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- History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 - 110/202 -

action, now deliberated upon several projects submitted to it, and, after rejecting all plans that might have led to a compromise, determined to declare the elections null and void, to silence the press, and to supersede the existing electoral system by one that should secure the mastery of the Government both at the polling-booths and in the Chamber itself. All this was to be done by Royal Edict, and before the meeting of the new Parliament. The date fixed for the opening of the Chambers had been placed as late as possible in order to give time to General Bourmont to win the victory in Africa from which the Court expected to reap so rich a harvest of prestige. On the 9th of July news arrived that Algiers had fallen. The announcement, which was everywhere made with the utmost pomp, fell flat on the country. The conflict between the Court and the nation absorbed all minds, and the rapturous congratulations of Bishops and Prefects scarcely misled even the blind _côterie_ of the Tuileries. Public opinion was no doubt with the Opposition; King Charles, however, had no belief that the populace of Paris, which alone was to be dreaded as a fighting body, would take up arms on behalf of the middle-class voters and journalists against whom his Ordinances were to be directed. The populace neither read nor voted: why should it concern itself with constitutional law? Or why, in a matter that related only to the King and the Bourgeoisie, should it not take part with the King against this new and bastard aristocracy which lived on others' labour? Politicians who could not fight were troublesome only when they were permitted to speak and to write. There was force enough at the King's command to close the gates of the Chamber of Deputies, and to break up the printing-presses of the journals; and if King Louis XVI. had at last fallen by the hands of men of violence, it was only because he had made concessions at first to orators and politicians. Therefore, without dreaming that an armed struggle would be the immediate result of their action, King Charles and Polignac determined to prevent the meeting of the Chamber, and to publish, a week before the date fixed for its opening, the Edicts which were to silence the brawl of faction and to vindicate monarchical government in France.

[The Ordinances, July 26, 1830.]

Accordingly, on the 26th of July, a series of Ordinances appeared in the _Moniteur_, signed by the King and counter-signed by the Ministers. The first Ordinance forbade the publication of any journal without royal permission; the second dissolved the Chamber of Deputies; the third raised the property-qualification of voters, established a system of double-election, altered the duration of Parliaments, and re-enacted the obsolete clause of the Charta confining the initiative in all legislation to the Government. Other Ordinances convoked a Chamber to be elected under the new rules, and called to the Council of State a number of the most notorious Ultra-Royalists and fanatics in France. Taken together, the Ordinances left scarcely anything standing of the Constitutional and Parliamentary system of the day. The blow fell first on the press, and the first step in resistance was taken by the journalists of Paris, who, under the leadership of the young Thiers, editor of the _National_, published a protest declaring that they would treat the Ordinances as illegal, and calling upon the Chambers and nation to join in this resistance. For a while the journalists seemed likely to stand alone. Paris at large remained quiet, and a body of the recently elected Deputies, to whom the journalists appealed as representatives of the nation, proved themselves incapable of any action or decision whatsoever. It was not from these timid politicians, but from a body of obscure Republicans, that the impulse proceeded which overthrew the Bourbon throne. Unrepresented in Parliament and unrepresented in the press, there were a few active men who had handed down the traditions of 1792, and who, in sympathy with the Carbonari and other conspirators abroad, had during recent years founded secret societies in Paris, and enlisted in the Republican cause a certain number of workmen, of students, and of youths of the middle classes. While the journalists discussed legal means of resistance, and the Deputies awaited events, the Republican leaders met and determined upon armed revolt. They were assisted, probably without direct concert, by the printing firms and other employers of labour, who, in view of the general suspension of the newspapers, closed their establishments on the morning of July 27, and turned their workmen into the streets.

[July 27.]

[July 28.]

Thus on the day after the appearance of the Edicts the aspect of Paris changed. Crowds gathered, and revolutionary cries were raised. Marmont, who was suddenly ordered to take command of the troops, placed them around the Tuileries, and captured two barricades which were erected in the neighbourhood; but the populace was not yet armed, and no serious conflict took place. In the evening Lafayette reached Paris, and the revolution had now a real, though not an avowed, leader. A body of his adherents met during the night at the office of the _National_, and, in spite of Thiers' resistance, decided upon a general insurrection. Thiers himself, who desired nothing but a legal and Parliamentary attack upon Charles X., quitted Paris to await events. The men who had out-voted him placed themselves in communication with all the district committees of Paris, and began the actual work of revolt by distributing arms. On the morning of Wednesday, July 28th, the first armed bands attacked and captured the arsenals and several private depots of weapons and ammunition. Barricades were erected everywhere. The insurgents swelled from hundreds to thousands, and, converging on the old rallying-point of the Commune of Paris, they seized the Hôtel de Ville, and hoisted the tricolor flag on its roof. Marmont wrote to the King, declaring the position to be most serious, and advising concession; he then put his troops in motion, and succeeded, after a severe conflict, in capturing several points of vantage, and in expelling the rebels from the Hôtel de Ville.

[July 29.]

In the meantime the Deputies, who were assembled at the house of one of their number in pursuance of an agreement made on the previous day, gained sufficient courage to adopt a protest declaring that in spite of the Ordinances they were still the legal representatives of the nation. They moreover sent a deputation to Marmont, begging him to put a stop to the fighting, and offering their assistance in restoring order if the King would withdraw his Edicts. Marmont replied that he could do nothing without the King's command, but he despatched a second letter to St. Cloud, urging compliance. The only answer which he received was a command to concentrate his troops and to act in masses. The result of this was that the positions which had been won by hard fighting were abandoned before evening, and that the troops, famished and exhausted, were marched back through the streets of Paris to the Tuileries. On the march some fraternised with the people, others were surrounded and disarmed. All eastern Paris now fell into the hands of the insurgents; the middle-class, as in 1789 and 1792, remained inactive, and allowed the contest to be decided by the populace and the soldiery. Messages from the capital constantly reached St. Cloud, but the King so little understood his danger and so confidently reckoned on the victory of the troops in the Tuileries that he played whist as usual during the evening; and when the Duc de Mortemart, French Ambassador at St. Petersburg, arrived at nightfall, and pressed for an audience, the King refused to receive him until the next morning. When morning came, the march of the insurgents against the Tuileries began. Position after position fell into their hands. The regiments stationed in the Place Vendôme abandoned their commander, and marched off to place themselves at the disposal of the Deputies. Marmont ordered the Swiss Guard, which had hitherto defended the Louvre, to replace them; and in doing so he left the Louvre for a moment without any garrison. The insurgents saw the building empty, and rushed into it. From the windows they commanded the Court of the Tuileries, where the troops in reserve were posted; and soon after mid-day all was over. A few isolated battalions fought and perished, but the mass of the soldiery with their commander fell back upon the Place de la Concorde, and then evacuated Paris. [387]

The Duke of Orleans was all this time in hiding. He had been warned that the Court intended to arrest him, and, whether from fear of the Court or of the populace, he had secreted himself at a hunting-lodge in his woods, allowing none but his wife and his sister to know where he was concealed. His partisans, of whom the rich and popular banker, Laffitte, was the most influential among the Deputies, were watching for an opportunity to bring forward his name; but their chances of success seemed slight. The Deputies at large wished only for the withdrawal of the Ordinances, and were wholly averse from a change of dynasty. It was only through the obstinacy of King Charles himself, and as the result of a series of accidents, that the Crown passed from the elder Bourbon line. King Charles would not hear of withdrawing the Ordinances until the Tuileries had actually fallen; he then gave way and charged the Duc de Mortemart to form a new Ministry, drawn from the ranks of the Opposition. But instead of formally repealing the Edicts by a public Decree, he sent two messengers to Paris to communicate his change of purpose to the Deputies by word of mouth. The messengers betook themselves to the Hôtel de Ville, where a municipal committee under Lafayette had been installed; and, when they could produce no written authority for their statements, they were referred by this committee to the general body of Deputies, which was now sitting at Laffitte's house. The Deputies also demanded a written guarantee. Laffitte and Thiers spoke in favour of the Duke of Orleans, but the Assembly at large was still willing to negotiate with Charles X., and only required the presence of the Duc de Mortemart himself, and a copy of the Decree repealing the Ordinances.

[July 30.]

It was now near midnight. The messengers returned to St. Cloud, and were not permitted to deliver their intelligence until the King awoke next morning. Charles then signed the necessary document, and Mortemart set out for Paris; but the night's delay had given the Orleanists time to act, and before the King was up Thiers had placarded the streets of Paris with a proclamation extolling Orleans as the prince devoted to the cause of the Revolution, as the soldier of Jemappes, and the only constitutional King now possible. Some hours after this manifesto had appeared the Deputies again assembled at Laffitte's house, and waited for the appearance of Mortemart. But they waited in vain. Mortemart's carriage was stopped on the road from St. Cloud, and he was compelled to make his way on foot by a long circuit and across a score of barricades. When he approached Laffitte's house, half dead with heat and fatigue, he found that the Deputies had adjourned to the Palais Bourbon, and, instead of following them, he ended his journey at the Luxemburg, where the Peers were assembled. His absence was turned to good account by the Orleanists. At the morning session the proposition was openly made to call Louis Philippe to power; and when the Deputies reassembled in the afternoon and the Minister still failed to present himself, it was resolved to send a body of Peers and Deputies to Louis Philippe to invite him to come to Paris and to assume the office of Lieutenant-General of the kingdom. No opposition was offered to this proposal in the House of Peers, and a deputation accordingly set out to search for Louis Philippe at his country house at Neuilly. The prince was not to be found; but his sister, who received the deputation, undertook that he should duly appear in Paris. She then communicated with her brother in his hiding-place, and induced him, in spite of the resistance of his wife, to set out for the capital. He arrived at the Palais Royale late on the night of the 30th. Early the next morning he received a deputation from the Assembly, and accepted the powers which they offered him. A proclamation was then published, announcing to the Parisians that in order to save the country from anarchy and civil war the Duke of Orleans had assumed the office of Lieutenant-General of the kingdom.

[The Hôtel de Ville.]

But there existed another authority in Paris beside the Assembly of Representatives, and one that was not altogether disposed to permit Louis Philippe and his satellites to reap the fruits of the people's victory. Lafayette and the Municipal Committee, which occupied the Hôtel de Ville, had transformed themselves into a provisional government, and sat surrounded by the armed mob which had captured the Tuileries two days

History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 - 110/202

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