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Title: The Memoirs of François René Vicomte de Chateaubriand sometime Ambassador to England. volume 5 (of 6)

Author: vicomte de François-René Chateaubriand

Translator: Alexander Teixeira de Mattos

Release date: July 8, 2017 [eBook #55070]

Language: English

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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MEMOIRS OF FRANÇOIS RENÉ VICOMTE DE CHATEAUBRIAND SOMETIME AMBASSADOR TO ENGLAND. VOLUME 5 (OF 6) ***

THE MEMOIRS OF FRANÇOIS RENÉ

VICOMTE DE CHATEAUBRIAND

SOMETIME AMBASSADOR TO ENGLAND

BEING A TRANSLATION BY ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS
OF THE MÉMOIRES D'OUTRE-TOMBE WITH ILLUSTRATIONS
FROM CONTEMPORARY SOURCES. In 6 Volumes. Vol. V

"NOTRE SANG A TEINT
LA BANNIÈRE DE FRANCE"

LONDON: PUBLISHED BY FREEMANTLE AND CO. AT 217 PICCADILLY MDCCCCII

CONTENTS

VOLUME V

BOOK XIII 1-78

The Roman Embassy continued—Letter to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Conclaves—Dispatches to M. le Comte Portalis—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letter to Madame Récamier—Letter to the Marchese Capponi—Letters to Madame Récamier—Letter to M. le Duc de Blacas—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letter to Monseigneur le Cardinal de Clermont-Tonnerre—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatches to M. le Comte Portalis—Fête at the Villa Medici for the Grand-duchess Helen—My relations and correspondence with the Bonaparte Family—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Monte Cavallo—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letter to Madame Récamier—Presumption—The French in Rome—Walks—My nephew Christian de Chateaubriand—Letter to Madame Récamier—I return to Paris—My plans—The King and his disposition—M. Portalis—M. de Martignac—I leave for Rome—The Pyrenees—Adventures—The Polignac Ministry—My consternation—I come back to Paris—Interview with M. de Polignac—I resign my Roman Embassy

BOOK XIV 79-124

Sycophancy of the newspapers—M. de Polignac's first colleagues—The Algerian Expedition—Opening of the Session of 1830—The Address—The Chamber is dissolved—New Chamber—I leave for Dieppe—The Ordinances of the 25th of July—I return to Paris—Reflexions on the journey—Letter to Madame Récamier—The Revolution of July—M. Baude, M. de Choiseul, M. de Sémonville, M. de Vitrolles, M. Laffitte, and M. Thiers—I write to the King at Saint-Cloud—His verbal answer—Aristocratic corps—Pillage of the house of the missionaries in the Rue d'Enfer—The Chamber of Deputies—M. de Mortemart—A walk through Paris—General Dubourg—Funeral ceremony—Under the colonnade of the Louvre—The young men carry me back to the House of Peers—Meeting of the Peers

BOOK XV 125-183

The Republicans—The Orleanist—M. Thiers is sent to Neuilly—Convocation of peers at the Grand Refendary's—The letter reaches me too late—Saint-Cloud—Scene between M. le Dauphin and the Maréchal de Raguse—Neuilly—M. le Duc d'Orléans—The Raincy—The Prince comes to Paris—A deputation from the Elective Chamber offers M. le Duc d'Orléans the Lieutenant-generalship of the Kingdom—He accepts—Efforts of the Republicans—M. le Duc d'Orléans goes to the Hôtel de Ville—The Republicans at the Palais-Royal—The King leaves Saint-Cloud—Madame la Dauphine arrives at Trianon—The Diplomatic Body—Rambouillet—3 August: opening of the Session—Letter from Charles X. to M. le Duc d'Orléans—The mob sets out for Rambouillet—Flight of the King—Reflections—The Palais-Royal—Conversations—Last political temptation—M. de Sainte-Aulaire—Last gasp of the Republican Party—The day's work of the 7th of August—Sitting of the House of Peers—My speech—I leave the Palace of the Luxembourg, never to return—My resignations—Charles X. takes ship at Cherbourg-What the Revolution of July will be—Close of my political career

PART THE FOURTH

1830-1841

BOOK I 187-248

Introduction—Trial of the ministers-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois—Pillage of the Archbishop's Palace—My pamphlet on the Restauration et la Monarchie électiveÉtudes historiques—Letters to Madame Récamier—Geneva—Lord Byron—Ferney and Voltaire—Useless journey to Paris—M. Armand Carrel—M. de Béranger—The Baude and Briqueville proposition for the banishment of the Elder Branch of the Bourbons—Letter to the author of the Némésis—Conspiracy of the Rue des Prouvaires—Letter to Madame la Duchesse de Berry—Epidemics—The cholera—Madame La Duchesse de Berry's 12,000 francs—General Lamarque's funeral—Madame La Duchesse de Berry lands in Provence and arrives in the Vendée

BOOK II 249-312

My arrest—I am transferred from my thieves' cell to Mademoiselle Gisquet's dressing-room—Achille de Harlay—The examining magistrate, M. Desmortiers—My life at M. Gisquet's—I am set at liberty—Letter to M. the Minister of Justice and his reply—I receive an offer of my peer's pension from Charles X.—My reply—Note from Madame la Duchesse de Berry—Letter to Béranger—I leave Paris—Diary from Paris to Lugano—M. Augustin Thierry—The road over the Saint-Gotthard—The Valley of Schöllenen—The Devil's Bridge—The Saint-Gotthard—Description of Lugano—The mountains—Excursions round about Lucerne—Clara Wendel—The peasants' prayer—M. Alexandre Dumas—Madame de Colbert—Letter to M. de Béranger—Zurich—Constance—Madame Récamier—Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu—Madame de Saint-Leu after reading M. de Chateaubriand's last letter—After reading a note signed "Hortense"—Arenenberg—I return to Geneva—Coppet—The tomb of Madame de Staël—A walk—Letter to Prince Louis Napoleon—Letters to the Minister of Justice, to the President of the Council, to Madame la Duchesse de Berry—I write my memorial on the captivity of the Princess—Circular to the editors of the newspapers—Extract from the Mémoire sur la captivité de madame la duchesse de Berry—My trial—Popularity

BOOK III 313-356

The Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse—Letter from Madame la Duchesse de Berry from the Citadel of Blaye—Departure from Paris—M. de Talleyrand's calash—Basle—Journal from Paris to Prague, from the 14th to the 24th of May 1833, written in pencil in the carriage, in ink at the inns—The banks of the Rhine—Falls of the Rhine—Mösskirch—A storm—The Danube—Ulm—Blenheim—Louis XIV.—An Hercynian forest—The Barbarians—Sources of the Danube—Ratisbon—Decrease in social life as one goes farther from France—Religious feelings of the Germans—Arrival at Waldmünchen—The Austrian custom-house—I am refused admission into Bohemia—Stay at Waldmünchen—Letters to Count Choteck—Anxiety—The Viaticum—The chapel—My room at the inn—Description of Waldmünchen—Letter from Count Choteck—The peasant-girl—I leave Waldmünchen and enter Bohemia—A pine forest—Conversation with the moon—Pilsen—The high-roads of the North-View of Prague

BOOK IV 357-417

The castle of the Kings of Bohemia—First interview with Charles X.—Monsieur le Dauphin—The Children of France—The Duc and Duchesse de Guiche—The triumvirate—Mademoiselle—Conversation with the King—Dinner and evening at Hradschin—Visits—General Skrzynecki—Dinner at Count Chotek's—Whit Sunday—The Duc de Blacas—Casual observations—Tycho Brahe—Perdita: more casual observations—Bohemia—Slav and neo-Latin literature—I take leave of the King—Adieus—The children's letters to their mother—A Jew—The Saxon servant-girl—What I am leaving in Prague—The Duc de Bordeaux—Madame la Dauphine—Casual observations—Springs—Mineral waters—Historical memories—The Teplitz Valley—Its flora—Last conversation with the Dauphiness—My departure

APPENDIX 421-426

The Royal Ordinances of July 1830

INDEX


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
VOL. V

Pope Pius VIII
Henry IX. (Cardinal of York)
Louise of Stolberg (Countess of Albany)
Guizot
The Princesse de Lieven
Charles X
Queen Hortense
Henry V. (Duc de Bordeaux)


Pope Pius VIII.


[Pg 1]

THE MEMOIRS OF CHATEAUBRIAND

VOLUME V

BOOK XIII[1]

The Roman Embassy continued—Letter to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Conclaves—Dispatches to M. le Comte Portalis—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letter to Madame Récamier—Letter to the Marchese Capponi—Letters to Madame Récamier—Letter to M. le Duc de Blacas—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letter to Monseigneur le Cardinal de Clermont-Tonnerre—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letters to Madame Récamier—Dispatches to M. le Comte Portalis—Fête at the Villa Medici for the Grand-duchess Helen—My relations and correspondence with the Bonaparte Family—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Monte Cavallo—Dispatch to M. le Comte Portalis—Letter to Madame Récamier—Presumption—The French in Rome—Walks—My nephew Christian de Chateaubriand—Letter to Madame Récamier—I return to Paris—My plans—The King and his disposition—M. Portalis—M. de Martignac—I leave for Rome—The Pyrenees—Adventures—The Polignac Ministry—My consternation—I come back to Paris—Interview with M. de Polignac—I resign my Roman Embassy.

Rome, 17 February 1829.

Before passing to important matters, I will recall a few facts.

On the decease of the Sovereign Pontiff, the government of the Roman States falls into the hands of the three cardinals heads of the respective orders, deacon, priest and bishop, and of the Cardinal Camerlingo. The custom is for the ambassadors to go to compliment, in a speech, the Congregation of Cardinals who meet before the opening of the conclave at St. Peter's.

His Holiness' corpse, after first lying in state in the[Pg 2] Sistine Chapel, was carried on Friday last, the 13th of February, to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Peter's; it remained there till Sunday the 15th. Then it was laid in the monument which contained the ashes of Pius VII., and the latter were lowered into the subterranean church.

To Madame Récamier

"Rome, 17 February 1829.

"I have seen Leo XII. lying in state, with his face uncovered, on a paltry state bed, amid the master-pieces of Michael Angelo; I have attended the first funeral ceremony in the Church of St. Peter. A few old cardinal commissaries, no longer able to see, assured themselves with their trembling fingers that the Pope's coffin was well nailed down. By the light of the candles, mingling with the moon-light, the coffin was at last raised by a pulley and hung up in the shadows to be laid in the sarcophagus of Pius VII.[2]

"They have just brought me the poor Pope's little cat; it is quite grey and very gentle, like its old master."

Dispatch to Portalis.

Dispatch to M. Le Comte Portalis

"Rome, 17 February 1829.

"Monsieur Le Comte,

"I had the honour to inform you in my first letter carried to Lyons with the telegraphic dispatch, and in my Dispatch No. 15, of the difficulties which I encountered in sending off my two couriers on the 10th of this month. These people have not got beyond the history of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, as though the fact of the death of a pope becoming known an hour sooner or an hour later could cause an imperial army to enter Italy.

"The obsequies of the Holy Father were concluded on Sunday the 22nd, and the Conclave will open on Monday evening the 23rd, after attending the Mass of the Holy[Pg 3] Ghost in the morning; they are already furnishing the cells in the Quirinal Palace.

"I shall not speak to you, monsieur le comte, of the views of the Austrian Court or the wishes of the Cabinets of Naples, Madrid and Turin. M. le Duc le Laval, in his correspondence with me in 1823, has described the personal qualities of the cardinals, who are in part those of to-day. I refer you to No. 5 and its appendix, Nos. 34, 55, 70 and 82. There are also in the boxes at the office some notes from another source. These portraits, pretty, often fanciful, are capable of providing amusement, but prove nothing. Three things no longer make popes: the intrigues of women, the devices of the ambassadors, the power of the Courts. Neither do they issue from the general interest of society, but from the particular interest of individuals and families, who seek places and money in the election of the Head of the Church.

"There are immense things that could be effected nowadays by the Holy See: the union of the dissenting sects, the consolidation of European society, etc. A pope who would enter into the spirit of the age and place himself at the head of the enlightened generations might give fresh life to the Papacy; but these ideas are quite unable to make their way into the old heads of the Sacred College; the cardinals who have arrived at the end of life hand down to one another an elective royalty which soon dies with them: seated on the double ruins of Rome, the popes appear to be impressed only with the power of death.

"Those cardinals elected Cardinal Della Genga[3], after the exclusion of Cardinal Severoli, because they thought that he was going to die; Della Genga taking it into his head to live, they detested him cordially for that piece of deceit. Leo XII. chose capable administrators from the convents; another cause for murmuring for the cardinals. But, on the other hand, this deceased Pope, while advancing the monks, wanted to see regularity established in the monasteries, so that no one was grateful to him for the boon. The arrest of the vagrant hermits, the compelling of the people to drink standing in the street in order to prevent the stabbing in the taverns, unfortunate changes in the collection of the taxes, abuses committed by some of the Holy Father's familiars, even the death of the Pope, occurring at a time which makes the theatres and tradesmen of Rome lose the[Pg 4] profit arising from the follies of the Carnival, have caused the memory to be anathematized of a Prince worthy of the liveliest regret; at Cività-Vecchia they wanted to burn down the house of two men who were thought to be honoured with his favour.

"Among many competitors, four are particularly designated: Cardinal Capellari[4], the head of the Propaganda, Cardinal Pacca[5], Cardinal Di Gregorio[6] and Cardinal Giustiniani[7].

"Cardinal Capellari is a learned and capable man. They say that he will be rejected by the cardinals as being too young a monk and unacquainted with worldly affairs. He is an Austrian and said to be obstinate and ardent in his religious opinions. Nevertheless, it was he who, when consulted by Leo XII., saw nothing in the Orders in Council to warrant the complaint of our bishops; it was he also who drew up the concordat between the Court of Rome and the Netherlands and who was of opinion that canonical institution should be granted to the bishops of the Spanish republics: all this points to a reasonable, conciliatory and moderate spirit. I have these details from Cardinal Bernetti, with whom, on Friday the 13th, I had one of the conversations which I announced to you in my Dispatch No. 15.

"It is important to the Diplomatic Body, and especially to the French Ambassador, that the Secretary of State in Rome should be a man of ready intercourse and accustomed to the affairs of Europe. Cardinal Bernetti is the minister who suits us best in every respect; he has committed himself on our behalf with the Zelanti and the members of the lay congregations; we are bound to wish that he should be re-employed by the next Pope. I asked him with which of the four cardinals he would have most chance of returning to power. He answered:

"'With Capellari.'

[Pg 5]

"Cardinals Pacca and Di Gregorio are faithfully depicted in the appendix to No. 5 of the correspondence already mentioned; but Cardinal Pacca is very much enfeebled by age, and his memory, like that of the Senior Cardinal, La Somaglia[8], is beginning to fail him entirely.

Candidates for the Papacy.

"Cardinal Di Gregorio would be a suitable Pope. Although he ranks among the Zelanti, he is not without moderation; he thrusts back the Jesuits, who have as many adversaries and enemies here as in France. Neapolitan subject though he be, Cardinal Di Gregorio is rejected by Naples, and still more by Cardinal Albani[9], the executor of the high decrees of Austria. The cardinal is Legate at Bologna, he is over eighty and he is ill; there is therefore some chance of his not coming to Rome.

"Lastly, Cardinal Giustiniani is the cardinal of the Roman nobility; Cardinal Odescalchi is his nephew, and he will probably receive a fairly good number of votes. But, on the other hand, he is poor and has poor relations; Rome would fear the demands of this indigence.

"You are aware, monsieur le comte, of all the harm that Giustiniani did as Nuncio in Spain, and I am more aware of it than anyone else through the troubles which he caused me after the delivery of King Ferdinand. In the Bishopric of Imola, which the cardinal governs at present, he has shown himself no more moderate; he has revived the laws of St. Louis against blasphemers; he is not the pope of our period. Apart from that, he is a man of some learning, a hebraist, a hellenist, a mathematician, but better suited for the work of the study than for public business. I do not believe that he is backed by Austria.

"After all, human foresight is often deceived; often a man changes on attaining power; the zelante Cardinal Della Genga became the moderate Pope Leo XII. Perhaps, amid the four competitors, a pope will spring up, of whom no one is thinking at this moment. Cardinal Castiglioni[10], Cardinal[Pg 6] Benvenuti, Cardinal Galleffi[11], Cardinal Arezzo[12], Cardinal Gamberini, and even the old and venerable Dean of the Sacred College, La Somaglia, in spite of his semi-childishness, or rather because of it, are presenting themselves as candidates. The last has even some hope, because, as he is Bishop and Prince of Ostia, his exaltation would bring about alterations which would leave five great places free.

"It is expected that the Conclave will be either very long or very short: there will be no systematic contests as at the time of the decease of Pius VII.; the 'conclavists' and 'anti-conclavists' have totally disappeared, which will make the election easier. But, on the other hand, there will be personal struggles between the candidates who assemble a certain number of votes, and, as it requires only one more than a third of the votes of the Conclave to give the exclusive, which must not be confounded with the right of exclusion[13], the balloting among the candidates may be prolonged.

"Does France wish to exercise the right of exclusion which she shares with Austria and Spain? Austria exercised it in the preceding conclave against Severoli, through the intermediary of Cardinal Albani. Against whom would the Crown of France exercise that right? Would it be against Cardinal Fesch, if by chance he were thought of, or against Cardinal Giustiniani? Would the latter be worth the trouble of striking with this veto, always a little odious, inasmuch as it trammels independence of election?

"To which of the cardinals would His Majesty's Government wish to entrust the exercise of its right of exclusion? Does it wish the French Ambassador to appear armed with the secret of his Government, and as though ready to strike at the election of the Conclave, if it were displeasing to Charles X.? Lastly, has the Government a choice of predilection?[Pg 7] Is there such or such a cardinal whom it wants to support? Certainly, if all the cardinals of family, that is to say the Spanish, Neapolitan and even Piedmontese cardinals, would add their votes to those of the French cardinals, if one could form a party of the crowns, we should gain the day at the Conclave; but those coalitions are chimerical, and we have foes rather than friends in the cardinals of the different Courts.

Reasons against interference.

"It is asserted that the Primate of Hungary and the Archbishop of Milan will come to the Conclave. The Austrian Ambassador in Rome, Count Lützow, talks very cleverly of the conciliatory character which the new Pope must have. Let us await the instructions of Vienna.

"Moreover, I am persuaded that all the ambassadors on earth can do nothing to-day to influence the election of the Sovereign Pontiff, and that we are all perfectly useless in Rome. For the rest, I can see no pressing interest in hastening or delaying (which, besides, is in nobody's power) the operations of the Conclave. Whether the non-Italian cardinals do or do not assist at this Conclave is of the very slightest interest to the result of the election. If one had millions to distribute, it might still be possible to make a pope: I see no other means, and that method is not in keeping with the customs of France.

"In my confidential instructions to M. le Duc de Laval, on the 13th of September 1823, I said to him:

"'We ask that a prelate should be placed on the Pontifical Throne who shall be distinguished for his piety and his virtues. We desire only that he should possess sufficient enlightenment and a sufficiently conciliatory spirit to enable him to judge the political position of governments and not to throw them, owing to useless exigencies, into inextricable difficulties as vexatious to the Church as to the Throne.... We want a moderate member of the Italian zelante party, capable of being accepted by all parties. All that we ask of them in our interest is not to seek to profit by the divisions which may arise among our clergy in order to disturb our ecclesiastical affairs.'

"In another confidential letter, written with reference to the illness of the new Pope Della Genga, on the 28th of January 1824, I again said to M. le Duc de Laval:

"'What we are concerned in obtaining (supposing there should be a new conclave) is that the Pope should, through his inclinations, be independent of the other Powers, that his[Pg 8] principles should be wise and moderate, and that he should be a friend of France.'

"Am I, monsieur le comte, to-day, to follow as ambassador the spirit of those instructions which I gave as minister?

"This dispatch contains all. I shall only have to keep the King succinctly informed of the operations of the Conclave and of the incidents that may arise; the only questions will be the counting of the votes and the variations of the suffrages.

"The cardinals favourable to the Jesuits are Giustiniani, Odescalchi, Pedicini[14] and Bertalozzi[15].

"The cardinals opposed to the Jesuits, owing to different causes and different circumstances, are Zurla[16], Di Gregorio, Bernetti, Capellari and Micara[17].

"It is believed that, out of fifty-eight cardinals, only forty-eight or forty-nine will attend the Conclave. In that case thirty-three or thirty-four would effect the election.

"The Spanish Minister, M. de Labrador, a solitary and secluded man, whom I suspect of being frivolous under an appearance of gravity, is greatly embarrassed by the part he is called upon to play. The instructions of his Court have foreseen nothing; he is writing in that sense to His Catholic Majesty's chargé d'affaires at Lucca.

"I have the honour to be, etc.

"P.S.-They say that Cardinal Benvenuti has already twelve votes certain. If that choice succeeded, it would be a good one. Benvenuti knows Europe and has displayed capacity and moderation in different employments."

As the Conclave is about to open, I will rapidly trace the history of that great law of election, which already counts eighteen hundred years' duration. Where do the Popes come from? How have they been elected from century to century?

At the moment when liberty, equality and the Republic were completely expiring, about the time of Augustus, was[Pg 9] born at Bethlehem the universal Tribune of the peoples, the great Representative on earth of equality, liberty and the Republic, Christ, who, after planting the Cross to serve as a boundary to two worlds, after allowing Himself to be nailed to that Cross, after dying on it, the Symbol, Victim and Redeemer of human sufferings, handed down His power to His Chief Apostle. From Adam to Jesus Christ, we have society with slaves, with inequality of men among themselves; from Jesus Christ to our time, we have society with equality of men among themselves, social equality of man and woman, we have society without slaves, or, at least, without the principle of slavery. The history of modern society commences at the foot and on this side of the Cross.

The early Popes.

Peter[18] Bishop of Rome inaugurated the Papacy: tribune-dictators successively elected by the people, and most part of the time chosen from among the humblest classes of the people, the Popes held their temporal power from the democratic order, from that new society of brothers which Jesus of Nazareth had come to found, Jesus, the workman, the maker of yokes and ploughs, born of a woman according to the flesh, and yet God and Son of God, as His works prove.

The Popes had the mission to avenge and maintain the rights of man; the heads of public opinion, all feeble though they were, they obtained the strength to dethrone kings with a word and an idea: for a soldier they had but a plebeian, his head protected by a cowl, his hand armed with a cross. The Papacy, marching at the head of civilization, progressed towards the goal of society. Christian men, in all regions of the globe, gave obedience to a priest whose name was hardly known to them, because that priest was the personification of a fundamental truth; he represented in Europe the political independence which was almost everywhere destroyed; in the Gothic world he was the defender of the popular liberties, as in the modern world he became the restorer of science, letters and the arts. The people enrolled itself among his troops in the habit of a mendicant friar.

The quarrel between the Empire and the priesthood is the struggle of the two social principles of the middle ages, power and liberty. The Popes, favouring the Guelphs, declared themselves for the governments of the peoples; the Emperors, adopting the Ghibellines, urged the government of the nobles: these were precisely the parts played by the Athenians and[Pg 10] Spartans in Greece. Therefore, when the Popes took side with the kings, when they turned themselves into Ghibellines, they lost their power, because they were disengaging themselves from their natural principle, and, for an opposite and yet analogous reason, the monks have seen their authority decrease, when political liberty has returned directly to the peoples, because the peoples have no longer needed to be replaced by the monks, their representatives.

Those thrones declared vacant and delivered to the first occupant in the middle ages; those emperors who came on their knees to implore a pontiff's forgiveness; those kingdoms laid under an interdict; an entire nation deprived of worship by a magic word; those anathematized sovereigns, abandoned not only by their subjects, but also by their servants and kindred; those princes avoided like lepers, separated from the mortal race while waiting to be cut off from the eternal race; the food they had tasted, the objects they had touched passed through the flames as things sullied: all this was but the forceful effect of popular sovereignty delegated to and wielded by religion.

The oldest electoral law in the world is the law by virtue of which the pontifical power has been handed down from St. Peter to the priest who wears the tiara to-day: from that priest you go back from pope to pope till you come to saints who touch Christ; at the first link of the pontifical chain stands a God. The bishops were elected by the general assembly of the faithful; from the time of Tertullian[19], the Bishop of Rome was named the Bishop of Bishops. The clergy, forming part of the people, concurred in the election. As passions exist everywhere, as they debase the fairest institutions and the most virtuous characters, in the measure that the papal power increased, it attempted more, and human rivalries produced great disorders. In Pagan Rome, similar troubles had broken out on the occasion of the election of the Tribunes: of the two Gracchi, one[20] was flung into the Tiber, the other[21] stabbed by a slave in a wood consecrated to the[Pg 11] Furies. The nomination of Pope Damasus[22], in 366, led to an affray attended by bloodshed: one hundred and thirty-seven people succumbed in the Sicinian Basilica, known to-day as Santa Maria Maggiore.

History of their election.

We find St. Gregory[23] elected Pope by the Clergy, the Senate and the People of Rome. Any Christian could rise to the tiara: Leo IV.[24] was promoted to the Sovereign Pontificate, on the 12th of April 847, to defend Rome against the Saracens, and his ordination deferred until he had given proofs of his courage. The same thing happened to the other bishops: Simplicius[25] ascended the See of Bourges, layman though he were. To this day (which is not generally known) the choice of the Conclave might fall on a layman, even if he were married: his wife would take the veil, and he would receive all the orders together with the papacy.

The Greek and Latin Emperors tried to suppress the liberty of the popular papal election; they sometimes usurped it, and often exacted that the election should at least be confirmed by them: a capitulary of Louis the Débonnaire[26] restores its primitive liberty to the election of the bishops, which was accomplished according to a treaty of the same time, by "the unanimous consent of the clergy and the people."

The dangers of an election proclaimed by the masses of the people or dictated by the emperors made necessary certain changes in the law. There existed, in Rome, priests and deacons known as "cardinals," whether because they served at the horns or corners of the altar, ad cornua altaris, or that the word cardinal is derived from the Latin word cardo, a hinge. Pope Nicholas II.[27], in a council held in Rome in 1059, carried a resolution that the cardinals alone should elect the popes and that the clergy and the people should ratify the election. One hundred and twenty years later, the Lateran[Pg 12] Council[28] took away the ratification from the clergy and the people, and made the election valid by a majority of two-thirds of the votes in the assembly of cardinals.

But, as this canon of the Council fixed neither the duration nor the form of this electoral college, it came about that discord was produced among the electors, and there was no provision, in the new modification of the law, to put an end to that discord. In 1268, after the death of Clement IV.[29], the cardinals who had met at Viterbo were unable to come to an agreement, and the Holy See remained vacant for two years. The Podesta and the people were obliged to lock up the cardinals in their palace, and even, it is said, to unroof that palace in order to compel the electors to make a choice. At last Gregory X.[30] came out of the ballot, and thereupon, to remedy this abuse in future, established the Conclave, cum clave, with or under key; he regulated the internal dispositions of the Conclave in much the same manner as they exist to-day: separate cells, a common room for the balloting, walled-up outer windows, from one of which the election is proclaimed, by demolishing the plaster with which it is sealed, and so on. The Council held at Lyons in 1274 confirms and improves these arrangements. Nevertheless, one article of this rule has fallen into disuse: that in which it was laid down that, if the choice of a pope were not made in three days of confinement, during five days after those three days the cardinals should have only one dish at their meals, and that, after that, they should have only bread, wine and water until the Sovereign Pontiff was elected.

To-day the duration of a conclave is no longer limited, nor are the cardinals now punished in their diet, like naughty children. Their dinner, placed in baskets, carried on barrows, is brought to them from the outside, accompanied by lackeys in livery; a dapifer follows the convoy, sword at side, and drawn by caparisoned horses in the emblazoned coach of the cardinal recluse. On reaching the conclave tower, the chickens are drawn, the pies examined, the oranges cut into quarters, the corks of the bottles cut up, lest some[Pg 13] paper should be concealed inside. These old customs, some childish, others ridiculous, have their drawbacks. If the dinner be sumptuous, the poor man starving of hunger who sees it go by makes his comparison and murmurs. If it be mean, by another infirmity of human nature, the pauper laughs at it and despises the Roman purple. It would be a good thing to abolish this usage, which is no longer in keeping with our present customs; Christianity has gone back to its source; it has returned to the time of the Lord's Supper and the love-feasts, and Christ alone should to-day preside over those banquets.

Intrigues of the Conclaves.

The intrigues of the conclaves are famous; some of them had baneful results. During the Western Schism, different popes and anti-popes were seen to curse and excommunicate one another from the top of the ruined walls of Rome. The schism seemed on the point of extinction, when Pedro de Luna[31] revived it, in 1394, through an intrigue of the conclave at Avignon. Alexander VI.[32], in 1492, bought the votes of twenty-two cardinals, who prostituted the tiara to him, leaving memories of Lucrezia[33] behind him. Sixtus V. had no intrigue in the conclave except with his crutches, and when he was Pope his genius no longer had need of those supports. I have seen in a Roman villa a portrait of Sixtus V.'s sister, a woman of the people, whom the terrible pontiff, in all his plebeian pride, pleased himself by having painted:

"The first arms of our house," he said to this sister, "are rags[34]."

That was still the time at which some sovereigns dictated orders to the Sacred College. Philip II. used to have notes passed into the conclave, saying:

"Su Magestad no quiere que N. sea Papa; quiere que N. to tenga."

[Pg 14]

From that period, the intrigues of the conclave are scarcely more than agitations without general results. Nevertheless, Du Perron[35] and d'Ossat obtained the reconciliation of Henry IV. with the Holy See, which was a great event. The Ambassades of Du Perron are greatly inferior to the Letters of d'Ossat. Before then, Du Bellay was at one time on the point of preventing the schism of Henry VIII.[36] Having obtained from that tyrant, before his separation from the Church, that he should submit to the judgment of the Holy See, he arrived in Rome at the moment when the condemnation of Henry VIII. was about to be pronounced. He obtained a delay to send a man of trust to England; the bad roads retarded the reply. The partisans of Charles V. caused the sentence to be pronounced, and the bearer of the powers of Henry VIII. arrived two days later. The delay of a message made England Protestant and changed the political face of Europe. The destinies of the world depend on no more potent causes: a too capacious goblet emptied at Babylon caused Alexander to disappear.

Next comes to Rome, in the time of Olimpia[37], the Cardinal de Retz, who, in the conclave held after the death of Innocent X.[38], enlisted in the "flying squadron," the name given to ten independent cardinals; they carried with them "Sacchetti," who was "only good to paint," in order to pass Alexander VII.[39], savio col silenzio, who, as Pope, showed himself to be nothing much.


Henry IX. (Cardinal of York)


The Président de Brosses describes the death of Clement XII.[40], which he witnessed, and saw the election of Benedict[Pg 15] XIV.[41]—as I saw Leo XII. the Pontiff lying dead on his abandoned bed: the Cardinal Camerlingo had struck Clement XII. twice or thrice on the forehead, according to the custom, with a little hammer, calling him by his name, Lorenzo Corsini.

"He made no reply," says de Brosses, and adds, "That is how your daughter comes to be dumb[42]."

And that is how at that time the most serious things were treated: a dead pope at whose head one knocks as it were at the gate of understanding, while calling on the deceased and voiceless man by his name, could, it seems to me, have inspired a witness with something else than raillery, even though it were borrowed from Molière. What would the frivolous Dijon magistrate have said had Clement XII. answered him from the depths of eternity:

"What do you want with me?"

Cynicism of de Brosses.

The Président de Brosses sends his friend the Abbé Courtois a list of the cardinals of the Conclave, with a word on each of them to his honour:

"Guadagni[43], a bigot, a hypocrite, witless, tasteless, a poor monk.

"Aquaviva of Aragon, a fine presence, although somewhat heavy in figure, as he is also in mind.

"Ottoboni[44], no morals, no credit, debauched, ruined, a lover of the arts.

"Alberoni[45], full of ardour, anxious, restless, despised, no morals, no decency, no consideration, no judgment: according to him, a cardinal is a ——- dressed in red."

[Pg 16]

The rest of the list is all of a piece; cynicism here takes the place of wit.

A singular piece of buffoonery took place: de Brosses went to dine with some Englishmen at the Porta San Pancrazio; they had a mock election of a pope: a certain Sir Ashwood took off his wig and represented the dean of the cardinals; they sang Oremus, and Cardinal Alberoni was elected by the ballot of that orgy. The Protestant soldiers in the Constable de Bourbon's army nominated Martin Luther pope in the Church of St. Peter. Nowadays the English, who are at once the plague and the providence of Rome, respect the Catholic Religion which has permitted them to build a church outside the Porta del Popolo. The government and manners of the day would no longer suffer such scandals.

So soon as a cardinal is imprisoned in the conclave, the first thing he does is, with the aid of his servants, in the dark, to scratch at the newly blocked-up walls until they have made a little hole. Through this, during the night, they pass strings by means of which news is sent and received between the inside and the outside. For the rest, the Cardinal de Retz, whose opinion is above suspicion, after speaking of the miseries of the conclave in which he took part, ends his story with these fine words:

"We lived there, always together, with the same mutual respect and the same civility that are observed in the closets of kings; with the same politeness that obtained at the Court of Henry III.; with the same familiarity that is seen in the colleges; with the same modesty that prevails in noviciates, and the same charity, at least in appearance, that might exist among brothers wholly united."

I am struck, in finishing this epitome of a vast history, by the serious manner in which it commences and the almost burlesque manner in which it ends: the greatness of the Son of God opens the scene which, shrinking in proportion as the Catholic Religion moves farther from its source, ends in the littleness of the son of Adam. We scarcely find again the primitive loftiness of the Cross until we come to the decease of the Sovereign Pontiff: that childless, friendless pope, whose corpse lies neglected on its couch, shows that the man was reckoned as naught in the head of the evangelical world. Honours are rendered to the Pope as a temporal prince; as a man, his abandoned corpse is flung down at the door of the church where of old the sinner did penance.

[Pg 17]

Dispatches to Portalis.

Dispatches to M. Le Comte Portalis

"Rome, 17 February 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"I do not know whether the King will be pleased to send an extraordinary ambassador to Rome, or whether it will suit him to accredit me to the Sacred College. In the latter case, I have the honour to observe to you that I allowed M. le Duc de Laval, for his expenses for extraordinary service in a similar circumstance, in 1823, a sum which amounted, as far as I can remember, to 40,000 or 50,000 francs. The Austrian Ambassador, M. le Comte d'Apponyi[46], at first received from his Court a sum of 36,000 francs for the first requirements, a supplementary allowance of 7,200 francs per month over and above his ordinary salary during the sitting of the Conclave, and 10,000 francs for presents, chancery expenses, etc. I do not, monsieur le comte, pretend to compete in magnificence with His Excellency the Austrian Ambassador, as M. le Duc de Laval did; I shall hire no horses, carriages, nor liveries to dazzle the Roman mob; the King of France is a great enough lord to pay for the pomp of his ambassadors, if he wishes it: borrowed magnificence is wretched. I shall therefore go modestly to the Conclave with my ordinary footmen and in my ordinary carriages. It only remains for me to know whether the King will not think that, as long as the Conclave lasts, I shall be bound to keep up a display for which my ordinary salary will not be sufficient I ask nothing, I merely submit the question to your judgment and to the royal decision.

"I have the honour to be, etc."

"Rome, 19 February 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"I had the honour yesterday to be presented to the Sacred College and to deliver the little speech of which I sent you a copy in advance in my Dispatch No. 17, which left on Tuesday the 17th inst. by a special courier. I was listened to with the most auspicious marks of satisfaction, and the Senior Cardinal, the venerable Della Somaglia, replied to me in terms most affectionate towards the King and France.

[Pg 18]

"Having informed you of everything in my last dispatch, I have absolutely nothing new to tell you to-day, unless it be that Cardinal Bussi[47] arrived yesterday from Benevento. Cardinals Albani, Macchi[48], and Oppizzoni are expected to-day.

"The members of the Sacred College will lock themselves up in the Quirinal Palace on Monday evening the 23rd of this month. Ten days will then elapse to await the arrival of the foreign cardinals, after which the serious operations of the Conclave will commence, and, if they were to come to an understanding at once, the pope could be elected in the first week of Lent.

"I am, monsieur le comte, awaiting the King's orders. I presume that you dispatched a courier to me after M. de Montebello's arrival in Paris. It is urgent that I should receive either the announcement of an extraordinary embassy, or my new credentials together with the instructions of the Government.

"Are my five French cardinals coming? Politically speaking, their presence here is very little necessary. I have written to Monseigneur le Cardinal de Latil[49] to offer him my services in case he should decide to come,

"I have the honour to be, etc.

"P.S. I enclose a copy of a letter which M. le Comte de Funchal has written to me. I have not replied to this ambassador in writing; I only went to talk to him."

To Madame Récamier

"Rome, Monday 23 February 1829.

"Yesterday the Pope's obsequies were finished. The pyramid of 'paper' and the four candelabra were fine enough,[Pg 19] because they were of immense proportions and reached up to the cornice of the church. The last Dies iræ was admirable. It is composed by an unknown man, who belongs to the pope's chapel, and who seems to me to possess a very different sort of genius from Rossini's. To-day we pass from sorrow to joy; we sing the Veni Creator for the opening of the Conclave; then we shall go every evening to see if the ballot-papers are burnt, if the smoke issues from a certain chimney: on the day on which there is no smoke, the pope will have been appointed, and I shall go to see you again; that is the whole business as it affects me. The King of England's speech is very insolent to France! What a deplorable expedition that Morean Expedition is! Are they beginning to see it? General Guilleminot wrote me a letter on the subject which made me laugh; he can only have written as he did because he presumed me to be a minister."

Letters to Madame Récamier.

"25 February.

"Death is here; Torlonia went yesterday evening after two days' illness; I have seen him lying all painted on his death-bed, his sword at his side. He lent money on pledges, but on such pledges! On antiquities, on pictures huddled promiscuously in an old, dusty palace. That was different from the shop in which the Miser put away 'a Bologna lute, fitted with all its strings, or nearly... the skin of a lizard three feet long... and a four-foot bedstead with slips in Hungarian point[50].'

"One sees nothing but dead people carried dressed-up through the streets; one of them passes regularly under my windows when we sit down to dinner. For the rest, everything proclaims the spring parting; people are beginning to disperse; they are leaving for Naples; they will come back a moment for Holy Week, and then separate for good. Next year there will be different travellers, different faces, a different society. There is something melancholy in this journey over ruins: the Romans are like the remains of their city; the world passes at their feet. I picture those persons going back to their families in the various countries of Europe, the young 'Misses' returning to the midst of their fogs. If, by chance, thirty years hence, one of them is brought back to Italy, who will remember to have seen her in the palaces whose masters shall be no more. St. Peter's and the Coliseum: that is all that she herself would recognise."

[Pg 20]

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

"Rome, 3 March 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"My first courier having reached Lyons, on the 14th of last month, at nine o'clock in the evening, you must have learned the news of the Pope's death, by telegraph, on the morning of the 15th. It is to-day the 3rd of March, and I am still without instructions and without an official reply. The newspapers have announced the departure of two or three cardinals. I had written to Paris to Monseigneur le Cardinal de Latil to place the Embassy Palace at his disposal; I have just written to him again at different points on his road to renew my offers.

"I am sorry to be obliged to tell you, monsieur le comte, that I notice some little intrigues here to keep the cardinals away from the Embassy, to lodge them where they might be placed more within reach of the influences which it is hoped to exercise over them.

"As far as I am concerned, this is a matter of indifference to me. I shall show Their Eminences all the services which depend upon myself. If they question me touching things which it is well that they should know, I shall tell them what I can; if you transmit the King's orders for them to me, I will communicate these to them; but, if they were to arrive here in a spirit hostile to the views of His Majesty's Government, if it were perceived that they were not in agreement with the King's Ambassador, if they held a language contrary to mine, if they went so far as to give their votes in the Conclave to some exaggerated man, if even they were divided among themselves, nothing would be more fatal. It would be better for the King's service that I should instantly hand in my resignation rather than present this public spectacle of our discords. Austria and Spain have a line of conduct with reference to their clergy which leaves no opening for intrigue. No Austrian or Spanish priest, cardinal or bishop, can have any other agent or correspondent in Rome than the ambassador of his Court himself; the latter has the right to remove from Rome, at a moment's notice, any ecclesiastic of his nationality who may obstruct him.

"I hope, monsieur le comte, that no division will take place, that Their Eminences the cardinals will have formal orders to submit to the instructions which I shall before long[Pg 21] receive from you, and that I shall know which of them will be charged with the exercise of the exclusion, in case of need, and which heads that exclusion is to strike.

"It is very necessary that we should be on our guard; the last ballots revealed the awakening of a party. This party, which gave twenty or twenty-one votes to Cardinals Della Marmora[51] and Pedicini, forms what is known here as the Sardinian faction. The other cardinals, alarmed, want all to give their suffrages to Oppizzoni, a man both firm and moderate. Although an Austrian, that is to say, a Milanese, he coped against Austria at Bologna. He would be an excellent choice. The votes of the French might, by settling on one candidate or another, decide the election. Rightly or wrongly, these cardinals are believed to be hostile to the present system of His Majesty's Government, and the Sardinian faction is reckoning on them.

"I have the honour to be, etc[52]."

To Portalis and Récamier.

To Madame Récamier

"Rome, 3 March 1829.

"I am quite surprised at your acquaintance with the story of my excavation; I did not remember having written you so well on that subject. I am, as you think, very busy: left without directions or instructions, I am obliged to take everything upon myself. I believe, however, that I can promise you a moderate and enlightened pope, if God only[Pg 22] grant that he be made at the expiration of the interim of M. Portalis' ministry."

"4 March.

"Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, I was on my knees alone in the Church of Santa Croce, which rests against the walls of Rome, near the Porta di Napoli. I heard the monotonous and lugubrious chanting of the monks within that solitude: I should have liked myself to be in a frock, singing among those ruins. What a spot to appease ambition and to contemplate the vanities of earth! While I am suffering, I hear that M. de La Ferronnays is getting better; he rides on horseback, and his convalescence is looked upon in the country as miraculous: God grant that it be so, and that he may resume work at the end of the interim. What a number of questions that would solve for me!"

Dispatch to Portalis.

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

"Sunday[53] 15 March 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"I have had the honour to inform you of the successive arrivals of their Eminences the French cardinals. Three of them, Messieurs de Latil, de La Fare[54] and de Croy[55] have done me the honour to be my guests. The first entered the Conclave on Thursday evening the 12th, with M. le Cardinal Isoard[56]; the two others locked themselves in on Friday evening the 13th.

"I told them all I know; I gave them important notes on the minority and majority in the Conclave, and on the sentiments which animate the different parties. We agreed that they should support the candidates of whom I have already[Pg 23] spoken to you, namely, Cardinals Capellari, Oppizzoni, Benvenuti, Zurla, Castiglioni and, lastly, Pacca and Di Gregorio; and that they should reject the cardinals of the Sardinian faction: Pedicini, Giustiniani, Galleffi, and Cristaldi[57].

"I hope that this good intelligence between the ambassadors and cardinals will have the best effect: at least I shall have nothing with which to reproach myself if passions or interests intervene to deceive my hopes.

"I have, monsieur le comte, discovered dangerous and contemptible intrigues carried on between Paris and Rome through the channel of Monsignor Lambruschini, the Nuncio[58]. It was no less a question than to cause to be read, in open conclave, a copy of some pretended secret instructions, divided into several clauses and given (so it was impudently asserted) to M. le Cardinal de Latil. The majority of the Conclave has pronounced strongly against these machinations; it wished the Nuncio to be instructed to break off all relations with those men of discord who, while troubling France, would end by making the Catholic Religion hateful to all. I am, monsieur le comte, making a collection of these authentic revelations, and I will send it to you after the election of the pope: that will be worth more than all the dispatches in the world. The King will learn to know who are his friends and who his enemies, and the Government will be able to rely on facts suited to guide its conduct

"Your Dispatch No. 14 informs me of the encroachments which His Holiness' Nuncio endeavoured to renew in France in connection with the death of Leo XII. The same thing had happened before, when I was Foreign Minister, at the time of the death of Pius VII.: fortunately, we always have means of defending ourselves against those public attacks; it is much more difficult to escape the plots laid in the dark.

"The conclavists who accompany our cardinals appeared to me to be reasonable men: the Abbé Coudrin[59] alone, whom you mentioned to me, is one of those cramped and narrow minds into which nothing can enter, one of those men who[Pg 24] have mistaken their profession. As you are well aware, he is a monk, head of an order, and he even has bulls of institution: this is but little in agreement with our civil laws and our political institutions.

"It may happen that the pope will be elected at the end of this week. But, if the French cardinals fail to make their presence felt at once, it will become impossible to assign a limit to the duration of the Conclave. New combinations would perhaps bring about an unexpected nomination: to have done with it, they might agree on some insignificant cardinal, such as Dandini[60].

"In times gone by, monsieur le comte, I have found myself placed in difficult circumstances, whether as Ambassador to London, or as Minister during the Spanish War, or as a member of the House of Peers, or Leader of the Opposition; but nothing has given me so much anxiety and care as my present position in the midst of every kind of intrigue. I have to act upon an invisible body locked up in a prison, the approaches to which are strictly guarded. I have no money to give, no places to promise; the decaying passions of fifty old men give me no hold on them. I have to fight against stupidity in some, against ignorance of the times in others; fanaticism in these, craft and duplicity in those; in almost all, ambition, self-interest, political hatred: and I am separated by walls and mysteries from the assembly in which so many elements of division are fermenting. At each moment, the scene varies; every quarter of an hour, contradictory reports plunge me into fresh perplexities. I am not, monsieur le comte, telling you of these difficulties to show my importance, but rather to serve as my excuse in case the election should result in a pope contrary to what it seems to promise and to the nature of our wishes. At the time of the death of Pius VII., public opinion was not excited over religious questions: to-day, these questions have begun to play their part in politics, and never did the election of the Head of the Church fall at a less auspicious moment

"I have the honour to be, etc."

[Pg 25]

Letter to Madame Récamier.

To Madame Récamier

Rome, 17 March 1829.

"The King of Bavaria[61] has called in mufti to see me. We spoke of you. This 'Greek' sovereign, though he wears a crown, seems to know what he has on his head, and to understand that you cannot nail the present to the past. He is to dine with me on Thursday, and wants no one there.

"For the rest, behold us in the midst of great events: a pope to be made; what will he be like? Will Catholic Emancipation be passed? A new campaign in the East: on which side will victory be? Shall we profit by this position? Who will conduct our affairs? Is there a head capable of perceiving all that this contains for France and of profiting by it according to events? I am persuaded that they do not so much as think of it in Paris and that, what with the salons and the Chambers, pleasures and legislation, worldly joys and ministerial anxieties, they don't trouble about Europe or anything else. Only I myself, in my exile, have time to indulge in dreams and to look about me. Yesterday I went for a walk in a sort of gale on the old Tivoli Road. I came to the old Roman pavement, which is so well preserved that one would believe it had been newly laid. Yet Horace had trod the stones which I was treading: where is Horace?"


Louise of Stolberg (Countess of Albany)


The Marquis Capponi[62] arrived from Florence, bringing me letters of recommendation from ladies in Paris. I replied to one of these letters on the 21st of March 1829:

"I have received your letters: the services I am able to do are nothing, but I am entirely at your orders. I was already well acquainted with the Marquis Capponi's merits. I can tell you that he is still good-looking; he has weathered time. I did not answer your first letter, so full of enthusiasm for the sublime Mahmud and for 'disciplined' barbarism,[Pg 26] for those slaves 'bastinadoed' into soldiers[63]. I can imagine that women are carried away with admiration for men who marry hundreds of them at a time, and that they take that for the progress of enlightenment and civilization; but, as for me, I cling to my poor Greeks; I desire their liberty as I do that of France. I also want frontiers which will cover Paris and ensure our independence; and it is not by means of the triple alliance of the pale of Constantinople, the schlag of Vienna and the fisticuffs of London that you will obtain the bank of the Rhine. Many thanks for the fur-coat of honour which our glory might obtain from the invincible Commander of the Faithful, who has not yet sallied from the outskirts of his seraglio; I prefer that glory naked; she is a woman and beautiful: Phidias would certainly never have robed her in a Turkish dressing-gown."

To Madame Récamier

Rome, 21 March 1829.

"Well, I am right and you are wrong! I went yesterday, between two ballots and while waiting for a pope, to Sant' Onofrio: and it is two orange-trees that grow in the cloister, and not an evergreen oak. I am quite proud of this fidelity of my memory. I ran, almost with my eyes shut, to the little stone that covers your friend; I prefer it to the great monument they are going to raise to him. What a charming solitude! What an admirable view! What happiness to lie there between the frescoes of Domenichino[64] and Leonardo da Vinci! I wish I were there, I never felt so tempted. Did they let you enter the interior of the convent? Did you see, in a long corridor, that delicious, though half-obliterated, head of a Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci? Did you see in the library Tasso's mask, his withered laurel-wreath, a mirror which he used, his ink-stand, his pen and the letter written by his hand, pasted to a board that hangs below his bust? In this letter, in a small, scratched-out, but easily legible hand, he speaks of 'friendship' and the 'wind of fortune;'[Pg 27] the latter scarcely ever blew for him, and the former often failed him.

"No pope yet, we expect him hourly; but, if the choice has been delayed, if obstacles have arisen on every hand, it is not my fault: they ought to have listened to me a little more, and not acted in a sense exactly opposite to that which they seemed to decide upon. For the rest, it seems to me at present that every one wants to be at peace with me. The Cardinal de Clermont-Tonnerre himself has just written to tell me that he claims my former kindness for him; and after all that he comes to stay with me resolved to vote for the most moderate pope.

"You have read my second speech. Thank M. Kératry[65], who has spoken so obligingly of the first; I hope he will be still more pleased with the other. We shall both of us try to make liberty Christian, and we shall succeed. What do you say to the answer Cardinal Castiglioni made me? Have I been finely enough praised 'in open conclave'? You could not have done better in the days when you spoilt me."

Letters to Madame Récamier.

"24 March 1829.

"If I were to believe the rumours of Rome, we should have a pope to-morrow; but I am in a moment of discouragement, and I refuse to believe in such happiness. You can understand that that happiness is not political happiness, the joy of a triumph, but the happiness of being free and seeing you again. When I speak to you so much about the Conclave, I am like the people who have a fixed idea and who believe that the whole world is interested in that idea. And yet, in Paris, who thinks of the Conclave, who troubles about a pope or my tribulations? French light-heartedness, the interests of the moment, the discussions in the Chambers, excited ambitions have very different things to do. When the Duc de Laval used also to write to me of his cares about the Conclave, preoccupied with the Spanish War as I was, I used to say, when I received his dispatches, 'Oh, good Heavens, I have something else to think of!' and M. Portalis is applying the lex talionis to me to-day. Nevertheless, one may fairly say that things at that time were not what they are now: religious ideas were not mixed up with political ideas as they have since been throughout Europe; the[Pg 28] quarrel did not lie there; the nomination could not, as it does now, disturb or pacify States.

"Since the letter which informed me that M. de La Ferronnays' leave had been extended and that he had left for Rome, I have heard nothing: still, I believe that news true.

"M. Thierry has written me a touching letter from Hyères; he tells me that he is dying, and still he wants a place in the Academy of Inscriptions and asks me to write for him. I am going to do so. My excavation continues to give me sarcophaguses; death can only yield what it possesses. The Poussin monument is getting on. It will be noble and large. You cannot imagine how the picture of the Arcadian Shepherds was made for a bas-relief, nor how well it suits sculpture."

"28 March.

"M. le Cardinal de Clermont-Tonnerre, who has been staying with me, enters the Conclave to-day; this is an age of marvels. I have with me the son of Marshal Lannes and the grandson of the Chancellor[66]; Messieurs du Constitutionnel dine at my table beside Messieurs de la Quotidienne. That is the advantage of being sincere; let every one think what he pleases, provided I am allowed the same liberty; I only endeavour that my opinion shall have the majority, because I think it, and rightly, better than the others. I attribute to this sincerity the tendency of the most diverging opinions to gather round me. I exercise the right of sanctuary towards them: they cannot be seized beneath my roof."

To M. le Duc de Blacas[67]

"Rome, 24 March 1829.

"I am sorry, monsieur le duc, that a phrase in my letter should have been able to cause you any anxiety. I have no reason whatever to complain of a man of sense and intelligence[68], who told me nothing save diplomatic commonplaces.[Pg 29] Do we ambassadors ever talk anything else? As to the cardinal of whom you do me the honour to speak, the French Government has not designated any one in particular; it has left the matter entirely as I reported it. Seven or eight moderate and peaceful cardinals, who seem to attract the wishes of all the Courts alike, are the candidates among whom we wish to see the votes fall. But, if we lay no claim to impose a choice upon the majority of the Conclave, we do with all our might and by every means repel two or three fanatical, intriguing, or incapable cardinals, whom the minority are supporting.

"I have no other possible means of sending you this letter, monsieur le duc; I am therefore very simply posting it, because it contains nothing that you and I cannot confess aloud.

"I have the honour to be, etc."

To Blacas and Récamier.

To Madame Récamier

"Rome, 31 March 1829.

"M. de Montebello has arrived and has brought me your letter, with a letter from M. Bertin and from M. Villemain.

"My excavations are doing well: I find plenty of empty sarcophaguses; I shall be able to choose one for myself, without my ashes being obliged to turn out those of the old dead men whom the wind has carried away. Depopulated sepulchres afford the spectacle of a resurrection, and yet they await only a more profound death. It is not life but annihilation which has made those tombs deserted.

"To finish my little diary of the moment, I will tell you that the day before yesterday I climbed to the ball of St. Peter's during a storm. You cannot imagine the noise of the wind in mid-sky, around that cupola of Michael Angelo and above that temple of the Christians which crushes Ancient Rome."

"31 March, evening.

"Victory! I have one of the Popes whom I had placed on my list: it is Castiglioni, the very cardinal whom I was supporting for the Papacy in 1823, when I was Minister, he who lately replied to me in the Conclave with 'many praises.' Castiglioni is a moderate man and devoted to France; it is a complete triumph. The Conclave, before separating, gave orders to write to the Nuncio in Paris, to tell him to express[Pg 30] to the King the satisfaction of the Sacred College with my conduct. I have already dispatched the news to Paris by the telegraph. The Prefect of the Rhone is the intermediary of this aerial correspondence, and this prefect is M. de Brosses, son of that Comte de Brosses, the frivolous traveller to Rome, whom I have often quoted in the notes which I collect while writing to you. The courier who carries this letter to you carries my dispatch to M. Portalis.

"I never have two consecutive days of good health now; this makes me furious, for I have no heart for anything in the midst of my sufferings. Still, I am awaiting with some impatience to hear the effect in Paris of the nomination of my Pope, what they will say, what they will do, what will become of me. The most certain thing is that my leave has been applied for. I have seen in the papers the great quarrel raised by the Constitutionnel about my speech; it accuses the Messager of not printing it, and we in Rome have Messagers of the 22nd of March (the quarrel belongs to the 24th or 25th) containing the speech. Isn't it singular? It seems clear that there are two editions, one for Rome and the other for Paris. Poor people! I am thinking of the mistake made by another paper; it assures its readers that the Conclave was very much dissatisfied with this speech: what can it have said when it read the praises given me by Cardinal Castiglioni, who has become Pope?

"When shall I have done talking to you of all these trifles? When shall I busy myself only with finishing the Memoirs of my Life and my life also, as the last page of those Memoirs? I have great need of it; I am very weary, the weight of my days increases and makes itself felt on my head; I amuse myself by calling it 'rheumatism' but it is the kind that one cannot cure. One word only sustains me, when I again say:

"'Soon.'"

"3 April.

"I forgot to tell you that, as Cardinal Fesch behaved very well in the Conclave and voted with our cardinals, I took a resolution and invited him to dinner. He refused in a very tactful note."

Dispatch to Portalis.

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

"Rome, 2 April 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"Cardinal Albani has been appointed Secretary of State, as I had the honour to inform you in my first letter[Pg 31] carried to Lyons by the mounted messenger dispatched on the evening of the 31st of March. The new minister is not pleasing to the Sardinian faction, nor to the majority of the Sacred College, nor even to Austria, because he is violent, an Anti-Jesuit, rude in his manner, and an Italian above everything. Rich and excessively avaricious, Cardinal Albani is mixed up in all sorts of enterprises and speculations. I went yesterday to pay him my first visit; the moment he saw me, he exclaimed:

"'I am a pig!' He was, in fact, exceedingly dirty. 'You shall see that I am not an enemy.'

"I am giving you his own words, monsieur le comte. I replied that I was very far from regarding him as an enemy.

"'You people' he resumed, 'want water, not fire: don't I know your country? Haven't I lived in France?' He speaks French like a Frenchman. 'You will be satisfied, and your master too. How is the King? Good-morning. Let us go to St. Peter's!'

"It was eight o'clock in the morning; I had already seen His Holiness, and all Rome was hastening to the ceremony of the Adoration.

"Cardinal Albani is a man of intelligence, false by nature and frank by temperament; his violence foils his cunning; one can make use of him by flattering his pride and satisfying his avarice.

"Pius VIII. is very learned, especially in matters of theology; he speaks French, but with less facility and grace than Leo XII. He is attacked on the right side with partial paralysis, and is subject to convulsive movements: the supreme power will cure him. He is to be crowned on Sunday next, Passion Sunday, the 5th of April.

"Now, monsieur le comte, that the principal business which kept me in Rome is ended, I shall be infinitely obliged to you if you will obtain for me from His Majesty's kindness a leave of a few months. I shall not take it until after I have handed the Pope the letter in which the King will reply to that which Pius VIII. has written or is going to write to him to announce his elevation to the Chair of St Peter. Permit me to beg once more, on behalf of my two secretaries of Legation, M. Bellocq[69] and M. de Givré[70], the favours which I have asked of you for them.

[Pg 32]

"The intrigues of Cardinal Albani in the Conclave, the partisans whom he had won, even among the majority, had made me fear some unexpected stroke to carry him to the Sovereign Pontificate. It seemed to me impossible to allow ourselves to be thus surprised and to permit the Austrian chargé d'affaires to put on the tiara under the eyes of the French Ambassador. I therefore availed myself of the arrival of M. le Cardinal de Clermont-Tonnerre to charge him against all eventualities with the letter enclosed, the terms of which I framed on my own responsibility. Fortunately he was not called upon to make use of this letter; he handed it back to me, and I have the honour to send it to you.

"I have the honour to be, etc."

To His Eminence Monseigneur le Cardinal de Clermont-Tonnerre

"Rome, 28 March 1829.

"Monseigneur,

"Unable to communicate with your colleagues, Messieurs the French cardinals, confined in the Monte Cavallo Palace; obliged to provide for every thing to the advantage of His Majesty's service, and in the interests of our country; knowing how often unexpected nominations have been made in the conclaves, I find myself, to my regret, in the disagreeable necessity of confiding to Your Eminence a power of eventual exclusion.

"Although M. le Cardinal Albani appears to have no chance, he is none the less a man of capacity on whom, in case of a prolonged struggle, they might turn their eyes; but he is the cardinal charged at the Conclave with the instructions of Austria: M. le Comte de Lützow has already designated him in that quality in his speech. Now it is impossible to allow the elevation to the Sovereign Pontificate of a cardinal openly belonging to a crown, whether it be the Crown of France or any other.

"Consequently, monseigneur, I charge you, by virtue of my full powers as His Most Christian Majesty's Ambassador, and taking all the responsibility upon myself alone, to give the exclusion to M. le Cardinal Albani, if, on the one hand, by a fortuitous juncture, or, on the other, by a secret combination,[Pg 33] he should come to obtain the majority of the suffrages.

"I am, etc., etc."

The letter of exclusion.

This letter of exclusion, entrusted to a cardinal by an ambassador who is not formally authorized to that effect, is a piece of diplomatic temerity: it is enough to send a shudder through all stay-at-home statesmen, all the heads of departments, all the chief clerks, all the copiers at the Foreign Office; but, as the Minister knew so little about his business as not even to think of an eventual case of exclusion, needs must that I should think of it for him. Suppose that Albani had been made Pope by accident: what would have become of me? I should have been ruined for ever as a politician.

I say this, not for myself, who care little for a politician's fame, but for the future generation of writers who would be browbeaten because of my accident and who would expiate my misfortune at the cost of their career, even as the whipping-boy is punished when M. le Dauphin commits a blunder. But neither should my daring foresight, in taking the letter of exclusion upon myself, be too much admired: that which appears enormous, when measured by the stunted scale of the old diplomatic ideas, is really nothing at all, in the actual order of society. I owed my audacity on the one hand to my insensibility to all disgrace, on the other to my knowledge of contemporary opinion: the world as it is to-day does not care two sous for the nomination of a pope, the rivalries of crowns, or the internal intrigues of a conclave.

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

Confidential.

"Rome, 2 April 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"I have the honour to-day to send you the important documents which I promised you. These are nothing less than the secret and official journal of the Conclave. It is translated, word for word, from the Italian original; I have only removed any part of it which might point too precisely to the sources whence I drew it. If the smallest atom of these perhaps unexampled revelations[Pg 34] were to transpire, it would cost the fortune, the liberty and perhaps the lives of several persons. This would be the more deplorable inasmuch as we owe these revelations not to interest and corruption, but to confidence in French honour. This document, monsieur le comte, must therefore remain for ever secret after it has been read in the King's Council; for, in spite of the precautions which I have taken to keep names silent and to suppress direct references, it still says enough to compromise its authors. I have added a commentary, to facilitate its perusal. The Pontifical Government is in the habit of keeping a register on which its decisions, its acts and deeds are noted down day by day, and so to speak hour by hour: what an historical treasure, if one could delve into it, going back towards the earlier centuries of the Papacy! I have been given a momentary glimpse of it, for the present period. The King will see, through the documents which I am sending you, what has never been seen before, the inside of a Conclave; the most intimate sentiments of the Court of Rome will be known to him, and His Majesty's Ministers will not be walking in the dark.

"The commentary which I have made of the journal dispensing me from any other reflection, it but remains for me to offer you the renewed assurance of the high regard with which I have the honour to be, etc., etc."

The Italian original of the precious document announced in this confidential dispatch was burnt in Rome before my eyes; I have kept no copy of the translation of this document which I sent to the Foreign Office; I have only a copy of the "commentary" or "remarks" which I added to that translation. But the same discretion which made me charge the Minister to keep the document for ever secret obliges me here to suppress my own remarks; for, however great the obscurity in which those remarks are enveloped, in the absence of the document to which they refer, that obscurity would still be daylight in Rome. Now resentment is long in the Eternal City; it might happen that, fifty years hence, it should fall upon some grand-nephew of the authors of the mysterious confidence. I shall therefore content myself with giving a general epitome of the contents of the commentary, while laying stress on a few passages which bear a direct relation to the affairs of France.

We see, first, how greatly the Court of Naples was deceiving[Pg 35] M. de Blacas, or else how much it was itself deceived; for, while it was causing me to be told that the Neapolitan cardinals would vote with us, they were joining the minority or the so-called Sardinian faction.

The minority of the cardinals imagined that the vote of the French cardinals would influence the form of our government. How so? Apparently by means of secret orders with which they were supposed to be charged and by their votes in favour of a hot-headed pope.

A secret document.

The Nuncio Lambruschini declared to the Conclave that the Cardinal de Latil had the King's secret; all the efforts of the faction tended to create the belief that Charles X. and his Government were not in agreement.

On the 13th of March, the Cardinal de Latil announced that he had a declaration purely of conscience to make to the Conclave; he was sent before four cardinal-bishops: the acts of that secret confession remained in the keeping of the Grand Penitentiary. The other French cardinals knew nothing of the subject-matter of this confession, and Cardinal Albani sought in vain to find out: the fact is important and curious.

The minority consisted of sixteen compact votes. The cardinals forming this minority called themselves the "Fathers of the Cross;" they placed a St. Andrew's cross on their doors as a sign that, having decided on their choice, they did not want to communicate with any one. The majority of the Conclave displayed reasonable sentiments and a firm resolution in no way to mix in foreign politics.

The minutes drawn up by the protonotary of the Conclave are worthy of remark. They conclude with these words:

"Pius VIII. determined to appoint Cardinal Albani Secretary of State, in order also to satisfy the Cabinet of Vienna."

The Sovereign Pontiff divides the lots between the two crowns: he declares himself the French Pope, and gives the secretaryship of State to Austria.

To Madame Récamier

"Rome, Wednesday 8 April 1829.

"This day I have had the whole Conclave to dinner. Tomorrow I receive the Grand-duchess Helen. On Easter Tuesday, I give a ball for the closing of the session; and then I shall prepare to come to see you. You can judge of my[Pg 36] anxiety: at the moment of writing to you, I have no news yet of my mounted courier announcing the death of the Pope, and yet the Pope is already crowned; Leo XII. is forgotten; I have begun again to transact affairs with the new Secretary of State, Albani; everything is going on as though nothing had happened, and I do not even know whether you in Paris know that there is a new Pontiff! How beautiful that ceremony of the papal benediction is! The Sabine Range on the horizon, then the deserted Roman Campagna, then Rome itself, then the Piazza San Pietro and the whole people falling on its knees under an old man's hand: the Pope is the only prince who blesses his subjects.

"I had written so far when a courier arrived from Genoa bringing me a telegraphic dispatch from Paris to Toulon, which dispatch, replying to the one I had sent, informs me that, on the 4th of April, at eleven o'clock in the evening, they received in Paris my telegraphic dispatch from Rome to Toulon announcing the election of Cardinal Castiglioni, and that the King is greatly pleased.

"The rapidity of these communications is prodigious; my courier left at eight o'clock in the evening on the 31st of March, and at eight o'clock in the evening on the 8th of April I received a reply from Paris."

"11 April 1829.

"To-day is the 11th of April: in eight days we shall have Easter with us, in fifteen days my leave, and then to see you! Everything disappears before that hope; I am no more sad; I no longer think of ministers or politics. To-morrow we begin Holy Week. I shall think of all you have told me. Why are you not here to hear the beautiful songs of sorrow with me! We should go to walk in the deserts of the Roman Campagna, now covered with flowers and verdure. All the ruins seem to become young with the new year: I am of their number."

To Récamier and Portalis.

Wednesday in Holy Week, 15 April.

"I have just left the Sistine Chapel, where I attended Tenebræ and heard the Miserere sung. I remembered that you had talked to me of this ceremony, which touched me a hundred times as much because of that.

"The daylight was failing; the shadows crept slowly across the frescoes of the chapel, and one distinguished but a few[Pg 37] bold strokes of Michael Angelo's brush. The candles, extinguished one by one in turns, sent forth from their stifled flames a slender white smoke, a very natural image of life, which Scripture compares to a little smoke[71]. The cardinals were kneeling, the Pope prostrate before the same altar where a few days before I had seen his predecessor; the admirable prayer of penance and mercy, which succeeded the Lamentations of the prophet, rose at intervals in the silence of the night. One felt overwhelmed by the great mystery of a God dying that the sins of mankind might be wiped out. The Catholic Heiress was there on her seven hills with all her memories; but, instead of the powerful pontiffs, those cardinals who contended for precedence with monarchs, a poor old paralyzed Pope, without family or support, Princes of the Church, without splendour, announced the end of a power which has civilized the modern world. The master-pieces of the arts were disappearing with it, were fading away on the walls and ceilings of the Vatican, that half-abandoned palace. Inquisitive strangers, separated from the unity of the Church, assisted at the ceremony on their way and took the place of the community of the Faithful. The heart was seized with a two-fold sadness. Christian Rome, while commemorating the Agony of Jesus Christ, seemed to be celebrating her own, to be repeating for the new Jerusalem the words which Jeremias addressed to the old."

To Récamier and Portalis.

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

"Rome, 16 April 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"Things are developing here as I had the honour to foreshadow to you; the words and actions of the new Pope are in complete agreement with the pacificatory system followed by Leo XII.: Pius VIII. goes even further than his predecessor; he expresses himself with greater frankness on the Charter, of which he is not afraid to pronounce the word nor to advise the French to follow the spirit. The Nuncio, having again written about our business, has received a dry intimation to mind his own. All is being concluded for the Concordat with the Netherlands, and M. le Comte de Celles will complete his mission next month.

"Cardinal Albani, finding himself in a difficult position, is[Pg 38] obliged to pay for it: the protestations which he makes to me of his devotion to France annoy the Austrian Ambassador, who is unable to conceal his ill-humour. From the religious point of view we have nothing to fear from Cardinal Albani; himself troubled with very little religion, he will not feel the impulse to trouble us either with his own fanaticism or with the moderate opinions of his Sovereign.

"As for the political point of view, Italy is not at this day to be juggled away through police intrigues and a cypher correspondence; to allow the Legations to be occupied or to place an Austrian garrison at Ancona on some pretext or other would mean stirring up Europe and declaring war against France: now we are no longer in 1814, 1815, 1816 and 1817; a greedy and unjust ambition is not to be satisfied before our eyes with impunity. And so, that Cardinal Albani is in receipt of a pension from Prince Metternich; that he is a kinsman of the Duke of Modena[72], to whom he declares himself to be leaving his enormous fortune; that he is hatching a little plot with that Prince against the Heir to the Crown of Sardinia[73]: all that is true, all that would have been dangerous at the time when secret and absolute governments set soldiers dimly in movement behind the shelter of a dim dispatch; but, in these days, with public governments, with liberty of the press and of free speech, with the telegraph and general rapidity of communication, with knowledge of affairs spread through the several classes of society, we are protected against the conjuring tricks and artifices of the old diplomacy. At the same time it cannot be denied that there are drawbacks attached to an Austrian chargé d'affaires in the position of Secretary of State in Rome; there are even certain notes (those for instance relating to the imperial power in Italy) which it would not be possible to place in Cardinal Albani's hands.

"No one has yet been able to fathom the secret of an appointment which everybody dislikes, including even the Cabinet of Vienna. Has this to do with interests foreign to politics? They say that Cardinal Albani is at this moment offering to make the Holy Father an advance of 200,000 piastres of which the Roman Government stands in need; others pretend that this sum will be lent by an Austrian banker. Cardinal Macchi told me on Saturday last that His Holiness, not wishing to re-appoint Cardinal Bernetti and[Pg 39] desirous, nevertheless, of giving him a big place, found no other means of arranging things than to make vacant the Bologna Legation. Wretched little difficulties often become the motives of the most important resolutions. If Cardinal Macchi's version is the true one, all that Pius VIII. is doing and saying for the satisfaction of the Crowns of France and Austria would be only an apparent reason, by the aid of which he would seek to mask his own weakness in his own eyes. For the rest, no one believes that Albania ministry will last. So soon as he begins to enter into relations with the ambassadors, difficulties will spring up on every hand.

The position of Italy.

"As to the position of Italy, monsieur le comte, you must read with caution what will be written to you from Rome or elsewhere. It is, unhappily, but too true that the Government of the Two Sicilies has fallen into the last stage of contempt. The manner in which the Court lives in the midst of its guards, for ever trembling, for ever pursued by the phantoms of fear, presenting the sole spectacle of ruinous hunting-parties and gibbets, contributes more and more to debase royalty in this country. Yet they take for conspiracies what is only the general uneasiness, the product of the century, the struggle of the old society with the new, the contest between the decrepitude of the old institutions and the energy of the young generations: in fine, the comparison which everybody makes of that which is with that which might be. Let us not blind our eyes to this fact: the great spectacle of a powerful, free and happy France, that great spectacle which strikes the eyes of the nations which have remained or relapsed under the yoke, excites regrets or feeds hopes. The medley of representative governments and absolute governments cannot long continue; one or the other must go under, and politics must return to an even level, as in the time of Gothic Europe. The custom-house on a frontier can henceforth not separate liberty from slavery; a man can no longer be hung on this side of a brook for principles reputed sacred on the other side of that brook. It is in this sense, monsieur le comte, and in this sense alone, that there is any conspiracy in Italy; it is in this sense too that Italy is French. On the day when she shall enter on the enjoyment of the rights which her intelligence perceives and which the progressive march of time is carrying to her, on that day she will be peaceful and purely Italian. It is not a few poor devils of Carbonari, stirred up by the manœuvres of the police and mercilessly hanged, that will rouse the country[Pg 40] to revolt. Governments are given the falsest ideas of the true state of things; they are prevented from doing what they ought to do to ensure their safety by always having pointed out to them as the private conspiracies of a handful of Jacobins what is really the effect of a permanent and general cause.

"This, monsieur le comte, is the real position of Italy. Each of her States, in addition to the common working of men's minds, is tortured with some local malady: Piedmont is delivered to a fanatical faction; the Milanese is being devoured by the Austrians; the domains of the Holy Father are being ruined by bad financial administration; the taxes amount to nearly fifty millions and do not leave the landlord one per cent, of his income; the customs bring in hardly anything; smuggling is general; the Prince of Modena has established shops in his Duchy (a place of immunity for all ancient abuses) for the sale of prohibited merchandise, which he passes at night into the Bologna Legation[74].

"I have already, monsieur le comte, spoken to you of Naples, where the weakness of the government is saved only by the cowardice of the population.

"It is this absence of military valour that will prolong the death-agony of Italy. Bonaparte did not have time to revive that valour in the land of Marius and Cæsar. The habits of an idle life and the charm of the climate contribute still more to deprive the Southern Italians of the desire to agitate for an improved condition. Antipathies arising from the territorial divisions add to the difficulties of an inside movement; but, if some impulse came from without, if some prince beyond the Alps granted a charter to his subjects, a revolution would take place, because all is ripe for such a revolution. Happier than we and instructed by our experience, the people would be sparing in the crimes and miseries with which we were lavish.

"I have no doubt, monsieur le comte, that I shall soon receive the leave for which I asked you: I shall perhaps use it. At the moment, therefore, of leaving Italy, I have thought it my duty to place a few general hints before you, in order to fix the ideas of the King's Council and to warn it against reports inspired by narrow minds or blind passions.

"I have the honour to be, etc., etc."

[Pg 41]

Expensive visitors.

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

"Rome, 16 April 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"Messieurs the French cardinals are very eager to know what sum will be allowed them for their expenses and their stay in Rome: they have repeatedly asked me to write to you on the subject; I shall therefore be infinitely obliged to you if you will inform me as soon as possible of the King's decision.

"As regards myself, monsieur le comte, when you were good enough to allow me an additional sum of thirty thousand francs, you were under the impression that none of the cardinals would stay with me. Now M. de Clermont-Tonnerre put up here with his suite, consisting of two conclavists, an ecclesiastical secretary, a lay secretary, a valet, two men-servants and a French cook, besides a Roman groom of the chambers, a master of ceremonies, three footmen, a coachman and all the Italian establishment which a cardinal is obliged to keep up here. The Archbishop of Toulouse, who is not able to walk[75], does not dine at my table; he requires two or three courses at different hours, and horses and carriages for his guests and friends. My reverend visitor will certainly not pay his expenditure here; he will go, and leave the bills to me; I shall have to pay not only the cook, the laundress, the livery-stable keeper, etc., etc., but also the two surgeons who came to look at His Lordship's leg, the shoemaker who makes his white and purple slippers, and the tailor who has 'confectioned' the cloaks, cassocks, neck-bands, the whole outfit of the cardinal and his abbés.

"If to this, monsieur le comte, you add my extraordinary expenses for costs of representation, which expenses have been increased by the presence of the Grand-duchess Helen, Prince Paul of Wurtemberg[76] and the King of Bavaria, you will no doubt find that the thirty thousand francs which you allowed me will have been much exceeded. The first year[Pg 42] of an ambassador's establishment is a ruinous one, the grants allowed for that establishment being far below its needs. It requires a residence of almost three years for a diplomatic agent to find means to pay off the debts which he has begun by making and to keep his expenses on a level with his receipts. I know all the penury of the budget of the Foreign Office; if I had any fortune of my own, I would not trouble you: nothing is more disagreeable to me, I assure you, than these details of money into which a rigorous necessity compels me to enter, much against my will.

"Accept, monsieur le comte, etc."

I had given balls and evening-parties in London and Paris, and, although a child of a different desert, I had not passed too badly through those new solitudes; but I had had no glimmer of the nature of the entertainments in Rome: they have something of ancient poetry, which places death by the side of pleasures. At the Villa Medicis, where I received the Grand-duchess Helen, the gardens themselves are an adornment, and the frame of the picture is magnificent: on one side, the Villa Borghese, with Raphael's house; on the other the Villa Monte-Maria, and the slopes edging the Tiber; below the spectator, the whole of Rome, like an old, abandoned eagle's nest. Amid the groves thronged, together with the descendants of the Paulas and Corinnas, beauties come from Naples, Florence and Milan: the Princess Helen seemed to be their queen. Boreas, suddenly descending from the mountain, tore the banqueting-tent and fled with shreds of canvas and garlands, as though to give us an image of all that time has swept away on this shore. The Embassy staff were in consternation; I felt an indescribable ironical gaiety at seeing a breath from heaven carry off my gold of a day and my joys of an hour. The mischief was promptly repaired. Instead of lunching on the terrace, we lunched in the graceful palace: the harmony of the horns and oboes, spread by the wind, had something of the murmur of my American forests. The groups disporting amid the squalls, the women whose tortured veils beat their hair and faces, the saltarello which continued during the storm, the improvisatrice declaiming to the clouds, the balloon escaping crooked-wise with the cypher of the Daughter of the North: all this gave a new character to those sports in which the customary tempests of my life seemed to take part.

What a fascination for any man who should not have[Pg 43] counted his heap of years, and who should have asked illusions of the world and the storm! It is difficult indeed for me to remember my autumn when, at my receptions, I see pass before me those women of spring-time who penetrate among the flowers, the concerts and the lights of my successive galleries: as who should sway swans swimming towards radiant climes. To what désennui are they going? Some seek what they already love, others what they do not yet love. At the end of the road, they will fall into those sepulchres, always open here, into those ancient sarcophaguses which serve as basins to fountains hanging from porticoes; they will go to swell so many light and charming ashes. Those waves of beauties, diamonds, flowers and feathers roll to the sound of Rossini's music, which is re-echoed and grows feebler from orchestra to orchestra. Is that melody the sigh of the breeze to which I listened in the savannahs of the Floridas, the moan which I heard in the Temple of Erechtheus at Athens? Is it the distant wailing of the north winds, which rocked me on the ocean? Could my sylph be hidden beneath the form of some of these brilliant Italian women? No: my hamadryad has remained united to the willow of the meadows where I used to talk with her on the further side of the hedge at Combourg. I have little in common with these frolics of the society which has attached itself to my steps at the end of my race; and yet this fairy-scene contains a certain intoxication that flies to my head: I get rid of it only by going to cool my brow in the solitary square of St. Peter's or in the deserted Coliseum. Then the puny sights of the earth are lost, and I find nothing equal to the sudden change of scene but the old melancholy of my early days.

The exiled Bonapartes.

I will now set forth here my relations, as Ambassador, with the Bonaparte Family, in order to clear the Restoration of one of the calumnies that are incessantly being thrown at its head.

France did not act alone in banishing the members of the Imperial Family; she merely obeyed the hard necessity put upon her by the force of arms; it was the Allies who provoked that banishment: diplomatic conventions, formal treaties pronounce the exile of the Bonapartes, lay down the very places they are to live at, forbid a minister or ambassador to deliver a passport, by himself, to Napoleon's kinsmen; the visa of the four other ministers or ambassadors[Pg 44] of the four other contracting Powers is exacted. To such a degree did the blood of Napoleon frighten the Allies, even when it did not flow in his own veins!

Thank God, I never submitted to those measures. In 1823, without consulting anybody, in spite of the treaties, and on my own responsibility as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I delivered a passport to Madame la Comtesse de Survilliers[77], then in Brussels, to enable her to come to Paris to nurse one of her kinsmen, who was ill. Twenty times over I called for the repeal of those laws of persecution; twenty times over I told Louis XVIII. that I should like to see the Duc de Reichstadt captain of his Guards, and the statue of Napoleon put back on the top of the column in the Place Vendôme. Both as minister and ambassador, I rendered all the services in my power to the Bonaparte Family. That was the broad view I took of the Legitimate Monarchy: liberty can look glory in the face. As Ambassador to Rome, I authorized my secretaries and attachés to appear in the palace of Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu; I threw down the barrier raised between Frenchmen who had all known adversity. I wrote to M. le Cardinal Fesch to invite him to join the cardinals who were to meet at my house; I expressed to him my sorrow at the political measures which it had been thought necessary to take; I reminded him of the time when I had formed part of his mission to the Holy See; and I begged my old ambassador to honour with his presence the banquet of his old secretary of embassy. I received the following reply, full of dignity, discretion and prudence:

Fesch, Jerome Bonaparte.

"Palazzo Falconieri, 4 April 1829.

"Cardinal Fesch greatly appreciates M. de Chateaubriand's obliging invitation, but his position on returning to Rome was such as to recommend him to forsake the world and lead a life quite apart from any society except that of his family. The circumstances that followed proved to him that this course was indispensable to his tranquillity; and, as the amenities of the moment are no safeguard against unpleasantness in the future, he is obliged not to change his mode of life. Cardinal Fesch begs M. de Chateaubriand to be convinced that nothing[Pg 45] can equal his gratitude, and that it is with much regret that he will not wait upon His Excellency as frequently as he would have desired.

'His very humble, etc.,

"Cardinal Fesch."

The phrase, "the amenities of the moment are no safeguard against unpleasantness in the future," is an allusion to the threat uttered by M. de Blacas, who had given orders for M. le Cardinal Fesch to be flung down his stairs if he presented himself at the French Embassy: M. de Blacas was too much inclined to forget that he had not always been so great a lord. I who, in order to be what I have to be, in so far as I can, in the present, am constantly recalling my past, have acted differently with His Eminence the Archbishop of Lyons: the little misunderstandings that existed between him and me in Rome oblige me to adopt a tone of propriety the more respectful inasmuch as I, in my turn, belong to the triumphant and he to the beaten party.

Prince Jerome, on his side, did me the honour to ask my intervention, sending me a copy of a request which he was addressing to the Cardinal Secretary of State; he says in his letter to me:

"Exile is terrible enough, both in its principle and in its consequences, for that generous France which witnessed his birth [Prince Jerome's], that France which possesses all his affections and which he has served for twenty years, not to wish to aggravate his situation by permitting every government to abuse the delicacy of his position.

"Prince Jérôme de Montfort, confiding in the loyalty of the French Government and in the character of its noble representative, does not hesitate to believe that justice will be done him.

"He takes this opportunity, etc.

"Jérôme."

In consequence of this request, I addressed a confidential note to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bernetti; it ends with these words:

"The motives inferred by Prince Jérôme de Montfort appearing to the undersigned to be founded on justice and reason, he could not refuse the applicant the intervention of[Pg 46] his good offices, persuaded as he is that the French Government will always regret to see the severity of the political laws aggravated by measures likely to give umbrage.

"The undersigned would set an especial value upon obtaining, in this circumstance, the powerful interest of H. E. the Cardinal Secretary of State.

"Chateaubriand."

At the same time I replied to Prince Jerome as follows:

"Rome, 9 May 1829.

"The French Ambassador to the Holy See has received the copy of the note which Prince Jérôme de Montfort has done him the honour to send him. He hastens to thank him for the confidence which he has been good enough to show him; he will make it a duty to write to His Holiness' Secretary of State in support of His Highness' just claims.

"The Vicomte de Chateaubriand, who has also been banished from his country, would be only too happy to be able to soften the fate of the Frenchmen who still find themselves placed under the blow of a political law. The exiled brother of Napoleon, addressing himself to an Emigrant formerly struck off the list of outlaws by Napoleon himself, is one of those freaks of fortune which must needs have the ruins of Rome for witnesses.

"The Vicomte de Chateaubriand has the honour, etc."

Dispatch to M. le comte Portalis

"Rome, 4 May 1829.

"I have had the honour to inform you, in my letter of 30 April, acknowledging the receipt of your Dispatch No. 25, that the Pope received me in private audience on the 29th of April at mid-day. His Holiness appeared to me to be enjoying very good health. He made me sit beside him and kept me nearly an hour and a quarter. The Austrian Ambassador had had a public audience before me to hand over his new credentials.

"On leaving the closet of His Holiness at the Vatican, I called on the Secretary of State, and, frankly broaching the question with him, said:

"'Well, you see what our newspapers are making you out[Pg 47] to be! You are "an Austrian, you hate France," you want to do her some bad turns: what am I to believe of all that?'

"He shrugged his shoulders and replied:

"'Your newspapers make me laugh; I cannot convince you by my words if you are not convinced already; but put me to the test and you shall see if I do not love France, if I do not do what you ask me in the name of your King!'

"I believe, monsieur le comte, that Cardinal Albani is sincere. He is profoundly indifferent in religious matters; he is not a priest; he has even thought of giving up the purple and marrying; he does not like the Jesuits, who tire him with the noise they make; he is lazy, a glutton, a great lover of all kinds of pleasures; the weariness which bishops' charges and pastoral letters produce in him makes him extremely unfavourable to the cause of the authors of those charges and pastoral letters: that old man of eighty wants to die in peace and joyousness.

"I have the honour, etc."

Monte Cavallo.

I often visit Monte Cavallo; there the solitude of the gardens is increased by the solitude of the Roman Campagna, in search of which one's eyes turn beyond Rome and up the right bank of the Tiber. The gardeners are my friends; there are walks leading to the Panatteria, a poor dairy-farm, aviary, or poultry-yard, the occupants of which are as indigent and peaceful as the latter-day popes. Looking down from the height of the terraces of the Quirinal enclosure, one sees a narrow street in which women sit working at their windows on the different storeys: some embroider, others paint, in the silence of this retired quarter.

The cells of the cardinals of the last Conclave do not interest me at all. When St. Peter's was built, when master-pieces were ordered of Raphael, when at the same time the Kings came to kiss the Pontiffs slipper, there was something worthy of attention in the Temporal Papacy. I would gladly see the cell of a Gregory VII.[78], of a Sixtus V., just as I would look for the lions' den in Babylon; but dark holes, deserted by an obscure company of septuagenarians, represent to me only those columbaria of Ancient Rome, which are empty to-day of their dust and from which a family of dead have fled.

[Pg 48]

I therefore pass rapidly by those cells, already half demolished, to walk through the rooms of the palace: there everything speaks to me of an event[79] for which one finds no precedent except by going back to Sciarra Colonna[80], Nogaret[81] and Boniface VIII.[82]

My first and my last visit to Rome are connected by memories of Pius VII., to whose story I have referred when speaking of Madame de Beaumont and of Bonaparte. My two visits are two pendentives outlined under the vault of my monument. My faithfulness to the memory of my old friends must give confidence to the friends who remain to me: for me nothing sinks into the tomb; all that I have known lives around me: according to the Indian doctrine, death, when it smites us, does not destroy us; it only makes us invisible.

To M. le comte Portalis

"Rome, 7 May 1829.

"Monsieur le comte,

"I have at last received, by Messieurs Desgranges and Franqueville, your Dispatch No. 25. This rude dispatch, made out by some ill-bred Foreign-Office clerk, is not what I had the right to expect after the services which I had had the honour to render the King during the Conclave; and above all they might have remembered a little whom they were addressing. Not an obliging word for M. Bellocq, who obtained such exceptional documents; nothing in reply to the request I made on his behalf; gratuitous comments on Cardinal Albania nomination, a nomination made in the Conclave which no one, therefore, could have foreseen or[Pg 49] prevented, a nomination concerning which I have never ceased to send you explanations. In my Dispatch No. 34, which has doubtless now reached you, I again offer you a very simple method of getting rid of this cardinal, if he causes France such alarm, and that method will already be half carried out when you receive this letter: to-morrow I shall take leave of His Holiness; I shall hand over the Embassy to M. Bellocq, as chargé d'affaires, in accordance with the instructions in your Dispatch No. 24, and leave for Paris.

"I have the honour to be, etc."

This last note is a rude one, and puts an abrupt close to my correspondence with M. Portalis.

To Portalis and Récamier.

To Madame Récamier

"14 May 1829.

"My departure is fixed for the 16th. Letters from Vienna arriving this morning announce that M. de Laval has refused the Foreign Office; is it true? If he keeps to this refusal, what will happen? God knows. I hope that all will be decided before my arrival in Paris. It seems to me that we have become paralyzed and that we have nothing free except our tongues.

"You think I shall come to an arrangement with M. de Laval; I doubt it. I am inclined to come to an arrangement with nobody. I was going to arrive in the most peaceful mood, and those people think fit to pick a quarrel with me. So long as I had a chance of office, they could not praise and flatter me enough in their dispatches; the day on which the place was taken, or thought to be taken, they drily inform me of M. de Laval's nomination in the rudest and at the same time the most stupid dispatch. But, before becoming so flat and insolent between one post and another, they ought to have reflected a little whom they were addressing, and M. Portalis will have learnt as much from a word which I have sent him lately in reply. It is possible that he merely signed without reading, just as Carnot signed hundreds of death-warrants on trust."

The friend of the great L'Hôpital[83], the Chancelier Olivier[84],[Pg 50] in his sixteenth-century language, which set politeness at defiance, compares the French to monkeys which clamber to the tree-tops and never cease climbing until they reach the top-most branch, where they show what they ought to hide. All that has happened in France from 1789 to our own time proves the correctness of the simile: every man, as he ascends through life, becomes like the Chancellor's ape; he ends by shamelessly exposing his infirmities to the passers-by. See, at the end of my dispatches I am seized with a desire to boast: the great men who swarm at this present time prove that a man is a dupe if he does not himself proclaim his immortality.

Have you read, in the archives of the Foreign Office, the diplomatic correspondence relating to the most important events at the period of that correspondence?

"No."

At least you have read the printed correspondence: you know the negociations of Du Bellay, of d'Ossat, of Du Perron, of the Président Jeannin[85], the State Memoirs of Villeroi[86], the Économies royales of Sully[87]; you have seen the Memoirs of the Cardinal de Richelieu[88], numbers of letters of Mazarin, the papers and documents relating to the Treaty of Westphalia[89], to the Peace of Munster[90]? You know Barillon's[91] Dispatches on English affairs; the negociations on the Spanish Succession are not unfamiliar to you; the name of Madame des Ursins has not escaped you; M. de Choiseul's[92][Pg 51] Family Compact has come under your notice; you are not unacquainted with Ximenes[93], Olivarez[94] and Pombal[95], Hugo Grotius on the liberty of the seas[96], his letters to the two Oxenstierns[97], the Negociations of the Grand Pensionary de Witt[98] with Peter Grotius[99], the second son of Hugo; in fine, the collection of diplomatic treaties has perhaps attracted your attention?

"No."

My diplomatic dispatches.

So you have read none of those sempiternal lucubrations? Well then, read them; when you have done so, pass over my Spanish War, the success of which troubles you, although it forms my chief claim to be classed as a statesman; take my dispatches from Prussia, England and Rome, place them beside the other dispatches which I have mentioned: and then, with your hand on your conscience, tell me which have bored you most; tell me if my work and the work of my predecessors are not quite similar; if the grasp of small things and of "practical" matters is not as manifest on my part as on that of the past ministers and defunct ambassadors.

First of all, you will notice that I have an eye for everything; that I occupy myself with Reshid Pasha[100] and M. de[Pg 52] Blacas; that I defend my privileges and rights as Ambassador to Rome against all comers; that I am crafty, false (an eminent quality!) and cunning to such an extent that, when M. de Funchal, in an equivocal position, writes to me, I do not reply to him, but go to see him with astute politeness, so that he is unable to show a line in my handwriting and is nevertheless satisfied. There is not an imprudent word to be criticized in my conversations with Cardinals Bernetti and Albani, the two secretaries of State; nothing escapes me; I descend to the pettiest details; I restore the accounts of the affairs of the French in Rome in such a way that they still exist on the basis on which I have placed them. With an eagle's glance, I perceive that the Treaty of Trinità de' Monti, between the Holy See and the Ambassadors Laval and Blacas, is irregular, and that neither party had the right to conclude it. Mounting higher, and coming to the greater diplomacy, I take upon myself to give the exclusion to a cardinal, because a minister of foreign affairs has left me without instructions and exposes me to seeing a creature of Austria elected Pope. I procure the secret journal of the Conclave: a thing that no ambassador has ever been able to obtain; day by day I send the list of names and votes. Nor do I neglect Bonaparte's family: I do not despair, by means of good treatment, of persuading Cardinal Fesch to send in his resignation as Archbishop of Lyons. If a Carbonaro stirs, I am informed of it and able to judge how much truth there is in the conspiracy; if an abbé intrigues, I am aware of it, and I baffle the plans that had been formed to separate the French cardinals from the French Ambassador. Lastly, I discover that a great secret has been deposited by the Cardinal de Latil in the bosom of the Grand Penitentiary. Are you satisfied? Is that a man who knows his trade? Very well, and now see: I dispatched all this diplomatic business like the first ambassador that comes, without its costing me an idea, in the same way as a booby of a Lower Norman peasant knits his stockings while watching his sheep: my sheep were my dreams.

Now here is another point of view: if you compare my official letters with the official letters of my predecessors, you will see that mine treat of general affairs as well as private affairs, that I am drawn by the character of the ideas of my century into a loftier region of the human mind. This may be observed more particularly in the dispatch in which I speak to M. Portalis of the state of Italy, in which[Pg 53] I set forth the mistake of the cabinets which take for private conspiracies that which is only the development of civilization. The Memorandum on the War in the East also exposes truths of a political order which are out of the common. I have talked with two Popes of other things than cabinet intrigues; I have obliged them to speak to me of religion, liberty, the future destiny of the world. My speech delivered at the door of the Conclave has the same character. I dared to tell old men to go forward and place religion once again at the head of the march of society.

My political successes.

Readers, wait for me to end my boasting so as next to come to the object, in the manner of the philosopher Plato making a circuit round his idea. I have become old Sidrac; age prolongs my weary road[101]. I continue: I shall be a long while yet. Several writers of our time have a mania for disdaining their literary talent in order to follow their political talent, which they value far above the former. Thank God, I am governed by a contrary instinct: I make little of politics, for the very reason that I have been lucky at the game. To succeed in public life, it is not a question of acquiring qualities, but a matter of losing them. I shamelessly admit my aptitude for practical things, without cherishing the smallest illusion touching the obstacle within myself which opposes my complete success. That obstacle has nothing to do with the Muse; it arises from my indifference to everything. With this defect, it is impossible to achieve anything completely, in practical life.

Indifference, I admit, is one of the qualities of statesmen, but of statesmen without conscience. They have to know how to look dry-eyed upon any event, to swallow bitter pills like malmsey, and, where others are concerned, to set at nought morality, justice, sufferings, provided that, in the midst of revolutions, they know how to find their own particular fortune. For, to those transcendent minds, the accident, be it good or bad, is bound to bring something; it must pay at the rate of a throne, a coffin, an oath, an outrage; the tariff is made out by the Mionnets[102] of[Pg 54] catastrophes and affronts: I am not an expert in these numismatics. Unfortunately my indifference is a double one; I grow no more excited about my person than about facts. Contempt for the world came to St. Paul the Hermit[103] from his religious faith; contempt for society comes to me from my political incredulity. This incredulity would carry me high in a sphere of action, if, more careful of my foolish self, I were able at the same time to humiliate it and to clothe it. Do what I may, I remain a numskull of a decent man, naively stupid and quite bare, unable either to cringe or to help myself.

D'Andilly[104], speaking of himself, seems to have described one side of my character:

"I have never had any ambition," he says, "because I had too much, being unable to endure the dependence which confines within such narrow limits the effects of the inclination which God gave me for great things, glorious to the State, and capable of procuring the happiness of peoples, without its being possible for me to consider my private interests in all that. I was fit only for a king who would have reigned by himself and who would have had no other desire than to render his glory immortal."

In that case, I was not fit for the kings of the day.

Now that I have led you by the hand through the most secret winding ways of my merits, that I have made you feel all that is rare in my dispatches, like one of my colleagues at the Institute who is incessantly singing his own fame and teaching men to admire him, now I will tell you what I am leading up to with my boasting: by showing what they are able to do in public life, I wish to defend the men of letters against the men of diplomacy, the counting-house and the offices.

The latter must not be allowed to take it into their[Pg 55] heads to think themselves above men the smallest of whom overtops them by a head: when one knows so many things, like these practical gentlemen, one should at least not display gross ignorance. You talk of "facts;" well then, recognize "facts:" the majority of the great writers of antiquity, of the middle ages, of Modern England have been great statesmen, when they have deigned to descend to public life:

"I did not wish to give them to understand," says Alfieri, refusing an embassy, "that their diplomacy and their dispatches seemed to me and certainly were for me less important than my tragedies or even those of others; but it is impossible to reclaim that kind of people: they cannot and must not be converted."

Other literary diplomatists.

Who in France was ever more literary than L'Hôpital[105], the reversioner of Horace, than d'Ossat[106], that capable ambassador, than Richelieu, that great head, who, not content with dictating "controversial treaties," with writing "Memoirs," and "histories," constantly invented dramatic subjects, and rhymed with Mailleville and Boisrobert[107], and gave birth, by the sweat of his brow, to the Academy[108] and the Grande Pastorale?[109] Is it because he was a bad writer that he was a great minister? But the question is not one of the possession of more or less talent; it is one of the passion for paper and ink: and M. de L'Empyrée[110] never showed more ardour nor incurred greater expense than did the cardinal to snatch the palm from Parnassus, seeing that the staging of his "tragi-comedy" of Mirame cost him two hundred thousand crowns! If, in one who is both a political and a literary personage, the mediocrity of a poet caused the superiority of the statesmen, one would have thence to conclude that the weakness of the statesman would result from the strength of the poet: yet did the literary genius[Pg 56] destroy the political genius of Solon[111], an elegist equal to Simonides[112]; of Pericles stealing from the Muses the eloquence with which he subjugated the Athenians; of Thucydides[113] and Demosthenes[114], who carried to so great a height the glory of the writer and the orator, while devoting their days to war and the public places? Did it destroy the genius of Xenophon[115], who effected the retreat of the ten thousand while dreaming of the Cyropœdia; of the two Scipios[116], one the friend of Lælius[117], the other associated in the fame of Terence[118]; of Cicero[119], king of letters, as he was the father of the country; of Cæsar[120], lastly, author of works of grammar, astronomy, religion, literature, of Cæsar, rival of Archilochus[121] in satire, of Sophocles[122] in tragedy, of Demosthenes in eloquence, whose Commentaries are the despair of historians?

In spite of these examples and a thousand others, literary talent, which is very eminently the first of all, because it excludes no other faculty, will always in this country be an obstacle to political success. Of what use, indeed, is a high intelligence? It serves no purpose whatever. The block-heads of France, a special and wholly national type, grant[Pg 57] nothing to the Grotiuses, the Frederics, the Bacons[123], the Thomas Mores[124], the Spensers[125], the Falklands[126], the Clarendons[127], the Bolingbrokes[128], the Burkes and the Cannings of France[129].

Envy of the common herd.

Never will our vanity recognise in a man even of genius aptitudes and the faculty of doing common things as well as they are done by a common mind. If you overpass the vulgar conception by a hairbreadth, a thousand imbeciles exclaim, "You're losing yourself in the clouds," delighted as they feel at dwelling underneath, where they insist upon thinking. Those poor envious people, by reason of their secret misery, kick against merit; they compassionately dismiss Virgil, Racine, Lamartine[130] to their verses. But, proud sirs, to what are we to dismiss you? To oblivion, which awaits you at twenty steps from your doors, while twenty verses of those poets will carry them to the furthermost posterity.

The first invasion of Rome by the French, under the Directorate, was infamous and accompanied by spoliation; the second, under the Empire, was iniquitous: but once accomplished, order reigned.

The Republic demanded of Rome, for an armistice, twenty-two millions, the occupation of the Citadel of Ancona, one hundred pictures and statues, and one hundred manuscripts, to be selected by the French commissaries. They especially wanted to have the busts of Brutus and Marcus Aurelius: so many people in France called themselves Brutus in those days, it was very simple that they should wish to possess the[Pg 58] pious image of their putative father; but Marcus Aurelius, whose father was he? Attila, to go away from Rome, asked only a certain number of pounds of pepper and silk: in our day, she for a moment redeemed her liberty with pictures. Great artists, often neglected and unhappy, left their master-pieces to serve as a ransom for the ungrateful cities that slighted them.

The Frenchmen of the Empire had to repair the ravages which the Frenchmen of the Republic had committed in Rome; they also owed an expiation for the sack of Rome accomplished by an army led by a French Prince[131]: it was befitting that Bonaparte should set order in the ruins which another Bonaparte[132] had seen grow, and whose overthrow he described. The plan adopted by the French Administration for the excavation of the Forum was that which Raphael proposed to Leo X.: it caused to rise from the earth the three columns of the Temple of Jupiter Tonans; it laid bare the portico of the Temple of Concord; it exposed the pavement of the Via Sacra; it did away with the new buildings with which the Temple of Peace was encumbered; it removed the soil which covered the steps of the Coliseum, cleared the interior of the arena and brought to view seven or eight rooms in the Baths of Titus[133].

Elsewhere, the Forum of Trajan[134] was explored, the Pantheon, the Baths of Diocletian, the Temple of Patrician Modesty repaired. Funds were put aside for the maintenance, outside Rome, of the Walls of Falerii and the Tomb of Cæcilia Metella.

Repairing works were also undertaken for modern edifices: St. Paul's Without the Walls, which no longer exists[135], had its roofing repaired; St Agnes', San Martino ai Monti were protected[Pg 59] against the weather. A portion of the roof and the pavement of St. Peter's was mended; lightning-conductors shielded the dome of Michael Angelo from the lightning. The sites were marked out of two cemeteries in the east and west of the city, and that on the east, near the Convent of San Lorenzo, was finished.

The French in Rome.

The Quirinal arrayed its external poverty in the luxury of porphyry and Roman marbles: designed as it was for the imperial palace, Bonaparte, before taking up his residence there, wanted to remove all traces of the abduction of the Pontiff, held captive at Fontainebleau. It was proposed to pull down the part of the city lying between the Capitol and Monte Cavallo, so that the triumpher might ride up to his Cæsarian abode through an immense avenue; events caused these gigantic dreams to fade away by destroying enormous realities.

Among the plans decided was that of building a series of quays, from Ripetta to Ripa Grande: the foundations of those quays would have been laid; the four blocks of houses between the Castle of Sant' Angelo and the Piazza Rusticucci were partly bought up and would have been demolished. A wide thoroughfare would thus have been opened on to the Square of St. Peter's, which would have been seen from the foot of the Castle of Sant' Angelo.

The French make walks wherever they go: at Cairo, I have seen a great square which they had planted with palm-trees and surrounded with cafés bearing names borrowed from the cafés of Paris; in Rome, my fellow-countrymen created the Pincio; you reach it by a flight of stairs. Going down this flight the other day, I saw a carriage pass in which was seated a woman still possessed of a certain youth: with her fair hair, the badly-outlined contour of her figure, the inelegance of her beauty, I took her for a fat, white stranger from Westphalia; it was Madame Guiccioli: nothing could go less well with the memory of Lord Byron. What matter? The daughter of Ravenna (of whom, for the rest, the poet was tired when he resolved to die) will none the less go, conducted by the Muse, to take her place in the Elysian Fields, adding one more to the divinities of the tomb.

The western portion of the Piazza del Popolo was to have been planted in the space occupied by work-yards and shops; from the end of the open place one would have seen the Capitol, the Vatican and St. Peter's beyond the quays of the Tiber: in other words, Ancient and Modern Rome.

[Pg 60]

Lastly, a wood, created by the French, rises to-day to the east of the Coliseum; one never meets anybody there: although it has shot up, it has the look of a brush-wood growing at the foot of a tall ruin.

Pliny the Younger[136] wrote to Maximus:

"Consider that you are sent to... Greece, where politeness, learning and even agriculture itself are supposed to have taken their first rise.... Revere the gods their founders, their ancient glory and even that very antiquity itself which, venerable in men, is sacred in States. Honour them therefore for their deeds of old renown, nay, their very legendary traditions. Grant to every one his full dignities, privileges, yes, and the indulgence of his very vanity. Remember it was from this nation we derived our laws; that she did not receive ours by conquest, but gave us hers by favour. Remember, it is Athens to which you go; it is Lacedæmon you govern; and to deprive such a people of the declining shadow, the remaining name of liberty would be cruel, inhuman, barbarous[137]."

*

When Pliny wrote those noble and touching words to Maximus, did he know that he was drawing up instructions for peoples, then barbarian, that would one day come to hold sway over the ruins of Rome?

*

I shall soon be leaving Rome, and I hope to return. I once more love passionately this Rome so sad and so beautiful: I shall have a panorama on the Capitol, where the Prussian Minister will give up to me the little Caffarelli Palace; at Sant' Onofrio I have set up another retreat. Pending my departure and my return, I never cease wandering in the Campagna; there is no little road, running between two hedges, that I do not know better than the Combourg lanes. From the top of the Monte Mario and the surrounding hills, I discover the horizon of the sea in the direction of Ostia; I take my rest under the light and crumbling porticoes of the Villa Madama. In these architectural remains changed into farms, I often find only a timid young girl, startled and agile as her goats. When I go out by the Porta Pia, I walk to the Ponte[Pg 61] Lamentano over the Teverone; I admire, as I pass St Agnes', a Head of Christ by Michael Angelo, which keeps watch over the almost abandoned convent. The master-pieces of the great masters thus strewn through the desert fill the soul with profound melancholy. It distresses me that they should have collected the Roman pictures in a museum; I should have much preferred to go along the slopes of the Janiculum, under the fall of the Aqua Paola, across the solitary Via delle Fomaci, to seek the Transfiguration in the Recollect Monastery of San Pietro in Montorio. When one looks at the place once occupied, on the high altar of the church, by the ornament of Raphael's funeral, one's heart is struck and saddened.

Walks in Rome.

Beyond the Ponte Lamentano, yellow pasture-lands stretch to the left to the Tiber; the river which bathed the gardens of Horace here flows unknown. Following the high road, you find the pavement of the ancient Via Tiburtina. I there this year saw the first swallow arrive.

I herborize at the Tomb of Cæcilia Metella: the undulated mignonette and the Apennine anemone make a pretty effect against the whiteness of the ruin and the ground. Taking the Ostia Road, I go to St. Paul's, lately fallen a prey to the flames; I sit down to rest on some calcined porphyry and watch the workmen silently building up a new church; they pointed out to me some columns already outlined as I descended the Simplon: the whole history of Christianity in the West begins at St. Paul's Without the Walls.

In France, when we build any bit of a house, we make a terrible noise about it; numbers of machines, and multitude of men and cries: in Italy, they undertake immense works almost without stirring. The Pope, at this very moment, is rebuilding the fallen portion of the Coliseum; half-a-dozen mason's labourers, without any scaffolding, are lifting up the colossus under whose shoulders died a nation changed into workmen slaves. Near Verona, I used often to stop to watch a village priest who was building a huge steeple by himself; the glebe farmer acted as mason under him.

I often go round the walls of Rome on foot; as I take this circular walk, I read the history of the queen of the pagan and Christian universe written in the diverse constructions, architectures and ages of the walls.

Again, I go to discover some dilapidated villa within the walls of Rome. I visit Santa Maria Maggiore, St. John Lateran with its obelisk, Santa Croce di Girusalemme with[Pg 62] its flowers: I listen to the singing; I pray: I love to pray on my knees; in this way my heart is nearer the dust and endless rest: I draw nigh to my tomb.

My excavations are only a variation of the same pleasures. From the upland of some hill one perceives the dome of St. Peter's. What does one pay the owner of the place where treasures lie buried? The value of the grass destroyed by the excavation. Perhaps I shall give my clay to the earth in exchange for the statue which it will give me: we shall only be bartering a man's image for a man's image.

He has not seen Rome who has not walked through the streets of its suburbs interspersed with empty spaces, with gardens full of ruins, with enclosures planted with trees and vines, with cloisters where rise palm-trees and cypresses, the first resembling Eastern women, the second mourning nuns. Issuing from these ruins, one sees tall Roman women, poor and handsome, going to buy fruits or to fetch water from cascades of the aqueducts of the emperors and popes. To see the native manners in their simplicity, I pretend to be in search of an apartment to let; I knock at the door of a secluded house; they answer, "Favorisca," and I enter. I find, in a bare room, either a workman pursuing his trade, or a proud zitella, knitting her wool-work, a cat upon her knees, watching me wander at random without rising from her seat.

In bad weather, I take shelter in St. Peter's, or else lose myself in the museums of the Vatican, with its eleven thousand rooms and its eighteen thousand windows[138]. What solitudes of master-pieces! You come there through a gallery the walls of which are encrusted with epitaphs and ancient inscriptions: death seems to be born in Rome.

There are more tombs than dead in this city. I imagine that the deceased, when they feel too warm in their marble resting-places, glide into another that has remained empty, even as a sick man is moved from one bed to another. One seems to hear the bodies pass, during the night, from coffin to coffin.

The first time I saw Rome, it was the end of June: the hot season increases the abandonment of the city; the visitors fly, the inhabitants of the country remain indoors; you meet no one in the streets during the daytime. The sun darts its rays upon the Coliseum, where grasses hang motionless and nothing stirs save the lizards. The earth is bare; the cloudless sky appears even more desert than the[Pg 63] earth. But soon the night brings the inhabitants out of their palaces and the stars out of the firmament; earth and the heavens become repeopled; Rome revives; that life silently recommencing in the darkness, around the tombs, has the air of the life and movement of the shades which redescend to Erebus at the approach of day.

And in the Campagna.

Yesterday I roamed by moonlight in the Campagna, between the Porta Angelica and the Monte Mario. A nightingale was singing in a narrow dale railed in with canes. I there, for the first time, found that melodious sadness of which the ancient poets speak in connection with the bird of spring. The long whistle which we all know, and which precedes the brilliant flourishes of the winged musician, was not piercing like that of our nightingales; it had a veiled sound like the whistle of the bullfinch of our woods. All its notes were lowered by a half tone; its burden was transposed from the major to the minor key; it sang softly; it appeared to wish to charm the sleep of the dead and not to wake them. Over this untilled common-land had passed Horace' Lydia, Tibullus' Delia, Ovid's Corinna; only Virgil's Philomela remained. That hymn of love was potent in that spot and at that hour; it gave an indescribable longing for a second life: according to Socrates, love is the desire to be born again by the agency of beauty; it was this desire that a Greek girl inspired in a youth when she said to him:

"If I had nothing left to me but the thread of my necklace of pearls, I would share it with thee."

If I have the happiness to end my days here, I have arranged to have a retreat at Sant' Onofrio adjoining the chamber where Tasso breathed his last. In the spare moments of my embassy, I shall continue my Memoirs at the window of the cell. In one of the most beautiful positions on earth, among orange-trees and evergreen oaks, with all Rome under my eyes, every morning, as I sit down to work, between the deathbed and the tomb of the poet, I shall invoke the genius of glory and misfortune.

*

In the early days after my arrival in Rome, wandering in this way at random, I met a school of young boys between the Baths of Titus and the Coliseum. They were in charge of a master in a slouched hat, a torn and draggle-tailed gown, resembling a poor brother of Christian Doctrine. As I passed near him, I looked at him and thought he had a false[Pg 64] air of my nephew, Christian de Chateaubriand, but I dared not believe my eyes. He looked at me in his turn, and without showing any surprise, said:

"Uncle!"

I rushed at him, quite moved, and pressed him in my arms. With a motion of the hand, he stopped his obedient and silent flock behind him. Christian was at the same time pale and brown, worn away with fever and burnt by the sun. He told me that he was prefect of studies at the Jesuit College, then taking its holiday at Tivoli. He had almost forgotten his language, and expressed himself with difficulty in French, talking and teaching only in Italian. My eyes filled with tears, as I looked at my brother's son, become a foreigner, clad in a black, dusty, worn-out coat, a school-master in Rome, covering with an old cenobite's hat the noble brow which so well became the helmet.

I had seen Christian born; a few days before my emigration, I assisted at his baptism. His father, his grandfather, the Président de Rosanbo, and his great-grandfather, M. de Malesherbes, were present. The last stood sponsor for him and gave him his own name, Christian. The Church of Saint-Laurent was deserted and already half devastated. The nurse and I took the child from the priest's hands.

Io piangendo ti presi, e in breve cesta
Fuor ti portai[139].

The new-born child was taken back to his mother and laid upon her bed, where that mother and its grandmother, Madame de Rosanbo, received it with tears of joy. Two years later, the father, the grandfather, the great-grand-father, the mother and the grandmother had perished on the scaffold, and I, a witness at the christening, was wandering in exile. These were the recollections which the sudden apparition of my nephew caused to revive in my memory amid the ruins of Rome. Christian has already passed one half of his life as an orphan; he has vowed the other half to the altar: the ever-open home of the common Father of mankind.

Christian had an ardent and jealous affection for Louis, his worthy brother: when Louis married, Christian left for Italy; he knew the Duc de Rohan-Chabot there and met Madame Récamier: like his uncle, he has come back to live in Rome, he in a cloister, I in a palace. He entered religion to restore[Pg 65] to his brother a fortune of which he did not consider himself the possessor under the new laws: and so Malesherbes and Combourg now both belong to Louis.

Christian de Chateaubriand.

After our unexpected meeting at the foot of the Coliseum, Christian, accompanied by a Jesuit brother, came to see me at the Embassy; his bearing was sad, his aspect serious: in the old days he was always laughing. I asked him if he was happy; he answered:

"I suffered long; now my sacrifice is made and I feel contented."

Christian inherited the iron character of his paternal grand-father, M. de Chateaubriand, my father, and the moral virtues of his maternal great-grandfather, M. de Malesherbes. His sentiments are locked up within himself, although he shows them, without considering the prejudices of the crowd, when his duties are concerned: as a dragoon in the Guards, he would alight from his horse to go to the Communion Table; his messmates did not laugh at him, for his valour and his kindliness were their admiration. After he left the service, it was discovered that he used secretly to assist a considerable number of officers and soldiers; he still has pensioners in the Paris garrets, and Louis discharges his brother's debts. One day, in France, I asked Christian if he would ever marry:

"If I were to marry," he replied, "I should take one of my little cousins, the poorest."

Christian spends his nights in prayer; he gives himself up to austerities at which his superiors are alarmed: a sore which formed in one of his legs came from his persistence in remaining on his knees for hours on end; never did innocence indulge in so much repentance.

Christian is not a man of this century: he reminds me of those dukes and counts of the Court of Charlemagne who, after warring against the Saracens, founded convents on the desert sites of Gellone or Madavalle and became monks there. I look upon him as a saint: I would willingly invoke him. I am persuaded that his good works, added to those of my mother and my sister Julie, would obtain grace for me before the Sovereign Judge. I, too, have a leaning for the cloister; but, were my hour to come, I would go and ask for a solitude of the Portioncula, under the protection of my Patron Saint, called Francis because he spoke French.

I want to trail my sandals alone; for nothing in the world would induce me to have two heads in my frock.

[Pg 66]

Upon that side
Where it doth break its steepness most, arose
A sun upon the world, as duly this
From Ganges doth: therefore let none, who speak
Of that place, say Ascesi; for its name
Were lamely so deliver'd; but the East,
To call things rightly, be it henceforth styled.
A dame, to whom none openeth pleasure's gate
More than to death, was, 'gainst his father's will,
His stripling choice.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   . She, bereaved
Of her first husband, slighted and obscure,
Thousand and hundred years and more, remain'd
Without a single suitor till he came.
Nor aught avail'd, that, with Amyclas, she
Was found unmoved at rumour of his voice,
Who shook the world: nor aught her constant boldness
Whereby with Christ she mounted on the cross,
When Mary stay'd beneath. But not to deal
Thus closely with thee longer, take at large
The lovers' titles—Poverty and Francis[140].

To Madame Récamier

"Rome, 16 May 1829.

"This letter will leave Rome a few hours after me and will reach Paris a few hours before me. It will close this correspondence which has not missed a single post and which must form a volume in your hands. I feel a mixture of joy and sadness which I cannot express to you; for three or four months I rather disliked Rome; now I have again taken to these noble ruins, to this solitude so profound, so peaceful, and yet so full of interest and remembrance. Perhaps, also, the unhoped-for success which I have obtained here has attached me to the place: I arrived in the midst of all the pre-possessions raised against me, and I have conquered all; people seem to regret me. What shall I find on returning to France? Noise instead of silence, excitement instead of repose, unreason, ambitions, contests of place and vanity. The political system which I have adopted is one which perhaps no one would care for and which, besides, I shall not be placed in a position to carry out I would still undertake to give a great glory to France, even as I contributed to obtaining a great liberty for her; but would they discard all their previous opinions to make room for me? Would they say to me, 'Be the master, act as you please at the peril of[Pg 67] your head?' No; so far are they from using this language to me, that they would take anybody in preference to myself and admit me only after receiving the refusals of all the mediocrities of France. Even then they would think they were doing me a great favour by relegating me to an obscure corner. I am coming to fetch you; ambassador or not, I should like to die in Rome. In exchange for a small life, I should at least have a great burying-place until the day comes when I shall go to fill my cenotaph in the sand which beheld my birth. Adieu; I am already many leagues nearer to you."

*

I return to France.

It gave me great pleasure to see my friends again[141]: I dreamt only of the happiness of taking them with me and ending my days in Rome. I wrote to make still more sure of the little Caffarelli Palace, which I contemplated hiring, on the Capitol and of the cell which I applied for at Sant' Onofrio. I bought English horses and sent them to the fields of Evander. I was already, in thought, taking leave of my country with a joy that deserved to be punished. When one has travelled in his youth and passed many years out of his country, one is accustomed to place one's death anywhere: when crossing the seas of Greece, it seemed to me that all those monuments which I perceived on the promontories were hostelries in which my bed was prepared.

I went to pay my court to the King at Saint-Cloud: he asked me when I was returning to Rome. He was persuaded that I had a good heart and a bad head. The fact is that I was exactly the converse of what Charles X. thought me: I had a very cool and a very good head, and a heart which was but so-so towards seven-eighths of the human race.

I found the King very ill-disposed towards his Ministry: he caused it to be attacked by certain royalist newspapers, or rather, when the editors of those publications went to ask him if he did not think them too hostile, he exclaimed:

"No, no, go on."

When M. de Martignac had made a speech:

"Well," asked Charles X., "have you heard the Pasta[142]?"

[Pg 68]

M. Hyde de Neuville's liberal opinions displeased him; he found more complaisance in M. Portalis, the Federate, who bore cupidity stamped on his face: it is to M. Portalis that France owes her misfortunes. When I saw him at Passy, I perceived what I had in part guessed: the Keeper of the Seals, while pretending to hold the Foreign Office ad interim, was dying to keep it, although, in any event, he had provided himself with the post of President of the Court of Appeal. The King, when the question arose of the appointment of a Foreign Secretary, had said:

"I do not say that Chateaubriand shall not be my minister; but not for the present."

The Prince de Laval had refused; M. de La Ferronnays was no longer able to apply himself to regular work. In the hope that, weary of resistance, the portfolio would remain in his hands, M. Portalis made no effort to persuade the King.

Full of my coming delights in Rome, I abandoned myself to them without too deeply sounding the future; it suited me well enough that M. Portalis should keep the ad interim under the shelter of which my position remained what it was. Not for a moment did I imagine that M. de Polignac might be invested with power: his limited, unpliable and perfervid mind, his fatal and unpopular name, his stubbornness, his religious opinions, exalted to the pitch of fanaticism, appeared to me so many causes for his eternal exclusion. He had, it is true, suffered for the King; but he had been amply rewarded for it by the friendship of his master and by the proud London Embassy, which I had given him under my ministry, in spite of M. de Villèle's opposition.

Of all the ministers in office whom I found in Paris, with the exception of the excellent M. Hyde de Neuville, not one pleased me: I felt them to possess a relentless capacity which left me uneasy as to the duration of their empire. M. de Martignac, who was endowed with an agreeable talent for speaking, had the sweet and worn-out voice of a man to whom women have given something of their seduction and their weakness! Pythagoras remembered having been a charming courtesan, named Alcea. The former secretary of embassy to the Abbé Sieyès[143] had also a restrained self-conceit,[Pg 69] a calm and somewhat jealous mind. I had sent him, in 1823, to Spain, in a high and independent position[144], but he would have liked to be an ambassador. He was offended at not receiving an employment which he thought due to his merit.

My likes or dislikes mattered little. The Chamber committed a mistake in overturning a ministry which it ought to have preserved at all costs. That moderate ministry served as a hand-rail to abysses; it was easy to overthrow it, for it had nothing to support it, and the King was hostile to it: a reason the more for not quarrelling with those men, for giving them a majority by the aid of which they could have remained in office and made room one day, without accident, for a strong government. In France, people are unable to wait for anything; they loathe all that has the appearance of power until they possess it themselves. For the rest, M. de Martignac has nobly given the lie to his weaknesses by courageously expending the rest of his life in the defense of M. de Polignac.

*

My feet burned to leave Paris; I could not grow accustomed to the grey and dismal sky of France, my father-land: what should I have thought of the sky of Brittany, my mother-land, to speak Greek? But there, at least, there are sea-breezes and calms: tumidis albens fluctibus[145] or venti posuere.[146] My orders were given to make certain necessary changes and extensions in my house and garden in the Rue d'Enfer, so that, at my death, when I bequeathed this house to Madame de Chateaubriand's Infirmary, it might be more profitable. I intended this property to form a retreat for a few sick artists and men of letters. I looked up at the pale sun and said:

"I shall soon see you with a better face, and we shall not part again."

I set out again for Rome.

After taking leave of the King, and hoping to rid him of my presence for ever, I climbed into my carriage. I was first going to the Pyrenees, to take the waters of Cauterets; from there, passing through Languedoc and Provence, I was to[Pg 70] go to Nice, where I would join Madame de Chateaubriand. We would drive along the Cornice together, arrive at the Eternal City, which we would cross without stopping, and, after a two months' stay in Naples, at Tasso's cradle, return to his tomb in Rome. That moment is the only one in my life at which I was completely happy, at which I longed for nothing more, at which my existence was filled, at which I saw nothing to my last hour but a series of days of rest. I was reaching the haven; I was entering under full sail like Palinurus: inopina quies.[147]

My whole journey to the Pyrenees was a series of dreams: I stopped when I wished; I followed on my road the chronicles of the middle ages, which I found everywhere; in Berry I saw those little leafy roads which the author of Valentine[148] calls traînes and which reminded me of my Brittany. Richard Cœur-de-Lion[149] had been slain at Chalus, at the foot of the tower:

"Mussulman child, hold thy peace! Here comes King Richard!"

At Limoges, I took off my hat from respect for Molière; at Périgueux, the partridges in their earthenware tombs no longer sang with different voices as in the time of Aristotle. I there met my old friend Clausel de Coussergues; he carried a few pages of my life with him. At Bergerac, I could have looked at Cyrano's[150] nose without being obliged to fight that cadet of the Guards: I left him in his dust with "those gods whom men has made and who have not made man."

At Auch, I admired the stalls sculptured after cartoons obtained from Rome at the fine period of the arts. D'Ossat, my predecessor at the Court of the Holy Father, was born near Auch[151]. The sun was beginning to resemble that of Italy. At Tarbes, I should have liked to lodge at the Star Inn, where Froissart[152] alighted with Messire Espaing[Pg 71] of Lyons, "valiant man and wise and fair knight," and where he found "good hay, good oats and fair rivers."

As the Pyrenees rose up on the horizon, my heart beat: from the depth of three and twenty years issued memories to which the perspective of time gave added beauty; I was returning from Palestine and Spain, when I caught sight of the summits of those mountains from the other side of their chain. I agree with Madame de Motteville; I think that it was in one of those castles of the Pyrenees that Urganda the Unknown dwelt. The past is like a museum of antiquities; in it one visits the hours that have elapsed; each one can recognise his own. One day, walking about a deserted church, I heard footsteps dragging along the flag-stones, like those of an old man in search of his tomb. I looked round and saw nobody; it was I that had awakened myself.

Romance at Cauterets.

The happier I was at Cauterets, the greater pleasure did I take in the melancholy of what was ended. The narrow and confined valley is enlivened by a mountain torrent; beyond the town and the mineral springs, it divides into two defiles, one of which, famous for its sites, ends in the Pont d'Espagne and glaciers. I benefited by the baths; I made long excursions alone, imagining myself on the steeps of the Sabina. I made every effort to be sad, and could not succeed. I wrote a few stanzas on the Pyrenees[153]; it was impossible for me to finish my ode: I had draped my drum lugubriously to beat the troop of the visions of my past nights; but ever, amid these visions recalled, mingled some dreams of the moment, whose happy look foiled the air of consternation of their older fellows.

One day as I was versifying I met a young woman seated beside the torrent; she rose and walked straight towards me: she knew, by the rumour of the hamlet, that I was at Cauterets. It appeared that the stranger was an Occitanian[154] lady who had been writing to me for two years without my having ever seen her: my mysterious anonymous correspondent unveiled: patuit Dea.

I went to pay a respectful visit to the naiad of the torrent. One evening she saw me to the door as I was leaving, and wanted to go with me; I was obliged to carry her indoors in my arms. I never felt so ashamed; to[Pg 72] inspire a sort of attachment at my age seemed to me really ridiculous; the more I might have been flattered by this oddness, the more humiliated was I, rightly taking it for a mockery. I would gladly have hidden myself for shame among the bears, our neighbours. I was far from saying to myself what Montaigne said:

"Love would restore me the vigilancy, sobriety, grace and care of my person[155]."

My dear Michael, you say charming things, but, at our age, you see, love does not restore us what you here suppose. There is but one thing for us to do: to stand frankly aside. Instead, therefore, of returning to "sound and wise studies, whereby I might procure more love," I have allowed the fugitive impression of my Clémence Isaure to fade away; the mountain breeze soon dissipated that caprice of a flower; the witty, determined and charming stranger of sixteen was grateful to me for doing her justice: she has married.

*

The Polignac ministry.

Rumours of ministerial changes had reached our fir-groves. Well-informed persons went so far as to speak of the Prince de Polignac; but I was quite incredulous. At last the newspapers came: I opened them, and my eyes were struck by the official ordinance confirming the rumours that had been spread[156]. I had experienced many a change of fortune since I had come into the world, but I had never received so great a shock. My destiny had once more extinguished my dreams; and this breath of fate not only put out my illusions, but carried away the Monarchy. This blow hurt me terribly; I had a moment of despair, for my mind was made up at once: I felt that I must retire. The post brought me a crowd of letters; all urged me to send in my resignation. Even persons with whom I was hardly acquainted thought themselves obliged to order my retirement.

I was shocked by this officious interest shown in my good fame. I thank Heaven that I have never stood in need of counsels of honour; my life has been one series of[Pg 73] sacrifices, which have never been commanded of me by any one; in matters of duty, I have a spontaneous mind. To me, falls spell ruin, for I possess nothing save debts, debts which I contract in places where I do not remain long enough to pay them; in such a way that, every time that I retire from public life, I am reduced to working as a bookseller's hireling. Some of those proud obliging people, who preached honour and liberty to me through the post and preached it even much more loudly when I arrived in Paris, handed in their resignation as councillors of State; but some were rich, and others took care not to resign the secondary places which they held and which left them the means of existence. They acted like the Protestants, who reject some of the dogmas of the Catholics and keep others quite as difficult to believe in. There was no completeness in those oblations, no full sincerity: men surrendered an income of ten or fifteen thousand francs, it is true, but returned home opulent in their patrimonies or, at least, provided with the daily bread which they had prudently kept back. Where I was concerned, they made less ceremony; for me they were filled with self-denial, they could never strip themselves sufficiently of all that I possessed:

"Come, George Dandin, pluck up courage; zounds, son-in-law, do us credit; off with your coat! Throw out of window two hundred thousand livres a year, a place to your liking, a high and magnificent place, the empire of the arts in Rome, the happiness of at last receiving the reward of your long and laborious struggle. Such is our good pleasure. At that price you will have our esteem. In the same way as we have stripped ourselves of our cloaks, leaving a good flannel waistcoat underneath, so you must throw off your velvet mantle, and remain naked. There is perfect equality, an exact level of altar and sacrifice."

And, strange to relate, in this generous ardour to turn me out, the men who intimated their wishes to me were neither my real friends nor the joint sharers of my political opinions. I was to immolate myself forthwith to Liberalism, to the doctrine which had continually attacked me; I was to run the risk of shaking the Legitimist Throne in order to deserve the praises of a few poltroons of enemies, who had not the thorough courage to starve.

I was to find myself swamped by a long embassy; the entertainments which I had given had ruined me; I had not paid the expenses of my first establishment. But what[Pg 74] broke my heart was the loss of what I had promised myself in the way of happiness for the rest of my life.

I have not to reproach myself with bestowing upon anybody those Catonian counsels which impoverish him who receives, not him who gives them, fully convinced as I am that those counsels are of no use to the man who does not feel them within himself. My resolve was fixed, as I have said, from the first; it cost me nothing to take, but it was painful to execute. When, at Lourdes, instead of turning south and rolling towards Italy, I took the road for Pau[157], my eyes filled with tears: I admit my weakness. What matter, if I none the less accepted and held the challenge fortune sent me? I did not return quickly, in order to let the days slip by. I slowly unwound the thread of that road which I had wound up with such alacrity, but a few weeks before.

The Prince de Polignac dreaded my resignation. He felt that, if I retired, I should deprive him of Royalist votes in the Chambers and jeopardize his ministry. The idea was suggested to him of sending an express to me in the Pyrenees with orders from the King to go at once to Rome, to receive the King[158] and Queen of Naples[159], who were coming to marry their daughter[160] in Spain. I should have been greatly perplexed had I received that order. Perhaps[Pg 75] I should have felt obliged to obey it, free to send in my resignation after fulfilling it. But, once in Rome, what might have happened? I should perhaps have been delayed; the fatal days[161] might have surprised me at the Capitol. Perhaps, also, the indecision in which I might have remained would have given M. de Polignac the parliamentary majority of which he was but a few votes short. Then the Address would not have been passed; the Ordinances resulting from that address would not have seemed necessary to their baleful authors: Diis aliter visum.

*

I resign my Embassy.

I found Madame de Chateaubriand quite resigned in Paris. Her head was turned at the idea of being Ambassadress in Rome, and assuredly many a woman's head would be turned for less; but, in great circumstances, my wife has never hesitated to approve of what she thought calculated to add consistency to my life and to enhance my name in the public esteem: in this she has more merit than most women. She loves display, titles and fortune; she detests poverty and a mean establishment; she despises those susceptibilities, those excesses of loyalty and self-sacrifice which she looks upon as thorough duperies for which nobody thanks you; she would never have cried, "Long live the King quand même;" but, where I am in question, everything changes: with a firm mind she accepts my disgraces, while cursing them.

I had still to fast, to watch, to pray for the salvation of those who took good care not to don the hair-cloth with which they hastened to cover me. I was the sacred ass, the ass laden with the dry relics of liberty, relics which they adored with great devotion, provided they did not have the trouble of carrying them.

The day after my return to Paris, I went to M. de Polignac.

I had written him this letter on my arrival:

"Paris, 28 August 1829.

"Prince,

"I have thought it more worthy of our old friendship, more becoming to the high mission with which I was honoured, and above all more respectful to the King to[Pg 76] come myself to lay my resignation at his feet rather than send it hastily through the post. I ask a last service of you, to entreat His Majesty to consent to grant me an audience and hear the reasons that oblige me to give up the Roman Embassy. Believe me, prince, when I say that it costs me something, at the moment when you are coming into power, to abandon that diplomatic career which I had the happiness to open to you.

"Pray accept the assurance of the sentiments which I have devoted to you and of the high regard with which I have the honour to be, prince,

"Your most humble and most obedient servant,

"Chateaubriand."

In reply to this letter, the following note was addressed to me from the Foreign Office:

"The Prince de Polignac has the honour to present his compliments to M. le Vicomte de Chateaubriand and begs him to call at the Foreign Office, if possible, at nine o'clock precisely to-morrow, Sunday.

"Saturday, 4 o'clock.'

I at once replied with this note:

Paris, 29 August 1829, evening.

"I have received a letter, prince, from your office inviting me to call at the Foreign Office, if possible, at nine o'clock precisely to-morrow, the 30th. As this letter does not give me the audience of the King which I begged you to ask for, I will wait until you have some official communication to make with regard to the resignation which I desire to lay at His Majesty's feet.

"With a thousand regards,

"Chateaubriand."

Thereupon M. de Polignac wrote to me as follows in his own hand:

"I have received your little note, my dear viscount; I shall be charmed to see you at about ten o'clock to-morrow, if that time suits you.

"I renew the assurance of my old and sincere attachment.

"The Prince de Polignac."

This note seemed to me to be of ill omen; its diplomatic[Pg 77] reserve made me fear a refusal on the King's part. I found the Prince de Polignac in the large room which I knew so well. He ran up to me, squeezed my hand with an effusion of the heart which I would have liked to think sincere, and then, throwing one arm over my shoulder, made me walk with him slowly up and down the room. He told me that he did not accept my resignation; that the King did not accept it; that I must return to Rome. Every time that he repeated this last phrase, he broke my heart:

"Why," he asked, "will you not be in public life with me, as with La Ferronnays and Portalis? Am I not your friend? I will give you all you want in Rome; in France you shall be more of the minister than I, I shall take your advice. Your retirement would bring about new divisions. You do not want to injure the Government? The King will be very much incensed if you persist in wishing to retire. I beseech you, dear viscount, not to commit that folly."

I call on M. de Polignac.

I replied that I was not committing a folly; that I was acting in the full conviction of my reason; that his ministry was most unpopular; that those prejudices might be unjust, but that, in fine, they existed; that all France was persuaded that he would attack the public liberties, and that it was impossible for me, their defender, to row in the same boat with those who passed for the enemies of those liberties. I was somewhat embarrassed in making this rejoinder, because, at bottom, I had nothing immediate to object to in the new ministers; I could attack them only in a future the existence of which they were entitled to deny. M. de Polignac swore to me that he loved the Charter as much as I did; but he loved it in his own way, he loved it too closely. Unfortunately, the affection which one shows to a daughter whom one has dishonoured is of little use to her.

The conversation was prolonged on the same lines for nearly an hour. M. de Polignac concluded by telling me that, if I consented to take back my resignation, the King would see me with pleasure and hear whatever I wished to say to him against his ministry; but that, if I persisted in my determination to resign, His Majesty thought that it would serve no purpose to see me and that a conversation between him and myself could be only an unpleasant thing.

I rejoined:

"Then, prince, look upon my resignation as given. I have never retracted in my life, and, since it does not suit the King to see his faithful subject, I do not insist."

[Pg 78]

After those words, I took my leave. I begged the prince to restore the Roman Embassy to M. le Duc de Laval, if he still wished for it, and I recommended the members of my legation to him. Then I took my way on foot, along the Boulevard des Invalides, for my Infirmary, poor wounded man that I was. M. de Polignac, when I left him, appeared to me to be in that state of imperturbable confidence which made of him a mute eminently fitted to strangle an empire.

My resignation as Ambassador to Rome having been sent in, I wrote to the Sovereign Pontiff:

"Most Holy Father,

"As French Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1823, I had the happiness to be the interpreter of the wishes of the late King Louis XVIII. for the exaltation of Your Holiness to the Chair of St. Peter. As Ambassador of His Majesty Charles X. to the Court of Rome, I had the still greater happiness to see Your Beatitude raised to the Sovereign Pontificate, and to hear from your lips words that will always be the glory of my life. Now that I am ending the lofty mission which I had the honour to fulfil, I come to express to Your Holiness the very keen regrets with which I do not cease to be penetrated. It but remains for me, Most Holy Father, to lay at your sacred feet my sincere gratitude for your kindness, and to ask you for your apostolic blessing.

"I am, with the greatest veneration and the most profound respect,

"Your Holiness' most humble and most obedient servant,

"Chateaubriand."

For several days I finished rending my bowels in my Utica; I wrote letters to demolish the edifice which I had raised with so much love. As, in the death of a man, it is the little details, the familiar domestic actions that touch us, so, in the death of a dream, the little realities which destroy it are the keenest. An eternal exile on the ruins of Rome had been my idle fancy. Like Dante, I had arranged never to return to my country.

These testamentary elucidations will not possess for the readers of these Memoirs the same interest that they have for me. The old bird falls from the branch where it has taken shelter; it quits life for death. Dragged away by the current, it has but changed one stream for the other.


[1] This book was written in Rome, from February to May 1829, and in Paris, from August to September 1829.—T.

[2] The following is the exact text of this letter, which Chateaubriand modified somewhat for publication:

"I have attended the first funeral ceremony for the Pope in the Church of St. Peter. It was a strange medley of indecency and grandeur. The strokes of the hammer nailing down a pope's coffin, some interrupted singing, the mingling of the light of the candles and the moon; lastly, the coffin raised by a pulley and hung in the shadows, to be laid across a door in the sarcophagus of Pius VII., whose ashes made room for those of Leo XII.: can you picture all this, and the ideas to which the scene gave birth?"—B.

[3] Leo XII.—Author's Note.

[4] Bartolommeo Alberto Mauro Cardinal Capellari, later Pope Gregory XVI. (1765-1846), Abbot of the Camaldolian Monastery at Murano, created a cardinal in 1825. He was elected Pope after the death of Pius VIII. in 1831, when he took the name of Gregory XVI. He is the founder of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great.—T.

[5] Bartolommeo Cardinal Pacca, Bishop of Velletri (1756-1844), Cardinal Camerlingo to Pope Pius VII., created a cardinal in 1801. Pacca became Prime Minister in 1808, drew up the bull of excommunication hurled against Napoleon in 1809, and was arrested and imprisoned with Pius VII. He returned to Rome with the Pope in 1814 and, in 1816, was instrumental in bringing about the restoration of the Jesuits.—T.

[6] Emmanuele Cardinal Di Gregorio (1758-1839), created a cardinal by Pius VII. in 1816.—B.

[7] Giaccomo Cardinal Giustiniani, Bishop of Imola (1769-1843), created a cardinal by Leo XII. in 1826.—B.

[8] Giulio Maria Cardinal Della Somaglia (1744-1830), created a cardinal in 1795, Bishop of Frascati (1814), and of Ostia and Velletri (1820). He had been exiled with Pius VII., and imprisoned for refusing to assist at Napoleon's wedding. As Dean of the Sacred College, he presided at the Conclave in 1829. On his death he left all his property to the Propaganda.—B.

[9] Giuseppe Cardinal Albani (1750-1834), created a cardinal by Pius VII. in 1801, was made Legate at Bologna in 1814, and appointed Secretary of State by Pius VIII. in 1829.—T.

[10] Francesco Xaviero Cardinal Castiglioni, Bishop of Frascati, later Pope Pius VIII. (1761-1830). He was elected Pope on the 31st of March 1829, assumed the name of Pius VIII., and died on the 30th of November 1830, after a reign of twenty months only.—T.

[11] Pietro Francesco Cardinal Galleffi (1770-1837), created a cardinal by Pius VII. in 1803.—B.

[12] Tommaso Cardinal Arezzo (1756-1833), created a cardinal and Legate at Ferrara in 1815, and Vice-Chancellor of the Church in 1830.—T.

[13] There is no canonical provision which gives the Powers the right to intervene in the operations of a conclave; but, as a matter of fact, France, Spain and Austria have up to these latter times exercised what was called the exclusion, in other words, each of them has been able to mention to the conclave the name of a cardinal whose election would have been displeasing to her. Without recognising any right whatever, the Sacred College takes note of these indications, considering that it would lead to difficulties for the Holy See if it were to elect a pope in the face of the declared hostility of a great Catholic Power. The exclusive is very different, and belongs to the members of the conclave; it results from the votes which are refused to the candidate who would otherwise receive the majority required to ensure validity of election.—B.

[14] Carlo Maria Cardinal Pedicini (1760-1843), created a cardinal by Pius VII. in 1823.—B.

[15] Francesco Cardinal Bertalozzi (1754-1830), created a cardinal at the same time as Pedicini.—B.

[16] Placido Cardinal Zurla (1769-1834), created a cardinal at the same time as the two former.—B.

[17] Luigi Cardinal Micara (1775-1847), created a cardinal by Leo XII. in 1824.—B.

[18] St. Peter, first Pope (d. 65 or 66), martyred in Rome with St. Paul, with whom he is honoured on the 29th of June.—T.

[19] Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (circa 150—circa 230), the great ecclesiastical writer, and one of the most famous Fathers of the Church.—T.

[20] Caius Sempronius Gracchus (d. 121 B.C.) was elected Tribune of the People in 123, and re-elected in 122. He failed in his election in 121, and was killed in a disturbance in the city and his body thrown into the Tiber.—T.

[21] Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (circa 169 B.C.—133 B.C.), Caius' elder brother, was assassinated when on the point of being elected Tribune of the People for the second year in succession.—T.

[22] St. Damasus I. (circa 306-384), a native of Portugal, elected to the Papacy in 366. His election was contested by the Deacon Ursinus, who was expelled by force of arms. St. Damasus is honoured on the 11th of December.—T.

[23] St. Gregory I. (circa 540-604), known as the Great, was elected Pope in 590. He is commemorated on the 12th of March, the anniversary of his death.—T.

[24] St. Leo IV. (d. 855), honoured 17 July, the anniversary of his death.—T.

[25] St. Simplicius had followed a career of arms and married. The See of Bourges was offered to him many times, and refused. He at last accepted it, in 472, when elected by St. Sidonius Apollinaris, who had been chosen arbitrator of the quarrels that had ensued at Bourges. He is honoured on the 17th of June.—T.

[26] Louis I. Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and King of France (778-840), known as the Débonnaire, son of the Emperor-King Charlemagne, whom he succeeded in 814.—T.

[27] Gerard of Burgundy, later Pope Nicholas II. (d. 1061), elected Pope in 1058.—T.

[28] The third Lateran Council, held under Pope Alexander III. in 1179.—T.

[29] Guy de Foulques, or Fulcoldi, later Pope Clement IV. (d. 1268), a native of Saint-Gilles in France, was first a soldier, then a lawyer, then secretary to St. Louis IX. The death of his wife led him to enter the Church. He became Bishop of Puy in 1256, Archbishop of Narbonne in 1259, a cardinal in 1262, and was elected Pope in 1265, while on a journey to England as Papal Legate.—T.

[30] Teobaldo di Visconti, later Pope Gregory X. (d. 1276), elected Pope in 1271, after an interregnum of over two years.—T.

[31] Pedro de Luna (d. 1424), a native of Aragon, anti-pope, under the style of Benedict XIII. He was elected by the French cardinals, while the Italians chose Boniface IX., after the death of the Anti-pope Clement VII. (1394).—T.

[32] Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI. (1431-1503), created a cardinal in 1456, Archbishop of Valencia, in succession to his uncle, Pope Calixtus III., and elected Pope in 1492. There is no doubt that Borgia's election was due to bribery.—T.

[33] Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara (1480-1519), illegitimate daughter of Alexander VI. by Rosa Vanozza, married first Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, in 1493. This marriage was annulled by Alexander, who, in 1498, found a more ambitious match for her in Alphonsus of Bisceglie, a natural son of Alphonsus II. of Naples. Alphonsus having been murdered by her brother, Cesare Borgia, in 1500, she married, in 1501, Alphonsus of Este, who subsequently succeeded to the Duchy of Ferrara.—T.

[34] Lambeaux, rags; lambels, labels.—Author's Note.

[35] Jacques Davy, Cardinal Duperron (1556-1618), Bishop of Evreux, later Archbishop of Sens. Himself a convert from Calvinism, Duperron was largely instrumental in converting Henry IV. to Catholicism.—T.

[36] Henry VIII. King of England (1491-1547) procured the title of Defender of the Faith from Pope Leo X. in 1521, and severed his connection with the Faith in 1534. His successors have since continued heretical to the Faith of which they continue to style themselves the Defenders.—T.

[37] Donna Olimpia Pamfili (1594-1656), née Maldachini, sister-in-law of Innocent X., under whose pontificate she wielded great influence and amassed immense wealth. Alexander VII. ordered her to retire to Orvieto, there to await the result of an inquiry into the origin of her fortune (1655); but she died of the plague before the end of the inquiry.—B.

[38] Giovanni Battista Pamfili, later Pope Innocent X. (1572-1655), elected Pope in 1644.—T.

[39] Fabio Chigi, later Pope Alexander VII. (1599-1667), elected Pope in 1655. It was during his pontificate that Christina Queen of Sweden was converted to Catholicism.—T.

[40] Lorenzo Corsini, later Pope Clement XII. (1652-1740), elected Pope in 1730.—T.

[41] Prospero Lambertini, later Pope Benedict XIV. (1675-1758), elected to the Papacy in 1740.—T.

[42] Letter to the Abbé Cortois de Quincey from Rome, 1740.—T.

[43] Bernardo Gaetano Cardinal Guadagni (1674—post 1733), Bishop of Arezzo (1724), and a nephew of Clement XII., who created him a cardinal in 1731. Guadagni became Vicar-General of Rome in 1732.—T.

[44] Pietro Cardinal Ottoboni (1668-1740), nephew to Pope Alexander VIII., and created a cardinal at the age of 22, in 1690.—T.

[45] Giulio Cardinal Alberoni (1664-1752) had been Prime Minister of Spain (1715-1719), thanks to the influence of Elizabeth Farnese, whose marriage to Philip V. he had brought about while in Madrid as Resident of the Duke of Parma at the Spanish Court. He was subsequently disgraced and imprisoned in a convent by order of Innocent XIII.; but, in 1723, he was reinstated in his rights as a cardinal, and remained in favour with the Court of Rome till his death in 1752.—T.

[46] Anton Rodolf Count Apponyi (1782-1852), Austrian Ambassador successively to Florence, Rome, London and Paris.—T.

[47] Giovanni Battista Cardinal Bussi, created a cardinal by Leo XII. in 1824.—B.

[48] Vincento Cardinal Macchi (1770-1860), Archbishop of Nisibis, appointed Nuncio to Switzerland, to Paris (1819), and a cardinal (1826).—B.

[49] Jean Baptiste Marie Anne Antoine Cardinal Duc de Latil (1761-1839) became chaplain to the Comte d'Artois in 1798, and returned to France with him in 1814. He was appointed Bishop of Amycla in partibus in 1815, Bishop of Chartres in 1817, and a peer of France. On the death of Louis XVIII., the new King created Latil a count, and appointed him to the Archbishopric of Rheims. He crowned Charles X. in 1826, and received the cardinal's hat from Leo XII., the King adding the title of duke. At the Revolution of July, the cardinal fled to England, and later returned to France, where he resumed his see, but not his seat in the House of Peers, as he refused to take the oath to the usurping government—B.

[50] Molière, L'Avare: Act II. sc. I.—T.

[51] Teresio Cardinal Ferrero Della Marmora (1757-1831), created a cardinal in 1824.—B.

[52] With the same pen with which he had just written this dispatch to the Foreign Minister, on the same day, Chateaubriand wrote M. de Marcellus, then Minister Plenipotentiary at Lucca, the following letter, which is not exactly in the style of the chanceries:

"Rome, 3 March 1829.

"No news here. Empty and varying ballots. Rain, wind, rheumatism, and Torlonia buried sword at side, in a black coat and a laced hat. That is all. To-night, at my house, they sing at nine, sup at ten, and at midnight fast for tomorrow's ashes; with a little penetration, you can guess that I am writing to you on Shrove Tuesday. All this, Shrove Tuesday especially, makes me say with Potier, in the part of Werther:

"'My friend, do you know what life is? A wood in which we catch our legs.'

"If only mine could go a-hunting like yours! Good-bye. All this is not very serious for an ambassador to a conclave. I weep so often that, when laughter comes to me by chance, I let myself go.

"Chateaubriand."—B.

[53] And not Thursday, as the preceding editions have it.—B.

[54] Anne Louis Henri Cardinal Duc de La Fare (1752-1829), grand-nephew of the Cardinal de Bernis, became Bishop of Nancy in 1787, Archbishop of Sens in 1817, a peer of France in 1822, and a cardinal in 1823.—B.

[55] Gustave Maximilien Juste Cardinal Prince de Croy (1773-1844), was Canon of the Grand Chapter of Strasburg in 1789. After the Emigration, he became Bishop of Strasburg in 1817, and Grand Almoner of France in 1821, a cardinal in 1822, and Archbishop of Rouen in 1824. He remained faithful to his legitimist principles in 1830, and although, in 1840, he was obliged to assist at the baptism of the Comte de Paris, he retired immediately after the ceremony.—B.

[56] Joachim Jean Xavier Cardinal Duc d'Isoard (1766-1839), after taking part in several royalist plots, had been appointed secretary to Cardinal Fesch in 1803. He was ordained priest in 1805, created a cardinal by Leo XII. in 1805, and Archbishop of Auch, a duke and peer of France in 1829. The Revolution of July deprived him of his peerage, but he retained his archdiocese.—B.

[57] Belisario Cardinal Cristaldi (1764-1831), created a cardinal in 1826.—B.

[58] Luigi Lambruschini (1776-1854), Archbishop of Genoa, Grand Prior of the Order of the Knights of Jerusalem, and Papal Nuncio to Paris.—T.

[59] The Abbé Pierre (in religion, Marie Joseph) Coudrin (1768-1837) accompanied the Prince de Croy, Cardinal-Archbishop of Rouen, as his conclavist. He did not deserve Chateaubriand's strictures. The Abbé Coudrin was a man of virtue and intelligence, a founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, known as the Congregation of the Picpus.—B.

[60] Ercole Cardinal Dandini (1759-1840), created a cardinal in 1823.—B.

[61] Louis I. King of Bavaria (1786-1868) ascended the throne in 1825, in succession to his father, Maximilian I., the first King of Bavaria. Louis was an ardent Philhellenist, and therefore acceptable to Chateaubriand. He neglected no effort to turn Munich into a modern Athens, and introduced an Aspasia into it in the shape of the dancer Lola Montes, whom he created Countess von Lansfeld. Louis I. was driven from his States in February 1848, and abdicated in the following month in favour of his son Maximilian II.—B.

[62] Gino Alessandro Giuseppe Gaspardo Marchese Capponi (1792-1876), the Tuscan politician and historian, and author of, among other important works, the Storia della Republica di Firenze (1875).—B.

[63] Chateaubriand does not give the name of the correspondent to whom he addressed this letter, but it is clearly the lady of whom he spoke as "a furious Turcophile" in his letter to Madame Récamier of the 15th of January 1829 (vide Vol. IV, p. 297).—B.

[64] Domenico Zampieri Domenichino (1581-1641), the noted painter of the Eclectic-Bologna School.—T.

[65] Auguste Hilarion Comte de Kératry (1769-1859), one of the editors of the Courrier français, and author of the Dernier des Beaumanoir (1824). He was made a peer of France by Louis-Philippe in 1837.—B.

[66] The Vicomte de Sesmaisons, third Secretary of Embassy, son of Donatien Comte de Sesmaisons and grandson, through his mother, of the Chancelier Dambray. The two first secretaries were Messieurs Bellocq and Desmousseaux de Givré, who will be mentioned later. Attached to the embassy were Messieurs de Montebello (the son of Marshal Lannes, referred to above), Du Viviers, de Mesnard, d'Haussonville, and Hyacinthe Pilorge, Chateaubriand's faithful secretary.—B.

[67] Then Ambassador to Naples.—B.

[68] M. Fuscaldo.—Author's Note.

The Conte Fuscaldo was Neapolitan Ambassador to Rome.—B.

[69] M. Bellocq was First Secretary of the Embassy.—B.

[70] M. Desmousseaux de Givré (b. 1794) had served under Chateaubriand in London in 1822. He resigned on the accession of the Polignac Ministry, and re-entered the Diplomatic Service after 1830. Desmousseaux de Givré sat in the Chamber of Deputies, as a Conservative, from 1837 to 1848, and in the Legislative Assembly from 1849 to 1851, when he retired into private life.—B.

[71] Wis. II. 2.—T.

[72] Francis IV. Duke of Modena (1779-1847).

[73] Charles Albert King of Sardinia (1798-1849) ascended the throne on the death of his kinsman, King Charles Felix, in 1831.—T.

[74] The Duke of Modena defended himself against this accusation. Cf. Marcellus, Chateaubriand et son temps, p. 363, where the matter is explained.—B.

[75] The Cardinal-Archbishop of Toulouse had sprained a sinew on alighting from his carriage after crossing the Arno. This accident delayed him for several days at Siena, and caused him to be the last of the French cardinals to enter the Conclave (Marcellus, Chateaubriand et son temps, p. 358).—B.

[76] Prince Paul Charles Frederic Augustus of Wurtemberg (1785-1852), son of Frederic I. King of Wurtemberg, brother of William I. and father of the Grand-duchess Helen of Russia.—T.

[77] Wife of King Joseph, who had adopted the title of Comte de Survilliers, as his brother Louis had taken the name of Duc de Saint-Leu, and his brother Jerome that of Comte de Montfort.—B.

[78] Hildebrand, Pope St. Gregory VII. (circa 1020-1085), elected Pope in 1073, one of the greatest militant Popes. It was to St. Gregory that the Emperor Henry IV. aid penance at Canossa in 1077.—T.

[79] The abduction of Pius VII. (5 July 1809).—T.

[80] Sciarra Colonna had been outlawed by Boniface VIII. and was concerned with Nogaret in the attempt to carry off the Pontiff.—T.

[81] Guillaume de Nogaret (d. 1314), Chancellor to Philip the Fair, by whose orders, in 1303, together with Sciarra Colonna, he seized the person of Pope Boniface VIII. at Anagni and subjected him to the most culpable violence. Boniface was shortly released by the populace, and Nogaret besought the Pope's absolution.—T.

[82] Benedict Cajetan, Pope Boniface VIII. (circa 1228-1303), elected Pope in 1294, issued the bull Clericis laicos against Philip the Fair in 1296 and in 1302, at a synod held in Rome, promulgated the bull Unam sanctam, asserting the temporal as well as the spiritual supremacy of the Pope. He died in Rome of a fever induced by the ill-treatment which he had received while under arrest at Anagni.—T.

[83] Michel de L'Hôpital (circa 1505-1573), Superintendent of the Royal Finances (1554-1560) and Chancellor of France (1560-1568) under Francis II. and Charles IX.; a wise and tolerant French statesman.—T.

[84] François Olivier (1493-1560), Chancellor of France under Henry II. He was disgraced at the instance of Diane de Poitiers and deprived of the Seals, but retained the title of Chancellor. He withdrew to his estate of Montlhéri, where he was often visited by L'Hôpital.—T.

[85] Pierre Président Jeannin (1540-1622), the son of a tanner, became a disciple of Cujas, and rose gradually to be First President of the Parliament of Paris. He was employed on important negociations by Sully and, in 1609, signed the treaty which ensured the independence of the United Provinces. After the death of Henry IV., Marie de Medici appointed him Superintendent of Finance. His Négociations were published in 1656.—T.

[86] Nicolas de Neufville, Seigneur de Villeroi (1542-1617), was employed by Catherine de Medici on two important negociations in Italy, and was three times Secretary of State (1567-1588, 1594 and 1610-1614). His Mémoires d'État were published in 1622.—T.

[87] Mémoires des sages et royales économies d'État domestiques, politiques et militaires de Henri le Grand (Paris: 1634).—T.

[88] Histoire de la mère et du fils and Histoire de la régence, published in a complete form as Mémoires relatifs à l'histoire de France in 1823.—T.

[89] 1648.

[90] 24 October 1648.

[91] Nicolas Barillon was French Ambassador to England during part of the reigns of Charles II. and James II. A very interesting portion of his Correspondence with Louis XIV. on English Affairs was published by Charles James Fox as an appendix to his History of the Early Part of the Reign of James II. (London: 1808).—T.

[92] Étienne François Comte de Stainville, later Duc de Choiseul et d'Amboise (1719-1785), Ambassador to Rome (1756), to Vienna (1756), and Foreign Minister (1758); Minister for War (1761) and, in addition, for the Navy (1763). After the death of Madame de Pompadour, his disdain for the new Favourite, the Comtesse Du Barry, procured his disgrace (1770). In 1761, he negociated the "Family Compact" between the Bourbon Kings of France, Spain and the Two Sicilies against England.—T.

[93] Francisco Cardinal Ximenes (1436-1517), Archbishop of Toledo (1495), a cardinal (1507), and Inquisitor-General and Regent of Spain (1516-1517).—T.

[94] Gasparo de Guzman, Conde de Olivarez (1587-1645), the Spanish statesman; Prime Minister from 1621-1643.—T.

[95] Sebastião José de Carvalho e Mello, Marques de Pombal (1699-1782), the famous Portuguese statesman. He became Minister to London (1739), to Vienna (1745), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1750) and Premier (1756-1777).—T.

[96] Mare liberum (1608).—T.

[97] Axel Count Oxenstiern (1583-1654), Chancellor of Sweden from 1611 to 1654, and Benedikt Oxenstiern (1623-1702), his kinsman, Chancellor under Charles XI. Christina Queen of Sweden, on Axel Oxenstiem's recommendation, appointed Grotius her Ambassador to the Court of France; he held that post from 1625-1645—T.

[98] Jan de Witt (1625-1672), Grand Pensionary of Holland from 1653-1672, when he was overthrown by the Orange Party and murdered, with his brother Cornelis, by the mob at the Hague.—T.

[99] Pieter de Groot (1610-1680), known as Peter Grotius, son of Hugo Grotius. Peter was Dutch Minister to the Courts of Denmark and Sweden, and his correspondence in that capacity with Jan de Witt appear in that statesman's Negociations. Peter Grotius was Ambassador to France in 1669. He fled from Holland on the restoration of the House of Orange, returned, and was afterwards arrested, tried and acquitted on a charge of betraying State secrets (1676).—T.

[100] Mustapha Mehemed Reshid Pasha (1802-1858), Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs under Mahmud II. and Abdul-Medjid, and Grand Vizier at the time of the Crimean War.—T.

[101] Cf. Boileau, Le Lutrin, Canto I.:

Quand Sidrac, à qui l'âge allonge le chemin,
Arrive dans la chambre, un bâton à la main....—B.

When Sidrac, for whom age prolongs his weary road,
His stick in his right hand, arrives at the abode....—T.

[102] Théodore Mionnet (1770-1842) was Assistant-keeper of the Cabinet of Antiquities at the National Library of France. He devoted thirty years of his life to compiling his Description des médailles grecques et romaines, avec leur degré de rareté et leur estimation (Paris: 1806-1837, 15 vols. 8vo), which is regarded as a standard work among numismatists.—T.

[103] St. Paul (229-342), the first hermit, retired to the Thebaid at the age of twenty-two, and lived there for over ninety years. St. Paul the Hermit is honoured on the 7th of March. He is known also as St. Paul the Simple.—T.

[104] Robert Arnauld, known as Arnauld d'Andilly (1589-1674), son of Antoine Arnauld, known as the Great Arnauld, and father of Simon Arnauld, Marquis de Pomponne. Amauld d'Andilly left Memoirs, published in 1734, and a Journal, first published in 1857. The quotation is taken from the former.—T.

[105] L'Hôpital's Complete Works were edited by Dufey in 1824-1825. He excelled in Latin verse.—T.

[106] I have already mentioned d'Ossat's famous Letters addressed to Villeroi.—T.

[107] The Abbé François Le Metel, Sieur de Boisrobert (1592-1662), a poet and favourite of the Cardinal de Richelieu, who endowed him with a number of livings, nearly all of which he lost at play. He was one of the founders of the French Academy and worked on its Dictionary.—T.

[108] Richelieu created the French Academy in 1635.—T.

[109] Richelieu's literary remains include an enormous number of religious works, dramas, Memoirs, correspondence and State papers. Of these, the purely literary works are of no considerable value.—T.

[110] The name assumed by Damis in Piron's Comedy of Métromanie (Act I. Scene VIII.).—B.

[111] Solon (circa 638 b.c.circa 559 b.c., the great law-giver: "When he had carried his great reforms, elegy became the voice of his calm joy" (Jebb, Greek Literature).—T.

[112] Simonides of Amorgos (fl. circa 660 b.c.) "wrote the Archæology of Samos in two books of elegiacs, of which no trace now remains" (Mahaffy, History of Classical Greek Literature).-T.

[113] Thucydides (circa 471 b.c.circa 401 b.c.), the famous Greek commander and historian.—T.

[114] Demosthenes (385 b.c.—322 b.c.), the statesman and greatest of Greek orators.—T.

[115] Xenophon (circa 430 b.c.—post 357 b.c.), the Greek general, historian, essayist and author of the romance of the Cyropœdia, led the 10,000 Greeks to the Black Sea after the Battle of Cunaxa and the murder of the Greek generals.—T.

[116] Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major (circa 234 b.c.circa 183 b.c.), and his grandson by adoption, Publius Cornelius Scipio Æmilianus Africanus Major, surnamed also Numantinus (circa 185 b.c.—129 b.c.). It was the latter who was the friend of both Lælius and Terence, in some of whose comedies he is said to have collaborated.—T.

[117] Caius Lælius, surnamed Sapiens (fl. circa 140 b.c.), the orator and philosopher, and the chief character in Cicero's De Amicitia.—T.

[118] Publius Terendus Afer (circa 185 b.c.circa 159 b.c.), the celebrated Roman comic poet.—T.

[119] Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 b.c.—43 b.c.), the Roman orator, philosopher and statesman.—T.

[120] Caius Julius Cæsar (100 b.c.—44 b.c.). Only the Commentaries are extant of his many writings.—T.

[121] Archilochus (fl. circa 700 b.c.), the Greek lyric poet of Paros, famous for his satiric iambic poetry.—T.

[122] Sophocles (495 b.c.—406 b.c.), one of the three great tragic poets of Greece.—T.

[123] Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), later Lord Verulam (1618), later Viscount St. Albans (1621), philosopher, jurist and statesman.—T.

[124] Blessed Sir Thomas More (1470-1535), statesman and author, beatified by Pope Leo XIII., 9 December 1886.—T.

[125] Edmund Spenser (circa 1552-1599), the poet, went to Ireland in 1580 as secretary to Lord Grey de Wilton, was in 1581 made clerk to the Irish Court of Chancery, and in 1588 clerk to the Council of Munster. In his View of the Stoic of Ireland, written in 1596, but not published till 1633, he advocates the most oppressive measures. His unpopularity in Ireland was extreme.—T.

[126] Lucius Cary, second Viscount Falkland (circa 1610-1643), politician and man of letters.—T.

[127] Edward Hyde, first Earl of Clarendon (1608-1674), statesman and historian.—T.

[128] Henry St. John, first Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751), Secretary of State and writer.—T.

[129] I have contented myself with giving the dates of the figures celebrated in politics and literature who are here mentioned for the first time in the Memoirs. It is curious that Chateaubriand, while insisting on his not very strong point, should have omitted the name of Joseph Addison.—T.

[130] Alphonse Marie Louis Lamartine (1790-1869), the poet and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Provisional Government of 1848.—T.

[131] Charles Duc de Bourbon, known as the Constable de Bourbon (1490-1527), fell in the assault of Rome which ended in the sack of the city (6 May 1527).—T.

[132] Giacomo Buonaparte, the first Bonaparte mentioned in history, left a narrative of the Sack of Rome in 1527, of which he was an eye-witness. This document has been translated into French by Charles Napoléon Louis Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon III.—B.

[133] Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus, Roman Emperor (40-81), the son of Vespasian, and the "Delight of Mankind." He succeeded to the throne in June 79 and, in the twenty-seven months of his reign, finished the Coliseum and built the Baths of Titus.—T.

[134] Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, Roman Emperor (53-117), surnamed Dacicus and Parthicus, succeeded in 98. The forum constructed under him is situated north of the Roman Forum.—T.

[135] St. Paul's Without the Walls, a fourth-century basilica, was burnt down in 1823.—T.

[136] Caius Plinius Cæcilius Secundus (62-113), known as Pliny the Younger, to distinguish him from his uncle, Pliny the Elder. He is the author of the Epistles and of a Eulogy of Trajan.—T.

[137] Melmoth's Pliny the Younger, Book I., Letter 24: To Maximus.—T.

[138] Justus Lipsius.—Author's Note.

[139] Tasso, Gerusalemme Liberata.Author's Note.

[140] Cary's Dante: Paradise, Canto XI., 46-56, 59-69.—T.

[141] Chateaubriand returned to Paris on the 28th of May 1829. The subsequent pages, to the end of Book XIII., were written in Paris, in the Rue d'Enfer, in August and September 1830.—B.

[142] Madame Giuditta Pasta (1798-1865), née Negri, the Italian-Jewish opera-singer, who was one of the leading sopranos in Paris and Italy from 1819 until about 1835.—T.

[143] The Abbé Emmanuel Joseph Comte Sieyès (1748-1836), the framer of constitutions, was Ambassador to Berlin in 1798-1799, a member of the Directory 1799 and, provisionally, a Consul. Bonaparte made him a senator and, later, a count of the Empire. He was exiled at the Restoration, and lived in Brussels until the Revolution of 1830, when he returned to Paris.—B.

[144] M. de Martignac was appointed head of the Duc d'Angoulême's political council on the outbreak of the Spanish War, and received the title of Civil Commissary to the Army in Spain.—B.

[145] OV., Met. XI.:

Quum mare sub noctem tumidis albescere cœpit
Fluctibus.—B.

[146] Æn. VII. 27.—B.

[147] Æn. V. 857.—B.

[148] Armandine Lucile Aurore Baronne Dudevant, known as George Sand (1804-1876), née Dupin. Valentine, her second novel, was published in 1832.—T.

[149] Richard I. King of England (1157-1199), surnamed Cœur-de-Lion, was mortally wounded while besieging Chalus, near Limoges, 6 April 1199.—T.

[150] Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (circa 1620-1655) was born at Bergerac Castle, and entered the regiment of Guards, where he was distinguished by his enormous nose. Post hoc vel propter hoc, he achieved fame as a duellist, which he exchanged later for that of a man of letters, a career which he adopted after being twice severely wounded in war.—T.

[151] The Cardinal d'Ossat was born at the Roque-en-Magnoac, in the Diocese of Auch, on the 23rd of August 1536.—B.

[152] Jean Froissart (1337—circa 1410), the chronicler.—T.

[153] I omit these verses.—T.

[154] Occitania, a name often given to Languedoc, and to the whole Mediterranean coast, during the middle ages.—T.

[155] Florio's Montaigne, Booke III., Chap. V.: Upon some Verses of Virgil.—T.

[156] The Moniteur of 9 August 1829 announced the formation of a new ministry, composed as follows: the Prince de Polignac, Foreign Affairs; M. de La Bourdonnaye, Interior; M. Courvoisier, Justice; M. de Chabrol, Finance; General de Bourmont, War; Admiral de Rigny, Navy; M. de Montbel, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Public Instruction. Admiral de Rigny, a nephew of the Baron Louis, and a Liberal, had been appointed without being consulted. He refused to take office, and the Baron d'Haussez, Prefect of Bordeaux, was appointed Minister for the Navy in his stead.—B.

[157] In the Moniteur of 27 August 1829, I find:

"We hear from Pau, 20 August:

"'M. le Vicomte de Chateaubriand arrived at Pau yesterday. The illustrious author of the Génie du Christianisme visited part of the town, and long surveyed the castle of Henry IV. At nine o'clock, a serenade was given to the noble peer by the town band. A considerable crowd filled the court-yard of the Hôtel de France and the streets adjoining the Place Royale. A large number of citizens were admitted to the noble viscount's apartments. Among the pieces performed in this improvised serenade the delicious ballad, Combien j'ai douce souvenance! from the Dernier des Abencerrages, attracted particular attention. M. de Chateaubriand yielded to the assiduity of which he was the object and showed himself at one of the windows. He was received with cheers, to which he replied in these words:

"'"Gentlemen, I am extremely sensible to the honour which you have been pleased to do me; I will not own that I deserve it except for my love of my country. It is very natural that the town in which Henry IV. saw the light should have been pleased to remember my devotion to the descendants of that illustrious King."

"'Renewed cheers were raised, after which the crowd dispersed peacefully. M. de Chateaubriand left at nine o'clock this morning for Paris."—B.

[158] Francis I. King of the Two Sicilies (1777-1830) married, first, Clementina of Austria and, secondly,

[159] Maria Isabella of Spain, Queen of the Two Sicilies (1789-1848), daughter of Charles IV. King of Spain.—T.

[160] Maria Christina of Naples, Queen of Spain (1806-1878), married, in December 1829, as his fourth wife, to Ferdinand VII. King of Spain. It was at her instance that Ferdinand, on the 29th of March 1830, signed the Pragmatic Sanction abolishing the Salic Law in Spain, thus illegally securing the Crown to her daughter Isabella and excluding Ferdinand's brother, Don Carlos (de jure Charles V. King of Spain), from the succession.—T.

[161] The Days of 27 to 29 July 1830, ending in the overthrow of Charles X.—T.


[Pg 79]

BOOK XIV[162]

Sycophancy of the newspapers—M. de Polignac's first colleagues—The Algerian Expedition—Opening of the Session of 1830—The Address—The Chamber is dissolved—New Chamber—I leave for Dieppe—The Ordinances of the 25th of July—I return to Paris—Reflexions on the journey—Letter to Madame Récamier—The Revolution of July—M. Baude, M. de Choiseul, M. de Sémonville, M. de Vitrolles, M. Laffitte, and M. Thiers—I write to the King at Saint-Cloud—His verbal answer—Aristocratic corps—Pillage of the house of the missionaries in the Rue d'Enfer—The Chamber of Deputies—M. de Mortemart—A walk through Paris—General Dubourg—Funeral ceremony—Under the colonnade of the Louvre—The young men carry me back to the House of Peers—Meeting of the Peers.

When the swallows near the moment of their departure, there is one that flies away first to announce the approaching passage of the rest: mine were the first wings that preceded the last flight of Legitimacy. Did the praises with which the newspapers loaded me charm me? Not in the least. Some of my friends tried to console me by assuring me that I was on the point of becoming Prime Minister; that this party stroke so frankly played decided my future: they thought they saw in me an ambition of which I did not possess the very germ. I do not understand how any man who has lived but eight days with me can fail to have perceived my total lack of that passion—a very lawful one, for that matter—which enables one to push through a political career. I was ever on the watch for the occasion to retire: if I was so devoted to the Roman Embassy, that was just because it led to nothing and because it was a retreat in a blind alley.

Lastly, at the bottom of my conscience I had a certain fear of having already driven opposition too far; I was forcibly about to become its bond, its centre and its object: I was frightened of it, and this fear increased my regrets for the tranquil shelter I had lost.

Be this as it may, much incense was burnt before the wooden idol that had climbed down from its altar. M. de Lamartine, a new and brilliant light of France, wrote to me[Pg 80] on the subject of his candidature for the Academy[163], and ended his letter thus:

"M. de La Noue, who has just been spending a few minutes with me, told me that he had left you occupying your noble leisure in raising a monument to France. Each of your voluntary and courageous disgraces will thus bring its tribute of esteem to your name and of glory to your country."

This noble letter from the author of the Méditations poétiques was followed by one from M. de Lacretelle[164]. He in his turn wrote:

"What a moment they choose to outrage you, you the man of sacrifices, you the man to whom fine actions come as easily as fine works! Your resignation and the formation of the new Ministry had appeared to me, in advance, in the light of two connected events. You have accustomed us to acts of devotion, as Bonaparte accustomed us to victory; but he had many companions, whereas you have not many imitators."

*

Two very literary men, both writers of great merit, M. Abel Rémusat[165] and M. Saint-Martin[166], alone at that time had the weakness to rise up against me: they were attached to M. le Baron de Damas. I can imagine that people are a little irritated by men who despise places: that is one of those pieces of insolence that cannot be endured.

M. Guizot himself deigned to visit me in my abode; he thought he might overcome the immense distance which Nature had set between us; on accosting me, he said these words full of all that he owed to himself:

"Monsieur, things are very different to-day!"


Guizot.


In the year 1829, M. Guizot had need of me for his[Pg 81] election; I wrote to the electors of Lisieux, and they carried him[167]; M. de Broglie[168] thanked me in the note that follows:

"Permit me to thank you, monsieur, for the letter which you have been good enough to address to me. I have made the right use of it, and I am convinced that, in common with all that comes from you, it will bear fruit and salutary fruit. For my part, I am as grateful to you as though I myself were concerned, for there is no event with which I have more closely identified myself nor which arouses in me a keener interest."

The July days found M. Guizot a deputy, and the result was that I am partly the cause of his political rise: sometimes Heaven hearkens to the prayer of the humble.

*

M de Polignac's colleagues.

M. de Polignac's first colleagues were Messieurs de Bourmont[169], de La Bourdonnaye, de Chabrol, de Courvoisier[170] and de Montbel[171]. On the 17th of June 1815, at Ghent, I had been waiting on the King, when I met at the foot of the stairs a man in a frock-coat and muddy boots who was going up to His Majesty. By his lively expression, his finely-shaped nose, his beautiful, soft, adder-like eyes, I recognised General[Pg 82] Bourmont: he had deserted Bonaparte's army. The Comte de Bourmont is a meritorious officer, skilful at extricating himself from difficult situations, but one of those men who, when placed in the front rank, see obstacles without being able to conquer them. They are made to be led, not to lead. He is fortunate in his sons, and Algiers will leave him a name.

The Comte de La Bourdonnaye, formerly my friend, is certainly the most disagreeable personage that ever lived: he lets fly at you the instant you approach him; he attacks the speakers in the Chamber, as he does his neighbours in the country; he cavils over a word, just as he goes to law about a ditch or a drain. On the very morning of the day on which I was appointed Foreign Minister, he came to tell me that he was breaking with me: I was a minister. I laughed and let my male termagant go about his business: laughing himself, he looked like a thwarted bat[172].

M. de Montbel, at first Minister of Public Instruction, replaced M. de La Bourdonnaye at the Interior when the latter resigned, and M. de Guernon-Ranville[173] followed M. de Montbel at the Ministry of Public Instruction.

Men were preparing for war on both sides: the Ministerial Party launched ironical pamphlets against the Représentatif; the Opposition organized itself and spoke of refusing to pay taxes in the event of a violation of the Charter. A public association, called the Breton Association, was formed to resist the Administration: my fellow-countrymen have often taken the lead in our later revolutions; every Breton head has something in common with the winds that vex the shores of our peninsula.

A newspaper[174] set up with the avowed object of overthrowing the Old Dynasty came to excite men's minds. The handsome[Pg 83] young bookseller, Sautelet[175], pursued with suicidal mania, had several times felt the longing to make his death useful to his party by some bold stroke; he was charged with the business part of the republican sheet: Messieurs Thiers[176], Mignet[177] and Carrel[178] were its editors. The patron of the National, M. le Prince de Talleyrand, did not put a sou into the cash-box; he was content to defile the paper's spirit by adding to the common fund his quotum of treason and rottenness. On this occasion I received the following note from M. Thiers:

A note from M. Thiers.

"Monsieur,

"Not knowing whether the service of a new paper will be performed with exactness, I send you the first number of the National. All my collaborators unite with me in begging you to consent to regard yourself, not as a subscriber, but as a gentle reader. If, in this first article, the object of great anxiety to me, I have succeeded in expressing opinions that meet with your approval, I shall feel reassured and certain of being in the right road.

"Receive, monsieur, my homage.

"A. Thiers."

I shall return to the editors of the National; I shall tell how I have known them; but I must at once place M. Carrel on one side: superior to both Messieurs Thiers and Mignet, he had the simplicity to look upon himself, at the time when I became connected with him, as coming after writers whom he excelled; he upheld with his sword the opinions which those penmen laid bare.

While these men were making ready for the contest, the preparations[Pg 84] for the Algerian Expedition were being completed. General Bourmont, the Minister for War, had had himself appointed to the command of that expedition: was it his intention to escape responsibility for the coup d'État which he felt coming? That was likely enough, to judge from his antecedents and his craftiness; but it was a misfortune for Charles X. Had the general been in Paris at the time of the catastrophe, the vacant portfolio of the War Office would not have fallen into the hands of M. de Polignac. Before striking the blow, presuming that he would have agreed to it, M. de Bourmont would doubtless have assembled the whole of the Royal Guard in Paris; he would have got ready money and the necessary provisions, so that the soldier should have wanted for nothing.

Our navy, brought to life again at the Battle of Navarino, sailed from the French ports lately so abandoned. The roads were covered with ships which saluted the land as they moved away. Steamboats, a new discovery of man's genius, came and went, carrying orders from one division to the other, like sirens or the aides-de-camp of the admiral. The Dauphin stood on shore, where all the population of the town and mountains had gathered. After snatching his kinsman, the King of Spain, from the hands of the revolution, he beheld the dawn of the day on which Christianity was to be delivered: could he have believed night to be so near at hand[179]?

*

The Algerian expedition.

The times were past in which Catherine de Medici begged from the Turk the investiture of the Principality of Algiers for Henry III., not yet King of Poland! Algiers was about to become our daughter and our conquest, without anybody's permission, without England's daring to prevent us from taking that "Emperor's Fort" which recalled Charles V. and the change in his fortunes[180].


The Princesse de Lieven.


It was a great joy and a great happiness to the assembled French spectators to greet, with Bossuet's greeting, the[Pg 85] generous vessels, ready to break the slave's chain with their prows; a victory increased by the cry uttered by the Eagle of Meaux when he announced the future success to the Great King, as though to console him one day in his tomb for the dispersal of his dynasty:

"Thou shalt yield, or fall under that victor, Algiers, rich in the spoils of Christianity. Thou saidst in thy heart of greed:

"I hold the sea under my laws and the nations are my prey!'

"The swiftness of thy ships gave thee confidence, but thou shalt see thyself attacked in thy walls like a ravenous bird which one hunts amid its rocks and in its nest, where it shares its booty among its young. Already thou art releasing thy slaves. Louis has shattered the irons under which thou wert loading his subjects, who are born to be free under his glorious empire. The astonished pilots cry beforehand:

"'Who is like unto Tyre? And yet she kept silence in the midst of the sea[181].'"

O splendid words, could you not retard the crumbling of the Throne? Nations proceed towards their destinies; like certain of Dante's shades, they cannot possibly be arrested, even in good fortune.

Those vessels, which carried liberty to the seas of Numidia, were carrying away the Legitimacy; that fleet under the White Flag was the Monarchy getting under way, sailing from the ports where St. Louis embarked when Death called him to Carthage. O slaves delivered from imprisonment, they who have restored you to your native land have lost their country; they who have saved you from eternal banishment are banished. The master of that huge fleet has crossed the sea on a bark as a fugitive, and France can say to him what Cornelia said to Pompey:

"It is indeed the work of my fortune, not of thine, that I see thee now reduced to one small ship where thou hadst wished to go before the breeze with five hundred sail."

Had I not friends among that crowd which, on the beach of Toulon, followed with its eyes the fleet setting sail for Africa? Did not M. du Plessix, my brother-in-law's brother, receive on board his ship a charming woman, Madame Lenormant, who was awaiting the return of the friend[182][Pg 86] of Champollion[183]? What came of that flight executed in Africa, executed at a single swoop? Let us listen to M. de Penhoen[184], my fellow-Breton:

"Not two months had elapsed since we saw that same banner wave in front of those same shores over five hundred ships. Then, sixty thousand men were impatient to go to unfurl it on the battle-field in Africa. To-day, a few sick, a few wounded, painfully dragging themselves along the deck of our frigate, formed its only retinue.... At the moment when the guard took up arms, according to custom, to salute the flag as it was hoisted or lowered, all conversation ceased on deck. I uncovered with the same respect that I should have shown to the old King himself. I knelt within my heart before the majesty of great misfortunes, of which I was sadly contemplating the symbol[185]."

The session of 1830 opened on the 2nd of March. In the Speech from the Throne, the King was made to say:

"If culpable manœuvres should raise in the way of my Government obstacles which I cannot, or, rather, which I will not anticipate, I shall find the means of overcoming them[186]."

[Pg 87]

Charles X. uttered these words in the tone of a man who, habitually timid and gentle, happens to find himself in a passion and excites himself with the sound of his own voice: the more forcible the words were, the feebler appeared the resolutions behind it.

The address of the Chamber.

The Address in reply was drawn up by Messieurs Étienne[187] and Guizot. It said:

"Sire, the Charter consecrates, as a right, the intervention of the country in the discussion of its public interests. This intervention renders the permanent accord between the political views of the Government and the wishes of your people the indispensable condition of the regular march of public affairs. Sire, our loyalty, our devotion condemn us to tell you that this accord does not exist."

The Address was voted by a majority of 221 against 181. An amendment was moved by M. de Lorgeril[188] to do away with the phrase relating to the refusal of concurrence. This amendment obtained only 28 votes. If the 221 had been able to foresee the result of their vote, the Address would have been rejected by a huge majority. Why does Providence not sometimes raise a corner of the veil that covers the future? It gives, it is true, a presentiment to certain men; but they do not see clear enough to make sure of their way, they fear to make a mistake, or, if they venture upon predictions which are accomplished, no one believes them. God does not push aside the cloud from the background in which He acts; when He permits great evils to take place, it is because He has great plans, plans extending over a general plane, unrolled in a deep horizon beyond our view and beyond the reach of our short-lived generations.

The King, in his Reply to the Address, declared that his resolution was unchangeable, in other words, that he would not dismiss M. de Polignac. The dissolution of the Chamber was resolved upon: Messieurs de Peyronnet and[Pg 88] de Chantelauze replaced Messieurs de Chabrol and Courvoisier, who resigned; M. Capelle was appointed Minister of Commerce. They had a score of men around them capable of being ministers; they might have sent for M. de Villèle again; they might have taken M. Casimir Périer and General Sébastiani. I had already proposed the two latter to the King when, after the fall of M. de Villèle, the Abbé Frayssinous was told to offer me the Ministry of Public Instruction. But no; they held capable men in abhorrence. In their fervour for nullity, they sought, as though to humiliate France, for the smallest thing she had to put at her head. They had dug up M. Guernon de Ranville, who, however, was the bravest of the unknown band, and the Dauphin had besought M. de Chantelauze to save the Monarchy.

The decrees dissolving the Chamber summoned the district electoral colleges for the 23rd of June 1830 and the departmental colleges for the 3rd of July[189], only twenty-seven days before the death of the Elder Branch.

The parties, all exceedingly excited, drove everything to extremes: the Ultra-Royalists spoke of giving the Crown the dictatorship; the Republicans dreamt of a republic under a directorate or convention. The Tribune[190], the organ of the latter party, appeared, and went beyond the National. The great majority of the country was still in favour of the Legitimate Monarchy, but with concessions and enfranchisement from Court influences; every ambition was aroused, every one hoped to become a minister: storms hatch insects.

Those who wished to force Charles X. to become a constitutional monarch thought they were right. They believed the Legitimacy to be deep-rooted: they had forgotten the weakness of the man; the Royalty might be driven, the King could not: it was the individual that ruined us, not the institution.

The deputies of the new Chamber arrived in Paris: of the 221, 202 had been re-elected; the Opposition numbered[Pg 89] 270 votes: the Ministry 145; the Crown Party was therefore lost. The natural result would have been the resignation of the Ministry: Charles X. was stubbornly determined to defy everything, and the coup d'État was resolved upon.

Dieppe and back to Paris.

I left for Dieppe at four o'clock in the morning on the 26th of July, the very day on which the Ordinances appeared. I was in fairly good spirits, delighted that I was going to see the sea again, and I was followed, at some distance, by a terrible storm. I supped and slept at Rouen without learning anything, regretting that I was not able to visit Saint-Ouen and kneel before the beautiful Virgin in the Museum, in memory of Raphael and Rome. I arrived at Dieppe the next day, the 27th, at mid-day. I went to the hotel where M. le Comte de Boissy[191], my former secretary of legation, had engaged rooms for me. I dressed and went to call on Madame Récamier. She occupied an apartment whose windows looked out on the sands. I spent a few hours in talking and watching the waves. Suddenly Hyacinthe appeared; he brought me a letter which M. de Boissy had received, telling with great praises of the issue of the Ordinances. A moment later, my old friend Ballanche entered; he had come straight from the diligence and held the newspapers in his hand. I opened the Moniteur and read the official documents, without believing my eyes. One more government which deliberately flung itself from the towers of Notre-Dame! I told Hyacinthe to ask for horses, in order to set out for Paris again. I climbed back into my carriage, at seven o'clock, leaving my friends in anxiety. It is true that, for a month past, people had been murmuring something about a coup d'État, but no one had taken any notice of the rumour, which seemed absurd. Charles X. had lived on the illusions of the Throne: a kind of mirage is formed around princes, and it imposes upon them by displacing the object and making them see chimerical landscapes in the sky.

I took away the Moniteur with me. So soon as it was light, on the 28th, I read, re-read and commented on the[Pg 90] Ordinances[192]. The Report to the King which served as a preamble struck me in two ways: the observations on the drawbacks of the press were just; but, at the same time, the author of those observations[193] displayed a complete ignorance of the actual state of society. No doubt ministers, to whatever shade of opinion they have belonged, have, since 1814, been harassed by the newspapers; no doubt the press tends to subdue the Sovereignty, to force the Royalty and the Chambers to obey it; no doubt, during the last days of the Restoration, the press, listening only to the dictates of its own passion, disregarding the interests and the honour of France, attacked the Algerian Expedition, enlarged on the causes, the means, the preparations, the chances of failure; it divulged the secrets of our armament, instructed the enemy of the state of our forces, enumerated our troops and vessels, and even indicated the point selected for the disembarkation. Would the Cardinal de Richelieu and Bonaparte have brought Europe to the feet of France, if the mystery of their negociations had been thus revealed in advance, or the halting-places of their armies set forth?

All this is both true and hateful; but the remedy? The press is an element till lately unknown, a force formerly unheard of, now introduced into the world; it is speech in the shape of a thunder-bolt; it is the electricity of society. How can you prevent its existence? The more you aim at compressing it, the more violent the explosion. You must therefore bring yourself to live with it, as you live with the steam-engine. You must learn to use it while making it safe, either by gradually weakening it by common and domestic usage, or by gradually assimilating your manners and laws to the principles which will henceforth govern humanity. One proof of the powerlessness of the press in certain cases is derived from the very reproach which you made against it in regard to the Algerian Expedition: you have taken Algiers, in spite of the liberty of the press, in the same way as I had caused the war with Spain to be waged, in 1823, under the hottest fire of that liberty.

But what is not to be endured in the Report of the ministers is that shameless pretension, namely, that "the King has a power pre-existent to the laws." What, then, is the meaning of constitutions? Why deceive the nations with[Pg 91] sham guarantees, if the monarch is able at will to alter the order of established government? And yet the signatories of the Report are so firmly persuaded of what they say that they hardly quote Article XIV.[194] to which I had long been prophesying that "they would confiscate the Charter;" they recall it, but only for memory, and as a superfluity of right of which they had no need.

The Ordinances of July.

The first Ordinance established the suppression of the liberty of the press in all its parts; this is the quintessence of all that had been elaborated during the last fifteen years in the dark closet of the police.

The second Ordinance reforms the law of election. Thus the two first liberties, the liberty of the press and electoral liberty, were torn up by the roots: and that, not by an iniquitous and yet legal act, emanating from a corrupt legislative power, but by "ordinances," as in the days of the King's will and pleasure. And five men, not lacking common-sense, were, with unexampled levity, precipitating themselves, their master, the Monarchy, France and Europe into a whirlpool. I did not know what was happening in Paris. I was hoping that a resistance, without overturning the throne, would have obliged the Crown to dismiss the ministers and recall the Ordinances. In the event of the triumph of the latter, I had resolved not to submit to them, but to write and speak against those unconstitutional measures.

If the members of the Diplomatic Body exercised no direct influence upon the Ordinances, they favoured them with their wishes; absolute Europe abhorred our Charter. When the news of the Ordinances reached Berlin and Vienna, where, for twenty-four hours, men believed in their success, M. Ancillon exclaimed that Europe was saved, and M. de Metternich displayed unspeakable delight. Soon, having learnt the truth, the latter was as much dismayed as he had been overjoyed: he declared that he had been mistaken, that public opinion was decidedly liberal, and he was already accustoming himself to the idea of an Austrian Constitution.

The nominations of councillors of State following upon the Ordinances of July throw some light upon the persons who, in the ante-chambers, gave their assistance to the Ordinances[Pg 92] either with their advice or their composition. You there see the names of the men most opposed to the representative system. Was it in the King's own closet, under the Monarch's eyes, that those fatal documents were drawn up? Was it in M. de Polignac's closet? Was it in a meeting of ministers alone, or assisted by a few anti-constitutional pudding-heads? Was it "under seal," in some secret sitting of the "Ten," that those decrees were minuted by virtue of which the Legitimate Monarchy was condemned to be strangled on the "Bridge of Sighs?" Was the idea M. de Polignac's alone? Perhaps history will never tell us.

On arriving at Gisors, I learnt that Paris had risen, and heard alarming things said, which proved how seriously the Charter was taken by people throughout France. At Pontoise, they had still more recent, but confused and contradictory news. At Herblay, there were no horses at the post-office. I waited nearly an hour. They advised me to avoid Saint-Denis, because I should find barricades there. At Courbevoie, the postillion had already left off his jacket with the fleurs-de-lys on the buttons. They had fired that morning at a calash which he was driving in Paris through the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. In consequence, he told me that he would not take me by that avenue, but that he would make for the Barrière du Trocadéro, to the right of the Barrière de l'Étoile. This barrier gives a view over Paris. I saw the tricolour flag waving; I judged that it was a case not of a riot, but of a revolution. I had a presentiment that my role was about to change: that, having hurried back to defend the public liberties, I should be obliged to defend the Royalty. Here and there, clouds of white smoke rose among blocks of houses. I heard some cannon-shots and musketry-fire mixed with the droning of the tocsin. It seemed to me that I saw the fall of the old Louvre from the top of the waste upland destined by Napoleon for the site of the palace of the King of Rome. The spot of observation offered one of those philosophical consolations which one ruin carries to another.

My carriage went down the hill. I crossed the Pont d'Iéna and drove up the paved avenue skirting the Champ de Mars. All was solitary. I found a picket of cavalry posted before the railings of the Military School; the men looked sad and as though forgotten there. We took the Boulevard des Invalides and the Boulevard du Mont-Parnasse. I met a few people on foot who looked surprised to see a carriage driven[Pg 93] post as at an ordinary time. The Boulevard d'Enfer was obstructed by felled elm-trees.

In my street[195], my neighbours were glad to see me arrive: I seemed to them a protection for the quarter. Madame de Chateaubriand was both pleased and alarmed at my return.

The revolution of July.

On Thursday morning, the 29th of July, I wrote Madame Récamier, at Dieppe, a letter prolonged by postscripts:

"Thursday morning, 29 July 1830.

"I write to you without knowing whether my letter will reach you, for the post no longer goes out.

"I entered Paris amid the booming of guns, the rattle of musketry, the clanging of the tocsin. This morning the tocsin is still sounding, but I no longer hear any firing; it seems that they are organizing themselves, and that resistance will continue until the Ordinances are repealed. There you see the immediate result (without speaking of the definite result) of the act of perjury the blame for which, at least in appearance, the ministers have allowed to fall upon the Crown!

"The National Guard, the Polytechnic School, all have taken part in the business. I have seen no one yet. You can imagine in what a state I found Madame de Chateaubriand. People who, like her, have seen the 10th of August and the 2nd of September have remained under the impression of terror. One regiment, the 5th of the Line, has already gone over to the Charter. M. de Polignac is certainly most guilty; his want of capacity is a poor excuse; ambition for which one has not the talent is a crime. They say that the Court is at Saint-Cloud and ready to leave.

"I do not speak to you of myself; my position is painful, but clear. I shall betray neither the King nor the Charter, neither the Legitimate Power nor liberty. I have therefore nothing to say or do, but to wait and weep for my country. God knows now what is going to happen in the provinces: already they are talking of an insurrection at Rouen. On the other side, the Congregation will arm the Chouans and the Vendée. On what small things do empires depend! An Ordinance and half-a-dozen stupid or unscrupulous ministers are enough to turn the most peaceful and flourishing country into the most disturbed and unhappy country."

[Pg 94]

"The firing is recommencing. It appears they are attacking the Louvre, where the King's troops have entrenched themselves. The suburb in which I live is beginning to rise in insurrection. They speak of a provisional government with General Gérard[196], the Duc de Choiseul[197] and M. de La Fayette at its head.

"This letter will probably not leave, Paris having been declared in a state of siege. Marshal Marmont is commanding in the King's name. He is said to be killed, but I do not believe it. Try not to alarm yourself unduly. May God protect you! We shall meet again!

"Friday.

"This letter was written yesterday; it could not be sent. All is over: the popular victory is complete; the King yields on all points, but I fear they will not go far beyond the concessions made by the Crown. I wrote to His Majesty this morning. For the rest, I have a complete plan of sacrifices for the future which pleases me. We will talk of it when you are here.

"I am going to post this letter myself and to stroll through Paris."

*

The Ordinances, dated 25 July, were published in the Moniteur of the 26th. Their secret had been so profoundly kept that neither the Maréchal Duc de Raguse, who was major-general of the Guard on duty, nor M. Mangin[198], the Prefect of Police, had been taken into confidence. The Prefect of the Seine[199] heard of the Ordinances only through the Moniteur: the same was the case with the Under-secretary of State for War[200]; and[Pg 95] this in spite of the fact that it was those several officials who disposed of the different forces of the army. The Prince de Polignac, who held M. de Bourmont's portfolio ad interim, concerned himself so little with this trifling matter of the Ordinances that he spent the day, on the 26th, presiding over an adjudication at the War Office.

The King left on a hunting-party on the 26th, before the Moniteur had reached Saint-Cloud, and did not return from Rambouillet till midnight.

At last the Duc de Raguse received this note from M. de Polignac:

"Your Excellency is aware of the extraordinary measures which the King, in his wisdom and in his love for his people, has thought it necessary to take for the maintenance of the rights of his crown and of public order. In these important circumstances, His Majesty relies on your zeal to ensure order and tranquillity throughout the extent of your command."

Action of the press.

This audacity displayed by the weakest men that ever lived against the force that was about to pulverize an empire can be explained only as being a sort of hallucination resulting from the counsels of a wretched set which was no longer to be found at the hour of danger. The newspaper-editors, after consulting Messieurs Dupin, Odilon Barrot, Barthe[201] and Mérilhou[202], resolved to bring out their impressions without authorization, in order to compel their seizure and to plead the illegality of the Ordinances. They met at the office of the National: M. Thiers drew up a protest which was signed by forty-four editors[203] and which appeared, on the morning of the 27th, in the National and the Temps.

[Pg 96]

In the evening, a few deputies met at M. de Laborde's[204]. They agreed to meet again the next day at M. Casimir Périer's. There appeared, for the first time, one of the three powers that were to occupy the scene: the Monarchy was in the Chamber of Deputies, the Usurpation at the Palais-Royal, the Republic at the Hôtel de Ville. Crowds gathered at the Palais-Royal in the evening; stones were thrown at M. de Polignac's carriage. The Duc de Raguse having seen the King at Saint-Cloud, on his return from Rambouillet, the King asked him the news from Paris:

"The stocks have fallen."

"How much?" asked the Dauphin

"Three francs," answered the marshal.

"They will go up again," replied the Dauphin, and every one went away.

*

The day of the 27th began badly. The King invested the Duc de Raguse with the command of Paris. This was relying on bad fortune. The marshal came to instal himself at the Staff-office of the Guard on the Place du Carrousel, at one o'clock. M. Mangin sent to seize the printing-presses of the National; M. Carrel resisted; Messieurs Mignet and Thiers, thinking the game lost, disappeared for two days: M. Thiers went to hide in the Montmorency Valley with a Madame de Courchamp[205], a relation of the two Messieurs Becquet[206], of whom one had worked on the National, the other on the Journal des Débats.

At the Temps, the matter assumed a more serious complexion: the real hero of the journalists is incontestably M. Coste[207].

[Pg 97]

In 1823, M. Coste was managing the Tablettes historiques[208]: one of his collaborators accusing him of having sold that paper, he fought a duel and received a sword-thrust M. Coste was presented to me at the Foreign Office; discussing the liberty of the press with him, I said:

"Monsieur, you know how I love and respect that liberty; but how would you have me defend it to Louis XVIII., when every day you attack royalty and religion? I beg you, in your own interest and so as to leave me full strength, to desist from undermining ramparts which are already three-parts demolished, and which really a man of courage ought to blush to attack. Let us make a bargain: do you cease falling foul of a few feeble old men whom the Throne and the sanctuary are hardly able to protect; in exchange I give you my own person. Attack me day and night; say anything about me that you please: I shall never make a complaint; I shall appreciate your legitimate and constitutional attack on the minister, so long as you leave the King out of it."

M. Coste has retained a grateful memory of his interview with me.

Parade of constitutionalism.

A parade of constitutionalism took place at the office of the Temps between M. Baude[209] and a commissary of police[210].

The Attorney-General[211] issued forty-four warrants against the signatories to the protest of the journalists.

[Pg 98]

At two o'clock, the monarchical faction of the revolution met at M. Périer's[212], as had been agreed upon the day before: they came to no conclusion. The deputies adjourned to the morrow, the 28th, at M. Audry de Puyravault's[213]. M. Casimir Périer, a man of order and wealth, did not wish to fall into the hands of the people; he continued still to cherish the hope of an arrangement with the Legitimate Royalty; he said sharply to M. de Schonen[214]:

"You ruin us by departing from lawfulness; you make us give up a superb position."

This spirit of lawfulness prevailed everywhere: it showed itself at two opposite meetings, one at M. Cadet-Gassicourt's[215] the other at General Gourgaud's. M. Périer belonged to that middle class which had constituted itself the heir of the people and the soldier. He had courage, stability of ideas: he flung himself bravely across the revolutionary torrent to dam it; but his life was too much taken up with his health and he was too careful of his fortune:

"What can you do with a man," said M. Decazes to me, "who is always examining his tongue in a looking-glass?"

The mob increased in size and began to appear under arms. The officer of the Gendarmerie came to inform the Maréchal de Raguse that he had not enough men and that he feared lest he should be driven back: then the marshal made his military dispositions.

It was half-past four in the evening of the 27th before orders reached the barracks to take up arms. The Paris Gendarmerie, supported by a few detachments of the Guard, tried to restore the traffic in the Rues Richelieu and Saint-Honoré. One of these detachments was assailed, in the Rue du Duc de Bordeaux[216], by a shower of stones. The leader of the detachment refrained from firing, when a shot from the Hôtel Royal, in the Rue des Pyramides, decided the question: it appeared that a certain Mr. Folks, who lived at this hotel, had taken up his gun and fired at the Guards from his window. The soldiers replied with a volley[Pg 99] at the house, and Mr. Folks fell dead with his two servants. This is the way in which those English, who live safe and sheltered in their island, go to carry revolutions to other nations; you find them in the four corners of the world mixed up in quarrels with which they have no concern: so long as they can sell a piece of calico, what care they about plunging a nation into every kind of calamity? What right had this Mr. Folks to shoot at French soldiers? Was it the British Constitution that Charles X. had violated? If anything could stigmatize the July fighting, it would be that it was begun by a bullet fired by an Englishman[217].

The first shot fired.

The first fighting, which began the day's work of the 27th a little before five o'clock in the evening, ceased at nightfall. The gunsmiths and sword-cutlers gave up their arms to the mob; the street-lamps were broken or remained unlighted; the tricolour flag was hoisted in the darkness on the towers of Notre-Dame: the seizure of the guard-houses, the capture of the arsenal and the powder-magazines, the disarming of the fixed posts, all this was effected without opposition at daybreak on the 28th, and all was finished at eight o'clock.

The democratic or proletarian party of the revolution, in blouses or half-naked, was under arms: it was not sparing of its misery or its rags. The mob, represented by electors whom it chose out of different bands, had succeeded in having a meeting called at M. Cadet-Gassicourt's.

The party of the Usurpation did not yet show itself: its head, hiding outside Paris, did not know whether he should go to Saint-Cloud or to the Palais-Royal. The middle-class or monarchical party, the deputies deliberated and were unwilling to be drawn into the movement.

M. de Polignac went to Saint-Cloud and, at five o'clock in the morning, on the 28th, made the King sign the Ordinance placing Paris in a stage of siege.

[Pg 100]

On the 28th, the groups formed again in greater numbers; already the cry of "Liberty for ever! Down with the Bourbons!" was mingled with the cry of "The Charter for ever!" which was heard on every side. They also shouted, "Long live the Emperor! Long live the Black Prince!" the mysterious Prince of Darkness who appears to the popular imagination in all revolutions. Memories and passions had come down upon the crowd; they pulled down and burned the French arms; they hung them to the ropes of the shattered street-lanterns; they tore the badges with the fleurs-de-lys from the guards of the diligences and the postmen; the notaries removed their scutcheons, the bailiffs their badges, the carriers their stamps, the Court purveyors their coats of arms. Those who but lately had covered the Napoleonic eagles, painted in oil-colours, with the fleurs-de-lys of the Bourbons in distemper needed only a sponge to wipe away their loyalty: nowadays one effaces gratitude and empires with a few drops of water.

The Maréchal de Raguse wrote to the King that it was urgent that methods of pacification should be taken and that the next day, the 29th, would be too late. A messenger had come from the Prefect of Police to ask the marshal if it was true that Paris had been declared in a state of siege: the marshal, who knew nothing about it, was astonished; he hurried to the President of the Council; there[218] he found the ministers assembled, and M. de Polignac handed him the Ordinance. Because the man who had trodden the world under foot had laid towns and provinces under martial law, Charles X. thought that he could imitate him. The ministers told the marshal that they were coming to establish themselves at the Head-quarters of the Guard.

No orders having arrived from Saint-Cloud, at nine o'clock in the morning, on the 28th, when it was no longer time to hold everything, but to recapture everything, the marshal ordered the troops, which had already shown themselves in part on the preceding day, to leave barracks. No precautions had been taken to send provisions to the Carrousel, the head-quarters. The bakehouse, which they had forgotten to have sufficiently guarded, was carried by the mob. M. le Duc de Raguse, a man of intelligence and merit, a brave soldier, a clever but unlucky general, proved for the thousandth time that military genius is not enough to overcome[Pg 101] civil troubles: the first-come police-officer would have known better what was to be done than the marshal. Perhaps also his intellect was paralyzed by his memories; he remained as though stifled under the weight of the fatality of his name.

The guards attacked.

Under the command of the Comte de Saint-Chamans[219], the first column of the Guard set out from the Madeleine to proceed along the boulevards to the Bastille. No sooner had they started, than the platoon commanded by M. Sala[220] was attacked; the royalist officer briskly repulsed the assault. As they advanced, the posts of communication left behind on the road, too weak and too far removed one from the other, were cut by the people and separated by felled trees and barricades. An affray took place, attended with bloodshed, at the Portes Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin. Passing by the scene of the future exploits of Fieschi[221], M. de Saint-Chamans encountered numerous groups of women and men on the Place de la Bastille. He called upon them to disperse, distributing some money among them; but the people persisted in firing from the surrounding houses. He was obliged to renounce his intention of reaching the Hôtel de Ville by the Rue Saint-Antoine and, after crossing the Pont d'Austerlitz, returned to the Carrousel along the south boulevards. Turenne, acting on behalf of the mother of the infant Louis XIV., had been more fortunate before the Bastille, then not yet demolished.

The column sent to occupy the Hôtel de Ville[222] followed the Quais des Tuileries, du Louvre and de l'École, crossed the first half of the Pont-Neuf, took the Quai de l'Horloge and the Marché-aux-Fleurs, and reached the Place de Grève by the Pont Notre-Dame. Two platoons of Guards[Pg 102] effected a diversion by filing towards the new suspension bridge. A battalion of the 15th Light Infantry supported the Guards, and was to leave two platoons on the Marché-aux-Fleurs.

There was some fighting as they crossed the Seine on the Pont Notre-Dame. The mob, headed by a drum, bravely faced the Guards. The officer in command of the Royal Artillery explained to the mass of people that they were exposing themselves uselessly and that, as they had no guns, they would be shot down without the smallest chance of succeeding. The rabble persisted; the guns were fired. The soldiers streamed on to the quays and the Place de Grève, where two other platoons of Guards arrived by the Pont d'Arcole. They had been obliged to force their way through crowds of students from the Faubourg Saint-Jacques. The Hôtel de Ville was occupied.

A barricade rose at the entrance to the Rue du Monton: a brigade of Swiss carried the barricade; the rabble, rushing up from the adjacent streets, recaptured its entrenchment with loud shouts. The barricade remained finally in the hands of the Guards.

In all those poor and popular quarters, they fought spontaneously, without after-thought: mocking, heedless, intrepid, French giddiness had mounted to all heads; glory, to our nation, has the lightness of champagne. The women at the windows encouraged the men in the streets; notes were written promising the marshal's baton to the first colonel who should go over to the people; clusters of men marched to the sound of a violin. It was a medley of tragic and clownish scenes, of mountebank and triumphant spectacles: one heard shouts of laughter and oaths in the midst of musket-shots and the dull roar of the crowd, across masses of smoke. With foraging-cap on head, bare-footed, improvised carmen, supplied with permits from unknown leaders, drove convoys of wounded through the combatants, who separated to let them pass.

In the wealthy quarters reigned a different spirit. The National Guards had resumed the uniforms of which they had been stripped, and assembled in large numbers at the Mayor's Office of the 1st Ward to preserve order. In these engagements, the Guards suffered more than the people, because they were exposed to the fire of invisible enemies in the houses. Others shall give the names of the drawing-room heroes who, safely ambushed behind a shutter or[Pg 103] chimney-pot, amused themselves by shooting down the officers of the Guards whom they recognised. In the streets, the animosity of the labourer and the soldier did not go beyond striking the blow: once wounded, they mutually aided one another. The mob saved several victims. Two officers, M. de Goyon and M. Rivaux, after an heroic defense, owed their lives to the generosity of the victors. Captain Kaumann of the Guards received a blow on the head from an iron bar: dazed and with his eyes filled with blood, he struck up with his sword the bayonets of his soldiers who were taking aim at the workman.

Chivalry on both sides.

The Guard was full of Bonaparte's grenadiers. Several officers lost their lives, among others Lieutenant Noirot, a man of extraordinary valour, who in 1813 had received the cross of the Legion of Honour from Prince Eugene for a feat of arms accomplished in one of the redoubts at Caldiera. Colonel de Pleineselve, mortally wounded at the Porte Saint-Martin, had been in the wars of the Empire in Holland, in Spain, with the Grand Army and in the Imperial Guard. At the Battle of Leipzig, he took the Austrian General Merfeld prisoner. Carried by his soldiers to the Hôpital du Gros-Caillou, he refused to have his wounds dressed until all the other wounded of July had been treated. Dr. Larrey[223], whom he had met on other battle-fields, amputated his leg at the thigh; it was too late to save him. Happy those noble adversaries, who had seen so many cannon-balls pass over their heads, if they did not fall before the bullet of one of those liberated convicts whom justice has found again, since the day of victory, in the ranks of the victors! Those galley-slaves were unable to pollute the national republican triumph; they prejudiced only the royalty of Louis-Philippe. Thus perished obscurely, in the streets of Paris, the survivors of those famous soldiers who had escaped from the cannon of the Moskowa, of Lutzen and Leipzig: we massacred under Charles X. those heroes whom we had so greatly admired under Napoleon. They wanted but one man: that man had disappeared at St. Helena.

[Pg 104]

At fall of night, a non-commissioned officer in disguise came to bring orders to the troops at the Hôtel de Ville to fall back upon the Tuileries. The retreat was made hazardous because of the wounded, whom they did not wish to abandon, and of the artillery, which it was difficult to convey across the barricades. Nevertheless it was effected without accident. When the troops returned from the different quarters of Paris, they thought that the King and Dauphin had come back also: looking in vain for the White Flag on the Pavillon de l'Horloge, they uttered the energetic language of the camps.

It is not true, as I have shown, that the Hôtel de Ville was captured by the Guards from the people and recaptured from the Guards by the people. When the Guards entered, they encountered no resistance, for there was no one there: the Prefect himself had gone. This boasting weakens and casts a doubt upon the real dangers. The Guards were badly engaged in tortuous streets; the Line, at first by its show of neutrality, and later by its defection, completed the harm which plans fine in theory, but unfeasible in practice, had begun. The 50th Regiment of the Line had arrived at the Hôtel de Ville during the fighting; ready to drop with fatigue, they hastened to retire to the inside of the Hôtel, and lent their exhausted comrades their unused and useless cartridges.

The Swiss battalion which had been left on the Marché des Innocents was released by another Swiss battalion: together they came out at the Quai de l'École and stood in the Louvre.

For the rest, barricades are entrenchments in keeping with the Parisian character; they are found in all our troubles, from Charles IX. to our own times:

"The people," says L'Éstoile, "seeing those forces disposed over the streets, began to be agitated and made barricades in the manner that all know: many Swiss were slain, who were buried in a ditch dug in the enclosure of Notre-Dame; the Duke of Guyse passing through the streets, all vied in crying loudly, 'Long live Guyse!' and quoth he, doffing his large hat:

"'My friends, it is enough; gentlemen, it is too much; shout, "Long live the King!"'"

Why do our barricades, which led to such mighty results,[Pg 105] gain so little in the telling, while the barricades of 1588, which produced nothing, are so interesting to read of? This is due to the difference in centuries and persons: the sixteenth century carried all before it; the nineteenth century has left all behind it: M. de Puyravault is not quite the Balafré.

*

While this fighting was continuing, the civil and political revolution followed the military revolution on parallel lines. The soldiers locked up in the Abbaye were set at liberty; the debtors at Sainte-Pélagie escaped and the political prisoners were released: a revolution is a jubilee; it absolves from every crime, permitting greater crimes.

The Ministers sat in council at the Staff Office: they resolved to arrest Messieurs Laffitte[224], La Fayette, Gérard, Marchais[225], Salverte[226] and Audry de Puyravault as leaders of the movement; the marshal gave the order for their arrest; but, when, later, they appeared before him as delegates, he did not think it consistent with his honour to put his order into execution.

Meetings of peers and deputies.

A gathering of the Monarchical Party, consisting of peers and deputies, met at M. Guizot's: the Duc de Broglie was there, as were Messieurs Thiers and Mignet, who had made their reappearance, and M. Carrel, although he held different ideas. It was there that the name of the Duc d'Orléans was first pronounced by the Usurpation Party. M. Thiers and M. Mignet went to General Sébastiani to talk to him of the Prince. The general replied in an evasive manner; the Duc d'Orléans, he asserted, had never entertained such designs and had not authorized him to do anything.

About mid-day, on the same day, the 28th, the general meeting of the deputies took place at M. Audry de Puyravault's[227]. M. de La Fayette, the leader of the Republican[Pg 106] Party, had reached Paris on the 27th; M. Laffitte, the leader of the Orleanist Party, had arrived on the 27th, at night; he went to the Palais-Royal, where he found no one; he sent to Neuilly: the King in embryo was not there.

At M. de Puyravault's, they discussed the proposal of a protest against the Ordinances. This protest, which was of a more than moderate character, left the great questions untouched.

M. Casimir Périer was in favour of hastening to the Duc de Raguse; while the five deputies selected were preparing to leave, M. Arago[228] was with the marshal: he had decided, on receipt of a note from Madame de Boigne, to be before-hand with the delegates. He represented to the marshal the necessity for putting an end to the troubles of the Capital. M. de Raguse went to obtain intelligence at M. de Polignac's; the latter, hearing of the hesitation among the troops, declared that, if they went over to the people, they were to be fired on like the insurgents. General de Tromelin[229] was present at the conversation and flew into a passion with General d'Ambrugeac[230]. Then came the deputation. M. Laffitte spoke:

"We come," he said, "to ask you to stop bloodshed. If the fighting continues, it will carry with it not only the most frightful calamities, but a real revolution."

The marshal confined himself to a question of military honour, maintaining that it was the duty of the people first to cease fighting; nevertheless he added this postscript to a letter which he was writing to the King:

[Pg 107]

"I think it is urgent that Your Majesty should avail yourself without delay of the overtures that have been made."

Colonel Komierowski, aide-de-camp to the Duc de Raguse, was shown into the King's closet at Saint-Cloud, and handed him the letter; the King said to him:

"I will read this letter."

The colonel withdrew and waited orders; seeing that they were not forthcoming, he begged M. le Duc de Duras to go to the King to ask for them. The duke replied that etiquette made it impossible for him to enter the closet. At last M. Komierowski was sent for by the King and told to enjoin the marshal "to hold out."

General Vincent on his side hurried down to Saint-Cloud; he forced the door which was denied him, and told the King that all was lost:

"My dear fellow," replied Charles X., "you are a good general, but these are things that you know nothing about."

*

The 29th saw new combatants enter the field: the pupils of the Polytechnic School, who were in correspondence with one of their old schoolfellows, M. Charras[231], broke bounds and sent four of their number, Messieurs Lothon, Perthelin, Pinsonnière and Tourneaux to offer their services to Messieurs Laffitte, Périer and La Fayette. These young men, distinguished by their studies, had already made themselves known to the Allies, when the latter appeared before Paris in 1814; during the Three Days, they became the leaders of the people, who, with perfect simplicity, placed them at their head. Some repaired to the Place de l'Odéon, others to the Palais-Royal and the Tuileries.

The King's obstinacy.

The Order of the Day published on the morning of the 29th offended the Guards: it announced that the King, wishing to give a proof of his satisfaction to his brave servants, awarded them six weeks' pay; an impropriety which the French soldier resented: it was placing him on a level with the English, who refuse to march or who mutiny, if their pay is in arrears.

During the night of the 28th, the people took up the[Pg 108] street-pavement, at each twenty yards' distance, and, at day-break the next morning, there were four thousand barricades standing in Paris.

The Palais-Bourbon was guarded by the Line, the Louvre by two Swiss battalions, the Rue de la Paix, the Place Vendôme and the Rue Castiglione by the 5th and 53rd Regiments of the Line. About twelve hundred infantrymen had arrived from Saint-Denis, Versailles and Rueil.

The military position was better: the troops were more concentrated, and big empty spaces had to be crossed to reach them. General Exelmans[232], who thought well of the dispositions, came at eleven o'clock to place his courage and experience at the disposal of the Maréchal de Raguse, while on his side General Pajol[233] presented himself before the deputies to take command of the National Guard.

The ministers had the idea of summoning the King's Court to the Tuileries, so completely out of touch were they with the movement surrounding them! The marshal pressed the President of the Council to withdraw the Ordinances. During the interview, M. de Polignac was asked for; he went out, and returned with M. Bertier[234], son of the first victim sacrificed in 1789. M. Bertier had been through Paris, and declared that all was going well for the royal cause: what a fatal thing are those families which have a right to vengeance, cast into the tomb, as they were, in our early troubles and conjured up by our later misfortunes! Those misfortunes were novelties no longer; since 1793, Paris was accustomed to witness the passing of events and kings.

While all was going so well according to the Royalists, the defection was announced of the 5th and 53rd of the Line, who were fraternizing with the people.

[Pg 109]

Butchery at the Louvre.

The Duc de Raguse proposed a suspension of hostilities: it took place at some points and was not carried out at others. The marshal had sent for one of the two Swiss battalions posted at the Louvres. They dispatched to him the battalion which lined the colonnade. The Parisians, seeing the colonnade deserted, came up to the walls and entered by the masked doors which lead from the Jardin de l'Infante to the interior; they made for the windows and opened fire on the battalion standing in the court-yard. Under the terror of the memory of the 10th of August, the Swiss rushed from the Palace and hurled themselves into their battalion, which was posted opposite the Parisian outposts; here, however, the suspension of hostilities was being observed. The mob, which from the Louvre had reached the gallery of the Museum, began to fire from the midst of the master-pieces on the Lancers drawn up in the Carrousel. The Parisian posts, carried away by this example, broke off the suspension of hostilities. Flung headlong under the Arc de Triomphe, the Swiss drove the Lancers to the porch of the Pavillon de l'Horloge and debouched in confusion into the garden of the Tuileries. Young Farcy[235] met his death in this scuffle: his name is written up at the corner of the café where he fell; a beet-factory stands at Thermopylae to-day. The Swiss had three or four men killed or wounded: this small loss was changed into a frightful butchery.

The mob entered the Tuileries, with Messieurs Thomas[236], Bastide[237] and Guinard[238], by the Pont-Royal gate. A tricolour[Pg 110] flag was planted on the Pavillon de l'Horloge, as in the time of Bonaparte, apparently in remembrance of liberty. Furniture was broken up, pictures slashed with sword-cuts; in a cupboard they found the King's hunting journal, with particulars of his fine exploits against the partridges: an old custom of the gamekeepers of the Monarchy. They put a corpse on the empty throne, in the Throne Room: that would be a formidable thing, if the French of to-day were not always playing at drama. The artillery museum, at Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin, was pillaged, and the centuries passed down the river, under the helmet of Godfrey of Bouillon and with the lance of Francis I.

Then the Duc de Raguse left the Staff Office, leaving 120,000 francs in bags behind him. He went through the Rue de Rivoli and entered the Tuileries Gardens. He gave the order for the troops to retire, first to the Champs Élysées, and next to the Étoile. It was believed that peace was made, that the Dauphin was coming; some carriages from the Royal Mews and a baggage-wagon were seen to cross the Place Louis XV.: it was the ministers going after their works.

On arriving at the Étoile, Marmont received a letter: it informed him that the King had given M. le Dauphin the command-in-chief of the troops, and that he, the marshal, would serve under his orders.

A company of the 3rd Guards had been forgotten in the house of a hatter in the Rue de Rohan; after a long resistance the house was carried. Captain Meunier, wounded in three places, jumped from a third-floor window, fell on a roof below, and was taken to the Hôpital du Grand-Caillou: he has survived. The Caserne Babylone, attacked between twelve and one in the day by three pupils of the Polytechnic School, Vaneau, Lacroix and Ouvrier, was guarded only by a depot of Swiss recruits numbering about a hundred men; Major Dufay, an officer of French descent, was in command: he had served with us for thirty years; he had been an actor in the great exploits of the Republic and the Empire. He was called upon to surrender, refused all conditions, and locked himself up in his barrack. Young Vaneau was killed. Some firemen set fire to the barrack-door, which fell in pieces; at once Major Dufay issued through this mouth of flame, followed by his highlanders, with fixed bayonets. He fell,[Pg 111] struck by the musket-shot of a neighbouring publican: his death saved his Swiss recruits; they joined the different corps to which they belonged.

*

M. le Duc de Mortemart[239] arrived at Saint-Cloud on Wednesday the 28th, at ten o'clock in the evening, to take up his service as Captain of the Hundred Swiss: he was not able to speak to the King till the next day. At eleven o'clock, on the 29th, he made a few efforts to induce Charles X. to recall the Ordinances; the King said to him:

"I do not want to climb into the cart, like my brother; I will not go back by a foot."

A few minutes later, he was to go back by a kingdom!

Charles X. and his ministers.

The ministers had arrived: Messieurs de Sémonville, d'Argout[240], Vitrolles were there. M. de Sémonville related that he had had a long conversation with the King; that he had not succeeded in shaking his resolution until he made an appeal to his heart by speaking to him of the dangers to which Madame la Dauphine was exposed. He said to him: "To-morrow, at noon, there will be no King, no Dauphin, no Duc de Bordeaux."

And the King replied:

"You will surely give me till one o'clock."

I do not believe a word of all this. Bragging is our national fault; question a Frenchman and trust to his story: he will always have done everything.

The ministers went in to the King after M. de Sémonville; the Ordinances were revoked, the Ministry dissolved, M. de Mortemart appointed President of the new Council.

In the Capital, the Republican Party had at last run some[Pg 112] one to earth. M. Baude, the man of the parade at the office of the Temps, going through the streets, had found the Hôtel de Ville occupied by only two men, M. Dubourg and M. Zimmer. He at once proclaimed himself the emissary of a "Provisional Government" which was coming to instal itself. He sent for the clerks of the Prefecture and ordered them to set to work as though M. de Chabrol were present. In governments which have become machines the weights are soon wound up again; every one hastens to take possession of the deserted places: this one made himself secretary-general, that other head of a division, a third took the accounts, a fourth appointed himself to the staff and distributed the places on the staff among his friends; there were some who went so far as to send for their beds, so as not to leave the spot and to be in a position to jump upon the first place that became vacant. M. Dubourg, nicknamed "General" Dubourg, and M. Zimmer were styled the heads of the "military" side of the "Provisional Government" M. Baude represented the "civil" side of this unknown government, took resolutions and issued proclamations. And yet placards had been seen which came from the Republican Party and which were the production of a different government, consisting of Messieurs de La Fayette, Gérard and de Choiseul. It is difficult to explain the association of the last name with the two others; besides, M. de Choiseul protested. This old Liberal, who, emigrating and shipwrecked at Calais, to save his life mimicked the stiffness of death[241], found no paternal home, on his return to France, save a box at the Opera.

At three o'clock in the afternoon came a new element of confusion. An Order of the Day summoned the deputies in Paris to the Hôtel de Ville, there to confer on the measures to be taken. The mayors were to be restored to their mayoralties; they were also to send one of their deputy-mayors to the Hôtel de Ville, in order to make up a "consultative commission" there. This Order was signed, "J. Baude, for the Provisional Government" and "Colonel Zimmer, by order of General Dubourg." This audacity on the part of three persons speaking in the name of a government that existed only in so far as it had placarded itself at the street-corners proves the rare[Pg 113] intelligence of the French in revolution: such men as these are evidently leaders destined to sway other nations. What a misfortune that, in delivering us from a similar anarchy, Bonaparte should have snatched from us our liberty!

Meeting at M. Laffitte's.

The deputies had again met at M. Laffitte's[242]. M. de La Fayette, going back to 1789, declared that he would also go back to the command of the National Guard. This met with applause, and he proceeded to the Hôtel de Ville. The deputies nominated a "Municipal Commission" consisting of five members, Messieurs Casimir Périer, Laffitte, de Lobau[243], de Schonen and Audry de Puyravault. M. Odilon Barrot was elected secretary to the Commission, which installed itself at the Hôtel de Ville, as M. de La Fayette had done. All these sat promiscuously, beside the Provisional Government of M. Dubourg. M. Mauguin[244], sent as an emissary to the "Commission," remained with it. The friend of Washington ordered the black flag which had been hoisted by the ingenuity of M. Dubourg to be removed.

At half-past eight in the evening, M. de Sémonville, M. d'Argout and M. de Vitrolles arrived from Saint-Cloud. They had hastened to Paris immediately after hearing, at Saint-Cloud, of the repeal of the Ordinances, the dismissal of the old ministers and the appointment of M. de Mortemart to the Presidency of the Council. They appeared before the Municipal Commission in the quality of mandatories of the King. M. Mauguin asked the Grand Refendary if he had written powers; the Grand Refendary replied that "he had not thought of it." The negociations of the official commissaries went no further.

M. Laffitte, informed at the meeting at his house of what had taken place at Saint-Cloud, signed a permit for M. de Mortemart, adding that the deputies assembled at his house would wait for him until one o'clock in the morning. As the noble duke did not appear, the deputies went home.

[Pg 114]

M. Laffitte, left alone with M. Thiers, occupied himself with the Duc d'Orléans and the necessary proclamations. Fifty years of revolution in France had given the men of practice the facility for reorganizing governments and the men of theory the habit of refurbishing charters and preparing the cranes and cradles by which governments are hoisted up or let down.

*

On this same day, the 29th, the day after my return to Paris, I was not idle. My plan was fixed: I wanted to act, but only on an order, written in the King's own hand, which would give me the necessary powers to speak with the authorities of the moment; to meddle with everything and do nothing did not suit me. That I had argued rightly is proved by the affront received by Messieurs d'Argout, de Sémonville and de Vitrolles.

I therefore wrote to Charles X. at Saint-Cloud. M. de Givré undertook to carry my letter. I begged the King to instruct me as to his wishes. M. de Givré returned empty-handed. He had given my letter to M. le Duc de Duras, who had given it to the King, who sent me word that he had appointed M. de Mortemart his Prime Minister and asked me to arrange with him. Where to find the noble duke? I looked for him in vain on the evening of the 29th.

Rejected by Charles X., I turned my thoughts to the Chamber of Peers, which was able, as a sovereign court, to evoke a trial and adjust the difference. If it was not safe in Paris, it was at liberty to transfer itself to some distance, even to the King's side, and from there to pronounce a grand award. It had chances of success; there are always chances of success in courage. After all, had it succumbed, it would have undergone a defeat which would have been useful to the question of principle. But should I have found twenty men in that Chamber prepared to devote themselves? Of those twenty men, were there four who would have agreed with me on public liberty?

Aristocratic assemblies enjoy a glorious reign when they are sovereign and alone invested, de jure et de facto, with power: they offer the strongest guarantees; but, in mixed forms of government, they lose their value and become pitiful in times of great crisis. Weak against the king, they do not prevent despotism; weak against the people, they do not stop anarchy. In any public commotion, they redeem their existence only at the price of perjury or slavery. Did[Pg 115] the House of Lords save Charles I.? Did it save Richard Cromwell[245], to whom it had taken the oath? Did it save James II.? Will it save the Hanoverian Princes to-day? Will it save itself? Those self-styled aristocratic counter-weights only disturb the balance and will sooner or later be flung out of the scale. An ancient and wealthy aristocracy, having the habit of business, has only one means of retaining power when the latter is escaping from it: that is, to cross over from the Capitol to the Forum and place itself at the head of the new movement, unless it think itself still strong enough to risk civil war.

While awaiting M. de Givré's return, I was pretty busy in defending my quarter. The suburbs, the quarrymen of Montrouge came crowding through the Barrière de l'Enfer. The latter resembled those quarrymen of Montmartre who caused such great alarm to Mademoiselle de Mornay when she was fleeing from the massacres of St. Bartholomew. As they passed before the community-house of the Missionaries, in my street, they entered it: a score of priests were obliged to take to flight; the haunt of those fanatics was philosophically pillaged, their beds and their books burnt in the street. This trifle has not been mentioned. Was there any need to trouble about what the priesthood might have lost? I gave hospitality to seven or eight fugitives; they remained for several days hidden under my roof. I obtained passports for them through the intermediary of my neighbour, M. Arago, and they went elsewhere to preach the Word of God: utilis populis fuga sanctorum.

*

The Municipal Commission.

The Municipal Commission, established at the Hôtel de Ville, appointed the Baron Louis Provisional Commissary of Finance, M. Baude Minister of the Interior, M. Mérilhou Minister of Justice, gave M. Chardel[246] the Post Office, M. Marchal[247] the Telegraphs, M. Bavoux[248] the Police, M. de Laborde the Prefecture of the Seine. Thus the "voluntary"[Pg 116] Provisional Government found itself destroyed in reality by the promotion of M. Baude, who had created himself a member of that government. The shops were opened again; the public services resumed their course.

At the meeting at M. Laffitte's, it had been decided that the deputies should assemble, at noon, at the palace of the Chamber: some thirty or thirty-five met there, under the presidency of M. Laffitte. M. Bérard[249] announced that he had met Messieurs d'Argout, de Forbin-Janson[250] and de Mortemart on their way to M. Laffitte's, thinking that they would find the deputies there; that he had invited those gentlemen to follow him to the Chamber, but that M. le Duc de Mortemart, overwhelmed with fatigue, had gone away to see M. de Sémonville. M. de Mortemart, according to M. Bérard, said that he had a signature in blank and that the King consented to everything.

In fact, M. de Mortemart brought five Ordinances: instead of communicating them at once to the deputies, he was obliged by his lassitude to go back to the Luxembourg. At mid-day he sent the Ordinances to M. Sauvo[251]; the latter replied that he could not publish them in the Moniteur without the authorization of the Chamber of Deputies or the Municipal Commission.

M. Bérard having told his story, as I have said, in the Chamber, a discussion followed to decide whether they should receive M. de Mortemart or not General Sébastiani insisted on the affirmative; M. Mauguin declared that, if M. de Mortemart were present, he would ask that he should be heard, but that events were urgent and that they could not wait on M. de Mortemart's good pleasure.

Five commissaries were appointed, charged to go to confer with the peers: these five commissaries were Messieurs Augustin Périer[252], Sébastiani, Guizot, Benjamin Delessert[253],[Pg 117] and Hyde de Neuville. But soon the Comte de Sussy[254] was introduced into the Elective Chamber. M. de Mortemart had charged him to present the Ordinances to the deputies. Addressing the assembly, he said:

"In the Chancellor's absence, a few peers met at my house. M. le Duc de Mortemart handed us this letter, addressed to M. le Général Gérard or M. Casimir Périer. I beg leave to communicate its contents to you."

Here is the letter:

"Monsieur,

"After leaving Saint-Cloud during the night, I have in vain tried to meet you. Please tell me where I can see you. I beg you to give notice of the Ordinances which I have been carrying since yesterday."

*

The Duc de Montemart.

M. le Duc de Mortemart had left Saint-Cloud during the night; he had had the Ordinances in his pocket for twelve or fifteen hours, "since yesterday," to use his own expression; he had been unable to find General Gérard or M. Casimir Périer: M. de Mortemart was very unlucky! M. Bérard made the following observation on the letter that had been read aloud:

"I cannot," he said, "refrain from calling attention here to a lack of frankness: M. de Mortemart, who was proceeding to M. Laffitte's this morning when I met him, formally told me that he would come here."

The five Ordinances were read. The first recalled the Ordinances of the 25th of July, the second summoned the Chambers for the 3rd of August, the third appointed M. de Mortemart Foreign Minister and President of the Council, the fourth called General Gérard to the War Office, the fifth M. Casimir Périer to the Ministry of Finance. When I at last met M. de Mortemart at the Grand Referendary's, he told me that he had been obliged to stay at M. de Sémonville's, because, having returned on foot from Saint-Cloud, he had had to go out of his way and enter the Bois de Boulogne by a gap: his boot or his shoe had taken the skin off his heel. It is to be regretted that, before producing the acts of the Throne, M. de Mortemart did not try to see the influential men and bring them round to the King's side. These acts falling suddenly in the midst of the unforewarned deputies,[Pg 118] no one dared to declare himself. They drew down upon themselves this terrible reply from Benjamin Constant:

"We know beforehand what the Chamber of Peers will say to us: it will purely and simply accept the repeal of the Ordinances. As for myself, I do not pronounce positively on the dynastic question; I will only say that it would be too easy for a king to have his people shot down and to avoid the consequences by saying afterwards, 'Everything is as it was.'"

Would Benjamin Constant, who "did not pronounce positively on the dynastic question," have ended his phrase in the same way if words had been addressed to him earlier suited to his talents and his just ambition? I sincerely pity a man of courage and honour like M. de Mortemart, when I come to think that the Legitimate Monarchy was perhaps overthrown because the minister charged with the royal powers was unable to find two deputies in Paris and because, tired with doing three leagues on foot, he barked his heel. The Ordinance nominating M. de Mortemart to the St. Petersburg Embassy has taken the place for him of the Ordinances of his old master. Ah, how could I refuse Louis-Philippe's request that I should be his Minister of Foreign Affairs or resume my beloved embassy in Rome? But alas, what should I have done with my "beloved" on the bank of the Tiber? I should always have believed that she blushed as she looked at me.

*

On the morning of the 30th, I received a note from the Grand Referendary summoning me to the meeting of the Peers, at the Luxembourg. I wanted first to learn some news. I went down the Rue d'Enfer, the Place Saint-Michel and the Rue Dauphine. There was still a little excitement around the broken barricades. I compared what I saw with the great revolutionary movement of 1789, and the present struck me as orderly and silent: the change of manners was visible.

At the Pont-Neuf, the statue of Henry IV., like an ensign of the League, held a tricolour flag in its hand. Men of the people said, as they looked at the bronze King:

"You would never have been such a fool, old man."

Groups had assembled on the Quai de l'École: I saw, in the distance, a general accompanied by two aides-de-camp, all on horse-back. I went in their direction. As I elbowed my way through the crowd, my eyes were on the general: a tricolour sash across his coat, his hat cocked over the back of his head, with one comer in front. He caught sight of me in his turn, and cried:

[Pg 119]

"See! The viscount!"

General Dubourg.

And I, surprised, recognised Colonel or Captain Dubourg, my companion at Ghent, who was going, during our return to Paris, to take the open towns in the name of Louis XVIII., and who brought us, as I have related, half a sheep for dinner in a dirty lodging at Arnouville[255]. This is the officer whom the newspapers had represented as an austere soldier of the Republic, with grey mustachios, who had refused to serve under the imperial tyranny and who was so poor that they had been obliged to buy him a uniform of the days of Larevellière-Lepeaux[256] at the rag-fair. Then I exclaimed:

"Why, it's you! What..."

He stretched out his arms to me, pressed my hand on Flanquine's neck; a circle was formed around us:

"My dear fellow," said the military head of the Provisional Government, pointing out the Louvre to me, "there were twelve hundred of them in there: we gave them prunes in their hinder parts! And they ran, oh, how they ran!"

M. Dubourg's aides-de-camp burst into loud roars of laughter; the rabble laughed in unison, the general spurred his nag, which caracoled like a broken-backed beast, followed by two other Rosinantes slipping on the paving-stones as though ready to fall on their noses between their riders' legs.

Thus, proudly borne away, did the Diomedes of the Hôtel de Ville, a man, for the rest, of courage and wit, abandon me. I have seen men who, taking all the scenes of 1830 for serious, blushed at this story, because it somewhat counteracted their heroic credulity. I myself was ashamed on seeing the comical side of the gravest revolutions and how easy it is to trifle with the good faith of the people.

M. Louis Blanc, in the first volume of his excellent Histoire de dix ans, published after what I have just written here, confirms my story:

"A man," he says, "of middle height, with an energetic countenance, and wearing a general's uniform, was crossing the Marché des Innocents, followed by a great number of armed men. M. Évariste Dumoulin[257], editor of the Constitutionnel,[Pg 120] had supplied this man with his uniform, obtained at an old-clothes shop; and the epaulets which he wore had been given him by Perlet[258], the actor: they came from the property-room of the Opéra-Comique.

"'Who is that general?" was asked on every hand.

"And when they who surrounded him answered, 'It is General Dubourg,' 'Long live General Dubourg!' cried the people, who had never heard the name before[259]."

*

A few paces further, a different sight awaited me: a ditch had been dug before the colonnade of the Louvre; a priest, in surplice and stole, was praying beside the ditch: they were laying dead bodies in it. I took off my hat and made the sign of the cross. The silent crowd stood respectfully watching the ceremony, which would have been nothing if religion had not appeared in it. So many memories and reflections presented themselves to my mind that I remained quite motionless. Suddenly I felt myself being crowded round; a cry arose:

"Long live the defender of the liberty of the press!"

I had been recognised by my hair. Forthwith some young men caught hold of me and said:

"Which way are you going? We are going to carry you."

I did not know what to answer; I begged to be excused; I struggled; I entreated them to let me go. The time fixed for the meeting in the House of Peers had not yet come. The young men kept on shouting:

"Which way are you going? Which way are you going?"

I replied at random:

[Pg 121]

"Well, to the Palais-Royal!"

Forthwith I was escorted there, amid cries of "The Charter for ever! The liberty of the press for ever! Chateaubriand for ever!" In the Cour des Fontaines, M. Barba[260], the bookseller, left his house and came to embrace me.

We arrived at the Palais-Royal; I was plumped down in a café under the wooden arcade. I was dying with heat. With clasped hands I reiterated my request for remission of my glory: not a bit of it; the whole of that youth refused to leave hold of me. In the crowd was a man in a waistcoat-jacket with the sleeves turned up, with black hands, a sinister face and gleaming eyes, such as I had seen so often at the commencement of the Revolution: he continually tried to approach me, and the young men always thrust him back. I learnt neither his name nor what he wanted with me.

I had to make up my mind at last to say that I was going to the House of Peers. We left the café; the cheers began afresh. In the court-yard of the Louvre, different kinds of shouts were raised: some cried, "To the Tuileries! To the Tuileries!" others, "Long live the First Consul!" and seemed to wish to make me the heir of Bonaparte the Republican. Hyacinthe, who accompanied me, received his share of hand-shaking and embraces. We crossed the Pont des Arts and took the Rue de Seine. The people flocked on our passage; they crowded the windows. I suffered under all these honours, for my arms were being torn from their sockets. One of the young men who were pushing me from behind suddenly slipped his head between my legs and lifted me on his shoulders. New cheers; they shouted to the spectators in the street and at the windows:

"Hats off! Hurrah for the Charter!"

And I replied:

"Yes, gentlemen, hurrah for the Charter! But hurrah for the King!"

This cry was not taken up, but it provoked no anger. And that is how the game was lost! All might still be arranged, but it was necessary to present only popular men to the people: in revolutions, a name does more than an army.

I am carried to the Luxembourg.

I besought my young friends to such good purpose that[Pg 122] at last they put me down. In the Rue de Seine, opposite M. Le Normant, my publisher, a furniture-dealer offered an arm-chair to carry me in; I refused it and arrived in the main court of the Luxembourg in the midst of my triumph. My generous escort then left me, after shouting fresh cries of "The Charter for ever! Chateaubriand for ever!"

I was touched by the sentiments of this noble youth: I had shouted, "Long live the King!" in the midst of them all, quite as safely as though I had been alone in my house; they knew my opinions; they carried me themselves to the House of Peers, where they knew that I was going to speak and remain loyal to my King: and yet it was the 30th of July and we had just passed by the ditch where they were burying the citizens killed by the bullets of the soldiers of Charles X.!

*

The noise which I left outside contrasted with the silence which reigned in the entrance-hall of the Palace of the Luxembourg. This silence increased in the gloomy gallery which precedes M. de Sémonville's apartments. My presence embarrassed the twenty-five or thirty peers who had gathered there: I hindered the sweet effusions of fear, the tender consternation to which they were yielding. I there at last saw M. de Mortemart. I told him that, in accordance with the King's wishes, I was ready to act in agreement with him. He replied that, as I have already stated, he had barked his heel on returning: he disappeared again in the throng of the assembly. He apprized us of the Ordinances which he had already communicated to the Deputies through M. de Sussy. M. de Broglie declared that he had just been through Paris; that we were living on a volcano; that the middle classes were no longer able to restrain the workmen; that, if we merely pronounced the name of Charles X., they would cut all our throats and demolish the Luxembourg as they had demolished the Bastille:

"That's true, that's true!" muttered the prudent in a hollow voice, shaking their heads[261].

[Pg 123]

M. de Caraman[262], who had been made a duke, apparently because he had been M. de Metternich's lackey, maintained with great heat that it was impossible to recognise the Ordinances:

"And why not, monsieur?" I asked.

This cold question iced his rapture.

Meeting of the peers.

The five commissaries from the Deputies arrived. M. le Général Sébastiani led off with his customary phrase:

"Gentlemen, this is a serious business."

Next he sang the praises of M. le Duc de Mortemart's remarkable moderation; he spoke of the dangers of Paris, pronounced a few words in eulogy of H.R.H. Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans and concluded with the impossibility of considering the Ordinances. I and M. Hyde de Neuville were the only two who held the opposite opinion. I obtained leave to speak:

"M. le Duc de Broglie has told us, gentlemen, that he has walked about the streets and seen hostile dispositions on every hand. I, too, have just been through Paris: three thousand young men escorted me to the court-yard of this palace; you may have heard their cheers: are these thirsting for your blood, who have thus greeted one of your colleagues? They shouted:

"The Charter for ever!'

"I replied:

"'The King for ever!'

"They showed no anger, and came and brought me safe and sound into your midst. Are those such threatening symptoms of public opinion? Personally, I maintain that nothing is lost, that we can accept the Ordinances. It is not a question of considering whether there be danger or not, but of keeping the oaths which we have taken to the King, to whom we owe our dignities, and many of us our fortune. His Majesty, by withdrawing the Ordinances and changing his ministry, has done all that he should; let us, in our turn, do our[Pg 124] duty. What! In the whole course of our lives there comes one single day in which we are obliged to enter the lists, and shall we decline the combat? Let us give France the example of honour and loyalty; let us save her from falling a prey to anarchical combinations in which her peace, her true interests and her liberties would be lost: danger vanishes when one dares to look it in the face."

They made no reply; they hastened to close the meeting. There was an impatience for perjury in that assembly, which was driven by an intrepid fear; each one wished to save his rag of life, as though Time were not waiting, on the morrow, to strip us of our old skins, for which no sensible Jew would have given a groat.


[162] This book was written in Paris in August and September 1830.—T.

[163] Lamartine was elected a member of the French Academy on the 5th of November 1829, receiving nineteen votes against fourteen given to General Philippe de Ségur.—B.

[164] Charles Jean Dominique de Lacretelle (1766-1855), member of the French Academy, and author of the Histoire de France pendant le XVIIIe. siècle.—T.

[165] Jean Pierre Abel Rémusat (1788-1832), the distinguished orientalist. He devoted the last years of his life to politics, speaking and writing as an ardent adherent of the Legitimacy.—T.

[166] Antoine Jean Saint-Martin (1791-1832), also an eminent orientalist and fervent Monarchist. He founded, in 1829, the absolutist organ, the Universel.—T.

[167] January 1829.—B.

[168] Achille Charles Léonce Victor Duc de Broglie (1785-1870), married in 1816 to Albertine, daughter of Madame de Staël. He became a leading Orleanist statesman, was Minister of the Interior and of Public Worship and Instruction (1830) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1832-1834 and 1834-1836), a peer of France, and a member of the French Academy.—T.

[169] Louis Auguste Victor de Ghaisne, Comte de Bourmont (1773-1846), had commanded the Chouans in the Vendée from 1794 to 1799, and, in 1800, was imprisoned for complicity in the conspiracy resulting in the Infernal Machine. He made his escape from Besançon and fled to Lisbon, where he joined the French during their reverses and was taken into favour by Napoleon in 1808. He served under Bonaparte in all his subsequent campaigns. After the return from Elba he accepted a command from the Emperor, but reverted to the King a few days before the Battle of Waterloo. He was created a peer of France in 1823 and became Minister for War in 1829. In 1830, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Algerian Expedition. After the Revolution of July, true to his latent royalist sympathies, he fought for the Duchesse de Berry in the Vendée and subsequently for Dom Miguel in Portugal, but always without success. Eventually he abandoned politics and returned to France, where he died at the Château de Bourmont in 1846.—T.

[170] Jean Joseph Antoine de Courvoisier (1775-1835). He had emigrated and served in Condé's Army, and since 1818 was Attorney-General to the Lyons Courts.—B.

[171] Guillaume Isidore Baron, Comte de Montbel (1787-1861), escaped after the Revolution of July and fled to Austria. He was sentenced by contumacy to perpetual imprisonment, and was not amnestied until 1836, when he returned to France, keeping out of politics. Montbel died at Frohsdorff while on a visit to the Comte de Chambord, 3 February 1861.—B.

[172] When M. de Polignac became President of the Council, on the 17th of November 1829, M. de La Bourdonnaye sent in his resignation as Minister of the Interior. One of his friends asked him the reason of his resignation:

"They wanted to make me stake my head," was his reply. "I wanted to hold the cards." (Villèle's Political Papers).—B.

[173] Martial Côme Annibal Perpétue Magloire Comte de Guernon-Ranville (1787-1866), a distinguished lawyer. After the Revolution of July, he was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment and confined at Ham, where he remained until the amnesty of 1836. He then withdrew to the Château de Ranville, in Calvados, where he died in November 1866.—B.

[174] The National, the first number of which was published on the 3rd of January 1830. It was founded by Messieurs Thiers, Mignet and Armand Carrel, each of whom was to have the management of the paper for one year, commencing with M. Thiers.—B.

[175] Sautelet (d. 1830), the publisher, did in fact commit suicide a few months after the founding of the National.—B.

[176] Louis Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) occupied Cabinet positions from 1832 to 1836, and was Prime Minister from May to October 1840. His Histoire du consulat et de l'empire was published from 1845 to 1862. He was a conspicuous member of the Constituent and Legislative Assemblies from 1848 to 1851, and was arrested by Louis Napoleon at the time of the coup d'État. In 1863, he was elected to the Legislative Body, and led the opposition against the Imperial Government. On the 31st of August 1871, he was declared President of the French Republic for a term of three years, but resigned on the 24th of May 1873. Thiers had been a member of the French Academy since 1834.—T.

[177] Franços Auguste Marie Mignet (1796-1884), author of the Histoire de la révolution française de 1789 à 1814 (1824) and a number of other notable historical works. He was received into the French Academy in 1836.—T.

[178] Nicolas Armand Carrel (1800-1836), an historian and journalist, killed in a political duel on the 22nd of July 1836.—T.

[179] On the 5th of May 1830, the Duc d'Angoulême held a review at Toulon of the fleet which was about to set sail for Algiers. It consisted of 675 men-of-war and merchant-ships, including no less than 11 battle-ships, 24 frigates and 70 war-ships of lesser strength. This day represented Fortune's last smile upon the House of Bourbon, which found France exhausted, impoverished, crushed beneath the weight of unutterable disasters and was about to leave her free, prosperous and powerful, with admirable finances and a superb fleet; which found her vanquished, humiliated, trodden under foot by four hundred thousand invaders and was about to bequeath to her the surest and fairest of all conquests, accomplished under the eyes and despite the threats of trembling England.—B.

[180] Charles V. lost a fleet and an army at Algiers in 1545.—T.

[181] Bossuet's funeral oration on the Empress Maria Theresa.—T.

[182] Charles Lenormant (1802-1859), the French archæologist and numismatist.—T.

[183] Jean Jacques Champollion Figeac (1778-1867), the noted archæologist.—T.

[184] Auguste Théodore Hilaire Baron Barchou de Penhoen (1801-1855), was a staff-captain in the Algerian Expedition, resigned his commission in order not to serve the government of Louis-Philippe, and devoted himself to literature and philosophy.—B.

[185] Baron Barchou de Penhoen: Mémoires d'un officier d'état-major, p. 427.—Authors Note.

[186] In his Speech from the Throne, Charles X. announced the Algerian Expedition, declaring that the insult shown to the French flag by a barbarous Power would not long remain unpunished, and that a brilliant reparation was about to satisfy the honour of France. The same evening, some friends, among whom was M. Villemain, had gathered in Chateaubriand's drawing-room:

"This," said Chateaubriand, "is one of the things that belong to the old French tradition, to the inheritance of St. Louis and Louis XIV.; this is what the Legitimate Royalty does. In the present crisis, with its wretched instruments, despite its fears, exaggerated, I grant you, it conceives a generous and Christian enterprise, one which I advised in 1816, one which it would have undertaken with me, if it had had the sense to keep me. Yes, this same Algiers which Bossuet shows us destroyed by our bomb-ketches, and which saved its harbour only by handing over its Christian slaves to us, may fall into our hands this summer. We shall do better than Lord Exmouth. Nothing will surprise me of French valour. Only, this delights me without reassuring me. Who knows the unfathomable depths of Providence? It is able with the same blow to lay low the conquered and the conqueror, to enlarge a kingdom and overthrow a dynasty."

(Villemain: M. de Chateaubriand, sa vie, ses écrits, son influence littéraire et politique sur son temps).—B.

[187] Charles Guillaume Étienne (1778-1845), a dramatist and publicist, appointed Censor in 1810, and a member of the French Academy in 1811. The Bourbons excluded him from his public employment and even from his seat in the Academy, to which he was not re-admitted until 1820, in which year he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. In 1830 he was one of the signatories to the Address of the 221. Some years later (1839), Louis-Philippe raised him to the peerage.—T.

[188] The Comte de Lorgeril (1778-1843) was elected in 1828 to the seat vacated by M. de Corbière, who had been raised to the peerage. Lorgeril lost his seat in 1830.—B.

[189] The Chamber of Deputies was dissolved on the 16th of May. The departments which had only one electoral college were summoned to vote on the 23rd of June; in the other departments, the district colleges were to meet on the 3rd of July and the departmental colleges on the 20th of July. The opening of the new Chamber was fixed for the 3rd of August.—B.

[190] The Tribune des départements, founded by Auguste and Victornin Fabre. After 1830, this sheet became the most violent organ of the Republican Opposition.—B.

[191] Hilaire Étienne Octave Rouillé, Comte, later (on the death of his father in 1840) Marquis de Boissy (1798-1866). He was created a peer of France in 1839, and for ten years was the enfant terrible of the Upper Chamber, harassing the Chancelier Pasquier with his continual interruptions and irreverent sallies. In 1853, he was made a senator, having meantime, in 1851, married the Contessa Guiccioli, who was then herself nearly fifty and had been Byron's "widow" for more than a quarter of a century.—B.

[192] For the full text of the Royal Ordinances of July, see the Appendix at the end of this volume, p. 421.—T.

[193] The Report to the King had been drawn up by M. de Chantelauze.—B.

[194] Article XIV. of the Charter ran thus:

"The King is the Supreme Head of the State, commands the forces on sea and land, declares war, makes treaties of peace, alliance and commerce, appoints to all the offices of the public administration, and makes the rules and ordinances necessary for the execution of the laws and the safety of the State."—B.

[195] Chateaubriand was then living at 84, Rue d'Enfer.—B.

[196] Étienne Maurice Maréchal Comte Gérard (1773-1853) had distinguished himself as a general in the Napoleonic campaigns. He was Minister for War for a few months in 1830, and again in 1834. He was made a marshal of France in 1830 and, in 1831 and 1832, directed the Siege of Antwerp, valorously defended by General Chassé. Gérard became Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour in 1836. He lost all his offices in 1848; but, in 1853, a few months before his death, was appointed a Senator by Napoleon III.—T.

[197] Claude Antoine Gabriel Duc de Choiseul-Stainville (1760-1838), created a peer of France in 1814 and Governor of the Louvre in 1820. Later, he became an aide-de-camp to Louis-Philippe.—B.

[198] Jean Henri Claude Mangin (1786-1835), a noted lawyer and writer on jurisprudence, had been Prefect of Police since 1829.—T.

[199] The Comte de Chabrol-Volvic, brother of the Comte de Chabrol-Croussol, who had been Minister of Finance in the Polignac Cabinet until May 1830.—B.

[200] The Vicomte de Champagny.—B.

[201] Felix Barthe (1795-1863), in December 1830, succeeded Mérilhou as Minister of Public Instruction in the Laffitte Cabinet. In 1831, he became Minister of Justice under Casimir Périer and continued to hold the Seals until the fall of the Broglie Administration in 1834. He was then created a peer of France and President of the Cour des Comptes. Under the Second Empire, Barthe became a senator.—B.

[202] Joseph Mérilhou (1788-1856), Minister of Public Instruction and Public Worship in 1830, and a peer of France in 1837.—B.

[203] The protest was drawn up by Thiers, Châtelain, and Cauchois-Lemaire. Here are the names of the forty-four signatories: Gauja, manager of the National; Thiers, Mignet, Chambolle, Peysse, Albert Stapfer, Dubochet, Rolle, editors of the National; Châtelain, Guyet, Moussette, Avenel, Alexis de Jussieu, J. F. Dupont, editors, and V. de Lapelouse, manager of the Courrier français; Guizard, Dejean, Charles de Rémusat, editors, and Pierre Leroux, manager of the Globe; Anneé, Cauchois-Lemaire and Évariste Dumoulin, editors of the Constitutionnel; Senty, Haussmann, Dussard, Chalas, A. Billard, J. J. Baude, Busoni, Barboux, editors, and Coste, manager of the Temps; Victor Bohain, Nestor Roqueplan, editors of the Figaro; Auguste Fabre and Ader, editors of the Tribune des départements; Plagnol, Levasseur and Fazy, editors of the Révolution; F. Larreguy, editor, and Bert, manager of the Journal du commerce; Léon Pillet, manager of the Journal de Paris; Vaillant, manager of the Sylphe; Sarrans the Younger, manager of the Courrier des électeurs.—B.

[204] There were fourteen of them: Messieurs Bavoux, Bérard, Bernard, de Laborde, Chardel, Daunou, Jacques Lefebvre, Marchai, Mauguin, Casimir Périer, Persil, de Schonen, Vassal and Villemain.—B.

[205] Madame de Courchamp was a sister of the Becquets.—B.

[206] Étienne Becquet (1800-1838), one of the editors of the Débats, is the only one of the two brothers who has left a name.—B.

[207] Jacques Coste (1798-1859), after selling his paper, the Tablettes historiques, remained the declared adversary of the government of the Restoration. He founded the Temps in 1829; it lasted till 1842. The title was again taken by M. Xavier Durrieu in 1849, but this paper lasted only ten months, and lastly, in 1861, by M. A. Nefftzer, who founded the Temps which we know to-day.—B.

[208] The full title of this paper was Tablettes historiques, ou Répertoire de documents historiques, politiques, scientifiques et littéraires, avec une Bibliographie raisonnée. In 1824, after he had been fined and sentenced to a year's imprisonment, M. Coste sold the Tablettes to M. Sosthène de La Rochefoucauld, who was at that time pursuing his policy of buying up the Opposition papers with the funds of the Civil List and sometimes with his own money. One of Coste's collaborators, M. Rabbe, wrote a strong letter to M. Coste, which was inserted in the Courrier français, and led to a duel between the two writers.—B.

[209] Jean Jacques Baron Baude (cf. Vol. IV, p. 7, n. 2). Baude was Prefect of Police from December 1830 to February 1831.—B.

[210] "Another commissary of police went to the Temps, where he was encountered by M. Baude, attached to the journal. He summoned the commissary to desist, declaring that he was committing an illegal act; that the laws protected the journals and their presses, and that no ordonnance could avail in contradiction to them. The commissary of police, however staggered by the obstinacy of Baude, sent for a locksmith to break open the door of the printing-office, and then break the press. Apostrophized by Baude, and warned that they were committing an illegal act, the smith refused to obey, till the special smith of the police and the gaols arrived. Seven hours were spent in altercation before the order of the commissary could be accomplished by a forcible entrance, and rendering the presses incapable of being worked any more." (EYRE CROWE: History of the Reigns of Louis XVIII. and Charles X.).—T.

[211] M. Billot.—B.

[212] Casimir Périer lived at 27, Rue Neuve-du-Luxembourg.—B.

[213] Pierre François Audry de Puyravault (1783-1852), an important manufacturer of strong liberal opinions. He continued to figure in the Opposition during the Orleanist reign.—T.

[214] Auguste Jean Marie Baron de Schonen (1782-1849). He held high legal office under the Empire, the Restoration and the Usurpation.—T.

[215] M. Cadet de Gassicourt the Younger (1789-1861) became mayor of the 4th arrondissement, or ward, of Paris.—B.

[216] Changed soon after into Rue du 29 Juillet.—B.

[217] Alfred Nettement, in his Histoire de la Restauration, gives a somewhat different version of this incident:

"It was then six o'clock in the evening. The Royal Guard came to lend a necessary aid to the Gendarmerie and the Line, whose efforts remained powerless. Musket-shots replied to the hail of stones that fell upon the troop; they were fired by a detachment of the 5th Regiment of the Line which entered the Rue Saint-Honoré from the Rue de Rivoli. This discharge cost the life of a young English student called Folks, who had taken refuge in the Hôtel Royal, at the corner of the Rue des Pyramides. He had had the imprudence to go to the window to watch the progress of the insurrectionary movement, and was struck by one of the first bullets."—B.

[218] The President of the Council occupied the building of the Foreign Office, then situated at the comer of the Rue des Capucines and the boulevards.—B.

[219] Alfred Armand Robert Comte de Saint-Chamans (1781-1848).—B.

[220] Alexandre Sala, an officer in the 6th Infantry of the Guard. He was with the Duchesse de Berry on the Carlo-Alberto in 1832, was tried at Montbrison, and acquitted. In 1848, with Alfred Nettement and Armand de Pontmartin, he founded the Opinion publique, of which he was one of the chief editors until its suppression in January 1852.—B.

[221] Joseph Marie Fieschi (1790-1836), a native of Corsica, set up an infernal machine in a house on the Boulevard du Temple, and discharged it as Louis-Philippe, accompanied by his staff, was passing before the windows on the 28th of July 1835. Eighteen persons were killed, including Marshal Mortier, Duc de Trévise, and 22 severely wounded. Louis-Philippe escaped. Fieschi and his two accomplices, Pépin and Morey, were executed on the 16th of February 1836.—T.

[222] This column was under the orders of General Talon, and consisted of a battalion of the 3rd Regiment of the Guard, reinforced by 150 Lancers, a Swiss battalion and two guns.—B.

[223] Jean Dominique Barron Larrey (1766-1842) was Napoleon's famous surgeon in the Grand Army. But the surgeon who treated Colonel de Pleine-Selve was his son, with whom Chateaubriand confuses him, Félix Hyppolite Baron Larrey (b. 1808), who in 1830 was assistant-surgeon at the hospital of the Royal Guards known as the Hôpital du Gros-Caillou. He was appointed surgeon to Napoleon III. in 1853, and was Chief Surgeon to the Army of Italy in 1859 and to the Army of the Rhine in 1870. Félix Baron Larrey sat in the Chamber of Deputies from 1877 to 1881.—B.

[224] Jacques Laffitte (1767-1844), the banker. He was a prominent member of the Opposition throughout the Restoration and the Orleanist Usurpation. He was a capable financier and a generous and charitable individual.—T.

[225] André Louis Augustin Marchais (1800-1857), a tried and persistent conspirator. Under the Second Empire, in 1853, he was arrested as a member of the secret society known as the Marianne, and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. He was released long before the expiration of this term, and left France for good. He died in Constantinople.—B.

[226] Eusèbe Salverte (1771-1839), an ardent "patriot," and author of some poems and a number of literary and political works.—T.

[227] At 40, Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière.—B.

[228] Dominique François Jean Arago (1786-1853), the famous astronomer and Director of the Observatory. He was a deputy from 1831 to 1848, a member of the Provisional Government in 1848, and a member of the Constituent and Legislative Assemblies from 1848 to 1849.—B.

[229] General Jacques Jean Marie François Boudin, Comte de Tromelin (1771-1842), served in the Army of the Princes in 1792 and took part in the Quiberon Expedition. Attached afterwards to the Royal Army in Normandy, he was captured at Caen (1798), escaped, and went to the East, where he took part, in the Turkish Army, in the Syrian and Egyptian campaigns. He returned to France in 1802, was locked up in the Abbaye at the time of the Pichegru and Cadoudal Affair, and came out, at the end of six months, to enter the 112th Regiment of the Line as a captain. He was made a brigadier-general after Leipzig and fought valiantly at Waterloo. He obtained great successes in Spain, in 1823, and was made a lieutenant-general. Tromelin played a courageous and honourable part during the Days of July.—B.

[230] General Louis Alexandre Marie Valon de Boucheron, Comte d'Ambrugeac (1771-1844), had been a colonel under the Empire, and served, during the Hundred Days, in the Duc d'Angoulême's little army. He was made a peer of France by Louis XVIII. in 1823, took the oath to Louis Philippe in 1830, and remained a peer of France.—B.

[231] Jean Baptiste Adolphe Charras (1800-1865) had been expelled from the Polytechnic School, three months before the Days of July, for drinking the health of La Fayette and singing the Marseillaise at a students' banquet. In 1848, he became Under-secretary for War. He was arrested at the coup d'État in 1851 and taken to Brussels. He died at Basle in January 1865.—B.

[232] Isidore Maréchal Comte Exelmans (1775-1852), one of the most brilliant cavalry generals of the First Empire, became a peer of France under Louis-Philippe, Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour in 1849, and a marshal under Napoleon III.—B.

[233] General Pierre Claude Comte Pajol (1772-1844) was married to Élise Oudinot, the Maréchal Duc de Reggio's eldest daughter. He too was a fine cavalry leader and had distinguished himself in all the Napoleonic campaigns. Napoleon created him a baron in 1809, Louis XVIII. a count in 1814, and, on the return from Elba, he took his troops over to Napoleon and was created a peer of France on the 2nd of June 1815, a dignity which he enjoyed for a fortnight. He left the service and France, returning to Paris on the 29th of July 1830, after an absence of fourteen years, to take over the command of the insurrection. In 1831, he was once more created a peer of France, by Louis-Philippe.—T.

[234] Albert Anne Jules Bertier de Sauvigny, a lieutenant in the 34th Foot. Two years later he was tried and acquitted for persistently attempting to run down King Louis-Philippe in the street while driving his gig.—B.

[235] Jean George Farcy (1800-1830), an old pupil of the Polytechnic School. He had translated the recently-published third volume of Dugald Stewart's Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind. He was one of the first insurgents killed near the Louvre.—B.

[236] Jacques Leonard Clement Thomas (1809-1871) remained an insurgent all his life. In May 1848, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard, but was dismissed, a few weeks later, for insulting the Legion of Honour in the Chamber. At the time of the coup d'État, in 1851, he made vain efforts to bring about a rising in the Gironde, for which he had been elected deputy in 1848, and was exiled in consequence. He refused to accept the amnesty in 1859, and did not return till after the 4th of September 1870. During the siege, he was given the command of the National Guards of the Seine; he sent in his resignation to General Trochu on the 14th of February 1871, and retired into private life. On the 18th of March, at the beginning of the insurrection, he was recognised and arrested by some National Guards on the Place Pigalle, taken to the central committee-rooms at Montmartre, and promptly shot.—B.

[237] Jules Bastide (1800-1870) was the first to plant the tricolour flag on the Tuileries. After the Revolution of February, he was Foreign Minister from 28 February to 20 December 1848.—B.

[238] Joseph Augustin Guinard (1799-1874) plotted equally against the Restoration and the Government of July. In 1849, he plotted against the Second Republic, was arrested and sentenced to transportation for life. He was liberated in 1854 and lived thenceforth in retirement—B.

[239] Casimir Louis Victurnien de Rochechouart, Prince de Tonnay-Charente, Duc de Mortemart (1787-1875). He served under the Empire, became a peer of France under the First Restoration, and Colonel of the Hundred Swiss. During the Hundred Days, he followed the King to Ghent and, after the return, was appointed Major-General of the National Guard of Paris. The Duc de Mortemart was Ambassador to St. Petersburg from 1828 to 1830. He continued to sit in the House of Peers after the Revolution of July and, under the Second Empire, in 1852, accepted a seat in the Senate, while holding aloof from the new Court.—B.

[240] Apollinaire Antoine Maurice Comte d'Argout (1782-1858) was created a peer of France in 1819, and, like M. de Sémonville, belonged to the Moderate Right. He was several times a minister from 1830 to 1836, holding successively the portfolios of the Navy, Commerce and Public Works, the Interior and Finance. During these six years, his very long nose was the constant butt of the draughtsmen on the Caricature and Charivari, and eventually they drove him to take refuge in the less prominent post of Governor of the Bank of France. The Comte d'Argout died a senator of the Second Empire.—B.

[241] The Duc de Choiseul-Stainville was shipwrecked at Calais in November 1795, arrested by the authorities, acquitted by the Court Martial before which he was brought, and nevertheless kept in prison by the Directorate and finally condemned to death. The 18 Brumaire saved him.—B.

[242] In the Rue d'Artois, soon to be renamed Rue Laffitte.—B.

[243] Georges Mouton, Maréchal Comte de Lobau (1770-1838), had distinguished himself in the wars of Napoleon, who gave him his title. He was taken prisoner after the Capitulation of Dresden, in 1813, and taken to England, where he remained till 1814. He fought at Waterloo, was exiled under the Restoration and returned to France in 1818. In 1828, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. Lobau succeeded La Fayette as Commandant of the National Guard in December 1830, and was created a marshal in 1831.—T.

[244] François Mauguin (1785-1854), a famous advocate. He became a member of the Municipal Commission, sat in the Dynastic Left during the Usurpation and played a lesser part in public life in 1848 and the subsequent events.—T.

[245] Richard Cromwell (1626-1712), son of Oliver Cromwell, succeeded his father as Lord Protector of England in September 1658 and resigned in May 1659.—T.

[246] Casimir Marie Marcellin Pierre Célestin Chardel (1777-1847) was a judge of the Seine Tribunal, in 1830, and a deputy for Paris.—B.

[247] Pierre François Marchal (1785-1864) sat in opposition throughout the duration of the Orleans Government.—B.

[248] Jacques François Nicolas Bavoux (1774-1848), a deputy for Paris. He kept the Prefecture of Police for two days only and was supplanted by M. Girod de l'Ain on the 1st of August.—B.

[249] Auguste Simon Louis Bérard (1783-1859), the Paris banker.—B.

[250] Palamède de Forbin-Janson, brother-in-law to the Duc de Mortemart.—B.

[251] François Sauvo (1772-1859), manager of the Moniteur universel from 1800 to 1840.—B.

[252] Augustin Charles Périer (1773-1833), brother of Casimir Périer, had been a deputy since 1827. He was not re-elected in 1831, and was created a peer of France in 1832.—B.

[253] Jules Paul Benjamin Baron Delessert (1773-1847), a great manufacturer, was the first to make beetroot-sugar in France and to introduce the idea of the savings-bank from England. Napoleon made him a baron of the Empire. Delessert was a member of the Chamber of Deputies from 1817 to 1824 and from 1827 to 1842, sitting with the Constitutional Opposition during the Restoration and with the Conservatives after 1830.—T.

[254] Jean Baptiste Henry Collin, Comte de Sussy (1776-1837), had been a member of the House of Peers since 1827. He retained his seat till his death, having sworn allegiance to the Government of July.—B.

[255] Cf. Vol. III, p. 181.—T.

[256] Louis Marie La Revellière-Lepeaux (1753-1824), a barrister-scientist, member of the Constituent Assembly and of the Convention, and author of the Propagande armée. He resisted the Terrorists in 1793, was, a very short while, a member of the Directorate, but retired from politics for good and all in 1795.—T.

[257] Évariste Dumoulin (1776-1833), a well-known French publicist, and one of the founders of the Constitutionnel in 1815.—T.

[258] Adrien Perlet (1795-1850), an excellent comic actor. Most of his successes were made at the Gymnase; he was not a member of the Opéra-Comique.—T.

[259] On the 9th of January of this present year 1841, I received a letter from M. Dubourg containing these "phrases:"

"How I have longed to see you since our meeting on the Quai du Louvre! How often have I longed to pour out into your bosom the sorrows that racked my soul! What an unhappy thing it is passionately to love one's country, one's honour, one's glory, when one lives at such a time!....

"Was I wrong, in 1830, to refuse to submit to what was being done? I saw clearly the odious future which was being prepared for France, I explained how nothing but evil could spring from such fraudulent political arrangements; but no one understood me."

On the 5th of July of this same year 1841, M. Dubourg wrote to me again to send me the rough draft of a note which he addressed, in 1828, to Messieurs de Martignac and de Caux to engage them to admit me to the Council. I have therefore put forward nothing concerning M. Dubourg which is not most scrupulously true.—Author's Note (Paris, 1841).

[260] Gustave Barba (b. circa 1805), the publisher-bookseller.—T.

[261] It is right that I should set the Duc du Broglie's version against that of Chateaubriand:

"I really do not know," says the duke (Souvenirs, vol. III.), "if I spoke four words in a desultory conversation, in which we were animated by the same sentiments and preoccupied with the same object: but I am perfectly certain of this, that I never said that I had just been through Paris; that we were living on a volcano; that the employers were no longer able to restrain their workmen; that, if the King's name were thenceforth pronounced, they would cut the throat of whoever pronounced it; that we should all be massacred; that they would take the Luxembourg by assault as they had taken the Bastille in 1789. And as for the speech with which M. de Chateaubriand confounded that language, it is perhaps my fault, but I regret to say that I did not hear one word of it."—B.

[262] Victor Louis Charles de Riquet de Caraman, Duc de Caraman (1762-1839), of the Netherlands family of Riquet de Caraman, was created a French baron in 1813, a marquis and peer of France in 1815, a count and peer of France in 1827, Duc de Caraman, ad personam, in 1828, and an hereditary French duke in June 1830.—T.


[Pg 125]

BOOK XV[263]

The Republicans—The Orleanist—M. Thiers is sent to Neuilly—Convocation of peers at the Grand Refendary's—The letter reaches me too late—Saint-Cloud—Scene between M. le Dauphin and the Maréchal de Raguse—Neuilly—M. le Duc d'Orléans—The Raincy—The Prince comes to Paris—A deputation from the Elective Chamber offers M. le Duc d'Orléans the Lieutenant-generalship of the Kingdom—He accepts—Efforts of the Republicans—M. le Duc d'Orléans goes to the Hôtel de Ville—The Republicans at the Palais-Royal—The King leaves Saint-Cloud—Madame la Dauphine arrives at Trianon—The Diplomatic Body—Rambouillet—3 August: opening of the Session—Letter from Charles X. to M. le Duc d'Orléans—The mob sets out for Rambouillet—Flight of the King—Reflections—The Palais-Royal—Conversations—Last political temptation—M. de Sainte-Aulaire—Last gasp of the Republican Party—The day's work of the 7th of August—Sitting of the House of Peers—My speech—I leave the Palace of the Luxembourg, never to return—My resignations—Charles X. takes ship at Cherbourg-What the Revolution of July will be—Close of my political career.

The three parties were beginning to take shape and to act against one another: the deputies who were in favour of a monarchy as represented by the Elder Branch were the strongest, legally: they rallied to themselves all that tended towards order; but, morally, they were the weakest: they hesitated; they did not speak out: it was becoming manifest, from the tergiversation of the Court, that they would fall into the Usurpation rather than see themselves swallowed up by the Republic.

The latter had a placard posted on the walls saying:

"France is free. She grants the Provisional Government the right only of consulting her, until the time when she shall have expressed her will by new elections. No more Royalty. The executive power entrusted to a temporary President. Mediate or immediate co-operation of all the citizens in the election of Deputies. Liberty of worship."

This placard summed up the only just things in the republican[Pg 126] opinion; a new assembly of deputies would have decided if it was well or ill to give way to that wish of "no more Royalty;" each would have pleaded his cause, and the election of a government of whatever kind by a national congress would have borne the character of legality.

On another republican poster of the same date, 30 July, one read in large letters:

"No more Bourbons.... All is won: greatness, repose, public prosperity, liberty."

Lastly appeared an address to Messieurs the members of the Municipal Commission forming a provisional government; it demanded:

"That no proclamation be issued naming a ruler, so long as the form itself of the government can not yet be decided; that the Provisional Government remain in power until the wish of the majority of Frenchmen be known, any other measure being ill-timed and culpable."

This address, emanating from the members of a commission appointed by a large number of citizens of different wards in Paris, was signed by Messieurs Chevalier[264], as chairman, Trélat[265], Teste[266], Lepelletier, Guinard[267], Hingray[268], Cauchois-Lemaire[269], etc.

In this popular assembly, they proposed to offer the Presidency of the Republic by acclamation to M. de La Fayette; they relied upon the principles which the Chamber of Representatives of 1815 had proclaimed, when separating. Various printers refused to publish these proclamations,[Pg 127] saying that they had been forbidden to do so by M. le Duc de Broglie. The Republic was casting the throne of Charles X. to the ground, and it feared the prohibitions of M. de Broglie, who had no character of any kind.

The Orleanist party.

I have told you how, during the night between the 29th and 30th of July, M. Laffitte, with M. Thiers and M. Mignet, had made every preparation to draw the eyes of the public on M. le Duc d'Orléans. On the 30th appeared proclamations and addresses, the fruit of this cabal, with "Let us avoid the Republic" for their burden. Next came the feats of arms of Jemmapes[270] and Valmy[271], and the people was assured that M. le Duc d'Orléans was not a Capet, but a Valois[272].

And meanwhile M. Thiers, sent by M. Laffitte, was ambling[Pg 128] towards Neuilly with M. Scheffer[273]: H.R.H. was not there. Great wordy contests between Mademoiselle d'Orléans[274] and M. Thiers: it was agreed that they should write to M. le Duc d'Orléans to persuade him to rally to the Revolution. M. Thiers himself wrote a note to the Prince, and Madame Adélaïde promised to precede her family to Paris. Orleanism had made progress and, on the evening, of that same day, the question had been raised among the Deputies of conferring the powers of Lieutenant-general on M. le Duc d'Orléans.

M. de Sussy, with the Saint-Cloud Ordinances, had met with an even more indifferent reception at the Hôtel de Ville than in the Chamber of Deputies. Armed with a "receipt" from M. de La Fayette, he returned to M. de Mortemart, who exclaimed:

"You have done more than save my life; you have saved my honour."

The Municipal Commission issued a proclamation in which it declared that "the crimes of his [Charles X.'s] power were ended," and that "the people would have a government which should owe its origin to them [the people]:" an ambiguous phrase which you were free to interpret as you pleased. Messieurs Laffitte and Périer did not sign this document M. de La Fayette, alarmed, a little late in the day, at the idea of the Orleanist Royalty, sent M. Odilon Barrot to the Chamber of Deputies to announce that the people, the authors of the Revolution of July, did not mean to end it by a simple change of persons, and that the blood that had been shed was well worth a few liberties. There was talk of a proclamation of the Deputies to invite H.R.H. the Duc d'Orléans to come to the Capital: after some communications with the Hôtel de Ville, this plan of a proclamation was demolished. Nevertheless it led to the formation of a sort of deputation of twelve members who were to go to the Lord of Neuilly[275] to offer him that Lieutenant-generalship for which they had not been able to make way in a proclamation.

[Pg 129]

In the evening, the Grand Refendary assembled the Peers in his apartments[276]: his letter, through negligence or policy, reached me too late. I hurried to hasten to the meeting; they opened the gate of the Allée de l'Observatoire for me; I crossed the Luxembourg garden: when I reached the palace, I found no one there. I made my way back past the flower-beds, my eyes fixed on the moon. I regretted the seas and the mountains above which she had appeared to me, the forests in whose tops, herself vanishing in silence, she had seemed to repeat to me the maxim of Epicurus[277]:

"Conceal thy life."

*

Troops retire to Saint-Cloud.

I have left the troops falling back upon Saint-Cloud, on the evening of the 29th. The citizens of Chaillot and Passy attacked them, killing a captain of Carabineers and two officers, and wounding some ten soldiers. Captain Le Motha[278] of the Guards was struck by a bullet fired by a child whom he had been pleased to spare. This captain had given in his resignation at the time of the Ordinances; but, seeing that they were fighting on the 27th, he returned to his regiment to share the dangers of his comrades. Never, to the glory of France, was there a finer battle waged in the parties opposed between liberty and honour.

Children, always fearless because they know nothing of danger, played a sad part in the work of the Three Days: sheltered behind their weakness, they fired point-blank at officers who would have thought themselves dishonoured in beating them back. Modern arms place death at the disposal of the feeblest hand. Ugly, wizened little monkeys, libertines before they have the power of being so, cruel and perverse, these little heroes of the three days gave themselves up to assassination with all the abandonment of innocence. Let us beware lest, by imprudent praises, we give birth to the emulation of evil: the children of Sparta used to go helot-hunting.

Monsieur le Dauphin received the soldiers at the gate of the village of Boulogne, in the wood, and then returned to Saint-Cloud.

Saint-Cloud was guarded by the four companies of the[Pg 130] Body-guards. The battalion of the pupils of Saint-Cyr had arrived: in rivalry and in contrast with the Polytechnic School, they had embraced the royal cause. The attenuated troops, returning from a three days' battle, by their wounds and dilapidated appearance caused only amazement to the titled, gilded and well-fed flunkeys who dined at the royal table. No one thought of cutting the telegraphic lines; couriers, travellers, mail-coaches, diligences passed freely along the road, with the tricolour flag, which urged the villages to revolt as it passed through them. Seduction by means of money and women was commencing. The proclamations of the Commune of Paris were hawked to and fro. The King and Court still refused to be persuaded that they were in danger. In order to prove that they despised the doings of a few mutinous burgesses and that there was no revolution, they let everything go: God's finger is seen in all this.

At nightfall, on the 30th of July, at nearly the same hour when the commission of the Deputies left for Neuilly, an adjutant announced to the troops that the Ordinances were repealed. The soldiers shouted, "Long live the King!" and resumed their gaiety at the bivouac; but this announcement made by the adjutant sent by the Duc de Raguse had not been communicated to the Dauphin, who was a great lover of discipline and flew into a rage. The King said to the marshal:

"The Dauphin is displeased; go and have your explanation with him."

The marshal did not find the Dauphin in his own apartments, and waited for him in the billiard-room with the Duc de Guiche[279] and the Duc de Ventadour, the Prince's aides-de-camp. The Dauphin entered: at sight of the marshal, he flushed to his eyes, crossed his ante-chamber with those singular long strides of his, reached his drawing-room and said to the marshal:

"Come in!"

The door closed behind them: a great noise was heard; their voices were raised more and more; the Duc de Ventadour grew anxious and opened the door; the marshal came[Pg 131] out, pursued by the Dauphin, who called him a double traitor:

"Give up your sword! Give up your sword!" he cried and, flinging himself upon him, tore his sword from him.

Anger of the Dauphin.

M. Delarue, the marshal's aide-de-camp, tried to throw himself between him and the Dauphin, and was held back by M. de Montgascon. The Prince endeavoured to break the marshal's sword and, in so doing, cut his hands. He cried:

"Help, Guards! Seize him!"

The Body-guards rushed in; if the marshal had not made a movement of the head, their bayonets would have struck him in the face. The Duc de Raguse was placed under arrest in his room[280].

The King arranged this affair as best he could. It was the more deplorable as neither of the actors inspired any great interest. When the son[281] of the Balafré slew Saint-Pol[282], the marshal of the League, men recognised in this sword-stroke the pride and blood of the Guises; but, supposing even that Monsieur le Dauphin, a mightier lord than a Prince of Lorraine, had cut down Marshal Marmont, what would that have mattered? If the marshal had killed Monsieur le Dauphin, it would only have been a little more singular. We should see Cæsar, the descendant of[Pg 132] Venus, and Brutus[283], the heir of Junius[284], pass through the streets without looking at them. Nothing is great to-day, because nothing is high.

That is, how at Saint-Cloud, the last hour of the Monarchy was spent; that pale Monarchy, disfigured and blood-stained, resembled the portrait which d'Urfé makes for us of a great personage dying:

"His eyes were wan and sunk; his lower jaw, covered only with a little skin, seemed to have disappeared; his beard was bristling, his colour yellow, his glance slow, his breath bated. Already from his mouth issued no longer human words, but oracles."

*

M. le Duc d'Orléans had, throughout his life, entertained for the throne the inclination that every high-born soul feels for power. This inclination is modified according to the possessor's character: impetuous and aspiring, or slack and fawning; imprudent, open, declared in the former, circumspect, hidden, shamefaced in the latter: one, in order to elevate himself, is capable of any crime; the other, in order to rise, can descend to any meanness. M. le Duc d'Orléans belonged to this latter class of ambitious men. Follow this Prince in his career: he never says and never does anything completely; he always leaves a door open for escape. During the Restoration, he flattered the Court and encouraged liberal opinion; Neuilly became the meeting-place of discontent and the discontented. They sighed, they pressed each other's hands with eyes raised to Heaven, but they did not utter a word of enough significance to be reported in high places. When a member of the Opposition died, a carriage was sent to the funeral, but the carriage was empty: the livery is admitted to every door and every grave-side. If, at the time of my disgrace at Court, I found myself at the Tuileries on M. le Duc d'Orléans' path, he went past, taking care to bow to the right, in such a manner that, I being on the left, he turned his shoulder to me. That would be remarked and would do good.

Was M. le Duc d'Orléans aware beforehand of the Ordinances of July? Was he told of them by a person who held M. Ouvrard's secret? What did he think of them? What[Pg 133] were his hopes and fears? Did he conceive a plan? Did he urge M. Laffitte to act as he did act, or did he let M. Laffitte act as he pleased? To judge from Louis-Philippe's character, we must presume that he took no resolve, and that his political timidity, taking refuge in his falseness, awaited events as the spider awaits the gnat which will be taken in its web. He allowed the moment to conspire; he himself conspired only by his wishes, of which it is probable that he was afraid.

M. le Duc D'Orléans.

There were two courses open to M. le Duc d'Orléans: the first, and the more honourable, was to hasten to Saint-Cloud, to interpose himself between Charles X. and the people, in order to save the crown of the one and the liberty of the other; the second consisted in flinging himself on the barricades, with the tricolour flag in his hand, and placing himself at the head of the movement of the world. Philip had to choose between the honest man and the great man: he preferred to pilfer the crown from the King and liberty from the people. During the confusion and misfortune of a fire, a pickpocket artfully purloins the most valuable objects from the burning palace, without heeding the cries of a child which the flames have surprised in its cradle.

The rich prey once seized, plenty of hounds were there for the distribution of the quarry: then came all those old corruptions of the preceding systems, those receivers of stolen goods, filthy, half-crushed toads that have been walked upon a hundred times and that live, all flattened out as they are. And yet those are the men of whom one boasts, whose ability one exalts! Milton thought otherwise when he wrote this passage in a sublime letter:

"If ever God poured a strong love for moral beauty in a man's breast, he did so in mine. Wherever I meet a man despising the false esteem of the vulgar, daring to aspire, by his opinions, his language and his conduct, to the greatest excellence which the lofty wisdom of the ages has taught us, I become united to that man by a sort of necessary attachment. There is no power in Heaven or upon earth which can prevent me from contemplating with respect and fondness those who have attained the summit of dignity and virtue."

The blind Court of Charles X. never knew where it stood or with whom it had to do: it might have ordered M. le Duc d'Orléans to Saint-Cloud, and it is probable that, at the first moment, he would have obeyed; it might have had[Pg 134] him kidnapped at Neuilly, on the very day of the Ordinances: it took neither course.

On receipt of advices which Madame de Bondy brought him, at Neuilly, in the night of Tuesday the 27th, Louis-Philippe rose at three o'clock in the morning and withdrew to a place known only to his family. He had the double fear of being touched by the insurrection in Paris and of being arrested by a captain of the Guards. He therefore went to the Rainey, there in solitude to listen to the distant gun-shots of the Battle of the Louvre, as I had listened under a tree to those of the Battle of Waterloo. The feelings which doubtless stirred the Prince must have had very little in common with those which oppressed me in the plains of Ghent.

I have told you how, on the morning of the 30th of July, M. Thiers failed to find the Duc d'Orléans at Neuilly; but Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans[285] sent to fetch H.R.H.: the Comte Anatole de Montesquiou[286] was charged with the message. On arriving at the Rainey, M. de Montesquiou had all the difficulty in the world to decide Louis-Philippe to return to Neuilly, there to await the deputation from the Chamber of Deputies.

At last, persuaded by the Duchesse d'Orléans' lord-in-waiting, Louis-Philippe stepped into his carriage. M. de Montesquiou started in advance; at first he went pretty fast; but, when he looked back, he saw H.R.H.'s calash stop and drive back again towards the Rainey. M. de Montesquiou returned at full speed and entreated the future majesty, who was hastening to conceal himself in the desert, like the illustrious Christians who used to flee from the burdensome dignity of the episcopate: the faithful servant obtained a last unhappy victory.

On the evening of the 30th, the deputation of twelve members of the Chamber of Deputies, which was to offer the Lieutenant-generalship of the Kingdom to the Prince, sent him a message to Neuilly. Louis-Philippe received the message at the park gates, read it by torch-light, and[Pg 135] at once set out for Paris, accompanied by Messieurs de Berthois[287], Haymès and Oudart. He wore a tricolour favour in his button-hole: he was going to carry off an old crown from the Royal Furniture Repository.

*

On his arrival at the Palais-Royal, M. le Duc d'Orléans sent his compliments to M. de La Fayette.

The deputation of twelve members of the Chamber of Deputies appeared at the Palais-Royal. They asked the Prince if he accepted the Lieutenant-generalship of the Kingdom; he made an embarrassed reply:

"I have come amongst you to share your dangers.... I have need of reflection. I must consult various persons. The dispositions of Saint-Cloud are not at all hostile; the King's presence lays duties upon me."

Eating his words.

Thus replied Louis-Philippe. He was made to eat his words, as he expected: after withdrawing for half-an-hour, he reappeared, bearing a proclamation by virtue of which he accepted the functions of Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom. The proclamation ended with this declaration:

"The Charter will henceforward be a reality!"

The proclamation was taken to the Elective Chamber and received with that fifty-year-old revolutionary enthusiasm: another proclamation was issued in reply, drawn up by M. Guizot[288]. The deputies returned to the Palais-Royal;[Pg 136] the Prince became affected, accepted afresh, and could not help bewailing the deplorable circumstances which forced him to be Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom.

Stunned by the blows that had been struck at it, the Republic tried to defend itself; but its real head, General La Fayette, had almost abandoned it. He delighted in the concert of adoration that reached him from every side; he greedily inhaled the perfume of revolution; he was enchanted at the idea that he was the arbiter of France, that he was able, by stamping the earth with his foot, to cause a republic or a monarchy to spring up, as he pleased; he loved to lull himself in the uncertainty which pleases minds that dread conclusions, because an instinct warns them that they cease to be anything when the facts are accomplished.

The other republican leaders had ruined themselves in advance by their several works: the praises of the Terror had reminded Frenchmen of 1793 and caused them to recoil. The re-establishment of the National Guard at the same time killed the principle or the power of insurrection in the combatants of July. M. de La Fayette did not perceive[Pg 137] that, in dreaming of the Republic, he had armed three millions of fighting men against it.

The D'Orléans pedigree.

Be this as it may, ashamed of being duped so soon, the younger men made some show of resistance. They replied by proclamations and posters to the proclamations and posters of the Duc d'Orléans. He was told that, if the deputies had so far lowered themselves as to beseech him to accept the Lieutenant-generalship of the Kingdom, the Chamber of Deputies, elected under an aristocratic law, had no right to manifest the will of the people. It was proved to Louis-Philippe that he was the son of Louis Philippe Joseph; that Louis Philippe Joseph was the son of Louis Philippe[289]; that Louis Philippe was the son of Louis[290], who was the son of Philip II.[291] the Regent; that Philip II. was the son of Philip I.[292] who was the brother of Louis XIV.: therefore Louis-Philippe d'Orléans was a Bourbon and Capet, not a Valois. M. Laffitte nevertheless continued to look upon him as belonging to the dynasty of Charles IX. and Henry III., and said:

"Thiers knows all about it."

Later, the Lointier gathering[293] protested that the nation[Pg 138] was in arms to maintain its rights by force. The central committee of the 12th Ward declared that the people had not been consulted on the method of its Constitution, that the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Peers, holding their powers from Charles X., had fallen with him and could not, in consequence, represent the nation; that the Provisional Government must remain in permanence, under the presidency of La Fayette, until a Constitution had been discussed and fixed as the fundamental basis of government.

On the morning of the 30th, there was a question of proclaiming the Republic. A few determined men threatened to kill the Municipal Commission if it did not keep the power in its hands. Did they not also blame the House of Peers? They were furious at its audacity. The audacity of the House of Peers! Surely this must have been the last outrage and the last injustice which it expected to receive at the hands of public opinion!

A plan was formed: twenty of the most fiery young men were to lie in wait in a little street running into the Quai de la Ferraille and fire on Louis-Philippe when he went from the Palais-Royal to the Hôtel de Ville. They were stopped and told that they would at the same time be killing Laffitte, Pajol and Benjamin Constant. Lastly it was proposed to kidnap the Duc d'Orléans and put him on board ship at Cherbourg: a strange meeting, if Charles X. and Philip had come together again in the same port, on the same vessel, one dispatched to a foreign shore by the middle class, the other by the Republicans!

*

The Duc d'Orléans, having made up his mind to go to have his title confirmed by the tribunes of the Hôtel de Ville, went down into the court-yard of the Palais-Royal, surrounded by eighty-nine deputies in caps, in round hats, in dress-coats, in frock-coats. The royal candidate mounted a white horse; he was followed by Benjamin Constant, tossed about in a chair by two Savoyards. Messieurs Méchin[294] and Viennet[295], covered with dust and perspiration, walked between[Pg 139] the white horse of the future monarch and the barrow of the gouty deputy, quarrelling with the two porters to make them keep the required distance. A half-drunken drummer beat the drum at the head of the procession. Four ushers served as lictors. The more zealous deputies bellowed:

"Long live the Duc d'Orléans!"

Philip at the Palais-Royal.

Around the Palais-Royal these cries met with some response; but, as the troop approached the Hôtel de Ville, the spectators became derisive or silent. Philip threw himself about on his triumphal steed and constantly took shelter beneath the buckler of M. Laffitte, from whom he received a few patronizing words on the way. He smiled to General Gérard, made signs of intelligence to M. Viennet and M. Méchin, and begged the crown of the people with his hat adorned with a yard of tricolour ribbon, putting out his hand to whosoever on his way was willing to drop an alms into it. The strolling monarchy reached the Place de Grève, where it was greeted with cries of "The Republic for ever!"

When the royal electoral matter made its way inside the Hôtel de Ville, the postulant was received with more threatening murmurs: a few zealous servants who shouted his name were punched for their pains. He entered the Throne Room; here were crowded the wounded and fighters of the Three Days: a general shout of "No more Bourbons! Long live La Fayette!" shook the rafters of the hall. The Prince appeared embarrassed. M. Viennet, on behalf of M. Laffitte, read the declaration of the Deputies; it was heard in profound silence. The Duc d'Orléans spoke a few words of adhesion. Then M. Dubourg said roughly to Philip:

"You have taken serious engagements. If ever you fail to keep them, we are the people to remind you of them." Whereupon the future King replied, with great emotion:

"Sir, I am an honest man."

M. de La Fayette, seeing the growing uncertainty of the assembly, suddenly took it in his head to abdicate the Presidency: he handed the Duc d'Orléans a tricolour flag, stepped out on the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville, and embraced the Prince before the eyes of the gaping crowd, while the Duke waved the national flag. La Fayette's republican kiss made a king: a curious outcome of the whole career of the "hero of the Two Worlds!"

And then, rub-a-dub! the litter of Benjamin Constant and the white horse of Louis-Philippe went home again, half[Pg 140] hooted, half blessed, from the political factory on the Grève to the Palais-Marchand.

"That same day," says M. Louis Blanc, "and not far from the Hôtel de Ville, a wherry moored at the foot of the Morgue and surmounted by a black flag, received corpses which were lowered in barrows. These corpses were piled up in heaps and covered with straw; and the crowd, which had gathered along the parapets of the Seine, looked on in silence[296]."

Speaking of the States of the League and the making of a king, Palma-Cayet[297] exclaims:

"I pray you to picture to yourselves what answer could have made that little goodman Master Matthieu Delaunay and M. Boucher, curate of Saint-Benoît, and any other of that condition to one who should have told them that they must be employed to instal a king in France to their fancy?... True Frenchmen have always held in contempt that form of electing kings, which makes them masters and servants together."

Philip had not come to the end of his trials; he had many more hands to shake, many more embraces to receive: he still had to blow very many kisses, to bow very low to the passers-by, to humour the crowd by coming many times on the balcony of the Tuileries to sing the Marseillaise.

A certain number of Republicans had met, on the morning of the 31st, at the office of the National: when they knew that the Duc d'Orléans had been appointed Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom, they wished to know the opinions of the man destined to become King in spite of them. They were taken to the Palais-Royal by M. Thiers: there were Messieurs Bastide, Thomas, Joubert[298], Cavaignac[299], Marchais,[Pg 141] Degousée[300], and Guinard. The Prince at first said many fine things to them about liberty:

"You are not King yet," retorted Bastide; "listen to the truth: soon you will have no lack of flatterers."

"Your father," added Cavaignac, "was a regicide like mine; that separates you a little from the others."

Embraces La Fayette.

Followed mutual congratulations on the regicide, accompanied nevertheless by a judicious remark from Philip, to the effect that there are things which we should remember in order not to imitate them.

Some Republicans who were not at the meeting at the National entered. M. Trélat said to Philip:

"The people is the master; your functions are provisional; the people must express its wish: do you consult it, yes or no?"

M. Thiers interrupted this dangerous speech by tapping M. Thomas on the shoulder and saying:

"Monseigneur, have we not a fine colonel here?"

"That is true," answered Louis-Philippe.

"What is he talking about?" they exclaimed. "Does he take us for a band that has come to sell itself?"

And on every side rose contradictory phrases:

"It's a tower of Babel! And that's what they call a Citizen King! The Republic? You had better govern with Republicans!"

And M. Thiers exclaiming:

"Here's a fine embassy I've undertaken!"

Then M. de La Fayette came down to the Palais-Royal: the citizen was nearly stifled under the embraces of his King. The whole house was ready to die.

Men in jackets were at the posts of honour, men in caps in the drawing-rooms, men in smocks sat down to table with the Princes and Princesses; in the council-chamber there were chairs, but no arm-chairs; all spoke who would; Louis-Philippe, seated between M. de La Fayette and M. Laffitte, their arms entwined round each other's shoulders, beamed expansively with equality and happiness.

[Pg 142]

I would have liked to employ more gravity in my description of those scenes which produced a great revolution, or, to speak more correctly, of those scenes by which the transformation of the world will be hastened: but I saw them; deputies who acted in them could not help showing a certain confusion, when they told me how, on the 31st of July, they went to forge—a king.

To Henry IV., before he became a Catholic, men raised objections which did not degrade him and which were measured by the level of the Throne itself: they told him that "St. Louis had been canonized, not at Geneva, but in Rome; that, if the King were not a Catholic, he would not hold the first place among the kings of Christendom; that it was not seemly that the King should pray in one wise and his people in another; that the King could not be crowned at Rheims, nor buried at Saint-Denis, if he were not a Catholic."

What was the objection raised against Philip before his final election? Men objected that he was not "patriot" enough.

To-day, when the Revolution is consummated, men take offense if one dare remind them of what took place at the start; they fear to diminish the solidity of the position they have taken up, and whosoever does not find in the origin of the incipient fact the gravity of the accomplished fact is a traducer.

When a dove descended to bring the Holy Oil to Clovis; when the long-haired kings were raised upon a buckler; when St. Louis, in his premature virtue, trembled at his coronation while pronouncing the oath to employ his authority only for the glory of God and the welfare of his people; when Henry IV., after his entry into Paris, went to prostrate himself at Notre-Dame, and men saw, or thought they saw, on his right, a beautiful child who defended him and who was taken to be his guardian angel: I conceive that the diadem was a sacred thing; the Oriflamme rested in the tabernacles of Heaven. But, now that a sovereign, on a public square, with hair cut short and hands tied behind his back, has lowered his head beneath the blade to the sound of the drum; now that another sovereign, surrounded by the rabble, has gone to beg votes for his "election," to the sound of the same drum, on another public square: who keeps the smallest illusion touching the crown? Who believes that that soiled and battered monarchy can[Pg 143] still impose upon the world? What man, feeling his heart beat ever so little, would swallow power in that cup of shame and disgust which Philip emptied at one draught without a qualm? European monarchy could have continued its life, if in France they had preserved the parent monarchy, the daughter of a saint and of a great man; but her seed has been dispersed: nothing will be born of her again.

*

You have seen the Monarchy of the Grève march dusty and breathless under the tricolour flag, in the midst of its insolent friends: see now the Royalty of Rheims retire, with measured steps, in the midst of its almoners and its guards, walking in accordance with the exactest etiquette, hearing no word but words of respect, revered even by those who detested it. The soldier, little though he esteemed it, died for it; the White Flag, laid upon its bier before being folded away for ever, said to the wind:

"Salute me: I was at Ivry; I saw Turenne die; the English knew me at Fontenoy; I made liberty triumph under Washington; I have delivered Greece, and I still wave from the walls of Algiers!"

The Duc D'Angoulême.

On the 31st, at daybreak, at the very hour when the Duc d'Orléans, after arriving in Paris, was preparing to accept the Lieutenant-generalship, the servants at Saint-Cloud came to the bivouac on the Sèvres Bridge, saying that they were discharged and that the King had left at half-past three in the morning. The soldiers became excited, but grew calm again when the Dauphin appeared: he rode up on horse-back, as though to carry them with him by one of those phrases which lead the French to death or victory; he stopped in front of the ranks, stammered a few sentences, turned short, and went back to the Palace. It was not courage that failed him, but speech. The miserable education of our Princes of the Elder Branch, since Louis XIV., rendered them incapable of supporting a contradiction, of expressing themselves like everybody else, and of mixing with the rest of mankind.

Meanwhile, the heights of Sèvres and the terraces of Bellevue were crowned with men of the people: a few musket-shots were exchanged. The captain commanding the advance-guard on the Sèvres Bridge went over to the enemy; he took a piece of cannon and a part of his soldiers to the bands that had gathered on the Point-du-Jour Road. Then the Parisians and the Guards agreed that no hostilities[Pg 144] should take place until the evacuation of Saint-Cloud and of Sèvres was effected. The retiring movement began; the Swiss were hemmed in by the inhabitants of Sèvres and flung away their arms, although they were almost at once extricated by the Lancers, whose lieutenant-colonel was wounded. The troops passed through Versailles, where the National Guard had been on duty since the preceding day, with La Rochejacquelein's Grenadiers, the first under the tricolour, the second with the white cockade. Madame la Dauphine arrived from Vichy and joined the Royal Family at Trianon, the favourite residence of Marie-Antoinette. At Trianon, M. de Polignac took leave of his master.

It has been said that Madame la Dauphine was opposed to the Ordinances. The only way to judge kings correctly is to consider them in their essence: the plebeian will always be on the side of liberty; the prince will always lean towards power. We must ascribe this to them as neither a crime nor a merit: it is their nature. Madame la Dauphine would probably have wished that the Ordinances had appeared at a more opportune moment, after better precautions had been taken to ensure their success; but in reality they pleased her and were bound to please her. Madame la Duchesse de Berry was delighted with them. Those two Princesses believed that the Royalty, once its own master, would be free from the shackles which representative government fastens to the sovereign's feet.

*

One is astonished, in the events of July, not to meet with the Diplomatic Body, which was only too much consulted by the Court and which interfered too much in our business.

There was twice a question of the foreign ambassadors in our last troubles. A man was arrested at the barriers and the packet of which he was the bearer sent to the Hôtel de Ville: it was a dispatch from M. de Lœwenhielm[301] to the King of Sweden. M. Baude sent back the dispatch unopened to the Swedish Legation. Lord Stuart's[302] correspondence fell into the hands of the popular leaders and was similarly returned without being opened, which did wonders in London. Lord Stuart, like all his fellow-countrymen,[Pg 145] adored disorder in foreign countries: with him, diplomacy was police-duty, dispatches reports. He liked me well enough when I was Foreign Minister, because I treated him without ceremony and because my door was always open to him; he used to come to me at all hours, in boots, dirty, with disordered dress, after visiting the boulevards and the ladies, whom he paid badly and who called him "Stuart."

I had conceived diplomacy on a new plan: having nothing to conceal, I spoke aloud; I would have shown my dispatches to the first-comer, because I had no project for the glory of France which I was not determined to accomplish in spite of all opposition.

I have said a hundred times to Sir Charles Stuart, laughing, and I meant what I said:

"Do not pick a quarrel with me: if you throw down the gauntlet to me, I shall pick it up. France has never made war on you with a proper understanding of your position; that is why you have beaten us: but don't rely on this[303]."

Lord Stuart de Rothesay.

Lord Stuart, therefore, beheld our "troubles of July" with all that good nature which rejoices over our misfortunes. But the members of the Diplomatic Body hostile to the popular cause had more or less urged Charles X. in the direction of the Ordinances; and yet, when they appeared, the ambassadors did nothing to save the Sovereign. If M. Pozzo di Borgo[304] showed some anxiety concerning a coup d'État, this was on behalf of neither the King nor the people.

Two things are certain:

First, the Revolution attacked the treaties of the Quadruple Alliance: the France of the Bourbons formed part of that alliance; the Bourbons could not, therefore, be violently dispossessed without endangering the new political right of Europe.

Secondly, in a monarchy, the foreign legations are not accredited to the government, but to the monarch. The strict duty of those legations, therefore, was to gather round Charles X. and to attend on him so long as he remained on French soil.

Is it not singular that the only ambassador to whom this idea occurred should have been the representative of[Pg 146] Bernadotte, of a King who did not belong to the old families of sovereigns? M. de Lœwenhielm was on the point of bringing the Baron de Werther[305] over to his opinion, when M. Pozzo di Borgo opposed a measure which his credentials prescribed and honour demanded.

Had the Diplomatic Body gone to Saint-Cloud, Charles X.'s position would have been different: the partisans of the Legitimacy in the Elective Chamber would have gained a strength which they lacked at first; the fear of a war would have alarmed the working class; the idea of preserving peace by keeping Henry V.[306] would have drawn a considerable mass of the population over to the royal infant's party.

M. Pozzo di Borgo stood aloof so as not to compromise his securities on the Bourse or at his bankers', and especially not to expose his place. He played at five per cent, on the corpse of the Capetian Legitimacy, a corpse which will communicate death to the other living kings. He will not fail, some time hence, to try, according to custom, to pass off this irreparable fault, due to personal interest, as a profound combination.

Ambassadors left too long at the same Court adopt the manners of the country in which they reside. Charmed to live in the midst of honours, no longer seeing things as they are, they are afraid of passing in their dispatches a truth which might bring about a change in their position. It is, in fact, a different thing to be Esterhazy[307], Werther, Pozzo in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, or to be Their Excellencies the Ambassadors to the Court of France. It has been said that M. Pozzo bore a grudge against Louis XVIII. and Charles X. in the matter of the Blue Ribbon and the peerage. They were wrong not to satisfy him; he had rendered services to[Pg 147] the Bourbons, for hatred of his fellow-countryman[308], Bonaparte. But if, at Ghent, he decided the question of the throne, by provoking the sudden departure of Louis XVIII. for Paris, he can now boast that, by preventing the Diplomatic Body from doing its duty in the Days of July, he has helped to throw from the head of Charles X. the crown which he assisted in placing on the brow of his brother.

The diplomatic body.

I have long been of opinion that diplomatic bodies, born in centuries subject to a different law of nations, are no longer in keeping with the new society: public governments, easy communications bring about that nowadays Cabinets are in a position to treat direct or simply through the intermediary of their consular agents, whose number should be increased and their condition improved: for, at this hour, Europe is an industrial continent. Titled spies, with exorbitant pretensions, who meddle with everything to give themselves an importance which they cannot retain, serve only to disturb the Cabinets to which they are accredited and to feed their masters with illusions. Charles X., on his side, was wrong not to invite the Diplomatic Body to join his Court; but what he saw seemed to him a dream: he went from one surprise to the other. It was thus that he did not send for M. le Duc d'Orléans; for, thinking himself in danger only from the side of the Republic, the risk of an usurpation never entered his thoughts.

*

Charles X. set out in the evening for Rambouillet with the Princesses and M. le Duc de Bordeaux. The new role played by M. le Duc d'Orléans gave rise to the first ideas of abdication in the King's head. Monsieur le Dauphin remained with the rear-guard, but did not mix with the soldiers; at Trianon he ordered what remained of wine and food to be distributed among them.

At a quarter past eight in the evening, the different corps set forward. There the fidelity of the 5th Light Regiment expired. Instead of following the movement, it returned to Paris: its colours were brought to Charles X., who refused to accept them, as he had refused to accept those of the 50th.

The brigades were all confused, the several arms intermingled; the cavalry outpaced the infantry and halted separately. At midnight, on the 31st of July, a stop was[Pg 148] made at Trappes. The Dauphin slept at a house at the back of the village.

The next morning, the 1st of August, he started for Rambouillet, leaving the troops bivouacked at Trappes. These broke up camp at eleven. A few soldiers who had gone to buy bread in the hamlets were massacred.

On its arrival at Rambouillet, the army was cantoned round the Palace.

During the night of the 1st of August, three regiments of heavy cavalry went back to their old garrisons. It is believed that General Bordesoulle[309], commanding the heavy cavalry of the Guard, had made his capitulation at Versailles. The 2nd Grenadiers also went off on the morning of the 2nd, after sending in its colours to the King. The Dauphin met these deserting Grenadiers; they formed in line to do honour to the Prince, and continued their road. Strange mixture of disloyalty and good manners! In this three days' revolution, no one betrayed any passion; each acted according to the idea he had formed of his rights or his duties: the rights conquered, the duties fulfilled, no enmity and no affection remained. The one feared lest the rights should carry him too far, the other lest the duties should exceed their limits. Perhaps it has only once happened, and perhaps it will never happen again, that a people stopped within reach of its victory, and that soldiers who had defended a King, so long as he seemed to wish to fight, returned their standards to him before abandoning him. The Ordinances had released the people from its oath; the retreat, on the field of battle, released the grenadier from his flag.

*

Charles X. retiring, the Republicans withdrawing, there was nothing to prevent the Elected Monarchy from moving forward. The provinces, always sheep-like and the slaves of Paris, at each movement of the telegraph and at each tricolour flag perched on the top of a diligence, shouted, "Long live Philip!" or, "The Revolution for ever!"

The opening of the session being fixed for the 3rd of August, the Peers repaired to the Chamber of Deputies: I[Pg 149] went there, for everything was as yet provisional. There another act of melodrama was performed: the throne remained empty, and the Anti-king sat down beside it, as who should say the Lord Chancellor opening a session of the British Parliament, in the Sovereign's absence.

Philip spoke of the painful necessity in which he had found himself of accepting the Lieutenant-generalship to save us all, of the revision of Article XIV. of the Charter, of the feeling for liberty which he, Philip, bore in his heart and which he was about to pour over us, together with peace over Europe: a hocus-pocus of speech and constitution repeated at each phase of our history since the last half-century. But attention grew very lively when the Prince made the following declaration:

Abdication of Charles X.

"Peers and deputies,

"So soon as the two Chambers are constituted, I will communicate to you the act of abdication of His Majesty King Charles X. By the same act, Louis Antoine of France, the Dauphin, likewise renounces his rights. This act was placed in my hands at eleven o'clock last night, the 2nd of August. This morning I have ordered it to be deposited in the archives of the House of Peers and to be inserted in the official part of the Moniteur."

By a contemptible trick and a cowardly omission, the Duc d'Orléans here suppressed the name of Henry V., in whose favour the two Kings had abdicated. If, at that time, every Frenchman could have been individually consulted, it is probable that the majority would have pronounced in favour of Henry V.; even a section of the Republicans would have accepted him, giving him La Fayette for a mentor. Had the germ of the Legitimacy remained in France and the two old Kings gone to end their days in Rome, none of the difficulties which surround an usurpation and render it suspicious to the various parties would have existed. The adoption of the Younger Branch of Bourbon was not only a danger, it was a political solecism: New France is Republican; she does not want a king, at least she does not want a king of the old dynasty. A few years more, and we shall see what will become of our liberties and what that peace will be which is to gladden the world. If we may judge of the future conduct of the new personage elected by what we know of his character,[Pg 150] it is safe to presume that this Prince will think that the only way to preserve his monarchy is by oppression at home and grovelling abroad.

The real wrong done by Louis-Philippe is not that he accepted the crown, an act of ambition of which there are thousands of examples and which attacks only a political institution; his true crime is that he was a faithless guardian, that he "robbed the child and the orphan," a crime for which the Scriptures do not contain enough curses: now moral justice (let who will call it fatality or Providence, I call it the inevitable consequences of evil-doing) has never failed to punish the infractions of moral law.

Philip, his government, all that order of impossible and contradictory things will perish, within a period more or less delayed by fortuitous circumstances, by complications of internal and external interests, by the apathy and corruption of individuals, by the levity of men's minds, the indifference and effacement of their characters; but, whatever the duration of the present system may be, it will never be long enough for the Orleans Branch to take deep root.

Charles X., apprized of the progress of the Revolution, possessing nothing in his age or his character fitted to stem that progress, thought that he was warding off the blow struck at his House by abdicating together with his son, as Philip announced to the Deputies. On the 1st of August he wrote a line approving of the opening of the session and, counting on the sincere attachment of his cousin the Duc d'Orléans, he in his turn appointed him Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom. He went further on the 2nd, for he wanted nothing more than to take ship, and he asked for commissaries to protect him as far as Cherbourg. These apparitors were not at once received by the Military Household. Bonaparte also had commissaries as guards: the first time Russian, the second French; but he had not asked for them.

Letter from Charles to Philip.

Here is Charles X.'s letter:

"Rambouillet, 2 August 1830.

"Cousin,

"I am too deeply distressed at the evils with which my people are afflicted and threatened not to seek the means of removing them. I have therefore resolved to[Pg 151] abdicate the crown in favour of my grandson, the Duc de Bordeaux.

"The Dauphin, who shares my sentiments, also renounces his rights in favour of his nephew.

"You will, therefore, in your capacity of Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom, cause the accession of Henry V. to the crown to be proclaimed. You will take all the other measures which concern you, for regulating the forms of government during the minority of the new King. I here confine myself to the communication of these arrangements, as the means of avoiding yet many more evils.

"You will communicate my intentions to the Diplomatic Body, and you will take the earliest opportunity of making known to me the proclamation by which my grandson is recognised as King, under the title of Henry V.[310]...

"I renew to you, cousin, the assurance of the sentiments with which I am

"Your affectionate cousin,

"Charles."

If M. le Duc d'Orléans had been capable of emotion or remorse, would not this signature, "Your affectionate cousin," have struck him to the heart? So little doubt had they at Rambouillet of the efficacy of the abdications that the young Prince was being made ready for his journey: his ægis, the tricolour cockade, was already fashioned by the hands of the most zealous promoters of the Ordinances. Suppose that Madame la Duchesse de Berry had suddenly set out with her son and appeared in the Chamber of Deputies at the moment when M. le Duc d'Orléans was delivering his opening speech, two chances remained: dangerous chances, but, at least, the child removed to Heaven would not have dragged out days of misery on foreign soil.

My counsels, my prayers, my cries were powerless; I asked in vain for Marie-Caroline: the mother of Bayard, as he was preparing to quit the paternal castle, "wept," says the Loyal Serviteur:

[Pg 152]

"The good gentle woman came out from the back of the tower, and sent for her son, to whom she spake these words:

"'Pierre, my friend, be sweet and courteous, putting from you all pride; be humble and serviceable to all men; be loyal in deeds and words; be helpful to poor widows and orphans, and God will recompense you....'

"Then the good ladye drew out of her sleeve a little purse in which were only six crowns in gold and one in small silver, the which she gave to her son."

The knight without fear and without reproach rode away with six golden crowns in a little purse to become the bravest and most renowned of captains. Henry, who perhaps has not six gold crowns, will have very different combats to wage; he will have to fight misfortune, a difficult champion to throw. Let us glorify the mothers who give such tender and good lessons to their sons! Blessed, then, be you, my mother, from whom I derive all that may have honoured and disciplined my life!

Forgive me for all these recollections; but perhaps the tyranny of my memory, by introducing the past into the present, takes from the latter a part of its wretchedness.

The three commissaries deputed to Charles X. were Messieurs de Schonen, Odilon Barrot and Marshal Maison. They were sent back by the military posts, and started to return to Paris. A wave of the populace carried them back to Rambouillet.

*

The rumour spread, on the evening of the 2nd, that Charles X. refused to leave Rambouillet before his grand-son was recognised. A multitude gathered in the Champs-Élysées on the morning of the 3rd, shouting:

"To Rambouillet! To Rambouillet! Not one of the Bourbons must escape from it!"

There were rich men mixed among these groups, but, when the moment came, they allowed the "rabble" to set out without them. General Pajol placed himself at their head, taking Colonel Jacqueminot[311] as his chief of staff. The returning commissaries, meeting the scouts of this column, turned on their steps and were then admitted to Rambouillet.[Pg 153] The King questioned them on the strength of the insurgents and then, withdrawing, sent for Maison, who owed him his fortune and his marshal's baton:

"Maison, I ask you on your honour as a soldier, is what the commissaries have told me the truth?"

The marshal replied:

"They have told you only half the truth."

Charles X. at Rambouillet.

There remained at Rambouillet, on the 3rd of August, 3500 men of the Infantry of the Guard, and four regiments of Light Cavalry, forming twenty squadrons and consisting of 2000 men. The Military Household, Body-guards and so on amounted, horse and foot, to 1300 men: in all, 8800 men and seven batteries consisting of 42 pieces of artillery with their teams. At ten o'clock at night, the signal was sounded to saddle; the whole camp started for Maintenon, Charles X. and his Family marching in the midst of the funeral column, which was scarce lighted by the veiled moon.

And before whom were they retreating? Before a band almost unarmed, arriving in omnibuses, in cabs, in traps from Versailles and Saint-Cloud. General Pajol thought that he was quite lost when he was obliged to place himself at the head of that multitude[312], which, after all, did not amount to more than 15,000 men, with the adjunction of the newly-arrived Rouennese. Half of this band remained on the roads. A few exalted, valiant and generous young men, mingled with this troop, would have sacrificed themselves; the rest would probably have dispersed. In the fields of Rambouillet, in the flat open country, they would have had to face the fire of the Line and of the Artillery; by all appearances, a victory would have been won. Between the people's victory in Paris and the King's victory at Rambouillet, negociations would have been entered upon.

What! Among so many officers, was there not one with sufficient resolution to seize the command in the name of Henry V.? For, after all, Charles X. and the Dauphin were Kings no longer.

If they did not wish to fight, why did they not retire to Chartres? There, they would have been out of the reach of the Paris populace. Or, better still, to Tours, supported by the Legitimist provinces? Had Charles X. remained in France, the greater part of the army would have remained[Pg 154] loyal. The camps at Boulogne and Lunéville were raised and were marching to his aid. My nephew, the Comte Louis, was bringing his regiment, the 4th Light Infantry, which left the ranks only on hearing of the retreat from Rambouillet. M. de Chateaubriand was reduced to escorting the Monarch on a pony to his place of embarkation. If, repairing to some town, protected against a first surprise, Charles X. had convoked the two Chambers, more than half of those Chambers would have obeyed. Casimir Périer, General Sébastiani and a hundred others had waited, had struggled against the tricolour cockade; they dreaded the dangers of a popular revolution: what am I saying? The Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom, summoned by the King and not seeing the battle won, would have stolen away from his partisans and conformed to the royal injunction. The Diplomatic Body, which did not do its duty, would have done it then by placing itself around the Sovereign. The Republic, installed in Paris amidst all the disorders, would not have lasted a month in the face of a regular constitutional government, established elsewhere. Never has the game been lost with so fine a hand, and, when a game is lost in this way, there is no revenge possible: go talk of liberty to the citizens and of honour to the soldiers after the Ordinances of July and the retreat from Saint-Cloud!

The time will perhaps come, when a new form of society will have taken the place of the present social order, when war will appear a monstrous absurdity, when its very principle will no longer be understood; but we have not reached that stage yet. In armed quarrels, there are philanthropists who distinguish between the species and who are prepared to swoon away at the mere word of civil war:

"Fellow-countrymen killing one another! Brothers, fathers, sons, face to face!"

All this is very sad, no doubt; and yet a nation has often been regenerated and acquired new vigour in intestine discords. None has ever perished by a civil war; many have disappeared in foreign wars. See what Italy was, at the time of her divisions, and see what she is now. It is a deplorable thing to be obliged to lay waste your neighbour's property, to see your own home blooded by that same neighbour; but, frankly, is it much more humane to slay a family of German peasants whom you do not know, who have never had a discussion with you of any kind, whom you rob, whom you kill without remorse, whose wives and[Pg 155] children you dishonour with a safe conscience, because this is war? Whatever men may say, civil wars are less unjust, less revolting and more natural than foreign wars, except when the latter are undertaken to save the national independence. Civil wars are based at least upon individual outrages, upon admitted and recognised aversions; they are duels with seconds, in which the adversaries know why they are wielding their swords. If the passions do not justify the evil, they excuse it, they explain it, they give a reason for its existence. How is foreign war justified? Generally, nations cut each other's throats because a king is bored, because an ambitious man wishes to rise, because a minister seeks to supplant a rival. The time has come to do justice on those old common-places of sentimentalism, better suited to poets than historians: Thucydides, Cæsar, Livy are content to utter a word of sorrow and pass on.

Thoughts on Civil war.

Civil war, in spite of its calamities, has only one real danger: if the contending factions have recourse to the foreigner, or if the foreigner, profiting by the divisions of a people, attack it; such a position might result in conquest. Great Britain, the Iberian Peninsula, Constantinopolitan Greece, in our own days Poland offer examples which we must not forget. Nevertheless, during the League, the two parties calling Spaniards and English, Italians and Germans to their aid, the latter counter-balanced each other and did not disturb the equilibrium which the French in arms maintained among themselves.

Charles X. was wrong to employ bayonets in support of his Ordinances; his ministers have no justification to offer, whether they were acting in obedience or not, for having shed the blood of the people and the soldiers, whom no hatred divided, in the same way as the theoretical Terrorists would gladly reproduce the system of the Terror, when no Terror exists. But Charles X. was also wrong not to accept war when, after he had yielded on every point, it was brought to his door. He had no right, after placing the diadem on the brow of his grandson, to say to that new Joas:

"I have made you ascend the throne, to drag you into exile, so that, wretched and banished, you may bear the weight of my years, my proscription and my sceptre."

He was not right at the same moment to give Henry V. a crown and to rob him of France. When they made him King, they had condemned him to die on the soil in which lie mingled the dust of St. Louis and that of Henry IV.

[Pg 156]

For the rest, after this ebullition of my blood, I return to my reason, and I see in these things no more than the accomplishment of the destinies of humanity. The Court, had it triumphed by force of arms, would have destroyed the public liberties; they would none the less have crushed it one day; but it would have retarded the development of society for some years; all that had taken a wide view of the Monarchy would have been persecuted by the re-established Congregation. In the last result, events have followed the trend of civilization. God makes men powerful according to His secret designs: He gives them faults which undo them when they must be undone, because He does not wish that qualities ill-applied by a false intelligence should oppose themselves to the decrees of His Providence.

*

The retirement of the Royal Family reduced my part to myself. I no longer thought of what I should be called upon to say in the House of Peers. To write was impossible: if the attack had come from the enemies of the Crown; if Charles X. had been overthrown by a conspiracy from the outside, I should have taken up my pen and, if they had left me independence of thought, I should have undertaken to rally an immense party around the ruins of the throne; but the attack had come from the Crown itself; the Ministers had violated both liberal principles; they had made the Royalty commit perjury, not intentionally, no doubt, but in fact; through this very act they had taken away my strength. What could I put forward in favour of the Ordinances? How could I have continued to extol the sincerity, the candour, the chivalry of the Legitimate Monarchy? How could I have said that it was the strongest guarantee of our interests, our laws and our independence? The champion of the old Royalty, I had been stripped of my arms by that Royalty and left naked to mine enemies.

I was therefore quite astonished when, reduced to this state of weakness, I saw myself sought out by the new Royalty. Charles X. has disdained my services; Philip made an effort to attach me to himself. First, M. Arago spoke to me, in lofty and lively terms, on behalf of Madame Adélaïde; next the Comte Anatole de Montesquiou came one morning to Madame Récamier's and met me there. He told me that Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans and M. le Duc d'Orléans would be delighted to see me, if I would go to the Palais-Royal. They were at that time engaged upon the declaration[Pg 157] which was to transform the Lieutenant-generalship of the Kingdom into the Royalty. Perhaps H.R.H. had thought it well to try to weaken my opposition before. I pronounced myself. He may also have thought that I looked upon myself as released by the flight of the three Kings.

The Duchesse D'Orléans.

These overtures of M. de Montesquiou's surprised me. However, I did not reject them; for, without flattering myself with hopes of success, I thought that I might utter some useful truths. I went to the Palais-Royal with the lord-in-waiting to the future Queen. I was admitted by the entrance leading out of the Rue de Valois, and found Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans and Madame Adélaïde in their private apartments. I had had the honour of being presented to them before. Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans made me sit down beside her, and said to me, off-hand:

"Ah, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, we are very unhappy! If all the parties would only unite together, perhaps we might yet be saved! What do you think of all this?"

"Madame," I replied, "nothing is easier: Charles X. and Monsieur le Dauphin have abdicated; Henry is now the King; Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans is Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom: let him act as Regent during the minority of Henry V., and all is settled."

"But, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, the people are very much excited; we shall fall into anarchy!"

"Madame, may I venture to ask you what are the intentions of Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans? Will he accept the crown, if it is offered to him?"

The two Princesses hesitated to answer. Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans replied, after a momentary pause:

"Think, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, of the misfortunes that may happen. All honest men must combine to save us from the Republic. In Rome you might render us such great services, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, or even here, if you do not care to leave France again!"

"Madame is aware of my devotion to the young King and his mother?"

"Ah, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, they have treated you so well!"

"Your Royal Highness would not have me give the lie to my whole life."

"Monsieur de Chateaubriand, you do not know my niece[313]:[Pg 158] she is so frivolous!... Poor Caroline!... I am going to send for M. le Duc d'Orléans: he will persuade you better than I can."

The Princess gave instructions, and Louis-Philippe arrived after a quarter of an hour. He was badly-dressed and looked extremely tired. I rose, and the Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom accosted me with:

"Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans must have told you how unhappy we are."

And forthwith he spun me an idyll on the happiness which he enjoyed in the country, on the peaceful life, so much to his liking, which he spent in the midst of his children. I seized the moment of a pause between two strophes to speak in my turn and respectfully to repeat, in almost the same words, what I had said to the two Princesses.

"Ah," he exclaimed, "that is what I should like! How happy I should be to be the guardian and the upholder of that child! I think just as you do, Monsieur de Chateaubriand: to accept the Duc de Bordeaux would certainly be the best thing to do. I fear only that events will prove more than a match for us."

"More than a match for us, Monseigneur? Are you not invested with full powers? Let us go to join Henry V.; summon the Chambers and the army to your side, outside Paris. The mere noise of your departure will cause all this effervescence to subside, and men will seek a shelter under your enlightened and protective power."

While speaking, I watched Philip. My advice put him ill at ease; I read on his face his desire to be King:

"Monsieur de Chateaubriand," he said, without looking at me, "the thing is more difficult than you think; it won't go like that. You do not know the danger in which we stand. A furious band might indulge in the most violent excesses against the Chambers, and we have no one to defend us." This phrase which M. le Duc d'Orléans let fall pleased me, because it supplied me with a peremptory retort:

My conversation with the Duke.

"I can conceive that difficulty, Monseigneur, but there is a sure means of removing it. If you do not think that you can join Henry V., as I was suggesting, you can adopt another course. The session is about to open: whatever proposal the Deputies may make first, declare that the present Chamber does not possess the necessary powers (which is the sheer truth) to dispose of the form of government; say that France must be consulted and a new assembly[Pg 159] elected with powers ad hoc to decide so important a question. Your Royal Highness will then be placing yourself in the most popular position; the Republican Party, which at this moment constitutes your danger, will extol you to the skies. In the two months that will elapse before the meeting of the new legislature, you will organize the National Guard; all your friends and the friends of the young King will work for you in the provinces. Then let the Deputies come, let the cause which I am defending be publicly pleaded in the tribune. This cause, secretly favoured by yourself, will obtain an immense majority of votes. The moment of anarchy will have passed, and you will have nothing more to fear from the violence of the Republicans. I do not even see that you will have much difficulty in winning General La Fayette and M. Laffitte to your side. What a fine part for you to play, Monseigneur! You can reign for fifteen years in the name of your ward; in fifteen years, the age of rest will have set in for all of us; you will have had the glory, unique in history, of being able to ascend the throne and of leaving it to the lawful heir; at the same time, you will have brought up that child in the enlightenment of the century and you will have made him capable of reigning over France: one of your daughters might one day wield the sceptre with him."

Philip cast his looks vaguely above his head:

"Excuse me, Monsieur de Chateaubriand," he said; "I left an important deputation to come to talk with you, and I must go back to it. Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans will have told you how happy I should be to do what you might wish; but, believe me, it is I alone who am holding back a threatening crowd. If the Royalist Party is not massacred, it owes its life to my efforts."

"Monseigneur," I replied to this statement, so unexpected and so far removed from the subject of our conversation, "I have seen massacres: men who have gone through the Revolution are seasoned. Old soldiers do not allow themselves to be frightened by objects that terrify conscripts."

H.R.H. withdrew, and I went to join my friends:

"Well?" they exclaimed.

"Well, he wants to be King."

"And Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans?"

"She wants to be Queen."

"What did they say to you?"

"One spoke to me of pastorals, the other of the dangers[Pg 160] threatening France and of 'poor Caroline's' frivolity; both were good enough to convey to me that I might be of use to them, and neither of them looked me in the face."

*

Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans wished to see me once more. M. le Duc d'Orléans did not come to take part in this conversation. Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans explained herself more clearly on the favours with which Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans proposed to honour me. She was good enough to remind me of what she called my power over public opinion, of the sacrifices which I had made, of the aversion which Charles X. and his family had always shown me, in spite of my services. She told me that, if I wished to go back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.R.H. would be most pleased to reinstate me in that office; but that perhaps I would prefer to return to Rome, and that she (Madame la Duchesse d'Orléans) would see me take this last course with an extreme pleasure, in the interests of our holy religion.

"Madame," I replied at once, with a certain animation, "I see that Monsieur le Duc d'Orléans' mind is made up, that he has weighed the consequences, that he foresees the years of misery and of various dangers which he will have to pass; I have therefore no more to say. I have not come here to show any lack of respect to the blood of the Bourbons; I owe, besides, nothing but gratitude to Madame's kindness. Leaving on one side, therefore, the main objections, the reasons drawn from principles and events, I beseech Your Royal Highness to consent to listen to what regards myself. You have been good enough to speak to me of what you call my power over public opinion. Well, if this power is real, it is founded only on public esteem; and I should lose this esteem the moment I changed my flag. Monsieur le Duc d'Orléans would think he was gaining support, whereas he would have in his service only a wretched phrase-maker, a perjurer to whose voice none would hearken, a renegade at whom every one would have the right to fling mud and to spit in his face. To the wavering words which he would stammer in favour of Louis-Philippe, they would oppose whole volumes which he had published in favour of the fallen family. Was it not I, Madame, who wrote the pamphlet De Bonaparte et des Bourbons, the articles on the Arrivée de Louis XVIII. à Compiègne, the Rapport dans le conseil du roi à Gand, the Histoire[Pg 161] de la vie et de la mort de M. le duc de Berry? I doubt if I have written a single page in which the name of my ancient kings does not appear in some connection and in which it is not surrounded with protestations of my love and fidelity: a matter which bears a character of individual attachment the more remarkable inasmuch as Madame knows that I do not believe in kings. At the mere thought of a desertion, the blushes rise to my face; I would go the next day to throw myself into the Seine. I entreat Madame to excuse the animation of my words; I am penetrated with your kindness; I will keep it in profound and grateful remembrance, but you would not wish to dishonour me: pity me, Madame, pity me!"

Mademoiselle D'Orléans.

I had remained standing and, bowing, I withdrew. Mademoiselle d'Orléans had not uttered a word. She rose and, as she left the room, said to me:

"I do not pity you, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, I do not pity you!"

I was astonished at these few words and at the emphasis with which they were spoken.

That was my last political temptation; I might have thought myself a just man according to St. Hilary[314], who declares that men are exposed to the attempts of the devil in proportion to their godliness: Victoria ei est magis, exacta de sanctis. My refusals were those of a dupe: where is the public that shall judge them? Could I not have taken my place among the men, virtuous sons of the land, who serve the "country" before all things? Unfortunately, I am not a creature of the present and I am not willing to capitulate with fortune. I have nothing in common with Cicero; but his frailty is no excuse: posterity has declined to forgive one great man his moment of weakness for another great man; what would my poor life have been, losing its only possession, its integrity, for Louis-Philippe d'Orléans?

On the evening of the day on which I had this last conversation at the Palais-Royal, I met M. de Sainte-Aulaire[315] at[Pg 162] Madame Récamier's. I did not amuse myself by asking him his secret, but he asked me mine. He had just arrived from the country full of the events of which he had read:

"Ah," he cried, "how glad I am to see you! Here's a fine business! I hope that all of us, at the Luxembourg, will do our duty. It would be a curious thing for the Peers to dispose of the crown of Henry IV.! I am quite sure that you will not leave me alone in the tribune."

As my mind was made up, I was very calm; my reply appeared cold to M. de Sainte-Aulaire's ardour. He went away, saw his friends and left me alone in the tribune: long live your light-hearted and frivolous men of intelligence!

*

The Republican Party was still struggling under the feet of the friends who had betrayed it. On the 6th of August, a deputation of twenty members appointed by the central committee of the twelve wards of Paris appeared in the Chamber of Deputies to present an address of which General Thiard[316] and M. Duris-Dufresne[317] eased the well-meaning deputation. It was said in this address that "the nation could not recognise as a constitutional power either an elective Chamber appointed during the existence and under the influence of the royalty which it has overthrown or an aristocratic Chamber, the institution of which is in direct opposition to the principles that have caused it, the nation, to take up arms; that the central committee of the twelve wards, having granted, as a revolutionary necessity, only a de facto and very provisional power to the present Chamber[Pg 163] of Deputies to discuss any measure of urgency, now calls with all its wishes for the free and popular election of mandatories who shall really represent the needs of the people; that the primary assemblies alone can bring about that result. If it were otherwise, the nation would render null and void all that might tend to impede it in the exercise of its rights."

*

All this was pure reason; but the Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom was aspiring to the crown, and the fearful and ambitious were in a hurry to give it to him. The plebeians of to-day wanted a revolution and did not know how to make it; the Jacobins, whom they have taken for their models, would have flung the men of the Palais-Royal and the praters of the two Chambers into the water. M. de La Fayette was reduced to impotent wishes: pleased at having caused the revival of the National Guard, he allowed himself to be tossed like an old swaddling-band by Philip, whose wet-nurse he imagined himself to be; he grew torpid with this felicity. The old general was no more than liberty fallen asleep, as the Republic of 1793 was no more than a death's-head.

The truth is that a truncated Chamber, with no special mandate, had no right whatever to dispose of the crown: it was a Convention expressly called together, formed of the House of Lords and a newly-elected House of Commons, that disposed of the throne of James II. It is also certain that that rump of the Chamber of Deputies, those 221, imbued under Charles X. with the traditions of the hereditary monarchy, brought no disposition fitted to the elective monarchy; they stopped it at its commencement, and forced it to go back to principles of quasi-legitimism. They who forged the sword of the new royalty introduced into the blade a straw which sooner or later will cause it to spring.

*

The seventh of August.

The 7th of August is a memorable day for me; it is the day on which I had the happiness of ending my political career as I had begun it: a happiness rare enough to-day to give reason for rejoicing in it. The declaration of the Chamber of Deputies concerning the vacancy of the throne had been brought to the Chamber of Peers. I went to take my seat, which, was in the highest row of arm-chairs, facing the President. The Peers seemed to me at once busy[Pg 164] and depressed. If some bore on their foreheads the pride of their approaching disloyalty, others bore the shame of a remorse to which they lacked the courage to listen. I said to myself, as I watched this sad assembly:

"What! Are they who received the favours of Charles X. in his prosperity going to desert him in his ill-fortune? Will they whose special mission it was to defend the Hereditary Throne, those men of the Court who lived in the King's intimacy, will they betray him? They kept watch at his door at Saint-Cloud; they embraced him at Rambouillet; he clasped their hands in a last farewell: are they going to raise against him those hands, still warm with that last pressure? Is this Chamber, which for fifteen years has resounded with their protestations of devotion, about to hear their perjury? And yet it was for them that Charles X. ruined himself; it was they who drove him towards the Ordinances: they stamped for joy when these appeared and when they thought that they had won in that moment of silence which precedes the fall of the thunder."

These ideas rolled confusedly and sorrowfully through my mind. The peerage had become the triple receptacle of the corruptions of the old Monarchy, the Republic and the Empire. As for the Republicans of 1793, now transformed into senators, and the generals of Bonaparte, I expected of them only what they have always done: they deposed the extraordinary man to whom they owed all, they were going to depose the King who had confirmed them in the benefits and honours with which their first master had loaded them. Let the wind turn, and they will depose the usurper to whom they were preparing to throw the crown.

I ascended the tribune. A deep silence fell: the faces of the peers seemed embarrassed; they all turned sidewards in their arm-chairs and looked down at the floor. With the exception of a few peers who had resolved to retire like myself, none dared to raise his eyes to the level of the tribune.

My last speech in the Peers.

I reproduce my speech because it sums up my life and forms my principal title to the esteem of posterity:

"Gentlemen!

"The declaration which has been brought to this Chamber is to me much less complicated than it appears to those of my noble colleagues who profess an opinion different from mine. There is one fact in this declaration which appears[Pg 165] to me to govern all the others, or rather to destroy them. Were we under a regular order of things, I should doubtless carefully examine the various changes which it is proposed to make in the Charter. Many of these changes have been proposed by myself. I am surprised only that the reactionary measure regarding the peers created by Charles X. should have been proposed to this Chamber. I shall not be suspected of any fondness for the system by which these 'batches' were created; and you know that, when threatened with them, I combated the very menace: but to make ourselves the judges of our colleagues and to erase whom we please from the list of the peerage, whenever we find ourselves the stronger party, would seem to me to savour of proscription. Do they want to destroy the peerage? Be it so: it better becomes us to surrender our existence than to beg for our lives.

"I reproach myself already for the few words I have uttered on a point which, important as it is, becomes insignificant when merged in the great proposition before us. France is without a guide; and I am now to consider what must be added to or cut away from the masts of a vessel which has lost its rudder! I lay aside, then, whatever is of a secondary interest in the declaration of the Elective Chamber; and, fixing on the single enunciated fact of the vacancy of the throne, whether true or pretended, I advance directly to my object.

"But a previous question ought first to be attended to: if the throne be vacant, we are free to choose the future form of our government.

"Before offering the crown to any individual whatever, it is well to ascertain under what political system the social body is to be constituted. Are we to establish a republic or a new monarchy?

"Does a republic or a new monarchy offer sufficient guarantees to France of strength, durability and repose?

"A republic would first of all have the recollections of the republic itself to contend with. Those recollections are far from being effaced. The time is not yet forgotten when Death made his frightful progress among us, with Liberty and Equality for supporters. If you were plunged again into anarchy, how would you reanimate the Hercules on his rock who alone was able to stifle the monster? In the course of a thousand years, your posterity may see another Napoleon. As for you, you must not expect it.

[Pg 166]

"Next, in the present state of our manners and of our relations with surrounding governments, the idea of a republic seems to me to be untenable. The first difficulty would be to bring the people of France to an unanimous vote on the subject. What right has the population of Paris to compel the population of Marseilles or any other town to adopt the forms of a republic? Is there to be but one republic, or are we to have twenty or thirty? And are they to be federative or independent? Let us suppose these obstacles to be removed. Let us suppose that there is to be but one republic: can you imagine for a moment, with the habitual familiarity of our manners, that a president, however grave, however talented and however respectable he may be, could remain for a year at the head of the government, without being tempted to retire from it? Ill-protected by the laws and unsupported by previous recollections, insulted and vilified, morning, noon and night, by secret rivals and by the agents of faction, he would not inspire the confidence which property and commerce require; he would possess neither becoming dignity, in treating with foreign governments, nor the power which is indispensable to the maintenance of internal tranquillity. If he resorted to revolutionary measures, the republic would become odious; all Europe would become disturbed and would avail itself of our divisions, first, to foment them and, afterwards, to interfere in the quarrel; and we should again be involved in an interminable struggle. A representative republic is, no doubt, to be the future condition of the world; but its time has not yet come.

"I proceed to the question of a monarchy.

"A king named by the Chambers, or elected by the people, whatever may be done, will always be a novelty. Now I take it for granted that liberty is sought for, especially the liberty of the press, by which and for which the people have obtained so brilliant a triumph. Well, every new monarchy will, sooner or later, be compelled to gag this liberty. Could Napoleon himself admit of it? The offspring of our misfortunes and the slave of our glory, the liberty of the press can exist, in security, only under a government whose roots are deeply seated. A monarchy, the illegitimate offspring of one bloody night, must always have something to fear from the independent expression of public opinion. While this man proclaims republican opinions, and that some other system, is it not to be feared that laws of exception must soon be resorted to, in spite[Pg 167] of the anathema against the censorship which has been added to Article VIII. of the Charter?

My speech continued.

"What, then, O friends of regulated liberty, have you gained by the change which is now proposed to you? You must sink, of necessity, either into a republic or into a system of legal slavery. The monarch will be surrounded and overwhelmed by factions, or the monarchy itself swept away by a torrent of democratical enactments.

"In the first intoxication of success, we suppose that everything is easy; we hope to satisfy every exigency, every interest, every humour; we flatter ourselves that every one will lay aside his personal views and vanities; we believe that the superior intelligence and the wisdom of the government will surmount innumerable difficulties; but, at the end of a few months, we find that all our theories have been belied by practice.

"I present to you, gentlemen, only a few of the inconveniences attaching to the formation of a republic or of a new monarchy. If either have its perils, there remained a third course, and one which well deserved a moment's consideration.

"The crown has been trampled on by horrible ministers, who have supported, by murder, their violation of the law; they have trifled with oaths made to Heaven and with laws sworn to on earth.

"Foreigners, who have twice entered Paris without resistance, learn the true cause of your success: you presented yourselves in the name of legal authority. If you were to fly to-day to the assistance of tyranny, do you think that the gates of the capital, of the civilized world, would open as readily before you? The French nation has grown, since your departure, under the influence of constitutional laws; our children of fourteen are giants; our conscripts at Algiers, our schoolboys in Paris have shown you that they are the sons of the conquerors of! Austerlitz, Marengo and Jena: but sons strengthened by all that liberty adds to glory.

"Never was a defense more just and more heroic than that of the people of Paris. They did not rise against the law: so long as the social compact was respected, the people remained peaceable; they bore insults, provocations and threats, without complaining; their property and their blood were the price they owed for the Charter: both have been lavished in abundance.

[Pg 168]

"But when, after a system of falsehood pursued to the last moment, slavery was suddenly proclaimed; when the conspiracy of folly and hypocrisy burst forth unawares; when the panic of the palace, organized by eunuchs, was prepared as a substitute for the terror of the republic and the iron yoke of the empire, then it was that the people armed themselves with their courage and their intelligence. It was found that those 'shopkeepers' could breathe freely amid the smoke of gunpowder and that it required more than 'four soldiers and a corporal' to subdue them. A century could not have ripened the destinies of a nation so completely as the three last suns that have shone over France. A great crime was committed; it produced the violent explosion of a powerful principle: was it necessary, on account of this crime and the moral and political triumph that resulted from it, to overthrow the established order of things? Let us examine.

"Charles X. and his son have forfeited, or abdicated, the throne, understand it which way you will; but the throne is not vacant: after them came a child, whose innocence ought not to be condemned.

"What blood now rises against him? Will you venture to say that it is that of his father? This orphan, educated in the schools of his country, in the love of a constitutional government and with the ideas of the age, would have become a king well suited to our future wants. The guardian of his youth should have been made to swear to the declaration on which you are about to vote; on attaining his majority, the young Monarch would have renewed his oath. In the meantime, the present King, the actual King would have been M. le Duc d'Orléans, the regent of the kingdom, a Prince who has lived among the people and who knows, that a monarchy, to-day can only exist by consent and reason. This natural arrangement, as it appears to me, would have united the means of reconciliation and would perhaps have saved France those agitations which are the consequence of all violent changes in a State.

"To say that this child, when separated from his masters, would not have had time to forget their very names, before arriving at manhood; to say that he would remain infatuated with certain hereditary dogmas, after a long course of popular education, after the terrible lesson which, in two nights, has hurled two kings from the throne, is, at least, not very reasonable.

[Pg 169]

"It is not from a feeling of sentimental devotion, nor from a nurse-like affection, transmitted from the swaddling-clothes of Henry IV. to the cradle of the young Henry, that I plead a cause where everything would again turn against me anew if it triumphed. I am not aiming at romance, or chivalry, or martyrdom; I do not believe in the right divine of royalty; but I do believe in the power of facts and of revolutions. I do not even invoke the Charter: I take my ideas from a higher source; I draw them from the sphere of philosophy of the period at which my life terminates: I propose the Duke of Bordeaux merely as a necessity of a purer kind than that which is now in question.

My speech continued.

"I know that, by passing over this child, it is intended to establish the principle of the sovereignty of the people: an absurdity of the old school, which proves that our veteran Democrats have advanced no further in political knowledge than our superannuated Royalists. There is no absolute sovereignty anywhere; liberty does not flow from political right, as was supposed in the eighteenth century; it is derived from natural right, so that it exists under all forms of government; and a monarchy may be free, nay, much more free than a republic: but this is neither the time nor the place to deliver a political lecture.

"I shall content myself with observing that, when the people dispose of thrones, they often dispose also of their own liberty; I shall remark that the principle of an hereditary monarchy, however absurd it may at first appear, has been recognised, in practice, as preferable to that of an elective monarchy. The reasons for this are so obvious that I need not enlarge upon them. You choose one king to-day: who shall hinder you from choosing another to-morrow? The law, you say. The law? And it is you who make it!

"There is still a simpler mode of treating the question: it is to say, we repudiate the Elder Branch of the Bourbons. And why? Because we are victorious; we have triumphed in a just and holy cause; we use a double right of conquest.

"Very well: you proclaim the sovereignty of might. The take good care of this might; for if, in a few months, escapes from you, you will be in a bad position to complain. Such is human nature! The most enlightened and the purest minds do not always rise above success. Those minds were the first to invoke right in opposition to[Pg 170] violence; they supported that right with all the superiority of their talent; and, at the very moment when the truth of what they said has been demonstrated by the most abominable abuse of force and by its signal overthrow, the conquerors recur to those arms they have broken! They will find them to be dangerous weapons, which will wound their own hands without serving their cause.

"I have carried the war into my enemies' camp; I have not gone to bivouac in the past under the old banner of the dead, a banner which has not been inglorious, but which droops by the flag-staff that supports it, because no breath of life is there to raise it. Were I to move the dust of thirty-five Capets, I should not draw from it an argument which should be as much as listened to. The idolatry of a name is abolished; monarchy is no longer a tenet of religious belief: it is a political form which is preferable at this moment to every other, because it has the greatest tendency to reconcile order with liberty.

"Useless Cassandra, how often have I wearied the Throne and the country[318] with my disregarded warnings! It only remains for me to sit down on the last fragment of the shipwreck which I have so often foretold. In misfortune I acknowledge every species of power except that of absolving me from my oaths of allegiance. It is also my duty to make my life uniform: after all that I have done, said and written for the Bourbons, I should be the meanest of wretches if I denied them at the moment when, for the third and last time, they are on the road to exile.

"Fear I leave to those generous royalists who have never sacrificed a coin or a place to their loyalty; to those champions of the Altar and the Throne who lately treated me as a renegade, an apostate and a revolutionary. Pious libellers, the renegade now calls upon you! Come, then, and stammer out a word, a single word, with him for the unfortunate master who loaded you with his gifts and whom you have ruined! Instigators of coups d'État, preachers of constituent power, where are you? You hide yourselves in the mire from under which you gallantly raised your heads to calumniate the faithful servants of the King; your silence to-day is worthy of your language of yesterday. Let all those doughty knights, whose projected exploits have caused the descendants of Henry IV. to be driven from their throne at the point of the pitchfork, tremble now as they crouch under[Pg 171] the three-coloured cockade: it is natural that they should do so. The noble colours which they display will protect their persons, but will not cover their cowardice.

"In thus frankly expressing my sentiments in this tribune, I have no idea that I am performing an act of heroism. Those times are past when opinions were expressed at personal hazard: if such were now the case, I should speak a hundred times louder. The best buckler is a breast that does not fear to show itself uncovered to the enemy. No, gentlemen, we need neither fear a people whose reason is equal to its courage, nor that generous rising generation which I admire, with which I sympathize with all the faculties of my soul, and to which, as to my country, I wish honour, glory and liberty.

"Far from me, above all things, be the thought of sowing seeds of discord in France, and that has been my motive for excluding from my speech every accent of passion. If I could convince myself that a child should be left in the happy ranks of obscurity in order to procure the peace of thirty-three millions of men, I should have regarded every word as criminal which was not consistent with the needs of the time: but I am not so convinced. Had I the disposal of a crown, I would willingly lay it at the feet of M. le Duc d'Orléans. But all that I see vacant is, not a throne, but a tomb at Saint-Denis.

"Whatever destiny may await M. the Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom, I shall never be his enemy, if he promotes my country's welfare. I only ask to retain my liberty of conscience and the right of going to die where I shall find independence and repose.

"I vote against the declaration."

*

I was fairly calm when I began my speech, but gradually I was overcome with emotion. When I came to this passage: "Useless Cassandra, how often have I wearied the Throne and the country with my disregarded warnings," my voice became troubled, and I was obliged to put my handkerchief to my eyes to keep back tears of love and bitterness. Indignation restored my power of speech in the paragraph that follows:

"Pious libellers, the renegade now calls upon you! Come, then, and stammer out a word, a single word, with him for the unfortunate master who loaded, you with his gifts and whom you have ruined!"

Its effect on the Peers.

I turned my glances upon the benches to which I addressed[Pg 172] those words. Several peers seemed crushed; they sank down in their arm-chairs till I could no longer see them behind their colleagues seated motionless before them. This speech made some noise: all parties were hurt in it, but all remained silent, because, by the side of great truths, I had placed a great sacrifice. I came down from the tribune; I left the Chamber, went to the cloak-room, took off my peer's coat, my sword, my feathered hat; I unfastened from the last the white cockade and placed it in the little pocket on the left-hand side of the black frock-coat which I put on and buttoned across my heart. My servant carried away the cast-off clothes of the peerage, and I, shaking the dust from my feet, quitted that palace of treachery, which I shall never enter again in my life.

On the 10th and 12th of August, I completed my self-divestment and sent in the different resignations that follow:

"Paris, 10 August 1830.

"Monsieur le président de la Chambre des pairs[319],

"Being unable to take the oath of allegiance to Louis-Philippe d'Orléans as King of the French, I find myself seized with a legal incapacity which prevents me from attending the sittings of the Hereditary Chamber. One mark of the kindness of King Louis XVIII. and of the royal munificence remains to me: a peer's pension of twelve thousand francs, which was given me to keep up, if not brilliantly, at least independently of immediate needs, the high position to which I was called. It would not be right that I should retain a favour attached to the exercise of functions which I am not able to fulfil. I therefore have the honour to resign into your hands my pension as a peer."

"Paris, 12 August 1830.

"Monsieur le ministre des finances[320],

"There remains to me, from the kindness of Louis XVII I. and the national munificence, a peer's pension of twelve thousand francs, transformed into an annuity inscribed on the ledger of the public debt and transmissible only to the first direct generation of the annuitant. Not being able to take the oath to Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans as King of the[Pg 173] French, it would not be right that I should continue to receive a pension attached to functions which I no longer exercise.

"I therefore write to resign it into your hands: it will have ceased to accrue to me on the day (10 August) when I wrote to M. the President of the Chamber of Peers that it would be impossible for me to take the oath required.

"I have the honour to be, with high regard, etc."

I resign pension and place.

"Paris, 12 August 1830.

"Monsieur le grand référendaire[321],

"I have the honour to send you a copy of the two letters which I have addressed, one to M. the President of the Chamber of Peers, the other to M. the Minister of Finance. You will there see that I renounce my peer's pension and that consequently my attorney will have to receive of this pension only the sum due to the 10th of August, the day on which I declared my refusal to take the oath.

"I have the honour to be, with high regard, etc."

"Paris, 12 August 1830.

"Monsieur le ministre de la justice[322],

"I have the honour to send you my resignation as Minister of State.

"I am, with high regard,

"Monsieur le ministre de la justice,

"Your most humble and most obedient servant."

*

I remained as naked as a little St. John; but I had long been accustomed to live on wild honey, and I did not fear that the daughter of Herodias would have a longing for my grey head.

My gold-lace, tassels, bullioned fringe and epaulettes, sold to a Jew and melted down by him, brought me in seven hundred francs, the net produce of all my grandeurs.

And now, what had become of Charles X.? He was travelling towards his exile, accompanied by his Bodyguards,[Pg 174] watched over by his three commissaries, passing through France without exciting even the curiosity of the peasants ploughing their furrows beside the high-road. In two or three small towns, hostile movements were made; in some others, townsmen and women showed signs of pity. It must be remembered that Bonaparte roused no more commotion when going from Fontainebleau to Toulon, that France grew no more excited and that the winner of so many battles narrowly escaped death at Orgon. In this tired country, the greatest events are no longer more than dramas played for our diversion: they interest the spectator so long as the curtain is raised and, when it falls, leave but a vain memory. Sometimes Charles X. and his family stopped at wretched carters' rests to take a meal at a corner of a dirty table where wagoners had dined before him. Henry V. and his sister amused themselves in the yard by watching the chickens and pigeons of the inn. I had said it: the Monarchy was going away, and people stood at their windows to see it pass.

Heaven at that moment was pleased to insult both the victorious and the vanquished party. While it was being maintained that "all France" was indignant at the Ordinances, King Philip was in frequent receipt of provincial addresses sent to King Charles to congratulate the latter "on the salutary measures which he had taken and which were saving the monarchy."

The Bey of Titteria, on his side, sent the following act of submission to the dethroned monarch, who was at that time on the road to Cherbourg:

"In the name of God, etc., etc., I recognise as my lord and absolute sovereign great Charles X., the victorious; I will pay him tribute, etc."

It is not easy to imagine a more bitter mockery of both fortunes. Nowadays, revolutions are manufactured by machinery; they are made so fast that a sovereign, while still king on the frontiers of his States, is already no more than an exile in his capital.

This indifference of the country for Charles X. points to something more than lassitude: we are bound to behold in it the progress of democratic ideas and the assimilation of ranks. At an earlier period, the fall of a king of France would have been an enormous event: time has lowered the[Pg 175] monarch from the height on which he was placed, has brought him nearer to us, has diminished the space which separated him from the class of the people. If men felt little surprise at meeting the son of St. Louis on the high-road like everybody else, this was due not to a spirit of hatred or system, but quite simply to the sense of social levelling which has penetrated men's minds and which has acted upon the masses without their knowing it.

Charles X. at Cherbourg.

A curse, Cherbourg, upon thy ill-omened precincts! It was near Cherbourg that the wind of anger threw Edward III. to ravage our country[323]; it was not far from Cherbourg that the wind of an enemy's victory shattered Tourville's fleet[324]; it was at Cherbourg that the wind of a deceptive prosperity drove Louis XVI. toward his scaffold[325]; it was at Cherbourg that the wind from I know not what shore carried away our last Princes. The coast of Great Britain, on which William the Conqueror[326] landed, witnessed the disembarkation of Charles the Tenth without lance or pennon: he went to Holyrood to find the memories of his youth[327] hung upon the walls of the Stuart palace like old engravings made yellow by time.

*

I have depicted the Three Days as they unrolled themselves before my eyes: hence a certain contemporary colour, true at the passing moment, false after the moment has passed, is diffused over my picture. There is no revolution so prodigious but, described from minute to minute, will find itself reduced to the slightest proportions. Events issue from the womb of things, even as men from the womb of their mothers, accompanied by the infirmities of nature. Misery and greatness are twin sisters: they are born together; but where the confinement is a vigorous one, misery at a certain period dies, and greatness alone survives. To judge impartially of the truth that is to remain, we must therefore[Pg 176] place ourselves at the point of view from which posterity will contemplate the accomplished fact.

Getting away from the meannesses of character and action of which I had been a witness, taking only what will remain of the Days of July, I said with justice in my speech in the Chamber of Peers:

"The people having armed themselves with their courage and their intelligence, it was found that those 'shopkeepers' could breathe freely amidst the smoke of gunpowder, and that it required rather more than 'four soldiers and a corporal' to subdue them. A century could not have ripened the destinies of a nation so completely as the three last suns that have shone over France."

In fact, the people properly so-called were brave and generous on the day of the 28th. The Guards had lost more than 300 men killed and wounded; they did ample justice to the poor classes, who alone fought on that day and among whom were mingled men who were foul-minded, but who were unable to dishonour them. The pupils of the Polytechnic School, who left their school too late on the 28th to take part in the fighting, were placed by the people at their head on the 29th with admirable simplicity and ingenuousness.

Champions who had been absent from the strife sustained by the people came to join their ranks on the 29th, when the greatest danger was past; others, likewise victors, first joined the conquering side on the 30th and 31st.

On the side of the troops, things were very much the same; only the soldiers and officers were engaged: the staff, which had once deserted Bonaparte at Fontainebleau, kept to the heights of Saint-Cloud, watching from which side the wind blew the smoke of the powder. They pressed on each other's heels at Charles X.'s levee; not a soul was present at his couchee.

The moderation of the plebeian classes equalled their courage; order resulted suddenly from confusion. One must have seen the half-naked workmen, posted on sentry at the gate of the public gardens, preventing other ragged workmen from passing, to form an idea of the power of duty which had seized upon the men who remained the masters. They could have paid themselves the price of their blood and allowed themselves to be tempted by their wretchedness. One did not, as on the 10th of August 1792, see the Swiss massacred in their flight. All opinions were respected; never, with a few exceptions, was victory less abused. The[Pg 177] victors carried the wounded Guards through the crowd, crying:

"Respect brave men!"

If a soldier came to die, they said:

"Peace to the dead!"

The fifteen years of the Restoration, under a constitutional government, had given rise among us to that spirit of humanity, lawfulness and justice which twenty-five years of the revolutionary and warlike spirit had been unable to produce. The law of force introduced into our manners seemed to have become the common law.

The consequences of the Revolution of July will be memorable. This Revolution has pronounced a decree against all thrones: to-day, kings will be able to reign only by force of arms; a sure means for a moment, but incapable of enduring: the time of successive janissaries is ended.

Thoughts on the Three Days.

Neither Tacitus nor Thucydides could give us a good description of the events of the Three Days; it would need Bossuet to explain to us the events in the order of Providence: a genius that saw all, but without overstepping the limits set to its reason and its splendour, like the sun which moves between two dazzling boundaries and which the Orientals call the "Slave of God."

Let us not seek so near at hand the motive powers of a movement placed so far away; the mediocrity of mankind, mad terrors, inexplicable disagreements, hatreds, ambitions, the presumption of some, the prejudice of others, secret conspiracies, buying and selling, well or ill-advised measures, courage or the absence of courage: all these things are the accidents, not the causes, of the event. When people say that they no longer wanted the Bourbons, that these had become hateful because they were supposed to have been forced upon France by the foreigner, this lofty disgust explains nothing satisfactorily.

The movement of July has not to do with politics properly so-called: it has to do with the social revolution which is never idle. By the concatenation of this general revolution, the 28th of July 1830 is only the inevitable sequel of the 21st of January 1793. The work of our first deliberative assemblies had been suspended; it had not been finished. In the course of twenty years, the French had accustomed themselves, like the English under Cromwell, to be governed by other masters than their old sovereigns. The fall of Charles X. is the consequence of the decapitation of Louis[Pg 178] XVI., even as the dethronement of James II. is the consequence of the murder of Charles I. The Revolution seemed to die away in the glory of Bonaparte and in the liberties of Louis XVIII., but its germ was not destroyed: lodged at the bottom of our manners, it developed when the faults of the Restoration gave it fresh heat, and soon it burst forth.

The counsels of Providence are revealed in the anti-monarchical changes that are taking place. That superficial minds should see merely a scuffle in the Revolution of the Three Days is quite simple; but reflective men know that an enormous step forward has been taken: the principle of the sovereignty of the people has been substituted for the principle of the royal sovereignty, the hereditary monarchy changed into an elective monarchy. The 21st of January taught that one could dispose of a king's head; the 29th of July has shown that one can dispose of a crown. Now, any truth, good or bad, which manifests itself, remains the acquisition of the crowd. A change ceases to be unheard of, or extraordinary; it no longer presents itself to the mind or the conscience as impious, when it results from an idea that has become popular. The Franks used to exercise the sovereignty collectively; next they delegated it to a few chiefs; then those chiefs confided it to one alone; then this sole chief usurped it for the benefit of his family. Now men are going back from the hereditary royalty to the elective royalty, and from the elective royalty they will glide into the republic. That is the history of society; these are the stages by which the government comes from the people and returns to it.

Let us, then, not believe that the work of July is a superfetation of a day; let us not imagine that Legitimacy is going to come incontinently to re-establish succession by right of primogeniture: let us neither try to persuade ourselves that July will suddenly die a natural death. No doubt, the Orleans Branch will not take root: it is not to produce that result that so much blood, calamity and genius has been expended during the last half-century! But July, if it do not bring about the final destruction of France with the ruin of all her liberties, will bear its natural fruit: that fruit is democracy. The fruit will perhaps be bitter and blood-red; but the Monarchy is an outlandish graft, which will not take on a republican stem.

And so let us not confound the improvised King with the Revolution from which he sprang by chance: the latter, such[Pg 179] as we see it, is acting in contradiction with its principles; it seems to have been born without the power to live, because it is punished with a throne: but let it only drag on a few years, this Revolution, and what will have come and gone will change the data that remain to be known. Grown-up men die, or no longer see things as they used to see them; adolescents attain the age of reason; new generations recruit corrupt generations; the linen soaked in the sores of a hospital, when met by a great stream, soils only the water that flows below those corruptions: down stream and up stream, the current keeps or resumes its limpidity.

The monarchy of July.

July, free in its origin, produced only a fettered monarchy; but the time will come when, rid of its crown, it will undergo the transformations which are the law of existences; then it will live in an atmosphere befitting its nature.

The errors of the Republican Party, the illusions of the Legitimist Party are both deplorable and go beyond democracy and royalty: the first thinks that violence is the only means of success; the second thinks that the past is the only harbour of safety. Now, there is a moral law which rules society, a general legitimacy which dominates the particular legitimacy. This great law and this great legitimacy are the enjoyment of the natural rights of man, ruled by his duties; for it is the duty that creates the right, and not the right that creates the duty; the passions and the vices relegate us to the class of slaves. The general legitimacy would have had no obstacle to overcome, if it had kept, as belonging to the same principle, the particular legitimacy.

For the rest, one observation will suffice to make us understand the prodigious and majestic might of the family of our old sovereigns; I have already said it and can not repeat it too often: all the royalties will die with the French Royalty.

In fact, the monarchical idea is wanting at the very moment when the monarch is wanting; we find nothing left around us but the democratic idea. My young King will carry away in his arms the monarchy of the world. It is a good ending.

*

When I was writing all this on what the Revolution of 1830 might be in the future, I had a difficulty in defending myself against an instinct which spoke to me in contradiction to my argument. I took this instinct for the impulse of my dislike of the troubles of 1830; I distrusted myself and, perhaps, in my too loyal impartiality, I exaggerated the future which the Three Days might bring forth. Well, ten years have[Pg 180] passed since the fall of Charles X.: has July sat down? We are now at the commencement of December 1840: to what a depth has France sunk! If I could find any pleasure in the humiliation of a government of French origin, I should experience a sort of pride in re-reading, in the Congrès de Vérone, my correspondence with Mr. Canning: certainly it differs from that which has just been communicated to the Chamber of Deputies. Whose is the fault? Is it that of the elected Prince? Is it that of the incapacity of his ministers? Is it that of the nation itself, whose character and genius seem to be exhausted? Our ideas are progressive; but do our manners support them? It would not be surprising if a people which has existed fourteen centuries and which has ended that long career with an explosion of miracles should have come to an end. If you read these Memoirs to their conclusion, you will see that, while doing justice to all that has seemed fine to me in the various epochs of our history, I am of opinion that, in the last result, the old society is coming to an end[328].

*

Here ends my political career. This career ought also to close my Memoirs, since nothing is left for me but to sum up the experiences of my course. Three catastrophes have marked the three preceding parts of my life: I saw Louis XVI. die during my career as a traveller and a soldier; at the end of my political career, Bonaparte disappeared; Charles X., in falling, closed my political career.

I have fixed the period of a revolution in literature, and, in the same way, in politics, I have formulated the principles of representative government: my diplomatic correspondence is worth quite as much, I think, as my literary compositions. It is possible that both are worth nothing at all, but it is certain that they are of equal value.

In France, in the tribune of the House of Peers and in my writings, I exercised so great an influence that I first placed M. de Villèle in office and that, later, he was forced to retire in the face of my opposition, after he had made himself my enemy. All this is proved by what you have read.

The great event of my political career is the Spanish War. It was for me, in this career, what the Génie du Christianisme had been in my literary career. My destiny picked me out to entrust[Pg 181] me with the mighty venture which, under the Restoration, might have set in regular order the world's progress towards the future. It took me out of my dreams, and transformed me into a leader of facts. It set me down to play at a table at which were seated, as my adversaries, the two first ministers of the day, Prince Metternich and Mr. Canning: I won the game against both of them. All the serious minds which the Cabinets at that time numbered agreed that they had met a statesman in me[329]. Bonaparte had foreseen it before them, in spite of my books. I am entitled therefore, without boasting, to believe that the politician in me equalled the writer; but I attach no value to political renown: that is why I have allowed myself to speak of it.

End of my political career.

If, at the time of the Peninsular Enterprise, I had not been flung aside by deluded men, the course of our destinies would have changed: France would have resumed her frontiers, the equilibrium of Europe would have been re-established; the Restoration, becoming glorious, might have lived a long time yet, and my diplomatic work would also have marked a stage in our history. Between my two lives, there is only a difference of result. My literary career, completely accomplished, has produced all that it had to produce, because it depended on myself alone. My political career was suddenly stopped in the midst of its successes, because it depended on others.

Nevertheless, I admit that my politics were applicable only to the Restoration. When a transformation takes place in principles, societies and men, what was good yesterday becomes antiquated and lapsed to-day. With regard to Spain, the relations between the Royal Families having ceased, owing to the abolition of the Salic Law, there is no longer a question of creating impenetrable frontiers beyond the Pyrenees; we must accept the field of battle which Austria and England may one day open up to us there; we must take things at the point to which they have come and abandon, not without regret, a firm but reasonable line of conduct, the certain benefits of which were, it is true, long-dated. I feel conscious of having served the Legitimacy as it should be served. I saw the future as clearly as I see it now; only I wished to reach it by a less dangerous road, so that the Legitimacy, which was essential to our constitutional instruction, might not stumble in a precipitous course. To-day, my plans are no[Pg 182] longer realizable: Russia is going to turn elsewhere. If, as things now are, I were to enter the Peninsula, whose spirit has had time to change, it would be with other thoughts: I should occupy myself only with the alliance of the nations, suspicious, jealous, passionate, uncertain and variable though it be, and should not dream of relations between the kings. I should say to France:

"You have left the beaten track for the path of precipices: very well, explore its wonders and its perils. Come to us, innovations, enterprises, discoveries! Come, and let arms, if necessary, favour you! Where is there anything new? In the East? Let us march there! Where can we direct our courage and our intelligence? Let us hasten thither! Let us place ourselves at the head of the great rising of the human race; let us not allow ourselves to be outstripped; let the French name go before the others on this crusade, as of old it did to the Tomb of Christ!"

Yes, if I were admitted to my country's councils, I would try to be of use to it in the dangerous principles which it has adopted: to restrain it at present, would mean to condemn it to a base death. I should not be satisfied with speeches: adding works to faith, I should prepare soldiers and millions, I should build ships, like Noe, to make prevision for the deluge, and, if I were asked why, I should answer:

"Because such is France's good pleasure."

My dispatches would warn the Cabinets of Europe that nothing shall stir on the globe without our intervention; that, if the world's shreds are to be distributed, the lion's share shall fall to us. We should cease humbly to ask our neighbours for leave to exist; the heart of France would beat freely, no hand would dare to lay itself upon that heart to count its throbbings; and, since we are seeking new suns, I should dart towards their splendour and no longer await the natural rise of dawn.

God grant that these industrial interests, in which we are to find a prosperity of a new kind, may deceive nobody, that they may prove as fruitful, as civilizing as the moral interests whence the old society issued! Time will teach us whether they be not the barren dreams of those sterile intellects which lack the faculty of rising above the material world.

With the Legitimacy.

Although my part finishes with the Legitimacy, all my wishes are for France, whatever be the powers which her improvident whim may lead her to obey. As for myself, I ask for nothing more; I would wish only not too long to[Pg 183] outlive the ruins which lie crumbling at my feet. But one's years are like the Alps: scarce has one surmounted the first, before others rise before one. Alas, those last and higher mountains are uninhabited, arid and topped with snow!


[263] This book was written in Paris, in August and September 1830, and revised in December 1840.—T.

[264] Michel Chevalier (1806-1879), who later achieved distinction as the promoter of the Treaty of Commerce between France and England.—T.

[265] Ulysse Trélat (b. 1795), a well-known mad-doctor and politician. He was Minister of Public Works for six weeks in 1848.—T.

[266] Jean Baptiste Teste (1780-1852), a famous lawyer, went to Belgium after the Second Restoration and became attorney-general to King William I. of the Netherlands. He returned to France at the outbreak of the Revolution and filled several ministerial offices during the reign of Louis-Philippe.—T.

[267] Augustin Guinard has already been mentioned as being among the first to enter the Tuileries on the 29th of July (supra, p. 109).—T.

[268] Charles Hingray (1797-1870), a bookseller and politician, and a consistent Radical.—T.

[269] Louis François Auguste Cauchois-Lemaire (1789-1861), a French publicist, founder of the Nain jaune (1814) and author of an Histoire de la révolution de Juillet (1841). He continued his opposition to the Monarchy after the Revolution of July.—T.

[270] The Battle of Jemmapes (6 November 1792), in which Dumouriez defeated the Austrians under the Duke of Saxe-Teschen. Louis-Philippe, then Duc de Chartres, was present at the battle as a lieutenant-general, and is said to have decided the victory, which led to the occupation of Belgium.—T.

[271] The Battle of Valmy (20 September 1792), in which the French under Kellermann, acting under the orders of Dumouriez, repulsed the Prussians, led by the Duke of Brunswick. In this battle, which produced an immense moral effect, the Duc de Chartres also distinguished himself.—T.

[272] Here the Souvenirs of the Duc de Broglie agree with the Mémoires d'Outre-tombe. M. de Broglie says:

"Posted up on M. Laffitte's own door, on the Bourse, and in all the public places, one read a placard worded as follows:

"'Charles X. cannot return to Paris: he has shed the blood of the people.

"'The Republic would expose us to horrible divisions; it would embroil us with Europe.

"'The Duc d'Orléans is a Prince devoted to the cause of the Revolution.

"'The Duc d'Orléans has never fought against us.

"'The Duc d'Orléans was at Jemmapes.

"'The Duc d'Orléans has worn the national colours, the Duc d'Orléans alone can wear them still.

"'The Duc d'Orléans has declared himself: he accepts the Charter as we have always desired and understood it.

"'He will hold his crown at the hands of the French People.'

"This last phrase was immediately modified as follows on a second placard:

"'The Duc d'Orléans makes no declaration: he awaits our will; let us proclaim that will: he will accept the Charter as we have always desired and understood it.'"

The Duc de Broglie adds:

"Whence did these placards proceed? We know to-day that they were the work of Messieurs Thiers and Mignet, and that Paulin the bookseller, strong in the support of his friends, gave attention to the printing and the posting. Was M. Laffitte in the secret? There is reason to presume so."(Souvenirs du feu Duc de Broglie, vol. III.)—B.

[273] Ary Scheffer (1785-1858), the Dutch painter. He was appointed painting-master to the Orleans children, in 1821, and remained on a very intimate footing with the Orleans Family throughout.—T.

[274] Madame Adélaïde (1777-1847), younger sister of Louis-Philippe. She exercised a great ascendant over that Monarch's mind, was his adviser during the whole of his reign, and her death plunged him into a state of dejection which facilitated the Revolution of 1848. She accumulated a large fortune, which she bequeathed to her nephews.—T.

[275] The Duc d'Orléans occupied a royal residence at Neuilly which was demolished in 1848.—T.

[276] The Marquis de Sémonville, as Grand Referendary, had a set of official apartments at the Luxembourg.—T.

[277] Epicurus (342 b.c.—270 b.c.), the Greek philosopher.—T.

[278] Captain Le Motha is the original of the officer immortalized by Alfred de Vigny in the last and admirable episode of his Servitude et grandeur militaires, entitled, La Vie et la mort du capitaine Renaud.—B.

[279] Antoine Louis Marie de Gramont, Duc de Guiche (1755-1836), emigrated to England during the Revolution and, as "Captain Gramont," served in the 10th Hussars. He returned to France with the Duc d'Angoulême as first aide-de-camp, and was created a peer of France in June 1814. He took the oath of allegiance to the new Government after the Revolution of July, and remained a peer till his death.—B.

[280] M. de Guernon-Rainville, who was at Saint-Cloud at that time, thus describes this deplorable scene in his Journal:

"The Prince and the marshal were alone in the green drawing-room at Saint-Cloud; the explanations of the Duc de Raguse did not satisfy the Dauphin, who exclaimed:

"'Do you mean to betray us too?'

"At these words, the marshal laid his hand on the hilt of his sword. The Prince saw the movement, rushed forwards and, trying to snatch the sword from its scabbard, wounded his hand slightly; then, flinging the sword on the floor, he seized the marshal by the collar, threw him on a sofa, and called to the guards who were in the next room. At that moment, the officer on duty, hearing the noise, opened the door of the drawing-room; the Prince ordered him to place the marshal under arrest in his room.

"The King, hearing of this strange scene, reproached the Dauphin for it, and asked him to become reconciled with the marshal, who was at once sent for. He made some excuse to the Prince, who answered:

"'I myself have been in the wrong; but your sword has drawn my blood, so we are quits....'

"And he offered him his hand."—B.

[281] Charles de Lorraine, Duc de Guise (1571-1640), son of Henri I. Duc de Guise, the second duke who bore the surname of the Balafré.—T.

[282] Antoine Montbreton, Maréchal de Saint-Pol (circa 1550-1593), one of the heads of the League, was assassinated by the Duc de Guise at Rheims, where he had gone to maintain order among the Spanish garrison.—T.

[283] Marcus Junius Brutus (85 b.c.—42 b.c.), one of Cæsar's assassins.—T.

[284] Lucius Junius Brutus, Roman Consul in 509 B.C., after bringing about the expulsion of the Tarquins.—T.

[285] Marie-Amélie Duchesse d'Orléans, later Queen of the French (1782-1866), daughter of Ferdinand I. King of the Two Sicilies, and married to the Duc d'Orléans in 1809.—T.

[286] Ambroise Anatole Augustin Comte, later Marquis de Montesquiou-Fézensac (1788-1878), entered the service as a private in 1806, became a colonel and aide-de-camp to the Emperor in 1814 and, in 1816, aide-de-camp to the Duc d'Orléans. In 1823, he was appointed a lord-in-waiting to the Duchess. He was promoted to brigadier-general in 1831, was a deputy from 1834 to 1841 and, in 1841, was created a peer of France, and a grandee of Spain and a marquis in 1847.—B.

[287] Auguste Marie Baron de Berthois (1787-1870) had served in all the campaigns from 1809 to 1814. He became aide-de-camp to the Duc d'Orléans under the Restoration, and was with him throughout the Days of July. He was promoted to colonel, in 1831, and, later, to brigadier-general. Berthois sat in the Chamber of Deputies from 1832 to 1848.—B.

[288] I give below the text of the two proclamations issued by the Duc d'Orléans and the Chamber of Deputies respectively:

"Inhabitants of Paris!

"The Deputies of France at this moment assembled in Paris have expressed to me the desire that I should repair to this capital to exercise the functions of Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom.

"I have not hesitated to come and share your dangers, to place myself in the midst of your heroic population, and to exert all my efforts to preserve you from the calamities of civil war and anarchy.

"On returning to the City of Paris, I wear with pride those glorious colours which you have resumed and which I myself long wore.

"The Chambers are going to assemble; they will consider of the means of securing the reign of the laws and the maintenance of the rights of the nation.

"The Charter will henceforward be a reality.

"Louis-Philippe d'Orléans."

"Frenchmen!

"France is free. Absolute power raised its standard: the heroic population of Paris has overthrown it. Paris, attacked, has made the sacred cause triumph, by means which had triumphed in vain in the elections. A power which usurped our rights and disturbed our repose threatened at once both liberty and order. We return to the possession of order and liberty. There is no more fear for acquired rights, no further barrier between us and the rights which we still require. A government which may, without delay, secure to us these advantages is now the first want of our country. Frenchmen, those of your Deputies who are already in Paris have assembled and, till the Chambers can regularly intervene, they have invited a Frenchman who has never fought but for France—the Duc d'Orléans—to exercise the functions of Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom. This is, in their opinion, the surest means promptly to accomplish, by peace, the success of the most legitimate defense.

"The Duc d'Orléans is devoted to the national and constitutional cause. He has always defended its interests and professed its principles. He will respect our rights, for he will derive his own from us. We shall secure to ourselves, by laws, all the guarantees necessary to strong and durable liberty:

"The re-establishment of the National Guard, with the intervention of the National Guards in the choice of their officers;

"The intervention of the citizens in the formation of the departmental and municipal administrations;

"The jury for the transgressions of the press; the legally organized responsibility of the ministers and of the secondary agents of the administration;

"The situation and rank of the military legally secured; and

"The re-election of deputies in the place of those appointed to public offices. Such guarantees will, at length, give to our institutions, in concert with the head of the state, the developments of which they have need.

"Frenchmen, the Duc d'Orléans himself has already spoken, and his language is that which is suitable to a free country:

"'The Chambers,' he says, 'are going to assemble; they will consider of means to insure the reign of the laws, and the maintenance of the rights of the nation.

"'The Charter will henceforward be a reality.'"—T.

[289] Louis Philippe, fourth Duc d'Orléans (1725-1785), married, in 1743, to the Princesse Louise de Conti, who died in 1759. In 1773, he married Madame de Montesson, secretly, as his second wife, and passed the last years of his life at Bagnolet in protecting men of letters and artists.—T.

[290] Louis, third Duc d'Orléans (1703-1752), the only quite respectable head of the House of Orléans. He led a life distinguished for its erudition and piety: so much so that he was at one time, although on insufficient grounds, suspected of Jansenism. Louis was married, in 1724, to the Princess Augusta of Baden, who died two years later.—T.

[291] Philip II., second Duc d'Orléans (1674-1723), nephew to Louis XIV. and married in 1692, to his legitimatized daughter, Mademoiselle de Blois, was Regent of France during the minority of Louis XV. ( 1715-1723). The Regent was one of the greatest statesmen that France has seen: his private life was scandalous.—T.

[292] Philip I., first Duc d'Orléans of the second creation (1640-1701), married first, in 1661, to his cousin, the Princess Henrietta of England, who died in 1670, daughter of King Charles I.; secondly, in 1671, to the Princess Charlotte Elizabeth of Bavaria, who died in 1722. It will be seen that, as the descendants of Henry IV., who was the grandfather of Philip I. of Orleans, the Orleans Princes were a younger branch of the House of Bourbon, and that the "Valois" pretensions were utter nonsense. The exact relationship of Louis-Philippe to Charles X. was that of a sixth cousin. The Orleans Princes were Princes of the Blood, but not of France, and were Serene Highnesses down to Louis-Philippe, who was created a Royal Highness by Charles X.—T.

[293] Consisting of a certain number of Republicans who met, musket in hand at a restaurant kept by one Lointier. The principal members of this gathering, including Trélat, Guinard, Charles Teste, Bastide, Poubelle, Charles Hingray, Chevalier and Hubert formed the first rank of the enemies of the Monarchy of July.—B.

[294] Alexandre Edme Baron Méchin (1772-1849), one of the bitterest speakers in the Liberal Opposition during the Restoration. The Government of July made him Prefect of the Nord and a councillor of State.—B.

[295] Jean Pons Guillaume Viennet (1777-1868), a deputy from 1820 to 1837, a peer of France from 1839 to 1848, and a member of the French Academy (1830). He was an indefatigable rhymester; he became the butt of the press, thanks to his ultra-classical and (after 1830) ultra-conservative ideas, and retorted with infinite wit, giving the papers a Roland for their Oliver throughout the duration of the Monarchy of July, from 1830 to 1848.—B.

[296] Blanc: Histoire de dix ans, Vol. I.—B.

[297] Pierre Victoire Palma-Cayet (1525-1610), author of the Chronologie novennaire, the Chronologie septennaire, etc.—T.

[298] This Joubert was the man who, with his friend Dugied, introduced the Carbonari into France. They were both implicated in the so-called Military Conspiracy of the Bazaar, in 1820, and took refuge in Naples. In 1822, Joubert was one of the principal agents of the Belfort Plot. He succeeded in escaping for the second time, to Spain, where he fought against the French and was taken prisoner at the battle of Llers. As he had been twice wounded, he was taken to the Perpignan Hospital, whence Dugied, by means of bribery, procured his escape. He reached Belgium, where he remained till 1830.—B.

[299] Eléonore Louis Godefroy Cavaignac (1801-1845), son of the Conventional, Jean Baptiste Cavaignac, and elder brother to General Eugène Cavaignac. For fifteen years he remained a formidable adversary of the Monarchy of July, fighting it with every weapon and on every ground, in the streets, in the press, in the law-courts, in prison and in exile. He died in harness on the 5th of May 1845.—B.

[300] Marie Anne Joseph Degousée (1795-1862) conspired under the Restoration and under Louis-Philippe, and fought at the barricades in February 1848. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly and supported General Cavaignac's candidature for the Presidency. He failed to secure re-election to the Legislative Assembly and withdrew into private life, resuming his work as a civil engineer.—B.

[301] Gustav Karl Frederik Count Lœwenhielm (1771-1856), the Swedish Minister Plenipotentiary, had been in Paris since 1818.—B.

[302] Sir Charles Stuart, the British Ambassador, had been raised to the peerage as Lord Stuart de Rothesay in 1828. He was Ambassador to the Court of France from 1815 to 1824 and from 1828 to 1830.—T.

[303] This is very nearly what I wrote to Mr. Canning in 1823 (Cf. the Congrès de Vérone).—Author's Note.

[304] Russian Ambassador from 1814 to 1835. Pozzo was devoted to Paris, and returned there after his retirement from the London Embassy and diplomatic life in 1839.—T.

[305] Wilhelm Baron von Werther (d. 1859), Prussian Minister to Paris from 1824 to 1837 and Prussian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1837 to 1841. He was the father of Karl Anton Philipp Baron von Werther, who was Ambassador of Prussia and the North German Confederation to Paris from October 1869 until the rupture of diplomatic relations in July 1870.—B.

[306] Henry V. King of France and Navarre (1820-1883), son of the Duc de Berry, was, to the time of his de jure accession, in August 1830, known as Henri Charles Ferdinand Marie Dieudonné d'Artois, Duc de Bordeaux. Later, he assumed the title of Comte de Chambord, by which he was known till his death. He married, in 1846, Maria Teresa Gaetana, daughter of Francis IV. Duke of Modena. Queen Marie-Thérèse died in 1886.—T.

[307] The context would lead the reader to think that Prince Esterhazy was Ambassador to Paris at the time of the Revolution of July. This is not so. The Austrian Ambassador to Paris in 1830 was Count Apponyi.—B.

[308] Pozzo di Borgo was a native of Ajaccio in Corsica. The Blue Ribbon mentioned above was the ribbon of the Order of the Holy Ghost.—T.

[309] Étienne Tardif de Pommeroux, Comte de Bordesoulle (1771-1837), took part in all the wars of the Revolution and the Empire, and rallied to the Bourbons in 1814, accompanying Louis XVIII. to Ghent. He distinguished himself greatly in the Spanish War of 1823 and, on his return, was raised to the peerage. He took the oath of allegiance to Louis-Philippe's Government, and remained a member of the House of Peers till his death.—B.

[310] The sentences here omitted by Chateaubriand ran as follows:

"I charge Lieutenant-general the Vicomte de Foissac-Latour with this letter to you. He has orders to consult with you as to the arrangements to be made in favour of those persons who have accompanied me, as well as those which may be suitable for myself and the rest of my family.

"We shall afterwards regulate the other measures which may become necessary in consequence of the change of reign."—T.

[311] Jean François Jacqueminot, later Vicomte de Ham (1787-1865), a colonel of the Empire, and a deputy at the time of the Revolution of July. Louis-Philippe appointed him to various high commands in the National Guard and created him a viscount.—B.

[312] "General Pajol told me, shortly before his death, that, in the course of his long military career, he had never thought himself so near defeat." (Marcellus: Chateaubriand et son temps, p. 302).—B.

[313] The Duchesse d'Orléans, later Queen of the French, was the sister, the Duchesse de Berry the daughter of Francis I. King of the Two Sicilies.—T.

[314] Saint Hilary Bishop of Poitiers (d. 368), honoured on the 14th of January. His chief works are De Trinitate, De Synodis and commentaries.—T.

[315] Louis Clair Comte de Beaupoil de Sainte-Aulaire (1778-1854), brother-in-law to M. Decazes. He sat in the Chamber of Deputies from 1815 to 1829, when, on the death of his father, he entered the Chamber of Peers. He was away from Paris at the time of the Revolution of July, hurried back to Paris, and, after some hesitation, adhered to the new Government and received the Roman Embassy, followed, in 1833, by the Embassy in Vienna and, lastly, by that in London, which he occupied from 1841 to 1847. He was the author of a remarkable Histoire de la Fronde (1827) and, in 1841, was elected a member of the French Academy.—B.

[316] Auxonne Marie Théodose Comte de Thiard de Bissy (1772-1852) was the son of Claude VIII. de Thiard, Comte de Bissy, Lieutenant-general of the King's Armies, Governor of the Town and Castle of Auxonne, Governor of the Palais-Royal and the Tuileries, in Paris, and one of the forty of the French Academy; and nephew of the Comte de Thiard, the King's Commandant in Brittany in 1789, guillotined in 1794, who has been more than once mentioned in Vol. I. of the Memoirs. Auxonne Marie Théodose emigrated in 1791 and served in Condé's Army until 1799. Under the Empire, after being employed by Napoleon in his armies and in diplomacy, he was disgraced, in 1807, and lived in retirement until 1814. He was a representative during the Hundred Days and a deputy from 1820 to 1834 and from 1837 to 1848. Ex-Emigrant and born at the Tuileries though he were, he always sat with the Extreme Left, both under the Restoration and the Government of July.—B.

[317] François Duris-Dufresne (1769-1837) was also an ex-officer. After forming part of the Legislative Body from the Year XII. to 1809, he entered the Chamber of Deputies in 1827 and voted with the Left. He adhered to the Revolution of July and the usurpation of Louis-Philippe; but events soon drove him into the Dynastic Opposition. From 1831 to 1834, he sat with the Extreme Left.—B.

[318] Some editions have "peerage" instead of "country."—T.

[319] The Baron Pasquier had been President of the House of Peers since the 4th of August.—B.

[320] The Baron Louis was Minister of Finance.—B.

[321] The Marquis de Sémonville continued Grand Refendary.—B.

[322] Dupont de l'Eure (1767-1855) had been President of the Imperial Court at Rouen. He became Minister of Justice after the Revolution of 1830, but soon went over to the Opposition, where he won an enormous popularity. In 1848, he was elected, by acclamation, President of the Provisional Government, a position which, owing to his great age, he held only nominally.—T.

[323] Edward III. landed near Cherbourg in 1346, besieged the city and laid waste the surrounding country.—T.

[324] Anne Hilarion de Contentin, Comte de Tourville (1642-1701), was defeated off the Hogue in 1692 by the combined Dutch and English fleets; his own fleet was destroyed.—T.

[325] The famous dyke of Cherbourg, which turned that harbour into a first-class port, was built under Louis XVI.—T.

[326] William I. King of England (1027-1087), surnamed the Conqueror, landed at Pevensey on the 28th of September 1066; Charles X. landed, on the 17th of August 1830, at Spithead.—T.

[327] Holyrood Palace had been the residence of Charles X. during the First Emigration.—T.

[328] Paris, 3 December 1840.—Author's Note.

[329] Cf. the letters and dispatches of the different Courts, quoted in the Congrès de Vérone; consult also the Ambassade de Rome.—Author's Note.


[Pg 187]

PART THE FOURTH

1830-1841

BOOK I[330]

Introduction—Trial of the ministers-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois—Pillage of the Archbishop's Palace—My pamphlet on the Restauration et la Monarchie électiveÉtudes historiques—Letters to Madame Récamier—Geneva—Lord Byron—Ferney and Voltaire—Useless journey to Paris—M. Armand Carrel—M. de Béranger—The Baude and Briqueville proposition for the banishment of the Elder Branch of the Bourbons—Letter to the author of the Némésis—Conspiracy of the Rue des Prouvaires—Letter to Madame la Duchesse de Berry—Epidemics—The cholera—Madame La Duchesse de Berry's 12,000 francs—General Lamarque's funeral—Madame La Duchesse de Berry lands in Provence and arrives in the Vendée.

Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse.

Paris, October 1830.

Out of the turmoil of the Three Days, I am quite surprised to find myself opening the fourth part of this work amid a profound calm; it seems to me that I have doubled the Cape of Storms and penetrated into a region of peace and silence. If I had died on the 7th of August of this year, the last words of my speech in the House of Peers would have been the last lines of my history; my catastrophe, being that of a past of twelve centuries, would have augmented my memory. My drama would have ended magnificently.

But I did not fall under the blow, I was not struck to the ground. Pierre de L'Estoile wrote this page of his Journal on the day following the assassination of Henry IV.:

"And here I end with the life of my King the second register of my melancholic pastimes and my vain and[Pg 188] curious researches, both public and private, interrupted often since the past month by the watches of the sad and irksome nights which I have suffered, similarly this last, for the death of my King.

"I had proposed to close my ephemerides with this register; but so many new and curious occurrences have presented themselves through this signal mutation, that I pass to another which also will go before God pleases: and I doubt 'twill not be very long."

L'Estoile saw the death of the first Bourbon; I have just seen the fall of the last: ought I not to "close here the register of my melancholic pastimes and of my vain and curious researches?" Perhaps; "but so many new and curious researches have presented themselves through this signal mutation, that I pass to another register."

Like L'Estoile, I lament the adversities of the Dynasty of St. Louis; nevertheless, I am obliged to admit, there mingles with my sorrow a certain inward satisfaction: I reproach myself with it, but I cannot prevent it; this satisfaction is that of the slave delivered from his chains. When I abandoned the career of a soldier and a traveller, I felt a certain sadness; now I feel joy, freed convict that I am of the galleys of the world and the Court Faithful to my principles and my oaths, I have betrayed neither liberty nor the King, I carry away neither wealth nor honours; I go as poor as I came. Happy to end a career which was hateful to me, I lovingly return to repose.

Blessed be thou, O my native and dear independence, soul of my life! Come, bring me my Memoirs, that alter ego whose confidant, idol and muse you are. The hours of leisure are fit for story-telling: a shipwrecked mariner, I shall continue to relate my shipwreck to the fishermen on shore. Returning to my primitive instincts, I become a free man and a traveller once again; I end my course as I began it. The closing circle of my days brings me back to the starting-point. On the road which I once took as a careless conscript, I am going to travel as an experienced veteran, with my furlough in my shako, the stripes of time upon my arm, a knapsack full of years upon my back. Who knows? Perhaps I shall, stage by stage, recover the reveries of my youth. I shall call many dreams to my help, to defend me against that horde of truths which are begotten in old days even as dragons hide themselves in[Pg 189] ruins. It will depend but on myself to knot together again the two ends of my existence, to blend far-distant periods, to mingle illusions of different ages, since the Prince whom I met in exile on leaving my paternal home I now meet in banishment on my way to my last abode.

*

I rapidly wrote the little introduction to this part of my Memoirs in the month of October of last year[331]; but I was unable to continue this labour, because I had another on my hands: this was the work[332] which concluded the edition of my Complete Works. From this work again I was diverted, first, by the trial of the ministers and, next, by the sack of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois.

Trial of the ministers.

The trial of the ministers[333] and the flurry in Paris made no great impression on me: after the trial of Louis XVI. and the revolutionary insurrections, all is small in the matter of trials and insurrections. The ministers, when coming from Vincennes to the Luxembourg and returning to Vincennes while sentence was being passed, went through the Rue d'Enfer: I could hear the wheels of their carriage from the back of my retreat. How many events have passed before my door!

The defenders of those men did not rise to the level of their task. None took a high enough view of the matter: the advocate predominated too greatly in the speeches. If my friend the Prince de Polignac had chosen me for his second, with what an eye should I have looked upon those perjurers setting themselves up for judges of a perjurer!

"What!" I should have said to them. "It is you who dare to be my client's judges; it is you who, all sullied with your oaths, dare to impute it as a crime to him that he ruined his master when he thought he was serving him: you, the instigators; you who urged him to issue the Ordinances! Change places with him whom you claim the right to judge: he who was accused becomes the accuser. If we have deserved to be struck, it is not by[Pg 190] you; if we are guilty, it is not towards you, but towards the people: they are waiting for us in the yard of your palace, and we shall take our heads to them."

*

After the trial of the ministers, came the scandal of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois[334]. The Royalists, full of excellent qualities, but sometimes stupid and often aggravating, never calculating the range of their measures, always thinking that they would restore the Legitimacy by affecting a colour in their cravats or a flower in their button-holes, occasioned deplorable scenes. It was evident that the Revolutionary Party would profit by the service held in commemoration of the Duc de Berry to make a noise. Now, the Legitimists were not strong enough to oppose this, and the Government was not settled enough to maintain order; and so the church was pillaged. A Voltairean and progressive apothecary[335] triumphed fearlessly over a steeple of the year 1300 and a cross already overthrown by other Barbarians at the end of the ninth century.

Consequently upon the exploits of these enlightened pharmaceutics come the devastation of the Archbishop's Palace, the profanation of the sacred things, and the processions copied from those of Lyons. The executioner and the victims were lacking; but there were plenty of buffoons, masks and diverse carnival delights. The burlesque sacrilegious procession marched on one side of the Seine, while the National Guard, pretending to hasten in aid, defiled on the other. The river separated order and anarchy. It is stated that a man of talent was there as an onlooker and that he said, on seeing the chasubles and books floating on the Seine:

"What a pity they did not throw the Archbishop in!"

A profound utterance, for indeed a drowned archbishop must be a pleasant sight; that makes liberty and enlightenment take so great a step forward! We old witnesses of old deeds are obliged to tell you that you see here but pale and wretched copies. You still possess the revolutionary instinct, but you no longer have its energy; you can be criminal only in imagination; you would like to do evil,[Pg 191] but your heart lacks courage and your arm strength; you would like to see fresh massacres, but you would no longer set to work to commit them. If you want the Revolution of July to be great and to remain great, do not let M. Cadet de Gassicourt be its real hero and "Mayeux" its ideal personage[336].

My new pamphlet.

Paris, end of March 1831.

I was out of my reckoning when, after the Days of July were over, I thought that I was entering a region of peace. The fall of the three Sovereigns had obliged me to explain myself in the House of Peers. The proscription of those Kings forbade me to remain dumb. On the other hand, Philip's newspapers were asking me why I refused to serve a revolution which consecrated the principles which I had defended and diffused. I had needs to speak on behalf of the general truths and to explain my personal conduct. An extract from a little pamphlet which will be forgotten, De la Restauration et de la Monarchie élective[337], will continue the thread of my narrative and that of the history of my times:

*

"Despoiled of the present, possessing but an uncertain future beyond the tomb, I feel a need that my memory should not be injured by my silence. I must not hold my peace touching a Restoration in which I have taken so much part, which is being daily outraged and which is at length being proscribed before my eyes.... In the middle-ages, at times of calamity, men used to take a religious and lock him in a tower, where he fasted on bread and water for the salvation of the world. I am not unlike this twelfth-century monk:[Pg 192] through the dormer-window of my expiatory jail, I have preached my last sermon to the passers-by..."

Here is the epitome of that sermon:

"As I predicted in my last speech in the tribune of the Peers, the Monarchy of July is in an absolute condition of glory or of laws of exception; it lives by the press, and the press is killing it; devoid of glory, it will be devoured by liberty; if it attack that liberty, it will perish. It would be a fine thing if, after driving out three Kings with barricades, on behalf of the liberty of the press, we were to be seen erecting new barricades against that liberty! And yet, what is to be done? Will the redoubled action of the tribunals and the laws suffice to restrain the writers? A new government is a child that can walk only in leading-strings. Are we to put back the nation into swaddling-clothes? Will that terrible nursling, which has sucked blood in the arms of victory at so many bivouacs, not burst its bandages? There was but one old stock, deeply rooted in the past, which could have withstood with impunity the gales blowing from the liberty of the press.   .   .   .    .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .

"To listen to the declamations of the moment, it seems that the exiles of Edinburgh are the poorest fellows living and that they are nowhere missed. The present, to-day, lacks nothing but the past: a small thing! As though the centuries did not make use of each other as pedestals, and as though the last comer could support itself in mid-air!... It is useless for our vanity to take offense at memories, to erase the fleurs-de-lys, to proscribe names and persons: that family, the heir of a thousand years, has left an immense void by its withdrawal; one feels it everywhere. Those individuals, so paltry in our eyes, have shaken Europe in their fall. To however small a degree events produce their natural effects and bring about their rigorous consequences, Charles X., in abdicating, will have made all those Gothic kings, the grand vassals of the past under the suzerainty of the Capets, abdicate with him.   .   .   .    .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .

"We are marching towards a general revolution. If the transformation which is being effected follows its inclination and meets with no obstacles, if popular reason continues its progressive development, if the education of the middle classes suffers no interruption, the nations will become[Pg 193] levelled in a uniform liberty; if that transformation is stayed, the nations will become levelled in a uniform despotism. This despotism will not last long, because of the advanced age of intelligence, but it will be harsh, and a long social dissolution will follow it.   .   .   .    .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .

Extracts from my pamphlet.

"Preoccupied as I am with these ideas, it is clear why I was; bound, as an individual, to remain true to what seemed to me; the best safeguard of the public liberties, the least perilous road by which to attain the complement of those liberties.

"It is not that I have the pretension to be a tearful preacher of sentimental politics, an eternal repeater of white plumes and commonplaces à la Henry IV. Casting my eyes over the space that separates the tower of the Temple from the palace in Edinburgh, I should doubtless find as many calamities heaped up as there are centuries accumulated on a noble race. A woman of sorrow, above all, has been loaded with the heaviest burden, as being the strongest; there is not a heart but breaks at the thought of her: her sufferings have risen so high that they have become one of the grandeurs of the Revolution. But, when all is said and done, no one is obliged to be king: Providence sends particular afflictions to whom it pleases, always brief ones, because life is short; and those afflictions are not counted in the general destinies of the peoples.   .   .   .    .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .

"Even if the proposition which for ever banishes the deposed Family from French territory be a corollary of the deposition of that Family, that corollary carries no conviction for me.... I should in vain seek my place in the several categories of persons who have become attached to the actual order of things.   .   .   .    .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .

"There are men who, after taking the oath to the Republic One and Indivisible, to the Directory of five persons, to the Consulate of three, to the Empire of one alone, to the First Restoration, to the Additional Act to the Constitutions of the Empire, to the Second Restoration, have something left to swear to Louis-Philippe: I am not so rich.

"There are men who flung their word on the Place de Grève, in July, like those Roman goat-herds who play at odd or even among ruins. Those men... treat as a fool and simpleton whosoever does not reduce politics to a question of private interests: I am a fool and a simpleton.

[Pg 194]

"There are timorous people who would have much preferred not to swear, but who saw themselves being butchered, together with their grand-parents, their grandchildren, and all the landlords, if they had not trembled out their oaths: this is a physical effect which I have not yet experienced; I shall wait for the infirmity and, if it comes to me, I shall consider.

"There! are great lords of the Empire linked to their pensions by sacred and indissoluble bonds, whatever be the hand they fall from: a pension is in their eyes a sacrament; it stamps a character, like orders or marriage; no pensioned head can ever cease to be so: pensions being charged to the Treasury, they remain charged to the same Treasury. As for me, I have the habit of divorce from Fortune: I am too old for her and abandon her, lest she should leave me.

"There are high barons of the Throne and the Altar who have not betrayed the Ordinances: no! But the insufficiency of the means employed to carry out the Ordinances has excited their spleen: indignant to find shortcomings in despotism, they have gone to seek another antechamber. It is impossible for me to share their indignation and their abode.

"There are men of conscience who are perjurers only to be perjurers; who, while yielding to force, are none the less for the right: they weep over that poor Charles X., whom they first dragged to his ruin by their advice and then put to death by their oaths; but, if ever he or his House revive, they will be very thunder-bolts of legitimacy. As for me, I have always been devoted to death, and I am the funeral procession of the Old Monarchy, like the poor man's dog.

"Lastly, there are trusty knights who have dispensations from honour and permits of disloyalty in their pocket: I have none.

"I was the man of the possible Restoration, of the Restoration accompanied by every kind of liberty. That Restoration took me for an enemy; it is ruined: I must undergo its fate. Shall I go to attach the few years that remain to me to a new fortune, like the hems of dresses which women drag from court to court for all the world to tread upon? At the head of the young generations, I should be suspect; following them, is not my place. I am fully aware that none of my faculties has aged; I understand my century better than ever; I penetrate more boldly into the future than anybody; but necessity has pronounced its decree; to end his life opportunely is a necessary condition for the public man."

[Pg 195]

Lastly, the Études historiques[338] have just appeared; I will quote the Introduction, which is a real page of my Memoirs, and contains my history at the very moment at which I am writing:

The Études historiques.

Introduction

"Remember, so as not to lose sight of the pace of the world, that at that time[339]... there were citizens engaged, like myself, in ransacking the archives of the past amid the ruins of the present, in writing the annals of the old revolutions to the uproar of the new revolutions; they and I taking as our table, in the crumbling edifice, the stone that had fallen at our feet, while awaiting that which was to crush our heads" (Études historiques).

"I would not, for the sake of the days that remain for me to live, begin again the eighteen months that have just elapsed. None will ever have an idea of the violence which I have done on myself; I have been forced to abstract my mind, for ten, twelve and fifteen hours a day, from what was passing around me, in order childishly to abandon myself to the composition of a work of which no one will read a line. Who would peruse four stout volumes, when it is already so difficult to read the feuilleton of a newspaper? I was writing ancient history, and modern history was knocking at my door; in vain I cried, 'Wait, I am coming to you:' it passed on, to the sound of the cannon, carrying with it three generations of kings.

"And how marvellously the times agree with the very nature of these Études! Men are overthrowing the Cross and persecuting the priests, and the Cross and the priests occur on every page of my narrative; they are banishing the Capets, and I am publishing a history in which the Capets occupy eight centuries. The longest and the last work of my life, that which has cost me most research, care and years, that in which I have perhaps stirred up most ideas and facts, appears at a time when it can find no readers; it is as though I flung it into a pit, where it will sink down under the mass of the rubbish that will follow it. When a society is being composed and decomposed,[Pg 196] when the existence of each and all is at stake, when one is not sure of a future of an hour's duration, who cares what his neighbour does, says, or thinks? Men have something else to trouble their heads about than Nero, Constantine, Julian, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Fathers of the Church, the Goths, the Huns, the Vandals, the Franks, Clovis, Charlemagne, Hugh Capet and Henry IV.; they have something else to think of than the shipwreck of the old world at a time when we are all involved in the shipwreck of the new world! Does it not argue a sort of dotage, a kind of feeble-mindedness, to busy one's self with literature at such a time? That is true; but this dotage has nothing to do with my brain, it comes from the antecedents of my spiteful fortune. If I had not made so many sacrifices to the liberties of my country, I should not have been obliged to contract engagements which are now being fulfilled under circumstances doubly deplorable to myself. No author has ever been put to such a proof; thank God, it is nearly at an end: I have nothing left to do but to sit on ruins and despise that life which I scorned in my youth.

"After these very natural complaints, which have involuntarily escaped me, one thought comes to console me: I began my literary career with a work in which I considered Christianity in its poetic and moral aspects; I end it with a work in which I regard the same religion in its philosophical and historical aspects: I began my political career under the Restoration, I end it with the Restoration. It is not without a secret satisfaction that I observe this consistency with myself."

Paris, May 1831.

I have not abandoned the resolution which I conceived at the moment of the catastrophe of July. I have been considering the ways and means of living abroad: difficult ways and means, because I have nothing; the purchaser of my works has all but made me a bankrupt, and my debts prevent me from finding anyone willing to lend me money.

I leave for Geneva.

Be this as it may, I shall go to Geneva[340] with the sum that has accrued to me from the sale of my last pamphlet[341].[Pg 197] I am leaving a procuration to sell the house in which I write this page for the sake of the order of dates. If I find a customer for my bed, I can find another bed outside France. In these uncertainties and movements, it will be impossible for me, until I am settled somewhere, to resume the sequence of my Memoirs at the place where I interrupted them[342]. I shall continue, therefore, to write down the things of the actual moment of my life; I shall communicate these things by means of the letters which I may happen to write on the road or during my different stoppages; I shall afterwards join the intermediary facts by a "journal" which will fill up the intervals between the dates of those letters.

I leave for Geneva.

To Madame Récamier[343]

"Lyons, Wednesday 18 May 1831.

"Here I am, too far away from you. I have never made so sad a journey: wonderful weather, nature all arrayed, the nightingale singing, a starry night; and all this for whom? I shall indeed have to return to where you are, unless you be willing to come to my aid[344]."

[Pg 198]

To Madame Récamier

"Lyons, Friday 20 May.

"I spent the day, yesterday, in wandering beside the Rhone; I contemplated the town where you were born, the hill upon which rose the convent where you were chosen as the fairest: an expectation which you did not disappoint; and you are not here, and years have elapsed, and you have since been exiled to your birth-place, and Madame de Staël is no more, and I am leaving France! One singular personage[345] belonging to those old days has appeared before me: I send you his note, because of its unexpectedness and its surprise. This personage, whom I had never seen, is planting pines in the mountains of Lyonnais. It is a long cry from there to the Rue Feydeau and the Maison à vendre: what different parts men play on earth!

"Hyacinthe has told me of the regrets and the newspaper articles: I am not worth all that You know that I sincerely think so for twenty-three hours out of the twenty-four; the twenty-fourth is dedicated to vanity, which, however, is of slight duration and soon passes. I wanted to see nobody here; M. Thiers, who was on his way to the South, forced my door."

Note enclosed in the above letter

"A neighbour, your fellow-countryman, who has no other claim upon you than a profound admiration for your glorious talent and your admirable character, would like to have the honour of seeing you and offering you the homage of his respect. This next-door neighbour at your hotel, this fellow-countryman is called

"Elleviou."

To Madame Récamier

"Lyons, Sunday 22 May.

"We leave to-morrow for Geneva, when I shall find more memories of you. Shall I ever see France again, after I have[Pg 199] once crossed the frontier? Yes, if you will, that is to say, if you remain there. I do not wish for the events which might offer me another chance of returning; I shall never allow the misfortunes of my country to enter among the number of my hopes. I shall write to you on Tuesday, the 24th, from Geneva. When shall I again see your little hand-writing, the younger sister of mine[346]?"

Letters to Madame Récamier.

"Geneva, Tuesday 24 May.

"We arrived here yesterday and are looking at houses. We shall probably make shift with a little summer-house on the edge of the lake. I cannot tell you how sad I feel as I busy myself with these arrangements. Again another future! Again to begin anew a life which I thought I had ended! I mean to write you a long letter when I am a little at rest: I dread that rest, for then I shall be contemplating without distraction those dim years upon which I am entering with a heart so much oppressed."

9 June 1831.

"You know that a 'reformed' sect has been established in the midst of the Protestants. One of the new pastors of the new church has been to see me and has written me two letters worthy of the first Apostles. He wants to convert me to his faith, and I want to turn him into a 'Papist.' We argue as though living in Calvin's[347] day, but loving each other in Christian brotherhood and without burning one another. I do not despair of his salvation; he is quite shaken by my arguments in favour of the Popes. You cannot conceive the pitch of exaltation to which he has risen, and his candour is admirable. If you come to me, accompanied by my old friend Ballanche, we shall do wonders. In one of the Geneva newspapers, a Protestant controversial book is advertised, and the authors are urged to 'stand firm' because 'the author of the Génie du Christianisme is close at hand.'

"There is a certain consolation in finding a little free people, administered by the most distinguished men, among[Pg 200] which religious ideas form the basis of liberty and the chief occupation of life.

"I lunched at M. de Constant's[348], beside Madame Necker[349], who is unfortunately deaf, but a woman of rare qualities and the greatest distinction: we spoke only of yourself. I had received your letter and I told M. de Sismondi the amiable things you had said for his benefit. You see I am taking your lessons.

"Lastly, here are some verses. You are my 'star' and I am waiting for you to go to that enchanted island.

"Delphine[350] married: O Muses! I have told you in my last letter why I could write neither on the peerage nor on the war: I should be attacking a contemptible body to which I have belonged and preaching honour to those who no longer possess it.

"It needs a sailor to read the verses and understand them. I put myself in M. Lenormant's hands. Your intelligence will suffice for the last three stanzas, and the key to the riddle is at the foot[351]."

"Geneva, 18 June 1831.

"You have received all my letters. I am constantly expecting a few words from you; I can see that there will be nothing for me, but still I am always surprised when the post brings me only newspapers. Not a soul writes to me, except yourself; not a soul remembers me, except yourself, and that is a great charm. I love your solitary letter, which does not arrive as it used to arrive in the days of my magnificence, in the midst of packets of dispatches and of all those letters of attachment, admiration and meanness which vanish with fortune. After your little letters, I shall see your fair self, if I do not go to join you. You shall be my testamentary executrix; you shall sell my poor retreat; the price will enable you to travel towards the sun. At this moment, the weather is admirable: as I write to you I can[Pg 201] see Mont Blanc in its splendour; from the top of Mont Blanc one sees the Apennines: it seems to me as though I have but three steps to take to arrive in Rome, where we shall go, for all will get settled in France.

"Our glorious country lacked but one thing in order to have passed through every form of wretchedness: to have a government of cowards; she has it now, and her youth is about to be swallowed up in doctrine, literature and debauch, according to the particular character of the individual. The chapter of accidents remains; but, when a man drags along life's road, as I do, the most likely accident is the end of the journey.

"I do no work, I can do nothing more: I am bored; it is my nature, and I am like a fish in water: nevertheless, if the water were a little less deep, perhaps I should be better pleased in it"

Geneva.

Journal from the 12th of July to the 1st of September 1831

The Pâquis, near Geneva.

I am settled at the Pâquis[352] with Madame de Chateaubriand; I have made the acquaintance of M. Rigaud, Chief Syndic of Geneva: above his house, by the edge of the lake, going up the Lausanne Road, you find the villa of two clerks of M. de Lapanouze[353], who have spent 1,500,000 francs in building it and laying out their gardens. When I pass on foot before their dwelling-house, I wonder at Providence, which has placed witnesses of the Restoration at Geneva in them and in me. What a fool I am! What a fool! The Sieur de Lapanouze went through royalism and misery with me: see to what his clerks have risen for having favoured the Conversion of the Funds, which I had the simplicity to oppose and by virtue of which I was turned out Here are the gentlemen: they drive up in an elegant tilbury, hat on ear, and I am obliged to step into a ditch lest the[Pg 202] wheel should carry off a skirt of my old frock-coat. And yet I have been a peer of France, a minister, an ambassador, and in a cardboard box I have all the principal Orders of Christendom, including the Holy Ghost and the Golden Fleece. If the clerks of the Sieur César de Lapanouze, now millionaires, cared to buy my box of ribbons for their wives, they would do me a lively pleasure.

Nevertheless all is not roses for the Messieurs B—-: they are not yet Genevese nobles, that is to say, they have not yet reached the second generation; their mother still lives in the lower part of the town and has not risen to the Saint-Pierre quarter, the Faubourg Saint-Germain of Geneva; but, with God's help, nobility will follow on money.

It was in 1805 that I saw Geneva for the first time. If two thousand years had elapsed between the dates of my two journeys, would they be further separated from each other than they are? Geneva belonged to France; Bonaparte was shining in all his glory, Madame de Staël in all hers; there was no more question of the Bourbons than if they had never existed. And Bonaparte, and Madame de Staël, and the Bourbons: what has become of them? And I, I am still there!

M. de Constant, a cousin of Benjamin Constant, and Mademoiselle de Constant, an old maid full of wit, virtue and talent, live in their cottage of "Souterre" on the bank of the Rhone; they are overlooked by another country-house, which was formerly M. de Constant's: he sold it to the Princesse Belgiojoso[354], a Milanese exile, whom I saw pass like a flower through the fête which I gave in Rome for the Grand-duchess Helen.

During my boating excursions, an old oarsman tells me of the deeds of Lord Byron, whose house we see standing on the Savoyard side of the lake. The noble peer would wait for a tempest to rise before setting sail; from the deck of his felucca, he leapt into the waves and swam in the midst of the gale to land at the feudal prisons of Bonivard: he was[Pg 203] always the actor and the poet. I am not so eccentric: I also love the storms; but my loves with them are secret, and I do not confide them to the boatmen.

I have discovered, behind Ferney[355], a narrow valley, in which runs a tiny stream some seven or eight inches deep; this rivulet waters the roots of a few willows, hides itself here and there under patches of water-cress and shakes rushes on whose tips perch blue-winged dragon-flies. Did the man of trumpets ever see this refuge of silence right up against his resounding house? No, without a doubt: well, the water is there; it still flows; I do not know its name; perhaps it has none: Voltaire's days are spent; only his fame still makes a little noise in a little corner of our little world, even as that streamlet can be heard at a dozen paces from its banks.

Men differ from one another: I am charmed with this deserted water-furrow; within sight of the Alps, the palm-leaf of a fern which I gather delights me; the murmuring of a ripple over pebbles makes me quite happy; an imperceptible insect, seen only by myself, which plunges into the moss, as into a vast solitude, occupies my gaze and makes me dream. These are intimate trifles, unknown to the fine genius who, disguised as Orosmane[356], played his tragedies, wrote to the princes of the earth and forced Europe to come to admire him in the hamlet of Ferney. But were not those trifles too? The transitions of the world are not equal to the passing of those waters; and, as for kings, I prefer my ant.

Memoires of Voltaire.

One thing always astonishes me, when I think of Voltaire: although gifted with a superior, rational, enlightened mind, he remained completely foreign to Christianity; he never saw what every one sees: that the institution of the Gospel, to consider only the human aspect of it, is the greatest revolution that ever took place on earth. It is true to say that, in the age of Voltaire, this idea had come into the head of nobody. The theologians defended Christianity as an accomplished fact, as a verity based upon laws emanating from spiritual and temporal authority; the philosophers attacked it as an abuse springing from priests and kings: they went no further. I have no doubt that, if one could suddenly have presented the other side of the question to Voltaire, his quick[Pg 204] and lucid intelligence would have been struck with it: one blushes to think of the mean and limited manner in which he treated a subject which embraces nothing less than the transformation of peoples, the introduction of morality, a new principle of society, another law of nations, another order of ideas, the total change of humanity. Unfortunately, the great writer who ruins himself in spreading baleful ideas drags many minds of lesser capacity with him in his fall: he is like those old Eastern despots on whose tombs men immolated slaves.

There, to Ferney, which no one visits now, to that Ferney around which I come to roam alone, how many celebrated personages at one time hastened! They sleep, gathered together for all time at the bottom of Voltaire's letters, their hypogæan Temple: the breath of one century grows weaker by degrees and dies away in the eternal silence, as one begins to hear the respiration of a new century.

The Pâquis, near Geneva, 15 September 1831.

O gold, which I have so long despised and which I cannot love whatever I may do, I am nevertheless forced to admit thy merit: the source of liberty, thou arrangest a thousand things in our existence, in which all is difficult without thee! Excepting glory, what is there that thou canst not procure? With thee, one is handsome, young, adored; one enjoys consideration, honours, qualities, virtues. You tell me that with gold one has but the appearance of all that: what matter, if I believe what is false to be true? Deceive me well, and I will release you from the rest: is life other than a lie? When one has no money, one is dependent upon everything and everybody. Two creatures who do not suit one another could go each his own way; well, for want of a few pistoles, they must remain face to face, sulking, fuming, souring, bored to extinction, devouring each other's souls and the whites of their eyes, furiously sacrificing to one another their tastes, their inclinations, their natural methods of life: poverty presses them close together, and, in those beggars' bonds, instead of embracing, they bite each other, but not in the way in which Flora bit Pompey. Without money, there is no means of escape; one cannot go in search of another sun, and, with a proud soul, one wears chains without ceasing. O happy Jews, dealers in crucifixes, who to-day govern Christendom, who decide peace or war, who eat pig after[Pg 205] selling old hats, who are the favourites of kings and beauties, ugly and dirty though you be: ah, if you would but change skins with me! If I could at least creep into your iron chests, to rob you of that which you have stolen from young men under age, I should be the happiest man in the world!

True, I might have a means of existence: I could apply to the monarchs; as I have lost all for the sake of their crown, it would be only fair that they should feed me. But this idea, which ought to occur to them, does not; and to me it occurs still less. Rather than sit at the banquets of kings, I should even prefer once more to begin the regimen which I kept in the old days, in London, with my poor friend Hingant. However, the happy times of garrets are past: not that I was not most comfortable there, but I should be ill at ease, I should take up too much room with the flounces of my reputation; I should no longer be there with my one shirt and the slender figure of an unknown person who has not dined. My cousin de La Boüétardais is there no more to play the violin on my truckle-bed in his red robes as a counsellor to the Parliament of Brittany, and to keep himself warm at night, covered with a chair by way of counterpane; Peltier is there no more to give us dinner with King Christophe's money; and, above all, the witch is there no more, Youth, who, with a smile, changes penury into a treasure, who brings you her younger sister, Hope, for a mistress: the latter also as deceptive as her elder, though she still returns when the other has fled for ever.

I had forgotten the distress of my first emigration and imagined that it was enough to leave France in order peacefully to preserve one's honour in exile: the larks fall ready roasted into the mouths only of those who reap the harvest, not of those who have sown it If I alone were concerned, I should do marvellously well in an alms-house: but Madame de Chateaubriand? And so I have no sooner become settled than, as I cast my eyes upon the future, anxiety seizes hold of me.

The value of money.

They wrote to me from Paris that there was no means of selling my house in the Rue d'Enfer save at a price which was not sufficient to pay off the mortgages with which that hermitage is loaded; that something might nevertheless be arranged if I were there. Acting on this communication, I have taken a useless journey to Paris, for I found neither[Pg 206] goodwill nor a purchaser; but I saw the Abbaye-aux-Bois again and a few of my new friends. On the eve of my return here, I dined at the Café de Paris with Messieurs Arago, Pouqueville[357], Carrel and Béranger, all more or less dissatisfied and deceived by "the best of republics."

The Pâquis, near Geneva, 26 September 1831.

My Études historiques brought me into relations with M. Carrel, even as they made me acquainted with Messieurs Thiers and Mignet. I had copied into the Preface of those Studies a fairly long passage from the Guerre de Catalogne[358], by M. Carrel, and especially the following:

"Things, in their continual and fatal transformations, do not always carry every intelligence with them; they do not master every character with equal facility; they do not take the same care of all interests: this is what we must understand and make some allowance for the protests raised on behalf of the past. When a particular period is finished, the mould is shattered, and it is enough for Providence that it can not be made over again; but of the fragments left upon the ground, there are occasionally some that are beautiful to look upon."

After these fine lines, I myself added this summary:

"The man who was able to write those words has reasons for sympathy with those who have faith in Providence, who respect the religion of the past and who also have their eyes fixed upon fragments."

M. Carrel came to thank me. He represented both the courage and the talent of the National, on which he worked with Messieurs Thiers and Mignet. M. Carrel belongs to a pious and royalist family of Rouen: the blind Legitimacy, which rarely distinguished merit, misjudged M. Carrel. Proud and alive to his worth, he had resort to[Pg 207] dangerous opinions, in which one finds a compensation for the sacrifices one lays upon one's self: there happened to him what happens to all characters fit for great movements. When unforeseen circumstances oblige them to restrict themselves within a narrow circle, they consume their super-abundant faculties in efforts which go beyond the opinions and events of the day. Before revolutions, superior men die unknown: their public has not yet come; after revolutions, superior men die neglected: their public has disappeared.

M. Carrel is not happy: there is nothing more material than his ideas, nothing more romantic than his life. After being a republican volunteer in Spain, in 1823, being captured on the battle-field, condemned to death by the French authorities, and escaping a thousand dangers, he finds love mingled with the pleasures of his private existence. He has to protect a passion[359] which is the mainstay of his existence; and this large-hearted man, ever ready to face a sword's point by day-light, sets wicket-gates before him, and the shades of night: he walks in the silent fields with a beloved woman at that first dawn at which the reveille used to call him to the attack of the enemy's tents.

I leave M. Armand Carrel in order to write a few words on our famous song-writer. You will find my story too short, reader, but I have a claim on your indulgence: his name and his songs must be engraved on your memory.

*

M. de Béranger is not, like M. Carrel, obliged to conceal his love-affairs. After singing the praises of liberty and the popular virtues, while defying the gaols of the kings, he puts his amours into a couplet, and behold Lisette immortalized.

A flying visit to Paris.

Near the Barrière des Martyrs, below Montmartre, you see the Rue de la Tour-d'Auvergne. In this half-built, half-paved street, in a little house hiding behind a little garden and calculated upon the modesty of present-day fortunes, you will find the illustrious song-writer. A bald head, a somewhat rustic, but keen and voluptuous air announce the poet. I love to rest my eyes on that plebeian countenance, after looking at so many royal faces; I compare[Pg 208] those so greatly different types: on the monarchical brows one sees something of an exalted nature, but blighted, impotent, effaced; on the democratic brows appears a common physical nature, but one recognises a lofty intellectual nature: the monarchical brow has lost a crown; the popular brow awaits one.

One day I asked Béranger (I beg him to forgive me for becoming as familiar as his fame), I asked him to show me some of his unknown works:

"Do you know," he said, "that I began by being your disciple? I was mad on the Génie du Christianisme, and I wrote Christian idylls: scenes in the life of a country priest, pictures of religious worship in the villages and in the midst of the harvest."

M. Augustin Thierry has told me that the Battle of the Franks in the Martyrs suggested to him a new manner of writing history: nothing has flattered me more than to find my memory occupying a place at the commencement of the talent of the historian Thierry and the poet Béranger.

Our song-writer has the several qualities upon which Voltaire insists for the ballad:

"To succeed well in these little works," says the author of so many graceful poems, "one needs refinement and sentiment of intellect, to have harmony in one's head, not to lower one's self over much, and to know how not to be too long."

Béranger has many muses, all of them charming; and, when those muses are women, he loves them all. When they betray him, he does not turn to elegiacs; and nevertheless there is a feeling of sadness at the bottom of his gaiety: his is a serious face that smiles; it is philosophy saying its prayers.

My friendship for Béranger earned me many expressions of astonishment on the part of what was called my party. An old knight of St. Louis, personally unknown to me, wrote to me from his distant turret:

"Rejoice, sir, at being praised by one who has slapped the face of your King and your God."

Well said, my gallant nobleman! You are a poet too.

Béranger.

At the end of a dinner at the Café de Paris which I gave to Messieurs de Béranger and Armand Carrel before my departure for Switzerland, M. Béranger sang us his admirable printed song:

[Pg 209]

Chateaubriand, pourquoi fuir ta patrie,
Fuir son amour, notre encens et nos soins[360]?

In it occurred this stanza on the Bourbons:

Et tu voudras t'attacher à leur chute!
Connais donc mieux leur folle vanité:
Au rang des maux qu'au ciel même elle impute,
Leur cœur ingrat met ta fidélité[361].

To this song, which belongs to the history of my time, I replied from Switzerland by a letter which is printed at the head of my pamphlet on the Briqueville[362] Motion. I said to M. de Béranger:

"From the place whence I wrote to you, monsieur, I can see the country-house where Lord Byron lived and the roofs of Madame de Staël's château. Where is the bard of Childe-Harold? Where is the author of Corinne? My too long life is like those Roman roads bordered with funeral monuments[363]."

I returned to Geneva; I next took Madame de Chateaubriand to Paris and brought back the manuscript directed against the Briqueville Motion for the banishment of the Bourbons, a motion which was taken into consideration in the sitting of the Deputies of the 17th of September of this year 1831: some attach their lives to success, others to misfortune.

[Pg 210]

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, end of November 1831.

Returning to Paris on the 11th of October, I published my pamphlet at the end of the same month; it is entitled, De la nouvelle proposition relative au banissement de Charles X. et de sa famille, ou suite de mon dernier écrit: De la Restauration et de la Monarchie élective.

When these posthumous Memoirs appear, will the daily polemics, the events of which men are enamoured at this present hour of my life, the adversaries against whom I am fighting, will even the act of banishment of Charles X. and his Family count for anything? There you have the drawback of all diaries: you find in them ardent discussions of subjects that have become indifferent; the reader sees pass, like shadows, a host of persons whose very names he does not remember: silent supernumeraries, who fill the back of the stage. Yet it is in these dryasdust portions of the chronicles that one gathers the observations and facts of the history of mankind and men.

I placed first at the commencement of the pamphlet the decree brought forward successively by Messieurs Baude and Briqueville. After examining the five courses that lay open after the Revolution of July, I said:

"The worst of the periods through which we have passed seems to be that in which we are, because anarchy reigns in men's reasons, morals and intellects. The existence of nations is longer than that of individuals: a paralytic man often remains stretched on his couch for many years before disappearing; an infirm nation lies long on its bed before expiring. What the new Royalty needed was buoyancy, youth, intrepidity, to turn its back upon the past, to march with France to meet the future.

"All this it neglects: it appeared before us reduced and debilitated by the doctors who were physicking it. It arrived piteous, empty-handed, having nothing to give, everything to receive, playing the poor thing, begging everybody's pardon, and yet snappish, declaiming against the Legitimacy and aping the Legitimacy, against republicanism and trembling before it. This abdominous 'system' beholds enemies only in two forms of opposition which it threatens. To support itself it has built itself a phalanx of re-enlisted veterans: if they bore as many stripes as they have taken oaths, their sleeves would be more motley than the livery of the Montmorencys.

"I doubt whether liberty will long be content with this[Pg 211] stew-pot of a domestic monarchy. The Franks placed liberty in a camp; in their descendants it has retained the taste and love of its first cradle; like the old Royalty, it wants to be raised on the shield and its deputies are soldiers."


Charles X.


From this general argument I pass on to the details of the system followed in our foreign relations. The immense mistake of the Congress of Vienna is that it placed a military nation like France in a condition of forced hostility with the neighbouring peoples. I point to all that the foreigners have gained in territory and power, all that we could have taken back in July. A mighty lesson! A striking proof of the vanity of military glory and of the work of conquerors! If one were to draw up a list of the Princes who have increased the possessions of France, Bonaparte would not figure on it; but Charles X. would occupy a remarkable place!

Yet another pamphlet.

Passing from argument to argument, I come to Louis-Philippe:

"Louis-Philippe is King," I say; "he wields the sceptre of the child whose immediate heir he is, of the ward whom Charles X. placed in the hands of the Lieutenant-general of the Kingdom as into those of a tried guardian, a faithful trustee, a generous protector. In that Palace of the Tuileries, instead of an innocent couch, free from insomnia, free from remorse, free from ghosts, what has the Prince found? An empty throne presented to him by a headless spectre bearing, in its blood-stained hand, the head of another spectre....

"Must we, to finish the business, put a handle to Louvel's blade in the shape of a law, in order to strike a last blow at the proscribed Family? If it were driven to these shores by the tempest; if Henry, too young as yet, had not attained the years requisite for the scaffold, well then, do you, the masters, give him a dispensation of age to die!"

After speaking to the French Government, I turn to Holyrood and add:

"Dare I, in conclusion, take the respectful liberty of addressing a few words to the men of exile? They have returned to sorrow as into their mother's womb: misfortune, a seduction from which it is difficult for me to defend myself, seems to me to be always in the right; I fear to offend its sacred authority and the majesty which it adds to insulted grandeurs, which henceforth have none but me to flatter them. But I will overcome my weakness, I will strive to[Pg 212] voice words which, in a day of ill-fortune, might give grounds for hope to my country.

"The education of a prince should be analogous to the form of government and the manners of his native land. Now, there are in France neither chivalry nor knights, neither soldiers of the Oriflamme nor nobles barbed in steel, ready to march behind the White Flag. There is a people which is no longer the people of other days, a people which, changed by the centuries, has lost the old habits and the ancient manners of our fathers. Whether we deplore the social transformations that have arisen or glorify them, we must take the nation as it is, facts as they are, enter into the spirit of our time, in order to exercise an action over that spirit.

"All is in God's hand, except the past, which, once fallen from that hand, does not return to it.

"The moment will doubtless arrive when the orphan will leave that palace of the Stuarts, the ill-omened refuge which seems to spread the shadow of its fatality over his youth: the last-born of the Bearnese must mix with children of his own age, attend the public schools, learn all that is known to-day. Let him become the most enlightened young man of his time; let him be acquainted with the knowledge of the period; let him add to the virtues of a Christian of the age of St. Louis the sagacity of a Christian of our age. Let travel be his instructor in manners and laws; let him cross the seas, compare institutions and governments, free peoples and enthralled peoples; let him, if he find the occasion while abroad, expose himself, as a simple soldier, to the dangers of war, for none is fit to reign over Frenchmen who has not heard the hiss of the cannon-ball. Then you will have done for him all that, humanly speaking, you can do. But, above all, beware of fostering him in ideas of invincible right: far from flattering him with the thought of reascending the throne of his fathers, prepare him never to reascend it; bring him up to be a man, not to be a king: those are his best chances.

"Enough: whatever God's counsel may provide, there will remain to the candidate of my fond and pious loyalty a majesty of the ages which men cannot take from him. A thousand years attached to his young head will always deck him with a pomp exceeding that of all monarchs. If, in a private condition, he bear bravely this diadem of days, of memory and of glory, if his hand raise without effort this sceptre of time which his ancestors have bequeathed to him, what empire will he be able to regret?"

[Pg 213]

The Comte de Briqueville.

M. le Comte de Briqueville, whose motion I thus contested, printed some reflections on my pamphlet; he sent them to me with the following note:

"Monsieur,

"I have yielded to the need, to the duty, to publish the reflections brought to my mind by your eloquent words on my motion. I obey a feeling no less sincere when I deplore that I should find myself in opposition to you, monsieur, who add to the power of genius so many claims to public consideration. The country is in danger, and from that moment I cease to believe in a serious dissension between us: this France of ours invites us to unite to save her; assist her with your genius; we shall work, we shall assist her with our strong arms. On that field, monsieur, is it not true that we shall not be long in coming to an understanding? You shall be the Tyrtæus[364] of a people of which we are the soldiers, and it will be with the greatest happiness that I shall then proclaim myself the most ardent of your political adherents, as I am already the sincerest of your admirers.

"Your most humble and obedient servant,

"The Comte Armand de Briqueville.

"Paris, 15 November 1831."

I was not slow in answering, and I broke a second still-born lance against the champion:

"Paris, 15 November 1831.

"Monsieur,

"Your letter is worthy of a gentleman: forgive me for using this old word, which becomes your name, your courage, your love of France. Like you, I detest the foreign yoke: if the question were that of defending my country, I should not ask to wear the lyre of the poet, but the sword of the veteran, in the ranks of your soldiers.

"I have not yet read your reflections, monsieur; but, if the state of politics led you to withdraw the motion which has so strangely saddened me, how happy I should be to find myself by your side, with no obstacle between us, on the field of liberty, of honour, of the glory of our country!

"I have the honour to be, monsieur, with the most distinguished regard,

"Your most humble and most obedient servant,

"Chateaubriand."

[Pg 214]

Paris, Infirmerie De Marie-Thérèse, Rue d'Enfer,

December 1831.

A poet[365], mingling the proscriptions of the Muses with those of the laws, attacked the widow and the orphan in a vigorous improvisation. As these verses were by a writer of talent, they acquired a sort of authority which forbade me to let them pass in silence; I faced about to meet another enemy[366].

The reader would not understand my reply if he did not read the poet's lampoon; I invite you, therefore to cast your eyes over those verses: they are very fine and are to be found everywhere. My reply has not been published: it appears for the first time in these Memoirs. Wretched contentions in which revolutions end! See to what a struggle we come, the feeble successors of those men who, arms in hand, treated great questions of glory and liberty by shaking the universe! Pygmies to-day utter their little cry among the tombs of the giants buried beneath the mountains which they have overturned upon themselves.

"Paris, Wednesday evening, 9 November 1831.

"Sir,

"I received this morning the last number of Némésis which you have done me the honour to send me. To protect myself against the seduction of those praises awarded with so much brilliancy, grace and charm, I need to recall the obstacles that exist between us. We live in two worlds apart; our hopes and fears are not the same; you burn what I adore, and I burn what you adore. You, sir, have grown up amid a crowd of abortions of July; but, even as all the influence which you attribute to my prose will not, according to you, raise up a fallen House, so, according to me, will all the might of your poetry fail to abase that noble House. Can it be that both you and I are thus placed in two impossible positions?

"You are young, sir, like the future which you dream of and which will trick you; I am old, like time, which I dream of and which escapes me. If you were to come to sit by my[Pg 215] fireside, you obligingly say, you would reproduce my features with your graver: I should strive to make you a Christian and a Royalist. Since your lyre, at the first chord of its harmony, sang my Martyrs and my Pilgrimage, why should not you complete the course? Enter the holy place; time has stripped me only of my hair, as it strips a tree of its leaves in winter, but the sap remains in my heart: my hand is still firm enough to hold the torch which would guide your steps under the vaults of the sanctuary.

Letter to Barthélemy.

"You declare, sir, that it would need a people of poets to understand my contradictions of 'extinct kingdoms and young republics:' is it likely that you too have not celebrated liberty and yet found some magnificent words for the tyrants who oppressed it? You quote the Du Barrys, the Montespans, the Fontanges, the La Vallières: you recall royal weaknesses; but did those weaknesses cost France what the debauches of Danton and Camille Desmoulins cost her? The morals of those plebeian Catalines were reflected even in their speech: they borrowed their metaphors from the piggeries of infamous persons and prostitutes. Did the frailties of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. send the fathers and husbands to the gallows, after dishonouring the daughters and wives? Did his blood-baths do more to render chaste a revolutionary's lewdness than did her milk-baths to render virginal a Poppæa's pollution? If Robespierre's hucksters had retailed to the people of Paris the blood from Danton's bathing-tub, as Nero's slaves sold to the inhabitants of Rome the milk from his courtesan's thermæ, do you think that any virtue would have been found in the rinsings of the obscene headsmen of the Terror?

"The swiftness and the height of the flight of your muse have deceived you, sir: the sun, which laughs at all misery, must have struck the garments of a widow; they must have seemed 'gilded' to you: I have seen those garments, they were of mourning; they knew nothing of pleasure; the child, in the entrails which bore him, was rocked only to the sound of tears; if he had 'danced nine months in his mother's womb,' as you say, he would then have known joy only before being born, between conception and delivery, between the assassination and the proscription! 'The pallor of fearsome omen' which you remarked on Henry's face is the result of his father's blood-letting, and not of a ball of two hundred and seventy nights. The old curse was kept up for the daughter of Henry IV.: In dolore paries[Pg 216] filios. I know none save the Goddess of Reason whose confinements, hastened by adultery, took place amid the dances of Death. From her public flanks fell unclean reptiles which, at that very instant, began to jig in the ring with the knitting-women around the scaffold, to the sound of the rise and fall of the knife, the refrain of that devils' dance.

"Ah sir, I entreat you, in the name of your rare talent, cease to reward crime and to punish misfortune by the sentences improvised by your muse; do not condemn the first to Heaven, the second to Hell. If, while remaining attached to the cause of liberty and enlightenment, you were to afford an asylum to religion, humanity, innocence, you would see another sort of Nemesis appear before you in your waking hours, one worthy of all the earth's homage. And, while waiting to pour over virtue, better than I know how, 'the whole ocean of your fresh ideas,' continue, in the spirit of vengeance which you have adopted, to drag our turpitude to the gemoniæ; overthrow the false monuments of a revolution which has not built the temple fit for its cult; turn up their ruins with the plough-share of your satire; sow salt in that field to make it barren, so that no new vileness can shoot there. I recommend above all, sir, to your attention, that Government which has fallen so low that it trembles before the pride of the obedience, the victory of the defeats, and the glory of the humiliations of the country.

"Chateaubriand."

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, end of March 1832.

Those travels and those contests came to an end for me in the year 1831; at the beginning of the year 1832, a new annoyance.

The Paris Revolution had left on the streets of Paris a host of Swiss, of Body-guards, of men of all conditions kept by the Court, who were now starving and whom certain monarchical dunderheads, young and foolish under their grey hairs, thought of enlisting for a surprise.

In this formidable plot there was no lack of serious, pale, lean, diaphanous, bent persons, with noble faces, eyes still bright, white heads; that past suggested honour resuscitated, coming to try, with its shadowy hands, to restore the Family which it had been unable to maintain with its living hands.[Pg 217] Often men on crutches pretend to prop crumbling monarchies; but, at this period of society, the restoration of a mediæval monument has become impossible, because the genius which quickened that architecture is dead: what we take for Gothic is merely antiquated.

On the other hand, the heroes of July, whom the juste-milieu had swindled out of the Republic, desired nothing more than to come to an understanding with the Carlists to revenge themselves on a common enemy, remaining free to cut each other's throats after the victory. M. Thiers having extolled the system of 1793 as the work of liberty, victory and genius, young imaginations became kindled at the flame of a conflagration of which they saw only the distant reverberation; they have got no further than the poetry of the Terror: a mad and hideous parody which sets back the hour of liberty. This is to disregard at once time, history and humanity; it is to oblige the world to recoil under the whip of the convict-keeper in order to escape those fanatics of the scaffold.

Money was needed to feed all those malcontents, dismissed heroes of July, or servants out of place: people clubbed together. Carlist and republican cabals were held in every comer of Paris, and the police, informed of all that went on, sent its spies from club to garret to preach equality and liberty. I was told of these proceedings, which I opposed. The two parties wanted to declare me their leader at the assured moment of triumph: a Republican club asked me if I would accept the Presidency of the Republic; I answered:

"Yes, most certainly; but after M. de La Fayette."

The Marquis de La Fayette.

This was thought modest and proper. General La Fayette used sometimes to come to Madame Récamier's; I used to make fun of his "best of republics;" I asked him if he would not have done better to proclaim Henry V. and to be the real President of France during the minority of the royal infant. He agreed and took the jest in good part, for he was a well-bred man. Each time we met, he would say:

"Ah, you are going to pick your quarrel again!"

I used to make him admit that no one had been more caught than himself by his good friend Philip.

In the midst of this excitement and these extravagant plottings, arrived a man in disguise. He landed at my door with a tow wig on his pate and a pair of green[Pg 218] spectacles on his nose, hiding his eyes, which could see quite well without spectacles. He had his pockets stuffed with bills of exchange, which he displayed; and, suddenly aware that I wanted to sell my house and settle my affairs, he offered me his services. I could not help laughing at this gentleman (a man, otherwise, of intelligence and resource) who thought himself obliged to buy me for the Legitimacy. When his offers became too pressing, he saw on my lips a certain scornfulness which obliged him to beat a retreat, and he wrote to my secretary this little note, which I have kept:

"Sir,

"Yesterday evening I had the honour to see M. le Vicomte de Chateaubriand, who received me with his customary kindness; nevertheless, I seem to have perceived that he no longer showed his usual geniality. Tell me, I beg of you, what can have caused me to lose his confidence, which I valued more highly than anything else. If he has been told 'stories' about me, I am not afraid to expose my conduct to the light of day, and I am prepared to reply to anything that he may have been told: he knows too well the spitefulness of intriguing people to condemn me unheard. There are timid persons too who make others so; but we must hope that the day will come when we shall see people who are really devoted. Well, he told me that it was of no use for me to meddle in his business; I am sorry for that, because I flatter myself that it would have been arranged according to his wishes. I have little doubt as to the person who has wrought this change in him; if I had been less discreet at the time, this person would not have been in a position to injure me with your excellent 'patron.' However, I am none the less devoted to him, as you may assure him once more with my respectful homage. I venture to hope that a day will come when he will be able to know me and to judge of me.

"Pray accept, sir, etc."

Hyacinthe answered this note with the following reply at my dictation:

"My patron has nothing whatever in particular against the person who has written to me; but he wishes to live outside everything, and does not wish to accept any service."

[Pg 219]

Shortly afterwards, the catastrophe came.

A Royalist conspiracy.

Do you know the Rue des Prouvaires[367], a narrow, dirty, populous street, near Saint-Eustache and the markets? It was there that the famous supper of the Third Restoration was held. The guests were armed with pistols, daggers and keys; after drinking, they were to make their way into the gallery of the Louvre and, passing at midnight through a double row of master-pieces, go to strike the usurping monster in the midst of a fête. The conception was a romantic one: the sixteenth century had returned; one might have believed one's self in the times of the Borgias, the Florentine Medicis and the Parisian Medicis: only the men were different.

On the 1st of February, at nine o'clock in the evening, I was going to bed, when a zealous man and the individual of the bills of exchange forced my door in the Rue d'Enfer to tell me that all was ready, that in two hours Louis-Philippe would have disappeared; they came to enquire if they might declare me the principal chief of the Provisional Government[Pg 220] and if I would consent to take the reins of the Provisional Government, in the name of Henry V., with a council of Regency. They admitted that the thing was dangerous, but said that I should reap all the greater glory, and that, as I was acceptable to all parties, I was the only man in France in a position to play such a part.

This was pressing me very hard: two hours to decide upon my crown! Two hours in which to sharpen the big mameluke's sabre which I had bought in Cairo in 1806! However, I felt no embarrassment and I said to them:

"Gentlemen, you know that I have never approved of your enterprise, which seems to me a mad one. If I were disposed to meddle in it, I would have shared your dangers and would not have waited for your victory to accept the prize of your risks. You know that I have a serious love of liberty, and it is clear to me, to judge by the leaders of all this business, that they do not want liberty and that, if they remained masters of the field of battle, they would begin by establishing the reign of arbitrariness. They would have no one, they would have me least of all, to support them in these plans; their success would bring about complete anarchy, and other countries, profiting by our discords, would come to dismember France. I cannot therefore enter into all this. I admire your devotion, but mine is not of the same character. I am going to bed; I advise you to do the same; and I am very much afraid that I shall hear to-morrow morning of the misfortune of your friends."

The supper took place; the proprietor of the tavern, who had prepared it only with the authorization of the police, knew what he was about. The police-spies, at table, touched glasses to the health of Henry V. with the best of them; the officers arrived, seized the guests, and once more upset the cup of the Legitimate Royalty. The Renaud of the royalist adventurers was a cobbler in the Rue de Seine[368], a hero of July, who had fought valiantly during the Three Days and who seriously wounded one of Louis-Philippe's policemen, even as he had killed soldiers of the Guard to drive out Henry V. and the two old Kings.

During this business, I had received a note from Madame[Pg 221] la Duchesse de Berry appointing me a "member of a secret government," which she was establishing in her quality as Regent of France. I took advantage of this occasion to write the following letter to the Princess[369]:

My letter.

"Madame,

"I have received with the deepest gratitude the mark of confidence and esteem with which you have consented to honour me; it lays upon my loyalty the duty of doubling my zeal, while not refraining from placing before the eyes of Your Royal Highness what appears to me to be the truth.

"I will speak first of the so-called conspiracies, the rumour of which will perhaps have reached Your Royal Highness. It is asserted that these have been concocted or provoked by the police. Leaving the fact on one side, and without insisting upon the intrinsically reprehensible nature of conspiracies, be they true or false, I will content myself with observing that our national character is at once too light and too frank to succeed in such tasks. And so, during the last forty years, this sort of guilty enterprise has invariably failed. Nothing is more common than to hear a Frenchman publicly boast of being in a plot: he tells the whole details of it, without forgetting the day, place and hour, to some spy whom he takes for a brother; he says aloud, or rather exclaims to the passers-by:

"'We have forty thousand men all told, we have sixty thousand cartridges, in such a street, number so-and-so, the corner-house.'

"And then our Cataline goes off to dance and laugh.

"Secret societies have a long range only because they proceed by revolutions and not by conspiracies; they aim at changing doctrines, ideas and manners, before changing men and things; their progress is slow, but their results certain. Publicity of thought will destroy the influence of secret societies; it is public opinion which will now effect in France that which occult congregations accomplish among unemancipated nations.

"The departments in the West and South, which they seem to wish to drive to extremities by means of arbitrary measures[Pg 222] and violence, retain the spirit of loyalty for which our old manners were distinguished; but that half of France will never conspire, in the narrow sense of the word: it forms a sort of camp standing at ease under arms. Admirable as a reserve force of the Legitimacy, it would be insufficient as an advance-guard and would never assume the offensive successfully. Civilization has made too much progress to allow of the outburst of one of those intestine wars, leading to great results, which were the outlet and the scourge of centuries at once more Christian and less enlightened than our own.

"What exists in France is not a monarchy; it is a republic: one, truly, of the worst quality. This republic is plastroned with a royalty which receives the blows and prevents them from striking on the Government itself.

"Besides, if the Legitimacy is a considerable force, the right of election is also a preponderating power, even when it is only fictitious, especially in this country where men live only on vanity: the French passion for equality is flattered by the right of election.

"Louis-Philippe's Government abandons itself to a double excess of arbitrariness and obsequiousness which the Government of Charles X. had never dreamt of. This excess is endured; and why? Because the people more easily endure the tyranny of a government which they have created than the lawful strictness of the institutions which are not their work.

"Forty years of storms have shattered the strongest souls: apathy is great, egoism almost general; men shrivel up to escape danger, to keep what they possess, to make shift to live in peace. After a revolution, there remain also cankered men who communicate their contamination to everything even as, after a battle, there remain corpses which pollute the air. If, by a mere wish, Henry V. could be transported to the Tuileries without trouble, without a shock, without compromising the slightest interest, we should be very near a restoration; but, in order to effect it, if one had to spend as much as one sleepless night, the chances would decrease.

"The results of the Days of July have not turned to the profit of the people, nor to the honour of the army, nor to the advantage of literature, art, commerce or industry. The State has fallen a prey to the professional ministerialists and to the class which sees the country in its stew-pot, public affairs in its domestic economy. It is difficult, Madame, for you[Pg 223] at your distance to know what is here called the juste-milieu: Your Royal Highness must imagine a complete absence of elevation of soul, of nobility of heart, of dignity of character; you must picture to yourself people swelled up with their importance, bewitched with their employs, doting on their money, determined to die for their pensions: nothing will part them from those; it is a question of life or death to them; they are wedded to them as were the Gauls to their swords, the knights to the Oriflamme, the Huguenots to the white plume of Henry IV., the soldiers of Napoleon to the tricolour; they will die only when they are exhausted of oaths to every form of government, after shedding the last drop of those oaths on their last place. These eunuchs of the sham Legitimacy dogmatize about independence while having the citizens bludgeoned in the streets and the writers crowded into prison; they strike up songs of triumph while evacuating Belgium at the bidding of an English minister and, soon after, Ancona by order of an Austrian corporal. Between the threshold of Sainte-Pélagie and the doors of the Cabinets of Europe, they strut all puffed out with liberty and soiled with glory.

To the Duchesse de Berry.

"What I have said concerning the temper of the French must not discourage Your Royal Highness; but I wish that the road that leads to the throne of Henry V. were better known.

"You know my way of thinking as regards the education of my young King: my opinions are expressed at the end of the pamphlet which I have laid at Your Royal Highness' feet; I could only repeat myself. Let Henry V. be brought up for his century, with and by the men of his century: my whole system is summed up in those two words. Let him, above all, be brought up not to be King. He may reign tomorrow, he may reign only in ten years, he may never reign: for, if the Legitimacy has the different chances of returning which I will presently set out, nevertheless the present edifice might crumble to pieces without the formers rising from its ruins. You have a firm enough soul, Madame, to be able, without allowing yourself to be cast down, to suppose a judgment of God which would thrust back your illustrious House into the popular sources, even as you have a large enough heart to cherish just hopes without allowing them to intoxicate you. I must now place this other side of the picture before you.

"Your Royal Highness can defy, can dare everything at[Pg 224] your age; you have more years left to run than have elapsed since the commencement of the Revolution. Now, what have these latter years not seen? When the Republic, the Empire, the Legitimacy have passed, shall the amphibious thing known as the juste-milieu not pass? What! Was it to arrive at the wretchedness of the men and things of the present moment that we have gone through and expended so many crimes, so much misfortune, talent, liberty and glory? What! Europe overturned, thrones tumbling one over the other, generations hurled into the common ditch with the steel in their breasts, the world labouring for half a century, and all this to bring forth the sham Legitimacy? One could conceive a great republic emerging from this social cataclysm: it would at least be fitted to inherit the conquests of the Revolution, that is, political liberty, liberty and publicity of thought, the levelling of ranks, the admission to all offices, the equality of all before the law, popular election and sovereignty. But how can we suppose a troop of sordid mediocrities, saved from shipwreck, to be able to employ those principles? To what a proportion have they not already reduced them! They detest them, they hanker only after laws of exception; they would like to catch all those liberties in the crown which they have forged, as in a trap; after which they would fiddle-faddle sanctimoniously with canals, railways, a mish-mash of arts, literary arrangements: a world of machinery, loquacity and self-sufficiency denominated 'a model society.' Woe to any superiority, to any man of genius ambitious of preferment, of glory and pleasure, of sacrifice and renown, aspiring to the triumph of the tribune, the lyre or arms, who should rise up some day in that universe of boredom!

"There is but one chance, Madame, for the sham Legitimacy to continue to vegetate: that is, if the actual state of society were the natural state of that very society at the period in which we live. If the people, grown old, found itself in sympathy with its decrepit government; if there were a harmony of infirmity and weakness between the governors and the governed, then, Madame, all would be over for Your Royal Highness and for the rest of the French. But, if we have not come to the age of national dotage and if the immediate Republic be impossible, then the Legitimacy seems called to be born again. Live your youth, Madame, and you shall have the royal tatters of the poor thing known as the Monarchy of July. Say to your enemies what your[Pg 225] ancestress, Queen Blanche[370], said to hers during the minority of St. Louis:

"'No matter; I can wait.'

"Life's beautiful hours have been given you in compensation for your sufferings, and the future will give you as many occasions of happiness as the present has robbed you of days.

"The first reason which militates in your favour, Madame, is the justice of your cause and the innocence of your son. All the eventualities are not against the good right."

On the prospects.

After setting forth in detail the reasons for hope which I hardly entertained, but which I endeavoured to amplify in order to console the Princess, I continued:

"There, Madame, you see the precarious state of the sham Legitimacy at home; abroad its position is no more assured. If Louis-Philippe's Government had felt that the Revolution of July cancelled the earlier transactions, that a new national constitution entailed a new political right and changed social interests; if it had shown judgment and courage at the outset of its career, it could, without firing a single cartridge, have endowed France with the frontier which has been taken from her, so keen was the assent of the peoples, so great the stupefaction of the kings. The sham Legitimacy would have paid ready money for its crown with an increase of territory and would have entrenched itself behind that bulwark. Instead of profiting by its republican element to go fast, it has been afraid of its own principles; it has dragged itself on its belly; it has abandoned the nations which have risen for it and through it; it has turned them from the clients that they were into adversaries; it has extinguished warlike enthusiasm; it has changed into a pusillanimous wish for peace an enlightened desire to restore the balance of power between ourselves and the neighbouring States, or at least to claim from those States, enlarged out of all proportion, the shreds tom from our old country. Thanks to his faint-heartedness and lack of genius, Louis-Philippe has recognised treaties [Pg 226]which are not connatural with the Revolution, treaties with which it cannot live and which the foreigners themselves have violated.

"The juste-milieu has left the foreign Cabinets time to recover themselves and to form their armies. And, as the existence of a democratic monarchy is incompatible with the existence of the continental monarchies, a state of hostilities might issue from this incompatibility in spite of protocols, financial embarrassments, mutual fears, prolonged armistices, gracious dispatches and demonstrations of friendship. If our bourgeois Royalty has resigned itself to accept insult?, if men dream of peace, still the state of things may become such as to necessitate war.

"But whether war shatter the sham Legitimacy or not, I know, Madame, that you will never fix your hopes in the foreigner; you would rather that Henry V. should never reign than see him triumph under the patronage of an European coalition: you place your hopes in yourself and in your son. In whatever manner we might argue about the Ordinances, they could never affect Henry V.; innocent of all, he has the election of the ages and his native misfortunes in his favour. If unhappiness touches us in the solitude of a tomb, it moves us still more when it keeps watch beside a cradle: for then it is no longer the memory of a thing that is past, of a being who is miserable but who has ceased to suffer; it is a painful reality; it saddens an age which ought to know only joy; it threatens a whole life which has done nothing to deserve its rigours.

"For you, Madame, your adversities provide a powerful authority. Bathed in your husband's blood, you have carried in your womb the son whom politics named "the child of Europe" and religion "the child of miracle." What influence do you not exercise over public opinion when you are seen to be keeping unaided, for the exiled orphan, the heavy crown which Charles X. shook from his whitened head and from whose weight two other brows escaped, sufficiently laden with sorrow to permit them to reject this new burden! Your image presents itself to our memory with those feminine graces which seem to occupy their natural place, when seated on the throne. The people entertain no prejudice against you; they pity your sorrows, they admire your courage; they remember your days of mourning; they are grateful to you for mingling later in their pleasures, for sharing their tastes and their festivals; they find a charm in [Pg 227]the vivacity of this foreign Frenchwoman, who has come from a land endeared to our glory by the days of Fornovo[371], of Marignano[372], of Areola[373] and of Marengo[374]. The Muses regret their protectress, born under that fair sky of Italy which inspired her with the love of the arts and which turned a daughter of Henry IV. into a daughter of Francis I.

"France, since the Revolution, has often changed leaders, and has not yet seen a woman at the helm of the State. God wills, perhaps, that the reins of this unmanageable people, which slipped from the devouring hands of the Convention, broke in the victorious hands of Bonaparte, and were taken up in vain by Louis XVIII. and Charles X., should be fastened again by a young Princess, who would know how to make them at once less fragile and less light."

On the legitimacy.

Lastly reminding Madame that she had been good enough to think of me as a member of the secret government, I concluded my letter as follows:

"In Lisbon there stands a magnificent monument on which one reads this epitaph:

Here lies Basco Fuguera against his will.

My mausoleum shall be a modest one, and I shall not rest there unwillingly.

"You know, Madame, the order of ideas in which I perceive the possibility of a restoration: the other combinations would be beyond the range of my mind; I should confess my insufficiency. It would be overtly, by proclaiming myself the man of your consent, of your confidence, that I should find some strength; but I should feel no aptitude to act as a nocturnal minister plenipotentiary, a chargé d'affaires to the darkness. If Your Royal Highness were patently to appoint me your ambassador to the people of 'New France' I should inscribe in large letters over my door:

Legation of Old France.

[Pg 228]

Things would happen as God pleased; but I would have nothing to do with secret devotions; I know how to be guilty of loyalty only in flagrante delicto.

"Madame, without refusing Your Royal Highness the services which you have the right to command of me, I entreat you to allow the plan which I have formed of ending my days in retirement. My ideas cannot be acceptable to the persons who enjoy the confidence of the noble exiles of Holyrood: once misfortune were past, the natural antipathy to my principles and person would revive with prosperity. I have beheld the rejection of the plans which I had put forward for the greatness of my country, to give France frontiers within which she could exist safe from invasion, to remove from her the disgrace of the Treaties of Vienna and Paris. I have heard myself treated as a renegade, when I was defending religion; as a revolutionary, when I was striving to establish the throne on the basis of the public liberties. I should find the same obstacles increased by the hatred which the faithful of the Court, the town and the country would have conceived from the lesson inflicted upon them by my conduct on the day of trial. I have too little ambition, too great a longing for repose to make my attachment a burden to the Crown and to thrust upon it my importunate presence. I have done my duty without thinking for a moment that it gave me a right to the favour of an august Family: happy in being permitted to embrace its adversity, I see nothing higher than that honour; it will find no more zealous servant than myself; but it will find those who are younger and abler. I do not believe myself a necessary man, and I think that there are no necessary men left at this day: useless henceforth, I am going to retire into solitude to busy myself with the past. I hope, Madame, still to live long enough to add to the history of the Restoration the glorious page which your future destinies promise to France.

"I am, Madame,

"with the most profound respect,
"Your Royal Highness' most humble and most
"obedient servant,

"Chateaubriand."

The letter was obliged to await a safe messenger; time went on, and I added the following postscript to my dispatch:

[Pg 229]

The cholera.

"Paris, 12 April, 1832.

"Madame,

"All things grow old early in France; each day opens out new chances for politics and commences a series of events. We now have M. Périer's illness[375] and the plague sent by God. I have sent to M. the Prefect of the Seine the sum of 12,000 francs which the outlawed daughter of St. Louis and Henry IV. has destined for the relief of the unfortunate: a worthy use of her noble indigence! I shall strive, Madame, to be the faithful interpreter of your sentiments. I have never in my life received a mission with which I felt myself more honoured.

"I am, with the most profound respect, etc."

Before speaking of the affair of the 12,000 francs for the cholera-stricken sufferers mentioned in the above postscript, I must speak of the cholera. I had not met with the plague during my journey in the East: it came to visit me at home; the fortune which I had run after awaited me seated at my door.

*

At the time of the plague of Athens, in the year 431 before our era, already twenty-two great plagues had ravaged the world. The Athenians imagined that their wells had been poisoned: a popular fancy renewed in all contagions. Thucydides has left us a description of the Attic scourge which has been copied, among the ancients, by Lucretius, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan[376]; among the moderns, by Boccaccio[377] and Manzoni. It is a remarkable thing that, when writing of the plague of Athens, Thucydides does not say a word of Hippocrates[378], in the same way as he does not name Socrates in connection with Alcibiades. This pestilence first attacked the head, descended to the stomach, thence to the bowels, lastly to the legs; if it went out by the feet, after passing through the whole body, like a long serpent, the patient recovered. Hippocrates called it the "divine[Pg 230] evil" and Thucydides the "sacred fire:" they both regarded it as the fire of the heavenly wrath.

One of the most dreadful plagues was that of Constantinople, in the fifth century, under the reign of Justinian: Christianity had already modified the imagination of the peoples and given a new character to a calamity, even as it had changed poetry; the sick seemed to see ghosts hover around them and to hear threatening voices.

The black plague of the fourteenth century, known by the name of the Black Death, took rise in China: it was imagined that it moved rapidly in the shape of a fiery vapour, while spreading a noxious smell. It carried off four-fifths of the inhabitants of Europe.

In 1575, descended upon Milan the contagion which immortalized the charity of St Charles Borromeo. Fifty-four years later, in 1629, that unfortunate city was again exposed to the calamities of which Manzoni[379] has made a painting far superior to the celebrated picture by Boccaccio.

In 1660, the scourge was renewed in Europe and, in those two pestilences of 1629 and 1660, were reproduced the same symptoms of delirium as in the plague of Constantinople.

"Marseilles," says M. Lemontey[380], "was in 1720 concluding the festivals which had signalized the passage of Mademoiselle de Valois[381], married to the Duke of Modena[382]. Beside the galleys still decorated with garlands and filled with musicians lay some vessels which brought from the ports of Syria the most terrible calamity."

The fatal ship of which M. Lemontey speaks, having exhibited a clean bill, was for a moment admitted to pratique. That moment was enough to poison the air: a storm increased the evil, and the plague spread to the crash of thunder.

The gates of the city and the windows of the houses were closed. In the midst of the general silence, sometimes a window was heard to open and a corpse to fall. The walls streamed with its cankered blood, and dogs[Pg 231] without a master waited below to devour it. In one quarter, all of whose inhabitants had died, they had been walled up at home, as though to prevent death from leaving the house. From these avenues of great family-tombs, one came to open places in which the pavement was covered with sick and dying persons stretched on mattresses and abandoned without aid. Carcases lay half rotten with old clothes mixed with mud; other corpses stood upright against the walls, in the attitude in which they had expired.

All had fled, even the doctors; the bishop, M. de Belsunce[383], wrote:

"They ought to abolish the doctors, or at least to give us abler and less timorous ones. I have had great difficulty in having one hundred and fifty half-rotten corpses, which were lying around my house, removed."

Earlier plagues.

One day, the galley-slaves hesitated to fulfil their funeral functions: the apostle climbed into one of the tumbrils, sat down on a heap of corpses and ordered the convicts to proceed; death and virtue went off to the cemetery, drawn by vice and crime filled with dread and admiration. On the Esplanade de la Tourette, beside the sea, bodies had been lying for three weeks; and these, exposed to the sun and melted by its rays, offered merely an infected lake to the sight On this surface of liquefied flesh, only the worms imparted some movement to crushed, vague forms which might possess human shape.

When the contagion began to relax, M. de Belsunce, at the head of his clergy, repaired to the church of the Accoules; mounting on an esplanade commanding a view of Marseilles, the harbours and the sea, he gave the benediction, even as the Pope, in Rome, blesses the city and the world: what braver and purer hand could there be to bring down the blessings of Heaven upon so many misfortunes?

It was thus that the plague devastated Marseilles and, five years after these calamities, the following inscription was placed upon the frontage of the Town Hall, resembling the pompous epitaphs which we read on a sepulchre:

Massilia Phocensium filia, Romæ soror, Carthaginis terror,
Athenarum æmula
.

[Pg 232]

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, May 1832.

The cholera, starting from the delta of the Ganges in 1817, has spread over a space measuring 2,200 leagues from north to south and 3,500 leagues from east to west; it has wasted 1,400 towns and mowed down 40,000,000 inhabitants. We have a chart tracing the conqueror's march. It has taken fifteen years to come from India to Paris: this means going as fast as Bonaparte; the latter occupied almost the same number of years in passing from Cadiz to Moscow, and he caused the death of only two or three millions of men.

What is the cholera? Is it a mortal wind? Is it insects which we swallow and which devour us? What is this great black death armed with its scythe which, crossing mountains and seas, has come, like one of those terrible pagodas worshipped on the shores of the Ganges, to crush us under its chariot-wheels on the banks of the Seine? If this scourge had fallen in the midst of us in a religious age, if it had spread amid the poetry of manners and of popular beliefs, it would have left a striking picture behind it. Imagine a pall waving by way of a flag from the top of the towers of Notre-Dame; the cannon firing single shots at intervals to warn the imprudent traveller to turn back; a cordon of troops surrounding the city and allowing none to enter or leave; the churches filled with a growing multitude; the priests, by day and night, chanting the prayers of a perpetual agony; the Viaticum carried from house to house with bell and candle; the church-bells incessantly tolling the funeral knell; the monks, crucifix in hand, in the open places, summoning the people to repentance, preaching the wrath and judgment of God, made manifest by the corpses already blackened by Hell's fires.

Then the closed shops; the pontiff, surrounded by his clergy, going, with each rector at the head of his parish, to fetch the shrine of St. Geneviève; the sacred relics carried round the town, preceded by the long procession of the different religious orders, brotherhoods, corporations, congregations of penitents, associations of veiled women, scholars of the University, ministers of the alms-houses, soldiers marching without arms or with pikes reversed; the Miserere chanted by the priests mingling with the hymns of girls and children: all, at certain signals, prostrating themselves in silence and rising to utter fresh complaints.

[Pg 233]

There was none of all this with us: the cholera came to us in an age of philanthropy, of incredulity, of newspapers, of material administration[384]. This scourge devoid of imagination came upon no old cloisters, nor monks, nor cellars, nor Gothic tombs: like the Terror of 1793, it stalked abroad with a mocking air, in the light of day, in a quite new world, accompanied by its bulletin, which recited the remedies that had been employed against it, the number of victims that it had made, how matters stood, the hopes that were entertained of seeing it come to an end, the precautions that had to be taken to ensure one's self against it, what one should eat, how one ought to dress. And every one continued to attend to his business, and the theatres were filled. I have seen drunkards at the barrier, seated outside the pot-house door, drinking, at a little wooden table, and saying, as they raised their glasses:

"Here's your health, Morbus!"

The visitation of 1832.

Morbus, out of gratitude, came running up, and they fell dead under the table. The children played at cholera, calling it "Nicholas Morbus" and "Morbus the Rascal." And yet the cholera had its terrible side: the brilliant sunshine, the indifference of the crowd, the ordinary course of life, which was continued everywhere, gave a new character and a different sort of frightfulness to those days of pestilence. You felt uncomfortable in every limb; you were parched by a cold, dry north wind; the atmosphere had a certain metallic flavour which hurt the throat. In the Rue du Cherche-Midi, wagons of the artillery-depot were used to cart away the dead bodies. In the Rue de Sèvres, which was completely devastated, especially on one side, the hearses came and went from door to door; there were not enough of them to satisfy the demand; a voice would shout from the window:

"Here, hearse, this way!"

The driver answered that he was full up and could not[Pg 234] attend to everybody. One of my friends, M. Pouqueville, on his way to dine at my house on Easter Sunday, was stopped at the Boulevard du Mont-Parnasse by a succession of biers, nearly all of which were carried by bearers. He saw, in this procession, the coffin of a young girl, on which was laid a wreath of white roses. A smell of chlorine spread a tainted atmosphere in the wake of this floral ambulance.

On the Place de la Bourse, where processions of workmen used to meet, singing the Parisienne, one often saw funerals pass by towards the Montmartre Cemetery as late as eleven o'clock at night, by the light of pitch torches. The Pont-Neuf was blocked with litters laden with patients for the hospitals or dead who had expired on the road. The toll ceased for some days on the Pont des Arts. The booths disappeared and, as the north-east wind was blowing, all the stall-holders and all the shopkeepers on the quays closed their doors. One met tilted conveyances preceded by a "crow," or mute, with a registrar of births, deaths and marriages walking in front, dressed in mourning, and carrying a list in his hand. There was a dearth of these tabellions, or registrars; they had to send for more from Saint-Germain, the Villette, Saint-Cloud. For the rest, the hearses were piled up with five or six coffins, kept in place with ropes. Omnibuses and hackney-coaches were employed for the same purpose: it was not uncommon to see a cab adorned with a dead body stretched across the apron. A few of the dead were laid out in the churches: a priest sprinkled holy water over those collected faithful of Eternity.

In Athens, the people believed that the wells near the Piræus had been poisoned; in Paris, the tradesmen were accused of poisoning their wine, spirits, sugar-plums and provisions. Several individuals had their clothes torn from their backs, were dragged in the gutter, flung into the Seine. The authorities were to blame for these stupid or guilty opinions.

How did the scourge, like an electric spark, pass from London to Paris? It cannot be explained. This fantastic death often fixes on a spot of the ground, on a house, and leaves the neighbourhood of that infested spot untouched; then it retraces its steps and picks up what it has forgotten. One night, I felt myself attacked: I was seized with a shivering, together with cramp in my legs; I did not want to ring, for fear of frightening Madame de Chateaubriand. I got up; I heaped all I could find in my room on the[Pg 235] bed, got back under the blankets, and a copious perspiration pulled me through. But I remained shattered, and it was in this condition of discomfort that I was obliged to write my pamphlet on the 12,000 francs of Madame la Duchesse de Berry.

The 12,000 francs of Madame.

I should not have been too sorry to go, carried off under the arm of the eldest son of Vishnu, whose distant glance killed Bonaparte upon his rock at the entrance to the Indian Sea. If all mankind, stricken with this general contagion, came to die, what would happen? Nothing: the world, depopulated, would continue its solitary course, without need of any other astronomer to count its steps than Him who has measured them from all eternity; it would present no change to the eyes of the inhabitants of the other planets; they would see it fulfilling its accustomed functions; upon its surface, our little works, our cities, our monuments would be replaced by forests restored to the sovereignty of the lions; no void would manifest itself in the universe. And nevertheless there would be lacking that human intelligence which knows the stars and rises to a knowledge of their Author. What art thou then, O immensity of the works of God, in which, if the genius of man, which is equal to the whole of nature, came to disappear, it would be no more missed than the smallest atom withdrawn from Creation?

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, May 1832.

Madame de Berry has her chamber council in Paris, as Charles X. has his: paltry sums were collected in her name to succour the poorer of the Royalists. I proposed to distribute among the cholera patients a sum of twelve thousand francs on behalf of the mother of Henry V. We wrote to Massa, and not only did the Princess approve of the disposition of the funds, but she would have liked us to apportion a more considerable sum: her approval arrived on the day on which I sent the money to the mayors' offices. Thus, everything is strictly true in my explanations concerning the gift of the exile. On the 14th of April, I sent the whole sum to the Prefect of the Seine to be distributed among the indigent class of the cholera-stricken population of Paris. M. de Bondy was not at the Hôtel de Ville when my letter was taken there. The Secretary-general opened my missive, and did not consider himself authorized to receive the money. Three days elapsed; M. de Bondy replied at last that he could[Pg 236] not accept the twelve thousand francs, because people would see in it, beneath an apparent benevolence, "a political combination against which the entire population of Paris would protest by its refusal[385]." Then my secretary went to the twelve mayors' offices. Of five mayors who were present, four accepted the gift of a thousand francs; one refused it. Of the seven mayors who were absent, five kept silence; two refused[386]. I was forthwith besieged by an army of paupers: benevolent and charitable societies, workmen of all kinds, women and children. Polish and Italian exiles, men of letters, artists, soldiers, all wrote, all demanded a share in the bounty. If I had had a million, it would have been distributed in a few hours. M. de Bondy was wrong in saying that "the entire population of Paris would protest by its refusal:" the population of Paris will always take money from everybody. The scared attitude of the Government was enough to make one die of laughing: one would have thought that this perfidious legitimist money was[Pg 237] going to stir up the cholera patients, to excite an insurrection among the men dying in the hospitals to march to the assault of the Tuileries, with coffins rolling, with tolling of funeral knells, with winding-sheet unfurled under the command of Death. My correspondence with the mayors was prolonged through the complication of the refusal of the Prefect of Paris. Some of them wrote to me to send me back my money or to ask for the return of their receipts for the gifts of Madame la Duchesse de Berry. I sent these back loyally, and I handed the following receipt to the office of the Mayor of the 12th Ward:

Attitude of the Mayors.

"I have received from the Mayor's office of the 12th Ward the sum of one thousand francs which it had at first accepted and which it has returned to me by order of M. the Prefect of the Seine.

Paris, 22 April 1832."

The Mayor of the 9th Ward, M. Cronier, was braver: he kept the thousand francs and was dismissed. I wrote him this note:

"29 April 1832.

"Sir,

"I hear with keen sorrow of the disgrace of which Madame la Duchesse de Berry's benevolence has in your case been the cause or the pretext. You will have, for your consolation, the esteem of the public, the sense of your independence, and the happiness of having sacrificed yourself to the cause of the unfortunate.

"I have the honour, etc., etc."

The Mayor of the 4th Ward is a very different man: M. Cadet de Gassicourt, a poet-apothecary composing little verses, writing in his time, in the time of liberty and the Empire, an agreeable classical declaration against my romantic prose and that of Madame de Staël[387]. M. Cadet de Gassicourt is the hero who took the cross of the front of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois by assault, and who, in a[Pg 238] proclamation on the cholera, gave us to understand that possibly those wicked Carlists were the wine-poisoners to whom the people had already done ample justice[388]. And so the illustrious champion wrote me the following letter:

"Paris, 18 April 1832.

"Sir,

"I was not at the Mayor's office when the person sent by you called: this will explain to you the delay in my reply.

"M. the Prefect of the Seine, when declining to accept the money which you undertook to offer him, seems to me to have traced the line of conduct which the members of the Municipal Council must follow. I shall imitate M. the Prefect's example the more readily inasmuch as I think that I know and as I share the sentiments which must have prompted his refusal.

"I will refer only in passing to the title of 4 Royal Highness' given with some affectation to the person whose mouth-piece you constitute yourself: the daughter-in-law of Charles X. is no more a 'Royal Highness' in France than her father-in-law is King[389]! But, Sir, there is no one who is not morally convinced that this lady is very actively at work and that she is spending sums of money very much more considerable than that of which she has entrusted the employment to yourself to stir up trouble in our country and bring about civil war. The alms which she pretends to make are but a means for drawing upon herself and her party an attention and a kindly feeling which her intentions are far from justifying. You will therefore not think it extraordinary that a magistrate, firmly attached to the constitutional royalty of Louis-Philippe, should refuse a relief which comes from such a source and should look to true citizens for purer bounties addressed sincerely to humanity and the country.

"I am, Sir, with a very distinguished regard, etc.

"F. Cadet de Gassicourt."

[Pg 239]

Cadet de Gassicourt.

This is a very proud revolt on the part of M. Cadet de Gassicourt against "this lady" and her "father-in-law:" what a progress in enlightenment and philosophy! What indomitable independence! Messieurs Fleurant and Purgon dared not look people in the face except upon their knees[390]; he, M. Cadet, says, with the Cid:

"Then we rise up!"

His liberty is the more courageous inasmuch as that "father-in-law" (in other words, the descendant of St. Louis) is an outlaw. M. de Gassicourt is above all that: he despises equally the nobility of time and of misfortune. With the same contempt for aristocratic prejudices, he takes away my "de" and assumes it for himself, as though it were a conquest snatched from the petty gentry. But could there not have been some ancient historic quarrels between the House of Cadet and the House of Capet? Henry IV., the ancestor of that "father-in-law" who is no more King than that "lady" is a Royal Highness, was one day passing through the Forest of Saint-Germain: eight lords were lying in ambush there to kill the Bearnese; they were taken.

"One of those gallants," says L'Estoile, "was an apothecary who asked to speak with the King, of whom His Majesty having enquired of what condition he was, he answered that he was an apothecary.

"'What!' said the King. 'Is it the habit to perform the condition of an apothecary here? Do you lie in wait for the wayfarers to...?'"

Henry IV. was a soldier, modesty troubled him but little, and he ran away from a word no more than from the enemy.

I suspect M. de Gassicourt, because of his ill-humour towards the descendant of Henry IV., of being himself the descendant of the apothecary-Leaguer. The Mayor of the 4th Ward had doubtless written to me in the hope that I would engage him in mortal combat; but I do not care to engage M. Cadet in anything: I hope that he will forgive me for leaving him this little token of my remembrance.

*

Since the days when the great revolutions and the great[Pg 240] revolutionaries passed before my eyes, everything had shrivelled greatly. The men who caused the fall of an oak, replanted when too old to take root, applied to me; they asked me for a portion of the widow's mite to buy bread: the letter from the Committee of the décorés de Juillet, or "Knights of July," is a document worth noting for the instruction of posterity.

"Paris, 20 April 1832.

"Please address your reply to M. Gibert-Arnaud,
"Manager and Secretary to the Committee,
"3, Rue Saint-Nicaise.

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"The members of our Committee approach you with confidence to ask you kindly to honour them with a gift in favour of the Knights of July. Any benevolence shown to these unhappy fathers of families, at this time of plague and misery, inspires the sincerest gratitude. We venture to hope that you will consent to allow your illustrious name to figure beside those of General Bertrand, General Exelmans, General Lamarque, General La Fayette, and several ambassadors, peers of France and deputies.

"We beg you to honour us with a word in reply, and if, contrary to our expectation, our request should meet with a refusal, be good enough to return us the present letter.

"With the gentlest sentiments, we beg you, monsieur le vicomte, to accept the homage of our respectful salutations.

"The active members of the Constitutive Committee of the Knights of July:

"Faure, Visiting Member.
"Cyprien Desmarais, Special Commissary.
"Gibert-Arnaud, Manager and Secretary.
"Tourel, Assistant Member."

I was too wise not to take the advantage which the Revolution of July here gave me over itself. By distinguishing between persons, one would create helots among the unfortunate, who, because of certain political opinions, might never obtain relief. I lost no time in sending a hundred francs to these gentlemen, with this note:

"Paris, 22 April 1832.

"Gentlemen,

"I am infinitely grateful to you for applying to me to come to the assistance of some unhappy fathers[Pg 241] of families. I hasten to send you the sum of one hundred francs: I regret that I am not able to offer you a more considerable gift.

"I have the honour, etc.

"Chateaubriand."

The following receipt was sent to me by return:

The knights of July.

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"I have the honour to thank you and to acknowledge the receipt of the sum of one hundred francs devoted by your kindness to the succour of the unfortunates of July.

"Greetings and respects.

"Gibert-Arnaud,

"Manager and Secretary to the Committee.

"23 April."

And so Madame la Duchesse de Berry gave charity to those who had driven her from the country. The transactions show things in their true light. How can one believe in any reality in a country where no one looks after the invalids of his party, where the heroes of yesterday are the destitute persons of to-day, where a little gold makes the multitude hurry to one like pigeons in a farm-yard flocking to the hand that flings grain to them.

Four thousand francs of my twelve remained. I addressed myself to religion; Monseigneur the Archbishop of Paris[391] wrote me this noble letter:

"Paris, 26 April 1832.

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"Charity is catholic like faith, foreign to men's passions, independent of their movements: one of its chief distinguishing characteristics is that, as St. Paul says, it worketh no evil[392]: non cogitat malum. It blesses the hand that gives and the hand that receives, without attributing to the generous benefactor any other motive than that of doing good and without asking of the indigent poor any other condition than that of need. It accepts with deep and feeling gratitude the gift which the august widow has charged you to confide to it to be employed[Pg 242] for the relief of our unfortunate brothers, the victims of the plague which is devastating the Capital.

"It will distribute with the most scrupulous fidelity the four thousand francs which you have handed me on her behalf, and for which my letter is a new receipt; but I shall have the honour to send you an account of the distribution when the intentions of the benefactress have been fulfilled.

"Be so good, monsieur le vicomte, as to present to Madame la Duchesse de Berry the thanks of a pastor and a father who daily offers his life to God for his sheep and his children and who calls on every side for help capable of levelling their wretchedness. Her royal heart has already doubtless found within itself its reward for the sacrifice which she has devoted to our misfortunes: religion ensures to her, moreover, the effect of the divine promises set forth in the book of the Beatitudes for those who are 'merciful[393].'

"The money has been divided without delay among the rectors of the twelve principal parishes of Paris, to whom I have addressed the letter of which I enclose a copy.

"Receive, monsieur le vicomte, the assurance, etc.

"Hyacinthe, Archbishop of Paris."

One is always amazed to realize in how high a degree religion suits even style and gives an immediate gravity and seemliness to commonplaces. This forms a contrast with the heap of anonymous letters which have become mixed with the letters I have quoted. The spelling of these anonymous letters is fairly correct, the hand-writing neat: they are, properly speaking, "literary," like the Revolution of July. They display scribbling jealousies, hatreds, vanities, safe in the inviolability of a cowardice which, refraining to show its face, cannot be made visible by a blow. Here are some samples:

"Will you let us know, you old républiquinquiste, the day on which you would like to grease your moccasins? It will be easy for us to procure you some Chouan's fat, and, should you want some of your friends' blood to write their history in, there is no lack of it in the Paris mud, its element.

"You old brigand, ask your rascally and worthy friend Fitz-James if he liked the stone which he received in his feudal part Pack of scoundrels that you are, we'll pull your guts from your stomachs," etc., etc.

[Pg 243]

In another missive, I find a very well-drawn gallows, with these words:

"Go down on your knees to a priest and make an act of contrition, for we want your old head to put an end to your treacheries."

For the rest, the cholera still continues: the answer which I might address to a known or unknown adversary would perhaps reach him when he was lying on his threshold. If, on the contrary, he were destined to live, where would his reply find me? Perhaps in that resting-place of which no one can be frightened to-day, especially we men who have lengthened out our years between the Terror and the Plague, the first and last horizons of our lives. A truce: let the coffins pass.

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, 10 June 1832.

General Lamarque's[394] funeral has brought about two days of bloodshed and the victory of the sham Legitimacy over the Republican Party[395]. This incomplete and divided party has made an heroic resistance.

Paris in state of siege.

Paris has been declared in a state of siege[396]: this is the censorship on the largest possible scale, a censorship in the manner of the Convention, with this difference, that a military commission takes the place of the Revolutionary Tribunal. They are shooting, in June 1832, the men who achieved the victory in July 1830: that same Polytechnic School, that same artillery of the National Guard are being sacrificed; they conquered the power for those who are crushing, disowning and disbanding them. The Republicans are certainly[Pg 244] wrong to have cried up measures of anarchy and disorder: but why did you not employ such noble arms on our frontiers? They would have delivered us from the ignominious yoke of the foreigner. Generous, if exalted heads would not have remained to ferment in Paris, to blaze up against the humiliation of our foreign policy and the bad faith of the new Royalty. You have been pitiless, you who, without sharing the dangers of the Three Days, have gathered their fruit. Go now with the mothers to identify the corpses of those knights of July from whom you hold places, riches and honours. Young men, you do not all obtain the same lot on the same shore! You have a tomb under the colonnade of the Louvre and a place in the Morgue: some for snatching, others for bestowing a crown. Your names, who knows them, you sacrifices and for-ever-unknown victims of a memorable revolution? Is the blood known that cements the monuments which men admire? The workmen who built the Great Pyramid for the corpse of an unglorious king[397], sleep forgotten in the sand near the needy root that served to feed them during their labours.

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, end of July 1832.

Madame la Duchesse de Berry[398] no sooner sanctioned the measure of the 12,000 francs than she took ship for her famous adventure. The rising of Marseilles failed; there remained but to try the West; but the Vendean glory is a thing apart: it will live in our annals; in any case, seven-eighths of France has chosen a different glory, the object of jealousy or antipathy; the Vendée is an Oriflamme venerated and admired in the treasure of Saint-Denis,[Pg 245] under which youth and the future will henceforth gather no longer.

Madame lands in France.

Madame, when she landed, like Bonaparte, on the coast of Provence, did not see the White Flag fly from steeple to steeple: deceived in her expectation, she found herself almost alone on shore with M. de Bourmont. The marshal wanted to make her recross the frontier at once; she asked to have the night to think it over; she slept well among the rocks to the sound of the sea; in the morning, on waking, she found a noble dream in her thoughts:

"Since I am on French soil, I will not leave it; let us set out for the Vendée."

M. de ——[399], informed by a faithful man, took her in his carriage as his wife, crossed the whole of France with her, and has put her down at ——-[400]. She has remained some time in a country-house without being recognised by anybody, except the curate of the place. The Maréchal de Bourmont is to join her in the Vendée by another road.

Informed of all this in Paris, it was easy for us to foresee the result. The enterprise has a further drawback for the Royalist Cause: it will discover the weakness of that cause and dispel illusions. If Madame had not gone to the Vendée, France would always have believed that in the West there was a royalist camp standing at ease, as I called it.

But however, there remained still one means of saving Madame and casting a new veil over the truth: the Princess should have left again at once; arriving at her own risk and peril, like a brave general who comes to review his army, to moderate its impatience and its ardour, she would have declared that she had hastened to tell her soldiers that the moment for action was not yet favourable, that she would return to place herself at their head when the occasion should summon her. Madame would at least have once shown a Bourbon to the Vendeans: the shades of the Cathelineaus, the d'Elbées, the Bonchamps, the La Rochejacqueleins, the Charettes would have rejoiced.

[Pg 246]

Our committee met: while we were discoursing, there came from Nantes a captain, who told us the place where the heroine is staying. The captain is a good-looking young man, brave as a sailor, eccentric as a Breton. He disapproved of the enterprise; he thought it mad; but he said:

"Madame is not going away: it is a question of dying, and that is all; and then, gentlemen of the council, have Walter Scott hanged, for he is the real culprit!"

I thought that we ought to write what we felt to the Princess. M. Berryer[401], who was preparing to go to defend a case at Quimper[402], generously offered to take the letter and to see Madame if he could. When it became necessary to draw up the note, no one thought of writing it: I undertook to do so[403].

Our messenger set out, and we awaited events. I soon received, by post, the following note, which had not been[Pg 247] sealed and which had doubtless come under the eyes of the authorities:

Letter from Berryer.

"Angoulême, 7 June.

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"I had received and forwarded your letter of Friday last, when, on Sunday, the Prefect of the Loire-Inférieure[404] sent word requiring me to leave the town of Nantes[405]. I was on my way and at the gates of Angoulême; I have just been taken before the Prefect, who has notified me of an order from M. de Montalivet[406] by which I am to be taken back to Nantes under an escort of gendarmes. Since my departure from Nantes, the Department of the Loire-Inférieure has been placed under martial law, and, by this entirely illegal transfer, I am made subject to the laws of exception. I am writing to the Minister to ask him to have me taken to Paris; he will receive my letter by the same post. The object of my journey to Nantes seems to have been utterly misinterpreted. Decide therefore whether, in the light of your prudence, you will think it right to mention the matter to the Minister. I apologize for addressing this request to you; but I have no one to whom to apply but yourself.

"Pray believe, monsieur le vicomte, in my old and sincere attachment, and in my profound respect.

"Your most devoted servant,

"Berryer the Younger."

"P.S.—There is not a moment to lose if you are willing to see the Minister. I am going to Tours, where his new orders will still find me on Sunday; he can dispatch them either by telegraph or express."

I informed M. Berryer, in the following reply, of the decision to which I came:

"Paris, 10 June 1832.

"I received your letter, monsieur, dated Angoulême, the 7th instant. It was too late for me to see M. the Minister of the Interior, as you wished; but I wrote to him at once,[Pg 248] sending him your own letter enclosed in mine. I hope that the mistake which occasioned your arrest will soon be admitted and that you will be restored to liberty and to your friends, among whom I beg you to number myself.

"A thousand hearty compliments, with the renewed assurance of my sincere and entire devotion.

"Chateaubriand."

Here is my letter to the Minister of the Interior:

"Paris, 9 June 1832.

"Monsieur le ministre de l'intérieur,

"I have this moment received the enclosed letter. As I should probably not be able to see you as quickly as M. Berryer wishes, I have decided to send you his letter. His complaint appears to me to be justified: he will be innocent in Paris as at Nantes and at Nantes as in Paris; this is a thing which the authorities must admit and, by righting M. Berryer's complaint, they will avoid giving a retroactive effect to the law. I venture to hope all, monsieur le comte, from your impartiality.

"I have the honour to be, etc., etc.

"Chateaubriand."


[330] This book was written in Paris and Geneva, from October 1830 to June 1832.—T.

[331] This and the following pages were written in March and April 1831.—B.

[332] The Études historiques.—B.

[333] The trial of the ministers before the Court of Peers commenced on the 15th and ended on the 21st of December 1830. The verdict condemned the Prince de Polignac to perpetual imprisonment on the continental territory of the Kingdom, declared him to have forfeited his titles, rank and Orders, declared him besides to be civilly dead and subject to all the other effects of the penalty of transportation. Messieurs de Peyronnet, de Chantelauze and de Guernon-Ranville were condemned to imprisonment for life.—B.

[334] The sack of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois and the pillage of the Archbishop's Palace took place on the 14th and 15th of February 1831.—B.

The Duc de Berry was murdered on the 13th of February 1820—T.

[335] Félix Cadet de Gassicourt the Younger (1789-1861), chemist and druggist and Mayor of the 4th Ward of Paris.—B.

[336] "Mayeux," the hunchbacked type of the political versatility of the French nation, was an invention of the caricaturists and the comic papers of the year 1831. According to them, Messidor Napoleon Louis Charles Philippe Mayeux, born on the 14th of July 1789, while his father was engaged in taking the Bastille, had taken various Christian names according to the different forms of government which he had in turn espoused or repudiated. He had not been much heard of before 1830, but the sun of July had at last brought him into the light of day. For twelve months, Paris saw, talked, thought, swore, above all, by none save Mayeux. He was in turns a Republican, a Bonapartist, a juste-milieu man: everything, in short, except a Carlist; for he was faithful to his resentment against a mounted Grenadier of the Royal Guard who had failed to see him behind a curb-post and had laughed at him when he said:

"Take care, soldier; there's a man in front of you."

Mayeux was a National Guard: that caused his death. One day he was struck off the roll for being guilty of making his brother bisets laugh while under arms. He died of grief and shame a few weeks later: on the 23rd of December 1821, to be exact (Cf. the chapter on Mayeux in Bazin: L'Époque sans nom).—B.

[337] Chateaubriand's pamphlet appeared on the 24th of March 1831.—B.

[338] Études et discours historiques sur la chute de l'Empire romain, la naissance et le progrès du Christianisme et l'invasion des Barbares; suivis d'une Analyse raisonnée de l'histoire de France (Paris: 4 vols. 8vo). The Études historiques were published on the 4th of April 1831.—B.

[339] The fall of the Roman Empire.—Author's Note.

[340] Chateaubriand left for Switzerland on the 16th of May 1831; he arrived at Geneva on the 23rd of May.—B.

[341] De la Restauration et de la Monarchie élective.—Author's Note.

[342] This refers to my literary and to my political career, which had been left behind: the voids have since been filled by what I have lately written in the last two years, 1838 and 1839.—Author's Note (Paris, 1839).

[343] Hyacinthe has the habit of copying, almost in spite of my wishes, the letters which I write and receive, because he maintains that he has observed that I am often attacked by persons who once wrote to me in terms of endless admiration and applied to me with requests for services. When this happens, he rummages in bundles known to him alone and, comparing the insulting article with the encomiastic epistle, says to me:

"You see, monsieur, that I acted well!"

I do not agree with him at all: I attach not the smallest belief nor the least importance to the opinion of men; I take them for what they are and esteem them for what they are worth. As far as I am concerned, I will never contrast for their benefit what they have said of me in public with what they have said to me in private; but this amuses Hyacinthe. I had kept no copy of my letters to Madame Récamier; she has had the kindness to lend them to me.—Author's Note (Paris, 1836).

[344] This letter and those which follow are exactly true to the originals:

"The letters," says Madame Lenormant, "which M. de Chateaubriand wrote to Madame Récamier during his stay in Switzerland, have been printed in the Mémoires d'Outre-tombe. We have collated them with the originals and, this time, have found them to be reproduced with scrupulous fidelity" (Souvenirs et Correspondance tirés des papiers de Madame Récamier, Vol. II.).—B.

[345] Elleviou (1772-1842) was this "singular personage," as the enclosure shows. Elleviou was a famous singer, during the Consulate and the Empire, at the Théâtre Feydeau. The Maison à vendre, words by Alexandre Duval, music by Dalayrac, was one of the pieces in which he made most success. He retired from the stage in 1813 and devoted himself to agriculture in the neighbourhood of Lyons. Elleviou was, like Chateaubriand, a Breton: he was born at Rennes, where his father was a surgeon.—B.

[346] It was easy for Madame Récamier's hand-writing to be smaller than that of Chateaubriand, who wrote in characters half-an-inch in height, and as though the alphabet contained only capital letters.—B.

[347] Jean Chauvin, Cauvin, or Caulvin (1509-1564), generally known as John Calvin, the Protestant reformer, fled from France to Geneva in 1536, was banished in 1538, returned in 1541, and lived there till the day of his death. He founded the Academy of Geneva in 1559.—T.

[348] A cousin of Benjamin Constant.—B.

[349] Albertine Adrienne Necker de Saussure (1766-1841), daughter to Horace Bénédicte de Saussure, the naturalist, and cousin to Madame de Staël. Madame Necker was the author of the Éducation progressive, ou Étude du cours de la vie, which was crowned by the French Academy in 1839.—B.

[350] Delphine Gay, later Madame Émile de Girardin (1804-1855), daughter of Madame Sophie Gay, and married to Émile de Girardin in 1831. She was the author of a number of comedies, novels and poems, and of Lettres parisiennes, contributed to the Presse from 1836 to 1848.—T.

[351] I omit this poem of nine stanzas, entitled the Naufragé.—T.

[352] The Pâquis are a quarter of Geneva stretching along the right bank of the lake from the Rue du Mont-Blanc to near the Lausanne road.—B.

[353] Alexandre César Comte de Lapanouze (1764-1836) was a captain in the Navy at the time of the Revolution, resigned, and found himself completely ruined. Under the Second Restoration, he founded a banking-house in Paris which soon became one of the most important in the Capital. He was a deputy from 1822 to 1827, supported the Villèle Administration and, in 1827, was created a peer of France. Lapanouze retired from politics after the events of July and withdrew to his estate of Tiregant in Gascony.—B.

[354] Cristina Principessa Belgiojoso (1808-1871), née Trivulzio. She settled in early life in Paris, where she was noted for her wit and beauty and the independence of her opinions and her life. She became the friend of many celebrated writers, particularly of Alfred de Musset. In 1848, she flung herself with ardour into the revolutionary movement, hastened to Milan, which had risen in revolt, and furnished a battalion of volunteers at her own cost. She was the author of a number of works of travel and history, and, according to Balzac, was the original of the Duchesse de San-Severino in de Stendhal's Chartreuse de Parme.—B.

[355] Ferney is a village about four miles from Geneva, in which Voltaire resided from 1758 to 1778.—T.

[356] Cf. Voltaire: Zaïre, in which tragedy Orosmane is the name of the Sultan of Jerusalem.—T.

[357] François Charles Hugues Laurent Pouqueville (1770-1838), a noted French traveller and historian, author of a Voyage en Morée et à Constantinople (1805), a Voyage en Grèce (1820-1822), an Histoire de la régénération de la Grèce (1825) and other works.—T.

[358] Armand Carrel had published in the Revue française (March and May 1828) some remarkable articles on Spain and the war of 1823, describing the Minan and Catalonian Campaigns and the adventures of the Liberal Foreign Legion.—B.

[359] The passion to which Chateaubriand alludes perhaps changed the course of Carrel's life. Shortly after the Revolution of July, on the 29th of August 1830, he was appointed Prefect of the Cantal. He refused, not because he was a Republican at that date, but because his connection with a married woman, from whom he was not willing to separate, made it impossible for him to accept any public function in the country.—B.

[360] A. M. de Chateaubriand, 1-2:

"Chateaubriand, why flee from thy land,
Flee from its love, from our incense and care?"—T.

[361] Ibid., 45-48:

"And in their fall thou wouldst wish to take part!
Learn their mad vanity better to know:
Thy faithfulness is by their thankless heart
Set 'midst the ills which to Heaven they owe."—T.

[362] Armand François Bon Claude Comte de Briqueville (1785-1844) was a member of an old family of Norman nobles. His father was shot by the Republicans on the 29th of May 1796. His mother, who was one of the first women of the great world to make use of the new divorce-law, caused her son to be given a republican education. He served with distinction under the Empire and, as Colonel of the 25th Dragoons, took part in the victory of Ligny. He was terribly wounded on returning to Paris after Waterloo. During the Restoration, the Comte de Briqueville was mixed up with several Bonapartist plots and, in 1827, was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. He approved of the Revolution of July and, on the 14th of September 1031, introduced a motion for the banishment of Charles X. and his family. The Comte de Briqueville, when the Duchesse de Berry was arrested, hastened to demand that she should be brought to trial; and he remained true to his hatred of the Bourbons to the last.—B.

[363] Chateaubriand's Letter to M. de Béranger, printed at the commencement of the pamphlet on the Briqueville Motion, was dated 24 September 1831. The pamphlet was published on the 31st of October 1831.—B.

[364] Tyrtæus (fl. circa 684 b.c.), the Spartan elegiac poet.—T.

[365] Auguste Marseille Barthélemy (1796-1867), the satirical poet and prose-writer, kept up a wager from March 1831 to April 1832, to publish a political satire weekly of several hundred verses and irreproachable form. They commenced in the thirty-first number of the Némésis. Finer talents were never prostituted to a baser cause.—B.

[366] M. Barthélemy has since gone over to the juste-milieu, not without an amount of imprecation on the part of many people who rallied only a little later.—Author's Note (Paris, 1837).

[367] The Conspiracy of the Rue des Prouvaires was not devoid of serious features. They were about three thousand in number. They lacked neither money nor courage. They had accomplices even among the palace servants; they were in possession of five keys opening the gates of the Tuileries Gardens, and admission to the Louvre had been promised them. A great ball was to take place at Court on the night of the 1st of February 1832. The conspirators chose that night to put their plot into execution. It was agreed that some should gather in detachments at different points in the Capital, thence to set out, at a preconcerted signal, and march towards the Palace; while others, gliding along the shade of the little streets which lead to the Louvre, were to make their way into the picture-gallery, burst through into the ball-room and, thanks to the disorder caused by this unexpected attack, seize hold of the Royal Family. "Crackers," or a kind of small bombs, would have been flung into the midst of the carriages waiting to take up at the doors of the Palace; chevalets, or pieces of wood fitted with iron spikes, would have been scattered under the hoofs of the horses; and, lastly, they thought themselves justified in hoping that fireworks would be placed in the theatre in such a way as to augment the confusion by setting fire to the wood-work.

The chief conspirators were to meet, at eleven o'clock in the evening, armed, at a tavern-keeper's at No. 12 in the Rue des Prouvaires. They had assembled there, to the number of one hundred, when suddenly the street filled with municipal guards and police-officers, who, in spite of the resistance of the ringleaders and their followers, were able to effect their arrest.

The trial opened before the Assize Court of the Seine on the 5th of July 1832. The accused were sixty-six in number, including eleven who were not in custody, and the pleadings occupied no less than eighteen sittings. Sentence was delivered on the 25th of July. Six of the accused were condemned to transportation; twelve to five years', four to two years', and five to one year's imprisonment. The remainder were acquitted. Among those sentenced to imprisonment was M. Piégard Sainte-Croix, an ardent Royalist, whose daughter, a "Carlist" like her father, subsequently married the celebrated socialist writer, Pierre Joseph Proudhon.—B.

[368] Louis Poncelet, alias Chevalier (d. 1805), a shoemaker, was the real leader of the plot, and gave proof throughout of rare qualities of intelligence, energy and audacity. At the trial, he was noted, above all the others, for the loyalty of his replies and for his skill in refraining from compromising his accomplices, while indifferent to his own danger. He was sentenced to transportation.—B.

[369] I kept back some passages of this long letter to insert them in my Explications sur mes 12,000 francs and, later, in my Mémoire sur la captivité de Madame la Duchesse de Berry.—Author's Note.

[370] Blanche of Castile, Queen of France (1187-1252), widow of Louis VIII. and mother of St. Louis IX. She acted as Regent from 1226-1236, during her son's minority, and again from 1248 to 1252, during his absence on a crusade to the Holy Land.—T.

[371] At Fornovo, the French under Charles VIII. defeated the Italians on the 6th of July 1495.—T.

[372] At Marignano, Francis I. gained a victory over the Swiss on the 13th and 14th of September 1515.—T.

[373] The French under Bonaparte, Masséna and Augereau defeated the Austrians at Areola on the 15th, 16th and 17th of November 1796.—T.

[374] 14 June 1800, when the French defeated the Austrians and finished the campaign in Northern Italy.—T.

[375] Casimir Périer, the Premier, died of consumption on the 16th of May 1832.—T.

[376] Marcus Annæus Lucanus, known as Lucan (39-65), the author of the Pharsalia etc.—T.

[377] Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), the author of the Decamerone, the hundred stones supposed to be told by a society of seven ladies and three gentlemen to shut out the horrors of the great plague of Florence in 1348.—T.

[378] Hippocrates (circa 460 B.C.—circa 377 B.C.), the famous Greek physician. "His alleged study of the great plague at Athens is not corroborated by a comparison with Thucydides' account" (Mahaffy: History of Classical Greek Literature).—T.

[379] In his Promessi Sposi.—T.

[380] Pierre Édouard Lemontey (1762-1826), elected a member of the French Academy in 1817, author of an Essai sur l'établissement monarchique de Louis XIV. and of the Histoire de la régence, from which latter work, published after his death, the above extract is quoted.—T.

[381] Charlotte Mademoiselle de Valois (1700-1761), daughter of the Regent Philippe II. Duc d'Orléans, and married in 1720 to ...

[382] Francis III. Duke of Modena (1698-1780).—T.

[383] Henri François Xavier de Belsunce de Castel Moron (1671-1755), a Jesuit father promoted to the See of Marseilles in 1709. He behaved with the greatest heroism during the plague which devastated the town in 1720 and 1721; and afterwards persistently refused promotion to a more important see.—T.

[384] After ravaging Asia and then Russia, Poland, Bohemia, Galicia, Austria, the cholera, passing over Western Europe, swooped down upon England. It declared itself on the 12th of February 1832 in London, whence it was not to disappear until the first week in May. On the 15th of March, it was noted at Calais. It struck its first victim in Paris, in the Rue Mazarine, on the 26th of March. The epidemic did not come to an end before the 30th of September, having lasted 189 days, during which the number of deaths from cholera amounted to 18,406. The population of Paris at that time was only 645,698 souls: the death-rate from cholera alone, therefore, was over 23 per 1,000.—B.

[385] M. de Bondy's letter ran as follows:

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"I regret that I cannot accept, in the name of the City of Paris, the 12,000 francs which you have done me the honour to send me. In the origin of the funds which you offer, people would see, beneath an apparent benevolence, a political combination against which the entire population of Paris would protest by its refusal.

"I am, etc.

"The Comte de Bondy,

"Prefect of the Seine."—B.

[386] The Constitutionnel announced that M. Berger, the Mayor of the 2nd Ward, had proposed to the Princess' envoy, "a former aide-de-camp of the Duc de Berry," to give the thousand francs offered in the Duchess' name "to the widow of a combatant of July, the mother of three children, to whom this relief would be very useful." The envoy whom the Constitutionnel thus transformed into an aide-de-camp of the Duc de Berry was none other than the worthy Hyacinthe Pilorge, Chateaubriand's secretary. Pilorge at once wrote to the Quotidienne:

"Paris, 20 April 1832.

"Sir,

"M. de Chateaubriand, although suffering from illness, is at this moment occupied in writing a general reply with reference to the gift of Madame la Duchesse de Berry; this reply will appear shortly. Meantime, I owe it to the interests of truth to say that M. the Mayor of the 2nd Ward did not present the widow of a combatant of July to me and did not propose that I should give her the thousand francs; he merely refused them: that is all. M. de Chateaubriand instructs me to add that if the widow of the Constitutionnel will be good enough to call on him, he is prepared to give her a share in the bounty of the mother of the Duc de Bordeaux. You see, Sir, that I have not the honour of having been an aide-de-camp of M. le Duc de Berry and that I am only the poor and faithful secretary of a man as poor and as faithful as myself.

"Pray accept, Sir, the assurance of my most distinguished regard,

"Hyacinthe Pilorge."—B.

[387] Chateaubriand has confused the two Cadets de Gassicourt, father and son. Cadet de Gassicourt the Elder (1760-1831) wrote short verses and published two little pamphlets directed against Chateaubriand and Madame de Staël: Saint-Géran, au la Nouvelle langue française (1807) and the Suite de Saint-Géran, ou Itinéraire de Lutèce au Mont-Valérien (1811). His son, F. Cadet de Gassicourt (1789-1861), was Mayor of the 4th Ward and the individual referred to above.—B.

[388] This proclamation of Cadet de Gassicourt's was posted on the walls of Paris on the 4th of April 1832. Couched in hateful and ridiculous terms, it practically called upon the populace to murder the Carlists, "those ancient tyrants, who are capable of adopting all methods and who do not blush to have a horrible plague as their auxiliary!"—B.

[389] This was a piece of ignorant clap-trap. As the daughter of Francis I. King of the Two Sicilies, the Duchesse de Berry was entitled to be styled "Royal Highness" in France or anywhere else.—T.

[390] Referring to the traditional attitude of the surgeon-apothecary.—T.

[391] Monseigneur de Quélen. (Cf. Vol. IV, p. III, n. I.)—T.

[392] Rom. XIII. 10.—T.

[393] Cf. Matt. v. 7.—T.

[394] Maximilien Comte Lamarque (1770-1832) took a distinguished part in all the campaigns of the Revolution and the Empire. He sat as a deputy throughout the Restoration on the side of the Opposition. General Lamarque died of cholera on the 1st of June 1832.—T.

[395] General Lamarque's funeral took place on the 5th of June 1832. The members of the secret societies, the schools, the men condemned for political offenses, the artillery of the National Guard, the foreign refugees had arranged to meet there. At a signal given by means of a red flag, the Republicans disarmed fixed posts, threw up barricades, pillaged the Arsenal and the shops, but were unable to draw over the workmen or the National Guard. General Lobeau, at the head of serious forces, swept the main thoroughfares and confined the insurrection between the Marché des Innocents and the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. By the morning of the 6th, it was reduced to impotence and abandoned by its own leaders. The day was none the less slaughterous, especially at the Cloître Saint-Merry and in the Rue des Arris.—B.

[396] By Royal Ordinance dated 6th June 1832.—B.

[397] Cheops, or Khufu, King of Egypt of the 4th Dynasty.—T.

[398] On the 24th of April 1832 the Duchesse de Berry left Massa on board a Sardinian steam-boat, the Carlo-Alberto, which she had chartered. She called at Nice, put out to sea again, and arrived in Marseilles waters on the 28th. She was accompanied by the Maréchal de Bourmont, the Comte de Kergorlay, the Vicomte, later Comte de Saint-Priest, Messieurs Emmanuel de Brissac, de Mesnard, Alexandre Sala, Édouard Led'huy, the Vicomte de Kergorlay, Charles and Adolphe de Bourmont, Alexis Sabatier, Ferrari, supercargo, and Mademoiselle Mathilde Lebeschu. She disembarked at night, in a heavy sea, at one of the most dangerous points of the coast. Concealed in the house of a game-keeper, M. Maurel, she awaited the result of the movement planned in Marseilles. At four o'clock in the afternoon on the 30th, Messieurs de Bonrecueil, de Bermond, de Lachaud and de Candoles, who had escaped from the town, arrived carrying this note:

"The movement has failed; you must leave France."—B.

[399] M. Alban de Villeneuve-Bargemont. He had furnished himself with a passport for himself, his wife and a man-servant: the Princess played the part of Madame de Villeneuve. The servant was the Comte, later Duc, de Lorges.—B.

[400] After spending nine days, from the 7th to the 16th of May, at the Château de Plassac, a few leagues from Blaye, with M. le Marquis de Dampierre, the Duchesse de Berry arrived, on the 17th, at the Château de la Preuille, near Montaigu, in the Vendée. The owner was Colonel de Nacquart.—B.

[401] Pierre Antoine Berryer (1790-1868), known as Berryer the Younger, to distinguish him from his father, Pierre Nicolas Berryer (1757-1841), himself a most distinguished advocate and the defender of Moreau and Ney. Berryer the Younger, after M. Chateaubriand's death, became the most eloquent supporter of the Legitimist Cause and leader of the party in France.—T.

[402] It was not at Quimper, but at Vannes, that Berryer was to go to defend a case, that of Commandant Guillemot, accused of Chouanism and brought before the Morbihan Assize Court on that count. Commandant Guillemot's trial was fixed for the 12th of June.—B.

[403] The text of Chateaubriand's note to the Duchesse de Berry ran as follows:

"The persons in whom an honourable confidence has been placed cannot refrain from expressing their regret at the counsels in consequence of which the present crisis has arisen. Those counsels were given by men who were doubtless filled with zeal, but who are acquainted with neither the actual state of things nor the disposition of men's minds. It is a mistake to believe in the possibility of a movement within Paris. One would not find twelve hundred men, unmixed with police agents, who, for a few crown-pieces, would make a noise in the streets and who would then have to fight the National Guard and a faithful garrison. One is mistaken about the Vendée as one was mistaken about the South. That land of devotion and of sacrifices is afflicted with a numerous army, aided by the population of the towns, which are almost all anti-legitimist. A rising of peasants would hereafter lead only to the looting of the country-side and the consolidation of the present Government by an easy triumph. We think that, if the mother of Henry V. were in France, she ought to leave without delay, after ordering all her leaders to remain quiet. In this way, instead of coming to organize civil war, she would have come to command peace; she would have had the double glory of achieving an act of great courage and preventing the shedding of French blood. The wise friends of the Legitimacy, who were never warned of what it was proposed to do, who were never consulted on the hazardous steps which it was proposed to take, and who learnt the facts only after they had been accomplished, throw the responsibility of those facts upon those who advised them and carried them through. They can neither merit honour nor incur blame in the chances of either fortune."—B.

[404] The Comte de Saint-Aignan.—B.

[405] Berryer was to leave not only the town of Nantes, but France, and to go to the waters of Aix-en-Savoie, according to the following itinerary endorsed on his passport: Bourbon-Vendée, Luçon, the Rochelle, Rochefort, Saintes, Angoulême, Clermont, Montbrison, the Puy, Lyons and Pont-de-Beau voisin.—B.

[406] The Comte de Montalivet was Minister of the Interior.—B.


[Pg 249]

BOOK II[407]

My arrest—I am transferred from my thieves' cell to Mademoiselle Gisquet's dressing-room—Achille de Harlay—The examining magistrate, M. Desmortiers—My life at M. Gisquet's—I am set at liberty—Letter to M. the Minister of Justice and his reply—I receive an offer of my peer's pension from Charles X.—My reply—Note from Madame la Duchesse de Berry—Letter to Béranger—I leave Paris—Diary from Paris to Lugano—M. Augustin Thierry—The road over the Saint-Gotthard—The Valley of Schöllenen—The Devil's Bridge—The Saint-Gotthard—Description of Lugano—The mountains—Excursions round about Lucerne—Clara Wendel—The peasants' prayer—M. Alexandre Dumas—Madame de Colbert—Letter to M. de Béranger—Zurich—Constance—Madame Récamier—Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu—Madame de Saint-Leu after reading M. de Chateaubriand's last letter—After reading a note signed "Hortense"—Arenenberg—I return to Geneva—Coppet—The tomb of Madame de Staël—A walk—Letter to Prince Louis Napoleon—Letters to the Minister of Justice, to the President of the Council, to Madame la Duchesse de Berry—I write my memorial on the captivity of the Princess—Circular to the editors of the newspapers—Extract from the Mémoire sur la captivité de madame la duchesse de Berry—My trial—Popularity.

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, end of July 1832.

One of my old friends, Mr. Frisell[408], an Englishman, had just lost, at Passy, his only daughter, aged seventeen years. I had gone, on the 19th of June, to the funeral of poor Eliza, whose portrait the pretty Madame Delessert was completing when Death put the finishing touch to it. Returning to my[Pg 250] solitude in the Rue d'Enfer, I had hardly gone to bed, full of the melancholy thoughts that arise from the association of youth, beauty and the grave, when, at four o'clock in the morning, on the 20th of June[409], Baptiste, who had long been in my service, entered my room, came up to the bed and said:

"Sir, the court-yard is full of men who have placed themselves at all the doors, after compelling Desbrosses to open the carriage-entrance; and there are three gentlemen asking to speak to you."

As he finished these words, the "gentlemen" entered, and the chief of them, very politely approaching my bed, told me that he had an order to arrest me and take me to the Prefecture of Police. I asked him if the sun had risen, as the law demanded, and if he was the bearer of a legal warrant; he did not answer for the sun, but he showed me the following judicial notice:

"Copy

"Prefecture of Police

"In the King's name.

"We, counsellor of State, Prefect of Police[410],

"In view of information in our possession,

"By virtue of Article X. of the Code of Criminal Instruction,

"Call upon the commissary or, if he be prevented, another to repair to the house of M. le Vicomte de Chateaubriand, or elsewhere if need be, he being accused of plotting against the safety of the State, in order there to seek for and seize all papers, correspondence and writings containing provocations to crimes and offenses against the public peace or liable to examination, as well as any seditious objects or arms which may be in his possession."

While I perused the declaration of the great "plotting against the safety of the State," of which I, poor I was accused, the captain of the police-spies said to his subordinates:

"Gentlemen, do your duty!"

The duty of those gentlemen consisted in opening every[Pg 251] cupboard, fumbling in every pocket, seizing all papers, letters and documents, reading the same, where possible, and discovering all arms, as appears from the warrant aforesaid.

I am arrested.

After reading over the document, addressing the worthy leader of those thieves of men and liberties:

"You know, sir," I said, "that I do not recognise your Government and that I protest against the violence which you are doing me; but, as I am not the stronger and as I have no wish to come to blows with you, I will get up and accompany you: pray take the trouble to be seated."

I dressed and, without taking anything with me, said to the venerable commissary:

"Sir, I am at your orders: are we going on foot?"

"No, sir, I took care to bring you a coach."

"You are very good, sir; let us start; but allow me to go to take leave of Madame de Chateaubriand. Will you permit me to enter my wife's room alone?"

"Sir, I will go with you to the door and wait for you."

"Very well, sir," and we went down.

Everywhere, on my road, I found sentries; a picket had been posted even on the boulevard, outside a little gate which opens at the bottom of my garden. I said to the leader:

"Those precautions were very useless; I have not the smallest wish to run away from you and escape."

The gentlemen had turned my papers topsy-turvy, but taken nothing. My big mameluke's sabre caught their attention; they whispered among themselves and ended by leaving the weapon under a heap of dusty folios, in the midst of which it lay beside a yellow-wood crucifix which I had brought from the Holy Land.

This dumb-show would almost have made me inclined to laugh, but I was cruelly distressed for Madame de Chateaubriand. Every one who knows her knows also the affection which she bears me, her ready alarm, the quickness of her imagination and the pitiful state of her health: this descent of the police and my removal might do her a terrible harm. She had already heard some noise and I found her sitting up in bed, listening quite terrified, as I entered her room at so unusual an hour.

"Ah, dear God!" she exclaimed. "Are you ill? Ah, dear God! What is happening? What is happening?"

And she was seized with a fit of trembling. I kissed her, with difficulty kept back my tears, and said:

"It is nothing; they have sent for me to make a statement[Pg 252] as a witness in a matter that has to do with a newspaper trial. It will all be over in a few hours and I shall come back to breakfast with you."

The police-spy had remained standing at the open door; he saw this scene and I said to him, as I returned to place myself in his hands:

"You see, sir, the effect of your somewhat matutinal visit."

I crossed the court-yard with my bumbailiffs; three of them got into the coach with me, the rest of the squad accompanied the capture on foot and we reached the yard of the Prefecture of Police unmolested.

The gaoler who was to put me under lock and key was not up: they woke him by tapping at his wicket and he went to prepare my lodging. While he was busy with this work, I walked up and down the yard with the Sieur Léotaud, who was guarding me. He chatted and said to me, in a friendly way, for he was very civil:

"Monsieur le vicomte, I have the great honour of remembering you; I have often presented arms to you, when you were a minister and used to come to the King's: I used to serve in the Body-guards. But what would you have one do? One has a wife and children; one must live!"

"You are right, Monsieur Léotaud; how much does this pay you?"

"Ah, monsieur le vicomte, that depends on our captures .... The perquisites are sometimes good and sometimes poor, just as in war."

During my walk, I saw the spies return in different disguises like maskers on Ash Wednesday coming down from the Courtille: they came to report on the doings of the night. Some were dressed as vendors of green-stuff, as street-hawkers, as charcoal-sellers, as market-porters, as old-clothes'-men, as rag-men, as organ-grinders; others wore wigs under which appeared hair of a different colour; others had false beards, whiskers and mustachios; others dragged their legs like respectable invalids and wore a dazzling red ribbon at their button-holes. They disappeared into a small yard and soon returned in other clothes, without mustachios, without beards, without whiskers, without wigs, without baskets, without wooden legs, without arms worn in a sling: all these birds of day-break of the police flew away and vanished as the light increased.

My lodging was ready, the gaoler came to tell us, and M. Léotaud, hat in hand, led me to the door of my honest[Pg 253] dwelling, saying, as he left me in the hands of the gaoler and his assistants:

"Monsieur le vicomte, I am your humble servant; I trust to have the pleasure of meeting you again."

And taken to prison.

The entrance-door closed behind me. Preceded by the gaoler, who carried his keys, and went before his two men, who followed me to prevent me from turning tail, I went up a narrow stair-case till I came to the second floor. A little dark passage led to a door: the turnkey opened it; I followed him into my box. He asked me if I wanted anything: I answered that I would have breakfast in an hour. He told me that there were a coffee-house and a tavern which supplied prisoners with all that they wanted for their money. I bagged my keeper to send me some tea and, if possible, some hot and cold water and towels. I gave him twenty francs in advance: he withdrew respectfully, promising to return.

Left alone, I inspected my den: its length was a little greater than its width, and its height was perhaps some seven or eight feet. The walls, stained and bare, were scribbled over with the prose and verse of my predecessors, and especially with the scrawl of a woman who said much that was insulting about the juste-milieu.[411] A pallet, with dirty sheets, took up half of my cell; a plank, supported by two brackets fastened against the wall, two feet above the pallet, served as a cupboard for the prisoners' linen, boots and shoes: a chair and a sordid article composed the rest of the furniture.

My faithful keeper brought me the towels and jugs of water that I had asked for; I besought him to take away from the bed the dirty sheets and the yellow woollen blanket, to remove the pail, which was choking me, and to sweep out my den after first sprinkling it All the works of the juste-milieu having been carried off, I shaved; I poured the water from my jug over myself, I changed my linen: Madame de Chateaubriand had sent me a little parcel; I set out all my things on the plank over my bed as though I were in the cabin of a ship. When this was done, my breakfast arrived, and I took my tea on my well-washed table, which I covered[Pg 254] with a clean napkin. Soon they came to fetch the utensils of my matutinal feast and I was left alone, duly locked in.

My cell was lighted only by a grated window which opened very high up; I placed my table under this window and climbed on the table to breathe and to enjoy the light Through the bars of my thieves' cell, I saw only a yard, or rather a dark and narrow passage, with gloomy buildings with bats fluttering around them. I heard the clanking of keys and chains, the noise of policemen and spies, the foot-steps of soldiers, the movement of arms, the shouting, the laughter, the licentious songs of the prisoners, my neighbours, the yells of Benoît[412], condemned to death for the murder of his mother and his obscene friend. I caught these words uttered by Benoît between his confused exclamations of fear and repentance:

"Ah, my mother, my poor mother!"

I was seeing the under side of society, the sores of humanity, the hideous machines by which this world is moved.

I thank the men of letters, those great partisans of the liberty of the press, who formerly had taken me for their leader and fought under my orders: but for them, I should have left this life without knowing what prison was, and I should have missed this ordeal. I recognise in this delicate attention the genius, the goodness, the generosity, the honour, the courage of the placed penmen. But, after all, what was this short trial? Tasso spent years in a dungeon; and shall I complain? No; I have not the mad pride to measure my vexation of a few hours with the prolonged sacrifices of the immortal victims whose names history has preserved.

Moreover, I was not at all unhappy; the genius of my past grandeurs and of my thirty-year-old "glory" did not appear to me; but my Muse of former days, very poor, very unknown, came all radiant to kiss me through my window: she was charmed with my lodging and quite inspired; she found me again as she had seen me in my wretchedness in London, when the first visions of René were wafting in my head. What were we going to compose, the solitary of Mount Pindus and I? A song, in imitation of that poor[Pg 255] poet Lovelace[413], who, in the gaols of the English Commons, sang King Charles I., his master? No; the voice of a prisoner would have seemed to me to be of ill-omen for my little King Henry V.: it is from the foot of the altar that hymns should be addressed to misfortune. I did not therefore sing the crown fallen from an innocent brow; I contented myself with telling of another crown, white also, laid on a young girl's bier: I remembered Eliza Frisell, whom I had seen buried the day before in the cemetery at Passy. I began a few elegiac verses of a Latin epitaph; but suddenly I was in doubt as to the quantity of a word: I quickly sprang from the table on which I was perched, leaning against the bars of the window, and ran to the door, on which I rained blows with my fist. The neighbouring dens rang out; the gaoler came up in dismay, followed by two gendarmes; he opened my wicket, and I cried, as Santeuil[414] would have done:

"A Gradus! A Gradus!"

My life in prison.

The gaoler opened his eyes, the gendarmes thought that I was revealing the name of one of my accomplices; they were quite ready to handcuff me; I explained; I gave them money to buy the book, and they went off to ask the astonished police for a Gradus.

While they were attending to my commission, I clambered up on my table again and, changing my ideas on that tripod, set myself to compose strophes on the death of Eliza; but, when I was in the midst of my inspiration, at about three o'clock, behold tipstaffs entering my cell and bodily apprehending me on the banks of Permessus: they took me to the examining magistrate, who sat drawing out instruments in a gloomy office, opposite my prison, on the other side of the yard. The magistrate, a fatuous and pompous young limb of the law, put the usual questions to me as to my surname, Christian names, age and place of residence. I refused to answer or sign anything whatever, declining to recognise the political authority of a government which was able to[Pg 256] point neither to the ancient hereditary right nor the election of the people, since France had not been consulted and no national congress summoned. I was taken back to my mouse-trap.

At six o'clock, they brought me my dinner, and I continued to turn and turn over in my head the lines of my stanzas, at the same time improvising an air which I thought charming. Madame de Chateaubriand sent me a mattress, a bolster, sheets, a cotton blanket, candles and the books which I read at night. I arranged my room, and still humming:

Il descend le cercueil et les roses sans taches[415],

I found my ballad of the Young Girl and the Young Flower finished[416].

I began to undress; a sound of voices was heard; my door opened; and M. the Prefect of Police, accompanied by M. Nay,[417] appeared. He made a thousand apologies for the prolongation of my detention in custody at the police-station; he informed me that my friends, the Duc de Fitz-James and the Baron Hyde de Neuville, had been arrested like myself and that the Prefect's Offices were so full that they did not know where to put the persons who had to be examined by the justiciary.

"But," he added, "you shall come to me, monsieur le vicomte, and choose in my apartment whatever suits you best."

I thanked him and begged him to leave me in my hole; I was already quite charmed with it, like a monk with his cell. M. the Prefect declined my entreaties and I had to forsake my nest I saw again the rooms which I had not visited since the day when Bonaparte's Prefect of Police had sent for me to invite me to leave Paris. M. Gisquet and Madame Gisquet opened all their rooms for me, begging me to pick the one which I would like to sleep in. M. Nay offered to give up his to me. I was confused at so much politeness; I accepted a lonely little room which looked out on the garden and which was used, I think, by Mademoiselle Gisquet as a dressing-room; I was allowed to have my servant with me: he slept on a mattress outside my door, at the entrance[Pg 257] of a narrow stair-case leading down to Madame Gisquet's large apartment Another stair-case led to the garden; but this one was forbidden me and, every evening, a sentry was placed at the foot against the railing which separates the garden from the quay. Madame Gisquet is the kindest woman in the world and Mademoiselle Gisquet is very pretty and an exceedingly good musician. I have every reason to be satisfied with the care shown me by my hosts; they seemed anxious to atone for the twelve hours of my first confinement.

The Disquiet family.

The day after my installation in Mademoiselle Gisquet's dressing-room, I rose quite pleased, as I remembered Anacreon's song on the toilet of a young Greek girl; I put my head to the window: I perceived a small, very green garden and a great wall concealed behind japanned varnish; to the right, at the back of the garden, offices in which one caught glimpses of agreeable police-clerks, like beautiful nymphs amid lilac-bushes; to the left, the quay along the Seine, the river and a corner of old Paris, in the parish of Saint-André-des-Arcs. The sound of Mademoiselle Gisquet's piano reached me with the voices of the police-spies calling for head-clerks to receive their reports.

How everything changes in this world! That little romantic English garden of the police was a ragged and queer-shaped strip of the French garden, with its closely-trimmed elms, of the mansion of the First President of Paris. This old garden, in 1580, occupied the site of that block of houses which stops the view to the north and west, and it stretched to the bank of the Seine. It was there that, after the day of the barricades, the Duc de Guise came to visit Achille de Harlay:

"He found the First President, who was walking in his garden, who was so little astonished at his coming, that he did not so much as deign to turn his head nor discontinue the walk which he had commenced, which having finished, and being at the end of his alley, he turned, and, in turning, he saw the Duc de Guise, who came to him; then that grave magistrate, raising his voice, said to him:

"'It is a great pity that the varlet should drive out the master; for the rest, my soul is God's, my heart the King's and my body is in the hands of the wicked: let them do with it what they please.'"

The Achille de Harlay who walks in that garden to-day is[Pg 258] M. Vidocq[418], and the Duc de Guise is Coco Lacour; we have changed great men for great principles. How free we are now! How free was I especially at my window, watching that good gendarme standing sentry at the foot of my staircase and prepared to shoot me flying, if I had sprouted wings! There was no nightingale in my garden, but there were plenty of frisky, shameless, quarrelsome sparrows, which are to be found everywhere, in the country, in town, in palaces, in prisons, and which perch as gaily on the instrument of death as on a rose-bush: to one that can fly away, what matter earthly sufferings?

Madame de Chateaubriand obtained permission to see me. She had spent thirteen months, under the Terror, in the Rennes prisons, with my two sisters Lucile and Julie; her imagination, remaining under the impression, can no longer endure the idea of a prison. My poor wife had a violent attack of hysterics, on entering the Prefect's Offices, and this was an obligation the more which I owed to the juste-milieu. On the second day of my detention, the examining magistrate, the Sieur Desmortiers[419], arrived, accompanied by his clerk.

M. Guizot had obtained the appointment as attorney-general to the Royal Court at Rennes of one M. Hello[420], a writer and, consequently, an envious and irritable man, like all who spoil paper in a triumphing party.

M. Guizot's creature, finding my name and those of M. le Duc de Fitz-James and M. Hyde de Neuville mixed up in the proceedings that were being conducted against M. Berryer[Pg 259] at Nantes, wrote to the Minister of Justice that, if he were the master, he would not fail to have us arrested and included in the trial, both as accomplices and as witnesses for the prosecution. M. de Montalivet had thought it his duty to yield to the advice of M. Hello: there was a time when M. de Montalivet used to come to me to ask my opinion and my ideas relating to the elections and the liberty of the press. The Restoration, which made M. de Montalivet a peer, was unable to make him a man of intelligence, and that is no doubt why it makes him "feel sick" to-day.

The examining magistrate.

So M. Desmortiers, the examining magistrate, entered my room; a mawkish air was spread like a layer of honey over a contracted and violent face:

Je m'appelle Loyal, natif de Normandie,
Et suis huissier à verge, en dépit de l'envie[421].

M. Desmortiers formerly belonged to the Congregation[422]: a great communicant, a great Legitimist, a great partisan of the Ordinances, since become a furious juste-milieu man. I begged this animal to take a seat with all the politeness of the Old Order; I drew up an arm-chair for him; I put a little table, a pen and ink before his clerk; I sat down opposite M. Desmortiers and, in a mild voice, he read out to me the little accusations which, duly proved, would have tenderly got my head cut off: after which, he passed to his examination.

I declared again that, not recognising the existing political order, I had no answers to make; that I should sign nothing; that all these judicial proceedings were superfluous; that they might spare themselves the trouble and pass on; that, for the rest, I should always be charmed to have the honour of receiving M. Desmortiers.

I saw that this manner of acting was throwing the sainted man into a fury; that, having once shared my opinions, he thought my conduct a satire on his own. With this resentment was mingled the pride of a magistrate who believed himself wounded in his functions. He tried to argue with[Pg 260] me; I was quite unable to make him grasp the difference that exists between the social order and the political order of things. I submitted, I told him, to the former, because it belongs to natural law: I obeyed the civil, military and financial laws, the laws of police and of public order; but I owed obedience to the political law only in so far as that law emanated from the royal authority consecrated by the ages or sprang from the sovereignty of the people. I was not silly enough, or false enough to believe that the people had been convoked, consulted, and that the established political order was the result of a national decree. If they prosecuted me for theft, murder, arson, or other social crimes or misdemeanours, I should reply to justice; but, when they instituted a political trial against me, I had nothing to reply to an authority which had no legal power and, in consequence, nothing to ask me.

A fortnight passed in this way. M. Desmortiers, whose fury I had heard of (a fury which he endeavoured to communicate to the judges), used to approach me with his sugary air, saying:

"Won't you tell me your illustrious name?"

In the course of one of the examinations, he read me a letter from Charles X. to the Duc de Fitz-James, containing a phrase complimentary to myself.

"Well, sir," I said, "what is the meaning of that letter? It is a matter of common knowledge that I have remained faithful to my old King, that I have not taken the oath to Philip. As for the rest, I am deeply touched by my exiled Sovereign's letter. In the time of his prosperity, he never said anything of that kind to me, and this phrase repays me for all my services."

*

Madame Récamier, to whom so many prisoners have owed consolation and deliverance, had herself brought to my new retreat. M. de Béranger came down from Passy to tell me in song, under the reign of his friends, what used to happen in the gaols in the time of my friends: he was no longer able to fling the Restoration in my face. My fat old friend M. Bertin came to administer the ministerial sacraments to me; an enthusiastic woman came hurrying from Beauvais in order to "admire" my glory; M. Villemain performed an act of courage; M. Dubois[423], M.[Pg 261] Ampère[424], M. Lenormant[425], my generous and learned young friends, did not forget me; the Republicans' lawyer, M. Ch. Ledru[426], never left me: in the hope of a trial, he magnified the affair, and he would have given up all his fees for the honour of defending me.

Visits from my friends.

M. Gisquet, as I have told you, had offered me the run of his rooms, but I did not abuse his permission. Only, one evening I went down to hear Mademoiselle Gisquet play the piano. I sat between M. Gisquet and his wife. M. Gisquet scolded his daughter and maintained that she had executed her sonata less well than usual. This little concert which my host offered me in the bosom of his family, with myself for sole audience, was exceedingly singular. While the most pastoral scene was taking place in the intimacy of the home, policemen were bringing me colleagues from the outside with blows of musket-butts and loaded sticks; and yet what peace and harmony reigned in the very heart of the police!

I had the good fortune to obtain for M. Ch. Philipon[427] the grant of a favour exactly similar to that which I enjoyed, the favour of the gaol: sentenced, because of his talent, to some months' imprisonment, he spent them in an asylum at Chaillot; he was called to Paris as a witness in a law-suit, and availed himself of the opportunity not to return to his lodging; but he repented of it: in the place where he lay concealed, he was no longer able to see, in comfort, a child whom he loved. Regretting his prison and not knowing how to enter it again, he wrote me the following letter to ask me to arrange this matter with my host:

[Pg 262]

"Sir,

"You are a prisoner and you would understand me even if you were not Chateaubriand.... I also am a prisoner, a voluntary prisoner since the proclamation of martial law, at the house of a friend, a poor artist like myself. I wanted to escape from the justice of the courts-martial with which I was threatened by the seizure of my newspaper on the 9th of this month. But, in order to hide myself, I have had to deprive myself of the kisses of a child whom I idolize, an adopted daughter, five years old, my happiness and my joy. This privation is a torture which I could not endure any longer: it is death to me! I am going to give myself up and they will put me into Sainte-Pélagie, where I shall see my poor child only rarely, if they allow it at all, and at fixed hours, where I shall tremble for her health and where I shall die of anxiety, if I do not see her every day.

"I appeal to you, sir, to you a Legitimist I a whole-hearted Republican, to you a grave and parliamentary man I a caricaturist and a partisan of the bitterest political personalities, to you to whom I am quite unknown and who are a prisoner like myself, to persuade M. the Prefect of Police to allow me to return to the asylum to which I had been transferred. I pledge my word of honour to appear before justice whenever I shall be called upon to do so and I undertake not to flee from any tribunal whatever if they will leave me with my poor child.

"You will believe me, sir, when I speak of honour and when I swear not to run away, and I am persuaded that you will plead for me, even though profound politicians may see in this a new proof of alliance between the Legitimists and the Republicans, all men whose opinions agree so well.

"If to such a guest, to such an advocate, they refused what I ask, I should know that I have nothing more to hope for and I should see myself parted for nine months from my poor Emma.

"In any case, sir, whatever may be the result of your generous intervention, my gratitude will be none the less eternal, for I shall never doubt the urgent solicitations which your heart will suggest to you.

"Accept, sir, the expression of the sincerest admiration and believe me

"Your most humble and most devoted servant,

"Ch. Philipon,

"Proprietor of the Caricature (newspaper),
sentenced to thirteen months' imprisonment."

"Paris, 21 June 1832.

[Pg 263]

Letters from Philipon.

I obtained the favour which M. Philipon asked: he thanked me in a note which proves, not the greatness of the service, which was limited to having my client guarded at Chaillot by a gendarme, but that secret joy of the passions which can be well understood only by those who have really felt it:

"Sir,

"I am leaving for Chaillot with my dear child.

"I wanted to thank you, but I feel that words are too cold to express the gratitude which I feel; I was right to think, sir, that your heart would suggest eloquent entreaties to you. I am sure that I am not deceived when I believe that it will tell you that I am not ungrateful and that it will depict to you better than I could the confusion of happiness into which your kindness has thrown me.

"Accept, sir, I beg, my most sincere thanks and deign to believe me the most affectionate of your servants.

"Charles Philipon."

To this singular mark of my credit, I will add this strange proof of my "fame:" a young Clerk[428] in M. Gisquet's offices addressed to me some very beautiful verses[429], which were handed to me by M. Gisquet himself; for, after all, we must be fair: if a government of literary men attacked me ignobly, the Muses defended me nobly; M. Villemain pronounced in my favour courageously, and, in the Journal des Débats itself, my fat friend Bertin protested, under his own signature, against my arrest.

Mademoiselle Noemi, which I presume must be Mademoiselle Gisquet's Christian name, used often to walk alone in the little garden, with a book in her hand. She would cast a stealthy glance towards my window. How sweet it would have been to be released from my irons, like Cervantes, by my master's daughter! While I was assuming a romantic air, handsome young M. Nay came to dispel my dream. I saw him talking with Mademoiselle Gisquet with that air which does not deceive us creators of sylphs. I tumbled down from my clouds, shut my window and abandoned the idea of growing my mustachios, bleached by the wind of adversity.

After fifteen days, an order of non-suit restored me to liberty, on the 30th of June, to the great happiness of[Pg 264] Madame de Chateaubriand, who would have died, I believe, if my detention had been prolonged. She came to fetch me in a coach; I filled it with my little luggage as nimbly as I had formerly left the ministry, and I returned to the Rue d'Enfer with "that inexpressible finish which misfortune gives to virtue."

If history were to hand M. Gisquet down to posterity, perhaps he would arrive there in a rather bad plight; I want what I have just written to serve him here as a counter-poise to a hostile renown. I have nothing but praise for his attentions and his obligingness; doubtless, if I had been condemned, he would not have allowed me to escape; but, in short, he and his family treated me with a decency, a good taste, a feeling for my position, for what I was and for what I had been, which were not displayed by a literary Administration and by men of law who were the more brutal inasmuch as they were acting against the weak and had nothing to fear.

Of all the governments that have arisen in France during the last forty years, Philip's is the only one that threw me into the highwayman's cell; it laid its hand upon my head, upon my head respected even by an incensed conqueror: Napoleon raised his arm, but did not strike me. And why this anger? I will tell you: I dare to raise a protest in favour of right against might in a country in which I have asked for liberty under the Empire, for glory under the Restoration; in a country where, solitary that I am, I reckon not by brothers, sisters, children, joys, pleasures, but by tombstones. The last political changes have separated me from the rest of my friends: some have gone towards fortune and, all battered with their dishonour, pass by my poverty; others have abandoned their homes exposed to insults. The generations so greatly smitten with independence have sold themselves: from those generations, common in their conduct, intolerable in their pride, mediocre or mad in their writings, I expect nothing but scorn and I return it to them; they have not the wherewithal to understand me: they know nothing of loyalty to the sworn oath, love for generous institutions, respect for one's own opinions, contempt for success and gold, the felicity of sacrifice, the worship of what is weak and unhappy.

After the order of non-suit, one duty remained to me to perform. The offense with which I had been charged was connected with that for which M. Berryer was awaiting[Pg 265] trial at Nantes. I was unable to explain my position to the examining magistrate, because I did not recognise the competency of the tribunal. To repair the harm which my silence might have done to M. Berryer, I wrote to M. the Minister of Justice[430] the letter which you will find below and which I made public through the medium of the newspapers:

Letter to M. Barthe.

"Paris, 3 July 1832.

"Monsieur le ministre de la justice,

"Permit me to perform with reference to yourself, in the interest of a man too long deprived of liberty, a duty prompted by conscience and honour.

"M. Berryer the Younger, when questioned by the examining magistrate at Nantes, on the 18th of last month, replied that 'he had seen Madame la Duchesse de Berry; that he had, with the respect due to her rank, her courage and her misfortunes, submitted to her his personal opinion and that of honourable friends on the actual situation of France and on the consequences of Her Royal Highness' presence in the West.'

"M. Berryer, developing this wide subject with his accustomed talent, summed it up thus:

"'No foreign or civil war, supposing it to be crowned with success, can either subdue or rally opinions.'

"Questioned as to the honourable friends of whom he had spoken, M. Berryer nobly said that, 'grave men having manifested to him an opinion on the present circumstances agreeing with his own, he had thought that he ought to strengthen his opinion with the authority of theirs; but that he would not give their names without their consent.'

"I, monsieur le ministre de la justice, am one of those men consulted by M. Berryer. Not only did I approve of his opinion, but I drew up a note in the sense of that very opinion. It was to be handed to Madame la Duchesse de Berry in the event that that Princess should really be on French soil, which I did not believe. As this first note was not signed, I wrote a second, which I signed and in which[Pg 266] I still more earnestly entreated the intrepid mother of the grandson of Henry IV. to leave a country which has been torn by so many discords.

"This declaration was due from me to M. Berryer. The real culprit, if culprit there be, is I. This declaration will serve, I hope, for the prompt deliverance of the prisoner of Nantes; it will allow the guilt to rest upon my head alone of a fact, no doubt very innocent, of which, however, in the final result, I accept all the consequences.

"I have the honour to be, etc.

"Chateaubriand.
"Rue d'Enfer Saint Michel, No. 84.

"I wrote on the 9th of last month to M. le Comte de Montalivet on a matter relating to M. Berryer, but M. the Minister of the Interior did not think it incumbent upon him even to inform me that he had received my letter: as it is very important to me to know what becomes of that which I have the honour to write to-day to M. the Minister of Justice, I shall be infinitely obliged to him if he will instruct his office to send me an acknowledgment of its receipt.

"Ch."

The reply of M. the Minister of Justice was not long in coming; here it is:

"Paris, 3 July.

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"As the letter which you have addressed to me contains information which may enlighten justice, I am forwarding it without delay to the King's Attorney to the Nantes Court[431], so that it may be added to the documents in the proceedings pending against M. Berryer.

"I am, with respect, etc.,

"Barthe,
"Keeper of the Seals."

By this reply, M. Barthe graciously reserved to himself the right to institute a new prosecution against me. I remember the proud disdain of the great men of the juste-milieu when I allowed a glimpse to pass of the possibility of any violence exercised upon my person or my writings. What! Good Heavens! Why deck myself with an imaginary danger?[Pg 267] Who troubled about my opinion? Who thought of touching a hair of my head? Trusty and well-beloved friends of the stew-pan, dauntless heroes of peace at any price, you have nevertheless had your Terror of the counting-house and the police, your martial law in Paris, your thousand press trials, your military commissions to condemn the author of the Cancans[432] to death; you nevertheless flung me into your gaols: the punishment applicable to my "crime" was nothing less than capital punishment With what pleasure would I yield you my head, if, thrown into the scales of justice, it made them lean on the side of the honour, the glory and the liberty of my country!

*

I prepare to depart.

I was more than ever determined to resume my exile; Madame de Chateaubriand, terrified at my adventure, would already have wished to be very far away; the only question was to seek the spot where we should pitch our tents. The great difficulty was to find some money with which to live on foreign soil and pay a debt which was drawing down upon me threats of law-suits and distress.

The first year of an embassy always ruins the ambassador: that is what happened to me in Rome. I resigned on the succession of the Polignac Ministry, and I went away adding to my ordinary afflictions sixty thousand francs of borrowed money. I had applied to all the royalist purses; none was opened to me: I was advised to ask Laffitte. M. Laffitte advanced me ten thousand francs, which I at once gave to the more pressing creditors. I recovered the sum on the proceeds of my pamphlets and repaid it to him with gratitude; but there still remained some thirty thousand francs to be paid,[Pg 268] over and above my old debts, for I have some that have grown a beard, so aged are they: unfortunately that beard is a golden beard which has to be cut upon my chin once a year.

M. le Duc de Lévis, on his return from a journey to Scotland, had told me, on behalf of Charles X., that that Prince wished to continue to pay me my peer's pension: I thought it my duty to refuse the offer. The Duc de Lévis returned to the charge when he saw me, on leaving prison, in the most cruel difficulties, finding nothing left of my house and garden in the Rue d'Enfer, and harassed by a swarm of creditors. I had already sold my plate. The Duc de Lévis brought me twenty thousand francs, nobly saying that these were not the two years' peerage pension which the King admitted owing me and that my debts in Rome were simply a debt of the Crown. This sum set me free; I accepted it as a temporary loan and wrote the King the following letter[433]:

"Sire,

"In the midst of the calamities with which it has pleased God to hallow your life, you have not forgotten those who suffer at the foot of the throne of St. Louis. You deigned to send word to me, some months ago, of your generous intention to continue the peer's pension which I renounced when refusing to take the oath to the unlawful power; I thought that Your Majesty had servants poorer than I and worthier of your bounty. But the last writings which I have published have cost me damages and brought prosecutions down upon me; I have in vain tried to sell the little that I possess. I find myself obliged to accept, not the annual pension which Your Majesty proposed to allow me out of your royal poverty, but a provisional succour to free me from the difficulties which prevent me from reaching a refuge where I can live by my work. Sire, I must needs be very unhappy to make myself a burden, even for a moment, on a crown which I have supported with all my efforts and which I shall continue to serve for the rest of my life.

"I am, with the most profound respect, etc.

"Chateaubriand."

[Pg 269]

My nephew, the Comte Louis de Chateaubriand, on his side lent me a similar sum of twenty thousand francs. Thus rid of material obstacles, I made my preparations for my second departure. But a reason based upon honour stopped me: Madame la Duchesse de Berry was on French soil; what would become of her, and was I not bound to remain on the spot where her dangers might summon me? A note from the Princess, which reached me from the depths of the Vendée, set me completely free:

Letter from Madame.

"I was going to write to you, monsieur le vicomte, touching this 'Provisional Government' which I thought it my duty to form, when I did not know when nor even if I might return to France, and of which I am informed that you consented to form part. It did not exist in fact, because it never met, and some of the members came to an understanding only to communicate to me an opinion which I was not able to follow. I do not take it in the least unkindly of them. You judged in accordance with the report on my position and that of the country made to you by those who had reason to know better than I the effects of a fatal influence in which I was never willing to believe, and I am sure that, if M. de Ch. had been with me, his noble and generous heart would also have refused to do so. I rely therefore none the less on the good individual services and even the counsels of the persons who formed part of the Provisional Government and whose choice had been dictated to me by their enlightened zeal and their devotion to the Legitimacy in the person of Henry V. I see that it is your intention to leave France again: I should regret this greatly, if I could have you near me; but you have weapons which strike at a distance and I hope that you will not cease to fight for Henry V.

"Believe, monsieur le vicomte, in all my esteem and friendship.

"M. C. R."

With this note, Madame dispensed with my services and did not yield to the advice which I had ventured to give her in the note of which M. Berryer was the bearer; she even seemed a little hurt by it, although she admitted that a fatal influence had led her astray.

Thus restored to my liberty and released from all engagements, on this day, 7 August, having nothing left to do but[Pg 270] go away, I wrote my letter to M. de Béranger, who had visited me in prison:

To M. de Béranger

"Paris, 7 August 1832.

"I wanted, monsieur, to go to say good-bye to you and thank you for your remembrance; time failed me and I was obliged to start without having the pleasure of seeing you and embracing you. I am ignorant as to my future: is there a clear future for anybody to-day? We are living not in a time of revolution, but of social transformation: now transformations are realized slowly, and the generations which find themselves placed in the period of metamorphosis perish obscure and miserable. If Europe, as might well be the case, has reached the age of decrepitude, it is another matter: it will produce nothing and will die out in an impotent anarchy of passions, morals and doctrines. In that event, monsieur, you will have sung over a tomb.

"I have fulfilled all my engagements, monsieur: I returned at the sound of your voice; I have defended what I came to defend; I have undergone the cholera; I am returning to the mountain. Do not break your lyre, as you threaten to do; I owe to it one of my most glorious titles to the memory of mankind. Continue to make France smile and weep: for it so happens, by a secret known to you alone, that, in your popular songs, the words are gay and the music plaintive.

"I recommend myself to your friendship and your muse.

"Chateaubriand."

I am to set out to-morrow. Madame de Chateaubriand will meet me at Lucerne.

I leave for Switzerland.

Basle, 12 August 1832.

Many men die without losing sight of their steeple: I cannot meet with the steeple which is to see me die. In quest of a refuge in which to finish my Memoirs, I am taking the road anew, dragging at my heels an enormous luggage of papers, diplomatic correspondence, confidential notes, letters from ministers and kings; it is history riding pillion with romance.

At Vesoul, I saw M. Augustin Thierry, living with his[Pg 271] brother the prefect[434] When, formerly, in Paris, he sent me his Histoire de la conquête des Normands, I went to thank him. I found a young man in a room with half-closed shutters; he was almost blind; he tried to rise to receive me, but his legs no longer carried him and he fell into my arms. He blushed when I expressed to him my sincere admiration; it was then that he replied that his work was mine and that it was when reading the Battle of the Franks in the Martyrs that he had conceived a new idea of writing history[435]. When I took leave of him, he then made an effort to follow me and dragged himself to the door, leaning against the wall: I went out quite affected by so much talent and so much misfortune.

At Vesoul, after a long banishment, appeared Charles X.[436], now setting sail for the new exile which will be for him the last.

I passed the frontier without accident with all my rubbish: let us see if, on the other side of the Alps, I may not enjoy the liberty of Switzerland and the sun of Italy, the needs of my opinions and my years.

At the entrance to Basle, I met an old Swiss, a custom-house officer; he made me undergo "a liddle quarandine of a quarder of an hour;" my luggage was taken down into a cellar; they set in movement something or other which made the same sound as a stocking-frame; there rose a vinegary fume; and, thus purified from the contagion of France, I was released by my good Swiss.

I have said, in the Itinéraire, speaking of the storks of Athens:

"From the height of their nests, which revolutions cannot reach, they have seen the race of mortals change beneath them: while impious generations have risen on the tombs of the religious generations, the young stork has always nourished its old father."

I find again at Basle the storks nest which I left there[Pg 272] six years ago; but the hospital in whose roof the stork of Basle has built its nest is not the Parthenon, the sun of the Rhine is not the sun of the Cephissus, the Council is not the Areopagus, Erasmus[437] is not Pericles; nevertheless, the Rhine, the Black Forest, Roman and Germanic Basle are something. Louis XIV. extended France to the gates of that city and three hostile monarchs[438] passed through it, in 1813, to come to sleep in the bed of Louis the Great, defended by Napoleon in vain. Let us go to see Holbein's[439] Dance of Death; it will tell us a tale of human vanities.

The Dance of Death (always presuming that it was not even then a real painting) took place in Paris, in 1424, in the Cimetière des Innocents: it came to us from England. The performance of this spectacle was recorded in pictures: these were exhibited in the cemeteries of Dresden, Lübeck, Minden, of the Chaise-Dieu, Strasburg and Blois in France; and Holbein's pencil immortalized these joys of the tomb at Basle.

These dances of death of the great artist have in their turn been carried away by death, which does not spare its own follies: there remain at Basle, of Holbein's labour, only six pieces sawn from the stones of the cloisters and lodged in the library of the University. A coloured drawing has preserved the harmony of the work.

Those grotesque figures on a terrible back-ground partake of the genius of Shakespeare, a genius blended of comedy and tragedy. The persons bear a lively expression: rich and poor, old and young, men and women, popes, cardinals, priests, emperors, kings, queens, princes, dukes, nobles, magistrates, warriors, all struggle and argue with Death; not one accepts it with a good grace.

Death is infinitely various, but always clownish, like life, which is only a serious piece of buffoonery. This Death of the satirical painter goes one leg short, like the wooden-legged beggar whom it accosts; it plays the mandoline behind its back-bone, like the musician whom it drags away. It is not always bald: tufts of fair, brown, or grey hair flutter on the skeleton's neck and make it more frightful by making it nearly alive. In one of the cartoons, Death has almost[Pg 273] hair, it is almost young, like a young man, and it carries off a young girl who is looking at herself in a glass. Death has in its wallet the tricks of a crafty schoolboy: with a pair of scissors, it cuts the string of a dog which leads a blind man, and the blind man is at two steps from an open pit; elsewhere, Death, in a short mantle, accosts one of its victims with the gestures of a Pasquin. Holbein may have taken the idea of this formidable gaiety in nature itself: enter a reliquary, all the death's-heads seem to grin, because they uncover their teeth; that is laughter. What are they grinning at? At death or at life?

Basle.

I liked the cathedral at Basle and especially the ancient cloisters. As I passed through the latter, filled with funeral inscriptions, I read the names of some Reformers. Protestantism chooses its place and takes its time badly when it sets itself in Catholic monuments; one sees less what it has reformed than what it has destroyed. Those dry pedants who thought that they would re-make a primitive Christianity within an old Christianity which had created society for fifteen centuries were unable to raise a single monument. To what would that monument have responded? What connection would it have had with the manners of the day? Men were not made like Luther[440] and Calvin in the time of Luther and Calvin; they were made like Leo X.[441] with the genius of Raphael, or like St. Louis with the Gothic genius; the few believed in nothing, the many believed in everything. And so Protestantism has as its temples only school-rooms, or as churches only the cathedrals which it has devastated: it has there established its nudity. Jesus Christ and His apostles, no doubt, did tot resemble the Greeks and Romans of their age, but they did not come to reform an old creed; they came to establish a new religion, to replace the gods by a God.

*

Lucerne, 14 August 1832.

The road from Basle to Lucerne through Aargau presents a series of valleys, some of which resemble the Valley of Argelès, minus the Spanish sky of the Pyrenees. At Lucerne, the mountains, differently grouped, shelved, profiled,[Pg 274] coloured, end, as they withdraw one behind the other and sink away into the perspective, in the snows bordering on the Saint-Gotthard. If one suppressed the Righi and Mount Pilatus and kept only the hills, with their surfaces of grass and rabbit-warrens, which run down directly to the Lake of the Four Cantons, one would reproduce an Italian lake.

The arcades of the cloister of the cemetery surrounding the cathedral are like boxes from which this spectacle can be enjoyed. The monuments of this cemetery have for standards small iron crosses bearing a gilt Christ. In the rays of the sun, these are so many points of light escaping from the tombs; from space to space, there are holy-water fonts in which soaks a twig with which one can bless mourned ashes. I wept none there in particular, but I sprinkled the lustral dew upon the silent community of the Christians and unfortunates, my brothers. One epitaph said to me, "Hodie mihi, cras tibi;" another, "Fuit homo;" a third, "Siste, viator; abi, viator." And I await to-morrow; and I shall have been a man; and a traveller I stop; and a traveller I go away. Leaning against one of the arcades of the cloister, I long contemplated the theatre of the adventures of William Tell and his companions: the theatre of Helvetian liberty so well sung and described by Schiller and Johann von Müller[442]. My eyes sought in the vast picture for the presence of the most illustrious dead and my feet trod on the most unknown ashes.

When I saw the Alps again, four or five years ago, I asked myself what I had come to seek there: what, then, shall I say to-day? What shall I say to-morrow and again tomorrow? Woe to me who cannot grow old and who am always growing old!

*

Lucerne, 15 August 1832.

The Capuchins went this morning, according to the custom on the Feast of the Assumption, to bless the mountains. Those monks profess the religion under whose protection Swiss independence was born: that independence still endures. What will become of our modern liberty, all accursed by the blessing of the philosophers and the hangmen? It is not forty years old and it has been sold and sold again, bishoped and dealt in at every street-corner. There is more liberty[Pg 275] in the frock of a Capuchin blessing the Alps than in all the frippery of the legislators of the Republic, the Empire, the Restoration and the Usurpation of July.

Lucerne.

A French traveller in Switzerland is touched and saddened; our history, for the misfortune of those regions, is too closely connected with their history; the blood of Helvetia has been shed for us and by us; we wasted the hut of William Tell with fire and sword; we engaged in our civil wars the peasant warrior who guarded the throne of our kings. The genius of Thorwaldsen has fixed the memory of the 10th of August at the gate of Lucerne. The Helvetian Lion lies dying, pierced by an arrow, and covering with its drooping head and one of its paws the escutcheon of France, of which we see only one of the fleurs-de-lys. The chapel consecrated to the victims, the clump of green trees which accompanies the bas-relief sculptured in the rock, the soldier escaped from the massacre of the 10th of August who shows the monument to strangers, the note from Louis XVI. ordering the Swiss to lay down their arms, the frontal presented by Madame la Dauphine to the expiatory chapel, upon which that perfect model of sorrow has embroidered the image of the immolated Lamb of God!... By what counsel does Providence, after the last fall of the throne of the Bourbons, send me to seek a refuge near this monument? At least, I can look upon it without blushing, I can lay my feeble but not perjured hand upon the shield of France, even as the lion covers it with its mighty claws, now distended in death.

Well, a member of the Diet has proposed to destroy this monument! What does Switzerland demand? Liberty? She has enjoyed it for four centuries. Equality? She has it. The republic? It is her form of government. The lightening of taxes? She pays hardly any. What does she want then? She wants to change, it is the law of beings. When a people, transformed by time, is no longer able to remain what it has been, the first symptom of its malady is a hatred of the past and of the virtues of its fathers.

I returned from the monument to the 10th of August by the great covered bridge, a kind of wooden gallery hung over the lake. Two hundred and thirty-eight triangular pictures, set between the rafters of the roof, adorn this gallery. They are popular annals in which the Swiss, as he passed, used to learn the story of his religion and his liberty.

I have seen the tame moor-fowl; I prefer the wild moor-fowl of the pond at Combourg.

[Pg 276]

In the town, I was struck by the sound of a choir of voices; it issued from a Lady-chapel. I entered that chapel and thought myself carried back to the days of my childhood. In front of four devoutly-decked altars, women were reciting the rosary and the litanies with the priest. It was like the evening-prayer by the sea-shore in my poor Brittany, and I was on the shore of the Lake of Lucerne! Thus did a man knot together the two ends of my life, the better to make me feel all that had been lost in the chain of my years.

On the Lake of Lucerne, 16 August 1832, noon.

Alps, lower your crests, I am no longer worthy of you: young, I should be solitary; old, I am merely isolated. I would certainly depict nature again; but for whom? Who would care for my pictures? What arms, other than those of time, would, in reward, embrace my "genius," with its stripped forehead? Who would repeat my songs? What Muse should I inspire with any? Under the vault of my years, as under that of the snowy heights which surround me, no ray of sun will come to warm me. What a pity to drag across those heights tired footsteps which no one would care to follow! What a misfortune not to find myself free to wander anew until at the end of my life!

Two o'clock.

My bark has stopped at the landing-stage of a house on the right bank of the lake, before entering the Bay of Uri. I climbed up to the orchard of that inn and came to sit under two walnut-trees which give shelter to a stable. Before me, a little to the right, on the opposite bank of the lake, the village of Schwyz unfolds itself among orchards and the inclined planes of those pastures called "Alps" in this part; it is surmounted by a rock broken into a semi-circle, the two points of which, the Mythen and the Haken, the Mitre and the Hook, owe their names to their shapes. This horned capital rests upon turfy slopes, as the crown of the rude Helvetian independence rests on the head of a nation of shepherds. The silence around me is interrupted only by the tinkling of the bells of two heifers left in the neighbouring stable; they seem to ring out to me the glory of the pastoral liberty which Schwyz has given, with its name, to a whole people: a little canton in the neighbourhood of Naples, called "Italia," has in the same way, but with less sacred rights, communicated its name to the land of the Romans.

[Pg 277]

Three o'clock.

We are starting; we are entering the Bay or Lake of Uri. The mountains grow taller and darker. There is the grass-grown ridge of the Grütli and the three fountains at which Fürst, Arnold von Melchthal and Stauffacher[443] swore to deliver their country; there, at the foot of the Achsenberg, is the chapel that marks the place at which Tell, jumping from Gessler's[444] bark, pushed it back with his foot to the midst of the billows.

On the Lake of Lucerne.

But did Tell and his companions ever exist? Might they not be only persons of the North, born in the songs of the Scalds, whose heroic traditions are to be found on the shores of Sweden? Are the Swiss to-day what they were at the time when they won their independence? Those bear-paths see cal-ashes roll along where Tell and his companions used to bound, bow in hand, from peak to peak: am I myself a traveller in harmony with these regions?

A storm comes luckily to assail me. We are landing in a creek, at a few paces from Tell's chapel: it is always the same God that raises the winds and the same confidence in that God that reassures men. As in former days, when crossing the Ocean, the lakes of America, the seas of Greece, of Syria, I am writing on drenched paper. The clouds, the waves, the rolling of the thunder blend better with the ancient liberty of the Alps than the voice of that effeminate and degenerate nature which my century has placed in my bosom despite myself.

*

Altdorf.

I have disembarked at Flüelen and reached Altdorf, where the absence of horses will keep me one night at the foot of the Bannberg. Here, William Tell shot the apple from his son's head: the bow-shot was of the length that separates those two fountains. Let us believe, in spite of the fact that the same story was told by Saxo Grammaticus[445], as quoted[Pg 278] first by myself in my Essai sur les révolutions[446]; let us have faith in religion and liberty, the two great things about man: glory and power are brilliant, not great.

To-morrow, from the top of the Saint-Gotthard, I shall greet once again that Italy which I have greeted from the summit of the Simplon and the Mont-Cenis. But of what avail is that last look cast upon the regions of the South and the Dawn? The pine-tree of the glaciers cannot descend among the orange-trees which it sees below it in the flowery valleys!

Ten o'clock in the evening.

The storm is beginning again; the lightning-flashes twist around the rocks; the echoes swell and prolong the sound of the thunder; the roaring of the Schœchen and the Reuss welcome the bard of Armorica. It is long since I found myself alone and free; nothing in the room in which I am locked: two beds for a waking traveller who has neither loves to put to sleep, nor dreams to dream. Those mountains, that storm, this night are treasures lost for me. What life, nevertheless, I feel in the depths of my soul! Never, when the most ardent blood flowed from my heart into my veins, did I speak the language of the passions with such energy as I might do at this moment. It seems to me as though I saw my sylph of the Combourg woods issue from the flanks of the Saint-Gotthard. Hast thou come to see me again, O charming phantom of my youth? Hast thou pity for me? Thou seest, I am changed only in face: ever chimerical, devoured by a causeless and unfed fire. I am leaving the world, and I was entering it when I created thee in a moment of ecstasy and delirium. This is the hour at which I invoked thee in my tower. I can still open my Window to let thee in. If thou art not satisfied with the charms which I lavished upon thee, I will make thee a hundred times more seductive; my palette is not exhausted; I have seen more beauties and I know how to paint better than I did. Come to sit upon my knees; do not be afraid of my hair, stroke it with thy fairy or shadowy fingers: it will turn brown again under thy kisses. This head, which these falling hairs do not make wiser, is quite as mad as it was when I gave thee being, eldest daughter of my illusion, sweet fruit of my mysterious[Pg 279] loves with my first solitude! Come, we will once more mount the clouds together; we will go with the lightning to plough, illumine, set fire to the precipices by which I shall pass to-morrow. Come! Carry me away as in former days, but do not carry me back again.

A knock at my door: it is not thou, it is the guide! The horses have arrived, we must start. Of this dream all that remains is the rain, the wind and I, an endless dream, an eternal storm.

*

17 August 1832 (Amsteg).

From Altdorf to here, a valley between mountains close together, as one sees everywhere; the noisy Reuss in the middle. At the Hart Inn, a little German student, who has come from the Rhone glaciers and who said to me:

"You gome vrom Altdorf this morning? You go vast!"

He thought I was on foot, like himself; then, seeing my char-à-bancs:

"Oh! Horses! Dat's tifferent!"

If the student were willing to "swap" his young legs for my char-à-bancs and my even worse car of glory, with what pleasure would I take his stick, his grey blouse and his blonde beard! I should go to the Rhone glaciers; I should talk the language of Schiller to my mistress; and I should ponder deeply on Teutonic liberty: he would go his way old as time, bored as one dead, undeceived by experience, having fastened round his neck, like a bell, a fame by which he would be more wearied after a quarter of an hour than by the din of the Reuss. The exchange will not take place: good bargains are not for my use. My scholar is going; he said to me, taking off and putting back his Teuton cap, with a little nod of the head:

"Permis!"

One more shadow vanished. The scholar does not know my name; he will have met me and will never know it: I am delighted with this idea; I yearn for obscurity with more eagerness than formerly I longed for light; the latter worries me either as making my miseries visible or as showing me objects which I can no longer enjoy: I am in a hurry to pass the torch to my neighbour.

Three little boys are drawing the cross-bow: William Tell and Gessler are everywhere. Free peoples retain the remembrance of the foundations of their independence. Ask a poor little boy in France if he has ever thrown the hatchet in memory of King Hlodwigh or Khlodwig or Clovis!

[Pg 280]

The new Saint-Gotthard road, on leaving Amsteg, goes to and fro in a zig-zag for two leagues, now joining the Reuss, now quitting it when the fissure of the torrent grows wider. On the perpendicular reliefs of the landscape, slopes flat or tufted with beech-clumps, peaks shooting into the sky, domes topped with ice, summits bald or retaining a few stripes of snow, like locks of white hair; in the valley, bridges, posts made of blackened planks, walnut-trees and fruit-trees which gain in luxury of branches and leaves what they lose in succulence of fruits. The Alpine nature forces those trees to become wild again; the sap breaks through in spite of the grafting: a vigorous character bursts the bonds of civilization.

A little higher, on the right margin of the Reuss, the scene changes: the stream flows with cascades in a pebbly rut, under a double and triple avenue of pines; this is like the valley of Pont d'Espagne at Cauterets. On the skirts of the mountain, the larch-trees grow on the sharp edges of the rock; holding fast by their roots, they resist the shock of the tempests.

The road and a few potato-patches alone bear witness to man's presence in this spot: he must eat and he must walk; that sums up his history. The herds, consigned to the pasture-lands in the loftier regions, do not appear in sight; birds, none; eagles, no question of them: the great eagle fell into the ocean when crossing to St. Helena; there is no flight so high or so strong but falters in the immensity of the skies. The royal eaglet has just died.[447] Other eaglets of July 1830 were announced to us; apparently they have come down from their eyry to nestle with the feather-legged pigeons. They will never carry off chamois in their talons: weakened by the domestic light, their blinking glance will never contemplate from the summit of the Saint-Gotthard the free and dazzling sun of France's glory.

*

After crossing the Pfaffensprung Bridge and passing round the pap of the village of Wasen, one again takes the right bank of the Reuss; at either extremity, cascades gleam white among the sods, spread like green tapestries on the travellers' passage. Through a defile, one perceives the Ranz glacier, which joins the Furka glaciers.

[Pg 281]

At last, one makes one's way into the Valley of Schöllenen, where the first ascent of the Saint-Gotthard commences. This valley is a notch two thousand feet in depth, cut out of a solid block of granite. The faces of the block form gigantic overhanging walls. The mountains no longer present aught save their flanks and their ardent and reddened crests. The Reuss thunders down its vertical bed, lined with stones. The ruin of a tower bears witness to a former time, even as nature here points to unremembered ages. Supported in the air by walls along the granite masses, the road, an immobile torrent, winds parallel to the mobile torrent of the Reuss. Here and there, stone-work vaults form a shelter for the traveller against the avalanche; one turns for yet a few more paces in a sort of tortuous gallery, and suddenly, at one of the volutes of the shell, finds one's self face to face with the Devil's Bridge.

The Devil's Bridge.

This bridge to-day intersects the arch of the new bridge, which is higher, built behind it and overlooks it; the old bridge thus debased no longer resembles anything but a short two-storeyed aqueduct. The new bridge, when one comes from Switzerland, conceals the cascade at the back. To enjoy the rain-bows and the leaping of the cascade, one must stand upon the bridge; but, when one has seen the Falls of Niagara, no water-fall remains. My memory is constantly contrasting my journeys with my journeys, mountains with mountains, rivers with rivers, forests with forests, and my life destroys my life. The same thing happens to me with respect to societies and men.

The modern roads, which the Simplon has taught us to make and which the Simplon effaces, have not the picturesque effect of the old roads. The latter, bolder and more natural, avoided no difficulty; they scarcely deviated from the course of the torrents; they rose and descended with the ground, surmounted the rocks, plunged into the precipices, passed under the avalanches, taking nothing away from the pleasure of the imagination and the joy of danger. The old Saint-Gotthard Road, for instance, was adventurous in quite a different way from the present road. The Devil's Bridge deserved its reputation, when, on approaching it, one saw the cascade of the Reuss above, and when it marked out an obscure arch, or rather a narrow path, through the gleaming spray of the fall. Then, at the end of the bridge, the road ascended perpendicularly to reach the chapel of which we still see the ruin. At least, the inhabitants of Uri have[Pg 282] had the pious thought of building another chapel at the cascade.

Lastly, it was not men like ourselves who crossed the Alps in former days: it was hordes of Barbarians or Roman legions; caravans of merchants, knights, condottieri, freebooters, pilgrims, prelates, monks. Strange adventures were related. Who built the Devil's Bridge? Who flung the Devil's Rock into the Wasen Thal? Here and there rose castle-keeps, crosses, oratories, monasteries, hermitages, preserving the memory of an invasion, a meeting, a miracle, or a misfortune. Each mountain tribe kept its language, its dress, its manners, its customs. It is true, one did not find, in a desert, an excellent inn; one drank no champagne there; one read no newspapers; but, if there were more robbers on the Saint-Gotthard, there were less cheats in society. What a fine thing is civilization! I leave that "pearl" to the "handsome first lapidary."

Suwaroff[448] and his soldiers were the last travellers in this defile, at the end of which they met Masséna.

After passing out from the Devil's Bridge and the Urner Loch tunnel, one reaches the Urseren Thai, closed by redans like the stone benches of an arena. The Reuss flows peacefully in the midst of the verdure; the contrast is striking: it is thus that society seems tranquil after and before revolutions; men and empires slumber at two steps from the abyss into which they are about to fall.

At the village of Hospital commences the second ascent, leading to the summit of the Saint-Gotthard, which is overrun by masses of granite. Those voluminous, swollen, broken masses, festooned at their tops with a few garlands of snow, resemble the fixed and frothy waves of an ocean of stone upon which man has left the undulation of his road.

Au pied du mont Adule, entre mille roseaux,
Le Rhin, tranquille et fier du progrès de ses eaux,
Appuyé d'une main sur son urne penchante,
Dormait au bruit flatteur de son onde naissante[449].

[Pg 283]

The Saint-Gotthard.

Very fine lines, but inspired by the marble rivers of Versailles. The Rhine does not spring from a bed of reeds: it rises from a bed of hoar-frost; its urn, or rather its urns are of ice; its origin is congenerous with those peoples of the North of which it became the adopted stream and the martial girdle. The Rhine, born of the Saint-Gotthard in the Grisons, sheds its waters into the sea of Holland, Norway and England; the Rhone, also a child of the Saint-Gotthard, bears its tribute to the Neptune of Spain, Italy and Greece: sterile snows form the reservoirs of the fecundity of the ancient world and the modern world.

Two pools, on the Saint-Gotthard table-land, give birth, one to the Ticino, the other to the Reuss. The source of the Reuss is lower than the source of the Ticino, so that, by digging a canal of a few hundred paces, one would throw the Ticino into the Reuss. If one were to repeat this work in the case of the principal tributaries of those streams, one would produce strange metamorphoses in the regions at the foot of the Alps. A mountaineer can afford himself the pleasure of suppressing a river, of fertilizing or sterilizing a country: there is something to take down the pride of power.

It is a marvellous thing to see the Reuss and the Ticino bid each other an eternal farewell and take their opposite ways down the two sides of the Saint-Gotthard: their cradles touch; their destinies are separate: they go to seek different lands and different suns; but their mothers, always united, do not cease, from the height of solitude, to feed their disunited children.

There was formerly, on the Saint-Gotthard, a hospice served by Capuchins; now one sees only the ruins of it; there remains of religion but a cross of worm-eaten wood with its Christ: God remains when men withdraw.

On the Saint-Gotthard upland, a desert in mid-sky, one world ends and another commences: the German names are replaced by Italian names. I take leave of my companion, the Reuss, which had brought me, as I went up, from the Lake of Lucerne, to go down to the Lake of Lugano with my new guide, the Ticino.

The Saint-Gotthard is hewn perpendicularly on the Italian side; the road which plunges into the Val Tremola does credit to the engineer obliged to trace it in the narrowest gorge. Seen from above, this road is like a ribbon folded and folded again; seen from below, the walls supporting the embankments give the impression of the works of a fortress,[Pg 284] or resemble those dykes which are built one above the other to resist the invasion of the waters. Sometimes, also, the double row of mile-stones planted regularly on both sides of the road suggests a column of soldiers descending the Alps once more to invade unhappy Italy.

Saturday, 18 August 1832 (Lugano).

During the night I passed Airolo, Bellinzona and the Val Levantina: I did not see the ground, I only heard the torrents. In the sky, the stars rose among the cupolas and needles of the mountains. The moon was not at first above the horizon, but her dawn spread before her by degrees, like those "glories" with which the fourteenth-century painters used to surround the head of the Virgin: she appeared at last, scooped out and reduced to a quarter of her disc, on the denticulated top of the Furca; the tips of her crescent were like wings, one would have said of a white dove escaping from its nest in the rocks: by her light, enfeebled and rendered more mysterious, the hollowed-out luminary revealed to my eyes the Lago Maggiore at the end of the Val Levantina. Twice I had seen that lake, once when proceeding to the Congress of Verona, and again when going on my embassy to Rome. I then contemplated it in the sun, on the high-way of prosperity; now I caught a glimpse of it at night, from the opposite bank, on the road of misfortune. Between my journeys, separated by only a few years, a monarchy fourteen centuries old had passed away.

It is not that I bear those political revolutions the smallest grudge; by restoring me to liberty, they have restored me to my own nature. I have still pith enough to reproduce the first fruit of my dreams, fire enough to renew my connexion with the imaginary creature of my desires. The time and the world which I have traversed have been for me but a double solitude in which I have kept myself such as Heaven made me. Why should I complain of the swiftness of the days, since I lived in one hour as much as those who spend years in living?

*

Lugano.

Lugano is a little town of Italian aspect: porticoes as at Bologna, people keeping house in the streets as at Naples, Renascence architecture, roofs without cornices, long and narrow windows, bare or adorned with a pediment and pierced up to the architrave. The town leans against a vine-grown hill-side commanded by two superposed mountain plains,[Pg 285] one covered with pastures, the other with forests: the lake lies at its feet.

On the topmost summit of a mountain to the east of Lugano, exists a hamlet whose women, tall and fair-skinned, have the reputation of the Circassians. The eve of my arrival was the festival of that hamlet; people had gone on a pilgrimage to beauty: that tribe is doubtless some remains of a race of northern Barbarians preserved unmixed above the populations of the plain.

I have been taken to the different houses that had been mentioned to me as likely to suit me: I found one of them charming, but the rent was much too high.

To see the lake better, I took a boat. One of my two boatmen spoke a Franco-Italian jargon interlarded with English. He told me the names of the mountains and of the villages on the mountains: the San Salvator, from the summit of which one discovers the dome of Milan Cathedral; Castagnola, with its olive-trees, of which the visitors put little twigs in their button-holes; Gandria, the boundary of the Canton of Ticino on the lake; the San Giorgio, crowned with its hermitage: each of those places had its history.

Austria, who takes all and gives nothing, retains at the foot of Monte Caprino a village enclosed in the Ticino territory. Facing this again, on the other side, at the foot of the San Salvator, she possesses a sort of promontory on which stands a chapel; but she has graciously lent this promontory to the Luganese to execute their criminals upon and erect their gallows. Some day she will use this "high jurisdiction," exercised by her permission upon her territory, as a proof of her suzerainty over Lugano. Nowadays the condemned are no longer subjected to the penalty of the rope: their heads are chopped off; Paris has supplied the instrument, Vienna the scene of execution: presents worthy of two great monarchies.

These images were pursuing me when, on the azure water, to the breath of the breeze scented by the amber of the pines, there came to pass the boats of a brotherhood which flung bouquets of flowers into the lake to the sound of horns and hautboys. Swallows sported around my sail. Among those travellers, shall I not recognise those which I met one evening as I wandered along the ancient Tibur Road and by the house of Horace? The Lydia of the poet was not then with those swallows of the plain of Tibur; but I knew that, at that very moment, another young woman was furtively taking[Pg 286] a rose laid in the abandoned garden of a villa of Raphael's century, seeking naught but a flower on the ruins of Rome.

The mountains which surround the Lake of Lugano, scarce joining their bases except on the level of the lake, resemble islands separated by narrow channels; they reminded me of the grace, the form and the verdure of the archipelago of the Azores. Was I then going to consummate the exile of my last days under those smiling porticoes where the Princesse de Belgiojoso allowed a few days to slip by of the exile of her youth? Was I then to finish my Memoirs at the entrance to that classic and historic land where Virgil and Tasso sang, where so many revolutions have been accomplished? Was I to recall my Breton destiny at the sight of those Ausonian mountains? If their curtain were to be raised, it would lay bare to me the plains of Lombardy; beyond that, Rome; beyond that, Naples, Sicily, Greece, Syria, Egypt, Carthage: distant shores which I have measured, I who do not possess the extent of ground which I press under the soles of my feet! But yet, to die here, to end here? Is it not what I want, what I am looking for? I cannot tell.

*

Lucerne, 20, 21 and 22 August 1832.

I left Lugano without sleeping there; I have re-crossed the Saint-Gotthard, I have seen again what I had seen: I have found nothing to correct in my sketch. At Altdorf, everything was changed since twenty-four hours ago: no more storm, no more apparition in my lonely room. I came to spend the night in the inn at Flüelen, having twice covered the road the ends of which come out upon two lakes and are held by two nations joined by the same political bond and separate in every other respect I crossed the Lake of Lucerne; it had lost a portion of its merit in my eyes: it is to the Lake of Lugano what the ruins of Rome are to the ruins of Athens, the fields of Sicily to the gardens of Armida.

For the rest, it is vain for me to exert myself to attain the Alpine exaltation of the mountain authors: I waste my pains.

Physically, that virgin and balmy air, which is supposed to revive my strength, rarefy my blood, clear my tired head, give me an insatiable hunger, a dreamless sleep, produces none of those effects for me. I breathe no better, my blood circulates no faster, my head is no less heavy under the sky[Pg 287] of the Alps than in Paris. I have as much appetite in the Champs-Élysées, as on the Montanvers, I sleep as well in the Rue Saint-Dominique as on the Mont Saint-Gotthard, and, if I have dreams in the delicious plain of Montrouge, the fault lies with the sleep.

Morally, in vain do I scale the rocks: my mind becomes no loftier for it, my soul no purer; I carry with me the cares of earth and the weight of human turpitudes. The calm of the sublunary region of a marmot is not communicated to my awakened senses. Poor wretch that I am, across the mists that roll at my feet I always perceive the full-blown face of the world. A thousand fathoms climbed into space change nothing in my view of the sky; God appears no greater to me from the top of a mountain than from the bottom of a valley. If, to become a robust man, a saint, a towering genius, it were merely a question of searing over the clouds, why do so many sick men, miscreants and fools not take the trouble to clamber up the Simplon? Surely they must be very obstinately bent upon their infirmities.

A plague upon mountains!

The landscape is created only by the sun; it is the light that makes the landscape. A Carthaginian shore, a heath on the edge of Sorrento, a border of dried canes in the Roman Campagna are more magnificent, when lit up by the rays of the setting sun or the dawn, than all the Alps on this side of the Gauls. Those holes which they call valleys, where one sees nothing at full noon-day; those high fixed screens dubbed mountains; those soiled torrents which bellow with the cows on their banks; those violet-coloured faces, those goitrous necks, those dropsical bellies: a plague upon them!

If the mountains of our climes can justify the panegyrics of their admirers, it is only when they are wrapped in the night of which they thicken the chaos: the effect of their angles, their protuberances, their sweeping lines, their immense projected shadows is heightened by moonlight. The stars carve and engrave them on the sky in pyramids, cones, obelisks, in an architecture of alabaster, now casting over them a gauzy veil and harmonizing them with uncertain tints, faintly washed with blue; now sculpturing them one by one and separating them by lines of great precision. Every valley, every reduct, with its lakes, its rocks, its forests, becomes a temple of silence and solitude. In winter, the mountains offer us the image of the polar zones; in autumn, under a rainy sky, in their different shades of darkness, they[Pg 288] resemble grey, black, bistre lithographs: the tempests also suit them, as do the vapours, half mists, half clouds, which roll at their feet or hang suspended at their flanks.

But are the mountains not favourable to meditations, to independence, to poetry? Do fine deep solitudes, mingled with sea, receive nothing from the soul, add nothing to its delights? Does a sublime nature not render us more susceptible to passion, and does passion not make us better understand a sublime nature? Is an intimate love not increased by the vague love of all the beauties of the senses and the intelligence which surround it, even as similar principles attract and blend with one another? Does not the feeling of the infinite, entering through a vast spectacle into a limited feeling, grow and spread to the boundaries at which commences an eternity of life?

I admit all this; but let us well understand one another: it is not the mountains that exist such as we think that we see them then; it is the mountains as the passions, the talents and the muses have drawn their lines, coloured their skies, their snows, their peaks, their declivities, their irised cascades, their "soft" atmosphere, their light and tender shadows: the landscape is on Claude Lorrain's palette, not on the Campo Vaccino. Make me to love, and you shall see that a solitary apple-tree, weather-beaten, flung crooked-wise amid the wheat-fields of the Beauce; the flower of an arrow-head in a marsh; a little water-course in a road; a scrap of moss, a fern, a tuft of maiden-hair fern on the side of a rock; a moist, smoky sky; a tomtit in a vicarage garden; a swallow, flying low, on a rainy day, under the thatch of a barn or along a cloister; even a bat taking the place of the swallow around a country steeple, fluttering on its gauzy wings in the last gloaming of the twilight: all these little things, attached to a few memories, will become enchanted by the mystery of my happiness or the sadness of my regrets. On the upshot, it is the youth of life, it is the persons that make fine sites. The ice-floes of Baffin's Bay can be smiling, with company after one's heart: the banks of the Ohio and the Ganges mournful, in the absence of all affection. A poet has said:

La patrie est aux lieux où l'âme est enchantée[450].

It is the same with beauty.

[Pg 289]

Here is too much about mountains: I love them as great solitudes; I love them as the frame, the border and the distance of a fine picture; I love them as the rampart and refuge of liberty; I love them as adding something infinite to the passions of the soul: equitably and reasonably, that is all the good to be said of them. If I am not to settle down on the other side of the Alps, my journey across the Saint-Gotthard will remain a disconnected fact, an optical view in the midst of the pictures of my Memoirs: I will put out the lamp and Lugano will relapse into darkness.

Lucerne cathedral.

Scarce arrived at Lucerne, I quickly hastened once more to the cathedral, the Hofkirche, built on the site of a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas[451], the patron saint of sailors: this primitive chapel served also as a beacon, for, during the night, it was seen lighted up in a supernatural manner. It was Irish missionaries that preached the Gospel in the almost desert country of Lucerne; they brought it the liberty which their unhappy mother-land has not enjoyed. When I returned to the cathedral, a man was digging a grave; in the church, they were finishing a service around a bier, and a young woman was having a child's cap blessed at an altar: she placed it, with a visible expression of joy, in a basket which she carried on her arm, and went away laden with her treasure. The next day, I found the grave in the cemetery closed up, a vessel of holy water placed on the fresh earth, and some fennel-seed sprinkled for the little birds: already they were alone, beside that corpse of a night.

I took some walks in the neighbourhood of Lucerne, in magnificent pine-woods. The bees, whose hives are placed above the farm-doors, under the shelter of the overhanging roofs, live with the peasants. I saw the famous Clara Wendel[452] go to Mass behind her companions in captivity, in her prison dress. She is very common; I found in her the look of all those brutes in France who are present at so[Pg 290] many murders, without for that reason being more distinguished than a fierce beast, in spite of all that the theory of crime and the admiration of slaughter would attribute to them. A simple foot-soldier, armed with a carbine, here takes the convicts to perform their day's work and brings them back to the prison.

This evening, I prolonged my walk along the Reuss, to a chapel built on the road: one goes up to it by a little Italian portico. From this portico, I saw a priest praying alone on his knees inside the oratory, while, on the top of the mountains, I saw the last gleams of the setting sun. On returning to Lucerne, I heard women saying the rosary in the cottages; the voices of children made the responses to the maternal adoration. I stopped, I listened through the twining vines to those words addressed to God from within a hut. The comely and graceful young girl who waits on me at the Golden Eagle also most regularly says her Angelus as she draws the curtains of the windows in my room. When I come in, I give her a few flowers which I have gathered; she says to me, gently patting her breast with her hand:

"Per me?"

I answer:

"For you."

There our conversation ends.

*

Lucerne, 26 August 1832.

Madame de Chateaubriand has not yet arrived: I shall take a trip to Constance. M. A. Dumas[453] is here; I had already seen him at David's, while he was being modelled by the great sculptor. Madame de Colbert[454], with her daughter[Pg 291] Madame de Brancas, is also passing through Lucerne[455]. It was at Madame de Colbert's, in Beauce, that, nearly twenty years ago, I wrote, in these Memoirs, the story of my youth at Combourg[456]. The places seem to travel with me: they are as mobile, as fleeting as my life.

The mail-post brings me a very fine letter from M. de Béranger, in reply to that which I wrote to him on leaving Paris: this letter has already been printed as a note, with a letter from M. Carrel, in the Congrès de Vérone[457].

*

Constance.

Geneva, September 1832.

Going from Lucerne to Constance, one passes through Zurich and Winterthur. Nothing pleased me at Zurich, except the memory of Lavater[458] and Gessner[459], the trees of an esplanade overlooking the lakes, the course of the Limmat, an old crow and an old elm; I prefer this to all Zurich's historic past, with due deference even to the Battle of Zurich. Napoleon and his captains, passing from victory to victory, brought the Russians to Paris.

Winterthur is a new and industrial little market-town, or rather one long clean street. Constance has an air of belonging to nobody; it is open to all the world. I entered it, on the 27th of August, without seeing a custom-house officer or a soldier and without being asked for my passport.

Madame Récamier had arrived, three days earlier[460], to pay a visit to the Queen of Holland. I was waiting for Madame de Chateaubriand, who was coming to join me at Lucerne. I proposed to weigh whether it would not be preferable to settle first in Swabia, remaining free to go down into Italy later.

[Pg 292]

In the decayed town of Constance, the inn was very gay; they were making preparations for a wedding. The day after my arrival, Madame Récamier wanted to escape the rejoicings of our hosts: we took a boat on the lake and, crossing the sheet of water from which the Rhine flows to become a river, we reached the strand of a park. Setting foot on land, we passed through a hedge of willows, on the other side of which we found a sanded walk winding among thickets of shrubs, groups of trees and grassy lawns. A summer-house stood in the middle of the gardens and an elegant villa leant against a forest of old trees. I noticed on the grass some meadow-saffron, always melancholy for me because of the reminiscences of my various and numerous autumns. We strolled at random and then sat down on a bench at the edge of the water. From the summer-house in the grove rose harmonies of harp and horn which ceased when, charmed and surprised, we began to listen: it was a scene from a fairy-tale. The harmonies did not recommence and I read to Madame Récamier my description of the Saint-Gotthard; she asked me to write something on her tablets, already half-filled with details of the death of J. J. Rousseau. Below these last words of the author of the Héloïse: "Wife, open the window, that I may see the sun again," I wrote these words in pencil:

"What I wanted on the Lake of Lucerne, I have found on the Lake of Constance: the charm and intelligence of beauty. I do not want to die like Rousseau; I want to see the sun for long, if I am to end my life near you. Let my days expire at your feet, like those waves whose murmur you love.—28 August 1832."

The blue of the lake kept watch behind the foliage; on the southern horizon, gathered the summits of the Grisons Alps; a breeze passing to and fro across the willows harmonized with the rise and fall of the billows: we saw no one; we did not know where we were.

*

As we returned to Constance, we saw Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu and her son Louis Napoleon[461]: they came up[Pg 293] to Madame Récamier. I had not known the Queen of Holland under the Empire; I knew that she had shown herself generous at the time of my resignation on the death of the Duc d'Enghien and when I tried to save my cousin Armand; under the Restoration, when Ambassador in Rome, I had had only relations of politeness with Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu; unable to go to her myself, I had left the secretaries and attachés free to pay their court to her, and I had invited Cardinal Fesch to a diplomatic dinner of cardinals. Since the last fall of the Restoration, chance had made me exchange a few letters with Queen Hortense and Prince Louis. These letters are a rather singular monument of faded grandeurs; here they are:

Letter from Queen Hortense.

Madame de Saint-Leu, after reading the last letter of M. de Chateaubriand

"Arenenberg, 15 October 1831.

"M. de Chateaubriand has too much genius not to have understood the whole extent of the Emperor Napoleons. But his so brilliant imagination required more than admiration: memories of youth, an illustrious fortune attracted his heart; he devoted his person and talent to them and, like the poet who lends to everything the sentiment which animates him, he clothed what he loved with the features which were to kindle his enthusiasm. Ingratitude did not discourage him, for misfortune was always there to draw it to him; nevertheless his wit, his reason, his truly French sentiments make him the antagonist of his party in spite of himself. He loves, of the olden times, only honour, which makes men faithful, and religion, which makes men good; the glory of his country, which makes its strength; liberty of conscience and opinion, which gives a noble impulse to the faculties of men; the aristocracy of merit, which opens up a career to every intelligence: these constitute his domain more than any others. He is therefore a Liberal, a Napoleonist and even a Republican rather than a Royalist And therefore new France, its new lights would know how to appreciate him, whereas he will never be understood by those whom he has set so near to the Divinity in his heart; and, if there be now naught left for him but to sing unhappiness, were it the most interesting, high misfortunes have become so common in this age of ours that his brilliant imagination, without any[Pg 294] real object or motive, will die out for want of nutriment sufficiently lofty to inspire his fine talent.

"Hortense."

After reading a note signed, "Hortense"

"M. de Chateaubriand is exceedingly flattered and in the highest degree grateful for the sentiments of good-will so gracefully expressed in the first part of the note; in the second there lurks the seductiveness of a woman and a queen which might carry with it a self-love less sophisticated than M. de Chateaubriand's.

"There are certainly to-day plenty of occasions of infidelity among such high and numerous misfortunes; but, at the age to which M. de Chateaubriand has attained, reverses which reckon but few years would scorn his homage: needs therefore must he remain attached to his old unhappiness, however much he might be tempted by younger adversities.

"Chateaubriand.

Paris, 6 November 1831."

Prince Louis Napoleon to the Vicomte de Chateaubriand

"Arenenberg, 4 May 1832.

"Monsieur le vicomte,

"I have just read your last pamphlet. How happy the Bourbons are to be supported by a genius such as yours! You raise a cause with the same arms that have served to lay it low; you find words that send a thrill through every French heart. All that is national finds an echo in your soul; thus, when you speak of the great man who rendered France illustrious during twenty years, the loftiness of the subject inspires you, your genius embraces it entirely, and then your mind, naturally pouring itself out, surrounds the greatest glory with the greatest thoughts.

"I too, monsieur le vicomte, grow enthusiastic on behalf of all that contributes to the honour of my country; that is why, giving vent to my impulse, I venture to express to you the sympathy which I feel for one who displays so much patriotism and so much love of liberty. But, permit me to tell you, you are the only formidable defender of[Pg 295] the Old Monarchy; you would make it national, if one could believe that it would think as you do; and so, to give it any worth, it is not enough to declare yourself on its side, but rather to prove that it is on yours.

"However, monsieur le vicomte, if we differ in opinions, at least we are agreed in the wishes which we form for France's happiness.

"Pray accept, etc., etc.

"Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte."


Queen Hortense.


And Louis Napoleon.

The Vicomte de Chateaubriand to the Comte de Saint-leu (Prince Louis Napoleon)

"Paris, 19 May 1832.

"Monsieur le comte,

"It is never easy to reply to praises; but, when he who awards them with as much wit as propriety is moreover in a social condition to which peerless memories are attached, then the difficulty is doubled. At least, Monsieur, we meet in a common sympathy; you with your youth, as I with my old days, desire the honour of France. It needed no more for either of us, to die of confusion or laughter, than to see the juste-milieu blockaded in Ancona[462] by the soldiers of the Pope. Ah, Monsieur, where is your uncle? To others than yourself I should say:

"'Where is the guardian of kings and the master of Europe?'

"In defending the cause of the Legitimacy, I entertain no illusions; but I think that every man who cares for public esteem must remain faithful to his oaths: Lord Falkland, a friend of liberty and an enemy of the Court, got himself killed at Newbury in the army of Charles I. You shall live, Monsieur le Comte, to see your country free and happy; you are passing through ruins among which I shall remain, because I myself form part of those ruins.

"I had for a moment entertained the flattering hope of laying the tribute of my respect, this summer, at the feet of Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu: fortune, accustomed to baffle my plans, has deceived me once again. I should have been happy to thank you by word of mouth for your obliging letter; we should have spoken of a great glory[Pg 296] and of France's future, two things, Monsieur le Comte, which touch you nearly.

"Chateaubriand."

Have the Bourbons ever written letters to me similar to those which I have just produced? Did they ever entertain the idea that I rose above this versifier or that pamphleteering politician?

When, as a little boy, I used to wander, the companion of the herdsmen, over the heaths of Combourg, could I have believed that a time would come at which I should walk between the two highest powers on earth, powers now overthrown, giving my arm on one side to the family of St. Louis, on the other to that of Napoleon: hostile magnificences which alike lean, in the misfortune which brings them together, on the feeble and faithful man, the man scorned by the Legitimacy?

Madame Récamier went to fix herself at Wolfsberg, a country-house occupied by M. Parquin[463], near Arenenberg, where Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu was living; I stayed two days at Constance. I saw all that there was to see: the market containing the public granary christened the "Hall of the Council," the so-called statue of Huss[464], the square in which Jerome of Prague[465] and John Huss were, they say, burnt; in fine, all the ordinary abominations of history and society.

The Rhine, issuing from the lake, announces itself very much like a king: nevertheless it was not able to defend Constance, which was, if I am not mistaken, sacked by Attila[466], besieged by the Hungarians[467], the Swedes[468], and twice taken by the French[469].

[Pg 297]

Constance is the Saint-Germain of Germany: the old people of the old society have retired to it. When I knocked at a door to look for rooms for Madame de Chateaubriand, I came upon some canoness, a girl past her minority; some prince of an ancient house, an elector on half-pay: which went very well with the abandoned steeples and the deserted convents of the city. Condé's Army fought gloriously under the walls of Constance and seems to have left its ambulance there. I had the misfortune to meet a veteran Emigrant; he did me the honour to have known me in former times; he had more days than hairs; his words were endless; he was unable to contain himself and allowed his years to run.

*

Diner at Arenenberg.

On the 29th of August, I went to dine at Arenenberg.

Arenenberg stands on a sort of promontory in a chain of steep hills. The Queen of Holland, whom the sword had made and whom the sword had unmade, built the château, or, if you prefer, the summer-house of Arenenberg. From it, one enjoys an extensive, but melancholy view. This view commands the Lower Lake of Constance, which is only an expansion of the Rhine over swamped fields. On the other side of the lake, one sees gloomy woods, remains of the Black Forest, a few white birds fluttering under a grey sky and driven by an icy wind. There, after having sat on a throne, after being outrageously slandered, Queen Hortense came to perch upon a rock; below is the isle of the lake on which, they say, the tomb of Charles the Fat[470] was discovered and on which, at present, canaries are dying which ask in vain for the sun of their native islands. Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu was better off in Rome; nevertheless, she has not descended in proportion to her birth and her early life: on the contrary, she has risen; her abasement is only relative to an accident of her fortune; this is not one of those descents like that of Madame la Dauphine, who has fallen from all the height of the centuries.

The companions, male and female, of Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu were her son, Madame Salvage[471], Madame——-. By way of visitors, there were Madame Récamier, M. Vieillard[472][Pg 298] and myself. Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu acquitted herself very well in her difficult position as a queen and a Demoiselle de Beauharnais.

After dinner, Madame de Saint-Leu sat down to her piano with M. Cottreau[473], a tall young painter in mustachios, a straw hat, a blouse, a turned-down shirt-collar, an eccentric costume, who hunted, painted, sang, laughed, in a witty and noisy fashion.

Prince Louis occupies a summer-house standing apart, where I saw arms, topographical and strategical charts; industries which made one, as though by accident, think of the blood of the Conqueror without naming him: Prince Louis is a studious and well-informed young man, full of honour and naturally grave.

Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu read me a few fragments of her Memoirs: she showed me a cabinet filled with relics of Napoleon. I asked myself why this wardrobe left me cold; why that little hat, that sash, that uniform worn at such and such a battle found me so indifferent: I was much more perturbed when writing of the death of Napoleon at St. Helena. The reason of this is that Napoleon is our contemporary; we have all seen him and known him: he lives in our memory; but the hero is still too close to his glory. A thousand years hence, it will be a different thing: it is only the centuries that have lent a perfume to Alexander's sweat; let us wait: of a conqueror one should show only the sword.

I returned to Wolfsberg with Madame Récamier and set out at night: the weather was dark and rainy; the wind whistled through the trees and the wood-owl hooted: a real Germanian scene.

Madame de Chateaubriand soon arrived at Lucerne: the dampness of the town frightened her and, as Lugano was too dear, we decided to come to Geneva. We took our route over Sempach: the lake preserves the memory of a battle[474] which ensured the enfranchisement of the Swiss, at[Pg 299] a time when the nations on this side of the Alps had lost their liberties. Beyond Sempach, we passed before the Abbey of St. Urban's, crumbling like all the monuments of Christianity. It stands in a melancholy spot, on the skirt of a heath which leads to a wood: if I had been free and alone, I would have asked the monks for a hole in their walls, there to finish my Memoirs beside an owl; then I should have gone to end my days in doing nothing under the beautiful do-nothing sun of Naples or Palermo: but beautiful countries and spring-time have become insults, disasters and regrets.

On reaching Berne, we were told that there was a great revolution in progress in the city; I looked in vain: the streets were deserted, silence reigned, the terrible revolution was realized without a word, to the peaceful smoke of a pipe in the corner of some coffee-house.

Madame Récamier was not long in joining us at Geneva.

A visit to Coppet.

*

Geneva, end of September 1832.

I have begun to take up my work again seriously: I write in the morning and walk in the evening. Yesterday, I went to pay a visit to Coppet. The house was shut up; they opened the doors for me; I wandered through the deserted rooms. The companion of my pilgrimage recognised all the places, where she still seemed to see her friend, seated at her piano, or coming in, or going out, or talking on the terrace alongside of the gallery; Madame Récamier has seen again the room which she used to occupy; days gone by have come up again before her; it was like a rehearsal of the scene which I described in René:

"I passed through the sonorous apartments where nothing was heard but the sound of my footsteps.... Everywhere the rooms were without hangings and the spider spun its web in the abandoned couches.... How sweet, but how rapid are the moments which brothers and sisters pass in their youthful years, gathered under the wing of their old parents! Man's family is but of a day; God's breath disperses it like a bubble. The son has scarce time to know the father, the father the son, the brother the sister, the sister the brother! The oak sees its acorns shoot up around itself: it is not thus with the children of men!"

I also remembered what I said, in these Memoirs, of my[Pg 300] last visit to Combourg, before leaving for America. Two different worlds, but connected by a common sympathy, occupied Madame Récamier and myself. Alas, each of us carries within himself one of those isolated worlds; for where are the persons who have lived long enough together not to have separate memories?

From the château, we entered the park; the early autumn began to redden and to loosen a few leaves; the wind fell by degrees and let one hear a stream that turns a mill. After following the alleys along which she had been accustomed to walk with Madame de Staël, Madame Récamier wanted to greet her ashes. At some distance from the park stands a coppice mingled with taller trees and surrounded by a damp and dilapidated wall. This coppice resembles those clusters of trees in the midst of plains which sportsmen call "covers:" it is there that death has driven its prey and shut up its victims.

A burial-place had been built beforehand in that wood to receive M. Necker, Madame Necker and Madame de Staël: when the last of these arrived at the trysting-place, they walled-up the door of the crypt. The child of Auguste de Staël remained outside, and Auguste himself, who died before his child, was laid under a stone, at his relations' feet. On the stone are carved these words taken from Scripture:

Why seek you the living with the dead[475]?

I did not go into the wood; Madame Récamier alone obtained permission to enter it. Remaining seated on a bench before the surrounding wall, I turned my back on France, and fixed my eyes, now on the summit of Mont Blanc, now on the Lake of Geneva: the golden clouds covered the horizon behind the dark line of the Jura; it was as though a halo of glory were rising above a long coffin. On the other side of the lake, I saw Lord Byron's[476] house, the ridge of which was touched by a ray of the setting sun. Rousseau was no more there to admire that spectacle, and Voltaire, who had also disappeared, had never cared about it. It was at the foot of the tomb of Madame de Staël that so many illustrious absentees on the same shore presented[Pg 301] themselves to my recollection: they seemed to come to seek the shade their equal to fly away into the sky with her and escort her during the night At that moment, Madame Récamier, pale and in tears, came out from the funeral grove herself like a shadow. If ever I have felt at one time the vanity and the verity of glory and life, it was at the entrance of that silent, dark, unknown wood, where she sleeps who had so much lustre and fame, and when seeing what it is to be truly loved.

With Madame Récamier.

That same evening, the day after my devotions to the dead of Coppet, tired of the edge of the lake, I went, still with Madame Récamier, in search of less frequented walks. We discovered, going down the Rhone, a narrow gorge through which the stream flows bubbling under several mills, between rocky cliffs intersected by meadows. One of these meadows stretches at the foot of a hill on which a house is planted amid a cluster of elms.

We several times climbed and descended, talking the while, this narrow strip of grass which separates the boisterous stream from the silent hillock: how many persons are there whom one can weary with what one has been and carry back with one on the track of one's days? We spoke of those days, always painful and always regretted, in which the passions form the happiness and the martyrdom of youth. Now I am writing this page at midnight, while all is at rest around me, and through my window I see a few stars glimmering over the Alps.

Madame Récamier is going to leave us: she will return in the spring, and I shall spend the winter in evoking my vanished hours, in summoning them one by one before the tribunal of my reason. I do not know if I shall be very impartial nor if the judge will not be too indulgent towards. the culprit I shall spend next summer in the land of Jean Jacques. God grant that I may not catch the dreamer's malady. And then, when autumn shall have returned, we shall go to Italy: "Italian!" that is my eternal refrain.

*

Geneva, October 1832.

Prince Louis Napoleon having given me his pamphlet entitled, Rêveries politiques, I wrote him this letter:

"Prince,

"I have read attentively the little pamphlet which you were so good as to entrust to me. I have jotted down,[Pg 302] as you wished, a few reflections, springing naturally from yours, which I had already submitted to your judgment. You know, Prince, that my young King is in Scotland, that, so long as he lives, there can be no other King of France for me than he; but, if God, in his impenetrable counsels, had rejected the House of St. Louis, if the habits of our country did not render the republican state possible, there is no name which goes better with the glory of France than yours.

"I am, etc., etc.

"Chateaubriand."

*

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, January 1833.

I had dreamt much of that approaching future which I had made for myself and which I thought so near. At night-fall, I used to go wandering in the windings of the Arve, in the direction of Salève. One evening, I saw M. Berryer enter; he was returning from Lausanne and told me of the arrest of Madame la Duchesse de Berry[477]; he did not know any details. My plans for repose were once more upset. When the mother of Henry V. believed in her success, she discharged me; her misfortune destroyed her last note and recalled me to her defense. I started on the spot from Geneva, after writing to the ministers. On arriving in my Rue d'Enfer, I addressed the following circular letter to the editors of the newspapers:

"Sir,

"I arrived in Paris on the 17th of this month and wrote, on the 18th, to M. the Minister of Justice[478] to ask if the letter which I had had the honour to send him from Geneva, on the 12th, for Madame la Duchesse de Berry had reached him and if he had had the goodness to forward it to Madame.

"I begged M. the Keeper of the Seals at the same time to give me the necessary authorization to go to the Princess at Blaye.

"M. the Keeper of the Seals was so good as to reply, on the 19th, that he had handed my letters to the President of[Pg 303] the Council[479] and that I must apply to the latter. I wrote, consequently, on the 20th, to M. the Minister for War. To-day, the 22nd, I receive his answer of the 21st: he 'regrets to be under the necessity of informing me that the Government does not consider it expedient to grant my request.' This decision has put an end to my applications to the authorities.

"I have never, sir, pretended to think myself capable of defending unaided the cause of misfortune and of France. My plan, if I had been permitted to reach the feet of the august prisoner, was to propose to her, in this emergency, the formation of a council of men more enlightened than myself. In addition to the honourable and distinguished persons that have already come forward, I would have taken the liberty to suggest to Madame's choice M. le Marquis de Pastoret[480], M. Lainé, M. de Villèle, etc., etc.

"Now, sir, that I am officially turned away, I return to my right as a private individual. My Mémoires sur la vie et la mort de M. le Duc de Berry, wrapped in the hair of the widow to-day a captive, lie near the heart which Louvel made to resemble even more that of Henry IV. I have not forgotten that signal honour, of which the present moment asks me for a reckoning and makes me feel all the responsibility.

"I am, sir, etc., etc.

"Chateaubriand."

My circular to the press.

While I was writing this circular letter to the newspapers, I found means to have the following note handed to Madame la Duchesse de Berry:

"Paris, 23 November 1832.

"Madame,

"I had the honour to address to you from Geneva an earlier letter dated the 12th of this month. This letter,[Pg 304] in which I begged you to do me the honour to choose me as one of your defenders, has been printed in the newspapers[481].

"Your Royal Highness' cause may be taken up by all those who, without being authorized to do so, might have useful truths to make known; but, if Madame wishes that it be carried on in her own name, it is not one man, but a council of men, of politicians and lawyers, that must be charged with this high affair. In that case, I would ask that Madame would consent to assign to me as coadjutors (with the persons whom she would have already selected) M. le Comte de Pastoret, M. Hyde de Neuville, M. de Villèle, M. Lainé, M. Royer-Collard, M. Pardessus[482], M. Mandaroux-Vertamy[483], M. de Vaufreland.

"I had also thought, Madame, that one might summon to this council a few men of great talent and of an opinion contrary to ours; but perhaps it would be to place them in a false position, to oblige them to make a sacrifice of honour and principle to which lofty minds and upright consciences do not readily lend themselves.

"Chateaubriand."

An old disciplined soldier, I was therefore hastening up to take my place in the ranks and to march under my captains: reduced by the will of the authorities to a duel, I accepted it I had scarcely expected to come, from the tomb of the husband, to fight by the tomb of the widow.

Supposing that I were bound to remain alone, that I had[Pg 305] misunderstood what suits France, I was none the less in the path of honour. Nor is it of little use for men that a man should immolate himself to his conscience; it is good that some one should consent to ruin himself to remain steadfast to principles of which he is convinced and which have to do with what is noble in our nature: those dupes are the necessary contestants of the brutal fact, the victims charged to utter the veto of the oppressed against the triumph of might. We praise the Poles: is their devotion other than a sacrifice? It has saved nothing; it could save nothing: even in the minds of my opponents, will that devotion be barren of results for the human race?

I prefer a family before my country, they say: no, I prefer fidelity to my oaths before perjury, the moral world before material society; that is all: in so far as the family is concerned, I devote myself to it because it was essentially beneficial to France; I confound its posterity with that of the country and, when I deplore the misfortunes of the one, I deplore the disasters of the other: beaten, I have prescribed duties to myself, even as the victors have laid interests upon themselves. I am trying to withdraw from the world with my self-respect; in solitude we have to be careful whom we choose for our companion.

*

On the arrest of Madame.

In France, the land of vanity, so soon as an occasion offers for making a fuss, a crowd of people seize it: some act from good-heartedness, others from their consciousness of their own merits. I therefore had many competitors; they begged, as I had done, of Madame la Duchesse de Berry, the honour to defend her. At least, my presumption in offering myself to the Princess as a champion was a little justified by former services; though I did not fling the sword of Brennus[484] into the scale, at least I put my name there: however unimportant that may be, it had already gained some victories for the Monarchy. I opened my Mémoire sur la captivité de Madame la duchesse de Berry[485] with a consideration by which I am forcibly struck; I have[Pg 306] often reprinted it, and it is probable that I shall reprint it again:

"We never cease," I said, "to be astonished at events; ever we imagine that we have come to the last; ever the revolution recommences. Those who, since forty years, are marching to reach the goal, repine; they thought they were sitting for a few hours by the edge of their tomb: vain hope! Time strikes those travellers gasping for breath, and forces them to move onward. How many times, since they have been on the road, has the Old Monarchy fallen at their feet! Scarce escaped from those successive crumblings, they are obliged once more to pass over its rubbish and its dust. Which century will see the end of the movement?...

"Providence has willed that the transient generations destined for unremembered days should be small, in order that the damage might not be great. And so we see that everything proves abortive, that everything is inconsistent, that no one is like himself or embraces his whole destiny, that no event produces what it contained and what it ought to produce. The superior men of the age which is expiring are dying away; will they have successors? The ruins of Palmyra end in sands."

Passing from this general observation to particular facts, I show, in my reasoning, that they might deal with Madame la Duchesse de Berry by arbitrary measures, regarding her as a prisoner of police, of war, of State, or asking the Chambers to pass a bill of attainder; that they might bring her within the competence of the laws by applying to her the Briqueville Law of Exception or the common law of the Code; that they might regard her person as inviolable and sacred. The ministers maintained the first opinion, the men of July the second, the Royalists the third.

I go through the several suppositions: I prove that, if Madame la Duchesse de Berry made a descent upon France, she had been drawn thither only because she heard men's opinions asking for a different present, calling for a different future.

False to its popular extraction, the revolution proceeding from the Days of July repudiated glory and courted shame. Except in a few hearts worthy of giving it an asylum, liberty, become the object of the derision of those who made it their[Pg 307] rallying-cry, that liberty which buffoons bandy about with kicks, that liberty strangled after dishonour by the tourniquet of the laws of exception will, through its destruction, transform the Revolution of 1830 into a cynical fraud.

Thereupon, and to deliver us all, Madame la Duchesse de Berry arrived. Fortune betrayed her; a Jew sold her; a minister bought her[486]. If they are not willing to proceed against her by police measures, the only alternative is to indict her at the assizes. I suppose this to have been done, and I bring on the stage the Princess's defending counsel; then, after making the defending counsel speak, I address the counsel for the prosecution:

My pamphlet.

"Advocate.... stand up....

"Establish learnedly that Caroline Ferdinande of Sicily, Widow de Berry, niece of the late Marie-Antoinette of Austria, Widow Capet, is guilty of opposition to a man, the reputed uncle and guardian of an orphan called Henry, which uncle and guardian is said, according to the calumnious allegation of the prisoner, unlawfully to detain the crown of a ward, which ward impudently pretends to have been King from the day of the abdication of the ex-King Charles X. and the ex-Dauphin till the day of the election of the King of the French....

"In support of your argument, let the judges first call up Louis-Philippe as evidence for or against the prisoner, unless he prefer to excuse himself as a kinsman. Next, let the judges confront the prisoner and the descendant of the Great Traitor; let the Iscariot into whom Satan had entered[487] say how many pieces of silver he received for the bargain.

... Then it will be proved, by those who have examined the spot, that the prisoner for six hours suffered the Gehenna of fire in a space too narrow for her, in which four people could hardly breathe, which caused the tortured person contumeliously to say that they 'were making war upon her as though she were a St. Laurence[488]. Now, Caroline Ferdinande being pressed by her accomplices against the red-hot slab, her clothes twice caught fire, and, at each[Pg 308] blow of the gendarmes on the outside of the fiery furnace, the shock was communicated to the prisoner's heart, causing her to vomit blood.

"Next, in the presence of the image of Christ, they will lay on the desk, as a piece of direct evidence, the burnt garments: for there must always be lots cast upon garments in these Judas bargains."

*

Madame la Duchesse de Berry was set at liberty by an arbitrary act of the authorities, after they thought that they had dishonoured her. The picture which I drew of the proceedings made Philip see the invidiousness of a public trial and determined him to grant a pardon to which he believed that he had attached a punishment: the pagans, under Severus[489], used to throw to the lions a newly-delivered young Christian woman. My pamphlet, of which only some phrases survive, had its important historical result.

I am melted again, as I copy out the apostrophe which ends my work; it is, I admit, a foolish waste of tears:

"Illustrious captive of Blaye, Madame! May your heroic presence in a land which knows something of heroism lead France to repeat to you what my political independence has won for me the right to say:

"'Madame, your son is my King!'

"If Providence inflict yet a few hours upon me, shall I behold your triumphs, after having had the honour of embracing your adversities? Shall I receive that guerdon of my faith? At the moment when you return happy, I would joyfully go to end in retirement the days commenced in exile. Alas, I am disconsolate to be able to do nothing for your present destinies! My words die away in mere waste around the walls of your prison: the noise of the winds, of the waves and of men, at the foot of the lonely fortress, will not even allow the last accents of a faithful voice to ascend to where you are."

Paris, March 1833.

Some newspapers, having repeated the phrase, "Madame, your son is my King!" were indicted in the courts for a press offense; I found myself involved in the proceedings.[Pg 309] This time, I could not take exception to the competency of the judges; I had to try to save by my presence the men attacked for my sake; my honour was at stake and I had to answer for my works.

Moreover, the day before my summons before the court, the Moniteur had given the declaration of Madame la Duchesse de Berry[490]; if I had stayed away, they would have thought that the Royalist Party was retreating, that it was abandoning misfortune and blushing for the Princess whose heroism it had celebrated.

There was no lack of timid counsellors who said to me:

"Do not put in an appearance; you will be too much embarrassed with your phrase, 'Madame, your son is my King!'"

"I shall shout it louder than ever," I replied.

I went to the very court where the revolutionary tribunal had formerly been installed, where Marie-Antoinette had appeared, where my brother had been condemned. The Revolution of July has ordered the removal of the crucifix whose presence, while consoling innocence, caused the judge to tremble.

My trial in Paris.

My appearance before the judges had a fortunate effect; it counterbalanced for a moment the effect of the declaration in the Moniteur and maintained the mother of Henry V. in the rank in which her courageous adventure had placed her: men hesitated, when they saw that the Royalist Party dared to face the event and did not consider itself beaten.

I did not want a counsel, but M. Ledru, who had attached himself to me at the time of my imprisonment, wished to speak: he grew disconcerted and gave me great uneasiness. M. Berryer, who represented the Quotidienne, indirectly took up my defense. At the end of the proceedings, I called the jury the "universal peerage," which contributed not a little towards the acquittal of all of us[491].

[Pg 310]

Nothing remarkable occurred to signalize this trial in the terrible chamber that had resounded with the voices of Fouquier-Tinville and Danton; there was nothing amusing in it, except the arguments of M. Persil[492]: wishing to prove my guilt, he quoted this phrase from my pamphlet, "It is difficult to crush what flattens itself underfoot," and, exclaiming, "Do you feel, gentlemen, all the scorn comprised in that paragraph, 'It is difficult to crush what flattens itself underfoot'?" he made the movement of a man who crushes something under his feet He resumed his speech triumphantly: the laughter of the audience was renewed. The worthy man perceived neither the delight of the audience at his unlucky phrase nor the perfectly absurd figure which he cut while stamping his feet, in his black robes, as though he were dancing, at the same time that his face was pale with inspiration and his eyes haggard with eloquence.

When the jury returned and pronounced their verdict of "not guilty," applause broke out and I was surrounded by young men who had put on barristers' robes to get in: M. Carrel was there.

The crowd increased as I went out; there was a scuffle in the court-yard of the palace between my escort and the police. At last, I succeeded, with great difficulty, in reaching home in the midst of the crowd which followed my cab shouting:

"Long live Chateaubriand[493]!"

[Pg 311]

I am acquitted.

At any other time, this acquittal would have been very significant; to declare that it was not guilty to say to the Duchesse de Berry, "Madame, your son is my King!" was to condemn the Revolution of July; but to-day this verdict means nothing, because there is no opinion nor duration in anything. In four and twenty hours, everything is changed: I should be condemned to-morrow for the fact on which I was acquitted to-day.

I have been to leave my card on the jurymen and notably on M. Chevet[494], one of the members of the "universal peerage." It was easier for that worthy citizen to find a conscientious verdict in my favour than it would have been for me to find in my pocket the money necessary to add to the happiness of my acquittal the pleasure of eating a good dinner at my judge's establishment: M. Chevet arbitrated with more equity on the Legitimacy, the Usurpation and the author of the Génie du Christianisme than many publicists and censors.

*

Paris, April 1833.

The Mémoire sur la captivité de madame la duchesse de Berry has obtained for me an immense popularity in the Royalist Party. Deputations and letters have reached me from every quarter. I have received from the North and South of France declarations of adhesion covered with many thousands of signatures. All of these, referring to my pamphlet, demand the liberation of Madame la Duchesse de Berry. Fifteen hundred young men of Paris have come to congratulate me, not without great excitement on the part of the police. I have received a cup in silver gilt, with this inscription:

To Chateaubriand from the loyal men of Villeneuve (Lot-et-Garonne)

A town in the South sent me some very good wine to fill this cup, but I do not drink. Lastly, Legitimist France has taken as its motto the words, "Madame, your son is my King!" and several newspapers have adopted them as an epigraph; they have been engraved on necklaces and rings.[Pg 312] I am the first to have uttered, in the face of the Usurpation, a truth which no one dared to speak, and, strange to say, I believe less in the return of Henry V. than the most contemptible juste-milieu man or the most violent Republican.

For the rest, I do not understand the word usurpation in the narrow sense given to it by the Royalist Party; there would be many things to say about this word, as about that of legitimacy: but there really is usurpation, and usurpation of the worst kind, in the guardian who plunders his ward and proscribes the orphan. All those grand phrases, that "the country had to be saved," are so many pretexts furnished to ambition by an immoral policy. Truly, ought we not to regard the meanness of your usurpation as an effort of virtue on your part? Are you Brutus[495], by chance, sacrificing his sons to the greatness of Rome?

I have been able, in the course of my life, to compare literary renown and popularity. The former pleased me for a few hours, but that love of renown soon passed. As for popularity, it found me indifferent, because, in the Revolution, I have seen too much of men surrounded by those masses which, after raising them on the shield, flung them into the gutter. A democrat by nature, an aristocrat by habit, I would most gladly sacrifice my fortune and my life to the people, provided I need have little relation with the crowd. Anyhow, I was extremely sensible of the impulse of the young men of July who carried me in triumph to the Chamber of Peers, and this inasmuch as they did not carry me there to be their leader or because I thought as they did: they were only doing justice to an enemy; they recognised in me a man of honour and liberty: that generosity touched me. But this other popularity which I have lately acquired in my own party has caused me no emotion; there is an icy barrier between the Royalists and myself: we want the same King; with that exception, most of our wishes are opposed one to the other.


[407] This book was written in Paris, between the end of July and the 8th of August 1832; at Basle, Lucerne and Lugano, between August and October 1832; and again in Paris, between January and April 1833.—T.

[408] John Fraser Frisell (1772-1846), a member of a Scotch family, came to France at the age of eighteen to "see the Revolution," out of curiosity. He was arrested and imprisoned at Dijon under the Terror, and did not recover his liberty until the 18 Brumaire. The First Consul authorized Frisell, "as a savant," to reside on the Continent, at a time when all the English were under suspicion; and he remained almost permanently in France and Italy, to the great displeasure of his family. He wrote a great deal, but would consent to the publication of only one of his works, De la Constitution de l'Angleterre, which is remarkably well written in French. He made the acquaintance of M. and Madame de Chateaubriand under the Empire and remained most attached to them until his death, which shortly preceded that of his two old friends. Frisell died at Torquay, in Devonshire, in February 1846. Cf. an article by Mr. J. Fraser, entitled, Un ami de Chateaubriand, in the Correspondant of 25 September 1897.—B.

[409] There is a slight error here. Chateaubriand, as well as his friends Hyde de Neuville and Fitz-James, were arrested on the 16th of June. The details of his arrest are in the newspapers of the 17th, and Hyde de Neuville also gives the 16th as the date. Probably this date of the 20th, in the Mémoires de Outre-tombe, is a copyist's error, the more so inasmuch as, in the whole course of the Memoirs, Chateaubriand has made no other mistake in his dates.—B.

[410] M. Henri Joseph Gisquet.—B.

[411] The juste-milieu was the political system of government which consisted in conciliating all opinions. Louis-Philippe used it (after Montesquieu and others) in replying to a deputation from the town of Gaillac, on the 29th of January, in these words:

"As for our home policy, we shall strive to keep to a juste milieu."

The phrase was very soon turned into one of general derision.—T.

[412] Frédéric Benoît (1813-1832), aged 19, the son of a magistrate at Vouxiers, had been sentenced to death on the eve of Chateaubriand's arrest, 15 June 1832. He had killed his mother, on the night of the 8th of November 1829, and his friend Alexandre Formage, a youth of 17, on the 21st of July 1831.—B.

[413] Richard Lovelace (1618-1658), the Cavalier poet, was imprisoned by the Commons in 1642, subsequently released on £20,000 bail, was abroad from 1646 to 1648 in the French service, taking part in the Siege of Dunkirk, and was again incarcerated on his return to England. He was released once more towards the close of 1649 and spent the remainder of his life in want. His best-known prison poems include his To Althea from Prison and the lines commencing:

Stone walls do not a prison make
Nor iron bars a cage.—T.

[414] Jean Baptiste Santeuil (1630-1697), a modern Latin poet, almost as celebrated for his gaiety and eccentricities as for his undoubted poetic talent.—T.

[415] "The coffin sinks down and the unspotted roses."—T.

[416] I omit a poem of sixteen lines, entitled, Jeune fille et jeune fleur, on the death of Eliza Frisell.—T.

[417] M. Nay was engaged to M. Gisquet's daughter.—T.

[418] François Eugène Vidocq (1775-1857) was in early life a soldier and a thief and was several times imprisoned. He became connected with the Paris police as a detective in 1809 and resigned, as chief of the detective force, in 1825. In 1832, he started a private detective establishment, which was soon dosed by the Government. He was the reputed author of a famous set of Memoirs and other works.—T.

[419] Louis Henri Desmortiers had been appointed a counsellor to the Paris Courts by the Restoration; the Revolution of 1830 made him King's Attorney to the Tribunal of First Instance of the Seine. These functions he preserved during the greater part of the reign of Louis-Philippe; and he was therefore not an examining magistrate in 1832. The examining magistrate charged in the affair of Messieurs de Chateaubriand, Hyde de Neuville and de Fitz-James was M. Poultier, who "fulfilled his painful duty towards the accused with as much delicacy as consideration" (Mémoires du baron Hyde de Neuville, vol. III. p. 496).—B.

[420] Charles Guillaume Hello (1787-1850). He had been appointed attorney-general at Rennes in 1830. He was the author of Philosophie de l'histoire de France and other works, and was the father of M. Ernest Hello (1828-1885), author of L'Homme, Paroles de Dieu, etc., which gave him an eminent rank among the writers and thinkers of his time.—B.

[421] "My name is Loyal, sirs, I come from Normandy,
And am a tipstaff, in despite of jealousy."—T.

[422] This is one of the very few errors of fact that occur in the Mémoires d'Outre-tombe, nor is it a very serious one. M. Geoffroy de Grandmaison, in his fine work on the Congrégation (pp. 389 et seq.), publishes the complete list of its members: M. Desmortiers' name does not appear upon it.—B.

The Congregation was an association of laymen, formed, under the auspices of the Jesuits, to practise, under their direction, works of charity and piety.—T.

[423] Paul François Dubois (1793-1874) had founded the Globe, in 1824, with Pierre Leroux. He sat as Deputy for Nantes from 1831 to 1848.—B.

[424] Jean Jacques Ampère (1800-1864), son of the celebrated physicist and a member of the French Academy. His fidelity to Chateaubriand was the more meritorious inasmuch as he had conceived, from his youth, an ardent passion for Madame Récamier which time was unable to allay.—B.

[425] Charles Lenormant (1802-1859) had married, in 1826, Mademoiselle Amélie Cyvoct, niece to Madame Récamier.—B.

[426] Charles Ledru, a young advocate gifted with a real talent, was soon eclipsed by another republican advocate of the same surname, Auguste Ledru. The latter, wishing to avoid the confusion that would certainly have been established between himself and Charles Ledru, added the name of his maternal great-grandmother to his own, and became known as Ledru-Rollin.—B.

[427] Charles Philipon (1800-1862), the brilliant draughtsman, founder of the Caricature (1831), the Charivari (1834) and, after 1848, the Journal amusant, the Musée français and the Petit journal pour rire. It was during one of his many trials that Philipon invented and drew the "pear" which was thenceforth to become the symbol of the head of Louis-Philippe. The next day, the walls of Paris were covered with it.—T.

[428] He signs his verses, "J. Chopin, employé au cabinet."—T.

[429] I omit these twenty lines.—T.

[430] Félix Barthe (1795-1863), after being linked with the Carbonari and taking an active part in the Revolution of July, entered M. Laffitte's dislocated ministry on the 27th of December 1830, to replace the Minister of Public Instruction, M. Mérilhou. On the 12th of March 1831, in the new Casimir-Périer Cabinet, he exchanged the portfolio of Public Instruction for that of Justice. He kept the Seals until the 4th of April 1834, when he fell with the Broglie Ministry. He was then made a peer of France and President of the Audit Office. The Second Empire made him a senator.—B.

[431] M. Demangeat.—B.

[432] Pierre Clément Bérard (1798—circa 1890). During the Hundred Days, being then seventeen years of age, he had enlisted in the corps of Royal Volunteers of the Paris School of Law and accompanied King Louis XVIII. to Ghent. In 1831 and 1832, he published a little weekly pamphlet, the Cancans, whose title varied with every number: Cancans parisiens, Cancans accusateurs, Cancans courtisans, Cancans inflexibles, Cancans saisis, Cancans prisonniers, etc. Each issue ended with a song. It was, as it were, a resurrection, after 1830, of the Actes des Apôtres of Rivarol, Champeenetz and their friends, with the same violence and also the same pluck and spirit. Only, the Cancans were edited, not by a company of wits, but by M. Bérard alone: true, he was as witty as any four or forty. Seizures and prosecutions rained upon the Cancans and their author, who was at last condemned to fourteen years' imprisonment and a fine of thirteen thousand francs. Fortunately, he succeeded in escaping to Holland, thus exchanging prison for exile. In 1833, he published Mon Voyage à Prague and then went to Rome, where the Legitimists had founded a bank in which Bérard accepted a clerkship. He was not again to leave the Eternal City, where he died, not very many years ago, an impenitent Royalist. His Souvenirs sur Sainte-Pélagie en 1832 appeared in 1886.—B.

[433] The reader will see in my account of my first journey to Prague my conversation with Charles X. on the subject of this loan.—Author's Note (Paris, 1834). Cf. Vol. I, pp. 369-370.—T.

[434] Amédée Simon Dominique Thierry (1797-1873). In 1810, he was tutor to Talleyrand's grand-nephews and, in 1828, published his Histoire des Gaulois, with great success. After the Days of July, he was appointed Prefect of the Haute-Saône. Later he filled more than one judicial office, under the Usurpation and the Second Empire, and was made a senator in 1860. He continued throughout to produce his historical works.—B.

[435] Cf. Augustin Thierry, Récits des temps mérovingiens: Preface.—B.

[436] The Comte d'Artois entered France by Vesoul, in February 1814, and from there, on the 27th of February, dated his Proclamation to the French.—B.

[437] Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1538), the great Dutch scholar and satirist, settled at Basle in 1521 and died there on the 12th of July 1528.—T.

[438] The Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia.—B.

[439] Hans Holbein the Younger (circa 1497-1543) lived in Basle from 1515 to 1523 and from 1528 to 1532. The Dance of Death at Basle, if really Holbein, was painted in the earlier period.—T.

[440] Martin Luther (1483-1546), founder of the heretical sect called after his name.—T.

[441] Giovanni de' Medici, Pope Leo X. (1475-1521), elected Pope in 1513. It was during his Papacy, in the year 1517, that the Reformation began with Luther's protest against the sale of indulgences.—T.

[442] Johann von Müller (1752-1809), a noted Swiss historian, author of the Geschichte der Schweizer, etc.—T.

[443] Walther Fürst, Arnold von Melchthal and Werner Stauffacher were the three companions of William Tell, perhaps less legendary than he, who, according to tradition, liberated their country in the fourteenth century. The date of the oath on the Grütli, or Rütli, is 8 November 1307.—T.

[444] Hermann Gessler, the imperial magistrate in Uri and Schwyz, said to have been shot by Tell in 1307.—T.

[445] Saxo Grammaticus (fl. 13th century), the Danish historian, whose chronicles contain the stories of William Tell, Hamlet and other oral traditions, myths and legends.—T.

[446] Cf. Chateaubriand, Essai sur les révolutions: the chapter entitled, La Suisse pauvre et vertueuse, in which the author describes as "very doubtful" the story of Tell and the apple.—B.

[447] The Duc de Reichstadt had died on the 22nd of July 1832, a month earlier than the date of Chateaubriand's journey.—T.

[448] Alexander Count Suwaroff (1729-1800), after defeating the French at Cassano, the Trebbia and Novi, in April, June and August 1799, was himself defeated by Masséna, who had already beaten one Russian army at Zurich (25-26 September 1799). Suwaroff was recalled in disgrace and died in the following year.—T.

[449]

"At Mount Adula's foot, amid a thousand reeds,
The still Rhine, proud of how his great stream speeds,
Slept with one hand upon his tilted urn,
To the grateful music of the just-born burn."—T.

[450] "One's country's to be found where'er the soul's enchanted."—T.

[451] St. Nicholas Bishop of Myra (d. circa 342), the patron saint of sailors, thieves, virgins and children. The Church honours St. Nicholas on the 6th of December.—T.

[452] Clara Wendel was one of a company of vagabonds arrested, in 1825, for the murder, on the 15th September 1816, of Xavier Keller, a State councillor of Lucerne, the cause of whose death had for many years been a mystery. Revelations made by the band showed that Xavier Keller had been the victim of a political crime, the instigators of which were two official persons of Lucerne. Five individuals, including a brother and sister of Clara Wendel, had been guilty of committing this crime. The trial excited an European interest and ended in a number of condemnations. Clara Wendel was sentenced to imprisonment for life and served her sentence in the prison at Lucerne.—B.

[453] On the 5th of June 1832, Alexandre Dumas had followed the funeral of General Lamarque in the uniform of an artillery-man; it was rumoured that he had distributed arms at the Porte Saint-Martin. On the 9th of June, a newspaper announced that the author had been arrested with arms in his hands and that he had been shot on the morning of the 6th. An aide-de-camp of the King's hurried to his house, found him in perfect health and informed him that the question of his arrest had been seriously discussed. He was advised to go to spend a month or two abroad, in order that he might be forgotten. He put his dramatic affairs in order, obtained some money from Harel (no easy matter) and, on the 21st of July 1832, left for Switzerland, furnished with a regular passport. He returned to Paris at the commencement of October. His Impressions de Voyage, the publication of which began in 1833, have remained the best of his works. In the third volume, he tells of his visit to the author of the Génie du Christianisme, in a chapter entitled, Les Poules de M. de Chateaubriand.—B.

[454] Cf. Vol. I., p. 72, n. I.—T.

[455] Both ladies are no more.—Author's Note (Paris, 1836).

[456] Cf. Vol. I., pp. 71-72.—T.

[457] Béranger's letter is dated 19 August 1832; Armand Carrel's 4 October 1834. They were both printed at the end of the second volume of the Congrès de Vérone.—B.

[458] Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801), the Swiss poet and theologian and founder of the so-called science of physiognomy, was born and died at Zurich.—T.

[459] Salomon Gessner (1730-1788), the poet, landscape-painter and engraver was also born and died at Zurich.—T.

[460] Madame Récamier had been very much alarmed by the cholera, which had made many victims around her, in the Rue de Sèvres, and had decided, in the month of August, to leave Paris and travel in Switzerland. In spite of her real courage, and although she had often been known to be prodigal and fearless in her attendance on persons attacked by infectious complaints, she had an invincible and almost superstitious terror of cholera. Was it a presentiment? She died of cholera on the 11th of May 1849.—B.

[461] Prince Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Comte de Saint-Leu, later Prince President of the French Republic, later Napoleon III. Emperor of the French (1808-1873), third son of Hortense de Beauhamais and, putatively, of Louis King of Holland, younger brother of Napoleon I.—T.

[462] Ancona, in the Papal States, was held by the French from 1831 to 1837.—T.

[463] Charles Parquin, an ex-officer of the Imperial Army, had known Prince Louis since 1822. In 1824, he bought the estate of Wolfsberg, situated near Arenenberg, and married Mademoiselle Cochelet, who was a maid-of-honour of Queen Hortense and who had been brought up with the Queen, when the latter was Mademoiselle de Beauhamais, at Madame Campan's. Major Parquin took a most active part in the Strasburg enterprise, 30 October 1836. He was arrested by the Prince's side, tried and acquitted (6 January 1837).—B.

[464] John Huss (1369-1415), the Bohemian reformer and Wyclifite, was cited before the Council of Constance, in Baden, and burned at the stake as a heretic on the 6th of July 1415.—T.

[465] Jerome of Prague (circa 1365-1416) was a fellow-countryman, associate and follower of Huss. He was burned at Constance on the 30th of May 1415.—T.

[466] Constance was sacked by the Huns in the fifth century.—T.

[467] In the early part of the tenth century.—T.

[468] 30 August to 5 October 1633.—T.

[469] In 1796 and 1799.—T.

[470] Charles III. Emperor of the Romans and II. King of France (839-888), surnamed the Fat, died and was buried at the Abbey of Reichenau, in the Lake of Constance, one year after his deposition.—T.

[471] Cf. Vol. IV, p. 287, n. I.—T.

[472] Narcisse Vieillard (1791-1857) had been through the Campaigns of Russia (1812), Germany (1813) and France (1814). Queen Hortense selected him as tutor for her eldest son, Charles Napoleon Louis Bonaparte, and afterwards for the latter's brother, the future Napoleon III. He sat as a deputy or as a representative of the people from 1842 to 1846 and from 1848 to 1851; assisted in preparing and carrying out the coup d'État of the 2nd of December 1851 and was appointed a senator in January 1852. His republicanism, however, marched abreast with his Bonapartism, and he voted against the restoration of the Empire.—B.

[473] Cottreau was a friend of Prince Louis Napoleon's and lived permanently at Arenenberg. He accompanied the Prince on a visit to England.—B.

[474] The Swiss defeated the Imperials at the Battle of Sempach, on the Lake of Sempach, on the 9th of July 1386, thus securing Swiss independence.—T.

[475] Luke, XXIV., 5.—T.

[476] Byron abandoned England for good on the 25th of April 1816 and, in the summer of that year, spent some months at Diodati, near Geneva. It was here that he wrote the third canto of Childe Harold, the Prisoner of Chillon and Manfred, the third act of which, however, he subsequently rewrote.—T.

[477] The Duchesse de Berry was arrested at Nantes on the 7th of November 1832. On the 12th, Berryer walked into Chateaubriand's study at Geneva and told him the news, without being able to give him any details. Chateaubriand at once left for Paris.—B.

[478] Félix Barthe.—T.

[479] Marshal Soult combined the offices of President of the Council and Minister for War.—T.

[480] Claude Emmanuel Joseph Pierre Marquis de Pastoret (1756-1840) filled various legal offices under Louis XVI. and was Minister of Justice and the Interior for a short while. He emigrated during the Terror and returned to France in 1795. After being elected to the Council of the Five Hundred, he was again obliged to flee, and remained in Switzerland till 1800. He obtained a professorial chair at the College of France in 1804 and became a senator in 1809. Under the Restoration, he received a peerage, was appointed President of the House of Peers in 1820, a minister of State in 1826 and Chancellor of France in 1829. In 1834, he was chosen to be tutor to the Duc de Bordeaux. Pastoret was the author of several important works, including a fine Histoire générale de la législation des peuples, and was a member of the French Academy and of the Academies of Inscriptions and of Moral Science.—T.

[481] The text of the letter of the 12th November ran as follows:

"Madame,

"You will think me very daring to come to importune you at such a moment to beg you to grant me a favour, the last ambition of my life: I desire ardently to be chosen by you as one of your defenders. I have no personal claim to the high favour which I solicit of your new grandeurs; but I dare to ask it in memory of a Prince of whom you deigned to name me the historian, and I hope for it again as the price of the blood of my family. My brother had the honour to die with his illustrious grandfather, M. de Malesherbes, on the same day, at the same hour, for the same cause and on the same scaffold.

"I am, etc.

"Chateaubriand."

[482] Jean Marie Pardessus (1772-1853), a meritorious jurist and historian. He was a member of the various legislative assemblies from 1806 to 1830 and occupied different professorial and legal offices, which he relinquished after the Usurpation, devoting the remainder of his life to his historical and critical writings on law.—T.

[483] M. Mandaroux-Vertamy was one of Chateaubriand's executors.—T.

[484] Brennus, the leader of the Senonian Gauls who overran Italy and captured Rome, about 390 B.C., laid siege to the Capitol for six months, until bought off by the garrison with 1,000 pounds of gold. According to a later legend, when the gold was being weighed, a Roman tribune remonstrated against the use of false weights by the Gauls. Brennus threw his sword into the scale with the famous exclamation, Væ victis!—T.

[485] This pamphlet was published on the 29th of December 1832.—B.

[486] The Duchesse de Berry was betrayed by Simon Deutz, a converted Jew, to Thiers, for a sum variously named as 500,000 and 100,000 francs. She was discovered in hiding, with her confidants, behind the movable slab or plate of a chimney, in which a fire had been lighted by the gendarmes.—T.

[487] Luke, XXII., 3.—T.

[488] St. Laurence (d. 258) was martyred by being roasted alive in an iron chair or on a gridiron in Rome. The Church honours him on the 10th of August.—T.

[489] Lucius Septimus Severus, Roman Emperor (146-211). He became Emperor in 193; his persecution of the Christians was decreed in 201. Severus died in Britain, at York.—T.

[490] This is the text of the declaration, which was inserted in the Moniteur of the 26th of February 1833:

"Driven by circumstances and by the measures ordered by the Government, although I had the gravest reasons to keep my marriage secret, I think it my duty to myself, as well as to my children, to declare that I was secretly married during my residence in Italy.

"Marie-Caroline.

"At the Citadel of Blaye, 22 February 1833."—B.

[491] Chateaubriand appeared before the Assize Court of the Seine on the 27th of February 1833. With him were prosecuted the editors of the Quotidienne, the Gazette de France, the Revenant, the Écho français, the Mode, the Courrier de l'Europe and a young student, M. Victor Thomas, who had, on the 4th of January, acted as spokesman for 1,200 young men who had gone to make a display of their enthusiasm to Chateaubriand and who had repeated with him:

"Madame, your son is my King!"

All were acquitted after an admirable speech for the defense by M. Berryer, who appeared for the Quotidienne and the Gazette de France. Maître Charles Ledru appeared for the defense of the Écho français and, incidentally and, as it seems, somewhat unfortunately, for Chateaubriand.—B.

[492] Jean Charles Persil (1785-1870) was a deputy from 1830 to 1839, a peer of France from 1839 to 1848 and a Councillor of State under the Second Empire. Immediately after the Revolution of July, he was appointed Attorney-general to the Royal Court of Paris. His zeal in prosecuting the republican and legitimist papers alike won him a formidable unpopularity.—B.

[493] M. de Falloux, who had made his way into court in a barrister's robes, describes the scene in his Memoirs. When the presiding judge had announced the acquittal of all the defendants, the crowd pressed around Berryer and Chateaubriand. The latter was obliged to cling to M. de Falloux' arm so as not to be thrown down.

"I don't like fuss!" he kept saying. "I don't like fuss! Take me quickly to my carriage!"

But on the steps the cheers were redoubled:

"Long live Chateaubriand! The liberty of the press for ever!"

They wanted to unharness the horses and yoke themselves to the carriage:

"Don't!" he entreated. "It's very far, it's very far, you can't do it!"

At last the driver succeeded in clearing a way, and set out at a gallop. (Cf. Falloux, Mémoires d'un royaliste, vol. I. p. 60.)—B.

[494] The famous restaurateur in the Palais-Royal. Alas, at the moment of writing this note, Chevet's has just put out its fires and closed its doors!—B.

[495] Lucius Junius Brutus, Roman Consul (fl.. 509 B.C.), condemned his own sons, Titus and Tiberius, to death, for conspiring to restore Tarquin.—T.


[Pg 313]

BOOK III[496]

The Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse—Letter from Madame la Duchesse de Berry from the Citadel of Blaye—Departure from Paris—M. de Talleyrand's calash—Basle—Journal from Paris to Prague, from the 14th to the 24th of May 1833, written in pencil in the carriage, in ink at the inns—The banks of the Rhine—Falls of the Rhine—Mösskirch—A storm—The Danube—Ulm—Blenheim—Louis XIV.—An Hercynian forest—The Barbarians—Sources of the Danube—Ratisbon—Decrease in social life as one goes farther from France—Religious feelings of the Germans—Arrival at Waldmünchen—The Austrian custom-house—I am refused admission into Bohemia—Stay at Waldmünchen—Letters to Count Choteck—Anxiety—The Viaticum—The chapel—My room at the inn—Description of Waldmünchen—Letter from Count Choteck—The peasant-girl—I leave Waldmünchen and enter Bohemia—A pine forest—Conversation with the moon—Pilsen—The high-roads of the North-View of Prague.

Paris, Rue d'Enfer, 9 May 1833.

I have brought the sequence of the most recent facts up to this day; shall I at last be able to resume my work? This work consists of the different portions of these Memoirs which are not yet finished, and I shall have some difficulty in applying myself to them again ex abrupto, for my head is filled with the things of the moment; I am not in the mood suited for gathering my past in the calm where it is sleeping, agitated though it was when in the state of life. I have taken up my pen to write; what on and what about I know not.

On glancing through the journal in which, for the last six months, I have kept a record of what I do and of what happens to me, I see that most of the pages are dated from the Rue d'Enfer.

The small house which I occupy near the barrier may be worth sixty thousand francs or so; but, at the time of the rise in the price of ground, I bought it much dearer and I have never been able to pay for it: it was a question of saving the Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse, founded by the care of Madame de Chateaubriand and adjoining the house; a[Pg 314] company of builders was proposing to establish a café and montagnes russes[497] in the aforesaid house, a noise which does not go very well with the death-agony.

Am I not glad of my sacrifices? Certainly: one is always glad to succour the unfortunate; I would willingly share the little I possess with those in need; but I do not know that this disposition amounts to virtue in my case. My goodness is like that of a condemned man who is lavish of that for which he will have no use in an hour's time. In London, the convict whom they are about to hang sells his skin for drink: I do not sell mine, I give it to the grave-diggers.

Once the house was bought, the best that I could do was to live in it; I have arranged it as it is. From the windows of the drawing-room one sees first what the English call a "pleasure-ground," a proscenium consisting of a lawn and some blocks of shrubs. Beyond this enclosure, on the other side of wall, the height of a man's breast, surmounted by a white, lozenged fence, is a field of mixed cultivation, reserved for the provender of the cattle of the Infirmary. Beyond this field comes another piece of ground separated from the field by another breast-high wall in green open-work, interlaced with viburnums and Bengal roses; these marches of my State embrace a clump of trees, a meadow and an alley of poplars. This nook is extremely solitary; it does not smile to me like Horace' nook: "angulus ridet.[498]" On the contrary, I have sometimes shed tears there. The proverb says that "youth must have its fling." The decline of life also has some freaks to overlook:

Les pleurs et la pitié,
Sorte d'amour ayant ses charmes[499].

My trees are of a thousand kinds. I have planted twenty-three cedars of Lebanon and two druid oaks: they make game of their short-lived master, brevem dominum. A mall, a double avenue of chesnuts, leads from the upper to the lower garden; the ground slopes rapidly along the field between.

I did not choose these trees, as at the Vallée aux Loups, in memory of the spots which I have visited: he who takes pleasure in recollection cherishes hopes. But, when one has[Pg 315] no children, nor youth, nor country, what attachment can one bear to trees whose foliage, flowers, fruits are no longer the mysterious numerals employed in the calculation of the periods of illusion. In vain people say to me, "You are growing younger:" do they think that they will make me take my wisdom-teeth for my milk-teeth? And even the latter have been given me only to eat a bitter loaf under the Royalty of the 7th of August. For the rest, my trees are not much interested to know whether they serve as a calendar for my pleasures or as a death-certificate of my years; they increase daily, from the day that I decrease: they wed those of the grounds of the Foundling Hospital and the Boulevard d'Enfer which surround me. I do not see a single house; I should be less separated from the world at two hundred leagues from Paris. I hear the bleating of the goats which feed the abandoned orphans. Ah, if I had been, like these, in the arms of St. Vincent de Paul[500]! Born of a frailty, obscure and unknown as they are, I should to-day be some nameless workman, having no concern with men, nor knowing either why or how I entered life or how and why I was to quit it.

Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse.

By pulling down a wall, I have placed myself in communication with the Infirmerie de Marie Thérèse; I find myself at the same time in a monastery, a farm, an orchard and a park. In the morning, I wake to the sound of the Angelus; I hear from my bed the singing of the priests in the chapel; I see from my window a Calvary which stands between a walnut-tree and an elder-tree: cows, chickens, pigeons and bees; sisters of Charity in black taminy gowns and white dimity caps, convalescent women, old ecclesiastics go roaming among the lilacs, azaleas, calycanthuses and rhododendrons of the flower-garden, among the rose-trees, gooseberry-bushes, strawberry-plants and vegetables of the kitchen-garden. Some of my octogenarian vicars were exiled with me: after mingling my poverty with theirs on the lawns of Kensington, I have offered the grass-plots of my hospice to their failing foot-steps; they there drag their pious old age like the folds of the veil of the sanctuary.

I have as a companion a fat red-gray cat with black cross[Pg 316] stripes, born at the Vatican in the Raphael Gallery: Leo XII. brought it up in a skirt of his robe, where I used to watch it with envy, when the Pontiff gave me my audiences as Ambassador. On the death of the successor of St. Peter, I inherited the cat without a master, as I have told in writing of my Roman Embassy. They called it Micetto, surnamed the Pope's Cat. In this capacity it enjoys an extreme consideration among pious souls. I strive to make it forget exile, the Sistine Chapel and the sun of Michael Angelo's dome, on which it used to take its walks far removed from earth.

My house and the different buildings of the Infirmary, with their chapel and the Gothic sacristy, present the appearance of a colony or hamlet. On ceremonial days, religion hiding under my roof, the Old Monarchy in my alms-house form up in marching order. Processions composed of all our valetudinarians, preceded by the young girls of the neighbourhood, pass under the trees, singing, with the Blessed Sacrament, the cross and the banner. Madame de Chateaubriand follows them, beads in hand, proud of the flock which is the object of her solicitude. The blackbirds whistle, the red-breasts warble, the nightingales compete against the hymns. I am carried back to the Rogations, of which I have described the rustic pomp[501]; from the theory of Christianity, I have passed to its practice.

My home faces west. In the evening, the tree-tops lighted from behind imprint their black, serrate outlines on the horizon. My youth returns at that hour; it revives those lapsed days which time has reduced to the unsubstantiality of phantoms. When the constellations pierce through their blue arch, I remember that splendid firmament which I admired from the bosom of the American forests or the lap of the Ocean. The night is more favourable than the day to the traveller's reminiscences: it hides from his eyes the landscapes that would remind him of the regions which he inhabits; it shows him only the luminaries, which look the same under the different latitudes of the same hemisphere. Then he recognises those stars which he contemplated in such a country, at such a time; the thoughts which he entertained, the feelings which he underwent in the different portions of the world shoot up and fix themselves at the same point in the sky.

Life at the Infirmary.

We hear speak of the world, in the Infirmary, only at the[Pg 317] two public collections and a little on Sundays: on those days, our hospice changes into a kind of parish-church. The Sister Superior pretends that beautiful ladies come to Mass in the hope of seeing me; skilful manager that she is, she lays their curiosity under contribution: by promising to show me to them, she attracts them to the laboratory; once she has entrapped them, she forces sweet-stuff on them, willy-nilly, in exchange for money. She makes me serve at the sale of the chocolate manufactured for the profit of her patients, even as La Martinière took me into partnership for the trade in the gooseberry-syrup which he used to quaff to the success of his love-affairs[502]. The sainted woman also steals stumps of quills from Madame de Chateaubriand's ink-stand; she trades in them among the thorough-bred Royalists, declaring that with those precious stumps were written the "superb Mémoire sur la captivité de madame la duchesse de Berry."

A few good pictures of the Spanish and Italian Schools, a Virgin by Guérin, the St. Theresa, the last master-piece of the painter of Corinne[503], make us attached to the arts. As for history, we shall soon have at the hospice a sister of the Marquis de Favras and a daughter of Madame Roland: the Monarchy and the Republic have set me to expiate their ingratitude and to feed their invalids.

All are anxious to be received at Marie-Thérèse. The poor women who are obliged to leave when they have recovered their health take up their lodgings near the Infirmary, in the hope of falling ill again and returning to it. Nothing smacks of the hospital: the Jewess, the Protestant, the Catholic, the foreigner, the Frenchwoman receive the cares of a delicate charity disguising itself as an affectionate relationship; each afflicted woman seems to have found her mother. I have seen a Spaniard, beautiful as Dorothea the "Pearl of Seville," die at sixteen of consumption, in the common dormitory, congratulating herself upon her happiness, looking as she smiled, with great, black, half-dimmed eyes, a pale and emaciated face, at Madame la Dauphine, who asked after her and assured her that she would soon be well. She expired that same evening, far from the Mosque of Cordova and the banks of the Guadalquivir, her native stream:

"'What are you?'

"'A Spaniard.'

[Pg 318]

"'A Spaniard and here[504]!'"

*

We have many widows of knights of the Holy Ghost among our frequenters; they bring with them the only thing that remains to them, the portraits of their husbands in the uniform of a captain of foot: a white coat with rose-pink or sky-blue facings, with their hair dressed à l'oiseau royal. They are put in the lumber-room. I cannot look at the regiment of them without laughing: if the Old Monarchy had survived, I should to-day be adding to the number of those portraits, I should be acting as the solace of my grand-nephews in some deserted gallery:

"That's your great-uncle François, the captain in the Navarre Regiment: he was a very witty man! He wrote the riddle in the Mercure beginning with the words, 'Cut off my head,' and the fugitive poem, in the Almanach des Muses, called the Cri du cœur."

When I am tired of my gardens, the plain of Montrouge takes their place. I have seen that plain change: what have I not seen change! Twenty-five years ago, I used to pass by the Barrière du Maine when going to Méréville, to the Marais, to the Vallée aux Loups; to the right and left of the road one saw only mills, the wheels of the cranes at the stone-pits and the nursery-garden of Cels, Rousseau's old friend. Desnoyers built his rooms of a "hundred covers" for the soldiers of the Imperial Guard, who came to clink glasses between each battle won, each kingdom overthrown. A few public-houses stood round the mills, from the Barrière du Maine to the Barrière du Montparnasse. Higher up were the Moulin janséniste and Lauzun's pleasure-house, by way of a contrast. Near the public-houses, acacias were planted, the poor man's shade, even as seltzer-water is the beggar's champagne. A travelling theatre fixed the migratory population of the public-house balls; a village was formed with a paved street, song-writers and gendarmes, the Amphions and Cecropses of the police.

While the living were settling down, the dead were claiming their place. A cemetery was fenced in, not without opposition on the part of the drunkards, in an enclosure containing a ruined mill, like the "Tour des Abois:" there death brings every day the corn which it has gleaned; a mere wall separates it from the dancing, the music, the[Pg 319] nightly uproar; the sounds of a moment, the marriages of an hour separate them from infinite silence, endless night and eternal nuptials.

I often stroll through this cemetery younger than myself, in which the worms that gnaw the dead are not yet dead; I read the epitaphs: how many women between sixteen and thirty years old have become the prey of the tomb! Happy they to have lived only in their youth! The Duchesse de Gèvres, the last drop of the blood of Du Guesclin, a skeleton of another age, dozes in the midst of the plebeian sleepers.

In this new exile, I already have old friends: M. Lemoine lies there; he was secretary to M. de Montmorin and was bequeathed to me by Madame de Beaumont. He used to bring me almost every evening, when I was in Paris, the simple conversation which I like so much, when it is joined to goodness of heart and singleness of character. My sick and wearied mind finds relaxation in a healthy and restful mind. I left the ashes of M. Lemoine's noble patroness on the banks of the Tiber.

My daily walks.

The boulevards which encompass the Infirmary share my walks with the cemetery; I no longer dream there: having no future, I have no dreams left. A stranger to the new generations, I appear to them a dusty and very bare wallet-bearer; scarce am I covered now with a rag of docked days at which time gnaws, even as the herald-at-arms used to cut the jacket of an inglorious knight. I am glad to stand aside. I like to be at a musket-shot's distance from the barrier, on the edge of a high-road and always ready to set out. From the foot of the mile-stone, I watch the mail pass: my image and life's.

When I was in Rome, in 1828, I formed a plan to build, in Paris, at the end of my hermitage, a green-house and a gardener's cottage, all to be paid for out of the savings of my embassy and the fragments of antiquities found in my excavations at Torre Vergata. M. de Polignac assumed office; I sacrificed to the liberties of my country a place which charmed me; relapsed into poverty, good-bye to my green-house: fortuna vitrea est.

The evil habit of paper and ink brings about that one cannot prevent one's self from scribbling. I have taken up my pen, not knowing what I was going to write, and have scrawled this description, at least a third too long: if I have time, I will cut it down.

I must ask pardon of my friends for the bitterness of some[Pg 320] of my thoughts. I can laugh only with my lips; I have the spleen, a physical melancholy, a real complaint; whoever has read these Memoirs has seen what my lot has been. I was not a swimmer's stroke from my mother's breast before the torments had assailed me. I have wandered from ship-wreck to shipwreck; I feel a curse upon my life, a burden too heavy for that hut of reeds. Let not those whom I love, therefore, think themselves denied; let them excuse me, let them allow my fever to pass: between those attacks, my heart is wholly theirs.

*

I had written thus much on these loose pages, flung pell-mell on my table and blown about by the wind that entered through my open windows, when they handed me the following letter and Note from Madame la Duchesse de Berry. Come, let us return once more to the second part of my double life, the practical part:

"Blaye Citadel, 7 May 1833.

"I am painfully annoyed at the refusal of the Government to allow you to come to me, after the two requests which I have made. Of all the numberless vexations which I have had to undergo, this is certainly the most painful. I had so many things to tell you, so much advice to ask of you! Since I must relinquish the thought of seeing you, I will at least try, by the only means left to me, to send you the commission which I intended to give you and which you will accomplish: for I rely without reserve on your devotion to my son. I charge you therefore, monsieur, specially to go to Prague and tell my kinsfolk that, if I refused until the 22nd of February to declare my secret marriage, my design was the better to serve my son's cause and to prove that a mother, a Bourbon, was not afraid to endanger her life. I proposed to make my marriage known only when my son came of age; but the threats of the Government, the moral tortures, driven to the utmost degree, decided me to make my declaration. In the ignorance in which I am left as to the period at which my liberty will be restored to me, after so many frustrated hopes, the time has come to give to my family and to the whole of Europe an explanation which shall prevent injurious suppositions. I would have liked to be able to give it earlier; but absolute sequestration and unsurmountable difficulties in communicating with the outside have prevented me until now. You will[Pg 321] tell my family that I was married in Italy to Count Hector Lucchesi-Palli, of the Princes of Campo-Franco.

"I ask you, O Monsieur de Chateaubriand, to convey to my dear children the expression of all my affection for them. Be sure to tell Henry that I rely more than ever on all his efforts to become daily worthier of the love and admiration of Frenchmen. Tell Louise how happy I should be to embrace her and that her letters have been my only consolation. Lay my homage at the King's feet and give my affectionate regards to my brother and my kind sister. I ask you to report to me, wherever I may be, the wishes of my children and my family. Shut up within the walls of Blaye, I find a comfort in having such an interpreter as Monsieur le Vicomte de Chateaubriand; he can reckon on my attachment for all time.

"Marie-Caroline."

Letters from Madame.

Note

"I have felt a great satisfaction at the agreement that reigns between you and M. le Marquis de Latour-Maubourg[505], as I attach a great value to this in the interest of my son.

"You can show Madame la Dauphine the letter which I am writing to you. Assure my sister that, so soon as I have recovered my liberty, I shall think nothing more urgent than to send her all the papers relating to political affairs. My great wish would have been to proceed to Prague so soon as I was free; but the sufferings of all kinds that I have undergone have so greatly destroyed my health that I shall be obliged to stop some time in Italy so as to recover a little and not to frighten my poor children too much by the change in me. Study my son's character: his good qualities, his inclinations, even his faults; you will tell the King, Madame la Dauphine and myself what there is to correct, to change, to make perfect, and you will let France know what she has to expect from her young King.

[Pg 322]

"Through my different relations with the Emperor of Russia, I know that he has on several occasions very favourably received propositions for a marriage between my son and the Princess Olga[506]. M. de Choulot will give you the most precise information touching the persons who are at present at Prague.

"Desiring to remain French above all, I ask you to obtain leave from the King for me to keep my title of Princess and my name. The mother[507] of the King of Sardinia[508] continues to call herself Princess of Carignan in spite of her marriage with M. de Montléart, to whom she has given the title of prince. Marie-Louise Duchess of Parma kept her title of Empress, when she married Count von Neipperg, and remained the guardian of her son: her other children are called Neipperg.

"I beg you to set out as promptly as possible for Prague, as I desire more eagerly than I can tell you that you should arrive in time for my family to learn all these details only through you.

"I wish the fact of your departure to be as little known as possible, or at least that no one will be aware that you are the bearer of a letter from me, so as not to reveal my only means of correspondence, which is so precious, although very rare. M. le Comte Lucchesi[509], my husband, is descended from one of the four oldest families in Sicily, the only ones that remain of the twelve companions of Tancred. This family has always been noted for the noblest devotion to the cause of its kings. The Prince de Campo-Franco, Lucchesi's father, was First Lord of the Bed-chamber to my father[510]. The present King of Naples[511], having an entire[Pg 323] confidence in him, has placed him with his young brother[512], the Viceroy of Sicily. I do not speak to you of his feelings; they agree with ours in every respect.

My mission to Prague.

"Convinced as I am that the only way to be understood by the French is always to address to them the language of honour and to make them look towards glory, I have had the thought of marking the commencement of my son's reign by joining Belgium to France. Count Lucchesi was charged by me to make the first overtures in this matter to the King of Holland[513] and the Prince of Orange; and he was of great aid in obtaining a good hearing for them. I was not so fortunate as to conclude this treaty, the object of all my wishes; but I believe that there are still chances of success: before leaving the Vendée, I gave M. le Maréchal de Bourmont powers to continue this affair; no one is more capable than he to carry it to a successful issue, because of the esteem which he enjoys in Holland.

"M. C.

"Blaye, 7 May 1833.

"As I am not certain of being able to write to the Marquis de Latour-Maubourg, try to see him before your departure. You can tell him whatever you think fit, but in the most absolute secrecy. Arrange with him as to the direction to be given to the newspapers."

I was moved at reading these documents. The daughter of so many kings, that woman fallen from so high a station, after closing her ear to my counsels had the noble courage to apply to me, to forgive me for foreseeing the failure of her enterprise: her confidence went to my heart and honoured[Pg 324] me. Madame de Berry had judged me rightly; the very nature of that enterprise which made her lose all did not alienate me. To play for a throne, glory, the future and destiny is no vulgar thing: the world understands that a princess can be an heroic mother. But what must be consigned to execration, what is unexampled in history is the immodest torture inflicted on a weak woman, alone, cut off from assistance, overwhelmed by all the forces of a government conspiring against her, as though it were a question of conquering a formidable Power. Parents themselves abandoning their daughter to the laughter of the lackeys, holding her by her four limbs so that she may be delivered in public, calling the authorities from their comer, the gaolers, spies, passers-by, to see the child brought forth from their prisoner's womb, even as though they had called France to witness the birth of her King! And what prisoner? The grand-daughter of Henry IV.! And what mother? The mother of the orphan whose throne they were occupying! Do the hulks contain a family so low-born as to conceive the thought of branding one of its children with so great an ignominy? Would it not have been nobler to kill Madame la Duchesse de Berry rather than submit her to the most tyrannous humiliation? Whatever indulgence was shown in this business belongs to the century, whatever infamy to the Government

Madame la Duchesse de Berry's letter and Note are remarkable in more than one place: the portion relating to the incorporation of Belgium and the marriage of Henry V. shows a head capable of serious things; the portion concerning the Family in Prague is touching. The Princess fears that she will be obliged to stop in Italy, "so as to recover a little and not to frighten her poor children too much by the change in her." What can be sadder and more sorrowful! She adds:

"I ask you, O Monsieur de Chateaubriand, to convey to my dear children the expression of all my affection," etc.

O Madame la Duchesse de Berry, what can I do for you, I a weak creature already half broken-down? But how to refuse anything to such words as these:

"Shut up within the walls of Blaye, I find a comfort in having such an interpreter as Monsieur de Chateaubriand; he can reckon on my attachment for all time."

[Pg 325]

Yes: I will set out on the last and greatest of my embassies; I shall go on the part of the prisoner of Blaye to find the prisoner of the Temple[514]; I shall negociate a new family compact, take the kisses of a captive mother to her exiled children and present letters in which courage and misfortune accredit me to innocence and virtue.

*

A letter for Madame la Dauphine and a note for the two children were added to the letter addressed to me.

There were left to me, of my past grandeurs, a brougham in which I had once shone at the Court of George IV. and a travelling-calash, built in former days for the use of the Prince de Talleyrand. I had the latter repaired, in order to make it capable of going against nature; for, by origin and habit, it is disinclined to run after fallen kings. On the 14th of May, the anniversary of the murder of Henry IV., at half-past eight in the evening, I set out in search of Henry V., child, orphan and outlaw.

I was not without anxiety as to my passport: taken out at the Foreign Office, it bore no description, and it was dated eleven months back; it had been delivered for Switzerland and Italy and had already served to enable me to leave France and return; different visas witnessed these several circumstances. I did not care either to have it renewed or to ask for a fresh one. The police of every country would have, been warned, every telegraph set in motion; at every custom-house they would have searched my trunks, my carriage, my person. If my papers had been seized, what a pretext for persecution, what domiciliary visits, what arrests! What a prolongation of the royal captivity! For it would have been proved that the Princess had secret means of correspondence outside. It was therefore impossible for me to call attention to my departure by asking for a passport: I placed my trust in my star.

I leave for Prague.

Avoiding the too much beaten road of Frankfort and that of Strasburg, which runs under the line of telegraphs, I took the Basle Road with Hyacinthe Pilorge, my secretary, used to all my fortunes, and Baptiste, my valet de chambre when I was "My Lord," and once more plain valet on the downfall of My Lordship[515]: we get in and out of the carriage together.[Pg 326] My cook, the famous Montmirel, retired when I left the ministry, declaring that he would not return "to office" till I did. It had been wisely decided, by the Introducer of Ambassadors under the Restoration, that any ambassador who died re-entered "private life:" Baptiste had re-entered domestic service.

When we reached Altkirch, the frontier stage, a gendarme appeared and asked for my passport. On seeing my name, he told me that he had served in the Spanish Campaign, in 1823, under my nephew Christian, a captain in the Dragoons of the Guard. Between Altkirch and Saint-Louis, I met a rector and his parishioners; they were making a procession against the cock-chafers, nasty insects much multiplied since the Days of July. At Saint-Louis, the officers of the custom-house, who knew me, let me pass. I arrived gaily at the gate of Basle, where I was met by the old Swiss drum-major who, in the previous month of August, had inflicted on me "a liddle quarandine of a quarder of an hour;" but the cholera was over and I put up at the Three Kings, on the banks of the Rhine; it was ten o'clock on the morning of the 17th of May.

The landlord procured me a travelling footman called Schwartz, a native of Basle, to act as my interpreter in Bohemia. He spoke German just as my good Joseph, the Milanese tinman, spoke Greek, in Messenia, when enquiring for the ruins of Sparta.

On the same day, the 17th of May, at six o'clock in the evening, I moved out of port. As I stepped into the calash, I was amazed to see the Altkirch gendarme among the crowd; I did not know if he had not been sent after me: he had simply escorted the mail from France. I gave him some money to drink to the health of his old captain.

A school-boy came up to me and threw a paper to me with the inscription, "To the Virgil of the Nineteenth Century;" it contained this passage, altered from the Æneid:

Macte animo, generose puer[516].

And the postillion whipped up the horses and I drove off[Pg 327] quite proud of my high renown at Basle, quite astonished at being Virgil, quite charmed to be called a child: "generose puer."

*

The Rhine.

I crossed the bridge, leaving the burgesses and peasants at war in the midst of their Republic[517] and fulfilling in their own fashion the part which they are called upon to play in the general transformation of society. I went up the right bank of the Rhine and contemplated with a certain sadness the high hills of the Canton of Basle. The exile which I had come to seek last year in the Alps seemed to me a happier life's ending, a gentler lot than the affairs of empire in which I had re-engaged. Did I cherish the smallest hope for Madame la Duchesse de Berry or her son? No; and I was, moreover, convinced that, in spite of my recent services, I should find no friends in Prague. One who has taken the oath to Louis-Philippe and who nevertheless praises the fatal Ordinances must be more acceptable to Charles X. than I, who have never forsworn myself. It is too much for a king that one should twice have been in the right: flattering treachery is preferred to austere devotion. I went, therefore, going to Prague even as the Sicilian soldier who was hung in Paris at the time of the League went to the gallows; the confessor of the Neapolitans tried to put heart into him by saying on the way:

"Allegramente! Allegramente!"

Thus sped my thoughts while the horses were drawing me onwards; but, when I thought of the misfortunes of the mother of Henry V., I reproached myself for my regrets.

The banks of the Rhine flying along my carriage diverted me pleasantly: when one looks at a landscape out of a window, even though he be dreaming of other things, a reflection of the picture which he has under his eyes nevertheless enters into his mind. We drove through meadows decked with the flowers of May; the green was fresh in the woods, orchards and hedges. Horses, donkeys and cows, pigs, dogs and sheep, hens and pigeons, geese and turkeys were in the fields with their masters. The Rhine, that warlike stream, seemed pleased in the midst of that[Pg 328] pastoral scene, like an old soldier quartered, on his march, on husbandmen.

The next morning, the 18th of May, before reaching Schaffhausen, I was driven to the Falls of the Rhine; I stole a few moments from the fall of kingdoms to improve myself at its image. I should have done well for myself to end my days in the castle overlooking the chasm. I placed at Niagara the dream of Atala, not yet realized; I met at Tivoli another dream, already passed away upon earth: who knows if, in the keep standing over the Falls of the Rhine, I should not have found a fairer vision which, but now wandering on its banks, would have consoled me for all the shades that I had lost!

From Schaffhausen I continued my road towards Ulm. The country presents tilled basins, in which detached and wooded hillocks bathe their feet. In those woods, which were then being cultivated for sale, the eye saw oaks, some felled, others left standing: the first stripped of their bark where they lay, their trunks and branches white and bare, like the skeleton of a strange beast; the second bearing the fresh green of spring on their hirsute and dark, moss-grown limbs: they combined what is never found in man, the two-fold beauty of old age and youth.

In the fir-plantations of the plain, uprootings had left empty spaces; the land had been turned into meadows. Those circuses of grass in the middle of the slate-grey forests have something severe and smiling and recall the prairies of the New World. The cottages retain the Swiss character; the hamlets and inns are distinguished by that appetizing cleanliness unknown in our country.

Stopping for dinner, between six and seven o'clock, at Mösskirch, I sat musing at the window of my inn: herds were drinking at a fountain, a heifer leapt and frolicked like a roe-deer. Wherever men are kind to their beasts, they are lively and love man. In Germany and England, the horses are not beaten, they are not ill-treated with words: they back towards the pole of themselves; they start and stop at the least sound of the voice, at the smallest movement of the bridle-rein. Of all nations, the French are the most inhumane: do you see our postillions harnessing their horses? They drive them into the shafts with kicks of their boots in the flanks, with blows of their whip-handles on the head, breaking their mouths with the bit to make them go back, accompanying the whole with oaths, shouts and[Pg 329] insults at the poor brute. Beasts of burden are compelled to draw or carry loads which are beyond their strength and, to oblige them to go on, the drivers cut up their hides with twists of the thong. The fierceness of the Gauls is with us still: it is only hidden under the silk of our stockings and neckcloths.

I was not alone in gaping; the women were doing as much at all the windows of their houses. I have often asked myself, when passing through unknown hamlets:

"Would you live here?"

I have always answered:

"Why not?"

Who, in the mad hours of youth, has not said with Pierre Vidal[518], the troubadour:

Don n'ai mais d'un pauc cordo
Que Na Raymbauda me do,
Quel reys Richartz ab Peitieus
Ni ab Tors ni ab Angieus[519].

Mösskirch.

There is matter for dreams everywhere; pleasures and pains belong to all places: those women of Mösskirch who looked at the sky or at my posting-chariot, who looked at me or who looked at nothing, had not they joys and sorrows, interests of the heart, of fortune, of family, even as we have in Paris? I should have made great progress in the history of my neighbours, if dinner had not been poetically announced to the crash of a thunder-clap: that was much ado about little.

19 May 1833.

At ten o'clock at night, I got into the carriage again; I fell asleep to the patter of the rain on the hood of the calash. The sound of my postillion's little horn aroused me. I heard the murmur of a river which I could not see. We had stopped at the gate of a town; the gate opened; my passport and luggage were examined: we were entering the vast empire of His Wurtemberg Majesty. I greeted in[Pg 330] memory the Grand-duchess Helen, the graceful and delicate flower now confined in the hot-houses of the Volga. On only one single day did I conceive the value of high rank and fortune: it was when I gave the fête to the young Russian Princess in the gardens of the Villa Medici. I felt how the magic of the sky, the charm of the spot, the spell of beauty and power can inebriate one; I imagined myself both Torquato Tasso, and Alphonsus of Este[520]: I was worth more than the Prince, less than the poet; Helen was more beautiful than Leonora[521]. The representative of the heir of Francis I. and Louis XIV., I had the dream of a king of France.

They did not search me: I had nothing against the rights of sovereigns, I who recognised those of a young Monarch which the sovereigns themselves failed to recognise. The vulgarity, the modernity of the custom-house and the passport formed a contrast with the storm, the Gothic gate, the sound of the horn and the noise of the torrent.

Instead of the lady of the castle whom I was prepared to deliver from oppression, I found, on leaving the town, an old, simple fellow; he asked me for seechs Kreutzer, raising his left hand, which held a lantern, to the level of his grey head, putting out his right hand to Schwartz on the box and opening his mouth like the gills of a hooked pike: Baptiste, wet and sick as he was, could not hold himself for laughing.

And what was this torrent over which I had just passed. I asked the postillion, who cried:

"Donau!"

The Danube! One more famous river crossed by me unknowingly, even as I had descended into the bed of the oleanders of the Eurotas without knowing it! What has it availed me to drink of the waters of the Mississippi, the Eridanus, the Tiber, the Cephissus, the Hermus, the Jordan, the Nile, the Guadalquivir, the Tagus, the Ebro, the Rhine, the Spree, the Seine and a hundred other obscure or celebrated rivers? Unknown, they have not given me their peace; illustrious, they have not communicated to me their glory: they will be able to say only that they have seen me pass as their banks see their waves pass.

Ulm.

I arrived at Ulm fairly early on Sunday the 19th of May, after travelling through the scene of the battles of Moreau[Pg 331] and Bonaparte. Hyacinthe, who is a member of the Legion of Honour, was wearing the ribbon: this decoration obtained for us an incredible amount of consideration. I, wearing in my button-hole only a little flower, according to my custom, passed, until they heard my name, for a mysterious being: my Mamelukes at Cairo used to insist, whether I would or no, that I was a general of Napoleon disguised as a literary man; they would not give in and every quarter of an hour expected to see me put away Egypt in the sash of my caftan. And yet it is among nations whose villages we have burnt and whose harvests we have laid waste that those sentiments exist. I rejoiced in this glory; but, if we had done nothing but good to Germany, should we be as greatly regretted there? O inexplicable human nature!

The evils of war are forgotten; we have left on the soil of our conquests the spark of life. That inert mass set in movement continues to ferment because its intelligence is commencing. When travelling nowadays, we see the nations watching, knapsack on back: ready to start, they seem to be waiting for us in order to place us at the head of the column. A Frenchman is always taken for the aide-de-camp who brings the order to march.

Ulm is a clean little town, with no particular character; its dismantled ramparts have been converted into kitchen-gardens or walks, which happens to all ramparts. Their fortune has something in common with that of the military: the soldier bears arms in his youth; when invalided, he becomes a gardener.

I went to see the cathedral, a Gothic fabric with a tall spire. The aisles are divided into two narrow vaults, supported by a single row of pillars, so that the interior of the edifice partakes at one time of the character of the cathedral and the basilica. The pulpit has for a canopy a graceful steeple ending in a point, like a mitre; the inside of this steeple consists of a newel around which winds a helicoid vault in stone filigree-work. Symmetrical spikes, piercing the outside, seem destined to carry candles; these used to light up this tiara when the bishop preached on feast-days. Instead of priests officiating, I saw little birds hopping in that granite foliage; they were celebrating the Word that gave them a voice and wings on the fifth day of the Creation.

The nave was deserted; in the apse of the church, two separate groups of boys and girls were receiving religious instruction.

[Pg 332]

The Reformation, as I have already said, makes a mistake when it shows itself in the Catholic monuments upon which it has encroached; it cuts a mean and shameful figure there. Those tall porches call for a numerous clergy, the pomp of the celebrations, the chants, pictures, ornaments, silk veils, draperies, laces, gold, silver, lamps, flowers and incense of the altars. Protestantism may say as much as it pleases that it has returned to Primitive Christianity; the Gothic churches reply that it has denied its fathers: the Christians who were the architects of its wonders were other than the children of Luther and Calvin.

19 May 1833.

I had left Ulm at noon, on the 19th. At Dillingen, the horses were wanting. I stayed an hour in the High Street, having as a recreation the sight of a stork's nest, planted on a chimney as though on a minaret at Athens; a number of sparrows had insolently made their nests in the bed of the peaceful "queen with the long neck." Below the stork, a lady, living on the first floor, looked at the passers-by in the shade of a half-raised blind; below the lady was a wooden saint in a niche. The saint will be thrown down to the pavement, the woman from her window into the grave: and the stork? It will fly away: thus will end the three storeys.

Between Dillingen and Donauwörth, you cross the battle-field of Blenheim. The footsteps of the armies of Moreau over the same ground have not obliterated those of the armies of Louis XIV.; the defeat of the great King prevails in the country-side over the successes of the great Emperor.

The postillion who drove me belonged to Blenheim; on coming up to his village, he blew the horn: perhaps he was announcing his passage to the peasant-girl whom he loved; she leapt for joy in the midst of the same fields where twenty-seven French battalions and twelve squadrons of cavalry were taken prisoner, where the Navarre Regiment, whose uniform I have had the honour to wear, buried its standards to the mournful sound of the trumpets: those are the commonplaces of the succession of the ages. In 1793, the Republic carried off from the church at Blenheim the colours taken from the Monarchy in 1704: it avenged the Kingdom and slew the King; it cut off Louis XVI.'s head, but it allowed only France to tear the White Flag to pieces.

Nothing better conveys the greatness of Louis XIV. than to find his memory at the bottom of the ravines dug by the torrent of the Napoleonic victories. That monarch's conquests[Pg 333] left our country the frontiers that still guard it[522]. The Brienne scholar, to whom the Legitimacy gave a sword, for a moment enclosed Europe in his ante-chamber; but it escaped: the grandson of Henry IV. laid that same Europe at the feet of France; and it remained there. This does not mean that I am comparing Napoleon and Louis XIV.: men of different destinies, they belong to dissimilar centuries, to different nations; one completed an era, the other began a world. One can say of Napoleon what Montaigne says of Cæsar:

"I excuse Victorie in that shee could not well give him over[523]."

Blenheim.

The unworthy tapestries at Blenheim Palace, which I saw with Peltier, show the Maréchal de Tallart[524] taking off his hat to the Duke of Marlborough[525], who stands in a swaggering attitude. Tallart none the less remained the favourite of the old lion; a prisoner in London, he conquered, in the mind of Queen Anne[526], the Marlborough who had beaten him at Blenheim, and he died a member of the French Academy:

"He was," says Saint-Simon, "a man of middling height
with somewhat jealous eyes, full of fire and spirit, but with
an incessant demon of restlessness in him, owing to his
ambition."

I am writing history in my calash: why not? Cæsar wrote plenty in his litter: he won the battles of which he wrote; I did not lose those of which I speak.

From Dillingen to Donauwörth stretches a rich plain of unequal level in which the corn-fields intermingle with the meadows: one goes closer to or further from the Danube[Pg 334] according to the windings of the road and the bends of the river. At that height, the waters of the Danube are still yellow, like those of the Tiber.

Scarce have you left the village before you see another; those villages are clean and smiling: often the walls of the houses have frescoes. A certain Italian character becomes manifest as one goes towards Austria; the inhabitant of the Danube is no longer the Peasant of the Danube:

Son menton nourrissait une barbe touffue;
Toute sa personne velue
Représentait un ours, mais un ours mal léché[527].

But the sky of Italy is lacking here: the sun is low and pale; those close-sown market-towns are not the little cities of the Romagna, which brood upon the master-pieces of the arts hidden underneath them: you scratch the ground, and that tillage makes some marvel of the antique chisel shoot up like a blade of corn.

At Donauwörth, I regretted to have arrived too late to enjoy a fine view of the Danube. On Monday the 20th, the same appearance of the landscape; yet the soil becomes less good and the peasants seem poorer. One begins again to see the pine-woods of the hills. The Hercynian forest used to project as far as this: the trees of which Pliny left us a singular description were felled by generations now buried with the secular oaks.

When Trajan threw a bridge over the Danube, Italy heard, for the first time, that name so fatal to the world of antiquity, the name of the Goths. The road was opened up to myriads of savages who marched to the Sack of Rome. The Huns and their Attila built their wooden palaces opposite the Coliseum, on the bank of the stream which was the rival of the Rhine and, like the latter, the enemy of the Tiber. The hordes of Alaric crossed the Danube, in 376, to overthrow the civilized Greek Empire, at the same spot where the Russians traversed it, in 1828, with the design of overthrowing the Barbaric Empire seated on the ruins of Greece. Could Trajan have guessed that a civilization of a new kind would one day be established on the other side of the Alps, on the borders of the stream which he had almost discovered? Born in the[Pg 335] Black Forest, the Danube goes to die in the Black Sea. Where does its chief source lie? In the court-yard of a German baron, who employs the naiad to wash his linen. A geographer having taken it into his head to deny the fact, the noble owner brought an action against him. It was decided by a judicial verdict that the source of the Danube was in the court-yard of the said baron and could not be elsewhere. How many centuries were needed to arrive from the errors of Ptolemy[528] at this important discovery! Tacitus makes the Danube descend from Mount Abnoba: Montis Abnobæ. But the Hermondurian, Cheruscan, Marcomannian, Quadian barons, who are the authorities upon whom the Roman historian relies, are not so cautious as my German baron. Eudorus did not know so much, when I made him travel to the mouths of the Ister, where the Euxine, according to Racine, was to carry Mithridates in "two days[529]:"

"Having passed the Ister near its mouth.... I discovered a stone tomb on which grew a laurel. I pulled out the grasses which covered some Latin characters, and soon I succeeded in reading this first verse of the elegies of an unfortunate poet:

"'My book, you will go to Rome, and you will go to Rome
without me.'"[530]

The Danube.

The Danube, on losing its solitude, saw recurring on its[Pg 336] banks the evils inseparable from society: plagues, famines, destructive fires, sacks of towns, wars and those divisions incessantly springing up from human passions and errors[531].

*

After Donauwörth, one comes to Burkheim and Neuberg. At breakfast, at Ingolstadt, they served me with roe-buck: it is a great pity to eat that charming beast. I have always been horrified at reading the account of the inaugural banquet of George Neville, Archbishop of York[532], in 1466: they roasted four hundred swans singing in chorus their funeral hymn! There is also a question at that repast of four hundred bitterns[533]: I can well believe it!

Regensburg, which we call Ratisbon, presents an agreeable view to one approaching it from Donauwörth. Two o'clock was striking, on the 21st, when I pulled up before the post-office. While they were putting the horses to, which always takes long in Germany, I entered a neighbouring church, called the Old Chapel, and painted white and gilded like new. Eight old black priests, with white hair, were singing vespers. I had once prayed, in a chapel at Tivoli, for a man who was himself praying by my side[534]; in one of the pits at Carthage, I had offered up my vows to St. Louis, who died not far from Utica and who was more philosophical than Cato, more sincere than Hannibal, more pious than Æneas: in the chapel at Ratisbon, I had a thought of recommending to Heaven the young King whom I had come to seek; but I feared the wrath of God too much to ask for a crown: I besought the dispenser of all mercies to grant the orphan happiness and to give him a disdain for power.

I hurried from the Old Chapel to the cathedral. It is smaller than that of Ulm, but more religious and handsomer in style. Its stained-glass windows wrap it in the darkness appropriate to contemplation. The white chapel was better suited to my wishes for the innocence of Henry; the sombre basilica made me feel quite moved for my old King Charles.

I cared little for the house in which they used to elect the Emperors of old: which proves at least that there were[Pg 337] elective sovereigns, even sovereigns who were judged. The eighteenth clause in Charlemagne's will says:

"If any of our grandsons, born or to be born, be accused, we order that their heads be not shaved, their eyes not put out, their limbs not cut off, nor they condemned to death without fair argument and enquiry."

One emperor of Germany, I know not which, on being deposed, asked only for the sovereignty of a vineyard for which he had an affection.

Rastibon.

At Ratisbon, in former days the factory of sovereigns, they used to coin emperors, often of inferior standard; this industry has died away: one of Bonaparte's battles and the Prince Primate, the insipid courtier of our universal Gendarme, have failed to resuscitate the dying city. The Regensburghers, dressed and slovenly like the people of Paris, have no particular physiognomy. The town, in the absence of a sufficient number of inhabitants, is dull; grass and thistles are laying siege to its suburbs: soon they will have hoisted their plumes and their lances on its turrets. Kepler[535], who made the earth turn, as did Copernicus[536], sleeps for ever at Ratisbon.

We left by the bridge on the Prague Road, a greatly extolled and very ugly bridge. On quitting the basin of the Danube, one climbs steep inclines: Kirn, the first stage, is perched on a rough slope from the top of which, through watery mists, I discerned dead hills and pale valleys. The facial aspect of the peasants changes; the children, yellow and bloated, have a sickly look. From Kirn to Waldmünchen, the poverty of the landscape increases: one sees few more hamlets; only huts made of pine logs, plastered with mud, as on the more barren necks of the Alps.

France is the heart of Europe; as one goes further from it, social life decreases: a man might judge the distance at which he is from Paris by the greater or lesser languor of the country to which he is retiring. In Spain and Italy, the diminution in movement and the progress of death are less noticeable: in the former country, a new people, a[Pg 338] new world, Christian Arabs occupy your attention; in the latter, the charms of climate and art, the enchantment of love and ruins leave you no time for depression. But, in England, despite the perfection of physical society, in Germany, despite the morality of the inhabitants, one feels one's self die. In Austria and Prussia, the military yoke weighs upon your ideas, even as the sunless sky weighs upon your head; something, I know not what, admonishes you that you cannot write, speak, nor think with independence; that you must lop off from your existence the whole of the nobler portion, leaving man's chief faculty to lie idle within you, as a useless gift of God. No arts, no beauties of nature come to beguile your hours and there is nothing left to you but to plunge into gross debauchery or into those speculative truths in which the Germans indulge. For a Frenchman, at least for me, this manner of existence is impossible; without dignity, I fail to understand life, which is difficult to understand even with all the seductions of liberty, glory and youth.

However, one thing charms me in the German people: its religious sentiment. If I were not too tired, I would leave the inn at Nittenau, where I am pencilling this diary; I would go to the evening prayer with those men, women and children whom a church calls with the sound of its bell. That crowd, seeing me on my knees in its midst, would welcome me by virtue of the unity of a common faith. When will the day come when Philosophers in their temple shall bless a Philosopher newly-arrived by the post, and offer up a like prayer with that stranger to a God respecting whom all Philosophers are in disagreement? The rosary of the parish-priest is safer: I stand by that.

21 May.

Waldmünchen, where I arrived on Tuesday morning, the 21st of May, is the last Bavarian village on this side of Bohemia. I was congratulating myself on being able promptly to fulfil my mission; I was only fifty leagues from Prague. I plunged into water cold as ice, I made my toilet at a spring, like an ambassador preparing for a triumphal entry; I set out and, half a league from Waldmünchen, full of confidence I accosted the Austrian custom-house. A lowered toll-gate barred the road; I got down with Hyacinthe, his red ribbon blazing. A young custom-house officer, armed with a musket, took us to the[Pg 339] ground-floor of a house, into a vaulted room. There, sitting at his desk, as though in court, was an old and fat chief of German customs, with red hair, red mustachios, thick eye-brows, sloping over two greenish, half-opened eyes, and a spiteful look: a mixture of the Viennese police-spy and the Bohemian smuggler.

Delayed at the Customs.

He took our passports without uttering a word; the young official timidly handed me a chair, while the chief, before whom he seemed to tremble, examined the passports. I did not sit down, but went to look at some pistols hanging on the wall and a carbine leaning against a corner of the room: it reminded me of the musket with which the aga of the Isthmus of Corinth fired on the Greek peasant. After five minutes' silence, the Austrian barked out two or three words which my Baslese translated thus:

"You can't pass."

What! I couldn't pass; and why? The explanation began:

"Your description is not on the passport."

"My passport is a Foreign-Office passport"

"Your passport is an old one."

"It is not a year old; it is legally valid."

"It has not been endorsed at the Austrian Embassy in Paris."

"You are mistaken: it has."

"It has not the blank stamp on it."

"An omission on the part of the embassy; you can see, besides, that it has the visa of the other foreign legations. I have just passed through the Canton of Basle, the Grand-duchy of Baden, the Kingdom of Wurtemberg, the whole of Bavaria, and I have not met with the smallest difficulty. I had merely to declare my name, and my passport was not even opened."

"Have you a public character?"

"I have been a minister in France and His Most Christian Majesty's Ambassador to Berlin, London and Rome. I am known personally to your Sovereign and to Prince Metternich."

"You can't pass."

"Shall I leave you a security? Will you give me a guard who will be responsible for me?"

"You can't pass."

"If I send an express to the Bohemian Government?"

"As you please."

I lost my patience; I began to wish the custom-house[Pg 340] officer at the devil. As ambassador of a king on his throne, I should not have minded a few hours wasted; but as ambassador of a Princess in irons, I thought myself faithless to misfortune, a traitor to my captive Sovereign.

The man was writing: the Baslese did not translate my monologue, but there are certain French words which our soldiers have taught Austria and which she has not forgotten. I said to the interpreter:

"Explain to him that I am going to Prague to offer my devotion to the King of France."

The custom-house officer, without interrupting his writing, answered:

"Charles X. is not King of France for Austria."

I retorted:

"He is for me."

These words flung back to the Cerberus seemed to make some impression on him; he eyed me up and down. I thought that his long annotation might, in the last result, be a favourable visa. He scrawled something on Hyacinthe's passport as well and returned the whole to the interpreter. It appeared that the visa was an explanation of the reasons which did not permit him to allow me to continue my road, so that not only was it impossible for me to go to Prague, but my passport was stamped as bad for the other places to which I might repair. I climbed back into the calash and said to the postillion:

"Waldmünchen."

My return did not surprise the landlord of the inn. He spoke a little French; he told me that a similar thing had happened before: foreigners had been obliged to stop at Waldmünchen and to send their passports to Munich to be endorsed at the Austrian Legation. My host, a very worthy man, was the postmaster of the village and undertook to forward to the Grand Burgrave of Bohemia[537] the letter of which the following is a copy:

[Pg 341]

Letter to Count Von Chotek.

Waldmünchen, 21 May 1833.

"Monsieur le gouverneur,

"Having the honour to be known personally to His Majesty the Emperor of Austria and to M. le Prince de Metternich, I thought that I could travel in the Austrian State with a passport which, being not yet one year old, was still legally valid and which had been endorsed by the Austrian Ambassador in Paris for Switzerland and Italy. As a matter of fact, monsieur le comte, I have travelled through Germany and my name has been sufficient to allow me to pass. Only this morning, the gentleman at the head of the Austrian custom-house at Haselbach did not think himself authorized to be equally accommodating and this for the reasons set forth in his visa on my passport, enclosed, and on that of M. Pilorge, my secretary. He has compelled me, to my great regret, to retrace my steps to Waldmünchen, where I await your orders. I venture to hope, monsieur le comte, that you will be good enough to remove the little difficulty which stops me, by sending me, by the express which I have the honour of dispatching to you, the necessary permission to go to Prague and thence to Vienna.

"I am, monsieur le gouverneur, with high regard,

"Your most humble and most obedient servant,

"Chateaubriand."

"Pray pardon, monsieur le comte, the liberty which I am taking of enclosing an open note for M. le Duc de Blacas."

Some little pride appears in this letter: I was hurt; I was as much humiliated as Cicero, when, on his return in triumph from his government of Asia, his friends asked him if he came from Baiæ or from his house at Tusculum. What! My name, which flew from pole to pole, had not reached the ears of a custom-house officer in the mountains at Haselbach! A thing which seems all the more cruel when one thinks of my successes at Basle. In Bavaria, I had been addressed as "My Lord" or "Your Excellency;" a Bavarian officer, at Waldmünchen, said aloud, in the inn, that my name required no visa from an Austrian ambassador. Those were great consolations, I admit; but, after all, a sad truth remained: the world contained a man who had never heard speak of me.

Who knows, however, if the Haselbach customs-officer did not know me a little! The police of all countries are so affectionately related! A politician who neither admires nor[Pg 342] approves of the Treaties of Vienna, a Frenchman who loves the honour and liberty of France, who remains faithful to the fallen power, might well be on the index in Vienna. What a noble revenge to deal with M. de Chateaubriand as with one of those bagmen so suspicious to the spies! What a sweet satisfaction to treat as a vagabond whose papers are not in order an envoy charged to carry traitor-wise to a banished child the adieus of his captive mother!

The express left Waldmünchen on the 21st, at eleven o'clock in the morning; I calculated that it could be back on the second day, the 23rd, between twelve and four; but my imagination was at work: what was to be the fate of my message? If the Governor was a strong man and a man of the world, he would send me the permit; if he was a timid and unintelligent man, he would reply that my request did not come within his powers, he would hasten to refer it to Vienna. This little incident might at the same time please and displease Prince Metternich. I knew how he feared the newspapers; I had seen him at Verona leave the most important business and lock himself up distractedly with M. de Gentz[538] to draft out an article in reply to the Constitutionnel and the Débats. How many days would elapse before the Imperial Minister's orders were transmitted?

On the other hand, would M. de Blacas[539] be glad to see me at Prague? Would not M. de Damas[540] think that I had come[Pg 343] to dethrone him? Would M. le Cardinal de Latil[541] be quite free from anxiety? Would not the triumvirate turn my mishap to account to have the doors closed against me instead of opened to me? Nothing easier: a word in the Governor's ear, a word of which I should never know! In what a state of anxiety would my friends be in Paris! When the adventure was noised abroad, what would not the newspapers make of it! What wild statements would they not indulge in!

Waldmünchen.

And, if the Grand Burgrave did not think fit to reply to me, if he were away, if no one dared act in his absence, what would become of me without a passport? Where could I be sure of being recognised? At Munich? In Vienna? What postmaster would give me horses? I should be practically a prisoner at Waldmünchen.

Those are the cares that passed through my brain. I thought besides of my remoteness from what was dear to me: I have too short a time to live to waste that little. Horace said, "Carpe diem:" a counsel of pleasure at twenty, of reason at my age.

Tired of "ruminating on every case in my head," I heard the noise of a crowd outside; my inn stood on the village square. I looked through the window and saw a priest carrying the Last Sacraments to a dying man. What mattered to that dying man the affairs of kings, of their servants and of the world? Every one left his work and started to follow the priest; young women, old women, children, mothers with their babies in their arms repeated the prayer for the dying. On reaching the sick man's door, the priest gave the benediction with the Holy Viaticum. The by-standers knelt down and made the Sign of the Cross with lowered heads. The pass-port to Eternity will not be disowned by Him who distributes bread and opens the hostel to the traveller.

*

Although I had not been to bed for seven days, I was unable to stay indoors; it was only a little past one: leaving the village on the Ratisbon side, I caught sight of a white chapel, on the right, in the middle of a corn-field; I went in that direction. The door was locked; through a sloping window one saw an altar with a cross. The date of the erection of that sanctuary, 1830, was inscribed on the architrave:[Pg 344] a monarchy was being overthrown in Paris while a chapel was being erected at Waldmünchen. The three banished generations were to come to live in a place of exile within fifty leagues of the new shelter raised to the King crucified. Millions of events are realized at one and the same time: what does a black man sleeping under a palm-tree on the bank of the Niger care for the white man who falls at the same moment under the dagger on the shore of the Tiber? What does he who weeps in Asia care for him who laughs in Europe? What did the mason who built this chapel, the Bavarian priest who exalted that Christ in 1830 care for the demolisher of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, the feller of the crosses in 1830? Events count only for those who suffer through them or benefit by them; they are nothing to those who have not heard of them, who are not touched by them. A certain race of herdsmen, in the Abruzzi, has witnessed, without descending from its mountain, the passage of the Carthaginians, the Gauls, the Romans, the Goths, the generations of the middle-ages and the men of the present age. That race has not mingled with the successive dwellers in the valley, and religion alone has mounted up to it.

Returning to the inn, I flung myself on two chairs, in the hope of sleeping; but in vain: the movement of my imagination was stronger than my lassitude. I repeated the contents of my express over and over again: dinner did not affect the matter. I went to bed amid the lowing of the herds returning from the fields. At ten o'clock, a new noise: the watchman sang the hour; fifty dogs barked, after which they went to their kennels as though the watchman had ordered them to be silent: I recognised German discipline.

Civilization has made progress in Germany since my journey to Berlin: the beds are now almost long enough for a man of ordinary stature; but the top sheet is still sewn to the blanket and the bottom sheet, which is too narrow, ends by twisting and curling up in such a way as to make you very uncomfortable; and, since I am in the country of Auguste Lafontaine[542], I will imitate his genius: I want to inform the latest posterity of what existed in my time in the room of my inn at Waldmünchen. Know then, grand-nephews, that that room was like an Italian room, with bare, white-washed walls, without any wood-work or hangings, a wide[Pg 345] coloured band or skirting at the bottom, a ceiling with a circle of three fillets, a cornice painted with blue roses with a garland of chocolate-coloured laurel-leaves and, above the cornice, on the wall, foliage painted in red on an American-green ground. Here and there, little French and English engravings, in frames. Two windows with white cotton curtains. Between the windows, a looking-glass. In the middle of the room, a table for at least twelve people, covered with an oil-cloth with a raised ground, stamped with roses and different flowers. Six chairs upholstered in red tartan. A chest of drawers, three bedsteads round the room; in a corner, near the door, a stove in black glazed earthen-ware, of which the sides show the Bavarian arms in relief; it is topped with a receiver shaped like a Gothic crown. The door is furnished with a complicated iron mechanism capable of closing the gates of a gaol and baffling the picklocks of thieves or lovers. I describe, for the benefit of travellers, the excellent room in which I am writing this inventory, which competes with the Miser's[543]; I recommend it to future Legitimists who may be stopped by the red-headed wild-goat of Haselbach. This page of my Memoirs will give pleasure to the modern literary school.

My room at the Inn.

After counting, by the light of the night-lamp, the astragals of the ceiling and looking at the engravings of the Young Milanese, the Beautiful Greeks, the Young Frenchwoman, the Young Russian, the late King of Bavaria[544], the late Queen of Bavaria[545], who is like a lady whom I know and whose name I cannot possibly remember, I snatched a few minutes' sleep. I rose from bed at 7 o'clock on the 22nd. A bath took away the rest of my fatigue and I was interested only in my village, like Captain Cook discovering an islet in the Pacific Ocean.

Waldmünchen is built on the slope of a hill; it is not unlike a dilapidated village in the Papal States: a few house-fronts painted in fresco, an archway at either end of the main street, no ostensible shops, a dry well in the square, a frightful pavement of large flags mixed with small pebbles, of the kind which one no longer sees except in "the neighbourhood of Quimper-Corentin."

[Pg 346]

The people, whose appearance is rustic, wear no special dress. The women go with their heads bare or wrapped in a handkerchief in the manner of the Paris milk-maids; their skirts are short; they walk with Bare legs and feet, as do the children. The men are dressed, some like the men of the people in our towns, some like our old peasants. Heaven be praised, they have only hats, and the filthy cotton caps of our burgesses are unknown to them.

Every day, ut mos, there is a performance at Waldmünchen and I used to assist at it in the front row. At six o'clock in the morning, an old shepherd, tall and lean, goes through the village, stopping at different places; he blows a straight horn, six feet long, which one would take at a distance for a speaking-trumpet or a sheep-hook. He first produces three metallic and rather harmonious notes from it; then he sounds the quick tune of a sort of gallop or ranz des vaches, imitating the lowing of oxen and the grunting of pigs. The fanfare ends with a long, rising falsetto note.

Suddenly from every gate debouch cows, heifers, calves, bulls; bellowing, they flood the village-square; they climb up or descend from all the circumjacent streets and, forming into columns, take the accustomed road to the pasturage. Follows the prancing squadron of swine, which look like wild boars and grunt The sheep and lambs, disposed as a rearguard, form the third part of the concert with their bleating; the geese compose the reserve: in a quarter of an hour all are out of sight

At seven o'clock in the evening, the horn is heard again; it is the herds returning. The order of the march is cha