This series has five easy 5 minute installments. This first installment: Revolution of 1830.
After Napoleon was finally removed from the scene the great powers at the Congress of Vienna imposed on France a restoration of the Bourbon Dynasty. The goal of these monarchs, first Louis XVIII and then Charles X was the restoration of absolute monarchy. After the Revolution of 1830 this form of government was ended. Subsequent revolutions in France brought various forms of constitutional government.
The selections are from:
- History of Modern Europe by Richard Lodge published in 1873.
- History of the Restoration of Monarchy in France by Alphonse Lamartine published in 1854.
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There’s 2 installments by Richard Lodge and 3 installments by Alphonse Lamartine.
Sir Richard Lodge was a professor of history at the University of Glasgow and later the University of Edinburgh.
Alphonse Lamartine was a French writer and political leader. He was a main figure in the Revolution of 1848.
We begin with Richard Lodge.
A Moderate Ministry came into office (1828), in the Presidency of M. de Martignac. A law was introduced which imposed only slight restrictions upon the press, and a number of ordinances were issued against the Jesuits. But Martignac found that he had a very difficult position to occupy. Charles X regarded the ministers as forced upon him, and refused to give them his confidence. At the same time the majority of Deputies were hostile to them for not carrying liberal measures, which their relations to the King made impossible. Martignac wished to strengthen the monarchy and to give stability to the constitution by freeing the provinces from the excessive preponderance of the capital. Early in 1829 he brought forward a proposal to give to colleges in the communes and departments some control over the authority of the mayors and prefects. But this was not well received by the liberals, who had matters their own way in Paris, and who feared the preponderance of conservative and clerical influence in the country.
On July 30, 1829, the King dissolved the Chambers, and seized the opportunity to dismiss Martignac and his colleagues. He had convinced himself that concessions only encouraged more extreme demands, and he was determined not to yield. At the head of the new Ministry was Prince Jules de Polignac, the son of Marie Antoinette’s favorite and the representative of the Emigrant nobles. The choice was an unfortunate one, as Polignac was incapable as well as unpopular, but it was dictated to some extent by foreign politics. It was just at this time that Russia and Tur key were negotiating at Adrianople, and Austria and England were anxious to prevent the former from obtaining excessive ad vantages from its victory. Martignac had been altogether on the side of Russia, and one of his chief supporters had been Pozzo di Borgo, the Russian envoy at Paris. Polignac was a personal friend of Wellington, the head of the Tory Ministry in England, and this contributed to his elevation. Still more unfortunate was the choice of the Minister of War, General Bourmont, who had deserted to the allies at the beginning of the Battle of Water loo, an act which the French could neither forget nor forgive.
The appointment of the new Ministry was greeted with general indignation. Lafayette came forward as the leader of the agitation, and formed a secret society named “Aide tot, et le del Ciel t’aidera” (“Help thyself, and Heaven will help thee”), which exercised considerable influence over the elections. When the Chambers met in March, 1830, the Liberals had an overwhelming majority among the Deputies. Their leaders were Royer-Col- lard and Guizot, the representatives of the constitutional theorists or doctrinaires, and the former was elected President. A number of royalist peers, influenced either by jealousy of Polignac or by Russian intrigues, deserted the Ministry, and an address expressing want of confidence was carried by large majorities. Charles X dissolved the Chambers again, and determined to make a bold bid for popularity by an expedition against the Dey of Algiers, who had insulted the French consul. The French have always been eager for military glory, and it was hoped that the news of a brilliant success just at the time of the election would secure a majority for the Government. But the scheme was too obvious not to be seen through, and unforeseen accidents postponed the expected triumph until the elections were over (July 4th). A Chamber was returned which was still more hostile to the Government than its predecessor.
Matters had now reached a crisis, but Charles X was resolute to make no concessions. On July 25th a ministerial conference at St. Cloud drew up the celebrated ” Ordinances, ” which were issued on the next day. The press was subjected to a strict censor ship and the chief liberal papers were suppressed. The number of electors was diminished by raising the property qualification, and elections were to be no longer direct, but indirect. The recently chosen Chamber was dissolved before it had even met, and a new one was summoned for September 8th. These exceptional measures were justified by the fourteenth article of the Charter — “The King makes regulations and ordinances for the execution of the laws and the safety of the State. ”
The Ordinances were wholly unexpected in Paris, where the first feeling was one of stupefied astonishment. If the Government had been fully prepared for active measures, an easy triumph was assured. But there were only twelve thousand troops in the capital, and the command was in the hands of Marmont, who was unpopular among the soldiers as a traitor to Napoleon, and who personally disapproved of the Ordinances. The first opposition came from the journalists headed by Thiers and Mignet, who refused to recognize the suppression of their papers as a legal act. The liberal Deputies assembled at the house of Casimir Perier, but they distrusted the chances of a popular revolt, and contented themselves with a written protest against the dissolution of a Chamber which had never met.
Alphonse Lamartine begins here.
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