Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

adopted, and had no confidence in his the sciences—and only felt happy in own judgment. Casimir Perier, on the society of a chosen few, who were the contrary, bad decision and tact, members of the old nobility, and who and thus completed the character had remained faithful amidst all the and just reputation of the house. infidelity and distrust of so many forThere, as hereafter in public life, he mer partisans. The consequence of showed that he was made to govern this conviction was, that Casimir Peand not to administer.

rier and the men of his party, instead The Restoration gave peace to of rallying round the throne, stood France; and great as are always the aloof; and, instead of devoting their advantages of peace to every country, talents, influence, and property, all of they were for France of greater value which they possessed, to the strengthand importance than to most nations, ening of the hands of the Government, under even extraordinary circum- and to enlightening the throne as to stances. Peace and liberty-even the wants, prejudices, and wishes of moderate, rational liberty-were es men essentially loyal at heart, but sential to the happiness and prosperity who were mistaken as to the characters of the country; and, from 1815 to of their princes, they by degrees got 1825, individual fortunes received an up a parliamentary opposition, and augmentation for which no parallel is joined themselves to men whose printo be found in the history of any ciples and doctrines they have since people. They were ten years of ma been compelled not merely to reputerial and physical amelioration, which diate, but also to repress.

So far, Casimir Perier admitted to be unri. then, M. Casimir Perier and his friends valled, and always spoke of them as were to blame. such. The country was wearied of But there was a second reason why the drum's discordant sound– was Casimir Perier and the mercantile and disgusted with glory and with blood- manufacturing party belonged to the and sought not for laurels, but for re Opposition, and that was the fault of pose. M. Casimir Perier devoted the the court and of the Popish clergy. greatest portion of these ten years to The Royal family was made to believe useful labours and to the acquisition that all who were not violent Roof personal wealth. The Bourbons manists were Jacobins or Revolumight have secured his affection by tionists. Thus they viewed with disconsulting him, his confidence by con trust such men even as Casimir Perier. fiding in him, and his devotion by es This exclusiveness was the fault of the teeming him. How was it that this Ultra-Papist party. Whenever Louis did not take place ? There were two XVIII. and Charles X. shook off the reasons, and they must be recorded yoke of these counsellors, and acted as with equal frankness and fidelity. The their warm hearts dictated, and their first was, that M. Casimir Perier was own superior minds suggested, they suspicious of the Restoration. And always acted wisely and well. Then why? He had never known the the mercantile and manufacturing Bourbons; he was but a young man classes drew near to them. Then when they were exiled ; he had for- unions were formed between the gotten, in the horrors of the republic wealth and rank of the country. Then and in the wars of the empire, even the throne became solid as well as the names of his princes. He had brilliant, and then France was floubeen taught to believe that they were rishing and happy. Thus Casimir an isolated race—that they had no Perier and his friends were to blame sympathy in common with France for not separating in their minds and that they had never forgiven the mur hearts their princes from the Popish der of the members of their family- priests; and the house of Bourbon was that they were surrounded only by in its turn to be censured for adoptpauper peers or by Papist priests, and ing too implicitly the opinions of those that they returned to France, not as who represented all as opposed to the fathers and brothers, but as conquerors throne who were not Ultra-Romanists. and tyrants. He was also taught to It is not true that the princes of the believe that the Bourbons had no af- House of Bourbon ever sighed, or fection for the middling classes-took hoped, or desired, or even dreamt of no interest in the progress of trade, re-establishing the old and absolute commerce, manufactures, the arts and monarchy of France. Louis XVIII,

[ocr errors]

Perier always acknowledged with re- the Whig party. He never went furspect, and spoke of in terms of sincere ther than Earl Grey, and would have admiration.

been delighted to see England governFrom 1824 to 1827, the whole bur- ed by Sir Robert Peel, Lord Stanley, den of the Opposition rested on Casimir and Sir James Graham. Perier. He made many mistakes and Before we turn to the Revolution of adopted many errors, but he was no 1830, and the subsequent life of M. conspirator, no revolutionist, no ene Casimir Perier, we must be allowed to my to his King, and no rebel. He say a word on the ordinance of July, read the Charta differently from the 1830, and on the labours, parliamentcounsellor of the crown, but he be- ary and otherwise, of the subject of lieved the throne to be as essential to this sketch during the Restoration. France as was France to the throne. The Polignac Administration was

The elections of 1827 changed the not an isolated event. After three system of the Government.

A new

years of concession, the Opposition Ministry was formed, and the Crown, had become audaciously anti-monarof its own accord, appointed an Admi- chical and impudently revolutionary. nistration in harmony with the sane We do not mean to comprise Casimir and moderate portion of public opi. Perier in this censure. But, as to the nion. The Viscount de Martignac Opposition generally, the fact cannot was a man of a million. His eloquence, be doubted. The cry for the Char. his good faith, his virtue, his sincerity, ta, the whole Charta, and nothing but his attachment to his princes, and yet the Charta," was Jesuitical and false. his love of rational liberty, pointed The chiefs of the Opposition have since him out as the” man of the epoch. admitted it. This cry was raised in But the Opposition dealt unfairly with order that France might not be alarmhim. Instead of rallying round him, ed. If France had had an idea that a they deserted him ; instead of second- revolution and change of dynasty had ing, they attacked him. Casimir Pe- been intended, the Opposition would rier said, that it appeared to him “im- not have had a single representative possible de faire vivre la dynastie avec in the Chamber, even in 1827. The toute la Charte-et sans toute la Charte Chamber of 1828 acted most unde defendre la dynastie.” This was worthily. The Opposition acted most a remarkable truth, as it was after- dishonestly. The commercial and dewards reduced to practice. In ren- partmental laws of 1828, which the dering justice to the conciliatory in. Chamber of Deputies would not pass, tentions, and to the moderate efforts as proposed by the Government, were of the Martignac Ministry, he doubted the greatest concessions ever made by its force and its duration. He would any monarchical Government to any not attack nor oppose it, because he people ; and the very men who asked considered its nomination a concession more in 1829 would, in 1831, have made by the throne to the opinions of been delighted to have granted less. the electoral body ; but he was one of The opposition of the Opposition to those who believed that a conflict be- the Martignac Ministry we call distween the Bourbons and the Opposi- graceful. It was senseless, unprintion of the Ultra party would, some cipled, and anarchical. It alarmed the day, sooner or later, be almost a ne- throne, disturbed the country, and agicessity; and it was his opinion that it tated the whole of Europe. Well would end either in the re-establish- might M. Martignac exclaim, “We ment of the old monarchy or in the march in the midst of anarchy.' What total overthrow of the Papist party, was to be done? To make further

The appointment of the Polignac concessions was impossible. TowithAdministration led to the conflict he draw those which were made would be anticipated, but not to the result he imprudent. Yet something must be had expected. He never would hear done. The Government could not reof a change of dynasty ; he never main stationary. The priest party wrote diatribes or treason against the was then called on for its counsels. drapeau blanc. He thought that the They were listened to. A return to priest party would be overthrown, and a counter-revolution was advised, and that the King and royal family would the Polignac Administration was thenceforth be compelled to address named. The opposition, even to the itself to the Conservative portion of creation of that Cabinet, was mad,

monstrous, revolutionary; no profes- evil, which threatened the total oversions were attended to—no assurances throw of the French monarchy. When were regarded—no measures were ex the evil had been met and remedied, it amined—no proclamations were even was always intended by Charles X. to read; but one deep tremendous howl restore the Charta unchanged to the was set up by the press, the clubs, the French people. schools, and the Opposition Deputies ; Let us now return to Casimir Perier. and “ Down with the Polignac Admi. In the Session of 1817 M. Perier nistration !" was the order of the day. made eight speeches, but the most re

What was to be done? The Throne markable were two which he delivered said, “ I have the right to name my -one against the bill for the represown Ministers." The Ministers said, sion of the abuses of the press, and “ Wait and examine our acts.” The the other in favour of an amendment, Opposition said, “ N'importe, n'im. tending to establish the necessity for porte, à bas le Ministère !” and Charles the contracting of public loans by pubX. dissolved the Chamber and appeal- lic tenders, and, as in England, openly, ed to the Electoral Colleges. The and in the face of the world, and to Chamber met. A majority of forty the best bidders. voted an insolent address to the King. In 1818 he pronounced ten speeches, It was an infringement on the royal nearly all of a financial character ; but prerogative, a direct and palpable in- those which attracted most attention fringement. The Chamber was dis were his speeches relative to the floatsolved again. The same men were ing debts, and as to the caution money returned. Associations had been form- to be supplied by journals, as a secued by the Opposition of an illegal rity for the payment of the fines which cbaracter : some to control the elec- might be imposed upon them for tions, and others to refuse the payment breaches of the law. of taxes; but Casimir Perier stood aloof In the Session of 1819 he made from all. He looked with sorrow and twenty speeches. He attacked the sadness to the approaching conflict. censorship; opposed the coal-tax; orBut still the question returned, What posed the electoral law ; opposed the was to be done? The Charta of 1814 double vote ; opposed the gamblingcontained a special article, which pro- houses ; and defended the rights of vided that, in special cases, and to French shipping in American ports. meet special difficulties, the Charta In the Session of 1820 he made might be suspended by the Throne. fifty-six speeches, and addressed the No article proved more clearly than Chamber, in the course of that year, on this that the Charta of 1814 was es the subject of the Naples Revolution ; sentially monarchical. The King the charges made against the Côté now felt that a temporary suspension Gauche by M. de Serre ; the right of must take place ; but we know that the Chamber of Deputies to amend we assert a historical truth when we laws; the question of dotations and declare that Charles X. had no inten- majorats in favour of persons who had tion of permanently suspending it, but rendered essential service to the State only of meeting pressing evils by a or the King ; on the accusatio special and pressing remedy. He brought against the Gauche of making might, indeed, have allowed the new anarchical speeches; on criminal jusChamber to meet, proposed the budget, tice ; on the commercial difficulties beand have dared it to refuse the ways tween France and America ; on the and means to the Government. functions of the director of the police Though Casimir Perier was a member of the kingdom ; on a new censorship; of the 221 who voted the address to on the budget ; on the beer laws; and Charles X., he always declared that on other questions of a financial chahe for one would not refuse the bud. racter. get. So the ordinances of July 1830 In the Session of 1821 he spoke were made, but how they were enforced forty-two times. Sometimes on the we shall see in another portion of this necessity of adopting a permanent history. They were made in virtue of financial position ; at another time on a direct, special, and positive clause of the position of the colonists of St Dothe Charta of 1814, and they were mingo; on the legislation of the press; made with no other intention than that on the censorship ; on the Ministerial of meeting a pressing and growing responsibility resulting from the frauds

VOL. XLIV, NO, CCLXXIII,

D

committed by Matthéo, the sub-cashier -the right of petitioning-the indemof the Treasury ; on the alleged irre nity to the St Domingo Colonistsgularity of certain financial operations as to the right of the King to modify at the Bourse by the Covetto Minis a law by an ordinance--as to the contry ; on the expenses attendant on the tracts for the Spanish war—the sink. collection of taxes ; on pensions to the ing fund—and the foreign corn bill. widows and orphans of soldiers in During this Session, also, the ecclesiasactive service ; and, as usual, on other tical budgets, and the conduct of the subjects of a financial character. “ congregation" and the “ Jesuits,"

In the Session of 1822 he only came under debate; as likewise an inspoke twenty-two times ; and in the teresting debate on the right of the Session of 1823 only nine. In that Chamber of Peers to intervene in the of 1822 the question of the negotia, discussion of the budget. The finantion of new rentes was debated by cial situation of the country, the posthim with talent, and he distinguished office, and the immorality of the lothimself by his conflicts with M. de tery, also furnished him with materials Peyronnet. He defended, also, Gene for very good and useful addresses. ral Bertin against M. Maugin, and In the Session of 1827 M. Casimir opposed some reductions in the budget Perier spoke forty-four times. The proposed by the Finance Commission. Session commenced by an attack on The Session of 1823 was that in which the then new tariff of the post-office, Manuel was excluded from the Cham- and on its operation on the journals ber. M. Perier spoke frequently on of the country, as well as on the this question, and but seldom on any transport of gold and silver by means other. It was one of the errors of the of the post-office. Then came a disRestoration, and the recorded protest cussion on the laws as to the press, of Casimir Perier is an unanswerable which occupied much of his time “ morceau" of logical argumentation. and attention. The whole question

During the Session of 1824 M. of the securities to be given by, and Casimir Perier delivered twenty-eight to be offered to the press, was debated speeches. The principal topic of dis- with talent and energy, and M. Pepute was the proposed conversion of rier had to contend with two able anthe 5 rentes, which M. de Villéle tagonists in the persons of M. de proposed, and M. Perier opposed, Corbiere, and M. Dudon. The rewith so much of sense and of truth. pression of the slave-trade was also Casimir Perier was a deeided and debated, as well as a proposal of a energetic enemy to every system which member of the Opposition to appoint a tampered with the public credit; and commission to watch over the prerogahe was, undoubtedly, one of those who tives of the Chamber, and to see they most powerfully contributed to the were not infringed on. The whole subsequent rejection of that measure question of the woods and forests of by the Chamber of Peers.

the Crown, and the complaints urged In the session of 1825 he spoke against the civil list for having felled very frequently. No less than fifty-six too great a quantity of timber, were speeches did he deliver that Session ; examined, and led to angry and perand the subjects which most occupied sonal debates. The financial situahis attention were the law of indem- tion of France was likewise discussed nity to the emigrants - the new bill by M. de Villele as hy M. Perier. on the public debt and sinking fund In the Session of 1828 M. Casimir the conversion of the 5 per cents Perier abstained nearly entirely from the expenses of the Spanish war—the appearing at the Tribune. The Mar. debt due by Spain to France—the tignac Ministry had been named, and consolidated debts—and the recogni. a new era commenced for France tion of the new states of South Ame- and her King. Its glorious but unrica.

successful mission was to keep within In the Session of 1826 he addressed bounds the exaggerated pretension of the House fifty.two times, and on a faction-but to satisfy all the just exivariety of interesting topics. Amongst gencies of real public opinion. Two them were the questions of the gam. great measures marked this Session-bling at the Stock Exchange-the one was destined to prevent electoral citation of the director of the Journal frauds, and the other to abolish the du Commerce to the bar of the House censorship. The character and sen

timents of the majority were now

tumult. He voted what he believed changed. The priest party was de to be right; but he even did that, on feated. The true royalist party for this occasion, with fear and trembling. 1828 was represented by M. de Mar. He was no infringer of the royal pretignac. No one felt this more strongly rogatives, but he had an energetic hathan Casimir Perier, and no one ac. tred for the priest party. The reply of knowledged it more honourably. He Charles X. to the address of the 221did belonged, then, no longer to the Op. not surprise M. Perier, but the dissoluposition, and was placed on the list of tion of the Chambers on the 16th May candidates for the post of President was a great fault on the part of the of the Chamber of Deputies, and Crown, and was felt to be so by the subnamed member of the commission of ject of this memoir, Noone knew better the budget. He spoke but eight times than did Casimir Perier that the Chamduring the Session, and would even ber was not prepared to refuse the have lent to the Government his im- budget to the Polignac Administration, portant aid, but that his health was but that, on the contrary, having satismuch affected, and required repose. fied its convictions or its passions, by

The Session of 1829 was the last the passing of the address, it would for constitutional France and the old have voted the ways and means, and race of the House of Bourbon. M. even have passed other laws which the Perier spoke but three times during Government was prepared to submit. that Session; and, on each occasion, on The dissolution of the Chamber on the the same subject—the debt due from 16th May, 1830, was then a capital Spain to France. He had Count Roy fault—and the result of the next genefor an antagonist, but he sustained the ral elections demonstrated its folly. Of conflict with great talent and spirit. course, the same men were returned ; On all other questions he was silent. of course, they were exasperated at He perceived with sorrow that the having been put to the vast trouble Martignac Ministry was not supported and expense of two recent elections ; by the majority, and, to avoid the ap- of course, they returned to Paris with pearance of being factious, he did not hostile intentions; and it now did beoppose the passing of the law coufer, come rather questionable whether the ring on the Crown the right to grant Chamber would vote the budget if dotationsto poor peers. The clos- presented by the same Ministry. ing of the Session of 1829 was pro

M. Casimir Perier felt, however, nounced the 31st July, and eight days little doubt upon the subject; he thought afterwards the Martignac Ministry to the end that, notwithstanding the existed no longer.

result of the two elections, if the King The Session of 1830 opened the 2d resolved to maintain his Ministry, the March. The Polignac Ministry had Chamber could not refuse the means been appointed. The general elec- for carrying on the Government, so tions had taken place. The Chamber long as the acts of the Government of Deputies voted, on the 15th March, were not illegal. But the King was the memorable address of the 221; persuaded to take another course--10 but, though M. Casimir Perier voted act upon the 14th article of the Charta in that number, he did not once ad- of 1814, and to make the memorable dress the House. He was no rebel, and fatal ordinances of July. no exciter of sedition, no lover of

« PoprzedniaDalej »