François de Chateaubriand
Translated by A. S. Kline © 2005 All Rights Reserved.
This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.
You will read, when I
The journey was a
melancholy one: the highroad was snow-covered and frost wreathed the branches
of the pine trees. Jena appeared in the
distance with the larvae of its twin battles. I passed through Erfurt and Weimar:
the Emperor was no longer at
The tomb of Luther at Wittenberg
did not detain me: Protestantism is not a religion but an illogical heresy;
politically, an abortive revolution. Having eaten a little rye bread, while
Staying at an inn for the night of the 11th of January, I then went off to reside on Unter den Linden, in a house vacated by Monsieur the Marquis de Bonnay, which belonged to Madame the Duchess de Dino; I was received by Messieurs de Caux, de Flavigny and de Cussy, secretaries to the legation.
On the 17th of January,
I had the honour of presenting Monsieur le Marquis de Bonnay’s letter of
re-accreditation, and my letter of accreditation, to the King, who lodged in a simple
house, its only distinction being two sentries at the door: anyone might enter;
anyone might speak to him if he was at
home. This simple style adopted by the German Princes contributed to
rendering the names and prerogatives of the great less apparent to inferior
mortals. Frederick-William went out each day, at the same hour, in an uncovered
carriage which he drove himself, helmet on his head, a greyish cloak on his
back, to smoke a cigar in the park. I often met him and we would continue our
walks side by side. When he returned to
On the same day I paid court to the Royal Prince and his brothers, young and very light-hearted military men. I saw the Grand-Duke Nicholas and the Grand-Duchess, not long married, and still in the midst of celebrations. I also met the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland, Prince William, the King’s brother, and Prince Augustus of Prussia, long our prisoner: he had wanted to marry Madame Récamier; he owned the fine portrait of her that Gérard had painted and which he had exchanged with the prince for the picture of Corinna.
I was urged to seek out
Monsieur Ancillon. We knew one another
through our writings. I had met him in
Monsieur Ancillon, like
There was a reception at
court, and there commenced the honours shown me of which I was so little
worthy. Jean Bart wore a suit of cloth of
gold lined with silvered cloth, on his visit to
Morgenblatt (The Morning Paper), no. 70.
One of the notable
people who attended this reception was the Vicomte de Chateaubriand, the French
Ambassador, and, however splendid the spectacle unfolding before their eyes,
Berlin’s lovely ladies still spared a glance for the author of Atala, that fine and melancholy story in which
the most ardent love succumbs in its struggle with religion. The death of Atala
and Chactas’ moment of happiness, during a
storm in the ancient forests of
Monsieur de Chateaubriand is of quite a modest and yet slender stature. His oval face bears an expression of piety and melancholy. He has dark hair and eyes: the latter shine with the light of his spirit which reveals itself in his features.’
But I have white hair; moreover I am more than a century old, I am dead: so forgive Madame the Baroness von Hohenhausen for having sketched me in my prime, though she already grants me my years. The portrait is, moreover, very kind; but I owe it to truth to say that it is no good likeness.
The house Under the Lindens, Unter den Linden, was far too large for me, cold and dilapidated: I occupied only a small corner.
Among my colleagues, the
Ministers and Ambassadors, the only remarkable person was Monsieur d’Alopeus. I have since met his wife and daughter again, in
Monsieur d’Alopeus, my colleague, had the pleasant conviction of believing himself adored. He was persecuted by the passions which he inspired: ‘By my faith,’ he said to me, ‘I have no idea what power it is that I possess; but wherever I go women pursue me. Madame d’Alopeus is quite dedicated in her attachment to me.’ He had been a convinced Saint-Simonian. Private society, like public society, has its charms: in the former, there are relationships forever being forged and broken, family matters, deaths, births, particular joys and sorrows; all varying in character according to the age. In the latter, there are governments forever changing, battles lost or won, negotiations with the court, kings who pass by, and kingdoms that fall.
Under Frederick II, Elector of Brandenburg, nicknamed Iron Tooth; under Joachim II, who it was claimed was poisoned by Lippold of Prague; under John Sigismund, who brought his Electorate the Duchy of Prussia; under George William, the Irresolute, who, while losing his fortresses, left Gustavus-Adolphus conversing with the ladies of his court, and said: ‘So what? We have cannon’; under the Great-Elector, who throughout his States found only heaps of ash that kept the grass from growing, who gave an audience to the Ambassador from Tartary, whose interpreter had a wooden nose and cropped ears; under his son, the first King of Prussia, who, woken suddenly by his wife, took a fever from the fright and died of it; under all these rulers, various memoirs allow us simply to witness a repetition of similar events in private society.
Frederick-William I, the father of
In the next reign we find the Marble Palace; Madame Rietz and her son, Alexander, the Graf von der Mark; ‘Baroness’ Stolzenberg, Mistress of the Margrave Schwed, a former actress; Prince Henry and his suspect friends; Mademoiselle Voss, Madame Rietz’s rival; an intrigue at a masked ball between a young Frenchman and the wife of a Prussian general; and finally Madame de F…, whose adventures you can read of in the Secret History of the Court of Berlin; who recalls all those names? Who will remember ours? Now, in the Prussian capital, only a few octogenarians preserve the memory of that past generation.
The habits of
Adelbert de Chamisso was housed in the Botanical
Gardens, at some distance from Berlin. I
visited him in that solitude where the plants were freezing in the greenhouses.
He was tall, of a very handsome figure. I felt an attraction to this traveller,
exiled like myself: he had seen those polar seas I had hoped to penetrate. An
émigré, as I had been, he had been brought up in
Monsieur de Chamisso had
been nominated by Monsieur de Fontanes
as a professor at La Roche-sur-Yon, then as
professor of Greek at Strasbourg; he
refused the offer with these noble words: ‘The primary condition required, for
work in instructing the young, is freedom: though I admire Bonaparte’s genius,
it would not suit me.’ He refused likewise the benefits offered him under the
Restoration: ‘I have done nothing for the Bourbons’, he said, ‘and I cannot
receive a reward for the blood and service of my forefathers. In this age every
man must achieve things for himself.’ In Monsieur Chamisso’s family they
preserve this note, written in the
Perhaps the most moving work of this child of the Muses, concealed beneath foreign arms and adopted by German bards, are these lines which he first penned in German and translated into French verse, about the Château de Boncourt, his paternal hearth:
‘Weighed down by my white hair;
I still dream of my early life;
You pursue me, image so fair,
Renewing beneath Time’s scythe.
From the depths of an emerald sea
Rose that noble château of ours,
I recall its roof high above me,
With its crenellated towers;
Those lions on our coat of arms,
Still show their kindly gaze,
I smile at you, beloved guards;
And hurl myself through the maze.
There’s the sphinx of the fountain,
There’s the fig tree growing green;
There, the vain shadow blossomed
Of a child’s first poetry.
I search for, and I see again
My grandfather’s chapel tomb;
There his weapons hang in array.
On their pillar, in the gloom.
That marble the sunlight gilds,
Those sacred characters too,
No, I cannot see them still,
A veil of mist clouds my view.
My forebears’ trusted domain
Within me alone, you renew!
Proud, nothing of you remains,
the plough has passed over you!...
Be fertile, my cherished land,
I bless you, with heart at rest;
Bless, as he may, the ploughman,
Whose blade furrows your breast.’
Chamisso blesses the farmer
who ploughs the furrow of which he himself has been despoiled; his soul must
have inhabited the regions where my friend Joubert soared. I regret Combourg, and with less resignation, even
though it may not have left my family. Embarking on a vessel provided by Count Romanzov, Monsieur de Chamisso with Captain
Kotzebue discovered the straight to the
east of the
I remember Chamisso like
the faint breeze which lightly swayed the stems of the bushes I passed through
as I returned to
Following a ruling of Frederick II, the Princes and
Princesses of the bloodline in Berlin did not mix with the diplomatic corps;
but, thanks to the carnival, to the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland with Princess Frederica of Prussia,
sister of the late queen, thanks also to a certain relaxation of etiquette
which, it was said, was allowed because of who I was, I had occasion to find
myself among the royal family more often than my colleagues. As I visited the great palace from time to time, I encountered
the Princess William:
she was so kind as to conduct me through the apartments. I have never seen a
sadder look than hers; in the inhabited rooms at the rear of the palace,
overlooking the Spree, she showed me a
chamber haunted at certain times by a lady in white, and, huddling against me
in positive fright, she looked like that pale lady. For her part, the Duchess
of Cumberland told me that she and her sister the Queen of
The King, into whose presence I fell on emerging from my tour of the curiosities, led me to his oratory: he drew my attention to the crucifix and the paintings, and gave me the credit for these innovations because, as he told me, having read in Le Génie du Christianisme that the Protestants had stripped their religion bare, he had found my comment just: he had not yet attained his excesses of Lutheran fanaticism.
At the Opera in the evenings I had a box near the Royal box, facing the stage. I chatted to the Princesses; the King went outside in the intervals; I met him in the corridor, he looked to see if there was anyone about and whether anyone could hear us; then he confessed to me in a low voice his hatred of Rossini and his love for Gluck. He elaborated his lament on artistic decadence and especially those gargled notes destructive of dramatic singing: he confided in me that he only dared say this to me, because of the people who surrounded him. Seeing someone coming, he hastened back to his box.
I saw Schiller’s Joan of Arc performed: Rheims Cathedral was imitated perfectly. The King, serious in his beliefs, only tolerated representation of the Catholic religion, in the theatre, with pain. Monsieur Spontini, the author of La Vestale, was the director of the Opera-House. Madame Spontini, the daughter of Monsieur Érard, was very pleasant but she seemed to be atoning for female volubility by the slowness with which she spoke: each word was divided into separate syllables as it expired on her lips; if she had wished to say: I love you, a Frenchman’s amorousness might well have vanished between the beginning and end of the three words. She could never complete my name, and failed to end it not without a certain grace.
A public concert took
place two or three times a week. In the evening, on returning from work, young
working-class girls, baskets under their arms, and young workmen carrying the
tools of their trade, pushed pell-mell into a room; on entering they were given
a music sheet, and they joined the mass choir with astonishing precision. It
was somehow amazing that these two or three hundred voices blended together.
When the piece was finished, each took their way home again. We are far from
that sense of harmony, a powerful means of civilisation; it has brought to the
peasant cottages of
Around the 13th of
January, I began my series of despatches to the Foreign Minister. My mind submits easily
to this kind of task: why not? Were not Dante,
Ariosto and Milton
as successful in politics as in poetry? Doubtless I was no Dante, Ariosto, or
My predecessor in
EXTRACTS FROM MONSIEUR DE BONNAY’S FILES
No. 64 ‘22nd of November 1816.
‘The words the King
addressed to the new Cabinet, formed from the Chamber of Peers, are known and
approved of throughout
‘15th of October 1816.
‘It will be the same
with the measure of the 5th as with that of the 20th of September, Monsieur le
See how surely I am put in my place. Moreover it is a good lesson; it teaches us to close our ears, in learning what will be thought of us later.
Reading the despatches of Monsieur de Bonnay and those of other ambassadors of the old regime, it seemed to me that their despatches dealt less with political matters than with anecdotes relating to people in society and at Court: they reduced themselves to being diaries of praise like Dangeau’s or of satire like Tallemant’s. Louis XVIII and Charles X too would have much preferred my colleagues’ amusing letters to my serious correspondence. I could have laughed and mocked like my predecessors; but the age when foreign affairs involved scandalous adventures and petty intrigues had passed. What benefit would a portrait of Monsieur Hardenberg have been to my country, an old man white as a swan, deaf as a post, going off to Rome without permission, amusing himself far too much, believing in all sorts of fantasies, delivered up finally to magnetism at the hands of Doctor Koreff, whom I met in remote places trotting his horse between the devil, medicine and the Muses?
This contempt for frivolous correspondence made me write to Monsieur Pasquier in my letter of 13th February 1821 no. 13:
‘I have not spoken to you, Monsieur le Baron, as is usual, of receptions, balls, plays, etc.; I have sent you no little pen-portraits or vain satires; I have tried to rid diplomacy of gossip. The reign of the commonplace returns when extraordinary times have passed: now it is only necessary to depict what ought to be and to attack what threatens.’
day, on a round of the outer walls, Hyacinthe and I found ourselves faced by an east wind
so piercing that we were obliged to run through the fields and regain the city
half-dead. We crossed fenced ground, and all the guard dogs snapped at our
heels and tore after us. The thermometer that day dropped to 22 degrees
(Réamur) below freezing. A couple of the sentries at
the far side of the park was an old abandoned pheasant covert – the Prussian
Princes did not shoot. I crossed a little wooden bridge over a canal running
What they call the park, in Berlin, is a wood of oak-trees, silver birch, beech, lime and Dutch poplars. It is situated at the Charlottenburg Gate and is crossed by the highroad which leads to that Royal residence. On the right of the park, is the Field of Mars; on the left, various little restaurants.
the park, which was not at that time pierced by regular alleyways, one
discovered meadows, wild places and beech-wood benches on which German youth
had formerly etched, with a knife, hearts pierced by daggers: beneath these
pierced hearts one read the name Sand. Flocks of crows, living in trees
approaching spring, began to call. Animal nature revived before vegetable
nature: and the frogs, black all over, were consumed by ducks, in the waters
which here and there were free of ice: the nightingales there, announced
springtime in the woods of
Princess Frederica, has since walked, in her days on the banks
Here are a few extracts from the correspondence which commenced between me and the Duchess of Cumberland:
‘19th of April, Thursday.
This morning, when I woke, I was brought the last witness of your memory of me; later I passed by your house, I saw the windows open as usual; all was in its place, except you! I cannot express to you how it afflicted me! I no longer know where to locate you; each instant you are more distant; the only fixed point is the 26th, the day when you expect to arrive, and the memory of you which I retain.
willing you will find all changed for the better, for you and for the common
good! Accustomed to sacrifice, I will even bear that of never seeing you again,
if it is for your good and that of
Since Thursday, I have passed your house every day to go to church; I prayed deeply on your behalf. Your windows are constantly open, that affects me: who is it who has the thoughtfulness to follow your orders and tastes, despite your absence? It makes me think, sometimes, that you have not left; that business detains you, or that you wished to brush away bothersome things in order to finish things at your ease. Do not take that as a reproach: it’s the only way; but if that is the case, confide it to me.’
Today the heat is so prodigious, even in church, that I could not take my walk at the usual time: it’s all the same to me at present. The dear little wood no longer charms me, everything bores me! This sudden alteration from cold to heat is common in the north; the inhabitants do not take after the climate in their control over their character and feelings.’
Nature is much more beautiful; all the leaves have emerged since your departure: I wish they could have arrived a few days earlier, so that you could have taken away a more radiant image of your stay here.’
God be thanked, at last there is a letter from you! I know you could not write to me earlier; but, despite all the calculations my mind made, three weeks, or should I say rather twenty-three days, is a long time for friendship to endure, and to be without news resembles the saddest of exiles: yet memory and hope remained with me.’
‘15th of May.
is not from the stirrup, like the
the Duchess of Cumberland continued to write to me of the waters at Ems, then the waters of Schwalbach, and after that
have already seen those great solitary alleys again. How indebted I shall be to
you, if you send me as you promised the lines you have written on
Charlottenburg! I have also made my way
once more to the cottage in the wood where you had the goodness to help me in
assisting the poor woman of
the moment when I was about to send this letter, I learnt that the King has been detained at sea by storms, and
probably driven to the Irish coast; he had not arrived at
Poor Princess William today received sad news of the death of her mother, the Dowager Landgraf of Hesse-Homburg. You see how I speak to you of all that concerns our family; Heaven send that you have better news to give me!’
Does it not seem when the sister of the lovely Queen of Prussia speaks of our family as if she did me the kindness of speaking about my grandmother, my aunt and my obscure relatives at Plancoët? Did the French Royal family ever honour me with a smile compared with that of this foreign Royal family, who hardly knew me and owed me nothing? I suppress several other affectionate letters: they contain elements of suffering and contentment, resignation and nobility, the familiar and the elevated: they serve to counterbalance whatever I have said, perhaps too harshly, about the race of kings. A thousand years ago, and Princess Frederica as a daughter of Charlemagne would have carried Eginhard at night on her shoulders, so that he might leave no trace on the snow.
have just re-read this chapter in 1840: I cannot prevent myself from being
struck by the continuing romance of my life. So many paths missed! If I had
returned to England with little George, the potential heir to the Crown, I should
have seen any new dream of changing my country vanish, just as, if I had not
married, I would have remained from the very first in the land of Shakespeare and Milton. The young Duke of
had only been sent to
explained myself to Monsieur le Baron Pasquier also; on
‘I learn from Paris, Monsieur le Baron, by the courier who arrived on the morning of the 9th of February, that it is claimed, wrongly, that I wrote from Mainz to the Prince de Hardenberg, or even that I sent a courier to him. I did not write to Monsieur de Hardenberg and even less did I send him a courier. I request, Monsieur le Baron, to be spared these machinations. If my services should prove no longer acceptable, it would give me no greater pleasure than to be told so quite openly. I neither solicited nor desired the mission with which I am charged; I have accepted an honourable exile neither from taste nor choice, but only for the good of harmony. If the Royalists have rallied to the Government, the Government knows that I have had the pleasure of contributing to that reconciliation. I would have some right to complain. What has been done for the Royalists since my departure? I have not ceased to write on their behalf: has anyone listened to me? Monsieur le Baron I have, by the grace of God, other things to do in life than to attend grand balls. My country requests my presence, my sick wife has need of my care, my friends ask for their guide. I am above or below the level of an Ambassador, and the same goes for Minister of State. You have no lack of men more skilful than I am in conducting diplomatic affairs; thus it would be useless to search for pretexts to quarrel with me. I can understand without having to have things spelt out; and you will find me ready to re-enter my previous obscurity.’
All this was sincerely said; the ability to drive things home, and regret nothing, would have been of great use to me, if I had possessed some ambition.
MY DESPATCHES CONTINUED.
My diplomatic correspondence with Monsieur Pasquier took its course: continuing my pre-occupation with the affair at Naples, I wrote:
Nos. 15 and 16 ‘20th of February 1821
occupation, voluntary or forced, you should intervene to establish a
constitutional government in
had always retained in
‘To definitely adopt a Constitutional form of government.
To introduce a septennial renewal with no intention of retaining any of the actual Chamber; a move which would be suspected; nor of retaining it all which would prove dangerous.
To renounce extra-ordinary laws, which are the source of arbitrariness, and an endless subject of quarrels and calumnies.
To free the districts from Ministerial despotism.
my despatch of the 3rd of March, no. 18, I returned to the question of
would be possible for
‘That the Legitimacy has been unable to put down deep roots in a State which has so often changed ownership, and whose customs have been overthrown by so many revolutions. Affection has not had time to be born, habits to receive the uniform imprint of centuries and institutions. There are many corrupt or savage men among the Neapolitans who have no relationship with each other, and who are only weakly attached to the Crown: royalty is too close to beggary and too far from being Calabrese to be respected. To establish democratic freedom, the French had to show too much military ability; the Neapolitans will not show enough.’
I said a few words again about
rumour had spread that John VI of Braganza had embarked at
worst is to be feared regarding
arm I had the honour of discovering in 1823; it was that of
discover once more with pleasure, in this passage of my despatch of the 10th of
April, no. 26, my antipathetic jealousy against the allies and my preoccupation
with the dignity of
do not fear a prolongation of the troubles in
if, in that case, it would not be better for the safety and dignity of
feel, Monsier le Baron, that we should avoid wounding French self-esteem and
that the dominance of the Russians and Austrians in
Here all my method is revealed: I was a Frenchman; I had my settled political views well before the Spanish War, and I glimpsed how the responsibility of success, if I obtained it, might weigh on my head.
I recall here is doubtless of interest to no one; but such is the inconvenience
of Memoirs: when there are no
historical facts to record, they only tell you about the author, and stupefy
you. Leave these forgotten shades alone! I prefer to recall that Mirabeau, as yet unknown, fulfilled a secret mission
was in some perplexity,’ Mirabeau writes, ‘I was certain that the gates of the
city were closed; it was even possible that the bridges from the
…I decided then that we were not rich enough to throw a hundred louis out of the window; I renounced all my fine preparations that had cost me an amount of thought, activity, and louis, and I released my pigeons with the word home. Did I do right? Did I do wrong? I do not know; but I had no express orders, and people are sometimes less than grateful when one does more than one’s duty.’
their sojourn in foreign parts, ambassadors were encouraged to write a memoir on the state of the nations and
governments to which they were accredited. This spate of memoirs may prove
useful historically. Nowadays the same injunction is made, but hardly any
diplomatic agents submit one. I have been too brief a resident in my embassies
to finish any lengthy studies; nevertheless, I have outlined some; my patient
work has not been totally sterile. I found this sketch of my research on
the fall of Napoleon, the introduction of representative government to the
German Confederacy re-awoke in
kind of political tribunal of inquisition, and the suppression of freedom of
the Press, has arrested that movement of minds; but one should not believe it
has broken the spring of action.
asked for leave on the occasion of the baptism of the Duc de Bordeaux. The request having been granted, I prepared
to depart: Voltaire, in a letter to his niece, said that he was watching the Spree flow, that the
Under the tall pines who guards these springs,
Say, keeper, this new monument’s for whom?
One day ‘twill mark for you the end of things:
Oh traveller, it is a tomb!
Who lies here?
A thing once full of charm.
That someone loved?
Who was adored.
Enter not, if you fear the harm
I have often wept before.
They stole this marble for a sepulchre;
What tomb released it to enchant us here?
Cornelia’s perhaps or Antigone’s?
The beauty whose image stirs your words
spent her whole life among these trees.
Who then amidst these marble-clad walls
hung those faded crowns for her, in a row?
The beautiful children who with all
her virtues were crowned here below.
A husband: this way he’ll often go,
Nurturing his sad private memories.
He lost all then?
No: his throne he keeps.
A throne cannot console.
the baptism of Monsieur le Duc de
While I was flattering myself that I would be off to see my crows again, the deck was shuffled: Monsieur de Villèle stood down. Out of loyalty to my friends and my political principles, I thought it necessary to resign with him. I wrote to Monsieur Pasquier:
Monsieur le Baron,
you had the kindness to invite me to your residence on the 14th of this month
it was to tell me that my presence in
I have the honour to be, etc.
I announced the event which would sever our diplomatic relationship to Monsieur the Count von Bernstorff; he replied as follows:
‘Monsieur le Vicomte,
‘Though I may have anticipated the news you have been kind enough to inform me of, for some time, I am no less painfully affected by it. I understand and respect the motives which, in this delicate matter, have determined your decision; but in adding new titles to those which have earned you universal esteem in this country, it also augments the regrets felt here in the certainty of a loss long-feared and forever irreparable. These sentiments are strongly shared by the King and the royal family, and I wait only for the moment of your recall to say it to you in an official capacity.
Preserve your memory and goodwill towards me, I beg you, and accept this new expression of my inviolable devotion and the high regard with which I have the honour to be, etc, etc.
I was urged to express my friendship and regrets to Monsieur Ancillon: his very fine reply (the praise for me apart) merits its inclusion here:
‘You are then, my
dear Sir and illustrious friend, irrevocably lost to us? I foresaw this misfortune,
and yet it has affected me, as much as if it had been unexpected. We deserved
to possess and retain you, because we have at least the feeble merit of fully
feeling, knowing and admiring your superiority. To tell you that the King, the
Princes, the Court and the city regret your absence is to praise them more than
yourself; to tell you that I rejoice in those regrets, that I am proud of my
country as a result, and that I share strongly in them, would fall far short of
the truth, and give you a very poor notion of what I feel. Allow me to believe
that you know me well enough to read my heart. If that heart accuses you, my
mind not only absolves you but renders homage to your noble action and the
principles which dictated it. You will provide a great lesson and be a fine
I await with
impatience the result of the next election to draw
Farewell, my illustrious friend; let drops of dew fall sometimes from the heights you inhabit onto a heart which will not cease to admire you and love you until it ceases to beat.
Attentive to the
‘If the King
does me the honour of consulting me, here is what I would propose for the good
of the service and the peace of
The centre-left of the elected Chamber was satisfied with the nomination of Monsieur Royer-Collard; yet I believe peace would be more assured if someone of merit was introduced into the Council of that opinion and selected from among the members of the Chamber of Peers or the Chamber of Deputies.
To appoint to the Council an independent deputy of the right;
To complete the distribution of appointments in that spirit.
As for other things:
To present complete legislation at the appropriate time covering the freedom of the Press, in which ‘proceedings based on tendency’ and ‘discretionary censure’ would be abolished; to prepare a definition of common law; to complete the legislation on septennial renewal, taking the age of eligibility to thirty years; in a word going forward Charter in hand, to defend religion, courageously, against impiety, but at the same time protecting it from fanaticism and the imprudence of a zeal which does it great harm.
As for external
affairs, three things should guide the King’s Ministers: honour, freedom and
the interests of
I and my friends are ready to support with all our strength an administration built on the foundations indicated above.
A voice, in
which the woman overcame the princess, arrived to give consolation to what
would have been the mere unpleasantness of a life forever changing. Madame the
Duchess of Cumberland’s
handwriting was so altered that I had difficulty in recognising it. The letter
bore the date 28th of September 1821: it was the last that I received from the
royal hand. (Princess Frederica, Queen of Hanover, succumbed after a long
resignations of Messieurs de Villèle and de Corbière did not long delay the dissolution of the
Cabinet and the re-entry of my friends to the Council, as I had foreseen; Monsieur le Vicomte de Montmorency was appointed as Foreign Minister, Monsieur
de Villèle as Finance Minister, and Monsieur de Corbière as Minister of the
Interior. I had played too great a part in recent political events and I
exercised too great an influence on opinion to be passed over. It was decided
that Monsieur le Duc Decazes be replaced as Ambassador in
My appointment brought back memories: Charlotte entered my thoughts again; my youth, my emigration, appeared to me all with their joy and pain. Human weakness also gave me pleasure at the thought of reappearing, powerful and recognised, where I had been unknown and powerless. Madame de Chateaubriand, fearing the sea, did not dare to cross the Channel, and I departed alone. The secretaries to the embassy had gone on ahead.
End of Book XXVI
Previous Book Next Book