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The first, but not the most formidable of their causes of discontent, arose from the pretensions of the emigrant noblesse and clergy.
At the restoration of Charles II. (to which we almost involuntarily resort as a parallel case), the nobility and gentry of England, who had espoused the cause of his father, were in a very different condition from the emigrant nobles of France. Many had indeed fallen in battle, and some few by the arbitrary sentence of the usurper's courts of justice; but the majority, although impoverished by fines and sequestrations, still resided upon their patrimonial estates, and exercised over their tenantry and cottagers the rights of proprietors. Their influence, though circumscribed, was therefore still considerable; and had they been disposed to unite themselves into a party, separate from the other orders of the state, they had power to support the pretensions which they might form. But here the steady sense and candour, not alone of Ormond and Clarendon, but of all the leading Cavaliers, induced them to avoid a line of conduct so tempting yet so perilous. The dangers of reaction, according to the modern phrase, were no sooner sounded into the public ear by the pamphlets and speeches of those who yet clung to a republic, than every purpose, whether of revenge, or of a selfish and separate policy, was disowned in a manifesto, subscribed by the principal Royalists, in which they professed to ascribe their past misfortunes not to any particular class of their fellow citizens, but to the displeasure of the Almighty, deservedly visiting upon them their own sins and those of the community. Such was the declaration of the Cavaliers at that important crisis; and though there were not wanting royalistes purs et par excellence, who, like Swift's correspondent, Sir Charles Wogan,* censured the conduct of Clarendon for suffering to escape so admirable an opportunity to etablish despotic authority in the crown, and vest feudal power in the nobility, I need not waste words in vindicating his moderate and accommodating measures to my discerning friend Peter.
The scaltered remnants of the French noblesse, who survived to hail the restoration of the Bourbons, while they possessed no efficient power, held much more lofty pretensions than bad been preferred by the aristocracy of Britain at the Restoration. It would be unjust to subscribe the severe allegation, that they had forgot nothing, and learned nothing, during their long exile; yet it can hardly be either doubted or wondered at, that they retained their prejudices and claims as a separate and privileged class, distinguished alike by loyalty and sufferings in the cause of the exiled family, to a point inconsistent with the more liberal ideas of a community of rights, which, in despite both of the frenzy of the Revolution and the tyranny of Bonaparte, had gra
(See Sir Walter Scott's edition of Swift's Works, vol. xvii.)
dually gained ground among the people at large. And, while the once-privileged classes maintained such pretensions, they were utterly devoid of the means of cflectually asserting them. Long years of banishment had broken off their connexion with the soil of France, and their influence over those by whom it is cultivated. They were even divided among themselves into various classes, and the original emigrants, whose object it was to restore the royal authority by the sword, looked with dislike and aversion upon the various classes of exiles of a later date, whom each successive wave of the Revolution had swept from their native land. Their own list did not appear to exhibit any remarkable degree of talent; those among them whose exile was contemporary wilh their manhood, were now too old for public business, and those who were younger, had become, during their long residence abroad, strangers, in a manner, to the customs and habits of their country; while neither the aged nor the young had the benefit of practical experience in public affairs. It was not among such a party, however distinguished by birth, by loyalty, by devotion in the royal cause, that Louis XVIII. could find, or hope to find, the members of a useful, active, and popular adıninistration. Their ranks contained many well qualified to be the grace and ornament of a court; but few, it would seem, fitted for the support and defence of a throne. Yet who can wonder, that the men who had shared the misfortunes of their sovereign, and shown in his cause such proofs of the most devoted zeal, were called around him in his first glimpse of prosperity; and that, while ascending the throne, he entertained towards this class of his subjects, bound to him, as they were,
“By well-tried faith, and friendship’s holy ties,"
the affections of a kind and grateful master? One distinguished emigrant, observing the suspicion and odium which so excusable a parliality awakened against the monarch, had the courage to urge, that, to ensure the stability of the throne, their sentence of banishment should have continued by the royal edict for ten years at least after the restoration of the house of Bourbon. It was in vain that the advocates of Louis called upon the people to observe, that no open steps had been taken in favour of the emigrants. Their claims were made and pleaded upon every hand; and, if little was expressly done in their favour, suspicion whispered, that the time was only waited for when ALL could be granted with safety. These suspicions, which naturally occurred even to the candid, were carefully fostered and enlarged upon by the designing; and the distant claok of the feudal fetters was sounded into the ears of the peasants and burghers, while the uncertainty of property alarmed the numerous and powerful proprietors of forfeited domains.
The dislike to the clergy, and the fear of their reviving claims upon the confiscated church-lands, excited yet greater discontent than the king's apprehended partiality to the emigrants. The system of the Gallic church had been thoroughly undermined before its fall. Its constitution had been long irretrievably shattered; the whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint. Doctrines of infidelity, everywhere general among the higher ranks, were prosessed by none with more publicity than by the superior orders of the clergy; and, respecting moral profligacy, it might be said of the church of France as of Ilion,
* Intra muros peccatur, et extra."
It is no wonder, that, in a system so perverted, neither the real worth of many of the clergy, nor the enthusiastic zeal of others, was able to make a stand agaigst the tide of popular odium, skilfully directed towards the church and its ministers by the reigning demagogues. Our catholic Highland neighbour must also pardon us, if we account the superstitious doctrines of his church among the chief causes of her downfall. The necessity of manning outworks, wlich are incapable of being effectually defended, adds not a little to the perplexities of a besieged garrison. Thus the sarcasms and speers, justified, at least in our heretical eyes, by some part of the catholic doctrines, opened the way for universal contempt of the Christian system. At any rate, nothing is more certain, than that a general prejudice was, during the Revolution, successfully excited against the clergy, and that, among the lower Parisians in particular, it still exists with all its violence. Even on the day when the rabble of the Fauxbourgs hailed the triumphal return of Bonaparte to his throne, their respect for the hero of the hour did not prevent them from uttering the most marked expressions of dislike and contempt when Cardinal Fesch appeared in the procession. The cry was general, A bas la calotte ! and the uncle of the restored emperor was obliged to dismount from his palfrey, and hide himself in a carriage.
The king and the Comte d'Artois are, in their distresses, understood to have sought and found consolation in the exercise of religious duties. They continued, in gratitude, those devotions which they had commenced in humble submission, and their regard was naturally extended to the ministers of that religion which they professed and practised. Conduct in itself so estimable, was, in the unhappy state of the public mind, misrepresented to their subjects. The landholders were alarmed by fear of the re-establishment of tithes ; the labouring poor, and the pelly shopkeeper, regarded the enforcing the long-neglected repose of the Sabbath, as a tax upon their industry and lime, amounting to the hire of one day's labour out of the seven.
prielors of church-lands were alarmed, more especially when the rash zeal of some of the priesthood refused the offices of the church to those who had acquired its property. The Protestants in the south of France remembered the former severities exercised against them by the sovereigns of the house of Bourbon, and trembled for their repetition under a dynasty of monarchs, who professed the Catholic faith with sincerity and zeal. Add to these the profligate, who hate the restraints of religion, and the unthinking, who ridicule its abstracted doctrines, and you will have some idea how deeply this cause operated in rendering the Bourbons unpopular.
Those who dreaded, or pretended to dread, the innovations which might be effected by the influence of the clergy and the nobles, -a class which included, of course, all the old partisans of democratical principles, -assumed the name of Constitutionalists, and afterwards of Liberalists. The one was derived from their great zeal for the constitutional charter; the other from their affected superiority to the prejudices of ancient standing. Their ranks afforded a convenient and decent place of refuge for all those, who, having spent their lives in opposing the Bourbon interest, were now compelled to submit to a monarch of that family. They boasted, that it was not the person of the king to which they submitted, but the constitution which he had brought in his hand. Their party contained many partisans, especially among men distinguished by talent. Democracy, according to Burke, is the foodsul nurse of ambilion; and men, who propose lo rise by the mere force of their genius, nalurally favour that form of government which offers fewest restraints to their career. This party was also united and strengthened by possessing many of those characters who had played the chief parts in the revolution, and who were fitted, both by talents and experience, to understand and conduct the complicated ramifications of political intrigue.
Among those best qualified to ride on the whirlwind and direct the storm,” was the celebraled Fouché, Duke of Otranto, whose intimate acquaintance with every intrigue in France had been acquired when he exercised the office of minister of the police under the emperor. There is every reason to think that this person had no intention of pushing opposition into rebellion; and that it was only his purpose to storm the cabinet, not to expel the monarch. It cannot be denied, that there were among the Liberalists the materials for forming what is called, in England, a constitutional opposition, who, by assailing the ministry in the two Chambers, might have compelled them to respect the charter of the constitution ; and to those amongst them, who were actuated either by the love of rational liberty, or by a modified and regulated spirit of ambition, the reign of the Bourbons alforded much greater facilities than the restoration of the military despotism of Bonaparte. Even to the very last moment, Fouché is said to have looked round for some mezzo termine, some means of compromise, which might render unnecessary the desperate experiment of the emperor's restoration. When Napoleon had landed, and was advancing towards Lyons, Fouché demanded an audience of the king upon important business. The interview was declined, but two noblemen were appointed by Louis to receive his communication. He adverted to the perilous situation of the king; and offered even yet, provided his terms were granted, to arrest Napoleon's progress towards the capital. The ministers required to know the means which he meant to employ. He declined to state them, but professed himself confident of success. On his terms he was less reserved. He announced them to be, that the Duke of Orleans should be proclaimed lieutenant-general of the kingdom; and that Fouché himself and his party should immediately be called to offices of trust and power. These terms were of course rejected; but it was the opinion of the wellinformed person from whom I had this remarkable anecdote, that Fouché would have been able to keep his word.
His recipe was not, however, pul to the test; and he and his party immediately acceded to the conspiracy, and were forced onward by those formidable agents, of whom it may be observed, that, like fire and water, they are excellent servants, but dreadful masters, -I mean the army, whose state, under the Bourbons, deserves the consideration of a separate epistle.--Ever, my dear friend, I remain sincerely yours,
TO THE SAME.
Retrospect--the Army-Unpopularity of Louis—the Army dissatisfied-Irritation
of the French-Departure of Allied Troops-Insults offered to ForeignersHostile Feelings of Government-Conspiracy in the Army--Bonaparte's Return -The Army join him-His Arrival at Paris—All hopes of Peace removed-Liberals join Bonaparte-The Royalists.
I LEFT off in my last with some account of the Constitutionalists, Liberalists, or whatsoever.they are called, who opposed, from various causes, the measures of Louis XVIII., without having originally any purpose of throwing themselves into the arms of Bonaparte. To this desperate step they were probably induced by the frank and universal adhesion of the army to the commander under whom they had so often conquered. No man ever better understood both how to gain