The King placed such confidence in these treacherous professions that he confirmed the Duke’s appointment and thus helped to drive his own supporters to the side of the usurper.
Continuing Absolutism Ends in France,
with a selection from History of Modern Europe by Richard Lodge published in 1873. This selection is presented in 2 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.
Among the citizens there were bolder spirits. The manufactories were closed, the workmen crowded the streets, and a number of collisions with the troops occurred on July 28th. Marmont advised concessions, but Charles X, who had gone on a hunting-party as if nothing was happening, sent him orders to stand firm.
On the 29th came the decisive conflict. Lafayette, who was absent when the Ordinances were issued, hurried back to Paris and assumed the command of the National Guard. The troops were concentrated to defend the Tuileries, the Louvre, and the Palais Royal, and an obstinate conflict took place, in which much blood was shed. At last Marmont’s indecision allowed the populace to gain possession of the Louvre, from which the long gallery admitted them to the Tuileries. So strong was the feeling against disgracing the revolt, that the treasures of the palace were left undisturbed, and a man who was detected in the act of plunder was promptly executed. By the evening Paris was in the hands of the mob.
When the news of these events reached St. Cloud the old King was at last compelled to recognize the necessity of concessions. Polignac was dismissed, and the Duke of Mortemart, a moderate man and acceptable to the Russian court, was appointed in his place. Mortemart lost no time in sending to Paris and announcing the revocation of the Ordinances. But it was too late. The Deputies had recovered their courage when the victory had been won for them, and had entrusted the Provisional Government to a municipal commission, of which Lafayette, Laffite, Casimir Porier and Gerard were members. They refused to recognize Mortemart, and declared that “the stream of blood which has flowed in Charles X’s name has separated him from France forever. ” The respectable bourgeoisie wished to secure themselves against anarchy and to form a durable government. The establishment of a republic would inevitably excite the enmity of the great powers, would lead to another European war, and probably to a third restoration.
These considerations urged all moderate men to maintain a monarchical government in France. Fortunately they had not far to look for a suitable candidate for the throne. The Duke of Orleans had been the acknowledged patron of the liberal party ever since his return to France in 1815, and the favor shown to him by Charles X had failed to draw him any closer to the elder branch of his family. He was a Bourbon and therefore might be expected to satisfy the scruples of the monarchical States of Europe. At the same time he would owe his power altogether to the popular choice, and could hardly venture upon unconstitutional government. Laffite and Thiers were his active supporters, and found no difficulty in gaining over the majority of the Deputies. Messengers were sent to Neuilly, where the Duke was then residing, to ask him to undertake the office of Lieutenant- General of the Kingdom until the Chambers could meet to secure the observance of the Charter.
Louis Philippe, whose role was to profess a becoming want of ambition, waited to consult Talleyrand, on whose diplomatic experience he relied to conciliate the European courts. On receiving his approval, he at once journeyed to Paris and accepted the proffered office. At the same time, to secure himself on both sides, he sent a letter through Mortemart to assure Charles X of his fidelity. The King placed such confidence in these treacherous professions that he confirmed the Duke’s appointment and thus helped to drive his own supporters to the side of the usurper. The municipal commission, which was suspected of republican tendencies, was not informed of the action of the Deputies until all had been settled. Lafayette, however, was soon won over by Louis Philippe’s professions, and the name of Orleans was so popular in Paris that opposition was out of the question.
Charles X was still confident that his crown was secure, but the anxiety of the Duchess of Berry for the safety of her son induced him to move from St. Cloud to the Trianon and thence to Rambouillet. There he was persuaded that his own unpopularity endangered the dynasty, and both he and the Dauphin abdicated in favor of the Duke of Bordeaux (August 1st). The Duke of Orleans, whose honesty was still relied upon, was asked to assume the regency for the infant King. But Louis Philippe now saw the crown within his grasp, and was determined to drive his rivals from the Kingdom. The cry was raised that Charles X meditated an attack upon Paris, and a mob of sixty thousand men marched upon Rambouillet. At last Charles realized the treachery of his relative and gave up all hope. His misfortunes were respected by the people as he journeyed to Cherbourg, whence he sailed to England, and for the second time took up his residence at Holyrood. On August 3d the French Chambers were opened, and on the 7th they had decided the future of France.
The throne was declared vacant through the abdication of Charles X and the Dauphin, and no allusion was made to the Duke of Bordeaux. By two hundred nineteen to thirty-three votes Louis; Philippe was raised to the throne with the title of “King of the French.”
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