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CHAP. and now came forward with alacrity to depose him. On
his motion, the chamber declared itself permanent, and denounced any attempt to dissolve it as treason. A commission was named to persuade Napoleon to abdicate. All the Emperor's friends, save Lucien, gave him the same advice. With the Emperor's abdication in their hand, the representatives of the chamber flattered themselves that they might make terms with the allies. And in order to reconcile Napoleon to this act, the abdication was to be in favour of his son. He hesitated for some time. Benjamin Constant he bade hearken to the clamours of the people without, who demanded his again taking the command and the field, whilst those whom he had loaded with honours merely demanded his abdication. Lucien again pressed an 18th Brumaire against the assembly. Napoleon refused. “ I have reigned as a conqueror,” he observed, “and desire not to do so as a tyrant.” On the 22nd, the chamber insisted, and Lafayette was prepared with a motion for the déchéance, or forfeiture, of the crown, when Napoleon's second abdication was announced. “My political life is finished,” exclaimed and wrote he; “ I proclaim my son, under the title of Napoleon the Second, Emperor of the French.” *
When this important document was communicated to the chamber, it resolved on nominating a commission of five to form a provisional government. Fouché, Carnot, Caulaincourt, and two other obscure names were chosen, all Royalists, as well as constitutionals, including Lafayette, being set aside. Fouché was the president, who flattered the chamber with the succession of Napoleon the Second, the constitutionalists with the possibility of making the Duke of Orleans king, whilst he at the same time released M. de Vitrolles from
* Constant, Mémoires sur les de Chaboulon, Mémoires. Mémoires Cent Jours. Lucien Bonaparte, La de Lavalette. Mém. de Lafayette. Vérité sur les Cent Jours. Fleury Mém. de Miot, de Beugnot, &c.
prison, and through him opened a communication with the Bourbons. Lafayette and some others were allowed to go as delegates to negotiate with the allied powers. They at first could see no higher person than Lord Stuart, who told them to their indignation they must deliver up Napoleon.
Meantime the Duke of Wellington took upon himself to expedite the return and restoration of the Bourbons. He advised Louis the Eighteenth to repair at once from Ghent to Cambray. But whilst following the Duke's advice, the infirm monarch fell into a trap laid for him by his brother and the ultra-Royalists, and dismissed Talleyrand, * whom the Duke of Wellington favoured, as well as M. de Blacas, whom he desired to see removed.f The Duke was fortunately in time to correct the error, to bring back the King to his senses, and Talleyrand to the King. For Alexander, probably in understanding with Fouché, had made overtures at Vienna for substituting the Duke of Orleans for the elder branch of the family. I M. Guizot and the constitutionalists arrived at Cambray in time to suppress an ultra-Royalist manifesto, and substitute a promise, not only to observe but to enlarge the charter. This was not done without a fierce altercation between Prince Talleyrand and Monsieur, supported by the Duke de Berry.ş Fouché, in the meantime, undertook to remove the obstacles in Paris to the return of Louis the Eighteenth. He first summoned a military council, and obtained from the generals an opinion that resistance would be vain. Marshal Davoust himself admitted the necessity of recognising the King. The majority of the chamber, however, still held for Napoleon the Second, and even the Constitutional Royalists were for not recog
* M. Beugnot recounts the dis tre Tombe. mi-sal of Talleyrand, whom the King ị The scene is fully given in M. told to go take the waters of Carlsbad. Duvergier d'Hauranne's - Histoire † Guizot's Memoirs.
du Gouvernement parlementaire,” Chateaubriand, Mémoires d'ou t. iii. p. 103. VOL. y.
CHAP. nising the King, till a more liberal constitution was XLIV.
stipulated. The presence of Napoleon at Malmaison was another obstacle that rendered an armistice almost impossible. The Provisional Government therefore warned Napoleon, on the morning of the 29th, that he must leave for the coast and embark. He was promised passports for England or America. Learning, however, the advance of the Prussians and English separately on either side of the Seine, the Emperor re-entertained the project of attacking them, and sent General Becker to the Provisional Government for authority to do so. Davoust in reply threatened to arrest the Emperor, who immediately resigned all hopes and departed for Rochefort.
Meanwhile, a new batch of commissioners gained access to the Duke of Wellington at Estrées on the 27th, and professed a readiness to acknowledge Louis the Eighteenth on conditions. The Duke handed them the declaration of Cambray, and promised to call the King's attention to their objections. He also promised to do his utmost to induce General Blücher to consent to an armistice. The latter, instead of listening to his colleague, advanced to St. Cloud, in a position at once so provoking, yet so isolated, that his rashness tempted the French generals to attack him. Carnot was chiefly instrumental in dissuading them. But if the army was not to fight, it was necessary to treat, and an offer was sent to Blücher for the purpose on the 2nd. He, in concert with the Duke of Wellington, demanded that the French army should withdraw from Paris, behind the Loire, and the National Guard be entrusted with the tranquillity of the capital, whilst after the lapse of a certain number of hours the allies should enter. Such were the first terms of the capitulation concluded on the 3rd of August. An effort was made to place the works of art in the capital under the protection of the treaty. But Blücher would not consent. The allied generals
promised to “respect the persons and property of individuals in the capital,” and not molest anyone for his conduct or opinions during the late usurpation. This guarantee, they afterwards alleged, concerned but themselves, and not either Louis the Eighteenth or his brother allies. The Chamber and the Provisional Government, with Fouché and Lafayette as their advisers, seemed to have taken it for their task to deceive others and themselves. They were untrue to the nation as well as to Napoleon, attained no one desirable object, and betrayed the cause and the persons that they undertook to defend.*
Fouché is represented as the great Mephistopheles of the epoch, who betrayed everyone. But in truth everyone betrayed their own cause and themselves. The Imperialists, such as Caulaincourt, Ney, Davoust, dethroned the Emperor first, and soon abandoned even the name of his son. Lafayette and the Constitutionalists, so fierce towards Napoleon, gave up the country as well as its liberties to the invader. Honest Carnot was helpless, his conduct making one fear that the contemptuous epithets bestowed upon him by Guizot and by Fouché are not so wrong. Fouché gave himself a great deal of trouble to deceive those who wished to be deceived, and was merely adroit enough to get credit for doing that which must have occurred and been accomplished without his aid.
The Duke of Wellington and the Count D'Artois entertained a high opinion of Fouché, and considered him the leader of a revolutionary party which he could persuade and dispose of. They are scarcely to be excused for making the same mistake as Napoleon. The Duke thought that Talleyrand and Fouché together could best manage France. And no doubt they could have proved very able ministers of a despotic prince.
The most perfect appreciation found in M. Guizot's Mémoires, of the conduct of the Chamber and
chap. iii. of placemen in general, is to be
But the same personages compelled Louis the Eighteenth to come forward as a constitutional one, to serve him in which capacity Talleyrand and Fouché were utterly incapable. The Duke put them both into the same carriage at Neuilly, and sent them to Louis the Eighteenth at St. Denis, who, finding Fouché pressed upon him, not only by the English duke and Talleyrand, but by his brother and the Faubourg St. Germain, * waived his prejudices and his natural distrust for the moment, and appointed them both his ministers of foreign affairs and police.
M. de Talleyrand completed his ministry at St. Denis. Baron Louis resumed the finance. Marshal Gouvion de St. Cyr became minister of war. The most remarkable appointments were those of the Duke de Richelieu to replace M. de Blacas in the household, and Count Pozzo di Borgo to the home office. These personages were in the service of the Emperor Alexander, who refused them permission to accept office under Talleyrand. The Czar was incensed with that diplomatist for his conduct at Vienna, and the triple alliance which he had planned. The prefecture of police having been offered in vain to several persons, Baron Louis recommended for the post a young man who had been secretary to the mother of Napoleon, and subsequently appointed judge. As such he had refused the oath of allegiance to Napoleon on his return. This was M. Decazes. The first act which devolved upon him was to get rid of the Chamber of Deputies. This he did by locking the door and placing a guard behind the grille. Lafayette was one of the first who came to demand entrance. "No one admitted!” cried the sentry through the grating.
On the following day, the th of July, whilst Napoleon was embarking on board a French frigate in the Charente, Louis the Eighteenth re-entered his capital. He did so in
* The Royalists of the Faubourg mend Fouché, who had protected St. Germain sent the Bailly de Crus- them, to Louis the Eighteenth.-sol as their representative to recom Beugnot.