King Louis Philippe and Queen Marie-Amalie at last reached the seacoast, and set sail toward England, that safe and well-known refuge of unfortunate princes.
Today’s installment concludes The February 1848 Revolution In France,
our selection fromPopular History of France From the Earliest Times by by François P.G. Guizot and by his daughter Mme. Guizot De Witt published in 1869. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
If you have journeyed through all of the installments of this series, just one more to go and you will have completed a selection from the great works of six thousand words. Congratulations!
Previously in The February 1848 Revolution In France.
The Duchesse d’Orleans already knew that depriving the King of the crown was not giving it to her son. Her natural courage, however, and her maternal affection induced her to make every effort to secure the throne for the prince of nine years whom the nation had already entrusted to her keeping. She had seen the Tuileries invaded before leaving that hall where her husband’s portrait by Ingres seemed to preside over her son’s destinies. “It is here one ought to die,” she said, when Dupin and Grammont came to conduct her to the Chamber. Odilon Barret had gone to bring her, and succeeded in finding her in the Palais-Bourbon. The crowd showed sympathy for her, and made room respectfully, though she and her small retinue had difficulty in getting within the palace, every passage being crowded. The Duchess stood near the tribune holding her two boys close to her. After Dupin announced the King’s abdication, Barrot, after presenting the legal instrument, asked the Chamber to proclaim at once the young King and the regency of Madame la Duchesse d’Orleans.
Shouts of protest were heard on several benches. “It is too late!” exclaimed Lamartine, as he went to the tribune, eager to urge this difficulty, reject the regency, and demand a provisional government so that the bloodshed might be stopped. Some others were already mentioning the word “Republic.” The crowd were gradually pouring into the Chamber from the corridors, and Sauzet, the President, requested strangers to withdraw, and made a special appeal to the Duchess herself. “Sir, this is a royal sitting!” she replied; and when her friends urged her, “If I leave this Chamber, my son will no more return to it.” A few minutes before her arrival, Thiers had entered the Chamber in the greatest agitation. “The tide is rising, rising, rising!” he said to those who crowded round him, and then disappeared. Several voices were heard together in confusion; among the speakers were La Rochejacquelein, Ledru-Rollin, Marie, and Berryer.
The Duchess had been conducted to a gallery, on account of the threats of the insurgent battalions, who burst open the doors after General Gourgaud had in vain tried to stop them. Armand Marrast, one of the editors of the National, after looking at the invaders, said: “These are the sham public; I shall call the real!” A few minutes afterward shots were heard in the court of the palace; the posts in the hands of the National Guard opened before the triumphant mob, who, after sacking the Tuileries, hurried up against the expiring remnants of the monarchy. The Duchesse d’Orleans had already twice offered to speak, but her voice was drowned in the tumult. The newcomers, stained with blood and blackened with gunpowder, with disheveled hair and bare arms, climbed on the benches, stairs, and galleries; and in every part were shouts of “Down with the regency! Long live the Republic! Turn out the ‘Contents’!” Sauzet put on his hat, but a workman knocked it off, and then the President disappeared.
Several of the Deputies rushed to the gallery, where the Duchess was still exposed to the looks and threats of the insurgents. “There is nothing more to be done here, madam,” they urged: “we must go to the President’s house, to form a new chamber.” She took the arm of Jules de Lasteyrie; and on her sons being separated from her in the narrow passages, she showed the greatest anxiety, crying, “My boys! my boys!” At one time the Comte de Paris was seized by a workman in a blouse; but one of the National Guard took him out of his hands, and the child was passed from one to another till he rejoined his mother. No one knew what had become of the Duc de Chartres; but he was brought to the Invalides, where the Princess went for refuge; and in the evening, after nightfall, the mother and sons withdrew from Paris, and soon after from France. “To-morrow, or ten years hence,” said the Duchesse d’Orleans as she left the Invalides, “a word, a sign will bring me back.” Afterward in exile she frequently said, “When the thought crosses my mind that I may never again see France, I feel my heart breaking.”
Wanderers and fugitives across their kingdom, after kneeling for the last time beside the tomb of their children at Dreux, and asking the hospitality of some friends who were still faithful, and without a single attempt to recover the crown they had lost, King Louis Philippe and Queen Marie-Amalie at last reached the seacoast, and set sail toward England, that safe and well-known refuge of unfortunate princes.
Thunderstruck like them, and at their wits’ end, the most faithful of their servants and partisans waited for some sign authorizing them to protest against the unparalleled surprise to which France had been subjected. The fugitive King made no protest. His sons quietly followed him into exile. Those who were serving France abroad learned at the same time the news of their fall and the rise of a new power, and thought it their duty to bow to the national will, resolving that not a single drop of French blood should be shed in their cause.
This ends our series of passages on The February 1848 Revolution In France by François P.G. Guizot and Mme. Guizot De Witt . This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.
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