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FrRevol_551-600.indd 48 3/16/12 1:14 PM CHAPTER XI Ofthe System Which Ought to Have Been Followed in z8z4, to Maintain the House ofBourbon on the Throne ofFrance. Many people think that if Napoleon had not returned, the Bourbons had nothing to fear. I am not of this opinion; for such a man, it must at least be allowed, was an alarming pretender; and ifthe House ofHanovercould fear Prince Edward,1 it was madness to leave Bonaparte in a position which invited him as it were to form audacious projects. M. de Talleyrand, in re-assuming in the Congress of Vienna almost as much ascendancy in the affairs of Europe as French diplomacy had exercised under Bonaparte, certainly gave great proofs ofhis personal skill. But should the French government, after changing its nature, have interfered with the affairs of Germany? Were not all the just resentments of the German nation yet too recent to be effaced? It was then the first duty of the King's ministers to have asked of the Congress of Vienna the removal of Bonaparte to a greater distance. Like Cato in the Roman senate when he repeated incessantly, "Carthage must be destroyed," the ministers ofFrance ought to have laid aside all other interests till Napoleon was no longer within view of France and Italy. It was on the coast of Provence that men attached to the royal cause might have been useful to their country by preserving it from Bonaparte. The plain good sense of the Swiss peasants, I remember, induced them to foretell, in the first year of the Restoration, that Bonaparte would return. Every day attempts were made in society to convince of this the persons 1. Charles Edward Stuart (1720- 88), grandson of James II, who (unsuccessfully) attempted to return to Scotland in 1745. FrRevol_551-600.indd 49 3/16/12 1:14 PM CHAPTER X I. System to Have Been Followed who could make themselves heard at court. But since the etiquette which prevails only in France did not allow the monarch to he approached, and because ministerial gravity, another inconsistency in the present times, removed to a distance from the first servants ofthe state those who could have told them what was going on, an unprecedented lack of foresight proved the ruin of the country. But even if Bonaparte had not landed at Cannes, the system followed by the ministers, as we have endeavored to prove, had already endangered the Restoration, and left the King without any real strength in the midst of France. Let us first examine the conduct which government ought to have adopted in respect to each party, and conclude by recalling those principles which ought to guide the direction of affairs and the choice of men.2 The army, it has been said, was difficult to bring round. No doubt, if the intention was to maintain an army in order to conquer Europe and establish despotism in the interior, that army must have preferred Bonaparte as a military chief to the princes of the Bourbon family; nothing could change such a disposition. But if, while paying regularly the appointments and pensions of the military who had shed so much glory on the French name, the court had convinced the army that it was neither feared nor wanted, since it hadbeen determined to take a liberal and peaceful policy as a guide; if, far from insinuating, in a whisper, to the officers that they would gain favor by supporting the encroachments ofauthority they had been told that the constitutional government, having the people on its side, would tend to diminish the number of the troops of the line, transforming the military into citizens and converting a warlike spirit into civil emulation, the officers would perhaps have regretted for some time longer their former importance. But the nation, ofwhom they constitute a part more than in any other army, since they are taken from all its classes, this nation, satisfied with its constitution and relieved from the apprehension of what of all things it fears most, the return of the privileges of the nobles and the clergy, would have calmed the military instead ofirritating them by its disquietudes. It was useless to try to imitate Bonaparte in order 2. For more on the historical and political context of the first period of the Bourbon Restoration, see Alexander, Rewriting the French Revolutionary Tradition, 1-80. 59.9 FrRevol_551-600.indd 50 3/16/12 1:14...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878636
Related ISBN
9780865977327
MARC Record
OCLC
836874520
Pages
834
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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