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The facility with which the Imperial Government had been overthrown, and the readiness with which its civilian functionaries had rallied to the Bourbons, gave hopes that these princes might command the adherence of the great mass of the French people. There was, indeed, one class which it was almost hopeless to attempt to conciliate, the military. For twenty years, they had predominated, were looked to, and looked upon themselves, as the élite of the nation. It was impossible for the new Government to maintain for them their superiority, or to give them even the pay and promotion required. The finance minister said he could not support an army of more than 200,000 men. Military discontent was therefore inevitable. And the only way in which it could have been met was by giving large satisfaction to the non-military spirit and class. A national guard, for example, might have been organised, and might have been made to replace and counterbalance the line. But the restoration had aroused those who called themselves gentry to the assertion of their old superiority, and whilst they equipped themselves as national guards on horseback, the citizens were rather allowed than encouraged to form foot regiments.
To give vigour and weight, as well as contentment, to the citizen classes, they should have been endowed with municipal freedom. Their being thus entrusted and busied with their own local affairs, and influencing them, would have presented a satisfactory contrast with the mutism and nullity of all men before the imperial functionaries. Instead of this, the new Government maintained the old prefects and mayors in their former authority, continued to levy the same taxes, and exact the same obedience, supporting, moreover, the new pretensions of the émigré proprietors and nobles, who had returned to reclaim lost property and privileges. Alexander and Louis the Eighteenth thought that quite enough had been done for liberty when a constitution
or a charter was granted. This, however, is but the CHAP.
XLIV. external form of freedom, the effects or benefits of which never reach or touch the people unless the administrative organisation be equally free. If constitutions have failed all over Europe, in France and in Spain, it is that the mere forms of constitutional government have been established and observed, whilst all local influence, self-government, or independent action have been purposely passed over or malevolently omitted. The Government and the Liberals, as they were called, disputed in Paris as to whether a constitution should be imposed on the King, or octroyed by him, whether the chamber should have the initiative of laws, or the monarch the right of war or peace; grave questions certainly, but of no immediate importance at a moment when it was necessary to raise up classes, and create institutions capable of counterbalancing and replacing the military, their exigencies and their spirit.
The Bourbon princes were by character and intelligence little fitted to remedy the weakness of their
No more humiliating contrast could have been offered to the genius and activity of Napoleon than Louis the Eighteenth. He was indeed no bigot. He confined his extravagant admiration of high birth to himself, whilst his timidity rendered him anxious not to offend the known prejudices of the French people. His nullity and inactivity, however, allowed his brother to exercise influence directly the contrary of the royal opinions. The Count d'Artois, who, from a libertine, had become a devotee, was influenced by the old clergy and old émigrés, and was for governing France with the ideas and the men that had been familiar to him in exile. His sons, the Dukes d'Angoulême and Berry, were, the first, in appearance more sensible because more timid, the latter, furious because the French did not fall down and worship his family. But what did most harm perhaps was the female influence and authority at the
CHAP Tuileries, so important at a French court. This, of
course, was wielded by the Duchess d'Angoulême, the captive of the Temple, who could not be expected to forget what she and her parents had suffered from the revolution. The consequence was that the wives of the marshals, who paid their homage at the Tuileries, were observed to descend its staircase suffused in tears of mortification.*
The first great public act that the King had to announce to his people was the treaty of peace with the allies, fixing the frontiers of France. There had been a vague promise to extend the limits of 1790. M. de Talleyrand proposed by virtue of this to include Luxemburg, Namur, and Mons, within the limits of the monarchy. It would have been natural enough in Napoleon to have demanded Luxemburg, as the most advantageous position for future war. The Bourbons making the claim were of course not listened to. But France obtained the flat and more fertile portion of Savoy, with Annecy and the capital Chambéry, Avignon too, and Montbeliard, Philippeville, Marienburg, Sarrelouis, and Landau. With these it was obliged to be contented, and to learn at the same time that the King of Holland was to possess Belgium, and the King of Piedmont, Genoa. Martinique, Guadaloupe, and Bourbon were to be restored to France. The plenipotentiaries regretted the Isle of France, or Mauritius, which the English retained for the same reason, that it was the strongest maritime position on the route to India.For commerce Bourbon was as valuable, but the political views of Talleyrand then, as of Thiers since, were for
Ney's letter to his wife, “ Vous † Mauritius, with its capacious étiez dans l'armée de Condé? and easily defended ports, enabled Combien de temps avez-vous été en the French at the commencement of émigration ? Tels étaient les éclair the war to intercept the English cissements préalables à toute politesse trade with their possessions in India, de la part de la duchesse d'Angou- and make captures to a formidable léme." -Mém. de Lafayette.
fortresses, and the means of war and annoyance. Prussia desired to introduce into the treaty a clause, according large pecuniary indemnity to itself. This, however, against which the impoverished Government of France rebelled, was at last set aside by the allies.
In the first days of June, the King opened the chambers by announcing the charter, “which of his free will and royal authority he granted to his subjects.” With the exception of this ungracious exordium, the charter was even more liberal and far more explicit in its liberalism than the constitution prepared by the senate. It declared all Frenchmen equal before the law, whatever their rank or title. It declared the national property, meaning that of the nobles and clergy, sold by the State, to be inviolable. * It abolished the conscription, and promised liberty of opinion and of the press. Whilst it held forth equal liberty and protection to all forms of worship, it, however, declared the Roman Catholic religion to be that of the State. The peerage was to be hereditary, its members named by the King, without limitation of number. To be an elector required the payment of 300 francs direct taxes. Whilst such fair promises and declarations were made by the King, the Royalists kept no secret of their considering it all a sham. “ The ministers,” says Madame de Staël, “ spoke in public of the charter with the greatest respect, even whilst proposing measures that destroyed it bit by bit. In private, they laughed at the very name, and treated the rights of nations as a capital joke.”
It was soon shown indeed what the ruling party meant by religious liberty when the princes refused to receive the constitutional prelates, and the Government demanded of the Pope the abrogation of the concordat. The laxity of the times had introduced a complete nonobservance of the Sunday. To have gradually restored
* For the difficulty of passing' discussion in the committee of the them through the commission, see chamber. Peugnot, who records at length the
the sanctity of the day would have been desirable. But to compel it by an order of the police was certainly unwise. The popular outcry was against nobles and priests. To display a government influenced by both was most unpolitic. Yet this the Bourbon family took care to do. A celebrated actress, Malle. de Raucourt, dying at the time, the parish clergy refused the rights of sepulture, on which the mob broke into the church of St. Roch, and were about to renew some of the bad scenes of the revolution, when Louis the Eighteenth sent counter-orders to the ecclesiastical authorities. In the lower chamber, a Royalist made a motion in direct opposition to that clause of the charter, which declared the revolutionary purchases of emigrant property indefeasible. The more furious Royalists were for annulling the sales, the moderate for rendering them sufficiently insecure to force the new proprietors to compromise with the old.
The Bourbons thus alienated the non-military portion of the nation. As to the military, they could but render their natural aversion doubly intense. The monarch's young garde-du-corps and military household filled the capital with gay uniforms, whilst the veterans of the empire on half-pay crowded the streets and cafés, and insulted their rivals. The imperial legislation in favour of the army was abrogated in all essential parts, the endowments of the Legion of Honour curtailed, the schools for the sons and daughters of the military suppressed. Popular generals were disgraced and punished. Ney had withdrawn to the country. Davoust and Vandamme were persecuted. Excelmans was accused as a spy, and brought to trial, merely because he had written a friendly letter to Murat. Soult, ready to flatter any prince that was uppermost, had been made war minister, and he it was who ordered Excelmans to be tried, which did not save him from being himself suspected at court. The state of the army indeed and