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BOOK II.

HISTORICAL CHANGES.

THE RESTORATION.

VOL. II.

B

RESTORATION.

Louis XVIII. died, having long in reality ceased to

reign-Never had prince assumed a crown with more difficulties than Louis assumed his in 1814-What party could he rely on for support?-Universal division where there was the appearance of universal content - The momentary force of the Restoration, its permanent weakness—The first discontent felt by the military – Causes of discontent - The battle of Waterloo decided against the army-The events of the Hundred Days favourable to the Bourbons—Moderate policy of Louis XVIII. on his return—The persecutions, however, which follow, and which unite the army and the patriots-How far Louis XVIII. was to blame - M. de Talleyrand resigns-Conflict between the two sects of royalists for power-Louis XVIII. at the head of one, Comte d'Artois at the head of the otherThe administration of the Duc de Richelieu, a compromise between these two parties—The governments of Messrs. Dessolle and Decazes are the governments of Louis XVIII.-The character of Mons. DecazesThe government of Dessolle and Decazes based on the new law of election - King frightened by the election of Gregoire- The state of the ministry and the chamber — A government must have some tendency-Mons. Decazes determines on turning to the less liberal side for support-Left by Mons. DessolleForms a new ministry—Means to alter Law of Election-Assassination of Duc de Berri-Mons. Decazes goes out - Fatal effects of his late policy - Review of his government—The enemies of the throne take courage; men in general become more despondent as to the restoration, and the throne gains foes hitherto not opposed to it.

I now approach a time at which the impartiality of posterity has not yet arrived. Amidst the clamour of contending parties struggling upon the ruins of a fallen throne, where is the voice to render the restoration' justice ? Separated from his friend, enslaved by his family, debauched * by his mistress—surrounded by the last

pomps of religion, and thoughtful for a dynasty of which he knew the faults and had predicted the misfortunes—the brother of Louis XVI., the admirer and imitator of Henry IV., the uncle of Henry V., a prince of many royal virtues, saw a life of vicissitudes drawing to a close. The sceptre he was still presumed to

* The details that are given of the last days of Louis XVIII., of his mental profligacy, of his physician's advice, of Madame -'s influen'e and endearments, would form a melancholy chapter in the history of the fallen dynasty.

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