« ZurückWeiter »
“ Frenchmen! they deceive -- they mislead you. Be not the dupes of those who dare to arrogate to themselves the right of choosing a master; and who insult, by their seditious hopes, a Prince who prides himself upon being the most faithful subject of the King of France.
“ The unalterable principle of legitimacy is now the only guarantee of peace in France and in Europe. The revolutions that have occurred have only made us more deeply sensible of its power and its importance. Consecrated by a warlike league, and a pacific congress of all the Sovereigns, this principle must now be ever recognised as the invariable rule in all hereditary governments !
“ Yes, Frenchmen! I should be proud to govern you : but never will I place myself in that situation, unless the extinction of an illustrious branch summons me to a throne, which it will then be my misfortune to ascend. Under such circumstances only should I feel it my duty to develope my intentions; which, it may be, are very different from those that they ascribe, or that they wish to suggest to me.
“« Frenchmen! I feel that it is only to a few misguided men that I need address myself. Return to your duty, and proclaim yourself faithful
subjects of Louis XVIII. and his heirs, in company with one of
your Princes and your fellowcitizens.
(Signed) Louis PHILIPPE, Duke of Orleans."
It must be confessed, that a less decided proclamation could scarcely be expected from one who, with the other Princes of his house, had some years before affixed his royal and loyal signature to the following declaration, in answer to a proposition of Buonaparte :
“Penetrated by the same sentiments with which his Majesty Louis XVIII., King of France and Navarre, our master and King, has shown himself so gloriously animated in his noble answer to the proposition which has been made to him, to renounce the throne of France, and to require from all the Princes of the House of Bourbon the renunciation of their imprescriptible rights of succession to the same throne;
6 We declare, 6. That our devotion to our duty and our honour, will never permit us to traffic with our principles and our rights; and that we adhere, heart and soul, to the answer of our King; that, following his example, we will never lend our
selves to the slightest act that can tend to the debasement of the house of Bourbon, or compromise its duty to ourselves, to our ancestors, and to our posterity.
“ And if (which God forbid) the unjust influence of superior force should place upon the throne of France, de facto and not de jure, any other than our legitimate King, we shall pursue, with as much confidence as fidelity, the path of honour, which commands us, to our last breath, to appeal to God, to our countrymen, and to our swords.”
Notwithstanding the failures of his intrigues, and the unction of his protestations, the Palais Royal has ever been the focus of opposition; which does not mean that it at all resembled Brookes's. In France, opposition is conspiracy; and a change of ministry a revolution.
Whenever France has been disturbed, the most faithful subject of the King of France” has always spared some moments from the details of his household, to reconnoitre his political position. As late as 1822, during the conspiracy of Fabvier, the Duke of Orleans was intriguing with the Napoleonists. The late Lord Kinnaird was the middle-man in a negotiation between the present King of the French and Prince Eugene Beauhar
nois; the particulars of which, from the highest authority, I now for the first time publish.
The object of this very secret negotiation was, that in case the Orleans party were sufficiently strong to obtain the Crown, Louis-Philippe was to guarantee to the Beauharnois family all their property, and the power of returning to France.
. While, on the other hand, if the partisans of Napoleon the Second were successful, the Duke of Orleans required from Prince Eugene, whom he anticipated being Regent, or Lieutenant-General of the Empire, a similar guarantee of his property, personal security, and especially an understanding that any measures which they might think proper to adopt against his relations of the elder branch should not touch him.
Who can deny, to style him nothing more, that Louis-Philippe is a very cautious man?
Louis XVIII., who was a shrewd observer, always said, “Beware of that man;" and ever looked upon the Duke of Orleans as an enemy of his branch. But what could the King do? He might have answered, like Louis XIV. when apprised of the conspiracy of another Duke of Orleans :-“ Faut-il donc que je fasse pendre le premier Prince du sang ?"
When Charles X. ascended the throne, affairs
changed. The King was surrounded by gracious Princesses, who exercised a due domestic influence. The Dauphiness was charitable, and endeavoured to forget and forgive; and the Duchess de Berri was the niece to the present Queen of the French. The Duke of Orleans made his Court with effect : at all balls his son danced with his fair and engaging cousin; and the good-natured Charles X., notwithstanding the hints of the well-informed, yielded to the representations of his family, and treated his successor with marked friendliness.
One of the first acts of Charles X. was to confer the title of Royal Highness on the Duke of Orleans; a favour which he had for a long time solicited in vain from Louis XVIII. Previously the Duke was only Serene Highness, and as his royal wife assumed a higher rank, the husband sometimes found himself in a mortifying situation. These are slight matters, but they indicate the friendly feeling of the late King of France to the present King of the French.
In the distribution of the indemnity to the emigrants, the sincerity of the attachment of Charles X. to the Duke was again proved. Upon this fund the Duke of Orleans was a considerable claimant, and it was owing to the interference of the King that his full claim was satisfied. All