§ 614.Louis-Philip's reign losing popularity

19th century:
§614. Louis-Philip's reign losing popularity (1846-1848): III-73.

When the lame shall come into power,
The competitor shall have him as a bastard relation:
He and his reign shall cause such a wide indignation,
That it shall be too late for him to recover.

(Quand dans le regne parviendra le boiteux
Competiteur aura proche bastard:
Luy & le regne viendront si fort rogneux,
Qu'ains qu'il guerisse son fait sera bien tard.)

Keys to the reading:
The lame: Louis-Philip following the duke of Bordeaux in royal legitimacy;

the competitor: the duke of Bordeux having the legitimate right to pretend to the French throne.

« When the quasi-legitimate shall come to the throne, the competitor (Duke of Bordeux) shall be a proximate relation of the man who shall oppose the right of fact to that of birth. The quasi-legitimate and his government shall become so corrupt that it shall take too much time before they shall have recovered. The reform taken as remedy shall entail the fall of Louis-Philip. » (Torné-Chavigny, 1860, p.22).

Louis-Philip in difficulty through diplomatic inconsistency: « The views and interests of the two cabinets were well understood by the ministers on both sides, when Queen Victoria in the autumn of 1842 paid a visit to the French monarch at the chateau d'Eu in Normandy, which was followed next spring by a similar act of courtesy on the part of Louis Philippe to the queen of England in the princely halls of Windsor. Fortunately the pacific inclinations of the two sovereigns were aided by the wisdom and moderation of the ministers on both sides; and under the direction of Lord Aberdeen and Guizot a compromise was agreed on of the most fair and equitable kind. It was stipulated that the king of France should renounce all pretensions, on the part of any of his sons, to the hand of the queen of Spain; and, on the other hand, that the royal heiress should make her selection among the princes descendants of Philip V, which excluded the dreaded competition of a prince of the house of Coburg. And in regard to the marriage of the duke of Montpensier with the infanta Dona Luisa Fernanda, Louis Philippe positively engaged that it should not take place till the queen was married and had had children. On this condition the queen of England consented to waive all objections to the marriage when these events had taken place; and it was understood that this consent on both sides was to be dependent on the hand of the queen being bestowed on a descendant of Philip V and no other competitor. The sagacious Louis Philippe now discovered a certain half-idiotic cousin of Isabella of Spain, deficient in every power both of body and mind; and in a secret and underhand manner he celebrated the wedding of this miserable being with the queen; and immediately afterwards that [1846.10.10] of his son with the handsome, blooming, and wealthy Luisa Fernanda, who, in addition to her present possessions, which were very large, carried to her husband the succession to the Spanish crown, in the absolute impossibility of any issue from her sister's unhappy marriage. Hard feeling and political opposition were roused by this degrading trickery - and England learned, with a sentiment of regret and compassion, that Guizot, whose talents and character had hitherto commanded her respect, had been deluded by the crowned tempter at his ear to defend his conduct on the quibble that the marriages were not celebrated at the same time - some little interval having occurred between them - and that this was all he had promised. Suspicion and jealousy took the place of the former cordial relations. Losing the fervent friendship of the only constitutional neighbour on whom it could rely, France, like a beggar with its bonnet in its hand, waited at the gates of Austria and Russia, and begged the moral support of the most despotic of the powers. The moral support of Austria and Russia there was but one way to gain, and that was by an abnegation of all the principles represented by the accession of Louis Pnilippe, and an active co-operation in their policy of repression.

« At this time the Swiss broke out into violent efforts to obtain a reform. Austria quelled the Swiss aspirations with the strong hand, and took up a menacing attitude towards the benevolent pontiff, Pius IX. France was quiescent; and the opposition rose into invectives, which were repeated in harsher language out of doors.

« The stout shopkeeper who now occupied the throne of Henry IV thought that all the requirements of a government were fulfilled if it maintained peace with the neighbouring states. Trade he thought might flourish though honour and glory were trampled under foot. He accordingly neglected, or failed to understand, the disaffection of the middle class, whose pecuniary interests he was supposed to represent, but whose higher aspirations he had insulted by his truckling attempts to win the sympathy of the old aristocracy and the foreign despots. Statesmen like Thiers and Odilon Barrot, when the scales of office fell from their eyes and the blandishments of the sovereign were withdrawn, perceived that the parliamentary government of the charter had become a mockery, and that power had got more firmly consolidated in royal hands under these deceptive forms than in the time of the legitimate kings. A cry therefore suddenly rose from all quarters, except the benches of the ministry, for electoral and parliamentary reform; and there was also heard the uniformly recurring exclamation, premonitory of all serious disturbance, for a diminution of the taxes. The cries were founded on justice, and urged in a constitutional manner. Corruption had entered into all the elections; parliamentary purity had become a byword under the skilful manipulation of the purse-bearing king; and the expenses of the country far exceeded its income, owing to the extravagant building of forts and palaces, with which, in the years of his prosperity, he had endeavoured to amuse the people. » (HH, XIII, p.77-79).

Rising discontent (1847-1848): « The state of the budget, which was threatened with a yearly deficit, increased the difficulty of the situation which was still further aggravated by a scarcity of provisions. The method of taxing corn made it difficult to provision the country, a matter which was never easy in times previous to the construction of railways. There was a succession of bad harvests, and in the winter of 1847 a famine resulted. There were riots in all directions, and bands of men tramped through the country. At Buzançais, cases of death from starvation occurred. Thus everything combined to make the people dissatisfied with the government. And there was indeed little to be said in its favour. It had achieved nothing and no progress had been made. " To carry out such a policy as this," said Lamartine, " a statesman is not required, a finger-post would do." And one of the moderate party summed up the work done by this ministry as: "Nothing, nothing, nothing."

« In short, this strange result was all that Guizot could boast. Little by little public opinion unanimously turned against him, and the more unpopular he became, the more solid became his majority in the chamber, thanks to the system, which, placing the country in the hands of a handful of rich men, made the elections a mere mockery. Then a universal outcry arose, and the demand for progress and democracy seemed to be concentrated on one point: "electoral reform."

« Guizot opposed an obstinate refusal to this demand. Yet very little was asked for - not universal suffrage (and Guizot said " the day for universal suffrage will never come "), but some reform, however slight it might be. Guizot refused to give the vote even to jurymen and academicians ! The opposition appealed to public opinion. Banquets were organised in many different places for the discussion of reform, at Paris, then at Colmar, Strasburg, Soissons, St. Quentin, and Mâcon. » (HH, XIII, p.79).

The banquet of 1848: « It could not be denied that the excitement was singularly out of proportion to the idea which was its ostensible cause. The spirit of democracy in France had been aroused. Lamartine's book Les Girondins added the charm of lyric poetry to the recollections of the Revolution. The spectacle offered by the July monarchy had gradually influenced the great poet to espouse the cause of popular progress. In his striking speech at the banquet of Mâcon, which was organised as a tribute to him in honour of his Girondins in the midst of a violent thunderstorm which had not deterred a crowded audience from coming to hear him speak, he threatened Guizot's retrograde government with "a revolution of scorn."

« The year 1848 opened with heated debates, in the course of which Guizot's whole policy was denounced. A banquet on a vast scale was organised in Paris immediately after for the purpose of forwarding electoral reform. A large piece of ground enclosed by walls near the Champs-Élysées had been taken for the occasion.

« The ministry, with less tolerance than it had shown in the preceding year, claimed the right to forbid this banquet. This involved the question of the liberty of holding public meetings. This right had never yet been contested, but Guizot wished to take one more retrograde step.

« Orleanists, liberals, republicans, and legitimists all united in defending their rights. Parliament rang with the vehement discussions which ensued and in which Ledru-Rollin showed all his great oratorical powers. In spite of the threats of the government, it was decided to meet at the Madeleine and proceed from there to the banquet. The very evening before the banquet was to take place this plan was changed for fear of bringing about a massacre. It was stated in the morning papers that the meeting was put off, and instead of the demonstration which they had been obliged to abandon, the opposition members signed a vote of censure on Guizot. But the people nevertheless assembled at the appointed time in front of the Madeleine.

« History repeats itself strangely. It had been the chief anxiety of Louis Philippe to avoid another 1830, and yet he was now about to undergo, in every detail, the experience of Charles X. The rising of the people to support the claims of the opposition, but soon leaving these behind them; a disturbance indefinite at first, but developing into a fierce struggle; a king obstinate at first, then willing to make one concession after another, but never agreeing to make them until it was too late; then the flight across France and the departure for England: such was the history of both these revolutions.

« Two things increased Louis Philippe's confidence: Firstly, he had not violated the letter of the law. Though he had in a measure twisted the revolution of 1830 to his own purposes, he had done so by ruling his ministers, and by gaining over the electoral body. He did not realise that he was in the long run preparing a lasting disgrace for himself. His fall was none the less certain because instead of violating the rights of the people he had merely distorted them. His fall would only be the more petty for that. Secondly, he had in Paris, what Polignac had so signally lacked, a strong and numerous army.

« Had he not easily succeeded in suppressing all risings which had taken place ? He forgot that troops which are always firm and always victorious when dealing with the revolt of part of a nation, are useless when the people as a whole are actuated by the same opinion. Under such circumstances revolution pervades the air and paralyses the powers of the army. The troops hesitate, and sometimes recede. However this may be, on the 22nd of February, while the deputies of the opposition were preparing to ask Guizot's majority to pass a vote of censure on Guizot, an enormous crowd surged round the Madeleine, the populace began to parade the streets, and columns were formed at various points.» (HH, XIII, p.79-80).
© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2011. All rights reserved.


Koji Nihei Daijyo

Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 218 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§948).

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