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Louis Philippe page 3


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A violent knocking was now heard at another door, which was burst open, and fierce men rushed in, forcing their way to the front seats, and pointing their muskets at the deputies. The Duchess of Orleans, who, during those scenes of violence, sat, in calm and dignified composure, between her two children, now rose and left the Chamber, by a door on the left hand, followed by the two Dukes and the President. The insurgents being now in complete possession of the Chamber, M. Ledru Rollin proceeded to complete the triumph of democracy. He announced the names of the Provisional Government, Dupont, Arago, Lamartine, Ledru Rollin, Gamier Pages, Marie, and Crémieux. But the uproar was so great that the names could not be heard. They were, therefore, written on a sheet of paper, which was placed upon the end of a musket, and so carried about the Chamber. The multitude then rushed to the Hôtel de Ville, crying " Vive la République!" "The populace, like the waves of a surging sea, filled the hall, and with terrific cries, demanded the proclamation of a republic. " The Republic was accordingly proclaimed.

M. de Lamartine, an eye-witness, thus sketches the scene: - "A respectful silence immediately ensued. The deputies, in deep anxiety, crowded round the august Princess. The strangers in the galleries leaned over, in hopes of catching a word that fell from her lips. She herself was dressed in mourning; her veil, half raised, partly disclosed a countenance the emotion and melancholy of which enhanced the charms of youth and beauty. Her pale cheeks were marked by the tears of the widow - the anxieties of the mother. No man could look on her countenance without being moved. Every feeling of resentment against the monarchy faded away before the spectacle. The blue eyes of the Princess wandered over the hall, as if to implore aid, and were a moment dazzled. Her slight and fragile form inclined before the applause with which she was greeted. A slight blush, the mark of the revival of hope in her bosom, tinged her cheeks; the smile of gratitude was already on her lips. She felt she was surrounded by friends. In her right hand she held the young King, in her left the Duke de Chartres - children to whom their own catastrophe was a spectacle. They were both dressed in a short black vestment. A white little collar was turned down the neck of each on his dark dress - living portraits of Vandyke - as if they had stepped out of the canvas of the children of Charles I."

One account states that in the midst of the confusion, some of the most audacious among the mob, ascending the benches, levelled their muskets at the head of the Princess. Her escape was indeed something miraculous, considering the characters by whom she was surrounded. De Lamartine describes them as partly composed of galley slaves, who accepted a revolution as the condition of the disorder it was to perpetuate, the blood it was to shed, the terror it was to inspire; also a part of "that ragged scum of the population of great cities which public commotion causes to rise to the surface, before it falls back into the common sewers from whence it had arisen - -men who floated between the fumes of intoxication and the thirst for blood; who sniffed carnage while issuing from the fumes of debauchery; who never ceased to besiege the ears of the people till they got a victim thrown to them to devour. They were the scourings of the galleys and the dungeons." The Duchess, as she retired from the Chamber of Deputies, was with difficulty rescued from the pressure of the mob, till, being closely veiled, she ceased -to be known as she mingled with the crowd of fugitives. In the confusion she was separated from the Duke de Nemours and her two sons, one of whom was seized by a ruffian, who appeared about to strangle him, when he was rescued by a National Guard, and carried to the Princess, who burst into tears as she embraced him. The other son had been thrown down on the stairs of the Chamber, and trampled under foot. He, too, was found, and brought to his mother, almost fainting. The Duke de Nemours, haying changed his dress, soon joined the Duchess, in a house where she had taken refuge. When night fell, the Royal party left the house on foot, disguised, and haying met a carriage in the Champs Elysées, they fortunately escaped from the city.

The Duchess- of Orleans withdrew into Germany, where she remained during the year, in a state of great seclusion. During the orgies of the insurgents, after they got possession of the Tuileries, they evinced, in a remarkable manner, their respect for her character. In the King's private rooms, everything was recklessly destroyed; his papers were tossed into the air, and descended in showers, like a snow-storm; rough and ill-looking fellows sat down and consumed the breakfast that had been prepared for the Royal family; several men threw themselves on a state bed, where they lay smoking their pipes, while others enjoyed the cigars of the Princes. Notwithstanding the efforts of some of the National Guard, much valuable property was purloined, such as bank notes, jewels, and other articles of value. Some of those fellows were shot down in the act of plundering; but it was impossible to prevent altogether the wrath of the populace from being wreaked in the work of destruction. Furniture, curtains, dresses, were seen flying out from every broken window, and heaped upon bonfires, made of the royal carriages, which filled the great court with smoke and flame, casting a lurid glare on the surrounding windows. Torn dresses, strips of curtains, ladies' caps, loaves of bread, and legs of mutton were brandished aloft upon the points of the bayonets. Drunken men, their pockets filled with bottles of wine, had drawn silk garments over their greasy clothes; and boys in blouses, blackened by powder and smoke, with pistols in their girdles, and sabres in their hands, bestrode the lions at the entrance to the palace. " The rattling of the breaking windows, the crash of the furniture hurled out of them, were all overwhelmed by the shouting, and the frantic singing of the Marseillaise." In the state apartments, the confusion was wilder, if possible. The throne was immediately carried away; the rare and beautiful curtains were torn down; the lustres and candelabra were smashed; the busts broken, and precious pictures riddled with balls; everywhere were to be seen thronging, yelling, half-intoxicated crowds. In the theatre, all was torn and broken.

Mr. T. P. Simpson, in his "Pictures from Revolutionary Paris," an eye-witness of those scenes, thus described the contrast presented in the chambers of the Duchess of Orleans on the first floor: -

" The crowd in those royal rooms was great as everywhere; but it gazed only with curiosity, and touched nothing. In the salon was a blazing fire; on the table were several books, among which were the "Consulat " of Thiers, and the " Algérie " of Alexandre Dumas, the latter turned down upon the table cloth, as the unfortunate Duchess had probably laid it at the moment of her disturbance. On the floor and on the sofa were rows of little card-paper soldiers on wooden stands, set out as if for battle, with which her two boys had probably been playing, when taken from their sports to quit their home, and return to it no more. Touching sight î A boy took up one of the toys, but an armed artisan, one of the rough, honest sort, covered with the smoke of battle, commanded him to lay it down again. 'It is but a toy,' expostulated the little fellow. ' But, if you take a toy, others would think that they might take a treasure,' was the angry rejoinder of the self-installed guard. In the bedroom of the poor Duchess were the bust of her ill-fated husband, his epaulettes, and his whip, under a glass case. The crowd walked round these objects, curiously, but with respect. Some women shed tears. Here was thrown a shawl in the dressing-room; there a silk dress - signs of hasty and agitated departure. Everywhere stood small objects of value and taste; but here no one touched them. What sad tokens were they of the character and domestic life of one born to high destinies, and now a fugitive!"

The King and Queen had escaped through the garden of the Tuileries, and hastened to the gate which opens upon the Place de la Concorde. The royal carriages, which were expected to be waiting there, had been seized, and burned by the people on the Place du Carrousel. The situation was one of extreme peril. Behind, the triumphant insurgents were sacking the palace; in front, the Place de la Concorde was filled with armed men exulting in their victory, excited, raging, uncontrolled. There stood the fallen King with his Queen, and a suite consisting of a dozen personages, all helpless, and at the mercy of the mob. The cry of "To the lamppost!" might have been uttered at any moment; but a feeling of commiseration for the aged, discrowned, trembling monarch ran through the crowd, and the cry raised was, " Let him go! let him escape!" Two small one-horse carriages and a cab at length arrived. In these the royal party were closely packed. In the first were the King and Queen, and two young children, the latter with their faces close to the windows, looking at the crowd with the utmost curiosity. The coachmen whipped their horses violently, and they set off at full gallop, taking the waterside to St. Cloud; but not feeling safe there, General Dumas procured two public carriages, in which the royal fugitives were rapidly conveyed to Versailles, where they put up in the Trianon. In his hurry and fright in quitting the Tuileries, Louis Philippe had left in his cabinet 350,000 francs in bank notes, and he was now without ready money; while the rest of the family had but a few gold pieces among them. General Dumas went to Versailles, and borrowed 1,200 francs from a friend. Two carriages were then hired, in which the King and Queen, passing under the name of M. and Madame Le Brun, proceeded towards the Chateau de Dreux, the burial-place of the house of Orleans, where the ex-Queen wished to weep and pray over the tomb of her eldest son, the popular Duke of Orleans, who had been killed by a fall from his carriage, in the thirty-second year of his age, and who, had he lived, would probably have been permitted to ascend the throne which his father had so unworthily occupied. Having passed there the night of the 24th, the King learned on the following day that the Republic had been proclaimed, and still apprehending that his life was in danger, he resolved to gain the coast of England as soon as possible; the Duke de Montpensier, the Duchess de Nemours, and her two sons proceeding in the direction of Granville.

The King and Queen, attended by General Dumas and M. de Rumigny, took the road to Evreux, and stopped, towards nightfall, at the gates of a small château, the property of one of the King's agents, who, with his family, was absent at that moment. The unknown visitors were, however, admitted, and the owner soon after returned, and by his aid the fugitives escaped to Honfleur, travelling twenty-four leagues without changing horses or taking any repose. It was a wretched journey; the weather was bitterly cold; a north-west wind blew with uncommon violence, and the travellers, it may well be supposed, suffered much in body and mind. They arrived at Honfleur at eight o'clock, on the 26th of February, and after many hair-breadth escapes and fruitless efforts to sail from Trouville, they embarked on the 22nd of March, at Honfleur, for Havre, among a crowd of ordinary passengers, with a passport made out in the name of William Smith. There he was received by the English Consul. He embarked in the " Express," which arrived at Newhaven on th-e 3rd of March. He wore a rough pea-jacket, borrowed from the captain, and grey trousers; he had on his head a close blue cloth cap, and round his neck a common red and white comforter; his beard was apparently about a week's growth. The Queen was muffled in a large plaid cloak, her features carefully concealed under a thick veil. The royal party reached Claremont, and remained there, under the protection of Queen Victoria, whom he had not long since visited in regal pomp, and whom he had welcomed with parental affection at the Chateau d'Eu. Such are the vicissitudes of human life!

The Extraordinary Commissioner of the Lower Seine at Rouen, adopting the Republican style, officially announced to the "Citizen Minister" that the "ex- King" Louis Philippe, after remaining concealed during several days in the environs of Trouville, crossed at high water from Honfleur to Havre, and there embarked for England in the steamer "Express; " that the preparations for his departure were carefully kept secret, and the captains of the steamers employed on the occasion were ignorant of the mission on which they were engaged.

But the alarm of the poor fugitive was altogether unfounded. At the moment when he was assuming a false name, getting out a false passport, and trying to save his life by all sorts of disguises, the Provisional Government had given directions that he should not be molested, and that if captured, he should be conducted in safety to the frontier. They were happy to get rid of him as quietly as possible. Never was throne more justly forfeited. Never did monarch fall into such universal contempt. He had no friend, and he had so degraded royalty, that there was no man in all France so loyal as to raise his voice in his favour. He reigned solely for the advantage of himself and his family, for which he had unscrupulously sacrificed the honour of his country. He pursued his course of family aggrandisement in a vulgar, tricky, and huckstering spirit. His personal example was demoralising in the extreme. It made public men sordid, insincere, and dishonest. His intermeddling with his ministers in everything destroyed their sense of constitutional responsibility, and his overweening conceit of his own administrative ability was joined to a spirit of obstinacy, which made him altogether unmanageable. But though obstinate, he was not firm. On the contrary, he was restless and undecided, quailing before difficulties, and suddenly yielding up positions which he had long held against the advice of his ministers. When remonstrated with by them, he was accustomed to say, " Where is the experience comparable to mine? Who has witnessed more startling and strange events, or come into contact with a greater number of men? " He occupied his time at Claremont in writing his own life, and talking garrulously to the Frenchmen by whom he was visited. To the last, he never for a moment admitted that he was wrong in his policy. The world, he declared, failed to comprehend his character - his candour and magnanimity, for which kings and people were equally ungrateful. He died at Claremont on the 26th of August, 1850, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

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