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List Of Contents | Contents of The Duchess Of Berry-Charles X
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X. seems to lean to the former. "Apparently," he says, with his
habitual bonhomie, "my bad ear has done me a friendly service, and
I am glad of it, for I protest I heard no insults." Plainly it
costs the sovereign pain to dismiss the National Guard. It gave
him so brilliant a welcome in 1814. He was its generalissimo under
the reign of Louis XVIII. He has liked to wear its uniform, the
blue coat with broad fringes of silver that becomes him so well.
But the ministers, except the Duke of Doudeauville and M. de
Chabrol, pronounce strongly in favor of disbandment. Their idea
prevails. After the concert Charles X. signs the decree, which
appears in the Moniteur on the morrow, and is enforced without
resistance. "The King can do anything!" cries the Duke de Riviere,
with enthusiasm; and May 6th M. de Villele addresses to the Prince
de Polignac, then ambassador at London, a letter in which he says:
"The dissolution of the National Guard has been a complete
success; the bad have been confounded by it, the good encouraged.
Paris has never been more calm than since this act of severity,
justice, and vigor." The monarchy thinks itself saved; it is lost.





XXI

THE FIRST DISQUIETUDE


There were still great illusions among those about Charles X., and
the Duchess of Berry had not for a single instant an idea that the
rights of her son could be compromised. They persuaded themselves
that the Opposition would remain dynastic and that the severest
crises would end only in a change of ministry. Nevertheless, even
at the court, the more thoughtful began to be anxious, and
perceived many dark points on the horizon. Certain royalists,
enlightened by experience of the Emigration and Exile, had a
presentiment that the Restoration would be for them only a halt in
the long way of catastrophes and sorrow. They mourned the optimist
tranquillity in which some of the courtiers succeeded in lulling
the King. There were courageous and faithful servitors who, at the
risk of displeasing their master and losing his good graces, did
not recoil from the sad obligation of telling him the whole truth.
From the beginning of his reign, Charles X. heard useful warnings,
and later he blamed himself for not having listened better to
them. This justice, however, must be done him, that if he had not
the wisdom to profit by such counsels, he never was offended at
the men of heart who dared to give them to him.

In this number was the Viscount Sosthenes de La Rochefoucauld, son
of the Duke of Doudeauville, son-in-law of Mathieu de Montmorency,
charged with the department of the fine arts, at the ministry of
the King's household. In publishing the reports addressed by him
to Charles X. from his accession to the Revolution of 1830, he
writes:--

"These are respectful and tender warnings of which too little
account was taken, and which might have saved the King and France.
I put them down here with the gloomy predictions contained in
them, which have been only too completely realized. They are not
prophecies after the event. We saw in advance the misfortunes of
the King, the fall of the monarchy, the ruin of legitimacy. Each
page, then each line, and soon every word of this part of my
Memoirs will be a cry of alarm: 'God save the King!' Alas! He has
not saved him. One is always wrong if one cannot get a hearing and
make one's self believed. It is then, with no pride in my
previsions, but with bitter regret, that I could not get them
accepted, that I recall this long monologue addressed to Charles
X."

From the beginning of the reign, as he foresaw that one day the
Chamber would sign the Address of the 221, and that M. Laffitte
would be the banker of the revolution of July, the Viscount wrote
to the sovereign in December, 1824:--

"The King has two things to combat for the glory and strength of
his rule, the encroachments of the Chamber of Deputies, and the
power of money in Europe. Four bankers could to-day decide war, if
such was their pleasure. Sovereigns cannot seek too earnestly to
free themselves from the sceptre which is rising above their own.
The triumph of moneyed men will blight the character and the
morals of France."

M. de La Rochefoucauld added (report of January 31, 1825) this
prediction, which shows to what length his frankness went in his
loyal explanations with his King:--

"We are between two rocks, equally dangerous: revolution with the
Duke of Orleans, and ultraism with the good Polignac. The by-word
now is: 'These princes will end like the Stuarts.' Madame de--,
who is agitating against the laws now under discussion, has said:
'Yes, it's the second throne of the Stuarts.' The Left compare the
Archbishop of Rheims to Father Peters, the restless and ambitious
confessor of King James. It is not easy for me to write thus to
the King, and I have assumed a hard task in promising myself to
conceal nothing from him. Sometimes my heart is oppressed and my
hand stops; but I question my conscience, which seems troubled,
and the indispensable necessity of telling all to the King, that
he may judge in his wisdom, decides me to go on."

How many sagacious warnings given by the brave courtier, or,
better, by the faithful friend, during the year 1825, the year of
the coronation: "The good Madame de M-- of the Sacred Heart was
saying the other day: 'We had a King with no limbs, and with a
head; now we have limbs and no head.' It is unheard of, the
trouble taken in certain circles to make out that the King has no
will. The future must give to all a complete refutation; the
future must teach them that the King knows how to distinguish
those that betray from those that serve him." (Report of March 1,
1825). "Does the King wish to run the chances of a complete
overturning by throwing himself into the hands of the ultras? That
would be to fall again under the blows of the Revolution, which
counts on these to push the monarchy into the abyss always held
open at its side."

From 1825, criticism of the King began. He was accused of giving
himself up too much to the pleasures of the chase. The time was
approaching when his enemies would say of him--a cruel play on
words: "He's good for nothing but to hunt," and would translate
the four letters over the doors of houses M. A. C. L. (Maison
Assuree Contre l'Incendie) by this phrase: Mes Amis, Chassons-le.

The 17th of June, 1825, M. de La Rochefoucauld wrote:--

"I must tell all to the King. I have prevented the giving of a
play at the Odeon called Robin des Bois (Robin Hood), because it
is a nickname criminally given by the people to him whom they
accuse of hunting too often, an accusation very unjust in the eyes
of those who know that never did a prince work more than he to
whom allusion is made. When the King takes this distraction so
necessary to him, why hasten to make it known to the public? All
news comes from the Chateau, and the Constitutionnel and the
Quotidienne are always the best informed."

He returned to the same subject October 6:--

"I am in despair at seeing the journals recounting hunt after
hunt. I know the effect that produces. I wanted to get at the
source of these mischievous reports, and M-- communicated to me
confidentially that these reports came to him from the court, and
at such length that he always cut them down three-fourths. In this
case, it is for the King to give orders."

Let us put beside this report the following passage from the
Memoirs of the Duke of Doudeauville:--

"I must justify Charles X. in this passion for the chase, so
bitterly laid up against him in that time when malice and bad
faith seized on everything that could injure him. Five whole days
every week he remained in his apartment, busy with affairs of
state, working with the ministers, examining by himself their
different reports with a sensitive heart, much soul, and more
intellect than had been believed; he had much reason and a very
sound judgment. We were often astonished at it in the Council,
over which he presided, and which he prolonged two, three, four,
and five hours, without permitting himself the least distraction
or showing any sign of weariness. Often, in the most difficult
discussions, he would open up an opinion that no one had
conceived, and which, full of sagacity, smoothed every difficulty.

"Twice a week, and often only once, when the weather permitted, he
went hunting, perhaps gunning, perhaps coursing. It will be
conceded that it was a necessary exercise after such assiduous
toil and occupations so sedentary.

"I certify that this was the extent of the hunting of which
calumny, to ruin him, made a crime. Every time he went hunting,
the Opposition journals did not fail to announce it, which
persuaded nearly all France that he passed all his time in the
distractions of this amusement."

The tide of detraction of the sovereign steadily rose. The
Viscount de La Rochefoucauld perceived it clearly. He wrote to the
King, 13th October, 1825:--

"The interior of France, as regards commerce, agriculture,
industry, wealth, offers a most striking spectacle. Let Charles
X., as King and father, rejoice in his work; but let him reflect
that the lightest sleep would be followed by a terrible
awakening."

The 12th of January, 1826, when his father-in-law, the Duke
Mathieu de Montmorency, had just been named governor to the Duke
of Bordeaux, M. de La Rochefoucauld again wrote to the King:--

"Shall I thank the King for the nomination of M. de Montmorency?
Six months ago, it would have been useful. To-day, it is merely
good. But alas, how far is that interesting Prince from the crown!
and what shocks and revolutions he must traverse first. If ever--
God watch over France; the Orleans are making frightful progress."

The signs of the coming storm accumulated in the most alarming
manner. Read this other report of the Viscount de La Rochefoucauld
(August 8, 1826):--

"Indifference to religion, hatred of the priests, were the
symptoms of the Revolution. God grant that the same things do not
bring the same results. The unfortunate priests no longer dare to

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