Thursday, October 6, 2011

Louis Philippe I of France

Louis Philippe I of France was born this day, October 6, 1773.  Contemporary with Walter Scott, he outlived him by roughly eighteen years.  His reign as King of France, however, did not survive.  The time of French monarchy ended with Louis’ abdication on February 24, 1848. 

Scott mentions Louis in his “Paul’s Letters to his Kinfolk”, while discussing the state of affairs in France.

‘From the more violent portion of the opposite faction, (inclusive of the Imperialists, who are now hastily melting into the ranks of the general opposition,) the king can, I fear, look for little cordiality, and only for that degree of support which he can make it their interest to afford him. Still, however, there are many cases where ability without principle may be successfully employed, when it would be unsafe to trust to principle unguided by experience and prudence; just as a proprietor will sometimes find it his interest to employ, in the management of his affairs, a skilful knave rather than an honest fool. This is taking an extreme case: there are many degrees between a jacobin enrage and a royaliste pur, and some of the wisest and best of each party will perhaps at length see the necessity of joining in an administration exclusive of neither, which should have at once for its object the just rights of the throne, and the constitutional liberties of the subject. To such a coalition, the king's name would be indeed a tower of strength; but founded upon a narrower basis, must run the risk of falling itself, and bearing to ground all who adhere to it.

It must be owned, nevertheless, that the general rallying point of the Liberalists is an avowed dislike to the present monarch and his immediate connexions. They will sacrifice, they pretend, so much to the general inclinations of Europe, as to select a king from the Bourbon race ; but he must be one of their own choosing, and the Duke of Orleans[Louis Philippe] is most familiar to their mouths...'

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