preferred, as you now require of me, to yield to force rather than
to obey the law. That law, which M. Le Normant had infringed, is
extremely distinct; it requires that no work whatever shall be published
clandestinely, and that no publication or sale shall take place before
the necessary deposit has been made at the office for the regulation of
printing. None of these conditions have been fulfilled by M. Le Normant.
If he has given notice, it was informal; for he has himself signed the
Report drawn up by the Commissary of Police, to the effect that he
proposed to strike off 1500 copies, and that he had already printed

From another quarter I have been informed that, although no deposit has
been made at the office for the regulation of printing, several hundred
copies have been despatched this morning before nine o'clock, from the
residence of M. Le Normant, and sent to you, and to various booksellers;
that other copies have been sold by M. Le Normant at his own house, for
the price of four francs; and two of these last copies were in my hands
this morning by half-past eight o'clock.

I have considered it my duty not to allow this infraction of the law,
and to interdict the sale of a work thus clandestinely and illegally
published; I have therefore ordered its seizure, in conformity with
Articles 14 and 15 of the Law of the 21st of October, 1814.

No one in France, my Lord Viscount, is above the law; the Peers would be
offended, on just grounds, if I thought they could set up such a
pretension. Still less would they assume that the works which they feel
disposed to publish and sell as private individuals and men of letters,
when they wish to honour the literary profession with their labours,
should enjoy exclusive privileges; and if these works are submitted to
public criticism in common with those of other writers, they are not in
any respect liberated from the control of justice, or the supervision of
the Police, whose duty it is to take care that the laws, which are
equally binding upon all classes of society, should be executed with
equal impartiality.

I must also observe, in addition, that it was at the residence and
printing-office of M. Le Normant, who is not a Peer of France, that the
order constitutionally issued for the seizure of a work published by him
in contravention to the law, was carried into effect; that the execution
of the order had been completed when you presented yourself; and upon
your declaration that you would not suffer your work to be taken away,
the workmen broke the seals that had been affixed on some articles, and
placed themselves in open rebellion against the King's authority. It can
scarcely have escaped you, that by invoking that august name they have
been guilty of a crime of which, no doubt, they did not perceive the
extent; and to which they could not have been led, had they been more
impressed with the respect due to the act of the King and his
representatives, and if it could so happen that they did not read what
they print.

I have felt these explanations due to your character; they will, I
trust, convince you that if the dignity of the Peerage has been
compromised in this matter, it has not been through me.

     I have the honour to be,
             My Lord Viscount,
   Your very humble and very obedient Servant,
         (Signed)  THE COUNT DECAZES.


   _Paris, September 19th, 1816._

   My Lord Count,

I have received the letter which you have done me the honour to address
to me on the 18th of this month. It contains no answer to mine of the
same day.

You speak to me of works _clandestinely_ published (in the face of the
sun, with my name and titles). You speak of revolt and rebellion, when
there has been neither revolt nor rebellion. You say that there were
cries of "Long live the King!" That cry has not yet been included in the
law of seditious exclamations, unless the Police are empowered to decree
in opposition to the Chambers. For the rest, all will appear in due time
and place. There will be no longer a pretence to confound the cause of
the bookseller with mine; we shall soon know whether, under a free
government, a police order, which I have not even seen, is binding on a
Peer of France; we shall learn whether, in my case, all the rights
secured to me by the charter, have not been violated, both as a Citizen
and a Peer. We shall learn, through the laws themselves, which you have
the extreme kindness to quote for me (a little incorrectly, it may be
observed), whether I have not the right to publish my opinions; we shall
learn, finally, whether France is henceforward to be governed by the
Police or by the Constitution.

On the subject of my respect and loyalty to the King, my Lord Count, I
require no lessons, and I might supply an example. With respect to my
rank as a Peer, I shall endeavour to make it respected, equally with my
dignity as a man; and I perfectly well knew, before you took the trouble
to inform me, that it will never be compromised either by you or any one
else. I have demanded at your hands the restitution of my work: am I to
hope that it will be restored? This is the immediate question.

   I have the honour to be,
   My Lord Count,
   Your very humble and very obedient Servant,


   _Paris, September 18th, 1816._

   My Lord Chancellor,

I have the honour to forward to you a copy of the protest I have
entered, and the letter I have just written to the Minister of Police.

Is it not strange, my Lord Chancellor, that in open day, by force, and
in defiance of my remonstrances, the work of a Peer of France, to which
my name is attached, and printed publicly in Paris, should have been
carried off by the Police, as if it were a seditious or clandestine
publication, such as the 'Yellow Dwarf,' or the 'Tri-coloured Dwarf'?
Beyond what was due to my prerogative as a Peer of France, I may venture
to say that I deserved _personally_ a little more respect. If my work
were objectionable, I might have been summoned before the competent
tribunals: I should have answered the appeal.

I have protested for the honour of the Peerage, and I am determined to
follow up this matter to the last extremity. I call for your support as
President of the Chamber of Peers, and for your interference as the head
of justice.

   I am, with profound respect, etc. etc.,


   _Paris, September, 19th, 1816._

I send you confidentially, my dear colleague, a letter which I received
yesterday from M. de Châteaubriand, with the informal Protest of which
he has made me the depository. I beg you will return these documents,
which ought not to be made public. I enclose also a copy of my answer,
which I also request you to return after reading; for I have kept no
other. I hope it will meet your approbation.

I repeat the expression of my friendly sentiments.



   _Paris, September 19th, 1816._

   My Lord Viscount,

I have received with the letter you have addressed to me, the
declaration relative to the seizure which took place at the residence of
your bookseller; I find it difficult to understand the use you propose
to make of this document, which cannot extenuate in any manner the
infraction of law committed by M. Le Normant. The Law of the 21st of
October, 1814, is precise on this point. No printer can publish or offer
for sale any work, in any manner whatever, before having deposited the
prescribed number of copies. There is ground for seizure, the Article
adds, and for sequestrating a work, if the printer does not produce the
receipts of the deposit ordered by the preceding Article.

All infractions of this law (Art. 20) will be proved by the reports of
the inspectors of the book-trade, and the Commissaries of Police.

You were probably unacquainted with these enactments when you fancied
that your quality as a Peer of France gave you the right of personally
opposing an act of the Police, ordered and sanctioned by the law, which
all Frenchmen, whatever may be their rank, are equally bound to respect.

I am too much attached to you, Viscount, not to feel deep regret at the
part you have taken in the scandalous scene which seems to have occurred
with reference to this matter, and I regret sincerely that you have
added errors of form to the real mistake of a publication which you
could not but feel must be unpleasant to his Majesty. I know nothing of
your work beyond the dissatisfaction which the King has publicly
expressed with it; but I am grieved to notice the impression it has
made upon a monarch who, on every occasion, has condescended to evince
as much esteem for your person as admiration for your talents.

Receive, Viscount, the assurance of my high consideration, and of my
inviolable attachment.

   The Chancellor of France,


No. IX.

FROM 1816 TO 1820.


_From May, 1816, to December, 1818._

_Sept. 4th, 1816._--Decree for the reorganization of the Polytechnic

_Sept. 25th, 1816._--Decree to authorize the Society of French Missions.

_Dec. 11th, 1816._--Decree for the organization of the National Guards
of the Department of the Seine.

_Dec. 23rd, 1816._--Decree for the institution of the Royal Chapter of
St. Denis.

_Feb. 26th, 1817._--Decree relative to the administration of the Public
Works of Paris.

_Ditto, ditto._--Decree for the organization of the Schools of Arts and
Trades at Châlons and Angers.

_March 12th, 1817._--Decree on the administration and funds of the Royal

_March 26th, 1817._--Decree authorizing the presence of the Prefects and
Sub-Prefects at the General Councils of the Department or District.

_April 2nd, 1817._--Decree to regulate Central Houses of Confinement.

_Ditto, ditto._--Decree to regulate the conditions and mode of carrying
out the royal authority for legacies or donations to Religious

_April 9th, 1817._--Decree for the assessment of 3,900,000 francs,
destined to improve the condition of the Catholic Clergy.

_Ditto, ditto._--Decree for the suppression of the Secretaries-General
of the Prefectures, except only for the Department of the Seine.

_April 16th, 1817._--Three Decrees to regulate the organization of, and
persons employed in the Conservatory of Arts and Trades.

_Sept. 10th, 1817._--Decree upon the system of the Port of Marseilles,
with regard to Custom-house Duties and Storehouses.

_Nov. 6th, 1817._--Decree to regulate the progressive reduction of the
number of Councillors in each Prefecture.

_May 20th, 1818._--Decree to increase Ecclesiastical Salaries,
particularly those of the Curates.

_June 9th, 1818._--Decree on the discontinuance of Compositions for
Taxes payable at the Entrance of Towns.

_July 29th, 1818._--Decree for the establishment of Savings Banks, and
Provident Banks, in Paris.

_Sept. 30th, 1818._--Decree which removes from his Royal Highness
_Monsieur_, while leaving him the honorary privileges, the actual
command of the National Guard of the Kingdom, to give it back to the
Minister of the Interior, and the Municipal Authorities.

_Oct. 7th, 1818._--Decree respecting the use and administration of
Commons, or Town property.

_Oct. 21st, 1818._--Decree respecting the premiums for the encouragement
of the Maritime Fisheries.

_Dec. 17th, 1818._--Decree relative to the organization and
administration of the Educational Establishments called _Britannic_.


_From December, 1818, to February, 1820._

_Jan. 13th, 1819._--Decree to arrange public exhibitions of products of
industry.--The first, to take place on the 25th of August, 1819.

_Jan. 27th, 1819._--Decree for creating a Council of Agriculture.

_Feb. 14th, 1819._--Decree for the encouragement of the Whale Fishery.

_March 24th, 1819._--Decree introducing various reforms and improvements
in the School of Law, at Paris.

_April 9th, 1819._--Decree appointing a Jury of Manufacturers to select
for reward the artists who have made the greatest progress in their
respective trades.

_April 10th, 1819._--Decree relative to the institution of the
Council-General of Prisons.

_April 19th, 1819._--Decree to facilitate the public sale of merchandise
by auction.

_June 23rd, 1819._--Decree to reduce the period of service of the
National Guard of Paris.

_June 29th, 1819._--Decree relative to holding Jewish Consistories.

_Aug. 23rd, 1819._--Two Decrees upon the organization and privileges of
the General Council of Commerce and Manufacture.

_Aug. 25th, 1819._--Decree relative to the erection of 500 new Chapels
of Ease.

_Nov. 25th, 1819._--Decree relative to the organization and system of
teaching of the Conservatory of Arts and Trades.

_Dec. 22nd, 1819._--Decree relative to the organization and system of
the Public Treasury of Poissy.

_Dec. 25th, 1819._--Decree relative to the mode of Collation, and the
system of public Bursaries in the Royal Colleges.

_Dec. 29th, 1819._--Decree authorizing the foundation of a permanent
asylum for old men and invalids, in the Quartier du gros Caillon.

_Feb. 4th, 1820._--Decree for the regulation of public carriages
throughout the Kingdom.


_From September, 1817, to November, 1819._

_Oct. 22nd, 1817._--Decree for the organization of the Corps of
Geographic Engineers of War.

_Nov. 6th, 1817._--Decree for the organization of the Staff of the
military division of the Royal Guard.

_Dec. 10th, 1817._--Decree respecting the system of administration of
military supplies.

_Dec. 17th. 1817._--Decree relative to the organization of the Staff of
the Corps of Engineers.

_Dec. 17th, 1817._--Decree relative to the organization of the Staff of
the Corps of Artillery.

_Dec. 24th, 1817._--Decree upon the organization of Military Schools.

_March 25th, 1818._--Decree relative to the system and sale of gunpowder
for purposes of war, mining, or the chase.

_March 25th, 1818._--Decree relative to the system and organization of
the Companies of Discipline.

_April 8th, 1818._--Decree for the formation of Departmental Legions in
three battalions.

_May 6th, 1818._--Decree relative to the organization of the Corps and
School of the Staff.

_May 20th, 1818._--Decree relative to the position and allowances of
those not in active service, or on half-pay.

_May 20th, 1818._--Instructions approved by the King relative to
voluntary engagements.

_June 10th, 1818._--Decree relative to the organization, system, and
teaching of the Military Schools.

_July 8th, 1818._--Decree relative to the organization and system of
Regimental Schools in the Artillery.

_July 15th, 1818._--Decree relative to the supply of gunpowder and

_July 23rd, 1818._--Decree respecting the selection of the General Staff
of the Army.

_Aug. 3rd, 1818._--Decree relative to the military hierarchy, and the
order of promotion, in conformity with the Law of the 10th of March,

_Aug. 5th, 1818._--Decree relative to the allowances of Staff Officers.

_Aug. 5th, 1818._--Decree relative to the system and expenses of

_Sept. 2nd, 1818._--Decree relative to the Corps of Gendarmes of Paris.

_Dec. 30th, 1818._--Decree regulating the organization and system of the
Body-guard of the King.

_Dec. 30th, 1818._--Decree regulating the allowances to Governors of
Military Divisions.

_Feb. 17th, 1819._--Decree on the composition and strength of the
eighty-six regiments of Infantry.

No. X.


   _Paris, April 12th, 1820._

   My dear Friend,

I have not written to you in all our troubles. I knew that you would
hear from this place a hundred different opinions, and a hundred
opposite statements on the position of affairs; and, although I had not
entire confidence in any of those who addressed you, as you are not
called upon, according to my judgment, to form any important resolution,
I abstained from useless words. Today all has become clearer and more
mature; the situation assumes externally the character it had until now
concealed; I feel the necessity of telling you what I think of it, for
the advantage of our future proceedings in general, and yours in

The provisional bills have passed:--you have seen how: fatal to those
who have gained them, and with immense profit to the Opposition. The
debate has produced this result in the Chamber, that the right-hand
party has extinguished itself, to follow in the suite of the
right-centre; while the left-centre has consented to assume the same
position with respect to the extreme left, from which, however, it has
begun to separate within the last fifteen days. So much for the interior
of the Chamber.

Without, you may be assured that the effect of these two debates upon
the popular masses has been to cause the right-hand party to be looked
upon as less haughty and exacting; the left, as more firm and more
evenly regulated than was supposed: so that, at present, in the
estimation of many worthy citizens, the fear of the right and the
suspicion of the left are diminished in equal proportions. A great evil
is comprised in this double fact. Last year we gained triumphs over the
left, without and within the Chamber; at present the left triumphs over
us! Last year we still remained, and were considered, as ever since
1815, a necessary and safe rampart against the _Ultras_, who were
greatly dreaded, and whose rule seemed possible; today the _Ultras_ are
less feared, because their arrival at power is scarcely believed. The
conclusion is, that we are less wanted than formerly.

Let us look to the future. The election bill, which Decazes presented
eight days before his fall, is about to be withdrawn. This is certain.
It is well known that it could never pass; that the discussions on its
forty-eight articles would be interminable; the _Ultras_ are very
mistrustful of this its probable results; it is condemned; they will
frame, and are already framing, another. What will this new bill be? I
cannot tell. What appears to me certain is, that, if no change takes
place in the present position, it will have for object, not to complete
our institutions, not to correct the vices of the bill of the 5th of
February, 1817, but to bring back exceptional elections; to restore, as
is loudly proclaimed, something analogous to the Chamber of 1815. This
is the avowed object, and, what is more, the natural and necessary end.
This end will be pursued without accomplishment; such a bill will either
fail in the debate, or in the application. If it passes, and after the
debate which it cannot fail to provoke, the fundamental question, the
question of the future, will escape from the Chamber, and seek its
solution without, in the intervention of the masses. If the bill is
rejected, the question may be confined within the Chamber; but it will
no longer be the Ministry in office who will have the power and mission
of solving it. If a choice is left to us, which I am far from despairing
of, it will lie between a lamentable external revolution and a
ministerial revolution of the most complete character. And this last
chance, which is our only one, will vanish if we do not so manage as to
offer the country, for the future, a ministry boldly constitutional.

In this position of affairs, what it is indispensable that you should be
made acquainted with, and what you would discover in five minutes if you
could pass five minutes here, is, that you are no longer a Minister, and
that you form no portion of the Ministry in office. It would be
impossible to induce you to speak with them as they speak, or as they
are compelled to speak. The situation to which they are reduced has been
imposed by necessity; they could only escape from it by completely
changing their ground and their friends, by recovering eighty votes from
the one hundred and fifteen of the actual Opposition, or by an appeal to
a new Chamber. This last measure it will never adopt; and by the side of
the powerlessness of the existing Cabinet, stands the impossibility of
escaping from it by the aid of the right-hand party. An _ultra_ ministry
is impossible. The events in Spain, whatever they may ultimately lead
to, have mortally wounded the governments of _coups d'état_ and

I have looked closely into all this, my dear friend; I have thought much
on the subject when alone, more than I have communicated to others. You
cannot remain indefinitely in a situation so critical and weak, so
destitute of power for immediate government, and so hopeless for the
future. I see but one thing to do at present; and that is, to prepare
and hold back those who may save the Monarchy. I cannot see, in the
existing state of affairs, any possibility of labouring effectively for
its preservation. You can only drag yourselves timidly along the
precipice which leads to its ruin. You may possibly not lose in the
struggle your reputation for honest intentions and good-faith; but this
is the maximum of hope which the present Cabinet can reasonably expect
to preserve. Do not deceive yourself on this point; of all the plans of
reform, at once monarchical and liberal, which you contemplated last
year, nothing now remains. It is no longer a bold remedy which is sought
for against the old revolutionary spirit; it is a miserable expedient
which is adopted without confidence. It is not fit for you, my dear
friend, to remain garotted under this system. Thank Heaven! you were
accounted of some importance in the exceptional laws. As to the
constitutional projects emanating from you, there are several--the
integral renewing of the Chamber, for example--which have rather gained
than lost ground, and which have become possible in another direction
and with other men. I know that nothing happens either so decisively or
completely as has been calculated, and that everything is, with time, an
affair of arrangement and treaty. But as power is situated at present,
you can do nothing, you are nothing; or rather, at this moment, you have
not an inch of ground on which you can either hold yourself erect, or
fall with honour. If you were here, either you would emerge, within a
week, from this impotent position, or you would be lost with the rest,
which Heaven forbid!

You see, my dear friend, that I speak to you with the most unmeasured
frankness. It is because I have a profound conviction of the present
evil and of the possibility of future safety. In this possibility you
are a necessary instrument. Do not suffer yourself, while at a distance,
to be compromised in what is neither your opinion nor your desire.
Regulate your own destiny, or at least your position in the common
destiny of all; and if you must fall, let it be for your own cause, and
in accordance with your own convictions.

I add to this letter the Bill prepared by M. de Serre in November, 1819,
and which he intended to present to the Chambers, to complete the
Charter, and at the same time to reform the electoral law. It will be
seen how much this Bill differed from that introduced in April, 1820,
with reference to the law of elections alone, and which M. de Serre
supported as a member of the second Cabinet of the Duke de Richelieu.


Art. 1. The Legislature assumes the name of Parliament of France.

Art. 2. The King convokes the Parliament every year.

Parliament will be convoked extraordinarily, at the latest, within two
months after the King attains his majority, or succeeds to the throne;
or under any event which may cause the establishment of a Regency.

_Of the Peerage._

Art. 3. The Peerage can only be conferred on a Frenchman who has
attained his majority, and is in the exercise of political and civil

Art. 4. The character of Peer is indelible; it can neither be lost nor
abdicated, from the moment when it has been conferred by the King.

Art. 5. The exercise of the rights and privileges of Peer can only be
suspended under two conditions:--1. Condemnation to corporal punishment;
2. Interdiction pronounced according to the forms prescribed by the
Civil Code. In either case, by the Chamber of Peers alone.

Art. 6. The Peers are admissible to the Chamber at the age of
twenty-one, and can vote when they have completed their twenty-fifth

Art. 7. In case of the death of a Peer, his successor in the Peerage
will be admitted as soon as he has attained the required age, on
fulfilling the forms prescribed by the decree of the 23rd of March,
1816, which decree will be annexed to the present law.

Art. 8. A Peerage created by the King cannot henceforward, during the
life of the titulary, be declared transmissible, except to the real and
legitimate male children of the created Peer.

Art. 9. The inheritance of the Peerage cannot henceforward be conferred
until a Majorat of the net revenue of twenty thousand francs, at least,
shall be attached to the Peerage.

_Dotation of the Peerage._

Art. 10. The Peerage will be endowed--1, With three millions five
hundred thousand francs of rent, entered upon the great-book of the
public debt, which sum will be unalienable, and exclusively applied to
the formation of Majorats; 2, With eight hundred thousand francs of
rent, equally entered and inalienable, to be applied to the expenses of
the Chamber of Peers.

By means of this dotation, these expenses cease to be charged to the
Budget of the State, and the domains, rents, and property of every kind,
proceeding from the dotation of the former Senate, except the Palace of
the Luxembourg and its dependencies, are reunited to the property of the

Art. 11. Three millions five hundred thousand francs of rent, intended
for the formation of Majorats, are divided into fifty majorats of thirty
thousand francs, and one hundred majorats of twenty thousand francs
each, attached to the same number of peerages.

Art. 12. These Majorats will be conferred by the King exclusively upon
lay Peers; they will be transmissible with the Peerage from male to
male, in order of primogeniture, and in the real, direct, and legitimate
line only.

Art. 13. A Peer cannot unite in his own person several of these

Art. 14. Immediately on the endowment of a Majorat, and on the
production of letters-patent, the titulary will be entered in the
great-book of the public debt, for an unalienable revenue, according to
the amount of his majorat.

Art. 15. In case of the extinction of the successors to any one of these
Majorats, it reverts to the King's gift, who can confer it again,
according to the above-named regulations.

Art. 16. The King can permit the titulary possessor of a Majorat to
convert it into real property producing the same revenue, and which will
be subject to the same reversion.

Art. 17. The dotation of the Peerage is inalienable, and cannot under
any pretext whatever, be applied to any other purpose than that
prescribed by the present law. This dotation remains charged, even to
extinction, with the pensions at present enjoyed by the former Senators,
as also with those which have been or may hereafter be granted to their

_Of the Chamber of Deputies._

Art. 18. The Chamber of Deputies to Parliament is composed of four
hundred and fifty-six members.

Art. 19. The Deputies to Parliament are elected for seven years.

Art. 20. The Chamber is renewed integrally, either in case of
dissolution, or at the expiration of the time for which the Deputies are

Art. 21. The President of the Chamber of Deputies is elected according
to the ordinary forms for the entire duration of the Parliament.

Art. 22. The rates which must be paid by an elector, or one eligible for
an elector, consist of the principal of the direct taxes without regard
to the additional hundredths. To this effect, the taxes for doors and
windows will be separated from the the principal and additional
hundredths, in such manner that two-thirds of the entire tax may be
entered as principal and the remaining third as additional hundredths.
For the future this plan will be permanent; the augmentations or
diminutions of these two taxes will be made by the addition or
reduction of the additional hundredths: the same rule will apply to the
taxes on land, moveables, and other personal property, as soon as the
principal of each is definitely settled. The tax on land and that on
doors and windows will only be charged to the proprietor or temporary
possessor, notwithstanding any contrary arrangement.

Art. 23. A son is liable for the taxes of his father, and a son-in-law
whose wife is alive, or who has children by her, for the taxes of his
father-in-law, in all cases where the father or father-in-law have
transferred to them their respective rights.

The taxes of a widow, not re-married, are chargeable to whichever of her
sons, or, in default of sons, to whichever of her sons-in-law, she may

Art. 24. To constitute the eligibility of an elector, these taxes must
have been paid one year at least before the day of the election. The
heir or legatee on the general title, is considered responsible for the
taxes payable by the parties from whom he derives.

Art. 25. Every elector and Deputy is bound to make affidavit, if
required, that they pay really and personally, or that those whose
rights they exercise pay really and personally, the rates required by
the law; that they, or those whose rights they exercise, are the true
and legitimate owners of the property on account of which the taxes are
paid, or that they truly exercise the trade for the license of which the
taxes are imposed.

This affidavit is received by the Chamber, for the Deputies, and at the
electoral offices for the electors. It is signed by them, without
prejudice to contradictory evidence.

Art. 26. Every Frenchman who has completed the age of thirty on the day
of election, who is in the enjoyment of civil and political rights, and
who pays a direct tax amounting to six hundred francs in principal, is
eligible to the Chamber of Deputies.

Art. 27. The Deputies to Parliament are named partly by the electors of
the department, and partly by the electors of the divisions into which
each department is divided, in conformity with the table annexed to the
present law.

The electors of each electoral divisions nominate directly the number of
Deputies fixed by the same table.

This rule applies to the electors of each department.

Art. 28. All Frenchmen who have completed the age of thirty years, who
exercise political and civil rights, who have their residence in the
department, and who pay a direct tax of four hundred francs in
principal, are electors for the department.

Art. 29. When the electors for the department are less than fifty in the
department of Corsica, less than one hundred in the departments in the
higher and lower Alps, of the Ardèche, of the Ariège, or the Corrèze, of
the Creuse, of the Lozère, of the higher Marne, of the higher Pyrenees,
of Vaucluse, of the Vosges; less than two hundred in the departments of
the Ain, of the Ardennes, of the Aube, of the Aveyron, of the Central,
of the Coasts of the North, of the Doubs, of the Drôme, of the Jura, of
the Landes, of the Lot, of the Meuse, of the lower Pyrenees, of the
lower and upper Rhine, of the upper Saône; and less than three hundred
in the other departments; these numbers are to be completed by calling
on those who are next in the ratio of taxation.

Art. 30. All Frenchmen aged thirty years complete, who exercise
political and civil rights, who dwell in the electoral division, and who
pay a direct tax of two hundred francs in principal, are electors for
the division.

Art. 31. The electors of departments exercise their rights as electors
of division, each in the division in which he dwells. To this effect,
the elections for the departments will not take place till after those
for the division.

Art. 32. The Deputies to Parliament named by the electors of division
ought to be domiciled in the department, or at least to be proprietors
there for more than a year, of a property paying six hundred francs in
principal, or to have exercised public functions there for three years
at the least.

The Deputies nominated by the electors of departments may be selected
from all who are eligible throughout the kingdom.

_Forms of Election._

Art. 33. At the hour and on the day fixed for the election, the Board
will repair to the hall selected for its sittings. The Board is to be
composed of a President appointed by the King, of the Mayor, of the
senior Justice of the Peace, and of the two chief Municipal Councillors
of the head-towns in which the election is held. At Paris, the senior
Mayor and Justice of the Peace of the electoral division, and two
members of the general Council of the Department, taken according to the
order of their appointment, are to co-operate with the President in the
formation of the Board.

The duties of secretary will be fulfilled by the Mayor's secretary.

Art. 34. The votes are given publicly by the inscription which each
elector makes himself, or dictates to a member of the Board, of the
names of the candidates upon an open register. The elector inscribes the
names of as many candidates as there are Deputies to elect.

Art. 35. In order that any eligible person may become a candidate, and
that the register may be opened in his favour, it is necessary that he
should have been proposed to the Board by twenty electors at least, who
inscribe his name upon the register.

At Paris, no one can be proposed, at the same election, as a candidate
in more than two electoral districts at the same time.

Art. 36. At the opening of each sitting, the President announces the
names of the candidates proposed, and the number of votes that each has
obtained. The same announcement is printed and posted in the town after
every sitting.

Art. 37. The register for the first series of votes remains open for
three days at least, and for six hours every day.

No Deputy can be elected by the first series of votes, except by an
absolute majority of the electors of the district and department, who
have voted during the three days.

Art. 38. The third day and the hour appointed for voting having expired,
the register is declared closed; the votes are summed up; the total
number and the number given to each candidate are published, and the
candidates who have obtained an absolute majority are announced.

If all the Deputies have not been elected by the first scrutiny of
votes, the result is published and posted immediately; and after an
interval of three days, a second series of votes is taken during the
following days, in the same manner and under the same formalities and
delays. The candidates who obtain a relative majority at the second
voting are elected.

Art. 39. Before closing the registers at each voting, the President
demands publicly whether there is any appeal against the manner in which
the votes have been inscribed. If objections are made, they are to be
entered on the official report of the election, and the registers,
closed and sealed, are forwarded to the Chamber of Deputies, who will

If there are no appeals, the registers are destroyed on the instant, and
the official report alone is forwarded to the Chamber.

The official report and registers are signed by all the members of the

If there are grounds for a provisional decision, the Board has the power
of pronouncing it.

Art. 40. The President is invested with full power to maintain the
freedom of the elections. The civil and military authorities are bound
to obey his requisitions. The President maintains silence in the hall
in which the election is held, and will not allow any individual to be
present who is not an elector or a member of the Board.

_Arrangements common to the two Chambers._

Art. 41. No proposition can be sent to a committee until it has been
previously decided on in the Chamber. The Chamber, on all occasions,
appoints the number of the members of the committee, and selects them,
either by a single ballot from the entire list, or on the proposition of
their own board.

Every motion coming from a Peer or Deputy must be announced at least
eight days beforehand, in the Chamber to which he belongs.

Art. 42. No motion can be passed by the Chamber until after three
separate readings, each with an interval between them of eight days at
the least. The debate follows after each reading. When the debate has
concluded, the Chamber votes on a new reading. After the last debate, it
votes on the definitive adoption of the measure.

Art. 43. Every amendment must be proposed before the second reading. An
amendment decided on after the second reading will of necessity demand
another reading after the same interval.

Art. 44. Every amendment that may be discussed and voted separately from
the motion under debate, will be considered as a new motion, and will
have to undergo the same forms.

Art. 45. Written speeches, except the reports of committees and the
first opening of a motion, are interdicted.

Art. 46. The Chamber of Peers cannot vote unless fifty Peers, at least,
are present; the Chamber of Deputies cannot vote unless one hundred
Members, at least, are present.

Art. 47. The vote in both Chambers is always public.

Fifteen Members can call for a division.

The division is made with closed doors.

Art. 48. The Chamber of Peers can admit the public to its sittings. On
the demand of five Peers, or on that of the proposer of the motion, the
sitting becomes private.

Art. 49. The Chamber of Deputies can only form itself into a secret
committee to hear and discuss the propositions of one of its Members,
when a secret committee is asked by the proposer of the motion, or by
five Members at least.

Art. 50. The arrangements of the laws now in operation, and particularly
those of the law of 17th February, 1817, and which are not affected by
the present law, will continue to be carried on according to their form
and tenour.

_Temporary Arrangements._

Art. 51. The Chamber of Deputies, from this date until the Session of
1820, will be carried to the full number of 456 Members.

To this effect, the departments of the fourth series will each name the
number of Deputies assigned to them by the present law; the other
departments will also complete the number of Deputies, in the same
manner assigned to them. The Deputies appointed in execution of the
present article will be for seven years.

Art. 52. If the number of Deputies to be named to complete the
deputation of any department, does not exceed that which the electors of
the department ought to elect, they will all be elected by these
electors. Should the case be otherwise, each Deputy exceeding this
number will be chosen by the electors of one of the electoral divisions
of the department, in the order hereinafter named:--

1. By such of the electoral divisions as have the right of naming more
than one Deputy, unless one at least of the actual Deputies has his
political residence in this division.

2. By the first of the electoral divisions in which no actual Deputy has
his political residence.

3. By the first of the electoral divisions in which one or more of the
actual Deputies have their political residence, in such manner that no
single division shall name more Deputies than those assigned to it by
the present law.

Art. 53. At the expiration of the powers of the present Deputies of the
5th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd series, a new election will be proceeded with for
the election of an equal number of Deputies for each respective
department, by such of the electoral divisions as have not, in execution
of the preceding article, elected the full number of Deputies which are
assigned to them by the present law.

Art. 54. The Deputies to be named in execution of the preceding article
will be; those of the 5th series, for six years;--those of the 1st, for
five years; those of the 2nd, for four years; and those of the 3rd, for
three years.

Art. 55. The regulations prescribed by the above articles will be
observed, if, between the present date and the integral renewing of the
Chamber, a necessity should arise for replacing a Deputy.

Art. 56. All the elections that may take place under these temporary
regulations, must be in accordance with the forms and conditions
prescribed by the present law.

Art. 57. In case of a dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, it must be
integrally renewed within the term fixed by Article 50 of the Charter,
and in conformity with the present law.

No. XI.

_Letters relative to my Dismissal from the Council of State, on the 17th
July, 1820._


   _Paris, July 17th, 1820._

I regret being compelled to announce to you that you have ceased to
belong to the Council of State. The violent hostility in which you have
lately indulged, without the shadow of a pretext, against the King's
government, has rendered this measure inevitable. You will readily
understand how much it is personally distressing to myself. My friendly
feelings towards you induce me to express a hope that you may reserve
yourself for the future, and that you will not compromise by false steps
the talents which may still advantageously serve the King and the

You enjoy at present a pension of six thousand francs chargeable on the
department of Foreign Affairs. This allowance will be continued. Rest
assured that I shall be happy, in all that is compatible with my duty,
to afford you proofs of my sincere attachment.



   _July 17th, 1820._

I expected your letter; I had reason to foresee it, and I did foresee it
when I so loudly declared my disapprobation of the acts and speeches of
the Ministers. I congratulate myself that I have nothing to change in my
conduct. Tomorrow, as today, I shall belong to myself, and to myself

I have not and I never had any pension or allowance chargeable on the
department of Foreign Affairs. I am therefore not necessitated to
decline keeping it. I cannot comprehend how your mistake has arisen. I
request you to rectify it, as regards yourself and the other Ministers,
for I cannot suffer such an error to be propagated.

Accept, I entreat you, the assurance of my respectful consideration.



   _Paris, July 17th, 1820._


The Keeper of the Seals, on announcing to me that, in common with
several of my friends, I am removed from the Council of State, writes to
me thus: "You enjoy at present a pension of six thousand francs,
chargeable on the department of Foreign Affairs; this allowance will be
continued." I have been extremely astonished by this mistake; I am
completely ignorant of the cause. I have not and I never had any pension
or allowance of any description chargeable on the department of Foreign
Affairs. Consequently I am not called upon to refuse its continuance. It
will be very easy for you, Baron, to verify this fact, and I request you
to do so, as well for the Keeper of the Seals as for yourself, for I
cannot suffer the slightest doubt to exist on this subject.

Accept, etc.



   _Paris, July 18th, 1820._


I have just discovered the cause of the mistake against which you
protest, and into which I myself led the Keeper of the Seals.

Your name, in fact, appears in the list of expenses chargeable on my
department, for a sum of 6000 francs. In notifying this charge to me, an
error was committed in marking it as annual: I therefore considered it
from that time in the light of a pension.

I have now ascertained that it does not assume that character, and that
it related only to a specified sum which had been allowed to you, to
assist in the establishment of a Journal. It was supposed that this
assistance was to be continued, in the form of an annuity, towards
covering the expenses.

I shall immediately undeceive the Keeper of the Seals by giving him the
correct explanation.

Receive, I pray you, the assurance of my high consideration.


No. XII.


M. Minister,

Excuse the liberty I take in recommending to your notice the widow and
children of Emile Debraux. You will undoubtedly ask who was this Emile
Debraux. I can inform you, for I have written his panegyric in verse and
in prose. He was a writer of songs. You are too polite to ask me at
present what a writer of songs is; and I am not sorry, for I should be
considerably embarrassed in answering the question. What I can tell you
is, that Debraux was a good Frenchman, who sang against the old
Government until his voice was extinguished, and that he died six months
after the Revolution of July, leaving his family in the most abject
poverty. He was influential with the inferior classes; and you may rest
assured that, as he was not quite as particular as I am in regard to
rhyme and its consequences, he would have sung the new Government, for
his only directing compass was the tricoloured flag.

For myself, I have always disavowed the title of a man of letters, as
being too ambitious for a mere sonneteer; nevertheless, I am most
anxious that you should consider the widow of Emile Debraux as the widow
of a literary man, for it seems to me that it is only under that title
she could have any claim to the relief distributed by your department.

I have already petitioned the Commission of Indemnity for Political
Criminals, in favour of this family. But under the Restoration, Debraux
underwent a very slight sentence, which gives but a small claim to his
widow. From that quarter I therefore obtained only a trifle.

If I could be fortunate enough to interest you in the fate of these
unfortunate people, I should applaud myself for the liberty I have taken
in advocating their cause. I have been encouraged by the tokens of
kindness you have sometimes bestowed on me.

I embrace this opportunity of renewing my thanks, and I beg you to
receive the assurance of the high consideration with which I have the
honour to remain,

   Your very humble Servant,


   _Passy, Feb. 13th, 1834._



       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note

The following changes have been made to the text:

The spelling of the name, Châteaubriand, was standardized.

Page 1: "MM. LAINE" changed to "MM. LAINÉ".


Page 126: "mained intact" changed to "remained intact".

Page 126: "deremanded for the clergy" changed to "demanded for the

Page 141: "pusue their designs" changed to "pursue their designs".

Page 153: "not to detroy" changed to "not to destroy".

Page 222 (in this version): In the footnote "Historic Illustrations"
has been changed to "Historic Documents".

Page 247: "he Pyrenees" changed to "the Pyrenees".

Page 263: "spread themelves abroad" changed to "spread themselves

Page 264: "share the reponsibility" changed to "share the

Page 272: "sonnetteer" changed to "sonneteer"

Page 276: "at the C urt" changed to "at the Court".

Page 312: "leader vainly eadeavoured" changed to "leader vainly

Page 317: "often controlls wills" changed to "often controls wills".

Page 326: "When be learned" changed to "When he learned".

Page 342: "renouced empty or" changed to "renounced empty or".

Page 349: "crossed the saloon in her way" changed to "crossed the saloon
on her way".

Page 358 (in this version): In the footnote "people surrounds" changed
to "people surround".

Page 358 (in this version): In the footnote "worthy your having faith"
changed to "worthy of your having faith".

Page 366: "my thanks or them" changed to "my thanks for them".

Page 367: "descripion of Jerusalem" changed to "description of

Page 407: "through the the Inspectors-General" changed to "through the

Page 412: "Council in in August" changed to "Council in August".

Page 441: "three mile lions" changed to "three millions".

Page 441: "five hundred francs of rent" changed to "five hundred
thousand francs of rent".

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