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walls of Paris, and the army of the Loire might have been still formidable to the invaders.
The persecutions of Louis XVIII. effected that which the misfortunes of Bonaparte had not been able to produce; they united against the restoration—the opponent parts of the empire, i. e. the heroes who had formed its glory, the patriots who had objected to its principles. But how far was Louis XVIII. to blame?
Every day made his difficulties more apparent: the government of Monsieur de Talleyrand, notwithstanding the cruel compliances which alienated one party, found it impossible to resist the wrath which its mere reputation for liberality excited in another.
Fouché published his celebrated memorials,* among the most important political documents that ever appeared ; and finally, the Prince of Benevento found himself obliged to tender his resignation.
The mass of the imperial army, the more violent of the imperial opposition, were now hostile to the Bourbon régime;' a conflict commenced between the more moderate and the more bigoted royalists, as to who should administer its affairs.' At the head of these parties
* See Appendix.
were the Monarch now in exile - the Monarch then upon the throne.
There had been between these two Princes a kind of jealous rivalry from their very boyhood. Celebrated for his grace, his intrigues, the flower of the fashionable nobility of Versailles, the Comte d'Artois had early in his favour all the more brilliant part of the court of Marie Antoinette. The women extolled him, the young men imitated him, and applauded the frankness of his follies—in opposition to the more reserved carriage and the more serious pursuits of the Comte de Provence. Moreover, the aristocracy of the emigration, instituting a kind of periodical hierarchy among themselves, placed the persons who departed after the first triumph of the revolution in a much higher rank than those who subsequently retired. *
The Comte d'Artois then, opposed to any popular compliances, was decidedly the royalist chief. Proud of his situation, vain of his authority, irritated by a restless desire for contention and intrigue — this prince — the presumptive heir to the crown already dis
* Louis XVIII. frequently complained in private of this distinction.
puted the administration of affairs ;* and constituting a cabinet of his own, aspired to impose upon the royal councils the resolutions of the Pavillon Marsan.'t Louis XVIII. was of a temporizing disposition; the same feelings which made him favourable to a moderate line of policy, made him hostile to an open quarrel with those who urged a violent one. Besides, he was not altogether beyond the influences of his youth, and felt a respect—that was involuntary-for that man in his family who was most fashionable with his Court.
The first and second administrations of the Duc de Richelieu were administrations of compromise between the two brothers and the two parties. But, named twice under the auspices of the Comte d'Artois, the Duc de Richelieu was each time eventually honoured by his disapprobation :- first, when he would not pass a universal sentence of proscription upon all that prince's enemies; secondly, when he would not give all the places at his disposal to that prince's friends. I
* He had already assumed, in 1814, the title of Lieutenant-General, without authority, to the great dissatisfaction of the King.
+ That part of the Tuileries where the Comte d'Artois resided.
It was for this reason that this administration was opposed; and the Duc de Richelieu's illness and death were mainly to be attributed, it is said, to the disgust and vexation which he felt at the Comte d'Artois' attack upon his government a government which he (the Duc de Richelieu) had only undertaken under the express promise of Monsieur's support and assistance.
The governments of Dessolle and Decazes – which may both be considered as formed under the influence and representing the opinions of Monsieur Decazes-though under different circumstances, and in different degrees - the governments of Messrs. Dessolle and Decazes, intervening between the two administrations of Monsieur de Richelieu, represented the ideas of the King, of the more moderate royalists, and stood at once uncompromisingly opposed to the whole power of the Pavillon Marsan.'
This is the interesting and critical period of the restoration. In the contest at issue were engaged the destinies of the monarchy and the two policies which the restoration had to follow. It was impossible for the moderate party to be more fortunate than it was in its chief. Monsieur Decazes, now placed in so prominent a position, had in early life been secretary to Madame Bonaparte; he was subsequently known as a distinguished magistrate,* and
* De la cour d'assises du département de la Seine.
remarkable during the hundred days for the zeal and ability which he displayed in favour of the Bourbons had been named “ Préfet de Police,” under Fouché, at their return. Favoured by accident with an interview with Louis XVIII., the monarch, pleased by his address, struck by his capacity, and anxious to be independent of the political probity of the Duc d'Otrante, desired the 'préfet to submit his reports directly to himself,* and expressed a wish to improve the acquaintance.
This was the commencement of M. Decazes' favour. At the time I am speaking of, that favour was at its height. Monsieur Decazes then was the intimate friend (such was the appellation which Louis XVIII. gave him) of the sovereign : he had great popularity in the country, many friends in the chamber. то these advantages he joined habits of official business, an easy and conciliating eloquence, and the quality, so important in a difficalt ministerial situation, of soothing the irritation
* Louis XVIII., in common with all the Bourbon family, had a great pleasure in the political gossip with which it is easy for a minister, who has the police at his disposal, to decorate his reports; and here M. Decazes had an opportunity, which few in his situation would have neglected, of improving any favourable impression he might first have made.