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he royalists. They were suddenly dismissed, and the formation of a cabinet was intrusted to Prince Polignac, whose appointment was studiously represented as a declaration of war by Charles X. against his subjects.
Interesting as these events were, they excited little attention in England, where the public mind was intently fixed on the struggle in parliament, between those who sought to effect important constitutional changes, and those who were resolved to resist all innovation. The duke of Wellington's cabinet had been placed in office mainly by the influence of that portion of the aristocracy which was anxious to check the progress of change, and resist certain proposed measures, which they deemed inconsistent with the supremacy, if not the safety, of the established church. One of these measures was the repeal if the Test and Corporation acts, by which dissenters were excluded from office; it was proposed in the house of commons, and on a division the ministers were left in such a minority, that they not only withdrew further opposition, but adopted the measure as their own, and carried it successfully through both houses of parliament.
This event gave fresh vigor to the efforts made by the Irish catholics to procure the concessions which they usually called emancipation. The rejection of a bill for the purpose by the house of lords in 1828, only roused them to greater exertion ; and on the other hand, the partisans of protestant ascendency in Ireland began to form clubs for the protection of their peculiar privileges. An unexpected event exasperated the strife of parties, and threatened to bring matters to a dangerous crisis. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, having accepted office under the duke of Wellington, vacated his seat for the county of Clare, reasonably expecting that there would be no obstacle to his re-election. Mr. O'Connell
, an Irish catholic, who had been long recognised as the popular leader, offered himself as a candidate for the vacant seat, and in spite of the disqualifying laws, was elected by an overwhelming majority. It was considered disputable whether he might not take his seat, but on all hands it was allowed that he was the legal representative of the county.
This was a state of things which could not with safety be permitted to continue ; the ministers felt that they should either increase the severity of the exclusive laws, which the temper of the times would hardly have permitted, or that they should remove the few restrictions which prevented catholics from enjoying the full benefits of the constitution. They chose the latter alternative, and after some difficulty in overcoming the king's reluctance, they had the concession of the catholic claims recommended in the royal speech, at the opening of the session of parliament. The bill for giving effect to this recomme idation was strenuously opposed in both houses, but as it was supported by the united strength of the ministers and the party by which they were most commonly resisted, it passed steadily through both houses, and received the royal assent on the 13th of April, 1829.
From the time that this important measure was carried, the domestic condition of England presented an aspect of more tranquillity than had been witnessed for many years. Party strife seemed hushed within and without the walls of parliament, as if both parties had been wearied out by the protracted discussion of the question they had just settled, This calm was increased by the gloom which the illness of the king diffused over the nation. Early in 1830 the symptoms of the disease became alarming, and for many weeks before its termination, all hopes of a favorable result were abandoned. On the 26th of June, George IV. died at Windsor castle, after having borne the agonies of protracted sickness with great firmness, patience, and resignation.
SECTION III.—History of Europe during the Reign of William IV. Few monarchs ever obtained such immediate popularity on their accession as William IV. He had been educated in the navy, always a favorite branch of service with the British people; he was eminent for the domestic virtues, which are the more readily comprehended by a nation, as their value is felt in every walk of life; his habits were economical, and his manners familiar; he exhibited himself to his people, conversed with them, and shared in their tastes and amuse
As he had been intimately connected with some of the leading whigs before his accession to the throne, it was generally believed that the policy by which that party had been jealously excluded from power during the two preceding reigns would be abandoned, and it was hoped that a new cabinet would be formed by the coalition of ministers with their opponents. The parliamentary debates soon put an end to these expectations; the opposition to the ministry, which had been almost nominal since the settlement of the catholic question, was more than usually violent in the debate on the address; the formal business of the house was indeed despatched with all possible expedition, prepar atory to a new election ; but before parliament could be prorogued, the whigs were virtually pledged to irreconcilable war with the ad. ministration.
It is now time to turn to the affairs of France, which had for two years been fast hastening to a crisis. Never had a ministry in any country to encounter such a storm of virulence and invective, as that which assailed the cabinet of Prince Polignac; though he was perhaps justly suspected of arbitrary designs, yet his first measures were dignified and moderate ; some of them even seem to have been framed in a spirit of conciliation. But nothing could purchase the forbearance of his opponents; they scrupled not to have recourse to downright falsehood, and in some cases accused him of designs so exquisitely absurd, that they appeared to have been invented for the express purpose of measuring the extent of popular credulity. Charles X. more than shared the odium thrown on his obnoxious favorite ; his patronage of the Jesuits and monastic orders, his revival of austere and rigid etiquette in his court, and his marked dislike of those who had acquired eminence in the revolution, or under Napoleon, were circumstances which rendered him unpopular with the great bulk of the nation so long estranged from the Bourbons and their policy.
Polignac defied the storm ; but unfortunately, as the contest continued, he departed from the course of caution and prudence, probably because injustice had driven him into anger, and he soon furnished his adversaries with just grounds for continued hostility. When the cham
bers assembled, the royal speech was a direct attack on the first principles of the constitution, concluding with a threat of resuming the concessions made by the charter, which was notoriously impotent, and therefore supremely ridiculous. A very uncourtly reply was voted by the chamber of deputies, after a very animated debate, by a majority of forty. The only alternative now left was a dissolution of the chambers, or a change of the ministry; Charles X. chose the former, trusting that events might turn the popular current, and give him a more manageable chamber at a new election.
Charles and his ministers appear to have hoped that their unpopularity would be overcome, and their future projects facilitated, by gratifying the taste of the French people for military glory. An armament was therefore prepared with extraordinary care, and sent against Algiers, under the pretext that the dey had insulted the honor of France. The success of the expedition corresponded with the exertions made to ensure it; the city of Algiers was taken after a very slight resistance, the dey was sent prisoner to Italy, and his vast treasures remained at the disposal of the conquerors. It was reasonable that the maritime powers should feel jealous at the establishment of French garrison and colonies in northern Africa; to allay their suspicions, a promise was made that the occupation of Algiers should be merely temporary; but the French nation forrned such an infatuated attachment to their conquest, that they have kept it ever since, though it causes an annual waste of life and treasure, without conferring any appreciable advantage either on Africa or on France.
Polignac, relying on the moral effect which the conquest of Algiers would produce, dissolved the chambers, but, with the same infatuation which seems to have directed all his movements, he at the same time dismissed the only two moderate members of his cabinet, and supplied their places by the most unpopular men in France. Such a course, as ought to have been foreseen, more than counterbalanced any benefit which the ministers might have gained from the conquest of Algiers ; the elections left them in a miserable minority, and matters were consequently brought to a crisis.
The majority of the commercial classes and landed proprietors in France dreaded the renewal of civil commotions ; they knew that there was an active republican party in the country, which though not very numerous, was very unscrupulous and energetic; they feared, and not without reason, tha the triumph of this party, which was no unlikely termination of a revolutionary struggle, would lead to the renewal of the horrors perpetrated during the reign of terror, when the Jacobins were in power. But at the same time, these classes were equally hostile to the restoration of the ancient despotism, which they believed to be the object of the king and his ministers. Had Charles X. declared that he would be contented with the prerogatives of a constitutional monarch, dismissed his obnoxious ministers, and formed a cabinet of moderate men, the crisis would have passed over without danger; unfortunately, more arbitrary counsels prevailed; Polignac and his colleagues resolved to terminate the struggle by subverting the constitution.
On the morning of the 26th of July, three ordinances were pube lished, which virtually subverted the constitutional privileges granted by the charter. The first dissolved the newly elected chamber of deputies before it assembled: the second changed the law of elections and disfranchised the great body of electors; and the third subjected the press to new and severe restrictions which would completely have annihilated its liberties.
It was late in the day before intelligence of these events was generally circulated through Paris, and the news, at first, seemed to excite astonishment rather than indignation ; the ministers passed the day in quiet at their hotels, receiving the visits of their friends and congratulating themselves upon the delusive tranquillity. But their opponents were not inactive; expresses were sent to summon all the deputies of their party within reach, and those who had already arrived in Paris held a private meeting to concert measures of resistance. The principal journalists acted with still greater promptitude; they prepared and published a protest against the restrictions on the prers, whose daring language would probably have exposed them to the penalties of treason had the contest terminated differently.
On the morning of the 27th, few of the journals appeared, for the publication of those which were not sanctioned by the minister of the interior was prohibited by the police. The printers, thus suddenly deprived of employment, formed a body of vindictive rioters, and their numbers were increased by the closing of several large factories in the suburbs of Paris. The proprietors of two journals printed their papers in defiance of the ordinance, and the first disturbance was occasioned by the police forcing an entrance into their establishments, breaking the presses, scattering the types, and rendering the machinery unserviceable. So little was an insurrection anticipated, that Charles, accompanied by the dauphin, went on a hunting match to Rambouillet; and his ministers neglected the ordinary precaution of strengthening the garrison of the capital. It was only on the morning of the 27th that Marmont received his appointment as military governor of Paris, and it was not till after four in the afternoon that orders were given to put the troops under arms.
Between six and seven o'clock in the evening some detachments of troops were sent to the aid of the police; this was the signal for commencing the contest; several smart skirmishes took place between the citizens and the soldiers, in which the latter were generally successful, so that Marmont wrote a letter to the king, congratulating him on the suppression of the riot, while the ministers issued their last ordinance, declaring Paris in a state of siege. When night closed in, the citizens destroyed every lamp in the city, thus securing the protection of darkness for their preparations to renew the struggle.
On the morning of the 28th, Marmont was astonished to find that the riots which he had deemed suppressed, had assumed the formidable aspect of a revolution. The citizens were ready and organized for a decisive contest; they were in possession of the arsenal and the powder magazine ; they had procured arms from the shops of the gunsmiths and the police stations; they had erected barricades across the principai streets, and had selected leaders competent to direct their exertions. Under these circumstances, the marshal hesitated before taking any decisive step ; it was noon before he had resolved how to act, and he then determined to clear the streets by military force. He divided his troops into four columns, which he directed to move in different directions, thus unwisely separating his forces, so that they could not act in concert. Every step taken by the columns was marked by a series of murderous conflicts ; they were assailed with musketry from the barricades, from the windows and tops of houses, from the corners of streets, and from the narrow alleys and passages which abound in Paris. When the cavalry attempted to charge, they were overwhelmed with stones and articles of furniture flung from the houses; their horses stumbled in the unpaved streets, or were checked by the barricades, while the citizens, protected by their dwellings, kept up a heavy fire, which the disheartened horsemen were unable to return. Though the royal guards performed their duty, the troops of the line showed great reluctance to fire on the citizens, and hence the insurgents were enabled to seize many important posts with little or no opposition. When evening closed the troops had been defeated in every direction ; they returned to their barracks, weary, hungry, and dispirited; by some inexplicable blunder, no provision was made for their refreshment, while every family in Paris vied in supplying the insurgents with everything they wanted.
Marmont was now fully sensible of the perils of his situation; he wrote to the infatuated king, representing the dangerous condition of Paris, and soliciting fresh instructions; the orders he received in reply, urged him to persevere, and indirectly censured his former conduct, by directing him “ to act with masses.'
The contest was renewed on the morning of the third day, the soldiers evincing great feebleness, while the populace seemed animated by a certainty of success. While the issue was yet doubtsul, two regiments of the line went over to the insurgents in a body; the citizens thus strengthened, rushed through the gap which this defection left in the royal line, took the Louvre by assault, and soon compelled the troops that remained faithful to the royal cause, either to lay down their arms or evacuate Paris. The revolution was speedily completed by the installation of a provisional government; measures were adopted for the speedy convocation of the chambers, and in a few hours the capital had nearly assumed its ordinary aspect of tranquillity.
Charles and his ministers appear to have believed that the country would not follow the example of Paris. They were speedily convinced of their error; the king was abandoned, not only by his courtiers, but even by his household servants; he was forced to wait helplessly in his country-seat, until he was dismissed to contemptuous exile by the national commissioners. His ministers attempted to escape in disguise, but were most of them arrested, a circumstance which occasioned great perplexity to the new government. In the meantime, the duke of Orleans, far the most popular of the royal family, was chosen lieu tenant-general of the kingdom, and when the chambers met, he was elected to the throne, with the title of Louis Philippe I., king of the French.
This revolution produced an extraordinary degree of political excitement throughout Europe ; even in England the rick-burninys