France in the Nineteenth Century
by Elizabeth Latimer
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse








The sources from which I have drawn the materials for this book are various; they come largely from private papers, and from articles contributed to magazines and newspapers by contemporary writers, French, English, and American. I had not at first intended the work for publication, and I omitted to make notes which would have enabled me to restore to others the "unconsidered trifles" that I may have taken from them.

As far as possible, I have endeavored to remedy this; but should any other writer find a gold thread of his own in my embroidery, I hope he will look upon it as an evidence of my appreciation of his work, and not as an act of intentional dishonesty.

E. W. L.








* * * * *



Louis XVIII. in 1815 returned to his throne, borne on the shoulders of foreign soldiers, after the fight at Waterloo. The allied armies had a second time entered France to make her pass under the saws and harrows of humiliation. Paris was gay, for money was spent freely by the invading strangers. Sacrifices on the altar of the Emperor were over; enthusiasm for the extension of the great ideas of the Revolution had passed away; a new generation had been born which cared more for material prosperity than for such ideas; the foundation of many fortunes had been laid; mothers who dreaded the conscription, and men weary of war and politics, drew a long breath, and did not regret the loss of that which had animated a preceding generation, in a view of a peace which was to bring wealth, comfort, and tranquillity into their own homes.

The bourgeoisie of France trusted that it had seen the last of the Great Revolution. It stood between the working-classes, who had no voice in the politics of the Restoration, and the old nobility,—men who had returned to France full of exalted expectations. The king had to place himself on one side or the other. He might have been the true Bourbon and headed the party of the returned emigres,—in which case his crown would not have stayed long upon his head; or he might have made himself king of the bourgeoisie, opposed to revolution, Napoleonism, or disturbances of any kind,—the party, in short, of the Restoration of Peace: a peace that might outlast his time; et apres moi le deluge!

But animals which show neither teeth nor claws are seldom left in peace, and Louis XVIII.'s reign—from 1814 to 1824—was full of conspiracies. The royalty of the Restoration was only an ornament tacked on to France. The Bourbon dynasty was a necessary evil, even in the eyes of its supporters. "The Bourbons," said Chateaubriand, "are the foam on the revolutionary wave that has brought them back to power;" whilst every one knows Talleyrand's famous saying "that after five and twenty years of exile they had nothing remembered and nothing forgot." Of course the old nobility, who flocked back to France in the train of the allied armies, expected the restoration of their estates. The king had got his own again,—why should not they get back theirs? And they imagined that France, which had been overswept by successive waves of revolution, could go back to what she had been under the old regime. This was impossible. The returned exiles had to submit to the confiscation of their estates, and receive in return all offices and employments in the gift of the Government. The army which had conquered in a hundred battles, with its marshals, generals, and vieux moustaches, was not pleased to have young officers, chosen from the nobility, receive commissions and be charged with important commands. On the other hand, the Holy Alliance expected that the king of France would join the despotic sovereigns of Russia, Austria, and Prussia in their crusade against liberal ideas in other countries. Against these difficulties, and many more, Louis XVIII. had to contend. He was an infirm man, physically incapable of exertion,—a man who only wanted to be let alone, and to avoid by every means in his power the calamity of being again sent into exile.

He placed himself on the side of the stronger party,—he took part with the bourgeoisie. His aim, as he himself said, was to menager his throne. He began his reign by having Fouche and Talleyrand, men of the Revolution and the Empire, deep in his councils, though he disliked both of them. Early in his reign occurred what was called the White Terror, in the southern provinces, where the adherents of the white flag repeated on a small scale the barbarities of the Revolution.

The king was forced to put himself in opposition to the old nobles who had adhered to him in his exile. They bitterly resented his defection. They used to toast him as le roi-quand-meme, "the king in spite of everything." His own family held all the Bourbon traditions, and were opposed to him. To them everything below the rank of a noble with sixteen quarterings was la canaille.

Louis XVIII.'s favorite minister was M. Decazes, a man who studied the interests of the bourgeoisie; and the royal family at last made the sovereign so uncomfortable by their disapproval of his policy that he sought repose in the society and intimacy (the connection is said to have been nothing more) of a Madame de Cayla, with whom he spent most of his leisure time.

Before the Revolution, Louis XVIII. had been known sometimes as the Comte de Provence, and sometimes as Monsieur. Though physically an inert man, he was by no means intellectually stupid, for he could say very brilliant things from time to time, and was very proud of them; but he was wholly unfit to be at the helm of the ship of state in an unquiet sea.

He had passed the years of his exile in various European countries, but the principal part of his time had been spent at Hartwell, about sixty miles from London, where he formed a little court and lived a life of royalty in miniature. Charles Greville, when a very young man, visited Hartwell with his relative, the Duke of Beaufort, shortly before the Restoration. He describes the king's cabinet as being like a ship's cabin, the walls hung with portraits of Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, Madame Elisabeth, and the dauphin. Louis himself had a singular habit of swinging his body backward and forward when talking, "which exactly resembled the heavings of a ship at sea." "We were a very short time at table," Greville adds; "the meal was a very plain one, and the ladies and gentlemen all got up together. Each lady folded up her napkin, tied it round with a bit of ribbon, and carried it away with her. After dinner we returned for coffee and conversation to the drawing-room. Whenever the king came in or went out of the room, Madame d'Angouleme made him a low courtesy, which he returned by bowing and kissing her hand. This little ceremony never failed to take place." They finished the evening with whist, "his Majesty settling the points of the game at a quarter of a shilling." "We saw the whole place," adds Greville, "before we came away; they had certainly shown great ingenuity in contriving to lodge so great a number of people in and around the house. It was like a small rising colony."

Louis XVIII. was childless. His brother Charles and himself had married sisters, princesses of the house of Savoy. These ladies were amiable nonentities, and died during the exile of their husbands; but Charles's wife had left him two sons,—Louis Antoine, known as the Duc d'Angouleme, and Charles Ferdinand, known as the Duc de Berri. The Duc d'Angouleme had married his cousin Marie Therese, daughter of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. Their union was childless. The Duc de Berri had married Marie Caroline, a princess of Naples. She had two children,—Louise, who when she grew up became Duchess of Parma; and Henri, called variously the Duc de Bordeaux, Henri V., and the Comte de Chambord.

All Louis XVIII.'s efforts during his ten years' reign were directed to keeping things as quiet as he could during his lifetime. He greatly disapproved of the policy of the Holy Alliance in forcing him to make war on Spain in order to put down the Constitutionalists under Riego and Mina. The expedition for that purpose was commanded by the Duc d'Angouleme, who accomplished his mission, but with little glory or applause except from flatterers. The chief military incident of the campaign was the capture by the French of the forts of Trocadero, which commanded the entrance to Cadiz harbor.

The Duchesse d'Angouleme, that filia dolorosa left to languish alone in the Temple after her parents and her aunt were guillotined, had been exchanged with Austria for Lafayette by Bonaparte in the treaty of Campo-Formio; but her soul had been crushed within her by her sorrows. Deeply pious, she forgave the enemies of her house, she never uttered a word against the Revolution; but the sight of her pale, set, sad face was a mute reproach to Frenchmen. She could forgive, but she could not be gracious. At the Tuileries, a place full of graceful memories of the Empress Josephine, she presided as a devote and a dowdy. She could not have been expected to be other than she was, but the nation that had made her so, bore a grudge against her. There was nothing French about her. No sympathies existed between her and the generation that had grown up in France during the nineteenth century. Both she and her husband were stiff, cold, ultra-aristocrats. In intelligence she was greatly the duke's superior, as she was also in person, he being short, fat, red-faced, with very thin legs.

The Duc de Berri was much more popular. He was a Frenchman in character. His faults were French. He was pleasure-seeking, pleasure-loving, and he married a young and pretty wife to whom he was far from faithful, and who was as fond of pleasure as himself.

The Duc de Berri was assassinated by a man named Louvel, Feb. 13, 1820, as he was handing his wife into her carriage at the door of the French Opera House. They carried him back into the theatre, and there, in a side room, with the music of the opera going on upon the stage, the plaudits of the audience ringing in his ears, and ballet-girls flitting in and out in their stage dresses, the heir of France gave up his life, with kindly words upon his dying lips, reminding us of Charles II. on his deathbed.

As I have said, Louis XVIII.'s reign was not without plots and conspiracies. One of those in 1823 was got up by the Carbonari. Lafayette was implicated in it. It was betrayed, however, the night before it was to have been put in execution, and such of its leaders as could be arrested were guillotined. Lafayette was saved by the fact that the day fixed upon for action was the anniversary of his wife's death,—a day he always spent in her chamber in seclusion.

It may be desirable to say who were the Carbonari. "Carbone" is Italian for charcoal. The Carbonari were charcoal-burners. The conspirators took their name because charcoal-burners lived in solitary places, and were disguised by the coal-dust that blackened their faces. It was a secret society which extended throughout France, Italy, and almost all Europe. It was joined by all classes. Its members, under pain of death, were forced to obey the orders of the society. The deliverance of Italy from the Austrians became eventually the prime object of the institution.

Lafayette, during his visit to America in 1824, expressed himself freely about the Bourbons. "France cannot be happy under their rule," he said;[1] "and we must send them adrift. It would have been done before now but for the hesitation of Laffitte. Two regiments of guards, when ordered to Spain under the Duc d'Angouleme, halted at Toulouse, and began to show symptoms of mutiny. The matter was quieted, however, and the affair kept as still as possible. But all was ready. I knew of the whole affair. All that was wanted to make a successful revolution at that time was money. I went to Laffitte; but he was full of doubts, and dilly-dallied with the matter. Then I offered to do it without his help. Said I: 'On the first interview that you and I have without witnesses, put a million of francs, in bank-notes, on the mantelpiece, which I will pocket unseen by you. Then leave the rest to me.' Laffitte still fought shy of it, hesitated, deliberated, and at last decided that he would have nothing at all to do with it."

[Footnote 1: Vincent Nolte, Fifty Years in Two Hemispheres.]

Here the gentleman to whom Lafayette was speaking exclaimed, "If any one had told me this but yourself, General, I would not have believed it."

Lafayette merely answered, "It was really so,"—a proof, thinks the narrator, how fiercely the fire of revolution still burned in the old man's soul.

The last months of Louis XVIII.'s life were embittered by changes of ministry from semi-liberal to ultra-royalist, and by attempts of the officers of the Crown to prosecute the newspapers for free-speaking. He died, after a few days of illness and extreme suffering, Sept. 15, 1824, and was succeeded by the Comte d'Artois, his brother, as Charles X. This was the third time three brothers had succeeded each other on the French throne.

Charles X. was another James II., with cold, harsh, narrow ideas of religion, though religion had not influenced his early life in matters of morality. He was, as I have said, a widower, with one remaining son, the Duc d'Angouleme, and a little grandson, the son of the Duc de Berri. His two daughters-in-law, the Duchesse d'Angouleme and the Duchesse de Berri, were as unlike each other as two women could be,—the one being an unattractive saint, the other a fascinating sinner.

Charles X. was not like his brother,—distracted between two policies and two opinions. He was an ultra-royalist. He believed that to the victors belong the spoils; and as Bourbonism had triumphed, he wanted to stamp out every remnant of the Revolution. Constitutionalism, the leading idea of the day, was hateful to him. He is said to have remarked, "I had rather earn my bread than be a king of England!" He probably held the same ideas concerning royal prerogative as those of his cousin, the king of Naples, expressed in a letter found after the sack of the Tuileries in 1848.

"Liberty is fatal to the house of Bourbon; and as regards myself, I am resolved to avoid, at any price, the fate of Louis XVI. My people obey force, and bend their necks; but woe to me if they should ever raise them under the impulse of those dreams which sound so fine in the sermons of philosophers, and which it is impossible to put in practice. With God's blessing, I will give prosperity to my people, and a government as honest as they have a right to expect; but I will be a king,—and that always!"

Charles X. was on the throne six years. He was a fine-looking man and a splendid horseman,—which at first pleased the Parisians, who had been disgusted with the unwieldiness and lack of royal presence in Louis XVIII. His first act was a concession they little expected, and one calculated to render him popular. He abridged the powers of the censors of the Press. His minister at this time was M. de Villele, a man of whom it has been said that he had a genius for trifles; but M. de Villele having been defeated on some measures that he brought before the Chamber of Deputies, Charles X. was glad to remove him, and to appoint as his prime minister his favorite, the Prince de Polignac. Charles Greville, who was in Paris at the time of this appointment, writes: "Nothing can exceed the violence of feeling that prevails. The king does nothing but cry; Polignac is said to have the fatal obstinacy of a martyr, the worst courage of the ruat coelum sort."

Six months later Greville writes: "Nobody has an idea how things will turn out, or what are Polignac's intentions or his resources." He appeared calm and well satisfied, saying to those who claimed the right to question him, that all would be well, though all France and a clear majority in the Chambers were against him. "I am told," says Charles Greville, "that there is no revolutionary spirit abroad, but a strong determination to provide for the stability of existing institutions, and disgust at the obstinacy and the pretensions of the king. It seems also that a desire to substitute the Orleans for the reigning branch is becoming very general. It is said that Polignac is wholly ignorant of France, and will not listen to the opinions of those who could enlighten him. It is supposed that Charles X. is determined to push matters to extremity; to try the Chambers, and if his ministers are beaten, to dissolve the House and to govern par ordonnances du roi." This prophecy, written in March, 1830, foreshadowed exactly what happened in July of the same year, when, as an outspoken English Tory told Henry Crabb Robinson, in a reading-room at Florence: "The king of France has sent the deputies about their business, has abolished the d——d Constitution and the liberty of the Press, and proclaimed his own power as absolute king."

"And what will the end be?" cried Robinson.

"It will end," said a Frenchman who was present, "in driving the Bourbons out of France!"

During the last months of Charles X.'s reign France made an expedition against the Dey of Algiers, which was the first step in the conquest of Algeria. The immediate object of the expedition, however, was to draw off the attention of a disaffected nation from local politics. An army of 57,000 soldiers, 103 ships of war, and many transports, was despatched to the coast of Barbary. The expedition was not very glorious, but it was successful. Te Deums were sung in Paris, the general in command was made a marshal, and his naval colleague a peer.

The royalists of France were at this period divided into two parties; the party of the king and Polignac, who were governed by the Jesuits, looked for support to the clergy of France. The other party looked to the army. Yet the most religious men in the country—men like M. de la Ferronays, for example—condemned and regretted the obstinacy of the king.

Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, on whom all eyes were fixed, was the son of that infamous Duke of Orleans who in the Revolution proclaimed himself a republican, took the name of Philippe Egalite, and voted for the execution of the king, drawing down upon himself the rebuke of the next Jacobin whose turn it was to vote in the convention, who exclaimed: "I was going to vote Yes, but I vote No, that I may not tread in the steps of the man who has voted before me."

Egalite was in the end a victim. He perished, after suffering great poverty, leaving three sons and a daughter. The sons were Louis Philippe, who became Duke of Orleans, the Comte de Beaujolais, and the Duc de Montpensier. One of these had shared the imprisonment of his father, and narrowly escaped the guillotine.

Louis Philippe had solicited from the Republic permission to serve under Dumouriez in his celebrated campaign in the Low Countries. He fought with distinguished bravery at Valmy and Jemappes as Dumouriez's aide-de-camp; but when that general was forced to desert his army and escape for his life, Louis Philippe made his escape too. He went into Switzerland, and there taught mathematics in a school. Thence he came to America, travelled through the United States, and resided for some time at Brooklyn.

In 1808 he went out to the Mediterranean in an English man-of-war in charge of his sick brother, the Comte de Beaujolais. The same vessel carried Sir John Moore out to his command, and landed him at Lisbon. Louis Philippe could not have had a very pleasant voyage, for the English admiral, on board whose ship he was a passenger, came up one day in a rage upon the quarter-deck, and declared aloud, in the hearing of his officers, that the Duke of Orleans was such a d——d republican he could not sit at the same table with him.[1]

[Footnote 1: My father was present, and often told the story]

There used to be stories floating about Paris concerning Louis Philippe's birth and parentage,—stories, however, not to be believed, and which broke down upon investigation. These made him out to be the son of an Italian jailer, exchanged for a little girl who had been born to the Duke of Orleans and his wife at a time when it was a great object with them to have a son. The little girl grew up in the jailer Chiappini's house under the name of Maria Stella Petronilla. There is little doubt that she was a changeling, but the link is imperfect which would connect her with the Duke and Duchess of Orleans. She was ill-treated by the jailer's wife, but was very beautiful. Lord Newburgh, an English nobleman, saw her and married her. Her son succeeded his father as a peer of England. After Lord Newburgh's death his widow married a Russian nobleman. Chiappini on his death-bed confessed to this lady all he knew about her origin, and she persuaded herself that her father must have been the Duke of Orleans. She took up her residence in the Rue Rivoli, overlooking the gardens of the Tuileries, and received some small pension from the benevolent royal family of France. She died in 1845.

But whoever the mother of Louis Philippe may have been, she whom he and Madame Adelaide looked up to and loved as though she had been their second mother, was Madame de Genlis. In her company Louis Philippe witnessed, with boyish exultation, the destruction of the Bastile. To her he wrote after the great day when in the Champ de Mars the new Constitution was sworn to both by king and people: "Oh, my mother! there are but two things that I supremely love,—the new constitution and you!"

On Christmas Day, 1809, he married at Palermo the Princesse Marie Amelie, niece to Marie Antoinette, and aunt to the future Duchesse de Berri.

No breath of scandal ever disturbed the matrimonal happiness of Louis Philippe and Marie Amelie. They had a noble family of five sons and three daughters, all distinguished by their ability and virtues. I shall have to tell hereafter how devotion to the interests of his family was one cause of Louis Philippe's overthrow.

In 1814, when Napoleon abdicated at Fontainebleau; Louis Philippe left Palermo, attended only by one servant, and made his way to Paris and the home of his family, the Palais Royal. He hurried into the house, and in spite of the opposition of the concierge, who took him for a madman, he rushed to the staircase; but before he ascended it he fell upon his knees, and bursting into tears, kissed the first step before him.

This was probably the most French-like thing in Louis Philippe's career. He was far more like an Englishman than a Frenchman. Had he been an English prince, his faults would have seemed to his people like virtues.

Of course the son of Egalite could be no favorite with the elder Bourbons; but he soon became the hope of the middle classes, and was very intimate with Laffitte the banker, and with Lafayette, who, as we have seen, were both implicated in conspiracies seven years before the Revolution of 1830. He was for many years not rich, but he and the ladies of his house were very charitable. Madame Adelaide, speaking one day to a friend[1] of the reports that were circulated concerning her brother's parsimony, said,—

"People ask what he does with his money. To satisfy them it would be necessary to publish the names of honorable friends of liberty who, in consequence of misfortunes, have solicited and obtained from him sums of twenty, thirty, forty, and even three hundred thousand francs. They forget all the extraordinary expenses my brother has had to meet, all the demands he has to comply with. Out of his income he has furnished the Palais Royal, improved the apanages of the House of Orleans; and yet sooner or later all this property will revert to the nation. When we returned to France our inheritance was so encumbered that my brother was advised to decline administering on the estate; but to that neither he nor I would consent. For all these things people make no allowances. Truly, we know not how to act to inspire the confidence which our opinions and our consciences tell us we fully deserve."

[Footnote 1: M. Appert, chaplain to Queen Marie Amelie.]

It is not necessary in a sketch so brief to go minutely into politics. Prince Polignac and the king dissolved the Chambers, having found the deputies unwilling to approve their acts, and a few days afterwards the king published his own will and pleasure in what were called Les Ordonnances du Roi. One of these restricted the liberty of the Press, and was directed against journalism; another provider new rules, by which the ministry might secure a more subservient Chamber.

As we have seen, these ordonnances even in foreign countries spread dismay. The revolution that ensued was the revolution of the great bankers and the business men,—the haute bourgeoisie. In general, revolutions are opposed by the moneyed classes; but this was a revolution effected by them to save themselves and their property from such an outbreak as came forty years later, which we call the Commune. The working-classes had little to do with the Revolution of 1830, except, indeed, to fight for it, nor had they much to do with the Revolution of 1848. It was the moneyed men of France who saw that the resuscitated principles of the old regime had been stretched to their very uttermost all over Europe, and that if they did not check them by a well-conducted revolution, worse would be sure to come.

On July 26, 1830, the ordonnances appeared. The working-classes seemed to hear of them without emotion; but their effect on all those who had any stake in the prosperity of the country was very great. By nightfall the agitation had spread in Paris to all classes. King Charles X. was at Saint-Cloud, apparently apprehending no popular outbreak. No military preparations in case of disturbances had been made, though on the morning of the 26th the Duc d'Angouleme sent word to Marshal Marmont to take command of the troops in Paris, "as there might be some windows broken during the day."

The next morning trouble was begun by the journeymen printers, who, as the newspapers on which they worked had been prohibited, were sent home from their printing-offices. Before long they were joined by others, notably by the cadets from the Polytechnic School. Casimir Perrier and Laffitte were considered chiefs of the revolution. The cry was everywhere "Vive la Charte,"—a compendium that had been drawn up of the franchises and privileges of Frenchmen. M. Thiers, then young, counselled moderation in the emergency.

On July 28 the tricolored flag was again unfurled in Paris,—those colors dear to Frenchmen, who had long hated the white flag, which represented in their eyes despotism and the rule of the Bourbons! The National Guard (or militia) was called out, and the populace began erecting barricades.

It is surprising how rapidly in an emergency a barricade can be formed. A carriage or two is overturned, furniture is brought out from neighboring houses, a large tree, if available, is cut down, and the whole is strengthened with paving-stones. By night all Paris had become a field of battle.

In vain Marshal Marmont had sent courier after courier to Saint-Cloud, imploring the king and his ministers to do something that might allay the fury of the people. No answer was returned. The marshal went himself at last, and the king, after listening to his representation of the state of Paris, said calmly: "Then it is really a revolt?" "No, sire," replied Marmont; "it is not a revolt, but a revolution."

As soon as the idea of ruin broke upon the royal household, everything at Saint-Cloud became confusion and despair. The Duchesse de Berri wanted to take her son, the Duc de Bordeaux, into Paris, hoping that the people would rally round a woman and the young heir to the throne. Some implored the king to treat with the insurgents; some to put himself at the head of his troops; some to sacrifice the ordonnances and the most obnoxious of his ministers.

The Parisian mob by this time had its blood up. It fought with any weapons that came to hand. Muskets were loaded with type seized in the printing-offices. At the Hotel-de-Ville, Laffitte, Lafayette, and other leading men opposed to the policy of Charles X. were assembled in council.

The troops at first fought in their king's cause bravely, but without enthusiasm. Subsequently the Duke of Wellington was asked if he could not have suppressed the revolution with the garrison of Paris, which was twenty thousand men. He answered, "Easily; but then they must have been fighting for a cause they had at heart."

The fight continued all the night of the 28th, bloody and furious. By morning the soldiers were short of ammunition. As usual, the Swiss Guard was stanch, but the French soldiers faltered. About midday of the 29th two regiments went over to the insurgents.

Two peers were at this juncture sent to negotiate with the royal family. The ministers, with Polignac at their head, went out also to Saint-Cloud. "Sire," said one of the negotiators, "if in an hour the ordonnances are not rescinded, there will be neither king nor kingdom." "Could you not offer me two hours?" said the king, sarcastically, as he turned to leave the chamber. The envoy, an old man, fell on his knees and seized the skirt of the king's coat. "Think of the dauphine!" he cried, imploringly. The king seemed moved, but made no answer.

In Paris, Marmont, whose heart was with the insurgents, endeavored nevertheless to do his duty; but his troops deserted him. On learning this, Talleyrand walked up to his clock, saying solemnly: "Take notice that on July 29, 1830, at five minutes past twelve o'clock, the elder branch of the Bourbons ceased to reign."

The Louvre was taken, and the Tuileries. There was no general pillage, the insurgents contenting themselves with breaking the statues of kings and other signs of royalty.

One of the most obnoxious persons in Paris was the archbishop. The mob fought to the music of "Ca ira." with new words:—

"C'est l'Archeveque de Paris Qui est Jesuite comme Charles Dix. Dansons la Carmagnole; dansons la Carmagnole, Et ca ira!"

There were deeds of heroism, deeds of self-sacrifice. deeds of loyalty, deeds of cruelty, and deeds of mercy, as there always are in Paris in times of revolution. By nightfall on the 29th the fighting was over. It only remained to be seen what would be done with the victory. The evening before, Laffitte had sent a messenger to Louis Philippe, then residing two miles from Paris, at his Chateau de Neuilly, warning him to hold himself in readiness for anything that might occur. Lafayette had been made governor of Paris, and thus held in his hand the destinies of France. Under him served an improvised municipal commune.

By this time Prince Polignac had been dismissed, and the Duc de Montemart had been summoned by the king to form a more liberal ministry. Everything was in confusion in the palace. The weary troops, who had marched to the defence of Saint-Cloud when the struggle in Paris became hopeless, were scattered about the park unfed and uncared-for.

The king, having at last made up his mind to yield, sent the envoys who had been despatched to him, back to Paris, saying: "Go, gentlemen, go; tell the Parisians that the king revokes the ordonnances. But I declare to you that I believe this step will be fatal to the interests of France and of the monarchy."

The envoys on reaching Paris were met by the words: "Too late! The throne of Charles X. has already passed from him in blood."

The king, however, confident that after such concessions the revolt was at an end, played whist during the evening, while the Duc d'Angouleme sat looking over a book of geography. At midnight, however, both were awakened to hear the news from Paris, and then Charles X.'s confidence gave way. He summoned his new prime minister and sent him on a mission to the capital. The Duc d'Angouleme, however, who was opposed to any compromise with rebels, would not suffer the minister to pass his outposts. The Duc de Montemart, anxious to execute his mission, walked all night round the outskirts of Paris, and entered it at last on the side opposite to Saint-Cloud. The city lay in the profound silence of the hour before day.[1]

[Footnote 1: Louis Blanc, Dix Ans. Histoire de trente heures, 1830.]

The question of who should succeed Charles X. had already been debated in Laffitte's chamber. Laffitte declared himself for Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orleans. Some were for the son of Napoleon. Many were for the Duc de Bordeaux, with Louis Philippe during his minority as lieutenant-general of the kingdom. "That might have been yesterday," said M. Laffitte, "if the Duchesse de Berri, separating her son's cause from that of his grandfather, had presented herself in Paris, holding Henri V. in one hand, and in the other the tricolor." "The tricolor!" exclaimed the others; "why, they look upon the tricolor as the symbol of all crimes!" "Then what can be done for them?" replied Laffitte.

At this crisis the poet Beranger threw all his influence into the party of the Duke of Orleans, and almost at the same moment appeared a placard on all the walls of Paris:—

"Charles X. is deposed. A Republic would embroil us with all Europe. The Duke of Orleans is devoted to the cause of the Revolution. The Duke of Orleans never made war on France. The Duke of Orleans fought at Jemappes. The Duke of Orleans will be a Citizen-King. The Duke of Orleans has worn the tricolor under fire: he will wear the tricolor as king."

Meantime, early on the evening of the 29th, Neuilly had been menaced by the troops under the Duc d'Angouleme, and Madame Adelaide had persuaded her brother to quit the place. When M. Thiers and the artist, Ary Scheffer, arrived at Neuilly, bearing a request that the Duke of Orleans would appear in Paris, Marie Amelie received them. Aunt to the Duchesse de Berri and attached to the reigning family, she was shocked by the idea that her husband and her children might rise upon their fall; but Madame Adelaide exclaimed: "Let the Parisians make my brother what they please,—President, Garde National, or Lieutenant-General,—so long as they do not make him an exile."

Louis Philippe, who was at Raincy (or supposed to be there, for the envoys always believed he was behind a curtain during their interview with his wife and sister), having received a message from Madame Adelaide, set out soon after for Paris. The resolution of the leaders of the Revolution had been taken, but in the Municipal Commune at the Hotel-de-Ville there was still much excitement. There a party desired a republic, and offered to place Lafayette at its head.

At Saint-Cloud the Duchesse de Berri and her son had been sent off to the Trianon; but the king remained behind. He referred everything to the dauphin (the Duc d'Angouleme); the dauphin referred everything to the king.

The dauphin's temper was imperious, and at this crisis it involved him in a personal collision with Marshal Marmont. In attempting to tear the marshal's sword from his side, he cut his fingers. At sight of the royal blood the marshal was arrested, and led away as a traitor. The king, however, at once released him, with apologies.

When the leaders in Paris had decided to offer the lieutenant-generalship of France to Louis Philippe during the minority of the Duc de Bordeaux, he could not be found. He was not at Raincy, he was not at Neuilly. About midnight, July 29, he entered Paris on foot and in plain clothes, having clambered over the barricades. He at once made his way to his own residence, the Palais Royal, and there waited events.

At the same moment the Duchesse de Berri was leaving Saint-Cloud with her son. Before daylight Charles X. followed them to the Trianon; and the soldiers in the Park at Saint-Cloud, who for twenty-four hours had eaten nothing, were breaking their fast on dainties brought out from the royal kitchen.

The proposal that Louis Philippe should accept the lieutenant-generalship was brought to him on the morning of July 30, after the proposition had first been submitted to Talleyrand, who said briefly: "Let him accept it." Louis Philippe did so, accepting at the same time the tricolor, and promising a charter which should guarantee parliamentary privileges. He soon after appeared at a window of the Hotel-de-Ville, attended by Lafayette and Laffitte, bearing the tricolored flag between them, and was received with acclamations by the people. But there were men in Paris who still desired a republic, with Lafayette at its head. Lafayette persisted in assuring them that what France wanted was a king surrounded by republican institutions, and he commended Louis Philippe to them as "the best of republics." This idea in a few hours rapidly gained ground.

By midday on July 30th Paris was resuming its usual aspect. Charles X., finding that the household troops were no longer to be depended on, determined to retreat over the frontier, and left the Trianon for the small palace of Rambouillet, where Marie Louise and the King of Rome had sought refuge in the first hours of their adversity.

The king reached Rambouillet in advance of the news from Paris,[1] and great was the surprise of the guardian of the Chateau to see him drive up in a carriage and pair with only one servant to attend him. The king pushed past the keeper of the palace, who was walking slowly backward before him, and turned abruptly into a small room on the ground floor, where he locked himself in and remained for many hours. When he came forth, his figure seemed to have shrunk, his complexion was gray, his eyes were red and swollen. He had spent his time in burning up old love-letters,—reminiscences of a lady to whom he had been deeply attached in his youth.

[Footnote 1: All the Year Round, 1885.]

The mob of Paris having ascertained that the fugitive royal family were pausing at Rambouillet, about twelve miles from the capital, set out to see what mischief could be done in that direction. The Duchesse de Berri, her children, and the Duc d'Angouleme were at the Chateau de Maintenon, and the king, upon the approach of the mob, composed only of roughs, determined to join them. As he passed out of the chateau, which he had used as a hunting-lodge, he stretched out his hand with a gesture of despair to grasp those of some friends who had followed him to Rambouillet, and who were waiting for his orders. He had none to give them. He spoke no word of advice, but walked down the steps to his carriage, and was driven to the Chateau de Maintenon to rejoin his family.

The mob, when it found that the king had fled, was persuaded to quit Rambouillet by having some of the most brutal among them put into the king's coaches. Attended by the rest of the unruly crowd, they were driven back to Paris, and assembling before the Palais Royal, shouted to Louis Philippe: "We have brought you your coaches. Come out and receive them!" Eighteen years later, these coaches were consumed in a bonfire in the Place du Carrousel.

At the Chateau de Maintenon all was confusion and discouragement, when suddenly the dauphine (the Duchesse d'Angouleme) arrived. She, whom Napoleon had said was the only man of her family, was in Burgundy when she received news of the outbreak of the Revolution. At once she crossed several provinces of France in disguise. Harsh of voice, stern of look, cold in her bearing, she was nevertheless a favorite with the household troops whose spirit was reanimated by the sight of her.

From Rambouillet the king had sent his approbation of the appointment of the Duke of Orleans as lieutenant-general during the minority of Henri V. Louis Philippe's answer to this communication so well satisfied the old king that he persuaded the dauphin to join with him in abdicating all rights in favor of Henri V., the little Duc de Bordeaux. Up to this moment Charles seems never to have suspected that more than such an abdication could be required of him. But by this time it was evident that the successful Parisians would be satisfied with nothing less than the utter overthrow of the Bourbons. Their choice lay between a constitutional monarchy with Louis Philippe at its head, or a renewal of the attempt to form a republic.

The populace, on hearing that the abdication of the king and of the dauphin had been announced to the Chamber of Deputies, assembled to the number of sixty thousand, and insisted on the trial and imprisonment of the late king. Hearing this, the royal family left the Chateau de Maintenon the next morning, the king and the Duchesse d'Angouleme taking leave of their faithful troops, and desiring them to return to Paris, there to make their submission to the lieutenant-general, "who had taken all measures for their security and prosperity in the future."

During the journey to Dreux, Charles X. appeared to those around him to accept his misfortunes from the hand of Heaven. The Duchesse d'Angouleme, pale and self-contained, with all her wounds opened afresh, could hardly bring herself to quit France for the third time. Her husband was stolid and stupid. The Duchesse de Berri was almost gay.

Meantime old stories were being circulated throughout France discrediting the legitimacy of the Duc de Bordeaux, the posthumous son of the Duc de Berri. He had been born seven months after his father's death, at dead of night, with no doctor in attendance, nor any responsible witnesses to attest that he was heir to the crown. Louis Philippe had protested against his legitimacy within a week after his birth. There was no real reason for suspecting his parentage; nobody believes the slander now, but it is not surprising that in times of such excitement, with such great interests at stake, the circumstances attending his birth should have provoked remark. They were both unfortunate and unusual.

Charles X. was the calmest person in the whole royal party. He was chiefly concerned for the comfort of the rest. The dauphine wept, her husband trembled, the children were full of excitement and eager for play. Charles was unmoved, resigned; only the sight of a tricolored flag overcame him.

He complained much of the haste with which he was escorted through France to Cherbourg; but that haste probably insured his safety. At Cherbourg two ships awaited him,—the "Great Britain" and the "Charles Carroll;" both were American-built, and both had formed part of the navy of Napoleon.

The day was fine when the royal fugitives embarked. In a few hours they were off the Isle of Wight. For several days they stayed on board, waiting till the English Government should complete arrangements which would enable them to land. They had come away almost without clothes, and the Duchesses of Angouleme and Berri were indebted for an outfit to an ex-ambassadress. The king said to some of those who came on board to see him, that he and his son had retired into private life, and that his grandson must wait the progress of events; also, that his conscience reproached him with nothing in his conduct towards his people.

After a few days the party landed in England and took up their abode at Ludworth Castle. Afterwards, at the king's own request, the old Palace of Holyrood, in Edinburgh, was assigned him. There was some fear at the time lest popular feeling should break out in some insult to him or his family. To avert this, Sir Walter Scott, though then in failing health, wrote in a leading Edinburgh newspaper as follows:—

"We are enabled to announce from authority that Charles of Bourbon, the ex-king of France, is about to become once more our fellow-citizen, though probably only for a limited space, and is presently about to inhabit the apartments again that he so long occupied in Holyrood House. This temporary arrangement has been made, it is said, in compliance with his own request, with which our benevolent monarch immediately complied, willing to consult in every way possible the feelings of a prince under pressure of misfortunes, which are perhaps the more severe if incurred through bad advice, error, or rashness. The attendants of the late sovereign will be reduced to the least possible number, and consist chiefly of ladies and children, and his style of life will be strictly retired. In these circumstances it would be unworthy of us as Scotchmen, or as men, if this unfortunate family should meet with a word or a look from the meanest individual tending to aggravate feelings which must be at present so acute as to receive injury from insults, which in other times would be passed over with perfect disregard. His late opponents in his kingdom have gained the applause of Europe for the generosity with which they have used their victory, and the respect which they have paid to themselves in their moderation towards an enemy. It would be a great contrast to that part of their conduct which has been most generally applauded, were we, who are strangers to the strife, to affect a deeper resentment than those concerned more closely. Those who can recollect the former residence of this unhappy prince in our Northern capital cannot but remember the unobtrusive, quiet manner in which his little court was then conducted, and now, still further restricted and diminished, he may naturally expect to be received with civility and respect by a nation whose good will he has done nothing to forfeit. Whatever may have been his errors towards his own subjects, we cannot but remember in his adversity that he did not in his prosperity forget that Edinburgh had extended him her hospitality, but that at the period when the fires consumed so much of our city, he sent a princely benefaction to the sufferers.... If there be any who entertain angry or invidious recollections of late events in France, they ought to remark that the ex-monarch has by his abdication renounced the conflict, into which perhaps he was engaged by bad advice, that he can no longer be an object of resentment to the brave, but remains, to all, the most striking example of the instability of human affairs which our unstable times have afforded. He may say, with our own deposed Richard,—

'With mine own hands I washed away my blame; With mine own hands I gave away my crown; With my own tongue deny my sacred state.'

"He brings among us his 'gray, discrowned head,' and in a 'nation of gentlemen,' as we were emphatically termed by the very highest authority, it is impossible, I trust, to find a man mean enough to insult the slightest hair of it."

Charles X. was greatly indebted to this letter for the cordiality of his reception at Edinburgh, where he lived in dignified retirement for about two years; then, finding that the climate was too cold for his old age, and that the English Government was disquieted because of the attempts of the Duchesse de Berri to revive her son's claims to the French throne, he made his way to Bohemia, and lived for a while in the Castle of Prague. At last he decided to make his final residence in the Tyrol, not far from the warm climate of Italy. It is said that as the exiled, aged king cast a last look at the Gothic towers of the Castle of Prague, he said to those about him: "We are leaving yonder walls, and know not to what we may be going, like the patriarchs who knew not as they journeyed where they would pitch their tents."[1]

[Footnote 1: Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Angouleme.]

On reaching the Baths of Toeplitz, where the waters seemed to agree with him, and where he wished to rest awhile, he found it needful to "move on," for the house he occupied had been engaged for the king of Prussia. The cholera, too, was advancing. The exiled party reached Budweiz, a mountain village with a rustic inn, and there it was forced to halt for some weeks, for the Duc de Bordeaux was taken ill with cholera. It was a period of deep anxiety to those about him, but at last he recovered.

After trying several residences in the Tyrolese mountains, to which the old king had gone largely in hopes that he might enjoy the pleasures of the chase, the exiled family fixed its residence at Goritz towards the end of October, 1836. The king was then in his eightieth year, but so hale and active that he spent whole mornings on foot, with his gun, upon the mountains.

The weather changed soon after the family had settled at Goritz. The keen winter winds blew down from the snow mountains, but the king did not give up his daily sport. One afternoon, after a cold morning spent upon the hills, he was seized at evening service in the chapel with violent spasms. These passed off, but on his joining his family later, its members were struck by the change in his appearance. In a few hours he seemed to have aged years. At night he grew so ill that extreme unction was administered to him. It was an attack of cholera. When dying, he blessed his little grandchildren, the boy and girl, who, notwithstanding the nature of his illness, were brought to him. "God preserve you, dear children," he said. "Walk in paths of righteousness. Don't forget me.... Pray for me sometimes."

He died Nov. 6, 1836, just one week after Louis Napoleon made his first attempt to have himself proclaimed Emperor of the French, at Strasburg.

He was buried near Goritz, in a chapel belonging to the Capuchin Friars. In another chapel belonging to the same lowly order in Vienna, had been buried four years before, another claimant to the French throne, the Duc de Reichstadt, the only son of Napoleon.

On the coffin of the ex-king was inscribed,—

"Here lieth the High, the Potent, and most Excellent Prince, Charles Tenth of that name; by the Grace of God King of France and of Navarre. Died at Goritz, Nov. 6, 1836, aged 79 years and 28 days."

All the courts of Europe put on mourning for him, that of France excepted. The latter part of his life, with its reverses and humiliations, he considered an expiation, not for his political errors, but for the sins of his youth.

As he drew near his end, his yearnings after his lost country increased more and more. He firmly believed that the day would come when his family would be restored to the throne of France, but he believed that it would not be by conspiracy or revolt, but by the direct interposition of God. That time did almost come in 1871, after the Commune.



Louis Philippe, after accepting the lieutenant-generalship of the kingdom, which would have made him regent under Henri V., found himself raised by the will of the people—or rather, as some said, by the will of the bourgeoisie—to the French throne. He reigned, not by "right divine," but as the chosen ruler of his countrymen,—to mark which distinction he took the title of King of the French, instead of King of France, which had been borne by his predecessors.

It is hardly necessary for us to enter largely into French politics at this period. The government was supposed to be a monarchy planted upon republican institutions. The law recognized no hereditary aristocracy. There was a chamber of peers, but the peers bore no titles, and were chosen only for life. The dukes, marquises, and counts of the old regime retained their titles only by courtesy.

The ministers of Charles X. were arrested and tried. The new king was very anxious to secure their personal safety, and did so at a considerable loss of his own popularity. They were condemned to lose all property and all privileges, and were sent to the strong fortress of Ham. After a few years they were released, and took refuge in England.

There were riots in Paris when it was known that the ministers and ill-advisers of the late king were not to be executed; one of the leaders in these disturbances was an Italian bravo named Fieschi,—a man base, cruel, and bold, whom Louis Blanc calls a scelerat bel esprit.

The emeute which was formidable, was suppressed chiefly by a gallant action on the part of the king, who, while his health was unimpaired, was never wanting in bravery. "The king of the French," says Greville, "has put an end to the disturbances in Paris about the sentence of the ministers by an act of personal gallantry. At night, when the streets were most crowded and agitated, he sallied from the Palais Royal on horseback, with his son, the Duc de Nemours, and his personal cortege, and paraded through Paris for two hours. That did the business. He was received with shouts of applause, and at once reduced everything to tranquillity. He deserves his throne for this, and will probably keep it."

The next trouble in the new reign was the alienation of public favor from Lafayette, who had done so much to place the king upon the throne. He was accused by one party of truckling to the new court, by the other of being too much attached to revolutionary methods and republican institutions. He was removed from the command of the National Guard, and his office of commander-in-chief of that body was abolished.

All Europe becomes "a troubled sea" when a storm breaks over France. "I never remember," writes Greville at this period, "days like these, nor read of such,—the terror and lively expectation that prevails, and the way in which people's minds are turned backward and forward from France to Ireland, then range exclusively from Poland to Piedmont, and fix again on the burnings, riots, and executions that are going on in England."

Meantime France was subsiding into quiet, with occasional slight shocks of revolutionary earthquake, before returning to order and peace. The king was le bon bourgeois. He had lived a great deal in England and the United States, and spoke English well. He had even said in his early youth that he was more of an Englishman than a Frenchman. He was short and stout. His head was shaped like a pear, and was surmounted by an elaborate brown wig; for in those days people rarely wore their own gray hair.

He did not impress those who saw him as being in any way majestic; indeed, he looked like what he was,—le bon pere de famille. As such he would have suited the people of England; but it was un vert galant like Henri IV., or royalty incarnate, like Louis XIV., who would have fired the imagination of the French people. As a good father of a family, Louis Philippe felt that his first duty to his children was to secure them a good education, good marriages, and sufficient wealth to make them important personages in any sudden change of fortune.

At the time of his accession all his children were unmarried,—indeed, only four of them were grown up. The sons all went to college,—which means in France what high-school does with us. Their mother's dressing-room at Neuilly was hung round with the laurel-crowns, dried and framed, which had been won by her dear school-boys.

The eldest son, Ferdinand, Duke of Orleans, was an extraordinarily fine young man, far more a favorite with the French people than his father. Had he not been killed in a carriage accident in 1842, he might now, in his old age, have been seated on the French throne.

One of the first objects of the king was to secure for his heir a suitable marriage. A Russian princess was first thought of; but the Czar would not hear of such a mesalliance. Then the hand of an Austrian archduchess was sought, and the young lady showed herself well pleased with the attentions of so handsome and accomplished a suitor; but her family were as unfavorable to the match as was the Czar of Russia. Finally, the Duke of Orleans had to content himself with a German Protestant princess, Helene of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a woman above all praise, who bore him two sons,—the Comte de Paris, born in 1838, and the Duc de Chartres, born a year or two later.

The eldest daughter of Louis Philippe, the Princess Louise, was married, soon after her father's elevation to the throne, to King Leopold of Belgium, widower of the English Princess Charlotte, and uncle to Prince Albert and to Queen Victoria. The French princess thus became, by her marriage, aunt to these high personages. They were deeply attached to her. She named her eldest daughter Charlotte, after the lamented first wife of her husband. The name was Italianized into Carlotta,—the poor Carlotta whose reason and happiness were destroyed by the misfortunes of her husband in Mexico.

The second son of Louis Philippe was the Duc de Nemours,—a blond, stiff young officer who was never a favorite with the French, though he distinguished himself in Algeria as a soldier. He too found it hard to satisfy his father's ambition by a brilliant marriage, though a throne was offered him, which he had to refuse. He then aspired to the hand of Maria da Gloria, the queen of Portugal; but he married eventually a pretty little German princess of the Coburg race.

The third son was Philippe, Prince de Joinville, the sailor. He chose a bride for himself at the court of Brazil, and brought her home in his frigate, the "Belle Poule."

The charming artist daughter of Louis Philippe, the Princess Marie, pupil and friend of Ary Scheffer, the artist, married the Duke of Wuertemberg, and died early of consumption. Her only child was sent to France, and placed under the care of his grandmother. Princess Clementine married a colonel in the Austrian service, a prince of the Catholic branch of the house of Coburg. Her son is Prince Ferdinand, the present ruler of Bulgaria.

The marriage of Louis Philippe's fifth son, the Duc de Montpensier, with the Infanta Luisa is so closely connected with Louis Philippe's downfall that it can be better told elsewhere; but we may here say a few words about the fortunes of Henri, Duc d'Aumale, the king's fourth son, who has proved himself a man brave, generous, patriotic and high-minded, a soldier, a statesman, an historian, patron of art, and in all these things a man eminent among his fellows. He was only a school-boy when a tragic and discreditable event made him heir of the great house of Conde, and endowed him with wealth that he refuses to pass on to his family, proposing at his death to present it to the French people and the French Academy.

The royal family of the house of Bourbon was divided in France into three branches,—the reigning branch, the head of which was Charles X.; the Orleans branch, the head of which was Louis Philippe; and the Conde branch, the chief of which, and its sole representative at this period, was the aged Duke of Bourbon, whose only son, the Prince d'Enghien, had been shot by order of Napoleon.

This old man, rich, childless, and miserable, had had a romantic history. When very young he had fallen violently in love with his cousin, the Princess Louise of Orleans. He was permitted to marry her, but only on condition that they should part at the church door,—she to enter a convent for two years, he to serve for the same time in the French army. They were married with all pomp and ceremony; but that night the ardent bridegroom scaled the walls of the convent and bore away his bride. Unhappily their mutual attachment did not last long. "It went out," says a contemporary memoir-writer, "like a fire of straw."[1] At last hatred took the place of love, and the quarrels between the Prince de Conde (as the Duc de Bourbon was then called) and his wife were among the scandals of the court of Louis XVI., and helped to bring odium on the royal family.

[Footnote 1: Madame d'Oberkirch.]

The only child of this marriage was the Duc d'Enghien. The princess died in the early days of the Revolution. Her husband formed the army of French emigres at Coblentz, and led them when they invaded their own country. On the death of his father he became Duke of Bourbon, but his promising son, D'Enghien, was already dead. The duke married while in exile the princess of Monaco, a lady of very shady antecedents. She was, however, received by Louis XVIII. in his little court at Hartwell. She died soon after the Restoration.

In 1830 the old duke, worn out with sorrows and excesses, was completely under the power of an English adventuress, a Madame de Feucheres.[1] He had settled on her his Chateau de Saint-Leu, together with very large sums of money. Several years before 1830 it had occurred to Madame de Feucheres that the De Rohans, who were related to the duke on his mother's side, might dispute these gifts and bequests, and by way of making herself secure, she sought the protection of Louis Philippe, then Duke of Orleans. She offered to use her influence with the Duke of Bourbon to induce him to make the Duc d'Aumale, who was his godson, his heir, if Louis Philippe would engage to stand her friend in any trouble.

[Footnote 1: Louis Blanc.]

The relations of the Duc de Bourbon to this woman bore a strong resemblance to those that Thackeray has depicted between Becky Sharp and Jos Sedley. The old man became thoroughly in fear of her; and when the Revolution broke out later, he was also much afraid of being plundered and maltreated at Saint-Leu by the populace,—not, however, because he had any great regard for his cousin Charles X., with whom in his youth he had fought a celebrated duel. Impelled by these two fears, he resolved to escape secretly from France, and so rid himself of the tyranny of Madame de Feucheres and the dangers of Revolution.

He arranged his flight with a trusted friend; it was fixed for the day succeeding Aug. 31, 1830,—a month after the Revolution. That evening he retired to his chamber in good spirits, though he said good-night more impressively than usual to some persons in his household. The next morning he was found dead, hanging to one of the espagnolettes, or heavy fastenings, of a tall French window. The village authorities were summoned; but although it was impossible a man so infirm could have thus killed himself and though many other circumstances proved that he did not die by his own hand, they certified his death by suicide. The Catholic Church, however, did not accept this verdict, and the duke was buried with the rites of religion.

There was certainly no proof that Madame de Feucheres had had any hand in the murder of the old man who had plotted to escape from her, and who had expressed to others his dread of the tyranny she exercised over him; but there was every ground for strong suspicion, and the public lost no time in fastening part of the odium that attached to the supposed murderess on the king, whose family had so greatly benefited by her influence over the last head of the house of Conde. She retained her ill-gotten wealth, and removed at once to Paris. She had been engaged in stock operations for some time, and now gave herself up to them, winning enormous sums.

The new throne was sadly shaken by these events, added to discontents concerning the king's prudent policy of non-intervention in the attempted revolutions of other countries, which followed that of France in 1830 and 1831. The next very interesting event of this reign was the escapade and the discomfiture of the young Duchesse de Berri.

About the close of 1832, while France and all Europe were still experiencing the after-shocks which followed the Revolution of July, Marie Caroline, the Duchesse de Berri, planned at Holyrood a descent upon France in the interests of the Duc de Bordeaux, her son.[1] Had he reigned in consequence of the deaths of his grandfather and uncle, Charles X. and the Duc d'Angouleme, the duchess his mother was to have been regent during his minority. She regretted her inaction during the days of July, when, had she taken her son by the hand and presented him herself to the people, renouncing in his name and her own all ultra-Bourbon traditions and ideas, she might have saved the dynasty.

[Footnote 1: Louis Blanc and papers in "Figaro."]

Under the influence of this regret, and fired by the idea of becoming another Jeanne d'Albret, she urged her plans on Charles X., who decidedly disapproved of them; but "the idea of crossing the seas at the head of faithful paladins, of landing after the perils and adventures of an unpremeditated voyage in a country of knights-errant, of eluding by a thousand disguises the vigilance of enemies through whom she had to pass, of wandering, a devoted mother and a banished queen, from hamlet to hamlet and from chateau to chateau, appealing to human nature high and low on its romantic side, and at the end of a victorious conspiracy unfurling in France the ancient standard of the monarchy, was too dazzling not to attract a young, high-spirited woman, bold through her very ignorance, heroic through mere levity, able to endure anything but depression and ennui, and prepared to overbear all opposition with plausible platitudes about a mother's love."[1]

[Footnote 1: Louis Blanc, Histoire de Dix Ans.]

At last Charles X. consented to let her follow her own wishes; but he placed her under the guardianship of the Duc de Blancas. She set out through Holland and the Tyrol for Italy. She travelled incognita, of course. Charles Albert, of Sardinia, received her at Turin with great personal kindness, and lent her a million of francs,—which he borrowed from a nobleman of his court under pretence of paying the debts of his early manhood; but he was forced to request her to leave his dominions, and she took refuge with the Duke of Modena, who assigned her a palace at Massa, about three miles from the Mediterranean. A rising was to be made simultaneously in Southern France and in La Vendee. Lyons had just been agitated by a labor insurrection, and Marseilles was the first point at which it was intended to strike.

The Legitimists in France were divided into two parties. One, under Chateaubriand and Marshal Victor, the Duc de Bellune, wished to restore Henri V. only by parliamentary and legal victories; the other, favored by the court at Holyrood, was for an armed intervention of the Great Powers. The Duc de Blancas was considered its head.

The question of the invasion of France with foreign troops was excitedly argued at Massa. The duchess wished above all things to get rid of the tutelage of M. de Blancas, and she was disposed to favor, to a certain extent, the more moderate views of Chateaubriand. After endless quarrels she succeeded in sending off the duke to Holyrood, and was left to take her own way.

April 14, 1832, was fixed upon for leaving Massa. It was given out that the duchess, was going to Florence. At nightfall a carriage, containing the duchess, with two ladies and a gentleman of her suite, drove out of Massa and waited under the shadow of the city wall. While a footman was absorbing the attention of the coachman by giving him some minute, unnecessary orders, Madame (as they called the duchess) slipped out of the carriage door with one of her ladies, while two others, who were standing ready in the darkness, took their places. The carriage rolled away towards Florence, while Madame and her party, stealing along under the dark shadow of the city wall, made their way to the port, where a steamer was to take them on board.

That steamer was the "Carlo Alberto," a little vessel which had been already used by some republican conspirators, and had been purchased for the service of Marie Caroline. It had some of her most devoted adherents on board, but the captain was in ignorance. He thought himself bound for Genoa, and was inclined to disobey when his passengers ordered him to lay to off the harbor of Massa. However, they used force, and at three in the morning Marie Caroline, who was sleeping, wrapped in her cloak, upon the sand, was roused, put on board a little boat, and carried out to the steamer. She had a tempestuous passage of four days to Marseilles. The steamer ran out of coal, and had to put into Nice. At last, in a heavy sea which threatened to dash small craft to pieces, a fishing-boat approached the "Carlo Alberto," containing some of the duchess's most devoted friends. With great danger she was transferred to it, and was landed on the French coast. She scrambled up slippery and precipitous rocks, and reached a place of safety. But the delay in the arrival of her steamer had been fatal to her enterprise. A French gentleman in the secret had hired a small boat, and put out to sea in the storm to see if he could perceive the missing vessel. His conduct excited the suspicion of his crew, who talked about it at a wine-shop, where they met other sailors, who had their story to tell of a lady landed mysteriously a few hours before at a dangerous and lonely spot a few miles away. The two accounts soon reached the ears of the police, and Marseilles was on the alert, when a party of young men, with their swords drawn and waving white handkerchiefs, precipitated their enterprise, by appearing in the streets and striving to rouse the populace. They were arrested, as were also the passengers left on board the "Carlo Alberto,"—among them was a lady who deceived the police into a belief that she was the Duchesse de Bern.

Under cover of this mistake the duchess, finding that all hope was over in the southern provinces, resolved to cross France to La Vendee. At Massa she had had a dream. She thought the Duc de Bern had appeared to her and said: "You will not succeed in the South, but you will prosper in La Vendee."

She quitted the hut in which she had been concealed, made her way on foot through a forest, lost herself, and had to sleep in the vacant cabin of a woodcutter. The next night she passed under the roof of a republican, who respected her sex and would not betray her. She then reached the chateau of a Legitimist nobleman with the appropriate name of M. de Bonrecueil. Thence she started in the morning in a postchaise to cross all France along its public roads.

She accomplished her journey in safety, and fixed May 24, 1832, as the day for taking up arms. She made her headquarters at a Breton farm-house, Les Meliers. She wore the costume of a boy,—a peasant of La Vendee—and called herself Petit Pierre.

On May 21, three days before the date fixed upon for the rising, she was waited upon by the chiefs,—the men most likely to suffer in an abortive insurrection,—and was assured that the attempt would fail. Had the South risen, La Vendee would have gladly joined the insurrection; but unsupported by the South, the proposed enterprise was too rash a venture. Overpowered by these arguments and the persuasions of those around her, Marie Caroline gave way, and consented to return to Scotland with a passport that had been provided for her. But in the night she retracted her consent, and insisted that the rising should take place upon the 3d of June. She was obeyed; but what little prospect of success there might have been at first, was destroyed by the counter-order of May 22. All who rose were at once put down by the king's troops, and atrocities on both sides were committed.

Nantes, the capital city of La Vendee, was hostile to the duchess; in Nantes, therefore, she believed her enemies would never search for her. She took refuge there in the house of two elderly maiden ladies, the Demoiselles Duguigney, where she remained five months. They must have been months of anguish to her, and of unspeakable impatience. It is very possible that the Government did not care to find her. She was the queen's niece, and if captured what could be done with her? To set her free to hatch new plots would have been bitterly condemned by the republicans; to imprison her would have made an additional motive for royalist conspiracies; to execute her would have been impossible. Marie Caroline, however, had solved these difficult problems by her own misconduct.

Meantime the premiership of France passed into the hands of M. Thiers. A Jew—a Judas—named Deutz, came to him mysteriously, and bargained to deliver into his hands the Duchesse de Berri. Thiers, who had none of the pity felt for her by the Orleans family, closed with the offer. Some years before, Deutz had renounced his Jewish faith and pretended to turn Christian. Pope Gregory XVI. had patronized him, and had recommended him to the Duc de Berri as a confidential messenger. He had frequently carried despatches of importance, and knew that the duchess was in Nantes, but he did not know her hiding-place. He contrived to persuade her to grant him an interview. It took place at the Demoiselles Duguigney's house; but he was led to believe that she only used their residence for that purpose. With great difficulty he procured a second interview, in the course of which, having taken his measures beforehand, soldiers surrounded the house. Before they could enter it, word was brought to the duchess that she was betrayed. She fled from the room, and when the soldiers entered they could not find her. They were certain that she had not left the house. They broke everything to pieces, sounded the walls, ripped up the beds and furniture. Night came on, and troops were left in every chamber. In a large garret, where there was a wide fireplace, the soldiers collected some newspapers and light wood, and about midnight built a fire. Soon within the chimney a noise of kicking against an iron panel was heard, and voices cried: "Let us out,—we surrender!"

For sixteen hours the duchess and two friends had been imprisoned in a tiny hiding-place, separated from the hearth by a thin iron sliding-panel, which, when the soldiers lit their fire, had grown red hot. The gentleman of the party was already badly burned, and the women were nearly suffocated. The gendarmes kicked away the fire, the panel was pushed back, and the duchess, pale and fainting, came forth and surrendered. The commander of the troops was sent for. To him she said: "General, I confide myself to your honor." He answered, "Madame, you are under the safeguard of the honor of France."

This capture was a great embarrassment to the Government. Pity for the devoted mother, the persecuted princess, the brave, self-sacrificing woman, stirred thousands of hearts. The duchess was sent at once to an old chateau called Blaye, on the banks of the Gironde, the estuary formed by the junction of the Dordogne and the Garonne. Tradition said that the old castle had been built by the paladin Orlando (or Roland), and that he had been buried within its walls after he fell at Roncesvalles.

In this citadel the Duchesse de Berri was confined, with every precaution against escape or rescue; and the restraint and monotony of such a life soon told upon a woman of her character. She could play the heroine, acting well her part, with an admiring world for her audience; but "cabined, cribbed, confined" in an old, dilapidated castle, her courage and her health gave way. She was cheered, however, at first by Legitimist testimonies of devotion. Chateaubriand wrote her a memorable letter, imploring her, in the name of M. de Malesherbes, his ancestor who had defended Louis XVI., to let him undertake her defence, if she were brought to trial; but the reigning family of France had no wish to proceed to such an extremity. The duchess had not come of a stock in which all the women were sans reproche, like Marie Amelie. Her grandmother, Queen Caroline of Naples, the friend of Lady Hamilton and of Lord Nelson, had been notoriously a bad woman; her sister, Queen Christina of Spain, had made herself equally famous; and doubts had already been thrown on the legitimacy of the son of the duchess, the posthumous child of the Duc de Berri. The queen of France, who was almost a saint, had been fond of her young relative for her many engaging qualities; and what to do with her, in justice to France, was a difficult problem.

To the consternation and disgust of the Legitimists, the heroine of La Vendee dropped from her pedestal and sank into the mire. "She lost everything," says Louis Blanc,—"even the sympathy of the most ultra-partisans of the Bourbon dynasty; and she deserved the fate that overtook her. It was the sequel to the discovery of a terrible secret,—a secret whose publicity became a just punishment for her having, in pursuit of her own purposes, let loose on France the dogs of civil war."

In the midst of enthusiasm for her courage and pity for her fate, rose a rumor that the duchess would shortly give birth to a child. It was even so. The news fell like a blow on the hearts of the royalists. If she had made a clandestine, morganatic marriage, she had by the law of France forfeited her position as regent during her son's minority; she had forgotten his claims on her and those of France. If there was no marriage, she had degraded herself past all sympathy. At any rate, now she was harmless. The policy of the Government was manifestly to let her child be born at Blaye, and then send her to her Neapolitan home.

Her desire was to leave Blaye before her confinement. In vain she pleaded her health and a tendency to consumption. The Government sent physicians to Blaye, among them the doctor who had attended the duchess after the birth of the Duc de Bordeaux; for it insisted on having full proof of her disgrace before releasing her. But before this disgrace was announced in Paris, twelve ardent young Legitimists had bound themselves to fight twelve duels with twelve leading men of the opposite party, who might, if she were brought to trial, injure her cause. The first of these duels took place; Armand Carrel, the journalist, being the liberal champion, while M. Roux-Laborie fought for the duchess. The duel was with swords, and lasted three minutes. Twice Carrel wounded his adversary in the arm; but as he rushed on him the third time, he received a deep wound in the abdomen. The news spread through Paris. The prime minister, M. Thiers, sent his private secretary for authentic news of Carrel's state. The attendants refused to allow the wounded man to be disturbed. "Let him see me," said Carrel; "for I have a favor to ask of M. Thiers,—that he will let no proceedings be taken against M. Roux-Laborie."

Government after this became anxious to quench the loyalty of the Duchesse de Berri's defenders as soon and as effectually as possible. The duel with Armand Carrel was fought Feb. 2, 1833; on the 22d of February General Bugeaud, commander of the fortress of Blaye, received from the duchess the following declaration:—

Under the pressure of circumstances and of measures taken by Government, I think it due to myself and to my children (though I have had grave reasons for keeping my marriage a secret) to declare that I have been privately married during my late sojourn in Italy. (Signed) MARIE CAROLINE.

From that time up to the month of May the duchess continued to make vain efforts to obtain her release before the birth of her child. It had been intimated to her that she should be sent to Palermo as soon afterwards as she should be able to travel.

The Government took every precaution, that the event might be verified when it took place. Six or seven of the principal inhabitants of Blaye were stationed in an adjoining chamber, as is the custom at the birth of princes.

A little girl having been born, these witnesses were summoned to the chamber by Madame de Hautfort, the duchess's lady-in-waiting. The duchess answered their questions firmly, and on returning to the next room, her own physician declared on oath that the duchess was the lawful wife of Count Hector Luchesi-Palli, of the family of Campo Formio, of Naples, gentleman of the bedchamber to the king of the Two Sicilies, living at Palermo.

This was the first intimation given of the parentage of the child. A mouth later, Marie Caroline and her infant embarked on board a French vessel, attended by Marshal Bugeaud, and were landed at Palermo. Very few of the duchess's most ardent admirers in former days were willing to accompany her. Her baby died before it was many months old. Charles X. refused to let her have any further care or charge of her son. "As Madame Luchesi-Palli," he said, "she had forfeited all claims to royal consideration."

A reconciliation, however, official rather than real, was patched up by Chateaubriand between the duchess and Charles X.; but her political career was over. She was allowed to see the Duc de Bordeaux for two or three days once a year. The young prince was thenceforward under the maternal care of his aunt, the Duchesse d'Angouleme. The Duchesse de Berri passed the remainder of her adventurous life in tranquillity. Her marriage with Count Luchesi-Palli was apparently a happy one. They had four children. She owned a palace in Styria, and another on the Grand Canal at Venice, where she gave popular parties. In 1847 she gave some private theatricals, at which were present twenty-seven persons belonging to royal or imperial families. Her buoyancy of spirit kept her always gay. One would have supposed that she would be overwhelmed by the fall we have related. She was good-natured, charitable, and extravagant. She died leaving heavy debts, which the Duc de Bordeaux paid for her. Her daughter Louise, sister of the Duc de Bordeaux, married the Duke of Parma, who was assassinated in 1854. Their daughter married Don Carlos, who claims at present to be rightful heir to the thrones of France and Spain. She died in 1864, shortly after the Count Luchesi-Palli. The Duchesse de Berri, who in her later years became very devout, d'apres la maniere Italienne, as somebody has said, wrote thus about his death:—

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse