France in the Nineteenth Century
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France in the Nineteenth Century

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Project Gutenberg's France in the Nineteenth Century, by Elizabeth Latimer
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Title: France in the Nineteenth Century
Author: Elizabeth Latimer
Release Date: November 28, 2004 [EBook #14194]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FRANCE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY ***
Produced by Robert J. Hall
EMPEROR NAPOLEON I.
FRANCE
IN
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
1830-1890
BY ELIZABETH WORMELEY LATIMER
AUTHOR OF "SALVAGE," "MY WIFE AND MY WIFE'S SISTER," "PRINCESS AMÉLIE," "FAMILIAR TALKS ON SOME OF SHAKESPEARE'S COMEDIES," ETC.
NOTE
Page 3
The sources from which I have drawn the materials for this book are various; they come largely from private papers, and from articles contributed to magazines and newspapers by contemporary writers, French, English, and American. I had not at first intended the work for publication, and I omitted to make notes which would have enabled me to restore to others the "unconsidered trifles" that I may have taken from them.
As far as possible, I have endeavored to remedy this; but should any other writer find a gold thread of his own in my embroidery, I hope he will look upon it as an evidence of my appreciation of his work, and not as an act of intentional dishonesty.
SEPTEMBER, 1892.
CONTENTS.
E. W. L.
CHAPTER I.CHARLES X. AND THE DAYS OF JULY II.LOUIS PHILIPPE AND HIS FAMILY III.LOUIS NAPOLEON'S EARLY CAREER IV.TEN YEARS OF THE REIGN OF THE CITIZEN-KING V.SOME CAUSES OF THE REVOLUTION OF 1848 VI.THE DOWNFALL OF LOUIS PHILIPPE VII.LAMARTINE AND THE SECOND REPUBLIC VIII.THE COUP D'ÉTAT IX.THE EMPEROR'S MARRIAGE X.MAXIMILIAN AND MEXICO THE EMPEROR AND EMPRESS AT THE SUMMIT XI. OF PROSPERITY XII.PARIS IN 1870,—AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER XIII.THE SIEGE OF PARIS XIV.THE PRUSSIANS IN FRANCE XV.THE COMMUNE XVI.THE HOSTAGES XVII.THE GREAT REVENGE XVIII.THE FORMATION OF THE THIRD REPUBLIC XIX.THREE FRENCH PRESIDENTS XX.GENERAL BOULANGER
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
EMPEROR NAPOLEON I
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CHARLES X LOUIS PHILIPPE, DUKE OF ORLEANS DUCHESSE DE BERRY QUEEN MARIE AMÉLIE LOUIS PHILIPPE, "THE CITIZEN KING" ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE LOUIS NAPOLEON, "THE PRINCE PRESIDENT" DUC DE MORNY EUGÉNIE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN EMPEROR NAPOLEON III EMPRESS EUGÉNIE JULES SIMON JULES FAVRE MONSEIGNEUR DARBOY, ARCHBISHOP OF PARIS PRESIDENT ADOLPH THIERS LÉON GAMBETTA COMTE DE CHAMBORD PRESIDENT JULES GRÉVY PRESIDENT SADI-CARNOT GENERAL BOULANGER
FRANCE
IN THE
NINETEENTH CENTURY.
1830-1890.
CHAPTER I.
CHARLES X. AND THE DAYS OF JULY.
Louis XVIII. in 1815 returned to his throne, borne on the shoulders of foreign soldiers, after the fight at Waterloo. The allied armies had a second time entered France to make her pass under the saws and harrows of humiliation. Paris was gay, for money was spent freely by the invading strangers. Sacrifices on the altar of the Emperor were over; enthusiasm for the extension of the great ideas of the Revolution had passed away; a new generation had been born which cared more for material prosperity than for such ideas; the foundation of many fortunes had been laid; mothers who dreaded the conscription, and men weary of war and politics, drew a long breath, and did not regret the loss of that which had animated a preceding generation, in a view of a peace which was to bring wealth, comfort,
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and tranquillity into their own homes.
Thebourgeoisie of France trusted that it had seen the last of the Great Revolution. It stood between the working-classes, who had no voice in the politics of the Restoration, and the old nobility,—men who had returned to France full of exalted expectations. The king had to place himself on one side or the other. He might have been the true Bourbon and headed the party of the returnedémigrés,—in which case his crown would not have stayed long upon his head; or he might have made himself king of thebourgeoisie, opposed to revolution, Napoleonism, or disturbances of any kind,—the party, in short, of the Restoration of Peace: a peace that might outlast his time; et après moi le déluge!
But animals which show neither teeth nor claws are seldom left in peace, and Louis XVIII.'s reign—from 1814 to 1824—was full of conspiracies. The royalty of the Restoration was only an ornament tacked on to France. The Bourbon dynasty was a necessary evil, even in the eyes of its supporters. "The Bourbons," said Chateaubriand, "are the foam on the revolutionary wave that has brought them back to power;" whilst every one knows Talleyrand's famous saying "that after five and twenty years of exile they had nothing remembered and nothing forgot." Of course the old nobility, who flocked back to France in the train of the allied armies, expected the restoration of their estates. The king had got his own again,—why should not they get back theirs? And they imagined that France, which had been overswept by successive waves of revolution, could go back to what she had been under the old régime. This was impossible. The returned exiles had to submit to the confiscation of their estates, and receive in return all offices and employments in the gift of the Government. The army which had conquered in a hundred battles, with its marshals, generals, andvieux moustaches, was not pleased to have young officers, chosen from the nobility, receive commissions and be charged with important commands. On the other hand, the Holy Alliance expected that the king of France would join the despotic sovereigns of Russia, Austria, and Prussia in their crusade against liberal ideas in other countries. Against these difficulties, and many more, Louis XVIII. had to contend. He was an infirm man, physically incapable of exertion,—a man who only wanted to be let alone, and to avoid by every means in his power the calamity of being again sent into exile.
He placed himself on the side of the stronger party,—he took part with thebourgeoisie. His aim, as he himself said, was toménagerhis throne. He began his reign by having Fouché and Talleyrand, men of the Revolution and the Empire, deep in his councils, though he disliked both of them. Early in his reign occurred what was called the White Terror, in the southern provinces, where the adherents of the white flag repeated on a small scale the barbarities of the Revolution.
The king was forced to put himself in opposition to the old nobles who had adhered to him in his exile. They bitterly resented his defection. They used to toast him asle roi-quand-même, "the king in spite of everything." His own family held all the Bourbon traditions,
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and were opposed to him. To them everything below the rank of a noble with sixteen quarterings wasla canaille.
Louis XVIII.'s favorite minister was M. Decazes, a man who studied the interests of thebourgeoisie; and the royal family at last made the sovereign so uncomfortable by their disapproval of his policy that he sought repose in the society and intimacy (the connection is said to have been nothing more) of a Madame de Cayla, with whom he spent most of his leisure time.
Before the Revolution, Louis XVIII. had been known sometimes as the Comte de Provence, and sometimes as Monsieur. Though physically an inert man, he was by no means intellectually stupid, for he could say very brilliant things from time to time, and was very proud of them; but he was wholly unfit to be at the helm of the ship of state in an unquiet sea.
He had passed the years of his exile in various European countries, but the principal part of his time had been spent at Hartwell, about sixty miles from London, where he formed a little court and lived a life of royalty in miniature. Charles Greville, when a very young man, visited Hartwell with his relative, the Duke of Beaufort, shortly before the Restoration. He describes the king's cabinet as being like a ship's cabin, the walls hung with portraits of Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, Madame Elisabeth, and the dauphin. Louis himself had a singular habit of swinging his body backward and forward when talking, "which exactly resembled the heavings of a ship at sea." "We were a very short time at table," Greville adds; "the meal was a very plain one, and the ladies and gentlemen all got up together. Each lady folded up her napkin, tied it round with a bit of ribbon, and carried it away with her. After dinner we returned for coffee and conversation to the drawing-room. Whenever the king came in or went out of the room, Madame d'Angoulême made him a low courtesy, which he returned by bowing and kissing her hand. This little ceremony never failed to take place." They finished the evening with whist, "his Majesty settling the points of the game at a quarter of a shilling." "We saw the whole place," adds Greville, "before we came away; they had certainly shown great ingenuity in contriving to lodge so great a number of people in and around the house. It was like a small rising colony."
Louis XVIII. was childless. His brother Charles and himself had married sisters, princesses of the house of Savoy. These ladies were amiable nonentities, and died during the exile of their husbands; but Charles's wife had left him two sons,—Louis Antoine, known as the Duc d'Angoulême, and Charles Ferdinand, known as the Duc de Berri. The Duc d'Angoulême had married his cousin Marie Thérèse, daughter of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. Their union was childless. The Duc de Berri had married Marie Caroline, a princess of Naples. She had two children,—Louise, who when she grew up became Duchess of Parma; and Henri, called variously the Duc de Bordeaux, Henri V., and the Comte de Chambord.
All Louis XVIII.'s efforts duringhis tenyears' reign were directed to
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keeping things as quiet as he could during his lifetime. He greatly disapproved of the policy of the Holy Alliance in forcing him to make war on Spain in order to put down the Constitutionalists under Riego and Mina. The expedition for that purpose was commanded by the Duc d'Angoulême, who accomplished his mission, but with little glory or applause except from flatterers. The chief military incident of the campaign was the capture by the French of the forts of Trocadéro, which commanded the entrance to Cadiz harbor.
The Duchesse d'Angoulême, thatfilia dolorosa left to languish alone in the Temple after her parents and her aunt were guillotined, had been exchanged with Austria for Lafayette by Bonaparte in the treaty of Campo-Formio; but her soul had been crushed within her by her sorrows. Deeply pious, she forgave the enemies of her house, she never uttered a word against the Revolution; but the sight of her pale, set, sad face was a mute reproach to Frenchmen. She could forgive, but she could not be gracious. At the Tuileries, a place full of graceful memories of the Empress Josephine, she presided as a dévoteand a dowdy. She could not have been expected to be other than she was, but the nation that had made her so, bore a grudge against her. There was nothing French about her. No sympathies existed between her and the generation that had grown up in France during the nineteenth century. Both she and her husband were stiff, cold, ultra-aristocrats. In intelligence she was greatly the duke's superior, as she was also in person, he being short, fat, red-faced, with very thin legs.
The Duc de Berri was much more popular. He was a Frenchman in character. His faults were French. He was pleasure-seeking, pleasure-loving, and he married a young and pretty wife to whom he was far from faithful, and who was as fond of pleasure as himself.
The Duc de Berri was assassinated by a man named Louvel, Feb. 13, 1820, as he was handing his wife into her carriage at the door of the French Opera House. They carried him back into the theatre, and there, in a side room, with the music of the opera going on upon the stage, the plaudits of the audience ringing in his ears, and ballet-girls flitting in and out in their stage dresses, the heir of France gave up his life, with kindly words upon his dying lips, reminding us of Charles II. on his deathbed.
As I have said, Louis XVIII.'s reign was not without plots and conspiracies. One of those in 1823 was got up by the Carbonari. Lafayette was implicated in it. It was betrayed, however, the night before it was to have been put in execution, and such of its leaders as could be arrested were guillotined. Lafayette was saved by the fact that the day fixed upon for action was the anniversary of his wife's death,—a day he always spent in her chamber in seclusion.
It may be desirable to say who were the Carbonari. "Carbone" is Italian for charcoal. The Carbonari were charcoal-burners. The conspirators took their name because charcoal-burners lived in solitary places, and were disguised by the coal-dust that blackened their faces. It was a secret society which extended throughout France,
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Italy, and almost all Europe. It was joined by all classes. Its members, under pain of death, were forced to obey the orders of the society. The deliverance of Italy from the Austrians became eventually the prime object of the institution.
Lafayette, during his visit to America in 1824, expressed himself freely about the Bourbons. "France cannot be happy under their rule," he said;[1] "and we must send them adrift. It would have been done before now but for the hesitation of Laffitte. Two regiments of guards, when ordered to Spain under the Duc d'Angoulême, halted at Toulouse, and began to show symptoms of mutiny. The matter was quieted, however, and the affair kept as still as possible. But all was ready. I knew of the whole affair. All that was wanted to make a successful revolution at that time was money. I went to Laffitte; but he was full of doubts, and dilly-dallied with the matter. Then I offered to do it without his help. Said I: 'On the first interview that you and I have without witnesses, put a million of francs, in bank-notes, on the mantelpiece, which I will pocket unseen by you. Then leave the rest to me.' Laffitte still fought shy of it, hesitated, deliberated, and at last decided that he would have nothing at all to do with it."
[Footnote 1: Vincent Nolte, Fifty Years in Two Hemispheres.]
Here the gentleman to whom Lafayette was speaking exclaimed, "If any one had told me this but yourself, General, I would not have believed it."
Lafayette merely answered, "It was really so,"—a proof, thinks the narrator, how fiercely the fire of revolution still burned in the old man's soul.
The last months of Louis XVIII.'s life were embittered by changes of ministry from semi-liberal to ultra-royalist, and by attempts of the officers of the Crown to prosecute the newspapers for free-speaking. He died, after a few days of illness and extreme suffering, Sept. 15, 1824, and was succeeded by the Comte d'Artois, his brother, as Charles X. This was the third time three brothers had succeeded each other on the French throne.
Charles X. was another James II., with cold, harsh, narrow ideas of religion, though religion had not influenced his early life in matters of morality. He was, as I have said, a widower, with one remaining son, the Duc d'Angoulême, and a little grandson, the son of the Duc de Berri. His two daughters-in-law, the Duchesse d'Angoulême and the Duchesse de Berri, were as unlike each other as two women could be,—the one being an unattractive saint, the other a fascinating sinner.
Charles X. was not like his brother,—distracted between two policies and two opinions. He was an ultra-royalist. He believed that to the victors belong the spoils; and as Bourbonism had triumphed, he wanted to stamp out every remnant of the Revolution. Constitutionalism, the leading idea of the day, was hateful to him. He is said to have remarked, "I had rather earn my bread than be a king
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of England!" He probably held the same ideas concerning royal prerogative as those of his cousin, the king of Naples, expressed in a letter found after the sack of the Tuileries in 1848.
"Liberty is fatal to the house of Bourbon; and as regards myself, I am resolved to avoid, at any price, the fate of Louis XVI. My people obey force, and bend their necks; but woe to me if they should ever raise them under the impulse of those dreams which sound so fine in the sermons of philosophers, and which it is impossible to put in practice. With God's blessing, I will give prosperity to my people, and a government as honest as they have a right to expect; but I will be a king,—and thatalways!"
Charles X. was on the throne six years. He was a fine-looking man and a splendid horseman,—which at first pleased the Parisians, who had been disgusted with the unwieldiness and lack of royal presence in Louis XVIII. His first act was a concession they little expected, and one calculated to render him popular. He abridged the powers of the censors of the Press. His minister at this time was M. de Villèle, a man of whom it has been said that he had a genius for trifles; but M. de Villèle having been defeated on some measures that he brought before the Chamber of Deputies, Charles X. was glad to remove him, and to appoint as his prime minister his favorite, the Prince de Polignac. Charles Greville, who was in Paris at the time of this appointment, writes: "Nothing can exceed the violence of feeling that prevails. The king does nothing but cry; Polignac is said to have the fatal obstinacy of a martyr, the worst courage of theruat cœlumsort."
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CHARLES X.
Six months later Greville writes: "Nobody has an idea how things will turn out, or what are Polignac's intentions or his resources." He appeared calm and well satisfied, saying to those who claimed the right to question him, that all would be well, though all France and a clear majority in the Chambers were against him. "I am told," says Charles Greville, "that there is no revolutionary spirit abroad, but a strong determination to provide for the stability of existing institutions, and disgust at the obstinacy and the pretensions of the king. It seems also that a desire to substitute the Orleans for the reigning branch is becoming very general. It is said that Polignac is wholly ignorant of France, and will not listen to the opinions of those who could enlighten him. It is supposed that Charles X. is determined to push matters to extremity; to try the Chambers, and if his ministers are beaten, to dissolve the House and to governpar ordonnances du roi." This prophecy, written in March, 1830, foreshadowed exactly what happened in July of the same year, when, as an outspoken English Tory told Henry Crabb Robinson, in a reading-room at Florence: "The king of France has sent the deputies about their business, has abolished the d——d Constitution and the liberty of the Press, and proclaimed his own power as absolute king."
"And what will the end be?" cried Robinson.
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"It will end," said a Frenchman who was present, "in driving the Bourbons out of France!"
During the last months of Charles X.'s reign France made an expedition against the Dey of Algiers, which was the first step in the conquest of Algeria. The immediate object of the expedition, however, was to draw off the attention of a disaffected nation from local politics. An army of 57,000 soldiers, 103 ships of war, and many transports, was despatched to the coast of Barbary. The expedition was not very glorious, but it was successful. Te Deums were sung in Paris, the general in command was made a marshal, and his naval colleague a peer.
The royalists of France were at this period divided into two parties; the party of the king and Polignac, who were governed by the Jesuits, looked for support to the clergy of France. The other party looked to the army. Yet the most religious men in the country—men like M. de la Ferronays, for example—condemned and regretted the obstinacy of the king.
Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, on whom all eyes were fixed, was the son of that infamous Duke of Orleans who in the Revolution proclaimed himself a republican, took the name of Philippe Égalité, and voted for the execution of the king, drawing down upon himself the rebuke of the next Jacobin whose turn it was to vote in the convention, who exclaimed: "I was going to vote Yes, but I vote No, that I may not tread in the steps of the man who has voted before me."
Égalité was in the end a victim. He perished, after suffering great poverty, leaving three sons and a daughter. The sons were Louis Philippe, who became Duke of Orleans, the Comte de Beaujolais, and the Duc de Montpensier. One of these had shared the imprisonment of his father, and narrowly escaped the guillotine.
Louis Philippe had solicited from the Republic permission to serve under Dumouriez in his celebrated campaign in the Low Countries. He fought with distinguished bravery at Valmy and Jemappes as Dumouriez's aide-de-camp; but when that general was forced to desert his army and escape for his life, Louis Philippe made his escape too. He went into Switzerland, and there taught mathematics in a school. Thence he came to America, travelled through the United States, and resided for some time at Brooklyn.
In 1808 he went out to the Mediterranean in an English man-of-war in charge of his sick brother, the Comte de Beaujolais. The same vessel carried Sir John Moore out to his command, and landed him at Lisbon. Louis Philippe could not have had a very pleasant voyage, for the English admiral, on board whose ship he was a passenger, came up one day in a rage upon the quarter-deck, and declared aloud, in the hearing of his officers, that the Duke of Orleans was such a d——d republican he could not sit at the same table with him.[1]
[Footnote 1: My father was present, and often told the story]
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