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times more than he had destroyed; and now when Napoleon required all the sympathy of the French people; all their onergy and their aid; they were engaged in discussing the question of “What have we been about since the year 1800?” As long as victory after victory, and object after object presented themselves, the attention of the people to their own true interosts had been suspended; but the moment reverses of fortune arrived they asked each other, "Where is our charter!" What bave we gained, and what have we lost, since we or our father declared the sovereignty of the people?"
Then came the coalition of all Europe against France, who was both naturally and morally exhausted and disgusted. She had labored for that which was not bread, either for 'soul or body of the nation-and Napoleon was defeated--the allies marched against Paris, and on the 31st of March, 1813, this proud and imperial city opened its gates, and the armies of the invaders took possession of the French Capitol. How was this? Why it was the inevitable consequence of not following up the Revolution. It was the inevitable consequence of stifling liberty and postponing the consideration of the question of a French constitution, and of the demands made by the French for fult and complete liberty. Napoleon abdicated. The Se. pate, which had trembled at his nod, declared that the Em- . peror bad forfeited the throne--that the right of inheritance was abolished in his family--and that the French people and army were absolved from their oath of fidelity to the tyrant!" The end was now at hand. In April 1814, Buonaparte renounced, at Fontainbleau for himself and children, the thrones of France and Italy; and in exchange for his vast sovereignity and boundless power, he received the small island of Elba, 15 niles long and 4 broad!! This was the inevitable consequence of opposing the progress and preventing the natural termination of the first French Revolution.
The Bourbons (or as Beranger says the Barbons) now returned to France. Napoleon said, they had neither learnt nor
unlearnt any thing during their captivity. This was true literally true. The revolution, they had viewed as one great, immense, overwhelming evil. They had shut themselves
up Hartwell, and had waited with calmness and assurance, for the arival of the hour when they once more should reignThey had remained quite unconvinced of the errors of Louis : XVI-of the necessity of a revolution, and of the andvantages which France had gained, and the evils which no longer afflicted her. They still saw no evil in France being divided into hostile provinces and the population into rival classes. They still saw no evil in the Noblesse preserving its distinctions, but loosing its power. They still saw no reason why the people should claim or possess rights; indeed they did not understand what was meant by “rights of the people.”
They still saw that the royal authority ought not to be restrained and they still asked what harm was there in France being abandoned to arbitrary administrations, partial governments and privileged bodies? They still saw no reason why this state of things should have been altered. They still protested against privilege giving way to equality, and arbitrary power being replaced by the regulations of law. They still mourned over the destruction of the distinction of classes, and annihilation of provincial aristocracy; they still grieved that industry was freed from the control of corruptions and wardens-sighed that agriculture was relieved from tithes and feudal services; and wept when they reflected that property was liberated from the system of entails.
I have not libelled the Bourbons in this sketch of their prejudices or principles; and the facts of the last 16 years will demonstrate that the portrait is by no means highly charged with : coloring. The Bourbons were the self-same people in 1814, as when they left the shores of France, and sought an asylum in Great Britain. They alone, in their opinion, had been persecuted; and they alone had the right to complain. Louis the XVIII. was the most enlightened; the least prejudiced; and
the most instructed ;-but even Louis XVIII. believed in his conscience that "the end justified the means.” If there be no, other evidence of this, sufficient proof would be found in the conduct of that king with respect to the question of double dota No one knew better than Louis XVIII. what the framers of the Charter and the acceptors of the Charter and the giver of the Charter and all France and all the world fully understood, when that Chaster was given, that every man of a certain age, and paying a certain amount of taxes, was to be entitled to one vote and no more. Any little child of seven years of age, who could just spell the Charter, would have told you its meaning: but Louis XVIII. lived and died a moral, though not a religious Jesuit, in spite of his instructions and attainments.
This then, was the character of that family which in 1814, was re-conducted to the shores of France, and aided by Prussian bayonets and British bullion, was once more placed on the throne of St. Louis.
We arrive now at the question of the Charter-I mean the first Charter-the Charter given by Louis XVIII. Let us derote a few minutes to its history.
The Count d'Artois (now the ex Charles X.) was sent on a sort of John the Baptist mission by his brother, Louis XVIII. to France. When he arrived, some received him with open arms—these were the remnants of the old Royalists. Others received him with coldness these were the friends of the Republic, or the adorers of Napoleon. And the great mass of the people received him with ingenuousness and sincerity, neither amounting to affection nor yet having the character of disgust. They were willing to hear what he had to say—to listen to terms, to avoid civil war, to get rid of foreign troops and an army of occupation to see if the captives had profited by their captivity, and if they had learnt in exile the folly of attempting to govern by arbitrary power in this age of civilization. He came with the olive branch in his hand-offered a general amDesty except to regicides; said there should be no confiscation
of property; and protested that all Frenchmen should be equal before the law. This was not enough. France had learnt & unlearnt, whilst her legitimate! governors were in captivity; and though they were willing to return as the pardoning & forgiving princes, France required security for the future though she had nothing of indemnification for the past. On the 2nd of May, 1814, Louis XVIII arrived within a league and a half north of Paris, at the chateau of St. Ouen. He would have entered as absolute King, but France would not allow it. The allied sovereigns or their representatives informed him, that he could be absolute no longer; that though the Count d'Artois had signed the convention of Paris, yet that the Parisians would never consent to receive the banished Prince into the capital, unless he first promised to give a free constitution to France. The same evening therefore, he issued the Declarations of St Ouen, which consecrated the principles of the Re. presentative government; and, when he had done this, the emperor of Russia consented to the entry of the king and the roy. al family on the subsequent day. If Louis XVIII. had not made this declaration, he could never have remained one day at the palace of the Tuilleries; and when subsequently on the 2nd day of June, in fulfilment of his engagement, he gave to France a charter, he adopted the only means of securing to himself the throne which he had claimed, and of saving himself from the daggers of his disappointed and dissatisfied subjects. The duke of Ragusa has been called a traitor to this day for having signed the capitulation of Paris in 1814, and the Parisians have always declared that if they had not been sold by Marmont" they never should have replaced on the throne of France the eldest branch of the house of Bourbon. One thing is in. deed certain, that if Marmont had held out only 24 hours longer, Napoleon would have been at the gates of Paris with 50,000 men, and Paris would have risen en masse, not for the sake of the Emperor, but to avoid the return of Louis XVIII. When, however, the allies were in possession of the capital, all
resistance was useless, and the inhabitants of Paris and the members of the provisional government consented to make the best terms possible, and to be contented with a Charter! There are indeed, some who still maintain that Louis XVIII need never have given a charter; that if he had refused at St. Ouen to make the required declaration, the allies would have submitted to his resolution; would have defended him in his position as King: & thus the old French monarchy might have been re-éstablished. These opinions are, however, most erroneous, and are altogether opposed by facts. The Emperor of Russia vas no Liberal. IIe had no desire to see France governed by a Charter, or liberal institutions prevail. He would have been much better satisfied to have viewed the re-establishment of the old Monarchy, with all its bigotry and all its vices. But although Alexander was not free from prejudices, he was open to conviction, especially on those points where his own immediate interest did not blind him; and what did he say to Louis XVIII? "I cannot guarantee either your personal safety, or that of your family, unless you publish a declaration to night, at St. Ouen promising a charter to France.” When this declaration was made, Paris was filled with the troops of the enemy, and yet the Emperor Alexander understood and felt the determination and wishes of the people. Louis XVIII. submitted to this demand, and on the night of the 2nd of May, when the Emperor of Russia was informed that the declaration had been signed and published, he said, “Now then they may enter as soon as they please.” Away, then, with such idle assertions as that Louis XVIII. might have returned to France, and governed her, without giving first of all a free constitution.
The history of the charter is very short. The Abbe Montesquieu was charged to prepare it. The "Corps Legislatif" appeared, and the Chambers of the Peers and Deputies subsequently confirmed it. The King swore to it.
Peers, Deputies, public functionaries, and even various classes among the people, took an oath to maintain it, and the charter appeared