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POLICY OF THE REGENT'S GRANDSON.
victory obtained by the Marshal over the English at Hastenbeck. At court he was a simple spectator of the political vicissitudes of his age, contenting himself with enacting the parts which Madame de Pompadour assigned to him in the dramatic representations set on foot within the precincts of the Palace for the amusement of the King. The sensual indulgence and abominable selfishness of Louis XV., immersed in the frivolities and hollow etiquette of a corrupt court, contrasted disadvantageously with the simpler life of a prince, who recommended himself to the people by the apparent amiability of his manners, and the kindliness of his disposition. Louis Philippe would not have been an Orleans had he failed quietly to make the most of his favourable position. We learn, during the extravagant and impolitic festivities held in 1770 to celebrate the marriage of the Dauphin with Marie Antoinette, whilst France heaved beneath the miseries of a consuming famine, how a horrible accident occurred at the Place de Louis XV., in which 1,200 lives were sacrificed: how insensible to the sufferings of the poor were the Counts of Provence and Artois (better known afterwards as Louis XVIII., and Charles X.), and how tenderly solicitous for the welfare of the people were the Duke of Orleans and his son. Nothing, it is stated, could exceed the fervour with which father and son personally attended to the distresses and complaints of all comers. They opened the Palais Royal to the houseless and necessitous, and distributed bread, wine, and medicine, with their own hands. No wonder when, in 1785, Louis Philippe, in his sixtieth year, fell a victim to an attack of gout, that the people of
the capital playfully called him "King of Paris," by way of distinguishing him from the actual King, who kept himself aloof from his subjects at Versailles; no wonder that the ancient jealousies between the elder and the younger branches of the house of Bourbon were rather keener, and more bitter than they had been a century before.
We approach the history of our own times,--the characters, events, and passions with which we are familiar, either from our own observation, or from the records transmitted by our immediate prede
We are within hearing of the mighty din of civil war, and within sight of the melancholy spectacle of European conflagration. The scene changes. The gaudy tinsel, the splendid immorality, the god-like sway of royalty, rotten to its core, passes away, and leaves behind an empty throne for ignorance to outrage, for brutal vengeance to besmear with blood. When the father of the late King of the French became Duke of Orleans, in 1785, debauchery and blasphemy, selfishness and impious neglect in high places, had done their worst. An angel from Heaven interposing might have stayed the on-coming flood; but nothing short of miraculous interposition could have saved France from the legitimate consequences of its own unparalleled infamy. A rapid stride had been made in political knowledge within the briefest possible space of time, but the alphabet of morals, and the social virtues, had yet to be acquired. One stands aghast in presence of the hideous picture. Blame not shivering poverty, taught by its rulers to scoff at Heaven, and to laugh down truth! Vent not your indignation upon wild ignorance
THE FATHER OF THE KING OF THE FRENCH. 73
raging through the streets, a knife in one hand, and a flaming torch in the other! Pity, if you will, the illustrious victims of their own tremendous folly and unpardonable neglect of duty, but attempt not to entangle the links of cause and effect, or to pronounce an act of suicide a deliberate, cold-blooded, and unauthorised murder.
Louis Philippe Joseph of Orleans was born at the Palace of St. Cloud April 17, 1747. His father, as already stated, was mourned at his death as “King of Paris.” He himself, from his youth upwards, seems to have been morbidly ambitious of the same distinction. His great-grandfather, the Regent, had united in his person the characters of a libertine and a popular leader. The model was not of the best, but it was adopted. Times, it is true, were altered. The orgies of the Palais Royal, presided over by the Duchess de Berri, could not be repeated, and the liberty of the people had acquired a new definition. Still the change was but an alteration of costume. Louis Philippe, or “Egalité," as he afterwards styled himself, could not wear his ancestor's enormous wig and heavy armour as a modern colonel of Hussars, though the same martial spirit beat within his breast. The Regent delighted in atheism and midnight revelries. Egalité toasted women in wine, patronised horse-racing, and the dependent sciences, and was a modern rake. The gentleman in armour stood up for Parliament, and the principle of popular representation; the Hussar was a Radical, a Chartist, a six-point man, and something more.
If plain truth must be spoken, Egalité overdid his part, and so failed. Like Renault, the conspirator, in
Venice Preserved, he conspired too much, and betrayed his insincerity by the vehemence of his protestations,
The hospitalities of the Palais Royal during the days of Egalité were universally celebrated. Learning was courted, and patriotism was banqueted in the halls. Buffon was the intimate friend and associate of the Duke, Franklin his constant visitor, and Voltaire, who arrived in Paris in the spring of 1788, to be rejected at court, was not only received at the Palais Royal, but was not permitted to stand in the presence of the master of the house. The first visit of the cynic is worth noticing. The Duchess was in bed at the time, but she hurried down, halfdressed, to welcome the illustrious guest. Voltaire asked to see the children; they appeared, and the philosopher, taking especial notice of the eldest boy, the late Count de Neuilly, said that he reminded him forcibly of the Regent. In his twenty-fifth year, Egalité, then Duc de Chartres, entered the naval service of his country as Garde de la Marine, a rank equivalent to that of English midshipman. In 1778 he was raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General of Marines, and was appointed Inspector-General of the Northern parts of France. The war breaking out with England during that year, the Duc de Chartres joined the French fleet under the Count d'Orvillers, and on the 27th of July took part in the attack upon the English fleet, under Keppel and Palliser, which ended in the trial of Keppel and Palliser by courts-martial in their own country, and in fixing a stigma of cowardice upon the young Duke, which his subsequent career could not efface. Marie
HE VISITS ENGLAND.
Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI., caused it to be industriously circulated that, during the whole engagement, the valiant Duc de Chartres had quietly waited the issue of events in the hold of his vessel. The Duke traced the report to its source. Her Majesty had committed a fault. Egalité esteemed it a crime, and through life treated the criminal accordingly.
In 1779 the Duc de Chartres finally quitted the navy, and was appointed by the King Colonel-General of the Hussars and light troops, with the command of a regiment. In 1784 he visited England, and became the intimate of George IV., then Prince of Wales, joining in all the dissipation for which the youth of that Prince was remarkable, and taking his place amongst that group of choice spirits who surrounded and took possession of the heir-apparent, with the view of showing him how manly recreation may be made to consist in the prosecution of the lowest pursuits of which the human mind is capable. In 1785 Egalité, as we have noted, succeeded his father, and in 1786 he returned to England with the view of offering the Prince of Wales the loan of a sum of money sufficient to pay his heavy debts. Fortunately for the Prince and for his country, English gentlemen, aware of the negotiation, put a stop to it, and spared the King's son so deep a humiliation. To transplant the pleasures of England to the soil of France was a natural movement. Betting and horse-racing in France acquired an alarming popularity. The Duke of Orleans placed no limits to his gambling, and his example spread far and wide. It is related that he gave great offence to