He retained as escort only the bodyguards and the gendarmerie, with six pieces of cannon.
Continuing Absolutism Ends in France,
our selection from History of the Restoration of Monarchy in France by Alphonse Lamartine published in 1854. The selection is presented in 3 installments, each one 5 minutes long. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
Previously in Absolutism Ends in France.
“But if the Duke of Bordeaux is put into our hands to be brought back to Paris, ” inquired one of the commissioners of the Duke, “what are we to do?”
“The Duke of Bordeaux!” returned the Prince, with genuine or affected loyalty, “why, he is your King!”
“Ah!” exclaimed the Duchess of Orleans, embracing her husband as if to reward these noble sentiments, “you are the most upright man in the kingdom!” Nothing was then determined upon, and his heart expressed one idea while policy was brooding over another. General Jacqueminot, and some other officers who had served the Emperor, disseminated a report that Charles X was marching toward Paris. Lafayette, who commanded the National Guard of the kingdom, caused the drums to beat to raise the army of the revolution. In the space of four hours from ten to twelve thousand men — most of them mere youths, flushed with the ” Three Days’ ” conflict! — enlisted, and, in order to accelerate their pursuit of royalty, threw themselves into private carriages and the vehicles of traffic and hurried along the road to Rambouillet. General Jacqueminot, Georges Lafayette, the dictator’s son, in whom liberty was but filial piety and revolution a duty, marched at the head of these columns. General Pajol, a valiant soldier, who sought renown in every danger, took upon him the chief command of this multitude which rather resembled a riotous procession than an army. The politicians in the victorious party watched with secret gratification these young revolutionists, still restless, carrying their excitement out of the capital. These columns advanced intrepidly toward Rambouillet. Excelmans, who, as a soldier, had offered his sword to Marmont during the Three Days, now restored to the free exercise of his political principles, directed a vanguard. The two armies came up to each other as the day declined. They postponed the attack until the arrival of the commissioners, whom Charles X, this time, had consented to receive.
Messieurs de Schonen, Odilon Barrot, and Maison arrived at the castle about dusk. They found the King vexed and irritated by the obstruction he met with in his endeavors to transfer the crown to his grandson, and beginning to suspect that he was making but a useless sacrifice. “What do you require of me?” said he to them in the tone of a sovereign.” I have settled everything with the Duke of Orleans, my lieutenant-general. ”
Odilon Barrot, whom the moderation of his opinions and the propriety of his sentiments rendered a more suitable speaker to the Prince than his colleagues, soothed his anger, spoke to him with respectful kindness of the impending danger of a mortal strife, for which he would be answerable; of the account which kings must render to mankind for the lives of their subjects; of the fire which would be kindled throughout the land by the first shot commanded by the King; of the danger and the fallacy of hoping to cement with the blood of Frenchmen the future chances of his grandson to the throne. The King seemed to be touched, and evidently wanted but a pretext to yield with honor to a force of circumstances manifestly too strong to be resisted. He took aside Marshal Maison, whose military authority would at least serve him as an excuse to Europe and to himself, and led him into the embrasure of a window. ” My Lord Marshal, ” said he, appealing to his good faith, “tell me on your honor whether the army of Paris, which is marching against my troops, is really eighty thousand strong!”
” Sire, ” answered the Marshal, desirous to deceive and remove the King he had deserted in his misfortunes, ” I dare not positively specify the number, but that army is numerous and may possibly reach that number. ”
“Enough,” replied the King; “I believe you; and I will agree to all you propose, to spare the lives of my guards. ”
Marshal Maison owed his reputation to his own valor and military talents, under the Republic and the Empire; but he owed to Charles X his command of the army in Greece and his elevated rank. He showed himself on this occasion to be one of those soldiers in whom the noble career of arms is rather a glorious pursuit than a dutiful obedience.
The King and the royal family departed for Cherbourg, under the escort of their army as far as the castle of Maintenon, an almost royal residence belonging to the family of Noailles, and which bears the name of its founder. Here they were received by the Duke and Duchess of Noailles, a royalist family, whose devotion to the Crown by traditional descent was now enhanced by pious sympathy with royal misfortune. These faithful servants and all their family pressed with affection round the King and the princesses, as if to prevent them from feeling, at their hearth, that they had only halted on the way to exile. The King, agreeably to his promise to the commissioners, now disbanded his royal guard in a short proclamation, ordering the regiments to make their way to Paris and there to submit to the Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom ; for such was the title which, on August 4th, Charles X still gave to the Duke of Orleans.
He retained as escort only the bodyguards and the gendarmerie, with six pieces of cannon. Marshal Marmont, who accompanied him, received again the chief command of these troops; an atonement which the King’s goodness considered to be due to the Marshal’s vexation after his son’s violence. Marshal Maison, who was quartered with his colleagues at the castle of Maintenon, marked out on the map, rather as a proconsul of the people than as a marshal of France, the route of the King’s progress and his resting-places on the way to Cherbourg, forgetting that it was he himself who had had the honor, in the name of the French Army, to go and meet Louis XVIII at Calais, when he landed, sixteen years before.
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