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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 10


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The provisional government of France lost no time in framing a new constitution, in which the limited monarchy, and the upper aristocratic house of England, were imitated. They declared Louis XVIII., the brother of the last king, Louis XVI., the rightful occupant of the throne, and his brothers and the other members of the house of Bourbon, after him in due succession. Talleyrand was the first to put his signature to this document; and the abbé Sieyes, though he did not sign it, declared his adhesion to the abdication of Buonaparte. On the 11th of April, the same day that Napoleon signed his abdication, the brother of Louis, the count d'Artois, arrived, and the next day was received by the new government in a grand procession into Paris. Talleyrand bade him welcome in an address, and the prince replied, "Nothing is changed in France; there is only one Frenchman more come amongst you." There was a show of much enthusiasm on the part of the people, but this was more show than reality; the Bourbonist party was the only one sincerely rejoiced at the restoration; and when it was seen that a troop of Cossacks closed the prince's procession, the people gave unequivocal signs of disapprobation. The duke of Augouleme had already entered the city of Bourdeaux amid much acclamation, for the Bourbonist interest was strong in the south, and ho now came on to Paris. The new king, who had been living, since the peace of Tilsit, at Hartwell, in Buckinghamshire, a seat of the marquis of Buckingham assigned by the British government for his residence, now went over. Louis was a quiet, good-natured man, fond of books, and capable of saying witty things, and was much better fitted for a country gentleman than for a throne. He was conducted into London by the prince regent, and by crowds of applauding people. The prince regent also accompanied him to Dover, where, on the 24th of April, he embarked on board a vessel commanded by the duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV. He was accompanied by the duchess of Augouleme, the prince of Condé, and his son, the duke of Bourbon. On landing at Calais, he embraced the duchess of Augouleme, saying, " I hold again the crown of my ancestors; if it were of roses, I would place it upon your head; as it is of thorns, it is for me to wear it." The authorities received him with much seeming joy, and even the people seemed to partake it. A Doric column was soon after erected at Calais in commemoration of the event, and the form of the king's foot was cut on the stone of the pier on which he was said first to have stepped, and a brass plate fitted into it recorded the fact. Bat the wits of Calais were not long before they were found ridiculing this memento, and pretending to wonder how a king of France could have so large a foot.

On the 2nd of May, two days only before Buonaparte entered his little capital of Elba, Louis made his public entry into Paris, amid quite a gay and joyous-looking crowd; for the Parisians are always ready for a parade and a sensation; and none are said to have worn gloomy looks on the occasion except the imperial guard, now, as they deemed themselves, degraded into the royal guard - from the service of the most brilliant of conquerors to that of the most pacific and unsoldierlike of monarchs, who was too unwieldy even to mount a horse. For a little time ail looked agreeable enough; but there were too many hostile interests at work for it to remain long so. In the new constitution, by which the senate had acknowledged Louis, they had declared him recalled on the condition that he accepted the constitution framed for him; and at the same time they declared the senate hereditary, and possessed of the rank, honours, and emoluments which Buonaparte had conferred on the members. Louis refused to acknowledge the right of the senate to dictate a constitution to him. He assumed the throne as by his own proper hereditary descent; and he then gave of his free will a free constitution. This was the first cause of difference between the king and the people. The royalists condemned the new constitution as making too much concession, and the republicans resented his giving a charter of freedom, because it made them the slaves of his will. The royalists soon began to monopolise offices and honours, and to clamour for the recovery of their estates, now in the hands of the people, and these were naturally jealous of their prevailing on the king and his family to favour such reclamations. The clergy, who, like the noblesse, had been stripped of their property, and had now to subsist on annuities of five hundred livres, or about twenty - six pounds sixteen shillings and eightpence a-year, looked with resentment on those who were in possession of the spoil; and the well-known disposition of the king and his family to restore the status and the substance of the catholic church made those who had this property, and those - the greater part of the nation - who had no religion whatever, readily believe that ere long they would attempt to recall what the revolution had distributed. These suspicions were greatly augmented by the folly and bigotry of the clergy. They refused to inter with the rites of the church a mademoiselle Raucour, simply because she was an actress. Great tumults arose on the occasion, and the government was compelled to interfere, and insure the burial in due form. The more regular observance of the Sabbath was treated as bringing back the ancient superstitions; and the taking up the remains of Louis XYI. and Marie Antoinette and conveying them to the royal place of sepulture in the abbey of St. Denis was regarded as a direct censure of the revolution. It was quite natural that Louis XVIII. should do this, and equally so that he should show some favour to the surviving Chiefs of La Vendée; but these things had the worst effect on the public mind, as tending to inspire fears of vengeance for the past, or of restoration of ail that the past had thrown down. Under these circumstances, the royalists were discontented, because they thought Louis did too little for them, and the rest of the community because he did too much. The jacobins, who had been suppressed, but not exterminated, by Buonaparte, now again raised their heads, under so mild and easy a monarch, with ail their old audacity. They soon, however, despaired of reviving the republic, and turned to the son of their old partisan, Philip Egalité, the duke of Orleans, and solicited him to become their leader, promising to make him king. But the present duke - afterwards king Louis Philippe - was too honourable a man for their purpose; he placed the invitation given him in the hands of Louis, and the jacobins, then enraged, were determined to bring back Napoleon rather than tolerate the much easier yoke of the Bourbons. Carnot and Fouché soon offered themselves as their instruments. Carnot, who had been one of the fore- most men of the reign of terror, had refused to ac- knowledge the rule of Buonaparte, who suppressed the revolution, for a long time, but, so late as the present year, he had given in his adhesion, and was appointed engineer for carrying on the fortifications of Antwerp. He had now the insolence to address a memorial to Louis XVIII., which, under the form of an apology for the jacobins during the revolution, was in truth a direct attack on the royalists, describing them as a contemptible and small body, who had allowed Louis XVI. to be destroyed by their cowardice, and now had brought back the king by the hands of Englishmen and Cossacks to endeavour to undo all that had been done for the people. He represented kings as naturally prone to despotism, and priests and nobles as inciting them to slaughter and rapine. The pretence was to lead the monarch to rely only on the people; the object was to exasperate the people against kings, nobles, and the church.

Carnot pretended that this memorial had been published during his absence, and without his knowledge, but he did not deny the composition; and it was most industriously circulated throughout Paris from little carts, to avoid the penalties which would have fallen on the booksellers had they issued it. As for Fouché, he endeavoured to persuade Louis to declare himself attached to the revolution - to assume the tricolor flag and cockade. For Louis to have ruled according to the more liberal ideas introduced by the revolution would have been wise, without declaring himself formally the disciple of opinions which had sent so many of his family to the guillotine; but to have followed the invidious advice of Fouché, would have let loose at once that terrible race of jacobins which had never ceased to massacre all other parties and then their own so long as they had the power. The cannon of Buonaparte alone had arrested their career; the advice of Fouché would have recalled it in all its horrors. Not prevailing on Louis to do so foolish an act, he wrote to Napoleon, advising him to get away to America, or it would not be long before the Bourbons, in spite of the treaty, would seize and put him to death; and then Fouché entered heart and soul into the plots of the jacobins for the restoration of Napoleon.

The army was prompt to listen to these suggestions for the return of their old commander, and the officers were stimulated by the arguments that they would be by degrees removed from their commands for royalists. The court fostered this idea and this discontent by allowing the old nobility to take precedence of the new marshals and princes and their wives. These ladies instantly resented the slights put upon them; and Hortense Beauharnais - the wife of Louis Buonaparte, but living separate from him in Paris, under the name of the duchess of St. Leu - the duchess of Bassano, and the duchess of Montebello, the wife of Maret, and the widow of marshal Lannes, became enthusiastic agitators for the restoration of Napoleon. Their agents were everywhere, and working with the jacobin clubs, which were again secretly established ail over France; they sent out emissaries, well paid, to alarm the new proprietors everywhere with the assurances that the royalists were intending to seize again all the confiscated lands, and that there was no security but in the return of Napoleon. In the Faubourg St. Antoine Richard le Noir, a cotton-manufacturer, who employed three thousand workmen, began to set himself up for a new Santerre. His daughter was married to general Lefebvre, and he was, therefore, a determined advocate of Napoleon. These conspirators adopted the violet as their badge, and drank the health of Buonaparte under the name of corporal Violet, or Jean d'Epré; and so dense were the royalists, that many of them pledged "corporal Violet" without suspecting who it meant. By the arts of the jacobins, tumults became again not infrequent, and concourses of people surrounded the Tuileries crying for bread, and recalling the horrible recollections of the revolution. The police, either infected themselves, or partaking the careless security of the government, took little pains to prevent or to suppress these riots, or bring the ringleaders to punishment; and so completely had the ministers again entrenched themselves in their old official forms, that those who would have enlightened them could not approach them; and it is said that after the return of Buonaparte, letters were found in the bureaus of some of these ministers, giving full details of the plans and proceedings for his return, which had never been opened.

Whilst these elements of a new convulsion were in active operation, the allies had settled to some extent the affairs of Europe, and had returned home. On the 30th of May a treaty had been signed at Paris, between England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, with France. The boundaries of France were settled as they existed in 1792; it was decreed that Holland and Belgium should be united, to form a strong barrier against France; the independence of Switzerland was restored; the north of Italy was again made over to Austria, including Venice, but not including Sardinia, which was enlarged by the addition of Genoa, out of which lord William Bentinck, with an English army, had driven the French. Murat had assisted the Austrians to conquer Eugene Beauharnais, and hoped to be allowed to retain Naples, yet having many fears of his new allies, the Austrians, and of the allies generally. The pope was again in peaceful possession of his states; the arms and the money of England had triumphed over Buonaparte, and had restored the monarchs of Europe to their thrones; but it was not to be denied that in restoring them they had restored so many detestable despotisms. Not one of these monarchs, whose subjects had shed their blood and laid down their lives by hundreds of thousands to replace them in their power, had in return given these subjects a recompense by more liberal governments. The German kings and princes had openly promised such constitutions to induce them to rise and expel Buonaparte; and, this accomplished, they shamefully broke their word. As lord Byron well observed, we had put down one tyrant only to establish ten. In Spain, where we had made such stupendous exertions to restore Ferdinand, that monarch entered about the end of March; and his arrival was a signal for ail the old royalists and priests to gather round him, and to insist on the annihilation of the constitution made by the cortes. He went to Gerona, where he was joined by general Elio and forty thousand men. Thence he marched to Saragossa and Valencia. At that city Te Deum was sung for his restoration, and, surrounded by soldiers and priests, he declared that the cortes had never been legally convoked; that they had deprived him of the sovereignty, and the nobles and clergy of their status; and that he would not swear to the constitution which they had prepared. On the 12th of May he entered his capital, amid the most frantic joy of the ignorant populace, and proceeded at once to seize all liberal members of the cortes, and throw them into prison. Lord Wellington, who hastened to Madrid, there, with his brother, Sir Henry Wellesley, the British ambassador, and general Whittingham, urged on Ferdinand to establish a liberal constitution, and govern on liberal principles; but in vain. It was clear that there was a time of terrible and bloody strife before Spain betwixt the old tyrannies and superstitions and the new ideas, and his lordship, writing to lord Castlereagh, said - " The fact is, that there are no public men in this country who are acquainted with the interests or wishes of the country: and they are so slow that it is impossible to do anything with them." Europe, though relieved, for a brief period, from the bloody scourge of Buonaparte, was not relieved from selfish tyranny. The strife had been for the restitution of thrones, not of liberties.

In balancing accounts at the congress at Paris, there was a resignation on the part of England of the colonies which she had won with so much cost of money and men. Our statesmen never thought of placing some of the enormous sums we had bestowed on the powers we helped against the islands we had conquered. We had dearly purchased them. But Great Britain gave back to France ail the colonies possessed by her in 1792, except Tobago, St. Lucia, and the Isle of France. Still more absurdly, we returned Pondicherry, in the East Indies, as a focus for fresh annoyances there from the French, whom we had expelled at such cost for their meddling and exciting the natives against us. We restored to the French, under certain conditions, the right of fishing on the bank of Newfoundland, as they had enjoyed it in 1783; conditions which they boldly violated, and which the British ministry did not venture to insist on being observed. We gave back also to Spain several islands and colonies; and the same to Holland - namely, Demerara, Essequibo, Berbice, the immense island of Java, and the rich one of Sumatra, retaining only the Cape of Good Hope and the Settlements in Ceylon.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 10

French forces near Kaya
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Alicante
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Battle of Tarragona.
Battle of Tarragona. >>>>
Dividing the spoils
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English forces in France
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Lord Castlereagh
Lord Castlereagh >>>>
Napoleon at Fontainebleau
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Oak of Heney IV
Oak of Heney IV >>>>
Marshal Bulow
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Escurial
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Banquet given to the Emperor of Russia
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