Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

extraordinary success, into the popular cause. To M. Bérar d I believe, was owing the bold and ingenious conception of a fictitious government, consisting of Generals Gérard and Lafayette and the Duc de Choiseul. No such government existed: but it was cleverly and plausibly announced to exist, and a sentinel placed at the Hotel de Ville repulsed every one who requested an audience with this imaginary authority, by saying "On ne passe pas; le Gouvernement est en conference.” The mere mention of a Government operated as a charm: and decided the last remaining doubts as to the success of the people. Such was the state of things on the morning of the 29th, when, as I have said, the Deputies met at M. Laffitte's—and it was then that a commission, consisting of five Deputies (Laffitte, Schonen, Puyraveau, Lobau, and C. Périer ), * replaced the fictitious creation of M. Bérard.

I have now conducted the civil transactions of the three days to the point at which I left the military operations. It only remains for me to relate what had been taking place during these events in the cabinet and at the court. On the morning of the 27th, M. de Polignac first made known to the King the troubles which had taken place the preceding evening, and Charles X. sent for the Duc de Raguse and entrusted him with the command so fatal to his reputation and his fortunes. On arriving at Paris, the Marshal found the most utter want of preparation for that kind of resistance which the Government ought to have expected. The troops were not even consigned to their quarters, and it was necessary to wait the muster hour in order to assemble them together. Things, as we have seen, not proceeding so quietly as was expected the council, assembled at night, decided on proclaiming Paris en état de siége, which was done the following morning. In the mean time, Charles X., who had ordered the Duc de Raguse to return in the evening to St. Cloud if the city were quiet, remained in the most perfect state of tranquillity, notwithstanding his absence." Il n'y a rien," he said to an officer about his person; " je l'avais autorisé à revenir ; mais il a bien fait de rester.”

The 28th was the critical day. The court on this day

Mauguin was afterwards added.

might have made its peace with dignity, for there was a moment, as I have shown, when the troops were deemed to have been successful, and this was the moment when the Duc de Raguse, demanding concession from the Deputies, urged it most strongly to the King. The same fatality, however, which indured Charles I. to reject the moderate advise of Clarendon, presided at St. Cloud.* Monsieur de Komierowski, sent by the Duke with his despatch, was honoured by no written reply, and merely told to charge the Marshal de tenir bon, de réunir 848 forces sur le Carrousel et à la Place Louis XV., et d'agir avec des masses. Everybody about the place was in the most serene quietude. In the morning-mass, the usual ceremonies and receptions ;-in the evening-the rubber at whist :-less anxiety was expressed for the destinies of the nation than for the turn of a card.

In vain a deputation waited on Monsieur de Polignac: he thought he showed firmness when he displayed imbecility; and when told that the troops were going over to the people, merely observed, that“ it would then be necessary to fire upon the troops!" Horses and soldiers were unprovided with food, but that was a matter of little importance; by such trifles as these the peace of the King and the security of his minister were not to be disturbed. During the night, however, it was decided to give a month and a hall's pay to the regiments at Paris, and an order was sent to the Camps of Lunéville and St. Omer to advance upon St. Cloud. Even on the 29th the ministers, blockaded in the Tuileries, were still in a state of the most complete ignorance as to the real nature of the insurrection.

They mistook that for a plot which was the result of inspiration. “Ce sont les fédérés qui ont conservé leur ancienne organisation,” said Monsieur de Peyronnet. He was soon undeceived. The Duc de Raguse himself assembled the council, and advised, as the last resource, a treaty with the people on the basis of a repeal of the Ordonnances. The ministers had no power for this.

« Come and obtain it from the King," said Monsieur de Peyronnet. "Nothing can be

* If Monsieur Laffitte and General Gérard proposed peace, it was from insolence and they were strong, or from fear and they were weak, and the presumption and the timidity of rebels were equally to be despised.

better for the royal cause than the present aspect of affairs," said the infatuated Prince de Polignac. At this moment arrived Monsieur d'Argout and Monsieur de Sémonville, who were also come to urge the ministers to adopt a speedy and conciliatory decision. Quarrelling* with Monsieur de Polignac, they set out for St. Cloud, where the Marshal himself, after the complete discomfiture of his troops, shortly afterwards arrived.

In what disposition did they find the King ? Already, before the appearance of Monsieur de Sémonville, the Duc de Mortemart had made two fruitless attempts to persuade him to recall the Ordonnances. “Bah! bah ! ce n'est rien,” said Charles X.; " ne vous inquiétez pas." " Je ne veux pas monter en charrette comme mon frère,” † was his reply to any argument urging concession. +

At the advice of his ministers themselves, however, he was at length induced to relent; the Ordonnances were to be recalled, M. de Mortemart named President du Conseil, and M. C. Périer and General Gérard included in the new administration. But the only order to which Charles X. could be prevailed upon to affix his signature immediately, was that relating to M. de Mortemart. The others, the orders which revoked the Ordonnances, named C. Périer and General Gérard, and convoked the Chambers for the 3rd of August these, with that fatal weakness which induces us to withhold to the last moment what we are yet determined to grant—these he could not be prevailed upon to sign that night, and twentyfour hours went by while the proverb that“ every minute is an hour," was being literally fulfilled ;—and now,

The whee of fortune, which had been so rapidly turning since 1789, seemed to be again pausing at the very place where it had been forty-one years before, and there was-the Comte

* Monsieur de Sémonville and M. de Polignac felt for each other the contempt which a man of the world feels for an enthusiast, and which an enthusiast returns for a man of the world.

+ Nobody so obstinate as a weak man when he once has an opinion. The idea which governed the life of Charles X. was that his brother had fallen from a want of firmness.

# The situation of the Duchesse d'Angoulême, at that time travelling in the provinces, and very possibly exposed to popular violence, was the sole circumstance that seemed to affect him..

d'Artois crushed beneath it, and at the topmost pinnacle of its curve-General Lafayette.

REVOLUTION OF 1830.

III.

General Lafayette's march to the Hôtel de Ville.-M. Laffitte gives M. F.

Janson a passport for the duc de Mortemart, who does not come on the evening of the 29th as was expected. --Consequences. The evening of the 29th.-30th, Two proclamations to the people and the army-M. de Mortemart now arrives.-Fate of his mission.-Agitation of the people. -Necessity of prompt decision.-Mission to Neuilly.--Received by the Duc d'Orléans.--State of things on the night of the 30th.-31st, the Duc d'Orléans accepts the lieutenancy of the kingdom.-Visits the Hôtel de Ville.---Feelings of the people.- Is received by Lafayette.-Conversations that then took place.-1st of August a day of Jubilee. --2nd of August, Abdication of Charles X. and the Dauphin.-3rd, Chambers met.—4th, the Chamber of Peers, which had hitherto kept aloof, nominated a Commission to reply to the speech of the Lieutenant General. -7th, the Duc d'Orléans invited by the two Chambers to accept the Crown.-His answer.-9th, Louis Philippe proclaimed King of the French.-What had taken place to Charles X. between 30th of July and 16th of August, when this unfortunate prince 'embarked from Cherbourg.

“ Vive Lafayette! vive Lafayette!”—this was the cry in every street, as down from every window, as down from every balustrade whence the ball and the broken bottle and the massive pavement lately rushed, now dropped gentle flowers on the venerable head of the friend of Washington,- of the old General of the National Guard;*—and wafted on every breeze flew the national cockade, the old and famous tricoloured ribbon ;--and lo! the very hero of popular parade, the revolutionary veteran, bowing, smiling, embracing;—and lo! the immense masses, shouting, laughing, waving their hats, firing their arms!—To the Hôtel de Ville marched the long procession.

* “ Laissez, laissez," said the old General to some one wishing to conduct his steps ; “ laissez, laissez ; je connais tout cela mieux que vous.”

In the meantime, M. Laffitte was informed of the resolution taken at St. Cloud, and gave M. de Forbin Janson a passport for his brother-in-law the Duc de Mortemart. It was arranged that the Duc should be at M. Laffitte's house some time that evening: unable to obtain the new Ordonnnances from the King, and refused a passport from the Dauphin, M. de Mortemart disappointed the Deputies who expected him, and this event was perhaps the most important one of the three days. *

It was on this night, after waiting for the Duc de Mortemart in vain, that M. Laffitte, left alone with Messrs. Thiers and Mignet, took the first of those measures which led to the election of the present monarch. Then it was resolved that the elder branch of the Bourbons should be given up to those who were fearful for the freedom, and the younger branch adopted as a guarantee to those who were fearful for the tranquillity of the country; and then were framed the handbills, placards and proclamations which, appearing in every corner of Paris the following morning, directed and fixed the public opinion.

The morning of the 30th began with two proclamations, the one from the provisional government announcing the deliverance of Paris to the people, the other from General Gérard, offering an amnesty to the army; at this moment the Duc de Mortemart arrived from St. Cloud, with the Ordonnances that he should have had the preceding evening. A slowness fatal to the old monarchy still attended him. † M. de Sussy, whom he charged with these ordonnances, was not at the Chamber so soon as he

Though many were confident as to the ultimate success of the continued struggle, no one believed it over at this time. Troops, it was conceived, would march upon the capital in all directions. Paris might be invested, its brave but volatile population was not to be depended upon. The lesson which royalty had received was rude. The repeal of the Ordonnances, and the nomination of a popular administration, was as great a triumph as it seemed possible to achieve without running all the perils, all the hazards, and all the horrors of civil war. A republic was dreaded; the Duc d'Orléans had not then come forward; young Napoleon was at Vienna. It is impossible to say if the Duc de Mortemart had appeared at M. Laffitte's the night of the 29 th, whether Charles X. might not still have been at the Tuileries.

+ M. de Mortemart, fatigued by his walk (he had come a roundabout way from St. Cloud), disappointed in finding M. Laffitte at his own house, unable owing to the barricades to proceed otherwise than on foot, was prevailed upon to charge M. de Sussy with the Ordonnances repealing those of the 25th and M. de Sussy proceeded with them to the Chamber.

« VorigeDoorgaan »