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Talleyrand in thwarting his ambitious designs at Vienna, and still more at the Treaty of the 5th January, concocted by Talleyrand between England, Austria, and France, against Russia and Prussia.
Four days after receiving the note, declaring the demands of the allied powers, and three days after he had sent the answer above quoted, Talleyrand resigned. He was driven from office by the intemperate excesses of the party of the Restoration, and the unbridled exactions of the invading powers. He quitted the government because, instead of enlarging and consolidating the liberties of the people, it gave way to an immoderate spirit of reaction; because, instead of maintaining the integrity of France, as settled in 1814, it permitted unresistingly its dismemberment; because, instead of delivering the country from the presence of the invader, a permanent foreign garrison was established in it. He quitted power, in a word, because he would not consent to promote the violence of the counter-revolutionary party, nor to sign treaties which he regarded as an humiliation to his country. He resigned office on the 24th of September, 1815, two months before the final signature and ratification of a treaty which cost France eighty millions sterling, and deprived her of more territory than she had gained in 1814.
The last interview of Louis XVIII. with Talleyrand and his colleagues, which led to the reignation of the cabinet, is too characteristic of the subject of this notice to be omitted here. When Talleyrand perceived in the manner of the king, and the movements within the chateau, that a secret intrigue was in progress, directed against him in the royal cabinet, he decided at once that he would bring the matter to a crisis. With this view, he caused a new diplomatic note, an ultimatum, to be prepared by his secretary, M. Labernardière, designed to be transmitted to the plenipotentiaries of the allied powers, in case it should receive the royal sanction. He presented himself, accompanied by the principal ministers, his colleagues, with this note to the king. After the note had been read by Talleyrand, Louis XVIII., without commenting upon it, much less proceeding to correct or alter it, as was his invariable
habit, commenced a general conversation on the state of the negotiation, and the mutual relations of the allied powers. He observed that he was aware of the impossibility of disuniting the four powers, now more closely allied than ever, and that no resource remained but to have recourse to the friendly aid of the Emperor Alexander. "Are you, then, gentlemen," continued the king, "in a condition to adopt such a course with any prospect of a favourable result?" Talleyrand, easily perceiving the drift of this question, answered without hesitation, that neither himself nor his colleagues were personally agreeable to the Czar, and that such a proceeding as that proposed by his majesty would be attended with great difficulties on their parts. This answer seemed to give great relief to the king, who did not dissemble his satisfaction, and added—
"I can easily believe, gentlemen, what you tell me. The Emperor of Russia has not concealed from me the fact, that if I had entrusted the direction of my government to other hands, the most favourable conditions would have been granted to me, and that he would himself have protected the interests of France in the councils of the allies, especially against the exactions of Prussia, which was most pressing in her demands."
"In that case," Talleyrand promptly answered, "I entreat your majesty to allow me to withdraw from your councils, that your majesty may be free to place your confidence in more worthy hands.'
The Duke de Dalberg and Baron Louis also tendered their resignations.
The King resumed-" You see how I am constrained by circumstances. I thank you for your zeal. You are all free from blame, and nothing prevents you from remaining unmolested in Paris."
The indignation of Talleyrand was excited to an unusual pitch by the last expression, proceeding from one who had been raised by his personal zeal and abilities to the throne of one of the greatest nations of the globe. He replied with a warmth which seldom marked his words or gestures
"I have had the good fortune to render your majesty such services as are not likely to be forgotten, and I know not what should render it necessary for me to leave Paris. I will re
main here, and shall be only too happy if your majesty's advisers may not follow a course which may compromise your dynasty, and peril the country."
The king affected not to attend to these words, and uttering some common-places of royal courtesy, brought the audience to a close.
On leaving the king, Talleyrand, highly excited, observed aloud to his colleagues
"We have been tricked. The intrigue has long been planned."
The retirement of Talleyrand was a source of infinite relief to Louis XVIII., who, notwithstanding all he owed to the great diplomatist, never could conquer his antipathy towards him. The continual presence and predominant influence of an understanding so superior was more than Louis could endure. He complained, accordingly, to his more intimate friends, of the sway which Talleyrand exercised, rendered only more intolerable by the perfect courtesy of manner and respectful deference with which it was accompanied. The king complained that the minister had a way of tendering advice which gave it the effect of command. He would place a report or an ordonnance on the table before Louis, and would merely say to him-" I assure your majesty that this is quite indispensable."
The king signed, but champed the bit.
One day being unable to repress his vexation at his ascendancy, he said to one of his favourites
"M. Talleyrand has hitherto had all the tricks, but I have reserved my trumps for him.'
When the opportunity occurred, he accordingly lost no time in playing his trumps, and winning the trick.
On his retirement, besides receiving an autograph letter of thanks from the king for his services, he was appointed to the highest court dignity, not connected with the political administration-that of Grand Chamberlain, an office which he formerly held under the Empire. The salary of this splendid sinecure was an hundred thousand francs, equivalent to four thousand pounds sterling. This act of justice was forced upon Louis XVIII. by the Duke de Richelieu, who succeeded Talleyrand as Premier. The king was strongly averse to it. The minister, however, plainly foreseeing the disgust and indignation which so signal an act
of royal ingratitude would excite at home and abroad, declared to his majesty that M. Talleyrand could not be dismissed like any other minister, considering the vast services he had rendered to the House of Bourbon in 1814, and that no less a reward was due to him. The Duke of Wellington, also, seeing with unmixed regret the injustice and ingratitude contemplated towards one who had been the source of such great benefits, interfered for the same purpose.
Talleyrand reposed in the splendour of his sinecure, and enjoyed, in his magnificent hotel in the Rue St. Florentin, all the social pleasures and high consideration with which his great reputation, historic recollections, brilliant wit, and ample wealth, surrounded him. His office was the highest dignity of the court. Being asked one day in what his functions consisted, he replied, smiling
In the first place, I am privileged to put on the panels of my coach a coat of arms, consisting of two gilt keys, crossed just like his holiness the Pope. In the next place, it is I who have the honor of handing his shirt to his majesty. This is an honor which I only yield to princes of the blood royal, or legitimate sovereigns. At the solemnity of the coronation, I draw the boots on his majesty, and put on his tunic. Thus, you see, I limit myself to the royal toilet. But all this is confined to the coronation, and we shall not have one under this reign."
Although M. Talleyrand thus spoke with a tone of levity of his functions, he nevertheless adhered with singular tenacity to their most minute observ. ances; none of his prerogatives were permitted to become dormant. never was absent from the Royal table, where he assumed his seat of honour behind the king's chair. On these occasions it was the pleasure of Louis to inflict on such of his household as did not enjoy his personal favour an incessant series of petty annoyances, by word and look. All this Talleyrand bore with the imperturbable serenity of manner which characterised him. He never forgot his position, or compromised his dignity. He loved to appear on all public occasions in the discharge of the ceremonials of his of fice, as if to throw into oblivion his real disfavour in the chateau; and it
was no small delight to him to count among the persons subordinate to him the Duke de Richelieu, one of the first gentlemen of the chamber, who succeeded him as President of the Council of Ministers.
When Talleyrand would return to his hotel, from these state observances, he never failed to indemnify himself for the self-control he was compelled to exert. There he was the centre, round which assembled the most distinguished members of the constitutional opposition. He did not scruple to make the government of the Restoration, of which he was the founder and creator, the victim of his most bitter bon-mots. As a member of the opposition, in the Chamber of Peers, he delivered only two speeches, one against the censorship of the press, and the other against the Spanish war. These produced an effect, which was so much the greater because of the rare occasions on which he addressed the Chamber. Talleyrand, however, was not a great parliamentary orator. The Chamber was not the arena in which he shone. His mots uttered in the salons will be repeated when his most successful efforts in parliament will be forgotten.
The revolution of July, and its consequences, soon recalled Talleyrand from his retirement, and brought him once more, and for the last time, on the great stage of European politics. With his usual instinctive sagacity, he foresaw the fall of the elder branch of the Bourbons. When the events which immediately preceded that catastrophe were developing themselves, the agitation on the Bourse was extreme, and speculation assumed vast proportions. A coup d'etat had long been expected, and financiers left no effort untried to gain the earliest and most correct information of the movements of the Cabinet and the Chateau. The emissaries of the great bankers besieged all the avenues of the throne. The sacred functionaries of the church were not left untried, and the gold of commerce Iwas directed to elicit the disclosures of the confessional. Those who had the ear of the ministers were subsidised. It has since became known, that in one instance a great financier, who had risen to wealth under the Empire, and under the Restoration, had actually executed articles of agreement before a notary, to pay fifty thousand francs
for the rough draft of the intended ordonnances, provided it were delivered to him before their publication. The fifty thousand francs were actually paid, and the speculator played with his expected success for the fall. Rothschild, notwithstanding his influence, and extensive sources of information, was mistaken, and operated for the rise, at the moment when the country was on the brink of a revolution. The Cabinet was, in reality, divided, and Rothschild rested his faith on the minority. Although the ministers were unanimous as to the necessity for the ordonnances, and as to the right of the crown to issue them, they were divided as to the time at which the measure should be executed, and Rothschild acted on the faith of those who were of opinion that it ought to be postponed for several weeks. On the night of the 25th July, Talleyrand sent for one of his intimate friends, whose fortune was largely involved in the funds, and informed him, that in the course of the day he had gone to St. Cloud, to seek an audience of the King, to confer with him on the subject of the apprehensions entertained by England, to which proceeding he had been, doubtless, prompted by the English embassy, of which, as well as the British Cabinet, he had the confidence. He was not allowed to see his Majesty. The familiars of the Chateau managed matters so, that he was obliged to return to Paris without the audience which he sought, and, from what he had observed, he had no doubt that the crisis was imminent. "Jouez à la baisse," said he to his friend" on le peut." His friend did so, and was suc
It may easily be imagined with what interest the retired minister and diplomate, and the chief actor in all the great revolutions of the last half century, observed the progress of the "emeutes" which ended in the expulsion of that dynasty, in the overthrow of which, in 1790, and the restoration of which, in 1814-15, he had so great a share. On the day of the 29th July, after the troops of the line had manifested their indisposition to fire upon the people, and the Swiss mercenaries had been repulsed in the courts of the Louvre and the Place du Carousel, a general retrogade movement, marked by much disorder, took place, and the armed force retreated, pell - mell,
through the garden of the Tuilleries, the Rue de Rivoli, the Place Louis XV., now called the Place de la Concorde, towards the Champs Elysées and the Barrière de l'Etoile. Talleyrand, in his salon, in which formerly sate the allied sovereigns, listened to the confused noise. His valet, impelled by irresistible curiosity, ventured to open one of the double casements which look upon the Place and the garden. "My God, Monsieur Keiser!" exclaimed his more cautious master, from the inner extremity of the sumptuous apartment, "what are you about ?-are you going to expose the hotel to be pillaged?""Fear nothing," responded M. Keiser, "the troops are in full retreat, but are not pursued by the populace." "Indeed!" observed Talleyrand, with a contemplative air; and, walking slowly to the magnificent timepiece, which formed part of the ornaments over the fire-place, he paused, and added in a solemn tone-" Take a note, that on the 29th of July, 1830, at five minutes past twelve, the elder branch of the Bourbons ceased to reign in France."
In the proceedings of the Three Days Talleyrand took no share. was a question between the government and the people, and Talleyrand was no tribune. Had sovereigns been parties to the affray, he would have been called to take a prominent part. But, as matters stood, he was hostile to the dynasty, and unsuited to the populace. When, however, soon afterwards, the throne, vacated by the unfortunate Charles X., was offered to the Duke of Orleans, that personage would not venture to act in so important a matter without the counsel of the Hotel de St. Florentin. On the 31st July, at eight o'clock in the morning, a deputation from the Chamber of Deputies presented itself at the Palais Royal. M. Sebastiani, on its arrival, entered the cabinet of the Duke of Orleans, and informed him of its arrival. The moment was critical, and even the prudence and sagacity of Louis Philippe did not inspire him with sufficient self-reliance to prompt him to an independent decision on the course to be adopted. A crown was proffered to him and his posterity-a gift not to be lightly rejected. On the other hand, Charles the Tenth, the direct descendant and representative
of a line of kings-the acknowledged and legitimate sovereign of Francewas still within a few leagues of Paris, with an army of twelve thousand men, devoted to his orders. vereign, the crown torn from whose head was now offered to the Duke of Orleans was, moreover, the near relative, the kind friend, and even the benefactor of the duke. The duchess, a conscientious and amiable lady, recoiled with undissembled pain and disgust from what appeared an act of baseness and ingratitude; not to mention the danger attending it, in the contingency of any reaction or relaxation on the part of the populace, which had obtained a momentary success. The difficulty of the duke, amidst these conflicting considerations, was extreme. The inconveniences of a premature acceptance of the crown on the one hand, and the hazard of letting it slip from his brows by a formal refusal on the other hand, cruelly embarrassed him. Being, however, urgently pressed by the deputation, he solicited a few minutes' delay, that he might obtain counsel in so important an emergency, and withdrew with M. Sebastiani to his cabinet. Shut up there, the duchess trembling with apprehension at his side, as well as Madame Adelaide, his sister, who had already, under the same roof, witnessed the drama of the great Revolution, he decided on taking the counsel of the safest and most sagacious living adviser. With this purpose he despatched M. Sebastiani to the Rue St. Florentin with a verbal mission, to obtain the counsel of the great diplomate. When M. Sebastiani arrived at the hotel, he was instantly ushered into the dressing-room of Talleyrand, who was then at his toilet. His valet being dismissed, and the object of his visit being briefly stated by the envoy from the Palais Royal, Talleyrand paused for a moment with an air of meditation-but it was only for a moment-when he raised his eye to the messenger, with his usual apathetic manner, and said " QU'IL ACCEPTE."
Ten minutes after this, the Duke of Orleans re-appeared from his cabinet in the salon, where the deputation waited, and with promptitude of manner, and an air of decision, signified his acceptance of the sovereignty of France.
The proclamation was drawn up, and signed on the spot, and on the same day was published in Paris.
THAT "there is no royal road to learning” is an ancient adage. True, as applied to the generality of subjects within the range of the human intellect-most true with respect to Law. "Nil magnum est, sine labore," was the maxim of the ablest and the most accomplished lawyer that ever sat on the woolsack. Avowedly and resolutely, with earnest and devoted spirit, did this great man work out his share of our common destiny, leaving to those who follow in the same career a bright example to cheer and guide them in their rugged and toilsome path.
To become a thorough lawyer, "one must live like a hermit, and work like a horse," is, we fear, but too true a description of the difficulties which beset those who would aspire to eminence, in this profession, and the histories of these men who have attained distinction afford a convincing proof of the justness of this observation. A study confined, for the most part, to the acquisition of difficult and minute details -requiring, in order to gain a thorough mastery of the subject, the most incessant and vigorous exercise of the intellect, must necessarily be one of extreme difficulty; and considering all this, it is a somewhat curious fact, that while to the members of almost every other profession, abundant opportunities are afforded for acquiring a proper and scientific knowledge of its details, we leave the young aspirant for the honours of the bar to flounder almost in a vast wilderness—a labyrinth, without a clue. We wonder much what would our Continental jurists say?—The Russian, whose course of preliminary studies occupies six years; the German, who is under the necessity of a seven years' application to the learning of his profession; the Frenchman or the American-all of whom have to undergo a most searching and trying ordeal-what would be the amazement of these men could they be got to understand (of which we entertain some doubt) that all that is required in these countries to establish
a man in a position, than which, in the whole circle of human affairs, there is none more arduous-where the life, the liberty, or the fortune of a fellow creature may be committed to his handsis the mastication of a certain number of dinners eaten at certain periods, and the course continued for a definite number of years.
"The science of jurisprudence," says Edmund Burke, "is the pride of the human intellect, which, with all its defects, redundancies, and errors, contains the collected reason of ages-combining the principles of original justice with the infinite variety of human concerns."
The paths which approach this science are of course beset with innumerable difficulties, and although we hold with Lord Eldon, that they are to be overcome but by labour alone, we are yet, we confess, unable to discover any rational cause why these difficulties, enormous as they are, should be increased, and why that toil should be multiplied a hundred-fold, in consequence of the complete and total want of some sound system of legal education, which, without decreasing the wholesome amount of labour absolutely essential for implanting in the mind the principles and the rules of an abstruse science, would yet have the effect of making the amount of labour employed go further, and be more profitable in the acquisition of knowledge.
We are glad to see that this subject has at last attracted, in this country, the attention of sensible and competent men. Previous attempts had been made, not, however, calculated, in our opinion, to effect the desired object, such systems must carry with them the impress of the authority of men of eminence and consideration in their profession, in order to possess the confidence of the public. The notice of the public will be attached to the pamphlet upon legal education, by Mr. Joy, a copy of which is now before us. We know the writer to be a man well qualified in every respect for fulfilling
"Letters on the present state of Legal Education in England and Ireland." By H. H. Joy, Esq. Dublin: Hodges and Smith. 1847.