NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
Harper & Brothers,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
Copyright, 1899, by Susan Abbott Mead.
It would be difficult to find, in all the range of the past, a man whose career has been so full of wonderful and exciting vicissitude as that of Louis Philippe. His life covers the most eventful period in French history. The storms of 1789 consigned his father to the guillotine, his mother and brothers to imprisonment, and himself and sister to poverty and exile. There are few romances more replete with pensive interest than the wanderings of Louis Philippe to escape the bloodhounds of the Revolution far away amidst the ices of Northern Europe, to the huts of the Laplanders, and again through the almost unbroken wilds of North America, taking refuge in the wigwams of the Indians, and floating with his two brothers in a boat a distance of nearly two thousand miles through the solemn solitudes of the Ohio and the Mississippi from Pittsburg to the Gulf.
Again we see the duke, on the recovery of a large portion of his estates, enjoying the elegant retreat at Twickenham, fêted by the nobility of England, and caressed by the aristocracy of Europe.
Again the kaleidoscope of changeful life is turned. The Empire falls. The Bourbons are restored. Louis Philippe returns to the palaces of his fathers. In rank, he takes his stand next to the throne. In wealth, he is the richest subject in Europe. At one moment he is caressed by Royalty, hoping to win his support, and again he is persecuted by Royalty, fearing his influence.
There is another change. The throne of the Bourbons is overthrown. Louis Philippe finds himself, as by magic, King of the French. He exchanges his ducal coronet for a royal crown. He enters the regal mansions of the Tuileries, Versailles, Saint Cloud, and Fontainebleau the acknowledged sovereign of thirty millions of people. All the proud dynasties of Europe recognize him as belonging to the family of kings. Eighteen years pass away, crowded with the splendor, cares, toils, and perils which seem ever to environ royalty. During this period the adventures of the Duchess de Berri to regain the throne for her son, the Count de Chambord, presents an episode of extraordinary interest.
There is another change. The tocsin of insurrection tolls its dismal knell in the towers of Paris. Through scenes surpassing fable, the king and his family escape to the hospitable shores of England. Here, in obscurity and exile, he reaches the end of life's journey, and passes away to the unknown of the spirit-land. Such is the wonderful story which we have endeavored to compress within the limits of these brief pages. Every event here narrated is sustained by documentary evidence beyond the possibility of a doubt.
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
Fair Haven, Conn.
|I.||ORIGIN OF THE HOUSE OF ORLEANS||13|
|III.||WANDERINGS IN THE OLD WORLD AND THE NEW||76|
|IV.||THE TOMB AND THE BRIDAL||109|
|VI.||THE DEATH OF LOUIS XVIII. AND THE REIGN OF
|VII.||CHARLES X. DETHRONED||204|
|VIII.||THE STRUGGLES OF DIPLOMACY||241|
|IX.||LOUIS PHILIPPE'S THRONE||279|
|X.||THE ADVENTURES OF THE DUCHESS DE BERRI||306|
|XI.||THE FINAL STRUGGLE||349|
|XII.||THE THRONE DEMOLISHED||379|
|LOUIS PHILIPPE AT THE HÔTEL DE VILLE||Frontispiece.|
|EXECUTION OF LOUIS XVI||27|
|STORMING THE BASTILE||40|
|FLIGHT AND IMPRISONMENT OF LAFAYETTE||50|
|LOUIS XVII. IN PRISON||113|
|LOUIS XVIII. LEAVING PARIS||147|
|NAPOLEON ENTERING THE TUILERIES||151|
|ASSASSINATION OF THE DUKE DE BERRI||171|
|PALACE OF ST. CLOUD||222|
|CHARLES X. AT VALOGNES||234|
|THE PALAIS ROYAL||275|
|LOUIS PHILIPPE LEAVING FRANCE||391|
The origin of the House of Orleans is involved in some obscurity. The city of Orleans, from which the duke takes his title, was the Aurelium of imperial Rome. The first Duke of Orleans with whom history makes us familiar was Philip, the only brother of Louis XIV. Louis XIII., the son and heir of Henry IV., married Anne of Austria. Two children were born to them, Louis and Philippe. The first became the world-renowned monarch, Louis XIV. His brother, known in history as Monsieur, enjoyed the title and the princely revenues of the dukedom of Orleans.
Monsieur married, as his first wife, the beautiful Henrietta Stuart, daughter of the unfortunate Charles I. of England. Her mother was Henrietta of France, the daughter of Henry IV., [Pg 14]and sister of Louis XIII. She died in the bloom of youth and beauty, of poison, after the most cruel sufferings, on the 27th of June, 1669.[A] Philippe took as his second wife Elizabeth Charlotte, daughter of the Elector Charles of Bavaria. By this marriage he left a son, Philippe, who not only inherited his father's almost boundless wealth and princely titles, but who attained wide-spread notoriety, not to say renown, as the regent of France, after the death of Louis XIV., and during the minority of Louis XV. The regent was a man of indomitable force of will. During his long regency he swayed the sceptre of a tyrant; and the ear of Europe was poisoned with the story of his debaucheries.
He married a legitimated daughter of Louis XIV., Marie Françoise de Blois, a haughty, capricious beauty. His scandalous immoralities alienated his duchess from him, and no happiness was to be found amidst the splendors of their home. Dying suddenly, at the age of fifty-one, his son Louis succeeded him in the vast opulence, the titles, and the power of the dukedom of Orleans. The following list of his titles may give some idea of the grandeur to [Pg 15]which these ancient nobles were born. Louis de Valois, De Chartres, De Nemours, and De Montpensier, First Prince of the blood, First Peer of France, Knight of the Golden Fleece, Colonel-general of the French and Foreign Infantry, Governor of Dauphiny, and Grand Master of the Orders of Nôtre Dame, of Mount Carmel, and of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem.
Born, as this young man was, in the palace of splendor, and surrounded by every allurement to voluptuous indulgence, two domestic calamities opened his eyes to the vanity of all earthly grandeur, and led him to enter those paths of piety where his soul found true repose. The death of his father, cut down suddenly in the midst of his godless revelry, and the decease of his beloved wife, Auguste Marie Jeanne, a princess of Baden, in her twenty-second year, so impressed him with the uncertainty of all terrestrial good, and left his home and his heart so desolate, that he retired to the Abbey of St. Geneviève, and devoted the remainder of his days to study, to prayer, and to active works of Christian usefulness.
He became a proficient in the fine arts, an accomplished scholar, and a patron of all those literary men whose works tended to benefit society. [Pg 16]He founded hospitals and literary institutions; established a college at Versailles; endowed a professorship at the Sorbonne for expounding the Hebrew text of the Scriptures, and translated, from the original Greek and Hebrew, the Epistles of Paul and the Psalms of David. At the early age of forty-eight he died—cheerfully fell asleep in Jesus, rejoicing in the hope of a heavenly inheritance. Few men who have ever lived have crowded their days with more kind, useful, and generous actions.
His son, Louis Philippe, acquired the sobriquet of le Gros, or the Fat, from his excessive corpulence. His unwieldy body probably contributed to that indolence of mind which induced him to withdraw from nearly all participation in political life. Louis XV. was one of the vilest of men, and by a portion of his subjects was thoroughly detested. Exasperated by an act of gross despotism, the deputies from Brittany offered to furnish Louis Philippe with sixty thousand men, completely armed, to overthrow the reigning dynasty, and to establish in its place the House of Orleans. The prince received the deputation courteously, but decidedly declined embarking in the enterprise, avowing that he had not sufficient energy of character to meet [Pg 17]its demand, and that he was too much attached to his relative, Louis XV., to engage in a conspiracy against him. He was an amiable, upright man, avoiding notoriety, and devoting himself to literary pursuits. Being of the blood royal, the etiquette of the French court did not allow him to enter into marriage relations with any one in whose veins the blood of royalty did not flow. His first wife, Louise Henriette de Bourbon Conti, was a princess of royal lineage. Upon her death he married Madame de Montesson, a beautiful woman, to whom he was exceedingly attached. But the haughty Court of France refused to recognize the marriage. Notwithstanding his earnest solicitations, he was not permitted to confer upon her the title of Duchess of Orleans.
Even when he died, in the year 1785, court etiquette would not allow his widow to assume any public demonstrations of mourning. "The blood of a Capet," it was said, "is too pure to admit of a recognized alliance below the rank of royalty."
Such, in brief, was the character and career of the first four dukes of this illustrious house. We are thus brought down to the exciting scenes of modern history—to scenes in which [Pg 18]the house of Orleans has acted a part so conspicuous as to attract the attention of the civilized world.
The fourth duke of whom we have spoken, and his first wife, Henrietta de Bourbon Conti, had a son born on the 13th of April, 1747, at the Palace of St. Cloud. They gave their child the name of Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orleans. During the life-time of his father he bore the title of the Duke de Chartres. No expense was spared in his education, his parents providing for him teachers of the highest eminence in all the branches of knowledge. Though the young prince developed much energy and activity of mind, he was not fond of study, and did not make any remarkable progress in book-learning.
Surrounded by flatterers, and in the enjoyment of almost boundless wealth, as the appetites and passions of youth grew strong, he plunged into the most extravagant excesses of dissipation. He is described at this time as a young man of handsome features and graceful figure, above the average size. His skin was remarkable for its softness and whiteness, and a very sweet smile generally played upon his lips. Though simple in his ordinary style of [Pg 19]living, upon all state occasions he displayed grandeur commensurate with his wealth and rank. Immense as was the fortune to which he was born, it was greatly enhanced by his marriage with the Princess Marie Therese Louise, only daughter of the Duke of Penthièvre, the most richly-endowed heiress in Europe. Thus he attained wealth which made him the richest subject in Europe, and which enabled him almost to outvie the splendors of royalty. But, notwithstanding this vast wealth, he plunged so recklessly into extravagance that his pecuniary affairs became much embarrassed.
His father died in the year 1785, just as the storms of the French Revolution were beginning to darken the horizon. The Duke of Chartres then took the title of the Duke of Orleans, and rushed into the tumult of revolution with eagerness and energy, which caused his name to resound through all Europe, and which finally brought his neck beneath the slide of the guillotine.
The court, under Louis XVI., in consequence of its arbitrary measures, about the year 1789, was brought into collision with the ancient Parliament, which remonstrated, and even refused to register the royal edicts. The Duke of Orleans [Pg 20]headed the party opposed to the court. At his magnificent mansion, the Palais Royal, nearly opposite the Tuileries, the leading men in the Opposition, Rochefoucault, Lafayette, and Mirabeau, were accustomed to meet, concerting measures to thwart the crown, and to compel the convocation of the States-General. In that way alone could the people hope to resist the encroachments of the crown, and to claim any recognition of popular rights. The people, accustomed to the almost idolatrous homage of rank and power, were overjoyed in having, as the leading advocate of their claims, a prince of the blood. The court was greatly exasperated. It was determined that the high-born leader of the revolutionary party should feel the heaviest weight of the royal displeasure. This severity, however, did but augment the popularity of the duke among the people.
Louis XVI., through his advisers, ordered the Parliament to register a loan, thus compelling the people to furnish the money it despotically demanded. The Opposition in vain urged that the States-General should be convened, as alone competent to impose taxes. The royal measure was carried, notwithstanding the Opposition. As the keeper of the seals, amidst the [Pg 21]most profound emotion of the Parliament, read the decree, the Duke of Orleans rose, and, with much agitation of voice and manner, inquired:
"Is this assemblage a lit de justice, or a free consultation?"
"It is a royal sitting," the king answered, somewhat sternly.
"Then," replied the duke, "I beg that your majesty will permit me to deposit at your feet, and in the bosom of the court, the declaration, that I regard the registration as illegal, and that it will be necessary, for the exculpation of those persons who are held to have deliberated upon it, to add that it is by express command of the king."
This bold act announced to all France that the Duke of Orleans was ready to place himself at the head of the opposition to the court, and that he was endowed with the courage and energy which would be found essential to maintain that post. The wealth of the Duke of Orleans was so great that a former loan of twenty-five million dollars he had taken up himself. Immediately upon the withdrawal of the king from the Parliament, the Duke of Orleans presented and carried a resolve declaring the action which had taken place as illegal.
The king, who was quite under the influence of the stronger mind of his wife, Maria Antoinette, was deeply offended. The duke was banished from Paris to his rural chateau of Villers Cotterets, and his leading friends in the Opposition were exiled to the isles of Hières. The indignation of Parliament was roused, and very vigorous resolutions of remonstrance were adopted, and presented to the king. In these resolves it was written:
In allusion to the universal impression that the king was urged to these severe measures by the influence of Maria Antoinette, the Parliament added, "Such measures, sire, dwell not in your own heart. Such examples do not originate from your majesty. They flow from another source. Your Parliament supplicates your [Pg 23]majesty to reject those merciless counsels, and to listen to the dictates of your own heart."
The plea was unavailing. The agitation throughout France was rapidly increasing—the people everywhere struggling against the encroachments of the crown. From all parts of the kingdom the cry arose for the assembling of the States-General. The Duke of Orleans, maddened by his banishment, and exasperated to the highest degree against Maria Antoinette, whom he considered as the author of his exile, was intensely engaged in plotting measures of revenge. During his banishment he won the affections of the peasantry by the kindly interest he seemed to take in their welfare. He chatted freely with the farmers and the day-laborers—entered their cottages and conversed with their families on the most friendly terms—presented dowries to young brides, and stood sponsor for infants.
This course rapidly increased the popularity of the duke among the people, and the Parliament was unceasing in its solicitations for his recall. The court became embarrassed, and at length gladly availed itself of the opportunity of releasing him, in response to a petition from the Duchess of Orleans.
The current of the revolution was now beginning to flow with resistless flood. The hostility between the court and the people was hourly increasing. Famine added its horrors to the general tumult and agitation. A winter of unparalleled severity—the winter of 1789—terribly increased the general suffering. The Duke of Orleans was profuse in his liberality, opening a public kitchen, and supplying the wants of famishing thousands. The duke, having thus embarked, without reserve, in the cause of the people, added to his own popularity and to the exasperation of the court, by publicly renouncing all his feudal rights, and permitting the public to hunt and shoot at pleasure over his vast domains. His popularity now became immense. The journals were filled with his praises. Whenever he appeared in public, multitudes followed him with their acclaim.
On the 4th of May, 1789, the States-General, or National Assembly, met. The duke, followed by about forty others of the nobility, renounced all his aristocratic privileges, and took his place as an equal in the ranks of the tiers état, or third estate, as the common people were called. The clergy, the nobility, and the people then constituted the three estates of the realm.
The French Revolution was now advancing with rapid strides, accompanied by anarchy, violence, and bloodshed. The court party was increasingly exasperated against the popular duke, and many stories were fabricated against him to undermine his influence. The situation of the king and royal family became daily more irksome and perilous. He endeavored to escape, to join the armies of Austria and Prussia, which were marching to his relief. He was arrested at Varennes, brought back to Paris, and held as a prisoner in the Tuileries. The question was now discussed of deposing the king and establishing a regency under the Duke of Orleans.
The first National Assembly, called the Constituent, which was convened to draw up a constitution for France, having completed its work, was dissolved; and another assembly, denominated the Legislative, was chosen to enact laws under that constitution. The allied armies of foreign dynasties were on the march to rob the French people of their constitution, and to impose upon them the absolute despotism of the old régime. Fearful riots ensued in Paris. The palace of the Tuileries was stormed. The king, with his family, fled to the Legislative Assembly [Pg 26]for protection, and was imprisoned in the Temple. On the 20th of January, 1793, he died upon the scaffold.
The National Convention, which speedily succeeded the Legislative Assembly, brought the accusation of treason against the king—tried, condemned, and executed him. The Duke of Orleans, a member of this Convention, voted for the death of the king. The abolition of monarchy and the establishment of a republic immediately followed. The question was with much interest discussed, whether the republic should be federal, like that of the United States, or integral, like the ancient republics of Greece and Rome. The Duke of Orleans advocated the concentration of power and the indivisibility of France. Fanaticism usurped the place of reason; the guillotine was busy; suspicions filled the air; no life was safe. The Duke of Orleans was alarmed. He sent his daughter, under the care of Madame de Genlis, to England. The nobles were flying in all directions. Severe laws were passed against the emigrants. The duke, who had assumed the surname of Egalité, or Equality, excited suspicion by placing his daughter among the emigrants. It was said that he had no confidence in the people or in the new order of things. To lull these suspicions, the duke sent a petition to the Convention on the 21st of November, 1792, containing the following statement:
But by this time the Convention began to [Pg 30]look upon the Duke of Orleans with suspicion. Rumors were in circulation that many of the people, tired of republicanism—which was crowding the prisons, and causing blood to gush in an incessant flow—wished to reinstate the monarchy, and to place the Duke of Orleans upon the throne. The Duchess of Orleans, the child of one of the highest nobles, was not in sympathy with her husband in his democratic views. His boundless profligacy had also alienated her affections, so that there was no domestic happiness to be found in the gorgeous saloons of the Palais Royal.
Robespierre wished to banish the Duke of Orleans from France, as a dangerous man, around whom the not yet extinct spirit of royalty might rally. He moved in the Convention, "That all the relatives of Bourbon Capet should be obliged, within eight days, to quit the territory of France and the countries then occupied by the Republican armies."
The motion was, for the time, frustrated by the following expostulation by M. Lamarque:
Thus public sentiment fluctuated. An event soon occurred which brought matters to a crisis. General Dumouriez, a former minister of Louis XVI., was in command of the army on the northern frontier. Disgusted with the violence of the Convention, which was silencing all opposition with the slide of the guillotine, and apprehensive of personal danger, from the consciousness that he was suspected of not being very friendly to the Government, he resolved to abandon the country which he thought doomed to destruction, and to seek safety in flight. Louis Philippe, the eldest son of the Duke of Orleans, then a lad of about 16, was on his staff. They fled together. This aroused popular indignation in Paris to the highest pitch. This young prince, Louis Philippe, then entitled the Duke of Chartres, and who, as subsequently King of the French, is the subject of this memoir, had written in a letter to his father, which was intercepted, [Pg 32]these words: "I see the Convention utterly destroying France." It was believed that Dumouriez had entered into a plot for placing the Duke of Orleans on the throne, and that the duke was cognizant of the plan.
A decree was immediately passed ordering the arrest of every Bourbon in France. The duke was arrested and conveyed to Marseilles, with several members of his family. Here he was held in durance for some time, and was then brought to Paris to be tried for treason. Though there was no evidence whatever against him, he was declared guilty of being "an accomplice in a conspiracy against the unity and indivisibility of the Republic," and was condemned to death.
The duke, as he heard the sentence, replied: "Since you were predetermined to put me to death, you ought at least to have sought for more plausible pretexts to attain that end; for you will never persuade the world that you deem me guilty of what you now declare me to be convicted. However, since my lot is decided, I demand that you will not let me languish here until to-morrow, but order that I be led to execution instantly." His request was not granted; but he was conducted back to the cells of [Pg 33]the Conciergerie, to be executed the next day. The next morning he was placed in the death-cart at the Conciergerie, with four others of the condemned, to be conveyed to the guillotine, which stood in the Place de la Concorde. He was elaborately dressed in a green frock-coat, white waistcoat, doe-skin breeches, and with boots carefully polished. His hair was dressed and powdered with care. As the cart passed slowly along in front of his princely abode, the Palais Royal, and through immense crowds, lining the streets, who formerly had been fed by his liberality, and who now clamored for his death, he looked around upon them with apparently perfect indifference.
At the guillotine the executioner took off his coat, and was about to draw off his boots, when he said, calmly, "It is only loss of time; you will remove them more easily from my lifeless limbs." He examined the keen edge of the knife, and was bound to the plank. The slide fell, and his head dropped into the basket. Thus perished Louis Philippe Egalité in the 46th year of his age. It was the 6th of November, 1793, ten months after Louis XVI. had perished upon the same scaffold. The immoralities of the Duke of Orleans were such that it [Pg 34]has often been said of him, "Nothing became his life so much as his manner of leaving it." Louis Philippe Egalité, inheriting from his ancestors vast opulence, had become, by his marriage with the daughter of the immensely wealthy Duke of Penthièvre, the possessor of almost royal domains. His wife, the duchess, though aristocratic in all her prepossessions, and sympathizing not at all with her husband in his democratic views, was a woman of unblemished character, of amiable disposition, and of devoted piety.
Having thus given a brief account of the origin of the Orleans family, we must, at the expense of a little repetition, turn back to the birth of Louis Philippe, the oldest son of the Duke of Orleans, and the subject of this memoir.
Louis Philippe was born in the Palais Royal, in Paris, on the 6th of October, 1773. In his early years, he, with the other children of the ducal family, was placed under the care and tuition of the celebrated Madame de Genlis. Until the death of his father, he bore the title of the Duke of Chartres.
"The Duke of Chartres," writes Lamartine, "had no youth. Education suppressed this age [Pg 35]in the pupils of Madame de Genlis. Reflection, study, premeditation of every thought and act, replaced nature by study, and instinct by will. At seventeen years of age, the young prince had the maturity of advanced years."
Madame de Genlis was unwearied in her endeavors to confer upon her illustrious pupil the highest intellectual and religious education. The most distinguished professors were appointed to instruct in those branches with which she was not familiar. His conduct was recorded in a minute daily journal, from which every night questions were read subjecting him to the most searching self-examination. The questions were as follows:
1. Have I this day fulfilled all my duties towards God, my Creator, and prayed to Him with fervor and affection?
2. Have I listened with respect and attention to the instructions which have been given me to-day, with regard to my Christian duties, and in reading works of piety?
3. Have I fulfilled all my duties this day towards those I ought to love most in the world—my father and my mother?
4. Have I behaved with mildness and kindness towards my sister and my brothers?
[Pg 36]5. Have I been docile, grateful, and attentive to my teachers?
6. Have I been perfectly sincere to-day, disobliging no one, and speaking evil of no one?
7. Have I been as discreet, prudent, charitable, modest, and courageous as may be expected at my age?
8. Have I shown no proof of that weakness or effeminacy which is so contemptible in a man?
9. Have I done all the good I could?
10. Have I shown all the marks of attention I ought to the persons, present or absent, to whom I owe kindness, respect, and affection?
These questions were read to him every night from his journal. To each one he returned a reply in writing. He then kneeled, and in prayer implored the forgiveness of his sins, and Divine guidance for the future. Under such training, notwithstanding the enjoyment of almost boundless wealth, the influence of a dissolute father, and the measureless corruptions of the times, Louis Philippe developed a character embellished by the loftiest principles and the purest integrity.
The Orleans children, consisting of three sons and a daughter, were taught in their earliest years to speak French, English, German, and [Pg 37]Italian, so that each of these languages became, as it were, vernacular. At St. Leu, where they resided most of the time, a garden was laid out, which they dug and cultivated with their own hands. A German gardener superintended their work, while a German valet accompanied them in their morning walks. A physician, who was a distinguished chemist, instructed them in botany, pointing out the medicinal virtues of the various plants. They were taught to manufacture numerous articles of domestic utility, and the boys became skillful in turning, weaving, basket-making, and other mechanical employments. The Duke of Chartres became a very skillful cabinet-maker, and, aided by his brother, the Duke of Montpensier, manufactured a bureau for a poor woman at St. Leu which was equal to any which could be found in the market. They were also accustomed to fatigue and hardship, that they might be prepared for any of the vicissitudes of future life. Madame de Genlis, in reference to this training of her pupil, and his subsequent trials and privations, writes:
In one of her earlier letters, she wrote: "The Duke of Chartres has greatly improved in disposition during the past year. He was born with good inclinations, and has now become intelligent and virtuous. Possessing none of the frivolities of the age, he disdains the puerilities which occupy the thoughts of so many young men of rank—such as fashions, dress, trinkets, follies of all kinds, and a desire for novelties. He has no passion for money, is disinterested, despises glare, and is, consequently, truly noble. Finally, he has an excellent heart, which is common to his brothers and sister, and which, joined to reflection, is capable of producing all other good qualities."
During the boyhood of Louis Philippe, revolutionary principles were rapidly spreading over France; and, as he approached manhood, they had reached their maturity. The example of his father, and the teachings of Madame de Genlis, inclined him strongly in the direction of popular rights, though his mother did not at all sympathize with these revolutionary principles. When the exasperated people rose and demolished the Bastile—the symbol and the instrument of as great despotic power as ever existed upon earth—Madame de Genlis took her pupils into Paris to witness the sublime drama. In describing the scene, she writes eloquently:
When the Duke of Chartres was informed [Pg 42]that the Assembly had annulled all the rights of primogeniture—thus depriving him, as the first-born, of his exclusive right to the title and the estate—he threw his arms around his brother, the Duke of Montpensier, and said, "Now, indeed, we are brothers in every respect." The unconcealed liberal opinions of the young prince increased the exasperation of the court against the whole Orleans family. And when, guided by his radical father, and in opposition to the advice of Madame de Genlis, the young duke became a member of the Jacobin Club—then numbering, as it was estimated, four hundred thousand in France—the indignation of the court reached its highest pitch.
On the 20th of November, 1785, the young Duke of Chartres, then in his thirteenth year, became colonel of the nineteenth regiment of dragoons. He proceeded, not long after, to Vendôme, and devoted himself, with all the enthusiasm of youth, to the duties of his profession. His democratic principles led him, in opposition to the example of most of his brother-officers, to associate quite familiarly with the common soldiers.
"Far from imitating the example of these young noblemen, who disdained to mix or converse [Pg 43]with the soldiers, the duke was constantly in the midst of them, and the advice and reprimands which they received from his lips had double the force of usual orders. On every occasion he proved himself the soldier's friend. He heard their complaints with kindness, and the generous, noble familiarity with which he replied to their demands in a little time won for him all their hearts. Strengthened by those affections, which he so well knew how to merit, he was enabled, without any exertion, to establish and preserve the strictest discipline. His men obeyed him with pleasure, because his orders were always given with urbanity.
"His exemplary conduct had the happiest influence over the whole garrison of Vendôme. The soldiers now forgot his youth; the oldest officers found in him such intelligence and punctuality as sometimes left their experience in arrear. He frequently reached the stables, in the morning, before the lieutenant, whose duty it was to call there; and he exhibited equal energy in every other subject. His lieutenant-colonel, imagining that this too frequent appearance among the men would lessen that respect for the dignity of colonel which he considered essential to the maintenance of discipline, [Pg 44]ventured to remonstrate with him upon his conduct. He replied:
"'I do not think that I shall forfeit the respect of my men, or be less entitled to their regard, by giving them an example of punctuality, and by being the first to submit myself to the demands of discipline.'"[B]
In the month of August, 1791, the Duke of Chartres left Vendôme with his regiment, and went to Valenciennes, where he spent the winter. He had been appointed commandant of that place, and, young as he was, discharged the important duties of the position with ability and firmness, which secured for him a very high reputation. The emigrant nobles had assembled on the French frontier, in the electorate of Trèves, where they were organizing their forces for the invasion of France. It was understood that Leopold II., then Emperor of Germany, was co-operating with them, and was forwarding large bodies of troops to many points along the German banks of the Rhine for a crusade into France.
The French government demanded of the emperor an explanation of his intentions. He replied: "We do not know of any armaments in the Austrian states which can be magnified [Pg 46]into preparations for war." Though Louis XVI. was in cordial sympathy with the emigrants, and, by his secret agents, was urging the Emperor of Austria to lend him troops to aid in crushing the revolution in France, still he was compelled not only to dissemble, but on the 20th of April, 1792, publicly to declare war against the Emperor of Austria, who was brother of his queen, Maria Antoinette.
The Duke of Orleans, Egalité, begged permission of the king to join the armies of revolutionized France in their march against Austria, and to take with him his two oldest sons, the Duke of Chartres (Louis Philippe), and the Duke of Montpensier. In the campaign of 1792, which ensued, both of these young men acquired distinction and promotion. General Biron, in command, wrote to the minister of war:
The Duke of Chartres, in command of a brigade of dragoons, was soon after transferred to a corps at Metz, under General Kellerman, who [Pg 47]subsequently obtained such renown in the wars of the Empire.
When the Duke of Chartres first appeared at head-quarters, General Kellerman, not knowing who he was, and surprised by his youthful appearance, exclaimed:
"Ah, monsieur! I never before have had the pleasure of seeing so young a general officer. How have you contrived to be made a general so soon?"
The duke replied: "By being a son of him who made a colonel of you." They clasped hands cordially, and a warm friendship commenced between them.
In July, 1792, the united armies of Prussia and Austria commenced their march from the German fortresses upon the Rhine into France. The emigrant nobles, and all their partisans, were received into the ranks of these invaders. Their combined strength amounted to 160,000 men. The Duke of Brunswick, in command of the united armies, issued from Coblentz, on the 15th of July, 1792, his famous manifesto, in which he declared, "That he would punish as rebels every Frenchman who should oppose the allied army; and that, should any attack be made upon the royal family in the Tuileries, the [Pg 48]whole city should be given up to destruction, and the rebels to instant death."
In view of these terrible menaces, the Legislative Assembly issued a proclamation, in which it was said:
The plan of the campaign, adopted by the Duke of Brunswick, was to press rapidly forward, with his combined army, from the banks of the Rhine to Paris, cut off its supplies, and by famine to compel it to surrender. He would then destroy the liberal constitution, punish and disperse the friends of popular rights, and restore the king to the absolutism of the old régime. To oppose this formidable [Pg 51] army of invasion, France had one corps of 14,000 men near Metz, and another of 33,000 at Sedan, under General Dumouriez. General Lafayette had been in command of the latter force; but, by his opposition to some of the radical measures of the Convention, had excited the hostility of the Paris mob and the Jacobin clubs. They had burned him in effigy at the Palais Royal, accused him of treason before the Assembly, and set a price upon his head. Argument was of no avail against the fury of the populace—in flight only was his safety. While thus pursued by the Jacobins of Paris as an aristocrat, he was arrested by a patrol of the Austrian army as a democrat. With the greatest secrecy, his captors hurried him to Olmutz, where he was thrown into close confinement, and subjected to the most cruel privations. It was two years before his friends could discover the place of his captivity. His wife and daughters then, after much difficulty and delay, succeeded in obtaining permission to share the glooms of his dungeon. It was not until after an imprisonment of five years that he was set at liberty, Napoleon commanding his release in tones which Austria did not dare to disregard.
The proclamation by the Assembly that the country was in danger, caused volunteers in large numbers to set out from every portion of France. From Paris alone, in three days, an army of 32,000 men, completely equipped, were on the advance to the scene of conflict. General Dumouriez, in command at Sedan, drew up his lines of defense before the defiles of Argoun, where he thought he could make the most effectual stand against the invading host. The Duke of Brunswick fell fiercely upon his left wing, and, breaking through, poured his troops like a flood into the plains of Champagne. For a time a terrific panic spread through the French army, and it became needful for Generals Dumouriez and Kellerman to unite their forces. In the mean time, the triumphant Prussians, defiling rapidly by Grandpré and Croix-aux-Bois, were approaching Chalons.
The French troops concentrated at Valmy. There they drew up in line of battle, to arrest the advance of their foes. The second line of the French army was commanded by the Duke of Chartes. The battle which ensued was one of the most memorable and hard-fought in French history. In the early morning a dense [Pg 53]mist covered the field of conflict. At eleven o'clock the fog dispersed, and the sun came out brightly, revealing the Prussian columns advancing in beautiful order, with a glittering display of caparisoned horses and polished weapons, deploying with as much precision as if on a field of parade. The eye took in at a glance 100,000 men preparing for the death-struggle. It was, indeed, an imposing spectacle, for such hosts had then been rarely collected on any field of blood.
Neither party seemed disposed to come into close contact with the other, but each brought forward its batteries, and a terrific cannonade commenced, which continued until the close of the day. It was estimated that forty thousand balls were hurled by the opposing armies into each other's ranks. Each army, however, maintained its position. Yet it was considered a French victory, for the Prussians failed in their attempt to break through the lines of the French, and the French succeeded in arresting the march of the Prussians. Indeed, it was admitted by the Prussians that their plan was hopelessly thwarted. The Duke of Brunswick proposed an armistice to the French officers, and this was speedily followed by the evacuation [Pg 54]of the French territory by the whole body of Prussian troops. Thus, for the time, the Germanic project of invasion was abandoned.
The Duke of Chartres again, upon this occasion, distinguished himself by bravery and military skill. General Kellerman, in his official report of the battle, said: "I shall only particularize, among those who have shown distinguished courage, M. Chartres and his aid-de-camp, M. Montpensier, whose extreme youth renders his presence of mind, during one of the most tremendous cannonades ever heard, so very remarkable."
It will be observed that General Kellerman speaks of the young dukes as simply M. Chartres and M. Montpensier. At that time all honorary titles were abolished in France, and the highest nobles were addressed, as were the humblest peasants, by the only title of Citizen. Still, the lower classes regarded with great jealousy those higher orders to whom they had been accustomed to pay the homage which slaves render their masters. The laborers, the humble artisans, the toil-worn peasants, could not appear with any thing like equality in the presence of the high-born men and courtly dames who, through their ancestry of many [Pg 55]generations, had been accustomed to wealth and rank and power. Thus, to the lower orders, the dress of a gentleman, the polite bearing of the prince, the courtly manner of the noble, excited suspicion, and created hostile feelings.
Even Egalité himself, though he had renounced all his titles, all his feudal rights, and had assumed, as far as possible, the manners of a blunt, plain-spoken man, was still, next to the king, in the enjoyment of the richest revenue in France. He could by no possibility place himself upon a social equality with his boot-black. He manifested no disposition to divide his vast possessions with the mob in Paris, and to send his wife to work with the washer-women, and his daughter to a factory, and to earn himself his daily bread by menial toil. And the washer-women were asking, "Why should we toil at the tub, and Citizeness Orleans ride in her carriage and dress in satins? We are as good as she, and our blood is as red." And at the corners of the streets, the uncombed mob were beginning to inquire, "Why should Citizen Orleans, who, by adopting the title of Egalité, has confessed himself to be only our equal, be in possession of magnificent palaces, and of thousands of acres of the public [Pg 56]domain, and of a revenue of millions of francs, while we dwell in hovels, and eat the coarsest food, and, by the most menial toil, obtain a bare subsistence? Citizen Orleans has given up his titles, as he ought to have done; now let him give up his enormous estates, and divide them among us, his brethren; and, if he is unwilling to do this, let us compel him to do so."
Louis Philippe, accustomed to profound reflection, and trained in the school of these tremendous political agitations, clearly foresaw all these menaces. He was well aware that it was no longer safe for him to be in Paris, and that the perils of the battle-field were among the least he had to encounter. Though the Prussian troops had withdrawn from the alliance against France, the Austrians, encouraged by the intrigues and the gold of the British cabinet, still continued the conflict. The Austrian court had an additional motive for perseverance, in the war against revolutionary France, in the anxiety it felt for the safety of the Austrian princess, Maria Antoinette.
On the 5th of November, 1792, the French army, under General Dumouriez, found itself intrenched upon the heights of Jemappes. Directly before it was the camp of the Austrians, [Pg 57]containing a veteran force of twenty-two thousand men, commanded by General Clarfait.
The renowned battle of Jemappes ensued, which commenced, after a cannonade of three hours, by an attack upon the whole of the Austrian lines by the entire French army. Again the young Duke of Chartres, who commanded the centre, greatly distinguished himself by his coolness, bravery, and skill. The carnage was serious on both sides, and for some hours the result was doubtful. At length victory declared in favor of the French. The Austrians, driven from all their positions, fled, leaving the battle-field covered with their dead, and abandoning nearly all their cannon to the victors.
The French vigorously pursued the routed Austrians until they again overtook them, and drove them out of the kingdom. On the 8th day after the victory of Jemappes, Dumouriez advanced the French standard to Brussels. As we have mentioned, the sister of the Duke of Chartres, the Princess Eugene Louise Adelaide, with her governess, Madame de Genlis, had been included in the proscriptive laws against emigration. The Duke of Chartres visited them in Switzerland, where they had taken refuge, and conducted them to Tornay.
While there, a new decree was issued by the Assembly, declaring that every member of the Bourbon family then in France, with the exception of the royal household itself, which was held in imprisonment in the Temple awaiting trial under the charge of treason, should leave France, and all the territory occupied by the newly-established Republic, within eight days. The position of the Orleans branch of the Bourbon family now became every hour increasingly perilous. The nation was demanding the life of the king, and the banishment of all who bore his name. St. Just, in urging in the Assembly this decree of banishment, said: "As to the king, we shall keep him; and you know for what?"
The Duke of Chartres, who very fully comprehended the peril in which his father's family was involved, urged him to avail himself of the decree of banishment, which opened an honorable avenue of escape for him, and all his family, from France.
"You will assuredly," said he to his father, "find yourself in an appalling situation. Louis XVI. is about to be accused before an assembly of which you are a member. You must sit before the king as his judge. Reject the ungracious [Pg 59]duty; withdraw, with your family, to America, and seek a calm retreat, far from the enemies of France, and there await the return of happier days."
But the Duke of Orleans did not deem it consistent with his honor to desert his post in the hour of danger. Yet the arguments urged by his son were so strong that he desired him to consult an influential member of the Assembly upon the subject. The deputy replied:
"I am incompetent to give your father any advice. Our positions are dissimilar. I myself seek redress for personal injuries. Your father, the Duke of Orleans, ought to obey the dictates of his conscience as a prince, and the dictates of duty as a citizen."
This undecided answer led the Duke of Orleans to the decision that, in the prominent position which he occupied as a citizen of rank and wealth, he could not with honor abandon his country in her hour of peril. The Duke of Chartres desisted from any further solicitation, and, oppressed with much anxiety, returned to the army.
The badge of the Bourbons was a white banner. The insurgents, if we may so call the opponents, of all varieties of opinions, who assailed [Pg 60]the ancient despotism, at the siege of the Bastile, wore red cockades. But very many were in favor of monarchy who were also in favor of constitutional liberty. Blue had been, in ancient times, the royal color, and they adopted that. Others, who were in favor of the Bourbons, and advocated reform only, not revolution, adopted white, the livery of the Bourbons. Thus arose the celebrated tri-color flag, which became the emblem of all in France who adopted the principles of political liberalism, whether monarchists or republicans. The white banner of the Bourbons and the tri-color of the revolutionists thus became arrayed against each other.
It was well known that there was a strong party in favor of placing the Duke of Orleans upon the throne. The king was awaiting his trial in the Temple. The monarchy was virtually overthrown, and a republic was established. The Republicans were in great fear of a reaction, which might re-establish the throne in favor of the Orleans family. It was, therefore, proposed in the Assembly that the Duke of Orleans and his sons should be banished from France. But it could not be denied that the Duke of Orleans had been one of the most [Pg 61]prominent leaders in the revolution. He had given all his influence, and consecrated his immense wealth, to the cause. He had made great sacrifices, and had alienated himself entirely from the royal family, and from the nobility generally, by his bold advocacy of democratic principles. Under these circumstances, it seemed peculiarly ungrateful to proscribe and persecute him, merely because the blood of the Bourbons flowed in his veins, and because he was born near the throne.
After a violent discussion in the Assembly, the decree of banishment was passed. But the friends of the duke rallied, and succeeded, after a struggle of two days, in obtaining a reversal of the decree. It was known that the Duke of Chartres had urged his father to yield to the decree, and to retire from France. This increased the suspicion that the Duke of Chartres was not friendly to the new state of things in republican, anarchic, France.
"It can not be denied," says a French historian, "that upon this occasion the young prince evinced that high sagacity which, by foreseeing events, succeeds in dispersing their dangers. He looked upon it that the revocation of the decree of banishment against his family was a [Pg 62]great misfortune; because the name of Orleans having been once pronounced suspected and dangerous, could never again be useful to their country, and would be infallibly persecuted. 'If we can no longer be useful,' said he, 'and if we only give occasion of offense, can we hesitate in expatriating ourselves?'"
But, as we have said, the duke decided to remain at his post; and his son, returning to the army, anxiously awaited events. The Austrians speedily filled up their depleted ranks with reinforcements, and on the 18th of March, 1793, were again in battle array near the village of Nerwinde. Another terrible battle ensued, in which the Duke of Orleans again won many laurels; but victory decided against the French. The army of Dumouriez was utterly routed. The Duke of Chartres had a horse shot from under him; but he spent the whole night upon the field, struggling to rally the fugitives. It was attributed to his heroism that the army did not, on that occasion, experience an irreparable disaster.
General Dumouriez now found himself in the most painful and perilous position. It was not safe for any leader of the Republican armies to allow himself to be defeated. The loss [Pg 63]of a battle was considered equivalent to treason. A committee was sent by the Assembly to spy out his conduct. The Moniteur of the 27th of March, 1793, contains the following report:
"We arrived at Tournay on Tuesday, the 26th. Citizen Proly—who was previously known to General Dumouriez—waited upon him. He found him at the house of Madame Sillery, in company with that lady, the Misses Egalité, and Pamela. He was attended, also, by Generals Valence and Chartres.
"Among other unbecoming observations, which he did not hesitate to make, General Dumouriez said that the Convention was the cause of all the misfortunes of France; that it was composed of 745 tyrants, all regicides; that he was strong enough to bring them to a sense of propriety; and that, if they were to call him Cæsar, Cromwell, or Monk, he was still resolved to save his country."
The publication of this report rendered it certain to Dumouriez and his friends that he would immediately be arrested and conveyed to Paris, under circumstances which would render condemnation and execution inevitable. He had not an hour to lose. He was supping with the Duke of Chartres, anxiously conversing [Pg 64]upon the peril in which they both were involved, when a courier arrived, summoning him immediately to repair to Paris to explain his conduct to the Convention. The Duke of Chartres said sadly to his general: "This order is your death-warrant." As he said this, the general was opening another document, and replied: "Now it is your turn, my young friend; this letter incloses a similar invitation for you."
They both mounted their horses, and bidding adieu to unhappy France, set out, with a small retinue, for the frontier. A detachment of dragoons was sent in pursuit of them. By the extraordinary sagacity and self-possession of Baudoin, the faithful servant of the prince, they effected their escape. It is altogether probable that Dumouriez was intending, by the aid of the army, to overthrow the Convention, and re-establish the throne in favor of the Duke of Chartres. An anonymous French writer, commenting upon these events, says:
The fugitives repaired first to Mons, the head-quarters of the Austrians, to obtain their passports. Prince Charles urged the duke to enter the service of the Empire, and to co-operate with foreign armies and the emigrants in restoring monarchy to France. The duke emphatically declined. Indeed, such an act would probably have brought his father's head, and the head of every member of the family, within reach of the Convention, beneath the slide of [Pg 66]the guillotine. Nothing now remained for the prince but exile and poverty.
In the month of April, 1793, the duke, assuming the name of Mr. Corby, and the appearance of an English traveller, accompanied only by a servant and his aid-de-camp, Cæsar Ducrest, commenced travelling in Germany. While the Republicans assailed him from suspicion of his secret hostility to Republican principles, the emigrants thoroughly hated both him and his father for the countenance which they had given to the Revolution. The region was full of emigrants who would gladly surrender him to his enemies. It was necessary for him to practise the utmost caution, that he might preserve his incognito. In the cities of Liege, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Cologne, he did not dare to dine at the table d'hôte, lest he should be recognized.
The duke had reached Frankfort, when he read the account in the journals of the arrest of his father and brothers. Lafayette, laden with irons, was pining in the dungeons of Olmutz. Such was the reward which these patriots received for their devotion to the cause of popular liberty.
Departing from Frankfort, the duke proceeded to Basle. From an eminence in the [Pg 67]environs of the town the tri-color flag was visible, floating in the distance above the battlements of the fortress of Huninguen. With deep emotion the duke saluted the flag of liberty, for which he had suffered so much, and continued his sad journey. At Basle he learned that his sister, accompanied by Madame de Genlis, had taken refuge at Schaffhausen, in Switzerland. His mother and two brothers, as well as his father, had been arrested, and were imprisoned in France. Joining his sister and Madame de Genlis, the little party of exiles proceeded, oppressed with anxiety and grief, to Zurich. Here it became necessary for them to acquaint the magistrates with their real names.
The emigrant royalists who had taken refuge there ostentatiously displayed their detestation of the democratic prince. At the same time, the Helvetic magistrates trembled lest they should incur the wrath of Revolutionary France by affording a refuge to the illustrious exiles. The Moniteur, of the 12th of June, 1793, contained the following notice:
It was on the 14th of May that the sorrowful exiles took up their residence upon the banks of this silent lake. In Zurich, where they were recognized, they had been exposed to many insults. One evening, as they were walking out, an emigrant cavalier purposely caught his spur in a portion of the dress of Mademoiselle d'Orleans, rudely tearing it.
Soon they were again discovered by some emigrants who were passing through Zug. A dispatch from Berne reproached the authorities for their imprudence in allowing the noble wanderers an asylum. The magistrates called upon the duke and respectfully, but with much embarrassment, entreated him to depart from their coasts. It was now evident that the party could no longer, with safety, reside together. The duke succeeded, through some influential friends, in obtaining admission for his sister into the convent of Sainte Claire, near Bremgarten.
"As for you," said M. de Montjoie to the Duke of Chartres, "there is no alternative but to wander in the mountains, not sojourning long in any place, but pursuing this life of sorrow [Pg 69]until the circumstances of your country shall assume a more favorable aspect. If fortune shall prove propitious, your wanderings will be an Odyssey, the details of which will one day be collected with avidity."
General Dumouriez, who was also wandering in obscurity and exile, at this time wrote to General Montesquieu, who was a friend of the Duke of Chartres, and a gentleman possessed of much influence and power in Switzerland:
"Embrace for me our excellent young friend. What you are doing to serve him is worthy of you. Let him derive instruction and strength from his adversity. This frenzy will pass away, and then he will find his place. Induce him to make a circumstantial diary of his travels. It will be curious to see the diary of a Bourbon treating of other subjects than the chase, women, and the table. I am convinced that this work, which he will one day produce, will serve as a certificate for life, either when he shall have re-entered it, or to make him return to it."
Darker and darker grew the path of the exiled prince. His funds became very low. He was separated from all his friends except his faithful servant, Baudoin, who absolutely refused [Pg 70]to leave him. He retained but one horse. His servant chanced to be so sick that he could not walk. The duke left Basle on foot, leading by the hand the horse upon which his humble but faithful companion in exile was mounted.[C]
Passing through Neufchâtel, Zellen Blatt, and Kussnacht, he reached the ruins of Halsburg. Here, in the midst of silence and solitude, the great-grandson of the brother of Louis XIV. sought a refuge from his countrymen, who were thirsting for his blood.
During one of his adventurous excursions among the Alps, on foot, accompanied only by his servant, he approached the hospitium of Saint Gothard. It was on the 28th of August, 1793. Having rung the bell, a Capuchin friar appeared at the casement and inquired, "What do you want?" "I request," replied the duke, "some nourishment for my companion and myself." "My good young men," said the friar, "we do not admit foot-passengers here, particularly of your description." "But, reverend father," replied the duke, "we will pay whatever you demand." "No, no," added the Capuchin, pointing to a shed where some muleteers [Pg 73]were partaking of Alpine cheese, "that little inn there is good enough for you."
At Gordona the duke and his servant met with a similar repulse. Covered with the dust of travel, and with knapsacks on their backs, with night and storm approaching, they found the door of a hostlery closed against them. It was not until after much entreaty that the way-worn travellers were allowed shelter, with a bed of straw, in an outhouse.
While engaged in these wanderings, the duke received a letter from M. de Montesquieu, offering him the situation of professor at the college of Reichenau. This was a chateau near the confluence of the upper and lower Rhine. He was then but twenty years of age. Assuming the name of M. Chabaud, he underwent a very rigid examination, without exciting the slightest suspicion as to his real character. For eight months he discharged the duties of teaching the French and English languages with marked success, and so secured the respect of the inhabitants of Reichenau that they elected him their deputy to the Assembly at Coire.
Here the tidings reached him of the sad fate of his father. Overwhelmed with grief, and restless in view of the peril of other members [Pg 74]of the family, he resumed his wanderings. Proceeding to Bremgarten, the residence of his influential friend M. de Montesquieu, he remained with him, as aid-de-camp, until some time in the year 1794.
But it was impossible for a man so widely known to remain long concealed in any place. There was still an energetic and increasingly powerful party in France opposed to the disorders which the Republic had introduced, and anxious to restore monarchical forms. The situation of the sister of the Duke of Orleans, as Louis Philippe now became, on the death of his father, was considered so unsafe in the convent of Bremgarten that she was removed to Hungary.
One day, as the duke was sitting silently, lost in thought, in a parlor adjoining the one occupied by his generous host, he overheard some conversation which led him to fear that the hospitality which he was receiving might endanger the safety of his friend. He immediately resolved to withdraw from Bremgarten and to seek refuge in Hamburg. Here, finding his position very insecure, he resolved to hide himself in the cheerless climate of Northern Europe. Accustomed to the severest privations, [Pg 75]he was enabled to recommence his wanderings with the slender funds at his disposal. Assuming the character of a Swiss traveller, he made arrangements to disappear from Southern Europe, and seek refuge in the wilds of Scandinavia. He obtained passports from the King of Denmark, which allowed him to take with him his steadfast friend Count Montjoie, and his faithful servant Baudoin, who had shared all the sufferings of his exile. A letter of credit upon a banker at Copenhagen supplied his immediate pecuniary wants.
The peninsula of Scandinavia can be explored at a very slight expense. The exiled prince, with his companions, travelled in the most unostentatious manner. He felt quite secure in his wanderings, as but few of the emigrants had penetrated those distant regions. From Copenhagen he passed to Elsineur, visiting all objects of historic interest. Crossing the Sound at Helsinbourg, he entered the hospitable realms of Sweden. After a brief tarry at Gottenburg, and ascending Lake Wener, he directed his steps towards Norway, remaining for a short period at Friedrichsthal, where, in 1718, the half-mad Charles XII., after perhaps the most stormy life through which a mortal ever passed, breathed his last.
Proceeding to Christiania, he was received, as an intelligent and affable traveller, with much distinction, though no one suspected his rank. [Pg 77]Wherever he went the purity of his character impressed itself upon the community. M. Monod—subsequently a distinguished pastor of one of the Protestant churches in Paris—was then at Christiania. He fully appreciated the unusual virtues of his countryman, who, in every word and action, manifested the spirit of true Christianity.
For some time the duke remained at Christiania, receiving many kind attentions. On one occasion he dined with a numerous party at a banker's in the city. In the evening, at the close of the entertainment, as the guests were departing, the duke was startled and alarmed by hearing the son of the banker, in a loud and somewhat playful tone, call out, "The carriage of the Duke of Orleans." For a moment he [Pg 78]was much embarrassed. But perceiving that neither the young man nor any of the company turned their eyes to him, he recovered his self-possession, and calmly inquired of the young man, "Why do you call for the carriage of the Duke of Orleans? What have you to do with him?"
"Nothing at all," he replied, with a smile; "but in a journey which we, not long ago, made to Paris, every evening, as we were coming out of the opera, we heard the people shouting on all sides, and with the greatest eagerness, 'La voiture de Monseigneur le Duc d'Orleans! les gens de son Altesse Royale?' I was almost stunned by the noise. At the moment it occurred to me to imitate them, instead of simply calling for the carriage."[D]
Continuing his journey to the north, the prince passed through Drontheim and Hamersfeldt, which latter place was then the most northern town in Europe. Some years after, when Louis Philippe had ascended the throne of France, he sent a clock to the church tower in Hamersfeldt, in graceful recognition of his hospitable reception there as a stranger.
Continuing along the coast of Norway, he [Pg 81]reached the Gulf of Salten, and visited the world-renowned Maelstrom. Taking an Icelander, by the name of Holm, as his guide, he entered Lapland. Thus journeying, he, on the 24th of August, 1795, reached North Cape, the extreme northern point of Europe, within eighteen degrees of the North Pole. It is said that no Frenchman had ever before visited those distant and frigid regions. Here the duke remained for several weeks, enjoying the hospitality of the simple-hearted inhabitants—winning their confidence by his affability, and deeply interested in studying their manners and customs.
Then, turning directly south, accompanied by several of the natives, he reached Tornev, on the extreme northern shore of the Gulf of Bothnia. Thence he traversed the eastern shores of the gulf for many weary leagues, to Abo, in Finland, where he embarked for the Aland Islands, and reached Stockholm the latter part of October. Here, notwithstanding all his endeavors to preserve his incognito, his curiosity to witness a grand court ball, given in honor of the birth-day of King Gustavus II., led to his recognition by the French envoy at that court, though he had adopted the precaution [Pg 82]of entering the highest gallery in the ball-room.
The king, being informed of his presence, immediately dispatched a messenger to say that his majesty would be happy to see the duke. The kindest attentions were lavished upon him. From such attentions he deemed it prudent to escape, and speedily resumed his wanderings—searching out and carefully examining all objects of historical interest. Recrossing the Sound, he returned to Hamburg, by the way of Copenhagen and Lubeck. The Revolution was still running riot in France. The duke, having exhausted the resources at his disposal, found himself in truly an embarrassing situation.
The Directory was at that time ruling France with despotic sway. Ever trembling in fear of a reaction, the Directors would gladly place beneath the slide of the guillotine any one in whose veins there ran a drop of royal blood. Fearful of the great influence of the house of Orleans, even when its property was sequestered, and its members were in prison or in exile, the greatest efforts had been made, by means of secret agents, to find out the retreat of Louis Philippe. At length, by some means, [Pg 83]they discovered him in the small town of Frederichstadt, in Holstein. His two brothers were then in prison in Marseilles, in hourly danger of being dragged to the guillotine, upon which their father had perished.
The Directory proposed to the Duchess of Orleans, who was imprisoned in Paris, and to Louis Philippe, now the head of the family, that if the duke and his brothers would embark for America, leaving Europe, the two imprisoned princes should be restored to liberty, and the sequestrated property of the family should be refunded.
Louis XVIII., also an emigrant, in the bosom of the armies of Austria, and surrounded by the armed nobility of France, had previously, through an envoy, urged Louis Philippe to join the emigrants, in their attempt, by the aid of the sword of foreigners, to re-establish the throne of France. But the prince was not willing to bear arms against his native land.
The agents of the Directory, who now approached the prince, presented him a letter from his mother. Her husband had suffered a cruel death from the executioner. Her two sons were in hourly peril of the same fate. Her eldest son and her daughter were in exile, [Pg 84]wandering in poverty, she knew not where. She herself was a captive, cruelly separated from all her family, exposed to many insults, and liable, at any hour, to suffer upon the scaffold the same fate which her queen, Maria Antoinette, and many others of the noblest ladies of France had already endured.
The affectionate heart of this amiable woman was lacerated with anguish. She wrote a letter to her son, which was intrusted to the agents in search of him, imploring him, in the most affecting terms, to rescue the family, by a voluntary exile to America, from its dreadful woes and perils. In the letter she wrote:
"May the prospect of relieving the misfortunes of your distressed mother, of mitigating the sorrows of your family, and of contributing to restore peace to your unhappy country, reward your generosity."
The duke, upon the reception of this letter, decided at once to embark for America. To his mother he wrote: "When my beloved mother shall have received this letter, her commands will have been executed, and I shall have sailed for America. I shall embark in the first vessel destined for the United States. I no longer think that happiness is lost to me [Pg 85]while I have it in my power to alleviate the sorrows of a cherished mother, whose situation and sufferings have for a long time rent my heart."[E]
On the 24th of September, 1796, the Duke of Orleans embarked at Hamburg in an American vessel, "The America," then a regular packet plying between that port and Philadelphia. Still retaining his incognito, he represented himself as a Dane, and obtained Danish passports. He paid thirty-five guineas for his passage, and took with him his ever-faithful servant Baudoin, for whom he paid seventeen and a half guineas. A favorable passage of twenty-seven days landed them at Philadelphia, on the 21st of October, 1796.
We have not space here to describe the cruel sufferings of the two younger brothers of Louis Philippe during their captivity. The elder of the two, the Duke of Montpensier, was but seventeen years of age; the younger, Count Beaujolais, was but thirteen. The brothers were confined separately, in dark, fetid dungeons, and were not allowed any communication with each other. The health of Beaujolais soon began to suffer, and it was evident [Pg 86]that he must die unless he could have fresh air. The Duke of Montpensier writes, in his touching autobiography:
The princes were not allowed to see the public journals, or to receive from their friends any letters which had not been previously examined by their jailers. They were left in entire ignorance of their father's execution until some time after his head had fallen. When the awful tidings were conveyed to them, both of the young princes, weakened by imprisonment and misery, fainted away. The hatred with which they were pursued is evinced by the epithet of wolves' cubs, which was ever applied to them in the clubs of the Jacobins. Eight francs a day were allowed for their support. Their mother had sent to them, for their immediate necessities, twelve thousand francs ($2400); but the magistrates had seized the whole sum. As the weary months rolled on, there were variations in the treatment of the illustrious prisoners—it sometimes being more and sometimes less brutal, but ever marked with almost savage ferocity. After the fall of Robespierre, a decree was passed—
The mother of the princes, the Duchess of Orleans, who had been in close surveillance in the palace of the Luxembourg, in Paris, also experienced very considerable alleviation in the severity of her treatment. From various quarters the captives at length obtained funds, so that their pecuniary wants were supplied. On the 18th of November, 1795, the princes made a desperate but unavailing effort to escape. The breaking of a rope by which Montpensier was endeavoring to let himself down, outside of the walls, precipitated him from a great height to the ground, very seriously breaking one of his legs. He was recaptured, and suffered terribly from mental and bodily anguish. His brother, Beaujolais, having effected his escape, learning of the misfortune which had befallen his brother, returned, with true brotherly love, to voluntary captivity, that he might do something to cheer the sufferer.
Upon the return of Beaujolais, the commandant of the prison said, exultingly, to the Duke of Montpensier, who was writhing upon [Pg 89]a bed of bodily suffering and of mental anguish:
"Your young brother is again my prisoner in the fortress, and burns with anxiety to see you. You are henceforth to be confined separately, and will no longer have an opportunity to communicate with each other."
The two brothers were allowed one short interview. "Ah, brother," said Beaujolais, "I fear we shall derive no benefit from what I have done, for we are to be confined separately. But without you it was impossible for me to enjoy liberty."
For forty days Montpensier was confined to his bed. It was a year and a half before he entirely recovered the use of his broken limb. Thus three years of almost unmitigated wretchedness passed away. There were many massacres in the prison; and often it seemed that miraculous interposition alone had saved them from a bloody death. Gradually the horrors of the Reign of Terror seemed to subside. The captive princes were allowed to occupy a room together, and that a comfortably furnished apartment in the fort, overlooking the sea. It was under these circumstances that the mother consented to their banishment to America, as [Pg 90]the condition of their liberation. The Directory, however, would not open their prison doors until it had received official intelligence of the embarkation of Louis Philippe.
Immediately upon being satisfied that the Duke of Orleans had sailed from Hamburg, the authorities prepared to release the princes from their captivity, and to send them also to the New World. When all things were ready, General Willot, a humane man, who had arrived at Marseilles with extensive powers, informed them that the hour for their release had come.
"The prisoners at first could scarcely credit their senses. They looked steadfastly at each other; then, throwing themselves into each other's arms, they began to cry, laugh, leap about the room, and for several minutes continued to manifest a temporary derangement."
It would still be a few days before the vessel would sail. Jacobinical fury was such in Marseilles that it was not safe for the princes to appear in public, lest they should be torn in pieces by the mob. They were therefore removed to the house of the American consul, Mr. Cathalan, who had manifested almost a brotherly interest in their welfare.
Being thus placed under the protection of the stars and stripes, the soldiers of the Directory left them, and they repaired immediately from the vessel to the house of the American consul, where several friends had assembled to greet them.
"Here," continues M. Montpensier in his journal, "we passed very agreeably the few [Pg 92]days that remained before the departure of the vessel for America. We were, indeed, true birds of the night—only venturing out after dusk; but our days passed happily enough. Still, we were too near that abode of misery, the fort, which we never ceased to think of without anguish. And so apprehensive were we of a sudden change in the sentiments of the existing Government, or an actual revolution in the Government itself, that our anxiety to depart was almost insupportable. At last we were informed that the vessel would sail the following day. The effect of this joyous news was the total loss of our rest during the night. Seven o'clock in the morning of the 5th of November, 1796, found us awake and in transports of delight at being permitted to take wings and fly to some land of toleration and liberty, since our own had ceased to be such.
"The citizens of Marseilles, being informed of our intended departure, assembled in crowds to see us embark. The ramparts of the fort were lined, the windows filled. Almost all congratulated us upon the recovery of our liberty. Some envied us our lot; while a few, undoubtedly, wished that the sea might ingulf us where its depth was greatest, and rid France [Pg 93]of two members of the proscribed and hated race. The anchor was raised, and the sails were set. A favorable breeze springing up, we soon lost sight of that country in which we had been victims of a persecution so relentless, but for whose prosperity and happiness we never ceased to offer up our prayers to heaven."
The voyage was long and stormy. It was not until after the expiration of ninety-two days that the vessel, the "Jupiter," reached Philadelphia, in February, 1797. Here, with inexpressible emotions of joy, they found their brother awaiting their arrival. They took up their residence in a humble house in Walnut Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, adjoining the church; from which they soon removed to a house which they rented from the Spanish consul, in Sixth Street.
Philadelphia was then the seat of the Federal Government. The incognito of the princes was removed, and they were received with marked respect and attentions. They were present when Washington delivered his Farewell Address to Congress, and also witnessed the inauguration of President Adams. The funds of the princes, though not large, enabled them to meet their frugal expenses. In the [Pg 94]early summer the three princes—accompanied by the faithful servant Baudoin, who had accompanied Louis Philippe in all his wanderings—set out on horseback to visit Baltimore and other Southern cities. The present City of Washington did not then exist. They, however, visited Georgetown, where they were hospitably entertained by Mr. Law.
Passing through Alexandria, they took the road to Mount Vernon, where they had been invited to pass a few days with perhaps the most illustrious man of modern ages. Washington, with whom they had become acquainted in Philadelphia, and who had invited them to his house, received them with the greatest kindness. The modest, gentlemanly, heroic character of these remarkable young men deeply impressed him. He furnished them with letters of introduction, and drew up an itinerary of their journey, south and west, directing their attention to especial objects of interest.
In those early days, and through that wild, almost uncultivated country, travelling was attended with not a little difficulty and with some danger. Mounted on horseback, with all their baggage in saddle-bags, the princes took leave of their honored host, and rode, by the [Pg 95]way of Leesburg and Harper's Ferry, to Winchester, where they were entertained in the celebrated inn of Mr. Bush. An American has in the following terms described the character and appearance of this celebrated landlord:
Mr. Bush had been in Manheim, which Louis Philippe had recently visited, and he could speak German. This created quite an intimacy between guest and host, and led to a long conversation. The journey had been rough, the exposure great, and the youngest brother, unaccustomed to such fatigue, was greatly exhausted. [Pg 96]The Duke of Orleans, who watched over his brother with parental tenderness, out of regard to his prostration, asked the privilege, so common in Europe, of having their dinner served to them in their own room. The pride of the republican inn-keeper was touched.
"Such a request," writes G. N. Wright, "had never been heard in the fair and fertile vale of Shenandoah, or, at all events, within the limits of Bush's Winchester Hotel. It infringed his rules; it wounded his professional pride; it assailed his very honor. The recollection of Manheim, and the pleasant days he had passed there—the agreeable opportunity of living over those hours again in the conversation of the Duke of Orleans—the gentle conduct of the three young strangers—were all, in a moment of extravagant folly, passion, and intractableness, forgotten, flung to the winds, when, with a scornful air, he addressed Louis Philippe:
"'Since you are too good to eat at the same table with my guests, you are too good to eat in my house. I desire, therefore, that you leave it instantly.'"[F]
In vain did the Duke of Orleans endeavor to [Pg 97]explain and convince his irate host that he intended no disrespect. The weary travellers were compelled immediately to leave, and to seek hospitality elsewhere. Continuing their journey through a variety of adventures, some amusing and some painful, they passed through Staunton, Abington, and Knoxville, and reached Nashville, in Tennessee. After a short tarry here, they continued their ride through Louisville, Lexington, Maysville, Chilicothe, Lancaster, Zanesville, Wheeling, to Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania. Their accommodations in these vast wilds were often of the humblest kind. The three brothers often slept on the floor, wrapped in their cloaks, in some wretched hut, with their feet towards the blazing fire, while their landlord and his wife occupied the only bed in the only room.
At Pittsburg the travellers rested for several days. From that place the princes directed their steps to Buffalo, skirting, for some distance, the shores of Lake Erie. At Cattaraugus they were the guests, for one night, of the Seneca Indians. They felt some anxiety in reference to their baggage, the loss of which, in those distant regions, would have been a serious calamity. The chief, perceiving their solicitude, [Pg 98]said that he would be personally responsible for every article which might be committed to his care, but for nothing else. After a little reflection, the duke placed in his hands saddles, bridles, blankets, clothes, and money—every thing, except a beautiful dog, which he did not think of including in the inventory. All were restored in the morning, excepting that the dog was missing. "If the dog," said the chief, "had been intrusted to my care, it would have been waiting your departure." With some difficulty the favorite animal was reclaimed.
At Buffalo the travellers crossed the head of the Niagara River, and, passing down the Canadian shore, visited the world-renowned falls. On their way, they passed a night in the huts of the Chippewa Indians. The following extracts, written by the Duke of Montpensier to his sister, throw much light upon the character of these excellent young men. It was dated August 14, 1797:
"I hope you have received the letters which we wrote to you from Pittsburg about two months ago. We were then in the midst of a long journey, which we have terminated only fifteen days since. It occupied us four months.[Pg 99] We journeyed during all that time a thousand leagues, and always upon the same horses, except the last hundred leagues, which we performed partly by water, partly on foot, partly on hired horses, and partly by stage, or the public conveyance.
"To give you an idea of the agreeable manner in which they travel in this country, I must tell you, dear sister, that we passed fourteen nights in the woods, devoured by all kinds of [Pg 100]insects, often wet to the bone, without being able to dry ourselves, and our only food being pork, a little salt beef, and maize bread. Independently of this adventure, we were forty or fifty nights in miserable huts, where we were obliged to lie upon a floor made of rough timber, and to endure all the taunts and murmuring of the inhabitants, who often turned us out of doors, often refused us admission, and whose hospitality was always defective. I should never recommend a similar journey to any friend of mine; yet we are far from repenting what we have done, since we have all three brought back excellent health and more experience.
"Adieu, beloved and cherished sister—so tenderly loved. Receive the embraces of three brothers, whose thoughts are constantly with you."
As the travellers were proceeding from Buffalo to Canandaigua, over a country so rude that they suffered more than on any other part of their journey, they met Mr. Alexander Baring, afterwards Lord Ashburton, whose acquaintance they had made in Philadelphia. Mr. Baring was on a tour to Niagara, from which the princes were returning. His patience [Pg 101]was quite exhausted by the hardships he was enduring on the way; and he expressed the doubt whether the sight of Niagara could repay one for such excessive toil and privation. His experience must, indeed, have been different from that of the modern tourist, who glides smoothly along in the palace-cars. Arriving at Geneva, they took a boat and sailed up Seneca Lake to its head; whence they crossed over to Tioga Point, on the Susquehanna. The last twenty-five miles of this trip they accomplished on foot, each one carrying his baggage. Passing through the country, in almost a direct line, by the way of Wilkesbarre, they returned to Philadelphia.
Soon after their return the yellow-fever broke out in Philadelphia with great malignity, in July, 1797. The princes had expended on their long journey all their funds, and were impatiently awaiting remittances from Europe. They were thus unable to withdraw from the pestilence, from which all who had the means precipitately fled. It was not until September that their mother succeeded in transmitting to them a remittance.
With these fresh resources they commenced a journey to the Eastern States, passing through [Pg 102]the States of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, to Boston; and it is said that they extended their travels to Hallowell, in the District of Maine, to call upon the Vaughans, an illustrious family from England, then residing there.
Louisiana at that time belonged to Spain. The exiles decided to cross the country to the Ohio, descend the river to New Orleans, and thence to proceed to Havana, on the island of Cuba, by some Spanish vessel. Returning to Philadelphia, they set out, on the 10th of December, 1797, to cross the Alleghanies. Upon those heights and gorges winter had already set in, and the cold was very severe. Just before leaving, they learned that the Directory had passed a decree banishing every member of the Bourbon family from France, including their mother, who was a Bourbon only by marriage, and that their mother had taken refuge in Spain. At that time Spain was in alliance with France, and the British Government was consequently at war against it.
At Pittsburg they found the Alleghany still open, but the Monongahela was frozen over. They purchased a small keel-boat, which they found lying upon the ice, and with considerable [Pg 103]difficulty transported it to a point where they could launch it in the open water, though the stream was encumbered with vast masses of floating ice. Then the three brothers, with but three attendants, embarked to float down the Ohio and the Mississippi, through an almost unbroken wilderness of nearly two thousand miles, to New Orleans. When they arrived at Wheeling, Virginia, where there was a small settlement, they found their way hedged up by solid ice, which filled the stream, from shore to shore. They drew their boat upon the land, to wait for an opening through this effectual barricade. Louis Philippe, with characteristic energy, impatient of delay, ascended an eminence, and, carefully surveying the windings of the river, found that the obstruction of ice occupied only about three miles, beyond which the stream was clear.
Watching their opportunity, they forced their way through some miles of broken ice, and continued their adventurous voyage. An American military courier, less energetic, was detained three weeks by the obstructions which the French party thus speedily overcame. At Marietta, Ohio, they found another small village. Here they landed to lay in supplies; and they [Pg 104]spent some time in examining those Indian mounds so profusely scattered there—interesting memorials of an extinct race.
Continuing their voyage amidst the masses of ice which still encumbered these northern waters, they one day, through the negligence of their helmsman, ran against a branch of a tree, termed a snag, and stove in their bows. The boat was immediately unloaded, drawn upon the shore, and in twenty-four hours was so repaired as to enable them to continue their journey. As they entered more southern latitudes the floating ice disappeared, and the voyage became more pleasant, as they rapidly floated down the tortuous stream, by forests and headlands, and every variety of wild, sublime, and beautiful scenery, until they reached New Orleans, on the 17th of February, 1798.
Here they met with a very friendly welcome, not only from the colonists generally, but from the Spanish governor, Don Gayoso. They were detained in New Orleans five weeks, awaiting the arrival of the corvette which was engaged in conveying passengers and light freight from that port to Havana. Impatient of the delay, as the packet did not arrive, they embarked in an American vessel. England was [Pg 105]then truly mistress of the seas. She made and executed her own laws, regardless of all expostulations from other nations.
As the American vessel was crossing the Gulf of Mexico, she was encountered by an English frigate, which, by firing several guns, brought her to, and immediately boarded her. The British Government had adopted the very extraordinary principle that an English ship might stop a ship, of whatever nationality, on the seas, board her, summon her passengers and crew upon the deck, and impress, to serve as British seamen, any of those passengers or crew whom the officers of the frigate might pronounce to be British subjects. From their decision there was no appeal.
"The princes," says the Rev. G. N. Wright, "had an opportunity of witnessing one of those violations of international law which not only marked but degraded the maritime history of that period, by the gross sacrifice of public law and private liberty. This was the seizure and impressment of men employed on board neutral vessels, and compelling them to enter the navy of a foreign country. The crew, being mustered on the deck, Captain Cochrane selected the ablest hands from among them—taking [Pg 106]them on a service in which they not only had no interest, but with which some of them were actually at variance, and might, therefore, be compelled to fight against their own country.
"It is not the least strange, of all the strange events which have occurred in those days of change, that a young man, a passenger on board an American ship, and who was brought by circumstances in contact with the practical operation of the iniquitous claim which Great Britain set up—of taking out of vessels sailing under the American flag any person they pleased—should have been called upon subsequently, when upon the throne of France, by the English Government to disavow the forcible abduction of a seaman from an English ship."
Many years after this, when Louis Philippe was king of the French, a French frigate, from a squadron blockading Vera Cruz, boarded an English packet-ship, and took out of her a Mexican pilot. All England resounded with a burst of indignation. Both Houses of Parliament passed a decree that such an act was a gross outrage upon the British flag, which demanded immediate apology from the French Government.
"The pilot," said Lord Lyndhurst, "had come on board, under the protection of the British flag. But in this instance it was no protection. A more grave and serious outrage was never committed against our country."
"Any man," said Lord Brougham, "on board a British merchantman is as much under the protection of the British flag as if he were on board the queen's ship. The gravemen of the charge is that a man has been taken from an English ship."
Louis Philippe, who deemed it essential to the stability of his throne to maintain friendly relations with the British Government, humbly disavowed the act in the name of his country, while he considerately forbore from taunting the British Government with its own opposite and arbitrary course, or from congratulating it upon the happy change of principles which it had so suddenly experienced.
Captain Cochrane, learning that the Duke of Orleans, with his brothers, the Duke of Montpensier and Count Beaujolais, were on board the small and uncomfortable American vessel, politely invited them to continue the remainder of their voyage in the enjoyment [Pg 108]of the superior accommodations of his large and commodious ship. The deck of the frigate towered far above that of the humble American merchantman. A rope was lowered to assist the travellers in their ascent. The Duke of Orleans slipped his hold and fell into the sea. Being an excellent swimmer, he swam around to the stern of the ship, where a boat was lowered, which rescued him from his unwelcome bath. On the 31st of March, 1798, the British frigate landed them safely in Havana.
The position of the French princes was peculiarly embarrassing. Both of the parties into which all the nations of Europe were then divided suspected and feared them. The Royalists could not forget that the father of the princes had taken the title of Egalité, had renounced all feudal privileges, had voted for the death of the king, and had placed himself at the head of the democratic movement in France.
The liberal or democratic party could not forget that the young princes were by birth in the highest ranks of the nobility, that by blood relationship they were nearly connected with the crown, that their whole family had been so utterly crushed by democratic rule that they could not but hate that rule, and that there was a party in France, sustained by many of the courts in Europe, in favor of reaction and of re-establishing the throne with [Pg 110]the young Duke of Orleans as king. Thus the Orleans princes were alike suspected and feared by both parties.
The government in Madrid was in entire sympathy with the aristocratic party in Europe. Though the Orleans princes had been received in Cuba, by the Spanish authorities and leading citizens, with much attention, as the victims of democratic fury, the government of Madrid, remembering only the democracy of Egalité, and fearing that the princes, retaining their father's principles, might unfurl the dreaded tri-color in Havana, sent an order dated May 21, 1799, ordering the captain-general of the island not to permit any longer the presence of the dukes of Orleans and of Montpensier, and of their brother, Count Beaujolais, but to send them immediately to New Orleans, without any regard to their mode of subsistence.
Under these circumstances the exiles, withdrawing from Cuba, succeeded in reaching the Bahama Islands, which belonged to England, and thence sailed for Halifax. The Duke of Kent, son of George III., and father of Queen Victoria, was then in Halifax, and received them with guarded and formal courtesy. Not [Pg 111]certain what might be the feelings of the British Cabinet in reference to them, he did not feel authorized to grant them a passage to England on board a British vessel of war. They, therefore, embarked in a small vessel for New York, and there took passage in a regular packet-ship for England.
In the first week in February, 1800, the ship reached Falmouth. Immediately the princes forwarded a request to George III. that they might be permitted to land in England and proceed to London. The request was promptly granted, and on the sixth of the month they reached the capital. To convince the court and the nobility of England that they were entirely weaned from all those democratic tendencies which had brought such awful ruin upon their house, they selected Twickenham as their place of residence. It was a beautiful and salubrious site in the midst of the family seats of the English aristocracy, and in the vicinity of Windsor Castle, the ancient and world-renowned palace of the British kings. Here every movement would be open to the eyes of the British aristocracy, and the mode of life of the princes, their associates, and their manner of spending their leisure hours, would [Pg 112]all be known. The spotless and amiable character of these young men rapidly secured for them the confidence and esteem of all their acquaintances.
The unhappy son of Louis XVI., whom the Legitimists regarded as their sovereign under the title of Louis XVII., had perished of brutal treatment in his dungeon, on the 6th of June, 1796.[G] The Legitimists now recognized the elder brother of Louis XVI., the Count de Provence, as king, with the title of Louis XVIII. The Count de Provence, assuming all the etiquette of royalty, and recognized by nearly all the courts of Europe as the lawful sovereign of France, held his court at Mittau, in Courland, surrounded by a crowd of emigrant courtiers. His only brother, Count d'Artois, who subsequently ascended the throne of France as Charles X., resided in London, punctiliously maintaining court etiquette.
The Count d'Artois, anxious to secure the open and cordial co-operation of the Duke of [Pg 115]Orleans in behalf of the Royalist cause, sent him an earnest invitation to come to London, assuring him of an affectionate greeting on his own part and that of his friends. The duke repaired to London, and was received on the 13th of February with princely hospitality by the count and other members of the Bourbon family, at his residence in Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square.
"The king, Louis XVIII.," said the Count d'Artois, "will be delighted to see you; but it will be proper and necessary that you should first write to him." The Duke of Orleans did so. In this letter he must have recognized the sovereignty of Louis XVIII., a sovereignty founded on legitimacy, for he received a courteous and cordial reply. Thus there seemed to be a perfect reconciliation, social and political, between the elder and younger branches of the Bourbon family.
General Dumouriez had visited the court of the exiled monarch, pledged to him his homage, mounted the white cockade, and, receiving a commission in the Russian army, was marching with the Allies against republican France. All his energies were consecrated to the restoration of the house of Bourbon-Orleans.
Count d'Artois left no means untried to induce the Duke of Orleans and his brothers to enlist under the standard of emigration. But an instinctive reluctance to unite with foreigners in their war against France, and the entreaties of their anxious mother that they should not, in those dark and perilous hours, commit themselves to the apparently hopeless cause of the royal confederacy, led the cautious duke to adhere to the life of privacy upon which he had entered. But it is scarcely possible but that, under the circumstances, both he and his brothers must have longed for the restoration of the Bourbons, which would have enabled them to return to France and to enter upon the enjoyment of their exalted rank and their vast estates.
Still, the princes were subject to many humiliations and annoyances. The partisan press, on both sides, assailed them with every species of calumny. "The leading ministerial journals in London declared openly that they suspected the sincerity of the young Duke of Orleans in his late repentance; and that his past exemplary conduct should not be accepted as any security against his future treachery."
But the emigrants in London generally, and [Pg 117]the British Court, assumed to place full reliance in the reconciliation between the Bourbon and the Orleans branches of the royal family. All the arts of flattery were employed to cement this union, and to lead the princes to commit themselves irreparably to the royal cause. England, under the ministry of William Pitt, was waging relentless warfare against revolutionary France. On the 20th of February the princes were invited to meet England's most renowned prime minister, and the most implacable foe of republican institutions in France, at a dinner-party, at the town mansion of the Count d'Artois. Lord Grenville gave a magnificent entertainment in their honor, on the 1st of March, 1800; and the next Sunday the exiles were presented to his majesty George III. at a levee held especially for that purpose.[H]
On the 13th of March the Russian ambassador, Count Woronzo, following in the train of these marked civilities, invited them to a princely banquet, which was attended by all the aristocracy of London, at his mansion in Harley Street; and on the 13th of March his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales honored [Pg 118]them by an invitation to Carlton House to meet all the foreign ambassadors.
The Orleans princes were now fully introduced to fashionable life in London. Their presence was deemed essential to the completeness of any soirée or banquet. The Marchioness of Salisbury, then the arbitress in London of fashion and elegance, invited the princes to meet at her house four hundred guests of the highest rank and distinction, among whom was the Prince of Wales. Then the Lady Mayoress of the city, Lady Harvey Combe, threw open to them Egyptian Hall in as magnificent an entertainment as the times could furnish. Immediately following this brilliant scene, the Duke of Clarence, subsequently William IV., invited them to a dinner-party, which in many respects surpassed all which had preceded it in splendor. All these people who thus fêted them were combining their energies to overthrow revolutionary principles in France, and to reinstate the Bourbons.
At this time the British Cabinet was preparing an armed force for the invasion of France by a descent on the southern coast. The report was circulated that the three Orleans princes were to assume the white cockade and accompany [Pg 119]this military expedition against their native country. At the same time, the Bourbon princes renewed their solicitations to the Orleans princes to range themselves, with arms in their hands, under the standard of emigration. But the great victory of Marengo just then took place, which threw into the power of the First Consul all of upper Italy, and compelled the utterly discomfited Austrians to withdraw from the British alliance. It was a dark hour for the Royalist cause in France.
The exiled princes, who found but little in the festivities of London to alleviate their world-weariness, or to cheer them in the peculiar embarrassments and trials of their position, after several minor adventures, withdrew to their retreat in Twickenham, where they endeavored to seclude themselves from observation and from all participation in public affairs.
The Duke of Orleans devoted himself to the study of English institutions, visiting the prominent establishments of learning and of industry. The irreproachable character of this virtuous prince, his high intellectual culture, dignified bearing, amiable disposition, and persistent refusal to involve himself in any intrigues, secured for him general admiration. Months [Pg 120]of tranquillity, almost of happiness, glided away. But sorrow is the doom of man. The Duke of Orleans had not yet drained the cup which was prepared for his lips.
The health of the Duke of Montpensier had been for some time rapidly failing. His constitution and that of his brother, Count Beaujolais, had been quite undermined by the hardships they had endured during their imprisonment. All the remedies which the best medical advice could administer proved unavailing. It soon became manifest that death was approaching by slow but resistless strides. The young duke, conscious that his end was approaching, bore all his sufferings with the most amiable and uncomplaining resignation, until, on the 18th of May, 1807, he fell asleep.
The grief of the Duke of Orleans and of the Count of Beaujolais, in the loss of so gentle and tenderly-beloved a brother, was very great. The funeral ceremonies were attended in London with almost regal pomp. The Count d'Artois was present as one of the principal mourners. The gloom of twilight had begun to fall upon the city as the imposing procession approached Westminster Abbey, to convey the remains of the long-suffering prince to the darkness [Pg 121]of the tomb. The procession was led by mules bearing plumes of white feathers. A mourning-carriage, containing the heart of the deceased in an urn, was drawn by six horses, decorated with the richest funereal caparisons, and led by postilions in the mourning-livery of the house of Orleans. The hearse followed, preceded by a herald with a coronet on a velvet cushion.
The empty private carriage of the deceased was followed by many other carriages filled with the noblesse of France, each drawn by six horses. The state equipages of the Prince of Wales and of the Dukes of Sussex and York, with postilions in state livery, closed the procession. With such mournful pageants were the mortal remains of the exile consigned to the ancient mausoleum of the kings of England.
"Sorrows," says the poet, "come in troops." Scarcely were the remains of the Duke of Montpensier placed in the tomb, ere his brother, Count Beaujolais, began rapidly to fail. He was urged to seek a milder climate in Malta or Madeira. To the solicitations of his fond and anxious brother he replied:
"I feel that my life is soon to terminate as Montpensier's did. What is the use of going [Pg 122]so far to seek a tomb, and thus to lose the consolation of dying in this retreat where we have at last found repose. Let us remain in this hospitable land. Here, at least, I shall be permitted to die in a brother's arms, and share a brother's tomb."
Still, amiably yielding to the anxiety of his brother, he consented, against his own judgment, to accompany him to the island of Malta. The climate not agreeing with him, and his strength rapidly failing, the Duke of Orleans wrote to Ferdinand IV., king of Naples, soliciting permission to visit the salubrious clime where he had established his court. Ferdinand IV., flying from the revolution beneath which his throne had crumbled, had sought refuge, protected by the British fleet, in the old Moorish castle, called the Palazzo Reale, near Palermo, on the island of Sicily. To the application of the duke to repair with his dying brother to those genial skies, a very cordial consent was returned. But before the reply arrived, the gentle spirit of Beaujolais had taken its flight to join the spirit of Montpensier in the eternal world. With tearful eyes and an almost broken heart, the bereaved Duke of Orleans deposited the wasted remains of his dearly-beloved brother [Pg 123]in the vaults of the church of St. John, in Valetta.
Having performed these last sad rites, and feeling almost alone and desolate, in a world where he had experienced so many sorrows and so few joys, influenced by the friendly invitation of the Sicilian Court, he embarked for the island of Sicily, and reached Messina in safety. Proceeding to Palermo, he was welcomed with great cordiality to the ancient and massive palace. The commanding figure of the prince, his finely chiselled features, his dignified bearing, united with a frank, cordial, unaffected address, his intelligence and accomplishments, all combined with that nameless charm of a pensive spirit, created by the greatest sufferings patiently endured, secured for him the admiration and the warmest sympathy of the Sicilian family.
The second daughter of the king, the Princess Amelia, was a young lady whom all unite in describing as possessed of unusual attractions of person and character. A strong attachment almost immediately sprang up between them. But the Duke of Orleans was a wanderer, an exile, deprived of his patrimonial estates, and living upon the hospitality [Pg 124]of others or upon those fragments which by chance had been saved from the utter wreck of the possessions which had descended to him from his ancestors. Should he recover his rank and possessions, it would be a suitable match. Should he fail, he would prove but a needy adventurer. The proud queen was perplexed whether to frown upon or to encourage his suit.
In France the anarchy of the Conventions and of the Directory had given place to the Consulate and the Empire. Under the sagacious and energetic rule of Napoleon, France had risen to dignity and power unequalled by that of any other nation in Europe. Napoleon had seized upon the fundamental principle of the Revolution, Equal Rights for all Men, and, inscribing that upon his banners, had reorganized France with such skill as to enable her to bid defiance to despotic Europe in arms against that principle. All France seemed united in this government of republican principles under monarchical forms, and, notwithstanding the implacable hostility and persistent coalition of foreign dynasties, all hopes of the restoration of the Bourbons seemed to have vanished. Ferdinand of Naples and his queen, [Pg 125]who was an Austrian princess, and sister of Maria Antoinette, had, with great determination, espoused the cause of the Allies against France. A revolution in their own kingdom, aided by French arms, had driven them from the continent of Italy to the island of Sicily, where they were protected by an English army of twenty thousand men, and by the invincible fleet of Great Britain, which had entire command of the seas.
The position of the Duke of Orleans in the Sicilian Court must have been very embarrassing. Ferdinand, a weak man, and his wife, an intriguing, reckless woman, did every thing they could to entangle their illustrious visitor, and the suitor of their daughter, in the meshes of the intrigues in which they were ever involved. Napoleon had shown a very decided disposition to conciliate the Orleans family, and to restore to them their possessions if he could have any assurance that the vast influence which they would thus possess would not be used in the attempt to overthrow the republican empire which France had so cordially accepted. The cautious duke felt that it would be the height of folly to hurl himself against a power which seemed irresistible.
The Spanish Court had treacherously, while professing friendship for France, entered into a conspiracy with the Allies to strike her in the back in the anticipated hour of disaster. The Spanish war ensued, into the merits of which we have no space here to enter. The king and queen of Sicily hoped to place upon the throne of Spain their son Leopold; and they urged the Duke of Orleans to go to Spain, and, under the patronage of England, to take command of an army for the invasion of France.
Influenced by these importunities, the duke repaired with evident reluctance to Gibraltar; but seeing no chance for Leopold, he passed over to England to confer with the British Cabinet.[I] The duke was a Frenchman, and, instead of being cordially received in Spain, found himself in danger of being mobbed by the ignorant and fanatic populace. Lord Collingwood wrote to the British Government, in [Pg 127]reference to this movement, in behalf of Prince Leopold, through the agency of the Duke of Orleans:
England did not favor the idea of placing a Sicilian prince on the throne of Spain by the aid of a French duke. Thus the enterprise was finally abandoned. In the then disturbed state of Europe, nearly all the countries being more or less ravaged by the sweep of hostile armies, and there being no regular postal communication, and no free passage from one country to another, it was often impossible for the Duke of Orleans to learn, for long periods of time, what was the fate of his mother and his sister, or even where they were. Upon the decree by the Directory of the expulsion of all the Bourbons from France, the Duchess of Orleans had retired to Figueras, in Spain.
In June, 1808, one of the tempests of war reached that town, and in a terrific bombardment of a few hours it was laid in ashes. The Duchess of Orleans fled from her home at midnight, only a few hours before it was blown [Pg 128]into the air by a shower of bombs. Escaping from these scenes of ruin and woe, the widowed, almost childless, and friendless duchess, but still maintaining wonderful fortitude of character, found refuge, after many painful adventures, in Port Mahon, on the island of Minorca.
The Duke of Orleans, thwarted in his plans, regarded with jealousy by the British Cabinet, and assailed with bitterest contumely in both aristocratic and democratic journals, applied to the English Secretary of State for permission to pass to Port Mahon to join his mother. But the British authorities would not consent to his landing anywhere on the Spanish territories. They, however, at length yielded to his importunities so far as to allow him to embark in an English frigate for the island of Malta, the captain of the frigate receiving strict injunctions not even to approach the Spanish coast.
Proceeding to Portsmouth, where he was to embark, he there, to his inexpressible joy, met his only and dearly beloved sister, from whom he had so long been separated. This virtuous, amiable, but unhappy princess, had long been striving to join her wandering brothers and share their fate. Thus far she had been baffled in every endeavor, and two of them had [Pg 129]sadly gone down into the grave, unsustained by those consolations which a sister's love and attentions might have afforded them. The princess had finally succeeded in tracing her only surviving brother from Sicily to Gibraltar, and from Gibraltar to England. She had thus providentially met him just as he was embarking for Malta.
The brother and sister sailed together, and landed at the port of Valetta, in Malta, in February, 1809. Thence the duke dispatched a private messenger, the Chevalier de Brovul, to seek an interview with his mother, to explain to her the impossibility of their going to Minorca, and to entreat her to join them, if possible, in Malta.
"The duke's agent," writes the English historian, Rev. G. N. Wright, "was faithful, intelligent, and active. But the impediments which were placed in his path rendered his progress in negotiation slow, and at length completely obstructed them."
The Spaniards did not love the English, and the English made no efforts to disguise their contempt of the Spaniards. There was no cordial co-operation of action. There was a strong party in Spain in favor of the regeneration of [Pg 130]their country by the enlightened and liberal views which Joseph Bonaparte was introducing. There was another powerful party opposed to France, and equally opposed to British domination.
"The greatest anarchy," says Mr. Wright, "prevailed in every part of the Peninsula. The Spaniards were divided in their allegiance, and a Bonapartist party was formed in the heart of the country. The national resources were exhausted; and their co-operation with the English wanted that cordiality to which her noble efforts had entitled her, and which Spanish policy ought to have extended to them.
"Brovul, who had been dispatched to convey a mere affectionate expression of regard and love from her children to the venerable duchess, became, on his route, transformed into a political envoy. It was now distinctly and emphatically proposed, by several of the most distinguished men of the Spanish national party, that the Duke of Orleans should be invited over into Spain, and that he should place himself at their head, and lead an army of invasion into France.
"A secret agent was sent into the southern provinces of France to ascertain the public sentiment [Pg 131]there. He reported that the people looked to the Duke of Orleans as the only member of the Bourbon family who enjoyed a military reputation; as a prince whose sword had been sharpened by the wrongs of his race, and that they declared, in the most enthusiastic manner, their readiness to follow him to victory or death."
Misled by this report, which proved to be a gross exaggeration, the Spanish Junta appointed the Duke of Orleans to a command destined to act on the frontiers of Catalonia. But the local juntas were opposed to the movement. There was no harmony—no combined action. All was confusion, and the duke made no attempt to enter upon his command.[J] The Sicilian queen, Maria Caroline, irritated by the utter failure of the movement in behalf of her son, and disappointed that the Duke of Orleans [Pg 132]had so little influence over the British Cabinet, became quite alienated from her prospective son-in-law, wrote very cold letters to him, and the failure of the marriage treaty was openly spoken of in the court and in the journals.
The duke—whose attachment to the Princess Amelia was very strong—alarmed by these procedures, repaired immediately to Palermo to confront his enemies and to plead his cause. He was successful. The confidence and love of Amelia had never abated. The presence of the illustrious young man—so handsome, so intelligent, so spotless in character, so fascinating and princely in his bearing—soon dispelled all clouds. The queen could no longer withhold her consent to the nuptials. With happiness thus beginning to dawn upon him, the duke wrote as follows to his mother:
Soon after this the duchess embarked in an English frigate for Palermo, and reached there in safety on the 15th of October, 1809. Thus, after long, long years of separation, the survivors of the exiled family, though still in exile, were reunited. On the 25th of November the nuptial benediction was pronounced in the beautiful old Norman chapel of the Palazzo Reale.
"The most remarkable and curious fact connected with the origin and structure of the Capella Reale is, that to the completion of this most perfect illustration of the art of ecclesiastic building three nations have contributed—the Greeks, Saracens, and Normans. And by this fortuitous association the chaste style of the ancients, the cold manner of the Northerns, [Pg 134]and the luxurious fashion of the East are all here blended in perfect harmony."[K]
General Cass, the American minister to France, who, thirty years after these events, wrote from the palace of the Tuileries, where Louis Philippe and his amiable queen were then enthroned, says:
The court of Ferdinand IV., one of the most worthless and corrupt of the old feudal dynasties, was maintained in Sicily by the army, the navy, and the purse of England. His Sicilian majesty received from the British Government an annual subsidy of four hundred thousand pounds sterling ($2,000,000), to support the dignity of his throne, and to pay for the troops which Sicily furnished England for her interminable warfare against the French Empire. The Duke of Orleans severely condemned the errors and follies continually developed by the reigning dynasty, and yet he found himself utterly powerless to remedy them. The queen was the ruling power at the court, and her prejudiced and impassioned nature was impervious to any appeals of reason. She knew very well that England did not loan her protection and lavish her gold upon the Sicilian Court from any love for that court, but [Pg 137]simply from dread and hatred of the republican principles advocated by Napoleon. She, therefore, often treated the English with the utmost disdain. And yet, sustained by twenty thousand British troops upon the island, she trampled upon all popular rights, consigning, by arbitrary arrests, to the dungeon or to exile all who opposed her sway.
"Against these violations of law, infringements of liberty, and manifestations of absolutism, the Sicilians rose with becoming firmness. The Duke of Orleans had long foreseen the approaching hurricane, the gathering wrath of an injured people; but finding his remonstrances vain, his principles of government almost directly contrary to those of his august mother-in-law, he retired from a court where there was no room for a virtuous counsellor, and, with his wife and her infant prince, lived in retirement a few miles from Palermo."[M]
The duke was living tranquilly, and perhaps not unhappily, in this retirement, abstaining from all participation in the intrigues of the Sicilian Court, when, on the morning of the 23d of April, 1814, an English frigate, with every banner floating triumphantly in the [Pg 138]breeze, entered the harbor of Palermo. It brought the astounding intelligence of the fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbons. The exciting tidings soon reached the ears of the duke. He hurried to Palermo, and drove directly to the palace of the English ambassador, where he was greeted with the words:
"I congratulate you upon the downfall of Napoleon, and on the restoration of the illustrious race, of which you yourself are a member, to the throne of their fathers."
For a moment the duke was speechless with astonishment, and then declared the story to be quite incredible. He however was soon convinced that it was even so, by reading a copy of the Moniteur, which gave a detailed account of the whole event. All the shipping and all the forts of Palermo were now resounding with the thunders of exultation. The Duke of Orleans had fought under the tri-color flag. Mingled emotions agitated him. He saw that national banner which had waved so proudly over many a field of victory now trampled in the dust beneath the feet of foreign squadrons, and their allied armies exultingly encamped within the parks of his native city. The restoration of the Bourbons had been accomplished [Pg 139]at the expense of the humiliation of his country.
The next day, the commander of the ship which had brought the intelligence called at the residence of the Duke of Orleans, and said to him,
"I am directed by Admiral Lord William Bentinck, who is now at Genoa, to wait upon your royal highness, and ascertain if you wish to return to France. If so, my vessel and my personal services are at your command. If you prefer to remain at Naples, I hope you may enjoy that lasting happiness to which, by your eventful and virtuous life, you are so eminently entitled."[N]
The duke pondered the fact that he was invited to return to Paris, not by an envoy from the restored king, but by an officer in the British navy. Still the prince resolved immediately to repair to Paris. Taking an affectionate farewell of his wife and their infant son, he embarked on board the English frigate, accompanied by a single servant, and on the eighteenth of May, 1814, entered his native city, [Pg 140]from which he had so long been an exile. Louis XVIII. was already there, having returned to Paris in the rear of the bayonets and the batteries of foreign troops. It was his majesty's expressed wish that the Palais Royal, the hereditary mansion of the Orleans family, should be repaired and restored to its former owners. During the republican and imperial rule, its numerous and spacious apartments had been appropriated to private residences. The duke, upon arriving in Paris, availed himself of temporary accommodations in furnished apartments in the Rue Grange Batelière. One of his first steps was to repair incognito to the home of his fathers. The Swiss servants who guarded the palace still wore the imperial livery. With some reluctance they yielded to the importunities of the stranger, and allowed him to penetrate the interior apartments.
"As he approached the grand staircase, the recollections of his boyhood, the lustre of his ancient race, the agonies of mind he had endured since he last beheld that spot, and gratitude to that Providence which had spared him amidst such universal ruin, completely overwhelmed him, and, falling prostrate on the tesselated pavement, he imprinted a thousand [Pg 141]kisses on the cold white marble, while tears gushing from his eyes indicated, while they relieved, the emotions with which he contended."[O]
The next day the duke was presented to his majesty, Louis XVIII., at the Tuileries. As he approached the royal presence, the king advanced towards him, and said,
"Your highness was a lieutenant-general in the service of your country twenty-five years ago, and you are still the same."
The assumption adopted by Louis XVIII. that there had been no interruption of the Bourbon reign, and the attempt to blot from history the twenty-five most eventful years in the annals of France, deservedly excited both contempt and ridicule. An American writer of distinction says:
"Their imperial predecessor had indeed left them a difficult task. His career was so brilliant that it may well have dazzled his countrymen, [Pg 142]and left them unfitted for a milder domination. He was, indeed, a wonderful man; and I have been more powerfully impressed than ever, since my arrival in France, with the prodigious force of his character, and with the gigantic scope as well as the vast variety of his plans.
"I am satisfied that circumstances have not been favorable to a just appreciation of the whole character of Napoleon in the United States. While he was at the head of the nation, we surveyed him very much through the English journals, and we imbibed all the prejudices which a long and bitter war had engendered against him in England. To be sure, his military renown could not be called in question; but of his civic talents a comparatively humble estimate was formed. I have since learned to correct this appreciation."[P]
It was the undisguised effort of Louis XVIII., now restored by foreign armies to the throne, to annihilate the memory of all that France had achieved at home and abroad, under the administration of Napoleon. The tri-color was exchanged for the white banner of the Bourbons, and the eagles were replaced by the Gallic [Pg 143]cock. All the insignia of imperialism were carefully obliterated. The evidence seems quite conclusive that the king, notwithstanding his apparent reconciliation with the Duke of Orleans, still regarded him with much suspicion, and would have been very willing that he should have continued in exile. Indeed, the king seemed disposed to revive old family feuds, that he might keep the duke estranged, as far as possible, from the sympathies of the Legitimist party.
The Duchess of Orleans was of royal blood, the daughter of a king. But the father of the Duke of Orleans had worn only a ducal, not a royal crown. The king, consequently, gave orders that, whenever the Duke of Orleans and his suite should appear at court, both of the folding-doors of the grand entrance should be thrown open for the duchess, while but one should be opened for her husband.
In July the duke embarked in a French ship of the line, with Baron Athalin and Count Sainte Aldegonde as his aids, to transfer his family from Palermo to Paris. Early in August they were luxuriously domiciled in his magnificent ancestral home. Madame de Genlis, now venerable in years, and having [Pg 144]ever retained the reverence and affection of her distinguished pupils, hastened to join the ducal family in the saloons of the Palais Royal.
"This resolution," she writes, "procured me the inexpressible happiness of once more seeing my pupils, Mademoiselle and the Duke of Orleans. In our first interview they both displayed to me all the affection, all the emotion and delight which I myself experienced. Alas! how deeply I felt, at this meeting, the absence of the beloved pupils, the Duke of Montpensier and his brother Count Beaujolais, who both died in exile."
The winter passed rapidly away, and on the 5th of March, 1815, to the dismay of the Bourbons, and of all the crowned heads of Europe, the tidings reached Paris that Napoleon had left Elba, landed at Cannes, and, accompanied by ever-increasing thousands of enthusiastic supporters, was on the triumphal march towards the metropolis. The most terrible proclamations were hurled against him by Louis XVIII., but all in vain. All opposition melted before the popular emperor. The path from Cannes to Paris was over six hundred miles in length, through the heart of France. But the Bourbons, with the armies [Pg 145]of France nominally at their disposal, and the sympathies of all the feudal dynasties in Europe enlisted in their behalf, could summon no force sufficient to arrest the progress of that one unarmed man. The Duke of Orleans hastened to the presence of his majesty, and, addressing the trembling monarch, said:
"Sire, as for me, I am prepared to share both your bad and good fortune. Although one of your royal race, I am your subject, servant, and soldier. Do with me as your majesty pleases, for the honor and peace of our country."
The king sent him to Lyons; to co-operate with the king's brother, the Count d'Artois, subsequently Charles X., in the endeavor to retard, by every means in their power, the advance of the ex-emperor upon Paris. A council of war was immediately held, the Count d'Artois presiding. Marshal Macdonald proved to the satisfaction of all present that it would be impossible to prevent the occupation of Lyons by Napoleon. Thence his march to Paris would be unimpeded.
All was consternation in the Bourbon Court. Louis Philippe broke up his establishment, and dispatched his wife and family, [Pg 146]by the most expeditious route, to England. The armies of France were concentrated as rapidly as possible on the borders of the Rhine, where the allied troops could hurry to their support. The Duke of Orleans was invested with the command of this army of the north. Louis XVIII., surrounded by a small body of Guards, entered his carriage and fled precipitately across the Rhine, to place himself again under the protection of the allied sovereigns who were convened in Congress at Vienna.
The accompanying cut will give the reader a vivid idea of the departure. The king was enormously fat. His figure, with long body and very short legs, was peculiar almost to deformity. He entered his carriage for his flight, with apparently none to regret his departure, at one o'clock, on the morning of the 19th of March. The evening of the next day, the 20th, the emperor arrived, and, surrounded by the acclamations of thousands, was borne, in a scene of indescribable enthusiasm, on the shoulders of the people into the vacant palace.
"The moment that the carriage stopped," says Alison, "he was seized by those next the door, borne aloft in their arms, amidst deafening [Pg 149]cheers, through a dense and brilliant crowd of epaulets, hurried literally above the heads of the throng up the great staircase into the saloon of reception, where a splendid array of the ladies of the imperial court, adorned with a profusion of violet bouquets, half concealed in the richest laces, received him with transports, and imprinted fervent kisses on his cheeks, his hands, and even his dress. Never was such a scene witnessed in history."
This triumphal journey of Napoleon for nearly seven hundred miles, through the heart of France, alone and unaided invading a kingdom of thirty millions of inhabitants, vanquishing all the armies of the Bourbons, and regaining the throne without drawing a sword or firing a musket, presents one of the most remarkable instances on record of the power of one mighty mind over human hearts. Boundless enthusiasm, from citizens and soldiers, greeted him every step of his way. A more emphatic vote in favor of the Empire could not have been given. A more legitimate title to the throne no monarch ever enjoyed. And yet the Allies, in renewing the war against him, had the unblushing effrontery to proclaim that they were contending for the liberties of the [Pg 150]people against the tyranny of an usurper! In view of such achievements of Napoleon, we do not wonder that Lamartine, his unrelenting political foe, should say that, as a man, "Napoleon was the greatest of the creations of God."
"The emperor, notwithstanding the Bourbons had set a price upon his head, issued special orders that they should not be molested; that they should be permitted to retire without injury or insult. He could, with perfect ease, have taken them prisoners, and then, in possession of their persons, could have compelled the Allies to reasonable terms. But his extraordinary magnanimity prevented him from pursuing such a course. Louis XVIII., accompanied by a funeral procession of carriages containing members of his family, his ministers, and returned emigrants, trembling and in dismay, retired to Lille, on the northern frontiers of France. The inhabitants of the departments through which he passed gazed silently and compassionately upon the infirm old man, and uttered no word of reproach; but as soon as the cortége had passed, the tri-colored banner was run up on steeple and turret, and the air resounded with shouts of Vive l'Empereur."[Q]
Immediately Napoleon dispatched by telegraph the following order throughout France: "The emperor having entered Paris at the head of the very troops that were sent to oppose him, the civil and military authorities are hereby cautioned against obeying any other than the imperial orders, and are enjoined, under the last penalty of military law, to hoist the tri-colored flag upon the receipt of this intelligence."
Regardless of this order, the Duke of Orleans, in the north of France, made very great efforts, by visiting all the posts, to inspire the soldiers to fidelity to the Bourbons, and to rouse them to oppose the emperor. "Finding," says a writer, who was in sympathy with his efforts, "his great exertions as fruitless as the assaults of the winds upon the mountain's rocky ridge, he at length abandoned the project. The conduct of Louis XVIII. was but little calculated to inspire his subjects with respect, or to restore their fading fidelity. Having reached Lille on the 22d, on the next day he fled, with indecent haste, towards the frontier, not remaining long enough, even if his faculties had been sufficiently collected to do so, to give final or further instructions to the lieutenant-general. [Pg 154]Terror of Napoleon occupied his every thought; and the wings of the wind were unequal to keep pace with the eagerness of his mind to escape from the iron grasp of the mortal enemy of his race. Louis Philippe had lent the protection and encouragement of companionship to his majesty to a distance of five miles from Lille; yet the timid monarch never delivered to him any instructions or command as to the operations of the army, nor confessed his future project."[R]
The Duke of Orleans was annoyed and irritated by the pusillanimity displayed by the king, and by the mortifying reserve with which he himself was treated. He called upon the commandants of the different towns, and informed them that the king had left France without giving him any authority to act. He then issued a public proclamation, in which he resigned his entire command to Marshal Mortier. In this he said:
On the 22d Louis Philippe broke up his establishment at head-quarters, and set out to rejoin his family in England. He had but little hope then of ever again revisiting France. His sufferings must indeed have been agonizing in finding all his newly-born hopes vanishing, and in again entering upon the weary life of an exile. Arriving in England, he directed his steps to the beautiful and sequestered retreat of Twickenham. It was a hallowed spot, endeared to him by the memory of days of tranquillity and of a pensive joy, and by scenes of heart-rending anguish, as he had there seen his two beloved brothers sinking sadly into the grave.
"The triumph of legitimacy," says Mr. Wright, "which dethroned Napoleon," inspired its followers in foreign lands with new zeal, fresh devotion, and increased prospects of ascendency. In England the most servile of that faction had the malignity to invent and [Pg 156]publish, by means of the dishonest portion of the daily press, the grossest and most painful calumnies against the Duke of Orleans. The Bourbon faction, expert at calumny and intrigue, employed every means their art supplied to accomplish their darling object, which was the still further separation of the elder from the younger branch of the royal family. It was now that the persecutors of the Duke of Orleans hit upon the scheme of defaming him by forgery. They forged various protestations and confessions of faith, which they subscribed with the name of Louis Philippe, and procured their publication in English journals; "the tendency of which was to place him in a false position with respect to the elder branch of his family."
The hundred days of Napoleon's second reign passed rapidly away. The defeat at Waterloo restored Louis XVIII. to the throne, with a better prospect of its permanent possession. Napoleon, in the long agony at St. Helena, expiated the crime of raising the banner of Equal Rights for All Men, in opposition to the exclusive privileges of kings and nobles. Louis XVIII., escorted by nearly a million of foreign troops, returned to the Tuileries. All [Pg 157]the members of the royal family followed from their wide dispersion. Louis Philippe joined the crowd, and again presented himself in the royal saloons. The king suspected him, and in the presence of a full court received him with marked coldness. Conscious of his own unpopularity, and of the general impression that the Duke of Orleans was tinctured with liberal sentiments, the king was ever apprehensive that a faction might arise in favor of placing the Duke of Orleans upon the throne.
The shrewd, intriguing Fouché, duke of Otranto, in a letter written to the Duke of Wellington at this time, says:
"The personal qualities of the Duke of Orleans, the remembrance of Jemappes, the possibility of making a treaty which would conciliate all interests, the name of Bourbon, which might serve outside, but not be pronounced within—all these motives, and many others that might be mentioned, present in this last choice a perspective of repose and security even to those who could not perceive in them an omen of happiness."
Though the king declined the assistance of the Duke of Orleans in reorganizing his government, he restored to him his vast ancestral [Pg 158]possessions. Recrossing the Channel, the duke conducted his family from Twickenham back to the sumptuous saloons of the Palais Royal. A royal ordinance commanded all the princes of the blood royal to take seats in the Chamber of Peers. Under this decree the Duke of Orleans became a member of that august and influential body.
And now commenced the reign of what was called the Terreur Blanche, or White Terror, consisting of a series of proscriptions and bloody executions, under the white flag of the Bourbons, which shocked the spirit of humanity. Unrelenting revenge was dominant. Marshal Ney, General Labedoyere, and many others of the noblest men in France, were ere long put to death or driven into exile. The friends of Louis XVIII. in the Chamber of Peers urged on these merciless executions. A resolution was introduced into that body and strongly supported, calling for the exemplary chastisement of all political delinquents. There were a few who indignantly repudiated this revengeful spirit.
The Duke of Orleans ascended the tribune. His person was but little known by the majority of those present. As the son of Egalité, [Pg 159]and as one suspected of liberal principles, he was hated by the returned emigrants of the old Bourbon party. As he took his stand in the tribune there was breathless silence throughout the whole assembly. Every eye was fixed upon him. His majestic figure, his fine countenance, intellectual, thoughtful, upon which there remained the traces of many sufferings, his calm, dignified, self-possessed bearing, and his exalted rank as a prince of the royal line, created profound sentiments of respect. For a moment he looked upon the assembly in silence. Then in slow, solemn, decisive terms he remonstrated against the malevolent spirit which was being developed.
"I propose," said he, "the total suppression of the obnoxious clause. Let us leave to his majesty's parental care the charge of maintaining public order. Let us not urge a revengeful spirit which malevolence may convert into a weapon for disturbing the peace of the nation. Our position as judges of appeal over those very individuals to whom you recommend the exercise of severity, rather than of mercy, should impose absolute silence upon us in respect to them."
These just and noble sentiments the majority [Pg 160]applauded, and the vote was carried in behalf of humanity. But the king and his coterie were very angry, and assailed the duke in the most violent terms of condemnation. The king, in a petty spirit of revenge, issued a decree, recalling the ordinance that all the princes of the blood royal were to sit in the Chamber of Peers, and declaring that none in future were to appear there but by special authority of the king, delivered at each particular sitting.
This was intended as a deliberate insult to the Duke of Orleans, to exclude him from the Chamber of Peers, and to degrade him in the eyes of the partisans of the king. This pitiful spirit of persecution greatly increased the general popularity of the duke, which led to a redoubled clamor of calumny on the part of his opponents. He was accused of seeking to rally around him the malcontents, of courting the favor of the populace, and of trying to organize an Orleans faction in his interests.
The clamor was so loud and so annoying, and the duke found himself so entirely excluded from the sympathies of the court and of the dominant nobles, that, to escape from the storm, he imposed upon himself voluntary exile, and again, forsaking France, sought refuge [Pg 163]with his family in his English retreat at Twickenham.
The annoying report was circulated, that the duke was banished by an indignant decree of the king, which, out of regard to the duke's feelings, he had not made public. Louis Philippe was fully conscious of the great unpopularity of the elder branch of the Bourbons, and of the feeble tenure by which they held their power, sustained against the popular will by the bayonets of the Allies.
The duke had hardly arrived at Twickenham ere he received an affecting letter from the wife of Marshal Ney, entreating him to intercede with the Prince Regent of England for the life of her noble husband, then in prison awaiting the almost certain doom of death. The duke did plead for him in the most earnest terms; but his efforts were unavailing. Thus one of the most illustrious of the sons of France, "the bravest of the brave," was led out into the garden of the Luxembourg and shot down like a dog. Marshal Ney had fought a hundred battles for France, not one against her. His crime was, that, having accepted command under the Bourbons, he had been guilty of treason in deserting his standard, and had welcomed [Pg 164]back the emperor, whom he had served in so many battles, and whom he so dearly loved. By the capitulation of Paris it was expressly declared that "no person should be molested for his political opinions or conduct during the Hundred Days;" but the Allies paid no regard to their plighted faith.[S]
One important object of Louis Philippe, in withdrawing from France, was to avoid the embarrassment of being brought forward in opposition to the king, and in being made the head of the Liberal party. This refusal to identify himself with any democratic movement rendered him very popular with the English Court, a popularity increased by England's adoration of exalted rank and princely fortune. The duke was received, in palace and castle, with splendid hospitality, which he frequently eclipsed in the brilliant entertainments which he in return gave at Twickenham.
The duke now devoted himself, in his voluntary exile, to the administration of his sumptuous household, and to the rearing of his rapidly increasing family, abstaining entirely from all participation in the politics and intrigues of Paris. His mansion was ever thronged with distinguished guests, and multitudes, ruined by the storms which had swept over their several lands, frequented his saloons, seeking pecuniary aid. The applicants were so numerous and the claims so complicated, that the duke found it necessary to establish a bureau of charity to examine these claims and to disburse his bounty.
In 1817 the duke returned to France, and divided his time between the Palais Royal and his magnificent rural retreat at Neuilly. Wealth, rank, and hospitality will always draw a crowd. The duke lived, as it were, in a small but brilliant court of his own. He seldom appeared in the court of Louis XVIII., and took no part in public affairs. Much of his time was devoted to superintending the education of his very interesting group of children. Madame de Genlis gives the following description of this ducal family:
But again the duke incurred the displeasure of the court. Anxious that his sons should derive the benefit of free intercourse with the world, he decided to place them, for the completion of their education, in the national lyceums. Here they were on a level with other boys, and could only secure distinction by merit. The court, however, and the old nobility, deemed it gross contamination for princes of the blood royal to associate with the children of citizens, and they regarded the measure as merely another attempt on the part of the Duke of Orleans to secure the favor of the populace. Even the king himself remonstrated[Pg 167] with the duke upon the impropriety of his course. But the duke reminded his majesty that their illustrious ancestor, Henry IV., had been thus brought up, having been sent by his mother to the public school in Berne.
One of the Paris journals, commenting upon this republican measure of the duke, wrote: "Already has the Duke of Chartres, the eldest son of the Duke of Orleans, entered a college in Paris; a natural thing, it may be said, provided he is only old enough to comprehend the course of study. Princes have not hitherto been seen in public colleges since princes and colleges were in existence; and this noble youth is the first who has been educated in this manner.
"What would that great king Louis the Superb say—he who could not tolerate the idea even of his illegitimate children being confounded with the nobility of the kingdom, such was his sensitiveness in view of the degradation of the blood royal—if he beheld his grand-nephew, without page or Jesuit, at a public school, mixing with the common herd of the human race, and disputing with them for prizes, sometimes conquered, sometimes conqueror!"
We have alluded to the Duke de Berri, the second son of Count d'Artois. As he became the father of Count de Chambord, the present Legitimist claimant of the throne of France, his career calls for more minute mention.
On the 28th of March, 1816, the French people were informed, by an announcement to both of the Chambers, that the young Duke de Berri was about to enter into a matrimonial alliance with Caroline Mary, eldest daughter of the heir to the crown of Naples. Caroline Mary was the niece of the Duchess of Orleans, being the child of her brother. The Chambers, in token of their satisfaction, voted the Duke de Berri a nuptial gift amounting to three hundred thousand dollars. The duke manifested his generous character, and won great popularity, by accepting the gift only upon condition that he [Pg 169]might be allowed to distribute the sum among the poor in the provinces, who were then suffering severely from famine.
The marriage proved a happy one, until death sundered the tie. Caroline Mary, who thus became the Duchess de Berri, was of sylph-like grace of figure, beautiful in features, and by her affable manners and unaffected amiability won all hearts. Four years glided swiftly away. Two children were born, a son and a daughter; both died in infancy. A third child proved to be a daughter. As, by an ancient law of the realm, daughters were not eligible to the throne of France, there was great anxiety felt throughout the kingdom. Unless a prince were born, there would be a failure in the direct line of succession, and civil war might be the result. On the 13th of February, the duke and duchess attended the opera. The duchess was expecting soon again to be a mother. By the sudden opening of a door, she was unexpectedly struck in the side with violence, which caused her some alarm, and she expressed the wish to return home.
The duke led her to her carriage. She took her seat in it, saying to him with a smile, "Adieu; we shall soon meet again." As the [Pg 170]duke was returning to the opera, an assassin, by the name of Louvel, who had been lying in wait for him, sprang from the darkness of a projecting wall, and seizing the duke by the shoulder with one hand, with the other plunged a dagger to the hilt in his side. It was the deed of an instant, and the assassin, in the darkness, fled, leaving the dagger in the side of the victim.
The footman was just closing the door of the carriage of the duchess when she heard her husband cry out, "I am assassinated! I am dead! I have the poniard! That man has killed me!" With a shriek, the duchess sprang from her carriage and clasped her husband in her arms, as the gushing blood followed the dagger which he drew from the wound.
"I am dead!" exclaimed the duke. "Send for a priest. Come, dearest, let me die in your arms!"
The dying man was conveyed to an adjoining room, and medical attendance was summoned. Nothing could staunch the gushing blood, and life was rapidly ebbing away. The duke was informed that the assassin was arrested. "Alas!" he said, "how cruel it is to die by the hands of a Frenchman!" Overhearing [Pg 173]some one say to the almost distracted duchess that he hoped the wound would not prove fatal, the duke replied, "No; I am not deceived; the poniard has entered to the hilt." His sight became dim, and he inquired, "Caroline, are you there?" "Yes," she answered, "and I will never leave you."
His father's confessor, the Bishop of Chartres, entered, and the dying man had a few moments of private conversation with the ecclesiastic. He then called for his infant daughter. She was brought to him, asleep, for it was near midnight. Placing his hand upon her head, he said, "Poor child! may you be less unfortunate than the rest of your family."
The wound ceased to bleed externally, and its inward flow threatened suffocation. The duke's physician, M. Boujou, endeavored to restore circulation by sucking the wound. "What are you doing?" exclaimed the duke. "For God's sake stop! Perhaps the poniard was poisoned." Respiration was now very difficult, and the hand of the duke was clammy with the damp of death. As a last resort, the surgeon, with his knife, opened and enlarged the wound. The duke, grasping the hand of the duchess, patiently bore the painful operation, [Pg 174]and then said, "Spare me further pain."
Turning to his wife, whom he tenderly loved, he said, "Caroline, take care of yourself for the sake of our infant, which you bear in your bosom."
The duke and the duchess of Orleans, being immediately summoned, were the first of the relatives to arrive in this chamber of death. They were speedily followed by the Count d'Artois, the father of the sufferer, and by the Duke d'Angoulême, his elder brother. Other members of the royal family soon arrived. In the feeble accents of approaching death, the duke inquired,
"Who is the man who has killed me? I wish I could see him, to inquire into his motives. Perhaps it is some one whom I have unconsciously offended. Would that I might live long enough to ask the king to pardon him. Promise me, my father, promise me, my brother, to ask of the king the life of that man."
Another touching scene, of a very delicate nature, which I can not refrain from recording occurred in this solemn hour. It was manifest to the duke, as well as to all of his friends, that [Pg 175]before the hour should expire the spirit of the dying would pass to the tribunal of that God in whose presence both prince and peasant are alike. The memory of all past sins, in such an hour, often crowds the soul with its tumultuous array. In whispering tones, inaudible to others, a few words were interchanged between the dying man and his wife. Then two illegitimate children, who were born to the duke when he was an exile in London, were brought in. It seems that he had ever recognized them as his own, and that they had been protected and fostered by both himself and his lawful wife.
As these children entered the chamber, and knelt, sobbing convulsively, at their father's dying bed, the duke embraced them tenderly, and, turning his fading eye to his wife, said,
"I know you sufficiently, Caroline, to be assured that, after me, you will take care of these orphans."
The duchess responded in an action far more impressive than words. Taking her own babe into her arms from its nurse, she drew the unfortunate children to her bosom, and said, "Kiss your sister." It was a noble deed. All eyes were suffused in tears. Few can read the simple record without emotion.
The duke then received, from the bishop, absolution, repeatedly attempting the prayer, "My God, pardon me, pardon me; and pardon the man who has taken my life!"
Just then the king, Louis XVIII., who was very infirm, arrived. "My uncle," said the dying man, "give me your hand, that I may kiss it for the last time. I entreat you, in the name of my death, to spare the life of that man."
The king replied, "You are not so ill as you suppose. We will speak of this again."
"Ah!" exclaimed the duke, "you do not say yes. The pardon of that man would have softened my last moments, if I could die with the assurance that his blood would not flow after my death."
These were his last words. There was a slight gasping, a convulsive shuddering passed over his frame, and the spirit of the duke took its flight to the judgment-seat of Christ. The remains were conveyed, with much funereal pageantry, to the vaults of St. Denis, the ancient mausoleum of the kings of France. Louvel, a miserable fanatic, who sought notoriety by the murder of a prince, expiated his crime upon the scaffold.
Seven months after this assassination, on the 20th of September, 1820, the Duchess de Berri gave birth to a son. He was christened Henry, duke of Bordeaux. He is now known as the Count de Chambord, the Legitimist candidate for the throne of France. Indeed the Legitimists regard him as their lawful sovereign, though in exile, and give him the title of Henry V.
Louis XVIII. retained the throne, upon which the Allies had placed him, for eight years, until his death. He was a good-natured, kind-hearted old man, but so infirm from gout and excessive obesity, that he could with difficulty walk, and he was wheeled around his saloons in a chair. Lamartine, whose poetic nature ever bowed almost with adoration before hereditary royalty, gives the following pleasing account of his character:
To this it should be added that he was devoted to the interests of the aristocracy; that his mind was almost exclusively occupied in making happy hits in conversation, and in writing graceful billet-doux; that the priests and the nobles controlled him through the all-persuasive influence of the fascinating Madame Du Cayla. He died on the 16th of September, 1824. As his last hour approached, and his extremities became cold, and it was manifest that he had but a few moments to live, his mind remained clear and composed. Assuming a cheerful air, he said to his family, gathered around his bed:
"A king of France may die, but he is never ill. Love each other, and thus console yourselves for the disasters of our house. Providence has replaced us upon the throne."
He then received extreme unction, bade adieu to all, and, ordering the curtains of his bed to be closed, composed himself as for ordinary sleep. With the earliest dawn of the [Pg 179]morning the chief physician opened the curtains, and found that his pulse was just ceasing to beat. In a few moments he breathed his last. In accordance with court etiquette the physician said, solemnly, "The king is dead." Then, turning to the king's brother, Charles, previously known as the Count d'Artois, he bowed and said, "Long live the king."
Charles X., into whose hands the sceptre thus passed, was then in the sixty-seventh year of his age—having been born in Versailles, October 9, 1757. This unfortunate monarch is represented, by his friends, as having been one of the most accomplished of men. His horsemanship attracted universal admiration. In all social circles he charmed every one who approached him by his grace and courtesy. He was warm-hearted and generous. Though in early life a man of pleasure, he had become quite a devotee; and, to an extraordinary degree, was under the influence of the priesthood. Leaving the affairs of State in the hands of others, he gave his time, his thoughts, his energies, to the pleasures of the chase. This pursuit became, not his recreation, but the serious occupation of his life.
Charles was the father of two sons. The [Pg 180]eldest, and consequently the heir to the crown, was the Duke d'Angoulême. He had married the daughter of Louis XVI., whose sufferings, with her brother, the dauphin, in the Temple, have moved the sympathies of the whole civilized world. The duke and duchess were childless, and with no hope of offspring.
His second son, the Duke de Berri, had been assassinated, as we have mentioned, about four years before, as he was coming from the opera, leaving his wife enciente. In the course of a few months she gave birth to a son—the Duke of Bordeaux. This child—now called Count de Chambord—was the legitimate heir to the throne, next to his uncle, the Duke d'Angoulême.
Six years of the reign of Charles X. passed away, during which the discontent of the people was continually making itself increasingly manifest. They regarded the Government as false to the claims of the masses, and devoted only to the interests of the aristocracy.
The spirit of discontent which had long been brooding now rose in loud and angry clamor everywhere around the throne. The court was blind to its peril; but thoughtful men perceived that the elements for a moral [Pg 181]earthquake were fast accumulating. In the midst of these hourly increasing perils, the Duke of Orleans, on the 31st of May, 1830, gave a ball at the Palais Royal in honor of his father-in-law, the King of Naples. This festival was of such splendor as to astonish even splendor-loving Paris, and was long remembered as one of the most brilliant entertainments the metropolis had ever witnessed. The immense fortune of the duke, his refined taste, and the grandeur of the saloons of his ancestral palace, enabled him almost to outvie royalty itself in the brilliance of the fête.
Vast amphitheatres bloomed with flowers in Eden-like profusion. The immense colonnades of the Palais Royal were crowded with orange-trees, whose opening buds filled the air with fragrance, and whose clusters of golden fruit enhanced the beauty of the scene. The spacious roofs and rotundas of glass sparkled with thousands of wax-lights, creating a spectacle so gorgeous and glittering that even those who were accustomed to royal splendor were reminded of the enchanter's palace in Oriental fable.
The marriage of the Duke de Berri, the son of Charles X. with Caroline Mary, niece of the [Pg 182]Duchess of Orleans, had produced some reconciliation between the Bourbon and the Orleans branches of the royal family. The king and his family this evening, for the first time, in regal state visited the Palais Royal. As the duke was receiving the congratulations of his guests upon the marvellous splendor which the palace presented, thronged with courtiers sparkling with jewels and decorated with all the costly and glittering costumes of the old régime, one of the guests, M. Salvandy, shrewdly observed to the duke,
"It is, indeed, quite a Neapolitan fête, your highness, for we dance upon a volcano."
The duke with some emotion replied, "That there is a volcano here I believe as firmly as you do. But I know that the fault is not mine. I shall not have any occasion, hereafter, to reproach myself for not having endeavored to open the eyes of the king. But what could be expected when nothing is listened to? God only knows where all this will end—I certainly do not foresee what is about to happen. I can not tell where all those who are producing this state of things will be in six months hence; but one thing I do know, which is, where I shall be myself.
"Under all circumstances or changes which may occur, my family and myself will remain in this palace. This is our throne. Whatever may be the peril of so doing, I shall not move from the home of my fathers. I shall never again consent to separate the fate and fortune of myself and children from those of my country. This is my unchangeable determination."
One of the saloons contained two very fine paintings of Montmiral and Champ-Aubert, two towns in France in which Napoleon, heroically struggling against dynastic Europe combined in arms against him, signally defeated and drove back the Allies. The duke, being asked why he allowed paintings commemorative of the victories of the Empire to hang upon his walls, replied, "Because I like every thing French."
Soon after this the popular complaints against the crown became so general, so bitter, and the excitement so great, that the king, by the advice of the ministers who governed him, issued several ordinances which were regarded by the people as so despotic, as so subversive of all popular rights, as to call for resistance by insurrection and the force of arms.
The first of these famous ordinances suspended [Pg 184]the liberty of the press, and prohibited the publication of any journals excepting such as were authorized by the Government.
The second dissolved the new Chamber of Deputies, or Legislature, because the members were too liberal in their political opinions, assuming that the electors had been deceived by the popular clamor, and had chosen such persons as they ought not to have chosen.
The third reduced the number of deputies from three hundred and ninety-five to two hundred and twenty-eight, and so altered the electoral franchise, in order to secure the return of members favorable to the Government, as to deprive a large number of the right of suffrage who had heretofore exercised it.
Such, in brief, were the ordinances which overthrew the throne of Charles X. and drove the elder branch of the Bourbons into exile. There were others issued at the same time, but which were of no material importance.
Frivolous as was the character of Charles X., he had sagacity enough to know that such decrees could not be issued in France without creating intense agitation. His ministers also, though the advocates of the despotic principles of the old régime, were men of ability. They [Pg 185]recognized the measures as desperate. Popular discontent had reached such a crisis that it was necessary either to silence it by despotic power or yield to it, introducing reforms which would deprive the ministers of their places.
Prince Polignac was at this time prime minister. His mother had been the bosom-friend of Maria Antoinette. Through his whole life he was the unswerving friend of the Bourbons. Implicated in the plot of Georges for the overthrow of the First Consul, he was condemned to death. Napoleon spared his life, and finally liberated him, upon which he followed Count d'Artois (Charles X.) into exile. Returning with the Bourbons, in the rear of the Allied armies, he was rewarded for his life-long fidelity to the ancient régime by the highest honors.
The sorrows of life had left their impress upon his pensive features. He was well-read, very decided in his views that the people were made to be governed, not to govern. He was energetic, but possessed of so little worldly wisdom that he thought that the people, however much exasperated, could be easily subdued by determined action.
M. de la Bourdonnaye, Minister of the Interior, like Polignac, was an ultra Royalist. He [Pg 186]had been one of the most violent of the Vendéans in their opposition to the Revolution, and is represented, even by those who were in sympathy with him, as wishing to govern by a royalist reign of terror.
M. de Bourmont, Minister of War, had been a staunch Royalist in the days of the Revolution, struggling with the Vendéans in defense of the monarchy. Upon the establishment of the Empire he gave his adhesion to Napoleon. Being a man of ability, he was placed in responsible posts. At Waterloo, upon the eve of the great struggle, he deserted to the Allies, carrying as his peace-offering the betrayal of the emperor's plan of campaign. It is supposed that his testimony against Marshal Ney sealed the fate of that illustrious man. The French people had not forgotten his defection at Waterloo, and he was exceedingly unpopular.
These were the prominent ministers. The other members of the cabinet, though men of ability, were not of historic note. The original appointment of these ministers, whose opinions were so obnoxious and well known, had caused great indignation. The liberal press assailed them with vehemence. The Journal des [Pg 187]Débats, after announcing the names of the ministers, exclaimed:
M. Guizot was then editor of the journal Le Temps. He had already attained renown. His weighty editorials, distinguished alike for cogent argument and depth of philosophical thought, carried conviction to the most intelligent minds. M. Thiers was editor of the Nationale. His great abilities, already developed in his "History of the French Revolution," had given him a commanding position among the journalists on the liberal side. Both of these distinguished writers, and many others, assailed the ministry with such popular effect, that it was clear that their utterances must be silenced, or the ministry must fall. Hence the Ordinances were issued.
The scene at the signing of these ordinances is represented by Lamartine as quite dramatic. The important measure of the coup d'état was [Pg 188]anxiously discussed under the pledge of secrecy. The project of the ministers was cordially approved by the king. He is reported to have said:
"It is not the ministry, it is the crown, which is attacked. It is the cause of the throne against revolution which is at issue. One or the other must succumb. I recollect what occurred in 1789. The first step my unhappy brother, Louis XVI., made in retreat before the revolutionists was the signal of his ruin. They, too, pretended fidelity to the crown, and demanded only the dismissal of its ministers. He yielded, and all was lost. Gentlemen, I will not dismiss you. No! Let them conduct us, if they please, to the scaffold. But let us fight for our rights; and if we are to fall, fall sword in hand. I had rather be led to execution on horseback than in a cart."
On the morning of the 25th of July, 1830, the king and his ministers met at the palace of St. Cloud to sign the fatal ordinances. They all seem to have been in some degree aware of the peril of the step. Many of them had passed a sleepless night, and were deeply impressed with the solemnity of the occasion. They sat pale, silent, anxious, as Prince Polignac slowly [Pg 189]read the ordinances and presented them to the king for his signature. Charles X. took the pen, turned pale, and for a moment hesitated. Then raising his eyes to heaven, as if imploring Divine aid, he said, "The more I think of it, the more I am convinced that it is impossible to do otherwise than I do." With these words he affixed his signature to the document which expelled him and his dynasty from France.[U]
The ministers, one after another, countersigned the ordinances. Not a word was spoken. "Despair," says Alison, "was painted on every visage." Polignac, in the temporary absence [Pg 190]of M. Bourmont, was acting Minister of War. In reply to the inquiry what means of resistance the Government had in case of insurrection, he replied, with confidence equal to his self-deception,
"No popular movement is to be apprehended. At all events, Paris is sufficiently garrisoned to crush any rebellion and guarantee public tranquillity."
The force upon which Polignac relied consisted of 11,550 men in Paris, with twelve pieces of cannon. There were also fifteen battalions of infantry and thirty-four squadrons of cavalry stationed in towns not far distant, which could be rapidly collected to aid the troops within the walls. On the other hand, the city of Paris, in a general insurrection, could furnish 200,000 fighting men. Many of these had seen actual service. There was a National Guard, the militia of the metropolis, organized and well armed, consisting of 40,000 men. A portion of the royal troops, also, could not be relied upon in a struggle with the people. General Marmont, one of the marshals of the Empire, was in command of the Royalist troops. He was exceedingly unpopular in Paris, in consequence of the feeble defense it was thought [Pg 191]he made when the city was captured by the Allies.
The ordinances were secretly printed, and during the night of the 25th were placarded on the walls of Paris. They also appeared simultaneously the next morning in the Moniteur. Though some of the more sagacious had been suspecting that the Government might resort to measures of desperation, these ordinances took the whole community by surprise. Crowds gathered in the coffee-houses, at the doors of the public journals, and in all the prominent places of resort. There was no sudden ebullition of indignation, and no immediate demonstrations of violence. The event had come so suddenly that the masses were unprepared for action, and the leaders required time to decide whether it were best to attempt forcible resistance, and, if so, what measures to that end could most effectually be adopted. Though throughout the day no insurrectionary movements appeared, still agitation was rapidly on the increase, and Paris represented a bee-hive into which some disturbing element had been cast.
The editors of the leading journals, and several others of the most illustrious advocates of liberal opinions, held a consultation upon the [Pg 192]state of affairs. But night came, and the result of their deliberations was not made known. The day had been serene and beautiful, inviting all the population of Paris into the streets. The balmy summer night kept them there. Innumerable rumors increased the excitement, and it was evident that a few words from influential lips would create an insurrection, which might amount to a revolution.
The gentlemen who had met in conference—forty-four in number—after careful deliberation, and having obtained the opinion of the most celebrated lawyers that the ordinances were illegal, gallantly resolved to resist them at the hazard of their lives. They accordingly issued a protest, to which each one affixed his signature. The boldness of the act commanded the admiration even of the advocates of arbitrary power. In their protest they said:
The liberal journals refused to take out the license the ordinances required. This act of defiance the Government met by sending the [Pg 193]police to seize the journals and close their printing-offices. A commissary of police, with two gendarmes, repaired to the office of the Temps, edited by M. Guizot, in the Boulevard des Italiens. They found the doors barred against them. A blacksmith was sent for to force the entrance. This collected a crowd, and he refused to act in obedience to the police. A second blacksmith was sent for. As he commenced operations the crowd took his tools from him. At length, however, an entrance was effected, and a seal was put upon the printing-presses. This scene, occurring in one of the most populous thoroughfares of Paris, created intense agitation. Still, thus far, there had been so little commotion that the king and his ministers were quite sanguine that their measures would prove triumphant. Charles X. was so infatuated that on that morning—the 26th—he went to Rambouillet, and spent the day in hunting.
During the night of the 26th there was another very important meeting of the leaders of the liberal party at the mansion of M. Casimir Périer. About thirty were present. Nearly all were members of the Chamber of Deputies, and in intellectual strength were among the [Pg 194]most illustrious men in France. Anxiously, yet firmly, they discussed the course to be pursued. It was a fearful question to decide. Submission placed France, bound helplessly hand and foot, under the heel of Bourbon despotism. Unsuccessful insurrection would consign them either to life-long imprisonment in the dungeon or to death upon the scaffold.
All agreed in condemning the ordinances as illegal. The more cautious hesitated at rousing the energies of insurrection, and submitting the issue to the decision of the sword. The young and impetuous advocated an immediate appeal to arms. While deliberating, a deputation appeared professing to represent the electors of Paris, and urged that, as the Government was manifestly resolved to support the despotic ordinances by force, nothing remained to the people but to have recourse to insurrection. It was also stated that nearly all the workmen from the manufactories were in the streets, eager to throw up barricades and to defend their rights at every hazard.
At the same time committees presented themselves from various bodies of young men, urging the deputies to take the lead of the patriotic movement in which the people were [Pg 195]resolved to engage. Their solicitations were intensified by occasional discharges of musketry in the streets, and by the clatter of iron hoofs, as the king's cavalry here and there made charges to disperse threatening gatherings, or to prevent the erection of barricades. It does not, however, appear that any very decisive action was taken by this body. Late at night it adjourned, to meet again the next day.
The morning of the 27th revealed a scene of turmoil and agitation such as even excitable Paris had rarely witnessed. The king and his court, with twelve hundred of the troops, withdrawn from the city, were at St. Cloud. Large bodies of men were surging through the streets, apparently without leaders or definite object, but ready for any deeds of daring. Every hour of the day affairs were more menacing. Frequent reports were brought by the police to the ministers at St. Cloud, which represented that, though business was generally suspended, and there were agitated crowds in the streets, still no serious danger was apprehended.
But General Marmont, who was intrusted with the command of the garrison in Paris, early in the morning became alarmed in view [Pg 196]of the struggle which he apprehended was about to commence, and of the inadequate means under his control to meet it. In counting up his forces he found that he had not more than ten thousand troops within the walls. Of these not more than four thousand could be relied upon in a conflict with the people.
Well might General Marmont tremble. From the remote sections and narrow streets the populace were thronging to central points. The boulevards, from the Place de la Bastile to the Madeleine, presented a dense mass, whose angry looks, loud words, and violent gestures indicated that they would fight with desperation should the struggle once commence. Many of them were skilled in the use of arms. They knew how to construct barricades. Every house was a fortress from whose windows and roof the populace could hurl destruction upon the heads of the troops, wedged in the narrow streets. And General Marmont had reason to fear that of the small force under his command six thousand would fraternize with the people upon the report of the first musket.
The war-worn marshal skillfully arranged [Pg 197]his forces, evidently copying the operations of Napoleon in his famous repulse of the attack of the sections upon the Convention. Three battalions were placed at the Carrousel, which might be regarded as a vast fortress in the centre of the city, walled in by the Tuileries and the Louvre. Three battalions were stationed in the Place de la Concorde, with two pieces of artillery. Three battalions of the line were ranged along the boulevards from the Place of the Bastile to the Madeleine. General Marmont did not wait for an attack to be made upon him. He sent out detachments to scour the streets and to prevent the erection of barricades. Reports had reached him that several were in process of construction in the most narrow streets.
The first barricade encountered was in the Rue St. Honoré, nearly in front of the Palais Royal. The troops endeavored to disperse the defenders by a volley in the air. As this produced no effect, they opened upon them with a point-blank discharge, by which several were wounded, and one man was killed. The other detachments met with no opposition, but removed several barricades, and dispersed tumultuous gatherings. The agitation was hourly [Pg 198]on the increase. Random shots were heard in different parts of the city. The dead body of the man shot while defending the barricade was paraded in blood-stained ghastliness through the streets, exciting frenzied passions. The troops of the line, so called, who were known to be in sympathy with the people, and whom General Marmont distrusted, were received with shouts of applause wherever they appeared.
A vast concourse of the people had assembled in front of the Palais Royal. A detachment of the line was sent to guard the palace. The troops and the populace mingled together, talking and laughing. As the multitude pressed the troops, they opened their ranks and let the living torrent pass through, amidst loud cheers. Several armorers' shops were broken open, and it was manifest that vigorous preparations were going on in anticipation of the struggle of the succeeding day. Still the king, with an infatuation which is inexplicable, took no measures to add to the military strength at the disposal of General Marmont. Thus passed the day of the 27th. It seems that at night the king became somewhat alarmed, for at eleven o'clock he issued an [Pg 199]ordinance from his retreat at St. Cloud declaring Paris to be in a state of siege.
During all the hours of the night of the 27th there reigned the calm which precedes the storm. The leaders of the Liberal party—among whom were to be found many of the most intelligent men, the wisest statesmen, and the most accomplished generals in France—had fully decided to submit their cause to the arbitrament of battle. Calm deliberation, organization, carefully matured plans, were requisite to meet the marshalled forces of the monarchy. It was no longer a mere street insurrection, but a kingdom was to be revolutionized. Immediately a new and tremendous impulse was secretly given to the movement. Committees were busy. Agents were active, invested with authority which the populace instinctively recognized without inquiring into the source from which it emanated.
With the early light of the next morning—the 28th—the result of the operations of the night was manifest. In the vicinity of the Place of the Bastile there is a portion of the city densely populated, called the Faubourg St. Antoine. It is inhabited by a class in a humble condition of life, who have ever taken [Pg 200]a very prominent part in all the insurrections which have agitated Paris. Reckless of their own lives as well as of the lives of others, they have ever been the most desperate and the most dreaded fighters in every conflict in the streets.
With the morning dawn the faubourg seemed to be swarming. Guided by some mysterious but common impulse, a huge and disorderly mass—ever increasing—of maddened men and equally maddened women, armed with swords, muskets, pickaxes, and every other conceivable weapon of offense or defense, surged along through the Rue St. Denis and along the crowded boulevards towards the Place of the Madeleine, which was occupied by the military. At the same time, at several important points along the boulevards, the people were busy—men, women, and boys—tearing up the pavements, seizing and overturning omnibuses and carts, cutting down the trees, pitching heavy articles of furniture out of the windows of the houses, and thus constructing barricades.
The points selected and the artistic style of structure indicated that military genius of a high order guided the movement. Only a [Pg 201]small detachment of troops could be sent out from the central position at the Tuileries. As they could not be everywhere, the intrenchments of the populace rose in various parts of the city, unopposed, with inconceivable rapidity, and with almost military precision. Large bodies advanced simultaneously to the gunsmiths' shops, to the police stations and guard-houses, to the arsenal and powder manufactory, to the artillery dépôt of St. Thomas Aquinas; and the guns, muskets, and ammunition thus seized were freely distributed to the people. The National Guard, forty thousand strong, was thoroughly armed. The ranks of this formidable body were filled with the citizens of Paris, who were all in sympathy with the insurrection. Many of them appeared in the streets even in their uniform.
A band of armed men advanced to the Hôtel de Ville, where but sixteen soldiers were stationed on guard. The soldiers, attempting no opposition, withdrew unmolested. A huge tri-color flag, unfurled from the roof, announced with the peal of the tocsin that that important post, almost an impregnable citadel in the hands of determined men, had fallen into the possession of the people. The tidings swept [Pg 202]the streets like a flood, giving a new impulse to the universal enthusiasm. A few moments after another band burst open the gates of Nôtre Dame, and another tri-color flag waved in the breeze from one of its towers; while the bells of the cathedral with their sublime voices proclaimed to the agitated yet exultant masses the additional triumph. It was scarcely midday, and yet four-fifths of Paris was in the undisputed possession of the insurgents, and, as by magic, from twenty spires and towers the tri-color flag spread its folds in defiance to the banner of the Bourbons. More than a hundred barricades had been erected, or were in the process of erection. Behind them stood more than a hundred thousand well-armed, determined men. With such rapidity and sagacity had all this been effected that there had been scarcely any collision worthy of notice. A few charges had been made by the gendarmery in dispersing crowds, and a few random shots had been fired.
General Marmont, in preparation for assuming the offensive, concentrated the whole of his little band around the Tuileries, and constructed for himself a fortified camp in the Carrousel protected by eight guns. A few troops were [Pg 203]forwarded to him from Vincennes and Versailles, so that he could display for the defense of that central point thirty-six hundred soldiers of the Guard, tried men, upon whom he could rely. Six hundred of these were horsemen. Forming three columns, he sent one along the banks of the river to recapture the Hôtel de Ville, to demolish all the barricades, and disperse the armed bands, until they reached the Place of the Bastile. Another was to advance to the same point by the boulevards. The third was to force its way through the Rue St. Honoré to the Market of the Innocents. Along these three lines the battle now raged fiercely, with equal determination on each side. The scene of tumult, carnage, horror, which ensued can neither be described nor imagined. The streets were narrow. Every house was a fortress, from whose windows a deadly fire was poured upon the troops. The combatants, inflamed by the fury and terror of the strife, neither asked nor granted quarter. Hour after hour they fought, Frenchmen against Frenchmen, brother against brother, and the pavements were clotted with blood. Barricades were taken and retaken. There were triumphant charges and murderous repulses.
Night came, the night of the 28th of July, 1830. The royal troops, having really accomplished nothing of any moment in their conflict with the insurgent people, were ordered to avail themselves of the darkness to retreat from all the positions they had gained. Thus, before midnight the troops, virtually defeated, sought refuge in concentrating themselves in their fortified camp at the Carrousel. It was with no little difficulty that some of them fought their way back to regain the quarters which they had left.
Two parties must ever co-operate in such scenes as we are now describing. There must be not only bold men, with arms in their hands, to achieve, but there must be sagacious men in council to plan and direct. During the day a sort of provisional government was established by the insurgents, which continued in session until midnight. The voices of the street cannon [Pg 205]had summoned Lafayette to Paris, and he consecrated his world-wide renown to the cause of popular rights, for which he had fought in America, and to which he had been ever true in Europe. M. Lafitte, the wealthiest banker in Paris, consecrated his fortune to the cause. M. Thiers, never prone to follow any lead but that of his own vigorous mind, though he had united with other journalists in recommending resistance, now objected to any resort to violence, and demanded that the resistance should be legal only. Being outvoted by his more practical compeers—Lafayette, Lafitte, and Mauguin—he retired in displeasure, and, abandoning the conflict, took refuge in the country at some distance from Paris. To his remonstrances Lafayette replied in language which one would deem convincing to every mind:
"Legal means have been cut short by the ordinances in the Moniteur, and the discharges of artillery you hear in the streets. Victory can alone now decide the question."
There was but little sleep for any one in Paris that night. A population of a million and a half of people, crowded in narrow streets, was in a state of the wildest excitement. The air was filled with rumors of the approaching [Pg 206]forces of the monarchy. The tramp of armed men, the rumbling of the ponderous enginery of war, the clamor of workmen throwing up barricades, the shouts of the mob, and often, rising above all, the soul-stirring strains of the "Marseillaise Hymn," pealed forth from thousands of impassioned lips, together with the darkness of the night, the flash of torches, the blaze of bonfires, presented a spectacle sublime beyond comprehension. The "Marseillaise Hymn" is unquestionably the most powerful composition in the world, both in its words and its music, to rouse the populace to a frenzy of enthusiasm. We give below a vigorous translation of the first verse:
But no translation can equal the force of the original.
The king and his courtiers at St. Cloud were struck with consternation as they received the tidings of the general and successful revolt. The booming of the cannon in the streets of Paris could be distinctly heard. With his spy-glass, from the heights behind the chateau, the king could see the tri-color, the representative of deadly hostility to his dynasty, unfurled from the Hôtel de Ville and from the towers of Nôtre Dame, and then from more than twenty other prominent points in the city. At four o'clock in the afternoon a dispatch from General Marmont informed the king of the desperate state of affairs. The Royal Guard, composed largely of Swiss mercenaries, had been faithful to discipline. But the troops of the line, all Frenchmen, had in many instances refused to fire upon the insurgents.
The fearful and unexpected crisis roused the king to action. It is said he displayed more of coolness and energy than any of his ministers. Orders were sent to General Marmont to concentrate his forces as speedily as possible at the Tuileries. Agents were dispatched to all the divisions of the Royal Guard garrisoned in the towns in the vicinity of Paris to break camp immediately, and move with the utmost [Pg 208]haste to the capital. The king's eldest son, the Duke d'Angoulême, of whom we have previously spoken as having married his cousin, the unhappy but heroic and very noble daughter of Louis XVI., was with his father at St. Cloud. The duchess was absent. The widow also of the king's second son, the Duke de Berri, was at St. Cloud with her two children, a daughter ten years old, and the little boy, the Duke of Bordeaux (Count de Chambord), nine years of age. These constituted the royal family.
"While Charles X. thought only of inspiring all around him with his own fatal security, a bold scheme was concocting, almost before his eyes, in the apartments of Madame de Gentaul. Convinced of the old monarch's impotence to defend his dynasty, General Vincent had resolved to save royalty without the king's co-operation, unknown to the king, and, if necessary, despite the king. He went to Madame de Gentaul and set forth to her that, in the existing state of things, the fate of the monarchy depended upon a heroic resolve, and he therefore proposed to her to take the Duchess de Berri and her son, the Duke of Bordeaux, to Paris. He suggested that they should take [Pg 209]Neuilly in their way, get hold of the Duke of Orleans, and oblige him by main force to take part in the hazard of the enterprise. They should then enter Paris by the faubourgs, and the Duchess de Berri, exhibiting the royal child to the people, should confide him to the generosity of the combatants. Madame de Gentaul approved of this scheme. In spite of its adventurous character, or rather for that very reason, it won upon the excitable imagination of the Duchess de Berri, and every thing was arranged for carrying it into execution. But the infidelity of a confederate put Charles X. in possession of the plot, and it broke down."[V]
The Duke d'Angoulême, called the Dauphin, was a very respectable man, without any distinguishing character. His wife, disciplined in the school not merely of sorrow, but of such woes as few mortals have ever been called to endure, had developed a character of truly heroic mould. The Duchess de Berri was young, beautiful, and fascinating. Her courage, enthusiasm, and love of adventure, as subsequently displayed in the eyes of all Europe, were perhaps never surpassed. Every generous [Pg 210]heart will cherish emotions of regret in view of that frailty which has consigned her name to reproach. The two children of the Duchess de Berri were too young to comprehend the nature of the events which were transpiring. Even while the bloody strife was in progress, and the din of the conflict reached their ears, these two innocent children were amusing themselves in a game in which Mademoiselle led the rebels, and the Duke of Bordeaux at the head of his Royal Guard repulsed them.
The cabinet ministers, under the protection of the troops, were in permanent session at the Tuileries. Prince Polignac, a thoroughly impractical man, who was at the head of the Government, seems not at all to have comprehended the true state of affairs. When General Marmont sent him word, on the evening of the 28th, that the troops of the line were fraternizing with the people, he is reported to have replied, with extraordinary coolness and simplicity, "Well, if the troops have gone over to the insurgents, we must fire upon the troops."
Many of these officers found themselves in a very painful situation, embarrassed by the apparently conflicting claims of duty—fidelity to their sovereign on the one hand, and fidelity [Pg 211]to the rights of the people on the other. Some, like General Marmont, remained faithful to their colors, some silently abandoned their posts, but refused to enter the ranks of the people to fight against their former comrades; some openly passed over to the people and aided them in the struggle, thus with certainty forfeiting their own lives should the royal troops conquer. The following letter from Count de Raoul to Prince de Polignac, resigning his commission, will give the reader some idea of the embarrassments with which these honorable men were agitated:
"Monseigneur,—After a day of massacres and disasters, entered on in defiance of all laws, divine and human, and in which I have taken part only from respect to human considerations, for which I reproach myself, my conscience imperiously forbids me to serve a moment longer. I have given, in the course of my life, proofs sufficiently numerous of my devotion to the king, to warrant me, without exposing my intentions to unjust suspicions, to draw a distinction between what emanates from him and the atrocities which are committed in his name. I have the honor to request, monseigneur, that you will lay before [Pg 212]the king my resignation of my commission as captain of his guard."
In the confusion of those hours it appears that this letter did not reach its destination. M. Polignac writes: "I never received this letter, I would have sent it back to its author. In the moment of danger no one's resignation is accepted."
The dismal night of the 28th passed quickly away, as both parties summoned their mightiest energies for the death-struggle on the morrow. The truce of a few hours, which darkness and exhaustion compelled, was favorable to the people. I think it was Madame de Staël who made the shrewd remark that "there is nothing so successful as success." The real victory which the people had achieved not only inspired the combatants with new courage, but induced thousands, who had hesitated, to swell their ranks, and the troops of the line very generally deserted the defense of the Government and passed over to the people.
Early in the morning of the 29th the heroic little band of the Guard stationed at the Tuileries—heroic in their devotion to discipline, though unconsciously maintaining a bad cause—received [Pg 213]a reinforcement of fifteen hundred infantry and six hundred cavalry. This, however, did but little more than make up for the losses in killed and wounded of the preceding day, and as most of the troops of the line had now gone over to the people, the cause of the Government seemed hopeless. As General Marmont counted up his resources, he found that he had but five thousand effective men and eight guns to defend his position at the Tuileries. A hundred thousand combatants, most of them well armed and disciplined, and renowned for bravery, surrounded him. Military men who may be familiar with the localities, either by observation or from maps, may be interested in seeing how General Marmont disposed of his force to meet the emergency.
A Swiss battalion occupied the Carrousel. Two more Swiss battalions were stationed in the Louvre, a fortress which could not easily be stormed. Two battalions were placed in the Rue de Rivoli, to guard the northern entrance to the Carrousel. Three battalions of the Guard and a regiment of cavalry occupied the garden of the Tuileries and the spacious Place de la Concorde, outside of the iron railing. Two battalions of the line, who had not [Pg 214]yet abandoned their colors, were stationed in the Rue Castiglione, which abuts upon the garden near its central northern entrance.
By this arrangement General Marmont, if sorely pressed, could rapidly concentrate his whole force, either in the Carrousel or in the garden of the Tuileries, where he could easily for some time hold an army at bay. Should retreat be found necessary, there was open before him the broad avenue of the Champs Elysées. The ground which the royal troops occupied was all that remained under the control of the Government. The whole of the remainder of Paris was in possession of the insurgents.
It was well known that General Marmont could feel but little sympathy in the cause which, in obedience to his oath, he felt compelled to defend. The insurgents were now pressing the troops on every side. An incessant fire of musketry, accompanied by loud shouts, indicated the renewed severity with which the battle was beginning to rage. The Provisional Government, anxious to arrest, if possible, the carnage inevitable upon the continuance of the struggle, dispatched M. Arago, the celebrated philosopher, who was an intimate [Pg 215]friend of General Marmont, to confer with him upon the subject. The philosopher was introduced to the warrior, seated upon his horse in the middle of the Carrousel, surrounded by his staff of officers. The following is, in substance, the conversation which is represented as having taken place between them. M. Arago first urged General Marmont to imitate the troops of the line, and, with his Guard, espouse the cause of the people, which was the cause of liberty and justice. The general firmly and somewhat passionately replied,
"No! propose nothing to me which will dishonor me."
M. Arago then urged him to abandon a bad cause, to surrender his command, retire to St. Cloud, and return his sword to the king, and no longer to fight in defense of despotic measures, and against the people, who were struggling only for their rights. The general replied:
"You know very well whether or not I approve of those fatal and odious ordinances. But I am a soldier. I am in the post which has been intrusted to me. To abandon that post under the fire of sedition, to desert my [Pg 216]troops, to be unfaithful to my king, would be desertion, flight, ignominy. My fate is frightful. But it is the decree of destiny, and I must go through with it."[W]
While they were conversing, the battle was still raging at the outposts with the clamor of shouts, musketry, and booming cannon. An officer came, covered with dust, and bleeding from his wounds, to urge that reinforcements should be dispatched to one of the outposts which was hotly assailed. "I have none to send," said the general, in tones of sadness and despair. "They must defend themselves."
These two illustrious men, in heart both in sympathy, but by the force of circumstances placed in opposite parties, arrayed in deadly strife, after a long and melancholy interview separated, with the kindest feelings, each to act his part, and each alike convinced that the Bourbon monarchy was inevitably and rapidly [Pg 217]approaching its end. The Provisional Government, so hastily and imperfectly organized, had also sent a deputation to the ministers assembled in the Tuileries. But Polignac and his associates refused them admission. The decisive decree was then passed by the Provisional Government that the king and his ministers were public enemies, and orders were issued to press the royal troops on every side with the utmost vigor.
The Hôtel de Ville became the head-quarters of the insurgents, and the Provisional Government transferred itself there. The military government of Paris was given to Lafayette. The royal troops were speedily driven in to the vicinity of the Louvre, and the situation of the ministers in the Tuileries became alarming. They decided that it was necessary for them to retire to St. Cloud. Before setting out they sent for General Marmont, that they might ascertain his means of defense.
"You may tell the king," said General Marmont, "that, come what may, and though the entire population of Paris should rise up against me, I can hold this position for fifteen days without further reinforcements. This position is impregnable."
As this statement was repeated to the king he was much cheered by it. The monarchy was much stronger in the provinces than in Paris. The populace of the capital could do but little outside of its walls. A few days would give an opportunity to assemble numerous regiments of the Guard from the various positions they occupied in the vicinity of the metropolis. But affairs were rapidly assuming a more fatal aspect in Paris than General Marmont had deemed possible. The whole of the city, except the ground held by the royal troops around the Tuileries, was in the hands of the insurgents. An impetuous band of students from the Polytechnic School rushed upon and took every piece of artillery in the Rue St. Honoré.
The regiment placed in the Rue Castiglione, to guard the great entrance into the garden of the Tuileries from the boulevards, through the Rue de la Paix, opened its ranks, and the triumphant populace, with shouts which rang through Paris, entered the iron-railed inclosure. These disasters caused the withdrawal of a portion of the troops who had for some time been defending the Louvre from the colonnade opposite the Church of St. Germain [Pg 219]l'Auxerrois, where the insurgents were posted in great strength. Thus encouraged, the insurgents rushed vehemently across the street, and took the Louvre by storm. Flooding the palace like an ocean tide, they opened a deadly fire from the inner windows upon the Swiss in the Carrousel.
These brave men, thus assailed where successful resistance was hopeless, were thrown into a panic. With bullets whistling around them, deafened by the roar of the battle and the shouts of infuriated men, and seeing their comrades dropping every moment upon the pavement dead or wounded, they fled in wild disorder through the arch of the Tuileries into the garden, into which, from the side gate, as we have mentioned, the insurgents were pouring.
All was lost, and, as it were, in a moment. Such are the vicissitudes of battle. General Marmont rushed to the rear, the post of danger and of honor in a retreat. He did every thing which skill and courage could do to restore order, and succeeded in withdrawing his little band into the grand avenue of the Champs Elysées, through which they rapidly marched out of Paris, leaving the metropolis [Pg 220]in the hands of the insurgents. In the midst of the storm of death which swept their retreating ranks General Marmont was the last to leave the garden of the Tuileries. One hundred of the Swiss troops, who had been posted in a house at the junction of the Rue de Richelieu and the Rue St. Honoré, were unfortunately left behind. They perished to a man.
Did these heroic troops do right in thus proving faithful to their oaths, their colors, and their king? Did these heroic people do right in thus resisting tyranny and contending for liberty at the price of their blood? Alas for man! Let us learn a lesson of charity.
General Marmont having collected his bleeding and exhausted band in the Bois de Boulogne, where pursuit ceased, galloped across the wood to St. Cloud, in anguish of spirit, to announce to the king his humiliating defeat.
"Sire," said this veteran of a hundred battles, with moistened eyes and trembling lips, "it is my painful duty to announce to your majesty that I have not been able to maintain your authority in Paris. The Swiss, to whom I intrusted the defense of the Louvre, seized with a sudden panic, have abandoned that important [Pg 223]post. Carried away myself by the torrent of fugitives, I was unable to rally the troops until they arrived at the arch of the Étoile, and I have ordered them to continue their retreat to St. Cloud. A ball directed at me has killed the horse of my aid-de-camp by my side. I regret that it did not pass through my head. Death would be nothing to me compared to the sad spectacle which I have witnessed."
The ministers were called in. All were struck with consternation. The chateau of St. Cloud is but six miles from Paris. Thousands of men, maddened, savage, ripe for any deeds of outrage, might in an hour surround the castle and cut of all possibility of retreat. There was no time for deliberation. As usual on such occasions, confused and antagonistic views were hurriedly offered. M. de Ranville, who had the evening before advised measures of compromise, was now for a continuance of the conflict.
"The throne is overturned, we are told," said he; "the evil is great, but I believe it is exaggerated; I can not believe that the monarchy is to fall without a combat. Happen what may, Paris is not France. If, however, [Pg 224]the genius of evil is again to prove triumphant, if the legitimate throne is again to fall, let it fall with honor; shame alone has no future." These sentiments were strongly supported by the Duke d'Angoulême.
The king, however, either from a constitutional want of heroism, or from a praiseworthy desire to save France from the horrors of a protracted civil war, refused to appeal any longer to the energies of the sword. He hoped, however, that by dismissing the obnoxious ministers, and revoking the ordinances, the people might be appeased. A decree in accordance with this resolve was immediately prepared and signed. A new ministry was also announced, consisting of very popular men.
It is said that the Duke d'Angoulême paced the floor, quivering with indignation, as this decree was signed, and that the discarded ministers left the council-chamber "with tears in their eyes and despair in their hearts." The new ordinances were hastily dispatched to the Provisional Government at the Hôtel de Ville. "It is too late," was the reply. "The throne of Charles X. has melted away in blood." Some few of the members, dreading the anarchy [Pg 225]which might follow the demolition of the throne, urged that the envoys might be received, as it was still possible to come to an accommodation. But their voices were drowned by cries from all parts of the hall, "It is too late. We will have no more transactions with the Bourbons."
It would only bewilder the reader to attempt a narrative of the scenes of desperation, recrimination, confusion, and dismay which simultaneously ensued. M. de Montmart, whom the king had appointed in place of Prince Polignac as the new President of the Council, a noble of vast wealth, and one of the bravest of men, set out in his shirt-sleeves, disguised as a peasant, hoping to gain access to the Provisional Government, and, by his personal influence, to save the monarchy. His mission was in vain. General Marmont, to spare the useless shedding of blood, entered into a truce—some said a capitulation—with the revolutionary forces. The Duke d'Angoulême, in his rage, called the venerable marshal to his face a traitor. In endeavoring to wrest from him his sword, the duke severely wounded his own hand. General Marmont was put under arrest; but soon, by the more considerate king, was released.
The king, with most of the royal family and court, retired to the chateau of Trianon, at Versailles, four or five miles farther back in the country. The Duke d'Angoulême was left in command of such troops of the guard and of the line as could be collected, to act as rear-guard at St. Cloud. But scarcely had Charles X. established himself at Trianon ere the duke presented himself in the presence of his father, with the disheartening intelligence that the troops stationed at the bridge of St. Cloud to prevent the insurgents from crossing the Seine, had refused to fire upon them. In consequence, the revolutionary forces had taken possession of the chateau, and were preparing to march upon Trianon.
The king had gathered around him at Trianon about twelve thousand troops. Some of them were troops of the line. He knew not what reliance could be placed in their fidelity. Alarm-couriers were continually arriving with appalling tidings. Men, women, and boys, inflamed with passion, and many delirious with brandy—on foot, and in all sorts of vehicles—a motley throng of countless thousands—were on the march to attack him. The king had not forgotten the visit of the mob of Paris to his [Pg 227]brother Louis XVI. and family at Versailles—their captivity—their sufferings in the dungeon and on the scaffold. Another and an immediate retreat was decided upon to Rambouillet, a celebrated royal hunting-seat, about thirty miles from Paris. It was midnight when the king and his family, in the deepest dejection, under escort of the Royal Guard, ten thousand strong, reached Rambouillet.
The Duke d'Angoulême still earnestly advocated the most determined resistance. But the king, an old man who had already numbered his threescore years and ten, was thoroughly disheartened. After a few hours of troubled repose he, on the following morning, assembled his family around him, and communicated his intention of abdicating in favor of his grandson, the Count de Chambord. His son, the Duke d'Angoulême, renouncing his rights as heir to the throne, assented to this arrangement. The king announced this event in a letter to Louis Philippe, duke of Orleans, appointing the duke lieutenant-general of France—requesting him to proclaim the accession of the Count de Chambord, as Henry V., to the throne, and authorizing him to act as regent during the minority of the king.
The act of abdication—drawn up informally as a letter to the Duke of Orleans—contained the following expressions:
"I am too deeply distressed by the evils that afflict, or that may seem to impend over my people, not to have sought a means to prevent them. I have, therefore, resolved to abdicate the crown in favor of my grandson. The dauphin (the Duke d'Angoulême), who participates in my sentiments, likewise renounces his rights in favor of his nephew. You will therefore have, in your quality of lieutenant-general of the kingdom, to cause to be proclaimed the accession of Henry V. to the crown. You will, furthermore, take all measures that befit you to regulate the forms of the Government during the minority of the new king.
"I renew to you, my cousin, the assurance of the sentiments with which I am your affectionate cousin, Charles."
But in the mean time an army of uncounted thousands was hastily organized in Paris to march upon Rambouillet and drive the king out of France. This formidable array of determined men was crowded into carriages, cabriolets, [Pg 229]omnibuses, and vehicles of every kind, and was pushed forward as rapidly as possible. General Pajol commanded the expedition. General Excelmans was intrusted with the advance-guard. This motley mass was trundled along, singing the "Marseillaise" and other revolutionary songs, and presenting far more the aspect of a mob than that of an army. In the position in which the king was placed, with troops upon many of whom he could place but little reliance, they were the more to be dreaded. Three commissioners were sent in advance of the revolutionary troops to demand of the king an unqualified resignation of the crown for himself and his descendants. The king received them with calmness and dignity.
"What do you wish with me?" he said. "I have arranged every thing with the Duke of Orleans, my lieutenant-general of the kingdom."
M. Odillon Barrot replied, "If the king would avoid involving the kingdom in unheard-of calamities and a useless effusion of blood, it is indispensable that his majesty and his family should instantly leave France. There are eighty thousand men who have issued from Paris, ready to fall on the royal forces."
The king took Marshal Maison, another of the commissioners, aside into the embrasure of a window, and said to him, "Marshal Maison, you are a soldier and a man of honor. Tell me, on your word of honor, is the army which has marched out of Paris against me really eighty thousand strong?"
"Sire," the marshal replied, "I can not give you the number exactly; but it is very numerous, and may amount to that force."
"Enough," said the king; "I believe you, and I consent to every thing to spare the blood of my Guard."
Orders were immediately issued for the prompt departure of the court for Cherbourg, there to embark for some foreign land. In a few hours the mournful procession was in movement. The long cortége of carriages was accompanied by several regiments of the Guard. Sad indeed must have been the emotions of the inmates of those carriages as they commenced their journey from the splendors of royalty to the obscurity of exile. Slowly this funereal procession of departed power was seen winding its way through the distant provinces of the realm, to find in foreign lands a refuge and a grave.
The first night they stopped at Maintenon, where the illustrious family of Noailles received the royal fugitives with sympathy and generous hospitality, in one of the most ancient and splendid country-seats of the kingdom. Here, the next morning, the king took leave of the greater part of his Guard. He reserved for his escort but a few hundred select troops, with six pieces of cannon. General Marmont, in whom the king reposed implicit trust, was placed in command of this little band, which was to guard the illustrious refugees to the coast.
The parting of the King from that large portion of the Guard from whom he here separated presented a touching spectacle. Loyalty with these soldiers was a religious principle. In these hours of disaster, whatever might have been the faults of their fallen sovereign, they forgot them all. They were drawn up in military array along the noble avenue of the park. As the royal cortége passed between them they presented arms, silent in their grief, while many of these hardy veterans were in tears. The king himself was for the moment quite unmanned, and, bowing his head, sobbed aloud.
Twelve days were occupied in the slow journey to Cherbourg. It was deemed necessary to avoid all the large towns, and to take unfrequented paths, that they might not be arrested in their progress by any popular uprising. Before reaching Cherbourg the king had the mortification of hearing that the Orleans throne had been reared upon the ruins of the Bourbon throne. During the whole of this sad journey General Marmont, whose life had been so full of adventure and vicissitude, rode on horseback by the side of the carriage of the king. Many of the most illustrious noblemen and most distinguished ladies of France, faithful to their principles and their king in the hour of misfortune, added by their presence to the mournful pageantry of the cavalcade. The peasants even were awed by this spectacle of fallen grandeur. Though they gathered in crowds around the carriages in the villages through which they passed the night, no word of insult was offered. In silence they gazed upon the scene, and not unfrequently tears were seen to moisten eyes quite unused to weep.
When the cavalcade reached Valognes, a few miles from Cherbourg, as all danger was [Pg 235]passed, the king decided to dismiss the remainder of the Guard. Gathering around him the officers, and six of the oldest soldiers of each company composing his escort, he received from them the royal banners of the elder house of Bourbon, which could no longer be unfurled in France. The Duke and the Duchess d'Angoulême, and the Duchess de Berri, with her daughter, and her son, the Duke of Bordeaux, stood by his side. With a trembling voice, which was finally broken by sobs, the king said:
"I receive these standards, and this child" (pointing to the Duke of Bordeaux) "will one day restore them to you. The names of each of you, inscribed on your muster-rolls, and preserved by my grandson, will remain registered in the archives of the royal family, to attest forever my misfortunes, and the consolation I have received from your fidelity."
This was one of time's tragedies—the dethronement of a dynasty. There are but few who will not, in some degree, appreciate the sublimity of the scene. All present were in tears, and loud sobs were heard. The king and his family then laid aside all the insignia of royalty, and assumed the dress more appropriate [Pg 236]to exiles. The king also wrote to the King of England and to the Emperor of Austria, announcing his dethronement, and soliciting an asylum in each of their realms.
It would seem, however, that Charles X., who twice before had been driven into exile, did by no means relinquish the idea of regaining the crown for his family. In taking leave of Prince Polignac, who more than any one else was responsible for the obnoxious ordinances, he said:
"I recollect only your courage. I do not impute to you our misfortunes. Our cause was that of God, of the throne, and of the people. Providence often proves its servants by suffering, and defeats the best designs for reasons superior to what our limited faculties can discern. But it never deceives upright consciences. Nothing is yet lost for our house. I go to combat with one hand, and to negotiate with the other. Retire behind the Loire, where you will find an asylum from the vengeance of the people in the midst of my army, which has orders to assemble at Chartres."
"Charles X.," writes Louis Blanc, "was tranquil. The aspect of the dauphine in tears, [Pg 237]of his woe-begone courtiers, and of the two children of the Duchess de Berri, who, in their ignorance, found amusement in the novelty of every thing about them—to all this he was insensible, or at least resigned. But the sight of a bit of tri-colored ribbon, or a slight neglect of etiquette, was enough to excite his petulance. It was necessary, in the small town of L'Aigle, to have a square table made, according to court usage, for the dinner of a monarch who was losing an empire. Thus he showed, combined in his person, that excess of grandeur and of littleness which is acquired from the practice of royalty."
The journey to Cherbourg was sad and solemn. The two princesses, the Duchess d'Angoulême and the Duchess de Berri, walked when the weather was fine. Their dress was very much neglected, because their attendants had not been able to bring away linen or clothes. A grave and pensive expression sat on the faces of the beholders wherever the cortége passed. Some officers presented themselves on the road, bowing in homage to expiring royalty. "Gentlemen," said the king, "keep those worthy sentiments for that child, who alone can save you all;" and he pointed [Pg 238]to the little flaxen-haired head of the Duke of Bordeaux, at the window of a carriage following his own.
When the melancholy cortége, consisting of a long train of carriages, reached the cliffs of Cherbourg, they beheld the ocean spread out in its apparently illimitable expanse before them. Here they halted. For a moment dismay filled their hearts; for the advance couriers came galloping back with the tidings that a numerous band of armed insurgents, a tumultuous mob, with shoutings like the roarings of the sea, were advancing to assail the royal party. The king and his son, the Duke d'Angoulême, hastily stepped from their carriages, and, mounting horses, reached Cherbourg in safety. The ladies and children were not molested save from the fright which they experienced.
An immense crowd thronged the streets of Cherbourg, raising revolutionary cries, while the tri-color flags seemed to float from every window. The port is separated from the town by a strong, circular iron railing. The marine gate-way was guarded by some grenadiers, who closed it as soon as the royal carriages, with the small accompanying guard, had entered. [Pg 239]Within this inclosure no tri-color flag was seen, no word of reproach was uttered.
Thousands crowded to the railing, eagerly looking through the bars upon the tragedy which was transpiring. The royal party alighted at a small bridge, carpeted with blue cloth. The dauphine, who had passed through so many scenes of woe, nearly fainted as with trembling steps she entered the ship which was to bear her again to exile, and an exile from which death alone could release her. The Duchess de Berri assumed an air of indignation and defiance, characteristic of her Neapolitan blood. The little Duke of Bordeaux, now called the Count de Chambord, in behalf of whom Charles X. had abdicated, and who was consequently now regarded by all the court party as their lawful sovereign, was carried in the arms of M. de Dumas, who was very apprehensive lest the bullet of some assassin might pierce him. The king sufficiently controlled his feelings to appear calm as ever.
The deposed monarch and his despairing household stood upon the deck of the vessel as it was towed by a steamer out of the harbor. As the sails were unfurled, and filled with a favoring breeze, they sadly watched the receding [Pg 240]shores of France. There was no parting salute. It was a funereal scene. Even the most ardent Loyalists could not raise a cheer. A few hours' sail conveyed the silent, melancholy court to England, and thence to Scotland, where an asylum was found in the ancient palace of Holyrood, immortalized as the scene of the sufferings of Mary Queen of Scots. Thus fell the throne of Charles X.
Upon the sudden overthrow of the throne of Charles X. by a revolution in the streets of Paris, four parties appeared, struggling for the crown. Charles, as he fled with his court in terror from France, threw back a decree of abdication in favor of his grandson, the Count de Chambord, then entitled the Duke de Bordeaux. This child, who still lives, was then about ten years old. The birth of this child, whom the Legitimists call Henry V., and whom they regard as the legitimate heir to the ancient throne of the Bourbons, was hailed with rejoicing throughout France.
It is recorded that quite a dramatic scene occurred at his birth. His grandfather, Charles X., hastened to the chamber, and, seizing the new-born babe in his arms, exclaimed, with delight, "Here is a fine Duke de Bordeaux! He is born for us all!" He then gave the child a few drops of the wine of Pau, with [Pg 242]which tradition says that the aged father of Jeanne d'Albret anointed the lips of her child, Henry IV., before the babe was allowed to place his mouth to his mother's breast.
The heroic mother of the young duke, the Duchess de Berri, whose subsequent fate was so deplorable, said to the king, the father of her departed husband, "Sire, I wish I knew the song of Jeanne d'Albret, that every thing might be done here as at the birth of Henry IV."
The advocates of the ancient régime, the Legitimist party, many of them illustrious in rank and intellect, rallied around the banner of young Henry, the Duke of Bordeaux. They probably had the sympathies of those European dynasties which, by force of arms, had replaced the Bourbons upon that throne of France from which the Revolution of 1789 had expelled them. In accordance with the decree of abdication which Charles X. had issued, the Legitimists wished the young Duke of Bordeaux to be recognized as sovereign, with the title of Henry V,; and the Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe, to be accepted as regent, during the minority of the child.
Next came the Republican party, formidable [Pg 243]in physical strength, in Paris and in other cities. The Republicans had roused the masses, filling the streets with a hundred thousand armed workmen; they had inspired the conflict, demolished the throne, achieved the revolution; but they had no leader capable of organizing and controlling the tumultuous populace. The moneyed men, remembering the Reign of Terror, were afraid of them. All through the rural districts, the peasantry, influenced by the priests, could not endure the idea of a republic.
The bankers in Paris, the moneyed class, men of large resources and influence, were the leaders of the third, or Orleans party, so called. These men were opposed to the aristocracy of rank, but were in favor of the aristocracy of wealth. They had ample means and very able leaders. They wished for a constitutional monarchy, modelled after the aristocratic institutions of England. They would place upon the throne the Duke of Orleans, a Bourbon, one of the richest nobles in Europe. He would be the legitimate heir to the throne should the young Duke of Bordeaux die. The Duke of Orleans, with his vast wealth, would be the fitting representative of the moneyed [Pg 244]class. The Orleanists could very effectually appeal to the moderate men of the Legitimist and Republican parties in favor of a compromise in the interest of the Duke of Orleans. To the first they said:
"Unless you accept the Duke of Orleans, there is danger that the Republicans will gain the ascendency, and then our time-honored monarchy will be overthrown." To the Republicans they said: "Unless you consent to this compromise, which gives us a constitutional monarchy, under a citizen king, there is danger that another coalition of the powers of Europe will inundate France, and, after years of blood and woe, the old régime of the Bourbons will be again forced upon us."
In speaking to the Republicans, they emphasized the declaration that Louis Philippe would be a citizen king. When speaking to the Legitimists, they laid stress upon the fact that the Duke of Orleans would be the legitimate sovereign, should the frail child die who alone stood between him and the throne.
There was a fourth party—the Imperial or Napoleonist. It existed then in rather a latent state, though in a condition to be roused, as subsequent events proved, to marvellous [Pg 245]life by an electric touch. The renown of the great emperor filled the land. The memorials of his reign were everywhere. He was enthroned in the hearts of the French people, as monarch was never enthroned before. But the Bourbons had taken especial care to banish from France every one who bore his name, and to obliterate, as far as possible, every memorial of his wonderful reign. The revolution had burst upon Paris with almost the suddenness of the lightning's flash. There was no one there who could speak in behalf of the descendants of him who had so lately filled the world with his renown, and who was still enshrined, with almost idolatrous worship, in so many hearts.
From the above it will be perceived that the chances were greatly in favor of the Orleans party. Louis Philippe was placed in perhaps as embarrassing and painful a position as man ever occupied. He was far advanced in life, with property amounting, it is said, to about one hundred millions of dollars. Revolutionary storms had, at one time, driven him into the extreme of poverty. He had experienced the severest sufferings of persecution and exile. Now, in his declining years, happy amidst [Pg 246]the splendors of the Palais Royal, and in his magnificent retreat at Neuilly, he was anxious for repose.
Should he allow himself to be placed at the head of the obnoxious, utterly-defeated Legitimist party, as regent during the minority of the Duke of Bordeaux? It was scarcely possible that he could maintain his position. Republicans, Orleanists, and Imperialists, all would combine against him. The army could not be relied upon to sustain him. Ruin seemed inevitable—not only the confiscation of his property, but probably also the loss of his head.
Should he allow himself to be made king by the bankers in Paris? He would be an usurper; false to his own principles of legitimacy, to those principles which had brought him into sympathy with the allied dynasties of Europe in those long and bloody wars by which they had forced rejected legitimacy back upon France.
The little Duke of Bordeaux and his grandfather, Charles X., were his near blood relatives. He had received from the royal family great favors—the restoration of his vast domains. He would be morally guilty of the [Pg 247]greatest ingratitude in assuming the attitude of their antagonist, interposing himself between the lawful heir and the crown. Should he stand aloof from these agitations, and take no part in the movement of affairs, then anarchy or a Republic seemed the inevitable result. In either case, he, as a rich Bourbon, with an amount of wealth which endangered the state, would be driven from France and his property confiscated.
But affairs pressed. Scarcely a moment could be allowed for deliberation. The crisis demanded prompt and decisive action. The embarrassment of the duke is painfully conspicuous in the interviews which ensued. Anxiously he paced the floor of his library at Neuilly, bewildered and vacillating.
There was a rich banker at Paris by the name of Lafitte. He called a meeting at his house, of Guizot, Thiers, and other leading journalists. There they decided to unite upon the Duke of Orleans, and to combine immediately, without a moment's delay, all possible influences in Paris, to place the sceptre of power in his hands, before the dreaded Republicans should have the opportunity to grasp it. It was the 30th of July, the last of the three [Pg 248]days' conflict. The thunders of the battle had scarcely ceased to echo through the streets of the metropolis.
Baron Glandevès, governor of the Tuileries, and of course a warm partisan of Charles X., who had probably heard a rumor of this meeting, called upon M. Lafitte, and the following conversation is reported as having taken place between them:
"Sir," said the baron to the banker, "you have now been master of Paris for twenty-four hours. Do you wish to save the monarchy?"
"Which monarchy?" inquired Lafitte, "the monarchy of 1789, or the constitutional monarchy of 1814?"
"The constitutional monarchy," the baron replied.
"To save it," rejoined Lafitte, "only one course remains; and that is to crown the Duke of Orleans."
"The Duke of Orleans!" exclaimed the baron, "what are his titles to the crown? That boy, the son of Napoleon, whom Vienna has educated, can at least invoke the memory of his father's glory. It must be admitted that Napoleon has written his annals in characters of fire upon the minds of men. But the Duke [Pg 249]of Orleans—what prestige surrounds him? What has he done? How many of the people know his history, or have even heard his name?"
"In the fact of his want of renown," replied the banker, "I see a recommendation. Having no influence over the imagination, he will be the less able to break away from the restraints of a constitutional monarch. His private life is irreproachable. He has respected himself in his wife, and has caused himself to be revered and loved by his children."
"Mere domestic virtues," rejoined M. Glandevès, "are not to be recompensed by a crown. Are you ignorant that he is accused of approving of the vote of his father for the death of Louis XVI.; that in our dark days he associated himself with projects to exclude forever from the throne the legitimate heirs; that during the Hundred Days he preserved a mysterious inaction; that, since 1815, while pretending to be the humble servant of the court, he has been the secret fomenter of all intrigues? Louis XVIII. restored to him his vast estates. Charles X., by a personal request to the Chambers, secured them to him, by legal and irrefragable rights, and conferred upon him the [Pg 250]title of royal highness, which he so long coveted. How can he now, thus burdened with kindnesses from the elder branch of the Bourbons, seize upon their inheritance?"
"It is not for the personal interest of the duke," replied M. Lafitte, "that we wish to place him upon the throne, but for the salvation of the country. This alone can save us from anarchy, which otherwise seems inevitable. I do not ask whether the situation of the Duke of Orleans is painful to his feelings, but simply whether his accession to the throne is desirable for France. What prince is more liberal in his political sentiments, or more free from those prejudices which have ruined Charles X.? And where can we find any candidate for the throne who combines so many advantages? And what course can you propose preferable to that of placing the crown on his head?"
"If you believe Charles X. guilty," rejoined the baron, "at least you will admit that the Duke de Bordeaux is innocent. Let us preserve the crown for him. He will be trained up in good principles. Does Lafayette very sincerely desire a Republic?"
"He would wish for it," Lafitte replied, "if [Pg 251]he were not afraid of too searching a convulsion."
"Well, then," said the baron, "let a council of regency be established. You would take part in it with Lafayette."
M. Lafitte replied, "Yesterday that might have been possible; and, had the Duchess de Berri—separating her cause from that of the old king—presented herself, with her young son, holding a tri-color in her hand—"
"A tri-color!" exclaimed the baron, in astonishment, interrupting him—"A tri-color! Why, it is, in their eyes, the symbol of every crime. Rather than adopt it, they would suffer themselves to be brayed in a mortar."
"Under these circumstances," inquired Lafitte, "what is it you have to propose to me?"
The prompt reply was, "Respect the divine right of the Duke of Bordeaux—proclaim him sovereign, as Henry V.—intrust the regency, during his minority, to the Duke of Orleans."
This was the plan of the Legitimists. Talleyrand also cherished the same view. The Republicans were by no means inclined to enthrone another Bourbon in the place of Charles X. When M. Thiers and M. Mignet, with others from the office of the Nationale, appeared [Pg 252]among the crowd distributing printed slips of paper eulogizing the Duke of Orleans, they were received with hisses. When it was announced to the combatants of the Passage Dauphin that there was a plot concocting to raise the Duke of Orleans to the throne, there was one unanimous burst of rage, with the simultaneous exclamation, "If that be the case, the battle is to be begun again, and we will go and cast fresh balls. No more Bourbons: we will have none of them." M. Leroux, who had witnessed this scene, hurried to the Hôtel de Ville to warn Lafayette of the danger. He assured Lafayette that the Republican spirit which Lafayette had evoked now menaced Paris and France with anarchy, and that the attempt to place another Bourbon on the throne would be the signal of a new and terrible conflict.
Lafayette—who was seated in a large armchair—seemed, for a moment, stunned and speechless. A messenger came in to inform him that the Duke of Chartres—the eldest son of the Duke of Orleans—had been taken captive, and that a riotous band was surging through the streets shouting, "A prince is taken! Let us go and shoot him!" Almost by miracle the young duke escaped death.
The peril of anarchy was hourly increasing. There was not a moment to be lost in organizing, if possible, some stable government. The millions in the rural districts would not accept a Republic organized by the populace in Paris. The men of property, and the friends of order generally, thought that their only chance of averting confusion and ruin was to rally in support of the Orleans dynasty. Thus the Orleans party rapidly increased among the more wealthy and reputable portion of the citizens. The leading journals espoused their cause. Nearly all the journals, trembling in view of the threatening anarchy, earnestly rallied around that banner. Béranger, the most popular poet in France—notwithstanding his profound admiration of Napoleon, which was breathed forth in so many of his soul-stirring songs—gave the Orleanists the aid of his all-powerful pen.
The following proclamation in favor of the Duke of Orleans was issued:
"This proclamation," says Louis Blanc, "was drawn up with great art. It repeated the name of the Duke of Orleans again and again, in order that this name, little known to the people, might nevertheless be deeply imprinted on its memory. By talking of the tri-color flag and Jemappes to a multitude who troubled themselves little about political forms, it engaged, on behalf of the elect of the bourgeoisie, that national feeling that had been exalted to so high a pitch by the victories of the Republic and the Empire, Lastly, it invoked the sovereignty of the people, the better to destroy it—an old trick of courage-lacking ambition."
The above proclamation was placarded throughout Paris, and was simultaneously published in the three leading journals, the Nationale, the Courier Français, and the Commerce, which were severally edited by the distinguished journalists, Thiers, Mignet, and Larequy. Another renowned editor, M. Carrel, was dispatched to Rouen, to gain that important city to the Orleans cause.
In the mean time, the Legitimists, headed by Chateaubriand and Talleyrand, were not idle. These men were not merely ambitious partisans. It can not be doubted that they believed that the interests of France would be best promoted by respecting the rights of the Duke of Bordeaux, under the lieutenant-generalship of the Duke of Orleans.
The successful insurrectionists, composed mainly of the Republican and Democratic parties in Paris, had their head-quarters at the Hôtel de Ville. Here they hastily organized what they called a Provisional Government. General Lafayette presided over their deliberations. The embarrassment of affairs was such, that the illustrious marquis was in a state of cruel anxiety. In principle he was a Republican. And yet he could see no possibility of [Pg 256]evolving a stable Republic from the chaos into which the political world was then plunged. After much deliberation, the Republican leaders at the Hôtel de Ville sent General Dubourg, as a commissioner, to the Orleanists assembled at M. Lafitte's, to confer respecting a compromise and union of parties. But already the Orleanists felt so strong that they refused even to admit him to their presence.
The Orleanists were very anxious, from fear that the Duke of Orleans might accede to the proposition of the Legitimists, and proclaim the Duke of Bordeaux king, and himself, in accordance with the decree of Charles X., lieutenant-general of France, and regent during the minority of the duke. This would be in accordance with the forms of law, and the only legal course. Such a step would give the Legitimists immense vantage-ground, from which they could only be driven by another bloody conflict.
To guard against this peril, it was decided to send a delegation, consisting of M. Thiers, M. Scheffer, and M. Sebastiani, to the rural chateau of Louis Philippe, at Neuilly, which was but a short distance from Paris, to offer to him the crown. Should he refuse it, they [Pg 257]were directed to arrest him and convey him to a place of safety, and hold him in close custody. Louis Blanc, in his "Dix Ans de Louis Philippe," has given a minute account of this interview. It would seem that Louis Philippe, in an agony of suspense, though informed of the approach of the delegation, was not prepared to meet them. To avoid the interview, he fled to Rancy, leaving his wife and sister behind him.
The Duchess of Orleans received the gentlemen. Pale and trembling, she listened to the offer of a crown to her husband. Then with extreme emotion she replied to M. Scheffer, the speaker of the party:
"How could you undertake such a mission? That M. Thiers should have charged himself with it, I can understand. He little knew us. But that you, who have been admitted to our intimacy—who knew us so well—ah! we can never forgive it."
Just then Louis Philippe's sister, Madame Adelaide, followed by Madame de Montjoie, entered the room. Fully comprehending the object of the mission, and the dangers which surrounded them, Madame Adelaide said,
"Let them make my brother a president, [Pg 258]a commander of the National Guard, any thing, so that they do not make him a proscribed."
"Madame," responded M. Thiers, "it is a throne which we come to offer him."
"But what," rejoined the princess, "will Europe think? Shall he seat himself on the throne from which Louis XVI. descended to mount the scaffold? What a panic will it strike in all royal houses! The peace of the world will be endangered."
"These apprehensions, madame," M. Thiers replied, "are natural, but they are not well-founded. England, full of the recollection of the banished Stuarts, will applaud an event of which her history furnishes an example and a model. As to the absolute monarchies, far from reproaching the Duke of Orleans for fixing on his head a crown floating on the storm, they will approve a step which will render his elevation a barrier against the unchained passions of the multitude. There is something great and worth saving in France. And if it be too late for legitimacy, it is not for a constitutional throne. After all, there remains to the Duke of Orleans only a choice of danger. In the present posture of affairs, to fly from [Pg 259]the possible dangers of royalty is to face a Republic and its inevitable tempests."
These forcible words of the sagacious statesman produced a deep impression upon the strong and well-balanced mind of Madame Adelaide. She was fully capable of appreciating all their import. She gave virtual assent to them by saying, "I am a child of Paris: I am willing to intrust myself to the Parisians." It was decided to send immediately for the duke. A messenger soon reached him, and he set out on horseback, accompanied by M. Montesquiou, for Paris. Still his irresolution, timidity, and bewilderment were so great that, before reaching the city, his heart misgave him, and, turning his horse, he galloped with the utmost speed back to Rancy. Alison, in depicting these scenes, says, with a severity which our readers will probably think that the recorded facts scarcely warrant,
The strange crisis of affairs was such that, while the population of France was over thirty millions, a few bankers in Paris, without consulting the voice of the people, were about to impose upon them a government and a king; and it must be admitted that the peril of the nation was such that many of the purest and noblest men approved of these measures. The majority of the members of the Chamber of Deputies were gained over to this cause; and even the members of the House of Peers were so overawed by the menacing aspect of the excited populace, that they were disposed to fall in with the movement.
The deputies were assembled at the Hôtel Bourbon, waiting to receive the report of the delegation which had been sent to offer the crown to Louis Philippe. It is said that there was but one man, M. Hyde de Neuville, who occupied the benches reserved for the advocates of the old royalty. There were probably, however, others in favor of the Duke of Bordeaux, who absented themselves. While thus in session, the rumor came that a body of royalist troops from Rouen were marching upon Paris, and that their cannon were already planted upon the heights of Montmartre, which [Pg 261]commanded the city. In the midst of the consternation which this communication created, the deputies returned from Neuilly, with a report of their favorable reception by the family of Louis Philippe.
Immediately, though with some dissenting voices, the following resolution was adopted, and transmitted to the Duke of Orleans:
Meanwhile the peers had met in their hall, in the palace of the Luxembourg. Chateaubriand was then in the plenitude of his renown as a writer, an orator, a statesman. Crowds of young men, in admiration of his genius, were ready enthusiastically to follow his leading. This distinguished man fully realized the true state of affairs—the difficulties involved in whatever course they should attempt to pursue. For some time he sat apart, silent and melancholy, apparently in gloomy thought. Suddenly he rose, and, in deliberate, solemn tones, said:
"Let us protest in favor of the ancient monarchy. If needs be, let us leave Paris. But wherever we may be driven, let us save the king, and surrender ourselves to the trust of a courageous fidelity. If the question come to the salvation of legitimacy, give me a pen and two months, and I will restore the throne."
Scarcely had he concluded these bold, proud words, when a delegation presented itself from the Chamber of Deputies, soliciting the co-operation of the peers in placing the crown upon the brow of the Duke of Orleans. It was soon manifest that but few of the peers were prepared to surrender themselves to martyrdom by following the courageous but desperate councils of Chateaubriand.
The ultra democratic party, dissatisfied with the moderate tone assumed by Lafayette and his associates at the Hôtel de Ville, formed a new organization at a hall in the Rue St. Honoré. They were bold, determined men, ready to adopt the most audacious resolutions, and to shed their blood like water, in street fights, to maintain them. They were numerous, and with nervous gripe held the arms they had seized; but they had no commander. There was not [Pg 263]a man in their ranks who could secure the support of a respectable party throughout France. They had no pecuniary resources—they consisted merely of a tumultuous band of successful insurrectionists, with no one of sufficient character and prominence upon whom even they could unite to recognize as their leader. The eloquent and universally popular Béranger, advocating in all his glowing verse the rights of the people, with other agents of the Orleans cause, repaired to this democratic gathering, to win them over, if possible, to their side. Angrily the Democrats rejected all such propositions. A ferocious debate ensued, which was terminated by a pistol-shot from an enraged opponent, which wounded an Orleanist orator severely in the cheek. It was no longer safe, in that presence, to urge the claims of Louis Philippe. His advocates, as speedily as possible, left the hall.
The Democrats, as this wing of the Republican party may be called, who had broken from their more moderate brethren, who were assembled, under the presidency of Lafayette, at the Hôtel de Ville, thus left to themselves, sent a deputation to that body, with the following well-expressed remonstrance against organizing [Pg 264]a government without consulting the voice of the French people:
The spacious Place de Grève, in front of the Hôtel de Ville, was crowded with an excited, surging, tumultuous mass, anxiously awaiting the issues of each passing hour. The democratic delegation elbowed their way through the crowd, and were courteously received by Lafayette, in behalf of the Provisional Government. As Lafayette was addressing them, a gentleman entered, M. Sussy, a commissioner from the fugitive king, Charles X., with a proclamation which Charles had issued, hoping to conciliate the enraged people by revoking the ordinances which had roused them to insurrection, dismissing the obnoxious ministers who had recommended those ordinances, and appointing a new cabinet of more popular men.
It was too late for compromise. The same proclamation had been sent to the deputies, but they refused to receive it. Upon the announcement of the mission of M. Sussy, the indignant cry arose from the Republicans, "No! no! away with him: we will have nothing more to do with the Bourbons." So great was the fury excited that it was with difficulty that a brawny Republican, M. Bastide, was prevented from throwing M. Sussy out of the window. By the interposition of Lafayette, he was withdrawn, in the midst of a frightful tumult, to another room. Under the influence of the hostile feelings thus aroused, a series of resolutions were passed, declaring that France would have no more of royalty—that the representatives of the people alone should make the laws, to be executed only by a temporary president.
It will be seen that these resolutions were in direct opposition to the views of those who wished to re-erect the monarchy and to place Louis Philippe upon the throne. But these resolutions were passionately adopted, by the most radical portion of the party, in the midst of a scene of the wildest tumult. They were by no means unanimously accepted. The more moderate of the Republicans, with Lafayette at [Pg 266]their head, in view of the agitation hourly augmenting in the streets, in view of the insuperable difficulties, obvious to every well-informed man, of establishing a stable Republic in a realm where a large majority of the population were opposed to a Republic, and trembling in view of the anarchy with which all France was menaced, and conscious that a Republic would excite the hostility of every surrounding throne—were already strongly inclined to effect a union with the Orleans party, under a constitutional monarchy.
In various parts of the city there were excited gatherings, adopting all sorts of revolutionary resolutions, and sending delegations to the Hôtel de Ville with instructions, petitions, and threats. The students of the Polytechnic School—who had distinguished themselves in the bloodiest scenes of the street-fight with the troops of Charles X.—sent a committee to the Hôtel de Ville with a military order, to which they demanded an official signature. The appropriate officer, M. Lobau, refused to sign it. "You recoil, do you?" said the determined young man who presented the ordinance. "Nothing is so dangerous, in revolutions, as to recoil: I will order you to be shot!"
"To be shot!" was the indignant reply. "Shoot a member of the Provisional Government!"
The young man drew him to the window, pointed to a well-armed band of a hundred men, who had fought desperately the day before: "There," said he, "are men who would shoot God Almighty, were I to order them to do so." The order was signed in silence.
Such occurrences gave new impulse to the inclinations of Lafayette and the more moderate of the Republican party towards the Orleanists, who were deliberating in the salons of M. Lafitte. Charles X., who had fled from St. Cloud with his family and with some of the most devoted of his followers, while these scenes were transpiring, was still in France, at but a few leagues from Paris, at the head of twelve thousand veteran troops. Should the Duke of Orleans escape and join him, and rally the rural portion of the people in defense of Legitimacy, and in support of the Duke of Bordeaux, results might ensue appalling to the boldest imagination. As hour after hour passed away, and the duke did not appear in Paris, the anxiety in the crowded salons of M. Lafitte was terrible. Orleanists and Republicans were alike [Pg 268]imperilled. The re-establishment of the old régime would inevitably consign the leaders of both these parties, as traitors, to the scaffold. Democratic cries were resounding, more and more loudly, through the streets. Power was fast passing into the hands of the mob. Should the Duke of Orleans fail his party, there was no one else around whom they could rally, and their disastrous defeat was inevitable.
The hours were fast darkening into despair. Messengers were anxiously sent to the Palais Royal, the sumptuous city residence of the duke, to ascertain if he had arrived. No tidings could be heard from him. The domestics seemed to be packing up the valuables in preparation for removal. The utter failure of Béranger and his associates to gain the co-operation of the Democrats was reported. The decisive resolution adopted at the Hôtel de Ville was known. All seemed lost. There was nothing before the eye but a frightful vision of anarchy and bloodshed. A general panic seized all those assembled in the apartments of Lafitte, and there was a sudden dispersion. It was near midnight; but three persons were left—Lafitte, Adolphe Thibodeaux, and Benjamin [Pg 269]Constant. A few moments of anxious conversation ensued.
"What will become of us to-morrow?" sadly inquired Lafitte.
"We shall all be hanged," replied Benjamin Constant, in the calm aspect of despair.
In this crisis of affairs, matters threatened to become still more involved by two energetic young men, M. Ladvocat and M. Dumoulin, who proposed to bring forward the claims of the Empire. The name of Napoleon then pronounced in the streets, and the unfurling of the eagle-crowned banner under any recognized representative of his renown, would, perhaps, have called a party into being which would instantly have overridden all others. This peril was adroitly averted by the sagacity of M. Thiers and M. Mignet. By their powerful persuasion they induced M. Ladvocat to desist from the attempt The other young man, who was found inflexible in his resolve, they lured into a room in the Hôtel de Ville, where they caused him to be arrested and imprisoned.
In the following terms Louis Blanc describes this singular event:
"While every one was seeking to realize his wishes, a few voices only were heard uttering [Pg 270]the name of the emperor in a city that had so long echoed to that sound. Two men without influence, military reputation, or celebrity of any kind, MM. Ladvocat and Dumoulin, conceived, for a while, the idea of proclaiming the Empire. M. Thiers easily persuaded one of them that fortune gives herself to him who hastens to seize her. The other appeared, dressed as an orderly-officer, in the great hall of the Hôtel de Ville. But, being politely requested by M. Carbonel to pass into an adjoining room, he was there locked up and kept prisoner.
"This is one of those curiosities of history the key of which is found in the grovelling nature of most human ambition. The son of Napoleon was far away. For those who were actuated by vulgar hopes, to wait was to run the risk of losing those first favors which are always easiest to obtain from a government that has need to win forgiveness for its accession. Nevertheless, Napoleon's memory lived in the hearts of the people. But what was requisite to the crowning of the immortal victim of Waterloo in the first-born of his race?—That an old general should appear in the streets, draw his sword, and shout, Vive Napoleon II!
"But no; General Gourgaud alone made some tentative efforts. Napoleon, besides, had pigmied all minds round his own. The imperial régime had kindled in the plebeians he had abruptly ennobled a burning thirst for place and distinction. The Orleanist party recruited itself among all those whose promptitude to revive the Empire needed, perhaps, but one flash of hardihood, a leader, and a cry. Of all the generals whose fortunes were of imperial growth, Subervic alone gave his voice for a Republic in M. Lafitte's saloons—at least he was the only one that was remarked. Thus all was over as regards Napoleon. And some little time after this, a young colonel, in the service of Austria, died beyond the Rhine—the frail representative of a dynasty whose last breath passed away with him."[X]
When Louis Blanc penned these lines he little supposed that but a few years would pass away ere the almost unanimous voice of the French people would call Napoleon III. to the throne of France, and that under his energetic sway France would enjoy for twenty years prosperity at home and influence abroad which [Pg 272]almost eclipsed the splendors of the first Empire.
In the mean time an agitated crowd poured out through the gates of Paris, and, invading Neuilly, surrounded the chateau, intending to seize the Duke of Orleans and carry him into the city. But he, as we have mentioned, had retired to Rancy. The leaders of this multitude, professing to be a deputation from the Chamber of Deputies, demanded to see the duchess, and informed her that they should take her and her children as hostages to the city, and there keep them until the duke should appear in Paris. The duchess, terrified in view of the peril to which she and her children would be exposed in the hands of an ungovernable mob, wrote to her husband entreating him to return immediately.
Thus influenced, the duke resolved to repair to Paris. The streets were thronged with an excited mob, who would surely assassinate him should he be recognized. The peril of his family overcame his constitutional timidity. In disguise, accompanied by three persons only, who were also disguised, this reluctant candidate for one of the most brilliant of earthly crowns, a little before midnight, set out [Pg 273]on foot from his rural retreat; and, entering Paris, traversed the thronged streets, with Republican cries resounding everywhere about him. In several instances the mob, little aware whom they were assailing, compelled him to respond to the cry. Upon reaching his sumptuous palace, sometime after midnight, he threw himself, in utter exhaustion, upon a couch, and sent the welcome announcement to his friends of his arrival. M. de Montmart, one of the most prominent of the Orleans party, immediately called. He found the duke in a state of extreme agitation, bathed in sweat, undressed, and covered only with a light spread.
The duke gave vehement utterance to his perplexities and alarm. He declared his devotion to the principles of Legitimacy, and his inalienable attachment to his friends and relatives of the elder branch of the Bourbon family. He remonstrated against the cruelty of placing him in the false position of their antagonist, saying, "I would rather die than accept the crown." Seizing a pen, he wrote a letter to Charles X., full of protestations of loyalty and homage. M. de Montmart concealed this epistle in the folds of his cravat, and it was conveyed to the fugitive king.
This epistle was probably intended only to be a forcible expression of the extreme reluctance with which Louis Philippe yielded to those influences which seemed morally to compel him to accept the crown. Charles X. was cruelly deceived by the letter. He interpreted it to signify that the Duke of Orleans would remain firm in his allegiance to the dynasty which had been driven by successful insurrection from Paris.
At an early hour the next morning, a delegation from the Chamber of Deputies, with General Sebastiani at its head, arrived at the Palais Royal. The agitations of the hour were such that, without waiting for an announcement, they broke into the presence of the duke with the entreaty that he would accept from them the lieutenant-generalcy of the kingdom, which was merely the stepping-stone to the throne. The duke was still very undecided, or, to save appearances, feigned to be so. The deputies assured him that the crisis was so imperious, that not only the destinies of France, but also his own life, were probably dependent upon his accepting the appointment. The duke implored a few more moments for private reflection, and retired to [Pg 277]his cabinet with General Sebastiani, who was then hurriedly dispatched to the hotel of M. Talleyrand in the Rue St. Florentin. Talleyrand had been one of the firmest supporters of Legitimacy. Louis Philippe sought his advice. The wily statesman, who had lived through so many revolutions, had not yet left his bed-chamber, and was dressing. He, however, promptly returned the sealed answer, "Let him accept."
The duke hesitated no longer. Returning to the Deputies, he announced his decision. The most vigorous action was now required. A proclamation to the inhabitants of Paris was immediately drawn up in the name of Louis Philippe, and which was unanimously agreed to by the delegation, announcing that, in obedience to the wishes of the Deputies, he had assumed the office of lieutenant-general of France. At the same time, the illustrious writer, M. Guizot, was intrusted with the duty of preparing a more full exposition of the principles of the Orleanist party, which was to be signed by ninety-one of the Deputies. The proclamation issued by Louis Philippe, and which was simply expanded in the longer one drawn up by M. Guizot, was as follows:
"Inhabitants of Paris,—The Deputies, at this moment assembled in Paris, have expressed their desire that I should betake myself to this capital to exercise there the functions of lieutenant-general of the kingdom. I have not hesitated to come and partake of your dangers, to place myself in the midst of this heroic population, and use all my endeavors to preserve you from civil war and anarchy. On entering the city of Paris, I wore with pride those glorious colors you have resumed, and which I had myself long carried.
"The Chambers are about to assemble. They will consult on the means of securing the reign of the laws and the maintenance of the rights of the nation. A charter shall be henceforth a true thing.
"Louis Philippe d'Orleans."
By the movement chronicled in the previous chapter, the Duke of Orleans became virtually dictator. Could his dictatorship be maintained, it was of course a death-blow to all other parties. The Republican party, weak as it was if we consider the whole of France, was strong in the streets of Paris. It was a matter of great moment to try to conciliate the leaders of that party. It was soon evident that this would be no easy matter. The proclamation of the duke was very angrily received in the streets. Loud mutterings were heard. Those who were distributing the proclamation were fiercely assailed, and one of the agents narrowly escaped with his life.
At length the bold resolve was adopted for the Duke of Orleans to go in person to the Hôtel de Ville, accompanied by an escort of Deputies. A throng of Orleanists surrounded the Palais Royal and cheered the duke as he came out. As the procession advanced, insulting [Pg 280]shouts began to assail their ears. The duke was on horseback. The Place de Grève was thronged with Republicans. Angry outcries greeted him. "He is a Bourbon," some shouted; "away with him! We will have nothing to do with him."
Benjamin Constant and Béranger mingled with the crowd, doing every thing in their power to appease and calm it. It was feared, every moment, that some pistol-shot would strike the duke from his horse. His countenance was pale and care-worn; but there was no visible perturbation. Having with difficulty forced his way through the angry crowd, Louis Philippe alighted from his horse and ascended the stairs. Lafayette, who was already in heart in sympathy with the Orleanist movement, came forth courteously to meet him, and conducted him to the great hall of the palace. There was here a very excited interview, the more passionate of the Orleanists and of the Republicans coming very near to blows. But Lafayette and the most illustrious men of the liberal party, seeing no other possible way of rescuing France from anarchy, now openly espoused the cause of Louis Philippe.
Lafayette took the Duke of Orleans by the [Pg 281]hand, and led him out upon a balcony, where they were in view of the vast multitude swarming in the vacant space below. The devotion of the marquis to popular rights was universally known. He could not, in that tumultuous hour, make his voice heard. But in the use of action, more expressive than words, he threw his arms around the neck of the duke in an affectionate embrace. The best part of the multitude accepted this as the indorsement of his fitness for the trust, by one in whom they could confide. It was on this occasion that the following incident occurred:
"You know," said Lafayette to Louis Philippe, "that I am a Republican, and that I regard the Constitution of the United States as the most perfect that has ever existed."
"I think as you do," Louis Philippe replied. "It is impossible to have passed two years in the United States, as I have done, and not be of that opinion. But do you think that in the present state of France a republican government can be adopted?"
"No," said Lafayette; "that which is necessary for France now is a throne, surrounded by republican institutions. All must be republican."
"That is precisely my opinion," rejoined Louis Philippe.
After this scene, the duke, immensely strengthened in his position, returned to the Palais Royal, accompanied by a decided increase of acclamations. Still there were many murmurs. The people could not forget that he was by birth an aristocrat and a Bourbon; that he had taken no part, either by word or deed, in the conflict for the overthrow of the despotic throne; that, concealed in the recesses of his palace at Neuilly, he had not shown his face in Paris until the conflict in which they were shedding their blood was terminated, and that then he had come merely to assume a crown.
Immediately after the withdrawal of Louis Philippe from the Hôtel de Ville, Lafayette and his friends drew up a programme, or social contract, in which they endeavored to reconcile republican institutions with the forms of a monarchy. Lafayette himself took this contract to the Palais Royal, and submitted it to the duke. He gave it apparently his candid consent. There were, however, Legitimists as well as Republicans who had no faith in this union. The Abbé Gregoire is reported to [Pg 283]have exclaimed in disgust, "Good God, are we then to have both a republic and a king?"
There were yet many dangers to be encountered. The word king had not been distinctly spoken. And still the supreme power was placed in the hands of Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orleans. It was necessary to the more full organization of the government that he should be recognized as a sovereign. But it was no easy matter to reconcile the populace of Paris to the idea of placing a Bourbon at the head of the new government.
"To obviate the unfavorable impression thus produced," writes Alison, "the Orleans committee prepared and placarded all over Paris a proclamation not a little surprising, considering that M. Mignet and M. Thiers were members of it—'The Duke of Orleans is not a Bourbon; he is a Valois.' A remarkable assertion to be made, by historians, of a lineal descendant of Henry IV., and of the brother of Louis XIV."
The leading journals had all been won over to the side of the Orleans party. We would not intimate that any unworthy means had been employed to secure their support. Such men as Thiers, Guizot, Mignet, are above suspicion. [Pg 284]They doubtless felt, as did Lafayette, that the attempt to establish a Republic would result only in anarchy; that it would be impossible to maintain a Republic in a realm where the large majority of the people were monarchists. Still, it is obvious that the wealth of a party composed of nearly all the moneyed men in the kingdom, and whose leader was the richest noble in France, if not in Europe, was amply sufficient to present very persuasive influences to secure the support of any journalist who might be wavering. The result was, that nearly all the periodicals of the kingdom opened their broadsides against a Republic. They denounced that form of government as the sure precursor of anarchy, pillage, and a reign of terror, and as certain to embroil France in another war with combined Europe.
It was, indeed, greatly to be feared that the foreign dynasties, who would not allow France to lay aside the Bourbons and place Napoleon upon the throne, would resist, through the same devotion to the principles of legitimacy, the "usurpation" of Louis Philippe. To conciliate them it was necessary for the Duke of Orleans to represent that he was in sympathy with the hereditary thrones, co-operating with [Pg 285]them in their advocacy of exclusive privilege, and that he was, providentially, a barrier to whom they owed a debt of gratitude, arresting France from rushing over to democracy. But the open avowal of these opinions would rouse the liberal party to desperation against him.
Notwithstanding all these efforts of the journalists to discredit republicanism in every possible way, there still remained a democratic party in Paris among the populace, led by very bold, impetuous, and determined men. These leaders had great influence with a portion of the people who could be easily roused to insurrection, which, however impotent, might still cause the streets of Paris to run red with blood. It was deemed a matter of much importance to win over these men. A meeting was arranged between them and the Duke of Orleans. M. Boinvilliers, a man who understood himself, and who was entirely unawed in the presence of dignitaries, was the spokesman of the delegation. His scrutinizing interrogatories embarrassed the duke exceedingly.
"To-morrow," said M. Boinvilliers, "you are to be king. What are your ideas upon the treaties of 1815?"
By the treaties which in that year the conquerors [Pg 286]of Waterloo formed at Vienna, Europe was partitioned out among the dynasties, so as to bind the people hand and foot, and render any future uprising in behalf of liberty almost impossible. The River Rhine, since the days of Cæsar, had been regarded as the natural boundary between France and Germany. Large provinces on the French banks of the Rhine were wrested from France and placed in the hands of Prussia, that, in case the French people should again endeavor to overthrow the aristocratic institutions of feudal despotism, the allied dynasties might have an unobstructed march open before them into the heart of France.
Though the Bourbons, replaced by foreign bayonets, had entered into this arrangement for their own protection against democracy, still, the discontent of the French people, in view of the degradation, was so great that even Charles X. was conspiring to regain the lost boundary. According to the testimony of his minister, Viscount Chateaubriand, he was entering into a secret treaty with Russia to aid the czar in his designs upon Turkey, and, in return, Russia was to aid France in regaining her lost Rhenish provinces. In reference [Pg 287]to these treaties of 1815 even one of the British quarterlies has said:
When the question was asked of Louis Philippe, "What are your ideas upon the treaties of 1815?" his embarrassment was great. Should he say he approved of those treaties, all France would raise a cry of indignation. Should he say that he was prepared to assail them, all the surrounding dynasties would combine in hostility to his reign.
The reply of the duke was adroit. "I am no partisan to the treaties of 1815. But we must avoid irritating foreign powers."
The next question was still more embarrassing, for it was to be answered not only in the ears of this democratic delegation, but in the hearing of all aristocratic Europe eagerly listening. "What are your opinions upon the subject of an hereditary peerage?" Still the [Pg 288]duke manifested no little skill in meeting it. He replied:
"In hereditary aristocracy is the best basis of society. But if the hereditary peerage can not maintain itself, I certainly shall not endow it. I was once a Republican; but I am convinced that a Republic is inapplicable to such a country as France."
The interview was unsatisfactory to the delegation, and the members retired in disgust.[Y]
Chateaubriand, with all the ardor of his poetic and religious instincts, was a Legitimist. As the representative of the old Bourbon régime, he sought an audience with the duke, hoping to induce him to decline the crown, and to act in the interests of the expelled dynasty. In his "Mémoires d'Outre Tombe," this illustrious man has given a minute account of the conversation which took place. Chateaubriand was received by the Duchess of Orleans, who very cordially invited him to take a seat near her. Rather abruptly she commenced the conversation by saying,
"Ah, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, we are very unhappy. If all parties could unite, we [Pg 289]might yet be saved. What do you think about it?"
"Madame," Chateaubriand replied, "nothing is so easy. Charles X. and Monsieur the Dauphin have abdicated. Henry, the Duke of Bordeaux, is now king. The Duke of Orleans is lieutenant-general of the realm. Let him be regent during the minority of Henry V., and all is right."
"But, Monsieur de Chateaubriand," said the duchess, "the people are very much agitated. We shall fall into anarchy."
"Madame," replied Chateaubriand, "may I venture to inquire of you what is the intention of the Duke of Orleans? Will he accept the crown, if it is offered to him?"
The duchess, after a moment's hesitation, added, without replying to the question, "Reflect, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, upon the evils to which we are exposed. It is necessary that all good men should unite in the endeavor to save us from a Republic. You could render great service as ambassador to Rome, or in the ministry here, should you not wish to leave Paris."
"Madame is not ignorant," Chateaubriand rejoined, "of my devotion to the young king [Pg 290]and to his mother. Your royal highness could not wish that I should give the lie to my whole life"—que je dementisse toute ma vie.
"Monsieur de Chateaubriand," replied the duchess, "you do not know my niece. She is so frivolous. Poor Caroline! But I will send for the Duke of Orleans. He can persuade you better than I can."
The duke soon entered, in dishevelled dress and with a countenance expressive of great anxiety and fatigue. After a few words, which Chateaubriand rather contemptuously records as an "idyl upon the pleasures of country life," Chateaubriand repeated what he had said to the duchess.
The duke exclaimed, "That is just what I should like. Nothing would please me better than to be the tutor and guardian of that child. I think just as you do, M. Chateaubriand. To take the Duke of Bordeaux would certainly be the best thing that could be done. I fear only that events are stronger than we."
"Stronger than we, my lord!" rejoined M. Chateaubriand. "Are you not esteemed by all the powers? Let us go and join Henry V. Call around you, outside the walls of Paris, the [Pg 291]Chambers and the army. At the first tidings of your departure all this effervescence will cease, and every one will seek shelter under your protection and enlightened power."
The duke was much embarrassed. He seemed to avoid looking Chateaubriand in the face. With averted eyes he said, "The thing is more difficult than you imagine. It can not be accomplished. You do not know what peril we are in. A furious band can launch against the Chambers with the most frightful excesses; and we have no means of defense. Be assured that it is I alone who now hold back this menacing crowd. If the Royalist party be not massacred, it will owe its life solely to my efforts."
M. de Chateaubriand responded in brave words, which perhaps the occasion warranted:
"My lord, I have seen some massacres. Those who have passed through the Revolution are inured to war. The gray mustaches are not terrified by objects which frighten the conscripts."
These not very courteous remarks, which implied that, though the duke might be a coward, the viscount was not, terminated the interview.
Chateaubriand, then the most distinguished writer and illustrious orator in France, had prepared an "accusing and terrible speech," to be addressed to the Chamber of Peers, pleading the cause of the vanquished dynasty, and protesting against the Orleans usurpation.
"This news," writes Louis Blanc, "had reached the Palais Royal, which it threw into the utmost uneasiness. Such a danger was to be averted at any cost. Madame Adelaide saw M. Arago, and told him that he would entitle himself to unbounded gratitude if he would see M. de Chateaubriand and entreat him to forego his intended speech; upon which condition he should be assured of having his place in the administration.
"M. Arago called upon the illustrious poet and submitted to him that France had just been shaken to its inmost centre; that it was important to avoid exposing it to the risk of too sudden reactions; that the Duke of Orleans would have it in his power, on becoming king, to do much for public liberty; and that it became a man like Viscount de Chateaubriand to abstain from making himself the mouth-piece of the agitators at the commencement of a reign.
"He ended by telling him that a better means remained to him to serve his country with advantage, and that there would be no hesitation to bestow a portefeuille upon him—that of public instruction, for example. Chateaubriand shook his head suddenly, and replied that, of all he had just heard, that which most touched his heart was the consideration of what was due to the interests of France in its deeply disturbed condition; that he expected nothing, and would accept nothing upon the ruin of his hopes; but, since his speech might sow the seeds of rancor in his native land, he would soften down its tenor. This singular negotiation took place on the eve of the 7th of August."
The next evening, the 8th of August, there was a meeting of the Chamber of Peers. In the eloquent speech which M. Chateaubriand made in advocacy of the old régime, he said;
"A king named by the Chambers, or elected by the people, will ever be a novelty in France. I suppose they wish liberty—above all, the liberty of the press, by which and for which they have obtained so astonishing a victory. Well, every new monarchy, sooner or later, will be obliged to restrain that liberty. [Pg 294]Was Napoleon himself able to admit it? The liberty of the press can not live in safety but under a government which has struck its roots deep into the hearts of men.
"A Republic is still more impracticable. In the existing state of our morals, and in our relations with the adjoining states, such a government is out of the question. The first difficulty would be to bring the French to any unanimous opinion upon the subject. What right have the people of Paris to impose a government, by their vote, on the people of Marseilles? What right have they to constrain any other town to receive the rulers which they have chosen, or the form of government which they have adopted? Shall we have one Republic, or twenty Republics? a federal union, or a commonwealth one and indivisible?
"Charles X. and his son are dethroned, or have abdicated, as you have heard. But the throne is not thereby vacant. After them a child is called to the succession; and who will venture to condemn his innocence? I know that in removing that child it is said you establish the sovereignty of the people. Vain illusion! which proves that in the march of [Pg 295]intellect our old democrats have not made greater advances than the partisans of royalty. It were easy to show that men may be as free and freer under a Monarchy than a Republic. After all I have said, done, and written for the Bourbons, I should be the basest of the human race if I denied them when, for the third and last time, they are directing their steps towards exile."[Z]
On the morning of the next day, the 9th, the Chamber of Deputies met at the Palais Bourbon. It was a very exciting scene, and strong opposition was manifested against proclaiming the Duke of Orleans king. After an angry debate the motion was carried, that,
The friends of the duke felt that their only hope consisted in driving the question to an immediate decision. The Chamber of Deputies had no legal authority to elect a king. [Pg 296]M. Fleury demanded that the electoral colleges should be invoked to elect a new assembly, with special powers delegated to the Deputies to elect a king. The demand was not listened to. M. de Corcelles urged that the question should be submitted to the people, that the voice of universal suffrage might decide what should be the form of government for France, and who should be the sovereign. This proposition was rejected. The venerable Labbey de Pompières then demanded that the voters should inscribe their names and their votes in a register. This they had not courage to do; for, in case of the return of the Bourbons, they would lose their heads.
"Thus," writes Louis Blanc, "the crown of France was voted as a simple matter of by-law regulation."
After some amendments of the charter, the vote was taken. It was a tumultuous scene, and there is some little discrepancy in the number of votes given as the result of the ballot. Louis Blanc gives the result as follows:
|Number of voters||252|
"Thus," he adds, "229 Deputies, who in ordinary times would have formed a majority of but two voices, had modified the constitution, pronounced the forfeiture of one dynasty, and erected a new one."
France contained between thirty and forty million inhabitants. Two hundred and twenty-nine Deputies, with no delegated authority to do so, decided upon the form of government for these millions, and chose their sovereign.
When, several years after, the throne of Louis Philippe was overthrown, an appeal to universal suffrage re-established the Empire, and placed the crown upon the brow of Napoleon III. In this act the voice of the nation was heard. The vote was taken throughout the eighty-six departments of France, in Algiers, in the army, and in the navy. The result was as follows:
The action of the Deputies in choosing Louis Philippe king greatly exasperated the Democrats. They endeavored to stir up insurrection [Pg 298]in the streets; but the journals were against them, and they had neither leaders of any repute, organization, or money. A procession, four abreast, marched through the streets to the Palais Royal, to inform Louis Philippe of his election by their body to the throne of France. The newly elected king feelingly replied:
"I receive with deep emotion the declaration you present to me. I regard it as the expression of the national will; and it appears to me conformable to the political principles I have all my life professed. Full of remembrances which have always made me wish that I might never be called to a throne, and habituated to the peaceful life I led in my family, I can not conceal from you all the feelings that agitate my heart in this great conjuncture. But there is one which overbears all the rest—that is, the love of my country. I feel what it prescribes to me, and I will do it."
According to Alison, in the Chamber of Peers eighty-nine voted "the address to the Duke of Orleans to accept the throne, while ten voted against it." But there was great informality in all these hurried proceedings. "We will not," writes Lamartine, "enter into the details of these gradual approaches to the throne [Pg 299]during the five days which preceded the election of one who had no title, by a Parliament which had no mission, to a royalty which had no rights."[AA]
In the same spirit Sir Archibald Alison writes: "Thus did a small minority, not exceeding a third of either Chamber, at the dictation of a clique in the antechambers of the Duke of Orleans, dispose of the crown to a stranger to the legitimate line, without either consulting the nation or knowing what form of government it desired."[AB] The two Chambers hurriedly prepared a constitution, to which Louis Philippe gave his assent. The ceremony of inauguration—it could scarcely be called coronation—took place with much pomp, in the Chamber of Deputies, on the 9th of August, 1830.
"Gentlemen, peers, and deputies," said the Duke of Orleans, "I have read with great attention the declaration of the Chamber of Deputies and the adhesion of the peers, and I have weighed and meditated upon all its expressions. I accept, without restriction or reserve, the clauses and engagements which that [Pg 300]declaration contains, and the title of King of the French, which it confers upon me." He then took the following oath:
The hall resounded with shouts of "Vive le Roi!" The new-made sovereign, with a splendid cortége, retired, to take up his residence in the Tuileries as King of the French. The Revolution was consummated. The throne of Louis Philippe was erected.
Louis Philippe had scarcely taken his seat upon the throne ere he found himself involved in apparently inextricable embarrassments. Legitimists and Republicans were alike hostile to his reign. That he might conciliate the surrounding dynasties, and save himself from such a coalition of crowned heads as crushed Napoleon I., he felt constrained to avow political principles and adopt measures which exasperated the Republicans, and yet did not reconcile the Legitimists to what they deemed his usurpation. Notwithstanding the most rigid censorship of the press France has ever known, the Government was assailed in various ways, continuously and mercilessly, with rancor which could scarcely be surpassed.
On the 1st of June, 1832, General Lamarque died—one of the most distinguished generals of the Empire. He had gained great popularity [Pg 307]by his eloquent speeches in the tribune in favor of the rights of the people. Napoleon, at St. Helena, spoke of him in the highest terms of commendation. His death occurred just at the moment when Paris was on the eve of an insurrection, and it was immediately resolved to take advantage of the immense gathering which would be assembled at his funeral to raise the banner of revolt. A meeting of all the opposition had just been held at the house of the banker, M. Lafitte, who had been so influential an agent in crowning the Duke of Orleans. A committee had been appointed, consisting of Lafayette, Odillon Barrot, M. Manguin, and others of similar influence and rank, to draw up an address to the nation. All the leaders of the popular committees were very busy in preparation for the outbreak, and arms were secretly distributed and officers appointed, that they might act with efficiency should they be brought into collision with the royal troops.
The funeral took place on the 5th of June. It was one of the most imposing spectacles Paris had ever witnessed—assembling, apparently, the whole population of the metropolis, with thousands from the provinces. A magnificent car, decorated with tri-color flags, bore the remains.[Pg 308] The procession moved from the house of the deceased through the Rue St. Honoré to the Church of the Madeleine, and thence, by way of the teeming Boulevards, to the Place of the Bastile, where several funeral orations were pronounced, and where the body was received, to be taken to its place of burial in the south of France. All the Republican and Democratic clubs turned out in full strength. The Chamber of Deputies was present. Banners, inscribed with exciting popular devices, floated in the air.
The police of Paris was maintained by two thousand municipal guards. In anticipation of an outbreak, the Government had summoned into the squares of the city an additional force of twenty-two thousand troops, consisting of eighteen thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, and eighty pieces of cannon. And, as an additional precaution, there was a reserve of thirty thousand troops stationed in the vicinity of Paris who could in an hour be brought into the streets. Apparently here was ample force to crush any uprising of the populace.
But, on the other hand, the populace could easily rally an enthusiastic mass of one hundred [Pg 309]thousand men. Large numbers of these were accustomed, in their clubs, to act in concert. Their leaders were appointed—each one having his special duty assigned to him. Not a few of these were veteran soldiers, who had served their term in the army, and there were military men of distinction to lead them. The forces, therefore, which might be brought into collision were not very unequal.
The immense procession commenced its movement at ten o'clock in the morning. The whole city was in excitement. All hearts were oppressed with the conviction that tumultuous scenes might be witnessed before the sun should go down. When the head of the procession reached the Place Vendôme, it was turned from its contemplated course, so as to pass up through the Place and the Rue de la Paix to the Boulevards, thus marching beneath the shadow of the magnificent column of Austerlitz, which has given the Place Vendôme world-wide renown.
Cries of Vive la République began now to be heard. A hundred and fifty pupils of the celebrated military school, the Polytechnic, joined the procession, shouting "Vive la Liberte!" These shouts were soon followed by the still [Pg 310]more ominous cry, "A bas Louis Philippe!" "Vive Lafayette!" The storm of popular excitement was rapidly rising.
When the funeral-car had reached its point of destination, near the bridge of Austerlitz, where the remains were to be transferred to those who would carry them to their distant place of burial, several brief funeral orations were pronounced, adroitly calculated still more intensely to arouse popular feeling. A Polish refugee, General Uminski, in an impassioned harangue, said:
"Lamarque, you were the worthy representative of the people. You were ours. You belonged to the human race. All people who love freedom will shed tears at your tomb. In raising your noble voice for Poland, you served the cause of all nations as well as France. You served the cause of liberty—that of the interests dearest to humanity. You defended it against the Holy Alliance, which grew up on the tomb of Poland, and which will never cease to threaten the liberties of the world till the crime which cemented it shall have been effaced by the resurrection of its unfortunate victim."[AC]
The agitation was now indescribable. General Lafayette was urged to repair to the Hôtel de Ville and organize a provisional government. The crowd unharnessed his horses and began, with shouts, to draw him in his carriage through the streets. Suddenly the cry was raised, "The Dragoons!" A mounted squadron of cuirassiers, with glittering swords and coats of mail, in a dense mass which filled the streets, came clattering down at the full charge upon the multitude, cutting right and left. Blood flowed in torrents, and the wounded and the dead were strewn over the pavements. The battle was begun. Fiercely it raged. Barricades were instantly constructed, which arrested the progress of the troops. As by magic, fire-arms appeared in the hands of the populace. Notwithstanding the general tumult and consternation, order emerged from the chaos. Every house became a citadel for the insurgents, and two armies were found confronting each other.
The king and his council, in session at the Tuileries, were greatly alarmed. At three o'clock the tidings were brought that one-third of the metropolis, protected by barricades, was in the possession of the insurgents, and that [Pg 314]the aspect of affairs was threatening in the extreme. Orders were transmitted for all the royal troops within thirty miles of Paris to hasten to the capital. The night passed in tumult and terror. Armed bands were surging through the streets. The solemn boom of the tocsin floated mournfully through the air. The shoutings of the populace, and the frequent explosions of artillery and musketry, added to the general dismay and gloom. There was no sleep in Paris that night. Fifty thousand troops of the line and fifty thousand of the National Guard were marching to their appointed places of rendezvous in preparation for the deadly strife which the morrow would certainly usher in. The populace were no less busy, organizing in military bands, collecting arms, throwing up barricades, and seizing important posts. Both parties were alike aware that the Government could place but little reliance upon the National Guard, as many of them were known to be in sympathy with the people.
A provisional government had in reality, as it were, organized itself. While Louis Philippe and his ministers were in session at the Tuileries, Lafayette, M. Lafitte, and other distinguished [Pg 315]men, who but a few months before had placed Louis Philippe upon the throne, were in secret assembly at the mansion of M. Lafitte, issuing orders for the overthrow of that throne. Their orders were received by the leaders of the populace, and thus there was unity and efficiency of action.[AD]
During the night there were several bloody conflicts, in which the populace were generally successful. With their head-quarters at the Porte St. Martin, and pushing out their intrenchments on both sides of the river, before the dawn a large part of the city was under their control. The Government forces were mainly concentrated at the Tuileries, the Louvre, and the Hôtel de Ville.
Marshal Soult was in command of the royal troops. Wherever his sympathies might be in the peculiar emergency which had risen, he felt bound to be true to his oath and his colors. By ten o'clock in the morning he had eighty thousand men under his command, including six thousand cavalry, with one hundred and twenty pieces of artillery. Strong as this force was, it was none too strong for the occasion. There was great consternation at [Pg 316]the Tuileries. To prevent the soldiers of the National Guard from passing over to the people, they were intermingled with the troops of the line.
The conflict which ensued was one of the most terrible ever recorded in the history of insurrections. Thirty thousand compact royal troops, cavalry, infantry, and artillery, slowly marched along the Boulevards, battering down the barricades, and sweeping the streets with musketry and grape-shot. Another band of thirty thousand traversed, in an equally sanguinary march, the streets which bordered the banks of the Seine. They were to meet at the bridge of Austerlitz.
The houses of Paris are of stone, five or six stories high. Each house became a citadel filled with insurgents, which kept up a deadly fire upon the advancing columns. The slaughter on both sides was dreadful; on either side was equal courage and desperation. A very bloody struggle took place at the Cloister of St. Meri, which strong position the insurgents held with the utmost determination.
"The tocsin," writes Sir Archibald Alison, "incessantly sounded from the Church of St. Meri to call the Republicans to the decisive [Pg 317]point; and they were not wanting to the appeal. Young men, children of twelve years of age, old men tottering on the verge of the grave, flocked to the scene of danger and stood side by side with the manly combatants. Never had there been, in the long annals of revolutionary conflicts, such universal enthusiasm and determined resolution on the part of the Republicans."
Before the terrific fire from the windows and from behind the barricade the whole column of royal troops at first recoiled and fled back in confusion. But heavy artillery was brought forward; a breach was battered through the barricade; shells were thrown beyond to scatter the defenders, while an incessant storm of bullets penetrated every window at which an assailant appeared. The royal troops rushed through the breach. Quarter was neither given nor asked. On both sides the ferocity of demons was exhibited. This closed the conflict. The insurrection was crushed. The royal troops admitted a loss in killed and wounded of 417. The loss of the insurgents can never be known, as both the dead and the wounded were generally conveyed away and secreted by their friends.
On the morning of the 6th, the leaders of the Liberal party were sanguine of success. But the unexpected display of governmental force rendered the revolt hopeless. The leaders, who had been acting in entire secrecy, dispersed, and Alison says that they quietly slipped over to the other side, and sought only to mitigate the victor's wrath. A deputation was appointed by some of the citizens to call upon the king, congratulate him upon his victory, and implore him to temper justice with mercy.
The king angrily replied, "Who is responsible for the blood which has been shed? The miserable wretches who took advantage of the funeral of General Lamarque to attack the Government by open force. The cannons you have heard have demolished the barricades of St. Meri. The revolt is terminated. I do not know why you should suppose that violent measures are to be adopted; but, rely upon it, they are loudly called for. I know that the press is constantly endeavoring to destroy me; but it is by the aid of falsehood. I ask you, is there any person of whom you have ever heard, against whom a greater torrent of calumny has been poured forth than against myself?"[AE]
The next morning a decree was issued ordering all the printing-presses opposed to the Government to be broken to pieces, and substituting courts-martial instead of the ordinary tribunals to try all cases connected with the insurrection. The Government regarded the movement as a combined attempt of the Republicans and the Legitimists. Hence Garnier Pagés, the Democrat, and Viscount Chateaubriand, the Bourbonist, found themselves arrested as accomplices in the same rebellion.
Three days after, on the 10th of June, Chateaubriand wrote from his prison to M. Bertin, editor of Le Journal des Débats, that he had refused to take the oath of allegiance to Louis Philippe, first because his government was not founded upon legitimate succession, and second, that it was not founded on popular sovereignty.
A few weeks after this, upon his release, Chateaubriand visited the young prince, Louis Napoleon, who, in studious retirement, was residing with his mother, Queen Hortense, in their beautiful retreat at Arnemberg, on the Lake of Constance. The prince had just published a work entitled "Political Reveries," in which he took the ground that the voice of the[Pg 320] people is the legitimate foundation of all government; that the people, in the exercise of universal suffrage, should decide upon their form of government and choose their rulers. Chateaubriand read this treatise with much interest, suggested the substitution of the word nation for that of people, and became personally the warm friend of the young prince, though still adhering to the doctrine of legitimacy and to his allegiance to the Bourbons.[AF]
The government of Louis Philippe pursued and punished with the greatest energy those engaged in the revolt. "The number of the prosecutions," writes Alison, "exceeded any thing previously witnessed, not merely in French, but in European history. The restrictions complained of during the Restoration were as nothing compared to it. From the accession of Louis Philippe to the 1st of October, a period of a little more than two years, there occurred in France 281 seizures of journals and 251 judgments upon them. No less than 81 journals had been condemned, of which 41 were in Paris alone. The total number of months of imprisonment inflicted on editors of journals during this period was 1226, and [Pg 321]the amount of fines levied 347,550 francs [$80,000]. This is perhaps the hottest warfare, without the aid of the censorship, ever yet waged, during so short a period, against the liberty of the press. The system of Louis Philippe was to bring incessant prosecutions against the parties responsible for journals, without caring much whether they were successful or not, hoping that he should wear them out by the trouble and expense of conducting their defenses."[AG]
Thus terminated the Republican attempt to overthrow the throne of Louis Philippe. And now let us turn to an attempt of the Legitimists to accomplish the same end. About eleven months after the enthronement of Louis Philippe, in March, 1831, the Duchess de Berri, having obtained the reluctant consent of Charles X., set out from Scotland for the south of France, to promote a rising of the Bourbon party there in favor of the Duke of Bordeaux—whom we shall hereafter call by his present title, the Count de Chambord—and to march upon Paris. The Legitimist party was [Pg 322]rich, and was supported generally by the clergy and by the peasantry. In the south of France and in La Vendée that party was very strong.
The ex-king, Charles X., who, having abdicated, had no power to nominate to the regency, still issued a decree, dated Edinburgh, March 8th, 1831, by which he authorized "a [Pg 323]proclamation in favor of Henry V., in which it shall be announced that Madame, Duchess de Berri, is to be regent of the kingdom during the minority of her son."[AI]
The duchess, assuming the title of Countess of Segana, crossed over to Holland, and, ascending the Rhine and traversing the Tyrol, safely reached Genoa. The King of Sardinia, Charles Albert, received her kindly, and loaned her a million francs. But the French consul discovered her through her disguise, and by order of the French Court the Sardinian king felt constrained to request her to withdraw from his domains.
The Duke of Modena received her hospitably, and assigned to her use the palace of Massa, about three miles from the sea. Here, with confidential advisers, she matured her plans. Secret agents were sent to all the principal cities in France, to organize royalist committees and to prepare for a general uprising. The plan was for the insurrection to break out first in the west of France, to be immediately followed by all the southern provinces.
While affairs were in this posture, a very [Pg 324]curious measure was adopted by the Government, which merits brief notice. The Chamber of Deputies, composed of the bourgeoisie, voted the abolition of the hereditary peerage. This was a constitutional amendment, which needed to be ratified by the Chamber of Peers. But the Peers were not disposed thus to commit suicide. Louis Philippe had been placed upon the throne by the bourgeoisie. The nobles were Bourbonists. He felt constrained to support the measures of his friends. He therefore created, by royal ordinance, thirty-six new peers to vote the abolition of the peerage, and thus the vote was carried.[AJ] A vote was also passed banishing forever from the soil of France every member of the elder branch of the house of Bourbon. These measures, of course, exasperated the friends of the ancient régime, and rendered them more willing to enter into a conspiracy for the dethronement of the Citizen King.
At Massa the duchess had assembled several prominent men to aid her with their advice [Pg 325]and co-operation. But, as was to have been expected, these men soon quarrelled among themselves. The brother of the Duchess de Berri was now King of Naples. But he did not dare to afford his sister an asylum, as the French Government threatened, in that case, immediately to send a fleet and an army from Toulon and bombard the city of Naples.
Proclamations and ordinances were prepared, to be widely distributed. A provisional government, to be established in Paris, was organized, on paper, to consist of the Marquis de Pastoret, the Duke de Bellino, the Viscount Chateaubriand, and the Count de Kergarlaz.
In the mean time the officers of the Government were watching with the utmost vigilance every movement in the south of France, and punishing with terrible severity, by shooting, bayoneting, and hanging, and often without trial, those who were suspected of being implicated in the anticipated Bourbon uprising. The duchess was much deceived by the flattering reports she was receiving from her friends. Though they correctly described the intense dissatisfaction of the country with the government of Louis Philippe, they greatly exaggerated the numbers and the zeal of those whom [Pg 326]they supposed to be ready to rally around the banner of the Bourbons.
The 24th of April, 1832, was fixed for the departure. The utmost secrecy was necessary, as the spies of Louis Philippe were all around. Arrangements had been made for a small steamer, the Carlo Alberto, in the darkness of the night to glide into the harbor, take on board the duchess and her suite, and convey them to Marseilles. It was given out that the duchess was about to visit Florence. At nightfall of the 24th a travelling carriage, with four post-horses, was drawn up before the ducal palace. The duchess, with one gentleman and three ladies, entered, and in the darkness the carriage was rapidly driven a short distance from the gate of Massa, when, upon some pretext, it stopped for a moment beneath the shadow of a high wall. While some directions were given, to engage the attention of the postilion, the duchess, with Mademoiselle Lebeschu and M. de Brissac, glided out of the door unperceived, when the door was shut and the horses again set out upon the gallop for Florence.
The duchess and her friends stealthily moved along under the shadow of the wall, until they reached a secluded spot upon the sea-shore [Pg 327]where the steamer was expected. The major of a body of troops in that vicinity joined them, with a lantern, as a signal to guide the boat from the expected steamer to the shore. Here they remained, in breathless silence and in much anxiety, for an hour. Just as the clocks in the distant churches were tolling the hour of midnight, a feeble light was seen far away over the water. It was the Carlo Alberto, the steamer for which they were waiting. Rapidly it approached; a boat was sent ashore. The Princess Marie Caroline, worn out with cares and anxieties, or—which is the more probable—possessed of that gay, untroubled spirit which no cares could agitate, was wrapped in her cloak and soundly asleep on the sand. Her companions did not awake her till the boat was about to touch the beach. It was three o'clock in the morning. The duchess and her suite, composing a party of seven—Mademoiselle Lebeschu being her only lady attendant—were soon transferred from the shore to the deck of the Carlo Alberto.
All were conscious that the enterprise upon which they had embarked was perilous in the extreme. Its success would greatly depend upon what is called chance. The duchess appeared [Pg 328]calm and cheerful, as if determined not to doubt of a triumphant result, and manifestly resolved to wipe from the Bourbon name the charge of pusillanimity which it has so often incurred.
To avoid the French cruisers the Carlo Alberto kept far out to sea, and did not reach Marseilles until midnight of the 28th. The party was to be landed near the light-house, where a rendezvous had been fixed for the small but determined band who were to meet her there. The moment the steamer cast anchor the signal of two lanterns was raised, one at the foremast head and the other at the mizzen-mast head, which signal was instantly responded to from the shore. Dark clouds had gathered in the sky, and the moanings of a rising gale and the dashings of the surge added to the gloom of the hour. The gentlemen who were to accompany Marie Caroline to the shore were dressed in the disguise of fishermen. The sea had become so high that it was with difficulty and peril that the party could embark. At one time the boat was dashed so furiously against one of the paddle-boxes of the steamer that the destruction of all on board seemed inevitable. Through all these trying scenes the [Pg 329]fragile, sylph-like duchess manifested intrepidity which excited the wonder and admiration of every beholder. The little skiff which was to convey her to the beach soon disappeared in the darkness of that stormy sea.
The landing occurred without accident, and Marie Caroline scaled the rocks, along a path which tried the nerves even of the boldest smugglers, till she reached a temporary hut which had been reared to afford her shelter. The vigilance, however, of the Government police had not been entirely eluded. That very evening the authorities, in some way, received the rumor that the duchess had landed, or was about to land, at Marseilles, to commence the uprising there. Immediate and vigorous preparations were adopted to quell it. The force of every military post was doubled.
A band of about two thousand of her partisans was the next morning assembled at an appointed rendezvous in the city. They ran up the white banner of the Bourbons upon the spire of St. Laurient, and began shouting vociferously, "Vive Henri Cinq!"—hoping to excite a general insurrection, and that the whole populace of the city would join them. They did create intense agitation, and wonder, and bewilderment. [Pg 330]Men, women, and children ran to and fro, and the alarm-bells were violently rung from the steeples. The duchess was still in her hut, waiting for the favorable moment in which to make her appearance. When she saw the Bourbon flag unfurled from St. Laurient, she was deluded by the hope that the success of the enterprise was secured.
But soon the regular troops appeared in solid battalions. The crowd fled before them. A few of the insurgents who attempted to make a stand were dispersed by a bayonet charge, their leaders captured, and the Bourbon flag disappeared! By one o'clock it was all over—the émeute had utterly and hopelessly failed!
Her despairing friends urged her immediately to repair to the steamer, and to take refuge with the Bourbons of Spain. Heroically she replied, "I am in France now, and in France will I remain." We have not space here to enter into the detail of her wonderful adventures, which she seemed to enjoy as if she were merely engaged in a school-girl frolic. Probably she felt assured that if she were taken prisoner, her royal blood, her relationship with the queen, as her niece, and the sympathy of [Pg 331]most of the courts of Europe in what they deemed the righteousness of her cause, would save her from any very severe treatment.
"Disguised as a peasant-boy, and accompanied by no one but Marshal Bourmont, also in disguise, she set out on foot to walk across France, through fields and by-paths, a distance of four hundred miles, to the department of La Vendée, where the Bourbon party was in its greatest strength. The first night they lost their way in the woods. Utterly overcome by exhaustion, the duchess sank down at the foot of a tree and fell asleep, while her faithful attendant stood sentinel at her side.
Here her disappointment was bitter. The Government troops were on the alert, fully prepared for any conflict. Her own friends were despairing. There was no enthusiasm manifested to enter upon an enterprise where defeat and death seemed inevitable. Passionately she entreated her friends not to abandon her, delineating the great risks she had run. It was all in vain. No general uprising could be secured. There were a few despairing conflicts, but the feeble bands of the insurgents rapidly melted away before the concentration of the Government troops.
Still, the duchess herself escaped capture. Accompanied by a single guide, and apparently insensible to hardship or peril, she wandered through the woods, often sleeping in the open [Pg 333]air, and occasionally carried upon the shoulders of her attendant through the marshes.
"On one occasion," writes Alison, "when the pursuit was hottest, she found shelter in a ditch covered with bushes, while the soldiers in pursuit of her searched in vain, and probed with their bayonets every thicket in the wood with which it was environed. The variety, the fatigue, the dangers of her life, had inexpressible charms for a person of her ardent and romantic disposition. She often said, 'Don't speak to me of suffering. I was never so happy at Naples or Paris as now.'"[AL]
She took great pleasure in a variety of disguises. Sometimes, in the picturesque costume of a peasant-girl, with coarse wooden shoes on her little feet, she would enter a town filled with Royalist troops, and converse gayly with the gendarmes who guarded the gates. The coasts of France were so watched by Governmental vessels as to render her escape by water almost impossible. She consequently decided to seek a retreat in Nantes, a city in which she had so few adherents that no one would suspect her taking refuge there.
In the disguise of a peasant-girl, with one [Pg 334]female companion, she entered the city, and was concealed by a few friends who perilled their lives in so doing. For several months she eluded all the efforts of the Government to find her. In the mean time, the partisans of the duchess were pursued and punished with the most terrible severity. No mercy was shown them. The duchess, from her retreat, kept up a lively correspondence with her friends, still hoping that fortune might turn in her favor. Pleading in behalf of these men, she wrote as follows to her aunt, the queen:
"Whatever consequences may result for me, from the position in which I have placed myself while fulfilling my duties as a mother, I will never speak to you, madame, of my own interests. But brave men have become involved in danger for my son's sake, and I can not forbear from attempting whatever may be done with honor, in order to save them.
"I therefore entreat my aunt, whose goodness of heart and religious sentiment are known to me, to exert all her credit in their behalf. The bearer of this letter will furnish details respecting their situation. He will [Pg 335]state that the judges given them are men against whom they have fought.
"Notwithstanding the actual difference in our positions, a volcano is under your feet, madame, as you know. I knew your alarm—your very natural alarm—at a period when I was in safety, and I was not insensible to it. God alone knows what He destines for us, and perhaps you will one day thank me for having had confidence in your goodness, and for having given you an opportunity of exerting it in behalf of my unfortunate friends. Rely on my gratitude. I wish you happiness, madame, for I think too highly of you to believe it possible that you can be happy in your present situation. Marie Caroline."
This letter was conveyed to the queen at St. Cloud. She probably read it; but it was immediately returned to the bearer, who was in waiting, with the declaration that the queen could not receive it. Five months had now elapsed since the duchess entered Nantes. It is by some supposed that Louis Philippe did not wish to have her arrested. He would be fearfully embarrassed to know what to do with her. It would hardly do to restore her to liberty [Pg 336]while her partisans were cruelly punished with death. It was not easy to decide upon the tribunal which would sit in judgment upon her. The peerage would have recoiled with horror from passing judgment upon a princess, who endeavored to gain the throne for a child, who was entitled to that throne by the avowed principles of legitimacy.
A renegade Jew, by the name of Deutz, at length betrayed her. By the most villainous treachery he obtained an interview with the duchess, and then informed the police of the place of her retreat. It was the 6th of November. In the following words Louis Blanc describes the preparations made for her arrest:
No sooner had Deutz withdrawn than bayonets glittered in every direction, and commissioners of police rushed into the house, with pistols in their hands. The duchess had barely time to take refuge, with three companions, in a small recess behind the fire-place, which was adroitly concealed by an iron plate back of the chimney. The police commenced a minute search, calling masons in to aid them. The walls were sounded with hammers, articles of furniture moved and broken open. Night came while the search continued. The space in which they were confined was very narrow, with but one small aperture for the admission of air. They barely escaped suffocation by applying their mouths in turn to this hole, but three inches in diameter.
The gendarmes, fully satisfied that the duchess must be concealed somewhere in the house, took possession of the room and lighted a fire in the chimney, which converted their hiding-place into a hot oven. The heat soon became insupportable. The iron plate had become red-hot. One of the prisoners kicked it down, and said, "We are coming out; take away the fire." The fire was instantly brushed away, and the duchess and her companions, after having endured sixteen hours of almost insupportable torture, came forth in great exhaustion, and yet the duchess almost gayly said, referring to the ancient martyr roasted upon a gridiron,
"Gentlemen, you have made war upon me à la St. Laurent. I have nothing to reproach myself with. I have only discharged the duty of a mother to gain the inheritance of her son."[AM]
The captive was treated with the respect due to her rank. After a brief confinement at Nantes, she was transferred to the citadel of Blaye, one of the most gloomy of prisons, on the left bank of the Gironde. All the effects of this princess of royal birth, who had entered [Pg 339]France as regent, were tied up in a pocket-handkerchief. Measures were apparently adopted to keep her in close captivity, without trial, for a long time. The fortress was thoroughly manned with nine hundred men, and put in a state of defense, as if anticipating a siege. Three gun-boats were stationed in the river. The small building within the walls of the citadel, which was assigned to the duchess, was surrounded with a double row of palisades ten or twelve feet high. The windows were covered with strong iron bars, and even the apertures of the chimneys were closed with an iron grating. Even the gay spirit of the princess was subdued by the glooms in which she was enveloped.
Still, from many eminent men of her own party she received gratifying proofs of fidelity. Chateaubriand issued an eloquent pamphlet which won the applause of the Legitimists throughout Europe. In this he had the boldness to exclaim, "Madame, your son is my king." In a letter of condolence to the princess, in which he offered his professional services in her defense, he said:
"Madame,—You will deem it inconsiderate, obtrusive, that at such a moment as this I entreat you to grant me a favor, but it is the high ambition of my life. I would earnestly solicit to be numbered among your defenders. I have no personal title to the great favor I solicit of your new grandeur, but I venture to implore it in memory of a prince of whom you deigned to name me historian, and in the name of my family's blood. It was my brother's glorious destiny to die with his illustrious grandfather, M. de Malesherbes, the defender of Louis XVI., the same day, the same hour, for the same cause, and upon the same scaffold. Chateaubriand."
But a terrible secret was soon whispered abroad, which overwhelmed the princess with shame, and which filled the court of Louis Philippe with joy, as it silenced all voices which would speak in her favor. It became evident that the duchess was again to become a mother. For a princess, the child, sister, and mother of a king, secretly to marry some unknown man, was deemed as great a degradation as such a person could be guilty of. The shame was as great as it would be in New York for the daughter of a millionaire secretly [Pg 341]to marry a negro coachman. It consigned the princess to irremediable disgrace. But the situation in which she found herself compelled her to acknowledge her marriage. The universal assumption was that she had not been married. Secrecy divests marriage of its sanctity.
The sufferings through which the princess passed were awful. No pen can describe them. Could she but be released from prison, her shame might be concealed. Her tears and entreaties were all unavailing. Louis Philippe, unmindful that the princess was the niece of his wife, deemed that the interests of his dynasty required that she should be held with a firm grasp until the birth of her child should consign her to ignominy from which there could be no redemption.
On the 22d of February, 1833, the duchess placed in the hands of General Bugeaud, governor of the citadel of Blaye, the following declaration:
To a friend, M. de Mesnard, she wrote: "I feel as if it would kill me to tell you what follows, but it must be done. Vexatious annoyances, the order to leave me alone with spies, the certainty that I can not get out till September, could alone have determined me to declare my secret marriage."
The humiliations to which the unhappy duchess was compelled to submit were dreadful. The detail would be only painful to our readers. On the morning of the 10th of May a daughter was born, whom God kindly, ere long, removed to another world. The fact, minutely authenticated, was proclaimed to all Europe. Thus far Marie Caroline had kept secret the name of her husband. But it was now necessary that his name should be given, to secure the legitimacy of her child. It was then announced, by the officiating physician to the group of officials which the Government had placed around her bed, that the father of the child was Count Hector Sucheri Palli, gentleman of the chamber to the King of the Two Sicilies.
In commenting upon these events, Louis Blanc writes: "The partisans of the new dynasty exulted with indecent zeal at the event [Pg 343]of which the ministers had so well prepared the scandal. The Republicans only manifested the contempt they felt for this ignoble triumph. As for the Legitimists, they were overwhelmed with consternation. Some of them, however, still persisted in their daring incredulity; and they did not hesitate to denounce the document, upon which their enemies relied as the denouement of an intrigue which had begun with violence and ended with a lie. Separated from her friends, deprived of their counsels, dead to the world, to the laws, to society, was it possible for Marie Caroline to make any valid deposition against herself, and that, too, surrounded by her accusers, by her keepers, by the men who had vowed her destruction?"
Thus, while one party affirmed that there was no truth in the alleged birth or marriage, the Orleanists declared that the Duchess of Berri had not only given birth to a child of no legitimate parentage, but that the Duke of Bordeaux, who was born seven months after the assassination of the Duke of Berri, was also the child of dishonored birth, and had, therefore, no title whatever to the crown. Such is the venom of political partisanship.
On the 8th of June, Marie Caroline, who could no longer claim the title of Regent of France, but who had sunk to the lowly condition of the wife of an Italian count, was liberated from prison. She had fallen into utter disgrace, and was no longer to be feared. With her child and her nurse, abandoned by those friends who had gathered around the regent, she sailed for Palermo. Her brother, the king, received her kindly, and she was joined by Count Lucheri Palli. Few troubled themselves to inquire whether she were ever married to the count or not. We hear of her no more.
These events broke up the Legitimists into three parties. The one assumed that, under the circumstances, the abdication of Charles X. was not to be regarded as binding; that he was still king, and to him alone they owed their allegiance. The second took the position that, in consequence of the suspicions cast upon the birth of the Duke of Bordeaux, the abdication in favor of the duke was null, and that the dauphin, the Duke de Angoulême, was the legitimate heir to the crown. The third party still adhered to the Duke of Bordeaux, recognizing him as king, under the title of Henry V. Thus terminated in utter [Pg 345]failure the Legitimist endeavor to overthrow the throne of Louis Philippe.
While these scenes were transpiring, the Duke of Reichstadt, the only son of Napoleon I., and, by the votes of the French people, the legitimate heir to the throne of the Empire, died in Vienna, on the 22d of July, 1832. Commenting upon this event, Louis Blanc writes:
The attempts subsequently made by Louis Napoleon for the restoration of the Empire, which failed at Strasbourg and Bologne, but which finally gave the Empire to France through twenty years of unparalleled prosperity, we have not space here to record. They will be found minutely detailed in Abbott's History of Napoleon III.
In reference to these unsuccessful attempts, Louis Blanc writes: "Of the two sons of the ex-king of Holland, Napoleon's brother, the elder, we have seen, had perished in the Italian troubles, by a death as mysterious as premature. The younger had retired to Switzerland, where he applied himself unceasingly to the preparation of projects that flattered his pride and responded to the most earnest aspirations of his soul.
"Nephew to him whom France called the Emperor, the emperor par excellence (imperator), and condemned to the vexations of an obscure [Pg 347]youth; having to avenge his proscribed kindred, while himself exiled by an unjust law, from a country he loved, and of which it might be said, without exaggeration, that Napoleon still covered it with his shadow—Louis Bonaparte believed himself destined at once to uphold the honor of his name, to punish the persecutors of his family, and to open to his disgraced country some way to glory.
"His design was to make trial of the prestige of his name to overthrow the Orleans dynasty, after which he would convoke the people, consult and obey it. Nothing is more certain than that this respect for the principle of the sovereignty of the people was perfectly sincere and honest on the part of the young prince. But the hopes with which he flattered his ambition were not the less grand on that account. Heir to the imperial tradition, might he not be the choice of the people?
"He was generous, enterprising, prompt in military exercises, and the uniform sat upon him with a manly grace. There was no braver officer—no more gallant cavalier. Though the expression of his countenance was gentle, rather than energetic and imperious—though there was an habitual languor in his looks, [Pg 348]often dashed with thought, no doubt the soldiers would love him for his frank bearing, his honest and hearty speech, his small figure, resembling his uncle's, and the imperial lightning which the passion of the moment kindled in his blue eye. What a name, too, was his!"[AN]
Charles X. was overwhelmed by his misfortunes. His health rapidly failed. He was often heard to say, "The day is not far distant that shall witness the funeral of the poor old man." On the morning of November 4, 1836, he was seized with a chill, while temporarily residing at Goritz, in Styria. It proved an attack of cholera. His sufferings were severe, but he was calm and resigned, and conversed freely upon the eternity opening before him. The Duke of Bordeaux and his sister were brought into the room to receive his blessing. He placed his trembling hands upon their heads and said, "God protect you, my children. Walk in the ways of righteousness; do not forget me; pray for me sometimes." A deep lethargy came upon him; and, after a few hours of apparent insensibility, he breathed his last, at the age of 79 years.
The Liberal party in France, despairing of any effectual reform under the government of Louis Philippe, began to turn their thoughts to the re-establishment of the Empire under Louis Napoleon, a young prince, the nephew and heir of Napoleon I., then residing in studious seclusion at Arnemberg, in Switzerland. The prince had already obtained some celebrity by his writings in favor of popular rights. One of the leading republicans wrote to him:
"The life of the king is daily threatened. If one of these attempts should succeed, we should be exposed to the most serious convulsions; for there is no longer in France any party which can lead the others, nor any man who can inspire general confidence. The great name which you bear, your opinions, your character, every thing, induces us to see in you a point of rallying for the popular cause. Hold yourself [Pg 350]ready for action. When the time shall come, your friends will not fail you."[AO]
Every month there seemed to be rising enthusiasm in respect to the Napoleonic name. Louis Philippe had but just taken his seat upon the throne, when a petition was presented to the Chamber of Deputies praying that the remains of the Emperor might be claimed of the British Government, and transferred from St. Helena to Paris. In a speech made by M. Mortigny, on the occasion, he said:
"Napoleon established order and tranquillity in our country: he led our armies to victory: his sublime genius put an end to anarchy: his military glory made the French name respected throughout the world, and his name will ever be pronounced with emotion and veneration."
In the Place Vendôme a column was reared in commemoration of the deeds of the French army. It had been surmounted by the statue of Napoleon. The Allies tore down the effigy. The people now demanded that the statue should be restored. The Government could not refuse. On the 28th of July, 1833, the statue of the emperor again rose to that proud [Pg 351]summit, in the midst of, apparently, the universal acclaim of Paris and France.
On the 1st of August, 1834, a statue of the emperor was placed in the court-yard of the Royal Hôtel des Invalides, accompanied by as imposing civil and religious ceremonies as France had ever witnessed.
In the year 1806, Napoleon I. had laid the foundations of the Arc de l'Étoile, at the entrance of the most superb avenue in the world. The people now demanded the completion of the monument. Preparations were made for a magnificent fête on the 29th of July, 1836, when the completed arc was to be unveiled. But Louis Philippe had become so excessively unpopular, he was so incessantly pursued by assassins, that it was not deemed safe for him to appear at the ceremony. The magnificent monument was unveiled without any ceremony—the Moniteur proclaiming to Europe the humiliating declaration that the king could no longer with safety appear in the streets of Paris. "The soil," writes a French annalist, "was so sown with assassins that there was no safety for the monarch but within the walls of his palace."[AP]
All over the kingdom insurrections were constantly bursting out, and there were bloody conflicts in Lyons, Marseilles, and other places. And now the demand became irresistible for the transfer of the remains of Napoleon to Paris. Such a scene of national homage as this great occasion manifested the world never witnessed before. In 1840, the eyes of the world were fixed upon this grand funereal pageant. The honored remains were transferred from the lonely grave at St. Helena, placed beneath the dome of the Invalides, and over those remains a nation's gratitude has reared a monument which attracts the admiration of the world.
But these reluctant yieldings to popular sentiment did not add to the popularity of Louis Philippe. He was shot at so frequently that he received the sobriquet of the Target King! A volume might be filled with the recital of the foul attempts to assassinate him. His days must have passed in constant wretchedness. He was assailed in low blackguardism in the journals: he was assailed with envenomed eloquence, by such men as Lamartine, at the banquets; and his path was dogged, with dagger and pistol, by such brutal wretches as [Pg 355]Fieschi, Boirier Meunier, Alibaud, and many others.
Louis Philippe, in the relations of private life, was one of the best of men. His character had been formed in the school of misfortune. He was not a man of generous affections; the fearful discipline through which he had passed rendered this almost impossible. He was greedy of money, and exceedingly desirous of aggrandizing his family by such matrimonial alliances as would strengthen his dynasty.
On the 13th of July, 1842, the king experienced one of the heaviest calamities of his life—a calamity quite irreparable. His eldest son, who, upon the enthronement of his father, had taken the title of the Duke of Orleans, was a very noble young man, quite popular with the people and in the army. He was believed to be far more liberal in his views than his father. He was driving in his carriage from Paris to Neuilly; the horses took fright, and the driver lost his control over them. The duke endeavored to leap from the carriage; his head struck the ground, and his brain was so injured that he breathed but a few hours, in insensibility, and died. Thus sadly the direct [Pg 356]heir to the throne was cut off. The succession reverted to his son, the Count of Paris—an infant child, then in the arms of its nurse.
This young man—who subsequently married his cousin, a daughter of the Duke of Montpensier, and who has been residing much of the time at Twickenham, in England—is, at the present writing, the Orleans candidate for the throne of France. He is deemed a worthy man—has two children, but never has been placed in circumstances to develop any marked traits of character. As the Count of Chambord has no children, upon his death the Count of Paris becomes the legitimate candidate for the throne.
The Count of Chambord had married the Archduchess Maria Theresa-Beatrice, of Modena, eldest sister of the reigning duke of that principality, and the only prince in Europe who had refused to recognize Louis Philippe. "It was a singular proof of the mutations of fortune that the direct descendant of Louis XIV. deemed himself fortunate upon being admitted into the family of a third-rate Italian potentate."[AQ]
Louis Philippe, during his reign of about [Pg 357]eighteen years, encountered nothing but trouble. The advocates of legitimacy—of the divine right of kings—regarded him as an usurper. As the voice of the nation was not consulted in placing him upon the throne, the masses of the people deemed themselves defrauded of their rights, and hated him, as the representative only of the moneyed aristocracy of Paris. The bitterness with which he was assailed by the Liberal party may be inferred from the following extract from the "Revolution of 1848," by Louis Blanc:
There were thirty-four millions of people in France. Of these, but one hundred and fifty thousand of the richest proprietors enjoyed the right of suffrage. Consequently, the laws were framed to favor the rich. All the efforts of the people to secure a reform of the electoral law proved unavailing. The agitation of the subject increased every year, and the cry for parliamentary reform was ever growing louder and more menacing. Many of the illustrious men in France joined this reform party. Among others, there were M. Lafitte, the wealthy banker, M. Odillon Barrot, the renowned advocate, and M. Arago, the distinguished philosopher.
We may search history in vain for the record of any monarch so unrelentingly harassed as was Louis Philippe from the time he ascended the throne until he was driven from it. He was irreproachable in morals, a man who had seen much of the world in all its phases, sagacious and well meaning. But he was placed in a position in which no earthly wisdom could rescue him from the direst trouble. There [Pg 359]were two antagonistic and very powerful parties watching him.
The one was the Liberal party in France, of varied shades of opinion, demanding equal rights for all men, hating the old dynastic despotisms of Europe, who had forced the Bourbons upon them, and hating those treaties of Vienna, of 1815, which had shorn France of a large portion of her territory, and had bound Europe hand and foot, so as to prevent any future uprising of the friends of popular liberty.
The other party consisted of the old aristocracy of France, the Legitimists, supported by the sympathies of all the courts of Europe, who were supposed to be not only willing but eager to unite their armies to maintain the principles of the old régime in France, and thus to prevent the establishment there of those principles of popular liberty which would endanger all their thrones.
The difference between these two parties was irreconcilable. As Louis Philippe was situated, he was compelled to choose between the two. He chose the latter. This involved him in unrelenting and unintermitted war with the former. Alison says: "Concession to the Republican party and a general change in [Pg 360]external policy, so earnestly pressed upon him by the Liberals, would lead at once to a general war;" that is, the surrounding dynasties would not permit free institutions to be established in France.
Louis Philippe was a man of great decision of character, as his friends would say. His enemies called that trait stubbornness. In a letter purporting to have been written on the 9th of November, 1847, by his son, the Prince de Joinville, to the Duke de Nemours, the writer says to his brother:
"I write one word to you, for I am disquieted at the events which I see on all sides thickening around us. Indeed, I begin to be seriously alarmed. The king is inflexible. He will listen to no advice. His own will must prevail over every thing. There are no longer any ministers. Their responsibility is null. Every thing rests with the king. He has arrived at an age when observations are no longer listened to. He is accustomed to govern, and he loves to show that he does so."
The king is reported to have said, at the close of a cabinet meeting, in reply to some who urged concessions to the Liberal party, "Every one appears to be for reform. Some [Pg 361]demand it, others promise it. For my part, I will never be a party to such weakness. Reform is another word for war. When the opposition succeed to power, I shall take my departure."
This was the declaration of the king that the surrounding dynasties would not permit popular rights in France. An ancient law of the old régime did not allow the people to assemble to discuss affairs of state. Louis Philippe revived the law, and enforced it vigorously. To evade this prohibition, large dinner-parties, or banquets, as they were called, were introduced, which afforded an opportunity of offering toasts and making speeches, in which the measures of Government were vehemently assailed. These banquets sprang up in all parts of the kingdom, and were attended by thousands. Arrangements were made for a mammoth banquet in the city of Paris on the 22d of February, 1848. The place selected was a large open space near the Champs Elysées. It would accommodate six thousand persons at the tables, and was to be covered with a canvas awning.
The Government resolved to disperse the assembly by force. The leaders of the Opposition, [Pg 362]aware that they were not prepared for a resort to arms, entered into a compromise with the Government. The guests were to meet at the appointed time and place for the banquet. The officers of the police were then to appear, order the assembly to disperse, and arrest the leaders, who were to be indicted for a breach of the law prohibiting political gatherings. Thus the question of the right thus to assemble was to be referred to the legal tribunals. This compromise was gladly acceded to by the Liberals, as many of them desired a change of ministry only, being very reluctant to run the hazard of a change of dynasty.
The Liberals accordingly announced to Paris, by a proclamation, that the banquet was interdicted by the Government, but that there would be a general demonstration by forming a procession on the largest possible scale, to march to the appointed place of meeting, and there peaceably to disperse at the orders of the police.
The Government was exceedingly alarmed when it learned that the banquet was converted into a procession. This was magnifying the danger. The excitement in Paris was intense. [Pg 363]It soon became manifest that not less than one hundred thousand men would join in the procession. A decree was accordingly issued by the prefect of police, stating that all who chose to go to the banquet individually could do so, but that any attempt to form a procession would meet with forcible resistance. This rendered it necessary for the Liberals either to give up the plan of the procession, or to run the risk of a collision with the royal troops, for which they were by no means prepared.
The leaders of the Liberal party held a meeting, when the question was anxiously discussed. Opinions on the subject were divided. One of the most prominent men of the party, M. Lagrange, urged decided measures. "Let the democracy," said he, "hoist its standard, and descend boldly into the field of battle for progress. Humanity, in a mass, has its eyes upon you. Our standard will rally around us the whole warlike and fraternal cohorts. What more are we waiting for?"
On the other hand, Louis Blanc said, "Humanity restrains me. I ask if you are entitled to dispose of the blood of a generous people, without any prospect of advantage to the [Pg 364]cause of democracy. If the patriots commence the conflict to-morrow they will infallibly be crushed, and the democracy will be drowned in blood. That will be the result of to-morrow's struggle. Do not deceive yourselves. Determine on insurrection, if you please; but for my part, if you adopt such a decision, I will retire to my home, to cover myself with crape and mourn over the ruin of democracy."
Ledru Rollin, following in the same strain, said, "Have we arms, ammunition, combatants ready? The Government is thoroughly prepared. The army only awaits the signal to crush us. My opinion is, that to run into a conflict in such circumstances is an act of madness."
Under the influence of such views, it was decided to abandon the procession. The regular troops in Paris at that time numbered twenty-five thousand. There were as many more garrisoned in neighboring towns, who could in a few hours be concentrated in the city. Orders had been already issued for all the military posts of the capital to be strongly occupied. In consequence of these various measures, excitement pervaded the whole metropolis. Many of the Liberal party were [Pg 365]not satisfied with the decision of their leaders. Many of the populace were also ignorant of the resolutions to which the committees had come at a late hour of the evening of the day before the procession was to have been formed.
At an early hour in the morning of the 22d, immense crowds had assembled in the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde, and the Champs Elysées. Here they swayed to and fro, hour after hour, motiveless, awaiting the progress of events. M. Guizot was then Minister of Foreign Affairs, and M. Duchatel Minister of the Interior. In the afternoon a large band of students swept through the streets singing the Marseillaise, and shouting "Long live Reform!" "Down with Guizot!" Agitation was rapidly on the increase. Quite a large body of regular troops was stationed at the junction of the Rue Rivoli and the Rue St. Honoré. Towards evening the excited mob pelted the troops with stones, and commenced erecting barricades in the vicinity. There was, however, no other serious disturbance during the day.
The Government, alarmed by these demonstrations, resolved to call out all its military force the next morning, both the regular troops [Pg 366]and National Guard, to maintain order. Consequently, at an early hour in the morning of the 23d, the générale was beat in all the streets, and the National Guard, more than forty thousand strong, hurried to their appointed places of rendezvous. This crowding of the streets with troops greatly increased the general excitement. All business was suspended. Many of the shops were closed. The whole population of Paris seemed to be upon the pavement.
The National Guard, composed of the middling class in the city of Paris, were most of them in favor of reform. Many of their officers belonged to the Liberal party. Their commander-in-chief, General Jacquemont, was ready to sustain the Government. He was powerless without the co-operation of his officers and men. In anticipation of the conflict which now seemed so menacing, large numbers of the officers held a secret meeting the night before, in which they decided to stand between the regular troops and the irresponsible populace. They would, on the one hand, assist the people in demanding reform, and would protect them from the assaults of the regular troops. On the other hand, they would defend the monarchy, and aid the troops in repelling [Pg 367]insurrection and revolution. As the National Guard occupied every post conjointly with the regular troops, they would not allow the troops to disperse the assemblages of the people. It would have been destruction to the regular troops to engage in a conflict with the National Guard, supported as it would have been by the whole populace of Paris.
In this singular posture of affairs, the guard standing between the regulars and the people, and not unfrequently joining with the people in shouts of Vive la Réforme, the hours wore on. Many of the Liberal leaders were so encouraged by this state of things that they dispatched orders to the secret societies in the faubourgs immediately to come forth in all their banded strength, hoping to overawe the Government. These formidable bodies soon appeared, traversing the thoroughfares in appalling numbers. The cavalry received orders to clear the streets. The guard formed into line in front of one of these bands, and with fixed bayonets held the cavalry back. The populace, inspired with new zeal, seized arms wherever they could be found and commenced throwing up barricades.
The king was struck with consternation as [Pg 368]these tidings were brought to him at the Tuileries. A cabinet council was hastily convened. In view of the peril of the hour the king sent for the queen and his son, the Duke de Montpensier, to be present at the meeting of the ministers. Lamartine has given an account of the interview. The queen and the Duke de Montpensier both urged the king to dismiss his obnoxious ministers, and replace them by a Liberal ministry who should introduce parliamentary reform. The king was in entire sympathy with his ministers. They were carrying out his own policy. With tears in his eyes he declared that he had rather abdicate the throne than be separated from them.
"You can not do that, my dear," said the queen; "you belong to France, and not to yourself. You can not abdicate."
"True," replied the king, mournfully, "I am more to be pitied than they. I can not resign."
M. Guizot, who was absent at the commencement of the meeting, had come in during the interview. The king turned to him and said, "My dear M. Guizot, is it your opinion that the Cabinet is in a situation to make head against the storm, and to triumph over it?"
The minister replied, "Sire, when the king proposes such a question he himself answers it. The Cabinet may be in a condition to gain the victory in the streets, but it can not conquer, at the same time, the royal family and the crown. To throw a doubt upon its support in the Tuileries is to destroy it in the exercise of power. The Cabinet has no alternative but to resign."
The king was deeply moved as he felt thus compelled to accept their resignation. Tears dimmed his eyes. Affectionately embracing them, he bade them adieu, saying, "How happy you are! You depart with honor, I remain with shame."
Guizot himself announced his resignation to the Chamber of Deputies, then in session. The announcement was received with shouts of applause from the Opposition benches. The tidings spread with electric speed through the streets. Night came, and large portions of the city blazed with illuminations, exultant bands surged through the streets, songs resounded, and the city presented an aspect of universal rejoicing. Still, with thinking men, there was great anxiety. Where would all this lead to? Would the triumphant populace be satisfied [Pg 370]merely with a change of ministry? Might it not demand the overthrow of a dynasty? If so, what government would succeed? There were Legitimists, and Orleanists, and Imperialists, and moderate Republicans, and Socialists of every grade of ultra Democracy. Was France to be plunged into anarchy by the conflict of these rival parties? While the unreflecting populace drank, and sang, and danced, and hugged each other in exultant joy, thoughtful men paused, pondered, and turned pale with apprehension.
The ardent revolutionists began now to organize in bands in different parts of the city. Three large bodies were speedily gathered; one in front of the office of the Reform, another before that of the Nationale, and a third in the Place de la Bastile. These three columns, led by such men, born to command, as ever emerge from the populace in scenes of excitement, paraded the illuminated streets, with songs and shouts and flaming torches, until they formed a junction in the Boulevard des Italiens. It was manifest that some secret but superior intelligence guided their movements. The Hôtel of Foreign Affairs, then the residence of M. Guizot, was in the Rue de Choiseul. [Pg 371]At the head of that street a well-armed detachment broke off from one of the processions, and, bearing with them the blood-red flag of insurrection, advanced to surround the hotel.
A royal guard had been stationed here, consisting of a battalion of the line. The troops were drawn up across the street, presenting a rampart of bayonets to prevent the farther advance of the column. Here the insurgents halted, face to face with the troops, almost near enough to cross bayonets. The leader of this column is thus graphically pictured by Lamartine:
The commander of the royal troops sat on horseback in front of his line. The gleam of the torches and the waving of the insurgent banner frightened his horse. The animal reared, and, recoiling upon his haunches, broke through the line of troops, which in some confusion opened to let him pass to the rear. At this moment, either by accident or design, a musket-shot was discharged at the soldiers by some one of the insurgents; Alison says by Lagrange himself. The troops, in the gloom of the night, agitated by the terrible excitements of the hour, and by the confusion into which their ranks were thrown by the retreat of their commander through them, deeming themselves attacked, returned the fire, point-blank, in full volley. By that one discharge fifty of the insurgents were struck down upon the pavements, killed or wounded.
The street thus swept by bullets was crowded with men, women, and children. The discharge echoed far and wide through Paris, creating terrible alarm. Most who were present had not the remotest idea of danger, supposing that they had met only for a demonstration of [Pg 373]joy. Apprehensive of another discharge, there was an immediate and tumultuous flight of the populace, the strong trampling the weak beneath their feet. The insurgents took with them their dead and wounded. This accidental slaughter roused Paris to frenzy. It was regarded as the revenge which the ministers had taken for their overthrow. Several large wagons were procured, and the dead, artistically arranged so as to display to the most imposing effect their blood and wounds, were placed in them. Torches were attached to the wagons, so as to exhibit the bodies of the slain. A woman was among the victims. Her lifeless body, half naked, occupied a very conspicuous position. A man stood by her side occasionally raising the corpse that it might be more distinctly seen.
Thus, in the gloom of a dark and clouded night, this ghastly procession traversed all the leading streets of Paris, the whole population, of a city of a million and a half of inhabitants, being then in the streets. The rage excited, and the cries for vengeance, were deep and almost universal. Louis Philippe had no personal popularity to sustain him. Legitimists and Republicans alike ignored his claims to [Pg 374]the throne. He was regarded as intensely avaricious, notwithstanding his immense wealth, and as ever ready to degrade France in subserviency to the policy of foreign courts, that he might gain the co-operation of these courts in the maintenance of his crown, and secure exalted matrimonial alliances for his children. There have probably been few, if any, kings upon the throne of France, who have had fewer friends or more bitter enemies than Louis Philippe. The following statement from the North American Review correctly expresses the sentiment of most thoughtful men upon the character of his administration:
While these scenes were transpiring, the [Pg 375]king, though greatly chagrined at the compulsory dismissal of his ministers, yet supposed that he had thus appeased the populace, and that there was no longer danger of lawless violence. Helen, duchess of Orleans, widow of the king's eldest son, a woman of much intelligence, had been greatly alarmed in apprehension that the dynasty was about to be overthrown. Her little son, the Count de Paris, was heir to the crown. Relieved of her apprehensions by the dismissal of the obnoxious ministers, and not aware of what was transpiring in the streets, she pressed her child to her bosom, saying: "Poor child! your crown has been indeed compromised, but now Heaven has restored it to you."
M. Guizot, at the time the untoward event occurred in front of his hotel, chanced to be at the residence of M. Duchatel, the ex-Minister of the Interior. As they were conversing, the brother of M. Duchatel entered, breathless and in the highest state of agitation, to communicate the tidings that the troops had fired upon the people, that the whole populace of Paris was in a ferment of indignation, and that there was imminent danger that the streets of the metropolis were about to be the theatre of the [Pg 376]most fearful carnage. Should either of these ministers fall into the hands of the exasperated populace, their instant death was certain. They both hastened to the Tuileries. It was midnight. The terrible news had already reached the ears of the king. They found him in his cabinet with his son, the Duke de Montpensier, and other important personages. All were in a state of great consternation. M. Thiers was immediately sent for. The crisis demanded the most decisive measures, and yet the councils were divided. There was a very energetic veteran general in Paris, Marshal Bugeaud, who had acquired renown in the war in Algeria. He was popular with the soldiers, but very unpopular with the people. Inured to the horrors of the battle-field, he would, without the slightest hesitation, mow down the people mercilessly with grape-shot.
The king was appalled, in view of his own peril and that of his family. He well knew how numerous and bitter were his enemies. He had not forgotten the doom of his predecessors in that palace, Louis XVI. and Maria Antoinette. For years assassins had dogged his path. All varieties of ingenious machines of destruction had been constructed to secure his [Pg 377]death. He was appropriately called the Target King, so constantly were the bullets of his foes aimed at his life. Even a brave man may be excused for being terrified when his wife and his children are exposed to every conceivable indignity and to a bloody death. Under these circumstances the king consented to place the command of the army in the hands of the energetic Marshal Bugeaud. It was now two o'clock in the morning. The veteran marshal, invested with almost dictatorial powers, left the Tuileries in company with one of the sons of the king, the Duke de Nemours, to take possession of the troops, and to arrange them for the conflict which was inevitable on the morrow.
The impulse of a master-mind was immediately felt. Aided by the obscurity of the night, messengers were dispatched in every direction, and by five o'clock in the morning four immense columns of troops were advancing to occupy important strategic points, which would command the city. These arrangements being completed, the Duke de Nemours anxiously inquired of the marshal what he thought of the morrow. M. Bugeaud replied:
"Monseigneur, it will be rough, but the victory [Pg 378]will be ours. I have never yet been beaten, and I am not going to commence to-morrow. Certainly it would have been better not to have lost so much time; but no matter, I will answer for the result if I am left alone. It must not be imagined that I can manage without bloodshed. Perhaps there will be much, for I begin with cannon. But do not be uneasy. To-morrow evening the authority of the king and of the law shall be re-established."
In the mean time the king formed a new and liberal ministry, consisting of MM. Thiers, Odillon Barrot, and Duvergier de Hauranne, hoping thus to conciliate the populace. The fact was placarded, at six o'clock in the morning, all over Paris. But the act of appointing Marshal Bugeaud to command the troops was a declaration of war—the formation of this ministry was a supplication for peace. The one act was defiance, the other capitulation. Thus, while General Bugeaud was loading his cannon to the muzzle, and marshalling his troops for battle, he received an order, to his inexpressible chagrin, from the new ministry directing him to cease the combat and to withdraw the troops, while at the same time an announcement was made, by a proclamation to the people, that the new ministry had ordered the troops everywhere to cease firing, and to withdraw from the menacing positions which [Pg 380]they occupied. The indignant marshal for a time refused to obey the order until it should be ratified by the sign-manual of the king. He soon, however, received a dispatch from the Duke de Nemours which rendered it necessary to submit. Thus the new ministry rejected the policy of resistance, and inaugurated that of conciliation.
The king, worn out by excitement and fatigue, at four o'clock in the morning retired to his chamber for a few hours of sleep. He was so far deceived as to flatter himself that, through the measures which had been adopted, all serious trouble was at an end. He slept soundly, and did not rise until eleven o'clock, when he came down to the breakfast-room in morning-gown and slippers, and with a smiling countenance. Here appalling tidings met him. The exasperated populace were tearing down and trampling under foot the conciliatory proclamation of M. Thiers. The national troops, disgusted with the contradictory orders which had been issued, were loud in their clamor against the king. The National Guard was everywhere fraternizing with the people. The frenzy of insurrection was surging through all the thoroughfares of Paris.
The king was silent in consternation. Immediately repairing to his chamber, he dressed himself in the uniform of the National Guard, and returned to his cabinet, where he was joined by two of his sons, the Duke de Nemours and the Duke de Montpensier. All night long the dismal clang of the tocsin had summoned the fighting portion of the population to important points of defense. Nearly all the churches were in the hands of the insurgents. Under cover of the darkness, barricades had been rising in many of the streets. The national troops had retired, humiliated, to the vicinity of the Tuileries and Palais Royal. Many of the soldiers, in their disgust, had thrown away their muskets, while some of the officers, under similar feelings, had broken their swords and cast them away upon the pavement.
Affairs made such rapid progress that by ten o'clock M. Thiers became fully convinced that he had no longer influence with the people. He accordingly resigned the ministry, and M. Odillon Barrot, a man far more democratic in his principles, was appointed prime-minister in his stead. The Palais Royal, the magnificent ancestral abode of the Duke of Orleans, being left unguarded, the mob burst in, rioted through [Pg 382]all its princely saloons, plundering and destroying. Its paintings, statuary, gorgeous furniture, and priceless works of art were pierced with bayonets, slashed with sabre-strokes, thrown into the streets, and consumed with flames. In less than half an hour the magnificent apartments of this renowned palace presented but a revolting spectacle of destruction and ruin.
The king, the queen, the Duchess of Orleans, and the Duke de Montpensier, with several distinguished friends, were still in the breakfast-room—the Gallery of Diana, in the Tuileries. The mob, their hands filled with the plunder of the Palais Royal, were already entering the Carrousel. Loud shouts announced their triumph to the trembling inmates of the royal palace, and appalled them with fears of the doom which they soon might be called to encounter. Two of the gentlemen, M. Remusat and M. de Hauranne, stepped out into the court-yard of the Tuileries to ascertain the posture of affairs. Speedily they returned, pale, and with features expressive of intense anxiety.
"Sire," said M. Remusat to the king, "it is necessary that your majesty should know the truth! To conceal it at this moment would be to render ourselves implicated in all that may [Pg 383]follow. Your feelings of security prove that you are deceived! Three hundred feet from here the dragoons are exchanging their sabres, and the soldiers their muskets with the people!"
"It is impossible!" exclaimed the king, recoiling with astonishment.
"Sire," added an officer, M. de l'Aubospère, who was present, "it is true. I have seen it."
The queen, re-enacting the heroism of Maria Antoinette on a similar occasion, said to her faint-hearted husband, "Go, show yourself to the discouraged troops, to the wavering National Guard. I will come out on the balcony with my grandchildren and the princesses, and I will see you die worthy of yourself, of your throne, and of your misfortunes."
The king descended the stairs, while the queen and the princesses went upon the balcony. He passed through the court-yard of the Tuileries into the Carrousel. If any shouts were uttered of "Vive le Roi," they were drowned in the cry which seemed to burst from all lips, "Vive la Réforme! à bas les Ministres!"
All hope was now gone! The king, in despair, returned to the royal family. The panic was heart-rending—the ladies weeping aloud. The shouts which filled the air announced that [Pg 384]the mob was approaching, triumphant, from all directions, while a rattling fire of musketry was heard, ever drawing nearer. Marshal Bugeaud did what he could to arrest the advance of the insurgents, but his troops were sullen, and but feebly responded to any of his orders.
In the midst of this terrible scene, the king took his pen to appoint another ministry, still more radically democratic than Barrot and Hauranne. As he was writing out the list, M. de Girardin entered the apartment. He was editor of the Times newspaper, and one of the most uncompromising Republicans in the city. Approaching the king, he said to him firmly, yet respectfully,
"Sire, it is now too late to attempt to form a new ministry. The public mind can not be tranquilized by such a measure. The flood of insurrection, now resistless, threatens to sweep away the throne itself. Nothing short of abdication will now suffice."
Upon the utterance of that fatal word, the king inquired anxiously, "Is there no other alternative?"
M. Girardin replied, "Sire, within an hour, perhaps, there will be no such thing as a monarchy in France. The crisis admits of no third [Pg 385]alternative. The king must abdicate, or the monarchy is lost."
The Duke de Montpensier, fully comprehending the peril of the hour, earnestly entreated his father to sign the abdication. But, on the other hand, there were those who entreated the king, with equal fervor, not to sign it. M. Piscatory and Marshal Bugeaud urged that abdication would inflict a Republic upon France, with no end to anarchy and civil war; that the only way to meet the insurrection was to crush it by military power.
The king hesitated. The clamor and the rattle of musketry increased and drew nearer. Messengers came in breathless, announcing that all was lost. The Duke de Montpensier, trembling in view of the irruption of the mob, and of the dreadful consequent doom of the royal family, with renewed earnestness entreated his father to abdicate. Thus influenced, the king took his pen and wrote:
"I abdicate this crown, which I received from the voice of the nation, and which I accepted only that I might promote the peace and harmony of the French.
"Finding it impossible to accomplish this endeavor, I bequeath it to my grandson, the [Pg 386]Count de Paris. May he be more happy than I have been."
It is said that the excitement and hurry of the occasion were so great that the king neglected to sign the abdication. Girardin, however, took the paper and went out into the stormy streets to announce the important event. But Paris was now in a state of ferment which nothing could immediately appease. The rush and roar of the storm of human passion in the streets seemed still to increase, and to approach nearer to the doors of the palace. Danger of violence and death was imminent. Nearly all had withdrawn from the Tuileries except the royal family. Louis Philippe now thought only of escape. Surrounded as the palace was by the mob, this was no easy task to accomplish. The king disguised himself in citizen's dress. The queen was almost frantic with terror.
The king, having abdicated in favor of his grandson, the Count de Paris, was disposed to leave the child-monarch with his mother in the palace. He flattered himself that the innocence of the child and the helplessness of the mother would prove their protection. But when the Duchess of Orleans perceived that no [Pg 387]arrangements were being made for her escape and that of her children, she exclaimed in anguish,
"Are you going to leave me here alone, without parents, friends, or any to advise me? What will become of me?"
The king sadly replied, "My dear Helen, the dynasty must be saved, and the crown preserved to your son. Remain here, then, for his sake. It is a sacrifice you owe your son."
Seldom has a woman and a mother been called to pass through a more severe ordeal than this. The peril was awful. In a few moments a mob of countless thousands, composed of the dregs of the populace of Paris, inflamed with intoxication and rage, might be surging through all the apartments of the Tuileries, while the duchess and her children were entirely at their mercy. No ordinary heroism could be adequate to such a trial. The duchess threw herself at the feet of the king, and entreated permission to accompany him in his flight. The king was firm, cruelly firm. Leaving the widow of his son, with her two children, all unprotected, behind him, he withdrew, to effect his own escape with the queen and the princesses, under the guidance [Pg 388]of his son, the Duke de Nemours, who displayed the utmost heroism during all the scenes of that eventful day. As the party was in disguise, and the whole city was in a state of indescribable tumult, the fugitives succeeded in traversing, without being recognized, the broad central avenue of the garden of the Tuileries. Emerging by the gate of the Pont Tournant, they reached the foot of the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. It was one o'clock in the afternoon; the duke had ordered the carriages to be ready for them there. But the mob, recognizing the carriages as belonging to the royal family, had dashed them to pieces.
The embarrassment and peril were terrible. There was momentary danger of being recognized. Then death and being trampled beneath the feet of the mob were almost inevitable. An agitated throng of countless thousands was surging through the Place. Already some began to suspect them as belonging to the court, and they were rudely jostled. But providentially there were two hackney-coaches near by. These were hurriedly engaged, the royal family thrust into them, and a guard of cuirassiers, previously stationed near for the occasion by the Duke de Nemours, [Pg 389]gathered around the carriages as an escort, and at a quick trot swept along the banks of the Seine by the Quai de Billi, and escaped from Paris. That night they reached Dreux, one of the country-seats of the king.
Their peril still was great. The small escort at their disposal was by no means sufficient to protect them, should there be any uprising of the people to arrest their progress. It was, therefore, deemed best to dismiss their guard, and proceed to the sea-coast in disguise, by unfrequented routes, as simple travellers. They were, however, in great want of money. The king, in the confusion of his departure, had left seventy thousand dollars in banknotes upon his bureau. He had but a small supply in his pocket.
Resuming their journey the next morning, they reached Evreux, and were entertained for the night by a farmer in the royal forest, who had no idea of the distinguished character of the guests to whose wants he was ministering. Early in the morning of the third day they set out again in a rude cart, called a Berlin, drawn by two cart-horses. They had many strange adventures and narrow escapes, even performing a portion of their journey on foot. At [Pg 390]length they reached the sea-coast at Honfleur, near the mouth of the Seine, on the southern bank. Here they embarked, still under the assumed name of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, for Havre, from which port they crossed over to New Haven, on the southern coast of England, leaving behind them their crown and their country forever. They reached this land of refuge for dethroned kings on the 4th of March, and took up their abode at Claremont, formerly the residence, and perhaps then the property of their son-in-law, Leopold, king of Belgium.
And now let us return to the Princess Helen, who was left with her two children in one of the apartments of the palace. Immediately upon the withdrawal of the king, the troops in the Carrousel, who were then retreating into the court-yard of the Tuileries, retired through the palace into the garden. The princess, a very heroic woman, had entirely recovered her self-possession, and awaited her doom with the serenity of a martyr. As the shouting mob rushed into the Carrousel, and the windows of the palace were rattling from the explosions of the artillery, M. Dupin, president of the Chamber of Deputies, entered the room, [Pg 393]and, much agitated with both fear and hope, said,
"Madame, I have come to tell you that perhaps the rôle of Maria Theresa is reserved for you."
"Lead the way," replied the heroic woman; "my life belongs to France and to my children."
"There is not a moment to lose," M. Dupin rejoined. "Let us go instantly to the Chamber of Deputies."
As he was speaking these words, the Duke de Nemours returned. Peril was indeed imminent. The mob was already surging in at the court of the Tuileries, and thundering against the gates of the palace.
The princess and her few companions immediately set out on foot, to pass through the garden of the Tuileries, the Place de la Concorde, and to cross the river, to obtain the protection of the Chamber of Deputies. Scarcely had they emerged from the portals into the garden ere the roaring mob burst from the court-yard into the palace, and surged through the saloons with the destruction of consuming flame. Shouts seemed to burst from all lips, "Down with the Throne!" "Long live the [Pg 394]Republic!" Every vestige of royalty was torn to shreds. The rich drapery which canopied the throne was rent into scarfs, or formed into cockades, with which the mob decorated their persons.
With hurried steps and anxious hearts the royal party pressed on through the throng which choked all the avenues to the palace. They seem to have been partially recognized, for a noisy crowd followed their footsteps. The princess led her eldest son, the Count de Paris, by the hand. The youngest, the Duke de Chartres, was carried in the arms of an aid-de-camp. M. Dupin walked upon one side of the princess, and the Duke de Nemours upon the other. Safely they crossed the bridge and entered the hotel of the Deputies. All was agitation and confusion there. M. Dupin repaired to the hall of session, and, ascending the tribune, announced that the king had abdicated in favor of his grandson. In a brief, earnest speech he urged the claims of the Count de Paris as king, under the regency of the Duchess of Orleans, his mother. This speech created a momentary enthusiasm. By acclamation it was voted that the resignation of the king should be accepted, and that the Count [Pg 395]de Paris should be recognized as lawful sovereign, under the regency of the duchess. Just then Lamartine came in.
Lamartine, notwithstanding the brilliance of his talents and the purity of his character, was by no means insensible to flattery, or to the suggestions of ambition. It is said that a group of Republicans had but a moment before met him at the entrance of the building, with the assurance that a Republic was inevitable, and that all the Republicans were looking to him as their leader and future President. These assurances may not have swayed his judgment. But many who had supposed that his strong predelictions were for royalty were not a little surprised when he ascended the tribune, and said,
"There is but one way to save the people from the danger which a revolution, in our present social state, threatens instantly to introduce, and that is to trust ourselves to the force of the people themselves—to their reason, their interests, their aims. It is a republic which we require. Yes, it is a Republic which alone can save us from anarchy, civil war, foreign war, spoliation, the scaffold, destruction of property, the overthrow of society, the invasion [Pg 396]of foreigners. The remedy is heroic. I know it. But there are occasions, such as those in which we live, when the only safe policy is that which is grand and audacious as the crisis itself."
As Lamartine left the tribune, M. Thiers entered, flushed with excitement. All eyes were anxiously fixed upon him. Taking his place in the tribune, he simply remarked, "The tide is rising," at the same time, with dramatic gesture, lifting his hat above his head. As he again disappeared in the crowd, there was a general increase of alarm. It was manifest to all that affairs were now sweeping along in a swollen current which human sagacity could but feebly control. The roar of the throng surging around the hall filled the air. The strongest minds were appalled.
Just then the folding-doors of the Chamber were thrown open, and the Duchess of Orleans, leading the Count de Paris by one hand and the Duke de Chartres by the other, was ushered in. Lamartine, an eye-witness, gives the following account of the scene: "A respectful silence immediately ensued. The Deputies, in deep anxiety, crowded around the august princess, and the strangers in the gallery leaned [Pg 397]over, hoping to catch some words which might fall from her lips. She was dressed in mourning. Her veil, partially raised, disclosed a countenance the emotion and melancholy of which enhanced the charms of youth and beauty. Her pale cheeks were marked by the tears of the widow, the anxieties of the mother. No man could look on her countenance without being moved. Every feeling of resentment against the monarchy faded away before the spectacle. The blue eyes of the princess wandered over the hall as if to implore aid, and were, for a moment, dazzled. Her slight and fragile form inclined before the sound of the applause with which she was greeted. A slight blush, the mark of the revival of hope in her bosom, tinged her cheeks. The smile of gratitude was already on her lips. She felt that she was surrounded by friends. In her right hand she held the young king, in her left the Duke of Chartres—children to whom their own catastrophe was a spectacle. A white collar was turned down the neck of each, on his dark dress—living portraits of Vandyck, as if they had stepped out of the canvas, of the children of Charles I."
The duchess had but just entered when the [Pg 398]doors were burst open by the pressure of the crowd, and the mob rushed in. They were coarse, brutal men, armed with every conceivable weapon, and immediately they inundated the hall. Clamorously they demanded the rejection of the throne, which had, thus far, ever trampled upon their rights, and for the establishment of a republic, from which alone they hoped for redress. A scene of indescribable confusion ensued, cries rising upon all sides. The duchess endeavored to speak. Her tremulous feminine voice was heard exclaiming, "I have come with all I hold dear in the world," but the remainder of her words were drowned in the universal clamor.
The sympathies of Lamartine, notwithstanding his republican speech, were deeply moved by the presence of the princess. Taking advantage of a slight lull in the storm, when his voice could be heard, he said, "Mr. President, I demand that the sitting should be suspended, from the double motive, on the one hand, of respect for the national representation; on the other, for the august princess whom we see before us."
But Marshal Oudinot, the Duke de Nemours, and other friends who surrounded the [Pg 399]duchess, deemed it essential to the success of her cause that she should not withdraw from the Chamber. The human heart is often swayed by influences stronger than argument. A young and beautiful woman, heroically facing the most terrible dangers in advocacy of the claims of her child to the throne, appealed more persuasively to many chivalric hearts than the most cogent logic. Every one in the room trembled for the life of the princess and her children. They were surrounded by a mob of scowling, ferocious men, who held possession of the hall. The blow of a club, the thrust of a dagger, might at any instant be given, and there was no possibility of protection.
The friends who endeavored to surround the princess and the children with the shield of their bodies gradually crowded them along to a higher portion of the house near the door, through which they could more easily effect their escape in case of necessity. The confusion and clamor which now filled the hall can scarcely be imagined. Scarcely the semblance of a deliberative assembly was maintained. The triumphant mob was holding there its wildest orgies. In vain Lamartine, Ledru Rollin, [Pg 400]and others endeavored to make themselves heard, calling for a provisional government. The howling of the mob drowned every voice.
The members, in confusion, rose from their seats. The president fled from his chair. Some ferocious wretches, upon whose countenances brutality was imprinted, clambered over the benches and leveled their muskets at the head of the princess. Her friends, terror-stricken, hurried her and her children through the door. The moment she disappeared there was a general cry for a provisional government, as the first step towards the establishment of a Republic. This call was made, not only by the mob, but by that large portion of the Deputies who thought that a Republic alone could save France from anarchy, and restore to the people their long withheld rights.
Lamartine succeeded in obtaining the tribune. For a moment he was popular, the representative of Republicanism. There was a brief lull in the tempest as the throng listened to what he had to say. The following list of names of those proposed to constitute the Provisional Government was then read off: Lamartine, Marie, Ledru Rollin, Cremieux, Dupont de l'Eure, Arago, and Garnier Pagés. Some [Pg 401]of these names were received with cheers, others with hisses. It was impossible to take any formal vote. The voices of the Deputies were lost in the clamor of the mob. Still, the general assent seemed to be in their favor. These were all good men. They were deemed moderate Republicans.
But there was another portion of the Republican party, the radical, so called, who would by no means be satisfied with such an administration as these calm, deliberate men would inaugurate, with their lingering adhesion to the rights of wealth and the dignity of rank. There might have been possibly a thousand people crowded into the hall of the Chamber of Deputies, who thus, self-appointed, were forming a government for a nation numbering thirty-five millions.
The more radical party, perhaps equal in number, and no less tumultuous, composed also of those of the stoutest muscle and most determined will, who could elbow their way through the throng, gathered in the great hall of the Hôtel de Ville, proclaimed an antagonistic provisional government, more in accordance with their views. Their list consisted of Marrast, Flocon, Louis Blanc, and Albert. The [Pg 402]danger of a conflict, leading to hopeless anarchy, was imminent, as the partisans of each should rally around its own choice.
The first Provisional Government, accordingly, immediately repaired to the Hôtel de Ville, followed by a tumultuous crowd which no man could number. The leaders of the two parties soon met upon the stairs of the Hôtel de Ville, and a violent altercation ensued, which came near to blows. The Place de Grève, in front of the hotel, was like a storm-tossed ocean of agitated men, "a living sea, madly heaving and tossing about beneath the tempest of revolution."
Both parties were terrified by the menacing aspect of affairs. A compromise was hurriedly agreed to by adding to the six chosen at the Chamber of Deputies six more, chosen from the party at the Hôtel de Ville. Lamartine, from the head of the stairs, read off the list to the masses surging below.
In the mean time, the Duchess of Orleans, having escaped from the Chamber of Deputies, and surrounded by friends who were ready to sacrifice their own lives in her defense, was with difficulty rescued from the crowd. Prominent among her protectors was M. de Morny. [Pg 403]As the duchess was veiled, her little party was soon lost in the heaving masses, and unrecognized. The terrors of the hour caused fugitives to be struggling wildly through the throng in all directions. The pressure was so great and so resistless that the duchess was torn from the side of her brother, the Duke de Nemours, and from both of her children. A moment after the separation, as the mother, frantic with terror, was groping around in search of her sons, a brutal wretch of gigantic stature recognized the Count de Paris, and, seizing him by the throat, endeavored to strangle him. One of the National Guard who chanced to be near rescued the child, and succeeded in placing him in the hands of his mother. But the younger child, the Duke de Chartres, could nowhere be found. In vain the distracted mother called aloud for her child. The close-packed throng swayed to and fro, and her feeble voice was unheard in the deafening clamor. She was swept along by the flow of a torrent which it was impossible to resist. With exceeding difficulty her friends succeeded in forcing her into a house. She ran to the window of one of the chambers to look down upon the scene of tumult for her lost [Pg 404]child. Soon, to her inexpressible joy, she saw him in the arms of a friend. The poor child was faint, and almost lifeless. He had been thrown down and trampled under the feet of the crowd. The day was now far spent. As soon as it was dark, the royal party, all in disguise, engaged a hack, and, passing through the Champs Elysées, escaped from the city. After a short journey of many perils and great mental suffering, they were reunited with the exiled king and court at Claremont.
The night succeeding these scenes in Paris was appalling beyond imagination. There was no recognized law in the metropolis. A population of a million and a half of people was in the streets. The timid and the virtuous were terror-stricken. The drunken, the degraded, the ferocious held the city at their mercy. Radical as was the party which had assembled at the Hôtel de Ville, there was another party, composed of the dregs of the Parisian populace, more radical still. This party was ripe for plunder and for unlimited license in every outrage. About midnight, in a desperately armed and howling band, they made an attack upon the Provisional Government at the Hôtel de Ville; after a severe struggle, the assailants [Pg 405]were repelled. The next morning the Moniteur announced to the citizens of Paris, and the telegraph announced to Europe, that the throne of Louis Philippe had crumbled, and that a Republic was established in France.
We must not forget, in our stern condemnation of the brutality, the ignorance, the ferocity of the mob, that it was composed of men—husbands, brothers, fathers—many of whom had been defrauded of their rights and maddened by oppression. If governments will sow the wind by trampling upon the rights of the people, they must expect to reap the whirlwind when their exasperated victims rise in the blindness of their rage.
Louis Philippe did not long survive his fall. He died at Claremont, in England, on the 26th of August, 1850. The reader, who may be interested to inform himself of the changes in France which followed this Revolution, will find them minutely detailed in the "Life of Napoleon III."
[B] Life and Times of Louis Philippe, King of the French, by Rev. G. N. Wright.
[C] Vie Anecdotique de Louis Philippe. Par MM. A. Laugier et Carpentier, p. 108.
[D] Vie Anecdotique de Louis Philippe, p. 120.
[E] A. Laugier et Carpentier, p. 132.
[F] Life and Times of Louis Philippe, by Rev. G. N. Wright, p. 21.
[G] There have been efforts to prove that the dauphin was removed from prison, and another child was substituted in his place, who died and was buried. Several claimants have risen, professing to be the dauphin. But there is no evidence upon this point sufficient to change the general verdict of history.
[H] Life and Times of Louis Philippe, p. 22.
[I] "I have another great puzzle come to me. The Queen of Sicily has sent her son, Prince Leopold, to Gibraltar to propose himself to be regent of Spain. It appears to me to be extreme want of knowledge of the state of Spain. The Duke of Orleans came down with him, and on the 13th of August I discussed the subject fully with his highness, much to his satisfaction, and he went off to England with a light heart."—Collingwood's Correspondence.
[J] "Besides, possibly England did not think, and the exiled Bourbons of the elder branch would naturally have concurred in the sentiment, that it would be prudent or politic to send a gallant prince of Orleans to lead the Spaniards to victory, a prince who was the great-grandson of that Philippe of Orleans who, by the lustre of his talents and the many attractions of his character, became the idol of the army and the nation."—Life and Times of Louis Philippe, by Rev. G. N. Wright.
[K] Wright's Shores and Islands of the Mediterranean.
[L] France in 1840. By an American—[General Cass].
[M] Life and Times of Louis Philippe.
[N] During much of his exile, Louis XVIII. had occupied the chateau of Hartwell, in the county of Buckingham, about fifty miles from London.
[O] Life and Times of Louis Philippe.
[P] General Cass.
[Q] Abbott's Life of Napoleon, vol. ii., p. 465.
[R] Life and Times of Louis Philippe, by Rev. G. N. Wright.
[S] "England entailed a lasting disgrace upon her name by not prohibiting the execution of a vengeance so long delayed; by not claiming as her victims those brave men whom the glory of her arms had unfortunately placed at the mercy of the Bourbons, and by allowing the French king to put those fine fellows to death on the scaffold, whose military prowess was honorable to France."—Life and Times of Louis Philippe.
[T] Autobiography of Madame de Genlis.
[U] "The ministers took their places in silence around the fatal table. Charles X. had the dauphin on his right and M. de Polignac on his left. He questioned each of his servants, one after another, and when he came to M. d'Hausrez, that minister repeated his observations of the preceding day. 'Do you refuse?' inquired Charles X. 'Sire,' replied the minister, 'may I be allowed to address one question to the king? Is your majesty resolved on proceeding, should your ministers draw back?' 'Yes,' said Charles, firmly. The minister of marine took the pen and signed.
"When all the signatures were affixed, there was a solemn and awful pause. An expression of high-wrought energy, mingled with uneasiness, sat on the faces of the ministers. M. de Polignac's alone wore a look of triumph. Charles X. walked up and down the room with perfect composure."—France under Louis Philippe, by Louis Blanc, p. 107.
[V] Les Dix Ans de Louis Philippe, par Louis Blanc.
[W] "The Duc de Raguse found himself invested with a real military dictatorship. His situation was a cruel one. If he took part with the insurgents, he betrayed a king who relied upon him. If he put so many mothers in mourning, without even believing in the justice of his cause, he committed an atrocity. If he stood aloof, he was dishonored. Of these three lines of conduct he adopted that which was most fatal to the people."—Louis Blanc.
[X] "The History of Ten Years," by Louis Blanc, vol. i, p. 187.
[Y] Louis Blanc, i., 359.
[Z] Moniteur, August 3, 1830.
[AA] History of the Restoration, vol. iv., p. 489.
[AB] Alison, vol. vi., p. 463.
[AC] Louis Blanc, iii., 296.
[AD] Alison, vol. vii., p. 77.
[AE] Les Dix Ans de Louis Philippe, vol. iii., p. 318.
[AF] Œuvres de Napoleon III., t. i., p. 393.
[AG] History of Europe from the Fall of Napoleon to the Accession of Louis Napoleon, by Sir Archibald Alison, vol. iii., p. 82.
[AH] Louis Blanc.
[AI] By the laws of France the dauphin attained his majority at the age of thirteen.
[AJ] In the British House of Lords the Crown will often carry a measure by a similar action. By the Constitution of the Empire in France, under Napoleon III., this was rendered impossible.
[AK] Abbott's Life of Napoleon III., p. 87.
[AM] Mémoires de la Duchesse de Berri, pp. 87-90.
[AN] "The History of Ten Years," by Louis Blanc, vol ii., p. 453.
[AO] Vie de Louis Napoleon, t. i., p. 22.
[AP] Alison, vol. iii., p. 206.
[AQ] Alison, vol. viii., p. 193.
1. Minor changes have been made to correct typesetter's errors; otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the author's words and intent.
2. The sidenotes used in this text were originally published as banners in the page headers, and have been moved to the relevant paragraph for the reader's convenience.
3. The final 11 paragraphs of Chapter IX in the original publication, which appear to be out of context and which were duplicated in Chapter XI, have been removed from this e-book. As a result, page numbers 301 thru 305 do not appear in this e-text.