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LOUIS XVIII.


In 1810 his wife died, and in 1811 d'Avaray died, his place as favourite being taken by the comte de Blacas? After Napole0n's defeats in 1813 the hopes of the royalists revived, and Louis issued a fresh manifesto, in which he promised to recognize the results of the Revolution. Negotiations were also opened with Bernadette, who seemed willing to support his cause, but was really playing for his own hand.

In March 1814 the Allies entered Paris, and thanks to Talleyrand's negotiations the restoration of the Bourbons was edected, Louis XVIII. entering Paris on the 2nd of May 1814, after issuing the declaration of St Ouen, in which he promised to grant the nation a constitution (octroyer une charte). He was now nearly sixty, wearied by adversity, and a sufferer from gout and obesity. But though clear-sighted, widely read and a good diplomatist, his impressionable and sentimental nature made him too subject to personal and family influences., His concessions to the reactionary and clerical party of the émigrés, headed by the comte d'Art0is and the duchesse d'Angouléme, aroused suspicions of his loyalty to the constitution, the creation of his Maison militaire alienated the army, and the constant presence of Blacas made the formation of a united ministry impossible. After the Hundred Days, during which the king was forced to flee to Ghent, the dismissal of Blacas was made one of the conditions of his second restoration. On the 8th of July he again entered Paris, “ in the baggage train of the allied armies, ” as his enemies said, but in spite of this was received with the greatest enthusiasm 2 by a people weary of Wars and looking for constitutional government. He was forced to retain Talleyrand and Fouché in his first ministry, but took the first opportunity of ridding himself of them when the elections of 1815 assured him of a strong royalist majority in the chamber (the charnbre introuvable, a name given it by Louis himself). At this time he came into contact with the young comte (afterwards duc) Decazes, prefect of the police under Fouché, and minister of police in Richelieu's ministry, who now became his favourite and gained his entire confidence (see E. Daudet, Louis XVIII. et le duc Decazes). Having obtained a ministry in which he could trust, having as members the duc de Richelieu and Decazes, the king now gave it his loyal support and did his best to shield his ministers from the attacks of the royal family. In September 1816, alarmed at the violence of the chambre introuvable, he was persuaded to dissolve it. An attempt on the part of the Ultras to regain their ascendancy over the king, by conniving at the sudden return of Blacas from Rome to Paris, ” ended in failure.

The events and ministerial changes of Louis XVIII.'s reign are described under the article FRANCE: History, but it may be said here that the king's policy throughout was one of prudence and common sense. His position was more passive than active, and consisted in giving his support as far as possible to the pl Pierre-Louis-Casimir, comte (afterwards duc) de Blacas d'Aulps, was as rigidly royalist as d'Avaray, but more able. E. Daudet, Hist. de Fémigration, i. 458, quotes a judgment of him by J. de Maistre: “ Il est né homme d'état et ambassadeur."

1 See account by Decazes in E. Daudet, Louis XVIII. et le duc Decazes, pp. 48-49, and an interesting “secret and confidential ” letter of Castlereagh to Liverpool (July 8, 1815) in the un published Foreign Office records: “The king sent for the duke and) me this evening to the Thuilleries .... We found him in a state of great emotion and exaltation at the reception he had met with from his subjects, which appears to have been even more animated than on his former entrance. Indeed, during the long audience to which we were admitted, it was almost impossible to converse, so loud were the shouts of the people in the Thuilleries Gardens, which were full, though it was then dark. Previous to the king's dismissing us, he carried the duke and me to the open window. Candles were then brought, which enabled the people to see the king with the duke by his side. They ran from all parts of the Gardens, and formed a solid mass of an immense extent, rending the air with acclamations. The town is very generally illuminated, and I understand from men who have traversed the principal streets that every demonstration of joy was manifested by the inhabitants.”

3 It is as yet not proved that Blacas returned from his embassy in response to a summons from the Ultras. But whether it was on his own initiative or not, there can be no doubt as to the hopes Zhich they built on his arrival (see Daudet, Louis X VIII. et le duc ecazes.

XVIII.

ministry of the day. While Decazes was still in power, the king's policy to a large extent followed his, and was rather liberal and moderate, but after the assassination of the duc de Berry (1820), when he saw that Decazes could no longer carry on the government, he sorrowfully acquiesced in his departure, showered honours upon him, and transferred his support to Richelieu, the head of the new ministry. In the absence of Decazes a new favourite was found to amuse the king's old age, Madame du Cayla (Zoé Talon, comtesse du Cayla), a protégée of the Vicomte Sosthéne de la Rochefoucauld and consequently a creature of the Ultras. As the king became more and more infirm, his power of resistance to the intrigues of the Ultras became weaker. The birth of a posthumous son to the duc de Berry (Sept. 1820), the death of Napoleon (5th of May 1821) and the resignation of Richelieu left him entirely in their hands, and after Villéle had formed a ministry of a royalist character the comte d'Artois was associated with the government, which passed more and more out of the king's hands. He died on the 16th of September 1824, worn out in body, but still retaining flashes of his former clear insight and scepticism. The character of Louis XVIII. may be summed up in the words of Bonaparte, quoted by Sorel (L'Eur'ope et la Rev. fr. viii. 416 footnote), “ C'est Louis XVI. avec moins de franchise et plus d'esprit.” He had all the Bourbon characteristics, especially their love of power, combined with a certain nobility of demeanour, and a consciousness of his dignity as king. But his nature was cold, unsympathetic and calculating, combined with a talent for intrigue, to which was added an excellent memory and a ready wit. An interesting judgment of him is contained in Queen Victoria's Letters, vol. i., in a letter of Leopold I., king of the Belgians, to the queen before her accession, dated the 18th of November 1836, “Poor Charles X. is dead .... History will state that Louis XVIII. was a most liberal monarch, reigning with great mildness and justice to his end, but that his brother, from his despotic and harsh disposition, upset all the other had done and lost the throne. Louis XVIII. was a clever, hard-hearted man, shackled by no principle, very proud and false. Charles X. an honest man, a kind friend, " &c. &c. This seems fairly just as a personal estimate, though it does not do justice to their respective political roles.

B1BL10GRA1>1~1v.—There is no trustworthy or complete edition of the writings and correspondence of Louis XVIII. The Mémoires de Louis X VIII. recueillis et mis en ordre par M. le duc de D . (12 vols., Paris, 1832-1833) are compiled by Lamothe-Langon, a well-known compiler of more or less apocryphal memoirs. From the hand of Louis XVIII. are: Relation d'un voyage a Bruxelles et d Coblentz, 1791 (Paris, 1823, with dedication to d'Avaray)Z and Journal de Marie-Therese de France, duchesse ¢l'Angoulérne, corrigé et annoté par Louis X VIII., ed. Imbert de St Amand (Paris, 1896). Some of his letters are contained in collections, such as Lettres d'Art'well; correspondence politique et privée de Louis XVIII., roi de France (Paris, 1830; letters addressed to d'Avaray)C Lettres er instructions de Louis X VIII. au cornte de Saint-Priest, ed. Barante (Paris, 1845); T alley rand et Louis X VIII., corr. pendant le congrés de Vienne,1814-1815, ed. Pallain (1881; trans., 2 vols., 1881); see also the corr. of Castlereagh, Metternich, ]. de Maistre, the Wellington Dispatches, &c., and such collections as Corr. diplornatique de Pozzo di Borgo avec le comte de Nesselrode (2 vols., 1890-1897), the correspondence of C. de Rémusat, Villele, &c. The works of E. Daudet are of the greatest importance, and based on original documents; the chief are: La Terreur Blanche (Paris, 1878); Hist. de la restauration 1814-1830 (1882); Louis X VIII. et le duc Decazes (1899): Hist. de Férnigqation, in three studies: (i.) Les Bourbons et la Russie (1886), (ii.) Les Ernigrés et la seconde coalition (1886), (iii.) Coblenz, 1789-1793 (1890). Developed from these with the addition of much further material is his Hist. cle Vérnigration (3 vols., 1904~1907). Also based on original documents is E. Romberg and A. Malet, Louis X VIII. et les cent-jours a Gand (1898). See also G. Stenger, Le Retour des Bourbons (1908); Cte. L. de Remacle, Bonaparte et les Bourbons. Relations secrets des agents du cte. de Provence sous le consulat (Paris, 1899). For various episodes, see Vicomte de Reiset, La Comtesse de Balbi (Paris, 1908; contains a long bibliography, chiefly of memoirs concerning the emigration, and is based on documents); J. B. H. R. Capengue, La Corntesse du Cayla (Paris, 1866); ]. Turquan, Les Favorites de Louis XVIII. (Paris, 1900); see also the chief memoirs of the period, such as those of Talleyrand, Chateaubriand, Guizot, duc de Broglie, Villéle, Vitrolles, Pasquier, the comtesse de Boigne (ed. Nicoullaud, Paris, 1907), the Vicomte L. F. Sosthéne de la Rochefoucauld (15 vols., Paris, 1861-1864); and the writings of Benjamin Constant, Chateaubriand, &c.