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FRANCE, a country of western Europe, situated between 51° 5′ and 42° 20′ N., and 4° 42′ W. and 7° 39′ E. It is hexagonal in form, being bounded N.W. by the North Sea, the Strait of Dover (Pas de Calais) and the English Channel (La Manche), W. by the Atlantic Ocean, S.W. by Spain, S.E. by the Mediterranean Sea, E. by Italy, Switzerland and Germany, N.E. by Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium. From north to south its length is about 600 m., measured from Dunkirk to the Col de Falguères; its breadth from east to west is 528 m., from the Vosges to Cape Saint Mathieu at the extremity of Brittany. The total area is estimated1 at 207,170 sq. m., including the island of Corsica, which comprises 3367 sq. m. The coast-line of France extends for 384 m. on the Mediterranean, 700 on the North Sea, the Strait of Dover and the Channel, and 865 on the Atlantic. The country has the advantage of being separated from its neighbours over the greater part of its frontier by natural barriers of great strength, the Pyrenees forming a powerful bulwark on the south-west, the Alps on the south-east, and the Jura and the greater portion of the Vosges Mountains on the east. The frontier generally follows the crest line of these ranges. Germany possesses both slopes of the Vosges north of Mont Donon, from which point the north-east boundary is conventional and unprotected by nature.

France is geographically remarkable for its possession of great natural and historical highways between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. The one, following the depression between the central plateau and the eastern mountains by way of the valleys of the Rhône and Saône, traverses the Côte d’Or hills and so gains the valley of the Seine; the other, skirting the southern base of the Cévennes, reaches the ocean by way of the Garonne valley. Another natural highway, traversing the lowlands to the west of the central plateau, unites the Seine basin with that of the Garonne.

Physiography.—A line drawn from Bayonne through Agen, Poitiers, Troyes, Reims and Valenciennes divides the country roughly into two dissimilar physical regions—to the west and north-west a country of plains and low plateaus; in the centre, east and south-east a country of mountains and high plateaus with a minimum elevation of 650 ft. To the west of this line the only highlands of importance are the granitic plateaus of Brittany and the hills of Normandy and Perche, which, uniting with the plateau of Beauce, separate the basins of the Seine and Loire. The highest elevations of these ranges do not exceed 1400 ft. The configuration of the region east of the dividing line is widely different. Its most striking feature is the mountainous and eruptive area known as the Massif Central, which covers south-central France. The central point of this huge tract is formed by the mountains of Auvergne comprising the group of Cantal, where the Plomb du Cantal attains 6096 ft., and that of Mont Dore, containing the Puy de Sancy (6188 ft.), the culminating point of the Massif, and to the north the lesser elevations of the Monts Dôme. On the west the downward slope is gradual by way of lofty plateaus to the heights of Limousin and Marche and the table-land of Quercy, thence to the plains of Poitou, Angoumois and Guienne. On the east only river valleys divide the Auvergne mountains from those of Forez and Margeride, western spurs of the Cévennes. On the south the Aubrac mountains and the barren plateaus known as the Causses intervene between them and the Cévennes. The main range of the Cévennes (highest point Mont Lozère, 5584 ft.) sweeps in a wide curve from the granitic table-land of Morvan in the north along the right banks of the Saône and Rhône to the Montagne Noire in the south, where it is separated from the Pyrenean system by the river Aude. On the south-western border of France the Pyrenees include 776 several peaks over 10,000 ft. within French territory; the highest elevation therein, the Vignemale, in the centre of the range, reaches 10,820 ft. On the north their most noteworthy offshoots are, in the centre, the plateau of Lannemezan from which rivers radiate fanwise to join the Adour and Garonne; and in the east the Corbière. On the south-eastern frontier the French Alps, which include Mont Blanc (15,800 ft.), and, more to the south, other summits over 11,000 ft. in height, cover Savoy and most of Dauphiné and Provence, that is to say, nearly the whole of France to the south and east of the Rhône. North of that river the parallel chains of the Jura form an arc of a circle with its convexity towards the north-west. In the southern and most elevated portion of the range there are several summits exceeding 5500 ft. Separated from the Jura by the defile of Belfort (Trouée de Belfort) the Vosges extend northward parallel to the course of the Rhine. Their culminating points in French territory, the Ballon d’Alsace and the Höhneck in the southern portion of the chain, reach 4100 ft. and 4480 ft. The Vosges are buttressed on the west by the Faucilles, which curve southwards to meet the plateau of Langres, and by the plateaus of Haute-Marne, united to the Ardennes on the north-eastern frontier by the wooded highlands of Argonne.

Seaboard.—The shore of the Mediterranean encircling the Gulf of the Lion (Golfe du Lion)2 from Cape Cerbera to Martigues is low-lying and unbroken, and characterized chiefly by lagoons separated from the sea by sand-dunes. The coast, constantly encroaching on the sea by reason of the alluvium washed down by the rivers of the Pyrenees and Cévennes, is without important harbours saving that of Cette, itself continually invaded by the sand. East of Martigues the coast is rocky and of greater altitude, and is broken by projecting capes (Couronne, Croisette, Sicié, the peninsula of Giens and Cape Antibes), and by deep gulfs forming secure roadsteads such as those of Marseilles, which has the chief port in France, Toulon, with its great naval harbour, and Hyères, to which may be added the Gulf of St Tropez.

Along the Atlantic coast from the mouth of the Adour to the 777 estuary of the Gironde there stretches a monotonous line of sand-dunes bordered by lagoons on the land side, but towards the sea harbourless and unbroken save for the Bay of Arcachon. To the north as far as the rocky point of St Gildas, sheltering the mouth of the Loire, the shore, often occupied by salt marshes (marshes of Poitou and Brittany), is low-lying and hollowed by deep bays sheltered by large islands, those of Oléron and Ré lying opposite the ports of Rochefort and La Rochelle, while Noirmoutier closes the Bay of Bourgneuf.

Beyond the Loire estuary, on the north shore of which is the port of St Nazaire, the peninsula of Brittany projects into the ocean and here begins the most rugged, wild and broken portion of the French seaboard; the chief of innumerable indentations are, on the south the Gulf of Morbihan, which opens into a bay protected to the west by the narrow peninsula of Quiberon, the Bay of Lorient with the port of Lorient, and the Bay of Concarneau; on the west the dangerous Bay of Audierne and the Bay of Douarnenez separated from the spacious roadstead of Brest, with its important naval port, by the peninsula of Crozon, and forming with it a great indentation sheltered by Cape St Mathieu on the north and by Cape Raz on the south; on the north, opening into the English Channel, the Morlaix roads, the Bay of St Brieuc, the estuary of the Rance, with the port of St Malo and the Bay of St Michel. Numerous small archipelagoes and islands, of which the chief are Belle Île, Groix and Ushant, fringe the Breton coast. North of the Bay of St Michel the peninsula of Cotentin, terminating in the promontories of Hague and Barfleur, juts north into the English Channel and closes the bay of the Seine on the west. Cherbourg, its chief harbour, lies on the northern shore between the two promontories. The great port of Le Havre stands at the mouth of the Seine estuary, which opens into the bay of the Seine on the east. North of that point a line of high cliffs, in which occur the ports of Fécamp and Dieppe, stretches nearly to the sandy estuary of the Somme. North of that river the coast is low-lying and bordered by sand-dunes, to which succeed on the Strait of Dover the cliffs in the neighbourhood of the port of Boulogne and the marshes and sand-dunes of Flanders, with the ports of Calais and Dunkirk, the latter the principal French port on the North Sea.

To the maritime ports mentioned above must be added the river ports of Bayonne (on the Adour), Bordeaux (on the Garonne), Nantes (on the Loire), Rouen (on the Seine). On the whole, however, France is inadequately provided with natural harbours; her long tract of coast washed by the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay has scarcely three or four good seaports, and those on the southern shore of the Channel form a striking contrast to the spacious maritime inlets on the English side.

Rivers.—The greater part of the surface of France is divided between four principal and several secondary basins.

The basin of the Rhône, with an area (in France) of about 35,000 sq. m., covers eastern France from the Mediterranean to the Vosges, from the Cévennes and the Plateau de Langres to the crests of the Jura and the Alps. Alone among French rivers, the Rhône, itself Alpine in character in its upper course, is partly fed by Alpine rivers (the Arve, the Isère and the Durance) which have their floods in spring at the melting of the snow, and are maintained by glacier-water in summer. The Rhône, the source of which is in Mont St Gothard, in Switzerland, enters France by the narrow defile of L’Écluse, and has a somewhat meandering course, first flowing south, then north-west, and then west as far as Lyons, whence it runs straight south till it reaches the Mediterranean, into which it discharges itself by two principal branches, which form the delta or island of the Camargue. The Ain, the Saône (which rises in the Faucilles and in the lower part of its course skirting the regions of Bresse and Dombes, receives the Doubs and joins the Rhône at Lyons), the Ardèche and the Gard are the affluents on the right; on the left it is joined by the Arve, the Isère, the Drôme and the Durance. The small independent river, the Var, drains that portion of the Alps which fringes the Mediterranean.

The basin of the Garonne occupies south-western France with the exception of the tracts covered by the secondary basins of the Adour, the Aude, the Hérault, the Orb and other smaller rivers, and the low-lying plain of the Landes, which is watered by numerous coast rivers, notably by the Leyre. Its area is nearly 33,000 sq. m., and extends from the Pyrenees to the uplands of Saintonge, Périgord and Limousin. The Garonne rises in the valley of Aran (Spanish Pyrenees), enters France near Bagnères-de-Luchon, has first a north-west course, then bends to the north-east, and soon resumes its first direction. Joining the Atlantic between Royan and the Pointe de Grave, opposite the tower of Cordouan. In the lower part of its course, from the Bec-d’Ambez, where it receives the Dordogne, it becomes considerably wider, and takes the name of Gironde. The principal affluents are the Ariège, the Tarn with the Aveyron and the Agout, the Lot and the Dordogne, which descends from Mont Dore-les-Bains, and joins the Garonne at Bec-d’Ambez, to form the Gironde. All these affluents are on the right, and with the exception of the Ariège, which descends from the eastern Pyrenees, rise in the mountains of Auvergne and the southern Cévennes, their sources often lying close to those of the rivers of the Loire and Rhône basins. The Neste, a Pyrenean torrent, and the Save, the Gers and the Baïse, rising on the plateau of Lannemezan, are the principal left-hand tributaries of the Garonne. North of the basin of the Garonne an area of over 3800 sq. m. is watered by the secondary system of the Charente, which descends from Chéronnac (Haute-Vienne), traverses Angoulême and falls into the Atlantic near Rochefort. Farther to the north a number of small rivers, the chief of which is the Sèvre Niortaise, drain the coast region to the south of the plateau of Gâtine.

The basin of the Loire, with an area of about 47,000 sq. m., includes a great part of central and western France or nearly a quarter of the whole country. The Loire rises in Mont Gerbier de Jonc, in the range of the Vivarais mountains, flows due north to Nevers, then turns to the north-west as far as Orléans, in the neighbourhood of which it separates the marshy region of the Sologne (q.v.) on the south from the wheat-growing region of Beauce and the Gâtinais on the north. Below Orléans it takes its course towards the south-west, and lastly from Saumur runs west, till it reaches the Atlantic between Paimbœuf and St Nazaire. On the right the Loire receives the waters of the Furens, the Arroux, the Nièvre, the Maine (formed by the Mayenne and the Sarthe with its affluent the Loir), and the Erdre, which joins the Loire at Nantes; on the left, the Allier (which receives the Dore and the Sioule), the Loiret, the Cher, the Indre, the Vienne with its affluent the Creuse, the Thouet, and the Sèvre-Nantaise. The peninsula of Brittany and the coasts of Normandy on both sides of the Seine estuary are watered by numerous independent streams. Amongst these the Vilaine, which passes Rennes and Redon, waters, with its tributaries, an area of 4200 sq. m. The Orne, which rises in the hills of Normandy and falls into the Channel below Caen, is of considerably less importance.

The basin of the Seine, though its area of a little over 30,000 sq. m. is smaller than that of any of the other main systems, comprises the finest network of navigable rivers in the country. It is by far the most important basin of northern France, those of the Somme and Scheldt in the north-west together covering less than 5000 sq. m., those of the Meuse and the Rhine in the north-east less than 7000 sq. m. The Seine descends from the Langres plateau, flows north-west down to Méry, turns to the west, resumes its north-westerly direction at Montereau, passes through Paris and Rouen and discharges itself into the Channel between Le Havre and Honfleur. Its affluents are, on the right, the Aube; the Marne, which joins the Seine at Charenton near Paris; the Oise, which has its source in Belgium and is enlarged by the Aisne; and the Epte; on the left the Yonne, the Loing, the Essonne, the Eure and the Rille.

Lakes.—France has very few lakes. The Lake of Geneva, which forms 32 m. of the frontier, belongs to Switzerland. The most important French lake is that of Grand-Lieu, between Nantes and Paimbœuf (Loire-Inférieure), which presents a surface of 17,300 acres. There may also be mentioned the lakes of Bourget and Annecy (both in Savoy), St Point (Jura), Paladru (Isère) and Nantua (Ain). The marshy districts of Sologne, Brenne, Landes and Dombes still contain large undrained tracts. The coasts present a number of maritime inlets, forming inland bays, which communicate with the sea by channels of greater or less width. Some of these are on the south-west coast, in the Landes, as Carcans, Lacanau, Biscarosse, Cazau, Sanguinet; but more are to be found in the south and south-east, in Languedoc and Provence, as Leucate, Sigean, Thau, Vaccarès, Berre, &c. Their want of depth prevents them from serving as roadsteads for shipping, and they are useful chiefly for fishing or for the manufacture of bay-salt.

Climate.—The north and north-west of France bear a great resemblance, both in temperature and produce, to the south of England, rain occurring frequently, and the country being consequently suited for pasture. In the interior the rains are less frequent, but when they occur are far more heavy, so that there is much less difference in the annual rainfall there as compared with the rest of the country than in the number of rainy days. The annual rainfall for the whole of France averages about 32 in. The precipitation is greatest on the Atlantic seaboard and in the elevated regions of the interior. It attains over 60 in. in the basin of the Adour (71 in. at the western extremity of the Pyrenees), and nearly as much in the Vosges, Morvan, Cévennes and parts of the central plateau. The zone of level country extending from Reims and Troyes to Angers and Poitiers, with the exception of the Loire valley and the Brie, receives less than 24 in. of rain annually (Paris about 23 in.), as also does the Mediterranean coast west of Marseilles. The prevailing winds, mild and humid, are west winds from the Atlantic; continental climatic influence makes itself felt in the east wind, which is frequent in winter and in the east of France, while the mistral, a violent wind from the north-west, is characteristic of the Mediterranean region. The local climates of France may be grouped under the following seven designations: (1) Sequan climate, characterizing the Seine basin and northern France, with a mean temperature of 50° F., the winters being cold, the summers mild; (2) Breton climate, with a mean temperature of 51.8° F., the winters being mild, the summers temperate, it is characterized by west and south-west winds and frequent fine rains; (3) Girondin climate (characterizing Bordeaux, Agen, Pau, &c.), having a mean of 53.6° F., with mild winters and hot summers, the prevailing wind is from the north-west, the average rainfall about 28 in.; (4) Auvergne climate, comprising the Cévennes, central plateau, Clermont, Limoges and Rodez, mean temperature 51.8° F., with cold 778 winters and hot summers; (5) Vosges climate (comprehending Epinal, Mézières and Nancy), having a mean of 48.2° F., with long and severe winters and hot and rainy summers; (6) Rhône climate (experienced by Lyons, Chalon, Mâcon, Grenoble) mean temperature 51.8° F., with cold and wet winters and hot summers, the prevailing winds are north and south; (7) Mediterranean climate, ruling at Valence, Nîmes, Nice and Marseilles, mean temperature, 57.5° F., with mild winters and hot and almost rainless summers.

Flora and Fauna.—The flora of southern France and the Mediterranean is distinct from that of the rest of the country, which does not differ in vegetation from western Europe generally. Evergreens predominate in the south, where grow subtropical plants such as the myrtle, arbutus, laurel, holm-oak, olive and fig; varieties of the same kind are also found on the Atlantic coast (as far north as the Cotentin), where the humidity and mildness of the climate favour their growth. The orange, date-palm and eucalyptus have been acclimatized on the coast of Provence and the Riviera. Other trees of southern France are the cork-oak and the Aleppo and maritime pines. In north and central France the chief trees are the oak, the beech, rare south of the Loire, and the hornbeam; less important varieties are the birch, poplar, ash, elm and walnut. The chestnut covers considerable areas in Périgord, Limousin and Béarn; resinous trees (firs, pines, larches, &c.) form fine forests in the Vosges and Jura.

The indigenous fauna include the bear, now very rare but still found in the Alps and Pyrenees, the wolf, harbouring chiefly in the Cévennes and Vosges, but in continually decreasing areas; the fox, marten, badger, weasel, otter, the beaver in the extreme south of the Rhône valley, and in the Alps the marmot; the red deer and roe deer are preserved in many of the forests, and the wild boar is found in several districts; the chamois and wild goat survive in the Pyrenees and Alps. Hares, rabbits and squirrels are common. Among birds of prey may be mentioned the eagle and various species of hawk, and among game-birds the partridge and pheasant. The reptiles include the ringed-snake, slow-worm, viper and lizard.

(R. Tr.)

Geology.—Many years ago it was pointed out by Élíe de Beaumont and Dufrénoy that the Jurassic rocks of France form upon the map an incomplete figure of 8. Within the northern circle of the 8 lie the Mesozoic and Tertiary beds of the Paris basin, dipping inwards; within the southern circle lie the ancient rocks of the Central Plateau, from which the later beds dip outwards. Outside the northern circle lie on the west the folded Palaeozoic rocks of Brittany, and on the north the Palaeozoic massif of the Ardennes. Outside the southern circle lie on the west the Mesozoic and Tertiary beds of the basin of the Garonne, with the Pyrenees beyond, and on the east the Mesozoic and Tertiary beds of the valley of the Rhône, with the Alps beyond.

In the geological history of France there have been two great periods of folding since Archean times. The first of these occurred towards the close of the Palaeozoic era, when a great mountain system was raised in the north running approximately from E. to W., and another chain arose in the south, running from S.W. to N.E. Of the former the remnants are now seen in Brittany and the Ardennes; of the latter the Cévennes and the Montagne Noire are the last traces visible on the surface. The second great folding took place in Tertiary times, and to it was due the final elevation of the Jura and the Western Alps and of the Pyrenees. No great mountain chain was ever raised by a single effort, and folding went on to some extent in other periods besides those mentioned. There were, moreover, other and broader oscillations which raised or lowered extensive areas without much crumpling of the strata, and to these are due some of the most important breaks in the geological series.

The oldest rocks, the gneisses and schists of the Archean period, form nearly the whole of the Central Plateau, and are also exposed in the axes of the folds in Brittany. The Central Plateau has probably been a land mass ever since this period, but the rest of the country was flooded by the Palaeozoic sea. The earlier deposits of that sea now rise to the surface in Brittany, the Ardennes, the Montagne Noire and the Cévennes, and in all these regions they are intensely folded. Towards the close of the Palaeozoic era France had become a part of a great continent; in the north the Coal Measures of the Boulonnais and the Nord were laid down in direct connexion with those of Belgium and England, while in the Central Plateau the Coal Measures were deposited in isolated and scattered basins. The Permian and Triassic deposits were also, for the most part, of continental origin; but with the formation of the Rhaetic beds the sea again began to spread, and throughout the greater part of the Jurassic period it covered nearly the whole of the country except the Central Plateau, Brittany and the Ardennes. Towards the end of the period, however, during the deposition of the Portlandian beds, the sea again retreated, and in the early part of the Cretaceous period was limited (in France) to the catchment basins of the Saône and Rhône—in the Paris basin the contemporaneous deposits were chiefly estuarine and were confined to the northern and eastern rim. Beginning with the Aptian and Albian the sea again gradually spread over the country and attained its maximum in the early part of the Senonian epoch, when once more the ancient massifs of the Central Plateau, Brittany and the Ardennes, alone rose above the waves. There was still, however, a well-marked difference between the deposits of the northern and the southern parts of France, the former consisting of chalk, as in England, and the latter of sandstones and limestones with Hippurites. During the later part of the Cretaceous period the sea gradually retreated and left the whole country dry.

During the Tertiary period arms of the sea spread into France—in the Paris basin from the north, in the basins of the Loire and the Garonne from the west, and in the Rhône area from the south. The changes, however, were too numerous and complex to be dealt with here.

In France, as in Great Britain, volcanic eruptions occurred during several of the Palaeozoic periods, but during the Mesozoic era the country was free from outbursts, except in the regions of the Alps and Pyrenees. In Tertiary times the Central Plateau was the theatre of great volcanic activity from the Miocene to the Pleistocene periods, and many of the volcanoes remain as nearly perfect cones to the present day. The rocks are mainly basalts and andesites, together with trachytes and phonolites, and some of the basaltic flows are of enormous extent.

On the geology of France see the classic Explication de la carte géologique de la France (Paris, vol. i. 1841, vol. ii. 1848), by Dufrénoy and Élie de Beaumont; a more modern account, with full references, is given by A. de Lapparent, Traité de géologie (Paris, 1906).

(J. A. H.)


The French nation is formed of many different elements. Iberian influence in the south-west, Ligurian on the shores of the Mediterranean, Germanic immigrations from east of the Rhine and Scandinavian immigrations in the north-west have tended to produce ethnographical diversities which ease of intercommunication and other modern conditions have failed to obliterate. The so-called Celtic type, exemplified by individuals of rather less than average height, brown-haired and brachycephalic, is the fundamental element in the nation and peoples the region between the Seine and the Garonne; in southern France a different type, dolichocephalic, short and with black hair and eyes, predominates. The tall, fair and blue-eyed individuals who are found to the north-east of the Seine and in Normandy appear to be nearer in race to the Scandinavian and Germanic invaders; a tall and darker type with long faces and aquiline noses occurs in some parts of Franche-Comté and Champagne, the Vosges and the Perche. From the Celts has been derived the gay, brilliant and adventurous temperament easily moved to extremes of enthusiasm and depression, which 779 combined with logical and organizing faculties of a high order, the heritage from the Latin domination, and with the industry, frugality and love of the soil natural in an agricultural people go to make up the national character. The Bretons, who most nearly represent the Celts, and the Basques, who inhabit parts of the western versant of the Pyrenees, have preserved their distinctive languages and customs, and are ethnically the most interesting sections of the nation; the Flemings of French Flanders where Flemish is still spoken are also racially distinct. The immigration of Belgians into the northern departments and of Italians into those of the south-east exercise a constant modifying influence on the local populations.

(3 In the following table the decrease in births and deaths for the decennial periods during the thirty years ending 1900 are compared.

1871-1880 935,000 or 25.4 per 1000
1881-1890 909,000 23.9
1891-1900 853,000 22.2
1871-1880 870,900 or 23.7 per 1000
1881-1890 841,700 22.1
1891-1900 829,000 21.5

About two-thirds of the French departments, comprising a large proportion of those situated in mountainous districts and in the basin of the Garonne, where the birth-rate is especially feeble, show a decrease in population. Those which show an increase usually possess large centres of industry and are already thickly populated, e.g. Seine and Pas-de-Calais. In most departments the principal cause of decrease of population is the attraction of great centres. The average density of population in France is about 190 to the square mile, the tendency being for the large towns to increase at the expense of the small towns as well as the rural communities. In 1901 37% of the population lived in centres containing more than 2000 inhabitants, whereas in 1861 the proportion was 28%. Besides the industrial districts the most thickly populated regions include the coast of the department of Seine-Inférieure and Brittany, the wine-growing region of the Bordelais and the Riviera.4

In the quinquennial period 1901-1905, out of the total number of births the number of illegitimate births to every 1000 inhabitants was 2.0, as compared with 2.1 in the four preceding periods of like duration.

In 1906 the number of foreigners in France was 1,009,415 as compared with 1,027,491 in 1896 and 1,115,214 in 1886. The departments with the largest population of foreigners were Nord (191,678), in which there is a large proportion of Belgians; Bouches-du-Rhône (123,497), Alpes-Maritimes (93,554), Var (47,475), Italians being numerous in these three departments; Seine (153,647), Meurthe-et-Moselle (44,595), Pas-de-Calais (21,436) and Ardennes (21,401).

The following table gives the area in square miles of each of the eighty-seven departments with its population according to the census returns of 1886, 1896 and 1906:

Departments. Area
sq. m.
1886. 1896. 1906.
Ain 2,249 364,408 351,569 345,856
Aisne 2,867 555,925 541,613 534,495
Allier 2,849 424,582 424,378 417,961
Alpes-Maritimes 1,442 238,057 265,155 334,007
Ardèche 2,145 375,472 363,501 347,140
Ardennes 2,028 332,759 318,865 317,505
Ariège 1,893 237,619 219,641 205,684
Aube 2,326 257,374 251,435 243,670
Aude 2,448 332,080 310,513 308,327
Aveyron 3,386 415,826 389,464 377,299
Basses-Alpes 2,698 129,494 118,142 113,126
Basses-Pyrénées 2,977 432,999 423,572 426,817
Belfort, Territoire de 235 79,758 88,047 95,421
Bouches-du-Rhône 2,026 604,857 673,820 765,918
Calvados 2,197 437,267 417,176 403,431
Cantal 2,231 241,742 234,382 228,690
Charente 2,305 366,408 356,236 351,733
Charente-Inférieure 2,791 462,803 453,455 453,793
Cher 2,819 355,349 347,725 343,484
Corrèze 2,273 326,494 322,393 317,430
Corse (Corsica) 3,367 278,501 290,168 291,160
Côte-d’Or 3,392 381,574 368,168 357,959
Côtes-du-Nord 2,786 628,256 616,074 611,506
Creuse 2,164 284,942 279,366 274,094
Deux-Sèvres 2,337 353,766 346,694 339,466
Dordogne 3,561 492,205 464,822 447,052
Doubs 2,030 310,963 302,046 298,438
Drôme 2,533 314,615 303,491 297,270
Eure 2,330 358,829 340,652 330,140
Eure-et-Loir 2,293 283,719 280,469 273,823
Finistère 2,713 707,820 739,648 795,103
Gard 2,270 417,099 416,036 421,166
Gers 2,428 274,391 250,472 231,088
Gironde 4,140 775,845 809,902 823,925
Haute-Garonne 2,458 481,169 459,377 442,065
Haute-Loire 1,931 320,063 316,699 314,770
Haute-Marne 2,415 247,781 232,057 221,724
Hautes-Alpes 2,178 122,924 113,229 107,498
Haute-Saône 2,075 290,954 272,891 263,890
Haute-Savoie 1,775 275,018 265,872 260,617
Hautes-Pyrénées 1,750 234,825 218,973 209,397
Haute-Vienne 2,144 363,182 375,724 385,732
Hérault 2,403 439,044 469,684 482,799
Ille-et-Vilaine 2,699 621,384 622,039 611,805
Indre 2,666 296,147 289,206 290,216
Indre-et-Loire 2,377 340,921 337,064 337,916
Isère 3,179 581,680 568,933 562,315
Jura 1,951 281,292 266,143 257,725
Landes 3,615 302,266 292,884 293,397
Loir-et-Cher 2,479 279,214 278,153 276,019
Loire 1,853 603,384 625,336 643,943
Loire-Inférieure 2,694 643,884 646,172 666,748
Loiret 2,629 374,875 371,019 364,999
Lot 2,017 271,514 240,403 216,611
Lot-et-Garonne 2,079 307,437 286,377 274,610
Lozère 1,999 141,264 132,151 128,016
Maine-et-Loire 2,706 527,680 514,870 513,490
Manche 2,475 520,865 500,052 487,443
Marne 3,167 429,494 439,577 434,157
Mayenne 2,012 340,063 321,187 305,457
Meurthe-et-Moselle 2,038 431,693 466,417 517,508
Meuse 2,409 291,971 290,384 280,220
Morbihan 2,738 535,256 552,028 573,152
Nièvre 2,659 347,645 333,899 313,972
Nord 2,229 1,670,184 1,811,868 1,895,861 780
Oise 2,272 403,146 404,511 410,049
Orne 2,372 367,248 339,162 315,993
Pas-de-Calais 2,606 853,526 906,249 1,012,466
Puy-de-Dôme 3,094 570,964 555,078 535,419
Pyrénées-Orientales 1,599 211,187 208,387 213,171
Rhône 1,104 772,912 839,329 858,907
Saône-et-Loire 3,330 625,885 621,237 613,377
Sarthe 2,410 436,111 425,077 421,470
Savoie 2,389 267,428 259,790 253,297
Seine 185 2,961,089 3,340,514 3,848,618
Seine-Inférieure 2,448 833,386 837,824 863,879
Seine-et-Marne 2,289 355,136 359,044 361,939
Seine-et-Oise 2,184 618,089 669,098 749,753
Somme 2,423 548,982 543,279 532,567
Tarn 2,231 358,757 339,827 330,533
Tarn-et-Garonne 1,440 214,046 200,390 188,553
Var 2,325 283,689 309,191 324,638
Vaucluse 1,381 241,787 236,313 239,178
Vendée 2,708 434,808 441,735 442,777
Vienne 2,719 342,785 338,114 333,621
Vosges 2,279 413,707 421,412 429,812
Yonne 2,880 355,364 332,656 315,199
Total 207,076 38,218,903 38,517,975 39,252,245

The French census uses the commune as the basis of its returns, and employs the following classifications in respect to communal population: (1) Total communal population. (2) Population comptée à part, which includes soldiers and sailors, inmates of prisons, asylums, schools, members of religious communities, and workmen temporarily engaged in public works. (3) Total municipal population, i.e. communal population minus the population comptée à part. (4) Population municipale agglomérée au chef-lieu de la commune, which embraces the urban population as opposed to the rural population. The following tables, showing the growth of the largest towns in France, are drawn up on the basis of the fourth classification, which is used throughout this work in the articles on French towns, except where otherwise stated.

In 1906 there were in France twelve towns with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants. Their growth or decrease from 1886 to 1906 is shown in the following table:

  1886. 1896. 1906.
Paris 2,294,108 2,481,223 2,711,931
Lyons 344,124 398,867 430,186
Marseilles 249,938 332,515 421,116
Bordeaux 225,281 239,806 237,707
Lille 143,135 160,723 196,624
St Etienne 103,229 120,300 130,940
Le Havre 109,199 117,009 129,403
Toulouse 123,040 124,187 125,856
Roubaix 89,781 113,899 119,955
Nantes 110,638 107,137 118,244
Rouen 100,043 106,825 111,402
Reims 91,130 99,001 102,800

In the same years the following eighteen towns, now numbering from 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, each had:

  1886. 1896. 1906.
Nice 61,464 69,140 99,556
Nancy 69,463 83,668 98,302
Toulon 53,941 70,843 87,997
Amiens 68,177 74,808 78,407
Limoges 56,699 64,718 75,906
Angers 65,152 69,484 73,585
Brest 59,352 64,144 71,163
Nîmes 62,198 66,905 70,708
Montpellier 45,930 62,717 65,983
Dijon 50,684 58,355 65,516
Tourcoing 41,183 55,705 62,694
Rennes 52,614 57,249 62,024
Tours 51,467 56,706 61,507
Calais 52,839 50,818 59,623
Grenoble 43,260 50,084 58,641
Orléans 51,208 56,915 57,544
Le Mans 46,991 49,665 54,907
Troyes 44,864 50,676 51,228

Of the population in 1901, 18,916,889 were males and 19,533,899 females, an excess of females over males of 617,010, i.e. 1.6% or about 508 females to every 492 males. In 1881 the proportion was 501 females to every 499 males, since when the disparity has been slightly more marked at every census. Below is a list of the departments in which the number of women to every thousand men was (1) greatest and (2) least.

(1) (2)
Creuse 1131 Belfort 886
Côtes-du-Nord 1117 Basses-Alpes 893
Seine 1103 Var 894
Calvados 1100 Meuse 905
Cantal 1098 Hautes-Alpes 908
Seine-Inférieure 1084 Meurthe-et-Moselle 918
Basses-Pyrénées 1080 Haute-Savoie 947

Departments from which the adult males emigrate regularly either to sea or to seek employment in towns tend to fall under the first head, those in which large bodies of troops are stationed under the second.

The annual number of emigrants from France is small. The Basques of Basses-Pyrénées go in considerable numbers to the Argentine Republic, the inhabitants of Basses Alpes to Mexico and the United States, and there are important French colonies in Algeria and Tunisia.

The following table shows the distribution of the active population of France according to their occupations in 1901.

Occupation. Males. Females. Total.
Forestry and agriculture 5,517,617 2,658,952 8,176,569
Manufacturing industries 3,695,213 2,124,642 5,819,855
Trade 1,132,621 689,999 1,822,620
Domestic service 223,861 791,176 1,015,037
Transport 617,849 212,794 830,643
Public service 1,157,835 139,734 1,297,569
Liberal professions 226,561 173,278 399,839
Mining, quarries 261,320 5,031 266,351
Fishing 63,372 4,400 67,772
Unclassed 14,316 4,504 18,820
Grand Total 12,910,565 6,804,510 19,715,075


Great alterations were made with regard to religious matters in France by a law of December 1905, supplemented by a law of January 1907 (see below, Law and Institutions). Before that time three religions (cultes) were recognized and supported by the state—the Roman Catholic, the Protestant (subdivided into the Reformed and Lutheran) and the Hebrew. In Algeria the Mahommedan religion received similar recognition. By the law of 1905 all the churches ceased to be recognized or supported by the state and became entirely separated therefrom, while the adherents of all creeds were permitted to form associations for public worship (associations cultuelles), upon which the expenses of maintenance were from that time to devolve. The state, the departments, and the communes were thus relieved from the payment of salaries and grants to religious bodies, an item of expenditure which amounted in the last year of the old system to £1,101,000 paid by the state and £302,200 contributed by the departments and communes. Before these alterations the relations between the state and the Roman Catholic communion, by far the largest and most important in France, were chiefly regulated by the provisions of the Concordat of 1801, concluded between the first consul, Bonaparte, and Pope Pius VII. and by other measures passed in 1802.

France is divided into provinces and dioceses as follows:

Archbishoprics. Bishoprics.
Paris Chartres, Meaux, Orléans, Blois, Versailles.
Aix Marseilles, Fréjus, Digne, Gap, Nice, Ajaccio.
Albi Rodez, Cahors, Mende, Perpignan.
Auch Aire, Tarbes, Bayonne.
Avignon Nîmes, Valence, Viviers, Montpellier.
Besançon Verdun, Bellay, St Dié, Nancy.
Bordeaux Agen, Angoulême, Poitiers, Périgueux, La Rochelle, Luçon.
Bourges Clermont, Limoges, Le Puy, Tulle, St Flour.
Cambrai Arras.
Chambéry Annecy, Tarentaise, St Jean-de-Maurienne.
Lyons Autun, Langres, Dijon, St Claude, Grenoble. 781
Reims Soissons, Châlons-sur-Marne, Beauvais, Amiens.
Rennes Quimper, Vannes, St Brieuc.
Rouen Bayeux, Evreux, Sées, Coutances.
Sens Troyes, Nevers, Moulins.
Toulouse Montauban, Pamiers, Carcassonne.
Tours Le Mans, Angers, Nantes, Laval.

The dioceses are divided into parishes each under a parish priest known as a curé or desservant (incumbent). The bishops and archbishops, formerly nominated by the government and canonically confirmed by the pope, are now chosen by the latter. The appointment of curés rested with the bishops and had to be confirmed by the government, but this confirmation is now dispensed with. The archbishops used to receive an annual salary of £600 each and the bishops £400.

The archbishops and bishops are assisted by vicars-general (at salaries previously ranging from £100 to £180), and to each cathedral is attached a chapter of canons. A cure, in addition to his regular salary, received fees for baptisms, marriages, funerals and special masses, and had the benefit of a free house called a presbytère. The total personnel of state-paid Roman Catholic clergy amounted in 1903 to 36,169. The Roman priests are drawn from the seminaries, established by the church for the education of young men intending to join its ranks, and divided into lower and higher seminaries (grands et petits séminaires), the latter giving the same class of instruction as the lycées.

The number of Protestants may be estimated at about 600,000 and the Jews at about 70,000. The greatest number of Jews is to be found at Paris, Lyons and Bordeaux, while the departments of the centre and of the south along the range of the Cévennes, where Calvinism flourishes, are the principal Protestant localities, Nîmes being the most important centre. Considerable sprinklings of Protestants are also to be found in the two Charentes, in Dauphiné, in Paris and in Franche-Comté. The two Protestant bodies used to cost the state about £60,000 a year and the Jewish Church about £6000.

Both Protestant churches have a parochial organization and a presbyterian form of church government. In the Reformed Church (far the more numerous of the two bodies) each parish has a council of presbyters, consisting of the pastor and lay-members elected by the congregation. Several parishes form a consistorial circumscription, which has a consistorial council consisting of the council of presbyters of the chief town of the circumscription, the pastor and one delegate of the council of presbyters from each parish and other elected members. There are 103 circumscriptions (including Algeria), which are grouped into 21 provincial synods composed of a pastor and lay delegate from each consistory. All the more important questions of church discipline and all decisions regulating the doctrine and practice of the church are dealt with by the synods. At the head of the whole organization is a General Synod, sitting at Paris. The organization of the Lutheran Church (Église de la confession d’Augsburg) is broadly similar. Its consistories are grouped into two special synods, one at Paris and one at Montbéliard (for the department of Doubs and Haute-Saône and the territory of Belfort, where the churches of this denomination are principally situated). It also has a general synod—composed of 2 inspectors,5 5 pastors elected by the synod of Paris, and 6 by that of Montbéliard, 22 laymen and a delegate of the theological faculty at Paris—which holds periodical meetings and is represented in its relations with the government by a permanent executive commission.

The Jewish parishes, called synagogues, are grouped into departmental consistories (Paris, Bordeaux, Nancy, Marseilles, Bayonne, Lille, Vesoul, Besançon and three in Algeria). Each synagogue is served by a rabbi assisted by an officiating minister, and in each consistory is a grand rabbi. At Paris is the central consistory, controlled by the government and presided over by the supreme grand rabbi.


Of the population of France some 17,000,000 depend upon agriculture for their livelihood, though only about 6,500,000 are engaged in work on the land. The cultivable land of the country occupies some 195,000 sq. m. or about 94% of the total area; of this 171,000 sq. m. are cultivated. There are besides 12,300 sq. m. of uncultivable area covered by lakes, rivers, towns, &c. Only the roughest estimate is possible as to the sizes of holdings, but in general terms it may be said that about 3 million persons are proprietors of holdings under 25 acres in extent amounting to between 15 and 20% of the cultivated area, the rest being owned by some 750,000 proprietors, of whom 150,000 possess half the area in holdings averaging 400 acres in extent. About 80% of holdings (amounting to about 60% of the cultivated area) are cultivated by the proprietor; of the rest approximately 13% are let on lease and 7% are worked on the system known as métayage (q.v.).

The capital value of land, which greatly decreased during the last twenty years of the 19th century, is estimated at £3,120,000,000, and that of stock, buildings, implements, &c., at £340,000,000. The value per acre of land, which exceeds £48 in the departments of Seine, Rhône and those fringing the north-west coast from Nord to Manche inclusive, is on the average about £29, though it drops to £16 and less in Morbihan, Landes, Basses-Pyrénées, and parts of the Alps and the central plateau.

While wheat and wine constitute the staples of French agriculture, its distinguishing characteristic is the variety of its products. Cereals occupy about one-third of the cultivated area. For the production of wheat, in respect of which France is self-supporting, French Flanders, the Seine basin, notably the Beauce and the Brie, and the regions bordering on the lower course of the Loire and the upper course of the Garonne, are the chief areas. Rye, on the other hand, one of the least valuable of the cereals, is grown chiefly in the poor agricultural territories of the central plateau and western Brittany. Buckwheat is cultivated mainly in Brittany. Oats and barley are generally cultivated, the former more especially in the Parisian region, the latter in Mayenne and one or two of the neighbouring departments. Meslin, a mixture of wheat and rye, is produced in the great majority of French departments, but to a marked extent in the basin of the Sarthe. Maize covers considerable areas in Landes, Basses-Pyrénées and other south-western departments.

  Average Acreage
(Thousands of Acres).
Average Production
(Thousands of Bushels).
Average Yield
per Acre (Bushels).
1886-1895. 1896-1905. 1886-1895. 1896-1905. 1886-1895. 1896-1905.
Wheat 17,004 16,580 294,564 317,707 17.3 19.1
Meslin 720 491 12,193 8,826 16.9 17.0
Rye 3,888 3,439 64,651 56,612 16.6 16.4
Barley 2,303 1,887 47,197 41,066 20.4 21.0
Oats 9,507 9,601 240,082 253,799 25.2 26.4
Buckwheat 1,484 1,392 26,345 23,136 17.7 16.6
Maize 1,391 1,330 25,723 24,459 18.4 18.4

Forage Crops.—The mangold-wurzel, occupying four times the acreage of swedes and turnips, is by far the chief root-crop in France. It is grown largely in the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais and in those of the Seine basin, the southern limit of its cultivation being roughly a line drawn from Bordeaux to Lyons. The average area occupied by it in the years from 1896 to 1905 was 1,043,000 acres, the total average production being 262,364,000 cwt. and the average production per acre 10½ tons. Clover, lucerne and sainfoin make up the bulk of artificial pasturage, while vetches, crimson clover and cabbage are the other chief forage crops.

Vegetables.—Potatoes are not a special product of any region, though grown in great quantities in the Bresse and the Vosges. Early potatoes and other vegetables (primeurs) are largely cultivated in the districts bordering the English Channel. Market-gardening is an important industry in the regions round Paris, Amiens and Angers, as it is round Toulouse, Montauban, Avignon and in southern France generally. The market-gardeners of Paris and its vicinity have a high reputation for skill in the forcing of early vegetables under glass.

Potatoes: Decennial Averages.

  Acreage. Total Yield
Average Yield
per Acre
1886-1895 3,690,000 11,150,000 3.02
1896-1905 3,735,000 11,594,000 3.1 

Industrial Plants.6—The manufacture of sugar from beetroot, owing to the increased use of sugar, became highly important during 782 the latter half of the 19th century, the industry both of cultivation and manufacture being concentrated in the northern departments of Aisne, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme and Oise, the first named supplying nearly a quarter of the whole amount produced in France.

Flax and hemp showed a decreasing acreage from 1881 onwards. Flax is cultivated chiefly in the northern departments of Nord, Seine-Inférieure, Pas-de-Calais, Côtes-du-Nord, hemp in Sarthe, Morbihan and Maine-et-Loire.

Colza, grown chiefly in the lower basin of the Seine (Seine-Inférieure and Eure), is the most important of the oil-producing plants, all of which show a diminishing acreage. The three principal regions for the production of tobacco are the basin of the Garonne (Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Lot and Gironde), the basin of the Isère (Isère and Savoie) and the department of Pas-de-Calais. The state controls its cultivation, which is allowed only in a limited number of departments. Hops cover only about 7000 acres, being almost confined to the departments of Nord, Côte d’Or and Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Decennial Averages 1896-1905.

  Acreage. Production
Average Yield
per Acre
Sugar beet 672,000 6,868,000 10.2 
Hemp 64,856 18,4517 .287
Flax 57,893 17,8577 .307
Colza 102,454 47,697 .46
Tobacco 41,564 22,453 .54

Vineyards (see Wine).—The vine grows generally in France, except in the extreme north and in Normandy and Brittany. The great wine-producing regions are:

1. The country fringing the Mediterranean coast and including Hérault (240,822,000 gals. in 1905), and Aude (117,483,000 gals. in 1905), the most productive departments in France in this respect.

2. The department of Gironde (95,559,000 gals. in 1905), whence come Médoc and the other wines for which Bordeaux is the market.

3. The lower valley of the Loire, including Touraine and Anjou, and the district of Saumur.

4. The valley of the Rhône.

5. The Burgundian region, including Côte d’Or and the valley of the Saône (Beaujolais, Mâconnais).

6. The Champagne.

7. The Charente region, the grapes of which furnish brandy, as do those of Armagnac (department of Gers).

The decennial averages for the years 1896-1905 were as follows:

Acreage of productive vines 4,056,725
Total production in gallons 1,072,622,000
Average production in gallons per acre 260

Fruit.—Fruit-growing is general all over France, which, apart from bananas and pine-apples, produces in the open air all the ordinary species of fruit which its inhabitants consume. Some of these may be specially mentioned. The cider apple, which ranks first in importance, is produced in those districts where cider is the habitual drink, that is to say, chiefly in the region north-west of a line drawn from Paris to the mouth of the Loire. The average annual production of cider during the years 1896 to 1905 was 304,884,000 gallons. Dessert apples and pears are grown there and in the country on both banks of the lower Loire, the valley of which abounds in orchards wherein many varieties of fruit flourish and in nursery-gardens. The hilly regions of Limousin, Périgord and the Cévennes are the home of the chestnut, which in some places is still a staple food; walnuts grow on the lower levels of the central plateau and in lower Dauphiné and Provence, figs and almonds in Provence, oranges and citrons on the Mediterranean coast, apricots in central France, the olive in Provence and the lower valleys of the Rhône and Durance. Truffles are found under the oaks of Périgord, Comtat-Venaissin and lower Dauphiné. The mulberry grows in the valleys of the Rhône and its tributaries, the Isère, the Drôme, the Ardèche, the Gard and the Durance, and also along the coast of the Mediterranean. Silk-worm rearing, which is encouraged by state grants, is carried on in the valleys mentioned and on the Mediterranean coast east of Marseilles. The numbers of growers decreased from 139,000 in 1891 to 124,000 in 1905. The decrease in the annual average production of cocoons is shown in the preceding table.

Silk Cocoons. 1891-1895. 1896-1900. 1901-1905.
Annual average production over
 quinquennial periods in ℔.
19,587,000 17,696,000 16,566,000

Snails are reared in some parts of the country as an article of food, those of Burgundy being specially esteemed.

Stock-raising.—From this point of view the soil of France may be divided into four categories:

1. The rich pastoral regions where dairy-farming and the fattening of cattle are carried on with most success, viz. (a) Normandy, Perche, Cotentin and maritime Flanders, where horses are bred in great numbers; (b) the strip of coast between the Gironde and the mouth of the Loire; (c) the Morvan including the Nivernais and the Charolais, from which the famous Charolais breed of oxen takes its name; (d) the central region of the central plateau including the districts of Cantal and Aubrac, the home of the famous beef-breeds of Salers and Aubrac.8 The famous pré-salé sheep are also reared in the Vendée and Cotentin.

2. The poorer grazing lands on the upper levels of the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and Vosges, the Landes, the more outlying regions of the central plateau, southern Brittany, Sologne, Berry, Champagne-Pouilleuse, the Crau and the Camargue, these districts being given over for the most part to sheep-raising.

3. The plain of Toulouse, which with the rest of south-western France produces good draught oxen, the Parisian basin, the plains of the north to the east of the maritime region, the lower valley of the Rhône and the Bresse, where there is little or no natural pasturage, and forage is grown from seed.

4. West, west-central and eastern France outside these areas, where meadows are predominant and both dairying and fattening are general. Included therein are the dairying and horse-raising district of northern Brittany and the dairying regions of Jura and Savoy.

In the industrial regions of northern France cattle are stall-fed with the waste products of the beet-sugar factories, oil-works and distilleries. Swine, bred all over France, are more numerous in Brittany, Anjou (whence comes the well-known breed of Craon), Poitou, Burgundy, the west and north of the central plateau and Béarn. Upper Poitou and the zone of south-western France to the north of the Pyrenees are the chief regions for the breeding of mules. Asses are reared in Béarn, Corsica, Upper Poitou, the Limousin, Berry and other central regions. Goats are kept in the mountainous regions (Auvergne, Provence, Corsica). The best poultry come from the Bresse, the district of Houdan (Seine-et-Oise), the district of Le Mans and Crèvecœur (Calvados).

The prés naturels (meadows) and herbages (unmown pastures) of France, i.e. the grass-land of superior quality as distinguished from paturages et pacages, which signifies pasture of poorer quality, increased in area between 1895 and 1905 as is shown below:

  1895 (Acres). 1905 (Acres).
Prés naturels 10,852,000 11,715,000
Herbages 2,822,000 3,022,000

The following table shows the number of live stock in the country at intervals of ten years since 1885.

Cattle. Sheep and
Pigs. Horses. Mules. Asses.
  Cows. Other
1885 6,414,487 6,690,483 13,104,970 22,616,547 5,881,088 2,911,392 238,620 387,227
1895 6,359,795 6,874,033 13,233,828 21,163,767 6,306,019 2,812,447 211,479 357,778
1905 7,515,564 6,799,988 14,315,552 17,783,209 7,558,779 3,169,224 198,865 365,181

Agricultural Organization.—In France the interests of agriculture are entrusted to a special ministry, comprising the following divisions: (1) forests, (2) breeding-studs (haras); (3) agriculture, a department which supervises agricultural instruction and the distribution of grants and premiums; (4) agricultural improvements, draining, irrigation, &c.; (5) an intelligence department which prepares statistics, issues information as to prices and markets, &c. The minister is assisted by a superior council of agriculture, the members of which, numbering a hundred, include senators, deputies and prominent agriculturists. The ministry employs inspectors, whose duty it is to visit the different parts of the country and to report on their respective position and wants. The reports which they furnish help to determine the distribution of the moneys dispensed by the state in the form of subventions to agricultural 783 societies and in many other ways. The chief type of agricultural society is the comice agricole, an association for the discussion of agricultural problems and the organization of provincial shows. There are besides several thousands of local syndicates, engaged in the purchase of materials and sale of produce on the most advantageous terms for their members, credit banks and mutual insurance societies (see Co-operation). Three societies demand special mention: the Union centrale des agriculteurs de France, to which the above syndicates are affiliated; the Société nationale d’agriculture, whose mission is to further agricultural progress and to supply the government with information on everything appertaining thereto and the Société des agriculteurs de France.

Among a variety of premiums awarded by the state are those for the best cultivated estates and for irrigation works, and to the owners of the best stallions and brood-mares. Haras or stallion stables containing in all over 3000 horses are established in twenty-two central towns, and annually send stallions, which are at the disposal of private individuals in return for a small fee, to various stations throughout the country. Other institutions belonging to the state are the national sheep-fold of Rambouillet (Seine-et-Oise) and the cow-house of Vieux-Pin (Orne) for the breeding of Durham cows. Four different grades of institution for agricultural instruction are under state direction: (1) farm-schools and schools of apprenticeship in dairying, &c., to which the age of admission is from 14 to 16 years; (2) practical schools, to which boys of from 13 to 18 years of age are admitted. These number forty-eight, and are intended for sons of farmers of good position; (3) national schools, which are established at Grignon (Seine-et-Oise), Rennes and Montpellier, candidates for which must be 17 years of age; (4) the National Agronomic Institute at Paris, which is intended for the training of estate agents, professors, &c. There are also departmental chairs of agriculture, the holders of which give instruction in training-colleges and elsewhere and advise farmers.

Forests.—In relation to its total extent, France presents but a very limited area of forest land, amounting to only 36,700 sq. m. or about 18% of the entire surface of the country. Included under the denomination of “forest” are lands—surfaces boisées—which are bush rather than forest. The most wooded parts of France are the mountains and plateaus of the east and of the north-east, comprising the pine-forests of the Vosges and Jura (including the beautiful Forest of Chaux), the Forest of Haye, the Forest of Ardennes, the Forest of Argonne, &c.; the Landes, where replanting with maritime pines has transformed large areas of marsh into forest; and the departments of Var and Ariège. The Central Mountains and the Morvan also have considerable belts of wood. In the Parisian region there are the Forests of Fontainebleau (66 sq. m.), of Compiègne (56 sq. m.), of Rambouillet, of Villers-Cotterets, &c. The Forest of Orléans, the largest in France, covers about 145 sq. m. The Alps and Pyrenees are in large part deforested, but reafforestation with a view to minimizing the effects of avalanches and sudden floods is continually in progress.

Of the forests of the country approximately one-third belongs to the state, communes and public institutions. The rest belongs to private owners who are, however, subject to certain restrictions. The Department of Waters9 and Forests (Administration des Eaux et Forêts) forms a branch of the ministry of agriculture. It is administered by a director-general, who has his headquarters at Paris, assisted by three administrators who are charged with the working of the forests, questions of rights and law, finance and plantation works. The establishment consists of 32 conservators, each at the head of a district comprising one or more departments, 200 inspectors, 215 sub-inspectors and about 300 gardes généraux. These officials form the higher grade of the service (agents). There are besides several thousand forest-rangers and other employés (préposés). The department is supplied with officials of the higher class from the National School of Waters and Forests at Nancy, founded in 1824.


In France, as in other countries, the development of machinery, whether run by steam, water-power or other motive forces, has played a great part in the promotion of industry; the increase in the amount of steam horse-power employed in industrial establishments is, to a certain degree, an index to the activity of the country as regards manufactures.

The appended table shows the progress made since 1850 with regard to steam power. Railway and marine locomotives are not included.

Years. No. of
No. of
1852  6,543  6,080 76,000
1861 14,153 15,805 191,000
1871 22,192 26,146 316,000
1881 35,712 44,010 576,000
1891 46,828 58,967 916,000
1901 58,151 75,866 1,907,730
1905 61,112 79,203 2,232,263

With the exception of Loire, Bouches-du-Rhône and Rhône, the chief industrial departments of France are to be found in the north and north-east of the country. In 1901 and 1896 those in which the working inhabitants of both sexes were engaged in industry as opposed to agriculture to the extent of 50% (approximately) or over, numbered eleven, viz.:—

Departments. Total Working
Percentage engaged
in Industry.
1901. 1896.
Nord 848,306 544,177 64.15 63.45
Territoire de Belfort 40,703 24,470 60.10 58.77
Loire 292,808 167,693 57.27 54.73
Seine 2,071,344 1,143,809 55.22 53.54
Bouches-du-Rhône 341,823 187,801 54.94 51.00
Rhône 449,121 243,571 54.23 54.78
Meurthe-et-Moselle 215,501 115,214 53.46 50.19
Ardennes 139,270 73,250 52.60 52.42
Vosges 208,142 107,547 51.67 51.05
Pas-de-Calais 404,153 200,402 49.58 46.55
Seine-Inférieure 428,591 206,612 48.21 49.85
Groups. Basins. Departments. Average Production
(Thousands of
Metric Tons)
Nord and Pas-de-Calais Valenciennes
Le Boulonnais
Nord, Pas-de-Calais
Loire St Étienne and Rive-de-Gier
Ste Foy l’Argentière
Gard Alais
Le Vigan
Gard, Ardèche
Bourgogne and Nivernais Decize
La Chapelle-sous-Dun
Tarn and Aveyron Aubin
Carmaux and Albi
St Perdoux
Bourbonnais Commentry and Doyet
St Eloi
La Queune

The department of Seine, comprising Paris and its suburbs, which has the largest manufacturing population, is largely occupied with the manufacture of dress, millinery and articles of luxury (perfumery, &c.), but it plays the leading part in almost every great branch of industry with the exception of 784 spinning and weaving. The typically industrial region of France is the department of Nord, the seat of the woollen industry, but also prominently concerned in other textile industries, in metal working, and in a variety of other manufactures, fuel for which is supplied by its coal-fields. The following sketch of the manufacturing industry of France takes account chiefly of those of its branches which are capable in some degree of localization. Many of the great industries of the country, e.g. tanning, brick-making, the manufacture of garments, &c., are evenly distributed throughout it, and are to be found in or near all larger centres of population.

Coal.—The principal mines of France are coal and iron mines. The production of coal and lignite averaging 33,465,000 metric tons10 in the years 1901-1905 represents about 73% of the total consumption of the country; the surplus is supplied from Great Britain, Belgium and Germany. The preceding table shows the average output of the chief coal-groups for the years 1901-1905 inclusive. The Flemish coal-basin, employing over 100,000 hands, produces 60% of the coal mined in France.

French lignite comes for the most part from the department of Bouches-du-Rhône (near Fuveau).

The development of French coal and lignite mining in the 19th century, together with records of prices, which rose considerably at the end of the period, is set forth in the table below:

Years. Average Yearly
(Thousands of
Metric Tons).
Average Price
per Ton at
Pit Mouth
1821-1830  1,495 10.23
1831-1840  2,571  9.83
1841-1850  4,078.5  9.69
1851-1860  6,857 11.45
1861-1870 11,831 11.61
1871-1880 16,774 14.34
1881-1890 21,542 11.55
1891-1900 29,190 11.96
1901-1905 33,465 14.18

Iron.—The iron-mines of France are more numerous than its coal-mines, but they do not yield a sufficient quantity of ore for the needs of the metallurgical industries of the country; as will be seen in the table below the production of iron in France gradually increased during the 19th century; on the other hand, a decline in prices operated against a correspondingly marked increase in its annual value.

Years. Average Annual
(Thousands of
Metric Tons).
Price per
Metric Ton
1841-1850 1247 6.76
1851-1860 2414.5 5.51
1861-1870 3035 4.87
1871-1880 2514 5.39
1881-1890 2934 3.99
1891-1900 4206 3.37
1901-1905 6072 3.72

The department of Meurthe-et-Moselle (basins of Nancy and Longwy-Briey) furnished 84% of the total output during the quinquennial period 1901-1905, may be reckoned as one of the principal iron-producing regions of the world. The other chief producers were Pyrénées-Orientales, Calvados, Haute-Marne (Vassy) and Saône-et-Loire (Mazenay and Change).

Other Ores.—The mining of zinc, the chief deposits of which are at Malines (Gard), Les Bormettes (Var) and Planioles (Lot), and of lead, produced especially at Chaliac (Ardèche), ranks next in importance to that of iron. Iron-pyrites come almost entirely from Sain-Bel (Rhône), manganese chiefly from Ariège and Saône-et-Loire, antimony from the departments of Mayenne, Haute-Loire and Cantal. Copper and mispickel are mined only in small quantities. The table below gives the average production of zinc, argentiferous lead, iron-pyrites and other ores during the quinquennial period 1901-1905.

(Thousands of
Metric Tons).
Value £.
Zinc  60.3 206,912
Lead  18.5 100,424
Iron-pyrites 297.2 170,312
Other ores  36.0  68,376

Salt, &c.—Rock-salt is worked chiefly in the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, which produces more than half the average annual product of salt. For the years 1896-1905, this was 1,010,000 tons, including both rock- and sea-salt. The salt-marshes of the Mediterranean coast, especially the Étang de Berre and those of Loire-Inférieure, are the principal sources of sea-salt. Sulphur is obtained near Apt (Vaucluse) and in a few other localities of south-eastern France; bituminous schist near Autun (Saône-et-Loire) and Buxières (Allier). The most extensive peat-workings are in the valleys of the Somme; asphalt comes from Seyssel (Ain) and Puy-de-Dôme.

The mineral springs of France are numerous, of varied character and much frequented. Leading resorts are: in the Pyrenean region, Amélie-les-Bains, Bagnères-de-Luchon, Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Barèges, Cauterets, Eaux-Bonnes, Eaux-Chaudes and Dax; in the Central Plateau, Mont-Dore, La Bourboule, Bourbon l’Archambault, Vichy, Royat, Chaudes-Aigues, Vais, Lamalon; in the Alps, Aix-les-Bains and Evian; in the Vosges and Faucilles, Plombières, Luxeuil, Contrexéville, Vittel, Martigny and Bourbonne-les-Bains. Outside these main groups St Amand-les-Eaux and Foyes-les-Eaux may be mentioned.

Quarry-Products.—Quarries of various descriptions are numerous all over France. Slate is obtained in large quantities from the departments of Maine-et-Loire (Angers), Ardennes (Fumay) and Mayenne (Renazé). Stone-quarrying is specially active in the departments round Paris, Seine-et-Oise employing more persons in this occupation than any other department. The environs of Creil (Oise) and Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne) are noted for their freestone (pierre de taille), which is also abundant at Euville and Lérouville in Meuse; the production of plaster is particularly important in the environs of Paris, of kaolin of fine quality at Yrieix (Haute-Vienne), of hydraulic lime in Ardèche (Le Teil), of lime phosphates in the department of Somme, of marble in the departments of Haute-Garonne (St Béat), Hautes-Pyrénées (Campan, Sarrancolin), Isère and Pas-de-Calais, and of cement in Pas-de-Calais (vicinity of Boulogne) and Isère (Grenoble). Paving-stone is supplied in large quantities by Seine-et-Oise, and brick-clay is worked chiefly in Nord, Seine and Pas-de-Calais. The products of the quarries of France for the five years 1901-1905 averaged £9,311,000 per annum in value, of which building material brought in over two-thirds.

Metallurgy.—The average production and value of iron and steel manufactured in France in the last four decades of the 19th century is shown below:

Years. Cast Iron. Wrought Iron and Steel.
of Metric
of £).
of Metric
of £).
1861-1870 1191.5 5012  844  8,654
1871-1880 1391 5783 1058.5 11,776
1881-1890 1796 5119 1376 11,488
1891-1900 2267 5762 1686 14,540
1903 2841 7334 1896 15,389

Taking the number of hands engaged in the industry as a basis of comparison, the most important departments as regards iron and steel working in 1901 were:

Department. Chief Centres. Hands engaged in
Production of
Pig-Iron and Steel.
Hands engaged
in Production
of Engineering
Material and
Seine ...... 600 102,500
Nord Lille, Anzin, Denain, Douai, Hautmont, Maubeuge 14,000 45,000
Loire Rive-de-Gier, Firminy, St Étienne, St Chamond 9,500 17,500
Meurthe-et-Moselle Pont-à-Mousson, Frouard, Longwy, Nancy 16,500 6,500
Ardennes Charleville, Nouzon 800 23,000


Rhône (Lyons), Saône-et-Loire (Le Creusot, Chalon-sur-Saône) and Loire-Inférieure (Basse-Indre, Indret, Couëron, Trignac) also play a considerable part in this industry.

The chief centres for the manufacture of cutlery are Châttelerault (Vienne), Langres (Haute-Marne) and Thiers (Puy-de-Dôme); for that of arms St Etienne, Tulle and Châttelerault; for that of watches and clocks, Besançon (Doubs) and Montbéliard (Doubs); for that of optical and mathematical instruments Paris, Morez (Jura) and St Claude (Jura); for that of locksmiths’ ware the region of Vimeu (Pas-de-Calais).

There are important zinc works at Auby and St Amand (Nord) and Viviez (Aveyron) and Noyelles-Godault (Pas-de-Calais); there are lead works at the latter place, and others of greater importance at Couëron (Loire-Inférieure). Copper is smelted in Ardennes and Pas-de-Calais. The production of these metals, which are by far the most important after iron and steel, increased steadily during the period 1890-1905, and reached its highest point in 1905, details for which year are given below:

  Zinc. Lead. Copper.
Production (in metric tons) 43,200 24,100 7,600
Value £1,083,000 £386,000 £526,000

Wool.—In 1901, 161,000 persons were engaged in the spinning and other preparatory processes and in the weaving of wool. The woollen industry is carried on most extensively in the department of Nord (Roubaix, Tourcoing, Fourmies). Of second rank are Reims and Sedan in the Champagne group; Elbeuf, Louviers and Rouen in Normandy; and Mazamet (Tarn).

Cotton.—In 1901, 166,000 persons were employed in the spinning and weaving of cotton, French cotton goods being distinguished chiefly for the originality of their design. The cotton industry is distributed in three principal groups. The longest established is that of Normandy, having its centres at Rouen, Havre, Evreux, Falaise and Flers. Another group in the north of France has its centres at Lille, Tourcoing, Roubaix, St Quentin and Amiens. That of the Vosges, which has experienced a great extension since the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, comprises Epinal, St Dié, Remiremont and Belfort. Other groups of less importance are situated in the Lyonnais (Roanne and Tarare) and Mayenne (Laval and Mayenne).

Silk.—The silk industry occupied 134,000 hands in 1901. The silk fabrics of France hold the first place, particularly the more expensive kinds. The industry is concentrated in the departments bordering the river Rhône, the chief centres being Lyons (Rhône), Voiron (Isère), St Étienne and St Chamond (Loire) (the two latter being especially noted for their ribbons and trimmings) and Annonay (Ardèche) and other places in the departments of Ain, Gard and Drôme.

Flax, Hemp, Jute, &c.—The preparation and spinning of these materials and the manufacture of nets and rope, together with the weaving of linen and other fabrics, give occupation to 112,000 persons chiefly in the departments of Nord (Lille, Armentières, Dunkirk), Somme (Amiens) and Maine-et-Loire (Angers, Cholet).

Hosiery, the manufacture of which employs 55,000 hands, has its chief centre in Aube (Troyes). The production of lace and guipure, occupying 112,000 persons, is carried on mainly in the towns and villages of Haute-Loire and in Vosges (Mirecourt), Rhône (Lyons), Pas-de-Calais (Calais) and Paris.

Leather.—Tanning and leather-dressing are widely spread industries, and the same may be said of the manufacture of boots and shoes, though these trades employ more hands in the department of Seine than elsewhere; in the manufacture of gloves Isère (Grenoble) and Aveyron (Millau) hold the first place amongst French departments.

Sugar.—The manufacture of sugar is carried on in the departments of the north, in which the cultivation of beetroot is general—Aisne, Nord, Somme, Pas-de-Calais, Oise and Seine-et-Marne, the three first being by far the largest producers. The increase in production in the last twenty years of the 19th century is indicated in the following table:—

Years. Annual Average of
Men employed
Average Annual
Production in
Metric Tons.
1881-1891 43,108 415,786
1891-1901 42,841 696,038
1901-1906 43,061 820,553

Alcohol.—The distillation of alcohol is in the hands of three classes of persons. (1) Professional distillers (bouilleurs et distillateurs de profession); (2) private distillers (bouilleurs de cru) under state control; (3) small private distillers, not under state control, but giving notice to the state that they distil. The two last classes number over 400,000 (1903), but the quantity of alcohol distilled by them is small. Beetroot, molasses and grain are the chief sources of spirit. The department of Nord produces by far the greatest quantity, its average annual output in the decade 1895-1904 being 13,117,000 gallons, or about 26% of the average annual production of France during the same period (49,945,000 gallons). Aisne, Pas-de-Calais and Somme rank next to Nord.

Glass is manufactured in the departments of Nord (Aniche, &c.), Seine, Loire (Rive-de-Gier) and Meurthe-et-Moselle, Baccarat in the latter department being famous for its table-glass. Limoges is the chief centre for the manufacture of porcelain, and the artistic products of the national porcelain factory of Sèvres have a world-wide reputation.

The manufacture of paper and cardboard is largely carried on in Isère (Voiron), Seine-et-Oise (Essonnes), Vosges (Epinal) and of the finer sorts of paper in Charente (Angoulême). That of oil, candles and soap has its chief centre at Marseilles. Brewing and malting are localized chiefly in Nord. There are well-known chemical works at Dombasle (close to Nancy) and Chauny (Aisne) and in Rhône.

Occupations.—The following table, which shows the approximate numbers of persons engaged in the various manufacturing industries of France, who number in all about 5,820,000, indicates their relative importance from the point of view of employment:

Occupation. 1901. 1866.
Baking 163,500 . .
Milling 99,400 . .
Charcuterie 39,600 . .
Other alimentary industries 161,500 . .
 Alimentary industries: total 464,000 308,000
Gas-works 26,000 . .
Tobacco factories 16,000 . .
Oil-works 10,000 . .
Other “chemical”11 industries 58,000 . .
 Chemical industries: total 110,000 49,000
Rubber factories 9,000 25,000
Paper factories 61,000
Typographic and lithographic printing 76,000 . .
Other branches of book production 23,000 . .
 Book production: total 99,000 38,000
Spinning and weaving 892,000 1,072,000
Clothing, millinery and making up of 1,484,000 761,000
 fabrics generally.  
Basket work, straw goods, feathers 39,000
Leather and skin 338,000 286,000
Joinery 153,000 . .
Builder’s carpentering 94,900 . .
Wheelwright’s work 82,700 . .
Cooperage 46,600 . .
Wooden shoes 52,400 . .
Other wood industries 280,400 . .
 Wood industries: total 710,000 671,000
Metallurgy and metal working 783,000 345,000
Goldsmiths’ and jewellers’ work 35,000 55,000
Stone-working 56,000 12,000
Construction, building, decorating 572,000 443,000
Glass manufacture 43,000 . .
Tiles 29,000 . .
Porcelain and faïence 27,000 . .
Bricks 17,000 . .
Other kiln industries 45,000 . .
 Kiln industries: total 161,000 110,000
 Some 9000 individuals were engaged in unclassified industries.

Fisheries.—The fishing population of France is most numerous in the Breton departments of Finistère, Côtes-du-Nord and Morbihan and in Pas-de-Calais. Dunkirk, Gravelines, Boulogne and Paimpol send considerable fleets to the Icelandic cod-fisheries, and St Malo, Fécamp, Granville and Cancale to those of Newfoundland. The Dogger Bank is frequented by numbers of French fishing-boats. 786 Besides the above, Boulogne, the most important fishing port in the country, Calais, Dieppe, Concarneau, Douarnenez, Les Sables d’Olonne, La Rochelle, Marennes and Arcachon are leading ports for the herring, sardine, mackerel and other coast-fisheries of the ocean, while Cette, Agde and other Mediterranean ports are engaged in the tunny and anchovy fisheries. Sardine preserving is an important industry at Nantes and other places on the west coast. Oysters are reared chiefly at Marennes, which is the chief French market for them, and at Arcachon, Vannes, Oléron, Auray, Cancale and Courseulles. The total value of the produce of fisheries increased from £4,537,000 in 1892 to £5,259,000 in 1902. In 1902 the number of men employed in the home fisheries was 144,000 and the number of vessels 25,481 (tonnage 127,000); in the deep-sea fisheries 10,500 men and 450 vessels (tonnage 51,000) were employed.


Roads.—Admirable highways known as routes nationales and kept up at the expense of the state radiate from Paris to the great towns of France. Averaging 52½ ft. in breadth, they covered in 1905 a distance of nearly 24,000 m. The École des Ponts et Chaussées at Paris is maintained by the government for the training of the engineers for the construction and upkeep of roads and bridges. Each department controls and maintains the routes départementales, usually good macadamized roads connecting the chief places within its limits and extending in 1903 over 9700 m. The routes nationales and the routes départementales come under the category of la grande voirie and are under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Works. The urban and rural district roads, covering a much greater mileage and classed as la petite voirie, are maintained chiefly by the communes under the supervision of the Minister of the Interior.

Waterways.12—The waterways of France, 7543 m. in length, of which canals cover 3031 m., are also classed under la grande voirie; they are the property of the state, and for the most part are free of tolls. They are divided into two classes. Those of the first class, which comprise rather less than half the entire system, have a minimum depth of 6½ ft., with locks 126 ft. long and 17 ft. wide; those of the second class are of smaller dimensions. Water traffic, which is chiefly in heavy merchandise, as coal, building materials, and agriculture and food produce, more than doubled in volume between 1881 and 1905. The canal and river system attains its greatest utility in the north, north-east and north-centre of the country; traffic is thickest along the Seine below Paris; along the rivers and small canals of the rich departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais and along the Oise and the canal of St Quentin whereby they communicate with Paris; along the canal from the Marne to the Rhine and the succession of waterways which unite it with the Oise; along the Canal de l’Est (departments of Meuse and Ardennes); and along the waterways uniting Paris with the Saône at Chalon (Seine, Canal du Loing, Canal de Briare, Lateral canal of the Loire and Canal du Centre) and along the Saône between Chalon and Lyons.

In point of length the following are the principal canals:

Est (uniting Meuse with Moselle and Saône) 270
From Nates to Brest 225
Berry (uniting Montluçon with the canalized Cher and the Loire canal) 163
Midi (Toulouse to Mediterranean via Béziers); see Canal 175
Burgundy (uniting the Yonne and Saône) 151
Lateral canal of Loire 137
From Marne to Rhine (on French territory) 131
Lateral canal of Garonne 133
Rhône to Rhine (on French territory) 119
Nivernais (uniting Loire and Yonne) 111
Canal de la Somme 97
Centre (uniting Saône and Loire) 81
Canal de l’Ourcq 67
Ardennes (uniting Aisne and Canal de l’Est) 62
From Rhône to Cette 77
Canal de la Haute Marne 60
St Quentin (uniting Scheldt with Somme and Oise) 58

The chief navigable rivers are:

First Class
  Miles. Miles.
Seine 339 293
Aisne  37  37
Marne 114 114
Oise  99  65
Yonne  67  53
Rhône 309  30
Saône 234 234
Adour  72  21
Garonne 289  96
Dordogne 167  26
Loire 452  35
Charente 106  16
Vilaine  91  31
Escaut (in France)  39  39
Scarpe  41  41
Lys  45  45
Aa  18  18

Railways.—The first important line in France, from Paris to Rouen, was constructed through the instrumentality of Sir Edward Blount (1809-1905), an English banker in Paris, who was afterwards for thirty years chairman of the Ouest railway. After the rejection in 1838 of the government’s proposals for the construction of seven trunk lines to be worked by the state, he obtained a concession for that piece of line on the terms that the French treasury would advance one-third of the capital at 3% if he would raise the remaining two-thirds, half in France and half in England. The contract for building the railway was put in the hands of Thomas Brassey; English navvies were largely employed on the work, and a number of English engine-drivers were employed when traffic was begun in 1843. A law passed in 1842 laid the foundation of the plan under which the railways have since been developed, and mapped out nine main lines, running from Paris to the frontiers and from the Mediterranean to the Rhine and to the Atlantic coast. Under it the cost of the necessary land was to be found as to one-third by the state and as to the residue locally, but this arrangement proved unworkable and was abandoned in 1845, when it was settled that the state should provide the land and construct the earthworks and stations, the various companies which obtained concessions being left to make the permanent way, provide rolling stock and work the lines for certain periods. Construction proceeded under this law, but not with very satisfactory results, and new arrangements had to be made between 1852 and 1857, when the railways were concentrated in the hands of six great companies, the Nord, the Est, the Ouest, the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée, the Orléans and the Midi. Each of these companies was allotted a definite sphere of influence, and was granted a concession for ninety-nine years from its date of formation, the concessions thus terminating at various dates between 1950 and 1960. In return for the privileges granted them the companies undertook the construction out of their own unaided resources of 1500 m. of subsidiary lines, but the railway expenditure of the country at this period was so large that in a few years they found it impossible to raise the capital they required. In these circumstances the state agreed to guarantee the interest on the capital, the sums it paid in this way being regarded as advances to be reimbursed in the future with interest at 4%. This measure proved successful and the projected lines were completed. But demands for more lines were constantly arising, and the existing companies, in view of their financial position, were disinclined to undertake their construction. The government therefore found itself obliged to inaugurate a system of direct subventions, not only to the old large companies, but also to new small ones, to encourage the development of branch and local lines, and local authorities were also empowered to contribute a portion of the required capital. The result came to be that many small lines were begun by companies that had not the means to complete them, and again the state had to come to the rescue. In 1878 it agreed to spend £20,000,000 in purchasing and completing a number of 787 these lines, some of which were handed over to the great companies, while others were retained in the hands of the government, forming the system known as the Chemins de Fer de l’État. Next year a large programme of railway expansion was adopted, at an estimated cost to the state of £140,000,000, and from 1880 to 1882 nearly £40,000,000 was expended and some 1800 m. of line constructed. Then there was a change in the financial situation, and it became difficult to find the money required. In these circumstances the conventions of 1883 were concluded, and the great companies partially relieved the government of its obligations by agreeing to contribute a certain proportion of the cost of the new lines and to provide the rolling stock for working them. In former cases when the railways had had recourse to state aid, it was the state whose contributions were fixed, while the railways were left to find the residue; but on this occasion the position was reversed. The state further guaranteed a minimum rate of interest on the capital invested, and this guarantee, which by the convention of 1859 had applied to “new” lines only, was now extended to cover both “old” and “new” lines, the receipts and expenditure from both kinds being lumped together. As before, the sums paid out in respect of guaranteed dividend were to be regarded as advances which were to be paid back to the state out of the profits made, when these permitted, and when the advances were wiped out, the profits, after payment of a certain dividend, were to be divided between the state and the railway, two-thirds going to the former and one-third to the latter. All the companies, except the Nord, have at one time or another had to take advantage of the guarantee, and the fact that the Ouest had been one of the most persistent and heavy borrowers in this respect was one of the reasons that induced the government to take it over as from the 1st of January 1909. By the 1859 conventions the state railway system obtained an entry into Paris by means of running powers over the Ouest from Chartres, and its position was further improved by the exchange of certain lines with the Orléans company.

The great railway systems of France are as follows:

1. The Nord, which serves the rich mining, industrial and farming districts of Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Aisne and Somme, connecting with the Belgian railways at several points. Its main lines run from Paris to Calais, via Creil, Amiens and Boulogne, from Paris to Lille, via Creil and Arras, and from Paris to Maubeuge via Creil, Tergnier and St Quentin.

2. The Ouest-État, a combination of the West and state systems. The former traversed Normandy in every direction and connected Paris with the towns of Brittany. Its chief lines ran from Paris to Le Havre via Mantes and Rouen, to Dieppe via Rouen, to Cherbourg, to Granville and to Brest. The state railways served a large portion of western France, their chief lines being from Nantes via La Rochelle to Bordeaux, and from Bordeaux via Saintes, Niort and Saumur to Chartres.

3. The Est, running from Paris via Châlons and Nancy to Avricourt (for Strassburg), via Troyes and Langres to Belfort and on via Basel to the Saint Gotthard, and via Reims and Mezières to Longwy.

4. The Orléans, running from Paris to Orléans, and thence serving Bordeaux via Tours, Poitiers and Angoulême, Nantes via Tours and Angers, and Montauban and Toulouse via Vierzon and Limoges.

5. The Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée, connecting Paris with Marseilles via Moret, Laroche, Dijon, Mâcon and Lyons, and with Nîmes via Moret, Nevers and Clermont-Ferrand. It establishes communication between France and Switzerland and Italy via Mâcon and Culoz (for the Mt. Cenis Tunnel) and via Dijon and Pontarlier (for the Simplon), and also has a direct line along the Mediterranean coast from Marseilles to Genoa via Toulon and Nice.

6. The Midi (Southern) has lines radiating from Toulouse to Bordeaux via Agen, to Bayonne via Tarbes and Pau, and to Cette via Carcassonne, Narbonne and Béziers. From Bordeaux there is also a direct line to Bayonne and Irun (for Madrid), and at the other end of the Pyrenees a line leads from Narbonne to Perpignan and Barcelona.

The following table, referring to lines “of general interest,” indicates the development of railways after 1885:

Year. Mileage. Receipts in
of £.
of £.
Goods carried
(1000 Metric
1885 18,650 42,324 23,508 214,451  75,192
1890 20,800 46,145 24,239  41,119  92,506
1895 22,650 50,542 27,363 348,852 100,834
1900 23,818 60,674 32,966 453,193 126,830
1904 24,755 60,589 31,477 433,913 130,144

Narrow gauge and normal gauge railways “of local interest” covered 3905 m. in 1904.


After entering on a régime of free trade in 1860 France gradually reverted towards protection; this system triumphed in the Customs Law of 1892, which imposed more or less considerable duties on imports—a law associated with the name of M. Méline. While raising the taxes both on agricultural products and manufactured goods, this law introduced, between France and all the powers trading with her, relations different from those in the past. It left the government free either to apply to foreign countries the general tariff or to enter into negotiations with them for the application, under certain conditions, of a minimum tariff. The policy of protection was further accentuated by raising the impost on corn from 5 to 7 francs per hectolitre (2¾ bushels). This system, however, which is opposed by a powerful party, has at various times undergone modifications. On the one hand it became necessary, in face of an inadequate harvest, to suspend in 1898 the application of the law on the import of corn. On the other hand, in order to check the decline of exports and neutralize the harmful effects of a prolonged customs war, a commercial treaty was in 1896 concluded with Switzerland, carrying with it a reduction, in respect of certain articles, of the imposts which had been fixed by the law of 1892. An accord was likewise in 1898 effected with Italy, which since 1886 had been in a state of economic rupture with France, and in July 1899 an accord was concluded with the United States of America. Almost all other countries, moreover, share in the benefit of the minimum tariff, and profit by the modifications it may successively undergo.

Commerce, in Millions of Pounds Sterling.

  General Special
Imports. Exports. Total. Imports. Exports. Total.
1876-1880 210.1 175.3 385.4 171.7 135.1 306.8
1881-1885 224.1 177.8 401.9 183.4 135.3 318.7
1886-1890 208.2 179.4 387.6 168.8 137.6 306.4
1891-1895 205.9 178.6 384.5 163.0 133.8 296.8
1896-1900 237.8 201.0 438.8 171.9 150.8 322.7
1901-1905 233.3 227.5 460.8 182.8 174.7 357.5
  Imports. Exports.
of £).
Per cent
of Total
of £).
Per cent
of Total
Articles of Food—        
1886-1890 58,856 34.9 30,830 22.4
1891-1895 50,774 30.9 28,287 21.1
1896-1900 42,488 24.9 27,838 18.6
1901-1905 33,631 18.4 28,716 16.5
Raw Materials13        
1886-1890 85,778 50.8 33,848 24.6
1891-1895 88,211 54.3 32,557 24.4
1896-1900 101,727 59.2 40,060 26.6
1901-1905 116,580 63.8 47,385 27.1
Articles Manufactured14        
1886-1890 24,125 14.3 72,917 53.0
1891-1895 24,054 14.8 72,906 54.5
1896-1900 27,330 15.9 82,270 54.8
1901-1905 32,554 17.8 98,582 56.4

Being in the main a self-supporting country France carries on most of her trade within her own borders, and ranks below Great Britain, Germany and the United States in volume of exterior trade. The latter is subdivided into general commerce, which includes all goods entering or leaving the country, and special commerce which includes imports for home use and exports of home produce. The above table shows the developments of French trade during the years from 1876 to 1905 by means of quinquennial averages. A permanent body (the commission permanente des valeurs) fixes the average prices of the 788 articles in the customs list; this value is estimated at the end of the year in accordance with the variations that have taken place and is applied provisionally to the following year.

Amongst imports raw materials (wool, cotton and silk, coal, oil-seeds, timber, &c.) hold the first place, articles of food (cereals, wine, coffee, &c.) and manufactured goods (especially machinery) ranking next. Amongst exports manufactured goods (silk, cotton and woollen goods, fancy wares, apparel, &c.) come before raw materials and articles of food (wine and dairy products bought chiefly by England).

Divided into these classes the imports and exports (special trade) for quinquennial periods from 1886 to 1905 averaged as shown in the preceding table.

The decline both in imports and in exports of articles of food, which is the most noteworthy fact exhibited in the preceding table, was due to the almost prohibitive tax in the Customs Law of 1892, upon agricultural products.

The average value of the principal articles of import and export (special trade) over quinquennial periods following 1890 is shown in the two tables below.

Principal Imports (Thousands of £).

  1891-1895. 1896-1900. 1901-1905.
Coal, coke, &c 7,018 9,883 10,539
Coffee 6,106 4,553 3,717
Cotton, raw 7,446 7,722 11,987
Flax 2,346 2,435 3,173
Fruit and seeds (oleaginous) 7,175 6,207 8,464
Hides and skins, raw 6,141 5,261 6,369
Machinery 2,181 3,632 4,614
Silk, raw 9,488 10,391 11,765
Timber 6,054 6,284 6,760
Wheat 10,352 5,276 1,995
Wine 9,972 10,454 5,167
Wool, raw 13,372 16,750 16,395

Principal Exports (Thousands of £).

  1891-1895. 1896-1900. 1901-1905.
Apparel 4,726 4,513 5,079
Brandy and other spirits 2,402 1,931 1,678
Butter 2,789 2,783 2,618
Cotton manufactures 4,233 5,874 7,965
Haberdashery15 5,830 6,039 6,599
Hides, raw 2,839 3,494 4,813
Hides, tanned or curried 4,037 4,321 4,753
Iron and steel, manufactures of . . 2,849 4,201
Millinery 1,957 3,308 4,951
Motor cars and vehicles . . 160 2,147
Paper and manufactures of 2,095 2,145 2,551
Silk, raw, thrown, waste and cocoons 4,738 4,807 6,090
Silk and waste silk, manufactured of 9,769 10,443 11,463
Wine 8,824 9,050 9,139
Wool, raw 5,003 7,813 9,159
Wool, manufactures of 11,998 10,190 8,459

The following were the countries sending the largest quantities of goods (special trade) to France (during the same periods as in previous table).

Trade with Principal Countries. Imports (Thousands of £).

  1891-1895. 1896-1900. 1901-1905.
Germany 13,178 13,904 17,363
Belgium 15,438 13,113 13,057
United Kingdom 20,697 22,132 22,725
Spain 10,294 10,560  6,52516
United States 15,577 18,491 19,334
Argentine Republic  7,119 10,009 10,094

Other countries importing largely into France are Russia, Algeria and British India, whose imports in each case averaged over £9,000,000 in value in the period 1901-1905; China (average value £7,000,000); and Italy (average value £6,000,000).

The following are the principal countries receiving the exports of France (special trade), with values for the same periods.

Trade with Principal Countries. Exports (Thousands of £).

  1891-1895. 1896-1900. 1901-1905.
Germany 13,712 16,285 21,021
Belgium 19,857 22,135 24,542
United Kingdom 39,310 45,203 49,156
United States 9,337 9,497 10,411
Algeria 7,872 9,434 11,652

The other chief customers of France were Switzerland and Italy, whose imports from France averaged in 1901-1905 nearly £10,000,000 and over £7,200,000 respectively in value. In the same period Spain received exports from France averaging £4,700,000.

The trade of France was divided between foreign countries and her colonies in the following proportions (imports and exports combined).

  General Trade. Special Trade.
Colonies. Foreign
1891-1895 92.00 8.00 90.89  9.11
1896-1900 91.18 8.82 89.86 10.14
1901-1905 90.41 9.59 88.78 11.22

The respective shares of the leading customs in the trade of the country is approximately shown in the following table, which gives the value of their exports and imports (general trade) in 1905 in millions sterling.

  £   £
Marseilles 88.8 Boulogne. 17.5
Le Havre 79.5 Calais 14.1
Paris 42.8 Dieppe 13.5
Dunkirk 34.8 Rouen 11.3
Bordeaux 27.4 Belfort-Petit-Croix 10.7

In the same year the other chief customs in order of importance were Tourcoing, Jeumont, Cette, St Nazaire and Avricourt.

The chief local bodies concerned with commerce and industry are the chambres de commerce and the chambres consultatives d’arts et manufactures, the members of which are elected from their own number by the traders and industrialists of a certain standing. They are established in the chief towns, and their principal function is to advise the government on measures for improving and facilitating commerce and industry within their circumscription. See also Banks and Banking; Savings Banks; Post and Postal Service.

Shipping.—The following table shows the increase in tonnage of sailing and steam shipping engaged in foreign trade entered and cleared at the ports of France over quinquennial periods from 1890.

  Entered. Cleared.
French. Foreign. French. Foreign.
1891-1895 4,277,967  9,947,893 4,521,928 10,091,000
1896-1900 4,665,268 12,037,571 5,005,563 12,103,358
1901-1905 4,782,101 14,744,626 5,503,463 14,823,217

The increase of the French mercantile marine (which is fifth in importance in the world) over the same period is traced in the following table. Vessels of 2 net tons and upwards are enumerated.

  Sailing. Steam. Total.
Tonnage. Number
Tonnage. Number
1891-1895 14,183 402,982 1182 502,363 15,365 905,345
1896-1900 14,327 437,468 1231 504,674 15,558 942,142
1901-1905 14,867 642,562 1388 617,536 16,255 1,260,098

At the beginning of 1908 the total was 17,193 (tonnage, 1,402,647); of these 13,601 (tonnage, 81,833) were vessels of less than 20 tons, while 502 (tonnage, 1,014,506) were over 800 tons.

The increase in the tonnage of sailing vessels, which in other countries tends to decline, was due to the bounties voted by parliament to its merchant sailing fleet with the view of increasing the number of skilled seamen. The prosperity of the French shipping trade is hampered by the costliness of shipbuilding and by the scarcity of outward-bound cargo. Shipping has been fostered by paying bounties for vessels constructed in France and sailing under the French flag, and by reserving the coasting trade, traffic between France and Algeria, &c., to French vessels. Despite these monopolies, three-fourths of the shipping in French ports is foreign, and France is without shipping companies comparable in importance to those of other great maritime nations. The three chief companies are the Messageries Maritimes (Marseilles and Bordeaux), the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (Le Havre, St Nazaire and Marseilles) and the Chargeurs Réunis (Le Havre).


Government and Administration.

Central Government.—The principles upon which the French constitution is based are representative government (by two chambers), manhood suffrage, responsibility of ministers and irresponsibility of the head of the state. Alterations or modifications of the constitution can only be effected by the National Assembly, consisting of both chambers sitting together ad hoc. The legislative power resides in these two chambers—the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies; the executive is vested in the president of the republic and the ministers. The members of both chambers owe their election to universal suffrage; but the Senate is not elected directly by the people and the Chamber of Deputies is.

The Chamber of Deputies, consisting of 584 members, is elected by the scrutin d’arrondissement (each elector voting for one deputy) for a term of four years, the conditions of election being as follows: Each arrondissement sends one deputy if its population does not exceed 100,000, and an additional deputy for every additional 100,000 inhabitants or fraction of that number. Every citizen of twenty-one years of age, unless subject to some legal disability, such as actual engagement in military service, bankruptcy or condemnation to certain punishments, has a vote, provided that he can prove a residence of six months’ duration in any one town or commune. A deputy must be a French citizen, not under twenty-five years old. Each candidate must make, at least five days before the elections, a declaration setting forth in what constituency he intends to stand. He may only stand for one, and all votes given for him in any other than that specified in the declaration are void. To secure election a candidate must at the first voting poll an absolute majority and a number of votes equal to one-fourth of the number of electors. If a second poll is necessary a relative majority is sufficient.

The Senate (see below, Law and Institutions) is composed of 300 members who must be French citizens at least forty years of age. They are elected by the “scrutin de liste” for a period of nine years, and one-third of the body retires every three years. The department which is to elect a senator when a vacancy occurs is settled by lot.

Both senators and deputies receive a salary of £600 per annum. No member of a family that has reigned in France is eligible for either chamber.

Bills may be proposed either by ministers (in the name of the president of the republic), or by private members, and may be initiated in either chamber, but money-bills must be submitted in the first place to the Chamber of Deputies. Every bill is first examined by a committee, a member of which is chosen to “report” on it to the chamber, after which it must go through two readings (délibérations), before it is presented to the other chamber. Either house may pass a vote of no confidence in the government, and in practice the government resigns in face of the passing of such a vote by the deputies, but not if it is passed by the Senate only. The chambers usually assemble in January each year, and the ordinary session lasts not less than five months; usually it continues till July. There is an extraordinary session from October till Christmas.

The president (see below, Law and Institutions) is elected for seven years, by a majority of votes, by the Senate and Chamber of Deputies sitting together as the National Assembly. Any French citizen may be chosen president, no fixed age being required. The only exception to this rule is that no member of a royal family which has once reigned in France can be elected. The president receives 1,200,000 francs (£48,000) a year, half as salary, half for travelling expenses and the charges incumbent upon the official representative of the country. Both the chambers are summoned by the president, who has the power of dissolving the Chamber of Deputies with the assent of the Senate. When a change of Government occurs the president chooses a prominent parliamentarian as premier and president of the council. This personage, who himself holds a portfolio, nominates the other ministers, his choice being subject to the ratification of the chief of the state. The ministerial council (conseil des ministres) is presided over by the president of the republic; less formal meetings (conseils de cabinet) under the presidency of the premier, or even of some other minister, are also held.

The ministers, whether members of parliament or not, have the right to sit in both chambers and can address the house whenever they choose, though a minister may only vote in the chamber of which he happens to be a member. There are twelve ministries17 comprising those of justice; finance; war; the interior; marine; colonies; public instruction and fine arts; foreign affairs; commerce and industry; agriculture; public works; and labour and public thrift. Individual ministers are responsible for all acts done in connexion with their own departments, and the body of ministers collectively is responsible for the general policy of the government.

The council of state (conseil d’état) is the principal council of the head of the state and his ministers, who consult it on various legislative problems, more particularly on questions of administration. It is divided for despatch of business into four sections, each of which corresponds to a group of two or three ministerial departments, and is composed of (1) 32 councillors “en service ordinaire” (comprising a vice-president and sectional presidents), and 19 councillors “en service extraordinaire,” i.e. government officials who are deputed to watch the interests of the ministerial departments to which they belong, and in matters not concerned with those departments have a merely consultative position; (2) 32 maîtres des requêtes; (3) 40 auditors.

The presidency of the council of state belongs ex officio to the minister of justice.

The theory of “droit administratif” lays down the principle that an agent of the government cannot be prosecuted or sued for acts relating to his administrative functions before the ordinary tribunals. Consequently there is a special system of administrative jurisdiction for the trial of “le contentieux administratif” or disputes in which the administration is concerned. The council of state is the highest administrative tribunal, and includes a special “Section du contentieux” to deal with judicial work of this nature.

Local Government.—France is divided into 86 administrative departments (including Corsica) or 87 if the Territory of Belfort, a remnant of the Haut Rhin department, be included. These departments are subdivided into 362 arrondissements, 2911 cantons and 36,222 communes.

Departments. Capital Towns. Ancient Provinces.18
Ain Bourg Bourgogne (Bresse, Bugey, Valromey, Dombes).
Aisne Laon Île-de-France; Picardie.
Allier Moulins Bourbonnais.
Alpes-Maritimes Nice  
Ardèche Privas Languedoc (Vivarais).
Ardennes Mézières Champagne.
Ariège Foix Foix; Gascogne (Cousérans).
Aube Troyes Champagne; Bourgogne.
Aude Carcassonne Languedoc.
Aveyron Rodez Guienne (Rouergue). 790
Basses-Alpes Digne Provence.
Basses-Pyrénées Pau Béarn; Gascogne (Basse-Navarre, Soule, Labourd).
Belfort, Territoire de Belfort Alsace.
Bouches-du-Rhône Marseilles Provence.
Calvados Caen Normandie (Bessin, Bocage).
Cantal Aurillac Auvergne.
Charente Angoulême Angoumois; Saintonge.
Charente-Inférieure La Rochelle Aunis; Saintonge.
Cher Bourges Berry; Bourbonnais.
Corrèze Tulle Limousin.
Côte-d’Or Dijon Bourgogne (Dijonnais, Auxois).
Côtes-du-Nord St Brieuc Bretagne.
Creuse Guéret Marche.
Deux-Sèvres Niort Poitou.
Dordogne Périgueux Guienne (Périgord).
Doubs Besançon Franche-Comté; Montbéliard.
Drôme Valence Dauphiné.
Eure Évreux Normandie; Perche.
Eure-et-Loir Chartres Orléanais; Normandie.
Finistère Quimper Bretagne.
Gard Nîmes Languedoc.
Gers Auch Gascogne (Astarac, Armagnac).
Gironde Bordeaux Guienne (Bordelais, Bazadais).
Haute-Garonne Toulouse Languedoc; Gascogne (Comminges).
Haute-Loire Le Puy Languedoc (Velay); Auvergne; Lyonnais.
Haute-Marne Chaumont Champagne (Bassigny, Vallage).
Hautes-Alpes Gap Dauphiné.
Haute-Saône Vesoul Franche-Comté.
Haute-Savoie Annecy  
Hautes-Pyrénées Tarbes Gascogne.
Haute-Vienne Limoges Limousin; Marche.
Hérault Montpellier Languedoc.
Ille-et-Vilaine Rennes Bretagne.
Indre Châteauroux Berry.
Indre-et-Loire Tours Touraine.
Isère Grenoble Dauphiné.
Jura Lons-le-Saunier Franche-Comté.
Landes Mont-de-Marsan Gascogne (Landes, Chalosse).
Loire St-Étienne Lyonnais.
Loire-Inférieure Nantes Bretagne.
Loiret Orléans Orléanais (Orléanais proper, Gâtinais, Dunois).
Loir-et-Cher Blois Orléanais.
Lot Cahors Guienne (Quercy).
Lot-et-Garonne Agen Guienne; Gascogne.
Lozère Mende Languedoc (Gévaudan).
Maine-et-Loire Angers Anjou.
Manche St-Lô Normandie (Cotentin).
Marne Châlons-sur-Marne Champagne.
Mayenne Laval Maine; Anjou.
Meurthe-et-Moselle Nancy Lorraine; Trois-Évêchés.
Meuse Bar-le-Duc Lorraine (Barrois, Verdunois).
Morbihan Vannes Bretagne.
Nièvre Nevers Nivernais; Orléanais.
Nord Lille Flandre; Hainaut.
Oise Beauvais Île-de-France.
Orne Alençon Normandie; Perche.
Pas-de-Calais Arras Artois; Picardie.
Puy-de-Dôme Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne.
Pyrénées-Orientales Perpignan Roussillon; Languedoc.
Rhône Lyon Lyonnais; Beaujolais.
Saône-et-Loire Mâcon Bourgogne.
Sarthe Le Mans Maine; Anjou.
Savoie Chambéry  
Seine Paris Île-de-France.
Seine-et-Marne Melun Île-de-France; Champagne.
Seine-et-Oise Versailles Île-de-France.
Seine-Inférieure Rouen Normandie.
Somme Amiens Picardie.
Tarn Albi Languedoc (Albigeois).
Tarn-et-Garonne Montauban Guienne; Gascogne; Languedoc.
Var Draguignan Provence.
Vaucluse Avignon Comtat; Venaissin; Provence; Principauté d’Orange.
Vendée La Roche-sur-Yon Poitou.
Vienne Poitiers Poitou; Touraine.
Vosges Épinal Lorraine.
Yonne Auxerre Bourgogne; Champagne.
Corse (Corsica) Ajaccio Corse.

Before 1790 France was divided into thirty-three great and seven small military governments, often called provinces, which are, however, to be distinguished from the provinces formed under the feudal system. The great governments were: Alsace, Saintonge and Angournois, Anjou, Artois, Aunis, Auvergne, Béarn and Navarre, Berry, Bourbonnais; Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bretagne (Brittany), Champagne, Dauphiné, Flandre, Foix, Franche-Comté, Guienne and Gascogne (Gascony), Île-de-France, Languedoc, Limousin, Lorraine, Lyonnais, Maine, Marche, Nivernais, Normandie, Orléanais, Picardie, Poitou, Provence, Roussillon, Touraine and Corse. The eight small governments were: Paris, Boulogne and Boulonnais, Le Havre, Sedan, Toulois, Pays Messin and Verdunois and Saumurois.

At the head of each department is a prefect, a political official nominated by the minister of the interior and appointed by the president, who acts as general agent of the government and representative of the central authority. To aid him the prefect 791 has a general secretary and an advisory body (conseil de préfecture), the members of which are appointed by the president, which has jurisdiction in certain classes of disputes arising out of administration and must, in certain cases, be consulted, though the prefect is not compelled to follow its advice. The prefect supervises the execution of the laws; has wide authority in regard to policing, public hygiene and relief of pauper children; has the nomination of various subordinate officials; and is in correspondence with the subordinate functionaries in his department, to whom he transmits the orders and instructions of the government. Although the management of local affairs is in the hands of the prefect his power with regard to these is checked by a deliberative body known as the general council (conseil général). This council, which consists for the most part of business and professional men, is elected by universal suffrage, each canton in the department contributing one member. The general council controls the departmental administration of the prefect, and its decisions on points of local government are usually final. It assigns its quota of taxes (contingent) to each arrondissement, authorizes the sale, purchase or exchange of departmental property, superintends the management thereof, authorizes the construction of new roads, railways or canals, and advises on matters of local interest. Political questions are rigorously excluded from its deliberations. The general council, when not sitting, is represented by a permanent delegation (commission départementale).

As the prefect in the department, so the sub-prefect in the arrondissement, though with a more limited power, is the representative of the central authority. He is assisted, and in some degree controlled, in his work by the district council (conseil d’arrondissement), to which each canton sends a member, chosen by universal suffrage. As the arrondissement has neither property nor budget, the principal business of the council is to allot to each commune its share of the direct taxes imposed on the arrondissement by the general council.

The canton is purely an administrative division, containing, on an average, about twelve communes, though some exceptional communes are big enough to contain more than one canton. It is the seat of a justice of the peace, and is the electoral unit for the general council and the district council.

The communes, varying greatly in area and population, are the administrative units in France. The chief magistrate of the commune is the mayor (maire), who is (1) the agent of the central government and charged as such with the local promulgation and execution of the general laws and decrees of the country; (2) the executive head of the municipality, in which capacity he supervises the police, the revenue and public works of the commune, and acts as the representative of the corporation in general. He also acts as registrar of births, deaths and marriages, and officiates at civil marriages. Mayors are usually assisted by deputies (adjoints). In a commune of 2500 inhabitants or less there is one deputy; in more populous communes there may be more, but in no case must the number exceed twelve, except at Lyons, where as many as seventeen are allowed. Both mayors and deputy mayors are elected by and from among members of the municipal council for four years. This body consists, according to the population of the commune, of from 10 to 36 members, elected for four years on the principle of the scrutin de liste by Frenchmen who have reached the age of twenty-one years and have a six months’ residence qualification.

The local affairs of the commune are decided by the municipal council, and its decisions become operative after the expiration of a month, save in matters which involve interests transcending those of the commune. In such cases the prefect must approve them, and in some cases the sanction of the general council or even ratification by the president is necessary. The council also chooses communal delegates to elect senators; and draws up the list of répartiteurs, whose function is to settle how the commune’s share of direct taxes shall be allotted among the taxpayers. The sub-prefect then selects from this list ten of whom he approves for the post. The meetings of the council are open to the public.


The ordinary judicial system of France comprises two classes of courts: (1) civil and criminal, (2) special, including courts dealing only with purely commercial cases; in addition there are the administrative courts, including bodies, the Conseil d’État and the Conseils de Préfecture, which deal, in their judicial capacity, with cases coming under the droit administratif. Mention may also be made of the Tribunal des Conflits, a special court whose function it is to decide which is the competent tribunal when an administration and a judicial court both claim or refuse to deal with a given case.

Taking the first class of courts, which have both civil and criminal jurisdiction, the lowest tribunal in the system is that of the juge de paix.

In each canton is a juge de paix, who in his capacity as a civil judge takes cognizance, without appeal, of disputes where the amount sought to be recovered does not exceed £12 in value. Where the amount exceeds £12 but not £24 an appeal lies from his decision to the court of first instance. In some particular cases where special promptitude or local knowledge is necessary, as disputes between hotelkeepers and travellers, and the like, he has jurisdiction (subject to appeal to the court of first instance) up to £60. He has also a criminal jurisdiction in contraventions, i.e. breaches of law punishable by a fine not exceeding 12s. or by imprisonment not exceeding five days. If the sentence be one of imprisonment or the fine exceeds 4s., appeal lies to the court of first instance. It is an important function of the juge de paix to endeavour to reconcile disputants who come before him, and no suit can be brought before the court of first instance until he has endeavoured without success to bring the parties to an agreement.

Tribunaux de première instance, also called tribunaux d’arrondissement, of which there is one in every arrondissement (with few exceptions), besides serving as courts of appeal from the juges de paix have an original jurisdiction in matters civil and criminal. The court consists of a president, one or more vice-presidents and a variable number of judges. A procureur, or public prosecutor, is also attached to each court. In civil matters the tribunal takes cognizance of actions relating to personal property to the value of £60, and actions relating to land to the value of 60 fr. (£2 : 8s.) per annum. When it deals with matters involving larger sums an appeal lies to the courts of appeal. In penal cases its jurisdiction extends to all offences of the class known as délits—offences punishable by a more serious penalty than the “contraventions” dealt with by the juge de paix, but not entailing such heavy penalties as the code applies to crimes, with which the assize courts (see below) deal. When sitting in its capacity as a criminal court it is known as the tribunal correctionnel. Its judgments are invariably subject in these matters to appeal before the court of appeal.

There are twenty-six courts of appeal (cours d’appel), to each of which are attached from one to five departments.

Cours d’Appel. Departments depending on them.
Paris Seine, Aube, Eure-et-Loir, Marne, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-et-Oise, Yonne.
Agen Gers, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne.
Aix Basses-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var.
Amiens Aisne, Oise, Somme.
Angers Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe.
Bastia Corse.
Besançon Doubs, Jura, Haute-Saône, Territoire de Belfort.
Bordeaux Charente, Dordogne, Gironde.
Bourges Cher, Indre, Nièvre.
Caen Calvados, Manche, Orne.
Chambéry Savoie, Haute-Savoie.
Dijon Côte-d’Or, Haute-Marne, Saône-et-Loire.
Douai Nord, Pas-de-Calais.
Grenoble Hautes-Alpes, Drôme, Isère.
Limoges Corrèze, Creuse, Haute-Vienne.
Lyons Ain, Loire, Rhône.
Montpellier Aude, Aveyron, Hérault, Pyrénées-Orientales.
Nancy Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Vosges, Ardennes.
Nîmes Ardèche, Gard, Lozère, Vaucluse. 792
Orléans Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret.
Pau Landes, Basses-Pyrénées, Hautes-Pyrénées.
Poitiers Charente-Inférieure, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, Vienne.
Rennes Côtes-du-Nord, Finistère, Ille-et-Vilaine, Loire-Inférieure, Morbihan.
Riom Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme.
Rouen Eure, Seine-Inférieure.
Toulouse Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne.

At the head of each court, which is divided into sections (chambres), is a premier président. Each section (chambre) consists of a président de chambre and four judges (conseillers). Procureurs-généraux and avocats-généraux are also attached to the parquet, or permanent official staff, of the courts of appeal. The principal function of these courts is the hearing of appeals both civil and criminal from the courts of first instance; only in some few cases (e.g. discharge of bankrupts) do they exercise an original jurisdiction. One of the sections is termed the chambre des mises en accusation. Its function is to examine criminal cases and to decide whether they shall be referred for trial to the lower courts or the cours d’assises. It may also dismiss a case on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The cours d’assises are not separate and permanent tribunals. Every three months an assize is held in each department, usually at the chief town, by a conseiller, appointed ad hoc, of the court of appeal upon which the department depends. The cour d’assises occupies itself entirely with offences of the most serious type, classified under the penal code as crimes, in accordance with the severity of the penalties attached. The president is assisted in his duties by two other magistrates, who may be chosen either from among the conseillers of the court of appeal or the presidents or judges of the local court of first instance. In this court and in this court alone there is always a jury of twelve. They decide, as in England, on facts only, leaving the application of the law to the judges. The verdict is given by a simple majority.

In all criminal prosecutions, other than those coming before the juge de paix, a secret preliminary investigation is made by an official called a juge d’instruction. He may either dismiss the case at once by an order of “non-lieu,” or order it to be tried, when the prosecution is undertaken by the procureur or procureur-général. This process in some degree corresponds to the manner in which English magistrates dismiss a case or commit the prisoner to quarter sessions or assizes, but the powers of the juge d’instruction are more arbitrary and absolute.

The highest tribunal in France is the cour de cassation, sitting at Paris, and consisting of a first president, three sectional presidents and forty-five conseillers, with a ministerial staff (parquet) consisting of a procureur-général and six advocates-general. It is divided into three sections: the Chambre des Requêtes, or court of petitions, the civil court and the criminal court. The cour de cassation can review the decision of any other tribunal, except administrative courts. Criminal appeals usually go straight to the criminal section, while civil appeals are generally taken before the Chambre des Requêtes, where they undergo a preliminary examination. If the demand for rehearing is refused such refusal is final; but if it is granted the case is then heard by the civil chamber, and after argument cassation (annulment) is granted or refused. The Court of Cassation does not give the ultimate decision on a case; it pronounces, not on the question of fact, but on the legal principle at issue, or the competence of the court giving the original decision. Any decision, even one of a cour d’assises, may be brought before it in the last resort, and may be cassé—annulled. If it pronounces cassation it remits the case to the hearing of a court of the same order.

Commercial courts (tribunaux de commerce) are established in all the more important commercial towns to decide as expeditiously as possible disputed points arising out of business transactions. They consist of judges, chosen, from among the leading merchants, and elected by commerçants patentés depuis cinq ans, i.e. persons who have held the licence to trade (see Finance) for five years and upwards. In the absence of a tribunal de commerce commercial cases come before the ordinary tribunal d’arrondissement.

In important industrial towns tribunals called conseils de prud’hommes are instituted to deal with disputes between employers and employees, actions arising out of contracts of apprenticeship and the like. They are composed of employers and workmen in equal numbers and are established by decree of the council of state, advised by the minister of justice. The minister of justice is notified of the necessity for a conseil de prud’hommes by the prefect, acting on the advice of the municipal council and the Chamber of Commerce or the Chamber of Arts and Manufactures. The judges are elected by employers and workmen of a certain standing. When the amount claimed exceeds £12 appeal lies to the tribunaux d’arrondissement.

Police.—Broadly, the police of France may be divided into two great branches—administrative police (la police administrative) and judicial police (la police judiciaire), the former having for its object the maintenance of order, and the latter charged with tracing out offenders, collecting the proofs, and delivering the presumed offenders to the tribunals charged by law with their trial and punishment. Subdivisions may be, and often are, named according to the particular duties to which they are assigned, as la police politique, police des mœurs, police sanitaire, &c. The officers of the judicial police comprise the juge de paix (equivalent to the English police magistrate), the maire, the commissaire de police, the gendarmerie and, in rural districts, the gardes champêtres and the gardes forestiers. Gardiens de la paix (sometimes called sergents de ville, gardes de ville or agents de police) are not to be confounded with the gendarmerie, being a branch of the administrative police and corresponding more or less nearly with the English equivalent “police constables,” which the gendarmerie do not, although both perform police duty. The gendarmerie, however, differ from the agents or gardes both in uniform and in the fact that they are for the most part country patrols. The organization of the Paris police, which is typical of that in other large towns, may be outlined briefly. The central administration (administration centrale) comprises three classes of functions which together constitute la police. First there is the office or cabinet of the prefect for the general police (la police générale), with bureaus for various objects, such as the safety of the president of the republic, the regulation and order of public ceremonies, theatres, amusements and entertainments, &c.; secondly, the judicial police (la police judiciaire), with numerous bureaus also, in constant communication with the courts of judicature; thirdly, the administrative police (la police administrative) including bureaus, which superintend navigation, public carriages, animals, public health, &c. Concurrently with these divisions there is the municipal police, which comprises all the agents in enforcing police regulations in the streets or public thoroughfares, acting under the orders of a chief (chef de la police municipale) with a central bureau. The municipal police is divided into two principal branches—the service in uniform of the agents de police and the service out of uniform of inspecteurs de police. In Paris the municipal police are divided among the twenty arrondissements, which the uniform police patrol (see further Paris and Police).

Prisons.—The prisons of France, some of them attached to the ministry of the interior, are complex in their classification. It is only from the middle of the 19th century that close attention has been given to the principle of individual separation. Cellular imprisonment was, however, partially adopted for persons awaiting trial. Central prisons, in which prisoners lived and worked in association, had been in existence from the commencement of the 19th century. These prisons received all sentenced to short terms of imprisonment, the long-term convicts going to the bagnes (the great convict prisons at the arsenals of Rochefort, Brest and Toulon), while in 1851 transportation to penal colonies was adopted. In 1869 and 1871 commissions were appointed to inquire into prison discipline, and as a consequence of the report of the last commission, issued in 1874, the principle of cellular 793 confinement was put in operation the following year. There were, however, but few prisons in France adapted for the cellular system, and the process of reconstruction has been slow. In 1898 the old Paris prisons of Grande-Roquette, Saint-Pélagie and Mazas were demolished, and to replace them a large prison with 1500 cells was erected at Fresnes-lès-Rungis. There are (1) the maison d’arrêt, temporary places of durance in every arrondissement for persons charged with offences, and those sentenced to more than a year’s imprisonment who are awaiting transfer to a maison centrale; (2) the maison de justice, often part and parcel of the former, but only existing in the assize court towns for the safe custody of those tried or condemned at the assizes; (3) departmental prisons, or maisons de correction, for summary convictions, or those sentenced to less than a year, or, if provided with sufficient cells, those amenable to separate confinement; (4) maisons centrales and pénitenciers agricoles, for all sentenced to imprisonment for more than a year, or to hard labour, or to those condemned to travaux forcés for offences committed in prison. There are eleven maisons centrales, nine for men (Loos, Clairvaux, Beaulieu, Poissy, Melun, Fontevrault, Thouars, Riom and Nîmes); two for women (Rennes and Montpellier). The pénitenciers agricoles only differ from the maisons centrales in the matter of régime; there are two—at Castelluccio and at Chiavari (Corsica). There are also reformatory establishments for juvenile offenders, and dépôts de sûreté for prisoners who are travelling, at places where there are no other prisons. For the penal settlements at a distance from France see Deportation.


At the head of the financial organization of France, and exercising a general jurisdiction, is the minister of finance, who co-ordinates in one general budget the separate budgets prepared by his colleagues and assigns to each ministerial department the sums necessary for its expenses.

The financial year in France begins on the 1st of January, and the budget of each financial year must be laid on the table of the Chamber of Deputies in the course of the ordinary session of the preceding year in time for the discussion Budget. upon it to begin in October and be concluded before the 31st of December. It is then submitted to a special commission of the Chamber of Deputies, elected for one year, who appoint a general reporter and one or more special reporters for each of the ministries. When the Chamber of Deputies has voted the budget it is submitted to a similar course of procedure in the Senate. When the budget has passed both chambers it is promulgated by the president under the title of Loi des finances. In the event of its not being voted before the 31st of December, recourse is had to the system of “provisional twelfths” (douzièmes provisoires), whereby the government is authorized by parliament to incur expenses for one, two or three months on the scale of the previous year. The expenditure of the government has several times been regulated for as long as six months upon this system.

In each department an official collector (Trésorier payeur général) receives the taxes and public revenue collected therein and accounts for them to the central authority in Paris. In view of his responsibilities he has, before appointment, to pay a large Taxation. deposit to the treasury. Besides receiving taxes, they pay the creditors of the state in their departments, conduct all operations affecting departmental loans, buy and sell government stock (rentes) on behalf of individuals, and conduct certain banking operations. The trésorier nearly always lives at the chief town of the department, and is assisted by a receveur particulier des finances in each arrondissement (except that in which the trésorier himself resides). From the receveur is demanded a security equal to five times his total income. The direct taxes are actually collected by percepteurs. In the commune an official known as the receveur municipal receives all moneys due to it, and, subject to the authorization of the mayor, makes all payments due from it. In communes with a revenue of less than £2400 the percepteur fulfils the functions of receveur municipal, but a special official may be appointed in communes with large incomes.

The direct taxes fall into two classes. (1) Impôts de répartition (apportionment), the amount to be raised being fixed in advance annually and then apportioned among the departments. They include the land tax,19 the personal and habitation tax (contribution personnelle-mobilière), and door and window tax. (2) Impôts de quotité, which are levied directly on the individual, who pays his quota according to a fixed tariff. These comprise the tax on buildings19 and the trade-licence tax (impôt des patentes). Besides these, certain other taxes (taxes assimilées aux contributions directes) are included under the heading of direct taxation, e.g. the tax on property in mortmain, dues for the verification of weights and measures, the tax on royalties from mines, on horses, mules and carriages, on cycles, &c.

The land tax falls upon land not built upon in proportion to its net yearly revenue. It is collected in accordance with a register of property (cadastre) drawn up for the most part in the first half of the 19th century, dealing with every piece of property in France, and giving its extent and value and the name of the owner. The responsibility of keeping this register accurate and up to date is divided between the state, the departments and the communes, and involves a special service and staff of experts. The building tax consists of a levy of 3.20% of the rental value of the property, and is charged upon the owner.

The personal and habitation tax consists in fact of two different taxes, one imposing a fixed capitation charge on all citizens alike of every department, the charge, however, varying according to the department from 1 fc. 50 c. (1s. 3d.) to 4 fcs. 50 c. (3s. 9d.), the other levied on every occupier of a furnished house or of apartments in proportion to its rental value.

The tax on doors and windows is levied in each case according to the number of apertures, and is fixed with reference to population, the inhabitants of the more populous paying more than those of the less populous communes.

The trade-licence tax (impôt des patentes) is imposed on every person carrying on any business whatever; it affects professional men, bankers and manufacturers, as well as wholesale and retail traders, and consists of (1) a fixed duty levied not on actual profits but with reference to the extent of a business or calling as indicated by number of employés, population of the locality and other considerations. (2) An assessment on the letting value of the premises in which a business or profession is carried on.

The administrative staff includes, for the purpose of computing the individual quotas of the direct taxes, a director assisted by contrôleurs in each department and subordinate to a central authority in Paris, the direction générale des contributions directes.

The indirect taxes comprise the charges on registration; stamps; customs; and a group of taxes specially described as “indirect taxes.”

Registration (enregistrement) duties are charged on the transfer of property in the way of business (à titre onéreux); on changes in ownership effected in the way of donation or succession (à titre gratuit), and on a variety of other transactions which must be registered according to law. The revenue from stamps includes as its chief items the returns from stamped paper, stamps on goods traffic, securities and share certificates and receipts and cheques.

The Direction générale de l’enregistrement, des domaines et du timbre, comprising a central department and a director and staff of agents in each department, combines the administration of state property (not including forests) with the exaction of registration and stamp duties.

The Customs (douane), at one time only a branch of the administration of the contributions indirectes, were organized in 1869 as a special service. The central office at Paris consists of a directeur général and two administrateurs, nominated by the president of the republic. These officials form a council of administration presided over by the minister of finance. The service in the departments comprises brigades, which are actually engaged in guarding the frontiers, and a clerical staff (service de bureau) entrusted with the collection of the duties. There are twenty-four districts, each under the control of a directeur, assisted by inspectors, sub-inspectors and other officials. The chief towns of these districts are Algiers, Bayonne, Besançon, Bordeaux, Boulogne, Brest, Chambéry, Charleville, Dunkirk, Épinal, La Rochelle, Le Havre, Lille, Lyons, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Perpignan, Rouen, St-Malo, Valenciennes. There is also an official performing the functions of a director at Bastia, in Corsica.

The group specially described as indirect taxes includes those on alcohol, wine, beer, cider and other alcoholic drinks, on passenger and goods traffic by railway, on licences to distillers, spirit-sellers, &c., on salt and on sugar of home manufacture. The collection of these excise duties as well as the sale of matches, tobacco and gunpowder to retailers, is assigned to a special service in each department subordinated to a central administration. To the above taxes must be added the tax on Stock Exchange transactions and the tax of 4% on dividends from stocks and shares (other than state loans).

Other main sources of revenue are: the domains and forests managed by the state; government monopolies, comprising tobacco, matches, gunpowder; posts, telegraphs, telephones; and state 794 railways. An administrative tribunal called the cour des comptes subjects the accounts of the state’s financial agents (trésoriers-payeurs, receveurs of registration fees, of customs, of indirect taxes, &c.) and of the communes20 to a close investigation, and a vote of definitive settlement is finally passed by parliament. The Cour des Comptes, an ancient tribunal, was abolished in 1791, and reorganized by Napoleon I. in 1807. It consists of a president and 110 other officials, assisted by 25 auditors. All these are nominated for life by the president of the republic. Besides the accounts of the state and of the communes, those of charitable institutions20 and training colleges20 and a great variety of other public establishments are scrutinized by the Cour des Comptes.

The following table shows the rapid growth of the state revenue of France during the period 1875-1905, the figures for the specified years representing millions of pounds.

1875. 1880. 1885. 1890. 1895. Average
108 118 122 129 137 144 147

Of the revenue in 1905 (150½ million pounds) the four direct taxes produced approximately 20 millions. Other principal items of revenue were: Registration 25 millions, stamps 7½ millions, customs 18 millions, inland revenue on liquors 16½ millions, receipts from the tobacco monopoly 18 millions, receipts from post office 10½ millions.

Since 1875 the expenditure of the state has passed through considerable fluctuations. It reached its maximum in 1883, descended in 1888 and 1889, and since then has continuously increased. It was formerly the custom to divide the credits Expenditure. voted for the discharge of the public services into two heads—the ordinary and extraordinary budget. The ordinary budget of expenditure was that met entirely by the produce of the taxes, while the extraordinary budget of expenditure was that which had to be incurred either in the way of an immediate loan or in aid of the funds of the floating debt. The policy adopted after 1890 of incorporating in the ordinary budget the expenditure on war, marine and public works, each under its own head, rendered the “extraordinary budget” obsolete, but there are still, besides the ordinary budget, budgets annexes, comprising the credits voted to certain establishments under state supervision, e.g. the National Savings Bank, state railways, &c. The growth of the expenditure of France is shown in the following summary figures, which represent millions of pounds.

1875. 1880. 1885. 1890. 1895. Average
117 135 139 132 137 143 147

The chief item of expenditure (which totalled 148 million pounds in 1905) is the service of the public debt, which in 1905 cost 48¼ million pounds sterling. Of the rest of the sum assigned to the ministry of finance (59¾ millions in all) 8½ millions went in the expense of collection of revenue. The other ministries with the largest outgoings were the ministry of war (the expenditure of which rose from 25½ millions in 1895 to over 30 millions in 1905), the ministry of marine (10¾ millions in 1895, over 12½ millions in 1905), the ministry of public works (with an expenditure in 1905 of over 20 millions, 10 millions of which was assigned to posts, telegraphs and telephones) and the ministry of public instruction, fine arts and public worship, the expenditure on education having risen from 7½ millions in 1895 to 9½ millions in 1905.

Public Debt.—The national debt of France is the heaviest of any country in the world. Its foundation was laid early in the 15th century, and the continuous wars of succeeding centuries, combined with the extravagance of the monarchs, as well as deliberate disregard of financial and economic conditions, increased it at an alarming rate. The duke of Sully carried out a revision in 1604, and other attempts were made by Mazarin and Colbert, but the extravagances of Louis XV. swelled it again heavily. In 1764 the national debt amounted to 2,360,000,000 livres, and the annual change to 93,000,000 livres. A consolidation was effected in 1793, but the lavish issue of assignats (q.v.) destroyed whatever advantage might have accrued, and the debt was again dealt with by a law of the 9th of Vendémiaire year VI. (27th of September 1797), the annual interest paid yearly to creditors then amounting to 40,216,000 francs (£1,600,000). During the Directory a sum of £250,000 was added to the interest charge, and by 1814 this annual charge had risen to £2,530,000. This large increase is to be accounted for by the fact that during the Napoleonic régime the government steadily refused to issue inconvertible paper currency or to meet war expenditure by borrowing. The following table shows the increase of the funded debt since 1814.21

Date. Nominal Capital
(Millions of £).
(Millions of £).
April 1, 1814 50¾
April 1, 1830 177  8 
March 1, 1848 238¼
January 1, 1852 220¾
1871 498¼ 15½
1876 796¼ 30 
1887 986½ 34¼
1895 1038¾22 32½
1905 1037¼ 31 

The French debt as constituted in 1905 was made up of funded debt and floating debt as follows:

Funded Debt.
Perpetual 3% rentes £888,870,400
Terminable 3% rentes 148,490,400
  Total of funded debt £1,037,360,800
Guarantees to railway companies, &c. (in capital) £89,724,080
Other debt in capital 46,800,840
Floating Debt.
Exchequer bills £9,923,480
Liabilities on behalf of communes and public  
 establishments, including departmental services 17,366,520
Deposit and current accounts of Caisse des  
 dépôts, &c., including savings banks 15,328,840
Caution money of Trésoriers payeurs-généraux 1,431,680
Other liabilities 6,456,200
   Total of floating debt £50,506,720

Departmental Finances.—Every department has a budget of its own, which is prepared and presented by the prefect, voted by the departmental council and approved by decree of the president of the republic. The ordinary receipts include the revenues from the property of the department, the produce of additional centimes, which are levied in conjunction with the direct taxes for the maintenance of both departmental and communal finances, state subventions and contributions of the communes towards certain branches of poor relief and to maintenance of roads. The chief expenses of the departments are the care of pauper children and lunatics, the maintenance of high-roads and the service of the departmental debt.

Communal Finances.—The budget of the commune is prepared by the mayor, voted by the municipal council and approved by the prefect. But in communes the revenues of which exceed £120,000, the budget is always submitted to the president of the republic. The ordinary revenues include the produce of “additional centimes” allocated to communal purposes, the rents and profits of communal property, sums produced by municipal taxes and dues, concessions to gas, water and other companies, and by the octroi (q.v.) or duty on a variety of articles imported into the commune for local consumption. The repairing of highways, the upkeep of public buildings, the support of public education, the remuneration of numerous officials connected with the collection of state taxes, the keeping of the cadastre, &c., constitute the principal objects of communal expenditure.

Both the departments and the communes have considerable public debts. The departmental debt in 1904 stood at 24 million pounds, and the communal debt at 153 million pounds.

(R. Tr.)


Recruiting and Strength.—Universal compulsory service was adopted after the disasters of 1870-1871, though in principle it had been established by Marshal Niel’s reforms a few years before that date. The most important of the recruiting laws passed since 1870 are those of 1872, 1889 and 1905, the last the “loi de deux ans” which embodies the last efforts of the French war department to keep pace with the ever-growing numbers of the German empire. Compulsory service with the colours is in Germany no longer universal, as there are twice as many able-bodied men presented by the recruiting commissions as the active army can absorb. France, with a greatly inferior population, now trains every man who is physically capable. This law naturally made a deep impression on military Europe, not merely because the period of colour service was reduced—Germany had taken this step years before—but because of the almost entire absence of the usual exemptions. 795 Even bread-winners are required to serve, the state pensioning their dependants (75 centimes per diem, up to 10% of the strength) during their period of service. Dispensations, and also the one-year voluntariat, which had become a short cut for the so-called “intellectual class” to employment in the civil service rather than a means of training reserve officers, were abolished. Every Frenchman therefore is a member of the army practically or potentially from the age of twenty to the age of forty-five. Each year there is drawn up in every commune a list of the young men who attained the age of twenty during the previous year. These young men are then examined by a revising body (Conseil de révision cantonal) composed of civil and military officials. Men physically unfit are wholly exempted, and men who have not, at the time of the examination, attained the required physical standard are put back for re-examination after an interval. Men who, otherwise suitable, have some slight infirmity are drafted into the non-combatant branches. The minimum height for the infantry soldier is 1.54 m., or 5 ft. ½ in., but men of special physique are taken below this height. In 1904, under the old system of three-years’ service with numerous total and partial exemptions, 324,253 men became liable to incorporation, of whom 25,432 were rejected as unfit, 55,265 were admitted as one-year volunteers, 62,160 were put back, 27,825 had already enlisted with a view to making the army a career, 5257 were taken for the navy, and thus, with a few extra details and casualties, the contingent for full service dwindled to 147,549 recruits. In 1906, 326,793 men had to present themselves, 25,348 had already enlisted, 4923 went to the navy, 68,526 were put back, 33,777 found unfit, which, deducting 3128 details, gives an actual incorporated contingent of 191,091 young men of twenty-one to serve for two full years (in each case, for the sake of comparison, men put back from former years who were enrolled are omitted). In theory a two-years’ contingent of course should be half as large again as a three-years’ one, but in practice, France has not men enough for so great an increase. Still the law of 1905 provides a system whereby there is room with the colours for every available man, and moreover ensures his services. The net gain in the 1906 class is not far short of 50,000, and the proportion of the new contingent to the old is practically 5 : 4. The loi des cadres of 1907 introduced many important changes of detail supplementary to the loi de deux ans. Important changes were also made in the provisions and administration of military law. The active army, then, at a given moment, say November 1, 1908, is composed of all the young men, not legally exempted, who have reached the age of twenty in the years 1906 and 1907. It is at the disposal of the minister of war, who can decree the recall of all men discharged to the reserve the previous year and all those whose time of service has for any reason been shortened. The reserves of the active army are composed of those who have served the legal period in the active army. These are recalled twice, in the eleven years during which they are members of the reserve, for refresher courses. The active army and its reserve are not localized, but drawn from and distributed over the whole of France. The advantages of a purely territorial system have tempted various War Ministers to apply it, but the results were not good, owing to the want of uniformity in the military qualities and the political subordination of the different districts. One result of this is that mobilization and concentration are much slower processes than they are in Germany.

The Territorial Army and its reserve (members of which undergo two short periods of training) are, however, allocated to local service. The soldier spends six years in the Territorial Army, and six in the reserve of the Territorial Army. The reserves of the active army and the Territorial Army and its reserve can only be recalled to active service in case of emergency and by decree of the head of the state.

The total service rendered by the individual soldier is thus twenty-five years. He is registered at the age of twenty, is called to the colours on the 1st of October of the next year, discharged to the active army reserve on the 30th of September of the second year thereafter, to the Territorial Army at the same date thirteen complete years after his incorporation, and finally discharged from the reserve of the Territorial Army on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his entry into the active army. On November 1, 1908, then the active army was composed of the classes registered 1906 and 1907, the reserve of the classes 1895-1905, the Territorial Army of those of 1889-1894 and the Territorial Army reserve of those of 1883-1888.

In 1906 the peace strength of the army in France was estimated at 532,593 officers and men; in Algeria 54,580; in Tunis 20,320; total 607,493. Deducting vacancies, sick and absent, the effective strength of the active army in 1906 was 540,563; of the gendarmerie and Garde Républicaine 24,512; of colonial troops in the colonies 58,568. The full number of persons liable to be called upon for military service and engaged in such service is calculated (1908) as 4,800,000, of whom 1,350,000 of the active army and the younger classes of army reserve would constitute the field armies set on foot at the outbreak of war. 150,000 horses and mules are maintained on a peace footing and 600,000 on a war footing.

Organization.—The general organization of the French army at home is based on the system of permanent army corps, the headquarters of which are as follows: I. Lille, II. Amiens, III. Rouen, IV. Le Mans, V. Orléans, VI. Châlons-sur-Marne, VII. Besançon, VIII. Bourges, IX. Tours, X. Rennes, XI. Nantes, XII. Limoges, XIII. Clermont-Ferrand, XIV. Lyons, XV. Marseilles, XVI. Montpellier, XVII. Toulouse, XVIII. Bordeaux, XIX. Algiers and XX. Nancy. Each army corps consists in principle of two infantry divisions, one cavalry brigade, one brigade of horse and field artillery, one engineer battalion and one squadron of train. But certain army corps have a special organization. The VI. corps (Châlons) and the VII. (Besançon) consist of three divisions each, and the XIX. (Algiers) has three divisions of its own as well as the division occupying Tunis. In addition to these corps there are eight permanent cavalry divisions with headquarters at Paris, Lunéville, Meaux, Sedan, Reims, Lyons, Melun and Dôle. The military government of Paris is independent of the army corps system and comprises, besides a division of the colonial army corps (see below), 3½ others detached from the II., III., IV. and V. corps, as well as the 1st and 3rd cavalry divisions and many smaller bodies of troops. The military government of Lyons is another independent and special command; it comprises practically the XIV. army corps and the 6th cavalry division. The infantry division consists of 2 brigades, each of 2 regiments of 3 or 4 battalions (the 4 battalion regiments have recently been reduced for the most part to 3), with 1 squadron cavalry and 12 batteries, attached from the corps troops, in war a proportion of the artillery would, however, be taken back to form the corps artillery (see Artillery and Tactics). The cavalry division consists of 2 or 3 brigades, each of 2 regiments or 8 squadrons, with 2 horse artillery batteries attached. The army corps consists of headquarters, 2 (or 3) infantry divisions, 1 cavalry brigade, 1 artillery brigade (2 regiments, comprising 21 field and 2 horse batteries), 1 engineer battalion, &c. In war a group of “Rimailho” heavy howitzers (see Ordnance: Heavy Field and Light Siege Units) would be attached. It is proposed, and accepted in principle, to increase the number of guns in the army corps by converting the horse batteries in 18 army corps to field batteries, which, with other measures, enables the number of the latter to be increased to 36 (144 guns).

The organization of the “metropolitan troops” by regiments is (a) 163 regiments of line infantry, some of which are affected to “regional” duties and do not enter into the composition of their army corps for war, 31 battalions of chasseurs à pied, mostly stationed in the Alps and the Vosges, 4 regiments of Zouaves, 4 regiments of Algerian tirailleurs (natives, often called Turcos23), 2 foreign legion regiments, 5 battalions of African light infantry (disciplinary regiments), &c; (b) 12 796 regiments of cuirassiers, 32 of dragoons, 21 of chasseurs à cheval, 14 of hussars, 6 of chasseurs d’Afrique and 4 of Spahis (Algerian natives); (c) 40 regiments of artillery, comprising 445 field batteries, 14 mountain batteries and 52 horse batteries (see, however, above), 18 battalions of garrison artillery, with in addition 13 companies of artificers, &c.; (d) 6 regiments of engineers forming 22 battalions, and 1 railway regiment; (e) 20 squadrons of train, 27 legions of gendarmerie and the Paris Garde Républicaine, administrative and medical units.

Colonial Troops.—These form an expeditionary army corps in France to which are attached the actual corps of occupation to the various colonies, part white, part natives. The colonial army corps, headquarters at Paris, has three divisions, at Paris, Toulon and Brest.

The French colonial (formerly marine) infantry, recruited by voluntary enlistment, comprises 18 regiments and 5 independent battalions (of which 12 regiments are at home), 74 batteries of field, fortress and mountain artillery (of which 32 are at home), with a few cavalry and engineers, &c., and other services in proportion. The native troops include 13 regiments and 8 independent battalions. The strength of this army corps is 28,700 in France and 61,300 in the colonies.

Command.—The commander-in-chief of all the armed forces is the president of the Republic, but the practical direction of affairs lies in the hand of the minister of war, who is assisted by the Conseil supérieur de la guerre, a body of senior generals who have been selected to be appointed to the higher commands in war. The vice-president is the destined commander-in-chief of the field armies and is styled the generalissimo. The chief of staff of the army is also a member of the council. In war the latter would probably remain at the ministry of war in Paris, and the generalissimo would have his own chief of staff. The ministry of war is divided into branches for infantry, cavalry, &c.—and services for special subjects such as military law, explosives, health, &c. The general staff (état major de l’armée) has its functions classed as follows: personnel; material and finance; 1st bureau (organization and mobilization), 2nd (intelligence), 3rd (military operations and training) and 4th (communications and transport); and the famous historical section. The president of the Republic has a military household, and the minister a cabinet, both of which are occupied chiefly with questions of promotion, patronage and decorations.

The general staff and also the staff of the corps and divisions are composed of certificated (brevetés) officers who have passed all through the École de Guerre. In time of peace an officer is attached to the staff for not more than four years. He must then return to regimental duty for at least two years.

The officers of the army are obtained partly from the old-established military schools, partly from the ranks of the non-commissioned officers, the proportion of the latter being about one-third of the total number of officers. Artillery and engineer officers come from the École Polytechnique, infantry and cavalry from the École spéciale militaire de St-Cyr. Other important training institutions are the staff college (École supérieure de Guerre) which trains annually 70 to 90 selected captains and lieutenants; the musketry school of Châlons, the gymnastic school at Joinville-le-Pont and the schools of St Maixent, Saumur and Versailles for the preparation of non-commissioned officers for commissions in the infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers respectively. The non-commissioned officers are, as usual in universal service armies, drawn partly from men who voluntarily enlist at a relatively early age, and partly from men who at the end of their compulsory period of service are re-engaged. Voluntary enlistments in the French army are permissible, within certain limits, at the age of eighteen, and the engagés serve for at least three years. The law further provides for the re-engagement of men of all ranks, under conditions varying according to their rank. Such re-engagements are for one to three years’ effective service but may be extended to fifteen. They date from the time of the legal expiry of each man’s compulsory active service. Rengagés receive a bounty, a higher rate of pay and a pension at the conclusion of their service. The total number of men who had re-enlisted stood in 1903 at 8594.

Armament.—The field artillery is armed with the 75 mm. gun, a shielded quick-firer (see Ordnance: Field Equipments, for illustration and details); this weapon was the forerunner of all modern models of field gun, and is handled on tactical principles specially adapted for it, which gives the French field artillery a unique position amongst the military nations. The infantry, which was the first in Europe to be armed with the magazine rifle, still carries this, the Lebel, rifle which dates from 1886. It is believed, however, that a satisfactory type of automatic rifle (see Rifle) has been evolved and is now (1908) in process of manufacture. Details are kept strictly secret. The cavalry weapons are a straight sword (that of the heavy cavalry is illustrated in the article Sword), a bamboo lance and the Lebel carbine.

It is convenient to mention in this place certain institutions attached to the war department and completing the French military organization. The Hôtel des Invalides founded by Louis XIV. and Louvois is a house of refuge for old and infirm soldiers of all grades. The number of the inmates is decreasing; but the institution is an expensive one. In 1875 the “Invalides” numbered 642, and the hôtel cost the state 1,123,053 francs. The order of the Legion of Honour is treated under Knighthood and Chivalry. The médaille militaire is awarded to private soldiers and non-commissioned officers who have distinguished themselves or rendered long and meritorious services. This was introduced in 1852, carries a yearly pension of 100 frs. and has been granted occasionally to officers.

Fortifications.—After 1870 France embarked upon a policy of elaborate frontier and inner defences, with the object of ensuring, as against an unexpected German invasion, the time necessary for the effective development of her military forces, which were then in process of reorganization. Some information as to the types of fortification adopted in 1870-1875 will be found in Fortification and Siegecraft. The general lines of the scheme adopted were as follows: On the Meuse, which forms the principal natural barrier on the side of Lorraine, Verdun (q.v.) was fortified as a large entrenched camp, and along the river above this were constructed a series of forts d’arrêt (see Meuse Line) ending in another entrenched camp at Toul (q.v.). From this point a gap (the trouée d’Épinal) was left, so as “in some sort to canalize the flow of invasion” (General Bonnal), until the upper Moselle was reached at Épinal (q.v.). Here another entrenched camp was made and from it the “Moselle line” (q.v.) of forts d’arrêt continues the barrier to Belfort (q.v.), another large entrenched camp, beyond which a series of fortifications at Montbéliard and the Lomont range carries the line of defence to the Swiss border, which in turn is protected by works at Pontarlier and elsewhere. In rear of these lines Verdun-Toul and Épinal-Belfort, respectively, lie two large defended areas in which under certain circumstances the main armies would assemble preparatory to offensive movements. One of these areas is defined by the three fortresses, La Fère, Laon and Reims, the other by the triangle, Langres—Dijon—Besançon. On the side of Belgium the danger of irruption through neutral territory, which has for many years been foreseen, is provided against by the fortresses of Lille, Valenciennes and Maubeuge, but (with a view to tempting the Germans to attack through Luxemburg, as is stated by German authorities) the frontier between Maubeuge and Verdun is left practically undefended. The real defence of this region lies in the field army which would, if the case arose, assemble in the area La Fère-Reims-Laon. On the Italian frontier the numerous forts d’arrêt in the mountains are strongly supported by the entrenched camps of Besançon, Grenoble and Nice. Behind all this huge development of fixed defences lie the central fortresses of Paris and Lyons. The defences, of the Spanish frontier consist of the entrenched camps of Bayonne and Perpignan and the various small forts d’arrêt of the Pyrenees. Of the coast defences the principal are Toulon, Antibes, Rochefort, Lorient, Brest, Oléron, La Rochelle, Belle-Isle, Cherbourg, St-Malo, Havre, Calais, Gravelines and Dunkirk. 797 A number of the older fortresses, dating for the most part from Louis XIV.’s time, are still in existence, but are no longer of military importance. Such are Arras, Longwy, Mézières and Montmédy.


Central Administration.—The head of the French navy is the Minister of Marine, who like the other ministers is appointed by decree of the head of the state, and is usually a civilian. He selects for himself a staff of civilians (the cabinet du ministre), which is divided into bureaux for the despatch of business. The head of the cabinet prepares for the consideration of the minister all the business of the navy, especially questions of general importance. His chief professional assistant is the chef d’état-major général (chief of the general staff), a vice-admiral, who is responsible for the organization of the naval forces, the mobilization and movements of the fleet, &c.

The central organization also comprises a number of departments (services) entrusted with the various branches of naval administration, such as administration of the active fleet, construction of ships, arsenals, recruiting, finance, &c. The minister has the assistance of the Conseil supérieur de la Marine, over which he presides, consisting of three vice-admirals, the chief of staff and some other members. The Conseil supérieur devotes its attention to all questions touching the fighting efficiency of the fleet, naval bases and arsenals and coast defence. Besides the Conseil supérieur the minister is advised on a very wide range of naval topics (including pay, quarters and recruiting) by the Comité consultatif de la Marine. Advisory committees are also appointed to deal with special subjects, e.g. the commissions de classement which attend to questions of promotion in the various branches of the navy, the naval works council and others.

The French coast is divided into five naval arrondissements, which have their headquarters at the five naval ports, of which Cherbourg, Brest, and Toulon are the most important, Lorient and Rochefort being of lesser degree. All are building and fitting-out yards. Each arrondissement is divided into sous-arrondissements, having their centres in the great commercial ports, but this arrangement is purely for the embodiment of the men of the Inscription Maritime, and has nothing to do with the dockyards as naval arsenals. In each arrondissement the vice-admiral, who is naval prefect, is the immediate representative of the minister of marine, and has full direction and command of the arsenal, which is his headquarters. He is thus commander-in-chief, as also governor-designate for time of war, but his authority does not extend to ships belonging to organized squadrons or divisions. The naval prefect is assisted by a rear-admiral as chief of the staff (except at Lorient and Rochefort, where the office is filled by a captain), and a certain number of other officers, the special functions of the chief of the staff having relation principally to the efficiency and personnel of the fleet, while the “major-general,” who is usually a rear-admiral, is concerned chiefly with the matériel. There are also directors of stores, of naval construction, of the medical service, and of the submarine defences (which are concerned with torpedoes, mines and torpedo-boats), as well as of naval ordnance and works, The prefect directs the operations of the arsenal, and is responsible for its efficiency and for that of the ships which are there in reserve. In regard to the constitution and maintenance of the naval forces, the administration of the arsenals is divided into three principal departments, the first concerned with naval construction, the second with ordnance, including gun-mountings and small-arms, and the third with the so-called submarine defences, dealing with all torpedo matériel.

The French navy is manned partly by voluntary enlistment, partly by the transference to the navy of a certain proportion of each year’s recruits for the army, but mainly by a system known as inscription maritime. This system, devised and introduced by Colbert in 1681, has continued, with various modifications, ever since. All French sailors between the ages of eighteen and fifty must be enrolled as members of the armée de mer. The term sailor is used in a very wide sense and includes all persons earning their living by navigation on the sea, or in the harbours or roadsteads, or on salt lakes or canals within the maritime domain of the state, or on rivers and canals as far as the tide goes up or sea-going ships can pass. The inscript usually begins his service at the age of twenty and passes through a period of obligatory service lasting seven years, and generally comprising five years of active service and two years furlough.

Besides the important harbours already referred to, the French fleet has naval bases at Oran in Algeria, Bizerta in Tunisia, Saigon in Cochin China and Hongaj in Tongking, Diégo-Suarez in Madagascar, Dakar in Senegal, Fort de France in Martinique, Nouméa in New Caledonia.

The ordnance department of the navy is carried on by a large detachment of artillery officers and artificers provided by the war office for this special duty.

The fleet is divided into the Mediterranean squadron, the Northern squadron, the Atlantic division, the Far Eastern division, the Pacific division, the Indian Ocean division, the Cochin China division.

The chief naval school is the École navale at Brest, which is devoted to the training of officers; the age of admission is from fifteen to eighteen years, and pupils after completing their course pass a year on a frigate school. At Paris there is a more advanced school (École supérieure de la Marine) for the supplementary training of officers. Other schools are the school of naval medicine at Bordeaux with annexes at Toulon, Brest and Rochefort; schools of torpedoes and mines and of gunnery at Toulon, &c., &c. The écoles d’hydrographie established at various ports are for theoretical training for the higher grades of the merchant service. (See also Navy.)

The total personnel of the armée de mer in 1909 is given as 56,800 officers and men. As to the number of vessels, which fluctuates from month to month, little can be said that is wholly accurate at any given moment, but, very roughly, the French navy in 1909 included 25 battleships, 7 coast defence ironclads, 19 armoured cruisers, 36 protected cruisers, 22 sloops, gunboats, &c., 45 destroyers, 319 torpedo boats, 71 submersibles and submarines and 8 auxiliary cruisers. It was stated that, according to proposed arrangements, the principal fighting elements of the fleet would be, in 1919, 34 battleships, 36 armoured cruisers, 6 smaller cruisers of modern type, 109 destroyers, 170 torpedo boats and 171 submersibles and submarines. The budgetary cost of the navy in 1908 was stated as 312,000,000 fr. (£12,480,000).

(C. F. A.)


The burden of public instruction in France is shared by the communes, departments and state, while side by side with the public schools of all grades are private schools subjected to a state supervision and certain restrictions. At the head of the whole organization is the minister of public instruction. He is assisted and advised by the superior council of public instruction, over which he presides.

France is divided into sixteen académies or educational districts, having their centres at the seats of the universities. The capitals of these académies, together with the departments included in them, are tabulated below:

Académies. Departments included in them.
Paris Seine, Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Marne, Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-et-Oise.
Aix Bouches-du-Rhône, Basses-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Corse, Var, Vaucluse.
Besançon Doubs, Jura, Haute-Saône, Territoire de Belfort.
Bordeaux Gironde, Dordogne, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Basses-Pyrénées.
Caen Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne, Sarthe, Seine-Inférieure.
Chambéry Savoie, Haute-Savoie.
Clermont-Ferrand Puy-de-Dôme, Allier, Cantal, Corrèze, Creuse, Haute-Loire.
Dijon Côte-d’Or, Aube, Haute-Marne, Nièvre, Yonne.
Grenoble Isère, Hautes-Alpes, Ardèche, Drôme.
Lille Nord, Aisne, Ardennes, Pas-de-Calais, Somme.
Lyons Rhône, Ain, Loire, Saône-et-Loire. 798
Montpellier Hérault, Aude, Gard, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales.
Nancy Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Vosges.
Poitiers Vienne, Charente, Charente-Inférieure, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, Haute-Vienne.
Rennes Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-du-Nord, Finistère, Loire-Inférieure, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Morbihan.
Toulouse Haute-Garonne, Ariège, Aveyron, Gers, Lot, Hautes-Pyrénées, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne.
 There is also an académie comprising Algeria.

For the administrative organization of education in France see Education.

Any person fulfilling certain legal requirements with regard to capacity, age and character may set up privately an educational establishment of any grade, but by the law of 1904 all religious congregations are prohibited from keeping schools of any kind whatever.

Primary Instruction.—All primary public instruction is free and compulsory for children of both sexes between the ages of six and thirteen, but if a child can gain a certificate of primary studies at the age of eleven or after, he may be excused the rest of the period demanded by law. A child may receive instruction in a public or private school or at home. But if the parents wish him to be taught in a private school they must give notice to the mayor of the commune of their intention and the school chosen. If educated at home, the child (after two years of the compulsory period has expired) must undergo a yearly examination, and if it is unsatisfactory the parents will be compelled to send him to a public or private school.

Each commune is in theory obliged to maintain at least one public primary school, but with the approval of the minister, the departmental council may authorize a commune to combine with other communes in the upkeep of a school. If the number of inhabitants exceed 500, the commune must also provide a special school for girls, unless the Departmental Council authorizes it to substitute a mixed school. Each department is bound to maintain two primary training colleges, one for masters, the other for mistresses of primary schools. There are two higher training colleges of primary instruction at Fontenay-aux-Roses and St Cloud for the training of mistresses and masters of training colleges and higher primary schools.

The Laws of 1882 and 1886 “laicized” the schools of this class, the former suppressing religious instruction, the latter providing that only laymen should be eligible for masterships. There were also a great many schools in the control of various religious congregations, but a law of 1904 required that they should all be suppressed within ten years from the date of its enactment.

Public primary schools include (1) écoles maternelles—infant schools for children from two to six years old; (2) elementary primary schools—these are the ordinary schools for children from six to thirteen; (3) higher primary schools (écoles primaires supérieures) and “supplementary courses”; these admit pupils who have gained the certificate of primary elementary studies (certificat d’études primaires), offer a more advanced course and prepare for technical instruction; (4) primary technical schools (écoles manuelles d’apprentissage, écoles primaires supérieures professionnelles) kept by the communes or departments. Primary courses for adults are instituted by the prefect on the recommendation of the municipal council and academy inspector.

Persons keeping private primary schools are free with regard to their methods, programmes and books employed, except that they may not use books expressly prohibited by the superior council of public instruction. Before opening a private school the person proposing to do so must give notice to the mayor, prefect and academy inspector, and forward his diplomas and other particulars to the latter official.

Secondary Education.—Secondary education is given by the state in lycées, by the communes in collèges and by private individuals and associations in private secondary schools. It is not compulsory, nor is it entirely gratuitous, but the fees are small and the state offers a great many scholarships, by means of which a clever child can pay for its own instruction. Cost of tuition (simply) ranges from £2 to £16 a year. The lycées also take boarders—the cost of boarding ranging from £22 to £52 a year. A lycée is founded in a town by decree of the president of the republic, with the advice of the superior council of public instruction. The municipality has to pay the cost of building, furnishing and upkeep. At the head of the lycée is the principal (proviseur), an official nominated by the minister, and assisted by a teaching staff of professors and chargés de cours or teachers of somewhat lower standing. To become professor in a lycée it is necessary to pass an examination known as the “agrégation,” candidates for which must be licentiates of a faculty (or have passed through the École normale supérieure).

The system of studies—reorganized in 1902—embraces a full curriculum of seven years, which is divided into two periods. The first lasts four years, and at the end of this the pupil may obtain (after examination) the “certificate of secondary studies.” During the second period the pupil has a choice of four courses: (1) Latin and Greek; (2) Latin and sciences; (3) Latin and modern languages; (4) sciences and modern languages. At the end of this period he presents himself for a degree called the Baccalauréat de l’enseignement secondaire. This is granted (after two examinations) by the faculties of letters and sciences jointly (see below), and in most cases it is necessary for a student to hold this general degree before he may be enrolled in a particular faculty of a university and proceed to a Baccalauréat in a particular subject, such as law, theology or medicine.

The collèges, though of a lower grade, are in most respects similar to the lycées, but they are financed by the communes: the professors may have certain less important qualifications in lieu of the “agrégation.” Private secondary schools are subjected to state inspection. The teachers must not belong to any congregation, and must have a diploma of aptitude for teaching and the degree of “licencié.” The establishment of lycées for girls was first attempted in 1880. They give an education similar to that offered in the lycées for boys—with certain modifications—in a curriculum of five or six years. There is a training-college for teachers in secondary schools for girls at Sèvres.

Higher education is given by the state in the universities, and in special higher schools; and, since the law of 1875 established the freedom of higher education, by private individuals and bodies in private schools and “faculties” (facultés libres). The law of 1880 reserved to the state “faculties” the right to confer degrees, and the law of 1896 established various universities each containing one or more faculties. There are five kinds of faculties: medicine, letters, science, law and Protestant theology. The faculties of letters and sciences, besides granting the Baccalauréat de l’enseignement secondaire, confer the degrees of licentiate and doctor (la Licence, le Doctorat). The faculties of medicine confer the degree of doctor of medicine. The faculties of theology confer the degrees of bachelor, licentiate and doctor of theology. The faculties of law confer the same degrees in law and also grant “certificates of capacity,” which enable the holder to practise as an avoué; a licence is necessary for the profession of barrister. Students of the private faculties have to be examined by and take their degrees from the state faculties. There are 2 faculties of Protestant theology (Paris and Montauban); 12 faculties of law (Paris, Aix, Bordeaux, Caen, Grenoble, Lille, Lyons, Montpellier, Nancy, Poitiers, Rennes, Toulouse); 3 faculties of medicine (Paris, Montpellier and Nancy), and 4 joint faculties of medicine and pharmacy (Bordeaux, Lille, Lyons, Toulouse); 15 faculties of sciences (Paris, Besançon, Bordeaux, Caen, Clermont, Dijon, Grenoble, Lille, Lyons, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nancy, Poitiers, Rennes, Toulouse); 15 faculties of letters (at the same towns, substituting Aix for Marseilles). The private faculties are at Paris (the Catholic Institute with a faculty of law); Angers (law, science and letters); Lille (law, medicine and pharmacy, science, letters); Lyons (law, science, letters); Marseilles (law); Toulouse (Catholic Institute with faculties of theology and letters). The work of the faculties of medicine and pharmacy is in some measure shared by the écoles supérieures de pharmacie (Paris, Montpellier, Nancy), which grant the highest degrees in pharmacy, and by the écoles de plein exercice de médecine et de pharmacie (Marseilles, Rennes and Nantes) and the more numerous écoles préparatoires de médecine et de pharmacie; there are also écoles préparatoires à l’enseignement supérieur des sciences et des lettres at Chambéry, Rouen and Nantes.

Besides the faculties there are a number of institutions, both state-supported and private, giving higher instruction of various special kinds. In the first class must be mentioned the Collège de France, founded 1530, giving courses of highest study of all sorts, the Museum of Natural History, the École des Chartes (palaeography and archives), the School of Modern Oriental Languages, the École Pratique des Hautes Études (scientific research), &c. All these institutions are in Paris. The most important free institution in this class is the École des Sciences Politiques, which prepares pupils for the civil services and teaches a great number of political subjects, connected with France and foreign countries, not included in the state programmes.

Commercial and technical instruction is given in various institutions comprising national establishments such as the écoles nationales professionnelles of Armentières, Vierzon, Voiron and Nantes for the education of working men; the more advanced écoles d’arts et métiers of Châlons, Angers, Aix, Lille and Cluny; and the Central School of Arts and Manufactures at Paris; schools depending on the communes and state in combination, e.g. the écoles pratiques de commerce et d’industrie for the training of clerks and workmen; private schools controlled by the state, such as the écoles supérieures de commerce; certain municipal schools, such as the Industrial Institute of Lille; and private establishments, e.g. the school of watch-making at Paris. At Paris the École Supérieure des Mines and the École des Ponts et Chaussées are controlled by the minister of public works, the École des Beaux-Arts, the École des Arts Décoratifs and the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Déclamation by the under-secretary for fine arts, and other schools 799 mentioned elsewhere are attached to several of the ministries. In the provinces there are national schools of fine art and of music and other establishments and free subventioned schools.

In addition to the educational work done by the state, communes and private individuals, there exist in France a good many societies which disseminate instruction by giving courses of lectures and holding classes both for children and adults. Examples of such bodies are the Society for Elementary Instruction, the Polytechnic Association, the Philotechnic Association and the French Union of the Young at Paris; the Philomathic Society of Bordeaux; the Popular Education Society at Havre; the Rhône Society of Professional Instruction at Lyons; the Industrial Society of Amiens and others.

The highest institution of learning is the Institut de France, founded and kept up by the French government on behalf of science and literature, and composed of five academies: the Académie française, the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, the Académie des Sciences, the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques (see Academies). The Académie de Médecine is a separate body.

Poor Relief (Assistance publique).—In France the pauper, as such, has no legal claim to help from the community, which however, is bound to provide for destitute children (see Foundling Hospitals) and pauper lunatics (both these being under the care of the department), aged and infirm people without resources and victims of incurable illness, and to furnish medical assistance gratuitously to those without resources who are afflicted with curable illness. The funds for these purposes are provided by the department, the commune and the central authority.

There are four main types of public benevolent institutions, all of which are communal in character: (1) The hôpital, for maternity cases and cases of curable illness; (2) the hospice, where the aged poor, cases of incurable malady, orphans, foundlings and other children without means of support, and in some cases lunatics, are received; (3) the bureau de bienfaisance, charged with the provision of out-door relief (secours à domicile) in money or in kind, to the aged poor or those who, though capable of working, are prevented from doing so by illness or strikes; (4) the bureau d’assistance, which dispenses free medical treatment to the destitute.

These institutions are under the supervision of a branch of the ministry of the interior. The hospices and hôpitaux and the bureaux de bienfaisance, the foundation of which is optional for the commune, are managed by committees consisting of the mayor of the municipality and six members, two elected by the municipal council and four nominated by the prefect. The members of these committees are unpaid, and have no concern with ways and means which are in the hands of a paid treasurer (receveur). The bureaux de bienfaisance in the larger centres are aided by unpaid workers (commissaires or dames de charité), and in the big towns by paid inquiry officers. Bureaux d’assistance exist in every commune, and are managed by the combined committees of the hospices and the bureaux de bienfaisance or by one of these in municipalities, where only one of those institutions exists.

No poor-rate is levied in France. Funds for hôpitals, hospices and bureaux de bienfaisance comprise:

1. A 10% surtax on the fees of admission to places of public amusement.

2. A proportion of the sums payable in return for concessions of land in municipal cemeteries.

3. Profits of the communal Monts de Piété (pawn-shops).

4. Donations, bequests and the product of collections in churches.

5. The product of certain fines.

6. Subventions from the departments and communes.

7. Income from endowments.

(R. Tr.)


In the extent and importance of her colonial dominion France is second only to Great Britain. The following table gives the name, area and population of each colony and protectorate as well as the date of acquisition or establishment of a protectorate. It should be noted that the figures for area and population are, as a rule, only estimates, but in most instances they probably approximate closely to accuracy. Detailed notices of the separate countries will be found under their several heads:

Colony. Date of
Area in sq. m. Population.
In Asia—      
 Establishments in India 1683-1750 200 273,000
 In Indo-China—      
 Annarn 1883 60,000 6,000,000
 Cambodia 1863 65,000 1,500,000
 Cochin-China 1862 22,000 3,000,000
 Tongking 1883 46,000 6,000,000
 Laos 1893 100,000 600,000
 Kwang-Chow-Wan 1898 325 189,000
   Total in Asia . . 293,525 17,562,000
In Africa and the Indian Ocean—      
 Algeria 1830-1847 185,000 5,231,850
 Algerian Sahara 1872-1890 760,000 . .
 Tunisia 1881 51,000 2,000,000
West Africa—      
 Senegal 1626 74,000 1,800,000
 Upper Senegal and Niger (including part of Sahara) 1880 1,580,000 4,000,000
 Guinea 1848 107,000 2,500,000
 Ivory Coast 1842 129,000 2,000,000
 Dahomey 1863-1894 40,000 1,000,000
Congo (French Equatorial Africa)—      
 Gabun 1839 700,000 376,000
 Mid. Congo 1882 259,000
 Ubangi-Chad 1885-1899 3,015,000
Madagascar 1885-1896 228,000 2,664,000
 Nossi-be Island 1840
 Ste Marie Island 1750
 Comoro Islands 1843-1886 760 82,000
Somali Coast 1862-1884 12,000 50,000
Réunion 1643 965 173,315
St Paul 1892 3 uninhabited
Amsterdam 19
Kerguelen24 1893 1,400
   Total in Africa and Indian Ocean.   3,869,147 25,151,165
In America—      
 Guiana 1626 51,000 30,000
 Guadeloupe 1634 619 182,112
 Martinique 1635 380 182,024
 St Pierre and Miquelon 1635 92 6,500
   Total in America   52,092 400,636
In Oceania—      
 New Caledonia and Dependencies 1854-1887 7,500 72,000
 Establishments in Oceania 1841-1881 1,641 34,300
   Total in Oceania   9,141 106,300
Grand Total     4,223,905 43,220,101

It will be seen that nearly all the colonies and protectorates lie within the tropics. The only countries in which there is a considerable white population are Algeria, Tunisia and New Caledonia. The “year of acquisition” in the table, when one date only is given, indicates the period when the country or some part of it first fell under French influence, and does not imply continuous possession since.

Government.—The principle underlying the administration of the French possessions overseas, from the earliest days until the close of the 19th century, was that of “domination” and “assimilation,” notwithstanding that after the loss of Canada and the sale of Louisiana France ceased to hold any considerable colony in which Europeans could settle in large numbers. With 800 the vast extension of the colonial empire in tropical countries in the last quarter of the 19th century the evils of the system of assimilation, involving also intense centralization, became obvious. This, coupled with the realization of the fact that the value to France of her colonies was mainly commercial, led at length to the abandonment of the attempt to impose on a great number of diverse peoples, some possessing (as in Indo-China and parts of West Africa) ancient and highly complex civilizations, French laws, habits of mind, tastes and manners. For the policy of assimilation there was substituted the policy of “association,” which had for aim the development of the colonies and protectorates upon natural, i.e. national, lines. Existing civilizations were respected, a considerable degree of autonomy was granted, and every effort made to raise the moral and economic status of the natives. The first step taken in this direction was in 1900 when a law was passed which laid down that the colonies were to provide for their own civil expenditure. This law was followed by further measures tending to decentralization and the protection of the native races.

The system of administration bears nevertheless many marks of the “assimilation” era. None of the French possessions is self-governing in the manner of the chief British colonies. Several colonies, however, elect members of the French legislature, in which body is the power of fixing the form of government and the laws of each colony or protectorate. In default of legislation the necessary measures are taken by decree of the head of the state; these decrees having the force of law. A partial exception to this rule is found in Algeria, where all laws in force in France before the conquest of the country are also (in theory, not in practice) in force in Algeria. In all colonies Europeans preserve the political rights they held in France, and these rights have been extended, in whole or in part, to various classes of natives. Where these rights have not been conferred, native races are subjects and not citizens. To this rule Tunisia presents an exception, Tunisians retaining their nationality and laws.

In addition to Algeria, which sends three senators and six deputies to Paris and is treated in many respects not as a colony but as part of France, the colonies represented in the legislature are: Martinique, Guadeloupe and Réunion (each electing one senator and two deputies), French India (one senator and one deputy), Guiana, Senegal and Cochin-China (one deputy each). The franchise in the three first-named colonies is enjoyed by all classes of inhabitants, white, negro and mulatto, who are all French citizens. In India the franchise is exercised without distinction of colour or nationality; in Senegal the electors are the inhabitants (black and white) of the communes which have been given full powers. In Guiana and Cochin-China the franchise is restricted to citizens, in which category the natives (in those colonies) are not included.25 The inhabitants of Tahiti though accorded French citizenship have not been allotted a representative in parliament. The colonial representatives enjoy equal rights with those elected for constituencies in France.

The oversight of all the colonies and protectorates save Algeria and Tunisia is confided to a minister of the colonies (law of March 20, 1894)26 whose powers correspond to those exercised in France by the minister of the interior. The colonial army is nevertheless attached (law of 1900) to the ministry of war. The colonial minister is assisted by a number of organizations of which the most important is the superior council of the colonies (created by decree in 1883), an advisory body which includes the senators and deputies elected by the colonies, and delegates elected by the universal suffrage of all citizens in the colonies and protectorates which do not return members to parliament. To the ministry appertains the duty of fixing the duties on foreign produce in those colonies which have not been, by law, subjected to the same tariff as in France. (Nearly all the colonies save those of West Africa and the Congo have been, with certain modifications, placed under the French tariff.) The budget of all colonies not possessing a council general (see below) must also be approved by the minister. Each colony and protectorate, including Algeria, has a separate budget. As provided by the law of 1900 all local charges are borne by the colonies—supplemented at need by grants in aid—but the military expenses are borne by the state. In all the colonies the judicature has been rendered independent of the executive.

The colonies are divisible into two classes, (1) those possessing considerable powers of local self-government, (2) those in which the local government is autocratic. To this second class may be added the protectorates (and some colonies) where the native form of government is maintained under the supervision of French officials.

Class (1) includes the American colonies, Réunion, French India, Senegal, Cochin-China and New Caledonia. In these colonies the system of assimilation was carried to great lengths. At the head of the administration is a governor under whom is a secretary-general, who replaces him at need. The governor is aided by a privy council, an advisory body to which the governor nominates a minority of unofficial members, and a council general, to which is confided the control of local affairs, including the voting of the budget. The councils general are elected by universal suffrage of all citizens and those who, though not citizens, have been granted the political franchise. In Cochin-China, in place of a council general, there is a colonial council which fulfils the functions of a council general.

In the second class of colonies the governor, sometimes assisted by a privy council, on which non-official members find seats, sometimes simply by a council of administration, is responsible only to the minister of the colonies. In Indo-China, West Africa, French Congo and Madagascar, the colonies and protectorates are grouped under governors-general, and to these high officials extensive powers have been granted by presidential decree. The colonies under the governor-general of West Africa are ruled by lieutenant-governors with restricted powers, the budget of each colony being fixed by the governor-general, who is assisted by an advisory government council comprising representatives of all the colonies under his control. In Indo-China the governor-general has under his authority the lieutenant-governor of the colony of Cochin-China, and the residents superior at the courts of the kings of Cambodia and Annam and in Tongking (nominally a viceroyalty of Annam). There is a superior council for the whole of Indo-China on which the natives and the European commercial community are represented, while in Cochin-China a privy council, and in the protectorates a council of the protectorate, assists in the work of administration. In each of the governments general there is a financial controller with extensive powers who corresponds directly with the metropolitan authorities (decree of March 22, 1907). Details and local differences in form of government will be found under the headings of the various colonies and protectorates.

Colonial Finance.—The cost of the extra-European possessions, other than Algeria and Tunisia, to the state is shown in the expenses of the colonial ministry. In the budget of 1885 these expenses were put at £1,380,000; in 1895 they had increased to £3,200,000 and in 1900 to £5,100,000. In 1905 they were placed at £4,431,000. Fully three-fourths of the state contributions is expenditure on military necessities; in addition there are subventions to various colonies and to colonial railways and cables, and the expenditure on the penitentiary establishments; an item not properly chargeable to the colonies. In return the state receives the produce of convict labour in Guiana and New Caledonia. Save for the small item of military expenditure Tunisia is no charge to the French exchequer. The similar expenses of Algeria borne by the state are not separately shown, but are estimated at £2,000,000.

The colonial budgets totalled in 1907 some £16,760,000, being divisible into six categories: Algeria £4,120,000; Tunisia £3,640,000; Indo-China27 about £5,000,000; West Africa £1,600,000; Madagascar £960,000; all other colonies combined £1,440,000. 801 The authorized colonial loans, omitting Algeria and Tunisia, during the period 1884-1904 amounted to £19,200,000, the sums paid for interest and sinking funds on loans varying from £600,000 to £800,000 a year. The amount of French capital invested in French colonies and protectorates, including Algeria and Tunisia, was estimated in 1905 at £120,000,000, French capital invested in foreign countries at the same date being estimated at ten times that amount (see Ques. Dip. et Col., February 16, 1905).

Commerce.—The value of the external trade of the French possessions, exclusive of Algeria and Tunisia, increased in the ten years 1896-1905 from £18,784,060 to £34,957,479. In the last-named year the commerce of Algeria amounted to £24,506,020 and that of Tunisia to £5,969,248, making a grand total for French colonial trade in 1905 of £65,432,746. The figures were made up as follows:

  Imports. Exports. Total.
Algeria £15,355,500 £9,150,520 £24,506,020
Tunisia 3,638,185 2,331,063 5,969,248
Indo-China 10,182,411 6,750,306 16,932,717
West Africa 3,874,698 2,248,317 6,123,015
Madagascar 1,247,936 914,024 2,161,960
All other colonies 4,258,134 5,481,652 9,739,786
Total £38,556,864 £26,875,882 £65,432,746

Over three-fourths of the trade of Algeria and Tunisia is with France and other French possessions. In the other colonies and protectorates more than half the trade is with foreign countries. The foreign countries trading most largely with the French colonies are, in the order named, British colonies and Great Britain, China and Japan, the United States and Germany. The value of the trade with British colonies and Great Britain in 1905 was over £7,200,000.

(F. R. C.)

Bibliography.—P. Joanne, Dictionnaire géographique et administrative de la France (8 vols., Paris, 1890-1905); C. Brossard, La France et ses colonies (6 vols., Paris, 1900-1906); O. Reclus, Le Plus Beau Royaume sous le ciel (Paris, 1899); Vidal de La Blache, La France. Tableau géographique (Paris, 1908); V.E. Ardouin-Dumazet, Voyage en France (Paris, 1894); H. Havard, La France artistique et monumentale (6 vols., Paris, 1892-1895); A. Lebon and P. Pelet, France as it is, tr. Mrs W. Arnold (London, 1888); articles on “Local Government in France” in the Stock Exchange Official Intelligence Annuals (London, 1908 and 1909); M. Block, Dictionnaire de l’administration française, the articles in which contain full bibliographies (2 vols., Paris, 1905); E. Levasseur, La France et ses colonies (3 vols., Paris, 1890); M. Fallex and A. Mairey, La France et sis colonies au début du XXe siècle, which has numerous bibliographies (Paris, 1909); J. du Plessis de Grenédan, Géographie agricole de la France et du monde (Paris, 1903); F. de St Genis, La Propriété rurale en France (Paris, 1902); H. Baudrillart, Les Populations agricoles de la France (3 vols., Paris, 1885-1893); J.E.C. Bodley, France (London, 1899); A. Girault, Principes de colonisation et de législation coloniale (3 vols., Paris, 1907-1908); Les Colonies françaises, an encyclopaedia edited by M. Petit (2 vols., Paris, 1902). Official statistical works: Annuaire statistique de la France (a summary of the statistical publications of the government), Statistique agricole annuelle, Statistique de l’industrie minérale et des appareils de vapeur, Tableau général du commerce et de la navigation, Reports on the various colonies issued annually by the British Foreign Office, &c. Guide Books: Karl Baedeker, Northern France, Southern France; P. Joanne, Nord, Champagne et Ardenne; Normandie; and other volumes dealing with every region of the country.


The identity of the earliest inhabitants of Gaul is veiled in obscurity, though philologists, anthropologists and archaeologists are using the glimmer of traditions collected by ancient historians to shed a faint twilight upon that remote Pre-historic Gaul. past. The subjugation of those primitive tribes did not mean their annihilation: their blood still flows in the veins of Frenchmen; and they survive also on those megalithic monuments (see Stone Monuments) with which the soil cf France is dotted, in the drawings and sculptures of caves hollowed out along the sides of the valleys, and in the arms and ornaments yielded by sepulchral tumuli, while the names of the rivers and mountains of France probably perpetuate the first utterances of those nameless generations.

The first peoples of whom we have actual knowledge are the Iberians and Ligurians. The Basques who now inhabit both sides of the Pyrenean range are probably the last representatives of the Iberians, who came from Spain to settle between the Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay. The Ligurians, who exhibited the hard cunning characteristic of the Genoese Riviera, must have been descendants of that Indo-European vanguard who occupied all northern Italy and the centre and south-east Iberians and Ligurians. of France, who in the 7th century B.C. received the Phocaean immigrants at Marseilles, and who at a much later period were encountered by Hannibal during his march to Rome, on the banks of the Rhône, the frontier of the Iberian and Ligurian territories. Upon these peoples it was that the conquering minority of Celts or Gauls imposed themselves, to be succeeded at a later date by the Roman aristocracy.

When Gaul first enters the field of history, Rome has already laid the foundation of her freedom, Athens dazzles the eastern Mediterranean with her literature and her art, while in the west Carthage and Marseilles are lining opposite Empire of the Celts. shores with their great houses of commerce. Coming from the valley of the Danube in the 6th century, the Celts or Gauls had little by little occupied central and southern Europe long before they penetrated into the plains of the Saône, the Seine, and the Loire as far as the Spanish border, driving out the former inhabitants of the country. A century later their political hegemony, extending from the Black Sea to the Strait of Gibraltar, began to disintegrate, and the Gauls then embarked on more distant migrations, from the Columns of Hercules to the plateaux of Asia Minor, taking Rome on their way. Their empire in Gaul, encroached upon in the north by the Belgae, a kindred race, and in the south by the Iberians, gradually contracted in area and eventually crumbled to pieces. This process served the turn of the Romans, who little by little had subjugated first the Cisalpine Gauls and afterwards those inhabiting The Roman Conquest. the south-east of France, which was turned into a Roman province in the 2nd century. Up to this time Hellenism and the mercantile spirit of the Jews had almost exclusively dominated the Mediterranean littoral, and at first the Latin spirit only won foothold for itself in various spots on the western coast—as at Aix in Provence (123 B.C.) and at Narbonne (118 B.C.). A refuge of Italian pauperism in the time of the Gracchi, after the triumph of the oligarchy the Narbonnaise became a field for shameless exploitation, besides providing, under the proconsulate of Caesar, an excellent point of observation whence to watch the intestine quarrels between the different nations of Gaul.

These are divided by Caesar in his Commentaries into three groups: the Aquitanians to the south of the Garonne; the Celts, properly so called, from the Garonne to the Seine and the Marne; and the Belgae, from the Seine to the Political divisions of Gaul. Rhine. But these ethnological names cover a very great variety of half-savage tribes, differing in speech and in institutions, each surrounded by frontiers of dense forests abounding in game. On the edges of these forests stood isolated dwellings like sentinel outposts; while the inhabitants of the scattered hamlets, caves hollowed in the ground, rude circular huts or lake-dwellings, were less occupied with domestic life than with war and the chase. On the heights, as at Bibracte, or on islands in the rivers, as at Lutetia, or protected by marshes, as at Avaricum, oppida—at once fortresses and places of refuge, like the Greek Acropolis—kept watch and ward over the beaten tracks and the rivers of Gaul.

These primitive societies of tall, fair-skinned warriors, blue-eyed and red-haired, were gradually organized into political bodies of various kinds—kingdoms, republics and federations—and divided into districts or pagi (pays) Political institutions of Gaul. to which divisions the minds of the country folk have remained faithfully attached ever since. The victorious aristocracy of the kingdom dominated the other classes, strengthened by the prestige of birth, the ownership of the soil and the practice of arms. Side by side with this martial nobility the Druids constituted a priesthood unique in ancient times; neither hereditary as in India, nor composed of isolated priests as in Greece, nor of independent colleges as at Rome, it was a true corporation, which at first possessed great moral authority, though by Caesar’s time it had lost both strength and prestige. Beneath these were the common people attached to the soil, 802 who did not count for much, but who reacted against the insufficient protection of the regular institutions by a voluntary subordination to certain powerful chiefs.

This impotence of the state was a permanent cause of those discords and revolts, which in the 1st century B.C. were so singularly favourable to Caesar’s ambition. Thus Caesar in Gaul. after eight years of incoherent struggles, of scattered revolts, and then of more and more energetic efforts, Gaul, at last aroused by Vercingetorix, for once concentrated her strength, only to perish at Alesia, vanquished by Roman discipline and struck at from the rear by the conquest of Britain (58-50 B.C.).

This defeat completely altered the destiny of Gaul, and she became one of the principal centres of Roman civilization. Of the vast Celtic empire which had dominated Europe nothing now remained but scattered remnants Roman Gaul. in the farthest corners of the land, refuges for all the vanquished Gaels, Picts or Gauls; and of its civilization there lingered only idioms and dialects—Gaelic, Pict and Gallic—which gradually dropped out of use. During five centuries Gaul was unfalteringly loyal to her conquerors; for to conquer is nothing if the conquered be not assimilated by the conqueror, and Rome was a past-mistress of this art. The personal charm of Caesar and the prestige of Rome are not of themselves sufficient to explain this double conquest. The generous and enlightened policy of the imperial administration asked nothing of the people of Gaul but military service and the payment of the tax; in return it freed individuals from patronal domination, the people from oligarchic greed or Druidic excommunication, and every one in general from material anxiety. Petty tyrannies gave place to the great Pax Romana. The Julio-Claudian dynasty did much to attach the Gauls to the empire; they always occupied the first place in the mind of Augustus, and the revolt of the Aeduan Julius Sacrovir, provoked by the census of A.D. 21, was easily repressed by Tiberius. Caligula visited Gaul and founded literary competitions at Lyons, which had become the political and intellectual capital of the country. Claudius, who was a native of Lyons, extended the right of Roman citizenship to many of his fellow-townsmen, gave them access to the magistracy and to the senate, and supplemented the annexation of Gaul by that of Britain. The speech which he pronounced on this occasion was engraved on tables of bronze at Lyons, and is the first authentic record of Gaul’s admission to the citizenship of Rome. Though the crimes of Nero and the catastrophes which resulted from his downfall, provoked the troubles of the year A.D. 70, the revolt of Sabinus was in the main an attempt by the Germans to pillage Gaul and the prelude to military insurrections. The government of the Flavians and the Antonines completed a definite reconciliation. After the extinction of the family of Augustus in the 1st century Gaul had made many emperors—Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian and Domitian; and in the 2nd century she provided Gauls to rule the empire—Antoninus (138-161) came from Nîmes and Claudius from Lyons, as did also Caracalla later on (211-217).

The romanization of the Gauls, like that of the other subject nations, was effected by slow stages and by very diverse means, furnishing an example of the constant adaptability of Roman policy. It was begun by establishing a Material and political transformation of Roman Gaul. network of roads with Lyons as the central point, and by the development of a prosperous urban life in the increasingly wealthy Roman colonies; and it was continued by the disintegration into independent cities of nearly all the Gaulish states of the Narbonnaise, together with the substitution of the Roman collegial magistracy for the isolated magistracy of the Gauls. This alteration came about more quickly in the north-east in the Rhine-land than in the west and the centre, owing to the near neighbourhood of the legions on the frontiers. Rome was too tolerant to impose her own institutions by force; it was the conquered peoples who collectively and individually solicited as a favour the right of adopting the municipal system, the magistracy, the sacerdotal and aristocratic social system of their conquerors. The edict of Caracalla, at the beginning of the 3rd century, by conferring the right of citizenship on all the inhabitants of the empire, completed an assimilation for which commercial relations, schools, a taste for officialism, and the adaptability and quick intelligence of the race had already made preparation. The Gauls now called themselves Romans and their language Romance. There was neither oppression on the one hand nor servility on the other to explain this abandonment of their traditions. Thanks to the political and religious unity which a common worship of the emperor and of Rome gave them, thanks to administrative centralization tempered by a certain amount of municipal autonomy, Gaul prospered throughout three centuries.

But this stability of the Roman peace had barely been realized when events began to threaten it both from within and without. The Pax Romana having rendered any armed force unnecessary amid a formerly very bellicose people, only Decline of the imperial authority in Gaul. eight legions mounted guard over the Rhine to protect it from the barbarians who surrounded the empire. The raids made by the Germans on the eastern frontiers, the incessant competitions for the imperial power, and the repeated revolts of the Pretorian guard, gradually undermined the internal cohesion of Gaul; while the insurrections of the Bagaudae aggravated the destruction wrought by a grasping treasury and by barbarian incursions; so that the anarchy of the 3rd century soon aroused separatist ideas. Under Postumus Gaul had already attempted to restore an independent though short-lived empire (258-267); and twenty-eight years later the tetrarchy of Diocletian proved that the blood now circulated with difficulty from the heart to the extremities of an empire on the eve of disintegration. Rome was to see her universal dominion gradually menaced from all sides. It was in Gaul that the decisive revolutions of the time were first prepared; Constantine’s crusades to overthrow the altars of paganism, and Julian’s campaigns to set them up again. After Constantine the emperors of the East in the 4th century merely put in an occasional appearance at Rome; they resided at Milan or in the prefectorial capitals of Gaul—at Arles, at Treves (Trier), at Reims or in Paris. The ancient territorial divisions—Belgium, Gallia Lugdunensis (Lyonnaise), Gallia Narbonensis (Narbonnaise)—were split up into seventeen little provinces, which in their turn were divided into two dioceses. Thus the great historic division was made between southern and northern France. Roman nationality persisted, but the administrative system was tottering.

Upon ground that had been so well levelled by Roman legislation aristocratic institutions naturally flourished. From the 4th century onward the balance of classes was disturbed by the development of a landed aristocracy Social disorganization of Gaul. that grew more powerful day by day, and by the corresponding ruin of the small proprietors and industrial and commercial corporations. The members of the curia who assisted the magistrates in the cities, crushed by the burden of taxes, now evaded as far as possible public office or senatorial honours. The vacancies left in this middle class by this continual desertion were not compensated for by the progressive advance of a lower class destitute of personal property and constantly unsettled in their work. The peasants, no less than the industrial labourers, suffered from the absence of any capital laid by, which alone could have enabled them to improve their land or to face a time of bad harvests. Having no credit they found themselves at the mercy of their neighbours, the great landholders, and by degrees fell into the position of tenants, or into servitude. The curia was thus emptied both from above and from below. It was in vain that the emperors tried to rivet the chains of the curia in this hereditary bondage, by attaching the small proprietor to his glebe, like the artisan to his gild and the soldier to his legion. To such a miserable pretence of freedom they all preferred servitude, which at least ensured them a livelihood; and the middle class of freemen thus became gradually extinct.


The aristocracy, on the contrary, went on increasing in power, and eventually became masters of the situation. It was through them that the emperor, theoretically absolute, practically carried on his administration; but he was no Absorption of land and power by the aristocracy of Gaul. longer either strong or a divinity, and possessed nothing but the semblance of omnipotence. His official despotism was opposed by the passive but invincible competition of an aristocracy, more powerful than himself because it derived its support from the revived relation of patron and dependants. But though the aristocracy administered, yet they did not govern. They suffered, as did the Empire, from a general state of lassitude. Like their private life, their public life, no longer stimulated by struggles and difficulties, had become sluggish; their power of initiative was enfeebled. Feeling their incapacity they no longer embarked on great political schemes; and the army, the instrument by which such schemes were carried on, was only held together by the force of habit. In this society, where there was no traffic in anything but wealth and ideas, the soldier was nothing more than an agitator or a parasite. The egoism of the upper classes held military duty in contempt, while their avarice depopulated the countryside, whence the legions had drawn their recruits. And now come the barbarians! A prey to perpetual alarm, the people entrenched themselves behind those high walls of the oppida which Roman security had razed to the ground, but imperial impotence had restored, and where life in the middle ages was destined to vegetate in unrestful isolation.

Amidst this general apathy, intellectual activity alone persisted. In the 4th century there was a veritable renaissance in Gaul, the last outburst of a dying flame, which yet bore witness also to the general decadence. The agreeable versification Intellectual decadence of Gaul. of an amateur like Ausonius, the refined panegyrics of a Eumenius, disguising nullity of thought beneath elegance of form, already foretold the perilous sterility of scholasticism. Art, so widespread in the wealthy villas of Gaul, contented itself with imitation, produced nothing original and remained mediocre. Human curiosity, no longer concerned with philosophy and science, seemed as though stifled, religious polemics alone continuing to hold public attention. Disinclination for the self-sacrifice of active life and weariness of the things of the earth lead naturally to absorption in the things of heaven. After bringing about the success of the Asiatic cults of Mithra and Cybele, these same factors now assured the triumph over exhausted paganism of yet another oriental religion—Christianity—after a duel which had lasted two centuries.

This new faith had appeared to Constantine likely to infuse young and healthy blood into the Empire. In reality Christianity, which had contributed not a little to stimulate the political unity of continental Gaul, now tended to Christianity in Gaul. dissolve it by destroying that religious unity which had heretofore been its complement. Before this there had been complete harmony between Church and State; but afterwards came indifference and then disagreement between political and religious institutions, between the City of God and that of Caesar. Christianity, introduced into Gaul during the 1st century of the Christian era by those foreign merchants who traded along the coasts of the Mediterranean, had by the middle of the 2nd century founded communities at Vienne, at Autun and at Lyons. Their propagandizing zeal soon exposed them to the wrath of an ignorant populace and the contempt of the educated; and thus it was that in A.D. 177, under Marcus Aurelius, the Church of Lyons, founded by St Pothinus, suffered those persecutions which were the effective cause of her ultimate victory. These Christian communities, disguised under the legally authorized name of burial societies, gradually formed a vast secret cosmopolitan association, superimposed upon Roman society but incompatible with the Empire. Christianity had to be either destroyed or absorbed. The persecutions under Aurelian and Diocletian almost succeeded in accomplishing the former; the Christian churches were saved by the instability of the existing authorities, by military anarchy and by the incursions of the barbarians. Despite tortures and martyrdoms, and thanks to the seven apostles sent from Rome in 250, during the 3rd century their branches extended all over Gaul.

The emperors had now to make terms with these churches, which served to group together all sorts of malcontents, and this was the object of the edict of Milan (313), by which the Church, at the outset simply a Jewish Triumph of Christianity in Gaul. institution, was naturalized as Roman; while in 325 the Council of Nicaea endowed her with unity. But for the security and the power thus attained she had to pay with her independence. On the other hand, pagan and Christian elements in society existed side by side without intermingling, and even openly antagonistic to each other—one aristocratic and the other democratic. In order to induce the masses of the people once more to become loyal to the imperial form of government the emperor Julian tried by founding a new religion to give its functionaries a religious prestige which should impress the popular mind. His plan failed; and the emperor Theodosius, aided by Ambrose, bishop of Milan, preferred to make the Christian clergy into a body of imperial and conservative officials; while in return for their adhesion he abolished the Arian heresy and paganism itself, which could not survive without his support. Thenceforward it was in the name of Christ that persecutions took place in an Empire now entirely won over to Christianity.

In Gaul the most famous leader of this first merciless, if still perilous crusade, was a soldier-monk, Saint Martin of Tours. Thanks to him and his disciples in the middle of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th many of the Organisation of the Church. towns possessed well-established churches; but the militant ardour of monks and centuries of labour were needed to conquer the country districts, and in the meantime both dogma and internal organization were subjected to important modifications. As regards the former the Church adopted a course midway between metaphysical explanations and historical traditions, and reconciled the more extreme theories; while with the admission of pagans a great deal of paganism itself was introduced. On the other hand, the need for political and social order involved the necessity for a disciplined and homogeneous religious body; the exercise of power, moreover, soon transformed the democratic Christianity of the earlier churches into a federation of little conservative monarchies. The increasing number of her adherents, and her inexperience of government on such a vast and complicated scale, obliged her to comply with political necessity and to adopt the system of the state and its social customs. The Church was no longer a fraternity, on a footing of equality, with freedom of belief and tentative as to dogma, but an authoritative aristocratic hierarchy. The episcopate was now recruited from the great families in the same way as the imperial and the municipal public services. The Church called on the emperor to convoke and preside over her councils and to combat heresy; and in order more effectually to crush the latter she replaced primitive independence and local diversity by uniformity of doctrine and worship, and by the hierarchy of dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces. The heads of the Church, her bishops, her metropolitans, took the titles of their pagan predecessors as well as their places, and their jurisdiction was enforced by the laws of the state. Rich and powerful chiefs, they were administrators as much as priests: Germanus (Germain), bishop of Auxerre (d. 448), St Eucherius of Lyons (d. 450), Apollinaris Sidonius of Clermont (d. c. 490) assumed the leadership of society, fed the poor, levied tithes, administered justice, and in the towns where they resided, surrounded by priests and deacons, ruled both in temporal and spiritual matters.

But the humiliation of Theodosius before St Ambrose proved that the emperor could never claim to be a pontiff, and that the dogma of the Church remained independent of the sovereign as well as of the people; if she sacrificed The Church’s independence of the Empire. her liberty it was but to claim it again and maintain it more effectively amid the general languor. The Church thus escaped the unpopularity of this decadent empire, and during the 5th century she provided a refuge for all those who, wishing to preserve the Roman unity, were terrified 804 by the blackness of the horizon. In fact, whilst in the Eastern Church the metaphysical ardour of the Greeks was spending itself in terrible combats in the oecumenical councils over the interpretation of the Nicene Creed, the clergy of Gaul, more simple and strict in their faith, abjured these theological logomachies; from the first they had preferred action to criticism and had taken no part in the great controversy on free-will raised by Pelagius. Another kind of warfare was about to absorb their whole attention; the barbarians were attacking the frontiers of the Empire on every side, and their advent once again modified Gallo-Roman civilization.

For centuries they had been silently massing themselves around ancient Europe, whether Iberian, Celtic or Roman. Many times already during that evening of a decadent civilization, their threatening presence had seemed The barbarian invasion. like a dark cloud veiling the radiant sky of the peoples established on the Mediterranean seaboard. The cruel lightning of the sword of Brennus had illumined the night, setting Rome or Delphi on fire. Sometimes the storm had burst over Gaul, and there had been need of a Marius to stem the torrent of Cimbri and Teutons, or of a Caesar to drive back the Helvetians into their mountains. On the morrow the western horizon would clear again, until some such disaster as that which befell Varus would come to mortify cruelly the pride of an Augustus. The Romans had soon abandoned hope of conquering Germany, with its fluctuating frontiers and nomadic inhabitants. For more than two centuries they had remained prudently entrenched behind the earthworks that extended from Cologne to Ratisbon (Regensburg); but the intestine feuds which prevailed among the barbarians and were fostered by Rome, the organization under bold and turbulent chiefs of the bands greedy for booty, the pressing forward on populations already settled of tribes in their rear; all this caused the Germanic invasion to filter by degrees across the frontier. It was the work of several generations and took various forms, by turns and simultaneously colonization and aggression; but from this time forward the pax romana was at an end. The emperors Probus, Constantine, Julian and Valentinian, themselves foreigners, were worn out with repulsing these repeated assaults, and the general enervation of society did the rest. The barbarians gradually became part of the Roman population; they permeated the army, until after Theodosius they recruited it exclusively; they permeated civilian society as colonists and agriculturists, till the command of the army and of important public duties was given over to a Stilicho or a Crocus. Thus Rome allowed the wolves to mingle with the dogs in watching over the flock, just at a time when the civil wars of the 4th century had denuded the Rhenish frontier of troops, whose numbers had already been diminished by Constantine. Then at the beginning of the 5th century, during a furious irruption of Germans fleeing before Huns, the limes was carried away (406-407); and for more than a hundred years the torrent of fugitives swept through the Empire, which retreated behind the Alps, there to breathe its last.

Whilst for ten years Alaric’s Goths and Stilicho’s Vandals were drenching Italy with blood, the Vandals and the Alani from the steppes of the Black Sea, dragging in their wake the The Germans in Gaul. reluctant German tribes who had been allies of Rome and who had already settled down to the cultivation of their lands, invaded the now abandoned Gaul, and having come as far as the Pyrenees, crossed over them. After the passing of this torrent the Visigoths, under their kings Ataulphus, Wallia and Theodoric, still dazzled by the splendours of this immense empire, established themselves like submissive vassals in Aquitaine, with Toulouse as their capital. About the same time the Burgundians settled even more peaceably in Rhenish Gaul, and, after 456, to the west of the Jura in the valleys of The Franks before Clovis. the Saône and the Rhône. The original Franks of Germany, already established in the Empire, and pressed upon by the same Huns who had already forced the Goths across the Danube, passed beyond the Rhine and occupied north-eastern Gaul; Ripuarians of the Rhine establishing themselves on the Sambre and the Meuse, and Salians in Belgium, as far as the great fortified highroad from Bavai to Cologne. Accepted as allies, and supported by Roman prestige and by the active authority of the general Aetius, all these barbarians rallied round him and the Romans of Gaul, and in 451 defeated the hordes of Attila, who had advanced as far as Orleans, at the great battle of the Catalaunian plains.

Thus at the end of the 5th century the Roman empire was nothing but a heap of ruins, and fidelity to the empire was now only maintained by the Catholic Church; she alone survived, as rich, as much honoured as ever, and more The clergy and the barbarians. powerful, owing to the disappearance of the imperial officials for whom she had found substitutes, and the decadence of the municipal bodies into whose inheritance she had entered. Owing to her the City of God gradually replaced the Roman imperial polity and preserved its civilization; while the Church allied herself more closely with the new kingdoms than she had ever done with the Empire. In the Gothic or Burgundian states of the period the bishops, after having for a time opposed the barbarian invaders, sought and obtained from their chief the support formerly received from the emperor. Apollinaris Sidonius paid court to Euric, since 476 the independent king of the Visigoths, against whom he had defended Auvergne; and Avitus, bishop of Vienne, was graciously received by Gundibald, king of the Burgundians. But these princes were Arians, i.e. foreigners among the Catholic population; the alliance sought for by the Church could not reach her from that source, and it was from the rude and pagan Franks that she gained the material support which she still lacked. The conversion of Clovis was a master-stroke; it was fortunate both for himself and for the Franks. Unity in faith brought about unity in law.

Clovis was king of the Sicambrians, one of the tribes of the Salian Franks. Having established themselves in the plains of Northern Gaul, but driven by the necessity of finding new land to cultivate, in the days of their king Childeric Clovis, the Frankish chief. they had descended into the fertile valleys of the Somme and the Oise. Clovis’s victory at Soissons over the last troops left in the service of Rome (486) extended their settlements as far as the Loire. By his conversion, which was due to his wife Clotilda and to Remigius, bishop of Reims, more than to the victory of Tolbiac over the Alamanni, Clovis made definitely sure of the Roman inhabitants and gave the Church an army (496). Thenceforward he devoted himself to the foundation of the Frankish monarchy by driving the exhausted and demoralized heretics out of Gaul, and by putting himself in the place of the now enfeebled emperor. In 500 he conquered Gundibald, king of the Burgundians, reduced him to a kind of vassalage, and forced him into reiterated promises of conversion to orthodoxy. In 507 he conquered and killed Alaric II., king of the Arian Visigoths, and drove the latter into Spain. Legend adorned his campaign in Aquitaine with miracles; the bishops were the declared allies of both him and his son Theuderich (Thierry) after his conquest of Auvergne. At Tours he received from the distant emperor at Constantinople the diploma and insignia of patricius and Roman consul, which legalized his military conquests by putting him in possession of civil powers. From this time forward a great historic transformation Clovis as a Roman officer. was effected in the eyes of the bishops and of the Gallo-Romans; the Frankish chief took the place of the ancient emperors. Instead of blaming him for the murder of the lesser kings of the Franks, his relatives, by which he had accomplished the union of the Frankish tribes, they saw in this the hand of God rewarding a faithful soldier and a converted pagan. He became their king, their new David, as the Christian emperors had formerly been; he built churches, endowed monasteries, protected St Vaast (Vedastus, d. 540), first bishop of Arras and Cambrai, who restored Christianity in northern Gaul. Like the emperors before him Clovis, too, reigned over the Church. Of his own authority he called together a council at Orleans in 511, the year of his death. He was already the grand distributor of ecclesiastical benefices, pending the time when his successors were to confirm the episcopal elections, and his power began to take 805 on a more and more absolute character. But though he felt the ascendant influence of Christian teaching, he was not really penetrated by its spirit; a professing Christian, and a friend to the episcopate, Clovis remained a barbarian, crafty and ruthless. The bloody tragedies which disfigured the end of his reign bear sad witness to this; they were a fit prelude to that period during the course of which, as Gregory of Tours said, “barbarism was let loose.”

The conquest of Gaul, begun by Clovis, was finished by his sons: Theuderich, Chlodomer, Childebert and Clotaire. In three successive campaigns, from 523 to 532, they annihilated the Burgundian kingdom, which had The sons of Clovis. maintained its independence, and had endured for nearly a century. Favoured by the war between Justinian, the East Roman emperor, and Theodoric’s Ostrogoths, the Frankish kings divided Provence among them as they had done in the case of Burgundy. Thus the whole of Gaul was subjected to the sons of Clovis, except Septimania in the south-east, where the Visigoths still maintained their power. The Frankish armies then overflowed into the neighbouring countries and began to pillage them. Their disorderly cohorts made an attack upon Italy, which was repulsed by the Lombards, and another on Spain with the same want of success; but beyond the Rhine they embarked upon the conquest of Germany, where Clovis had already reduced to submission the country on the banks of the Maine, later known as Franconia. In 531 the Thuringians in the centre of Germany were brought into subjection by his eldest son, King Theuderich, and about the same time the Bavarians were united to the Franks, though preserving a certain autonomy. The Merovingian monarchy thus attained the utmost limits of its territorial expansion, bounded as it was by the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Rhine; it exercised influence over the whole of Germany, which it threw open to the Christian missionaries, and its conquests formed the first beginnings of German history.

But to these wars of aggrandizement and pillage succeeded those fratricidal struggles which disgraced the whole of the sixth century and arrested the expansion of the Merovingian power. When Clotaire, the last surviving son of Civil wars. Clovis, died in 561, the kingdom was divided between his four sons like some piece of private property, as in 511, and according to the German method. The capitals of these four kings—Charibert, who died in 567, Guntram, Sigebert and Chilperic—were Paris, Orleans, Reims and Soissons—all near one another and north of the Loire, where the Germanic inhabitants predominated; but their respective boundaries were so confused that disputes were inevitable. There was no trace of a political idea in these disputes; the mutual hatred of two women aggravated jealousy to the point of causing terrible civil wars from 561 to 613, and these finally created a national conflict which resulted in the dismemberment of the Frankish empire. Recognized, in fact, already as separate provinces were Austrasia, or the eastern kingdom, Neustria, or north-west Gaul and Burgundy; Aquitaine alone was as yet undifferentiated.

Sigebert had married Brunhilda, the daughter of a Visigoth king; she was beautiful and well educated, having been brought up in Spain, where Roman civilization still flourished. Chilperic had married Galswintha, one of Brunhilda’s Fredegond and Brunhilda. sisters, for the sake of her wealth; but despite this marriage he had continued his amours with a waiting-woman named Fredegond, who pushed ambition to the point of crime, and she induced him to get rid of Galswintha. In order to avenge her sister, Brunhilda incited Sigebert to begin a war which terminated in 575 with the assassination of Sigebert by Fredegond at the very moment when, thanks to the help of the Germans, he had gained the victory, and with the imprisonment of Brunhilda at Rouen. Fredegond subsequently caused the death of Merovech (Mérovée), the son of Chilperic, who had been secretly married to Brunhilda, and that of Bishop Praetextatus, who had solemnized their union. After this, Fredegond endeavoured to restore imperial finance to a state of solvency, and to set up a more regular form of government in her Neustria, which was less romanized and less wealthy than Burgundy, where Guntram was reigning, and less turbulent than the eastern kingdom, where most of the great warlike chiefs with their large landed estates were somewhat impatient of royal authority. But the accidental death of two of her children, the assassination of her husband in 584, and the advice of the Church, induced her to make overtures to her brother-in-law Guntram. A lover of peace through sheer cowardice and as depraved in his morals as Chilperic, Guntram had played a vacillating and purely self-interested part in the family tragedy. He declared himself the protector of Fredegond, but his death in 593 delivered up Burgundy and Neustria to Brunhilda’s son Childebert, king of Austrasia, in consequence of the treaty of Andelot, made in 587. An ephemeral triumph, however; for Childebert died in 596, followed a year later by Fredegond.

The whole of Gaul was now handed over to three children: Childebert’s two sons, Theudebert and Theuderich (Thierry), and the son of Fredegond, Clotaire II. The latter, having vanquished the two former at Latofao in The fall of Brunhilda. 596, was in turn beaten by them at Dormelles in 600, and a year later a fresh fratricidal struggle broke out between the two grandsons of the aged Brunhilda. Theuderich joined with Clotaire against Theodobert, and invaded his brother’s kingdom, conquering first an army of Austrasians and then one composed of Saxons and Thuringians. Strife began again in 613 in consequence of Theuderich’s desire to join Austrasia to Neustria, but his death delivered the kingdoms into the hands of Clotaire II. This weak king leant for support upon the nobles of Burgundy and Austrasia, impatient as they were of obedience to a woman and the representative of Rome. The ecclesiastical party also abandoned Brunhilda because of her persecution of their saints, after which Clotaire, having now got the upper hand, thanks to the defection of the Austrasian nobles, of Arnulf, bishop of Metz, with his brother Pippin, and of Warnachaire, mayor of the palace, made a terrible end of Brunhilda in 613. Her long reign had not lacked intelligence and even greatness; she alone, amid all these princes, warped by self-indulgence or weakened by discord, had behaved like a statesman, and she alone understood the obligations of the government she had inherited. She wished to abolish the fatal tradition of dividing up the kingdom, which so constantly prevented any possible unity; in opposition to the nobles she used her royal authority to maintain the Roman principles of order and regular administration. Towards the Church she held a courteous but firm policy, renewing relations between the Frankish kingdom and the pope; and she so far maintained the greatness of the Empire that tradition associated her name with the Roman roads in the north of France, entitling them “les chaussées de Brunehaut.”

Like his grandfather, Clotaire II. reigned over a once more united Gaul of Franks and Gallo-Romans, and like Clovis he was not too well obeyed by the nobles; moreover, his had been a victory more for the aristocracy than Clotaire II. for the crown, since it limited the power of the latter. Not that the permanent constitution of the 18th of October 614 was of the nature of an anti-monarchic revolution, for the royal power still remained very great, decking itself with the pompous titles of the Empire, and continuing to be the dominant institution; but the reservations which Clotaire II. had to make in conceding the demands of the bishops and great laymen show the extent and importance of the concessions these latter were already aiming at. The bishops, the real inheritors of the imperial idea of government, had become great landowners through enormous donations made to the Church, and allied as they were to the aristocracy, whence their ranks were continually recruited, they had gradually identified themselves with the interests of their class and had adopted its customs; while thanks to long minorities and civil wars the aristocracy of the high officials had taken an equally important social position. The treaty of Andelot in 587 had already decided that the benefices or lands granted to them by the kings should be held for life. In the 7th century the Merovingian kings adopted the custom of summoning them all, and not merely the officials of their Palatium, to discuss political affairs; they began, moreover, 806 to choose their counts or administrators from among the great landholders. This necessity for approval and support points to yet another alteration in the nature of the royal power, absolute as it was in theory.

The Mayoralty of the Palace aimed a third and more serious blow at the royal authority. By degrees, the high officials of the Palatium, whether secular or ecclesiastical, and also the provincial counts, had rallied round The mayors of the palace. the mayors of the palace as their real leaders. As under the Empire, the Palatium was both royal court and centre of government, with the same bureaucratic hierarchy and the same forms of administration; and the mayor of the palace was premier official of this itinerant court and ambulatory government. Moreover, since the palace controlled the whole of each kingdom, the mayors gradually extended their official authority so as to include functionaries and agents of every kind, instead of merely those attached immediately to the king’s person. They suggested candidates for office for the royal selection, often appointed office-holders, and, by royal warrant, supported or condemned them. Mere subordinates while the royal power was strong, they had become, owing to the frequent minorities, and to civil wars which broke the tradition of obedience, the all-powerful ministers of kings nominally absolute but without any real authority. Before long they ceased to claim an even greater degree of independence than that of Warnachaire, who forced Clotaire II. to swear that he should never be deprived of his mayoralty of Burgundy; they wished to take the first place in the kingdoms they governed, and to be able to attack neighbouring kingdoms on their own account. A struggle, motived by self-interest, no doubt; but a struggle, too, of opposing principles. Since the Frankish monarchy was now in their power some of them tried to re-establish the unity of that monarchy in all its integrity, together with the superiority of the State over the Church; others, faithless to the idea of unity, saw in the disintegration of the state and the supremacy of the nobles a warrant for their own independence. These two tendencies were destined to strive against one another during an entire century (613-714), and to occasion two periods of violent conflict, which, divided by a kind of renascence of royalty, were to end at last in the triumphant substitution of the Austrasian mayors for royalty and aristocracy alike.

The first struggle began on the accession of Clotaire II., when Austrasia, having had a king of her own ever since 561, demanded one now. In 623 Clotaire was obliged to send her his son Dagobert and even to extend his First struggle between monarchy and mayoralty. territory. But in Dagobert’s name two men ruled, representing the union of the official aristocracy and the Church. One, Pippin of Landen, derived his power from his position as mayor of the palace, from great estates in Aquitaine and between the Meuse and the Rhine, and from the immense number of his supporters; the other, Arnulf, bishop of Metz, sprang from a great family, probably of Roman descent, and was besides immensely wealthy in worldly possessions. By the union of their forces Pippin and Arnulf were destined to shape the future. They had already, in 613, treated with Clotaire and betrayed the hopes of Brunhilda, being consequently rewarded with the guardianship of young Dagobert. Burgundy followed the example of Austrasia, demanded the abolition of the mayoralty, and in 627 succeeded in obtaining her independence of Neustria and Austrasia and direct relations with the king.

The death of Clotaire (629) was the signal for a revival of the royal power. Dagobert deprived Pippin of Landen of his authority and forced him to fly to Aquitaine; but still he had to give the Austrasians his son Sigebert Renascence of monarchy under Dagobert, 629-639. III. for their king (634). He made administrative progresses through Neustria and Burgundy to recall the nobles to their allegiance, but again he was forced to designate his second son Clovis as king of Neustria. He did subdue Aquitaine completely, thanks to his brother Charibert, with whom he had avoided dividing the kingdom, and he tried to restore his own demesne, which had been despoiled by the granting of benefices or by the pious frauds of the Church. In short, this reign was one of great conquests, impossible except under a strong government. Dagobert’s victories over Samo, king of the Slavs along the Elbe, and his subjugation of the Bretons and the Basques, maintained the prestige of the Frankish empire; while the luxury of his court, his taste for the fine arts (ministered to by his treasurer Eloi28), his numerous achievements in architecture—especially the abbey of St Denis, burial-place of the kings of France—the brilliance and the power of the churchmen who surrounded him and his revision of the Salic law, ensured for his reign, in spite of the failure of his plans for unity, a fame celebrated in folksong and ballad.

But for barbarous nations old-age comes early, and after Dagobert’s death (639), the monarchy went swiftly to its doom. The mayors of the palace again became supreme, and the kings not only ceased to appoint them, but The “Rois fainéants” (do-nothing kings). might not even remove them from office. Such mayors were Aega and Erchinoald, in Neustria, Pippin and Otto in Austrasia, and Flaochat in Burgundy. One of them, Grimoald, son of Pippin, actually dared to take the title of king in Austrasia (640). This was a premature attempt and barren of result, yet it was significant; and not less so is the fact that the palace in which these mayors bore rule was a huge association of great personages, laymen and ecclesiastics who seem to have had much more independence than in the 6th century. We find the dukes actually raising troops without the royal sanction, and even against the king. In 641 the mayor Flaochat was forced to swear that they should hold their offices for life; and though these offices were not yet hereditary, official dynasties, as it were, began to be established permanently within the palace. The crown lands, the governorships, the different offices, were looked upon as common property to be shared between themselves. Organized into a compact body they surrounded the king and were far more powerful than he. In the general assembly of its members this body of officials decided the selection of the mayor; it presented Flaochat to the choice of Queen Nanthilda, Dagobert’s widow; after long discussion it appointed Ebroïn as mayor; it submitted requests that were in reality commands to the Assembly of Bonneuil in 616 and later to Childeric in 670. Moreover, the countries formerly subdued by the Franks availed themselves of this opportunity to loosen the yoke; Thuringia was lost by Sigebert in 641, and the revolt of Alamannia in 643 set back the frontier of the kingdom from the Elbe to Austrasia. Aquitaine, hitherto the common prey of all the Frankish kings, having in vain tried to profit by the struggles between Fredegond and Brunhilda, and set up an independent king, Gondibald, now finally burst her bonds in 670. Then came a time when the kings were mere children, honoured with but the semblance of respect, under the tutelage of a single mayor, Erbroïn of Neustria.

This representative of royalty, chief minister for four-and-twenty years (656-681), attempted the impossible, endeavouring to re-establish unity in the midst of general dissolution and to maintain intact a royal authority usurped Struggle between Ebroïn and Léger. everywhere, by the hereditary power of the great palatine families. He soon stirred up against himself all the dissatisfied nobles, led by Léger (Leodegarius), bishop of Autun and his brother Gerinus. Clotaire III.’s death gave the signal for war. Ebroïn’s enemies set up Childeric II. in opposition to Theuderich, the king whom he had chosen without summoning the great provincial officials. Despite a temporary triumph, when Childeric was forced to recognize the principle of hereditary succession in public offices, and when the mayoralties of Neustria and Burgundy were alternated to the profit of both, Léger soon fell into disgrace and was exiled to that very monastery of Luxeuil to which Ebroïn had been relegated. Childeric having regained the mastery restored the mayor’s office, which was immediately disputed by the two rivals; Ebroïn was successful and established himself as mayor of the palace in the room of Leudesius, a partisan of Léger (675), 807 following this up by a distribution of offices and dignities right and left among his adherents. Léger was put to death in 678, and the Austrasians, commanded by the Carolingian Pippin II., with whom many of the chief Neustrians had taken refuge, were dispersed near Laon (680). But Ebroïn was assassinated next year in the midst of his triumph, having like Fredegond been unable to do more than postpone for a quarter of a century the victory of the nobles and of Austrasia; for his successor, Berthar, was unfitted to carry on his work, having neither his gifts and energy nor the powerful personality of Pippin. Berthar met his death at the battle of Tertry (687), which Battle of Tertry. gave the king into the hands of Pippin, as also the royal treasure and the mayoralty, and by thus enabling him to reward his followers made him supreme over the Merovingian dynasty. Thenceforward the degenerate descendants of Clovis offered no further resistance to his claims, though it was not until 752 that their line became extinct.

In that year the Merovingian dynasty gave place to the rule of Pippin II. of Heristal, who founded a Carolingian empire fated to be as ephemeral as that of the Merovingians. This political victory of the aristocracy was merely the consummation of a slow subterranean revolution which by innumerable reiterated blows had sapped the structure of the body politic, and was about to transfer the people of Gaul from the Roman monarchical and administrative government to the sway of the feudal system.

The Merovingian kings, mere war-chiefs before the advent of Clovis, had after the conquest of Gaul become absolute hereditary monarchs, thanks to the disappearance of the popular assemblies and to the perpetual state of warfare. Causes of the fall of the Merovingians. They concentrated in their own hands all the powers of the empire, judicial, fiscal and military; and even the so-called “rois fainéants” enjoyed this unlimited power, in spite of the general disorder and the civil wars. To make their authority felt in the provinces they had an army of officials at their disposal—a legacy, this, from imperial Rome—who represented them in the eyes of their various peoples. They had therefore only to keep up this established government, but they could not manage even this much; they allowed the idea of the common interests of kings and their subjects gradually to die out, and forgetting that national taxes are a necessary impost, a charge for service rendered by the state, they had treated these as though they were illicit and unjustifiable spoils. The taxpayers, with the clergy at their head, adopted the same idea, and every day contrived fresh methods of evasion. Merovingian justice was on the same footing as Merovingian finance: it was arbitrary, violent and self-seeking. The Church, too, never failed to oppose it—at first not so much on account of her own ambitions as in a more Christian spirit—and proceeded to weaken the royal jurisdiction by repeated interventions on behalf of those under sentence, afterwards depriving it of authority over the clergy, and then setting up ecclesiastical tribunals in opposition to those held by the dukes and counts. At last, just as the kingdom had become the personal property of the king, so the officials—dukes, counts, royal vicars, tribunes, centenarii—who had for the most part bought their unpaid offices by means of presents to the monarch, came to look upon the public service rather as a mine of official wealth than as an administrative organization for furthering the interests, material or moral, of the whole nation. They became petty local tyrants, all the more despotic because they had nothing to fear save the distant authority of the king’s missi, and the more rapacious because they had no salary save the fines they inflicted and the fees that they contrived to multiply. Gregory of Tours tells us that they were robbers, not protectors of the people, and that justice and the whole administrative apparatus were merely engines of insatiable greed. It was the abuses thus committed by the kings and their agents, who did not understand the art of gloving the iron hand, aided by the absolutely unfettered licence of conduct and the absence of any popular liberty, that occasioned the gradual increase of charters of immunity.

Immunity was the direct and personal privilege which forbade any royal official or his agents to decide cases, to levy taxes, or to exercise any administrative control on the domains of a bishop, an abbot, or one of the great secular Immunity. nobles. On thousands of estates the royal government gradually allowed the law of the land to be superseded by local law, and public taxation to change into special contributions; so that the duties of the lower classes towards the state were transferred to the great landlords, who thus became loyal adherents of the king but absolute masters on their own territory. The Merovingians had no idea that they were abdicating the least part of their authority, nevertheless the deprivations acquiesced in by the feebler kings led of necessity to the diminution of their authority and their judicial powers, and to the abandonment of public taxation. They thought that by granting immunity they would strengthen their direct control; in reality they established the local independence of the great landowners, by allowing royal rights to pass into their hands. Then came confusion between the rights of the sovereign and the rights of property. The administrative machinery of the state still existed, but it worked in empty air: its taxpayers disappeared, those who were amenable to its legal jurisdiction slipped from its grasp, and the number of those whose affairs it should have directed dwindled away. Thus the Merovingians had shown themselves incapable of rising above the barbarous notion that royalty is a personal asset to the idea that royalty is of the state, a power belonging to the nation and instituted for the benefit of all. They represented in society nothing more than a force which grew feebler and feebler as other forces grew strong; they never stood for a national magistracy.

Society no less than the state was falling asunder by a gradual process of decay. Under the Merovingians it was a hierarchy wherein grades were marked by the varied scale of the wergild, a man being worth anything from thirty to six Disruption of the social framework. hundred gold pieces. The different degrees were those of slave, freedman, tenant-farmer and great landowner. As in every social scheme where the government is without real power, the weakest sought protection of the strongest; and the system of patron, client and journeyman, which had existed among the Romans, the Gauls and the Germans, spread rapidly in the 6th and 7th centuries, owing to public disorder and the inadequate protection afforded by the government. The Church’s patronage provided some with a refuge from violence; others ingratiated themselves with the rich for the sake of shelter and security; others again sought place and honour from men of power; while women, churchmen and warriors alike claimed the king’s direct and personal protection.

This hierarchy of persons, these private relations of man to man, were recognized by custom in default of the law, and were soon strengthened by another and territorial hierarchy. The large estate, especially if it belonged to the Church, The beneficium. very soon absorbed the few fields of the freeman. In order to farm these, the Church and the rich landowners granted back the holdings on the temporary and conditional terms of tenancy-at-will or of the beneficium, thus multiplying endlessly the land subject to their overlordship and the men who were dependent upon them as tenants. The kings, like private individuals and ecclesiastical establishments, made use of the beneficium to reward their servants; till finally their demesne was so reduced by these perpetual grants that they took to distributing among their champions land owning the overlordship of the Church, or granted their own lands for single lives only. These various “benefactions” were, as a rule, merely the indirect methods which the great landowners employed in order to absorb the small proprietor. And so well did they succeed, that in the 6th and 7th centuries the provincial hierarchy consisted of the cultivator, the holder of the beneficium and the owner; while this dependence of one man upon another affected the personal liberty of a large section of the community, as well as the condition of the land. The great landowner tended to become not only lord over his tenants, but also himself a vassal of the king.


Thus by means of immunities, of the beneficium and of patronage, society gradually organized itself independently of the state, since it required further security. Such extra security was first provided by the conqueror of Pippin of Heristal. Tertry; for Pippin II. represented the two great families of Pippin and of Arnulf, and consequently the two interests then paramount, i.e. land and religion, while he had at his back a great company of followers and vast landed estates. For forty years (615-655) the office of mayor of Austrasia had gone down in his family almost continuously in direct descent from father to son. The death of Grimoald had caused the loss of this post, yet Ansegisus (Ansegisel), Arnulf’s son and Pippin’s son-in-law, had continued to hold high office in the Austrasian palace; and about 680 his son, Pippin II., became master of Austrasia, although he had held no previous office in the palace. His dynasty was destined to supplant that of the Merovingian house.

Pippin of Heristal was a pioneer; he it was who began all that his descendants were afterwards to carry through. Thus he gathered the nobles about him not by virtue of his position, but because of his own personal prowess, and because he could assure them of justice and protection; instead of being merely the head of the royal palace he was the absolute lord of his own followers. Moreover, he no longer bore the title of mayor, but that of duke or prince of the Franks; and the mayoralty, like the royal power now reduced to a shadow, became an hereditary possession which Pippin could bestow upon his sons. The reigns of Theuderich III., Clovis III. or Childebert III. are of no significance except as serving to date charters and diplomas. Pippin it was who administered justice in Austrasia, appointed officials and distributed dukedoms; and it was Pippin, the military leader, who defended the frontiers threatened by Frisians, Alamanni and Bavarians. Descended as he was from Arnulf, bishop of Metz, he was before all things a churchman, and behind his armies marched the missionaries to whom the Carolingian dynasty, of which he was the founder, were to subject all Christendom. Pippin it was, in short, who governed, who set in order the social confusions of Neustria, who, after long wars, put a stop to the malpractices of the dukes and counts, and summoned councils of bishops to make good regulations. But at his death in 714 the child-king Dagobert III. found himself subordinated to Pippin’s two grandsons, who, being minors, were under the wardship of their grandmother Plectrude.

Pippin’s work was almost undone—a party among the Neustrians under Raginfrid, mayor of the palace, revolted against Pippin II.’s adherents, and Radbod, duke of the Frisians, joined them. But the Austrasians Charles Martel (715-741). appealed to an illegitimate son of Pippin, Charles Martel, who had escaped from the prison to which Plectrude, alarmed at his prowess, had consigned him, and took him for their leader. With Charles Martel begins the great period of Austrasian history. Faithful to the traditions of the Austrasian mayors, he chose kings for himself—Clotaire IV., then Chilperic II. and lastly Theuderich IV. After Theuderich’s death (737) he left the throne vacant until 742, but he himself was king in all but name; he presided over the royal tribunals, appointed the royal officers, issued edicts, disposed of the funds of the treasury and the churches, conferred immunities upon adherents, who were no longer the king’s nobles but his own, and even appointed the bishops, though there was nothing of the ecclesiastic about himself. He decided questions of war and peace, and re-established unity in Gaul by defeating the Neustrians and the Aquitanian followers of Duke Odo (Eudes) at Vincy in 717. When Odo, brought to bay, appealed for help to the Arab troops of Abd-ar-Rahman, who after conquering Spain had crossed the Pyrenees, Charles, like a second Clovis, saved Catholic Christendom in its peril by crushing the Arabs at Tours (732). The retreat of the Arabs, who were further weakened by religious disputes, enabled him to restore Frankish rule in Aquitaine in spite of Hunald, son of Odo. But Charles’s longest expeditions were made into Germany, and in these he sought the support of the Church, then the greatest of all powers since it was the depositary of the Roman imperial tradition.

No less unconscious of his mission than Clovis had been, Charles Martel also was a soldier of Christ. He protected the missionaries who paved the way for his militant invasions. Without him the apostle of Germany, the English monk Boniface, Charles Martel and the Church. would never have succeeded in preserving the purity of the faith and keeping the bishops submissive to the Holy See. The help given by Charles had two very far-reaching results. Boniface was the instrument of the union of Rome and Germany, of which union the Holy Roman Empire in Germany was in the 10th century to become the most perfect expression, continuing up to the time of Luther. And Boniface also helped on the alliance between the papacy and the Carolingian dynasty, which, more momentous even than that between Clovis and the bishops of Gaul, was to sanctify might by right.

This union was imperative for the bishops of Rome if they wished to establish their supremacy, and their care for orthodoxy by no means excluded all desire of domination. Mere religious authority did not secure to them the obedience Charles Martel and Gregory III. of either the faithful or the clergy; moreover, they had to consider the great secular powers, and in this respect their temporal position in Italy was growing unbearable. Their relations with the East Roman emperor (sole lord of the world after the Roman Senate had sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople in 476) were confined to receiving insults from him or suspecting him of heresy. Even in northern Italy there was no longer any opposition to the progress of the Lombards, the last great nation to be established towards the end of the 6th century within the ancient Roman empire—their king Liudprand clearly intended to seize Italy and even Rome itself. Meanwhile from the south attacks were being made by the rebel dukes of Spoleto and Beneventum. Pope Gregory III. cherished dreams of an alliance with the powerful duke of the Franks, as St Remigius before him had thought of uniting with Clovis against the Goths. Charles Martel had protected Boniface on his German missions: he would perhaps lend Gregory the support of his armies. But the warrior, like Clovis aforetime, hesitated to put himself at the disposal of the priest. When it was a question of winning followers or keeping them, he had not scrupled to lay hands on ecclesiastical property, nor to fill the Church with his friends and kinsfolk, and this alliance might embarrass him. So if he loaded the Roman ambassadors with gifts in 739, he none the less remembered that the Lombards had just helped him to drive the Saracens from Provence. However, he died soon after this, on the 22nd of October 741, and Gregory III. followed him almost immediately.

Feeling his end near, Charles, before an assembly of nobles, had divided his power between his two sons, Carloman and Pippin III. The royal line seemed to have been forgotten for six years, but in 742 Pippin brought a The Carolingian dynasty. son of Chilperic II. out of a monastery and made him king. This Childeric III. was but a shadow—and knew it. He made a phantom appearance once every spring at the opening of the great annual national convention known as the Campus Martius (Champ de Mars): a dumb idol, his chariot drawn in leisurely fashion by oxen, he disappeared again into his palace or monastery. An unexpected event re-established unity in the Carolingian family. Pippin’s brother, the pious Carloman, became a monk in 747, and Pippin, now sole ruler of the kingdom, ordered Childeric also to cut off his royal locks; after which, being king in all but name, he adopted that title in 752. Thus ended the revolution which had been going on for two centuries. The disappearance of Grippo, Pippin’s Pippin the Short, 752-768. illegitimate brother, who, with the help of all the enemies of the Franks—Alamanni, Aquitanians and Bavarians—had disputed his power, now completed the work of centralization, and Pippin had only to maintain it. For this the support of the Church was indispensable, and Pippin understood the advantages of such an alliance better than Charles Martel. A son of the Church, a protector of bishops, a president of councils, a collector of relics, devoted to Boniface 809 (whom he invited, as papal legate, to reform the clergy of Austrasia), he astutely accepted the new claims of the vicar of St Peter to the headship of the Church, perceiving the value of an alliance with this rising power.

Prudent enough to fear resistance if he usurped the Merovingian crown, Pippin the Short made careful preparations for his accession, and discussed the question of the dynasty with Pope Zacharias. Receiving a favourable opinion, Sacred character of the new monarchy. he had himself anointed and crowned by Boniface in the name of the bishops, and was then proclaimed king in an assembly of nobles, counts and bishops at Soissons in November 751. Still, certain disturbances made him see that aristocratic approval of his kingship might be strengthened if it could claim a divine sanction which no Merovingian had ever received. Two years later, therefore, he demanded a consecration of his usurpation from the pope, and in St Denis on the 28th of July 754 Stephen II. crowned and anointed not only Pippin, but his wife and his two sons as well.

The political results of this custom of coronation were all-important for the Carolingians, and later for the first of the Capets. Pippin was hereby invested with new dignity, and when Boniface’s anointing had been confirmed Pippin and the Papacy. by that of the pope, he became the head of the Frankish Church, the equal of the pope. Moreover, he astutely contrived to extend his priestly prestige to his whole family; his royalty was no longer merely a military command or a civil office, but became a Christian priesthood. This sacred character was not, however, conferred gratuitously. On the very day of his coronation Pippin allowed himself to be proclaimed patrician of the Romans by the pope, just as Clovis had been made consul. This title of the imperial court was purely honorary, but it attached him still more closely to Rome, though without lessening his independence. He had besides given a written promise to defend the Church of Rome, and that not against the Lombards only. Qualified by letters of the papal chancery as “liberator and defender of the Church,” his armies twice (754-756) crossed the Alps, despite the opposition of the Frankish aristocracy, and forced Aistulf, king of the Lombards, to cede to him the exarchate of Ravenna and the Pentapolis. Pippin gave them back to Pope Stephen II., and by this famous donation founded that temporal power of the popes which was to endure until 1870. He also dragged the Western clergy into the pope’s quarrel with the emperor at Constantinople, by summoning the council of Gentilly, at which the iconoclastic heresy was condemned (767). Matters being thus settled with Rome, Pippin again took up his wars against the Saxons, against the Arabs (whom he drove from Narbonne in 758), and above all against Waïfer, duke of Aquitaine, and his ally, duke Tassilo of Bavaria. This last war was carried on systematically from 760 to 768, and ended in the death of Waïfer and the definite establishment of the Frankish hold on Aquitaine. When Pippin died, aged fifty-four, on the 24th of September 768, the whole of Gaul had submitted to his authority.

Pippin left two sons, and before he died he had, with the consent of the dignitaries of the realm, divided his kingdom between them, making the elder, Charles (Charlemagne), king of Austrasia, and giving the younger, Carloman, Charlemagne. Burgundy, Provence, Septimania, Alsace and Alamannia, and half of Aquitaine to each. On the 9th of October 768 Charles was enthroned at Noyon in solemn assembly, and Carloman at Soissons. The Carolingian sovereignty was thus neither hereditary nor elective, but was handed down by the will of the reigning king, and by a solemn acceptance of the future king on the part of the nobles. In 771 Carloman, with whom Charles had had disputes, died, leaving sons; but bishops, abbots and counts all declared for Charles, save a few who took refuge in Italy with Desiderius, king of the Lombards. Desiderius, whose daughter Bertha or Desiderata Charles, despite the pope, had married at the instance of his mother Bertrade, supported the rights of Carloman’s sons, and threatened Pope Adrian in Rome itself after he had despoiled him of Pippin’s territorial gift. At the pope’s appeal Charles crossed the Alps, took Verona and Pavia after a long siege, assumed the iron crown of the Lombard kings (June 774), and made a triumphal entry into Rome, which had not formed part of the pope’s desires. Pippin’s donation was restored, but the protectorate was no longer so distant, respectful and intermittent as the pope liked. After the departure of the imperious conqueror, a fresh revolt of the Lombards of Beneventum under Arichis, Desiderius’s son-in-law, supported by a Greek fleet, obliged Pope Adrian to write fresh entreaties to Charlemagne; and in two campaigns (776-777) the latter conquered the whole Lombard kingdom. But another of Desiderius’s daughters, married to the powerful duke Tassilo of Bavaria, urged her husband to avenge her father, now imprisoned in the monastery of Corbie. After endless intrigues, however, the duke, hemmed in by three different armies, had in his turn to submit (788), and all Italy was now subject to Charlemagne. These wars in Italy, even the fall of the Lombard kingdom and the recapture of the duchy of Bavaria, were merely episodes: Charlemagne’s great war was against the Saxons and lasted thirty years (772-804).

The work of organizing the three great Carolingian conquests—Aquitaine, Italy and Saxony—had yet to be done. Charlemagne approached it with a moderation equal to the vigour which he had shown in the war. But by multiplying Organization of the conquests. its advance-posts, the Frankish kingdom came into contact with new peoples, and each new neighbour meant a new enemy. Aquitaine, bordered upon Mussulman Spain; the Avars of Hungary threatened Bavaria with their tireless horsemen; beyond the Elbe and the Saal the Slavs were perpetually at war with the Saxons, and to the north of the Eider were the Danes. All were pagans; all enemies of Charlemagne, defender of Christ’s Church, and hence the appointed conqueror of the world.

Various causes—the weakening of the Arabs by the struggle between the Omayyads and the Abbasids just after the battle of Tours; the alliance of the petty Christian kings of the Spanish peninsula; an appeal from the northern Wars with the Arabs, Slavs and Danes. amirs who had revolted against the new caliphate of Cordova (755)—made Charlemagne resolve to cross the Pyrenees. He penetrated as far as the Ebro, but was defeated before Saragossa; and in their retreat the Franks were attacked by Vascons, losing many men as they came through the passes. This defeat of the rear-guard, famous for the death of the great Roland and the treachery of Ganelo, induced the Arabs to take the offensive once more and to conquer Septimania. Charlemagne had created the kingdom of Aquitaine especially to defend Septimania, and William, duke of Toulouse, from 790 to 806, succeeded in restoring Frankish authority down to the Ebro, thus founding the Spanish March with Barcelona as its capital. For two centuries and a half the Avars, a remnant of the Huns entrenched in the Hungarian Mesopotamia, had made descents alternately upon the Germans and upon the Greeks of the Eastern empire. They had overrun Bavaria in the very year of its subjugation by Charlemagne (788), and it took an eight-years’ struggle to destroy the robber stronghold. The empire thus pushed its frontier-line on from the Elbe to the Oder, ever as it grew menaced by increasing dangers. The sea came to the help of the depopulated land, and Danish pirates, Widukind’s old allies, came in their leathern boats to harry the coasts of the North Sea and the Channel. Permanent armies and walls across isthmuses were alike useless; Charlemagne had to build fleets to repulse his elusive foes (808-810), and even after forty years of war the danger was only postponed.

Meanwhile Pippin’s Frankish kingdom, vast and powerful as it had been, was doubled. All nations from the Oder to the Elbe and from the Danube to the Atlantic were subject or tributary, and Charlemagne’s power even crossed Charlemagne’s empire. these frontiers. At his summons Christian princes and Mussulman amirs flocked to his palaces. The kings of Northumbria and Sussex, the kings of the Basques and of Galicia, Arab amirs of Spain and Fez, and even the caliph of Bagdad came to visit him in person or sent gifts by the hands of ambassadors. A great warrior and an upright ruler, his 810 conquests recalled those of the great Christian emperors, and the Church completed the parallel by training him in her lore. This still barely civilized German literally went to school to the English Alcuin and to Peter of Pisa, who, between two campaigns, taught him history, writing, grammar and astronomy, satisfying also his interest in sacred music, literature (religious literature especially), and the traditions of Rome and Constantinople. Why should he not be the heir of their Caesars? And so, little by little, this man of insatiable energy was possessed by the ambition of restoring the Empire of the West in his own favour.

There were, however, two serious obstacles in the way: first, the supremacy of the emperor of the East, which though nominal rather than real was upheld by peoples, princes, and even by popes; secondly, the rivalry of the bishops Charlemagne emperor (800). of Rome, who since the early years of Adrian’s pontificate had claimed the famous “Donation of Constantine” (q.v.). According to that apocryphal document, the emperor after his baptism had ceded to the sovereign pontiff his imperial power and honours, the purple chlamys, the golden crown, “the town of Rome, the districts and cities of Italy and of all the West.” But in 797 the empress of Constantinople had just deposed her son Constantine VI. after putting out his eyes, and the throne might be considered vacant; while on the other hand, Pope Leo III., who had been driven from Rome by a revolt in 799, and had only been restored by a Frankish army, counted for little beside the Frankish monarch, and could not but submit to the wishes of the Carolingian court. So when next year the king of the Franks went to Rome in person, on Christmas Eve of the year 800 and in the basilica of St Peter the pope placed on his head the imperial crown and did him reverence “after the established custom of the time of the ancient emperors.” The Roman ideal, handed down in tradition through the centuries, was here first revived.

This event, of capital importance for the middle ages, was fertile in results both beneficial and the reverse. It brought about the rupture between the West and Constantinople. Then Charlemagne raised the papacy on the ruins of Lombardy to the position of first political power in Italy; and the universal Church, headed by the pope, made common cause with the Empire, which all the thinkers of that day regarded as the ideal state. Confusion between these powers was inevitable, but at this time neither Charles, the pope, nor the people had a suspicion of the troubles latent in the ceremony that seemed so simple. Thirdly, Charlemagne’s title of emperor strengthened his other title of king of the Franks, as is proved by the fact that at the great assembly of Aix-la-Chapelle in 802 he demanded from all, whether lay or spiritual, a new oath of allegiance to himself as Caesar. His increased power came rather from moral value, from the prestige attaching to one who had given proof of it, than from actual authority over men or centralization; this is shown by the division between the Empire and feudalism. Universal sovereignty claimed as a heritage from Rome had a profound influence upon popular imagination, but in no way modified that tendency to separation of the various nations which was already manifest. Charles himself in his government preferred to restore the ancient Empire by vigorous personal action, rather than to follow old imperial traditions; he introduced cohesion into his “palace,” and perfect centralization into his official administration, inspiring his followers and servants, clerical and lay, with a common and determined zeal. The system was kept in full vigour by the missi dominici, who regularly reported or reformed any abuses of administration, and by the courts, military, judicial or political, which brought to Charlemagne the strength of the wealth of his subjects, carrying his commands and his ideas to the farthest limits of the Empire. Under him there was in fact a kind of early renaissance after centuries of barbarism and ignorance.

This emperor, who assumed so high a tone with his subjects, his bishops and his counts, who undertook to uphold public order in civil life, held himself no less responsible for the eternal salvation of men’s souls The Carolingian Renaissance. in the other world. Thanks to Charlemagne, and through the restoration of order and of the schools, a common civilization was prepared for the varied elements of the Empire. By his means the Church was able to concentrate in the palatine academy all the intellectual culture of the middle ages, having preserved some of the ancient traditions of organization and administration and guarded the imperial ideal. Charlemagne apparently wished, like Theodoric, to use German blood and Christian unity to bring back life to the great body of the Empire. Not the equal of Caesar or Augustus in genius or in the lastingness of his work, he yet recalls them in his capitularies, his periodic courts, his official hierarchy, his royal emissaries, his ministers, his sole right of coinage, his great public works, his campaigns against barbarism and heathenry, his zeal for learning and literature, and his divinity as emperor. Once more there existed a great public entity such as had not been seen for many years; but its duration was not to be a long one.

Charlemagne had for the moment succeeded in uniting western Europe under his sway, but he had not been able to arrest its evolution towards feudal dismemberment. He had, doubtless conscientiously, laboured for the reconstitution Dissolution of the Frankish Empire. of the Empire; but it often happens that individual wills produce results other than those at which they aimed, sometimes results even contrary to their wishes, and this was what happened in Charlemagne’s case. He had restored the superstructure of the imperial monarchy, but he had likewise strengthened and legalized methods and institutions till then private and insecure, and these, passing from custom into law, undermined the foundations of the structure he had thought himself to be repairing. A quarter of a century after his death his Empire was in ruins.

The practice of giving land as a beneficium to a grantee who swore personal allegiance to the grantor had persisted, and by his capitularies Charlemagne had made these personal engagements, these contracts of immunity—hitherto not transferable, nor even for life, but quite conditional—regular, legal, even obligatory and almost indissoluble. The beneficium was to be as practically irrevocable as the oath of fidelity. He submitted to the yoke of the social system and feudal institutions at the very moment when he was attempting to revive royal authority; he was ruler of the state, but ruler of vassals also. The monarchical principle no longer sufficed to ensure social discipline; the fear of forfeiting the grant became the only powerful guarantee of obedience, and as this only applied to his personal vassals, Charlemagne gave up his claim to direct obedience from the rest of the people, accepting the mediation of the counts, lords and bishops, who levied taxes, adjudicated and administered in virtue of the privileges of patronage, not of the right of the state. The very multiplication of offices, so noticeable at this time, furthered this triumph of feudalism by multiplying the links of personal dependence, and neutralizing more and more the direct action of the central authority. The frequent convocations of military assemblies, far from testifying to political liberty, was simply a means of communicating the emperor’s commands to the various feudal groups.

Thus Charlemagne, far from opposing, systematized feudalism, in order that obedience and discipline might pass from one man to another down to the lowest grades of society, and he succeeded for his own lifetime. No authority was more weighty or more respected than that of this feudal lord of Gaul, Italy and Germany; none was more transient, because it was so purely personal.

When the great emperor was buried at Aix-la-Chapelle in 814, his work was entombed with him. The fact was that his successors were incapable of maintaining it. Twenty-nine years after his death the Carolingian Empire had Causes for the dissolution of the Empire. been divided into three kingdoms; forty years later one alone of these kingdoms had split into seven; while when a century had passed France was a litter of tiny states each practically independent. This disintegration was caused neither by racial hate nor by linguistic patriotism. It was the weakness of princes, the discouragement of freemen and landholders confronted by an inexorable system of financial 811 and military tyranny, and the incompatibility of a vast empire with a too primitive governmental system, that wrecked the work of Charlemagne.

The Empire fell to Louis the Pious, sole survivor of his three sons. At the Aix assembly in 813 his father had crowned him with his own hand, thus avoiding the papal sanction that had been almost forced upon himself in 800. Louis the Pious (814-840). Louis was a gentle and well-trained prince, but weak and prone to excessive devotion to the Church. He had only reigned a few years when dissensions broke out on all sides, as under the Merovingians. Charlemagne had assigned their portions to his three sons in 781 and again in 806; like Charles Martel and Pippin the Short before him, however, what he had divided was not the imperial authority, nor yet countries, but the whole system of fiefs, offices and adherents which had been his own patrimony. The division that Louis the Pious made at Aix in 817 among his three sons, Lothair, Pippin and Louis, was of like character, since he reserved the supreme authority for himself, only associating Lothair, the eldest, with him in the government of the empire. Following the advice of his ministers Walla and Agobard, supporters of the policy of unity, Louis the Pious put Bernard of Italy, Charlemagne’s grandson, to death for refusing to acknowledge Lothair as co-emperor; crushed a revolt in Brittany; and carried on among the Danes the work of evangelization begun among the Slavs. A fourth son, Charles, was born to him by his second wife, Judith of Bavaria. Jealousy arose between the children of the two marriages. Louis tried in vain to satisfy his sons and their followers by repeated divisions—at Worms (829) and at Aix (831)—in which there was no longer question of either unity or subordination. Yet his elder sons revolted against him in 831 and 832, and were supported by Walla and Agobard and by their followers, weary of all the contradictory oaths demanded of them. Louis was deposed at the assembly of Compiègne (833), the bishops forcing him to assume the garb of a penitent; but he was re-established on his throne in St Etienne at Metz, the 28th of February 835, from which time until his death in 840 he fell more and more under the influence of his ambitious wife, and thought only of securing an inheritance for Charles, his favourite son.

Hardly was Louis buried in the basilica of Metz before his sons flew to arms. The first dynastic war broke out between Lothair, who by the settlement of 817 claimed the whole monarchy with the imperial title, and his brothers The sons of Louis the Pious. Louis and Charles. Lothair wanted, with the Empire, the sole right of patronage over the adherents of his house, but each of these latter chose his own lord according to individual interests, obeying his fears or his preferences. The three brothers finished their discussion by fighting for a whole day (June 25th, 841) on the plain of Fontanet by Auxerre; but the battle decided nothing, so Charles and Louis, in order to get the better of Lothair, allied themselves and their vassals by an oath taken in the plain of Strassburg (Feb. 14th, 842). The Strassburg oath. This, the first document in the vulgar tongue in the history of France and Germany, was merely a mutual contract of protection for the two armies, which nevertheless did not risk another battle. An amicable division of the imperial succession was arranged, and after an assessment of the empire which took almost a year, an agreement was signed at Verdun in August 843.

This was one of the important events in history. Each brother received an equal share of the dismembered empire. Louis had the territory on the right bank of the Rhine, with Spires, Worms and Mainz “because of the abundance Partition of the Empire at Verdun (843). of wine.” Lothair took Italy, the valleys of the Rhône, the Saône and the Meuse, with the two capitals of the empire, Aix-la-Chapelle and Rome, and the title of emperor. Charles had all the country watered by the Scheldt, the Seine, the Loire and the Garonne, as far as the Atlantic and the Ebro. The partition of Verdun separated once more, and definitively, the lands of the eastern and western Franks. The former became modern Germany, the latter France, and each from this time forward had its own national existence. However, as the boundary between the possessions of Charles the Bald and those of Louis was not strictly defined, and as Lothair’s kingdom, having no national basis, soon disintegrated into the kingdoms of Italy, Burgundy and Arles, in Lotharingia, this great undefined territory was to serve as a tilting-ground for France and Germany on the very morrow of the treaty of Verdun and for ten centuries after.

Charles the Bald was the first king of western France. Anxious as he was to preserve Charlemagne’s traditions of government, he was not always strong enough to do so, and warfare within his own dominions was often forced on him. Charles the Bald (843-877). The Norse pirates who had troubled Charlemagne showed a preference for western France, justified by the easy access afforded by river estuaries with rich monasteries on their shores. They began in 841 with the sack of Rouen; and from then until 912, when they made a settlement in one part of the country, though few in numbers they never ceased attacking Charles’s kingdom, coming in their ships up the Loire as far as Auvergne, up the Garonne to Toulouse, and up the Seine and the Scheldt to Paris, where they made four descents in forty years, burning towns, pillaging treasure, destroying harvests and slaughtering the peasants or carrying them off into slavery. Charles the Bald thus spent his life sword in hand, fighting unsuccessfully against the Bretons, whose two kings, Nomenoé and Erispoé, he had to recognize in turn; and against the people of Aquitaine, who, in full revolt, appealed for help to his brother, Louis the German. He was beaten everywhere and always: by the Bretons at Ballon (845) and Juvardeil (851); by the people of Aquitaine near Angoulême (845); and by the Northmen, who several times extorted heavy ransoms from him. Before long, too, Louis the German actually allied himself with the people of Brittany and Aquitaine, and invaded France at the summons of Charles the Bald’s own vassals. Though the treaty of Coblenz (860) seemed to reconcile the two kings for the moment, no peace was ever possible in Charles the Bald’s kingdom. His own son Charles, king of Aquitaine, revolted, and Salomon proclaimed himself king of Brittany in succession to Erispoé, who had been assassinated. To check the Bretons and the Normans, who were attacking from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Charles the Bald found himself obliged to entrust the defence of the country to Robert the Strong, ancestor of the house of Capet and duke of the lands between Loire and Seine. Robert the Strong, however, though many times victorious over the incorrigible pirates, was killed by them in a fight at Brissarthe (866).

Despite all this, Charles spoke authoritatively in his capitularies, and though incapable of defending western France, coveted other crowns and looked obstinately eastwards. He managed to become king of Lorraine on the death Division of the kingdom into large fiefs. of his nephew Lothair II., and emperor and king of Germany on that of his other nephew Louis II. (875); though only by breaking the compact of the year 800. In 876, the year before his death, he took a third crown, that of Italy, though not without a fresh defeat at Andernach by Louis the German’s troops. His titles increased, indeed, but not his power; for while his kingdom was thus growing in area it was falling to pieces. The duchy with which he rewarded Robert the Strong was only a military command, but became a powerful fief. Baldwin I. (d. 879), count of Flanders, turned the country between the Scheldt, the Somme and the sea into another feudal principality. Aquitaine and Brittany were almost independent, Burgundy was in full revolt, and within thirty years Rollo, a Norman leader, was to be master of the whole of the lower Seine from the Cotentin to the Somme. The fact was that between the king’s inability to defend the kingdom, and the powerlessness of nobles and peasants to protect themselves from pillage, every man made it his business to seek new protectors, and the country, in spite of Charles the Bald’s efforts, began to be covered with strongholds, the peasant learning to live beneath the shelter of the donjon keeps. Such vassals gave themselves utterly to the lord who guarded them, working for him sword 812 or pickaxe in hand. The king was far away, the lord close at hand. Hence the sixty years of terror and confusion which came between Charlemagne and the death of Charles the Bald suppressed the direct authority of the king in favour of the nobles, and prepared the way for a second destruction of the monarchy at the hands of a stronger power (see Feudalism).

Before long Charles the Bald’s followers were dictating to him; and in the disaffection caused by his feebleness and cowardice prelates and nobles allied themselves against him. If they acknowledged the king’s authority Establishment of feudalism. at the assemblies of Yütz (near Thionville) in 844, they forced from him a promise that they should keep their fiefs and their dignities; and while establishing a right of control over all his actions they deprived him of his right of jurisdiction over them. Despite Charles’s resistance his royal power dwindled steadily: an appeal to Hincmar, archbishop of Reims, entailed concessions to the Church. In 856 some of his vassals deserted him and went over to Louis the German. To win them back Charles had to sign a new charter, by the terms of which loyalty was no longer a one-sided engagement but a reciprocal contract between king and vassal. He gave up his personal right of distributing the fiefs and honours which were the price of adherence, and thus lost for the Carolingians the free disposal of the immense territories they had gradually usurped; they retained the over-lordship, it is true, but this over-lordship, without usufruct and without choice of tenant, was but a barren possession.

Like their territories public authority little by little slipped from the grasp of the Carolingians, largely because of their abuse of their too great power. They had concentrated the entire administration in their own hands. Like Decay of the Carolinglan power. Charlemagne, Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald were omnipotent. There were no provincial assemblies, no municipal bodies, no merchant-gilds, no autonomous churches; the people had no means of making themselves heard; they had no place in an administration which was completely in the hands of a central hierarchy of officials of all ranks, from dukes to scabini, with counts, viscounts and centenarii in between. However, these dukes and counts were not merely officials: they too had become lords of fideles, of their own advocati, centenarii and scabini, whom they nominated, and of all the free men of the county, who since Charlemagne’s time had been first allowed and then commanded to “commend” themselves to a lord, receiving feudal benefices in return. Any deprivation or supersession of the count might impoverish, dispossess or ruin the vassals of the entire county; so that all, vassals or officials, small and great, feeling their danger, united their efforts, and lent each other mutual assistance against the permanent menace of an overweening monarchy. Hence, at the end of the 9th century, the heredity of offices as well as of fiefs. In the disordered state of society official stability was a valuable warrant of peace, and the administrative hierarchy, lay or spiritual, thus formed a mould for the hierarchy of feudalism. There was no struggle with the king, simply a cessation of obedience; for without strength or support in the kingdom he was powerless to resist. In vain Charles the Bald affirmed his royal authority in the capitularies of Quierzy-sur-Oise (857), Reims (860), Pistes (864), Gondreville (872) and Quierzy-sur-Oise (877); each time in exchange for assent to the royal will and renewal of oaths he had to acquiesce in new safeguards against himself and by so much to diminish that power of protection against violence and injustice for which the weak had always looked to the throne. Far from forbidding the relation of lord and vassal, Charles the Bald imposed it upon every man in his kingdom, himself proclaiming the real incapacity and failure of that theoretic royal power to which he laid claim. Henceforward royalty had no servants, since it performed no service. There was no longer the least hesitation over the choice between liberty with danger and subjection with safety; men sought and found in vassalage the right to live, and willingly bartered away their liberty for it.

The degeneration of the monarchy was clearly apparent on the death of Charles the Bald, when his son, Louis the Stammerer, Louis the Stammerer (877-879). was only assured of the throne, which had passed by right of birth under the Merovingians and been hereditary under the earlier Carolingians, through his election by nobles and bishops under the direction of Hugh the Abbot, successor of Robert the Strong, each voter having been won over by gift of abbeys, counties or manors. When Louis died two years later (879), the same nobles met, some at Creil, the rest at Meaux, and the first party chose Louis of Germany, who preferred Lorraine to the crown; while the Louis III. and Carloman (879-884). rest anointed Louis III. and Carloman, sons of the late king, themselves deciding how the kingdom was to be divided between the two princes. Thus the king no longer chose his own vassals; but vassals and fief-holders actually elected their king according to the material advantages they expected from him. Louis III. and Carloman justified their election by their brilliant victories over the Normans at Saucourt (881) and near Epernay (883); but at their deaths (882-884), the nobles, instead of taking Louis’s boy-son, Charles the Simple, as king, chose Charles the Fat, king of Germany, because he was emperor and seemed Charles the Fat. (884-888.) powerful. He united once more the dominions of Charlemagne; but he disgraced the imperial throne by his feebleness, and was incapable of using his immense army to defend Paris when it was besieged by the Normans. Expelled from Italy, he only came to France to buy a shameful peace. When he died in January 888 he had not a single faithful vassal, and the feudal lords resolved never again to place the sceptre in a hand that could not wield the sword.

The death-struggle of the Carolingians lasted for a century of uncertainty and anarchy, during which time the bishops, counts and lords might well have suppressed the monarchy had they been hostile to it. Such, however, Death-struggle of the Carolingians (888-987). was not their policy; on the contrary, they needed a king to act as agent for their private interests, since he alone could invest their rank and dignities with an official and legitimate character. They did not at once agree on Charles’s successor; for some of them chose Eudes (Odo), son of Robert the Strong, for his brilliant defence of Paris against the Normans in 885; others Guy, duke of Spoleto in Italy, who had himself crowned at Langres; while many wished for Arnulf, illegitimate son of Carloman, king of Germany and emperor. Eudes was victor in the struggle, and was crowned and anointed at Compiègne on the 29th of February 888; but five years later, meeting with defeat after defeat at the hands of the Normans, his followers deserted from him to Charles the Simple, grandson of Charles the Bald, who was also supported by Fulk, archbishop of Reims.

This first Carolingian restoration took place on the 28th of January 893, and thenceforward throughout this warlike period from 888 to 936 the crown passed from one dynasty King Odo (888-893). to the other according to the interests of the nobles. After desperate strife, an agreement between the two rivals, Arnulf’s support, and the death of Odo, secured it for Charles III., surnamed the Simple. His subjects remained faithful to him for a good while, as he put an end to the Norman invasions which had desolated the kingdom for two centuries, and cowed those barbarians, much to the benefit of France. By the treaty of St Clair-sur-Epte (911) their leader Rolf (Rollo) obtained one of Charles’s daughters in marriage and the district of the Lower Seine which the Normans had long occupied, on condition that he and his men ceased their attacks and accepted Christianity. Having thus tranquillized the west, Charles the Simple (893-929). Charles took advantage of Louis the Child’s death, and conquered Lorraine, in spite of opposition from Conrad, king of Germany (921). But his preference for his new conquest, and for a Lorrainer of low birth named Hagano, aroused the jealousy and discontent of his nobles. They first elected Robert, count of Paris (923), and then after his death in a successful battle near Soissons against Charles the 813 Simple, Rudolph of Burgundy, his son-in-law. But Herbert of Vermandois, one of the successful combatants at Rudolph of Burgundy (923-936). Soissons, coveted the countship of Laon, which Rudolph refused him; and he thereupon proclaimed Charles the Simple, who had confided his cause to him, as king once more. Seeing his danger Rudolph ceded the countship to Herbert, and Charles was relegated to his prison until his death in 929. After unsuccessful wars against the nobles of the South, against the Normans, who asserted that they were bound to no one except Charles the Simple, and against the Hungarians (who, now the Normans were pacified, were acting their part in the East), Rudolph had a return of good fortune in the years between 930 and 936, despite the intrigues of Herbert of Vermandois. Upon his death the nobles assembled to elect a king; and Hugh the Great, Rudolph’s brother-in-law, moved by irresolution as much as by prudence, instead of taking the crown, preferred to restore the Carolingians once more in the person of Charles the Simple’s son, Louis d’Outremer, himself claiming numerous privileges and enjoying the exercise of power unencumbered by a title which carried with it the jealousy of the nobles.

This restoration was no more peaceful than its predecessor. The Carolingians had as it were a fresh access of energy, and the struggle against the Robertinians went on relentlessly. Both sides employed similar methods: one was supported Louis IV. the Foreigner (936-954.) by Normandy, the other by Germany; the archbishop of Reims was for the Carolingians, the Robertinians had to be content with the less influential bishop of Sens. Louis soon proved to Hugh the Great, who was trying to play the part of a mayor of the palace, that he was by no means a roi fainéant; and the powerful duke of the Franks, growing uneasy, allied himself with Herbert of Vermandois, William of Normandy and his brother-in-law Otto I. king of Germany, who resented the loss of Lorraine. Louis defended himself with energy, aided chiefly by the nobles of the South, by his relative Edmund, king of the English, and then by Otto himself, whose brother-in-law he also had become. A peace advantageous to him was made in 942, and on the deaths of his two opponents, Herbert of Vermandois and William of Normandy, all seemed to be going well for him; but his guardianship of Richard, son of the duke of Normandy, aroused fresh strife, and on the 13th of July 945 he fell into an ambush and suffered a captivity similar to his father’s of twenty-two years before. No one had befriended Charles the Simple, but Louis had his wife Gerberga, who won over to his cause the kings of England and Germany and even Hugh. Hugh set him free, insisting, as payment for his aid, on the cession of Laon, the capital of the kingdom and the last fortified town remaining to the Carolingians (946). Louis was hardly free before he took vengeance, harried the lands of his rival, restored to the archiepiscopal throne of Reims Artald, his faithful adviser, in place of the son of Herbert of Vermandois, and managed to get Hugh excommunicated by the council of Ingelheim (948) and by the pope. A two years’ struggle wearied the rivals, and they made peace in 950. Louis once more held Laon, and in the following year further strengthened his position by a successful expedition into Burgundy. Still his last years were not peaceful; for besides civil wars there were two Hungarian invasions of France (951 and 954).

Louis’s sudden death in 954 once more placed the Carolingian line in peril, since he had not had time to have his son Lothair crowned. For a third time Hugh had the disposal of the crown, and he was no more tempted to take it himself Lothair (954-986). in 954 than in 923 or 936: it was too profitless a possession. Thanks to Hugh’s support and to the good offices of Otto and his brother Bruno, archbishop of Cologne and duke of Lorraine, Lothair was chosen king and crowned at Reims. Hugh exacted, as payment for his disinterestedness and fidelity, a renewal of his sovereignty over Burgundy with that of Aquitaine as well; he was in fact the viceroy of the kingdom, and others imitated him by demanding indemnities, privileges and confirmation of rights, as was customary at the beginning of a reign. Hugh strengthened his position in Burgundy, Lorraine and Normandy by means of marriages; but just as his power was at its height he died (956). His death and the minority of his sons, Hugh Capet and Eudes, gave the Carolingian dynasty thirty years more of life.

For nine years (956-965) Bruno, archbishop of Cologne, was regent of France, and thanks to him there was a kind of entente cordiale between the Carolingians and the Robertinians and Otto. Bruno made Lothair recognize Hugh as duke of France and Eudes as duke of Burgundy; but the sons preserved the father’s enmity towards king Louis, despite the archbishop’s repeated efforts. His death deprived Lothair of a wise and devoted guardian, even if it did set him free from German influence; and the death of Odalric, archbishop of Reims, in 969, was another fatal loss for the Carolingians, succeeded as he was by Adalbero, who, though learned, pious and highly intelligent, was none the less ambitious. On the death of Otto I. (973) Lothair wished to regain Lorraine; but his success was small, owing to his limited resources and the uncertain support of his vassals. In 980, regretting his fruitless quarrel with Otto II., who had ravaged the whole country as far as Paris, and fearing that even with the support of the house of Vermandois he would be crushed like his father Louis IV. between the duke of France and the emperor, who could count on the archbishop of Reims, Lothair made peace with Otto—a great mistake, which cost him the prestige he had gained among his nobles by his fairly successful struggle with the emperor, drawing down upon him, moreover, the swift wrath of Hugh, who thought himself tricked. Otto, meanwhile, whom he was unwise enough to trust, made peace secretly with Hugh, as it was his interest to play off his two old enemies one against the other. However, Otto died first (983), leaving a three-year-old son, Otto III., and Lothair, hoping for Lorraine, upheld the claims of Henry of Bavaria, who wished to oust Otto. This was a war-signal for Archbishop Adalbero and his adviser Gerbert, devoted to the idea of the Roman empire, and determined that it should still be vested in the race of Otto, which had always been beneficent to the Church.

They decided to set the Robertinians against the Carolingians, and on their advice Hugh Capet dispersed the assembly of Compiègne which Lothair had commissioned to examine Adalbero’s behaviour. On Lothair’s death in Louis V. (986-987). 986, Hugh surrounded his son and successor, Louis V., with intrigues. Louis was a weak-minded and violent young man with neither authority nor prestige, and Hugh tried to have him placed under tutelage. After Louis V.’s sudden death, aged twenty, in 987, Adalbero and Gerbert, with the support of the reformed Cluniac clergy, at the Assembly of Senlis eliminated from the succession the rightful heir, Charles of Lorraine, who, without influence or wealth, had become a stranger in his own country, and elected Hugh Capet, who, though rich and powerful, was superior neither in intellect nor character. Thus the triple alliance of Adalbero’s bold and adroit imperialism with the cautious and vacillating ambition of the duke of the Franks, and the impolitic hostility towards Germany of the ruined Carolingians, resulted in the unlooked-for advent of the new Capetian dynasty.

This event completed the evolution of the forces that had produced feudalism, the basis of the medieval social system. The idea of public authority had been replaced by one that was simpler and therefore better fitted for a half-civilized Dismemberment of the kingdom. society—that of dependence of the weak on the strong, voluntarily entered on by means of mutual contract. Feudalism had gained ground in the 8th century; feudalism it was which had raised the first Carolingian to the throne as being the richest and most powerful person in Austrasia; and Charlemagne with all his power had been as utterly unable as the Merovingians to revive the idea of an abstract and impersonal state. Charlemagne’s vassals, however, had needed him; while from Charles the Bald onward it was the king who needed the vassals—a change more marked with each successive prince. The feudal system had in fact turned against the throne, the vassals using it to secure a permanent hold upon offices and 814 fiefs, and to get possession of estates and of power. After Charles the Bald’s death royalty had only, so to speak, a shell—administrative officialdom. No longer firmly rooted in the soil, the monarchy was helpless before local powers which confronted it, seized upon the land, and cut off connexion between throne and people. The king, the supreme lord, was the only lord without lands, a nomad in his own realms, merely lingering there until starved out. Feudalism claimed its new rights in the capitulary of Quierzy-sur-Oise in 857; the rights of the monarchy began to dwindle in 877.

But vassalage could only be a cause of disintegration, not of unity, and that this disintegration did not at once spread indefinitely was due to the dozen or so great military commands—Flanders, Burgundy, Aquitaine, &c.—which Charles the Bald had been obliged to establish on a strong territorial basis. One of these great vassals, the duke of France, was amply provided with estates and offices, in contrast to the landless Carolingian, and his power, like that of the future kings of Prussia and Austria, was based on military authority, for he had a frontier—that of Anjou. Then the inevitable crisis had come. For a hundred years the great feudal lords had disposed of the crown as they pleased, handing it back and forward from one dynasty to another. At the same time the contrast between the vast proportions of the Carolingian empire and its feeble administrative control over a still uncivilized community became more and more accentuated. The Empire crumbled away by degrees. Each country began to lead its own separate existence, stammering its own tongue; the different nations no longer understood one another, and no longer had any general ideas in common. The kingdoms of France and Germany, still too large, owed their existence to a series of dispossessions imposed on sovereigns too feeble to hold their own, and consisted of a great number of small states united by a very slight bond. At the end of the 10th century the duchy of France was the only central part of the kingdom which was still free and without organization. The end was bound to come, and the final struggle was between Laon, the royal capital, and Reims, the ecclesiastical capital, the former carrying with it the soil of France, and the latter the crown. The Capets captured the first in 985 and the other in 987. Thenceforth all was over for the Carolingians, who were left with no heritage save their great name.

Was the day won for the House of Capet? In the 11th century the kings of that line possessed meagre domains scattered about in the Île de France among the seigniorial possessions of Brie, Beauce, Beauvaisis and Valois. They were The House of Capet. hemmed in by the powerful duchy of Normandy, the counties of Blois, Flanders and Champagne, and the duchy of Burgundy. Beyond these again stretched provinces practically impenetrable to royal influence: Brittany, Gascony, Toulouse, Septimania and the Spanish March. The monarchy lay stifling in the midst of a luxuriant feudal forest which surrounded its only two towns of any importance: Paris, the city of the future, and Orleans, the city of learning. Its power, exercised with an energy tempered by prudence, ran to waste like its wealth in a suzerainty over turbulent vassals devoid of common government or administration, and was undermined by the same lack of social discipline among its vassals which had sapped the power of the Carolingians. The new dynasty was thus the poorest and weakest of the great civil and ecclesiastical lordships which occupied the country from the estuary of the Scheldt to that of the Llobregat, and bounded approximately by the Meuse, the Saône and the ridge of the Cévennes; yet it cherished a great ambition which it revealed at times during its first century (987-1108)—a determination not to repeat the Carolingian failure. It had to wait two centuries after the revolution of 987 before it was strong enough to take up the dormant tradition of an authority like that of Rome; and until then it cunningly avoided unequal strife in which, victory being impossible, reverses might have weakened those titles, higher than any due to feudal rights, conferred by the heritage of the Caesars and the coronation at Reims, and held in reserve for the future.

The new dynasty thus at first gave the impression rather of decrepitude than of youth, seeming more a continuation of the Carolingian monarchy than a new departure. Hugh Capet’s reign was one of disturbance and danger; Hugh Capet (987-996). behind his dim personality may be perceived the struggle of greater forces—royalty and feudalism, the French clergy and the papacy, the kingdom of France and the Empire. Hugh Capet needed more than three years and the betrayal of his enemy into his hands before he could parry the attack of a quite second-rate adversary, Charles of Lorraine (990), the last descendant of Charlemagne. The insubordination of several great vassals—the count of Vermandois, the duke of Burgundy, the count of Flanders—who treated him as he had treated the Carolingian king; the treachery of Arnulf, archbishop of Reims, who let himself be won over by the empress Theophano; the papal hostility inflamed by the emperor against the claim of feudal France to independence,—all made it seem for a time as though the unity of the Roman empire of the West would be secured at Hugh’s expense and in Otto’s favour; but as a matter of fact this papal and imperial hostility ended by making the Capet dynasty a national one. When Hugh died in 996, he had succeeded in maintaining his liberty mainly, it is true, by diplomacy, not force, despite opposing powers and his own weakness. Above all, he had secured the future by associating his son Robert with him on the throne; and although the nobles and the archbishop of Reims were disturbed by this suspension of the feudal right of election, and tried to oppose it, they were unsuccessful.

Robert the Pious, a crowned monk, resembled his father in eschewing great schemes, whether from timidity or prudence; yet from 996 to 1031 he preserved intact the authority Robert the Pious (996-1031). he had inherited from Hugh, despite many domestic disturbances. He maintained a defiant attitude towards Germany; increased his heritage; strengthened his royal title by the addition of that of duke of Burgundy after fourteen years of pillage; and augmented the royal domain by adding several countships on the south-east and north-west. Limited in capacity, he yet understood the art of acquisition.

Henry I., his son, had to struggle with a powerful vassal, Eudes, count of Chartres and Troyes, and was obliged for a time to abandon his father’s anti-German policy. Eudes, who was rash and adventurous, in alliance with the Henry I. (1031-1060). queen-mother, supported the second son, Robert, and captured the royal town of Sens. In order to retake it Henry ceded the beautiful valley of the Saône and the Rhône to the German emperor Conrad, and henceforth the kingdom of Burgundy was, like Lorraine, to follow the fortunes of Germany. Henry had besides to invest his brother with the duchy of Burgundy—a grave error which hampered French politics during three centuries. Like his father, he subsequently managed to retrieve some of the crown lands from William the Bastard, the too-powerful duke of Normandy; and he made a praiseworthy though fruitless attempt to regain possession of Lorraine for the French crown. Finally, by the coronation of his son Philip (1059) he confirmed the hereditary right of the Capets, soon to be superior to the elective rights of the bishops and great barons of the kingdom. The chief merit of these early Capets, indeed, was that they had sons, so that their dynasty lasted on without disastrous minorities or quarrels over the division of inheritance.

Philip I. achieved nothing during his long reign of forty-eight years except the necessary son, Louis the Fat. Unsuccessful even in small undertakings he was utterly incapable of great ones; and the two important events of his Philip I. (1060-1108). reign took place, the one against his will, the other without his help. The first, which lessened Norman aggression in his kingdom, was William the Bastard’s conquest of England (1066); the second was the First Crusade preached by the French pope Urban II. (1095). A few half-hearted campaigns against recalcitrant vassals and a long and obstinate quarrel with the papacy over his adulterous union with Bertrade de Montfort, countess of Anjou, represented the total activity 815 of Philip’s reign; he was greedy and venal, by no means disdaining the petty profits of brigandage, and he never left his own domains.

After a century’s lethargy the house of Capet awoke once more with Louis VI. and began the destruction of the feudal polity. For thirty-four years of increasing warfare this active and energetic king, this brave and persevering soldier, Louis VI. the Fat (1108-1137). never spared himself, energetically policing the royal demesne against such pillagers as Hugh of Le Puiset or Thomas of Marle. There was, however, but little difference yet between a count of Flanders or of Chartres and Louis VI., the possessor of a but small and perpetually disturbed realm, who was praised by his minister, the monk Suger, for making his power felt as far as distant Berril. This was clearly shown when he attempted to force the great feudal lords to recognize his authority. His bold endeavour to establish William Clito in Flanders ended in failure; and his want of strength was particularly humiliating in his unfortunate struggle with Henry I., king of the English and duke of Normandy, who was powerful and well served, the real master of a comparatively weak baronage. Louis only escaped being crushed because he remembered, as did his successors for long after him, that his house owed its power to the Church.

The Church has never loved weakness; she has always had a secret sympathy for power, whatever its source, when she could hope to capture it and make it serve her ends. Louis VI. defended her against feudal robbers; and she supported him in his struggles against the nobles, making him, moreover, by his son’s marriage with the heiress of Aquitaine, the greatest and richest landholder of the kingdom. But Louis was not the obedient tool she wished for. With equal firmness and success he vindicated his rights, whether against the indirect attacks of the papacy on his independence, or the claims of the ecclesiastical courts which, in principle, he made subordinate to the jurisdiction of the crown; whether in episcopal elections, or in ecclesiastical reforms which might possibly imperil his power or his revenues. The prestige of this energetic king, protector of the Church, of the infant communes in the towns, and of the peasants as against the constant oppressions of feudalism, became still greater at the end of his reign, when an invasion of the German emperor Henry V. in alliance with Henry Beauclerk of Normandy (Henry I. of England), rallied his subjects round the oriflamme of St Denis, awakening throughout northern France the unanimous and novel sentiment of national danger.

Unfortunately his successor, Louis VII., almost destroyed his work by a colossal blunder, although circumstances seemed much in his favour. Germany and England, the two powers especially to be dreaded, were busy with Louis VII. the Young (1137-1180). internal troubles and quarrels of succession. On the other hand, thanks to his marriage with Eleanor of Aquitaine, Louis’s own domains had been increased by the greater part of the country between the Loire and the Pyrenees; while his father’s minister, the monk Suger, continued to assist him with his moderation and prudence. His first successes against Theobald of Champagne, who for thirty years had been the most dangerous of the great French barons and had refused a vassal’s services to Louis VI., as well as the adroit diplomacy with which he wrested from Geoffrey the Fair, count of Anjou, a part of the Norman Vexin long claimed by the French kings, in exchange for permitting him to conquer Normandy, augured well for his boldness and activity, had he but confined them to serving his own interests. The second crusade, undertaken to expiate his burning of the church of Vitry, inaugurated a series of magnificent but fruitless exploits; while his wife was the cause of domestic quarrels still more disastrous. Piety and a thirst for glory impelled Louis to take the lead in this The second crusade. fresh expedition to the Holy Land, despite the opposition of Suger, and the hesitation of the pope, Bernard of Clairvaux and the barons. The alliance with the German king Conrad III. only enhanced the difficulties of an enterprise already made hazardous by the misunderstandings between Greeks and Latins. The Crusade ended in the double disaster of military defeat and martial dishonour (1147-1149); and Suger’s death in 1151 deprived Louis of a counsellor who had exercised the regency skilfully and with success, just at the very moment when his divorce from Eleanor was to jeopardize the fortunes of the Capets.

For the proud and passionate Eleanor married, two months later (May 1152), the young Henry, count of Anjou and duke of Normandy, who held, besides these great fiefs, the whole of the south-west of France, and in two Rivalry of the Capets and Angevins. years’ time the crown of England as well. Henry and Louis at once engaged in the first Capet-Angevin duel, destined to last a hundred years (1152-1242). When France and England thus entered European history, their conditions were far from being equal. In England royal power was strong; the size of the Angevin empire was vast, and the succession assured. It was only abuse of their too-great powers that ruined the early Angevin kings. France in the 12th century was merely a federation of separate states, jealously independent, which the king had to negotiate with rather than rule; while his own possessions, shorn of the rich heritage of Aquitaine, were, so to speak, swamped by those of the English king. For some time it was feared that the French kingdom would be entirely absorbed in consequence of the marriage between Louis’s daughter and Henry II.’s eldest son. The two rivals were typical of their states, Henry II. being markedly superior to Louis in political resource, military talent and energy. He failed, however, to realize his ambition of shutting in the Capet king and isolating him from the rest of Europe by crafty alliances, notably that with the emperor Frederick Barbarossa—while watching an opportunity to supplant him upon the French throne. It is extraordinary that Louis should have escaped final destruction, considering that Henry had subdued Scotland, retaken Anjou from his brother Geoffrey, won a hold over Brittany, and schemed successfully for Languedoc. But the Church once more came to the rescue of her devoted son. The retreat to France of Pope Alexander III., after he had been driven from Rome by the emperor Frederick in favour of the anti-pope Victor, revived Louis’s moral prestige. Henry II.’s quarrel with Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, which ran its course in France (1164-1171) as a struggle for the independence and reform of the Church, both threatened by the Constitutions of Clarendon, and ended with the murder of Becket in 1172, gave Louis yet another advantage over his rival. Finally the birth of Philip Augustus (1165), after thirty years of childless wedlock, saved the kingdom from a war of succession just at the time when the powerful Angevin sway, based entirely upon force, was jeopardized by the rebellion of Henry II.’s sons against their father. Louis naturally joined the coalition of 1173, but showed no more vigour in this than in his other wars; and his fate would have been sealed had not the pope checked Henry by the threat of an interdict, and reconciled the combatants (1177). Louis had still time left to effect the coronation of his son Philip Augustus (1179), and to associate him with himself in the exercise of the royal power for which he had grown too old and infirm.

Philip Augustus, who was to be the bitterest enemy of Henry II. and the Angevins, was barely twenty before he revealed the full measure of his cold energy and unscrupulous ambition. In five years (1180-1186) he rid himself Philip Augustus (1180-1223). of the overshadowing power of Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders, and his own uncles, the counts of Champagne; while the treaty of May 20th, 1186, was his first rough lesson to the feudal leagues, which he had reduced to powerlessness, and to the subjugated duke of Burgundy and count of Flanders. Northern and eastern France recognized the suzerainty of the Capet, and Philip Augustus was now bold enough to attack Henry II., the master of the west, whose friendly neutrality (assured by the treaty of Gisors) had made possible the successive defeats of the great French barons. Like his father, Philip understood how to make capital out of the quarrels of the aged and ailing Henry II. with his sons, especially with Richard, who claimed his French heritage in his father’s lifetime, and raised up enemies for the disunited Angevins even 816 in Germany. After two years of constant defeat, Henry’s capitulation at Azai proved once more that fortune is never with the old. The English king had to submit himself to “the advice and desire of the king of France,” doing him homage for all continental fiefs (1187-1189).

The defection of his favourite son John gave Henry his deathblow, and Philip Augustus found himself confronted by a new king of England, Richard Cœur de Lion, as powerful, besides being younger and more energetic. Philip’s Philip Augustus and Richard Cœur de Lion. ambition could not rest satisfied with the petty principalities of Amiens, Vermandois and Valois, which he had added to the royal demesne. The third crusade, undertaken, sorely against Philip’s will, in alliance with Richard, only increased the latent hostility between the two kings; and in 1191 Philip abandoned the enterprise in order to return to France and try to plunder his absent rival. Despite his solemn oath no scruples troubled him: witness the large sums of money he offered to the emperor Henry VI. if he would detain Richard, who had been made prisoner by the duke of Austria on his return from the crusade; and his negotiations with his brother John Lackland, whom he acknowledged king of England in exchange for the cession of Normandy. But Henry VI. suddenly liberated Richard, and in five years that “devil set free” took from Philip all the profit of his trickery, and shut him off from Normandy by the strong fortress of Château-Gaillard (1194-1199).

Happily an accident which caused Richard’s death at the siege of Chalus, and the evil imbecility of his brother and successor, John Lackland, brilliantly restored the fortunes of the Capets. The quarrel between John and his Philip Augustus and John Lackland. nephew Arthur of Brittany gave Philip Augustus one of those opportunities of profiting by family discord which, coinciding with discontent among the various peoples subject to the house of Anjou, had stood him in such good stead against Henry II. and Richard. He demanded renunciation on John’s part, not of Anjou only, but of Poitou and Normandy—of all his French-speaking possessions, in fact—in favour of Arthur, who was supported by William des Roches, the most powerful lord of the region of the Loire. Philip’s divorce from Ingeborg of Denmark, who appealed successfully to Pope Innocent III., merely delayed the inevitable conflict. John of England, moreover, was a past-master in the art of making enemies of his friends, and his conduct towards his vassals of Aquitaine furnished a judicial pretext for conquest. The royal judges at Paris condemned John, as a felon, to death and the forfeiture of his fiefs (1203), and the murder of Arthur completed his ruin. Philip Augustus made a vigorous onslaught on Normandy in right of justice and of superior force, took the formidable fortress of Château-Gaillard on the Seine after several months’ siege, and invested Rouen, which John abandoned, fleeing to England. In Anjou, Touraine, Maine and Poitou, lords, towns and abbeys made their submission, won over by Philip’s bribes despite Pope Innocent III.’s attempts at intervention. In 1208 John was obliged to own the Plantagenet continental power as lost. There were no longer two rival monarchies in France; the feudal equilibrium was destroyed, to the advantage of the duchy of France.

But Philip in his turn nearly allowed himself to be led into an attempt at annexing England, and so reversing for his own benefit the work of the Angevins (1213); but, happily for the future of the dynasty, Pope Innocent III. prevented this. Thanks to the ecclesiastical sanction of his royalty, Philip had successfully braved the pope for twenty years, in the matter of Ingeborg and again in that of the German schism, when he had supported Philip of Swabia against Otto of Brunswick, the pope’s candidate. In 1213, John Lackland, having been in conflict with Innocent regarding the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury, had made submission and done homage for his kingdom, and Philip wished to take vengeance for this at the expense of the rebellious vassals of the north-west, and of Renaud and Ferrand, counts of Boulogne and Flanders, thus combating English influence in those quarters.

This was a return to the old Capet policy; but it was also menacing to many interests, and sure to arouse energetic resistance. John seized the opportunity to consolidate against Philip a European coalition, which included Coalition against Philip Augustus. (1214). most of the feudal lords in Flanders, Belgium and Lorraine, and the emperor Otto IV. So dangerous did the French monarchy already seem! John began operations with an attack from Anjou, supported by the notably capricious nobles of Aquitaine, and was routed by Philip’s son at La Roche aux Moines, near Angers, on the 2nd of July 1214. Twenty-five days later the northern allies, intending to surprise the smaller French army on its passage over the bridge at Bouvines, themselves sustained a complete defeat. This first national victory had not only a profound effect on the whole kingdom, but produced consequences of far-reaching importance: in Germany it brought about Otto’s fall before Frederick II.; in England it introduced the great drama of 1215, the first act of which closed with Magna Carta—John Lackland being forced to acknowledge the control of his barons, and to share with them the power he had abused and disgraced. In France, on the contrary, the throne was exalted beyond rivalry, raised far above a feudalism which never again ventured on acts of independence or rebellion. Bouvines gave France the supremacy of the West. The feudalism of Languedoc was all that now remained to conquer.

The whole world, in fact, was unconsciously working for Philip Augustus. Anxious not to risk his gains, but to consolidate them by organization, Philip henceforth until his death in 1223 operated through diplomacy alone, leaving to others the toil and trouble of conquests, the advantages of which were not for them. When his son Louis wished to wrest the English crown from John, now crushed by his barons, Philip intervened without seeming to do so, first with the barons, then with Innocent III., supporting and disowning his son by turns; until the latter, held in check by Rome, was forced to sign the treaty of Lambeth (1217). When the Church and the needy and fanatical nobles of northern and central France destroyed the feudal dynasty of Toulouse and the rich civilization of the south in the Albigensian crusade, it was for Philip Augustus that their leader, Simon de Montfort, all unknowing, conquered Languedoc. At last, instead of the two Frances of the langue d’oc and the langue d’oïl, there was but one royal France comprising the whole kingdom.

Philip Augustus was not satisfied with the destruction of a turbulent feudalism; he wished to substitute for it such unity and peace as had obtained in the Roman Empire; and just as he had established his supremacy over the Administration of Philip Augustus. feudal lords, so now he managed to extend it over the clergy, and to bend them to his will. He took advantage of their weakness in the midst of an age of violence. By contracts of “pariage” the clergy claimed and obtained the king’s protection even in places beyond the king’s jurisdiction, to their common advantage. Philip thus set the feudal lords one against the other; and against them all, first the Church, then the communes. He exploited also the townspeople’s need for security and the instinct of independence which made them claim a definite place in the feudal hierarchy. He was the actual creator of the communes, although an interested creator, since they made a breach in the fortress of feudalism and extended the royal authority far beyond the king’s demesne. He did even more: he gave monarchy the instruments of which it still stood in need, gathering round him in Paris a council of men humble in origin, but wise and loyal; while in 1190 he instituted baillis and seneschals throughout his enlarged dominions, all-powerful over the nobles and subservient to himself. He filled his treasury with spoils harshly wrung from all classes; thus inaugurating the monarchy’s long and patient labours at enlarging the crown lands bit by bit through taxes on private property. Finally he created an army, no longer the temporary feudal ost, but a more or less permanent royal force. By virtue of all these organs of government the throne guaranteed peace, justice and a secure future, having routed 817 feudalism with sword and diplomacy. Philip’s son was the first of the Capets who was not crowned during his father’s lifetime; a fact clearly showing that the principle of heredity had now been established beyond discussion.

Louis VIII.’s short reign was but a prolongation of Philip’s in its realization of his two great designs: the recovery from Louis VIII. (1223-1226). Henry III. of England of Poitou as far as the Garonne; and the crusade against the Albigenses, which with small pains procured him the succession of Amaury de Montfort, and the Languedoc of the counts of Toulouse, if not the whole of Gascony. Louis VIII. died on his return from this short campaign without having proved his full worth.

But the history of France during the 11th and 12th centuries does not entirely consist of these painful struggles of the Capet dynasty to shake off the fetters of feudalism. France, no longer split up into separate fragments, now began Universal French activity. to exercise both intellectual and military influence over Europe. Everywhere her sons gave proof of rejuvenated activity. The Christian missions which others were reviving in Prussia and beginning in Hungary were undertaken on a vaster scale by the Capets. These “elder sons of the Church” made themselves responsible for carrying out the “work of God,” and French pilgrims in the Holy Land prepared the great movement of the Crusades against the infidels. Religious faith, love of adventure, the hope of making advantageous conquests, anticipations of a promised paradise—all combined to force this advance upon the Orient, which though failing to rescue the sepulchre of Christ, the ephemeral kingdoms of Jerusalem and Cyprus, the dukedom of Athens, or the Latin empire of Constantinople, yet gained for France that prestige for military glory and religious piety which for centuries constituted her strength in the Levant (see Crusades). At the call of the pope other members of the French chivalry also made victorious expeditions against the Mussulmans, and founded the Christian kingdom of Portugal. Obeying that enterprising spirit which was to take them to England half a century later, Normans descended upon southern Italy and wrested rich lands from Greeks and Saracens.

In the domain of intellect the advance of the French showed a no less dazzling and a no less universal activity; they sang as well as they fought, and their epics were worthy of their swordsmanship, while their cathedrals were Intellectual development. hymns in stone as ardent as their soaring flights of devotion. In this period of intense religious life France was always in the vanguard. It was the ideas of Cluniac monks that freed the Church from feudal supremacy, and in the 11th century produced a Pope Gregory VII.; the spirit of free investigation shown by the heretics of Orleans inspired the rude Breton, Abelard, in the 12th century; and with Gerbert and Fulbert of Chartres the schools first kindled that brilliant light which the university of Paris, organized by Philip Augustus, was to shed over the world from the heights of Sainte-Geneviève. In the quarrels of the priesthood under the Empire it was St Bernard, the great abbot of Clairvaux, who tried to arrest the papacy on the slippery downward path of theocracy; finally, it was in Suger’s church of St Denis that French art began that struggle between light against darkness which, culminating in Notre-Dame and the Sainte-Chapelle, was to teach the architects of the world the delight of building with airiness of effect. The old basilica which contains the history of the monarchy sums up the whole of Gothic art to this day, and it was Suger who in the domain of art and politics brought forward once more the conception of unity. The courteous ideal of French chivalry, with its “delectable” language, was adopted by all seigniorial Europe, which thus became animated, as it were, by the life-blood of France. Similarly, in the universal movement of those forces which made for freedom, France began the age-long struggle to maintain the rights of civil society and continually to enlarge the social categories. The townsman enriched by commerce and the emancipated peasant tried more or less valiantly to shake off the yoke of the feudal system, which had been greatly weakened, if not entirely broken down, by the crusades. Grouped around their belfry-towers and organized within their gilds, they made merry in their free jocular language over their own hardships, and still more over the vices of their lords. They insinuated themselves into the counsels of their ignorant masters, and though still sitting humbly at the feet of the barons, these upright and well-educated servitors were already dreaming of the great deeds they would do when their tyrants should have vacated their high position, and when royalty should have summoned them to power.

By the beginning of the 13th century the Capet monarchy was so strong that the crisis occasioned by the sudden death Louis IX. (1226-1270). of Louis VIII. was easily surmounted by the foreign woman and the child whom he left behind him. It is true that that woman was Blanche of Castile, and that child the future Louis IX. A virtuous and very devout Spanish princess, Blanche assumed the regency of the kingdom and the tutelage of her child, and carried them on for nine years with so much force of character and capacity Blanche of Castile. for rule that she soon impressed the clamorous and disorderly leaders of the opposition (1226-1235). By the treaty of Meaux (1229), her diplomacy combined with the influence of the Church to prepare effectually for the annexation of Languedoc to the kingdom, supplementing this again by a portion of Champagne; and the marriage of her son to Margaret of Provence definitely broke the ties which held the country within the orbit of the German empire. She managed also to keep out of the great quarrel between Frederick II. and the papacy which was convulsing Germany. But her finest achievement was the education of her son; she taught him that lofty religious morality which in his case was not merely a rule for private conduct, but also a political programme to which he remained faithful even to the detriment of his apparent interests. With Louis IX. morality for the first time permeated and dominated politics; he had but one end: to do justice to every one and to reconcile all Christendom in view of a general crusade.

The oak of Vincennes, under which the king would sit to mete out justice, cast its shade over the whole political action of Louis IX. He was the arbiter of townspeople, of feudal lords and of kings. The interdiction of the judicial Louis IX.’s policy of arbitration. duel, the “quarantaine le roi,” i.e. “the king’s truce of forty days” during which no vengeance might be taken for private wrongs, and the assurement,29 went far to diminish the abuses of warfare by allowing his mediation to make for a spirit of reconciliation throughout his kingdom. When Thibaud (Theobald), count of Champagne, attempted to marry the daughter of Pierre Mauclerc, duke of Brittany, without the king’s consent, Louis IX., who held the county of Champagne at his mercy, contented himself with exacting guarantees of peace. Beyond the borders of France, at the time of the emperor Frederick II.’s conflict with a papacy threatened in its temporal powers, though he made no response to Frederick’s appeal to the civil authorities urging them to present a solid front against the pretensions of the Church, and though he energetically supported the latter, yet he would not admit her right to place kingdoms under interdict, and refused the imperial crown which Gregory IX. offered him for one of his brothers. He always hoped to bring about an honourable agreement between the two adversaries, and in his estimation 818 the advantages of peace outweighed personal interest. In matters concerning the succession in Flanders, Hainaut and Navarre; in the quarrels of the princes regarding the Empire, and in those of Henry III. of England with his barons; it was because of his justice and his disinterestedness that he was appealed to as a trusted mediator. His conduct towards Henry III. was certainly a most characteristic example of his behaviour.

The king of England had entered into the coalition formed by the nobility of Poitou and the count of Toulouse to prevent the execution of the treaty of 1229 and the enfeoffment of Poitou to the king’s brother Alphonse. Louis IX. Louis IX. and Henry III. defeated Henry III. twice within two days, at Taillebourg and at Saintes, and obliged him to demand a truce (1242). It was forbidden that any lord should be a vassal both of the king of France and of the king of England. After this Louis IX. had set off upon his first crusade in Egypt (1248-54), and on his return he wanted to make this truce into a definite treaty and to “set love” between his children and those of the English king. By a treaty signed at Paris (1259), Henry III. renounced all the conquests of Philip Augustus, and Louis IX. those of his father Louis VIII.—an example unique in history of a victorious king spontaneously giving up his spoil solely for the sake of peace and justice, yet proving by his act that honesty is the best policy; for monarchy gained much by that moral authority which made Louis IX. the universal arbitrator.

But his love of peace and concord was not always “sans grands despens” to the kingdom. In 1258, by renouncing his rights over Roussillon and the countship of Barcelona, conquered by Charlemagne, he made an advantageous bargain The crusade of Tunis. because he kept Montpellier; but he committed a grave fault in consenting to accept the offers regarding Sicily made by Pope Urban IV. to his brother the count of Anjou and Provence. That was the origin of the expeditions into Italy on which the house of Valois was two centuries later to squander the resources of France unavailingly, compromising beyond the Alps its interests in the Low Countries and upon the Rhine. But Louis IX.’s worst error was his obsession with regard to the crusades, to which he sacrificed everything. Despite the signal failure of the first crusade, when he had been taken prisoner; despite the protests of his mother, of his counsellors, and of the pope himself, he flung himself into the mad adventure of Tunis. Nowhere was his blind faith more plainly shown, combined as it was with total ignorance of the formidable migrations that were convulsing Asia, and of the complicated game of politics just then proceeding between the Christian nations and the Moslems of the Mediterranean. At Tunis he found his death, on the 25th of August 1270.

The death of Louis IX. and that of his brother Alphonse of Poitiers, heir of the count of Toulouse, made Philip III., the Bold, legitimate master of northern France and undisputed sovereign of southern France. From the latter Philip III., the Bold (1270-1285). he detached the comtat Venaissin in 1274 and gave it to the papacy, which held it until 1791. But he had not his father’s great soul nor disinterested spirit. Urged by Pope Martin IV. he began the fatal era of great international wars by his unlucky crusade against the king of Aragon, who, thanks to the massacre of the Sicilian Vespers, substituted his own predominance in Sicily for that of Charles of Anjou. Philip returned from Spain only to die at Perpignan, ending his insignificant reign as he had begun it, amid the sorrows of a disastrous retreat (1270-1285). His reign was but a halting-place of history between those of Louis IX. and Philip the Fair, just when the transition was taking place from the last days of the middle ages to the modern epoch.

The middle ages had been dominated by four great problems. The first of these had been to determine whether there should be a universal empire exercising tutelage over the nations; and if so, to whom this empire should Philip IV. the Fair (1285-1314). belong, to pope or emperor. The second had been the extension to the East of that Catholic unity which reigned in the West. Again, for more than a century, the question had also been debated whether the English kings were to preserve and increase their power over the soil of France. And, finally, two principles had been confronting one another in the internal life of all the European states: the feudal and the monarchical principles. France had not escaped any of these conflicts; but Philip the Fair was the initiator or the instrument (it is difficult to say which) who was to put an end to both imperial and theocratic dreams, and to the international crusades; who was to remove the political axis from the centre of Europe, much to the benefit of the western monarchies, now definitely emancipated from the feudal yoke and firmly organized against both the Church and the barons. The hour had come for Dante, the great Florentine poet, to curse the man who was to dismember the empire, precipitate the fall of the papacy and discipline feudalism.

Modern in his practical schemes and in his calculated purpose, Philip the Fair was still more so in his method, that of legal procedure, and in his agents, the lawyers. With him the French monarchy defined its ambitions, and little Litigious character of Philip the Fair’s reign. by little forsook its feudal and ecclesiastical character in order to clothe itself in juridical forms. His aggressive and litigious policy and his ruthless financial method were due to those lawyers of the south and of Normandy who had been nurtured on Roman law in the universities of Bologna or Montpellier, had practised chicanery in the provincial courts, had gradually thrust themselves into the great arena of politics, and were now leading the king and filling his parlement. It was no longer upon religion or morality, it was upon imperial and Roman rights that these chevaliers ès lois based the prince’s omnipotence; and nothing more clearly marks the new tradition which was being elaborated than the fact that all the great events of Philip the Fair’s reign were lawsuits.

The first of these was with the papacy. The famous quarrel between the priesthood and the Empire, which had culminated at Canossa under Gregory VII., in the apotheosis of the Lateran council under Innocent III., and again Philip the Fair and the Papacy. in the fall of the house of Hohenstaufen under Innocent IV., was reopened with the king of France by Boniface VIII. The quarrel began in 1294 about a question of money. In his bull Clericis laicos the pope protested against the taxes levied upon the French clergy by the king, whose expenses were increasing with his conquests. But he had not insisted; because Philip, between feudal vassals ruined by the crusades and lower classes fleeced by everybody, had threatened to forbid the exportation from France of any ecclesiastical gold and silver. In 1301 and 1302 the arrest of Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, by the officers of the king, and the citation of this cleric before the king’s tribunal for the crime of lèse-majesté, revived the conflict and led Boniface to send an order to free Saisset, and to put forward a claim to reform the kingdom under the threat of excommunication. In view of the gravity of the occasion Philip made an unusually extended appeal to public opinion by convoking the states-general at Notre-Dame in Paris (1302). Whatever were their views as to the relations between ecclesiastical and secular jurisdiction, the French clergy, ruined by the dues levied by the papal court, ranged themselves on the national side with the nobility and the bourgeoisie; whereupon the king, with a bold stroke far ahead of his time, gave tit for tat. His chancellor, Nogaret, went to Anagni to seize the pope and drag him before a council; but Boniface died without confessing himself vanquished. As a matter of fact the king and his lawyers triumphed, where the house of Swabia had failed. After the death of Boniface the splendid fabric of the medieval theocracy gave place to the rights of civil society, the humiliation of Avignon, the disruption of the great schism, the vain efforts of the councils for reform, and the radical and heretical solutions of Wycliffe and Huss.

The affair of the Templars was another legal process carried out by the same Nogaret. Of course this military religious order had lost utility and justification when the Holy Land had been evacuated and the crusades were over. Philip the Fair and the Templars. Their great mistake had lain in becoming rich, and rich to excess, through serving as bankers to princes, kings and popes; for great financial powers soon became 819 unpopular. Philip took advantage of this hatred of the lower classes and the cowardice of his creature, Pope Clement V., to satisfy his desire for money. The trial of the order (1307-1313) was a remarkable example of the use of the religious tribunal of the Inquisition as a political instrument. There was a dramatic completeness about this unexpected result of the crusades. A general arbitrary arrest of the Templars, the sequestration of their property, examination under torture, the falsifying of procedure, extortion of money from the pope, the auto-da-fé of innocent victims, the dishonest pillaging of their goods by the joint action of the king and the pope: such was the outcome of this vast process of secularization, which foreshadowed the events of the 16th and 18th centuries.

External policy had the same litigious character. Philip the Fair instituted suits against his natural enemies, the king of England and the count of Flanders, foreign princes holding possessions within his kingdom; and against Philip the Fair and Edward I. the emperor, whose ancient province of Lorraine and kingdom of Arles constantly changed hands between Germany and France. Philip began by interfering in the affairs of Sicily and Aragon, his father’s inheritance; after which, on the pretext of a quarrel between French and English sailors, he set up his customary procedure: a citation of the king of England before the parlement of Paris, and in case of default a decree of forfeiture; the whole followed by execution—that is to say by the unimportant war of 1295. A truce arranged by Boniface VIII. restored Guienne to Edward I., gave him the hand of Philip’s sister for himself and that of the king’s daughter for his son (1298).

A still more lengthy and unfortunate suit was the attempt of Philip the Fair and his successors to incorporate the Flemish fief like the English one (1300-1326), thus coming into conflict with proud and turbulent republics Philip the Fair and Flanders. composed of wool and cloth merchants, weavers, fullers and powerful counts. Guy de Dampierre, count of Namur, who had become count of Flanders on the death of his mother Margaret II. in 1279—an ambitious, greedy and avaricious man—was arrested at the Louvre on account of his attempt to marry his daughter to Edward I.’s eldest son without the consent of his suzerain Philip. Released after two years, he sided definitely with the king of England when the latter was in arms against Philip; and being only weakly supported by Edward, he was betrayed by the nobles who favoured France, and forced to yield up not only his personal liberty but the whole of Flanders (1300). The Flemings, however, soon wearying of the oppressive administration of the French governor, Jacques de Châtillon, and the recrudescence of patrician domination, rose and overwhelmed the French chivalry at Courtrai (1302)—a prelude to the coming disasters of the Hundred Years’ War. Philip’s double revenge, on sea at Zierikzee and on land at Mons-en-Pévèle (1304), led to the signing of a treaty at Athis-sur-Orge (1305).

The efforts of Philip the Fair to expand the limits of his kingdom on the eastern border were more fortunate. His marriage had gained him Champagne; and he afterwards extended his influence over Franche Comté, Eastern policy of Philip the Fair. Bar and the bishoprics of Lorraine, acquiring also Viviers and the important town of Lyons—all this less by force of arms than by the expenditure of money. Disdaining the illusory dream of the imperial crown, still cherished by his legal advisers, he pushed forward towards that fluctuating eastern frontier, the line of least resistance, which would have yielded to him had it not been for the unfortunate interruption of the Hundred Years’ War.

His three sons, Louis X., Philip V. the Tall, and Charles IV., continued his work. They increased the power of the monarchy politically by destroying the feudal reaction excited in 1314 by the tyrannical conduct of the jurists, like The sons of Philip the Fair (1314-1328). Enguerrand de Marigny, and by the increasing financial extortions of their father; and they also—notably Philip V., one of the most hard-working of the Capets—increased it on the administrative side by specializing the services of justice and of finance, which were separated from the king’s council. Under these mute self-effacing kings the progress of royal power was only the more striking. With them the senior male line of the house of Capet became extinct.

During three centuries and a half they had effected great things: they had founded a kingdom, a royal family and civil institutions. The land subject to Hugh Capet in 987, barely representing two of the modern departments The royal house of Capet. of France, in 1328 covered a space equal to fifty-nine of them. The political unity of the kingdom was only fettered by the existence of four large isolated fiefs: Flanders on the north, Brittany on the west, Burgundy on the east and Guienne on the south. The capital, which for long had been movable, was now established in the Louvre at Paris, fortified by Philip Augustus. Like the fiefs, feudal institutions at large had been shattered. The Roman tradition which made the will of the sovereign law, gradually propagated by the teaching of Roman law—the law of servitude, not of liberty—and already proclaimed by the jurist Philippe de Beaumanoir as superior to the customs, had been of immense support to the interest of the state and the views of the monarchs; and finally the Capets, so humble of origin, had created organs of general administration common to all in order to effect an administrative centralization. In their grand council and their domains they would have none but silent, servile and well-disciplined agents. The royal exchequer, which was being painfully elaborated in the chambre des comptes, and the treasury of the crown lands at the Louvre, together barely sufficed to meet the expenses of this more complicated and costly machinery. The uniform justice exercised by the parlement spread gradually over the whole kingdom by means of cas royaux (royal suits), and at the same time the royal coinage became obligatory. Against this exaltation of their power two adversaries might have been formidable; but one, the Church, was a captive in Babylon, and the second, the people, was deprived of the communal liberties which it had abused, or humbly effaced itself in the states-general behind the declared will of the king. This well-established authority was also supported by the revered memory of “Monseigneur Saint Louis”; and it is this prestige, the strength of this ideal superior to all other, that explains how the royal prerogative came to survive the mistakes and misfortunes of the Hundred Years’ War.

On the extinction of the direct line of the Capets the crown passed to a younger branch, that of the Valois. Its seven representatives (1328-1498) were on the whole very inferior to the Capets, and, with the exception of Advent of the Valois. Charles V. and Louis XI., possessed neither their political sense nor even their good common sense; they cost France the loss of her great advantage over all other countries. During this century and a half France passed through two very severe crises; under the first five Valois the Hundred Years’ War imperilled the kingdom’s independence; and under Louis XI. the struggle against the house of Burgundy endangered the territorial unity of the monarchy that had been established with such pains upon the ruins of feudalism.

Charles the Fair having died and left only a daughter, the nation’s rights, so long in abeyance, were once more regained. An assembly of peers and barons, relying on two precedents under Philip V. and Charles IV., declared Philip VI. (1328-1350). that “no woman, nor therefore her son, could in accordance with custom succeed to the monarchy of France.” This definite decision, to which the name of the Salic law was given much later, set aside Edward III., king of England, grandson of Philip the Fair, nephew of the late kings and son of their sister Isabel. Instead it gave the crown to the feudal chief, the hard and coarse Philip VI. of Valois, nephew of Philip the Fair. This at once provoked war between the two monarchies, English and French, which, including periods of truce, lasted for a hundred and sixteen years. Of active warfare there were two periods, both disastrous to begin with, but ending favourably: one lasted from 1337 to 1378 and the other from 1413 to 1453, thirty-three years of distress and folly coming in between.


However, the Hundred Years’ War was not mainly caused by the pretensions of Edward III. to the throne of the Capets; since after having long hesitated to do homage to Philip VI. for his possessions in Guienne, Edward at The Hundred Years’ War. last brought himself to it—though certainly only after lengthy negotiations, and even threats of war in 1331. It is true that six years later he renounced his homage and again claimed the French inheritance; but this was on the ground of personal grievances, and for economic and political reasons. There was a natural rivalry between Edward III. and Philip VI., both of them young, fond of the life of chivalry, festal magnificence, and the “belles apertises d’armes.” This rivalry was aggravated by the enmity between Philip VI. and Robert of Artois, his brother-in-law, who, after having warmly supported the disinheriting of Edward III., had been convicted of deceit in a question of succession, had revenged himself on Philip by burning his waxen effigy, and had been welcomed with open arms at Edward’s court. Philip VI. had taken reprisals against him in 1336 by making his parlement declare the forfeiture of Edward’s lands and castles in Guienne; but the Hundred Years’ War, at first simply a feudal quarrel between vassal and suzerain, soon became a great national conflict, in consequence of what was occurring in Flanders.

The communes of Flanders, rich, hard-working, jealous of their liberties, had always been restive under the authority of their counts and the influence of their suzerain, the king of France. The affair at Cassel, where Philip VI. had avenged the injuries done by the people of Bruges in 1325 to their count, Louis of Nevers, had also compromised English interests. To attack the English through their colonies, Guienne and Flanders, was to injure them in their most vital interests—cloth and claret; for England sold her wool to Bruges in order to pay Bordeaux for her wine. Edward III. had replied by forbidding the exportation of English wool, and by threatening the great industrial cities of Flanders with the transference to England of the cloth manufacture—an excellent means of stirring them up against the French, as without wool they could do nothing. Workless, and in desperation, they threw themselves on Edward’s mercy, by the advice of a rich citizen of Ghent, Jacob van Artevelde (q.v.); and their last scruples of loyalty gave way when Edward decided to follow the counsels of Robert of Artois and of Artevelde, and to claim the crown of France.

The war began, like every feudal war of that day, with a solemn defiance, and it was soon characterized by terrible disasters. The destruction of the finest French fleet that had yet been seen, surprised in the port of The defeat at Sluys. Sluys, closed the sea to the king of France; the struggle was continued on land, but with little result. Flanders tired of it, but fortunately for Edward III. Brittany now took fire, through a quarrel of succession, analogous to that in France, between Charles of Blois (who had married the daughter of the late duke and was a nephew of Philip VI., by whom he was supported) and John of Montfort, brother of the old duke, who naturally asked assistance from the king of England. But here, too, nothing important was accomplished; the capture of John of Montfort at Nantes deprived Edward of Brittany at the very moment when he finally lost Flanders by the death of Artevelde, who was killed by the people of Ghent in 1345. Under the influence of Godefroi d’Harcourt, whom Philip VI. had wished to destroy on account of his ambitions with regard to the duchy of Normandy, Edward III. now invaded central France, ravaged Normandy, getting as near to Paris as Saint-Germain; and profiting by Philip VI.’s hesitation and delay, he reached the north with his spoils by dint of forced marches. Having been pursued and encountered at The defeat at Crécy and the taking of Calais. Crécy, Edward gained a complete victory there on the 26th of April 1346. The seizure of Calais in 1347, despite heroic resistance, gave the English a port where they could always find entry into France, just when the queen of England had beaten David of Scotland, the ally of France, at Neville’s Cross, and when Charles of Blois, made prisoner in his turn, was held captive in London. The Black Death put the finishing touch to the military disasters and financial upheavals of this unlucky reign; though before his death in 1350 Philip VI. was fortunate enough to augment his territorial acquisitions by the purchase of the rich port of Montpellier, as well as by that of Dauphiné, which extended to the Alpine frontier, and was to become the appanage of the eldest son of the king of France (see Dauphiné and Dauphin).

Philip VI.’s successor was his son John the Good—or rather, the stupid and the spendthrift. This noble monarch was unspeakably brutal (as witness the murders, simply on John the Good (1350). suspicion, of the constable Raoul de Brienne, count of Eu, and of the count of Harcourt) and incredibly extravagant. His need of money led him to debase the currency eighty-one times between 1350 and 1355. And this money, so necessary for the prosecution of the war with England, which had been interrupted for a year, thanks to the pope’s intervention, was lavished by him upon his favourite, Charles of La Cerda. The latter was murdered in 1354 by order of Charles of Navarre, the king’s son-in-law, who also prevented the levying of the taxes voted by the states in 1355 with the object of replenishing the treasury. The Black Prince took this opportunity to ravage the southern provinces, and then marched to join the duke of Lancaster and Charles of Defeat at Poitiers. Navarre in Normandy. John the Good managed to bring the English army to bay at Maupertuis, not far from Poitiers; but the battle was conducted with such a want of intelligence on his part that the French army was overwhelmed, though very superior in numbers, and King John was made prisoner, after a determined resistance, on the 19th of September 1356.

The disaster at Poitiers almost led to the establishment in France of institutions analogous to those which England owed to Bouvines. The king a prisoner, the dauphin discredited and deserted, and the nobility decimated, The states of 1355-1356. the people—that is to say, the states-general—could raise their voice. Philip the Fair had never regarded the states-general as a financial institution, but merely as a moral support. Now, however, in order to obtain substantial help from taxes instead of mere driblets, the Valois needed a stronger lever than cunning or force. War against the English assured them the support of the nation. Exactions, debasement of the currency and extortionate taxation were ruinous palliatives, and insufficient to supply a treasury which the revenue from crown lands and various rights taken from the nobles could not fill even in times of peace. By the 14th century the motto “N’impose qui ne veut” (i.e. no taxation without consent) was as firmly established in France as in England. After Crécy Philip VI. called the states together regularly, that he might obtain subsidies from them, as an assistance, an “aid” which subjects could not refuse their suzerain. In return for this favour, which the king could not claim as a right, the states, feeling their power, began to bargain, and at the session of November 1355 demanded the participation of all classes in the tax voted, and obtained guarantees both for its levy and the use to be made of it. A similar situation in England had given birth to political liberty; but in France the great crisis of the early 15th century stifled it. It was with this money that John the Good got himself beaten and taken prisoner at Poitiers. Once more the states-general had to be convoked. Confronted by a pale weakly boy like the dauphin Charles and the remnants of the discredited council, the situation of the states was stronger Robert le Coq and Étienne Marcel. than ever. Predominant in influence were the deputies from the towns, and above all the citizens of the capital, led by Robert le Coq, bishop of Laon, and Étienne Marcel, provost of the merchants of Paris. Having no cause for confidence in the royal administration, the states refused to treat with the dauphin’s councillors, and proposed to take him under their own tutelage. He himself hesitated whether to sacrifice the royal authority, or else, without resources or support, to resist an assembly backed by public opinion. He decided for resistance. Under pretext of 821 grave news received from his father, and of an interview at Metz with his uncle, the emperor Charles IV., he begged the states to adjourn till the 3rd of November 1356. This was a political coup d’état, and when the time had expired he attempted a financial coup d’état by debasing the currency. An uprising obliged him to call the states-general together again in February 1357, when they transformed themselves into a deliberative, independent and permanent assembly by means of the Grande Ordonnance.

In order to make this great French charter really effective resistance to the royal authority should have been collective, national and even popular, as in the case of the charters of 1215 and 1258 in England. But the lay and ecclesiastical The Grande Ordonnance of 1357. feudal lords continued to show themselves in France, as everywhere else except across the Straits of Dover, a cause of division and oppression. Moreover, the states were never really general; those of the Langue d’oc and the Langue d’oil sometimes acted together; but there was never a common understanding between them and always two Frances within the kingdom. Besides, they only represented the three classes who alone had any social standing at that period: the nobles, the clergy, and the burgesses of important towns. Étienne Marcel himself protested against councillors “de petit état.” Again, the states, intermittently convoked according to the king’s good pleasure, exercised neither periodical rights nor effective control, but fulfilled a duty which was soon felt as onerous. Indifference and satiety spread speedily; the bourgeoisie forsook the reformers directly they had recourse to violence (February 1358), and the Parisians became hostile when Étienne Marcel complicated his revolutionary work by intrigues with Navarre, releasing from prison the grandson of Louis X., the Headstrong, an ambitious, fine-spoken courter of popularity, covetous of the royal crown. The dauphin’s flight from Paris excited a wild outburst of monarchist loyalty and anger against the capital among the nobility and in the states-general of Compiègne. Marcel, like the dauphin, was not a man to turn back. But neither the support of the peasant insurgents—the “Jacques”—who were annihilated in the market of Meaux, nor a last but unheeded appeal to the large towns, nor yet the uncertain support of Charles the Bad, to whom Marcel in despair proposed to deliver up Paris, saved him from being put to death by the royalist party of Paris on the 31st of July 1358.

Isolated as he was, Étienne Marcel had been unable either to seize the government or to create a fresh one. In the reaction which followed his downfall royalty inherited the financial administration which the states had set up to check extravagance. The “élus” and the superintendents, instead of being delegates of the states, became royal functionaries like the baillis and the provosts; imposts, hearth-money (fouage), salt-tax (gabelle), sale-dues (droits de vente), voted for the war, were levied during the whole of Charles V.’s reign and added to his personal revenue. The opportunity of founding political liberty upon the vote and the control of taxation, and of organizing the administration of the kingdom so as to ensure that the entire military and financial resources should be always available, was gone beyond recall.

Re-establishing the royal authority in Paris was not enough; an end had to be put to the war with England and Navarre, and The treaty of Brétigny. this was effected by the treaty of Brétigny (1360). King John ceded Poitou, Saintonge, Agenais, Périgord and Limousin to Edward III., and was offered his liberty for a ransom of three million gold crowns; but, unable to pay that enormous sum, he returned to his agreeable captivity in London, where he died in 1364.

Yet through the obstinacy and selfishness of John the Good, France, in stress of suffering, was gradually realizing herself. More strongly than her king she felt the shame of Charles V. (1364-1380). defeat. Local or municipal patriotism waxed among peasants and townsfolk, and combined with hatred of the English to develop national sentiment. Many of the conquered repeated that proud, sad answer of the men of Rochelle to the English: “We will acknowledge you with our lips; but with our hearts, never!”

The peace of Brétigny brought no repose to the kingdom. War having become a congenial and very lucrative industry, its cessation caused want of work, with all the evils that entails. For ten years the remnants of the armies The “Grandes Compagnies.” of England, Navarre and Brittany—the “Grandes Compagnies,” as they were called—ravaged the country; although Charles V., “durement subtil et sage,” succeeded in getting rid of them, thanks to du Guesclin, one of their chiefs, who led them to any place where fighting was going on—to Brittany, Alsace, Spain. Charles also had all towns and large villages fortified; and being a man of affairs he set about undoing the effect of the treaty of Brétigny by alliances with Flanders, whose heiress he married to his brother Philip, duke of Burgundy; with Henry, king of Castile, and Ferdinand of Portugal, who possessed fine navies; and, finally, with the emperor Charles IV. Financial and military preparations were made no less seriously when the harsh administration of the Black Prince, to whom Edward III. had given Guienne in fief, provoked the nobles of Gascony to complain to Charles V. Cited before the court of Paris, the Black Prince refused to attend, and war broke out in Gascony, Poitou and Normandy, but with fresh tactics (1369). Whilst the English adhered to the system of wide circuits, under Chandos or Robert Knolles, Charles V. limited himself to defending the towns and exhausting the enemy without taking dangerous risks. Thanks to the prudent constable du Guesclin, sitting quietly at home he reconquered bit by bit what his predecessors had lost upon the battlefield, helm on head and sword in hand; and when he died in 1380, after the decease of both Edward III. and the Black Prince, the only possessions of England in a liberated but ruined France were Bayonne, Bordeaux, Brest, Cherbourg and Calais.

The death of Charles V. and dynastic revolutions in England stopped the war for thirty-five years. Then began an era of Charles VI. (1380-1422). internal disorder and misery. The men of that period, coarse, violent and simple-minded, with few political ideas, loved brutal and noisy pleasures—witness the incredible festivities at the marriage of Charles VI., and the assassinations of the constable de Clisson, the duke of Orleans and John the Fearless. It would have needed an energetic hand to hold these passions in check; and Charles VI. was a gentle-natured child, twelve years of age, who attained his majority only to fall into a second childhood. Thence arose a question which remained without reply during The king’s uncles and the Marmousets. the whole of his reign. Who should have possession of the royal person, and, consequently, of the royal power? Should it be the uncles of the king, or his followers Clisson and Bureau de la Rivière, whom the nobles called in mockery the Marmousets? His uncles first seized the government, each with a view to his own particular interests, which were by no means those of the kingdom at large. The duke of Anjou emptied the treasury in conquering the kingdom of Naples, at the call of Queen Joanna of Sicily. The duke of Berry seized upon Languedoc and the wine-tax. The duke of Burgundy, heir through his wife to the countship of Flanders, wanted to crush the democratic risings among the Flemings. Each of them needed money, but Charles V., pricked by conscience on his death-bed, forbade the levying of the hearth-tax (1380). His brother’s attempt to re-establish it set The revolt of the Maillotins. Paris in revolt. The Maillotins of Paris found imitators in other great towns; and in Auvergne and Vivarais the Tuchins renewed the Jacquerie. Revolutionary attempts between 1380 and 1385 to abolish all taxes were echoed in England, Florence and Flanders. These isolated rebellions, however, were crushed by the ever-ready coalition of royal and feudal forces at Roosebeke (1382). Taxes and subsidies were maintained and the hearth-money re-established.

The death of the duke of Anjou at Bari (1384) gave preponderant influence to Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy, who increased the large and fruitless expenses of his Burgundian 822 policy to such a point that on the return of a last unfortunate Madness of Charles VI. expedition into Gelderland Charles VI., who had been made by him to marry Isabel of Bavaria, took the government from his uncles on the 3rd of May 1389, and recalled the Marmousets. But this young king, aged only twenty, very much in love with his young wife and excessively fond of pleasure, soon wrecked the delicate poise of his mental faculties in the festivities of the Hôtel Saint-Paul; and a violent attack of Pierre de Craon on the constable de Clisson having led to an expedition against his accomplice, the duke of Brittany, Charles was seized by insanity on the road. The Marmousets were deposed, the king’s brother, the duke of Orleans, set aside, and the old condition of affairs began again (1392).

The struggle was now between the two branches of the royal family, the Orleanist and the Burgundian, between the aristocratic south and the democratic north; while the deposition of Richard II. of England in favour of Struggle between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians. Henry of Lancaster permitted them to vary civil war by war against the foreigner. Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy, the king’s uncle, had certain advantages over his rival Louis of Orleans, Charles VI.’s brother: superiority in age, relations with the Lancastrians and with Germany, and territorial wealth and power. The two adversaries had each the same scheme of government: each wanted to take charge of Charles VI., who was intermittently insane, and to exclude his rival from the pillage of the royal exchequer; but this rivalry of desires brought them into opposition on all the great questions of the day—the war with England, the Great Schism and the imperial election. The struggle became acute when John the Fearless of Burgundy succeeded his father in 1404. Up to this time the queen, Isabel of Bavaria, had been held in a kind of dependency upon Philip of Burgundy, who had brought about her marriage; but less eager for influence than for money, since political questions were unintelligible to her and her situation was a precarious one, she suddenly became favourable to the duke of Orleans. Whether due to passion or caprice this cost the duke his life, for John the Fearless had him assassinated in 1407, and thus let loose against one another the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, so-called because the son of the murdered duke was the son-in-law of the count of Armagnac (see Armagnac). Despite all attempts at reconciliation the country was divided into two parties. Paris, with her tradesmen—the butchers in particular—and her university, played an important part in this quarrel; for to be master of Paris was to be master of the king. In 1413 the duke of Burgundy gained the upper hand there, partly owing to the rising of the Cabochiens, i.e. the butchers led by the skinner Simon Caboche, partly to the hostility of the university to the Avignon pope and partly to the Parisian bourgeoisie.

Amid this reign of terror and of revolt the university, the only moral and intellectual force, taking the place of the impotent states-general and of a parlement carefully restricted to the judiciary sphere, vainly tried to re-establish a firm The Ordonnance Cabochienne, 1413. monarchical system by means of the Ordonnance Cabochienne; but this had no effect, the government being now at the mercy of the mob, themselves at the mercy of incapable hot-headed leaders. The struggle ended in becoming one between factions of the townsmen, led respectively by the hûchier Cirasse and by Jean Caboche. The former overwhelmed John the Fearless, who fled from Paris; and the Armagnacs, re-entering on his exit, substituted white terror for red terror, from the 12th of December 1413 to the 28th of July 1414. The butchers’ organization was suppressed and all hope of reform lost. Such disorders allowed Henry V. of England to take the offensive again.

The Armagnacs were in possession of Paris and the king when Henry V. crushed them at Agincourt on the 25th of Agincourt. October 1415. It was as at Crécy and Poitiers; the French chivalry, accustomed to mere playing at battle in the tourneys, no longer knew how to fight. Charles of Orleans being a captive and his father-in-law, the count of Armagnac, highly unpopular, John the Fearless, hitherto prudently neutral, re-entered Paris, amid scenes of carnage, on the invitation of the citizen Perrinet le Clerc.

Secure from interference, Henry V. had occupied the whole of Normandy and destroyed in two years the work of Philip Augustus. The duke of Burgundy, feeling as incapable of coming to an understanding with the masterful The Treaty of Troyes, 1420. Englishman as of resisting him unaided, tried to effect a reconciliation with the Armagnacs, who had with them the heir to the throne, the dauphin Charles; but his assassination at Montereau in 1419 nearly caused the destruction of the kingdom, the whole Burgundian party going over to the side of the English. By the treaty of Troyes (1420) the son of John the Fearless, Philip the Good, in order to avenge his father recognized Henry V. (now married to Catherine, Charles VI.’s daughter) as heir to the crown of France, to the detriment of the dauphin Charles, who was disavowed by his mother and called in derision “the soi-disant dauphin of Viennois.” When Henry V. and Charles VI. died in 1422, Henry VI.—son of Henry V. and Catherine—was proclaimed at Paris king of France and of England, with the concurrence of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy. Thus in 1428 the English occupied all eastern and northern France, as far as the Loire; while the two most important civil powers of the time, the parlement and the university of Paris, had acknowledged the English king.

But the cause of greatest weakness to the French party was still Charles VII. himself, the king of Bourges. This youth of nineteen, the ill-omened son of a madman and of a Bavarian of loose morals, was a symbol of France, Charles VII. (1422-1461). timorous and mistrustful. The châteaux of the Loire, where he led a restless and enervating existence, held an atmosphere little favourable to enthusiasm and energy. After his victories at Cravant (1423) and Verneuil (1424), the duke of Bedford, appointed regent of the kingdom, had given Charles VII. four years’ respite, and these had been occupied in violent intrigues between the constable de Richemont30 and the sire de la Trémoille, the young king’s favourites, and solely desirous of enriching themselves at his expense. The king, melancholy spectacle as he was, seemed indeed to suit that tragic hour when Orleans, the last bulwark of the south, was besieged by the earl of Salisbury, now roused from inactivity (1428). He had neither taste nor capacity like Philip VI. or John the Good for undertaking “belles apertises d’armes”; but then a lack of chivalry combined with a temporizing policy had not been particularly unsuccessful in the case of his grandfather Charles V.

Powerful aid now came from an unexpected quarter. The war had been long and cruel, and each successive year naturally increased feeling against the English. The damage done to Burgundian interests by the harsh yet impotent Joan of Arc. government of Bedford, disgust at the iniquitous treaty of Troyes, the monarchist loyalty of many of the warriors, the still deeper sentiment felt by men like Alain Chartier towards “Dame France,” and the “great misery that there was in the kingdom of France”; all these suddenly became incarnate in the person of Joan of Arc, a young peasant of Domrémy in Lorraine. Determined in her faith and proud in her meekness, in opposition to the timid counsels of the military leaders, to the interested delays of the courtiers, to the scruples of the experts and the quarrelling of the doctors, she quoted her “voices,” who had, she said, commissioned her to raise the siege of Orleans and to conduct the gentle dauphin to Reims, there to be crowned. Her sublime folly turned out to be wiser than their wisdom; in two months, from May to July 1429, she had freed Orleans, destroyed the prestige of the English army at Patay, and dragged the doubting and passive king against his will to be crowned at Reims. All this produced a marvellous revulsion of political feeling throughout France, Charles VII. now becoming incontestably “him to whom the kingdom of France ought to belong.” After Reims Joan’s first thought was for Paris, and to achieve the final overthrow 823 of the English; while Charles VII. was already sighing for the easy life of Touraine, and recurring to that policy of truce which was so strongly urged by his counsellors, and so keenly irritating to the clear-sighted Joan of Arc. A check before Paris allowed the jealousy of La Trémoille to waste the heroine for eight months on operations of secondary importance, until the day when she was captured by the Burgundians under the walls of Compiègne, and sold by them to the English. The latter incontinently prosecuted her as a heretic; they had, indeed, a great interest in seeing her condemned by the Church, which would render her conquests sacrilegious. After a scandalous four months’ duel between this simple innocent girl and a tribunal of crafty malevolent ecclesiastics and doctors of the university of Paris, Joan was burned alive in the old market-place of Rouen, on the 30th of May 1431 (see Joan of Arc).

On Charles VII.’s part this meant oblivion and silence until the day when in 1450, more for his own sake than for hers, he caused her memory to be rehabilitated; but Joan had given the country new life and heart. From 1431 to 1454 the struggle against the English went on energetically; and the king, relieved in 1433 of his evil genius, La Trémoille, then became a man once more, playing a kingly part under the guidance of Dunois, Richemont, La Hire and Saintrailles, leaders of worth on the field of battle. Moreover, the English territory, a great triangle, with the Channel for base and Paris for apex, was not a really solid position. Yet the war seemed interminable; until at last Philip of Burgundy, for long embarrassed by his English alliance, decided in 1435 to become reconciled with Charles VII. This was in consequence of the death of his sister, who had been married to Bedford, and the return of his brother-in-law Richemont into the French king’s favour. The treaty of Arras, which made him a sovereign prince for life, though harsh, at all events gave a united France the opportunity of expelling the English from the east, and allowed the king to re-enter Paris in 1436. From 1436 to 1439 there was a terrible repetition of what happened after the Peace of Brétigny; famine, pestilence, extortions and, later, the aristocratic revolt of the Praguerie, completed the ruin of the country. But thanks to the permanent tax of the taille during this time of truce Charles VII. was able to effect the great military reform of the Compagnies d’Ordonnance, of the Francs-Archers, and of the artillery of the brothers Bureau. From this time forward the English, ruined, demoralized and weakened both by the death of the duke of Bedford and the beginnings of the Wars of the Roses, continued to lose territory on every recurrence of conflict. Normandy was lost to them at Formigny (1450), and Guienne, English since the 12th century, at Castillon (1453). They kept only Calais; and now it was their turn to have a madman, Henry VI., for king.

France issued from the Hundred Years’ War victorious, but terribly ruined and depopulated. It is true she had definitely freed her territory from the stranger, and through the sorrows of defeat and the menace of Consequences of the Hundred Years’ War. disruption had fortified her national solidarity, and defined her patriotism, still involved in and not yet dissociated from loyalty to the monarchy. A happy awakening, although it went too far in establishing royal absolutism; and a victory too complete, in that it enervated all the forces of resistance. The nation, worn out by the long disorders consequent on the captivity of King John and the insanity of Charles VI., abandoned itself to the joys of peace. Preferring the solid advantage of orderly life to an unstable liberty, it acquiesced in the abdication of 1439, when the States consented to taxation for the support of a permanent army without any periodical renewal of their authorization. No doubt by the prohibition to levy the smallest taille the feudal lords escaped direct taxation; but from the day when the privileged classes selfishly allowed the taxing of the third estate, provided that they themselves were exempt, they opened the door to monarchic absolutism. The principle of autocracy triumphed everywhere over the remnants of local or provincial authority, in the sphere of industry as in that of administration; while the gild system became much more rigid. A loyal bureaucracy, far more powerful than the phantom administration of Bourges or of Poitiers, gradually took the place of the court nobility; and thanks to this the institutions of control which the war had called into power—the provincial states-general—were nipped in the bud, withered by the people’s poverty of political idea and by the blind worship of royalty. Without the nation’s concurrence the king’s creatures were now to endow royalty with all the organs necessary for the exertion of authority; by which imprudent compliance, and above all thanks to Jacques Cœur (q.v.), the financial independence of the provinces disappeared little by little, and all the public revenues were left at the discretion of the king alone (1436-1440). By this means, too, and chiefly owing to the constable de Richemont and the brothers Bureau, the first permanent royal army was established (1445).

Henceforward royalty, strengthened by victory and organized for the struggle, was able to reduce the centrifugal social forces to impotence. The parlement of Paris saw its monopoly encroached upon by the court of Toulouse in 1443, Monarchical centralization. and by the parlement of Grenoble in 1453. The university of Paris, compromised with the English, like the parlement, witnessed the institution and growth of privileged provincial universities. The Church of France was isolated from the papacy by the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438) only to be exploited and enslaved by royalty. Monarchic centralization, interrupted for the moment by the war, took up with fresh vigour its attacks upon urban liberties, especially in the always more independent south. It caused a slackening of that spirit of communal initiative which had awakened in the midst of unprecedented disasters. The decimated and impoverished nobility proved their impotence in the coalitions they attempted between 1437 and 1442, of which the most important, the Praguerie, fell to pieces almost directly, despite the support of the dauphin himself.

The life of society, now alarmingly unstable and ruthlessly cruel, was symbolized by the danse macabre painted on the walls of the cemeteries; the sombre and tragic art of the 15th century, having lost the fine balance Social life. shown by that of the 13th, gave expression in its mournful realism to the general state of exhaustion. The favourite subject of the mysteries and of other artistic manifestations was no longer the triumphant Christ of the middle ages, nor the smiling and teaching Christ of the 13th century, but the Man of sorrows and of death, the naked bleeding Jesus, lying on the knees of his mother or crowned with thorns. France, like the Christ, had known all the bitterness and weakness of a Passion.

The war of independence over, after a century of fatigue, regrets and doubts, royalty and the nation, now more united and more certain of each other, resumed the methodic and utilitarian war of widening boundaries. Leaving dreams about crusades to the poets, and to a papacy delivered from schism, Charles VII. turned his attention to the ancient appanage of Lothair, Alsace and Lorraine, those lands of the north and the east whose frontiers were constantly changing, and which seemed to invite aggression. But the chance of annexing them without great trouble was lost; by the fatal custom of appanages the Valois had set up again those feudal institutions which the Capets had found such difficulty in destroying, and Louis XI. was to make sad experience of this.

To the north and east of the kingdom extended a wide territory of uncertain limits; countries without a chief like Alsace; principalities like Lorraine, ecclesiastical lordships like the bishopric of Liége; and, most important of The House of Burgundy. all, a royal appanage, that of the duchy of Burgundy, which dated back to the time of John the Good. Through marriages, conquests and inheritance, the dukes of Burgundy had enormously increased their influence; while during the Hundred Years’ War they had benefited alternately by their criminal alliance with the English and by their self-interested reconciliation with their sovereign. They soon 824 appeared the most formidable among the new feudal chiefs so imprudently called into being by Louis XI.’s predecessors. Fleeing from the paternal wrath which he had drawn down upon himself by his ambition and by his unauthorized marriage with Charlotte of Savoy, the future Louis XI. had passed five years of voluntary exile at the court of the chief of the House of Burgundy, Philip the Good; and he was able to appreciate the territorial power of a duchy which extended from the Zuyder Zee to the Somme, with all the country between the Saône and the Loire in addition, and its geographical position as a commercial intermediary between Germany, England and France. He had traversed the fertile country of Flanders; he had visited the rich commercial and industrial republics of Bruges and Ghent, which had escaped the disasters of the Hundred Years’ War; and, finally, he had enjoyed a hospitality as princely as it was self-interested at Brussels and at Dijon, the two capitals, where he had seen the brilliancy of a court unique in Europe for the ideal of chivalric life it offered.

But the dauphin Louis, although a bad son and impatient for the crown, was not dazzled by all this. With very simple tastes, an inquiring mind, and an imagination always at work, he combined a certain easy good-nature Louis XI. (1461-1483) which inspired confidence, and though stingy in spending money on himself, he could be lavish in buying men either dangerous or likely to be useful. More inclined to the subtleties of diplomacy than to the risks of battle, he had recognized and speedily grasped the disadvantages of warfare. The duke of Burgundy, however rich and powerful, was still the king’s vassal; his wide but insecure authority, of too rapid growth and unpopular, lacked sovereign rights. Hardly, therefore, had Louis XI. heard of his father’s death than he made his host aware of his perfectly independent spirit, and his very definite intention to be master in his own house.

But by a kind of poetic justice, Louis XI. had for seven years, from 1465 to 1472, to struggle against fresh Pragueries, called Leagues of the Public Weal (presumably from their disregard of it), composed of the most powerful The Leagues of the Public Weal. French nobles, to whom he had set the example of revolt. His first proceedings had indeed given no promise of the moderation and prudence afterwards to characterize him; he had succeeded in exasperating all parties; the officials of his father, “the well-served,” whom he dismissed in favour of inferiors like Jean Balue, Oliver le Daim and Tristan Lermite; the clergy, by abrogating the Pragmatic Sanction; the university of Paris, by his ill-treatment of it; and the nobles, whom he deprived of their hunting rights, among them being those whom Charles VII. had been most careful to conciliate in view of the inevitable conflict with the duke of Burgundy—in particular, Francis II., duke of Brittany. The repurchase in 1463 of the towns of the Somme (to which Philip the Good, now grown old and engaged in a quarrel with his son, the count of Charolais, had felt obliged to consent on consideration of receiving four hundred thousand gold crowns), and the intrigues of Louis XI. during the periodical revolts of the Liégois against their prince-bishop, set the powder alight. On three different occasions (in 1465, 1467 and 1472), Louis XI.’s own brother, the duke of Berry, urged by the duke of Brittany, the count of Charolais, the duke of Bourbon, and the other feudal lords, attempted to set up six kingdoms in France instead of one, and to impose upon Louis XI. a regency which should give them enormous pensions. This was their idea of Public Weal.

Louis XI. won by his favourite method, diplomacy rather than arms. At the time of the first league, the battle of Montlhéry (16th of July 1465) having remained undecided between the two equally badly organized Charles the Bold. armies, Louis XI. conceded everything in the treaties of Conflans and Saint-Maur—promises costing him little, since he had no intention of keeping them. But during the course of the second league, provoked by the recapture of Normandy, which he had promised to his brother in exchange for Berry, he was nearly caught in his own trap. On the 15th of June 1467 Philip the Good died, and the accession of the count of Charolais was received with popular risings. In order to embarrass him Louis XI., had secretly encouraged the people of Liége to revolt; but preoccupied with the marriage of Charles the Bold with Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV. of England, he wished to negotiate personally with him at Péronne, and hardly had he reached that place when news arrived there of the revolt of Liége amid cries of “Vive France.” Charles the Bold, proud, violent, pugnacious, as treacherous as his rival, a hardier The interview at Péronne. soldier, though without his political sagacity, imprisoned Louis in the tower where Charles the Simple had died as a prisoner of the count of Vermandois. He only let him depart when he had sworn in the treaty of Péronne to fulfil the engagements made at Conflans and Saint-Maur to assist in person at the subjugation of rebellious Liége, and to give Champagne as an appanage to his ally the duke of Berry.

Louis XI., supported by the assembly of notables at Tours (1470), had no intention of keeping this last promise, since the duchy of Champagne would have made a bridge between Burgundy and Flanders—the two isolated Ruin of the feudal coalitions. branches of the house of Burgundy. He gave the duke of Berry distant Guienne. But death eventually rid him of the duke in 1472, just when a third league was being organized, the object of which was to make the duke of Berry king with the help of Edward IV., king of England. The duke of Brittany, Francis II., was defeated; Charles the Bold, having failed at Beauvais in his attempt to recapture the towns of the Somme which had been promised him by the treaty of Conflans, was obliged to sign the peace of Senlis (1472). This was the end of the great feudal coalitions, for royal vengeance soon settled the account of the lesser vassals; the duke of Alençon was condemned to prison for life; the count of Armagnac was killed; and “the Germans” were soon to disembarrass Louis of Charles the Bold.

Charles had indeed only signed the peace so promptly because he was looking eastward towards that royal crown and territorial cohesion of which his father had also dreamed. The king, he said of Louis XI., is always ready. He wanted Charles the Bold’s imperial dreams. to provide his future sovereignty with organs analogous to those of France; a permanent army, and a judiciary and financial administration modelled on the French parlement and exchequer. Since he could not dismember the kingdom of France, his only course was to reconstitute the ancient kingdom of Lotharingia; while the conquest of the principality of Liége and of the duchy of Gelderland, and the temporary occupation of Alsace, pledged to him by Sigismund of Austria, made him greedy for Germany. To get himself elected king of the Romans he offered his daughter Mary, his eternal candidate for marriage, to the emperor Frederick III. for his son. Thus either he or his son-in-law Maximilian would have been emperor.

But the Tarpeian rock was a near neighbour of the Capitol. Frederick—distrustful, and in the pay of Louis XI.—evaded a meeting arranged at Trier, and Burgundian influence in Alsace was suddenly brought to a violent end by the Fall of Charles the Bold. putting to death of its tyrannical agent, Peter von Hagenbach. Charles thought to repair the rebuff of Trier at Cologne, and wasted his resources in an attempt to win over its elector by besieging the insignificant town of Neuss. But the “universal spider”—as he called Louis XI.—was weaving his web in the darkness, and was eventually to entangle him in it. First came the reconciliation, in his despite, of those irreconcilables, the Swiss and Sigismund of Austria; and then the union of both with the duke of Lorraine, who was also disturbed at the duke of Burgundy’s ambition. In vain Charles tried to kindle anew the embers of former feudal intrigues; the execution of the duke of Nemours and the count of Saint Pol cooled all enthusiasm. In vain did he get his dilatory friends, the English Yorkists, to cross the Channel; on the 29th of August 1475, at Picquigny, Louis XI. bribed them with a sum of seventy-five thousand crowns to forsake him, Edward further undertaking to guarantee the loyalty of the duke of Brittany. Exasperated, Charles attacked and took Nancy, 825 wishing, as he said, “to skin the Bernese bear and wear its fur.” To the hanging of the brave garrison of Granson the Swiss responded by terrible reprisals at Granson and at Morat (March to June 1476); while the people of Lorraine finally routed Charles at Nancy on the 5th of January 1477, the duke himself falling in the battle.

The central administration of Burgundy soon disappeared, swamped by the resurgence of ancient local liberties; the army fell to pieces; and all hope of joining the two limbs of the great eastern duchy was definitely lost. As for Ruin of the house of Burgundy. the remnants that were left, French provinces and imperial territory, Louis XI. claimed the whole. He seized everything, alleging different rights in each place; but he displayed such violent haste and such trickery that he threw the heiress of Burgundy, in despair, into the arms of Maximilian of Austria. At the treaty of Arras (December 1482) Louis XI. received only Picardy, the Boulonnais and Burgundy; by the marriage of Charles the Bold’s daughter the rest was annexed to the Empire, and later to Spain. Thus by Louis XI.’s short-sighted error the house of Austria established itself in the Low Countries. An age-long rivalry between the houses of France and Austria was the result of this disastrous marriage; and as the son who was its issue espoused the heiress of a now unified Spain, France, hemmed in by the Spaniards and by the Empire, was thenceforward to encounter them everywhere in her course. The historical progress of France was once more endangered.

The reasons of state which governed all Louis XI.’s external policy also inspired his internal administration. If they justified him in employing lies and deception in international affairs, in his relations with his subjects they led him The administration of Louis XI. to regard as lawful everything which favoured his authority; no question of right could weigh against it. The army and taxation, as the two chief means of domination within and without the kingdom, constituted the main bulwarks of his policy. As for the nobility, his only thought was to diminish their power by multiplying their number, as his predecessors had done; while he reduced the rebels to submission by his iron cages or the axe of his gossip Tristan Lermite. The Church was treated with the same unconcerned cynicism; he held her in strict tutelage, accentuating her moral decadence still further by the manner in which he set aside or re-established the Pragmatic Sanction, according to the fluctuations of his financial necessities or his Italian ambitions. It has been said that on the other hand he was a king of the common people, and certainly he was one of them in his simple habits, in his taste for rough pleasantries, and above all in his religion, which was limited to superstitious practices and small devoutnesses. But in the states of Tours in 1468 he evinced the same mistrust for fiscal control by the people as for the privileges of the nobility. He inaugurated that autocratic rule which was to continue gaining strength until Louis XV.’s time. Louis XI. was the king of the bourgeoisie; he exacted much from them, but paid them back with interest by allowing them to reduce the power of all who were above them and to lord it over all who were below. As a matter of fact Louis XI.’s most faithful ally was death. Saint-Pol, Nemours, Charles the Bold, his brother the duke of Berry, old René of Anjou and his nephew the count of Maine, heir to the riches of Provence and to rights over Naples—the skeleton hand mowed down all his adversaries as though it too were in his pay; until the day when at Plessis-les-Tours it struck a final blow, claimed its just dues from Louis XI., and carried him off despite all his relics on the 30th of August 1483.

There was nothing noble about Louis XI. but his aims, and nothing great but the results he attained; yet however different he might have been he could not have done better, for what he achieved was the making of France. Charles VIII. and Brittany (1483-1498) This was soon seen after his death in the reaction which menaced his work and those who had served him; but thanks to himself and to his true successor, his eldest daughter Anne, married to the sire de Beaujeu, a younger member of the house of Bourbon, the set-back was only partial. Strife began immediately between the numerous malcontents and the Beaujeu party, who had charge of the little Charles VIII. These latter prudently made concessions: reducing the taille, sacrificing some of Louis XI.’s The Mad War, 1483. creatures to the rancour of the parlement, and restoring a certain number of offices or lands to the hostile princes (chief of whom was the duke of Orleans), and even consenting to a convocation of the states-general at Tours (1484). But the elections having been favourable to royalty, the Beaujeu family made the states reject the regency desired by the duke of Orleans, and organize the king’s council after their own views. When they subsequently eluded the conditions imposed by the states, the deputies—nobles, clergy and burgesses—showed their incapacity to oppose the progress of despotism. In vain did the malcontent princes attempt to set up a new League of Public Weal, the Guerre folle (Mad War), in which the duke of Brittany, Francis II., played the part of Charles the Bold, dragging in the people of Lorraine and the king of Navarre. In vain did Charles VIII., his majority attained, at once abandon in the treaty of Sablé the benefits gained by the victory of Saint-Aubin du Cormier (1488). In vain did Henry VII. of England, Ferdinand the Catholic, and Maximilian of Austria try to prevent the annexation of Brittany by France; its heiress Anne, deserted by every one, made peace and married Charles VIII. in 1491. There was no longer a single great fief in France to which the malcontents could fly for refuge.

It now remained to consolidate the later successes attained by the policy of the Valois—the acquisition of the duchies of Burgundy and Brittany; but instead there was a sudden change and that policy seemed about to be A policy of “magnificence.” lost in dreams of recapturing the rights of the Angevins over Naples, and conquering Constantinople. Charles VIII., a prince with neither intelligence nor resolution, his head stuffed with chivalric romance, was scarcely freed from his sister’s control when he sought in Italy a fatal distraction from the struggle with the house of Austria. By this “war of magnificence” he caused an interruption of half a century in the growth of national sentiment, which was only revived by Henry II.; and he was not alone in thus leaving the bone for the shadow: his contemporaries, Ferdinand the Catholic when delivered from the Moors, and Henry VII. from the power of the English nobles, followed the same superficial policy, not taking the trouble to work for that real strength which comes from the adhesion of willing subjects to their sovereign. They only cared to aggrandize themselves, without thought of national feeling or geographical conditions. The great theorist of these “conquistadores” was Machiavelli. The regent, Anne of Beaujeu, worked in her daughter’s interest to the detriment of the kingdom, by means of a special treaty destined to prevent the property of the Bourbons from reverting to the crown; while Anne of Brittany did the like for her daughter Claude. Louis XII., the next king of France, thought only of the Milanese; Ferdinand the Catholic all but destroyed the Spanish unity at the end of his life by his marriage with Germaine de Foix; while the house of Austria was for centuries to remain involved in this petty course of policy. Ministers followed the example of their self-seeking masters, thinking it no shame to accept pensions from foreign sovereigns. The preponderating consideration everywhere was direct material advantage; there was disproportion everywhere between the means employed and the poverty of the results, a contradiction between the interests of the sovereigns and those of their subjects, which were associated by force and not naturally blended. For the sake of a morsel of Italian territory every one forgot the permanent necessity of opposing the advance of the Turkish crescent, the two horns of which were impinging upon Europe on the Danube and on the Mediterranean.

Italy and Germany were two great tracts of land at the mercy of the highest bidder, rich and easy to dominate, where these coarse and alien kings, still reared on medieval traditions, were for fifty years to gratify their love of conquest. Italy was their The wars in Italy. 826 first battlefield; Charles VIII. was summoned thither by Lodovico Il Moro, tyrant of Milan, involved in a quarrel with his rival, Ferdinand II. of Aragon. The Aragonese had snatched the kingdom of Naples from the French house of Anjou, whose claims Louis XI. had inherited in 1480. To safeguard himself in the rear Charles VIII. handed over Roussillon and Cerdagne (Cerdaña) to Ferdinand the Catholic (that is to say, all the profits of Louis XI.’s policy); gave enormous sums of money to Henry VII. of England; and finally, by the treaty of Senlis ceded Artois and Franche-Comté to Maximilian of Austria. After these fool’s bargains the paladin set out for Naples in 1494. His journey was long and triumphant, and his return precipitate; indeed it very nearly ended in a disaster at Fornovo, owing to the first of those Italian holy leagues which at the least sign of friction were ready to turn against France. At the age of twenty-eight, however, Charles VIII. died without issue (1498).

The accession of his cousin, Louis of Orleans, under the title of Louis XII., only involved the kingdom still further in this Italian imbroglio. Louis did indeed add the fief of Orleans to the royal domain and hastened to divorce Louis XII. (1498-1515). Jeanne of France in order to marry Anne, the widow of his predecessor, so that he might keep Brittany. But he complicated the Naples affair by claiming Milan in consideration of the marriage of his grandfather, Louis of Orleans, to Valentina, daughter of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, duke of Milan. In 1499, appealed to by Venice, and encouraged by his favourite, Cardinal d’Amboise (who was hoping to succeed Pope Alexander VI.), and also by Cesare Borgia, who had lofty ambitions in Italy, Louis XII. conquered Milan in seven months and held it for fourteen years; while Lodovico Sforza, betrayed by his Swiss mercenaries, died a prisoner in France. The kingdom of Naples was still left to recapture; and fearing to be thwarted by Ferdinand of Aragon, Louis XII. proposed to this master of roguery that they should divide the kingdom according to the treaty of Granada (1500). But no sooner had Louis XII. assumed the title of king of Naples than Ferdinand set about despoiling him of it, and despite the bravery of a Bayard and a Louis d’Ars, Louis XII., being also betrayed by the pope, lost Naples for good in 1504. The treaties of Blois occasioned a vast amount of diplomacy, and projects of marriage between Claude of France and Charles of Austria, which came to nothing but served as a prelude to the later quarrels between Bourbons and Habsburgs.

It was Pope Julius II. who opened the gates of Italy to the horrors of war. Profiting by Louis XII.’s weakness and the emperor Maximilian’s strange capricious character, this martial pope sacrificed Italian and religious interests alike in order to re-establish the temporal power of the papacy. Jealous of Venice, at that time the Italian state best provided with powers of expansion, and unable to subjugate it single-handed, Julius succeeded in obtaining help from France, Spain and the Empire. The league of Cambrai (1508) was his finest diplomatic achievement. But he wanted to be sole master of Italy, so in order to expel the French “barbarians” whom he had brought in, he appealed to other barbarians who were far more dangerous—Spaniards, Germans and Swiss—to help him against Louis XII., and stabbed him from behind with the Holy League of 1511.

Weakened by the death of Cardinal d’Amboise, his best counsellor, Louis XII. tried vainly in the assembly of Tours and in the unsuccessful council of Pisa to alienate the French clergy from a papacy which was now so little Louis XII. and Julius II. worthy of respect. But even the splendid victories of Gaston de Foix could not shake that formidable coalition; and despite the efforts of Bayard, La Palice and La Trémoille, it was the Church that triumphed. Julius II. died in the hour of victory; but Louis XII. was obliged to evacuate Milan, to which he had sacrificed everything, even France itself, with that political stupidity characteristic of the first Valois. He died almost immediately after this, on the 1st of January 1515, and his subjects, recognizing his thrift, his justice and the secure prosperity of the kingdom, forgot the seventeen years of war in which they had not been consulted, and rewarded him with the fine title of Father of his People.

As Louis XII. left no son, the crown devolved upon his cousin and son-in-law the count of Angoulême, Francis I. No sooner king, Francis, in alliance with Venice, renewed the chimerical attempts to conquer Milan and Naples; Francis I. (1515-1547). also cherishing dreams of his own election as emperor and of a partition of Europe. The heroic episode of Marignano, when he defeated Cardinal Schinner’s Swiss troops (13-15 of September 1515), made him master of the duchy of Milan and obliged his adversaries to make peace. Leo X., Julius II.’s successor, by an astute volte-face exchanged Parma and the Concordat for a guarantee of all the Church’s possessions, which meant the defeat of French plans (1515). The Swiss signed the permanent peace which they were to maintain until the Revolution of 1789; while the emperor and the king of Spain recognized Francis II.’s very precarious hold upon Milan. Once more the French monarchy was pulled up short by the indignation of all Italy (1518).

The question now was how to occupy the military activity of a young, handsome, chivalric and gallant prince, “ondoyant et divers,” intoxicated by his first victory and his tardy accession to fortune. This had been hailed with Character of Francis I. joy by all who had been his comrades in his days of difficulty; by his mother, Louise of Savoy, and his sister Marguerite; by all the rough young soldiery; by the nobles, tired of the bourgeois ways of Louis XI. and the patriarchal simplicity of Louis XII.; and finally by all the aristocracy who expected now to have the government in their own hands. So instead of heading the crusade against the Turks, Francis threw himself into the electoral contest at Frankfort, which resulted in the election of Charles V., heir of Ferdinand the Catholic, Spain and Germany thus becoming united. Pope Leo X., moreover, handed over three-quarters of Italy to the new emperor in exchange for Luther’s condemnation, thereby kindling that rivalry between Charles V. and the king of France which was to embroil the whole of Europe throughout half a century (1519-1559), from Pavia to St Quentin.

The territorial power of Charles V., heir to the houses of Burgundy, Austria, Castile and Aragon, which not only arrested the traditional policy of France but hemmed her in on every side; his pretensions to be the head of Rivalry of Francis I. and Charles V. Christendom; his ambition to restore the house of Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire; his grave and forceful intellect all rendered rivalry both inevitable and formidable. But the scattered heterogeneity of his possessions, the frequent crippling of his authority by national privileges or by political discords and religious quarrels, his perpetual straits for money, and his cautious calculating character, almost outweighed the advantages which he possessed in the terrible Spanish infantry, the wealthy commerce of the Netherlands, and the inexhaustible mines of the New World. Moreover, Francis I. stirred up enmity everywhere against Charles V., and after each defeat he found fresh support in the patriotism of his subjects. Immediately after the treaty of Madrid (1526), which Francis I. was obliged to sign after the disaster at Pavia Defeat at Pavia and treaty of Madrid. and a period of captivity, he did not hesitate between his honour as a gentleman and the interests of his kingdom. Having been unable to win over Henry VIII. of England at their interview on the Field of the Cloth of Gold, he joined hands with Suleiman the Magnificent, the conqueror of Mohács; and the Turkish cavalry, crossing the Hungarian Puszta, made their way as far as Vienna, while the mercenaries of Charles V., under the constable de Bourbon, were reviving the saturnalia of Alaric in the sack of Rome (1527). In Germany, Francis I. assisted the Catholic princes to maintain their political independence, though he did not make the capital he might have made of the reform movement. Italy remained faithful to the vanquished in spite of all, while even Henry VIII. of England, who only needed bribing, and Wolsey, accessible to flattery, took part in the temporary coalition. Thus did France, menaced with disruption, embark upon a course of action imposed 827 upon her by the harsh conditions of the treaty of Madrid—otherwise little respected—and later by those of Cambrai (1529); but it was not till later, too late indeed, that it was defined and became a national policy.

After having, despite so many reverses and mistakes, saved Burgundy, though not Artois nor Flanders, and joined to the crown lands the domains of the constable de Bourbon who had gone over to Charles V., Francis I. should Further prosecution of romantic expeditions. have had enough of defending other people’s independence as well as his own, and should have thought more of his interests in the north and east than of Milan. Yet between 1531 and 1547 he manifested the same regrets and the same invincible ambition for that land of Italy which Charles V., on his side, regarded as the basis of his strength. Their antagonism, therefore, remained unabated, as also the contradiction of an official agreement with Charles V., combined with secret intrigues with his enemies. Anne de Montmorency, now head of the government in place of the headstrong chancellor Duprat, for four years upheld a policy of reconciliation and of almost friendly agreement between the two monarchs (1531-1535). The death of Francis I.’s mother, Louise of Savoy (who had been partly instrumental in arranging the peace of Cambrai), the replacement of Montmorency by the bellicose Chabot, and the advent to power of a Burgundian, Granvella, as Charles V.’s prime minister, put an end to this double-faced policy, which attacked the Calvinists of France while supporting the Lutherans of Germany; made advances to Clement VII. while pretending to maintain the alliance with Henry VIII. (just then consummating the Anglican schism); and sought an alliance with Charles V. without renouncing the possession of Italy. The death of the duke of Milan provoked a third general war (1536-1538); The truce at Nice. but after the conquest of Savoy and Piedmont and a fruitless invasion of Provence by Charles V., it resulted in another truce, concluded at Nice, in the interview at Aigues-mortes, and in the old contradictory policy of the treaty of Cambrai. This was confirmed by Charles V.’s triumphal journey through France (1539).

Rivalry between Madame d’Etampes, the imperious mistress of the aged Francis I., and Diane de Poitiers, whose ascendancy over the dauphin was complete, now brought court intrigues and constant changes in those who held Fourth outbreak of war. office, to complicate still further this wearisome policy of ephemeral “combinazioni” with English, Germans, Italians and Turks, which urgent need of money always brought to naught. The disillusionment of Francis I., who had hitherto hoped that Charles V. would be generous enough to give Milan back to him, and then the assassination of Rincon, his ambassador at Constantinople, led to a fourth war (1544-1546), in the course of which the king of England went over to the side of Charles V.

Unable in the days of his youth to make Italy French, when age began to come upon him, Francis tried to make France Italian. In his château at Blois he drank greedily of the cup of Renaissance art; but he found the Royal absolutism under Francis I. exciting draughts of diplomacy which he imbibed from Machiavelli’s Prince even more intoxicating, and he headed the ship of state straight for the rock of absolutism. He had been the first king “du bon plaisir” (“of his own good pleasure”)—a “Caesar,” as his mother Louise of Savoy proudly hailed him in 1515—and to a man of his gallant and hot-headed temperament love and war were schools little calculated to teach moderation in government. Italy not only gave him a taste for art and letters, but furnished him with an arsenal of despotic maxims. Yet his true masters were the jurists of the southern universities, passionately addicted to centralization and autocracy, men like Duprat and Poyet, who revived the persistent tradition of Philip the Fair’s legists. Grouped together on the council of affairs, they managed to control the policy of the common council, with its too mixed and too independent membership. They successfully strove to separate “the grandeur and superexcellence of the king” from the rest of the nation; to isolate the nobility amid the seductions of a court lavish in promises of favour and high office; and to win over the bourgeoisie by the buying and selling and afterwards by the hereditary transmission of offices. Thanks to their action, feudalism was attacked in its landed interest in the person of the constable de Bourbon; feudalism in its financial aspect by the execution of superintendent Semblançay and the special privileges of towns and provinces by administrative centralization. The bureaucracy became a refuge for the nobles, and above all for the bourgeois, whose fixed incomes were lowered by the influx of precious metals from the New World, while the wages of artisans rose. All those time-worn medieval institutions which no longer allowed free scope to private or public life were demolished by the legists in favour of the monarchy.

Their master-stroke was the Concordat of 1516, which meant an immense stride in the path towards absolutism. While Germany and England, where ultramontane doctrines had been allowed to creep in, were seeking a remedy The concordat of 1516. against the economic exactions of the papacy in a reform of dogma or in schism, France had supposed herself to have found this in the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. But to the royal jurists the right of the churches and abbeys to make appointments to all vacant benefices was a guarantee of liberties valuable to the clergy, but detestable to themselves because the clergy thus retained the great part of public wealth and authority. By giving the king the ecclesiastical patronage they not only made a docile instrument of him, but endowed him with a mine of wealth, even more productive than the sale of offices, and a power of favouring and rewarding that transformed a needy and ill-obeyed king into an absolute monarch. To the pope they offered a mess of pottage in the shape of annates and the right of canonical institution, in order to induce him to sell the Church of France to the king. By this royal reform they completely isolated the monarchy, in the presumptuous pride of omnipotence, upon the ruins of the Church and the aristocracy, despite both the university and the parlement of Paris.

Thus is explained Francis I.’s preoccupation with Italian adventures in the latter part of his reign, and also the inordinate squandering of money, the autos-da-fé in the provinces and in Paris, the harsh repression of reform and free thought, and the sale of justice; while the nation became impoverished and the state was at the mercy of the caprices of royal mistresses—all of which was to become more and more pronounced during the twelve years of Henry II.’s government.

Henry II. shone but with a reflected light—in his private life reflected from his old mistress, Diane de Poitiers, and in his Henry II. (1547-1559). political action reflected from the views of Montmorency or the Guises. He only showed his own personality in an egoism more narrow-minded, in hatred yet bitterer than his father’s; or in a haughty and jealous insistence upon an absolute authority which he never had the wit to maintain.

The struggle with Charles V. was at first delayed by differences with England. The treaty of Ardres had left two bones of contention: the cession of Boulogne to England and the exclusion of the Scotch from the terms of Henry II. and Charles V. peace. At last the regent, the duke of Somerset, endeavoured to arrange a marriage between Edward VI., then a minor, and Mary Stuart, who had been offered in marriage to the dauphin Francis by her mother, Marie of Lorraine, a Guise who had married the king of Scotland. The transference of Mary Stuart to France, and the treaty of 1550 which restored Boulogne to France for a sum of 400,000 crowns, suspended the state of war; and then Henry II.’s opposition to the imperial policy of Charles V. showed itself everywhere: in Savoy and Piedmont, occupied by the French and claimed by Philibert Emmanuel, Charles V.’s ally; in Navarre, unlawfully conquered by Ferdinand the Catholic and claimed by the family of Albret; in Italy, where, aided and abetted by Pope Paul III., Henry II. was trying to regain support; and, finally, in Germany, where after the victory of Charles V. at Mühlberg (1547) the Protestant princes called Henry II. to their aid, offering to 828 subsidize him and cede to him the towns of Metz, Toul and Verdun. The Protestant alliance was substituted for the Turkish alliance, and Henry II. hastened to accept the offers made to him (1552); but this was rather late in the day, for the reform movement had produced civil war and evoked fresh forces. The Germans, in whom national feeling got the better of imperialistic ardour, as soon as they saw the French at Strassburg, made terms with the emperor at Passau and permitted Charles to use all his forces against Henry II. The Defence of Metz.

Truce of Vaucelles.
defence of Metz by Francis of Guise was admirable and successful; but in Picardy operations continued their course without much result, owing to the incapacity of the constable de Montmorency. Fortunately, despite the marriage of Charles V.’s son Philip to Mary Tudor, which gave him the support of England (1554), and despite the religious pacification of Germany through the peace of Augsburg (1555), Charles V., exhausted by illness and by thirty years of intense activity, in the truce of Vaucelles abandoned Henry II.’s conquests—Piedmont and the Three Bishoprics. He then abdicated the government of his kingdoms, which he divided between his son Philip II. and his brother Ferdinand (1556). A double victory, this, for France.

Henry II.’s resumption of war, without provocation and without allies, was a grave error; but more characterless than ever, the king was urged to it by the Guises, whose influence since the defence of Metz had been supreme Henry II. and Philip II.

Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis.
at court and who were perhaps hoping to obtain Naples for themselves. On the other hand, Pope Paul IV. and his nephew Carlo Caraffa embarked upon the struggle, because as Neapolitans they detested the Spaniards, whom they considered as “barbarous” as the Germans or the French. The constable de Montmorency’s disaster at Saint Quentin (August 1557), by which Philip II. had not the wit to profit, was successfully avenged by Guise, who was appointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom. He took Calais by assault in January 1558, after the English had held it for two centuries, and occupied Luxemburg. The treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (August 1559) finally put an end to the Italian follies, Naples, Milan and Piedmont; but it also lost Savoy, making a gap in the frontier for a century. The question of Burgundy was definitely settled, too; but the Netherlands had still to be conquered. By the possession of the three bishoprics and the recapture of Calais an effort towards a natural line of frontier and towards a national policy seemed indicated; but while the old soldiers could not forget Marignano, Ceresole, nor Italy perishing with the name of France on her lips, the secret alliance between the cardinal of Lorraine and Granvella against the Protestant heresy foretold the approaching subordination of national questions to religious differences, and a decisive attempt to purge the kingdom of the new doctrines.

The origin and general history of the religious reformation in the 16th century are dealt with elsewhere (see Church History and Reformation). In France it had originally no revolutionary character whatever; it The Reformation. proceeded from traditional Gallican theories and from the innovating principle of humanism, and it began as a protest against Roman decadence and medieval scholasticism. It found its first adherents and its first defenders among the clerics and learned men grouped around Faber (Lefèvre) of Étaples at Meaux; while Marguerite of Navarre, “des Roynes la non pareille,” was the indefatigable Maecenas of these innovators, and the incarnation of the Protestant spirit at its purest. The reformers shook off the yoke of systems in order boldly to renovate both knowledge and faith; and, instead of resting on the abstract a priori principles within which man and nature had been imprisoned, they returned to the ancient methods of observation and analysis. In so doing, they separated intellectual from popular life; and acting in this spirit, through the need of a moral renaissance, they reverted to primitive Christianity, substituting the inner and individual authority of conscience for the general and external authority of the Church. Their efforts would not, however, have sufficed if they had not been seconded by events; pure doctrine would not have given birth to a church, nor that church to a party; in France, as in Germany, the religious revolution was conditioned by an economic and social revolution.

The economic renaissance due to the great maritime discoveries had the consequence of concentrating wealth in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Owing to their mental qualities, their tendencies and their resources, the bourgeoisie had been, if not alone, at least most apt in profiting by the development of industry, by the extension of commerce, and by the formation of a new and mobile means of enriching themselves. But though the bourgeois had acquired through capitalism certain sources of influence, and gradually monopolized municipal and public functions, the king and the peasants had also benefited by this revolution. After a hundred and fifty years of foreign war and civil discord, at a period when order and unity were ardently desired, an absolute monarchy had appeared the only power capable of realizing such aspirations. The peasants, moreover, had profited by the reduction of the idle landed aristocracy; serfdom had decreased or had been modified; and the free peasants were more prosperous, had reconquered the soil, and were selling their produce at a higher rate while they everywhere paid less exorbitant rents. The victims of this process were the urban proletariat, whose treatment by their employers in trade became less and less protective and beneficent, and the nobility, straitened in their financial resources, uprooted from their ancient strongholds, and gradually despoiled of their power by a monarchy based on popular support. The unlimited sovereignty of the prince was established upon the ruins of the feudal system; and the capitalism of the merchants and bankers upon the closing of the trade-gilds to workmen, upon severe economic pressure and upon the exploitation of the artisans’ labour.

Though reform originated among the educated classes it speedily found an echo among the industrial classes of the 16th century, further assisted by the influence of German and Flemish journeymen. The popular Transformation of religious reform into party politics. reform-movement was essentially an urban movement; although under Francis I. and Henry II. it had already begun to spread into the country. The artisans, labourers and small shop-keepers who formed the first nucleus of the reformed church were numerous enough to provide an army of martyrs, though too few to form a party. Revering the monarchy and established institutions, they endured forty years of persecution before they took up arms. It was only during the second half of Henry II.’s reign that Protestantism, having achieved its religious evolution, became a political party. Weary of being trodden under foot, it now demanded much more radical reform, quitting the ranks of peaceable citizens to pass into the only militant class of the time and adopt its customs. Men like Coligny, d’Andelot and Condé took the place of the timid Lefèvre of Étaples and the harsh and bitter Calvin; and the reform party, in contradiction to its doctrines and its doctors, became a political and religious party of opposition, with all the compromises that presupposes. The struggle against it was no longer maintained by the university and the parlement alone, but also by the king, whose authority it menaced.

With his intrepid spirit, his disdain for ecclesiastical authority and his strongly personal religious feeling, Francis I. had for a moment seemed ready to be a reformer himself; but deprived by the Concordat of all interest in the Royal persecution under Francis I. and Henry II. confiscation of church property, aspiring to political alliance with the pope, and as mistrustful of popular forces as desirous of absolute power and devoted to Italy, he paused and then drew back. Hence came the revocation in 1540 of the edict of tolerance of Coucy (1535), and the massacre of the Vaudois (1545). Henry II., a fanatic, went still further in his edict of Châteaubriant (1551), a code of veritable persecution, and in the coup d’état carried out in the parlement against Antoine du Bourg and his colleagues (1559). At the same time the pastors of the reformed religion, 829 met in synod at Paris, were setting down their confession of faith founded upon the Scriptures, and their ecclesiastical discipline founded upon the independence of the churches. Thenceforward Protestantism adopted a new attitude, and refused obedience to the orders of a persecuting monarchy when contrary to its faith and its interests. After the saints came men. Hence those wars of religion which were to hold the monarchy in check for forty years and even force it to come to terms.

In slaying Henry II. Montgomery’s lance saved the Protestants for the time being. His son and successor, Francis II., was but a nervous sickly boy, bandied between two women: his mother, Catherine de’ Medici, hitherto kept in the Francis II. (1559-1560). background, and his wife, Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland, who being a niece of the Guises brought her uncles, the constable Francis and the cardinal of Lorraine, into power. These ambitious and violent men took the government out of the hands of the constable de Montmorency and the princes of the blood: Antoine de Bourbon, king of Navarre, weak, credulous, always playing a double game on account of his preoccupation with Navarre; Condé, light-hearted and brave, but not fitted to direct a party; and the cardinal de Bourbon, a mere nonentity. The only plan which these princes could adopt in the struggle, once they had lost the king, was to make a following for themselves among the Calvinist malcontents and the gentlemen disbanded after the Italian wars. The Guises, strengthened by the failure of the conspiracy of Amboise, which had been aimed at them, abused the advantage due to their victory. Despite the edict of Romorantin, which by giving the bishops the right of cognizance of heresy prevented the introduction of the Inquisition on the Spanish model into France; despite the assembly of Fontainebleau, where an attempt was made at a compromise acceptable to both Catholics and moderate Calvinists; the reform party and its Bourbon leaders, arrested at the states-general of Orleans, were in danger of their lives. The death of Francis II. in December 1560 compromised the influence of the Guises and again saved Protestantism.

Charles IX. also was a minor, and the regent should legally have been the first prince of the blood, Antoine de Bourbon; but cleverly flattered by the queen-mother, Catherine de’ Medici, he let her take the reins of government. Charles IX. (1560-1574). Hitherto Catherine had been merely the resigned and neglected wife of Henry II., and though eloquent, insinuating and ambitious, she had been inactive. She had attained the age of forty-one when she at last came into power amidst the hopes and anxieties aroused by the fall of the Guises and the return of the Bourbons to fortune. Indifferent in religious matters, she had a passion for authority, a characteristically Italian adroitness in intrigue, a fine political sense, and the feeling that the royal authority might be endangered both by Calvinistic passions and Catholic violence. She decided for a system of tolerance; and Michel de l’Hôpital, the new chancellor, was her spokesman at the states of Orleans (1560). He was a good and honest man, moderate, conciliatory and temporizing, anxious to lift the monarchy above the strife of parties and to reconcile them; but he was so little practical that he could believe in a reformation of the laws in the midst of all the violent passions which were now to be let loose. These two, Catherine and her chancellor, attempted, like Charles V. at Augsburg, to bring about religious pacification as a necessary condition for the maintenance of order; but they were soon overwhelmed by the different factions.

On one side was the Catholic triumvirate of the constable de Montmorency, the duke of Guise, and the marshal de St André; and on the other the Huguenot party of Condé and Coligny, who, having obtained liberty The parties. of conscience in January 1561, now demanded liberty of worship. The colloquy at Poissy between the cardinal of Lorraine and Theodore Beza (September 1561), did not end in the agreement hoped for, and the duke of Guise so far abused its spirit as to embroil the French Calvinists with the German Lutherans. The rupture seemed irremediable when the assembly of Poissy recognized the order of the Jesuits, which the French church had held in suspicion since its foundation. However, yielding to the current which was carrying the greater part of the Edict of tolerance. nation towards reform, and despite the threats of Philip II. who dreaded Calvinistic propaganda in his Netherlands, Michel de l’Hôpital promulgated the edict of January 17, 1562—a true charter of enfranchisement for the Protestants. But the pressure of events and of parties was too strong; the policy of toleration which had miscarried at the council of Trent had no chance of success in France.

The triumvirate’s relations with Spain and Rome were very close; they had complete ascendancy over the king and over Catherine; and now the massacre of two hundred Protestants at Vassy on the 1st of March 1562 made Character of the religious wars. the cup overflow. The duke of Guise had either ordered this, or allowed it to take place, on his return from an interview with the duke of Württemberg at Zabern, where he had once more demanded the help of his Lutheran neighbours against the Calvinists; and the Catholics having celebrated this as a victory the signal was given for the commencement of religious wars. When these eight fratricidal wars first began, Protestants and Catholics rivalled one another in respect for royal authority; only they wished to become its masters so as to get the upper hand themselves. But in course of time, as the struggle became embittered, Catholicism itself grew revolutionary; and this twofold fanaticism, Catholic and Protestant, even more than the ambition of the leaders, made the war a ferocious one from the very first. Beginning with surprise attacks, if these failed, the struggle was continued by means of sieges and by terrible exploits like those of the Catholic Montluc and the Protestant des Adrets in the south of France. Neither of these two parties was strong enough to crush the other, owing to the apathy and continual desertions of the gentlemen-cavaliers who formed the élite of the Protestant army and the insufficient numbers of the Catholic forces. Allies from outside were therefore called in, and this it was that gave a European character to these wars of religion; the two parties were parties of foreigners, the Protestants being supported by German Landsknechts and Elizabeth of England’s cavalry, and the royal army by Italian, Swiss or Spanish auxiliaries. It was no longer patriotism but religion that distinguished the two camps. There were three principal theatres of war: in the north Normandy and the valley of the Loire, where Orleans, the general centre of reform, ensured communications between the south and Germany; in the south-west Gascony and Guienne; in the south-east Lyonnais and Vivarais.

In the first war, which lasted for a year (1562-1563), the triumvirs wished to secure Orleans, previously isolated. The threat of an English landing decided them to lay siege to Rouen, and it was taken by assault; but this First religious war. cost the life of the versatile Antoine de Bourbon. On the 19th of December 1562 the duke of Guise barred the way to Dreux against the German reinforcements of d’Andelot, who after having threatened Paris were marching to join forces with the English troops for whom Coligny and Condé had paid by the cession of Havre. The death of marshal de St André, and the capture of the constable de Montmorency and of Condé, which marked this indecisive battle, left Coligny and Guise face to face. The latter’s success was of brief duration; for on the 18th of February 1563 Poltrot de Méré assassinated him before Orleans, which he was trying to take once and for all. Catherine, relieved by the loss of an inconvenient preceptor, and by the disappearance of the other leaders, became mistress of the Catholic party, of whose strength and popularity she had now had proof, and her idea was to make peace at once on the best terms possible. The egoism of Condé, who got himself made lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and bargained for freedom of worship for the Protestant nobility only, compromised the future of both his church and his party, though rendering possible the peace of Amboise, concluded the 19th of March 830 1563. All now set off together to recapture Havre from the English.

The peace, however, satisfied no one; neither Catholics (because of the rupture of religious unity) nor the parlements; the pope, the emperor and king of Spain alike protested against it. Nor yet did it satisfy the Protestants, Peace of Amboise (1563). who considered its concessions insufficient, above all for the people. It was, however, the maximum of tolerance possible just then, and had to be reverted to; Catherine and Charles IX. soon saw that the times were not ripe for a third party, and that to enforce real toleration would require an absolute power which they did not possess. After three years the Guises reopened hostilities against Coligny, whom they accused of having plotted the murder of their chief; while the Catholics, egged on by the Spaniards, rose against the Protestants, who had been made uneasy by an interview between Catherine and her daughter Elizabeth, wife of Philip II. of Spain, at Bayonne, and by the duke of Alva’s persecutions of the reformed church of the Netherlands—a daughter-church of Geneva, like their own. The second civil war began like the Second civil war.

Peace of Longjumeau.
first with a frustrated attempt to kidnap the king, at the castle of Montceaux, near Meaux, in September 1567; and with a siege of Paris, the general centre of Catholicism, in the course of which the constable de Montmorency was killed at Saint-Denis. Condé, with the men-at-arms of John Casimir, son of the Count Palatine, tried to starve out the capital; but once more the defection of the nobles obliged him to sign a treaty of peace at Longjumeau on the 23rd of March 1568, by which the conditions of Amboise were re-established. After the attempt at Montceaux the Protestants had to be contented with Charles IX.’s word.

This peace was not of long duration. The fall of Michel de l’Hôpital, who had so often guaranteed the loyalty of the Huguenots, ruined the moderate party (May 1568). Catholic propaganda, revived by the monks and the Third war. Jesuits, and backed by the armed confraternities and by Catherine’s favourite son, the duke of Anjou, now entrusted with a prominent part by the cardinal of Lorraine; Catherine’s complicity in the duke of Alva’s terrible persecution in the Netherlands; and her attempt to capture Coligny and Condé at Noyers all combined to cause a fresh outbreak of hostilities in the west. Thanks to Tavannes, the duke of Anjou gained easy victories at Jarnac over the prince of Condé, who was killed, and at Moncontour over Coligny, who was wounded (March-October 1569); but these successes were rendered fruitless by the jealousy of Charles IX. Allowing the queen of Navarre to shut herself up in La Rochelle, the citadel of the reformers, and the king to loiter over the siege of Saint Jean d’Angély, Coligny pushed boldly forward towards Paris and, having reached Burgundy, defeated the royal army at Arnay-le-duc. Catherine had exhausted all her resources; and having failed in her project of remarrying Philip II. to one of her daughters, and of betrothing Charles IX. to the eldest of the Austrian archduchesses, exasperated also by the presumption of the Lorraine family, who aspired to the marriage of their nephew with Charles IX.’s Peace of St Germain (1570). sister, she signed the peace of St Germain on the 8th of August 1570. This was the culminating point of Protestant liberty; for Coligny exacted and obtained, first, liberty of conscience and of worship, and then, as a guarantee of the king’s word, four fortified places: La Rochelle, a key to the sea; La Charité, in the centre; Cognac and Montauban in the south.

The Guises set aside, Coligny, supported as he was by Jeanne d’Albret, queen of Navarre, now received all Charles IX.’s favour. Catherine de’ Medici, an inveterate matchmaker, and also uneasy at Philip II.’s increasing Coligny and the Netherlands. power, made advances to Jeanne, proposing to marry her own daughter, Marguerite de Valois, to Jeanne’s son, Henry of Navarre, now chief of the Huguenot party. Coligny was a Protestant, but he was a Frenchman before all; and wishing to reconcile all parties in a national struggle, he “trumpeted war” (cornait la guerre) against Spain in the Netherlands—despite the lukewarmness of Elizabeth of England and the Germans, and despite the counter-intrigues of the pope and of Venice. He succeeded in getting French troops sent to the Netherlands, but they suffered defeat. None the less Charles IX. still seemed to see only through the eyes of Coligny; till Catherine, fearing to be supplanted by the latter, dreading the results of the threatened war with Spain, and egged on by a crowd of Italian adventurers in the pay of Spain—men like Gondi and Birague, reared like herself in the political theories and customs of their native land—saw no hope but in the assassination of this rival in her son’s esteem. A murderous attack upon Coligny, who had opposed the candidature of Catherine’s favourite son, the duke of Anjou, for the throne of Poland, having only succeeded in wounding him and in exciting the Calvinist leaders, who were congregated in Paris for the occasion of Marguerite de Valois’ marriage with the king of Navarre, Catherine St Bartholomew, August 24, 1572. and the Guises resolved together to put them all to death. There followed the wholesale massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, in Paris and in the provinces; a natural consequence of public and private hatreds which had poisoned the entire social organism. This massacre had the effect of preventing the expedition into Flanders, and destroying Francis I.’s policy of alliance with the Protestants against the house of Austria.

Catherine de’ Medici soon perceived that the massacre of St Bartholomew had settled nothing. It had, it is true, dealt a blow to Calvinism just when, owing to the reforms of the council of Trent, the religious ground had been The party of the politiques. crumbling beneath it. Moreover, within the party itself a gulf had been widening between the pastors, supported by the Protestant democracy and the political nobles. The reformers had now no leaders, and their situation seemed as perilous as that of their co-religionists in the Netherlands; while the sieges of La Rochelle and Leiden, the enforced exile of the prince of Orange, and the conversion under pain of death of Henry of Navarre and the prince of Condé, made the common danger more obvious. Salvation came from the very excess of the repressive measures. A third party was once more formed, composed of moderates from the two camps, and it was recruited quite as much by jealousy of the Guises and by ambition as by horror at the massacres. There were the friends of the Montmorency party—Damville at their head; Coligny’s relations; the king of Navarre; Condé; and a prince of the blood, Catherine de’ Medici’s third son, the duke of Alençon, tired of being kept Fourth War. Edict of Boulogne (1573). in the background. This party took shape at the end of the fourth war, followed by the edict of Boulogne (1573), forced from Charles IX. when the Catholics were deprived of their leader by the election of his brother, the duke of Anjou, as king of Poland. A year later the latter succeeded his brother on the throne of France as Henry III. This meant a new lease of power for the queen-mother.

The politiques, as the supporters of religious tolerance and an energetic repression of faction were called, offered their alliance to the Huguenots, but these, having formed Fifth War. themselves, by means of the Protestant Union, into a sort of republic within the kingdom, hesitated to accept. It is, however, easy to bring about an understanding between people in whom religious fury has been extinguished either by patriotism or by ambition, like that of the duke of Alençon, who had now escaped from the Louvre where he had been confined on account of his intrigues. The compact was concluded at Millau; Condé becoming a Protestant once more in order to treat with Damville, Montmorency’s brother. Henry of Navarre escaped from Paris. The new king, Henry III., Henry III. (1574-1589). vacillating and vicious, and Catherine herself, eager for war as she was, had no means of separating the Protestants and the politiques. Despite the victory of Guise at Dormans, the agreement between the duke of Alençon and John Casimir’s German army obliged the royal party to grant all that the allied forces demanded of them 831 in the “peace of Monsieur,” signed at Beaulieu on the 6th of May Peace of Monsieur (1576). 1576, the duke of Alençon receiving the appanage of Anjou, Touraine and Berry, the king of Navarre Guienne, and Condé Picardy, while the Protestants were granted freedom of worship in all parts of the kingdom except Paris, the rehabilitation of Coligny and the other victims of St Bartholomew, their fortified towns, and an equal number of seats in the courts of the parlements.

This was going too fast; and in consequence of a reaction against this too liberal edict a fourth party made its appearance, that of the Catholic League, under the Guises—Henry le Balafré, duke of Guise, and his two brothers, Charles, The Catholic League. duke of Mayenne, and Louis, archbishop of Reims and cardinal. With the object of destroying Calvinism by effective opposition, they imitated the Protestant organization of provincial associations, drawing their chief supporters from the upper middle class and the lesser nobility. It was not at first a demagogy maddened by the preaching of the irreconcilable clergy of Paris, but a union of the more honest and prudent classes of the nation in order to combat heresy. Despite the immorality and impotence of Henry III. and the Protestantism of Henry of Navarre, this party talked of re-establishing the authority of the king; but in reality it inclined more to the Guises, martyrs in the good cause, who were supported by Philip II. of Spain and Pope Gregory XIII. A sort of popular government was thus established to counteract the incapacity of royalty, and it was in the name of the imperilled rights of the people that, from the States of Blois onward, this Holy League demanded the re-establishment of Catholic unity, and set the religious right of the nation in opposition to the divine right of incapable or evil-doing kings (1576).

In order to oust his rival Henry of Guise, Henry III. made a desperate effort to outbid him in the eyes of the more extreme Catholics, and by declaring himself head of the League The States of Blois (1576).
Sixth War and peace of Bergerac (1577). Seventh War and peace of Fleix (1580).
degraded himself into a party leader. The League, furious at this stroke of policy, tried to impose a council of thirty-six advisers upon the king. But the deputies of the third estate did not support the other two orders, and the latter in their turn refused the king money for making war on the heretics, desiring, they said, not war but the destruction of heresy. This would have reduced Henry III. to impotence; fortunately for him, however, the break of the Huguenots with the “Malcontents,” and the divisions in the court of Navarre and in the various parties at La Rochelle, allowed Henry III., after two little wars in the south west, during which fighting gradually degenerated into brigandage, to sign terms of peace at Bergerac (1577), which much diminished the concessions made in the edict of Beaulieu. This peace was confirmed three years after by that of Fleix. The suppression of both the leagues was stipulated for (1580). It remained, however, a question whether the Holy League would submit to this.

The death of the duke of Anjou after his mad endeavour to establish himself in the Netherlands (1584), and the accession of Henry of Navarre, heir to the effeminate Henry III., reversed the situations of the two parties: the Protestants Union between the Guises and Philip II. again became supporters of the principle of heredity and divine right; the Catholics appealed to right of election and the sovereignty of the people. Could the crown of the eldest daughter of the Church be allowed to devolve upon a relapsed heretic? Such was the doctrine officially preached in pulpit and pamphlet. But between Philip II. on the one hand—now master of Portugal and delivered from William of Orange, involved in strife with the English Protestants, and desirous of avenging the injuries inflicted upon him by the Valois in the Netherlands—and the Guises on the other hand, whose cousin Mary Stuart was a prisoner of Queen Elizabeth, there was a common interest in supporting one another and pressing things forward. A definite agreement was made between them at Joinville (December 31, 1584), the religious and popular pretext being the danger of leaving the kingdom to the king of Navarre, and the ostensible end to secure the succession to a Catholic prince, the old Cardinal de Bourbon, an ambitious and violent man of mean intelligence; while the secret aim was to secure the crown for the Guises, who had already attempted to fabricate for themselves a genealogy tracing their descent from Charlemagne. In the meantime Philip II., being rid of Don John of Austria, whose ambition he dreaded, was to crush the Protestants of England and the Netherlands; and the double result of the compact at Joinville was to allow French politics to be controlled by Spain, and to transform the wars of religion into a purely political quarrel.

The pretensions of the Guises were, in fact, soon manifested in the declaration of Péronne (March 30, 1585) against the foul court of the Valois; they were again manifested in a furious agitation, fomented by the secret council The committee of Sixteen at Paris.

Eighth war of the three Henries.
of the League at Paris, which favoured the Guises, and which now worked on the people through their terror of Protestant retaliations and the Church’s peril. Incited by Philip II., who wished to see him earning his pension of 600,000 golden crowns, Henry of Guise began the war in the end of April, and in a few days the whole kingdom was on fire. The situation was awkward for Henry III., who had not the courage to ask Queen Elizabeth for the soldiers and money that he lacked. The crafty king of Navarre being unwilling to alienate the Protestants save by an apostasy profitable to himself, Henry III., by the treaty of Nemours (July 7, 1585), granted everything to the head of the League in order to save his crown. By a stroke of the pen he suppressed Protestantism, while Pope Sixtus V., who had at first been unfavourable to the treaty of Joinville as a purely political act, though he eventually yielded to the solicitations of the League, excommunicated the two Bourbons, Henry and Condé. But the duke of Guise’s audacity did not make Henry III. forget his desire for vengeance. He hoped to ruin him by attaching him to his cause. His favourite Joyeuse was to defeat the king of Navarre, whose forces were very weak, while Guise was to deal with the strong reinforcement of Germans that Elizabeth was sending to Henry of Navarre. Exactly the contrary happened. By the defeat of Joyeuse at Coutras Henry III. found himself wounded on his strongest side; and by Henry of Guise’s successes at Vimory and Auneau the Germans, who should have been his best auxiliaries against the League, were crushed (October-November 1587).

The League now thought they had no longer anything to fear. Despite the king’s hostility the duke of Guise came to Paris, urged thereto by Philip II., who wanted to occupy Paris and be master of the Channel coasts whilst he Day of the Barricades. launched his invincible Armada to avenge the death of Mary Stuart in 1587. On the Day of the Barricades (May 12, 1588) Henry III. was besieged in the Louvre by the populace in revolt; but his rival dared not go so far as to depose the king, and appeased the tumult. The king, having succeeded in taking refuge at Chartres, ended, however, by granting him in the Act of Union all that he had refused in face of the barricades—the post of lieutenant-general of the kingdom and the proscription of Protestantism. At the second assembly of the states of Blois, called together on account of the need for money (1588), Assassination of the Guises at the second states-general of Blois. all of Henry III.’s enemies who were elected showed themselves even bolder than in 1576 in claiming the control of the financial administration of the kingdom; but the destruction of the Armada gave Henry III., already exasperated by the insults he had received, new vigour. He had the old Cardinal de Bourbon imprisoned, and Henry of Guise and his brother the cardinal assassinated (December 23, 1588). On the 5th of January, 1589, died his mother, Catherine de’Medici, the astute Florentine.

“Now I am king!” cried Henry III. But Paris being dominated by the duke of Mayenne, who had escaped assassination, and by the council of “Sixteen,” the chiefs of the League, Assassination of Henry III. most of the provinces replied by open revolt, and Henry III. 832 had no alternative but an alliance with Henry of Navarre. Thanks to this he was on the point of seizing Paris, when in his turn he was assassinated on the 1st of August 1589 by a Jacobin monk, Jacques Clément; with his dying breath he designated the king of Navarre as his successor.

Between the popular League and the menace of the Protestants it was a question whether the new monarch was to be powerless in his turn. Henry IV. had almost the whole of his kingdom to conquer. The Cardinal de Bourbon, king The Bourbons. according to the League and proclaimed under the title of Charles X., could count upon the Holy League itself, upon the Spaniards of the Netherlands, and upon the pope. Henry IV. was only supported by a certain number of the Calvinists and by the Catholic minority of the Politiques, who, however, gradually induced the rest of the nation to rally round the only legitimate prince. The nation wished for the establishment of internal unity through religious tolerance and the extinction of private organizations; it looked for the extension of France’s external power through the abasement of the house of Spain, protection of the Protestants in the Netherlands and Germany, and independence of Rome. Henry IV., moreover, was forced to take an oath at the camp of Saint Cloud to associate the nation in the affairs of the kingdom by means of the states-general. These three conditions were interdependent; and Henry IV., with his persuasive manners, his frank and charming character, and his personal valour, seemed capable of keeping them all three.

The first thing for this soldier-king to do was to conquer his kingdom and maintain its unity. He did not waste time by withdrawing towards the south; he kept in the neighbourhood of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, within Henry IV. (1589-1610). reach of help from Elizabeth; and twice—at Arques and at Ivry (1589-1590)—he vanquished the duke of Mayenne, lieutenant-general of the League. But after having tried to seize Paris (as later Rouen) by a coup-de-main, he was obliged to raise the siege in view of reinforcements sent to Mayenne by the duke of Parma. Pope Gregory XIV., an enthusiastic supporter of the League and a strong adherent of Spain, having succeeded Sixtus V., who had been very lukewarm towards the League, made Henry IV.’s position still more serious just at the moment when, the old Cardinal de Bourbon having died, Philip II. wanted to be declared the protector of the kingdom in order that he might dismember it, and when Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, a grandson of Francis I., and Charles III., duke of Lorraine, a son-in-law of Henry II., were both of them claiming the crown. Fortunately, however, the Sixteen had disgusted the upper bourgeoisie by their demagogic airs; while their open alliance with Philip II., and their acceptance of a Spanish garrison in Paris had offended the patriotism of the Politiques or moderate members of the League. Mayenne, who oscillated between Philip II. and Henry IV., was himself obliged to break up and subdue this party of fanatics and theologians (December 1591). This game of see-saw between the Politiques and the League furthered his secret ambition, but also the dissolution of the kingdom; and the pressure of public opinion, which desired an effective monarchy, put an end to this temporizing policy and caused the convocation of the states-general States-general of 1592. in Paris (December 1592). Philip II., through the duke of Feria’s instrumentality, demanded the throne for his daughter Isabella, grand-daughter of Henry II. through her mother. But who was to be her husband? The archduke Ernest of Austria, Guise or Mayenne? The parlement cut short these bargainings by condemning all ultramontane pretensions and Spanish intrigues. The unpopularity of Spain, patriotism, the greater predominance of national questions in public opinion, and weariness of both religious disputation and indecisive warfare, all these sentiments were expressed in the wise and clever pamphlet entitled the Satire Ménippée. What had been a slow movement between 1585 and 1592 was quickened by Henry IV.’s abjuration of Protestantism at Saint-Denis on the 23rd of July 1593.

The coronation of the king at Chartres in February 1594 completed the rout of the League. The parlement of Paris declared against Mayenne, who was simply the mouthpiece of Spain, and Brissac, the governor, surrendered Abjuration of Henry IV., July 23, 1593. the capital to the king. The example of Paris and Henry IV.’s clemency rallied round him all prudent Catholics, like Villeroy and Jeannin, anxious for national unity; but he had to buy over the adherents of the League, who sold him his own kingdom for sixty million francs. The pontifical absolution of September 17, 1595, finally stultified the League, which had been again betrayed by the unsuccessful plot of Jean Chastel, the Jesuit’s pupil.

Nothing was now left but to expel the Spaniards, who under cover of religion had worked for their own interests alone. Despite the brilliant charge of Fontaine-Française in Burgundy (June 5, 1595), and the submission of the Peace of Vervins. heads of the League, Guise, Mayenne, Joyeuse, and Mercœur, the years 1595-1597 were not fortunate for Henry IV.’s armies. Indignant at his conversion, Elizabeth, the Germans, and the Swiss Protestants deserted him; while the taking of Amiens by the Spaniards compromised for the moment the future both of the king and the country. But exhaustion of each other, by which only England and Holland profited, brought about the Peace of Vervins. This confirmed the results of the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (May 2, 1598), that is to say, the decadence of Spanish power, and its inability either to conquer or to dismember France.

The League, having now no reason for existence, was dissolved; but the Protestant party remained very strong, with its political organization and the fortified places which the assemblies of Millau, Nîmes and La Rochelle Edict of Nantes, 1598. (1573-1574) had established in the south and the west. It was a republican state within the kingdom, and, being unwilling to break with it, Henry IV. came to terms by the edict of Nantes, on the 13th of April 1598. This was a compromise between the royal government and the Huguenot government, the latter giving up the question of public worship, which was only authorized where it had existed before 1597 and in two towns of each bailliage, with the exception of Paris; but it secured liberty of conscience throughout the kingdom, state payment for its ministers, admission to all employments, and courts composed equally of Catholics and Protestants in the parlements. An authorization to hold synods and political assemblies, to open schools, and to occupy a hundred strong places for eight years at the expense of the king, assured to the Protestants not only rights but privileges. In no other country did they enjoy so many guarantees against a return of persecution. This explains why the edict of Nantes was not registered without some difficulty.

Thus the blood-stained 16th century closed with a promise of religious toleration and a dream of international arbitration. This was the end of the long tragedy of civil strife and of wars of conquest, mingled with the sound of Results of the religious wars. madrigals and psalms and pavanes. It had been the golden age of the arquebus and the viol, of sculptors and musicians, of poets and humanists, of fratricidal conflicts and of love-songs, of mignons and martyrs. At the close of this troubled century peace descends upon exhausted passions; and amidst the choir of young and ardent voices celebrating the national reconciliation, the tocsin no longer sounds its sinister and persistent bass. Despite the leagues of either faith, religious liberty was now confirmed by the more free and generous spirit of Henry IV.

Why was this king at once so easygoing and so capricious? Why, again, had the effort and authority of feudal and popular resistance been squandered in the follies of the League and to further the ambitions of the rebellious Guises? Why had the monarchy been forced to purchase the obedience of the upper classes and the provinces with immunities which enfeebled it without limiting it? At all events, when the kingdom had been reconquered from the Spaniards and religious strife ended, in order to fulfil his engagements, Henry IV. need only have 833 associated the nation with himself in the work of reconstructing the shattered monarchy. But during the atrocious holocausts formidable states had grown up around France, observing her and threatening her; and on the other hand, as on the morrow of the Hundred Years’ War, the lassitude of the country, the lack of political feeling on the part of the upper classes and their selfishness, led to a fresh abdication of the nation’s rights. The need of living caused the neglect of that necessity for control which had been maintained by the states-general from 1560 to 1593. And this time, moderation on the part of the monarchy no longer made for success. Of the two contrary currents which have continually mingled and conflicted throughout the course of French history, that of monarchic absolutism and that of aristocratic and democratic liberty, the former was now to carry all before it.

The kingdom was now issuing from thirty-eight years of civil war. Its inhabitants had grown unaccustomed to work; its finances were ruined by dishonesty, disorder, and a very heavy foreign debt. The most characteristic The Bourbons. France in 1610. symptom of this distress was the brigandage carried on incessantly from 1598 to 1610. Side by side with this temporary disorder there was a more serious administrative disorganization, a habit of no longer obeying the king. The harassed population, the municipalities which under cover of civil war had resumed the right of self-government, and the parlements elated with their social importance and their security of position, were not alone in abandoning duty and obedience. Two powers faced each other threateningly: the organized and malcontent Protestants; and the provincial governors, all great personages possessing an armed following, theoretically agents of the king, but practically independent. The Montmorencys, the D’Epernons, the Birons, the Guises, were accustomed to consider their offices as hereditary property. Not that these two powers entered into open revolt against the king; but they had adopted the custom of recriminating, of threatening, of coming to understandings with the foreign powers, which with some of them, like Marshal Biron, the D’Entragues and the duc de Bouillon, amounted to conspiracy (1602-1606).

As to the qualifications of the king: he had had the good fortune not to be educated for the throne. Without much learning and sceptical in religious matters, he had the lively intelligence of the Gascon, more subtle than Character of Henry IV. profound, more brilliant than steady. Married to a woman of loose morals, and afterwards to a devout Italian, he was gross and vulgar in his appetites and pleasures. He had retained all the habits of a country gentleman of his native Béarn, careless, familiar, boastful, thrifty, cunning, combined since his sojourn at the court of the Valois with a taint of corruption. He worked little but rapidly, with none of the bureaucratic pedantry of a Philip II. cloistered in the dark towers of the Escurial. Essentially a man of action and a soldier, he preserved his tone of command after he had reached the throne, the inflexibility of the military chief, the conviction of his absolute right to be master. Power quickly intoxicated him, and his monarchy was therefore anything but parliamentary. His personality was everything, institutions nothing. If, at the gathering of the notables at Rouen in 1596, Henry IV. spoke of putting himself in tutelage, that was but preliminary to a demand for money. The states-general, called together ten times in the 16th century, and at the death of Henry III. under promise of convocation, were never assembled. To put his absolute right beyond all control he based it upon religion, and to this sceptic disobedience became a heresy. He tried to make the clergy into an instrument of government by recalling the Jesuits, who had been driven away in 1594, partly from fear of their regicides, partly because they have always been the best teachers of servitude; and he gave the youth of the nation into the hands of this cosmopolitan and ultramontane clerical order. His government was personal, not through departments; he retained the old council though reducing its members; and his ministers, taken from every party, were never—not even Sully—anything more than mere clerks, without independent position, mere instruments of his good pleasure. Fortunately this was not always capricious.

Henry IV. soon realized that his most urgent duty was to resuscitate the corpse of France. Pilfering was suppressed, and the revolts of the malcontents—the Gauthiers of Normandy, the Croquants and Tard-avisés of Périgord The achievements of Henry IV. and Limousin—were quelled, adroitly at first, and later with a sterner hand. He then provided for the security of the country districts, and reduced the taxes on the peasants, the most efficacious means of making them productive and able to pay. Inspired by Barthélemy de Laffémas (1545-1612), controller-general of commerce, and by Olivier de Serres (1539-1619),31 Henry IV. encouraged the culture of silk, though without much result, had orchards planted and marshes drained; while though he permitted the free circulation of wine and corn, this depended on the harvests. But the twofold effect of civil war—the ruin of the farmers and the scarcity and high price of rural labour—was only reduced arbitrarily and by fits and starts.

Despite the influence of Sully, a convinced agrarian because of his horror of luxury and love of economy, Henry IV. likewise attempted amelioration in the towns, where the state of affairs was even worse than in the country. But the Industrial policy of Henry IV. edict of 1597, far from inaugurating individual liberty, was but a fresh edition of that of 1581, a second preface to the legislation of Colbert, and in other ways no better respected than the first. As for the new features, the syndical courts proposed by Laffémas, they were not even put into practice. Various industries, nevertheless, concurrent with those of England, Spain and Italy, were created or reorganized: silk-weaving, printing, tapestry, &c. Sully at least provided renascent manufacture with the roads necessary for communication and planted them with trees. In external commerce Laffémas and Henry IV. were equally the precursors of Colbert, freeing raw material and prohibiting the import of products similar to those manufactured within the kingdom. Without regaining that preponderance in the Levant which had been secured after the victory of Lepanto and before the civil wars, Marseilles still took an honourable place there, confirmed by the renewal in 1604 of the capitulations of Francis I. with the sultan. Finally, the system of commercial companies, antipathetic to the French bourgeoisie, was for the first time practised on a grand scale; but Sully never understood that movement of colonial expansion, begun by Henry II. in Brazil and continued in Canada by Champlain, which had so marvellously enlarged the European horizon. His point of view was altogether more limited than that of Henry IV.; and he did not foresee, like Elizabeth, that the future would belong to the peoples whose national energy took that line of action.

His sphere was essentially the superintendence of finance, to which he brought the same enthusiasm that he had shown in fighting the League. Vain and imaginative, his reputation was enormously enhanced by his The work of Sully. “Économies royales”; he was no innovator, and being a true representative of the nation at that period, like it he was but lukewarm towards reform, accepting it always against the grain. He was not a financier of genius; but he administered the public moneys with the same probity and exactitude which he used in managing his own, retrieving alienated property, straightening accounts, balancing expenditure and receipts, and amassing a reserve in the Bastille. He did not reform the system of aides and tailles established by Louis XI. in 1482; but by charging much upon indirect taxation, and slightly lessening the burden of direct taxation, he avoided an appeal to the states-general and gave an illusion of relief.

Nevertheless, economic disasters, political circumstances and the personal government of Henry IV. (precursor in this also 834 of Louis XIV.) rendered his task impossible or fatal. The nobility remained in debt and disaffected; and the clergy, more Criticism of Henry IV.’s achievement. remarkable for wealth and breeding than for virtues, were won over to the ultramontane ideas of the triumphant Jesuits. The rich bourgeoisie began more and more to monopolize the magistracy; and though the country-people were somewhat relieved from the burden which had been crushing them, the working-classes remained impoverished, owing to the increase of prices which followed at a distance the rise of wages. Moreover, under insinuating and crafty pretexts, Henry IV. undermined as far as he could the right of control by the states-general, the right of remonstrance by the parlements, and the communal franchises, while ensuring the impoverishment of the municipalities by his fiscal methods. Arbitrary taxation, scandalous intervention in elections, forced candidatures, confusion in their financial administration, bankruptcy and revolt on the part of the tenants: all formed an anticipation of the personal rule of Richelieu and Louis XIV.

Thus Henry IV. evinced very great activity in restoring order and very great poverty of invention in his methods. His sole original creation, the edict of La Paulette in 1604, Edict of La Paulette. was disastrous. In consideration of an annual payment of one-sixtieth of the salary, it made hereditary offices which had hitherto been held only for life; and the millions which it daily poured into the royal exchequer removed the necessity for seeking more regular and better distributed resources. Political liberty and social justice were equally the losers by this extreme financial measure, which paved the way for a catastrophe.

In foreign affairs the abasement of the house of Austria remained for Henry IV., as it had been for Francis I. and Henry II., a political necessity, while under his successors it was to become a mechanical obsession. The peace Foreign policy of Henry IV. of Vervins had concluded nothing. The difference concerning the marquisate of Saluzzo, which the duke of Savoy had seized upon in 1588, profiting by Henry III.’s embarrassments, is only worth mentioning because the treaty of Lyons (1601) finally dissipated the Italian mirage, and because, in exchange for the last of France’s possessions beyond the Alps, it added to the royal domain the really French territory of La Bresse, Bugey, Valromey and the district of Gex. The great external affair of the reign was the projected war upon which Henry IV. was about to embark when he was assassinated. The “grand design” of Sully, the organization of a “Christian Republic” of the European nations for the preservation of peace, was but the invention of an irresponsible minister, soured by defeat and wishing to impress posterity. Henry IV., the least visionary of kings, was between 1598 and 1610 really hesitating between two great contradictory political schemes: the war clamoured for by the Protestants, politicians like Sully, and the nobility; and the Spanish alliance, to be cemented by marriages, and preached by the ultramontane Spanish camarilla formed by the queen, Père Coton, the king’s confessor, the minister Villeroy, and Ubaldini, the papal nuncio. Selfish and suspicious, Henry IV. consistently played this double game of policy in conjunction with president Jeannin. By his alliance with the Grisons (1603) he guaranteed the integrity of the Valtellina, the natural approach to Lombardy for the imperial forces; and by his intimate union with Geneva he controlled the routes by which the Spaniards could reach their hereditary possessions in Franche-Comté and the Low Countries from Italy. But having defeated the duke of Savoy he had no hesitation in making sure of him by a marriage; though the Swiss might have misunderstood the treaty of Brusol (1610) by which he gave one of his daughters to the grandson of Philip II. On the other hand he astonished the Protestant world by the imprudence of his mediation between Spain and the rebellious United Provinces (1609). When the succession of Cleves and of Jülich, so long expected and already discounted by the treaty of Halle (1610), was opened up in Germany, the great war was largely due to an access of senile passion for the charms of the princesse de Condé. The stroke of Ravaillac’s knife caused a timely descent of the curtain upon this new and tragi-comic Trojan War. Thus, here as elsewhere, we see a vacillating hand-to-mouth policy, at the mercy of a passion for power or for sensual gratification. The Cornette blanche of Arques, the Poule au pôt of the peasant, successes as a lover and a dashing spirit, have combined to surround Henry IV. with a halo of romance not justified by fact.

The extreme instability of monarchical government showed itself afresh after Henry IV.’s death. The reign of Louis XIII., a perpetual regency by women, priests, and favourites, was indeed a curious prelude to the grand age of the The regency of Marie de’Medici. French monarchy. The eldest son of Henry IV. being a minor, Marie de’ Medici induced the parlement to invest her with the regency, thanks to Villeroy and contrary to the last will of Henry IV. This second Florentine, at once jealous of power and incapable of exercising it, bore little resemblance to her predecessor. Light-minded, haughty, apathetic and cold-hearted, she took a sort of passionate delight in changing Henry IV.’s whole system of government. Who would support her in this? On one side were the former ministers, Sillery and president Jeannin, ex-leaguers but loyalists, no lovers of Spain and still less of Germany; on the other the princes of the blood and the great nobles, Condé, Guise, Mayenne and Nevers, apparently still much more faithful to French ideas, but in reality convinced that the days of kings were over and that their own had arrived. Instead of weakening this aristocratic agitation by the see-saw policy of Catherine de’ Medici, Marie could invent no other device than to despoil the royal treasure by distributing places and money to the chiefs of both parties. The savings all expended and Sully fallen into disgrace, she lost her influence and became the almost unconscious instrument of an ambitious man of low birth, the Florentine Concini, who was to drag her down with him in his fall; petty shifts became thenceforward the order of the day.

Thus Villeroy thought fit to add still further to the price already paid to triumphant Madrid and Vienna by disbanding the army, breaking the treaty of Brusol, and abandoning the Protestant princes beyond the Rhine and the Louis XIII.(1610-1643). trans-Pyrenean Moriscos. France joined hands with Spain in the marriages of Louis XIII. with Anne of Austria and Princess Elizabeth with the son of Philip III., and the Spanish ambassador was admitted to the secret council of the queen. To soothe the irritation of England the duc de Bouillon was sent to London to offer the hand of the king’s sister to the prince of Wales. Meanwhile, however, still more was ceded to the princes than to the kings; and after a pretence of drawing the sword against the prince of Condé, rebellious through jealousy of the Italian surroundings of the queen-mother, recourse was had to the purse. The peace of Sainte Menehould, four years after the death of Henry IV., was a virtual abdication of the monarchy (May 1614); it was time for a move in the other direction. Villeroy inspired the regent with the idea of an armed expedition, accompanied by the little king, into the West. The convocation of the states-general was about to take place, wrung, as in all minorities, from the royal weakness—this time by Condé; so the elections were influenced in the monarchist interest. The king’s majority, solemnly proclaimed on the 28th of October 1614, further strengthened the throne; while owing to the bungling of the third estate, who did not contrive to gain the support of the clergy and the nobility by some sort of concessions, the states-general, the last until 1789, proved like the others a mere historic episode, an impotent and inorganic expedient. In vain Condé tried to play with the parlement of Paris the same game as with the states-general, in a sort of anticipation of the Fronde. Villeroy demurred; and the parlement, having illegally assumed a political rôle, broke with Condé and effected a reconciliation with the court. After this double victory Marie de’ Medici could at last undertake the famous journey to Bordeaux and consummate the Spanish marriages. In order not to countenance by his presence an act which had been the pretext for his opposition, Condé rebelled 835 once more in August 1615; but he was again pacified by the governorships and pensions of the peace of Loudun (May 1616).

But Villeroy and the other ministers knew not how to reap the full advantage of their victory. They had but one desire, to put themselves on a good footing again with Condé, instead of applying themselves honestly to the service Concini, Marshal d’Ancre. of the king. The “marshals,” Concini and his wife Leonora Galigai, more influential with the queen and more exacting than ever, by dint of clever intrigues forced the ministers to retire one after another; and with the last of Henry IV.’s “greybeards” vanished also all the pecuniary reserves left. Concini surrounded himself with new men, insignificant persons ready to do his bidding, such as Barbin or Mangot, while in the background was Richelieu, bishop of Luçon. Condé now began intrigues with the princes whom he had previously betrayed; but his pride dissolved in piteous entreaties when Thémines, captain of the guard, arrested him in September 1616. Six months later Concini had not even time to protest when another captain, Vitry, slew him at the Louvre, under orders from Louis XIII., on the 24th of April 1617.

Richelieu had appeared behind Marie de’ Medici; Albert de Luynes rose behind Louis XIII., the neglected child whom he had contrived to amuse. “The tavern remained the same, having changed nothing but the bush.” De Luynes was made a duke and marshal in Concini’s place, with no better title; while the duc d’Epernon, supported by the queen-mother (now in disgrace at Blois), took Condé’s place at the head of the opposition. The treaties of Angoulême and Angers (1619-1620), negotiated by Richelieu, recalled the “unwholesome” treaties of Sainte-Menehould and Loudun. The revolt of the Protestants was more serious. Goaded by the vigorous revival of militant Catholicism which marked the opening of the 17th century, de Luynes tried to put a finishing touch to the triumph of Catholicism in France, which he had assisted, by abandoning in the treaty of Ulm the defence of the small German states against the ambition of the ruling house of Austria, and by sacrificing the Protestant Grisons to Spain. The re-establishment of Catholic worship in Béarn was the pretext for a rising among the Protestants, who had remained loyal during these troublous years; and although the military organization of French Protestantism, arranged by the assembly of La Rochelle, had been checked in 1621, by the defection of most of the reformed nobles, like Bouillon and Lesdiguières, de Luynes had to raise the disastrous siege of Montauban. Death alone saved him from the disgrace suffered by his predecessors (December 15, 1621).

From 1621 to 1624 Marie de’ Medici, re-established in credit, prosecuted her intrigues; and in three years there were three different ministries: de Luynes was succeeded by the prince de Condé, whose Montauban was found at Return of Marie de Medici Montpellier; the Brûlarts succeeded Condé, and having, like de Luynes, neglected France’s foreign interests, they had to give place to La Vieuville; while this latter was arrested in his turn for having sacrificed the interests of the English Catholics in the negotiations regarding the marriage of Henrietta of France with the prince of Wales. All these personages were undistinguished figures beyond whom might be discerned the cold clear-cut profile of Marie de’ Medici’s secretary, now a cardinal, who was to take the helm and act as viceroy during eighteen years.

Richelieu came into power at a lucky moment. Every one was sick of government by deputy; they desired a strong hand and an energetic foreign policy, after the defeat of the Czechs at the White Mountain by the house of Cardinal Richelieu 1624-1642. Austria, the Spanish intrigues in the Valtellina, and the resumption of war between Spain and Holland. Richelieu contrived to raise hope in the minds of all. As president of the clergy at the states-general of 1614 he had figured as an adherent of Spain and the ultramontane interest; he appeared to be a representative of that religious party which was identical with the Spanish party. But he had also been put into the ministry by the party of the Politiques, who had terminated the civil wars, acclaimed Henry IV., applauded the Protestant alliance, and by the mouth of Miron, president of the third estate, had in 1614 proclaimed its intention to take up the national tradition once more. Despite the concessions necessary at the outset to the partisans of a Catholic alliance, it was the programme of the Politiques that Richelieu adopted and laid down with a master’s hand in his Political Testament.

To realize it he had to maintain his position. This was very difficult with a king who “wished to be governed and yet was impatient at being governed.” Incapable of applying himself to great affairs, but of sane and even acute Louis XIII. and Richelieu. judgment, Louis XIII. excelled only in a passion for detail and for manual pastimes. He realized the superior qualities of his minister, though with a lively sense of his own dignity he often wished him more discreet and less imperious; he had confidence in him but did not love him. Cold-hearted and formal by nature, he had not even self-love, detested his wife Anne of Austria—too good a Spaniard—and only attached himself fitfully to his favourites, male or female, who were naturally jealously suspected by the cardinal. He was accustomed to listen to his mother, who detested Richelieu as her ungrateful protégé. Neither did he love his brother, Gaston of Orleans, and the feeling was mutual; for the latter, remaining for twenty years heir-presumptive to a crown which he could neither defend nor seize, posed as the beloved prince in all the conspiracies against Richelieu, and issued from them each time as a Judas. Add to this that Louis XIII., like Richelieu himself, had wretched health, aggravated by the extravagant medicines of the day; and it is easy to understand how this pliable disposition which offered itself to the yoke caused Richelieu always to fear that his king might change his master, and to declare that “the four square feet of the king’s cabinet had been more difficult for him to conquer than all the battlefields of Europe.”

Richelieu, therefore, passed his time in safeguarding himself from his rivals and in spying upon them; his suspicious nature, rendered still more irritable by his painful practice of a dissimulation repugnant to his headstrong character, making him fancy himself threatened more than was actually the case. He brutally suppressed six great plots, several of which were scandalous, and had more than fifty persons executed; and he identified himself with the king, sincerely believing that he was maintaining the royal authority and not merely his own. He had a preference for irregular measures rather than legal prosecutions, and a jealousy of all opinions save his own. He maintained his power through the fear of torture and of special commissions. It was Louis XIII. whose cold decree ordained most of the rigorous sentences, but the stain of blood rested on the cardinal’s robe and made his reasons of state pass for private vengeance. Chalais was beheaded at Nantes in 1626 for having upheld Gaston of Orleans in his refusal to wed Mademoiselle de Montpensier, and Marshal d’Ornano died at Vincennes for having given him bad advice in this matter; while the duellist de Boutteville was put to the torture for having braved the edict against duels. The royal family itself was not free from his attacks; after the Day of Dupes (1630) he allowed the queen-mother to die in exile, and publicly dishonoured the king’s brother Gaston of Orleans by the publication of his confessions; Marshal de Marillac was put to the torture for his ingratitude, and the constable de Montmorency for rebellion (1632). The birth of Louis XIV. in 1638 confirmed Richelieu in power. However, at the point of death he roused himself to order the execution of the king’s favourite, Cinq-Mars, and his friend de Thou, guilty of treason with Spain (1642).

Absolute authority was not in itself sufficient; much money was also needed. In his state-papers Richelieu has shown that at the outset he desired that the Huguenots should share no longer in public affairs, that the nobles should Financial policy of Richelieu. cease to behave as rebellious subjects, and the powerful provincial governors as suzerains over the lands committed to their charge. With his passion for the uniform and the useful on a grand scale, he hoped by means of the Code 836 Michaud to put an end to the sale of offices, to lighten imposts, to suppress brigandage, to reduce the monasteries, &c. To do this it would have been necessary to make peace, for it was soon evident that war was incompatible with these reforms. He chose war, as did his Spanish rival and contemporary Olivares. War is expensive sport; but Richelieu maintained a lofty attitude towards finance, disdained figures, and abandoned all petty details to subordinate officials like D’Effiat or Bullion. He therefore soon reverted to the old and worse measures, including the debasement of coinage, and put an extreme tension on all the springs of the financial system. The land-tax was doubled and trebled by war, by the pensions of the nobles, by an extortion the profits of which Richelieu disdained neither for himself nor for his family; and just when the richer and more powerful classes had been freed from taxes, causing the wholesale oppression of the poorer, these few remaining were jointly and severally answerable. Perquisites, offices, forced loans were multiplied to such a point that a critic of the times, Guy Patin, facetiously declared that duties were to be exacted from the beggars basking in the sun. Richelieu went so far as to make poverty systematic and use famine as a means of government. This was the price paid for the national victories.

Thus he procured money at all costs, with an extremely crude fiscal judgment which ended by exasperating the people; hence numerous insurrections of the poverty-stricken; Dijon rose in revolt against the aides in 1630, Provence against the tax-officers (élus) in 1631, Paris and Lyons in 1632, and Bordeaux against the increase of customs in 1635. In 1636 the Croquants ravaged Limousin, Poitou, Angoumois, Gascony and Périgord; in 1639 it needed an army to subdue the Va-nu-pieds (bare-feet) in Normandy. Even the rentiers of the Hôtel-de-Ville, big and little, usually very peaceable folk, were excited by the curtailment of their incomes, and in 1639 and 1642 were roused to fury.

Every one had to bend before this harsh genius, who insisted on uniformity in obedience. After the feudal vassals, decimated by the wars of religion and the executioner’s hand, and after the recalcitrant taxpayers, the Protestants, Struggle with the Protestants. in their turn, and by their own fault, experienced this. While Richelieu was opposing the designs of the pope and of the Spaniards in the Valtellina, while he was arming the duke of Savoy and subsidizing Mansfeld in Germany, Henri, duc de Rohan, and his brother Benjamin de Rohan, duc de Soubise, the Protestant chiefs, took the initiative in a fresh revolt despite the majority of their party (1625). This Huguenot rising, in stirring up which Spanish diplomacy had its share, was a revolt of discontented and ambitious individuals who trusted for success to their compact organization and the ultimate assistance of England. Under pressure of this new danger and urged on by the Catholic dévôts, supported by the influence of Pope Urban VIII., Richelieu concluded with Spain the treaty of Monzon (March 5, 1626), by which the interests of his allies Venice, Savoy and the Grisons were sacrificed without their being consulted. The Catholic Valtellina, freed from the claims of the Protestant Grisons, became an independent state under the joint protection of France and Spain; the question of the right of passage was left open, to trouble France during the campaigns that followed; but the immediate gain, so far as Richelieu was concerned, was that his hands were freed to deal with the Huguenots.

Soubise had begun the revolt (January 1625) by seizing Port Blavet in Brittany, with the royal squadron that lay there, and in command of the ships thus acquired, combined with those of La Rochelle, he ranged the western coast, intercepting commerce. In September, however, Montmorency succeeded, with a fleet of English and Dutch ships manned by English seamen, in defeating Soubise, who took refuge in England. La Rochelle was now invested, the Huguenots were hard pressed also on land, and, but for the reluctance of the Dutch to allow their ships to be used for such a purpose, an end might have been made of the Protestant opposition in France; as it was, Richelieu was forced to accept the mediation of England and conclude a treaty with the Huguenots (February 1626).

He was far, however, from forgiving them for their attitude or being reconciled to their power. So long as they retained their compact organization in France he could undertake no successful action abroad, and the treaty was in effect no more than a truce that was badly observed. The oppression of the French Protestants was but one of the pretexts for the English expedition under James I.’s favourite, the duke of Buckingham, to La Rochelle in 1627; and, in the end, this intervention of a foreign power compromised their cause. When at last the citizens of the great Huguenot stronghold, caught between two dangers, chose what seemed to them the least and threw in their lot with the English, they definitely proclaimed their attitude as anti-national; and when, on the 29th of October 1628, after a heroic resistance, the city surrendered to the French king, Peace of Alais, 1629. this was hailed not as a victory for Catholicism only, but for France. The taking of La Rochelle was a crushing blow to the Huguenots, and the desperate alliance which Rohan, entrenched in the Cévennes, entered into with Philip IV. of Spain, could not prolong their resistance. The amnesty of Alais, prudent and moderate in religious matters, gave back to the Protestants their common rights within the body politic. Unfortunately what was an end for Richelieu was but a first step for the Catholic party.

The little Protestant group eliminated, Richelieu next wished to establish Catholic religious uniformity; for though in France the Catholic Church was the state church, unity did not exist in it. There were no fixed principles in the Richelieu and the Catholics. relations between king and church, hence incessant conflicts between Gallicans and Ultramontanes, in which Richelieu claimed to hold an even balance. Moreover, a Catholic movement for religious reform in the Church of France began during the 17th century, marked by the creation of seminaries, the foundation of new orthodox religious orders, and the organization of public relief by Saint Vincent de Paul. Jansenism was the most vigorous contemporary effort to renovate not only morals but Church doctrine (see Jansenism). But Richelieu had no love for innovators, and showed this very plainly to du Vergier de Hauranne, abbot of Saint Cyran, who was imprisoned at Vincennes for the good of Church and State. In affairs of intellect dragooning was equally the policy; and, as Corneille learnt to his cost, the French Academy was created in 1635 simply to secure in the republic of letters the same unity and conformity to rules that was enforced in the state.

Before Richelieu, there had been no effective monarchy and no institutions for controlling affairs; merely advisory institutions which collaborated somewhat vaguely in the administration of the kingdom. Had the king been Destruction of public spirit. willing these might have developed further; but Richelieu ruthlessly suppressed all such growth, and they remained embryonic. According to him, the king must decide in secret, and the king’s will must be law. No one might meddle in political affairs, neither parlements nor states-general; still less had the public any right to judge the actions of the government. Between 1631 and the edict of February 1641 Richelieu strove against the continually renewed opposition of the parlements to his system of special commissions and judgments; in 1641 he refused them any right of interference in state affairs; at most would he consent occasionally to take counsel with assemblies of notables. Provincial and municipal liberties were no better treated when through them the king’s subjects attempted to break loose from the iron ring of the royal commissaries and intendants. In Burgundy, Dijon saw her municipal liberties restricted in 1631; the provincial assembly of Dauphiné was suppressed from 1628 onward, and that of Languedoc in 1629; that of Provence was in 1639 replaced by communal assemblies, and that of Normandy was prorogued from 1639 to 1642. Not that Richelieu was hostile to them in principle; but he was obliged at all hazards to find money for the upkeep of the army, and the provincial states were a slow and heavy machine to put in motion. Through an excessive reaction against the disintegration that had menaced the kingdom after the dissolution of the League, he fell into the abuse of 837 over-centralization; and depriving the people of the habit of criticizing governmental action, he taught them a fatal acquiescence in uncontrolled and undisputed authority. Like one of those physical forces which tend to reduce everything to a dead level, he battered down alike characters and fortresses; and in his endeavours to abolish faction, he killed that public spirit which, formed in the 16th century, had already produced the République of Bodin, de Thou’s History of his Times, La Boetie’s Contre un, the Satire Ménippée, and Sully’s Économies royales.

In order to establish this absolute despotism Richelieu created no new instruments, but made use of a revolutionary institution Methods employed by Richelieu. of the 16th century, namely “intendants” (q.v.), agents who were forerunners of the commissaries of the Convention, gentlemen of the long robe of inferior condition, hated by every one, and for that reason the more trustworthy. He also drew most of the members of his special commissions from the grand council, a supreme administrative tribunal which owed all its influence to him.

However, having accomplished all these great things, the treasury was left empty and the reforms were but ill-established; for Richelieu’s policy increased poverty, neglected the toiling and suffering peasants, deserted the cause The results. of the workers in order to favour the privileged classes, and left idle and useless that bourgeoisie whose intellectual activity, spirit of discipline, and civil and political culture would have yielded solid support to a monarchy all the stronger for being limited. Richelieu completed the work of Francis I.; he endowed France with the fatal tradition of autocracy. This priest by education and by turn of mind was indifferent to material interests, which were secondary in his eyes; he could organize neither finance, nor justice, nor an army, nor the colonies, but at the most a system of police. His method was not to reform, but to crush. He was great chiefly in negotiation, the art par excellence of ecclesiastics. His work was entirely abroad; there it had more continuity, more future, perhaps because only in his foreign policy was he unhampered in his designs. He sacrificed everything to it; but he ennobled it by the genius and audacity of his conceptions, by the energetic tension of all the muscles of the body politic.

The Thirty Years’ War in fact dominated all Richelieu’s foreign policy; by it he made France and unmade Germany. It was the support of Germany which Philip II. had lacked in order to realize his Catholic empire; and the External policy of Richelieu. election of the archduke Ferdinand II. of Styria as emperor gave that support to his Spanish cousins (1619). Thenceforward all the forces of the Habsburg monarchy would be united, provided that communication could be maintained in the north with the Netherlands and in the south with the duchy of Milan, so that there should be no flaw in the iron vice which locked France in on either side. It was therefore Of the highest importance to France that she should dominate the valleys of the Alps and Rhine. As soon as Richelieu became minister in 1624 there was an end to cordial relations with Spain. He resumed the policy of Henry IV., confining his military operations to the region of the Alps, and contenting himself at first with opposing the coalition of the Habsburgs with a coalition of Venice, the Turks, Bethlen Gabor, king of Hungary, and the Protestants of Germany and Denmark. But the revolts of the French Protestants, the resentment of the nobles at his dictatorial power, and the perpetual ferment of intrigues and treason in the court, obliged him almost immediately to draw back. During these eight years, however, Richelieu had pressed on matters as fast as possible.

While James I. of England was trying to get a general on the cheap in Denmark to defend his son-in-law, the elector palatine, Richelieu was bargaining with the Spaniards in the treaty of Monzon (March 1626); but as the strained Temporizing policy, except in Italy, 1624-1630. relations between France and England forced him to conciliate Spain still further by the treaty of April 1627, the Spaniards profited by this to carry on an intrigue with Rohan, and in concert with the duke of Savoy, to occupy Montferrat when the death of Vicenzo II. (December 26, 1627) left the succession of Mantua, under the will of the late duke, to Charles Gonzaga, duke of Nevers, a Frenchman by education and sympathy. But the taking of La Rochelle allowed Louis to force the pass of Susa, to induce the duke of Savoy to treat with him, and to isolate the Spaniards in Italy by a great Italian league between Genoa, Venice and the dukes of Savoy and Mantua (April 1629). Unlike the Valois, Richelieu only desired to free Italy from Spain in order to restore her independence.

The fact that the French Protestants in the Cévennes were again in arms enabled the Habsburgs and the Spaniards to make a fresh attack upon the Alpine passes; but after the peace of Alais Richelieu placed himself at the head of forty thousand men, and stirred up enemies everywhere against the emperor, victorious now over the king of Denmark as in 1621 over the elector palatine. He united Sweden, now reconciled with Poland, and the Catholic and Protestant electors, disquieted by the edict of Restitution and the omnipotence of Wallenstein; and he aroused the United Provinces. But the disaffection of the court and the more extreme Catholics made it impossible for him as yet to enter upon a struggle against both Austria and Spain; he was only able to regulate the affairs of Italy with much prudence. The intervention of Mazarin, despatched by the pope, who saw no other means of detaching Italy from Spain than by introducing France into the affair, brought about the signature of the armistice of Rivalte on the 4th of September 1630, soon developed into the peace of Cherasco, which re-established the agreement with the still fugitive duke of Savoy (June 1631). Under the harsh tyranny of Spain, Italy was now nothing but a lifeless corpse; young vigorous Germany was better worth saving. So Richelieu’s envoys, Brulart de Léon and Father Joseph, disarmed32 the emperor at the diet of Regensburg, while at the same time Louis XIII. kept Casale and Pinerolo, the gates of the Alps. Lastly, by the treaty of Fontainebleau (May 30th, 1631), Maximilian of Bavaria, the head of the Catholic League, engaged to defend the king of France against all his enemies, even Spain, with the exception of the emperor. Thus by the hand of Richelieu a union against Austrian imperialism was effected between the Bavarian Catholics and the Protestants who dominated in central and northern Germany.

Twice had Richelieu, by means of the purse and not by force of arms, succeeded in reopening the passes of the Alps and of the Rhine. The kingdom at peace and the Huguenot party ruined, he was now able to engage upon his Richelieu and Gustavus Adolphus. policy of prudent acquisitions and apparently disinterested alliances. But Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, called in by Richelieu and Venice to take the place of the played-out king of Denmark, brought danger to all parties. He would not be content merely to serve French interests in Germany, according to the terms of the secret treaty of Bärwalde (June 1631); but, once master of Germany and the rich valley of the Rhine, considered chiefly the interests of Protestantism and Sweden. Neither the prayers nor the threats of Richelieu, who wished indeed to destroy Spain but not Catholicism, nor the death of Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen (1632), could repair the evils caused by this immoderate ambition. A violent Catholic reaction against the Protestants ensued; and the union of Spain and the Empire was consolidated just when that of the Protestants was dissolved at Nördlingen, despite the efforts of Oxenstierna (September 1634). Moreover, Wallenstein, who had been urged by Richelieu to set up an independent kingdom in Bohemia, had been killed on the 23rd of February 1634. In the course of a year Württemberg and Franconia were reconquered from the Swedes; and the duke of Lorraine, who had taken the side of the Empire, called in the Spanish and the imperial forces to open the road to the Netherlands through Franche-Comté.

His allies no longer able to stand alone, Richelieu was obliged to intervene directly (May 19th, 1635). By the treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye he purchased the army of Bernard of Saxe-Weimar; 838 by that of Rivoli he united against Spain the dukes The French Thirty Years’ War. of Modena, Parma and Mantua; he signed an open alliance with the league of Heilbronn, the United Provinces and Sweden; and after these alliances military operations began, Marshal de la Force occupying the duchy of Lorraine. Richelieu attempted to operate simultaneously in the Netherlands by joining hands with the Dutch, and on the Rhine by uniting with the Swedes; but the bad organization of the French armies, the double invasion of the Spaniards as far as Corbie and the imperial forces as far as the gates of Saint-Jean-de-Losne (1636), and the death of his allies, the dukes of Hesse-Cassel, Savoy and Mantua at first frustrated his efforts. A decided success was, however, achieved between 1638 and 1640, thanks to Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and afterwards to Guébriant, and to the parallel action of the Swedish generals, Banér, Wrangel and Torstensson. Richelieu obtained Alsace, Breisach and the forest-towns on the Rhine; while in the north, thanks to the Dutch and owing to the conquest of Artois, marshals de la Meilleraye, de Châtillon and de Brézé forced the barrier of the Netherlands. Turin, the capital of Piedmont, was taken by Henri de Lorraine, comte d’Harcourt; the alliance with rebellious Portugal facilitated the occupation of Roussillon and almost the whole of Catalonia, and Spain was reduced to defending herself; while the embarrassments of the Habsburgs at Madrid made those of Vienna more tractable. The diet of Regensburg, under the mediation of Maximilian of Bavaria, decided in favour of peace with France, and on the 25th of December 1641 the preliminary settlement at Hamburg fixed the opening of negotiations to take place at Münster and Osnabrück. Richelieu’s death (December 4, 1642) prevented him from seeing the triumph of his policy, but it can be judged by its results; in 1624 the kingdom had in the east only the frontier of the Meuse to defend it from invasion; in 1642 the whole of Alsace, except Strassburg, was occupied and the Rhine guarded by the army of Guébriant. Six months later, on the 14th of May 1643, Louis XIII. rejoined his minister in his true kingdom, the land of shades.

But thanks to Mazarin, who completed his work, France gathered in the harvest sown by Richelieu. At the outset no one believed that the new cardinal would have any success. Every one expected from Anne of Austria Mazarin, 1643-1661. a change in the government which appeared to be justified by the persecutions of Richelieu and the disdainful unscrupulousness of Louis XIII. On the 16th of May the queen took the little four-year-old Louis XIV. to the parlement of Paris which, proud of playing a part in politics, hastened, contrary to Louis XIII.’s last will, to acknowledge the command of the little king, and to give his mother “free, absolute and entire authority.” The great nobles were already looking upon themselves as established in power, when they learnt with amazement that the regent had appointed as her chief adviser, not Gaston of Orleans, but Mazarin. The political revenge which in their eyes was owing to them as a body, the queen claimed for herself alone, and she made it a romantic one. This Spaniard of waning charms, who had been neglected by her husband and insulted by Richelieu, now gave her indolent and full-blown person, together with absolute power, into the hands of the Sicilian. Whilst others were triumphing openly, Mazarin, in the shadow and silence of the interregnum, had kept watch upon the heart of the queen; and when the old party of Marie de’ Medici and Anne of Austria wished to come back into power, to impose a general peace, and to substitute for the Protestant alliances an understanding with Spain, the arrest of François de Vendôme, duke of Beaufort, and the exile of other important nobles proved to the great families that their hour had gone by (September 1643).

Mazarin justified Richelieu’s confidence and the favour of Anne of Austria. It was upon his foreign policy that he relied to maintain his authority within the kingdom. Thanks to him, the duke of Enghien (Louis de Bourbon, afterwards prince of Treaties of Westphalia. Condé), appointed commander-in-chief at the age of twenty-two, caused the downfall of the renowned Spanish infantry at Rocroi; and he discovered Turenne, whose prudence tempered Condé’s overbold ideas. It was he too who by renewing the traditional alliances and resuming against Bavaria, Ferdinand III.’s most powerful ally, the plan of common action with Sweden which Richelieu had sketched out, pursued it year after year: in 1644 at Freiburg im Breisgau, despite the death of Guébriant at Rottweil; in 1645 at Nördlingen, despite the defeat of Marienthal; and in 1646 in Bavaria, despite the rebellion of the Weimar cavalry; to see it finally triumph at Zusmarshausen in May 1648. With Turenne dominating the Eiser and the Inn, Condé victorious at Lens, and the Swedes before the gates of Prague, the emperor, left without a single ally, finally authorized his plenipotentiaries to sign on the 24th of October 1648 the peace about which negotiations had been going on for seven years. Mazarin had stood his ground notwithstanding the treachery of the duke of Bavaria, the defection of the United Provinces, the resistance of the Germans, and the general confusion which was already pervading the internal affairs of the kingdom.

The dream of the Habsburgs was shattered. They had wished to set up a centralized empire, Catholic and German; but the treaties of Westphalia kept Germany in its passive and fragmentary condition; while the Catholic and Protestant princes obtained formal recognition of their territorial independence and their religious equality. Thus disappeared the two principles which justified the Empire’s existence; the universal sovereignty to which it laid claim was limited simply to a German monarchy much crippled in its powers; and the enfranchisement of the Lutherans and Calvinists from papal jurisdiction cut the last tie which bound the Empire to Rome. The victors’ material benefits were no less substantial: the congress of Münster ratified the final cession of the Three Bishoprics and the conquest of Alsace, and Breisach and Philippsburg completed these acquisitions. The Spaniards had no longer any hope of adding Luxemburg to their Franche-Comté; while the Holy Roman Empire in Germany, taken in the rear by Sweden (now mistress of the Baltic and the North Sea), cut off for good from the United Provinces and the Swiss cantons, and enfeebled by the recognized right of intervention in German affairs on the part of Sweden and France, was now nothing but a meaningless name.

Mazarin had not been so fortunate in Italy, where in 1642 the Spanish remained masters. Venice, the duchy of Milan and the duke of Modena were on his side; the pope and the grand-duke of Tuscany were trembling, but the romantic expedition of the duke of Guise to Naples, and the outbreak of the Fronde, saved Spain, who had refused to take part in the treaties of Westphalia and whose ruin Mazarin wished to compass.

It was, however, easier for Mazarin to remodel the map of Europe than to govern France. There he found himself face to face with all the difficulties that Richelieu had neglected to solve, and that were now once more giving trouble. State of the kingdom. The Lit de Justice of the 18th of May 1643 had proved authority to remain still so personal an affair that the person of the king, insignificant though that was, continued to be regarded as its absolute depositary. Thus regular obedience to an abstract principle was under Mazarin as incomprehensible to the idle and selfish nobility as it had been under Richelieu. The parlement still kept up the same extra-judicial pretensions; but beyond its judicial functions it acted merely as a kind of town-crier to the monarchy, charged with making known the king’s edicts. Yet through its right of remonstrance it was the only body that could legally and publicly intervene in politics; a large and independent body, moreover, which had its own demands to make upon the monarchy and its ministers. Richelieu, by setting his special agents above the legal but complicated machinery of financial administration, had so corrupted it as to necessitate radical reform; all the more so because financial charges had been increased to a point far beyond what the nation could bear. With four armies to keep up, the insurrection in Portugal to maintain, and pensions to serve the needs of the allies, the burden had become a crushing one.


Richelieu had been able to surmount these difficulties because he governed in the name of a king of full age, and against isolated adversaries; while Mazarin had the latter against him in a coalition which had lasted ten years, with Richelieu and Mazarin. the further disadvantages of his foreign origin and a royal minority at a time when every one was sick of government by ministers. He was the very opposite of Richelieu, as wheedling in his ways as the other had been haughty and scornful, as devoid of vanity and rancour as Richelieu had been full of jealous care for his authority; he was gentle where the other had been passionate and irritable, with an intelligence as great and more supple, and a far more grasping nature.

It was the fiscal question that arrayed against Mazarin a coalition of all petty interests and frustrated ambitions; this was always the Achilles’ heel of the French monarchy, which in 1648 was at the last extremity for money. Financial difficulties. All imposts were forestalled, and every expedient for obtaining either direct or indirect taxes had been exhausted by the methods of the financiers. As the country districts could yield nothing more, it became necessary to demand money from the Parisians and from the citizens of the various towns, and to search out and furbish up old disused edicts—edicts as to measures and scales of prices—at the very moment when the luxury and corruption of the parvenus was insulting the poverty and suffering of the people, and exasperating all those officials who took their functions seriously.

A storm burst forth in the parlement against Mazarin as the patron of these expedients, the occasion for this being the edict of redemption by which the government renewed for nine years the “Paulette” which had now expired, Rebellion of the parlement. by withholding four years’ salary from all officers of the Great Council, of the Chambres des comptes, and of the Cour des aides. The parlement, although expressly exempted, associated itself with their protest by the decree of union of May 13, 1648, and deliberations in a body upon the reform of the state. Despite the queen’s express prohibition, the insurrectionary assembly of the Chambre Saint Louis criticized the whole financial system, founded as it was upon usury, claimed the right of voting taxes, respect for individual liberty, and the suppression of the intendants, who were a menace to the new bureaucratic feudalism. The queen, haughty and exasperated though she was, yielded for the time being, because the invasion of the Spaniards in the north, the arrest of Charles I. of England, and the insurrection of Masaniello at Naples made the moment a critical one for monarchies; but immediately after the victory at Lens she attempted a coup d’état, arresting the leaders, and among them Broussel, a popular member of the parlement (August 26, 1648). Paris at once rose in revolt—a Paris of swarming and unpoliced streets, that had been making French history ever since the reign of Henry IV., and that had not forgotten the barricades of the League. Once more a pretence of yielding had to be made, until Condé’s arrival enabled the court to take refuge at Saint-Germain (January 15, 1649).

Civil war now began against the rebellious coalition of great The Fronde (1648-1652). nobles, lawyers of the parlement, populace, and mercenaries just set free from the Thirty Years’ War. It lasted four years, for motives often as futile as the Grande Mademoiselle’s ambition to wed little Louis XIV., Cardinal de Retz’s red hat, or Madame de Longueville’s stool at the queen’s side; it was, as its name of Fronde indicates, a hateful farce, played by grown-up children, in several acts.

Its first and shortest phase was the Fronde of the Parlement. At a period when all the world was a little mad, the parlement had imagined a loyalist revolt, and, though it raised an armed protest, this was not against the king but The Fronde of the Parlement. against Mazarin and the persons to whom he had delegated power. But the parlement soon became disgusted with its allies—the princes and nobles, who had only drawn their swords in order to beg more effectively with arms in their hands; and the Parisian mob, whose fanaticism had been aroused by Paul de Gondi, a warlike ecclesiastic, a Catiline in a cassock, who preached the gospel at the dagger’s point. When a suggestion was made to the parlement to receive an envoy from Spain, the members had no hesitation in making terms with the court by the peace of Rueil (March 11, 1649), which ended the first Fronde.

As an entr’acte, from April 1649 to January 1650, came the affair of the Petits Maîtres: Condé, proud and violent; Gaston of Orleans, pliable and contemptible; Conti, the simpleton; and Longueville, the betrayed husband. The Fronde of the Princes. The victor of Lens and Charenton imagined that every one was under an obligation to him, and laid claim to a dictatorship so insupportable that Anne of Austria and Mazarin—assured by Gondi of the concurrence of the parlement and people—had him arrested. To defend Condé the great conspiracy of women was formed: Madame de Chevreuse, the subtle and impassioned princess palatine, and the princess of Condé vainly attempted to arouse Normandy, Burgundy and the mob of Bordeaux; while Turenne, bewitched by Madame de Longueville, allowed himself to become involved with Spain and was defeated at Rethel (December 15, 1650). Unfortunately, after his custom when victor, Mazarin forgot his promises—above all, Gondi’s cardinal’s hat. A union was effected between the two Frondes, that of the Petits Maîtres and that of the parlements, and Mazarin was obliged to flee for safety to the electorate of Cologne (February 1651), whence he continued to govern the queen and the kingdom by means of secret letters. But the heads of the two Frondes—Condé, now set free from prison at Havre, and Gondi who detested him—were not long in quarrelling fatally. Owing to Mazarin’s exile and to the king’s attainment of his majority (September 5, 1651) quiet was being restored, when the return of Mazarin, jealous of Anne of Austria, nearly brought about another reconciliation of all his opponents (January 1652). Condé resumed civil war with the support of Spain, because he was not given Mazarin’s place; but though he defeated the royal army at Bléneau, he was surprised at Étampes, and nearly crushed by Turenne at the gate of Saint-Antoine. Saved, however, by the Grande Mademoiselle, daughter of Gaston of Orleans, he lost Paris by the disaster of the Hôtel de Ville (July 4, 1652), where he had installed an insurrectionary government. A general weariness of civil war gave plenty of opportunity after this to the agents of Mazarin, who in order to facilitate peace made a pretence of exiling himself for a second time to Bouillon. Then came the final collapse: Condé having taken refuge in Spain for seven years, Gaston of Orleans being in exile, Retz in prison, and the parlement reduced to its judiciary functions only, the field was left open for Mazarin, who, four months after the king, re-entered in triumph that Paris which had driven him forth with jeers and mockery (February 1653).

The task was now to repair these four years of madness and folly. The nobles who had hoped to set up the League again, half counting upon the king of Spain, were held in check by Mazarin with the golden dowries of his The administration of Mazarin. numerous nieces, and were now employed by him in warfare and in decorative court functions; while others, De Retz and La Rochefoucauld, sought consolation in their Memoirs or their Maxims, one for his mortifications and the other for his rancour as a statesman out of employment. The parlement, which had confused political power with judiciary administration, was given to understand, in the session of April 13, 1655, at Vincennes, that the era of political manifestations was over; and the money expended by Gourville, Mazarin’s agent, restored the members of the parlement to docility. The power of the state was confided to middle-class men, faithful servants during the evil days: Abel Servien, Michel le Tellier, Hugues de Lionne. Like Henry IV. after the League, Mazarin, after having conquered the Fronde, had to buy back bit by bit the kingdom he had lost, and, like Richelieu, he spread out a network of agents, thenceforward regular and permanent, who assured him of that security without which he could never have carried on his vast plunderings in peace and quiet. His imitator and superintendent, Fouquet, the Maecenas of the future Augustus, concealed this gambling policy beneath the lustre of the arts and the glamour of a literature remarkable for 840 elevation of thought and vigour of style, and further characterized by the proud though somewhat restricted freedom conceded to men like Corneille, Descartes and Pascal, but soon to disappear.

It was also necessary to win back from Spain the territory which the Frondeurs had delivered up to her. Both countries, exhausted by twenty years of war, were incapable of bringing it to a successful termination, yet neither War with Spain. would be first to give in; Mazarin, therefore, disquieted by Condé’s victory at Valenciennes (1656), reknit the bond of Protestant alliances, and, having nothing to expect from Holland, he deprived Spain of her alliance with Oliver Cromwell (March 23, 1657). A victory in the Dunes by Turenne, now reinstalled in honour, and above all the conquest of the Flemish seaboard, were the results (June 1658); but when, in order to prevent the emperor’s intervention in the Netherlands, Mazarin attempted, on the death of Ferdinand III., to wrest the Empire from the Habsburgs, he was foiled by the gold of the Spanish envoy Peñaranda (1657). When the abdication of Christina of Sweden caused a quarrel between Charles Gustavus of Sweden and John Casimir of Poland, by which the emperor and the elector of Brandenburg hoped to profit, Mazarin (August 15, 1658) leagued the Rhine princes against them; while at the same time the substitution of Pope Alexander VII. for Innocent X., and the marriage of Mazarin’s two nieces with the duke of Modena and a prince of the house of Savoy, made Spain anxious about her Italian possessions. The suggestion of a marriage between Louis XIV. and a princess of Savoy Peace of the Pyrenees. decided Spain, now brought to bay, to accord him the hand of Maria Theresa as a chief condition of the peace of the Pyrenees (November 1659). Roussillon and Artois, with a line of strongholds constituting a formidable northern frontier, were ceded to France; and the acquisition of Alsace and Lorraine under certain conditions was ratified. Thus from this long duel between the two countries Spain issued much enfeebled, while France obtained the preponderance in Italy, Germany, and throughout northern Europe, as is proved by Mazarin’s successful arbitration at Copenhagen and at Oliva (May-June 1660). That dream of Henry IV. and Richelieu, the ruin of Philip II.’s Catholic empire, was made a realized fact by Mazarin; but the clever engineer, dazzled by success, took the wrong road in national policy when he hoped to crown his work by the Spanish marriage.

The development of events had gradually enlarged the royal prerogative, and it now came to its full flower in the administrative monarchy of the 17th century. Of this system Louis XIV. was to be the chief exponent. His Louis XIV. (1661-1715). reign may be divided into two very distinct periods. The death of Colbert and the revocation of the edict of Nantes brought the first to a close (1661-1683-1685); coinciding with the date when the Revolution in England definitely reversed the traditional system of alliances, and when the administration began to disorganize. In the second period (1685-1715) all the germs of decadence were developed until the moment of final dissolution.

In a monarchy so essentially personal the preparation of the heir to the throne for his position should have been the chief task. Anne of Austria, a devoted but unintelligent mother, knew no method of dealing with her son, Education of Louis XIV. save devotion combined with the rod. His first preceptors were nothing but courtiers; and the most intelligent, his valet Laporte, developed in the royal child’s mind his natural instinct of command, a very lively sense of his rank, and that nobly majestic air of master of the world which he preserved even in the commonest actions of his life. The continual agitations of the Fronde prevented him from persevering in any consistent application during those years which are the most valuable for study, and only instilled in him a horror of revolution, parliamentary remonstrance, and disorder of all kinds; so that this recollection determined the direction of his government. Mazarin, in his later years, at last taught him his trade as king by admitting him to the council, and by instructing him in the details of politics and of administration. In 1661 Louis XIV. was a handsome youth of twenty-two, of splendid health and gentle serious mien; eager for pleasure, but discreet and even dissimulating; his rather mediocre intellectual qualities relieved by solid common sense; fully alive to his rights and his duties.

The duties he conscientiously fulfilled, but he considered he need render no account of them to any one but his Maker, the last humiliation for God’s vicegerent being “to take the law from his people.” In the solemn language of His political ideas. the “Memoirs for the Instruction of the Dauphin” he did but affirm the arbitrary and capricious character of his predecessors’ action. As for his rights, Louis XIV. looked upon these as plenary and unlimited. Representative of God upon earth, heir to the sovereignty of the Roman emperors, a universal suzerain and master over the goods and the lives of his vassals, he could conceive no other bounds to his authority than his own interests or his obligations towards God, and in this he was a willing believer of Bossuet. He therefore had but two aims: to increase his power at home and to enlarge his kingdom abroad. The army and taxation were the chief instruments of his policy. Had not Bodin, Hobbes and Bossuet taught that the force which gives birth to kingdoms serves best also to feed and sustain them? His theory of the state, despite Grotius and Jurieu, rejected as odious and even impious the notion of any popular rights, anterior and superior to his own. A realist in principle, Louis XIV. was terribly utilitarian and egotistical in practice; and he exacted from his subjects an absolute, continual and obligatory self-abnegation before his public authority, even when improperly exercised.

This deified monarch needed a new temple, and Versailles, where everything was his creation, both men and things, adored its maker. The highest nobility of France, beginning with the princes of the blood, competed for posts The forms of Louis XIV.’s monarchy. in the royal household, where an army of ten thousand soldiers, four thousand servants, and five thousand horses played its costly and luxurious part in the ordered and almost religious pageant of the king’s existence. The “anciennes cohues de France,” gay, familiar and military, gave place to a stilted court life, a perpetual adoration, a very ceremonious and very complicated ritual, in which the demigod “pontificated” even “in his dressing-gown.” To pay court to himself was the first and only duty in the eyes of a proud and haughty prince who saw and noted everything, especially any one’s absence. Versailles, where the delicate refinements of Italy and the grave politeness of Spain were fused and mingled with French vivacity, became the centre of national life and a model for foreign royalties; hence if Versailles has played a considerable part in the history of civilization, it also seriously modified the life of France. Etiquette and self-seeking became the chief rules of a courtier’s life, and this explains the division of the nobility into two sections: the provincial squires, embittered by neglect; and the courtiers, who were ruined materially and intellectually by their way of living. Versailles sterilized all the idle upper classes, exploited the industrious classes by its extravagance, and more and more broke relations between king and kingdom.

But however divine, the king could not wield his power unaided. Louis XIV. called to his assistance a hierarchy of humbly submissive functionaries, and councils over which he regularly presided. Holding the very name Louis XIV.’s ministers. of roi fainéant in abhorrence, he abolished the office of mayor of the palace—that is to say, the prime minister—thus imposing upon himself work which he always regularly performed. In choosing his collaborators his principle was never to select nobles or ecclesiastics, but persons of inferior birth. Neither the immense fortunes amassed by these men, nor the venality and robust vitality which made their families veritable races of ministers, altered the fact that De Lionne, Le Tellier, Louvois and Colbert were in themselves of no account, even though the parts they played were much more important than Louis XIV. imagined. This was the age of plebeians, to the great indignation of the duke and peer Saint Simon. Mere 841 reflected lights, these satellites professed to share their master’s Royal despotism. honor of all individual and collective rights of such a nature as to impose any check upon his public authority. Louis XIV. detested the states-general and never convoked them, and the parlements were definitely reduced to silence in 1673; he completed the destruction of municipal liberties, under pretext of bad financial administration; suffered no public, still less private criticism; was ruthless when his exasperated subjects had recourse to force; and made the police the chief bulwark of his government. Prayers and resignation were the only solace left for the hardships endured by his subjects. All the ties of caste, class, corporation and family were severed; the jealous despotism of Louis XIV. destroyed every opportunity of taking common action; he isolated every man in private life, in individual interests, just as he isolated himself more and more from the body social. Freedom he tolerated for himself alone.

His passion for absolutism made him consider himself master of souls as well as bodies, and Bossuet did nothing to contravene an opinion which was, indeed, common to every sovereign of his day. Louis XIV., like Philip II., Louis XIV. and the Church. pretending to not only political but religious authority, would not allow the pope to share it, still less would he abide any religious dissent; and this gave rise to many conflicts, especially with the pope, at that time a temporal sovereign both at Rome and at Avignon, and as the head of Christendom bound to interfere in the affairs of France. Louis XIV.’s pride caused the first struggle, which turned exclusively upon questions of form, as in the affair of the Corsican Guard in 1662. The question of the right of regale (right of the Crown to the revenues of vacant abbeys and bishoprics), which touched the essential rights of sovereignty, further inflamed the hostility between Innocent XI. and Louis XIV. Conformably with the traditions of the administrative monarchy in 1673, the king wanted to extend to the new additions to the kingdom his rights of receiving the revenues of vacant bishoprics and making appointments to their benefices, including taking oaths of fidelity from the new incumbents. A protest raised by the bishops of Pamiers and Aleth, followed by the seizure of their revenues, provoked the intervention of Innocent XI. in 1678; but the king was supported by the general assembly of the clergy, which declared that, with certain exceptions, the regale extended over the whole kingdom (1681). The pope ignored the decisions of the assembly; so, dropping the regale, the king demanded that, to obviate further conflict, the assembly should define the limits of the authority due respectively to the king, the Church and the pope. This was the object of the Declaration of the Four Declaration of the Four Articles. Articles: the pope has no power in temporal matters; general councils are superior to the pope in spiritual affairs; the rules of the Church of France are inviolable; decisions of the pope in matters of faith are only irrevocable by consent of the Church. The French laity transferred to the king this quasi-divine authority, which became the political theory of the ancien régime; and since the pope refused to submit, or to institute the new bishops, the Sorbonne was obliged to interfere. The affair of the “diplomatic prerogatives,” when Louis XIV. was decidedly in the wrong, made relations even more strained (1687), and the idea of a schism was mooted with greater insistence than in 1681. The death of Innocent XI. in 1689 allowed Louis XIV. to engage upon negotiations rendered imperative by his check in the affair of the Cologne bishopric, where his candidate was ousted by the pope’s. In 1693, under the pontificate of Innocent XII., he went, like so many others, to Canossa.

Recipient now of immense ecclesiastical revenues, which, owing to the number of vacant benefices, constituted a powerful engine of government, Louis XIV. had immense power over the French Church. Religion began to be identified with the state; and the king combated heresy and dissent, not only as a religious duty, but as a matter of political expediency, unity of faith being obviously conducive to unity of law.

Richelieu having deprived the Protestants of all political guarantees for their liberty of conscience, an anti-Protestant party (directed by a cabal of religious devotees, the Compagnie du Saint Sacrement) determined to suppress it completely by Louis XIV. and the Protestants. conversions and by a jesuitical interpretation of the terms of the edict of Nantes. Louis XIV. made this impolitic policy his own. His passion for absolutism, a religious zeal that was the more active because it had to compensate for many affronts to public and private morals, the financial necessity of augmenting the free donations of the clergy, and the political necessity of relying upon that body in his conflicts with the pope, led the king between 1661 and 1685 to embark upon a double campaign of arbitrary proceedings with the object of nullifying the edict, conversions being procured either by force or by bribery. The promulgation and application of systematic measures from above had a response from below, from the corporation, the urban workshop, and the village street, which supported ecclesiastical and royal authority in its suppression of heresy, and frequently even went further: individual and local fanaticism co-operating with the head of the state, the intendants, and the military and judiciary authorities. Protestants were successively removed from the states-general, the consulates, the town councils, and even from the humblest municipal offices; they were deprived of the charge of their hospitals, their academies, their colleges and their schools, and were left to ignorance and poverty; while the intolerance of the clergy united with chicanery of procedure to invade their places of worship, insult their adherents, and put a stop to the practice of their ritual. Pellisson’s methods of conversion, Suppression of the edict of Nantes (1685). considered too slow, were accelerated by the violent persecution of Louvois and by the king’s galleys, until the day came when Louis XIV., deceived by the clergy, crowned his record of complaisant legal methods by revoking the edict of Nantes. This was the signal for a Huguenot renaissance, and the Camisards of the Cévennes held the royal armies in check from 1703 to 1711. Notwithstanding this, however, Louis XIV. succeeded only too well, since Protestantism was reduced both numerically and intellectually. He never perceived how its loss threw France back a full century, to the great profit of foreign nations; while neither did the Church perceive that she had been firing on her own troops.

The same order of ideas produced the persecution of the Jansenists, as much a political as a religious sect. Founded by a bishop of Ypres on the doctrine of predestination, and growing by persecution, it had speedily recruited Louis XIV. and the Jansenists. adherents among the disillusioned followers of the Fronde, the Gallican clergy, the higher nobility, even at court, and more important still, among learned men and thinkers, such as the great Arnauld, Pascal and Racine. Pure and austere, it enjoined the strictest morals in the midst of corruption, and the most dignified self-respect in face of idolatrous servility. Amid general silence it was a formidable and much dreaded body of opinion; and in order to stifle it Louis XIV., the tool of his confessor, the Jesuit Le Tellier, made use of his usual means. The nuns of Port Royal were in their turn subjected to persecution, which, after a truce between 1666 and 1679, became aggravated by the affair of the regale, the bishops of Aleth and Pamiers being Jansenists. Port Royal was destroyed, the nuns dispersed, and the ashes of the dead scattered to the four winds. The bull Unigenitus launched by Pope Clement XI. in 1713 against a Jansenist book by Father Quesnel rekindled a quarrel, the end of which Louis XIV. did not live to see, and which raged throughout the 18th century.

Bossuet, Louis XIV.’s mouthpiece, triumphed in his turn over the quietism of Madame Guyon, a mystic who recognized neither definite dogmas nor formal prayers, but abandoned herself “to the torrent of the forces of Louis XIV. and the Libertins. God.” Fénelon, who in his Maximes des Saints had given his adherence to her doctrine, was obliged to submit in 1699; but Bossuet could not make the spirit of authority prevail against the religious criticism of a Richard Simon or the philosophical polemics of a Bayle. He might exile their persons; but their doctrines, supported by the 842 scientific and philosophic work of Newton and Leibnitz, were to triumph over Church and religion in the 18th century.

The chaos of the administrative system caused difficulties no less great than those produced by opinions and creeds. Traditional rights, differences of language, provincial autonomy, ecclesiastical assemblies, parlements, governors, intendants—vestiges of the past, or promises for the future—all jostled against and thwarted each other. The central authority had not yet acquired a vigorous constitution, nor destroyed all the intermediary authorities. Colbert now offered his aid in making Louis XIV. the sole pivot of public life, as he had already become the source of religious authority, thanks to the Jesuits and to Bossuet.

Colbert, an agent of Le Tellier, the honest steward of Mazarin’s dishonest fortunes, had a future opened to him by the fall of Fouquet (1661). Harsh and rough, he compelled admiration for his delight in work, his Colbert. aptitude in disentangling affairs, his desire of continually augmenting the wealth of the state, and his regard for the public welfare without forgetting his own. Born in a draper’s shop, this great administrator always preserved its narrow horizon, its short-sighted imagination, its taste for detail, and the conceit of the parvenu; while with his insinuating ways, and knowing better than Fouquet how to keep his distance, he made himself indispensable by his savoir-faire and his readiness for every emergency. He gradually got everything into his control: finance, industry, commerce, the fine arts, the navy and colonies, the administration, even the fortifications, and—through his uncle Pussort—the law, with all the profits attaching to its offices.

His first care was to restore the exhausted resources of the country and to re-establish order in finance. He began by measures of liquidation: the Chambre ardente of 1661 to 1665 to deal with the farmers of the revenue, Colbert and finance. the condemnation of Fouquet, and a revision of the funds. Next, like a good man of business, Colbert determined that the state accounts should be kept as accurately as those of a shop; but though in this respect a great minister, he was less so in his manner of levying contributions. He kept to the old system of revenues from the demesne and from imposts that were reactionary in their effect, such as the taille, aids, salt-tax (gabelle) and customs; only he managed them better. His forest laws have remained a model. He demanded less of the taille, a direct impost, and more from indirect aids, of which he created the code—not, however, out of sympathy for the common people, towards whom he was very harsh, but because these aids covered a greater area and brought in larger returns. He tried to import more method into the very unequal distribution of taxation, less brutality in collection, less confusion in the fiscal machine, and more uniformity in the matter of rights; while he diminished the debts of the much-involved towns by putting them through the bankruptcy court. With revolutionary intentions as to reform, this only ended, after several years of normal budgets, in ultimate frustration. He could never make the rights over the drink traffic uniform and equal, nor restrict privileges in the matter of the taille; while he was soon much embarrassed, not only by the coalition of particular interests and local immunities, which made despotism acceptable by tempering it, but also by Louis XIV.’s two master-passions for conquest and for building. To his great chagrin he was obliged to begin borrowing again in 1672, and to have recourse to “affaires extraordinaires”; and this brought him at last to his grave.

Order was for Colbert the prime condition of work. He desired all France to set to work as he did “with a contented air and rubbing his hands for joy”; but neither general theories nor individual happiness preoccupied Colbert and industry. his attention. He made economy truly political: that is to say, the prosperity of industry and commerce afforded him no other interest than that of making the country wealthy and the state powerful. Louis XIV.’s aspirations towards glory chimed in very well with the extremely positive views of his minister; but here too Colbert was an innovator and an unsuccessful one. He wanted to give 17th-century France the modern and industrial character which the New World had imprinted on the maritime states; and he created industry on a grand scale with an energy of labour, a prodigious genius for initiative and for organization; while, in order to attract a foreign clientèle, he imposed upon it the habits of meticulous probity common to a middle-class draper. But he maintained the legislation of the Valois, who placed industry in a state of strict dependency on finance, and he instituted a servitude of labour harder even than that of individuals; his great factories of soap, glass, lace, carpets and cloth had the same artificial life as that of contemporary Russian industry, created and nourished by the state. It was therefore necessary, in order to compensate for the fatal influence of servitude, that administrative protection should be lavished without end upon the royal manufactures; moreover, in the course of its development, industry on a grand scale encroached in many ways upon the resources of smaller industries. After Colbert’s day, when the crutches lent by privilege were removed, his achievements lost vigour; industries that ministered to luxury alone escaped decay; the others became exhausted in struggling against the persistent and teasing opposition of the municipal bodies and the bourgeoisie—conceited, ignorant and terrified at any innovation—and against the blind and intolerant policy of Louis XIV.

Colbert, in common with all his century, believed that the true secret of commerce and the indisputable proof of a country’s prosperity was to sell as many of the products of national industry to the foreigner as possible, while Colbert and commerce. purchasing as little as possible. In order to do this, he sometimes figured as a free-trader and sometimes as a protectionist, but always in a practical sense; if he imposed prohibitive tariffs, in 1664 and 1667, he also opened the free ports of Marseilles and Dunkirk, and engineered the Canal du midi. But commerce, like industry, was made to rely only on the instigation of the state, by the intervention of officials; here, as throughout the national life, private initiative was kept in subjection and under suspicion. Once more Colbert failed; with regard to internal affairs, he was unable to unify weights and measures, or to suppress the many custom-houses which made France into a miniature Europe; nor could he in external affairs reform the consulates of the Levant. He did not understand that, in order to purge the body of the nation from its traditions of routine, it would be necessary to reawaken individual energy in France. He believed that the state, or rather the bureaucracy, might be the motive power of national activity.

His colonial and maritime policy was the newest and most fruitful part of his work. He wished to turn the eyes of contemporary adventurous France towards her distant interests, the wars of religion having diverted her Colbert and the colonies. attention from them to the great profit of English and Dutch merchants. Here too he had no preconceived ideas; the royal and monopolist companies were never for him an end but a means; and after much experimenting he at length attained success. In the course of twenty years he created many dependencies of France beyond sea. To her colonial empire in America he added the greater part of Santo Domingo, Tobago and Dominica; he restored Guiana; prepared for the acquisition of Louisiana by supporting Cavelier de la Salle; extended the suzerainty of the king on the coast of Africa from the Bay of Arguin to the shores of Sierra Leone, and instituted the first commercial relations with India. The population of the Antilles doubled; that of Canada quintupled; while if in 1672 at the time of the war with Holland Louis XIV. had listened to him, Colbert would have sacrificed his pride to the acquisition of the rich colonies of the Netherlands. In order to attach and defend these colonies Colbert created a navy which became his passion; he took convicts to man the galleys in the Mediterranean, and for the fleet in the Atlantic he established the system of naval reserve which still obtains. But, in the 18th century, the monarchy, hypnotized by the classical battlefields 843 of Flanders and Italy, madly squandered the fruits of Colbert’s work as so much material for barter and exchange.

In the administration, the police and the law, Colbert preserved all the old machinery, including the inheritance of office. In the great codification of laws, made under the direction of his uncle Pussort, he set aside the parlement of Colbert and the administration. Paris, and justice continued to be ill-administered and cruel. The police, instituted in 1667 by La Reynie, became a public force independent of magistrates and under the direct orders of the ministers, making the arbitrary royal and ministerial authority absolute by means of lettres de cachet (q.v.), which were very convenient for the government and very terrible for the individuals concerned.

Provincial administration was no longer modified; it was regularized. The intendant became the king’s factotum, not purchasing his office but liable to dismissal, the government’s confidential agent and the real repository of royal authority, the governor being only for show (see Intendant).

Colbert’s system went on working regularly up to the year 1675; from that time forward he was cruelly embarrassed for money, and, seeking new sources of revenue, begged for subsidies from the assembly of the clergy. Ruin of Colbert’s work. He did not succeed either in stemming the tide of expense, nor in his administration, being in no way in advance of his age, and not perceiving that decisive reform could not be achieved by a government dealing with the nation as though it were inert and passive material, made to obey and to pay. Like a good Cartesian he conceived of the state as an immense machine, every portion of which should receive its impulse from outside—that is from him, Colbert. Leibnitz had not yet taught that external movement is nothing, and inward spirit everything. As the minister of an ambitious and magnificent king, Colbert was under the hard necessity of sacrificing everything to the wars in Flanders and the pomp of Versailles—a gulf which swallowed up all the country’s wealth;—and, amid a society which might be supposed submissively docile to the wishes of Louis XIV., he had to retain the most absurd financial laws, making the burden of taxation weigh heaviest on those who had no other resources than their labour, whilst landed property escaped free of charge. Habitual privation during one year in every three drove the peasants to revolt: in Boulonnais, the Pyrenees, Vivarais, in Guyenne from 1670 onwards and in Brittany in 1675. Cruel means of repression assisted natural hardships and the carelessness of the administration in depopulating and laying waste the countryside; while Louis XIV.’s martial and ostentatious policy was even more disastrous than pestilence and famine, when Louvois’ advice prevailed in council over that of Colbert, now embittered and desperate. The revocation of the edict of Nantes vitiated through a fatal contradiction all the efforts of the latter to create new manufactures; the country was impoverished for the benefit of the foreigner to such a point that economic conditions began to alarm those private persons most noted for their talents, their character, or their regard for the public welfare; such as La Bruyère and Fénelon in 1692, Bois-Guillebert in 1697 and Vauban in 1707. The movement attracted even the ministers, Boulainvilliers at their head, who caused the intendants to make inquiry into the causes of this general ruin. There was a volume of attack upon Colbert; but as the fundamental system remained unchanged, because reform would have necessitated an attack upon privilege and even upon the constitution of the monarchy, the evil only went on increasing. The social condition of the time recalls that of present-day Morocco, in the high price of necessaries and the extortions of the financial authorities; every man was either soldier, beggar or smuggler.

Under Pontchartrain, Chamillard and Desmarets, the expenses of the two wars of 1688 and 1701 attained to nearly five milliards. In order to cover this recourse was had as usual, not to remedies, but to palliatives worse than the evil: heavy usurious loans, Recourse to revolutionary measures. debasement of the coinage, creation of stocks that were perpetually being converted, and ridiculous charges which the bourgeois, sickened with officialdom, would endure no longer. Richelieu himself had hesitated to tax labour; Louis XIV. trod the trade organizations under foot. It was necessary to have recourse to revolutionary measures, to direct taxation, ignoring all class distinction. In 1695 the graduated poll-tax was a veritable coup d’état against privileged persons, who were equally brought under the tax; in 1710 was added the tithe (dixième), a tax upon income from all landed property. Money scarce, men too were lacking; the institution of the militia, the first germ of obligatory enlistment, was a no less important innovation. But these were only provisionary and desperate expedients, superposed upon the old routine, a further charge in addition to those already existing; and this entirely mechanical system, destructive of private initiative and the very sources of public life, worked with difficulty even in time of peace. As Louis XIV. made war continually the result was the same as in Spain under Philip II.: depopulation and bankruptcy within the kingdom and the coalitions of Europe without.

In 1660 France was predominant in Europe; but she aroused no jealousy except in the house of Habsburg, enfeebled and divided against itself. It was sufficient to remain faithful to the practical policy of Henry IV., of Foreign policy of Louis XIV. Richelieu and of Mazarin: that of moderation in strength. This Louis XIV. very soon altered, while yet claiming to continue it; he superseded it by one principle: that of replacing the proud tyranny of the Habsburgs of Spain by another. He claimed to lay down the law everywhere, in the preliminary negotiations between his ambassador and the Spanish ambassador in London, in the affair of the salute exacted from French vessels by the English, and in that of the Corsican guard in Rome; while he proposed to become the head of the crusade against the Turks in the Mediterranean as in Hungary.

The eclipse of the great idea of the balance of power in Europe was no sudden affair; the most flourishing years of the reign were still enlightened by it: witness the repurchase of Dunkirk from Charles II. in 1662, the cession of the duchies of Bar and of Lorraine and the war against Portugal. But soon the partial or total conquest of the Spanish inheritance proved “the grandeur of his beginnings and the meanness of his end.” Like Philip the Fair and like Richelieu, Louis XIV. sought support for his external policy in that public opinion which in internal matters he held so cheap; and he found equally devoted auxiliaries in the jurists of his parlements.

It was thus that the first of his wars for the extension of frontiers began, the War of Devolution. On the death of his father-in-law, Philip IV. of Spain, he transferred into the realm of politics a civil custom of inheritance War of Devolution, 1667. prevailing in Brabant, and laid claim to Flanders in the name of his wife Maria Theresa. The Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667), in which he was by way of supporting the United Provinces without engaging his fleet, retarded this enterprise by a year. But after his mediation in the treaty of Breda (July 1667), when Hugues de Lionne, secretary of state for foreign affairs, had isolated Spain, he substituted soldiers for the jurists and cannon for diplomacy in the matter of the queen’s rights.

The secretary of state for war, Michel le Tellier, had organized his army; and thanks to his great activity in reform, especially after the Fronde, Louis XIV. found himself in possession of an army that was well equipped, well clothed, well provisioned, and very different from the rabble of the Thirty Years’ War, fitted out by dishonest jobbing contractors. Severe discipline, suppression of fraudulent interference, furnishing of clothes and equipment by the king, regulation of rank among the officers, systematic revictualling of the army, settled means of manufacturing and furnishing arms and ammunition, placing of the army under the direct authority of the king, abolition of great military charges, subordination of the governors of strongholds, control by the civil authority over the soldiers effected by means of paymasters and commissaries of stores; all this organization of the royal army was the work of le Tellier.


His son, François Michel le Tellier, marquis de Louvois, had one sole merit, that of being his father’s pupil. A parvenu of the middle classes, he was brutal in his treatment of the lower orders and a sycophant in his behaviour towards the powerful; prodigiously active, ill-obeyed—as was the custom—but much dreaded. From 1677 onwards he did but finish perfecting Louis XIV.’s army in accordance with the suggestions left by his father, and made no fundamental changes: neither the definite abandonment of the feudal arrière-ban and of recruiting—sources of disorder and insubordination—nor the creation of the militia, which allowed the nation to penetrate into all the ranks of the army, nor the adoption of the gun with the bayonet,—which was to become the ultima ratio of peoples as the cannon was that of sovereigns—nor yet the uniform, intended to strengthen esprit de corps, were due to him. He maintained the institutions of the day, though seeking to diminish their abuse, and he perfected material details; but misfortune would have it that instead of remaining a great military administrator he flattered Louis XIV.’s megalomania, and thus caused his perdition.

Under his orders Turenne conquered Flanders (June-August 1667); and as the queen-mother of Spain would not give in, Condé occupied Franche Comté in fourteen days (February 1668). But Europe rose up in wrath; the The triple alliance of the Hague. United Provinces and England, jealous and disquieted by this near neighbourhood, formed with Sweden the triple alliance of the Hague (January 1668), ostensibly to offer their mediation, though in reality to prevent the occupation of the Netherlands. Following the advice of Colbert and de Lionne, Louis XIV. appeared to accede, and by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle he preserved his conquests in Flanders (May 1668).

This peace was neither sufficient nor definite enough for Louis XIV.; and during four years he employed all his diplomacy to isolate the republic of the United Provinces in Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.

War with Holland.
Europe, as he had done for Spain. He wanted to ruin this nation both in a military and an economic sense, in order to annex to French Flanders the rest of the Catholic Netherlands allotted to him by a secret treaty for partitioning the Spanish possessions, signed with his brother-in-law the emperor Leopold on the 19th of January 1668. Colbert—very envious of Holland’s wealth—prepared the finances, le Tellier the army and de Lionne the alliances. In vain did the grand-pensionary of the province of Holland, Jan de Witt, offer concessions of all kinds; both England, bound by the secret treaty of Dover (January 1670), and France had need of this war. Avoiding the Spanish Netherlands, Louis XIV. effected the passage of the Rhine in June 1672; and the disarmed United Provinces, which had on their side only Brandenburg and Spain, were occupied in a few days. The brothers de Witt, in consequence of their fresh offer to treat at any price, were assassinated; the broken dykes of Muiden arrested the victorious march of Condé and Turenne; while the popular and military party, directed by the stadtholder William of Orange, took the upper hand and preached resistance to the death. “The war is over,” said the new secretary of state for foreign affairs, Arnauld de Pomponne; but Louvois and Louis XIV. said no. The latter wished not only to take possession of the Netherlands, which were to be given up to him with half of the United Provinces and their colonial empire; he wanted “to play the Charlemagne,” to re-establish Catholicism in that country as Philip II. had formerly attempted to do, to occupy all the territory as far as the Lech, and to exact an annual oath of fealty. But the patriotism and the religious fanaticism of the Dutch revolted against this insupportable tyranny. Power had passed from the hands of the burghers of Amsterdam into those of William of Orange, who on the 30th Peace of Nijmwegen, 1678. of August 1673, profiting by the arrest of the army brought about by the inundation and by the fears of Europe, joined in a coalition with the emperor, the king of Spain, the duke of Lorraine, many of the princes of the Empire, and with England, now at last enlightened as to the projects of Catholic restoration which Louis XIV. was planning with Charles II. It was necessary to evacuate and then to settle with the United Provinces, and to turn against Spain. After fighting for five years against the whole of Europe by land and by sea, the efforts of Turenne, Condé and Duquesne culminated at Nijmwegen in fresh acquisitions (1678). Spain had to cede to Louis XIV., Franche Comté, Dunkirk and half of Flanders. This was another natural and glorious result of the treaty of the Pyrenees. The Spanish monarchy was disarmed.

But Louis XIV. had already manifested that unmeasured and restless passion for glory, that claim to be the exclusive arbiter of western Europe, that blind and narrow insistence, which were to bear out his motto Truce of Ratisbon.Seul contre tous.” Whilst all Europe was disarming he kept his troops, and used peace as a means of conquest. Under orders from Colbert de Croissy the jurists came upon the scene once more, and their unjust decrees were sustained by force of arms. The Chambres de Réunion sought for and joined to the kingdom those lands which were not actually dependent upon his new conquests, but which had formerly been so: such as Saarbrücken, Deux Ponts (Zweibrücken) and Montbéliard in 1680, Strassburg and Casale in 1681. The power of the house of Habsburg was paralysed by an invasion of the Turks, and Louis XIV. sent 35,000 men into Belgium; while Luxemburg was occupied by Créqui and Vauban. The truce of Ratisbon (Regensburg) imposed upon Spain completed the work of the peace of Nijmwegen (1684); and thenceforward Louis XIV.’s terrified allies avoided his clutches while making ready to fight him.

This was the moment chosen by Louis XIV.’s implacable enemy, William of Orange, to resume the war. His surprise of Marshal Luxembourg near Mons, after the signature William of Orange. of the peace of Nijmwegen, had proved that in his eyes war was the basis, of his authority in Holland and in Europe. His sole arm of support amidst all his allies was not the English monarchy, sold to Louis XIV., but Protestant England, jealous of France and uneasy about her independence. Being the husband of the duke of York’s daughter, he had an understanding in this country with Sunderland, Godolphin and Temple—a party whose success was retarded for several years by the intrigues of Shaftesbury. But Louis XIV. added mistake to mistake; and the revocation of the edict of Nantes added religious hatreds to political jealousies. At the same time the League of Augsburg. Catholic powers responded by the league of Augsburg (July 1686) to his policy of unlimited aggrandisement. The unsuccessful attempts of Louis XIV. to force his partisan Cardinal Wilhelm Egon von Fürstenberg (see Fürstenberg: House) into the electoral see of Cologne; the bombardment of Genoa; the humiliation of the pope in Rome itself by the marquis de Lavardin; the seizure of the Huguenot emigrants at Mannheim, and their imprisonment at Vincennes under pretext of a plot, precipitated the conflict. The question of the succession in the Palatinate, where Louis XIV. supported the claims of his sister-in-law the duchess of Orleans, gave the signal for a general war. The French armies devastated the Palatinate instead of attacking William of Orange in the Netherlands, leaving him free to disembark at Torbay, usurp the throne of England, and construct the Grand Alliance of 1689.

Far from reserving all his forces for an important struggle elsewhere, foreshadowed by the approaching death of Charles II. of Spain, Louis XIV., isolated in his turn, committed the error of wasting it for a space of ten years in a War of the Grand Alliance. war of conquest, by which he alienated all that remained to him of European sympathy. The French armies, notwithstanding the disappearance of Condé and Turenne, had still glorious days before them with Luxembourg at Fleurus, at Steenkirk and at Neerwinden (1690-1693), and with Catinat in Piedmont, at Staffarda, and at Marsaglia; but these successes alternated with reverses. Tourville’s fleet, victorious at Beachy Head, came to grief at La Hogue (1692); and though the expeditions to Ireland in favour of James II. were unsuccessful, thanks to the Huguenot Schomberg, Jean Bart and Duguay-Trouin 845 ruined Anglo-Dutch maritime commerce. Louis XIV. assisted in person at the sieges of Mons and Namur, operations for which he had a liking, because, like Louvois, who died in 1691, he thought little of the French soldiery in the open field. After three years of strife, ruinous to both sides, he made the first overtures of peace, thus marking an epoch in his foreign policy; though William took no unfair advantage of this, remaining content with the restitution of places taken by the Chambres de Réunion, except Strassburg, with a frontier-line of fortified Peace of Ryswick. places for the Dutch, and with the official deposition of the Stuarts. But the treaty of Ryswick (1697) marked the condemnation of the policy pursued since that of Nijmwegen. While signing this peace Louis XIV. was only thinking of the succession in Spain. By partitioning her in advance with the other strong powers, England and Holland, by means of the treaties of the Hague and of London (1698-1699),—as he had formerly done with the emperor in 1668,—he seemed at first to wish for a pacific solution of the eternal conflict between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons, and to restrict himself to the perfecting of his natural frontiers; but on the death of Charles II. of Spain (1700) he claimed everything in favour of his grandson, the duke of Anjou, now appointed universal heir, though risking the loss of all by once more letting himself fall into imprudent and provocative action in the dynastic interest.

English public opinion, desirous of peace, had forced William III. to recognize Philip V. of Spain; but Louis XIV.’s maintenance of the eventual right of his grandson to the crown of France, and the expulsion of the Dutch, who had War of the Spanish Succession. not recognized Philip V., from the Barrier towns, brought about the Grand Alliance of 1701 between the maritime Powers and the court of Vienna, desirous of partitioning the inheritance of Charles II. The recognition of the Old Pretender as James III., king of England, was only a response to the Grand Alliance, but it drew the English Tories into an inevitable war. Despite the death of William III. (March 19, 1702) his policy triumphed, and in this war, the longest in the reign, it was the names of the enemy’s generals, Prince Eugène of Savoy, Mazarin’s grand-nephew, and the duke of Marlborough, which sounded in the ear, instead of Condé, Turenne and Luxembourg. Although during the first campaigns (1701-1703) in Italy, in Germany and in the Netherlands success was equally balanced, the successors of Villars—thanks to the treason of the duke of Savoy—were defeated at Höchstädt and Landau, and were reduced to the defensive (1704). In 1706 the defeats at Ramillies and Turin led to the evacuation of the Netherlands and Italy, and endangered the safety of Dauphiné. In 1708 Louis XIV. by a supreme effort was still able to maintain his armies; but the rout at Oudenarde, due to the misunderstanding between the duke of Burgundy and Vendôme, left the northern frontier exposed, and the cannons of the Dutch were heard at Marly. Louis XIV. had to humble himself to the extent of asking the Dutch for peace; but they forgot the lesson of 1673, and revolted by their demands at the Hague, he made a last appeal to arms and to the patriotism of his subjects at Malplaquet (September 1709). After this came invasion. Nature herself conspired with the enemy in the disastrous winter of 1709.

What saved Louis XIV. was not merely his noble constancy of resolve, the firmness of the marquis de Torcy, secretary of state for foreign affairs, the victory of Vendôme at Villaviciosa, nor the loyalty of his people. The interruption of the conferences at Gertruydenberg having obliged the Whigs and Marlborough to resign their power into the hands of the Tories, now sick of war, the death of the emperor Joseph I. (April 1711), which risked the reconstruction of Charles V.’s colossal and unwieldy monarchy upon the shoulders of the archduke Charles, and Marshal Villars’ famous victory of Denain (July 1712) combined to render possible Peace of Utrecht, 1713. the treaties of Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden (1713-1714). These gave Italy and the Netherlands to the Habsburgs, Spain and her colonies to the Bourbons, the places on the coast and the colonial commerce to England (who had the lion’s share), and a royal crown to the duke of Savoy and the elector of Brandenburg. The peace of Utrecht was to France what the peace of Westphalia had been to Austria, and curtailed the former acquisitions of Louis XIV.

The ageing of the great king was betrayed not only by the fortune of war in the hands of Villeroy, la Feuillade, or Marsin; disgrace and misery at home were worse than defeat. By the strange and successive deaths of the Grand End of Louis XIV.’s reign. Dauphin (1711), the duke and duchess of Burgundy (1712)—who had been the only joy of the old monarch—and of his two grandsons (1712-1714), it seemed as though his whole family were involved under the same curse. The court, whose sentimental history has been related by Madame de la Fayette, its official splendours by Loret, and its intrigues by the duc de Saint-Simon, now resembled an infirmary of morose invalids, presided over by Louis XIV.’s elderly wife, Madame de Maintenon, under the domination of the Jesuit le Tellier. Neither was it merely the clamours of the people that arose against the monarch. All the more remarkable spirits of the time, like prophets in Israel, denounced a tyranny which put Chamillart at the head of the finances because he played billiards well, and Villeroy in command of the armies although he was utterly untrustworthy; which sent the “patriot” Vauban into disgrace, banished from the court Catinat, the Père la Pensée, “exiled” to Cambrai the too clear sighted Fénelon, and suspected Racine of Jansenism and La Fontaine of independence.

Disease and famine; crushing imposts and extortions; official debasement of the currency; bankruptcy; state prisons; religious and political inquisition; suppression of all institutions for the safe-guarding of rights; tyranny by the intendants; royal, feudal and clerical oppression burdening every faculty and every necessary of life; “monstrous and incurable luxury”; the horrible drama of poison; the twofold adultery of Madame de Montespan; and the narrow bigotry of Madame de Maintenon—all concurred to make the end of the reign a sad contrast with the splendour of its beginning. When reading Molière and Racine, Bossuet and Fénelon, the campaigns of Turenne, or Colbert’s ordinances; when enumerating the countless literary and scientific institutions of the great century; when considering the port of Brest, the Canal du Midi, Perrault’s colonnade of the Louvre, Mansart’s Invalides and the palace of Versailles, and Vauban’s fine fortifications—admiration is kindled for the radiant splendour of Louis XIV.’s period. But the art and literature expressed by the genius of the masters, reflected in the tastes of society, and to be taken by Europe as a model throughout a whole century, are no criterion of the social and political order of the day. They were but a magnificent drapery of pomp and glory thrown across a background of poverty, ignorance, superstition, hypocrisy and cruelty; remove it, and reality appears in all its brutal and sinister nudity. The corpse of Louis XIV., left to servants for disposal, and saluted all along the road to Saint Denis by the curses of a noisy crowd sitting in the cabarets, celebrating his death by drinking more than their fill as a compensation for having suffered too much from hunger during his lifetime—such was the coarse but sincere epitaph which popular opinion placed on the tomb of the “Grand Monarque.” The nation, restive under his now broken yoke, received with a joyous anticipation, which the future was to discount, the royal infant whom they called Louis the Well-beloved, and whose funeral sixty years later was to be greeted with the same proofs of disillusionment.

The death of Louis XIV. closed a great era of French history; the 18th century opens upon a crisis for the monarchy. From 1715 to 1723 came the reaction of the Regency, with its marvellous effrontery, innovating spirit and frivolous Character of the eighteenth century. immorality. From 1723 to 1743 came the mealy-mouthed despotism of Cardinal Fleury, and his apathetic policy within and without the kingdom. From 1743 to 1774 came the personal rule of Louis XV., when all the different powers were in conflicts—the bishops and parlement quarrelling, the government fighting against the clergy and the magistracy, and public opinion in declared opposition to the state. Till at last, from 1774 to 1789, came Louis XVI. with his honest illusions. 846 his moral pusillanimity and his intellectual impotence, to aggravate still further the accumulated errors of ages and to prepare for the inevitable Revolution.

The 18th century, like the 17th, opened with a political coup d’état. Louis XV. was five years old, and the duke of Orleans held the regency. But Louis XIV. had in his will delegated all the power of the government to a The Regency (1715-1723). council on which the duke of Maine, his legitimated son, had the first, but Madame de Maintenon and the Jesuits the predominant place. This collective administration, designed to cripple the action of the regent, encountered a twofold opposition from the nobles and the parlement; but on the 2nd of September 1715 the emancipated parlement set aside the will in favour of the duke of Orleans, who thus together with the title of regent had all the real power. He therefore reinstituted the parlement in its ancient right of remonstrance (suspended since the declarations of 1667 and 1673), and handed over ministerial power to the nobility, replacing the secretaries of state by six councils composed in part of great nobles, on the advice of the famous duc de Saint-Simon. The duc de Noailles, president of the council of finance, had the direction of this “Polysynodie.”

The duke of Orleans, son of the princess palatine and Louis XIV.’s brother, possessed many gifts—courage, intelligence and agility of mind—but he lacked the one gift of using these to good advantage. The political crisis Philip of Orleans. that had placed him in power had not put an end to the financial crisis, and this, it was hoped, might be effected by substituting partial and petty bankruptcies for the general bankruptcy cynically advocated by Saint-Simon. The reduction of the royal revenues did not suffice to fill the treasury; while the establishment of a chamber of justice (March 1716) had no other result than that of demoralizing the great lords and ladies already mad for pleasure, by bringing them into contact with the farmers of the revenue who purchased impunity from them. A very clever Scotch adventurer named John Law (q.v.) now offered his assistance in dealing with the enormous debt of more than three milliards, and in providing the treasury. Being well acquainted with the mechanism of banking, he had adopted views as to cash, credit and the circulation of values which contained an admixture of truth and falsehood. Authorized after many difficulties to organize a private bank of deposit and account, which being well conceived prospered and revived commerce, Law proposed to lighten the treasury by the profits accruing to a great maritime and colonial company. Payment for the shares in this new Company of the West, with a capital of a hundred millions, was to be made in credit notes upon the government, converted into 4% stock. These aggregated funds, needed to supply the immense and fertile valley of the Mississippi, and the annuities of the treasury destined to pay for the shares, were non-transferable. Law’s idea was to ask the bank for the floating capital necessary, so that the bank and the Company of the West were to be supplementary to each other; this is what was called Law’s system. After the chancellor D’Aguesseau and the duc de Noailles had been replaced by D’Argenson alone, and after the lit de justice of the 26th of August 1718 had deprived the parlement, hostile to Law, of the authority left to it, the bank became royal and the Company of the West universal. But the royal bank, as a state establishment, asked for compulsory privilege to increase the emission of its credit notes, and that they should receive a premium upon all metallic specie. The Company of the Indies became the grantee for the farming of tobacco, the coinage of metals, and farming in general; and in order to procure funds it multiplied the output of shares, which were adroitly launched and became more and more sought for on the exchange in the rue Quincampoix. This soon caused a frenzy of stock-jobbing, which disturbed the stability of private fortunes and social positions, and depraved customs and manners with the seductive notion of easily obtained riches. The nomination of Law to the controller-generalship, re-established for his benefit on the resignation of D’Argenson (January 5, 1720), let loose still wilder speculation; till the day came when he could no longer face the terrible difficulty of meeting both private irredeemable shares with a variable return, and the credit notes redeemable at sight and guaranteed by the state. Gold and silver were proscribed; the bank and the company were joined in one; the credit notes and the shares were assimilated. But credit cannot be commanded either by violence or by expedients; between July and September 1720 came the suspension of payments, the flight of Law, and the disastrous liquidation which proved once again that respect for the state’s obligations had not yet entered into the law of public finance.

Reaction on a no less extensive scale characterized foreign policy during the Regency. A close alliance between France and her ancient enemies, England and Holland, was concluded and maintained from 1717 to 1739: France, The Anglo-Dutch Alliance. after thirty years of fighting, between two periods of bankruptcy; Holland reinstalled in her commercial position; and England, seeing before her the beginning of her empire over the seas—all three had an interest in peace. On the other hand, peace was imperilled by Philip V. of Spain and by the emperor (who had accepted the portion assigned to them by the treaty of Utrecht, while claiming the whole), by Savoy and Brandenburg (who had profited too much by European conflicts not to desire their perpetuation), by the crisis from which the maritime powers of the Baltic were suffering, and by the Turks on the Danube. The dream of Cardinal Alberoni, Philip V.’s minister, was to set fire to all this inflammable material in order to snatch therefrom a crown of some sort to satisfy the maternal greed of Elizabeth Farnese; and this he might have attained by the occupation of Sardinia and the expedition to Sicily (1717-1718), if Dubois, a priest without a religion, a greedy parvenu and a diplomatist of second rank, though tenacious and full of resources as a minister, had not placed his common sense at the disposal of the regent’s interests and those of European peace. He signed the triple alliance at the Hague, succeeding with the assistance of Stanhope, the English minister, in engaging the emperor therein, after attempting this for a year and a half. Whilst the Spanish fleet was destroyed before Syracuse by Admiral Byng, the intrigue of the Spanish ambassador Cellamare with the duke of Maine to exclude the family of Orleans from the succession on Louis XV.’s death was discovered and repressed; and Marshal Berwick burned the dockyards at Pasajes in Spain. Alberoni’s dream was shattered by the treaty of London in 1720.

Seized in his turn with a longing for the cardinal’s hat, Dubois paid for it by the registering of the bull Unigenitus and by the persecution of the Jansenists which the regent had stopped. After the majority of Louis XV. had been proclaimed on the 16th of February 1723, Dubois was the first to depart; and four months after his disappearance the duke of Orleans, exhausted by his excesses, carried with him into the grave that spirit of reform which he had compromised by his frivolous voluptuousness (December 2, 1723).

The Regency had been the making of the house of Orleans; thenceforward the question was how to humble it, and the duc de Bourbon, now prime minister—a great-grandson of the great Condé, but a narrow-minded man of Ministry of the duc de Bourbon. limited intelligence, led by a worthless woman—set himself to do so. The marquise de Prie was the first of a series of publicly recognized mistresses; from 1723 to 1726 she directed foreign policy and internal affairs despite the king’s majority, moved always more by a spirit of vengeance than by ambition. This sad pair were dominated by the self-interested and continual fear of becoming subject to the son of the Regent, whom they detested; but danger came upon them from elsewhere. They found standing in their way the very man who had been the author of their fortunes, Louis XV.’s tutor, uneasy in the exercise of a veiled authority; for the churchman Fleury knew how to wait, on condition of ultimately attaining his end. Neither the festivities given at Chantilly in honour of the king, nor the dismissal (despite the most solemn promises) of the Spanish infanta, who had been betrothed 847 to Louis XV., nor yet the young king’s marriage to Maria Leszczynska (1725)—a marriage negotiated by the marquise de Prie in order to bar the throne from the Orleans family—could alienate the sovereign from his old master. The irritation kept up by the agents of Philip V., incensed by this affront, and the discontent aroused by the institutions of the cinquantième and the militia, by the re-establishment of the feudal tax on Louis XV.’s joyful accession, and by the resumption of a persecution of the Protestants and the Jansenists which had apparently died out, were cleverly exploited by Fleury; and a last ill-timed attempt by the queen to separate the king from him brought about the fall of the duc de Bourbon, very opportunely for France, in June 1726.

From the hands of his unthinking pupil Fleury eventually received the supreme direction of affairs, which he retained for seventeen years. He was aged seventy-two when he thus obtained the power which had been his unmeasured Cardinal Fleury, 1726-1743. though not ill-calculated ambition. Soft-spoken and polite, crafty and suspicious, he was pacific by temperament and therefore allowed politics to slumber. His turn for economics made Orry,33 the controller-general of finance, for long his essential partner. The latter laboured at re-establishing order in fiscal affairs; and various measures like the impost of the dixième upon all property save that of the clergy, together with the end of the corn famine, sufficed to restore a certain amount of well-being. Religious peace was more difficult to secure; in fact politico-religious quarrels dominated all the internal policy of the kingdom during forty years, and gradually compromised the royal authority. The Jesuits, returned to power in 1723 with the duc de Bourbon and in 1726 with Fleury, rekindled the old strife regarding the bull Unigenitus in opposition to the Gallicans and the Jansenists. The retractation imposed upon Cardinal de Noailles, and his replacement in the archbishopric of Paris by Vintimille, an unequivocal Molinist, excited among the populace a very violent agitation against the court of Rome and the Jesuits, the prelude to a united Fronde of the Sorbonne and the parlement. Fleury found no other remedy for this agitation—in which appeal was made even to miracles—than lits de justice and lettres de cachet; Jansenism remained a potent source of trouble within the heart of Catholicism.

This worn-out septuagenarian, who prized rest above everything, imported into foreign policy the same mania for economy and the same sloth in action. He naturally adopted the idea of reconciling Louis XIV.’s descendants, Fleury’s foreign policy. who had all been embroiled ever since the Polish marriage. He succeeded in this by playing very adroitly on the ambition of Elizabeth Farnese and her husband Philip V., who was to reign in France notwithstanding any renunciation that might have taken place. Despite the birth of a dauphin (September 1729), which cut short the Spanish intrigues, the reconciliation was a lasting one (treaty of Seville); it led to common action in Italy, and to the installation of Spanish royalties at Parma, Piacenza, and soon after at Naples. Fleury, supported by the English Hanoverian alliance, to which he sacrificed the French navy, obliged the emperor Charles VI. to sacrifice the trade of the Austrian Netherlands to the maritime powers and Central Italy to the Bourbons, in order to gain recognition for his Pragmatic Sanction. The question of the succession in France lay dormant until the end of the century, and Fleury thought he had definitely obtained peace in the treaty of Vienna (1731).

The war of the Polish succession proved him to have been deceived. On the death of Augustus II. of Saxony, king of Poland, Louis XV.’s father-in-law had been proclaimed king by the Polish diet. This was an ephemeral success, ill-prepared War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738). and obtained by taking a sudden advantage of national sentiment; it was soon followed by a check, owing to a Russian and German coalition and the baseness of Cardinal Fleury, who, in order to avoid intervening, pretended to tremble before an imaginary threat of reprisals on the part of England. But Chauvelin, the keeper of the seals, supported by public opinion, avenged on the Rhine and the Po the unlucky heroism of the comte de Plélo at Dànzig,34 the vanished dream of the queen, the broken word of Louis XV., and the treacherous abandonment of Poland. Fleury never forgave him for this: Chauvelin had checkmated him with war; he checkmated Chauvelin with peace, and hastened to replace Marshals Berwick and Villars by diplomatists. The third treaty of Vienna (1738), the reward of so much effort, would only have claimed for France the little duchy of Bar, had not Chauvelin forced Louis XV. to obtain Lorraine for his father-in-law—still hoping for the reversion of the crown; but Fleury thus rendered impossible any influence of the queen, and held Stanislaus at his mercy. In order to avenge himself upon Chauvelin he sacrificed him to the cabinets of Vienna and London, alarmed at seeing him revive the national tradition in Italy.

Fleury hardly had time to breathe before a new conflagration broke out in the east. The Russian empress Anne and the emperor Charles VI. had planned to begin dismembering the Turkish empire. More fortunate than Plélo, The Eastern question. Villeneuve, the French ambassador at Constantinople, endeavoured to postpone this event, and was well supported; he revived the courage of the Turks and provided them with arms, thanks to the comte de Bonneval (q.v.), one of those adventurers of high renown whose influence in Europe during the first half of the eighteenth century is one of the most piquant features of that period. The peace of Belgrade (September 1739) was, by its renewal of the capitulations, a great material success for France, and a great moral victory by the rebuff to Austria and Russia.

France had become once more the arbiter of Europe, when the death of the emperor Charles VI. in 1740 opened up a new period of wars and misfortunes for Europe and for the pacific Fleury. Everyone had signed Charles VI.’s War of the Austrian Succession. Pragmatic Sanction, proclaiming the succession-rights of his daughter, the archduchess Maria Theresa; but on his death there was a general renunciation of signatures and an attempt to divide the heritage. The safety of the house of Austria depended on the attitude of France; for Austria could no longer harm her. Fleury’s inclination was not to misuse France’s traditional policy by exaggerating it, but to respect his sworn word; he dared not press his opinion, however, and yielded to the fiery impatience of young hot-heads like the two Belle-Isles, and of all those who, infatuated by Frederick II., felt sick of doing nothing at Versailles and were backed up by Louis XV.’s bellicose mistresses. He had to experience the repeated defections of Frederick II. in his own interests, and the precipitate retreat from Bohemia. He had to humble himself before Austria and the whole of Europe; and it was high time for Fleury, now fallen into second childhood, to vanish from the scene (January 1743).

Louis XV. was at last to become his own prime minister and to reign alone; but in reality he was more embarrassed than pleased by the responsibility incumbent upon him. He therefore retained the persons who had composed Personal rule of Louis XV. Fleury’s staff; though instead of being led by a single one of them, he fell into the hands of several, who disputed among themselves for the ascendancy: Maurepas, incomparable in little things, but neglectful of political affairs; D’Argenson, bold, and strongly attached to his work as minister 848 of war; and the cardinal de Tencin, a frivolous and worldly priest. Old Marshal de Noailles tried to incite Louis XV. to take his kingship in earnest, thinking to cure him by war of his effeminate passions; and, in the spring of 1744, the king’s grave illness at Metz gave a momentary hope of reconciliation between him and the deserted queen. But the duc de Richelieu, a roué who had joined hands with the sisters of the house of Nesle and was jealous of Marshal de Noailles, soon regained his lost ground; and, under the influence of this panderer to his pleasures, Louis XV. settled down into a life of vice. Holding aloof from active affairs, he tried to relieve the incurable boredom of satiety in the violent exercise of hunting, in supper-parties with his intimates, and in spicy indiscretions. Brought up religiously and to shun the society of women, his first experiences in adultery had been made with many scruples and intermittently. Little by little, however, jealous of power, yet incapable of exercising it to any purpose, he sank into a sensuality which became utterly shameless under the influence of his chief mistress the duchesse de Châteauroux.

Hardly had a catastrophe snatched her away in the zenith of her power when complete corruption and the flagrant triumph of egoism supervened with the accession to power of the marquise de Pompadour, and for nearly twenty Madame de Pompadour. years (1745-1764) the whims and caprices of this little bourgeoise ruled the realm. A prime minister in petticoats, she had her political system: reversed the time-honoured alliances of France, appointed or disgraced ministers, directed fleets and armies, concluded treaties, and failed in all her enterprises! She was the queen of fashion in a society where corruption blossomed luxuriantly and exquisitely, and in a century of wit hers was second to none. Amidst this extraordinary instability, when everything was at the mercy of a secret thought of the master, the mistress alone held lasting sway; in a reign of all-pervading satiety and tedium, she managed to remain indispensable and bewitching to the day of her death.

Meanwhile the War of the Austrian Succession broke out again, and never had secretary of state more intricate questions to solve than had D’Argenson. In the attempt to make a stage-emperor of Charles Albert of Bavaria, Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. defeat was incurred at Dettingen, and the French were driven back on the Rhine (1743). The Bavarian dream dissipated, victories gained in Flanders by Marshal Saxe, another adventurer of genius, at Fontenoy, Raucoux and Lawfeld (1745-1747), were hailed with joy as continuing those of Louis XIV.; even though they resulted in the loss of Germany and the doubling of English armaments. The “disinterested” peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (October 1748) had no effectual result other than that of destroying in Germany, and for the benefit of Prussia, a balance of power that had yet to be secured in Italy, despite the establishment of the Spanish prince Philip at Parma. France, meanwhile, was beaten at sea by England, Maria Theresa’s sole ally. While founding her colonial empire England had come into collision with France; and the rivalry of the Hundred Years’ War had immediately sprung up again between the two countries. Engaged already in both Canada and in India (where Dupleix was founding an empire with a mere handful of men), it was to France’s interest not to become involved in war upon the Rhine, thus falling into England’s continental trap. She did fall into it, however: for the sake of conquering Silesia for the king of Prussia, Canada was left exposed by the capture of Cape Breton; while in order to restore this same Silesia to Maria Theresa, Canada was lost and with it India.

France had worked for the king of Prussia from 1740 to 1748; now it was Maria Theresa’s game that was played in the Seven Years’ War. In 1755, the English having made a sudden attack upon the French at sea, and The Seven Years’ War, 1756-1763. Frederick II. having by a fresh volte-face passed into alliance with Great Britain, Louis XV.’s government accepted an alliance with Maria Theresa in the treaty of the 1st of May 1756. Instead of remaining upon the defensive in this continental war—merely accessory as it was—he made it his chief affair, and placed himself under the petticoat government of three women, Maria Theresa, Elizabeth of Russia and the marquise de Pompadour. This error—the worst of all—laid the foundations of the Prussian and British empires. By three battles, victories for the enemies of France—Rossbach in Germany, 1757, Plassey in India, 1757, and Quebec in Canada, 1759 (owing to the recall of Dupleix, who was not bringing in large enough dividends to the Company of the Indies, and to the abandonment of Montcalm, who could not interest any one in “a few acres of snow”), the expansion of Prussia was assured, and the British relieved of French rivalry in the expansion of their empire in India and on the North American continent.

Owing to the blindness of Louis XV. and the vanity of the favourite, the treaties of Paris and Hubertusburg (1763) once more proved the French splendid in their conceptions, but deficient in action. Moreover, Choiseul, secretary Treaties of Paris and Hubertusburg. of state for foreign affairs since 1758, made out of this deceptive Austrian alliance a system which put the finishing touch to disaster, and after having thrown away everything to satisfy Maria Theresa’s hatred of Frederick II., the reconciliation between these two irreconcilable Germans at Neisse and at Neustadt (1769-1770) was witnessed by France, to the prejudice of Poland, one of her most ancient adherents. The expedient of the Family Compact, concluded with Spain in 1761—with a view to taking vengeance upon England, whose fleets were a continual thorn in the side to France—served only to involve Spain herself in misfortune. Choiseul, who at least had a policy that was sometimes in the right, and who was very anxious to carry it out, then realized that the real quarrel had to be settled with England. Amid the anguish of defeat and of approaching ruin, he had an acute sense of the actualities of the case, and from 1763 to 1766 devoted himself passionately to the reconstruction of the navy. To compensate for the loss of the colonies he annexed Lorraine (1766), and by the acquisition of Corsica in 1768 he gave France an intermediary position in the Mediterranean, between friendly Spain and Italy, looking forward to the time when it should become a stepping-stone to Africa.

But Louis XV. had two policies. The incoherent efforts which he made to repair by the secret diplomacy of the comte de Broglie the evils caused by his official policy only aggravated his shortcomings and betrayed his weakness. First partition of Poland. The contradictory intrigues of the king’s secret proceedings in the candidature of Prince Xavier, the dauphine’s brother, and the patriotic efforts of the confederation of Bar, contributed to bring about the Polish crisis which the partition of 1772 resolved in favour of Frederick II.; and the Turks were in their turn dragged into the same disastrous affair. Of the old allies of France, Choiseul preserved at least Sweden by the coup d’état of Gustavus III.; but instead of being as formerly the centre of great affairs, the cabinet of Versailles lost all its credit, and only exhibited before the eyes of contemptuous Europe France’s extreme state of decay.

The nation felt this humiliation, and showed all the greater irritation as the want of cohesion in the government and the anarchy in the central authority became more and more intolerable in home affairs. Though the administration Internal policy of Louis XV. still possessed a fund of tradition and a personnel which, including many men of note, protected it from the enfeebling influence of the court, it looked as though chance regulated everything so far as the government was concerned. These fluctuations were owing partly to the character of Louis XV., and partly also to the fact that society in the 18th century was too advanced in its ideas to submit without resistance to the caprice of such a man. His mistresses were not the only cause of this; for ever since Fleury’s advent political parties had come to the fore. From 1749 to 1757 the party of religious devotees grouped round the queen and the king’s daughters, with the dauphin as chief and the comte D’Argenson, and Machault d’Arnouville, keeper of the seals, as lieutenants, had worked against Madame de Pompadour (who leant for support upon the parlements, the Jansenists and the philosophers) 849 and had gained the upper hand. Thenceforward poverty, disorders, and consequently murmurs increased. The financial reform attempted by Machault d’Arnouville between 1745 and 1749—a reduction of the debt through the impost of the twentieth and the edict of 1749 against the extensive property held in mortmain by the Church—after his disgrace only resulted in failure. The army, which D’Argenson (likewise dismissed by Madame de Pompadour) had been from 1743 to 1747 trying to restore by useful reforms, was riddled by cabals. Half the people in the kingdom were dying of hunger, while the court was insulting poverty by its luxury and waste; and from 1750 onwards political ferment was everywhere manifest. It found all the more favourable foothold in that the Church, the State’s best ally, had made herself more and more unpopular. Her refusal of the sacraments to those who would not accept the bull Unigenitus (1746) was exploited in the eyes of the masses, as in those of more enlightened people was her selfish and short-sighted resistance to the financial plans of Machault. The general discontent was expressed by the parlements in their attempt to establish a political supremacy amid universal confusion, and by the popular voice in pamphlets recalling by their violence those of the League. Every one expected and desired a speedy revolution that should put an end to a policy which alternated between overheated effervescence, abnormal activity and lethargy. Nothing can better show the point to which things had descended than the attempted assassination of Louis the Well-beloved by Damiens in 1757.

Choiseul was the means of accelerating this revolution, not only by his abandonment of diplomatic traditions, but still more by his improvidence and violence. He reversed the policy of his predecessors in regard to the parlement. Choiseul. Supported by public opinion, which clamoured for guarantees against abitrary power, the parlements had dared not only to insist on being consulted as to the budget of the state in 1763, but to enter upon a confederation throughout the whole of France, and on repeated occasions to ordain a general strike of the judicial authorities. Choiseul did not hesitate to attack through lits de justice or by exile a judiciary oligarchy which doubtless rested its pretensions merely on wealth, high birth, or that encroaching spirit that was the only counteracting agency to the monarchy. Louis XV., wearied with their clamour, called them to order. Choiseul’s religious policy was no less venturesome; after the condemnation in 1759 of the Jesuits who were involved in the bankruptcy of Father de la Valette, their general, in the Antilles, he had the order dissolved for refusing to modify its constitution (1761-1764). Thus, not content with encouraging writers with innovating ideas to the prejudice of traditional institutions, he attacked, in the order of the Jesuits, the strongest defender of these latter, and delivered over the new generation to revolutionary doctrines.

A woman had elevated him into power; a woman brought him to the ground. He succumbed to a coalition of the chancellor Maupeou, the duc d’Aiguillon and the Abbé Terray, which depended on the favour of the king’s latest The Triumvirate, 1770-1774. mistress, Madame du Barry (December 1770); and the Jesuits were avenged by a stroke of authority similar to that by which they themselves had suffered. Following on an edict registered by the lit de justice, which forbade any remonstrance in political matters, the parlement had resigned, and had been imitated by the provincial parlements; whereupon Maupeou, an energetic chancellor, suppressed the parlements and substituted superior councils of magistrates appointed by the king (1771). This reform was justified by the religious intolerance of the parlements; by their scandalous trials of Calas, Pierre Paul Sirven (1709-1777), the chevalier de la Barre and the comte de Lally; by the retrograde spirit that had made them suppress the Encyclopaedia in 1759 and condemn Émile in 1762; and by their selfishness in perpetuating abuses by which they profited. But this reform, being made by the minister of a hated sovereign, only aided in exasperating public opinion, which was grateful to the parlements in that their remonstrances had not always been fruitless.

Thus all the buttresses of the monarchical institution began to fall to pieces: the Church, undermined by the heresy of Jansenism, weakened by the inroads of philosophy, discredited by evil-livers among the priesthood, and Ancient influences and institutions. divided against itself, like all losing parties; the nobility of the court, still brave at heart, though incapable of exertion and reduced to beggary, having lost all respect for discipline and authority, not only in the camp, but in civilian society; and the upper-class officials, narrow-minded and egotistical, unsettling by their opposition the royal authority which they pretended to safeguard. Even the “liberties,” among the few representative institutions which the ancien régime had left intact in some provinces, turned against the people. The estates opposed most of the intelligent and humane measures proposed by such intendants as Tourny and Turgot to relieve the peasants, whose distress was very great; they did their utmost to render the selfishness of the privileged classes more oppressive and vexatious.

Thus the terrible prevalence of poverty and want; the successive famines; the mistakes of the government; the scandals of the Parc aux Cerfs; and the parlements playing the Roman senate: all these causes, added The new ideas. together and multiplied, assisted in setting a general fermentation to work. The philosophers only helped to precipitate a movement which they had not created; without pointing to absolute power as the cause of the trouble, and without pretending to upset the traditional system, they attempted to instil into princes the feeling of new and more precise obligations towards their subjects. Voltaire, Montesquieu, the Encyclopaedists and the Physiocrats (recurring to the tradition of Bayle and Fontenelle), by dissolving in their analytical crucible all consecrated beliefs and all fixed institutions, brought back into the human society of the 18th century that humanity which had been so rudely eliminated. They demanded freedom of thought and belief with passionate insistence; they ardently discussed institutions and conduct; and they imported into polemics the idea of natural rights superior to all political arrangements. Whilst some, like Voltaire and the Physiocrats, representatives of the privileged classes and careless of political rights, wished to make use of the omnipotence of the prince to accomplish desirable reforms, or, like Montesquieu, adversely criticized despotism and extolled moderate governments, other, plebeians like Rousseau, proclaimed the theory of the social contract and the sovereignty of the people. So that during this reign of frivolity and passion, so bold in conception and so poor in execution, the thinkers contributed still further to mark the contrast between grandeur of plan and mediocrity of result.

The preaching of all this generous philosophy, not only in France, but throughout the whole of Europe, would have been in vain had there not existed at the time a social class interested in these great changes, and capable of compassing them. Neither the witty and lucid form in which the philosophers clothed their ideas in their satires, romances, stage-plays and treatises, nor the salons of Madame du Deffand, Madame Geoffrin and Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, could possibly have been sufficiently far-reaching or active centres of political propaganda. The former touched only the more highly educated classes; while to the latter, where privileged individuals alone had entry, novelties were but an undiluted stimulant for the jaded appetites of persons whose ideas of good-breeding, moreover, would have drawn the line at martyrdom.

The class which gave the Revolution its chiefs, its outward and visible forms, and the irresistible energy of its hopes, was the bourgeoisie, intelligent, ambitious and rich; in the forefront the capitalists and financiers of the The bourgeoisie—the incarnation of new ideas. haute bourgeoisie, farmers-general and army contractors, who had supplanted or swamped the old landed and military aristocracy, had insensibly reconstructed the interior of the ancient social edifice with the gilded and incongruous materials of wealth, and in order to consolidate or increase their monopolies, needed to secure themselves against the arbitrary action of royalty and the bureaucracy. 850 Next came the crowd of stockholders and creditors of the state, who, in face of the government’s “extravagant anarchy,” no longer felt safe from partial or total bankruptcy. More powerful still, and more masterful, was the commercial, industrial and colonial bourgeoisie; because under the Regency and under Louis XV. they had been more productive and more creative. Having gradually revolutionized the whole economic system, in Paris, in Lyons, in Nantes, in Bordeaux, in Marseilles, they could not tamely put up with being excluded from public affairs, which had so much bearing upon their private or collective enterprises. Finally, behind this bourgeoisie, and afar off, came the crowd of serfs, rustics whom the acquisition of land had gradually enfranchised, and who were the more eager to enjoy their definitive liberation because it was close at hand.

The habits and sentiments of French society showed similar changes. From having been almost exclusively national during Louis XIV.’s reign, owing to the perpetual state of war and to a sort of proud isolation, it had gradually Transformation of manners and customs. become cosmopolitan. After the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, France had been flooded from all quarters of the civilized world, but especially from England, by a concourse of refined and cultured men well acquainted with her usages and her universal language, whom she had received sympathetically. Paris became the brain of Europe. This revolution in manners and customs, coinciding with the revolution in ideas, led in its turn to a transformation in feeling, and to new aesthetic needs. Gradually people became sick of openly avowed gallantry, of shameless libertinism, of moral obliquity and of the flattering artifices of vice; a long shudder ran through the selfish torpor of the social body. After reading the Nouvelle-Héloïse, Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison, fatigued and wearied society revived as though beneath the fresh breezes of dawn. The principle of examination, the reasoned analysis of human conditions and the discussion of causes, far from culminating in disillusioned nihilism, everywhere aroused the democratic spirit, the life of sentiment and of human feeling: in the drama, with Marivaux, Diderot and La Chaussée; in art, with Chardin and Greuze; and in the salons, in view of the suppression of privilege. So that to Louis XV.’s cynical and hopeless declaration: “Apres moi le déluge,” the setting 18th century responded by a belief in progress and an appeal to the future. A long-drawn echo from all classes hailed a revolution that was possible because it was necessary.

If this revolution did not burst forth sooner, in the actual lifetime of Louis XV., if in Louis XVI.’s reign there was a renewal of loyalty to the king, before the appeal to liberty was made, that is to be explained by this hope of recovery. But Louis XVI.’s reign (1774-1792) was only to be a temporary halting-place, an artifice of history for passing through the transition period whilst elaborating the transformation which was to revolutionize, together with France, the whole world.

Louis XVI. was twenty years of age. Physically he was stout, and a slave to the Bourbon fondness for good living; intellectually a poor creature and but ill-educated, he loved nothing so much as hunting and locksmith’s Louis XVI. work. He had a taste for puerile amusements, a mania for useless little domestic economies in a court where millions vanished like smoke, and a natural idleness which achieved as its masterpiece the keeping a diary from 1766 to 1792 of a life so tragic, which was yet but a foolish chronicle of trifles. Add to this that he was a virtuous husband, a kind father, a fervent Christian and a good-natured man full of excellent intentions, yet a spectacle of moral pusillanimity and ineptitude.

From 1770 onwards lived side by side with this king, rather than at his side, the archduchess Marie Antoinette of Austria—one of the very graceful and very frivolous women who were to be found at Versailles, opening to life Marie Antoinette. like the flowers she so much loved, enamoured of pleasure and luxury, delighting to free herself from the formalities of court life, and mingling in the amusements of society; lovable and loving, without ceasing to be virtuous. Flattered and adored at the outset, she very soon furnished a sinister illustration to Beaumarchais’ Basile; for evil tongues began to calumniate the queen: those of her brothers-in-law, the duc d’Aiguillon (protector of Madame du Barry and dismissed from the ministry), and the Cardinal de Rohan, recalled from his embassy in Vienna. She was blamed for her friendship with the comtesse de Polignac, who loved her only as the dispenser of titles and positions; and when weary of this persistent begging for rewards, she was taxed with her preference for foreigners who asked nothing. People brought up against her the debts and expenditure due to her belief in the inexhaustible resources of France; and hatred became definite when she was suspected of trying to imitate her mother Maria Theresa and play the part of ruler, since her husband neglected his duty. They then became persuaded that it was she who caused the weight of taxation; in the most infamous libels comparison was made between her freedom of behaviour and that of Louis XV.’s former mistresses. Private envy and public misconceptions very soon summed up her excessive unpopularity in the menacing nickname, “L’Autrichienne.” (See Marie Antoinette.)

All this shows that Louis XVI. was not a monarch capable of directing or suppressing the inevitable revolution. His reign was but a tissue of contradictions. External affairs seemed in even a more dangerous position than Foreign policy of Louis XVI. those at home. Louis XVI. confided to Vergennes the charge of reverting to the traditions of the crown and raising France from the humiliation suffered by the treaty of Paris and the partition of Poland. His first act was to release French policy from the Austrian alliance of 1756; in this he was aided both by public opinion and by the confidence of the king—the latter managing to set aside the desires of the queen, whom the ambition of Maria Theresa and Joseph II. hoped to use as an auxiliary. Vergennes’ object was a double one: to free the kingdom from English supremacy and to shake off the yoke of Austria. Opportunities offered themselves simultaneously. In 1775 the English colonies in America rebelled, and Louis XVI., after giving them secret aid and encouragement almost from the first, finally in February 1778, despite Marie Antoinette, formed an open alliance with them; while when Joseph II., after having partitioned Poland, wanted in addition to balance the loss of Silesia with that of Bavaria, Vergennes prevented him from doing so. In vain was he offered a share in the partition of the Netherlands by way of an inducement. France’s disinterested action in the peace of Teschen (1779) restored to her the lost adherence of the secondary states. Europe began to respect her again when she signed a Franco-Dutch-Spanish alliance (1779-1780), and when, after the capitulation of the English at Yorktown, the peace of Versailles (1783) crowned her efforts with at least formal success. Thenceforward, partly from prudence and partly from penury, Vergennes cared only for the maintenance of peace—a not too easy task, in opposition to the greed of Catherine II. and Joseph II., who now wished to divide the Ottoman empire. Joseph II., recognizing that Louis XVI. would not sacrifice the “sick man” to him, raised the question of the opening of the Scheldt, against the Dutch. Vainly did Joseph II. accuse his sister of ingratitude and complain of her resistance; the treaty of Fontainebleau in 1785 maintained the rights of Holland. Later on, Joseph II., sticking to his point, wanted to settle the house of Bavaria in the Netherlands; but Louis XVI. supported the confederation of princes (Fürstenbund) which Frederick II. called together in order to keep his turbulent neighbour within bounds. Vergennes completed his work by signing a commercial treaty in 1786 with England, whose commerce and industry were favoured above others, and a second in 1787 with Russia. He died in 1787, at an opportune moment for himself; though he had temporarily raised France’s position in Europe, his work was soon ruined by the very means taken to secure its successes: warfare and armaments had hastened the “hideous bankruptcy.”

From the very beginning of his reign Louis XVI. fell into Internal policy of Louis XVI. 851 contradictions and hesitation in internal affairs, which could not but bring him to grief. He tried first of all to govern in accordance with public opinion, and was induced to flatter it beyond measure; in an extreme of inconsistency he re-established the parlements, the worst enemies of reform, at the very moment when he was calling in the reformers to his councils.

Turgot, the most notable of these latter, was well fitted to play his great part as an enlightened minister, as much from the principle of hard work and domestic economy traditional in his family, as from a maturity of mind Turgot 1774-1776. developed by extensive study at the Sorbonne and by frequenting the salons of the Encyclopaedists. He had proved this by his capable administration in the paymaster’s office at Limoges, from 1761 to 1774. A disciple of Quesnay and of Gournay, he tried to repeat in great affairs the experience of liberty which he had found successful in small, and to fortify the unity of the nation and the government by social, political and economic reforms. He ordained the free circulation of grain within the kingdom, and was supported by Louis XVI. in the course of the flour-war (guerre des farines) (April-May 1775); he substituted a territorial subsidy for the royal corvée—so burdensome upon the peasants—and thus tended to abolish privilege in the matter of imposts; and he established the freedom of industry by the dissolution of privileged trade corporations (1776). Finance was in a deplorable state, and as controller-general he formulated a new fiscal policy, consisting of neither fresh taxation nor loans, but of retrenchment. At one fell stroke the two auxiliaries on which he had a right to count failed him: public opinion, clamouring for reform on condition of not paying the cost; and the king, too timid to dominate public opinion, and not knowing how to refuse the demands of privilege. Economy in the matter of public finance implies a grain of severity in the collection of taxes as well as, in expenditure. By the former Turgot hampered the great interests; by the second he thwarted the desires of courtiers not only of the second rank but of the first. Therefore, after he had aroused the complaints of the commercial world and the bourgeoisie, the court, headed by Marie Antoinette, profited by the general excitement to overthrow him. The Choiseul party, which had gradually been reconstituted, under the influence of the queen, the princes, parlement, the prebendaries, and the trade corporations, worked adroitly to eliminate this reformer of lucrative abuses. The old courtier Maurepas, jealous of Turgot and desirous of remaining a minister himself, refrained from defending his colleague; and when Turgot, who never knew how to give in, spoke of establishing assemblies of freeholders in the communes and the provinces, in order to relax the tension of over-centralization, Louis XVI., who never dared to pass from sentiment to action, sacrificed his minister to the rancour of the queen, as he had already sacrificed Malesherbes (1776). Thus the first governmental act of the queen was an error, and dissipated the hope of replacing special privileges by a general guarantee given to the nation, which alone could have postponed a revolution. It was still too early for a Fourth of August; but the queen’s victory was none the less vain, since Turgot’s ideas were taken up by his successors.

The first of these was Necker, a Genevese financier. More able than Turgot, though a man of smaller ideas, he abrogated the edicts registered by the lits de justice; and unable or not daring to attack the evil at its root, he thought Necker, 1776-1781. he could suppress its symptoms by a curative process of borrowing and economy. Like Turgot he failed, and for the same reasons. The American war had finally exhausted the exchequer, and, in order to replenish it, he would have needed to inspire confidence in the minds of capitalists; but the resumption in 1778 of the plan of provincial assemblies charged with remodelling the various imposts, and his compte-rendu in which he exhibited the monarchy paying its pensioners for their inactivity as it had never paid its agents for their zeal, aroused a fresh outburst of anger. Necker was carried away in his turn by the reaction he had helped to bring about (1781).

Having fought the oligarchy of privilege, the monarchy next tried to rally it to its side, and all the springs of the old régime were strained to the breaking-point. The military rule of the marquis de Ségur eliminated the plebeians The return of feudalism to the offensive. from the army; while the great lords, drones in the hive, worked with a kind of fever at the enforcement of their seigniorial rights; the feudal system was making a last struggle before dying. The Church claimed her right of ordering the civil estate of all Frenchmen as an absolute mistress more strictly than ever. Joly de Fleury and D’Ormesson, Necker’s successors, pushed their narrow spirit of reaction and the temerity of their inexperience to the furthest limit; but the reaction which reinforced the privileged classes was not sufficient to fill the coffers of the treasury, and Marie Antoinette, who seemed gifted with a fatal perversity of instinct, confided the finances of the kingdom to Calonne, an upper-class official and a veritable Cagliostro of finance.

From 1783 to 1787, this man organized his astounding system of falsification all along the line. His unbridled prodigality, by spreading a belief in unlimited resources, augmented the confidence necessary for the success of perpetual Calonne, 1783-1787. loans; until the day came when, having exhausted the system, he tried to suppress privilege and fall back upon the social reforms of Turgot, and the financial schemes of Necker, by suggesting once more to the assembly of notables a territorial subsidy from all landed property. He failed, owing to the same reaction that was causing the feudal system to make inroads upon the army, the magistracy and industry; but in his fall he put on the guise of a reformer, and by a last wild plunge he left the monarchy, already compromised by the affair of the Diamond Necklace (q.v.), hopelessly exposed (April 1787).

The volatile and brilliant archbishop Loménie de Brienne was charged with the task of laying the affairs of the ancien régime before the assembly of notables, and with asking the nation for resources, since the monarchy could no Loménie de Brienne. longer provide for itself; but the notables refused, and referred the minister to the states-general, the representative of the nation. Before resorting to this extremity, Brienne preferred to lay before the parlement his two edicts regarding a stamp duty and the territorial subsidy; to be met by the same refusal, and the same reference to the states-general. The exile of the parlement to Troyes, the arrest of various members, and the curt declaration of the king’s absolute authority (November 9, 1787) were unsuccessful in breaking down its resistance. The threat of Chrétien François de Lamoignon, keeper of the seals, to imitate Maupeou, aroused public opinion and caused a fresh confederation of the parlements of the kingdom. The royal government was too much exhausted to overthrow even a decaying power like that of the parlements, and being still more afraid of the future representatives of the French people than of the supreme courts, capitulated to the insurgent parlements. The recalled parlement seemed at the pinnacle of power.

Its next action ruined its ephemeral popularity, by claiming the convocation of the states-general “according to the formula observed in 1614,” as already demanded by the estates of Dauphiné at Vizille on the 21st of July 1788. Recall of Necker. The exchequer was empty; it was necessary to comply. The royal declaration of the 23rd of September 1788 convoked the states-general for the 1st of May 1789, and the fall of Brienne and Lamoignon followed the recall of Necker. Thenceforward public opinion, which was looking for something quite different from the superannuated formula of 1614, abandoned the parlements, which in their turn disappeared from view; for the struggle beginning between the privileged classes and the government, now at bay, had given the public, through the states-general, that means of expression which they had always lacked.

The conflict immediately changed ground, and an engagement began between privilege and the people over the twofold question of the number of deputies and the mode of voting. Voting by Prelude to the states-general. head, and the double representation of the third estate (tiers état); this was the great revolution; voting by order meant the 852 continued domination of privilege, and the lesser revolution. The monarchy, standing apart, held the balance, but needed a decisive policy. Necker, with little backing at court, could not act energetically, and Louis XVI., wavering between Necker and the queen, chose the attitude most convenient to his indolence and least to his interest: he remained neutral, and his timidity showed clearly in the council of the 27th of December 1788. Separating the two questions which were so closely connected, and despite the sensational brochure of the abbé Sieyès, “What is the Third Estate?” he pronounced for the doubling of the third estate without deciding as to the vote by head, yet leaving it to be divined that he preferred the vote by order. As to the programme there was no more decisive resolution; but the edict of convocation gave it to be understood that a reform was under consideration; “the establishment of lasting and permanent order in all branches of the administration.” The point as to the place of convocation gave rise to a compromise between the too-distant centre of France and too-tumultuous Paris. Versailles was chosen The electorate. “because of the hunting!” In the procedure of the elections the traditional system of the states-general of 1614 was preserved, and the suffrage was almost universal, but in two kinds: for the third estate nearly all citizens over twenty-five years of age, paying a direct contribution, voted—peasants as well as bourgeois; the country clergy were included among the ecclesiastics; the smaller nobility among the nobles; and finally, Protestants were electors and eligible.

According to custom, documents (cahiers) were drawn up, containing a list of grievances and proposals for reform. All the orders were agreed in demanding prudently modified reform: the vote on the budget, order in finance, The addresses. regular convocation of the states-general, and a written constitution in order to get rid of arbitrary rule. The address of the clergy, inspired by the great prelates, sought to make inaccurate lamentations over the progress of impiety a means of safeguarding their enormous spiritual and temporal powers, their privileges and exemptions, and their vast wealth. The nobility demanded voting by order, the maintenance of their privileges, and, above all, laws to protect them against the arbitrary proceedings of royalty. The third estate insisted on the vote by head, the graduated abolition of privilege in all governmental affairs, a written constitution and union. The programme went on broadening as it descended in the social scale.

The elections sufficed finally to show that the ancien régime, characterized from the social point of view by inequality, from the political point of view by arbitrariness, and from the religious point of view by intolerance, was completed The elections. from the administrative point of view by inextricable disorder. As even the extent of the jurisdiction of the bailliages was unknown, convocations were made at haphazard, according to the good pleasure of influential persons, and in these assemblies decisions were arrived at by a process that confused every variety of rights and powers, and was governed by no logical principle; and in this extreme confusion terms and affairs were alike involved.

Whilst the bureaucracy of the ancien régime sought for desperate expedients to prolong its domination, the whole social body gave signs of a yet distant but ever nearing disintegration. The revolution was already complete The counter-currents of the Revolution. before it was declared to the world. Two distinct currents of disaffection, one economic, the other philosophic, had for long been pervading the nation. There had been much suffering throughout the 17th and 18th centuries; but no one had hitherto thought of a politico-social rising. But the other, the philosophic current, had been set going in the 18th century; and the policy of despotism tempered by privilege had been criticized in the name of liberty as no longer justifying itself by its services to the state. The ultramontane and oppressively burdensome church had been taunted with its lack of Christian charity, apostolic poverty and primitive virtue. All vitality had been sapped from the old order of nobles, reduced in prestige by the savonnette à vilains (office purchased to ennoble the holder), enervated by court life, and so robbed of its roots in the soil, from which it had once drawn its strength, that it could no longer live save as a ruinous parasite on the central monarchy. Lastly, to come to the bottom of the social scale, there were the common people, taxable at will, subject to the arbitrary and burdensome forced labour of the corvée, cut off by an impassable barrier from the privileged classes whom they hated. For them the right to work had been asserted, among others by Turgot, as a natural right opposed to the caprices of the arbitrary and selfish aristocracy of the corporations, and a breach had been made in the tyranny of the masters which had endeavoured to set a barrier to the astonishing outburst of industrial force which was destined to characterize the coming age.

The outward and visible progress of the Revolution, due primarily to profound economic disturbance, was thus accelerated and rendered irresistible. Economic reformers found a moral justification for their dissatisfaction in philosophical theories; the chance conjunction of a philosopho-political idea with a national deficit led to the preponderance of the third estate at the elections, and to the predominance of the democratic spirit in the states-general. The third estate wanted civil liberty above all; political liberty came second only, as a means and guarantee for the former. They wanted the abolition of the feudal system, the establishment of equality and a share in power. Neither the family nor property was violently attacked; the church and the monarchy still appeared to most people two respectable and respected institutions. The king and the privileged classes had but so to desire it, and the revolution would be easy and peaceful.

Louis XVI. was reluctant to abandon a tittle of his absolute power, nor would the privileged classes sacrifice their time-honoured traditions; they were inexorable. The king, more ponderous and irresolute every day, vacillated Meeting of the states-general. between Necker the liberal on one side and Marie Antoinette, whose feminine pride was opposed to any concessions, with the comte d’Artois, a mischievous nobody who could neither choose a side nor stick to one, on the other. When the states-general opened on the 5th of May 1789 Louis XVI. had decided nothing. The conflict between him and the Assembly immediately broke out, and became acute over the verification of the mandates; the third estate desiring this to be made in common by the deputies of the three orders, which would involve voting by head, the suppression of classes and the preponderance of the third estate. On the refusal of the privileged classes and after an interval of six weeks, the third estate, considering that they represented 96% of the nation, and in accordance with the proposal of Sieyès, declared that they represented the nation and therefore were authorized to take resolutions unaided, the first being that in future no arrangement for taxation could take place without their consent.

The king, urged by the privileged classes, responded to this Oath of the tennis-court. first revolutionary act, as in 1614, by closing the Salle des Menus Plaisirs where the third estate were sitting; whereupon, gathered in one of the tennis-courts under the presidency of Bailly, they swore on the 20th of June not to separate before having established the constitution of the kingdom.

Louis XVI. then decided, on the 23rd, to make known his policy in a royal lit de justice. He declared for the lesser reform, the fiscal, not the social; were this rejected, he declared that “he alone would arrange for the welfare of his people.” Meanwhile he annulled the sitting of the The Lit de Justice of June 23, 1789. 17th, and demanded the immediate dispersal of the Assembly. The third estate refused to obey, and by the mouth of Bailly and Mirabeau asserted the legitimacy of the Revolution. The refusal of the soldiers to coerce the Assembly showed that the monarchy could no longer rely on the army; and a few days later, when the lesser nobility and the lower ranks of the clergy had united with the third estate whose cause was their own, the king yielded, and on the 27th of June commanded both orders to join in the National Assembly, which was thereby 853 recognized and the political revolution sanctioned. But at the same time, urged by the “infernal cabal” of the queen and the comte d’Artois, Louis XVI. called in the foreign regiments—the only ones of which he could be certain—and dismissed Necker. The Assembly, dreading a sudden attack, demanded the withdrawal of the troops. Meeting with a refusal, Paris Taking of the Bastille. opposed the king’s army with her citizen-soldiers; and by the taking of the Bastille, that mysterious dark fortress which personified the ancien régime, secured the triumph of the Revolution (July 14). The king was obliged to recall Necker, to mount the tricolor cockade at the Hôtel de Ville, and to recognize Bailly as mayor of Paris and La Fayette as commander of the National Guard, which remained in arms after the victory. The National Assembly had right on its side after the 20th of June and might after the 14th of July. Thus was accomplished the Revolution which was to throw into the melting-pot all that had for centuries appeared fixed and stable.

As Paris had taken her Bastille, it remained for the towns and country districts to take theirs—all the Bastilles of feudalism. Want, terror and the contagion of examples precipitated the disruption of governmental authority and of the Spontaneous anarchy. old political status; and sudden anarchy dislocated all the organs of authority. Upon the ruins of the central administration temporary authorities were founded in various isolated localities, limited in area but none the less defiant of the government. The provincial assemblies of Dauphiné and elsewhere gave the signal; and numerous towns, following the example of Paris, instituted municipalities which substituted their authority for that of the intendants and their subordinates. Clubs were openly organized, pamphlets and journals appeared, regardless of administrative orders; workmen’s unions multiplied in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyons, in face of drastic prohibition; and anarchy finally set in with the defection of the army in Paris on the 23rd of June, at Nancy, at Metz and at Brest. The crying abuses of the old régime, an insignificant factor at the outset, soon combined with the widespread agrarian distress, due to the unjust distribution of land, the disastrous exploitation of the soil, the actions of the government, and the severe winter of 1788. Discontent showed itself in pillage and incendiarism on country estates; between March and July 1789 more than three hundred agrarian riots took place, uprooting the feudal idea of property, already compromised by its own excesses. Not only did pillaging take place; the boundaries of property were also ignored, and people no longer held themselves bound to pay taxes. These jacqueries hastened the movement of the regular revolution.

The decrees of the 4th of August, proposed by those noble “patriots” the duc d’Aiguillon and the vicomte de Noailles, who had already on the 23rd of June made armed resistance to the evacuation of the Hall of Assembly, The night of August 4. put the final touch to the revolution begun by the provincial assemblies, by liberating land and labour, and proclaiming equality among all Frenchmen. Instead of exasperating the demands of the peasants and workmen by repression and raising civil war between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, they drew a distinction between personal servitude, which was suppressed, and the rights of contract, which were to be redeemed—a laudable but impossible distinction. The whole feudal system crumbled before the revolutionary insistence of the peasants; for their masters, bourgeois or nobles, terrified by prolonged riots, capitulated and gradually had to consent to make the resolutions of the 4th of August a reality.

Overjoyed by this social liberation, the Assembly awarded Louis XVI. the title of “renewer of French liberty”; but remaining faithful to his hesitating policy of the 23rd of June, he ratified the decrees of the 4th of Elaboration of the constitution. August, only with a very ill grace. On the other hand, the privileged classes, and notably the clergy, who saw the whole traditional structure of their power threatened, now rallied to him, and when after the 28th of August the Assembly set to work on the new constitution, they combined in the effort to recover some of the position they had lost. But whatever their theoretical agreement on social questions, politically they were hopelessly at odds. The bourgeoisie, conscious of their opportunity, decided for a single chamber against the will of the noblesse; against that of the king they declared it permanent, and, if they accorded him a suspensory veto, this was only in order to guard them against the extreme assertion of popular rights. Thus the progress of the Revolution, so far, had left the mass of the people still excluded from any constitutional influence on the government, which was in the hands of the well-to-do classes, which also controlled the National Guard and the municipalities. The irritation of the disfranchised proletariat was moreover increased by the appalling dearness of bread and food generally, which the suspicious temper of the times—fomented by the tirades of Marat in the Ami du peuple—ascribed to English intrigues in revenge for the aid given by France to the American colonies, and to the treachery in high places that made these intrigues successful. The climax came with the rumour that the court was preparing a new military coup d’état, a rumour that seemed to be confirmed by indiscreet toasts proposed at a banquet by the officers of the guard at Versailles; and on the night of the 5th to the 6th of October a Parisian mob forced the king and royal family to return with them to Paris amid cries of “We are bringing the baker, the baker’s wife and the little baker’s boy!” The Assembly followed; and henceforth king and Assembly were more or less under the influence of the whims and passions of a populace maddened by want and suspicion, by the fanatical or unscrupulous incitements of an unfettered press, and by the unrestrained oratory of obscure demagogues in the streets, the cafés and the political clubs.

Convened for the purpose of elaborating a system that should conciliate all interests, the Assembly thus found itself forced into a conflict between the views of the people, who feared betrayal, and the court, which dreaded being overwhelmed. This schism was reflected in the parties of the Assembly; the absolutists of the extreme Right; the moderate monarchists of the Right and Centre; the constitutionalists of the Left Centre and Left; and, finally, on the extreme Left the democratic revolutionists, among whom Robespierre sat as yet all but unnoticed. Of talent there was enough and to spare in the Assembly; what was conspicuously lacking was common sense and a practical knowledge of affairs. Of all the orators who declaimed from the tribune, Mirabeau alone realized the perils of the situation and possessed the power of mind and will to have mastered them. Unfortunately, however, he was discredited by a disreputable past, and yet more by the equivocal attitude he had to assume in order to maintain his authority in the Assembly while working in what he believed to be the true interests of the court. His political ideal for France was that of the monarchy, rescued from all association with the abuses of the old régime and “broad-based upon the people’s will”; his practical counsel was that the king should frankly proclaim this ideal to the people as his own, should compete with the Assembly for popular favour, while at the same time using every means to win over those by whom his authority was flouted. For a time Mirabeau influenced the counsels of the court through the comte de Montmorin; but the king neither trusted him nor could be brought to see his point of view, and Marie Antoinette, though she resigned herself to negotiating with him, was very far from sympathizing with his ideals. Finally, all hope of the conduct of affairs being entrusted to him was shattered when the Assembly passed a law forbidding its members to become ministers.

The attempted reconciliation with the king having failed, the Assembly ended by working alone, and made the control that it should have exerted an instrument, not of co-operation but of strife. It inaugurated its legislative Declaration of the rights of man. labours by a metaphysical declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (October 2, 1789). This enunciation of universal verities, the bulk of which have, sooner 854 or later, been accepted by all civilized nations as “the gospel of modern times,” was inspired by all the philosophy of the 18th century in France and by the Contrat Social. It comprised various rational and humane ideas, no longer theological, but profoundly and deliberately thought out: ideas as to the sovereign-right of the nation, law by general consent, man superior to the pretensions of caste and the fetters of dogma, the vindication of the ideal and of human dignity. Unable to rest on historic precedent like England, the Constituent Assembly took as the basis for its labours the tradition of the thinkers.

Upon the principles proclaimed in this Declaration the constitution of 1791 was founded. Its provisions are discussed elsewhere (see the section below on Law and Institutions); here it will suffice to say that it established under the The constitution. sovereign people, for the king was to survive merely as the supreme executive official, a wholly new model of government in France, both in Church and State. The historic divisions of the realm were wiped out; for the old provinces were substituted eighty-three departments; and with the provinces vanished the whole organization, territorial, administrative and ecclesiastical, of the ancien régime. In one respect, indeed, the system of the old monarchy remained intact; the tradition of centralization established by Louis XIV. was too strong to be overthrown, and the destruction of the historic privileges and immunities with which this had been ever in conflict only served to strengthen this tendency. In 1791 France was pulverized into innumerable administrative atoms incapable of cohesion; and the result was that Paris became more than ever the brain and nerve-centre of France. This fact was soon to be fatal to the new constitution, though the administrative system established by it still survives. Paris was in effect dominated by the armed and organized proletariat, and this proletariat could never be satisfied with a settlement which, while proclaiming the sovereignty of the people, had, by means of the property qualification for the franchise, established the political ascendancy of the middle classes. The settlement had, in fact, settled nothing; it had, indeed, merely intensified the profound cleavage between the opposing tendencies; for if the democrats were alienated by the narrow franchise, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which cut at the very roots of the Catholic system, drove into opposition to the Revolution not only the clergy themselves but a vast number of their flocks.

The policy of the Assembly, moreover, hopelessly aggravated its misunderstanding with the king. Louis, indeed, accepted the constitution and attended the great Feast of Federation (July 14, 1790), when representatives from all the new departments assembled in the Champ de Mars to ratify the work of the Assembly; but the king either could not or would not say the expected word that would have dissipated mistrust. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy, too, seemed to him not only to violate his rights as a king, but his faith as a Christian also; and when the emigration of the nobility and the death of Mirabeau (April 2, 1791) had deprived him of his natural supporters and his only adviser, resuming the old plan of withdrawing to the army of the marquis de Bouillé at Metz, he made his ill-fated attempt to escape from Paris (June 20, 1791). The flight to Varennes was an irreparable error; for during the king’s absence and until his return the insignificance of the royal power became apparent. La Fayette’s fusillade of the republicans, who demanded the deposition of the king (July 17, 1791), led to a definite split between the democratic party and the bourgeois party. Vainly did Louis, brought back a captive to Paris, swear on the 14th of September 1791 solemnly mere lip-service to the constitution; the mistrustful party of revolution abandoned the constitution they had only just obtained, and to guard against the sovereign’s mental reservations and the selfish policy of the middle classes, appealed to the main force of the people. The conflict between the ancien régime and the National Assembly ended in the defeat of the royalists.

Through lassitude or disinterestedness the men of 1791, on The Legislative Assembly (Oct. 1, 1791-Sept 20, 1792). Robespierre’s suggestion, had committed one last mistake, by leaving the task of putting the constitution into practice to new men even more inexperienced than themselves. Thus the new Assembly’s time was occupied in a conflict between the Legislative Assembly and the king, who plotted against it; and, as a result, the monarchy, insulted by the proceedings of the 20th of June, was eliminated altogether by those of the 10th of August 1792.

The new Assembly which had met on the 1st of October 1791 had a majority favourable to the constitutional monarchy and to the bourgeois franchise. But, among these bourgeois those who were called Feuillants, from the name of The parties. their club (see Feuillants, Club of the), desired the strict and loyal application of the constitution without encroaching upon the authority of the king; the triumvirate, Duport, Barnave and Lameth, were at the head of this party. The Jacobins, on the contrary, considered that the king should merely be hereditary president of the Republic, to be deposed if he attempted to violate the constitution, and that universal suffrage should be established. The dominant group among these was that of the Girondins or Girondists, so called because its most brilliant members had been elected in the Gironde (see Girondists). But the republican party was more powerful without than within. Their chief was not so much Robespierre, president of the parliamentary and bourgeois club of the Jacobins (q.v.), which had acquired by means of its two thousand affiliated branches great power in the provinces, as the advocate Danton, president of the popular and Parisian club of the Cordeliers (q.v.). Between the Feuillants and the Jacobins, the independents, incapable of keeping to any fixed programme, vacillated sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left.

But the best allies of the republicans against the Feuillants were the royalists pure and simple, who cared nothing about the constitution, and claimed to “extract good from the excess of evil.” The election of a Jacobin, Pétion, Royalist intrigues.

The émigrés.
instead of Bailly, the resigning mayor, and La Fayette, the candidate for office, was their first achievement. The court, on its side, showed little sign of a conciliatory spirit, though, realizing its danger, it attempted to restrain the foolish violence of the émigrés, i.e. the nobles who after the suppression of titles of nobility in 1790 and the arrest of the king at Varennes, had fled in a body to Coblenz and joined Louis XVI.’s brothers, the counts of Provence and Artois. They it was who set in motion the national and European conflict. Under the prince of Condé they had collected a little army round Trier; and in concert with the “Austrian Committee” of Paris they solicited the armed intervention of monarchical Europe. The declaration of Pilnitz, which was but an excuse Declaration of Pilnitz. for non-interference on the part of the emperor and the king of Prussia, interested in the prolongation of these internal troubles, was put forward by them as an assurance of forthcoming support (August 27, 1791). At the same time the application of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy roused the whole of western La Vendée; and in face of the danger threatened by the refractory clergy and by the army of the émigrés, the Girondins set about confounding the court with the Feuillants in the minds of the public, and compromising Louis XVI. by a national agitation, denouncing him as an accomplice of the foreigner. Owing to the decrees against The decrees.

The war.
the comte de Provence, the emigrants, and the refractory priests, voted by the Legislative Assembly in November 1791, they forced Louis XVI. to show his hand by using his veto, so that his complicity should be plainly declared, to replace his Feuillant ministry—disparate in birth, opinions and ambitions—by the Girondin ministry of Dumouriez-Roland (March 10), no more united than the other, but believers in a republican crusade for the overthrow of thrones, that of Louis XVI. first of all; and finally to declare war against the king of Bohemia and Hungary, a step also desired by the court in the hope of ridding itself of the Assembly at the first note of victory (April 20, 1792).


But when, owing to the disorganization of the army through emigration and desertion, the ill-prepared Belgian war was followed by invasion and the trouble in La Vendée increased, all France suspected a betrayal. The Proceedings of June 20. Assembly, in order to reduce the number of hostile forces, voted for the exile of all priests who had refused to swear to the Civil Constitution and the substitution of a body of twenty thousand volunteer national guards, under the authority of Paris, for the king’s constitutional guard (May 27-June 8, 1792). Louis XVI.’s veto and the dismissal of the Girondin ministry—thanks to an intrigue of Dumouriez, analogous to that of Mirabeau and as ineffectual—dismayed the Feuillants and maddened the Girondins; the latter, to avert popular fury, turned it upon the king. The émeute of the 20th of June, a burlesque which, but for the persistent good-humour of Louis XVI., might have become a tragedy, alarmed but did not overthrow the monarchy.

The bourgeoisie, the Assembly, the country and La Fayette, one of the leaders of the army, now embarked upon a royalist reaction, which would perhaps have been efficacious, had it not been for the entry into the affair of the Manifesto of Brunswick. Prussians as allies of the Austrians, and for the insolent manifesto of the duke of Brunswick. The Assembly’s cry of “the country in danger” (July 11) proved to the nation that the king was incapable of defending France against the foreigner; and the appeal of the federal volunteers in Paris gave to the opposition, together with the war-song of the Marseillaise, the army which had been refused by Louis XVI., now disarmed. The vain attempts of the Gironde to reconcile the king and the Revolution, the ill-advised decree of the Assembly on the 8th of August, freeing La Fayette from his guilt in forsaking his army; his refusal to vote for the deposition of the king, and the suspected treachery of the court, led to the success of the republican forces when, on the 10th of August, the mob of Paris organized by the revolutionary Commune rose against the monarchy.

The suspension and imprisonment of the king left the supreme authority nominally in the hands of the Assembly, but actually in those of the Commune, consisting of delegates from the administrative sections of Paris. Installed The insurrectional commune of Paris.

The September massacres.
at the Hôtel de Ville this attempted to influence the discredited government, entered into conflict with the Legislative Assembly, which considered its mission at an end, and paralyzed the action of the executive council, particularly during the bloody days of September, provoked by the discovery of the court’s intrigues with the foreigner, by the treachery of La Fayette, the capture of Longwy, the investiture of Verdun by the Prussians (August 19-30), and finally by the incendiary placards of Marat. Danton, a master of diplomatic and military operations, had to avoid any rupture with the Commune. Fortunately, on the very day of the dispersal of the Legislative Assembly, Dumouriez saved France from a Prussian invasion by the victory of Valmy, and by unauthorized negotiations which prefigured those of Bonaparte at Léoben (September 22, 1792).

The popular insurrection against Louis XVI. determined the simultaneous fall of the bourgeois régime and the establishment of the democracy in power. The Legislative Assembly, without a mandate for modifying a constitution that had become inapplicable with the suspension of the monarch, had before disappearing convoked a National Convention, and as the reward of the struggle for liberty had replaced the limited franchise by universal suffrage. Public opinion became republican from an excess of patriotism, and owing to the propaganda of the Jacobin club; while the decree of the 25th of August 1792, which marked the destruction of feudalism, now abolished in principle, caused the peasants to rally definitely to the Republic.

This had hardly been established before it became distracted by the fratricidal strife of its adherents, from September 22, 1792, to the 18th Fructidor (September 4, 1797). The electoral The Convention, Sept. 21. 1792-Oct. 26, 1795. assemblies, in very great majority, had desired this Republic to be democratic and equalizing in spirit, but on the face of it, liberal, uniform and propagandist; in consequence, the 782 deputies of the Convention were not divided on principles, but only by personal rivalries and ambition. They all wished for a unanimity and harmony impossible to obtain; and being unable to convince they destroyed one another.

The Girondins in the Convention played the part of the Feuillants in the Legislative Assembly. Their party was not well disciplined, they purposely refrained from making it so, and hence their ruin. Oratorically they represented The parties. the spirit of the South; politically, the ideas of the bourgeoisie in opposition to the democracy—which they despised although making use of it—and the federalist system, from an objection to the preponderance of Paris. Paris, on the other hand, had elected only deputies of the Mountain, as the more advanced of the Jacobins were called, that party being no more settled and united than the others. They drew support from the Parisian democracy, and considered the decentralization of the Girondins as endangering France’s unity, circumstances demanding a strong and highly concentrated government; they opposed a republic on the model of that of Rome to the Polish republic of the Gironde. Between the two came the Plaine, the Marais, the troop of trembling bourgeois, sincerely attached to the Revolution, but very moderate in the defence of their ideas; some seeking a refuge from their timidity in hard-working committees, others partaking in the violence of the Jacobins out of weakness or for reasons of state.

The Girondins were the first to take the lead; in order to retain it they should have turned the Revolution into a government. They remained an exclusive party, relying on the mob but with no influence over it. Without a The Girondins. leader or popular power, they might have found both in Danton; for, occupied chiefly with the external danger, he made advances towards them, which they repulsed, partly in horror at the proceedings of September, but chiefly because they saw in him the most formidable rival in the path of the government. They waged war against him as relentlessly as did the Constitutionalists against Mirabeau, whom he resembled in his extreme ugliness and his volcanic eloquence. They drove him into the arms of Robespierre, Marat and the Commune of Paris. On the other hand, after the 23rd of September they declared Paris dangerous for the Convention, and wanted to reduce it to “eighty-three influential members.” Danton and the Mountain responded by decreeing the unity and indivisibility of the Republic, in order to emphasize the suspicions of federalism which weighed upon the Girondins.

The trial of Louis XVI. still further enhanced the contrasts of ideas and characters. The discovery of fresh proofs of treachery in the iron chest (November 20, 1792) gave the Mountain a pretext for forcing on the clash of parties and Trial and death of Louis XVI. raising the question not of legality but of public safety. By the execution of the king (January 21, 1793) they “cast down a king’s head as a challenge to the kings of Europe.” In order to preserve popular favour and their direction of the Republic, the Girondins had not dared to pronounce against the sentence of death, but had demanded an appeal to the people which was rejected; morally weakened by this equivocal attitude they were still more so by foreign events.

The king’s death did not result in the unanimity so much desired by all parties; it only caused the reaction on themselves of the hatred which had been hitherto concentrated upon the king, and also an augmentation in the armies First European coalition. of the foreigner, which obliged the revolutionists to face all Europe. There was a coalition of monarchs, and the people of La Vendée rose in defence of their faith. Dumouriez, the conqueror of Jemappes (November 6, 1792), who invaded Holland, was beaten by the Austrians (March 1793). A levy of 300,000 men was ordered; a Committee of General Security was charged with the search for suspects; and thenceforward military occurrences called forth parliamentary crises 856 and popular upheavals. Girondins and Jacobins unjustly accused one another of leaving the traitors, the conspirators, the “stipendiaries of Coblenz” unpunished. To avert the danger threatened by popular dissatisfaction, the Gironde was persuaded to vote for the creation of a revolutionary tribunal to judge suspects, while out of spite against Danton who demanded it, they refused the strong government which might have made a stand against the enemy (March 10, 1793). This was the first of the exceptional measures which were to call down ruin upon them. Whilst the insurrection in La Vendée was spreading, and Dumouriez falling back upon Neerwinden, sentence of death was laid upon émigrés and refractory priests; the treachery of First committee of pubic safety. Dumouriez, disappointed in his Belgian projects, gave grounds for all kinds of suspicion, as that of Mirabeau had formerly done, and led the Gironde to propose the new government which they had refused to Danton. The transformation of the provisional executive council into the Committee of Public Safety—omnipotent save in financial matters—was voted because the Girondins meant to control it; but Danton got the upper hand (April 6).

The Girondins, discredited in Paris, multiplied their attacks upon Danton, now the master: they attributed the civil war and the disasters of the foreign campaign to the despotism of the Paris Commune and the clubs; they Struggle between the commune and the Gironde. accused Marat of instigating the September massacres; and they began the supreme struggle by demanding the election of a committee of twelve deputies, charged with breaking up the anarchic authorities in Paris (May 18). The complete success of the Girondin proposals; the arrest of Hébert—the violent editor of the Père Duchêne; the insurrection of the Girondins of Lyons against the Montagnard Commune; the bad news from La Vendée—the military reverses; and the economic situation which had compelled the fixing of a maximum price of corn (May 4) excited the “moral insurrections” of May 31 and June 2. Marat himself sounded the tocsin, and Hanriot, at the head of the Parisian army, surrounded the Convention. Despite the efforts of Danton and the Committee of Public Safety, the arrest of the Girondins sealed the victory of the Mountain.

The threat of the Girondin Isnard was fulfilled. The federalist insurrection, to avenge the violation of national representation, responded to the Parisian insurrection. Sixty-nine departmental governments protested against the Fall of the Gironde. violence done to the Convention; but the ultra-democratic constitution of 1793 deprived the Girondins, who were arming in the west, the south and the centre, of all legal force. To the departments that were hostile to the dictatorship of Paris, and the tyranny of Danton or Robespierre, it promised the referendum, an executive of twenty-four citizens, universal suffrage, and the free exercise of religion. The populace, who could not understand this parliamentary quarrel, and were in a hurry to set up a national defence, abandoned the Girondins, and the latter excited the enthusiasm of only one person, Charlotte Corday, who by the murder of Marat ruined them irretrievably. The battle of Brécourt was a defeat without a fight for their party without stamina and their general without troops (July 13); while on the 31st of October their leaders perished on the guillotine, where they had been preceded by the queen, Marie Antoinette. The Girondins and their adversaries were differentiated by neither religious dissensions nor political divergency, but merely by a question of time. The Girondins, when in power, had had scruples which had not troubled them while scaling the ladder; idols of Paris, they had flattered her in turn, and when Paris scorned them they sought support in the provinces. A great responsibility for this defeat of the liberal and republican bourgeoisie, whom they represented, is to be laid upon Madame Roland, the Egeria of the party. An ardent patriot and republican, her relations with Danton resembled those of Marie Antoinette with Mirabeau, in each case a woman spoilt by flattery, enraged at indifference. She was the ruin of the Gironde, but taught it how to die.

The fall of the Gironde left the country disturbed by civil war, and the frontiers more seriously threatened than before Valmy. Bouchotte, a totally inefficient minister for war, the Commune’s man of straw, left the army without food or ammunition, while the suspected officers remained inactive. In the Angevin Vendée the incapable leaders let themselves be beaten at Aubiers, Beaupréau and Thouars, at a time when Cathelineau was taking possession of Saumur and threatening Nantes, the capture of which would have permitted the insurgents in La Vendée to join those of Brittany and receive provisions from England. Meanwhile, the remnants of the Girondin federalists were overcome by the disguised royalists, who had aroused the whole of the Rhône valley from Lyons to Marseilles, had called in the Sardinians, and handed over the fleet and the arsenal at Toulon to the English, whilst Paoli left Corsica at their disposal. The scarcity of money due to the discrediting of the assignats, the cessation of commerce, abroad and on the sea, and the bad harvest of 1793, were added to all these dangers, and formed a serious menace to France and the Convention.

This meant a hard task for the first Committee of Public Safety and its chief Danton. He was the only one to understand the conditions necessary to a firm government; he caused the adjournment of the decentralizing constitution The dictatorship of the first committee of public safety. of 1793, and set up a revolutionary government. The Committee of Public Safety, now a permanency, annulled the Convention and was itself the central authority, its organization in Paris being the twelve committees substituted for the provisional executive committee and the six ministers, the Committee of General Security for the maintenance of the police, and the arbitrary Revolutionary Tribunal. The execution of its orders in the departments was carried out by omnipotent representatives “on mission” in the armies, by popular societies—veritable missionaries of the Revolution—and by the revolutionary committees which were its backbone.

Despite this Reign of Terror Danton failed; he could neither dominate foes within nor divide those without. Representing the sane and vigorous democracy, and like Jefferson a friend to liberty and self-government, he had been Danton’s failure. obliged to set up the most despotic of governments in face of internal anarchy and foreign invasion. Being of a temperament that expressed itself only in action, and neither a theorist nor a cabinet-minister, he held the views of a statesman without having a following sufficient to realize them. Moreover, the proceedings of the 2nd of June, when the Commune of Paris had triumphed, had dealt him a mortal blow. He in his turn tried to stem the tumultuous current which had borne him along, and to prevent discord; but the check to his policy of an understanding with Prussia and with Sardinia, to whom, like Richelieu and D’Argenson, he offered the realization of her transalpine ambition in exchange for Nice and Savoy, was added to the failure of his temporizing methods in regard to the federalist insurgents, and of his military operations against La Vendée. A man of action and not of cunning shifts, he succumbed on the 10th of July to the blows of his own government, which had passed from his hands into those of Robespierre, his ambitious and crafty rival.

The second Committee of Public Safety lasted until the 27th of July 1794. Composed of twelve members, re-eligible every month, and dominated by the triumvirate, Robespierre, Saint-Just and Couthon, it was stronger Second committee of public safety. than ever, since it obtained the right of appointing leaders, disposed of money, and muzzled the press. Many of its members were sons of the bourgeoisie, men who having been educated at college, thanks to some charitable agency, in the pride of learning, and raised above their original station, were ready for anything but had achieved nothing. They had plenty of talent at command, were full of classical tirades against tyranny, and, though sensitive enough in their private life, were bloodthirsty butchers in their public relations. Such were Robespierre, Saint-Just, Couthon, Billaud-Varenne, Cambon, Thuriot, Collot d’Herbois, Barrère and Prieur de la Mârne. Working hand in hand with these politicians, not 857 always in accordance with them, but preserving a solid front, were the specialists, Carnot, Robert Lindet, Jean Bon Saint-André and Prieur de la Côte d’Or, honourable men, anxious above all to safeguard their country. At the head of the former type Robespierre, without special knowledge or exceptional talent, devoured by jealous ambition and gifted with cold grave eloquence, enjoyed a great moral ascendancy, due to his incorruptible purity of life and the invariably correct behaviour that had been wanting in Mirabeau, and by the persevering will which Danton had lacked. His marching orders were: no more temporizing with the federalists or with generals who are afraid of conquering; war to the death with all Europe in the name of revolutionary propaganda and the monarchical tradition of natural frontiers; and fear, as a means of government. The specialists answered foreign foes by their organization of victory; as for foes at home, the triumvirate crushed them beneath the Terror.

France was saved by them and by that admirable outburst of patriotism which provided 750,000 patriots for the army through the general levy of the 16th of August 1793, aided, moreover, by the mistakes of her enemies. Defeat of the coalition. Instead of profiting by Dumouriez’s treachery and the successes in La Vendée, the Coalition, divided over the resuscitated Polish question, lost time on the frontiers of this new Poland of the west which was sacrificing itself for the sake of a Universal Republic. Thus in January 1794 the territory of France was cleared of the Prussians and Austrians by the victories at Hondschoote, Wattignies and Wissembourg; the army of La Vendée was repulsed from Granville, overwhelmed by Hoche’s army at Le Mans and Savenay, and its leaders shot; royalist sedition was suppressed at Lyons, Bordeaux, Marseilles and Toulon; federalist insurrections were wiped out by the terrible massacres of Carrier at Nantes, the atrocities of Lebon at Arras, and the wholesale executions of Fouché and Collot d’Herbois at Lyons; Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette guillotined, the émigrés dispersed, denied or forsaken by all Europe.

But the triumphant Mountain was not as united as it boasted. The second Committee of Public Safety had now to struggle against two oppositions: one of the left, represented by Hébert, the Commune of Paris and the Cordeliers; The new parties. another of the right, Danton and his followers. The former would not admit that the Terror was only a temporary method of defence; for them it was a permanent system which was even to be strengthened in order to crush all who were hostile to the Revolution. Their sanguinary violence was combined with an anti-religious policy, not atheistical, but inspired by mistrust of the clergy, and by a civic and deistic creed that was a direct outcome of the federations. To these latter were due the substitution of the Republican for the Gregorian calendar, and the secular Feasts of Reason (November 19, 1793). The followers of Hébert wanted to push forward the movement of May 31, 1793, in order to become masters in their turn; while those of Danton were by way of arresting it. They considered it The party of tolerance. time to re-establish the reign of ordinary laws and justice; sick of bloodshed, with Camille Desmoulins they demanded a “Committee of Clemency.” A deist and therefore hostile to “anti-religious masquerades,” while uneasy at the absolute authority of the Paris Commune, which aimed at suppressing the State, and at its armed propaganda abroad, Robespierre resumed the struggle against its illegal power, so fatal to the Gironde. His boldness succeeded (March 24, 1794), and then, jealous of Danton’s activity and statesmanship, and exasperated by the jeers of his friends, he rid himself of the party of tolerance by a parody of justice (April 5).

Robespierre now stood alone. During five months, while affecting to be the representative of “a reign of justice and virtue,” he laboured at strengthening his politico-religious dictatorship—already so formidably armed—with Robespierre’s dictatorship. new powers. “The incorruptible wanted to become the invulnerable” and the scaffold of the guillotine was crowded. By his dogma of the supreme state Robespierre founded a theocratic government with the police as an Inquisition. The festival of the new doctrine, which turned the head of the new pontiff (June 8), the loi de Prairial, or “code of legal murder” (June 10), which gave the deputies themselves into his hand; and the multiplication of executions at a time when the victory of Fleurus (June 25) showed the uselessness and barbarity of this aggravation of the Reign of Terror provoked against him the victorious coalition of revenge, 9th Thermidor. lassitude and fear. Vanquished and imprisoned, he refused to take part in the illegal action proposed by the Commune against the Convention. Robespierre was no man of action. On the 9th Thermidor (July 27, 1794) he fell into the gulf that had opened on the 31st of May, and through which the 18th Brumaire was visible.

Although brought about by the Terrorists, the tragic fall of Robespierre put an end to the Reign of Terror; for their chiefs having disappeared, the subordinates were too much divided to keep up the dictatorship of the third Third committee of public safety. Committee of Public Safety, and reaction soon set in. After a change in personnel in favour of the surviving Dantonists, came a limitation to the powers of the Committee of Public Safety, now placed in dependence upon the Convention; and next followed the destruction of the revolutionary system, the Girondin decentralization and the resuscitation of departmental governments; the reform of the Revolutionary Tribunal on the 10th of August; the suppression of the Commune of Paris on the 1st of September, and of the salary of forty sous given to members of the sections; the abolition of the maximum, the suppression of the Guillotine, the opening of the prisons, the closing of the Jacobin club (November 11), and the henceforward insignificant existence of the popular societies.

Power reverted to the Girondins and Dantonists, who re-entered the Convention on the 18th of December; but with them re-entered likewise the royalists of Lyons, Marseilles and Toulon, and further, after the peace of Resuscitation of the royalist party. Basel, many young men set free from the army, hostile to the Jacobins and defenders of the now moderate and peace-making Convention. These muscadins and incroyables, led by Fréron, Tallien and Barras—former revolutionists who had become aristocrats—profited by the restored liberty of the press to prepare for days of battle in the salons of the merveilleuses Madame Tallien, Madame de Staël and Madame Récamier, as the sans-culottes had formerly done in the clubs. The remnants of Robespierre’s faction became alarmed at this Thermidor reaction, in which they scented royalism. Aided by famine, by the suppression of the maximum, and by the imminent bankruptcy of the assignats, they endeavoured to arouse the working classes and the former Hanriot companies against a government which was trying to destroy the republic, and had broken the busts of Marat and guillotined Carrier and Fouquier-Tinville, the former public prosecutor. Popular risings of Germinal and Prairial. Thus the risings of the 12th Germinal (April 1, 1795) and of the 1st Prairial (May 20) were economic revolts rather than insurrections excited by the deputies of the Mountain; in order to suppress them the reactionaries called in the army. Owing to this first intervention of the troops in politics, the Committee of Public Safety, which aimed not so much at a moderate policy as at steering a middle course between the Thermidorians of the Right and of the Left, was able to dispense with the latter.

The royalists now supposed that their hour had come. In the south, the companions of Jehu and of the Sun inaugurated a “White Terror,” which had not even the apparent excuse of the public safety or of exasperated patriotism. The white terror. At the same time they prepared for a twofold insurrection against the republic—in the west with the help of England, and in the east with that of Austria—by an attempt to bribe General Pichegru. But though the heads of the government wanted to put an end to the Revolution they had no thought of restoring the monarchy in favour of the Comte de Provence, who had taken the title of Louis XVIII. on hearing of the death of the dauphin in the Temple, and still less of bringing 858 back the ancien régime. Hoche crushed the insurrection of the Chouans and the Bretons at Quiberon on the 2nd of July 1795, and Pichegru, scared, refused to entangle himself any further.

To cut off all danger from royalists or terrorists the Convention now voted the Constitution of the year III.; suppressing that of 1793, in order to counteract the terrorists, and re-establishing the bourgeois limited franchise with The constitution of the year III.

The 13th Vendémiaire.
election in two degrees—a less liberal arrangement than that granted from 1789 to 1792. The chambers of the Five Hundred and of the Ancients were elected by the moneyed and intellectual aristocracy, and were to be re-elected by thirds annually. The executive authority, entrusted to five Directors, was no more than a definite and very strong Committee of Public Safety; but Sieyès, the author of the new constitution, in opposition to the royalists, had secured places of refuge for his party by reserving posts as directors for the regicides, and two-thirds of the deputies’ seats for members of the Convention. In self-defence against this continuance of the policy and the personnel of the Convention—a modern “Long Parliament”—the royalists, persistent street-fighters and masters in the “sections” after the suppression of the daily indemnification of forty sous, attempted the insurrection of the 13th Vendémiaire (October 5, 1795), which was easily put down by General Bonaparte.

Thus the bourgeois republic reaped the fruits of its predecessor’s external policy. After the freeing of the land in January 1794 an impulse had been given to the spirit of conquest which had gradually succeeded to the disinterested fever of Military achievements of the convention.

Treaty of Basel.
propaganda and overheated patriotism. This it was which had sustained Robespierre’s dictatorship; and, owing to the “amalgam” and the re-establishment of discipline, Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine had been conquered and Holland occupied, simultaneously with Kosciusko’s rising in Poland, Prussia’s necessity of keeping and extending her Polish acquisitions, Robespierre’s death, the prevalent desires of the majority, and the continued victories of Pichegru, Jourdan and Moreau, enfeebled the coalition. At Basel (April-July 1795) republican France, having rejoined the concert of Europe, signed the long-awaited peace with Prussia, Spain, Holland and the grand-duke of Tuscany. But thanks to the past influence of the Girondin party, who had caused the war, and of the regicides of the Mountain, this peace not only ratified the conquest of Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine and Santo Domingo, but paved the way for fresh conquests; for the old spirit of domination and persistent hostility to Austria attracted the destinies of the Revolution definitely towards war.

The work of internal construction amidst this continued battle against the whole world had been no less remarkable. The Constituent Assembly had been more destructive than constructive; but the Convention preserved intact Internal achievements. those fundamental principles of civil liberty which had been the main results of the Revolution: the equality so dear to the French, and the sovereignty of the people—the foundation of democracy. It also managed to engage private interests in state reform by creating the Grand Livre de la Dette Publique (September 13-26, 1793), and enlisted peasant and bourgeois savings in social reforms by the distribution and sale of national property. But with views reaching beyond equality of rights to a certain equality of property, the committees, as regards legislation, poor relief and instruction, laid down principles which have never been realized, save in the matter of the metric system; so that the Convention which was dispersed on the 16th of October 1795 made a greater impression on political history and social ideas than on institutions. Its disappearance left a great blank.

During four years the Directory attempted to fill this blank. Being the outcome of the Constitution of the year III., it should have been the organizing and pacifying government of the Republic; in reality it sought not to create, but The Directory. to preserve its own existence. Its internal weakness, between the danger of anarchy and the opposition of the monarchists, was extreme; and it soon became discredited by its own coups d’état and by financial impotence in the eyes of a nation sick of revolution, aspiring towards peace and the resumption of economic undertakings. As to foreign affairs, its aggressive policy imperilled the conquests that had been the glory of the Convention, and caused the frontiers of France, the defence of which had been a point of honour with the Republic, to be called in question. Finally, there was no real government on the part of the five directors: La Révellière-Lépeaux, an honest man but weak; Reubell, the negotiator of the Hague; Letourneur, an officer of talent; Barras, a man of intrigue, corrupt and without real convictions; and Carnot, the only really worthy member. They never understood one another, and never consulted together in hours of danger, save to embroil matters in politics as in war. Leaning on the bourgeois, conservative, liberal and anti-clerical republicans, they were no more able than was the Thermidor party to re-establish the freedom that had been suspended by revolutionary despotism; they created a ministry of police, interdicted the clubs and popular societies, distracted the press, and with partiality undertook the separation of Church and State voted on the 18th of September 1794. Their real defence against counter revolution was the army; but, by a further contradiction, they reinforced the army attached to the Revolution while seeking an alliance with the peacemaking bourgeoisie. Their party had therefore no more homogeneity than had their policy.

Moreover the Directory could not govern alone; it had to rely upon two other parties, according to circumstances: the republican-democrats and the disguised royalists. The former, purely anti-royalist, thought only of The parties. remedying the sufferings of the people. Roused by the collapse of the assignats, following upon the ruin of industry and the arrest of commerce, they were still further exasperated by the speculations of the financiers, by the jobbery which prevailed throughout the administration, and by the sale of national property which had profited hardly any but the bourgeoisie. After the 13th Vendémiaire the royalists too, deceived in their hopes, were expecting to return gradually to the councils, thanks to the high property qualification for the franchise. Under the name of “moderates” they demanded an end to this war which England continued and Austria threatened to recommence, and that the Directory from self-interested motives refused to conclude; they desired the abandonment of revolutionary proceedings, order in finance and religious peace.

The Directory, then, was in a minority in the country, and had to be ever on the alert against faction; all possible methods seemed legitimate, and during two years appeared successful. Order was maintained in France, even the Struggle against the royalists.

Struggle against the republican democrats and the socialists.
royalist west being pacified, thanks to Hoche, who finished his victorious campaign of 1796 against Stofflet, Charette and Cadoudal, by using mild and just measures to complete the subjection of the country. The greatest danger lay in the republican-democrats and their socialist ally, François Noel (“Gracchus”) Babeuf (q.v.). The former had united the Jacobins and the more violent members of the Convention in their club, the Société du Panthéon; and their fusion, after the closing of the club, with the secret society of the Babouvists lent formidable strength to this party, with which Barras was secretly in league. The terrorist party, deprived of its head, had found a new leader, who, by developing the consequences of the Revolution’s acts to their logical conclusion, gave first expression to the levelling principle of communism. He proclaimed the right of property as appertaining to the state, that is, to the whole community; Babeuf. the doctrine of equality as absolutely opposed to social inequality of any kind—that of property as well as that of rank; and finally the inadequacy of the solution of the agrarian question, which had profited scarcely any one, save a new class of privileged individuals. But these socialist demands were premature; the attack of the camp of Grenelle upon constitutional order 859 ended merely in the arrest and guillotining of Babeuf (September 9, 1796-May 25, 1797).

The liquidation of the financial inheritance of the Convention was no less difficult. The successive issues of assignats, and the multiplication of counterfeits made abroad, had so depreciated this paper money that an assignat of 100 Financial policy of the Directory. francs was in February 1796 worth only 30 centimes; while the government, obliged to accept them at their nominal value, no longer collected any taxes and could not pay salaries. The destruction of the plate for printing assignats, on the 18th of February 1796, did not prevent the drop in the forty milliards still in circulation. Territorial mandates were now tried, which inspired no greater confidence, but served to liquidate two-thirds of the debt, the remaining third being consolidated by its dependence on the Grand Livre (September 30, 1797). This widespread bankruptcy, falling chiefly on the bourgeoisie, inaugurated a reaction which lasted until 1830 against the chief principle of the Constituent Assembly, which had favoured indirect taxation as producing a large sum without imposing any very obvious burden. The bureaucrats of the old system—having returned to their offices and being used to these indirect taxes—lent their assistance, and thus the Directory was enabled to maintain its struggle against the Coalition.

All system in finance having disappeared, war provided the Directory, now in extremis, with a treasury, and was its only source for supplying constitutional needs; while it opened a path to the military commanders who were External policy. to be the support and the glory of the state. England remaining invulnerable in her insular position despite Hoche’s attempt to land in Ireland in 1796, the Directory resumed the traditional policy against Austria of conquering the natural frontiers, Carnot furnishing the plans; hence the war in southern Germany, in which Jourdan and Moreau were repulsed by an inferior force under the archduke Charles, and Bonaparte’s triumphant Italian campaign. Chief of an army that he had made irresistible, not by honour but by glory, and master of wealth by rapine, Bonaparte imposed his will upon the Directory, which he provided with funds. After having separated the Piedmontese from the Austrians, whom he drove back into Tyrol, and repulsed offensive reprisals of Wurmser and Alvinzi on four occasions, he stopped short at the preliminary negotiations of Léoben just at the moment when the Directory, discouraged by the problem of Italian reconstitution, was preparing the army of the Rhine to re-enter the field under the command of Hoche. Bonaparte thus gained the good opinion of peace-loving Frenchmen; he partitioned Venetian territory with Austria, contrary to French interests but conformably with his own in Italy, and henceforward was the decisive factor in French and European policy, like Caesar or Pompey of old. England, in consternation, offered in her turn to negotiate at Lille.

These military successes did not prevent the Directory, like the Thermidorians, from losing ground in the country. Every strategic truce since 1795 had been marked by a political crisis; peace reawakened opposition. The constitutional Struggle against the royalists. party, royalist in reality, had made alarming progress, chiefly owing to the Babouvist conspiracy; they now tried to corrupt the republican generals, and Condé procured the treachery of Pichegru, Kellermann and General Ferrand at Besançon. Moreover, their Clichy club, directed by the abbé Brottier, manipulated Parisian opinion; while many of the refractory priests, having returned after the liberal Public Worship Act of September 1795, made active propaganda against the principles of the Revolution, and plotted the fall of the Directory as maintaining the State’s independence of the Church. Thus the partial elections of the year V. (May 20, 1797) had brought back into the two councils a counter-revolutionary majority of royalists, constitutionalists of 1791, Catholics and moderates. The Director Letourneur had been replaced by Barthélemy, who had negotiated the treaty of Basel and was a constitutional monarchist. So that the executive not only found it impossible to govern, owing to the opposition of the councils and a vehement press-campaign, but was distracted by ceaseless internal conflict. Carnot and Barthélemy wished to meet ecclesiastical opposition by legal measures only, and demanded peace; while Barras, La Révellière and Reubell saw no other remedy save military force. The attempt of the counter-revolutionaries to make an army for themselves out of the guard of the Legislative Assembly, and the success of the Catholics, who had managed at the end of August 1797 to repeal the laws against refractory priests, determined the Directory to appeal from the rebellious parliament to the ready swords of Augereau and Bernadotte. On the 18th Fructidor (September 18th Fructidor. 4, 1797) Bonaparte’s lieutenants, backed up by the whole army, stopped the elections in forty-nine departments, and deported to Guiana many deputies of both councils, journalists and non-juring priests, as well as the director Barthélemy, though Carnot escaped into Switzerland. The royalist party was once more overthrown, but with it the republican constitution itself. Thus every act of violence still further confirmed the new empire of the army and the defeat of principles, preparing the way for military despotism.

Political and financial coups d’état were not enough for the directors. In order to win back public opinion, tired of internecine quarrels and sickened by the scandalous immorality of the generals and of those in power, Aggressive policy of the Directory. and to remove from Paris an army which after having given them a fresh lease of life was now a menace to them, war appeared their only hopeful course. They attempted to renew the designs of Louis XIV. and anticipate those of Napoleon. But Bonaparte saw what they were planning; and to the rupture of the negotiations at Lille and an order for the resumption of hostilities he responded by a fresh act of disobedience and the infliction on the Directory of the peace of Campo-Formio, on October 17, 1797. The directors were consoled for this enforced peace by acquiring the left bank of the Rhine and Belgium, and for the forfeiture of republican principles by attaining what had for so long been the ambition of the monarchy. But the army continued a menace. To avoid disbanding it, which might, as after the peace of Basel, have given the counter-revolution further auxiliaries, the Directory appointed Bonaparte chief of the Army of England, and employed Jourdan to revise the conscription laws so as to make military service a permanent duty of the citizen, since war was now to be the permanent object of policy. The Directory finally conceived the gigantic project of bolstering up the French Republic—the triumph of which was celebrated by the peace of Campo-Formio—by forming the neighbouring weak states into tributary vassal republics. This system had already been applied to the Batavian republic in 1795, to the Ligurian and Cisalpine republics in June 1797; it was extended to that of Mülhausen on the 28th of January 1798, to the Roman republic in February, to the Helvetian in April, while the Parthenopaean republic (Naples) was to be established in 1799. This was an international coup de force, which presupposed that all these nations in whose eyes independence was flaunted would make no claim to enjoy it; that though they had been beaten and pillaged they would not learn to conquer in their turn; and that the king of Sardinia, dispossessed of Milan, the grand-duke of Tuscany who had given refuge to the pope when driven from Rome, and the king of Naples, who had opened his ports to Nelson’s fleet, would not find allies to make a stand against this hypocritical system.

What happened was exactly the contrary. Meanwhile, the armies were kept in perpetual motion, procuring money for the impecunious Directory, making a diversion for internal discontent, and also permitting of a “reversed Coup d’état of the 22nd Floréal. Fructidor,” against the anarchists, who had got the upper hand in the partial elections of May 1798. The social danger was averted in its turn after the clerical danger had been dissipated. The next task was to relieve Paris of Bonaparte, who had already refused to repeat Hoche’s unhappy expedition to Ireland and to attack England at home without either money or a navy. The pecuniary 860 resources of Berne and the wealth of Rome fortunately tided over the financial difficulty and provided for the expedition Bonaparte in Egypt.

The second coalition.
to Egypt, which permitted Bonaparte to wait “for the fruit to ripen”—i.e. till the Directory should be ruined in the eyes of France and of all Europe. The disaster of Aboukir (August 1, 1798) speedily decided the coalition pending between England, Austria, the Empire, Portugal, Naples, Russia and Turkey. The Directory had to make a stand or perish, and with it the Republic. The directors had thought France might retain a monopoly in numbers and in initiative. They soon perceived that enthusiasm is not as great for a war of policy and conquest as for a war of national defence; and the army dwindled, since a country cannot bleed itself to death. The law of conscription was voted on the 5th of September 1798; and the tragedy of Rastadt, where the French commissioners were assassinated, was the opening of a war, desired but ill-prepared for, in which the Directory showed hesitation in strategy and incoherence in tactics, over a disproportionate area in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Military reverses were inevitable, and responsibility for them could not be shirked. As though shattered by a reverberant echo from the cannon of the Trebbia, the Directory crumbled to pieces, succumbing on the 18th of June 1799 beneath the reprobation showered on Treilhard, Merlin de Douai, and La Révellière-Lépeaux. A few more military disasters, royalist insurrections in the south, Chouan disturbances in Normandy, Orleanist intrigues and the end came. To soothe the populace and protect the frontier more was required than the resumption, as in all grave crises of the Revolution, of terrorist measures such as forced taxation or the law of hostages; the new Directory, Sieyès presiding, saw that for the indispensable revision of the constitution “a head and a sword” were needed. Moreau being unattainable, Joubert was to be the sword of Sieyès; but, when he was killed at the battle of Novi, the sword of the Revolution fell into the hands of Bonaparte.

Although Brune and Masséna retrieved the fight at Bergen and Zürich, and although the Allies lingered on the frontier as they had done after Valmy, still the fortunes of the Directory were not restored. Success was reserved Coup d’état of the 18th Brumaire. for Bonaparte, suddenly landing at Fréjus with the prestige of his victories in the East, and now, after Hoche’s death, appearing as sole master of the armies. He manœuvred among the parties as on the 13th Vendémiaire. On the 18th Brumaire of the year VIII. France and the army fell together at his feet. By a twofold coup d’état, parliamentary and military, he culled the fruits of the Directory’s systematic aggression and unpopularity, and realized the universal desires of the rich bourgeoisie, tired of warfare; of the wretched populace; of landholders, afraid of a return to the old order of things; of royalists, who looked upon Bonaparte as a future Monk; of priests and their people, who hoped for an indulgent treatment of Catholicism; and finally of the immense majority of the French, who love to be ruled and for long had had no efficient government. There was hardly any one to defend a liberty which they had never known. France had, indeed, remained monarchist at heart for all her revolutionary appearance; and Bonaparte added but a name, though an illustrious one, to the series of national or local dictatorships, which, after the departure of the weak Louis XVI., had maintained a sort of informal republican royalty.

On the night of the 19th Brumaire a mere ghost of an The Consulate, Sept. 11, 1799-May 18, 1804. Assembly abolished the constitution of the year III., ordained the provisionary Consulate, and legalized the coup d’état in favour of Bonaparte. A striking and singular event; for the history of France and a great part of Europe was now for fifteen years to be summed up in the person of a single man (see Napoleon).

This night of Brumaire, however, seemed to be a victory for Sieyès rather than for Bonaparte. He it was who originated the project which the legislative commissions, charged with elaborating the new constitution, had to discuss. Bonaparte’s The constitution of the year VIII. cleverness lay in opposing Daunou’s plan to that of Sieyès, and in retaining only those portions of both which could serve his ambition. Parliamentary institutions annulled by the complication of three assemblies—the Council of State which drafted bills, the Tribunate which discussed them without voting them, and the Legislative Assembly which voted them without discussing them; popular suffrage, mutilated by the lists of notables (on which the members of the Assemblies were to be chosen by the conservative senate); and the triple executive authority of the consuls, elected for ten years: all these semblances of constitutional authority were adopted by Bonaparte. But he abolished the post of Grand Elector, which Sieyès had reserved for himself, in order to reinforce the real authority of the First Consul himself—by leaving the two other consuls, Cambacérès and Lebrun, as well as the Assemblies, equally weak. Thus the aristocratic constitution of Sieyès was transformed into an unavowed dictatorship, a public ratification of which the First Consul obtained by a third coup d’état from the intimidated and yet reassured electors-reassured by his dazzling but unconvincing offers of peace to the victorious Coalition (which repulsed them), by the rapid disarmament of La Vendée, and by the proclamations in which he filled the ears of the infatuated people with the new talk of stability of government, order, justice and moderation. He gave every one a feeling that France was governed once more by a real statesman, that a pilot was at the helm.

Bonaparte had now to rid himself of Sieyès and those republicans who had no desire to hand over the republic to one man, particularly of Moreau and Masséna, his military rivals. The victory of Marengo (June 14, 1800) momentarily in the balance, but secured by Desaix and Kellermann, offered a further opportunity to his jealous ambition by increasing his popularity. The royalist plot of the Rue Saint-Nicaise (December 24, 1800) allowed him to make a clean sweep of the democratic republicans, who despite their innocence were deported to Guiana, and to annul Assemblies that were a mere show by making the senate omnipotent in constitutional matters; but it was necessary for him to transform this deceptive truce into the general pacification so ardently desired for the last eight years. The treaty of Lunéville, signed in February 1801 with Austria who had been disarmed by Moreau’s victory at Hohenlinden, restored peace to the continent, gave nearly the whole of Italy to France, and permitted Bonaparte to eliminate from the Assemblies all the leaders of the opposition in the discussion of the Civil Code. The Concordat (July 1801), drawn up not in the Church’s interest but in that of his own policy, by giving satisfaction to the religious feeling of the country, allowed him to put down the constitutional democratic Church, to rally round him the consciences of the peasants, and above all to deprive the royalists of their best weapon. The “Articles Organiques” hid from the eyes of his companions in arms and councillors a reaction which, in fact if not in law, restored to a submissive Church, despoiled of her revenues, her position as the religion of the state. The Consulate. The peace of Amiens with England (March 1802), of which France’s allies, Spain and Holland, paid all the costs, finally gave the peacemaker a pretext for endowing himself with a Consulate, not for ten years but for life, as a recompense from the nation. The Rubicon was crossed on that day: Bonaparte’s march to empire began with the constitution of the year X. (August 1802).

Before all things it was now necessary to reorganize France, ravaged as she was by the Revolution, and with her institutions in a state of utter corruption. The touch of the master was at once revealed to all the foreigners who rushed Internal reorganization. to gaze at the man about whom, after so many catastrophes and strange adventures, Paris, “la ville lumière,” and all Europe were talking. First of all, Louis XV.’s system of roads was improved and that of Louis XVI.’s canals developed; then industry put its shoulder to the wheel; order and discipline were re-established everywhere, from the frontiers to the capital, and brigandage suppressed; and finally there was Paris, the city of cities! Everything was in process of transformation: 861 a second Rome was arising, with its forum, its triumphal arches, its shows and parades; and in this new Rome of a new Caesar fancy, elegance and luxury, a radiance of art and learning from the age of Pericles, and masterpieces rifled from the Netherlands, Italy and Egypt illustrated the consular peace. The Man of Destiny renewed the course of time. He borrowed from the ancien régime its plenipotentiaries; its over-centralized, strictly utilitarian administrative and bureaucratic methods; and afterwards, in order to bring them into line, the subservient pedantic scholasticism of its university. On the basis laid down by the Constituent Assembly and the Convention he constructed or consolidated the funds necessary for national institutions, local governments, a judiciary system, organs of finance, banking, codes, traditions of conscientious well-disciplined labour, and in short all the organization which for three-quarters of a century was to maintain and regulate the concentrated activity of the French nation (see the section Law and Institutions). Peace and order helped to raise the standard of comfort. Provisions, in this Paris which had so often suffered from hunger and thirst, and lacked fire and light, had become cheap and abundant; while trade prospered and wages ran high. The pomp and luxury of the nouveaux riches were displayed in the salons of the good Joséphine, the beautiful Madame Tallien, and the “divine” Juliette Récamier.

But the republicans, and above all the military, saw in all this little but the fetters of system; the wily despotism, the bullying police, the prostration before authority, the sympathy lavished on royalists, the recall of the émigrés, the The republican opposition. contempt for the Assemblies, the purification of the Tribunate, the platitudes of the servile Senate, the silence of the press. In the formidable machinery of state, above all in the creation of the Legion of Honour, the Concordat, and the restoration of indirect taxes, they saw the rout of the Revolution. But the expulsion of persons like Benjamin Constant and Madame de Staël sufficed to quell this Fronde of the salons. The expedition to San Domingo reduced the republican army to a nullity; war demoralized or scattered the leaders, who were jealous of their “comrade” Bonaparte; and Moreau, the last of his rivals, cleverly compromised in a royalist plot, as Danton had formerly been by Robespierre, disappeared into exile. In contradistinction to this opposition of senators and republican generals, the immense mass of the people received the ineffaceable impression of Bonaparte’s superiority. No suggestion of the possibility of his death was tolerated, of a crime which might cut short his career. The conspiracy of Cadoudal and Pichegru, after Bonaparte’s refusal to give place to Louis XVIII., and the political execution of the duc d’Enghien, provoked an outburst of adulation, of which Bonaparte took advantage to put the crowning touch to his ambitious dream.

The decision of the senate on the 18th of May 1804, giving him the title of emperor, was the counterblast to the dread he had excited. Thenceforward “the brow of the emperor broke through the thin mask of the First Napoleon emperor May 18, 1804-April 6, 1814. Consul.” Never did a harder master ordain more imperiously, nor understand better how to command obedience. “This was because,” as Goethe said, “under his orders men were sure of accomplishing their ends. That is why they rallied round him, as one to inspire them with that kind of certainty.” Indeed no man ever concentrated authority to such a point, nor showed mental abilities at all comparable to his: an extraordinary power of work, prodigious memory for details and fine judgment in their selection; together with a luminous decision and a simple and rapid conception, all placed at the disposal of a sovereign will. No head of the state gave expression more imperiously than this Italian to the popular passions of the French of that day: abhorrence for the emigrant nobility, fear of the ancien régime, dislike of foreigners, hatred of England, an appetite for conquest evoked by revolutionary propaganda, and the love of glory. In this Napoleon was a soldier of the people: because of this he judged and ruled his contemporaries. Having seen their actions in the stormy hours of the Revolution, he despised them and looked upon them as incapable of disinterested conduct, conceited, and obsessed by the notion of equality. Hence his colossal egoism, his habitual disregard of others, his jealous passion for power, his impatience of all contradiction, his vain untruthful boasting, his unbridled self-sufficiency and lack of moderation—passions which were gradually to cloud his clear faculty of reasoning. His genius, assisted by the impoverishment of two generations, was like the oak which admits beneath its shade none but the smallest of saplings. With the exception of Talleyrand, after 1808 he would have about him only mediocre people, without initiative, prostrate at the feet of the giant: his tribe of paltry, rapacious and embarrassing Corsicans; his admirably subservient generals; his selfish ministers, docile agents, apprehensive of the future, who for fourteen long years felt a prognostication of defeat and discounted the inevitable catastrophe.

So France had no internal history outside the plans and transformations to which Napoleon subjected the institutions of the Consulate, and the after-effects of his wars. Well knowing that his fortunes rested on the delighted acquiescence of France, Napoleon expected to continue indefinitely fashioning public opinion according to his pleasure. To his contempt for men he added that of all ideas which might put a bridle on his ambition; and to guard against them, he inaugurated the Golden Age of the police that he might tame every moral force to his hand. Being essentially a man of order, he loathed, as he said, all demagogic action, Jacobinism and visions of liberty, which he desired only for himself. To make his will predominant, he stifled or did violence to that of others, through his bishops, his gendarmes, his university, his press, his catechism. Nourished like Frederick II. and Catherine the Great in 18th-century maxims, neither he nor they would allow any of that ideology to filter through into their rough but regular ordering of mankind. Thus the whole political system, being summed up in the emperor, was bound to share his fall.

Although an enemy of idealogues, in his foreign policy Napoleon was haunted by grandiose visions. A condottiere of the Renaissance living in the 19th century, he used France, and all those nations annexed or attracted by the Revolution, Napoleon’s political idea. to resuscitate the Roman conception of the Empire for his own benefit. On the other hand, he was enslaved by the history and aggressive idealism of the Convention, and of the republican propaganda under the Directory; he was guided by them quite as much as he guided them. Hence the immoderate extension given to French activity by his classical Latin spirit; hence also his conquests, leading on from one to another, and instead of being mutually helpful interfering with each other; hence, finally, his not entirely coherent policy, interrupted by hesitation and counter-attractions. This explains the retention of Italy, imposed on the Directory from 1796 onward, followed by his criminal treatment of Venice, the foundation of the Cisalpine republic—a foretaste of future annexations—the restoration of that republic after his return from Egypt, and in view of his as yet inchoate designs, the postponed solution of the Italian problem which the treaty of Lunéville had raised.

Marengo inaugurated the political idea which was to continue its development until his Moscow campaign. Napoleon dreamed as yet only of keeping the duchy of Milan, setting aside Austria, and preparing some new enterprise in the East or in Egypt. The peace of Amiens, which cost him Egypt, could only seem to him a temporary truce; whilst he was gradually extending his authority in Italy, the cradle of his race, by the union of Piedmont, and by his tentative plans regarding Genoa, Parma, Tuscany and Naples. He wanted to make this his Cisalpine Gaul, laying siege to the Roman state on every hand, and preparing in the Concordat for the moral and material servitude of the pope. When he recognized his error in having raised the papacy from decadence by restoring its power over all the churches, he tried in vain to correct it by the Articles Organiques—wanting, like Charlemagne, to be the legal protector of the pope, and eventually master of the Church. To conceal his plan he aroused French colonial aspirations against England, and also 862 the memory of the spoliations of 1763, exasperating English jealousy of France, whose borders now extended to the Rhine, and laying hands on Hanover, Hamburg and Cuxhaven. By the “Recess” of 1803, which brought to his side Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden, he followed up the overwhelming tide of revolutionary ideas in Germany, to stem which Pitt, back in power, appealed once more to an Anglo-Austro-Russian coalition against this new Charlemagne, who was trying to renew the old Empire, who was mastering France, Italy and Germany; who finally on the 2nd of December 1804 placed the imperial crown upon his head, after receiving the iron crown of the Lombard kings, and made Pius VII. consecrate him in Notre-Dame.

After this, in four campaigns from 1805 to 1809, Napoleon transformed his Carolingian feudal and federal empire into one modelled on the Roman empire. The memories of imperial Rome were for a third time, after Caesar and Charlemagne, to modify the historical evolution of France. Though the vague plan for an invasion of England fell to the ground Ulm and Austerlitz obliterated Trafalgar, and the camp at Boulogne put the best military resources he had ever commanded at Napoleon’s disposal.

In the first of these campaigns he swept away the remnants of the old Roman-Germanic empire, and out of its shattered fragments created in southern Germany the vassal states of Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt Treaty of Presburg, 1805. and Saxony, which he attached to France under the name of the Confederation of the Rhine; but the treaty of Presburg gave France nothing but the danger of a more centralized and less docile Germany. On the other hand, Napoleon’s creation of the kingdom of Italy, his annexation of Venetia and her ancient Adriatic empire—wiping out the humiliation of 1797—and the occupation of Ancona, marked a new stage in his progress towards his Roman Empire. His good fortune soon led him from conquest to spoliation, and he complicated his master-idea of the grand empire by his Family Compact; the clan of the Bonapartes invaded European monarchies, wedding with princesses of blood-royal, and adding kingdom to kingdom. Joseph replaced the dispossessed Bourbons at Naples; Louis was installed on the throne of Holland; Murat became grand-duke of Berg, Jerome son-in-law to the king of Württemberg, and Eugène de Beauharnais to the king of Bavaria; while Stéphanie de Beauhamais married the son of the grand-duke of Baden.

Meeting with less and less resistance, Napoleon went still further and would tolerate no neutral power. On the 6th of August 1806 he forced the Habsburgs, left with only the crown of Austria, to abdicate their Roman-Germanic title of Jena.
Eylau and Friedland.
Peace of Tilsit, July 8, 1807.
Continental blockade.
emperor. Prussia alone remained outside the Confederation of the Rhine, of which Napoleon was Protector, and to further her decision he offered her English Hanover. In a second campaign he destroyed at Jena both the army and the state of Frederick William III., who could not make up his mind between the Napoleonic treaty of Schönbrunn and Russia’s counter-proposal at Potsdam (October 14, 1806). The butchery at Eylau and the vengeance taken at Friedland finally ruined Frederick the Great’s work, and obliged Russia, the ally of England and Prussia, to allow the latter to be despoiled, and to join Napoleon against the maritime tyranny of the former. After Tilsit, however (July 1807), instead of trying to reconcile Europe to his grandeur, Napoleon had but one thought: to make use of his success to destroy England and complete his Italian dominion. It was from Berlin, on the 21st of November 1806, that he had dated the first decree of a continental blockade, a monstrous conception intended to paralyze his inveterate rival, but which on the contrary caused his own fall by its immoderate extension of the empire. To the coalition of the northern powers he added the league of the Baltic and Mediterranean ports, and to the bombardment of Copenhagen by an English fleet he responded by a second decree of blockade, dated from Milan on the 17th of December 1807.

But the application of the Concordat and the taking of Naples led to the first of those struggles with the pope, in which were formulated two antagonistic doctrines: Napoleon declaring himself Roman emperor, and Pius VII. renewing the theocratic affirmations of Gregory VII. The former’s Roman ambition was made more and more plainly visible by the occupation of the kingdom of Naples and of the Marches, and the entry of Miollis into Rome; while Junot invaded Portugal, Radet laid hands on the pope himself, and Murat took possession of formerly Roman Spain, whither Joseph was afterwards to be transferred. But Napoleon little knew the flame he was kindling. No more far-seeing than the Directory or the men of the year III., he thought that, with energy and execution, he might succeed in the Peninsula as he had succeeded in Italy in 1796 and 1797, in Egypt, and in Hesse, and that he might cut into Spanish granite as into Italian mosaic or “that big cake, Germany.” He stumbled unawares upon the revolt of a proud national spirit, evolved through ten historic centuries; and the trap of Bayonne, together with the enthroning of Joseph Bonaparte, made the contemptible prince of the Asturias the elect of popular sentiment, the representative of religion and country.

Napoleon thought he had Spain within his grasp, and now suddenly everything was slipping from him. The Peninsula became the grave of whole armies and a battlefield Bailen. for England. Dupont capitulated at Bailen into the hands of Castaños, and Junot at Cintra to Wellesley; while Europe trembled at this first check to the hitherto invincible imperial armies. To reduce Spanish resistance Napoleon had in his turn to come to terms with the tsar Alexander at Erfurt; so that abandoning his designs in the East, he could make the Grand Army evacuate Prussia and return in force to Madrid.

Thus Spain swallowed up the soldiers who were wanted for Napoleon’s other fields of battle, and they had to be replaced by forced levies. Europe had only to wait, and he Wagram. would eventually be found disarmed in face of a last coalition; but Spanish heroism infected Austria, and showed the force of national resistance. The provocations of Talleyrand and England strengthened the illusion: Why should not the Austrians emulate the Spaniards? The campaign of 1809, however, was but a pale copy of the Spanish insurrection. After a short and decisive action in Bavaria, Napoleon opened up the road to Vienna for a second time; and after the two days’ battle at Essling, the stubborn fight at Wagram, the failure of a patriotic insurrection in northern Germany and of the English expedition against Antwerp, the treaty of Vienna (December 14, 1809), with Peace of Vienna. the annexation of the Illyrian provinces, completed the colossal empire. Napoleon profited, in fact, by this campaign which had been planned for his overthrow. The pope was deported to Savona beneath the eyes of indifferent Europe, and his domains were incorporated in the Empire; the senate’s decision on the 17th of February 1810 created the title of king of Rome, and made Rome the capital of Italy. The pope banished, it was now desirable to send away those to whom Italy had been more or less promised. Eugène de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s stepson, was transferred to Frankfort, and Murat carefully watched until the time should come to take him to Russia and install him as king of Poland. Between 1810 and 1812 Napoleon’s divorce of Joséphine, and his marriage with Marie Louise of Austria, followed by the birth of the king of Rome, shed a brilliant light upon his future policy. He renounced a federation in which his brothers were not sufficiently docile; he gradually withdrew power from them; he concentrated all his affection and ambition on the son who was the guarantee of the continuance of his dynasty. This was the apogee of his reign.

But undermining forces were already at work: the faults inherent in his unwieldy achievement. England, his chief enemy, was persistently active; and rebellion both of the governing and the governed broke out everywhere. Beginning of the end. Uprising of nationalism. Napoleon felt his impotence in coping with the Spanish insurrection, which he underrated, while yet unable to suppress it altogether. Men like Stein, Hardenberg and Scharnhorst were secretly preparing Prussia’s retaliation. Napoleon’s material omnipotence could not stand 863 against the moral force of the pope, a prisoner at Fontainebleau; and this he did not realize. The alliance arranged at Tilsit was seriously shaken by the Austrian marriage, the threat of a Polish restoration, and the unfriendly policy of Napoleon at Constantinople. The very persons whom he had placed in power were counteracting his plans: after four years’ experience Napoleon found himself obliged to treat his Corsican dynasties like those of the ancien régime, and all his relations were betraying him. Caroline conspired against her brother and against her husband; the hypochondriacal Louis, now Dutch in his sympathies, found the supervision of the blockade taken from him, and also the defence of the Scheldt, which he had refused to ensure; Jerome, idling in his harem, lost that of the North Sea shores; and Joseph, who was attempting the moral conquest of Spain, was continually insulted at Madrid. The very nature of things was against the new dynasties, as it had been against the old.

After national insurrections and family recriminations came treachery from Napoleon’s ministers. Talleyrand betrayed his designs to Metternich, and had to be dismissed; Fouché corresponded with Austria in 1809 and 1810, Treachery. entered into an understanding with Louis, and also with England; while Bourrienne was convicted of peculation. By a natural consequence of the spirit of conquest he had aroused, all these parvenus, having tasted victory, dreamed of sovereign power: Bernadotte, who had helped him to the Consulate, played Napoleon false to win the crown of Sweden; Soult, like Murat, coveted the Spanish throne after that of Portugal, thus anticipating the treason of 1813 and the defection of 1814; many persons hoped for “an accident” which might resemble the tragic end of Alexander and of Caesar. The country itself, besides, though flattered by conquests, was tired of self-sacrifice. It had become satiated; “the cry of the mothers rose threateningly” against “the Ogre” and his intolerable imposition of wholesale conscription. The soldiers themselves, discontented after Austerlitz, cried out for peace after Eylau. Finally, amidst profound silence from the press and the Assemblies, a protest was raised against imperial despotism by the literary world, against the excommunicated sovereign by Catholicism, and against the author of the continental blockade by the discontented bourgeoisie, ruined by the crisis of 1811.

Napoleon himself was no longer the General Bonaparte of his campaign in Italy. He was already showing signs of physical decay; the Roman medallion profile had coarsened, the obese body was often lymphatic. Mental degeneration, Degeneration of Napoleon. too, betrayed itself in an unwonted irresolution. At Eylau, at Wagram, and later at Waterloo, his method of acting by enormous masses of infantry and cavalry, in a mad passion for conquest, and his misuse of his military resources, were all signs of his moral and technical decadence; and this at the precise moment when, instead of the armies and governments of the old system, which had hitherto reigned supreme, the nations themselves were rising against France, and the events of 1792 were being avenged upon her. The three campaigns of two years brought the final catastrophe.

Napoleon had hardly succeeded in putting down the revolt in Germany when the tsar himself headed a European insurrection against the ruinous tyranny of the continental blockade. To put a stop to this, to ensure his own Russian campaign. access to the Mediterranean and exclude his chief rival, Napoleon made a desperate effort in 1812 against a country as invincible as Spain. Despite his victorious advance, the taking of Smolensk, the victory on the Moskwa, and the entry into Moscow, he was vanquished by Russian patriotism and religious fervour, by the country and the climate, and by Alexander’s refusal to make terms. After this came the lamentable retreat, while all Europe was concentrating against him. Pushed back, as he had been in Spain, from bastion to bastion, after the action on the Beresina, Napoleon had to fall back upon the frontiers of 1809, and then—having refused the peace offered him by Austria at the congress of Prague, from a dread of losing Italy, where each of his victories had marked a stage in the accomplishment of his dream—on those of 1805, despite Lützen and Bautzen, and on those of 1802 after his defeat at Leipzig, where Bernadotte turned upon him, Moreau figured Campaigns of 1813-14. among the Allies, and the Saxons and Bavarians forsook him. Following his retreat from Russia came his retreat from Germany. After the loss of Spain, reconquered by Wellington, the rising in Holland preliminary to the invasion and the manifesto of Frankfort which proclaimed it, he had to fall back upon the frontiers of 1795; and then later was driven yet farther back upon those of 1792, despite the wonderful campaign of 1814 against the invaders, in which the old Bonaparte of 1796 seemed to have returned. Paris capitulated on the 30th of March, and the “Delenda Carthago,” pronounced against England, was spoken of Napoleon. The great empire of East and West fell in ruins with the emperor’s abdication at Fontainebleau.

The military struggle ended, the political struggle began. How was France to be governed? The Allies had decided on the eviction of Napoleon at the Congress of Châtillon; and the precarious nature of the Bonapartist monarchy Downfall of the Empire. in France itself was made manifest by the exploit of General Malet, which had almost succeeded during the Russian campaign, and by Lainé’s demand for free exercise of political rights, when Napoleon made a last appeal to the Legislative Assembly for support. The defection of the military and civil aristocracy, which brought about Napoleon’s abdication, the refusal of a regency, and the failure of Bernadotte, who wished to resuscitate the Consulate, enabled Talleyrand, vice-president of the senate and desirous of power, to persuade the Allies to accept the Bourbon solution of the difficulty. The declaration of St Ouen (May 2, 1814) indicated that the new monarchy was only accepted upon conditions. After Napoleon’s abdication, and exile to the island of Elba, came the Revolution’s abdication of her conquests: the first treaty of Paris (May 30th) confirmed France’s renunciation of Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine, and her return within her pre-revolutionary frontiers, save for some slight rectifications.

After the scourge of war, the horrors of conscription, and the despotism which had discounted glory, every one seemed to rejoice in the return of the Bourbons, which atoned for humiliations by restoring liberty. But questions of Faults of the Bourbons. form, which aroused questions of sentiment, speedily led to grave dissensions. The hurried armistice of the 23rd of April, by which the comte d’Artois delivered over disarmed France to her conquerors; Louis XVIII.’s excessive gratitude to the prince regent of England; the return of the émigrés; the declaration of St Ouen, dated from the nineteenth year of the new reign; the charter of June 4th, “concédée et octroyée,” maintaining the effete doctrine of legitimacy in a country permeated with the idea of national sovereignty; the slights put upon the army; the obligatory processions ordered by Comte Beugnot, prefect of police; all this provoked a conflict not only between two theories of government but between two groups of men and of interests. An avowedly imperialist party was soon again formed, a centre of heated opposition to the royalist party; and neither Baron Louis’ excellent finance, nor the peace, nor the charter of June 4th—which despite the irritation of the émigrés preserved the civil gains of the Revolution—prevented the man who was its incarnation from seizing an opportunity to bring about another military coup d’état. Having landed in the Bay of Jouan on the 1st of March, on the 20th Napoleon re-entered the Tuileries in triumph, while Louis XVIII. fled to Ghent. By the Acte additionnel of the 22nd of April he induced Carnot and Fouché—the The Hundred Days. March-June 1815. last of the Jacobins—and the heads of the Liberal opposition, Benjamin Constant and La Fayette, to side with him against the hostile Powers of Europe, occupied in dividing the spoils at Vienna. He proclaimed his intention of founding a new democratic empire; and French policy was thus given another illusion, which was to be exploited with fatal success by Napoleon’s namesake. But the cannon of Waterloo ended this adventure (June 18, 1815), and, thanks to Fouché’s treachery, the triumphal progress of 864 Milan, Rome, Naples, Vienna, Berlin, and even of Moscow, was to end at St Helena.

The consequences of the Hundred Days were very serious; France was embroiled with all Europe, though Talleyrand’s clever diplomacy had succeeded in causing division over Saxony and Poland by the secret Austro-Anglo-French Louis XVIII. alliance of the 3rd of January 1815, and the Coalition destroyed both France’s political independence and national integrity by the treaty of peace of November 20th: she found herself far weaker than before the Revolution, and in the power of the European Alliance. The Hundred Days divided the nation itself into two irreconcilable parties: one ultra-royalist, eager for vengeance and retaliation, refusing to accept the Charter; the other imperialist, composed of Bonapartists and Republicans, incensed by their defeat—of whom Béranger was the Tyrtaeus—both parties equally revolutionary and equally obstinate. Louis XVIII., urged by his more fervent supporters towards the ancien régime, gave his policy an exactly contrary direction; he had common-sense enough to maintain the Empire’s legal and administrative tradition, accepting its institutions of the Legion of Honour, the Bank, the University, and the imperial nobility—modifying only formally certain rights and the conscription, since these had aroused the nation against Napoleon. He even went so far as to accept advice from the imperial ministers Talleyrand and Fouché. Finally, as the chief political organization had become thoroughly demoralized, he imported into France the entire constitutional system of England, with its three powers, king, upper hereditary chamber, and lower elected chamber; with its plutocratic electorate, and even with details like the speech from the throne, the debate on the address, &c. This meant importing also difficulties such as ministerial responsibility, as well as electoral and press legislation.

Louis XVIII., taught by time and misfortune, wished not to reign over two parties exasperated by contrary passions and desires; but his dynasty was from the outset implicated in the struggle, which was to be fatal to it, between old France and revolutionary France. Anti-monarchical, liberal and anti-clerical France at once recommenced its revolutionary work; the whole 19th century was to be filled with great spasmodic upheavals, and Louis XVIII. was soon overwhelmed by the White Terrorists of 1815.

Vindictive sentences against men like Ney and Labédoyère were followed by violent and unpunished action by the White Terror, which in the south renewed the horrors of St Bartholomew and the September massacres. The elections of August 14, 1815, made under the influence of these royalist and religious passions, sent the “Chambre introuvable” to Paris, an unforeseen revival of the ancien régime. Neither the substitution of the duc de Richelieu’s ministry for that of Talleyrand and Fouché, nor a whole series of repressive laws in violation of the charter, were successful in satisfying its tyrannical loyalism, and Louis XVIII. needed something like a coup d’état, in September 1816, to rid himself of the “ultras.”

He succeeded fairly well in quieting the opposition between the dynasty and the constitution, until a reaction took place between 1820 and 1822. State departments worked regularly and well, under the direction of Decazes, The Constitutional party’s rule. Lainé, De Serre and Pasquier, power alternating between two great well-disciplined parties almost in the English fashion, and many useful measures were passed: the reconstruction of finance stipulated for as a condition of evacuation of territory occupied by foreign troops; the electoral law of February 5, 1817, which, by means of direct election and a qualification of three hundred francs, renewed the preponderance of the bourgeoisie; the Gouvion St-Cyr law of 1818, which for half a century based the recruiting of the French army on the national principle of conscription; and in 1819, after Richelieu’s dismissal, liberal regulations for the press under control of a commission. But the advance of the Liberal movement, and the election of the generals—Foy, Lamarque, Lafayette and of Manuel, excited the “ultras” and caused the dismissal of Richelieu; while that of the constitutional bishop Grégoire led to the modification in a reactionary direction of the electoral law of 1817. The assassination of the duc de Berry, second son of the comte d’Artois (attributed to the influence of Liberal ideas), caused the downfall of Decazes, and caused the king—more weak and selfish than ever—to override the charter and embark upon a reactionary path. After 1820, Madame du The reaction of 1820. Cayla, a trusted agent of the ultra-royalist party, gained great influence over the king; and M. de Villèle, its leader, supported by the king’s brother, soon eliminated the Right Centre by the dismissal of the duc de Richelieu, who had been recalled to tide over the crisis—just as the fall of M. Decazes had signalized the defeat of the Left Centre (December 15, 1821)—and moderate policy thus received an irreparable blow.

Thenceforward the government of M. de Villèle—a clever statesman, but tied to his party—did nothing for six years but promulgate a long series of measures against Liberalism and the social work of the Revolution; to retain power it had to yield to the impatience of the comte d’Artois and the majority. The suspension of individual liberty, the re-establishment of the censorship; the electoral right of the “double vote,” favouring taxation of the most oppressive kind; and the handing over of education to the clergy: these were the first achievements of this anti-revolutionary ministry. The Spanish expedition, in which M. de Villèle’s hand was forced by Montmorency and Chateaubriand, was the united work of the association of Catholic zealots known as the Congregation and of the autocratic powers of the Grand Alliance; it was responded to—as at Naples and in Spain—by secret Carbonari societies, and by severely repressed military conspiracies. Politics now bore the double imprint of two rival powers: the Congregation and Carbonarism. By 1824, nevertheless, the dynasty seemed firm—the Spanish War had reconciled the army, by giving back military prestige; the Liberal opposition had been decimated; revolutionary conspiracies discouraged; and the increase of public credit and material prosperity pleased the whole nation, as was proved by the “Chambre retrouvée” of 1824. The law of septennial elections tranquillized public life by suspending any legal or regular manifestation by the nation for seven years.

It was the monarchy which next became revolutionary, on the accession of Charles X. (September 16, 1824). This inconsistent prince soon exhausted his popularity, and remained the fanatical head of those émigrés who had Charles X. learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. While the opposition became conservative as regards the Charter and French liberties, the king and the clerical party surrounding him challenged the spirit of modern France by a law against sacrilege, by a bill for re-establishing the right of primogeniture, by an indemnity of a milliard francs, which looked like compensation given to the émigrés, and finally by the “loi de liberté et d’amour” against the press. The challenge was so definite that in 1826 the Chamber of Peers and the Academy had to give the Villèle ministry a lesson in Liberalism, for having lent itself to this ancien régime reaction by its weakness and its party-promises. The elections Victory of the constitutional parties, colère et de vengeance” of January 1827 gave the Left a majority, and the resultant short-lived Martignac ministry tried to revive the Right Centre which had supported Richelieu and Decazes (January 1828). Martignac’s accession to power, however, had only meant personal concessions from Charles X., not any concession of principle: he supported his ministry but was no real stand-by. The Liberals, on the other hand, made bargains for supporting the moderate royalists, and Charles X. profited by this to form a fighting ministry in conjunction with the prince de Polignac, one of the émigrés, an ignorant and visionary person, and the comte de Bourmont, the traitor of Waterloo. Despite all kinds of warnings, the former tried by a coup d’état to put into practice his theories of the supremacy of the royal prerogative; and the battle of Navarino, the French occupation of the Morea, and the Algerian expedition could not make the nation forget this conflict at home. The united opposition of monarchist 865 Liberals and imperialist republicans responded by legal resistance, The Revolution of 1830. then by a popular coup d’état, to the ordinances of July 1830, which dissolved the intractable Chamber, eliminated licensed dealers from the electoral list, and muzzled the press. After fighting for three days against the troops feebly led by the Marmont of 1814, the workmen, driven to the barricades by the deliberate closing of Liberal workshops, gained the victory, and sent the white flag of the Bourbons on the road to exile.

The rapid success of the “Three Glorious Days” (“les Trois Glorieuses”), as the July Days were called, put the leaders of the parliamentary opposition into an embarrassing position. While they had contented themselves with words, Republican and Orleanist parties. the small Republican-Imperialist party, aided by the almost entire absence of the army and police, and by the convenience which the narrow, winding, paved streets of those times offered for fighting, had determined upon the revolution and brought it to pass. But the Republican party, which desired to re-establish the Republic of 1793, recruited chiefly from among the students and workmen, and led by Godefroy Cavaignac, the son of a Conventionalist, and by the chemist Raspail, had no hold on the departments nor on the dominating opinion in Paris. Consequently this premature attempt was promptly seized upon by the Liberal bourgeoisie and turned to the advantage of the Orleanist party, which had been secretly organized since 1829 under the leadership of Thiers, with the National as its organ. Before the struggle was yet over, Benjamin Constant, Casimir Périer, Lafitte, and Odilon Barrot had gone to fetch the duke of Orleans from Neuilly, and on receiving his promise to defend the Charter and the tricolour flag, installed him at the Palais Bourbon as lieutenant-general of the realm, while La Fayette and the Republicans established themselves at the Hôtel de Ville. Louis Philippe. An armed conflict between the two governments was imminent, when Lafayette, by giving his support to Louis Philippe, decided matters in his favour. In order to avoid a recurrence of the difficulties which had arisen with the Bourbons, the following preliminary conditions were imposed upon the king: the recognition of the supremacy of the people by the title of “king of the French by the grace of God and the will of the people,” the responsibility of ministers, the suppression of hereditary succession to the Chamber of Peers, now reduced to the rank of a council of officials, the suppression of article 14 of the charter which had enabled Charles X. to supersede the laws by means of the ordinances, and the liberty of the press. The qualification for electors was lowered from 300 to 200 francs, and that for eligibility from 1000 to 500 francs, and the age to 25 and 30 instead of 30 and 40; finally, Catholicism lost its privileged position as the state religion. The bourgeois National Guard was made the guardian of the charter. The liberal ideas of the son of Philippe Égalité, the part he had played at Valmy and Jemappes, his gracious manner and his domestic virtues, all united in winning Louis Philippe the good opinion of the public.

He now believed, as did indeed the great majority of the electors, that the revolution of 1830 had changed nothing but the head of the state. But in reality the July monarchy was affected by a fundamental weakness. It sought The bourgeois monarchy. to model itself upon the English monarchy, which rested upon one long tradition. But the tradition of France was both twofold and contradictory, i.e. the Catholic-legitimist and the revolutionary. Louis Philippe had them both against him. His monarchy had but one element in common with the English, namely, a parliament elected by a limited electorate. There was at this time a cause of violent outcry against the English monarchy, which, on the other hand, met with firm support among the aristocracy and the clergy. The July monarchy had no such support. The aristocracy of the ancien régime and of the Empire were alike without social influence; the clergy, which had paid for its too close alliance with Charles X. by a dangerous unpopularity, and foresaw the rise of democracy, was turning more and more towards the people, the future source of all power. Even the monarchical principle itself had suffered from the shock, having proved by its easy defeat how far it could be brought to capitulate. Moreover, the victory of the people, who had shown themselves in the late struggle to be brave and disinterested, had won for the idea of national supremacy a power which was bound to increase. The difficulty of the situation lay in the doubt as to whether this expansion would take place gradually and by a progressive evolution, as in England, or not.

Now Louis Philippe, beneath the genial exterior of a bourgeois and peace-loving king, was entirely bent upon recovering an authority which was menaced from the very first on the one hand by the anger of the royalists at their failures, and on the other hand by the impatience of the republicans to follow up their victory. He wanted the insurrection to stop at a change in the reigning family, whereas it had in fact revived the revolutionary tradition, and restored to France the sympathies of the nationalities and democratic parties oppressed by Metternich’s “system.” The republican party, which had retired from power but not from activity, at once faced the new king with the serious problem of the acquisition of political power by the people, and continued to remind him of it. He put himself at the head of the party of progress (“parti du mouvement”) as opposed to the (“parti de la cour”) court party, and of the “resistance,” which considered that it was now necessary “to check the revolution in order to make it fruitful, and in order to save it.” But none of these parties were homogeneous; The parties. in the chamber they split up into a republican or radical Extreme Left, led by Garnier-Pagès and Arago; a dynastic Left, led by the honourable and sincere Odilon Barrot; a constitutional Right Centre and Left Centre, differing in certain slight respects, and presided over respectively by Thiers, a wonderful political orator, and Guizot, whose ideas were those of a strict doctrinaire; not to mention a small party which clung to the old legitimist creed, and was dominated by the famous avocat Berryer, whose eloquence was the chief ornament of the cause of Charles X.’s grandson, the comte de Chambord. The result was a ministerial majority which was always uncertain; and the only occasion on which Guizot succeeded in consolidating it during seven years resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy.

Louis Philippe first summoned to power the leaders of the party of “movement,” Dupont de l’Eure, and afterwards Lafitte, in order to keep control of the progressive forces for his own ends. They wished to introduce democratic reforms and to uphold throughout Europe the revolution, which had spread from France into Belgium, Germany, Italy and Poland, while Paris was still in a state of unrest. But Louis Philippe took fright at the attack on the Chamber of Peers after the trial of the ministers of Charles X., at the sack of the church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois and the archbishop’s palace (February, 1831), and at the terrible strike of the silk weavers at Lyons. Casimir Périer, who was both a Liberal and a believer in a strong government, was then charged with the task of heading the resistance to advanced ideas, and applying the principle of non-intervention in foreign affairs (March 13, 1831). After his death by cholera in May 1832, the agitation which he had succeeded by his energy in checking at Lyons, at Grenoble and in the Vendée, where it had been stirred up by the romantic duchess of Berry, began to gain ground. The struggle against the republicans was still longer; for having lost all their chance of attaining power by means of the Chamber, they proceeded to reorganize themselves into armed secret societies. The press, which was gaining that influence over public opinion which had been lost by the parliamentary debates, openly attacked the government and the king, especially by means of caricature. Between 1832 and 1836 the Soult ministry, of which The Republicans crushed. Guizot, Thiers and the duc de Broglie were members, had to combat the terrible insurrections in Lyons and Paris (1834). The measures of repression were threefold: military repression, carried out by the National Guard and the regulars, both under the command of Bugeaud; judicial repression, effected by the great trial of April 1835; 866 and legislative repression, consisting in the laws of September, which, when to mere ridicule had succeeded acts of violence, such as that of Fieschi (July 28th, 1835), aimed at facilitating the condemnation of political offenders and at intimidating the press. The party of “movement” was vanquished.

But the July Government, born as it was of a popular movement, had to make concessions to popular demands. Casimir Périer had carried a law dealing with municipal organization, which made the municipal councils The bourgeois policy. elective, as they had been before the year VIII.; and in 1833 Guizot had completed it by making the conseils généraux also elective. In the same year the law dealing with primary instruction had also shown the mark of new ideas. But now that the bourgeoisie was raised to power it did not prove itself any more liberal than the aristocracy of birth and fortune in dealing with educational, fiscal and industrial questions. In spite of the increase of riches, the bourgeois régime maintained a fiscal and social legislation which, while it assured to the middle class certainty and permanence of benefits, left the labouring masses poor, ignorant, and in a state of incessant agitation.

The Orleanists, who had been unanimous in supporting the king, disagreed, after their victory, as to what powers he was to be given. The Left Centre, led by Thiers, held that he should reign but not govern; the Right The socialist party. Centre, led by Guizot, would admit him to an active part in the government; and the third party (tiers-parti) wavered between these two. And so between 1836 and 1840, as the struggle against the king’s claim to govern passed from the sphere of outside discussion into parliament, we see the rise of a bourgeois socialist party, side by side with the now dwindling republican party. It no longer confined its demands to universal suffrage, on the principle of the legitimate representation of all interests, or in the name of justice. Led by Saint-Simon, Fourier, P. Leroux and Lamennais, it aimed at realizing a better social organization for and by means of the state. But the question was by what means this was to be accomplished. The secret societies, under the influence of Blanqui and Barbès, two revolutionaries who had revived the traditions of Babeuf, were not willing to wait for the complete education of the masses, necessarily a long process. On the 12th of May 1839 the Société des Saisons made an attempt to overthrow the bourgeoisie by force, but was defeated. Democrats like Louis Blanc, Ledru-Rollin and Lamennais continued to repeat in support of the wisdom of universal suffrage the old profession of faith: vox populi, vox Dei. And finally this republican doctrine, already confused, was still further complicated by a kind of mysticism which aimed at reconciling the most extreme differences of belief, the Catholicism of Buchez, the Bonapartism of Cormenin, and the humanitarianism of the cosmopolitans. It was in vain that Auguste Comte, Michelet and Quinet denounced this vague humanitarian mysticism and the pseudo-liberalism of the Church. The movement had now begun.

At first these moderate republicans, radical or communist, formed only imperceptible groups. Among the peasant classes, and even in the industrial centres, warlike passions were still rife. Louis Philippe tried to find an outlet The Bonapartist revival. for them in the Algerian war, and later by the revival of the Napoleonic legend, which was held to be no longer dangerous, since the death of the duke of Reichstadt in 1832. It was imprudently recalled by Thiers’ History of the Consulate and Empire, by artists and poets, in spite of the prophecies of Lamartine, and by the solemn translation of Napoleon I.’s ashes in 1840 to the Invalides at Paris.

All theories require to be based on practice, especially those which involve force. Now Louis Philippe, though as active as his predecessors had been slothful, was the least warlike of men. His only wish was to govern personally, as Parliamentary opposition to the royal power. George III. and George IV. of England had done, especially in foreign affairs, while at home was being waged the great duel between Thiers and Guizot, with Molé as intermediary. Thiers, head of the cabinet of the 22nd of February 1836, an astute man but not pliant enough to please the king, fell after a few months, in consequence of his attempt to stop the Carlist civil war in Spain, and to support the constitutional government of Queen Isabella. Louis Philippe hoped that, by calling upon Molé to form a ministry, he would be better able to make his personal authority felt. From 1837 to 1839 Molé aroused opposition on all hands; this was emphasized by the refusal of the Chambers to vote one of those endowments which the king was continually asking them to grant for his children, by two dissolutions of the Chambers, and finally by the Strasburg affair and the stormy trial of Louis Napoleon, son of the former king of Holland (1836-1837). At the elections of 1839 Molé was defeated by Thiers, Guizot and Barrot, who had combined to oppose the tyranny of the “Château,” and after a long ministerial crisis was replaced by Thiers (March 1, 1840). But the latter was too much in favour of war to please the king, who was strongly disposed towards peace and an alliance with Great Britain, and consequently fell at the time of the Egyptian question, when, in answer to the treaty of London concluded behind his back by Nicholas I. and Palmerston on the 15th of July 1840, he fortified Paris and proclaimed his intention to give armed support to Mehemet Ali, the ally of France (see Mehemet Ali). But the violence of popular Chauvinism and the renewed attempt of Louis Napoleon at Boulogne proved to the holders of the doctrine of peace at any price that in the long-run their policy tends to turn a peaceful attitude into a warlike one, and to strengthen the absolutist idea.

In spite of all, from 1840 to 1848 Louis Philippe still further extended his activity in foreign affairs, thus bringing himself into still greater prominence, though he was already frequently held responsible for failures in foreign Guizot’s ministry. politics and unpopular measures in home affairs. The catchword of Guizot, who was now his minister, was: Peace and no reforms. With the exception of the law of 1842 concerning the railways, not a single measure of importance was proposed by the ministry. France lived under a régime of general corruption: parliamentary corruption, due to the illegal conduct of the deputies, consisting of slavish or venal officials; electoral corruption, effected by the purchase of the 200,000 electors constituting the “pays légal,” who were bribed by the advantages of power; and moral corruption, due to the reign of the plutocracy, the bourgeoisie, a hard-working, educated and honourable class, it is true, but insolent, like all newly enriched parvenus in the presence of other aristocracies, and with unyielding selfishness maintaining an attitude of suspicion towards the people, whose aspirations they did not share and with whom they did not feel themselves to have anything in common. This led to a slackening in political life, a sort of exhaustion of interest throughout the country, an excessive devotion to material prosperity. Under a superficial appearance of calm a tempest was brewing, of which the industrial writings of Balzac, Eugène Sue, Lamartine, H. Heine, Vigny, Montalembert and Tocqueville were the premonitions. But it was in vain that they denounced this supremacy of the bourgeoisie, relying on its two main supports, the suffrage based on a property qualification and the National Guard, for its rallying-cry was the “Enrichissez-vous” of Guizot, and its excessive materialism gained a sinister distinction from scandals connected with the ministers Teste and Cubières, and such mysterious crimes as that of Choiseul-Praslin.35 In vain also did they point out that mere riches are not so much a protection to the ministry who are in power as a temptation to the majority excluded from power by this barrier of wealth. 867 It was in vain that beneath the inflated haute bourgeoisie which speculated in railways and solidly supported the Church, behind the shopkeeper clique who still remained Voltairian, who enviously applauded the pamphlets of Cormenin on the luxury of the court, and who were bitterly satirized by the pencil of Daumier and Gavarni, did the thinkers give voice to the mutterings of an immense industrial proletariat, which were re-echoing throughout the whole of western Europe.

In face of this tragic contrast Guizot remained unmoved, blinded by the superficial brilliance of apparent success and prosperity. He adorned by flights of eloquence his invariable theme: no new laws, no reforms, no foreign Guizot’s Foreign Policy. complications, the policy of material interests. He preserved his yielding attitude towards Great Britain in the affair of the right of search in 1841, and in the affair of the missionary Pritchard at Tahiti (1843-1845). And when the marriage of the duc de Montpensier with a Spanish infanta in 1846 had broken this entente cordiale to which he clung, it was only to yield in turn to Metternich, when he took possession of Cracow, the last remnant of Poland, to protect the Sonderbund in Switzerland, to discourage the Liberal ardour of Pius IX., and to hand over the education of France to the Ultramontane clergy. Still further strengthened by the elections of 1846, he refused the demands of the Opposition formed by a coalition of the Left Centre and the Radical party for parliamentary and electoral reform, which would have excluded the officials from the Chambers, reduced the electoral qualification to 100 francs, and added to the number of the electors the capacitaires whose competence was guaranteed by their education. For Guizot the whole country was represented by the “pays légal,” consisting of the king, the ministers, the deputies and the Campaign of the banquets. electors. When the Opposition appealed to the country, he flung down a disdainful challenge to what “les brouillons et les badauds appellent le peuple.” The challenge was taken up by all the parties of the Opposition in the campaign of the banquets got up somewhat artificially in 1847 in favour of the extension of the franchise. The monarchy had arrived at such a state of weakness and corruption that a determined minority was sufficient to overthrow it. The prohibition of a last banquet in Paris precipitated the catastrophe. The monarchy which for fifteen years had overcome its adversaries collapsed on the 24th of February 1848 to the astonishment of all.

The industrial population of the faubourgs on its way towards the centre of the town was welcomed by the National Guard, among cries of “Vive la réforme.” Barricades were raised after the unfortunate incident of the firing on The Revolution of Feb. 24, 1848. the crowd in the Boulevard des Capucines. On the 23rd Guizot’s cabinet resigned, abandoned by the petite bourgeoisie, on whose support they thought they could depend. The heads of the Left Centre and the dynastic Left, Molé and Thiers, declined the offered leadership. Odilon Barrot accepted it, and Bugeaud, commander-in-chief of the first military division, who had begun to attack the barricades, was recalled. But it was too late. In face of the insurrection which had now taken possession of the whole capital, Louis Philippe decided to abdicate in favour of his grandson, the comte de Paris. But it was too late also to be content with the regency of the duchess of Orleans. It was now the turn of the Republic, and it was proclaimed by Lamartine in the name of the provisional government elected by the Chamber under the pressure of the mob.

This provisional government with Dupont de l’Eure as its president, consisted of Lamartine for foreign affairs, Crémieux for justice, Ledru-Rollin for the interior, Carnot for public instruction, Gondchaux for finance, Arago for The Provisional Government. the navy, and Bedeau for war. Garnier-Pagès was mayor of Paris. But, as in 1830, the republican-socialist party had set up a rival government at the Hôtel de Ville, including L. Blanc, A. Marrast, Flocon, and the workman Albert, which bid fair to involve discord and civil war. But this time the Palais Bourbon was not victorious over the Hôtel de Ville. It had to consent to a fusion of the two bodies, in which, however, the predominating elements were the moderate republicans. It was doubtful what would eventually be the policy of the new government. One party, seeing that in spite of the changes in the last sixty years of all political institutions, the position of the people had not been improved, demanded a reform of society itself, the abolition of the privileged position of property, the only obstacle to equality, and as an emblem hoisted the red flag. The other party wished to maintain society on the basis of its ancient institutions, and rallied round the tricolour.

The first collision took place as to the form which the revolution of 1848 was to take. Were they to remain faithful to their original principles, as Lamartine wished, and accept the decision of the country as supreme, or were they, Universal suffrage. as the revolutionaries under Ledru-Rollin claimed, to declare the republic of Paris superior to the universal suffrage of an insufficiently educated people? On the 5th of March the government, under the pressure of the Parisian clubs, decided in favour of an immediate reference to the people, and direct universal suffrage, and adjourned it till the 26th of April. In this fateful and unexpected decision, which instead of adding to the electorate the educated classes, refused by Guizot, admitted to it the unqualified masses, originated the Constituent Assembly of the 4th of May 1848. The provisional government having resigned, the republican and anti-socialist majority on the 9th The Executive Commission. of May entrusted the supreme power to an executive commission consisting of five members: Arago, Marie, Garnier-Pagès, Lamartine and Ledru-Rollin. But the spell was already broken. This revolution which had been peacefully effected with the most generous aspirations, in the hope of abolishing poverty by organizing industry on other bases than those of competition and capitalism, and which had at once aroused the fraternal sympathy of the nations, was doomed to be abortive.

The result of the general election, the return of a constituent assembly predominantly moderate if not monarchical, dashed the hopes of those who had looked for the establishment, by a peaceful revolution, of their ideal socialist state; but they were not prepared to yield without a struggle, and in Paris itself they commanded a formidable force. In spite of the preponderance of the “tricolour” party in the provisional government, so long as the voice of France had not spoken, the socialists, supported by the Parisian proletariat, had exercised an influence on policy out of all proportion to their relative numbers or personal weight. By the decree of the 24th of February the provisional government had solemnly accepted the principle of the “right to work,” and decided to establish “national workshops” for the unemployed; at the same time a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labour; and, lastly, by the decree of the 8th of March the property qualification for enrolment in the National Guard had been abolished and the workmen were supplied with arms. The socialists thus formed, in some sort, a state within the state, with a government, an organization and an armed force.

In the circumstances a conflict was inevitable; and on the 15th of May an armed mob, headed by Raspail, Blanqui and Barbès, and assisted by the proletariat Guard, attempted to overwhelm the Assembly. They were defeated by the bourgeois battalions of the National Guard; but the situation none the less remained highly critical. The national workshops were producing the results that might have been foreseen. It was impossible to provide remunerative work even for the genuine unemployed, and of the thousands who applied the greater number were employed in perfectly useless digging and refilling; soon even this expedient failed, and those for whom work could not be invented were given a half wage of 1 franc a day. Even this pitiful dole, with no obligation to work, proved attractive, and all over France workmen threw up their jobs and streamed to Paris, where they swelled the ranks of the army under the red flag. It was soon clear that the continuance of this experiment would mean financial ruin; it had been proved by the émeute of the 15th of May that it constituted a perpetual menace 868 to the state; and the government decided to end it. The method chosen was scarcely a happy one. On the 21st of June M. de Falloux decided in the name of the parliamentary commission on labour that the workmen should be discharged within three days and such as were able-bodied should be forced to enlist. The June Days. A furious insurrection at once broke out. Throughout the whole of the 24th, 25th and 26th of June, the eastern industrial quarter of Paris, led by Pujol, carried on a furious struggle against the western quarter, led by Cavaignac, who had been appointed dictator. Vanquished and decimated, first by fighting and afterwards by deportation, the socialist party was crushed. But they dragged down the Republic in their ruin. This had already become unpopular with the peasants, exasperated by the new land tax of 45 centimes imposed in order to fill the empty treasury, and with the bourgeois, in terror of the power of the revolutionary clubs and hard hit by the stagnation of business. By the “massacres” of the June Days the working classes were also alienated from it; and abiding fear of the “Reds” did the rest. “France,” wrote the duke of Wellington at this time, “needs a Napoleon! I cannot yet see him ... Where is he?”36

France indeed needed, or thought she needed, a Napoleon; and the demand was soon to be supplied. The granting of universal suffrage to a society with Imperialist sympathies, and unfitted to reconcile the principles The Constitution of 1848. of order with the consequences of liberty, was indeed bound, now that the political balance in France was so radically changed, to prove a formidable instrument of reaction; and this was proved by the election of the president of the Republic. On the 4th of November 1848 was promulgated the new constitution, obviously the work of inexperienced hands, proclaiming a democratic republic, direct universal suffrage and the separation of powers; there was to be a single permanent assembly of 750 members elected for a term of three years by the scrutin de liste, which was to vote on the laws prepared by a council of state elected by the Assembly for six years; the executive power was delegated to a president elected for four years by direct universal suffrage, i.e. on a broader basis than that of the chamber, and not eligible for re-election; he was to choose his ministers, who, like him, would be responsible. Finally, all revision was made impossible since it involved obtaining three times in succession a majority of three-quarters of the deputies in a special assembly. It was in vain that M. Grévy, in the name of those who perceived the obvious and inevitable risk of creating, under the name of a president, a monarch and more than a king, proposed that the head of the state should be no more than a removable president of the ministerial council. Lamartine, thinking that he was sure to be the choice of the electors under universal suffrage, won over the support of the Chamber, which did not even take the precaution of rendering ineligible the members of families which had reigned over France. It made the presidency an office dependent upon popular acclamation.

The election was keenly contested; the socialists adopted as their candidate Ledru-Rollin, the republicans Cavaignac; and the recently reorganized Imperialist party Prince Bonaparte. Louis Napoleon, unknown in 1835, and Louis Napoleon. forgotten or despised since 1840, had in the last eight years advanced sufficiently in the public estimation to be elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1848 by five departments. He owed this rapid increase of popularity partly to blunders of the government of July, which had unwisely aroused the memory of the country, filled as it was with recollections of the Empire, and partly to Louis Napoleon’s campaign carried on from his prison at Ham by means of pamphlets of socialistic tendencies. Moreover, the monarchists, led by Thiers and the committee of the Rue de Poitiers, were no longer content even with the safe dictatorship of the upright Cavaignac, and joined forces with the Bonapartists. On the 10th of December the peasants gave over 5,000,000 votes to a name: Napoleon, which stood for order at all costs, against 1,400,000 for Cavaignac.

For three years there went on an indecisive struggle between the heterogeneous Assembly and the prince who was silently awaiting his opportunity. He chose as his ministers men but little inclined towards republicanism, for Expedition to Rome. preference Orleanists, the chief of whom was Odilon Barrot. In order to strengthen his position, he endeavoured to conciliate the reactionary parties, without committing himself to any of them. The chief instance of this was the expedition to Rome, voted by the Catholics with the object of restoring the papacy, which had been driven out by Garibaldi and Mazzini. The prince-president was also in favour of it, as beginning the work of European renovation and reconstruction which he already looked upon as his mission. General Oudinot’s entry into Rome provoked in Paris a foolish insurrection in favour of the Roman republic, that of the Château d’Eau, which was crushed on the 13th of June 1849. On the other hand, when Pius IX., though only just restored, began to yield to the general movement of reaction, the president demanded that he should set up a Liberal government. The pope’s dilatory reply having been accepted by his ministry, the president replaced it on the 1st of November by the Fould-Rouher cabinet.

This looked like a declaration of war against the Catholic and monarchist majority in the Legislative Assembly which had The Legislative Assembly. been elected on the 28th of May in a moment of panic. But the prince-president again pretended to be playing the game of the Orleanists, as he had done in the case of the Constituent-Assembly. The complementary elections of March and April 1850 having resulted in an unexpected victory for the advanced republicans, which struck terror into the reactionary leaders, Thiers, Berryer and Montalembert, the president gave his countenance to a clerical campaign against the republicans at home. The Church, which had failed in its attempts to gain control of the university under Louis XVIII. and Charles X., aimed at setting up a rival establishment “Loi Falloux.”

Electoral law of May 31.
of its own. The Loi Falloux of the 15th of March 1850, under the pretext of establishing the liberty of instruction promised by the charter, again placed the teaching of the university under the direction of the Catholic Church, as a measure of social safety, and, by the facilities which it granted to the Church for propagating teaching in harmony with its own dogmas, succeeded in obstructing for half a century the work of intellectual enfranchisement effected by the men of the 18th century and of the Revolution. The electoral law of the 31st of May was another class law directed against subversive ideas. It required as a proof of three years’ domicile the entries in the record of direct taxes, thus cutting down universal suffrage by taking away the vote from the industrial population, which was not as a rule stationary. The law of the 16th of July aggravated the severity of the press restrictions by re-establishing the “caution money” (cautionnement) deposited by proprietors and editors of papers with the government as a guarantee of good behaviour. Finally, a skilful interpretation of the law on clubs and political societies suppressed about this time all the Republican societies. It was now their turn to be crushed like the socialists.

But the president had only joined in Montalembert’s cry of “Down with the Republicans!” in the hope of effecting a revision of the constitution without having recourse to a coup d’état. His concessions only increased the Struggle between the President and the Assembly. boldness of the monarchists; while they had only accepted Louis Napoleon as president in opposition to the Republic and as a step in the direction of the monarchy. A conflict was now inevitable between his personal policy and the majority of the Chamber, who were, moreover, divided into legitimists and Orleanists, in spite of the death of Louis Philippe in August 1850. Louis Napoleon skilfully exploited their projects for a restoration of the monarchy, which he knew to be unpopular in the country, and which gave him the opportunity of furthering his own personal ambitions. From the 8th of August to the 12th of November 1850 he went about France stating the case for a revision of the constitution in speeches which he varied according to each place; he held 869 reviews, at which cries of “Vive Napoléon” showed that the army was with him; he superseded General Changarnier, on whose arms the parliament relied for the projected monarchical coup d’état; he replaced his Orleanist ministry by obscure men devoted to his own cause, such as Morny, Fleury and Persigny, and gathered round him officers of the African army, broken men like General Saint-Arnaud; in fact he practically declared open war.

His reply to the votes of censure passed by the Assembly, and their refusal to increase his civil list, was to hint at a vast communistic plot in order to scare the bourgeoisie, and to denounce the electoral law of the 31st of May in order to gain the Coup d’État of Dec. 2, 1851. support of the mass of the people. The Assembly retaliated by throwing out the proposal for a partial reform of that article of the constitution which prohibited the re-election of the president and the re-establishment of universal suffrage (July). All hope of a peaceful issue was at an end. When the questors called upon the Chamber to have posted up in all barracks the decree of the 6th of May 1848 concerning the right of the Assembly to demand the support of the troops if attacked, the Mountain, dreading a restoration of the monarchy, voted with the Bonapartists against the measure, thus disarming the legislative power. Louis Napoleon saw his opportunity. On the night between the 1st and 2nd of December 1851, the anniversary of Austerlitz, he dissolved the Chamber, re-established universal suffrage, had all the party leaders arrested, and summoned a new assembly to prolong his term of office for ten years. The deputies who had met under Berryer at the Mairie of the tenth arrondissement to defend the constitution and proclaim the deposition of Louis Napoleon were scattered by the troops at Mazas and Mont Valérian. The resistance organized by the republicans within Paris under Victor Hugo was soon subdued by the intoxicated soldiers. The more serious resistance in the departments was crushed by declaring a state of siege and by the “mixed commissions.” The plebiscite of the 20th of December ratified by a huge majority the coup d’état in favour of the prince-president, who alone reaped the benefit of the excesses of the Republicans and the reactionary passions of the monarchists.

The second attempt to revive the principle of 1789 only served as a preface to the restoration of the Empire. The new anti-parliamentary constitution of the 14th of January 1852 was to a large extent merely a repetition of that The Second Empire. of the year VIII. All executive power was entrusted to the head of the state, who was solely responsible to the people, now powerless to exercise any of their rights. He was to nominate the members of the council of state, whose duty it was to prepare the laws, and of the senate, a body permanently established as a constituent part of the empire. One innovation was made, namely, that the Legislative Body was elected by universal suffrage, but it had no right of initiative, all laws being proposed by the executive power. This new and violent political change was rapidly followed by the same consequence as had attended that of Brumaire. On the 2nd of December 1852, France, still under the effect of the Napoleonic virus, and the fear of anarchy, conferred almost unanimously by a plebiscite the supreme power, with the title of emperor, upon Napoleon III.

But though the machinery of government was almost the same under the Second Empire as it had been under the First, the principles upon which its founder based it were different. The function of the Empire, as he loved to repeat, was to guide the people internally towards justice and externally towards perpetual peace. Holding his power by universal suffrage, and having frequently, from his prison or in exile, reproached former oligarchical governments with neglecting social questions, he set out to solve them by organizing a system of government based on the principles of the “Napoleonic Idea,” i.e. of the emperor, the elect of the people as the representative of the democracy, and as such supreme; and of himself, the representative of the great Napoleon, “who had sprung armed from the Revolution like Minerva from the head of Jove,” as the guardian of the social gains of the revolutionary epoch. But he soon proved that social justice did not mean liberty; for he acted in such a way that those of the principles of 1848 which he had preserved became a mere sham. He proceeded to paralyze all those active national forces which tend to create the public spirit of a people, such as parliament, universal suffrage, the press, education and associations. The Legislative Body was not allowed either to elect its own president or to regulate its own procedure, or to propose a law or an amendment, or to vote on the budget in detail, or to make its deliberations public. It was a dumb parliament. Similarly, universal suffrage was supervised and controlled by means of official candidature, by forbidding free speech and action in electoral matters to the Opposition, and by a skilful adjustment of the electoral districts in such a way as to overwhelm the Liberal vote in the mass of the rural population. The press was subjected to a system of cautionnements, i.e. “caution money,” deposited as a guarantee of good behaviour, and avertissements, i.e. requests by the authorities to cease publication of certain articles, under pain of suspension or suppression; while books were subject to a censorship. France was like a sickroom, where nobody might speak aloud. In order to counteract the opposition of individuals, a surveillance of suspects was instituted. Orsini’s attack on the emperor in 1858, though purely Italian in its motive, served as a pretext for increasing the severity of this régime by the law of general security (sûreté générale) which authorized the internment, exile or deportation of any suspect without trial. In the same way public instruction was strictly supervised, the teaching of philosophy was suppressed in the Lycées, and the disciplinary powers of the administration were increased. In fact for seven years France had no political life. The Empire was carried on by a series of plebiscites. Up to 1857 the Opposition did not exist; from then till 1860 it was reduced to five members: Darimon, Émile Ollivier, Hénon, J. Favre and E. Picard. The royalists waited inactive after the new and unsuccessful attempt made at Frohsdorf in 1853, by a combination of the legitimists and Orleanists, to re-create a living monarchy out of the ruin of two royal families. Thus the events of that ominous night in December were closing the future to the new generations as well as to those who had grown up during forty years of liberty.

But it was not enough to abolish liberty by conjuring up the spectre of demagogy. It had to be forgotten, the great silence had to be covered by the noise of festivities and material enjoyment, the imagination of the French people had Material prosperity a condition of despotism. to be distracted from public affairs by the taste for work, the love of gain, the passion for good living. The success of the imperial despotism, as of any other, was bound up with that material prosperity which would make all interests dread the thought of revolution. Napoleon III., therefore, looked for support to the clergy, the great financiers, industrial magnates and landed proprietors. He revived on his own account the “Let us grow rich” of 1840. Under the influence of the Saint-Simonians and men of business great credit establishments were instituted and vast public works entered upon: the Crédit foncier de France, the Crédit mobilier, the conversion of the railways into six great companies between 1852 and 1857. The rage for speculation was increased by the inflow of Californian and Australian gold, and consumption was facilitated by a general fall in prices between 1856 and 1860, due to an economic revolution which was soon to overthrow the tariff wall, as it had done already in England. Thus French activity flourished exceedingly between 1852 and 1857, and was merely temporarily checked by the crisis of 1857. The universal Exhibition of 1855 was its culminating point. Art felt the effects of this increase of comfort and luxury. The great enthusiasms of the romantic period were over; philosophy became sceptical and literature merely amusing. The festivities of the court at Compiègne set the fashion for the bourgeoisie, satisfied with this energetic government which kept such good guard over their bank balances.

If the Empire was strong, the emperor was weak. At once headstrong and a dreamer, he was full of rash plans, but irresolute 870 in carrying them out. An absolute despot, he remained what his life had made him, a conspirator through the very mysticism of Napoleon III.’s ideas. his mental habit, and a revolutionary by reason of his demagogic imperialism and his democratic chauvinism. In his opinion the artificial work of the congress of Vienna, involving the downfall of his own family and of France, ought to be destroyed, and Europe organized as a collection of great industrial states, united by community. of interests and bound together by commercial treaties, and expressing this unity by periodical congresses presided over by himself, and by universal exhibitions. In this way he would reconcile the revolutionary principle of the supremacy of the people with historical tradition, a thing which neither the Restoration nor the July monarchy nor the Republic of 1848 had been able to achieve. Universal suffrage, the organization of Rumanian, Italian and German nationality, and commercial liberty; this was to be the work of the Revolution. But the creation of great states side by side with France brought with it the necessity for looking for territorial compensation elsewhere, and consequently for violating the principle of nationality and abjuring his system of economic peace. Napoleon III.’s foreign policy was as contradictory as his policy in home affairs, “L’Empire, c’est la paix,” was his cry; and he proceeded to make war.

So long as his power was not yet established, Napoleon III. made especial efforts to reassure European opinion, which had been made uneasy by his previous protestations against the treaties of 1815. The Crimean War, in The Crimean War. which, supported by England and the king of Sardinia, he upheld against Russia the policy of the integrity of the Turkish empire, a policy traditional in France since Francis I., won him the adherence both of the old parties and and the Liberals. And this war was the prototype of all the rest. It was entered upon with no clearly defined military purpose, and continued in a hesitating way. This was the cause, after the victory of the allies at the Alma (September 14, 1854), of the long and costly siege of Sevastopol (September 8, 1855). Napoleon III., whose joy was at its height owing to the signature of a peace which excluded Russia from the Black Sea, and to the birth of the prince imperial, which ensured the continuation of his dynasty, thought that the time had arrived to make a beginning in applying his system. Count Walewski, his minister for foreign affairs, gave a sudden and unexpected extension of scope to the deliberations of the congress which met at Paris in 1856 by inviting the plenipotentiaries to consider the questions of Greece, Rome, Naples, &c. This motion contained the principle of all the upheavals which were to effect such changes in Europe between 1859 and 1871. It was Cavour and Piedmont who immediately benefited by it, for thanks to Napoleon III. they were able to lay the Italian question before an assembly of diplomatic Europe.

It was not Orsini’s attack on the 14th of January 1858 which brought this question before Napoleon. It had never ceased to occupy him since he had taken part in the patriotic conspiracies in Italy in his youth. The triumph of his The War in Italy. armies in the East now gave him the power necessary to accomplish this mission upon which he had set his heart. The suppression of public opinion made it impossible for him to be enlightened as to the conflict between the interests of the country and his own generous visions. The sympathy of all Europe was with Italy, torn for centuries past between so many masters; under Alexander II. Russia, won over since the interview of Stuttgart by the emperor’s generosity rather than conquered by armed force, offered no opposition to this act of justice; while England applauded it from the first. The emperor, divided between the empress Eugénie, who as a Spaniard and a devout Catholic was hostile to anything which might threaten the papacy, and Prince Napoleon, who as brother-in-law of Victor Emmanuel favoured the cause of Piedmont, hoped to conciliate both sides by setting up an Italian federation, intending to reserve the presidency of it to Pope Pius IX., as a mark of respect to the moral authority of the Church. Moreover, the very difficulty of the undertaking appealed to the emperor, elated by his recent success in the Crimea. At the secret meeting between Napoleon and Count Cavour (July 20, 1858) the eventual armed intervention of France, demanded by Orsini before he mounted the scaffold, was definitely promised.

The ill-advised Austrian ultimatum demanding the immediate cessation of Piedmont’s preparations for war precipitated the Italian expedition. On the 3rd of May 1859 Napoleon declared his intention of making Italy “free from the The peace of Villafranca. Alps to the Adriatic.” As he had done four years ago, he plunged into the war with no settled scheme and without preparation; he held out great hopes, but without reckoning what efforts would be necessary to realize them. Two months later, in spite of the victories of Montebello, Magenta and Solferino, he suddenly broke off, and signed the patched-up peace of Villafranca with Francis Joseph (July 9). Austria ceded Lombardy to Napoleon III., who in turn ceded it to Victor Emmanuel; Modena and Tuscany were restored to their respective dukes, the Romagna to the pope, now president of an Italian federation. The mountain had brought forth a mouse.

The reasons for this breakdown on the part of the emperor in the midst of his apparent triumph were many. Neither Magenta nor Solferino had been decisive battles. Further, his idea of a federation was menaced by the The Italian problem. revolutionary movement which seemed likely to drive out all the princes of central Italy, and to involve him in an unwelcome dispute with the French clerical party. Moreover, he had forgotten to reckon with the Germanic Confederation, which was bound to come to the assistance of Austria. The mobilization of Prussia on the Rhine, combined with military difficulties and the risk of a defeat in Venetian territory, rather damped his enthusiasm, and decided him to put an end to the war. The armistice fell upon the Italians as a bolt from the blue, convincing them that they had been betrayed; on all sides despair drove them to sacrifice their jealously guarded independence to national unity. On the one hand the Catholics were agitating throughout all Europe to obtain the independence of the papal territory; and the French republicans were protesting, on the other hand, against the abandonment of those revolutionary traditions, the revival of which they had hailed so enthusiastically. The emperor, unprepared for the turn which events had taken, attempted to disentangle this confusion by suggesting a fresh congress of the Powers, which should reconcile dynastic interests with those of the people. After a while he gave up the attempt and resigned himself to the position, his actions having had more wide-reaching results than he had wished. The treaty of Zürich proclaimed the fallacious principle of non-intervention (November 10, 1859); and then, by the treaty of Turin of the 24th of May 1860, Napoleon threw over his ill-timed confederation. He conciliated the mistrust of Great Britain by replacing Walewski, who was hostile to his policy, by Thouvenel, an anti-clerical and a supporter of the English alliance, and he counterbalanced the increase of the new Italian kingdom by the acquisition of Nice and Savoy. Napoleon, like all French governments, only succeeded in finding a provisional solution for the Italian problem.

But this solution would only hold good so long as the emperor was in a powerful position. Now this Italian war, in which he had given his support to revolution beyond the Alps, and, though unintentionally, compromised the temporal Catholic and protectionist opposition. power of the popes, had given great offence to the Catholics, to whose support the establishment of the Empire was largely due. A keen Catholic opposition sprang up, voiced in L. Veuillot’s paper the Univers, and was not silenced even by the Syrian expedition (1860) in favour of the Catholic Maronites, who were being persecuted by the Druses. On the other hand, the commercial treaty with Great Britain which was signed in January 1860, and which ratified the free-trade policy of Richard Cobden and Michael Chevalier, had brought upon French industry the sudden shock of foreign competition. Thus both Catholics and protectionists made the discovery that absolutism may be an excellent thing when it 871 serves their ambitions or interests, but a bad thing when it is exercised at their expense. But Napoleon, in order to restore the prestige of the Empire before the newly-awakened hostility of public opinion, tried to gain from the Left the support which he had lost from the Right. After the return from Italy the general amnesty of the 16th of August 1859 had marked the evolution of the absolutist empire towards the liberal, and later parliamentary empire, which was to last for ten years.

Napoleon began by removing the gag which was keeping the country in silence. On the 24th of November 1860, “by a coup d’état matured during his solitary meditations,” like a conspirator in his love of hiding his mysterious The Liberal Empire. thoughts even from his ministers, he granted to the Chambers the right to vote an address annually in answer to the speech from the throne, and to the press the right of reporting parliamentary debates. He counted on the latter concession to hold in check the growing Catholic opposition, which was becoming more and more alarmed by the policy of laissez-faire practised by the emperor in Italy. But the government majority already showed some signs of independence. The right of voting on the budget by sections, granted by the emperor in 1861, was a new weapon given to his adversaries. Everything conspired in their favour: the anxiety of those candid friends who were calling attention to the defective budget; the commercial crisis, aggravated by the American Civil War; and above all, the restless spirit of the emperor, who had annoyed his opponents in 1860 by insisting on an alliance with Great Britain in order forcibly to open the Chinese ports for trade, in 1863 by his ill-fated attempt to put down a republic and set up a Latin empire in Mexico in favour of the archduke Maximilian of Austria, and from 1861 to 1863 by embarking on colonizing experiments in Cochin China and Annam.

The same inconsistencies occurred in the emperor’s European politics. The support which he had given to the Italian cause had aroused the eager hopes of other nations. The proclamation of the kingdom of Italy on the 18th of The policy of nationalism. February 1861 after the rapid annexation of Tuscany and the kingdom of Naples had proved the danger of half-measures. But when a concession, however narrow, had been made to the liberty of one nation, it could hardly be refused to the no less legitimate aspirations of the rest. In 1863 these “new rights” again clamoured loudly for recognition, in Poland, in Schleswig and Holstein, in Italy, now indeed united, but with neither frontiers nor capital, and in the Danubian principalities. In order to extricate himself from the Polish impasse, the emperor again had recourse to his expedient—always fruitless because always inopportune—of a congress. He was again unsuccessful: England refused even to admit the principle of a congress, while Austria, Prussia and Russia gave their adhesion only on conditions which rendered it futile, i.e. they reserved the vital questions of Venetia and Poland.

Thus Napoleon had yet again to disappoint the hopes of Italy, let Poland be crushed, and Germany triumph over Denmark in the Schleswig-Holstein question. These inconsistencies resulted in a combination of the opposition parties, Catholic, Liberal and Republican, in the Union libérale. The elections of May-June 1863 gained the Opposition forty seats and a leader, Thiers, who at once urgently gave voice to its demand for “the necessary liberties.”

It would have been difficult for the emperor to mistake the importance of this manifestation of French opinion, and in view of his international failures, impossible to repress it. The sacrifice of Persigny, minister of the interior, The régime of concessions. who was responsible for the elections, the substitution for the ministers without portfolio of a sort of presidency of the council filled by Rouher, the “Vice-Emperor,” and the nomination of V. Duruy, an anti-clerical, as minister of public instruction, in reply to those attacks of the Church which were to culminate in the Syllabus of 1864, all indicated a distinct rapprochement between the emperor and the Left. But though the opposition represented by Thiers was rather constitutional than dynastic, there was another and irreconcilable opposition, that of the amnestied or voluntarily exiled republicans, of whom Victor Hugo was the eloquent mouthpiece. Thus those who had formerly constituted the governing classes were again showing signs of their ambition to govern. There appeared to be some risk that this movement among the bourgeoisie might spread to the people. As Antaeus recruited his strength by touching the earth Napoleon believed that he would consolidate his menaced power by again turning to the labouring masses, by whom that power had been established.

This industrial policy he embarked upon as much from motives of interest as from sympathy, out of opposition to the bourgeoisie, which was ambitious of governing or desirous of his overthrow. His course was all the easier, since he had Industrial policy of the Empire. only to exploit the prejudices of the working classes. They had never forgotten the loi Chapelle of 1791, which by forbidding all combinations among the workmen had placed them at the mercy of their employers, nor had they forgotten how the limited suffrage had conferred upon capital a political monopoly which had put it out of reach of the law, nor how each time they had left their position of rigid isolation in order to save the Charter or universal suffrage, the triumphant bourgeoisie had repaid them at the last with neglect. The silence of public opinion under the Empire and the prosperous state of business had completed the separation of the labour party from the political parties. The visit of an elected and paid labour delegation to the Universal Exhibition of 1862 in London gave the emperor an opportunity for re-establishing relations with that party, and these relations were to his mind all the more profitable, since the labour party, by refusing to associate their social and industrial claims with the political ambitions of the bourgeoisie, maintained a neutral attitude between the parties, and could, if necessary, divide them, while by its keen criticism of society it aroused the conservative instincts of the bourgeoisie and consequently checked their enthusiasm for liberty. A law of the 23rd of May 1863 gave the workmen the right, as in England, to save money by creating co-operative societies. Another law, of the 25th of May 1864, gave them the right to enforce better conditions of labour by organizing strikes. Still further, the emperor permitted the workmen to imitate their employers by establishing unions for the permanent protection of their interests. And finally, when the ouvriers, with the characteristic French tendency to insist on the universal application of a theory, wished to substitute for the narrow utilitarianism of the English trade-unions the ideas common to the wage-earning classes of the whole world, he put no obstacles in the way of their leader M. Tolain’s plan for founding an International Association of Workers (Société Internationale des Travailleurs). At the same time he encouraged the provision made by employers for thrift and relief and for improving the condition of the working-classes.

Thus assured of support, the emperor, through the mouthpiece of M. Rouher, who was a supporter of the absolutist régime, was able to refuse all fresh claims on the part of the Liberals. He was aided by the cessation of the industrial Sadowa (1866). crisis as the American civil war came to an end, by the apparent closing of the Roman question by the convention of the 15th of September, which guaranteed to the papal states the protection of Italy, and finally by the treaty of the 30th of October 1864, which temporarily put an end to the crisis of the Schleswig-Holstein question. But after 1865 the momentary agreement which had united Austria and Prussia for the purpose of administering the conquered duchies gave place to a silent antipathy which foreboded a rupture. Yet, though the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 was not unexpected, its rapid termination and fateful outcome came as a severe and sudden shock to France. Napoleon had hoped to gain fresh prestige for his throne and new influence for France by an intervention at the proper moment between combatants equally matched and mutually exhausted. His calculations were upset and his hopes dashed by the battle of Sadowa (Königgrätz) on the 4th of July. The treaty of Prague put an end to the secular rivalry of Habsburg and Hohenzollern for the hegemony of Germany, which had been France’s 872 opportunity; and Prussia could afford to humour the just claims of Napoleon by establishing between her North German Confederation and the South German states the illusory frontier of the Main. The belated efforts of the French emperor to obtain “compensation” on the left bank of the Rhine, at the expense of the South German states, made matters worse. France realized with an angry surprise that on her eastern frontier had arisen a military power by which her influence, if not her existence, was threatened; that in the name of the principle of nationality unwilling populations had been brought under the sway of a dynasty by tradition militant and aggressive, by tradition the enemy of France; that this new and threatening power had destroyed French influence in Italy, which owed the acquisition of Venetia to a Prussian alliance and to Prussian arms; and that all this had been due to Napoleon, outwitted and outmanœuvred at every turn, since his first interview with Bismarck at Biarritz in October 1865.

All confidence in the excellence of imperial régime vanished at once. Thiers and Jules Favre as representatives of the Opposition denounced in the Legislative Body the blunders of 1866. Émile Ollivier split up the official majority by the amendment of the 45, and gave it to Further concessions of Napoleon III.
Struggle between Ollivier and Rouher.
be understood that a reconciliation with the Empire would be impossible until the emperor would grant entire liberty. The recall of the French troops from Rome, in accordance with the convention of 1864, also led to further attacks by the Ultramontane party, who were alarmed for the papacy. Napoleon III. felt the necessity for developing “the great act of 1860” by the decree of the 19th of January 1867. In spite of Rouher, by a secret agreement with Ollivier the right of interpellation was restored to the Chambers. Reforms in press supervision and the right of holding meetings were promised. It was in vain that M. Rouher tried to meet the Liberal opposition by organizing a party for the defence of the Empire, the “Union dynastique.” But the rapid succession of international reverses prevented him from effecting anything.

The year 1867 was particularly disastrous for the Empire. In Mexico “the greatest idea of the reign” ended in a humiliating withdrawal before the ultimatum of the United States, while Italy, relying on her new alliance with Prussia The year 1867. and already forgetful of her promises, was mobilizing the revolutionary forces to complete her unity by conquering Rome. The chassepots of Mentana were needed to check the Garibaldians. And when the imperial diplomacy made a belated attempt to obtain from the victorious Bismarck those territorial compensations on the Rhine, in Belgium and in Luxemburg, which it ought to have been possible to exact from him earlier at Biarritz, Benedetti added to the mistake of asking at the wrong time the humiliation of obtaining nothing (see Luxemburg). Napoleon did not dare to take courage and confess his weakness. And finally was seen the strange contrast of France, though reduced to such a state of real weakness, courting the mockery of Europe by a display of the external magnificence which concealed her decline. In the Paris transformed by Baron Haussmann and now become almost exclusively a city of pleasure and frivolity, the opening of the Universal Exhibition was marked by Berezowski’s attack on the tsar Alexander II., and its success was clouded by the tragic fate of the unhappy emperor Maximilian of Mexico. Well might Thiers exclaim, “There are no blunders left for us to make.”

But the emperor managed to commit still more, of which the consequences both for his dynasty and for France were irreparable. Old, infirm and embittered, continually keeping his ministers in suspense by the uncertainty and Peace or war. secrecy of his plans, surrounded by a people now bent almost entirely on pleasure, and urged on by a growing opposition, there now remained but two courses open to Napoleon III.: either to arrange a peace which should last, or to prepare for a decisive war. He allowed himself to drift in the direction of war, but without bringing things to a necessary state of preparation. It was in vain that Count Beust revived on behalf of the Austrian government the project abandoned by Napoleon since 1866 of a settlement on the basis of the status quo with reciprocal disarmament. Napoleon refused, on hearing from Colonel Stoffel, his military attaché at Berlin, that Prussia would not agree to disarmament. But he was more anxious than he was willing to show. A reconstitution of the military organization seemed to him to be necessary. This Marshal Niel was unable to obtain either from the Bonapartist Opposition, who feared the electors, in whom the old patriotism had given place to the commercial or cosmopolitan spirit, or from the Republican opposition, who were unwilling to strengthen the despotism. Both of them were blinded by party interest to the danger from outside.

The emperor’s good fortune had departed; he was abandoned by men and disappointed by events. He had vainly hoped that, though by the laws of May-June 1868, granting the freedom of the press and authorizing meetings, he had Action of the revolutionaries. conceded the right of speech, he would retain the right of action; but he had played into the hands of his enemies. Victor Hugo’s Châtiments, the insults of Rochefort’s Lanterne, the subscription for the monument to Baudin, the deputy killed at the barricades in 1851, followed by Gambetta’s terrible speech against the Empire on the occasion of the trial of Delescluze, soon showed that the republican party was irreconcilable, and bent on the Republic. On the other hand, the Ultramontane party were becoming more and more discontented, while the industries formerly protected were equally dissatisfied with the free-trade reform. Worse still, the working classes had abandoned their political neutrality, which had brought them nothing but unpopularity, and gone over to the enemy. Despising Proudhon’s impassioned attacks on the slavery of communism, they had gradually been won over by the collectivist theories of Karl Marx or the revolutionary theories of Bakounine, as set forth at the congresses of the International. At these Labour congresses, the fame of which was only increased by the fact that they were forbidden, it had been affirmed that the social emancipation of the worker was inseparable from his political emancipation. Henceforth the union between the internationalists and the republican bourgeois was an accomplished fact. The Empire, taken by surprise, sought to curb both the middle classes and the labouring classes, and forced them both into revolutionary actions. On every side took place strikes, forming as it were a review of the effective forces of the Revolution.

The elections of May 1869, made during these disturbances, inflicted upon the Empire a serious moral defeat. In spite of the revival by the government of the cry of the red terror, Ollivier, the advocate of conciliation, was The parliamentary Empire. rejected by Paris, while 40 irreconcilables and 116 members of the Third Party were elected. Concessions had to be made to these, so by the senatus-consulte of the 8th of September 1869 a parliamentary monarchy was substituted for personal government. On the 2nd of January 1870 Ollivier was placed at the head of the first homogeneous, united and responsible ministry. But the republican party, unlike the country, which hailed this reconciliation of liberty and order, refused to be content with the liberties they had won; they refused all compromise, declaring themselves more than ever decided upon the overthrow of the Empire. The murder of the journalist Victor Noir by Pierre Bonaparte, a member of the imperial family, gave the revolutionaries their long desired opportunity (January 10). But the émeute ended in a failure, and the emperor was able to answer the personal threats against him by the overwhelming victory of the plebiscite of the 8th of May 1870.

But this success, which should have consolidated the Empire, determined its downfall. It was thought that a diplomatic success should complete it, and make the country forget liberty for glory. It was in vain that after the The Franco-German War. parliamentary revolution of the 2nd of January that prudent statesman Comte Daru revived, through Lord Clarendon, Count Beust’s plan of disarmament after Sadowa. He met with a refusal from Prussia and from the imperial entourage. The Empress Eugénie was credited with 873 the remark, “If there is no war, my son will never be emperor.” The desired pretext was offered on the 3rd of July 1870 by the candidature of a Hohenzollern prince for the throne of Spain. To the French people it seemed that Prussia, The Hohenzollern candidature. barely mistress of Germany, was reviving against France the traditional policy of the Habsburgs. France, having rejected for dynastic reasons the candidature of a Frenchman, the duc de Montpensier, saw herself threatened with a German prince. Never had the emperor, now both physically and morally ill, greater need of the counsels of a clear-headed statesman and the support of an enlightened public opinion if he was to defeat the statecraft of Bismarck. But he could find neither.

Ollivier’s Liberal ministry, wishing to show itself as jealous for national interests as any absolutist ministry, bent upon doing something great, and swept away by the force of that opinion which it had itself set free, at once The declaration of war. accepted the war as inevitable, and prepared for it with a light heart.37 In face of the decided declaration of the duc de Gramont, the minister for foreign affairs, before the Legislative Body of the 6th of July, Europe, in alarm, supported the efforts of French diplomacy and obtained the withdrawal of the Hohenzollern candidature. This did not suit the views either of the war party in Paris or of Bismarck, who wanted the other side to declare war. The ill-advised action of Gramont in demanding from King William one of those promises for the future which are humiliating but never binding, gave Bismarck his opportunity, and the king’s refusal was transformed by him into an insult by the “editing” of the Ems telegram. The chamber, in spite of the desperate efforts of Thiers and Gambetta, now voted by 246 votes to 10 in favour of the war.

France found herself isolated, as much through the duplicity of Napoleon as through that of Bismarck. The disclosure to the diets of Munich and Stuttgart of the written text of the claims laid by Napoleon on the territories of Hesse France isolated. and Bavaria had since the 22nd of August 1866 estranged southern Germany from France, and disposed the southern states to sign the military convention with Prussia. Owing to a similar series of blunders, the rest of Europe had become hostile. Russia, which it had been Bismarck’s study both during and after the Polish insurrection of 1863 to draw closer to Prussia, learnt with annoyance, by the same indiscretion, how Napoleon was keeping his promises made at Stuttgart. The hope of gaining a revenge in the East for her defeat of 1856 while France was in difficulties made her decide on a benevolent neutrality. The disclosure of Benedetti’s designs of 1867 on Belgium and Luxemburg equally ensured an unfriendly neutrality on the part of Great Britain. The emperor counted at least on the alliance of Austria and Italy, for which he had been negotiating since the Salzburg interview (August 1867). But Austria, having suffered at his hands in 1859 and 1866, was not ready and asked for a delay before joining in the war; while the hesitating friendships of Italy could only be won by the evacuation of Rome. The chassepots of Mentana, Rouher’s “Never,” and the hostility of the Catholic empress to any secret article which should open to Italy the gates of the capital, deprived France of her last friend.

Marshal Leboeuf’s armies were no more effective than Gramont’s alliances. The incapacity of the higher officers of the French army, the lack of preparation for war at headquarters, the selfishness and shirking of responsibility Sedan. Fall of the Empire. on the part of the field officers, the absence of any fixed plan when failure to mobilize had destroyed all chance of the strong offensive which had been counted on, and the folly of depending on chance, as the emperor had so often done successfully, instead of scientific warfare, were all plainly to be seen as early as the insignificant engagement of Saarbrücken. Thus the French army proceeded by disastrous stages from Weissenburg, Forbach, Froeschweiler, Borny, Gravelotte, Noisseville and Saint-Privat to the siege of Metz and the slaughter at Illy. By the capitulation of Sedan the Empire lost its only support, the army, and fell. Paris was left unprotected and emptied of troops, with only a woman at the Tuileries, a terrified Assembly at the Palais-Bourbon, a ministry, that of Palikao, without authority, and leaders of the Opposition who fled as the catastrophe approached.

(P. W.)

The Third Republic 1870-1909

The Third Republic may be said to date from the revolution of the 4th of September 1870, when the republican deputies of Paris at the hôtel de ville constituted a provisional government under the presidency of General Trochu, Government of National Defence, 1870. military governor of the capital. The Empire had fallen, and the emperor was a prisoner in Germany. As, however, since the great Revolution régimes in France have been only passing expedients, not inextricably associated with the destinies of the people, but bound to disappear when accounted responsible for national disaster, the surrender of Louis Napoleon’s sword to William of Prussia did not disarm the country. Hostilities were therefore continued. The provisional government had to assume the part of a Committee of National Defence, and while insurrection was threatening in Paris, it had, in the face of the invading Germans, to send a delegation to Tours to maintain the relations of France with the outside world. Paris was invested, and for five months endured siege, bombardment and famine. Before the end of October the capitulation of Metz, by the treason of Marshal Bazaine, deprived France of the last relic of its regular army. With indomitable courage the garrison of Paris made useless sorties, while an army of irregular troops vainly essayed to resist the invader, who had reached the valley of the Loire. The acting Government of National Defence, thus driven from Tours, took refuge at Bordeaux, where it awaited the capitulation of Paris, which took place on the 29th of January 1871. The same day the preliminaries of peace were signed at Versailles, which, confirmed by the treaty of Frankfort of the 10th of May, transferred from France to Germany the whole of Alsace, excepting Belfort, and a large portion of Lorraine, including Metz, with a money indemnity of two hundred millions sterling.

On the 13th of February 1871 the National Assembly, elected after the capitulation of Paris, met at Bordeaux and assumed the powers hitherto exercised by the Government of National Defence. Since the meeting of the states-general Foundation of the Third Republic, 1871. in 1789 no representative body in France had ever contained so many men of distinction. Elected to conclude a peace, the great majority of its members were monarchists, Gambetta, the rising hope of the republicans, having discredited his party in the eyes of the weary population by his efforts to carry on the war. The Assembly might thus have there and then restored the monarchy had not the monarchists been divided among themselves as royalist supporters of the comte de Chambord, grandson of Charles X., and as Orleanists favouring the claims of the comte de Paris, grandson of Louis Philippe. The majority being unable to unite on the essential point of the choice of a sovereign, decided to allow the Republic, declared on the morrow of Sedan, to liquidate the disastrous situation. Consequently, on the 17th of February the National Assembly elected Thiers as “Chief of the Executive Power of the French Republic,” the abolition of the Empire being formally voted a fortnight later. The old minister of Louis Philippe, who had led the opposition to the Empire, and had been the chief opponent of the war, was further marked out for the position conferred on him by his election to the Assembly in twenty-six departments in recognition of his tour through Europe after the first defeats, undertaken in the patriotic hope of obtaining the intervention of the Powers on behalf of France. Thiers composed a ministry, and announced that the first duty of the government 874 before examining constitutional questions, would be to reorganize the forces of the nation in order to provide for the enormous war indemnity which had to be paid to Germany before the territory could be liberated from the presence of the invader. The tacit acceptance of this arrangement by all parties was known as the “pacte de Bordeaux.” Apart from the pressure of patriotic considerations, it pleased the republican minority to have the government of France officially proclaimed a Republic, while the monarchists thought that pending their choice Of a monarch it might popularize their cause not to have it associated with the imposition of the burden of war taxation. From this fortuitous and informal transaction, accepted by a monarchical Assembly, sprang the Third Republic, the most durable régime established in France since the ancient monarchy disappeared in 1792.

The Germans marched down the Champs Elysées on the 1st of March 1871, and occupied Paris for forty-eight hours. The National Assembly then decided to remove its sittings to Versailles; but two days before its arrival The Commune. at the palace, where the king of Prussia had just been proclaimed German emperor, an insurrection broke out in Paris. The revolutionary element, which had been foremost in proclaiming the Republic on the 4th of September, had shown signs of disaffection during the siege. On the conclusion of the peace the triumphal entry of the German troops, the threatened disbanding of the national guard by an Assembly known to be anti-republican, and the resumption of orderly civic existence after the agitated life of a suffering population isolated by siege, had excited the nerves of the Parisians, always prone to revolution. The Commune was proclaimed on the 18th of March, and Paris was declared to be a free town, which recognized no government but that chosen by the people within its walls, the communard theory being that the state should consist of a federation of self-governing communes subject to no central power. Administrative autonomy was not, however, the real aim of the insurgent leaders. The name of the Commune had always been a rallying sign for violent revolutionaries ever since the Terrorists had found their last support in the municipality of Paris in 1794. In 1871 among the communard chiefs were revolutionaries of every sect, who, disagreeing on governmental and economic principles, were united in their vague but perpetual hostility to the existing order of things. The regular troops of the garrison of Paris followed the National Assembly to Versailles, where they were joined by the soldiers of the armies of Sedan and Metz, liberated from captivity in Germany. With this force the government of the Republic commenced the second siege of Paris, in order to capture the city from the Commune, which had established the parody of a government there, having taken possession of the administrative departments and set a minister at the head of each office. The second siege lasted six weeks under the eyes of the victorious Germans encamped on the heights overlooking the capital. The presence of the enemy, far from restraining the humiliating spectacle of Frenchmen waging war on Frenchmen in the hour of national disaster, seemed to encourage the fury of the combatants. The communards, who had begun their reign by the murder of two generals, concluded it, when the Versailles troops were taking the city, with the massacre of a number of eminent citizens, including the archbishop of Paris, and with the destruction by fire of many of the finest historical buildings, including the palace of the Tuileries and the hôtel de ville. History has rarely known a more unpatriotic crime than that of the insurrection of the Commune; but the punishment inflicted on the insurgents by the Versailles troops was so ruthless that it seemed to be a counter-manifestation of French hatred for Frenchmen in civil disturbance rather than a judicial penalty applied to a heinous offence. The number of Parisians killed by French soldiers in the last week of May 1871 was probably 20,000, though the partisans of the Commune declared that 36,000 men and women were shot in the streets or after summary court-martial.

It is from this point that the history of the Third Republic commences. In spite of the doubly tragic ending of the war the vitality of the country seemed unimpaired. With ease and without murmur it supported the new burden of taxation called Republicans and Monarchists after the war. for by the war indemnity and by the reorganization of the shattered forces of France. Thiers was thus aided in his task of liberating the territory from the presence of the enemy. His proposal at Bordeaux to make the “essai loyal” of the Republic, as the form of government which caused the least division among Frenchmen, was discouraged by the excesses of the Commune which associated republicanism with revolutionary disorder. Nevertheless, the monarchists of the National Assembly received a note of warning that the country might dispense with their services unless they displayed governmental capacity, when in July 1871 the republican minority was largely increased at the bye-elections. The next month, within a year of Sedan, a provisional constitution was voted, the title of president of the French Republic being then conferred on Thiers. The monarchists consented to this against their will; but they had their own way when they conferred constituent powers on the Assembly in opposition to the republicans, who argued that it was a usurpation of the sovereignty of the people for a body elected for another purpose to assume the power of giving a constitution to the land without a special mandate from the nation. The debate gave Gambetta his first opportunity of appearing as a serious politician. The “fou furieux” of Tours, whom Thiers had denounced for his efforts to prolong the hopeless war, was about to become the chief support of the aged Orleanist statesman whose supreme achievement was to be the foundation of the Republic.

It was in 1872 that Thiers practically ranged himself with Gambetta and the republicans. The divisions in the monarchical party made an immediate restoration impossible. This situation induced some of the moderate deputies, 1872: Thiers and Gambetta. whose tendencies were Orleanist, to support the organization of a Republic which now no longer found its chief support in the revolutionary section of the nation, and it suited the ideas of Thiers, whose personal ambition was not less than his undoubted patriotism. Having become unexpectedly chief of the state at seventy-four he had no wish to descend again to the position of a minister of the Orleans dynasty which he had held at thirty-five. So, while the royalists refused to admit the claims of the comte de Paris, the old minister of Louis Philippe did his best to undermine the popularity of the Orleans tradition, which had been great among the Liberals under the Second Empire. He moved the Assembly to restore to the Orleans princes the value of their property confiscated under Louis Napoleon. This he did in the well-founded belief that the family would discredit itself in the eyes of the nation by accepting two millions sterling of public money at a moment when the country was burdened with the war indemnity. The incident was characteristic of his wary policy, as in the face of the anti-republican majority in the Assembly he could not openly break with the Right; and when it was suggested that he was too favourable to the maintenance of the Republic he offered his resignation, the refusal of which he took as indicating the indispensable nature of his services. Meanwhile Gambetta, by his popular eloquence, had won for himself in the autumn a triumphal progress, in the course of which he declared at Grenoble that political power had passed into the hands of “une couche sociale nouvelle,” and he appealed to the new social strata to put an end to the comedy of a Republic without republicans. When the Assembly resumed its sittings, order having been restored in the land disturbed by war and revolution, the financial system being reconstituted and the reorganization of the army planned, Thiers read to the house a presidential message which marked such a distinct movement towards the Left that Gambetta led the applause. “The Republic exists,” said the president, “it is the lawful government of the country, and to devise anything else is to devise the most terrible of revolutions.”

The year 1873 was full of events fateful for the history of France. It opened with the death of Napoleon III. at Chislehurst; but the disasters amid which the Second Empire had ended were too 875 recent for the youthful promise of his heir to be regarded as having any connexion with the future fortunes of France, except by the small group of Bonapartists. Thiers remained the centre of interest. Much as the monarchists disliked him, they at first shrank from upsetting him before they were ready with a scheme of monarchical restoration, and while Gambetta’s authority was growing in the land. But when the Left Centre took alarm at the return of radical deputies at numerous by-elections the reactionaries utilized the divisions in the republican party, and for the only time in the history of the Third Republic they gave proof of parliamentary adroitness. The date for the evacuation of France by the German troops had been advanced, largely owing to Thiers’ successful efforts to raise the war indemnity. The monarchical Resignation of Thiers. majority, therefore, thought the moment had arrived when his services might safely be dispensed with, and the campaign against him was ably conducted by a coalition of Legitimists, Orleanists and Bonapartists. The attack on Thiers was led by the duc de Broglie, the son of another minister of Louis Philippe and grandson of Madame de Staël. Operations began with the removal from the chair of the Assembly of Jules Grévy, a moderate republican, who was chosen president at Bordeaux, and the substitution of Buffet, an old minister of the Second Republic who had rallied to the Empire. A debate on the political tendency of the government brought Thiers himself to the tribune to defend his policy. He maintained that a conservative Republic was the only régime possible, seeing that the monarchists in the Assembly could not make a choice between their three pretenders to the throne. A resolution, however, was carried which provoked the old statesman into tendering his resignation. This time it was not declined, and the majority with unseemly Marshal MacMahon president of the Republic. haste elected as president of the Republic Marshal MacMahon, duc de Magenta, an honest soldier of royalist sympathies, who had won renown and a ducal title on the battlefields of the Second Empire. In the eyes of Europe the curt dismissal of the aged liberator of the territory was an act of ingratitude. Its justification would have been the success of the majority in forming a stable monarchical government; but the sole result of the 24th of May 1873 was to provide a definite date to mark the opening of the era of anti-republican incompetency in France which has lasted for more than a generation, and has been perhaps the most effective guardian of the Third Republic.

The political incompetency of the reactionaries was fated never to be corrected by the intelligence of its princes or of its chiefs, and the year which saw Thiers dismissed to make way for a restoration saw also that restoration indefinitely postponed by the fatal action of the legitimist pretender. The comte de Paris went to Frohsdorf to abandon to the comte de Chambord his claims to the crown as the heir of the July Monarchy, and to accept the position of dauphin, thus implying that his grandfather Louis Philippe was a usurper. With the “Government of Moral Order” in command the restoration of the monarchy seemed imminent, when the royalists had their hopes dashed by the announcement that “Henri V.” would accept the throne only on the condition that the nation adopted as the standard of France the white flag—at the very sight of which Marshal MacMahon said the rifles in the army would go off by themselves. The comte de Chambord’s refusal to accept the tricolour was The comte de Chambord. probably only the pretext of a childless man who had no wish to disturb his secluded life for the ultimate benefit of the Orleans family which had usurped his crown, had sent him as a child into exile, and outraged his mother the duchesse de Berry. Whatever his motive, his decision could have no other effect than that of establishing the Republic, as he was likely to live for years, during which the comte de Paris’ claims had to remain suspended. It was not possible to leave the land for ever under the government improvised at Bordeaux when the Germans were masters of France; so the majority in the Assembly decided to organize another provisional government on more regular lines, which might possibly last till the comte de Chambord had taken the white flag to the grave, leaving the way to the throne clear for the comte de Paris. On the 19th of November 1873 a Bill was passed The Septennate. which instituted the Septennate, whereby the executive power was confided to Marshal MacMahon for seven years. It also provided for the nomination of a commission of the National Assembly to take in hand the enactment of a constitutional law. Before this an important constitutional innovation had been adopted. Under Thiers there were no changes of ministry. The president of the Republic was perpetual prime minister, constantly dismissing individual holders of portfolios, but never changing at one moment the whole council of ministers. Marshal MacMahon, the day after his appointment, nominated a cabinet with a vice-president of the council as premier, and thus inaugurated the system of ministerial instability which has been the most conspicuous feature of the government of the Third Republic. Under the Septennate the ministers, monarchist or moderate republican, were socially and perhaps intellectually of a higher class than those who governed France during the last twenty years of the 19th century. But the duration of the cabinets was just as brief, thus displaying the fact, already similarly demonstrated under the Restoration and the July Monarchy, that in France parliamentary government is an importation not suited to the national temperament.

The duc de Broglie was the prime minister in MacMahon’s first two cabinets which carried on the government of the country up to the first anniversary of Thiers’ resignation. The duc de Broglie’s defeat by a coalition of Legitimists and Bonapartists with the Republicans displayed the mutual attitude of parties. The Royalists, chagrined that the fusion of the two branches of the Bourbons had not brought the comte de Chambord to the throne, vented their rage on the Orleanists, who had the chief share in the government without being able to utilize it for their dynasty. The Bonapartists, now that the memory of the war was receding, were winning elections in the provinces, and were further encouraged by the youthful promise of the Prince Imperial. The republicans had so improved their position that the duc d’Audiffret-Pasquier, great-nephew of the chancellor Pasquier, tried to form a coalition ministry with M. Waddington, afterwards ambassador of the Republic in London, and other members of the Left Centre. Out of this uncertain state of affairs was evolved the constitution which has lasted the longest of all those that France has tried since the abolition of the old monarchy in 1792. Its birth was due to chance. Not being able to restore a monarchy, the National Assembly was unwilling definitively to establish a republic, and as no limit was set by the law on the duration of its powers, it might have continued the provisional state of things had it not been for the Bonapartists. That party displayed so much activity in agitating for a plebiscite, that when the rural voters at by-elections began to rally to the Napoleonic idea, alarm seized the constitutionalists of the Right Centre who had never been persuaded by Thiers’ exhortations to accept the Republic. Consequently in January 1875 the Assembly, having voted the general principle that the Constitution voted, 1875. legislative power should be exercised by a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies, without any mention of the executive régime, accepted by a majority of one a momentous resolution proposed by M. Wallon, a member of the Right Centre. It provided that the president of the Republic should be elected by the absolute majority of the Senate and the Chamber united as a National Assembly, that he should be elected for seven years, and be eligible for re-election. Thus by one vote the Republic was formally established, “the Father of the Constitution” being M. Wallon, who began his political experiences in the Legislative Assembly of 1849, and survived to take an active part in the Senate until the twentieth century.

The Republic being thus established, General de Cissey, who had become prime minister, made way for M. Buffet, but retained his portfolio of war in the new coalition cabinet, which contained some distinguished members of the two central groups, including Provisions of the Constitution of 1875. M. Léon Say. A fortnight previously, at the end of February 876 1875, were passed two statutes defining the legislative and executive powers in the Republic, and organizing the Senate. These joined to a third enactment, voted in July, form the body of laws known as the “Constitution of 1875,” which though twice revised, lasted without essential alteration to the twentieth century. The legislative power was conferred on a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies, which might unite in congress to revise the constitution, if they both agreed that revision was necessary, and which were bound so to meet for the election of the president of the Republic when a vacancy occurred. It was enacted that the president so elected should retain office for seven years, and be eligible for re-election at the end of his term. He was also held to be irresponsible, except in the case of high treason. The other principal prerogatives bestowed on the presidential office by the constitution of 1875 were the right of initiating laws concurrently with the members of the two chambers; the promulgation of the laws; the right of dissolving the Chamber of Deputies before its legal term on the advice of the Senate, and that of adjourning the sittings of both houses for a month; the right of pardon; the disposal of the armed forces of the country; the reception of diplomatic envoys, and, under certain limitations, the power to ratify treaties. The constitution relieved the president of the responsibility of private patronage, by providing that every act of his should be countersigned by a minister. The constitutional law provided that the Senate should consist of 300 members, 75 being nominated for life by the National Assembly, and the remaining 225 elected for nine years by the departments and the colonies. Vacancies among the life members, after the dissolution of the National Assembly, were filled by the Senate until 1884, when the nominative system was abolished, though the survivors of it were not disturbed. The law of 1875 enacted that the elected senators, who were distributed among the departments on a rough basis of population, should be elected for nine years, a third of them retiring triennially. It was provided that the senatorial electors in each department should be the deputies, the members of the conseil général and of the conseils d’arrondissement, and delegates nominated by the municipal councils of each commune. As the municipal delegates composed the majority in each electoral college, Gambetta called the Senate the Grand Council of the Communes; but in practice the senators elected have always been the nominees of the local deputies and of the departmental councillors (conseillers généraux).

The Constitutional Law further provided that the deputies should be elected to the Chamber for four years by direct manhood suffrage, which had been enjoyed in France ever since 1848. The laws relating to registration, which is Scrutin d’arrondissement and scrutin de liste. of admirable simplicity in France, were left practically the same as under the Second Empire. From 1875 to 1885 the elections were held on the basis of scrutin d’arrondissement, each department being divided into single-member districts. In 1885 scrutin de liste was tried, the department being the electoral unit, and each elector having as many votes as there were seats ascribed to the department without the power to cumulate—like the voting in the city of London when it returned four members. In 1889 scrutin d’arrondissement was resumed. The payment of members continued as under the Second Empire, the salary now being fixed at 9000 francs a year in both houses, or about a pound sterling a day. The Senate and the Chamber were endowed with almost identical powers. The only important advantage given to the popular house in the paper constitution was its initiative in matters of finance, but the right of rejecting or of modifying the financial proposals of the Chamber was successfully upheld by the Senate. In reality the Chamber of Deputies has overshadowed the upper house. The constitution did not prescribe that ministers should be selected from either house of parliament, but in practice the deputies have been in cabinets in the proportion of five to one in excess of the senators. Similarly the very numerous ministerial crises which have taken place under the Third Republic have with the rarest exceptions been caused by votes in the lower chamber. Among minor differences between the two houses ordained by the constitution was the legal minimum age of their members, that of senators being forty and of deputies twenty-five. It was enacted, moreover, that the Senate, by presidential decree, could be constituted into a high court for the trial of certain offences against the security of the state.

The constitution thus produced, the fourteenth since the Revolution of 1789, was the issue of a monarchical Assembly forced by circumstances to establish a republic. It was therefore distinguished from others which preceded 1876: Political parties under the new Constitution. it in that it contained no declaration of principle and no doctrinal theory. The comparative excellence of the work must be recognized, seeing that it has lasted. But it owed its duration, as it owed its origin and its character, to the weakness of purpose and to the dissensions of the monarchical parties. The first legal act under the new constitution was the selection by the expiring National Assembly of seventy-five nominated senators, and here the reactionaries gave a crowning example of that folly which has ever marked their conduct each time they have had the chance of scoring an advantage against the Republic. The principle of nomination had been carried in the National Assembly by the Right and opposed by the Republicans. But the quarrels of the Legitimists with the duc de Broglie and his party were so bitter that the former made a present of the nominated element in the Senate to the Republicans in order to spite the Orleanists; so out of seventy-five senators nominated by the monarchical Assembly, fifty-seven Republicans were chosen. Without this suicidal act the Republicans would have been in a woeful minority in the Senate when parliament met in 1876 after the first elections under the new system of parliamentary government. The slight advantage which, in spite of their self-destruction, the reactionaries maintained in the upper house was outbalanced by the republican success at the elections to the Chamber. In a house of over 500 members only about 150 monarchical deputies were returned, of whom half were Bonapartists. The first cabinet under the new constitution was formed by Dufaure, an old minister of Louis Philippe like Thiers, and like him born in the 18th century. The premier now took the title of president of the council, the chief of the state no longer presiding at the meetings of ministers, though he continued to be present at their deliberations. Although the republican victories at the elections were greatly due to the influence of Gambetta, none of his partisans was included in the ministry, which was composed of members of the two central groups. At the end of 1876 Dufaure retired, but nearly all his ministers retained their portfolios under the presidency of Jules Simon, a pupil of Victor Cousin, who first entered political life in the Constituent Assembly of 1848, and was later a leading member of the opposition in the last seven years of the Second Empire.

The premiership of Jules Simon came to an end with the abortive coup d’état of 1877, commonly called from its date the Seize Mai. After the election of Marshal MacMahon to the presidency, the clerical party, irritated at the The Seize Mai 1877. failure to restore the comte de Chambord, commenced a campaign in favour of the restitution of the temporal power to the Pope. It provoked the Italian government to make common cause with Germany, as Prince Bismarck was likewise attacked by the French clericals for his ecclesiastical policy. At last Jules Simon, who was a liberal most friendly to Catholicism, had to accept a resolution of the Chamber, inviting the ministry to adopt the same disciplinary policy towards the Church which had been followed by the Second Empire and the Monarchy of July. It was on this occasion that Gambetta used his famous expression, “Le cléricalisme, voilà l’ennemi.” Some days later a letter appeared in the Journal officiel, dated 16th May 1877, signed by President MacMahon, informing Jules Simon that he had no longer his confidence, as it was clear that he had lost that influence over the Chamber which a president of the Council ought to exercise. The dismissal of the prime minister and the presidential acts which followed did not infringe the letter of the new constitution; yet the proceeding was regarded as a coup d’état in favour of the clerical reactionaries. The duc de 877 Broglie formed an anti-republican ministry, and Marshal MacMahon, in virtue of the presidential prerogative conferred by the law of 1875, adjourned parliament for a month. When the Chamber reassembled the republican majority of 363 denounced the coalition of parties hostile to the Republic. The president, again using his constitutional prerogative, obtained the authorization of the Senate to dissolve the Chamber. Meanwhile the Broglie ministry had put in practice the policy, favoured by all parties in France, of replacing the functionaries hostile to it with its own partisans. But in spite of the administrative electoral machinery being thus in the hands of the reactionaries, a republican majority was sent back to the Chamber, the sudden death of Thiers on the eve of his expected return to power, and the demonstration at his funeral, which was described as a silent insurrection, aiding the rout of the monarchists. The duc de Broglie resigned, and Marshal MacMahon sent for General de Rochebouet, who formed a cabinet of unknown reactionaries, but it lasted only a few days, as the Chamber refused to vote supply. Dufaure was then called back to office, and his moderate republican ministry lasted for the remainder of the MacMahon presidency.

Thus ended the episode of the Seize Mai, condemned by the whole of Europe from its inception. Its chief effects were to prove again to the country the incompetency of the monarchists, and by associating in the public mind the Church with this ill-conceived venture, to provoke reprisals from the anti-clericals when they came into power. After the storm, the year 1878 was one of political repose. The first international exhibition held at Paris after the war displayed to Europe how the secret of France’s recuperative power lay in the industry and artistic instinct of the nation. Marshal MacMahon presided with 1879: Jules Grévy president of the Republic. dignity over the fêtes held in honour of the exhibition, and had he pleased he might have tranquilly fulfilled the term of his Septennate. But in January 1879 he made a difference of opinion on a military question an excuse for resignation, and Jules Grévy, the president of the Chamber, was elected to succeed him by the National Assembly, which thus met for the first time under the Constitutional Law of 1875.

Henceforth the executive as well as the legislative power was in the hands of the republicans. The new president was a leader of the bar, who had first become known in the Constituent Assembly of 1848 as the advocate of the principle that a republic would do better without a president. M. Waddington was his first prime minister, and Gambetta was elected president of the Chamber. The latter, encouraged by his rivals in the idea that the time was not ripe for him openly to direct the affairs of the country, thus put himself, in spite of his occult dictatorship, in a position of official self-effacement from which he did not emerge until the jealousies of his own party-colleagues had undermined the prestige he had gained as chief founder of the Republic. The most active among them was Jules Ferry, minister of Jules Ferry. Education, who having been a republican deputy for Paris at the end of the Empire, was one of the members of the provisional government proclaimed on 4th September 1870. Borrowing Gambetta’s cry that clericalism was the enemy, he commenced the work of reprisal for the Seize Mai. His educational projects of 1879 were thus anti-clerical in tendency, the most famous being article 7 of his education bill, which prohibited members of any “unauthorized” religious orders exercising the profession of teaching in any school in France, the disability being applied to all ecclesiastical communities, excepting four or five which had been privileged by special legislation. This enactment, aimed chiefly at the Jesuits, was advocated with a sectarian bitterness which will be associated with the name of Jules Ferry long after his more statesmanlike qualities are forgotten. The law was rejected by the Senate, Jules Simon being the eloquent champion of the clericals, whose intrigues had ousted him from office. The unauthorized orders were then dissolved by decree; but though the forcible expulsion of aged priests and nuns gave rise to painful scenes, it cannot be said that popular feeling was excited in their favour, so grievously had the Church blundered in identifying itself with the conspiracy of the Seize Mai.

Meanwhile the death of the Prince Imperial in Zululand had shattered the hopes of the Bonapartists, and M. de Freycinet, a former functionary of the Empire, had become prime minister at the end of 1879. He had retained Jules Ferry at the ministry of Education, but unwilling to adopt all his anti-clerical policy, he resigned the premiership in September 1880. The constitution of the first Ferry cabinet secured the further exclusion from office of Gambetta, to which, however, he preferred his “occult dictatorship.” In August he had, as president of the Chamber, accompanied M. Grévy on an official visit to Cherbourg, and the acclamations called forth all over France by his speech, which was a hopeful defiance to Germany, encouraged the wily chief of the state to aid the republican conspiracy against the hero of the Republic. In 1881 the only political question before the country was the destiny of Gambetta. His influence in the Chamber was such that in spite of the opposition of the prime minister he carried his electoral scheme of scrutin de liste, descending from the presidential chair to defend it. Its rejection by the Senate caused no conflict between the houses. The check was inflicted not on the Chamber, but on Gambetta, who counted on his popularity to carry the lists of his candidates in all the republican departments in France as a quasi-plebiscitary demonstration in his favour. His rivals dared not openly quarrel with him. There was the semblance of a reconciliation between him and Ferry, and his name was the rallying-cry of the Republic at the general election, which was conducted on the old system of scrutin d’arrondissement.

The triumph for the Republic was great, the combined force of reactionary members returned being less than one-fifth of the new Chamber. M. Grévy could no longer abstain from asking Gambetta to form a ministry, but he had Gambetta prime minister. bided his time till jealousy of the “occult power” of the president of the Chamber had undermined his position in parliament. Consequently, when on the 14th of November 1881 Gambetta announced the composition of his cabinet, ironically called the “grand ministère,” which was to consolidate the Republic and to be the apotheosis of its chief, a great feeling of disillusion fell on the country, for his colleagues were untried politicians. The best known was Paul Bert, a man of science, who as the “reporter” in the Chamber of the Ferry Education Bill had distinguished himself as an aggressive freethinker, and he inappropriately was named minister of public worship. All the conspicuous republicans who had held office refused to serve under Gambetta. His cabinet was condemned in advance. His enemies having succeeded in ruining its composition, declared that the construction of a one-man machine was ominous of dictatorship, and the “grand ministère” lived for only ten weeks.

Gambetta was succeeded in January 1882 by M. de Freycinet, who having first taken office in the Dufaure cabinet of 1877, and having continued to hold office at intervals until 1899, was the most successful specimen of a “ministrable”—as Death of Gambetta. recurrent portfolio-holders have been called under the Third Republic. His second ministry lasted only six months. The failure of Gambetta, though pleasing to his rivals, discouraged the republican party and disorganized its majority in the Chamber. M. Duclerc, an old minister of the Second Republic, then became president of the council, and before his short term of office was run Gambetta died on the last day of 1882, without having had the opportunity of displaying his capacity as a minister or an administrator. He was only forty-four at his death, and his fame rests on the unfulfilled promise of a brief career. The men who had driven him out of public life and had shortened his existence were the most ostentatious of the mourners at the great pageant with which he was buried, and to have been of his party was in future the popular trade-mark of his republican enemies.

Gambetta’s death was followed by a period of anarchy, during which Prince Napoleon, the son of Jerome, king of Westphalia, placarded the walls of Paris with a manifesto. The Chamber thereupon voted the exile of the members of the families which Opportunism. 878 had reigned in France. The Senate rejected the measure, and a conflict arose between the two houses. M. Duclerc resigned the premiership in January 1883 to his minister of the Interior, M. Fallières, a Gascon lawyer, who became president of the Senate in 1899 and president of the Republic in 1906. He held office for three weeks, when Jules Ferry became president of the council for the second time. Several of the closest of Gambetta’s friends accepted office under the old enemy of their chief, and the new combination adopted the epithet “opportunist,” which had been invented by Gambetta in 1875 to justify the expediency of his alliance with Thiers. The Opportunists thenceforth formed an important group standing between the Left Centre, which was now excluded from office, and the Radicals. It claimed the tradition of Gambetta, but the guiding principle manifested by its members was that of securing the spoils of place. To this end it often allied itself with the Radicals, and the Ferry cabinet practised this policy in 1883 when it removed the Orleans princes from the active list in the army as the illogical result of the demonstration of a Bonaparte. How needless was this proceeding was shown a few months later when the comte de Chambord died, as his death, which finally fused the Royalists with the Orleanists, caused no commotion in France.

The year 1884 was unprecedented seeing that it passed without a change of ministry. Jules Ferry displayed real administrative ability, and as an era of steady government seemed to be commencing, the opportunity was taken Revision of the Constitution, 1884. to revise the Constitution. The two Chambers therefore met in congress, and enacted that the republican form of government could never be the subject of revision, and that all members of families which had reigned in France were ineligible for the presidency of the Republic—a repetition of the adventure of Louis Bonaparte in the middle of the century being thus made impossible. It also decided that the clauses of the law of 1875 relating to the organization of the Senate should no longer have a constitutional character. This permitted the reform of the Upper House by ordinary parliamentary procedure. So an organic law was passed to abolish the system of nominating senators, and to increase the number of municipal delegates in the electoral colleges in proportion to the population of the communes. The French nation, for the first time since it had enjoyed political life, had revised a constitution by pacific means without a revolution. Gambetta being out of the way, his favourite electoral system of scrutin de liste had no longer any terror for his rivals, so it was voted by the Chamber early in 1885. Before the Senate had passed it into law the Ferry ministry had fallen at the end of March, after holding office for twenty-five months, a term rarely exceeded in the annals of the Third Republic. This long tenure of power had excited the dissatisfaction of jealous politicians, and the news of a slight disaster to the French troops in Tongking called forth all the pent-up rancour which Jules Ferry had inspired in various groups. By the exaggerated news of defeat Paris was excited Tongking. to the brink of a revolution. The approaches of the Chamber were invaded by an angry mob, and Jules Ferry was the object of public hate more bitter than any man had called forth in France since Napoleon III. on the days after Sedan. Within the Chamber he was attacked in all quarters. The Radicals took the lead, supported by the Monarchists, who remembered the anti-clerical rigour of the Ferry laws, by the Left Centre, not sorry for the tribulation of the group which had supplanted it, and by place-hunting republicans of all shades. The attack was led by a politician who disdained office. M. Georges Clémenceau, who had originally come to Paris from the Vendée as a doctor, had as a radical leader in the Chamber used his remarkable talent as an overthrower of ministries, and nearly every one of the eight ministerial crises which had already occurred during the presidency of Grévy had been hastened by his mordant eloquence.

The next prime minister was M. Brisson, a radical lawyer and journalist, who in April 1885 formed a cabinet of “concentration”—that is to say, it was recruited from various groups with the idea of concentrating all republican forces in opposition to the reactionaries. MM. de Freycinet and Carnot, afterwards president of the Republic, represented the moderate element in this ministry, which superintended the general elections under scrutin de liste. That system was recommended by its advocates as a remedy for the rapid decadence in the composition of the Chamber. Manhood suffrage, which had returned to the National Assembly a distinguished body of men to conclude peace with Germany, had chosen a very different type of representative to sit in the Chamber created by the constitution of 1875. At each succeeding election the standard of deputies returned grew lower, till Gambetta described them contemptuously as “sous-vétérinaires,” indicating that they were chiefly chosen from the petty professional class, which represented neither the real democracy nor the material interests of the country. His view was that the election of members by departmental lists would ensure the candidature of the best men in each region, who under the system of single-member districts were apt to be neglected in favour of local politicians representing narrow interests. When his death had removed the fear of his using scrutin de liste as a plebiscitary organization, parliament sanctioned its trial. The result was Elections of 1885. not what its promoters anticipated. The composition of the Chamber was indeed transformed, but only by the substitution of reactionary deputies for republicans. Of the votes polled, 45% were given to the Monarchists, and if they had obtained one-half of the abstentions the Republic would have come to an end. At the same time the character of the republican deputies returned was not improved; so the sole effect of scrutin de liste was to show that the electorate, weary of republican dissensions, was ready to make a trial of monarchical government, if only the reactionary party proved that it contained statesmen capable of leading the nation. So menacing was the situation that the republicans thought it wise not further to expose their divisions in the presidential election which was due to take place at the end of the year. Consequently, on the 28th of December 1885, M. Grévy, in spite of his growing unpopularity, was elected president of the Republic for a second term of seven years.

The Brisson cabinet at once resigned, and on the 7th of January 1886 its most important member, M. de Freycinet, formed his third ministry, which had momentous influence on the history of the Republic. The new minister of war General Boulanger. was General Boulanger, a smart soldier of no remarkable military record; but being the nominee of M. Clémenceau, he began his official career by taking radical measures against commanding officers of reactionary tendencies. He thus aided the government in its campaign against the families which had reigned in France, whose situation had been improved by the result of the elections. The fêtes given by the comte de Paris to celebrate his daughter’s marriage with the heir-apparent of Portugal moved the republican majority in the Chambers to expel from France the heads of the houses of Orleans and of Bonaparte, with their eldest sons. The names of all the princes on the army list were erased from it, the decree being executed with unseemly ostentation by General Boulanger, who had owed early promotion to the protection of the duc d’Aumale, and on that prince protesting he was exiled too. Meanwhile General Boulanger took advantage of Grévy’s unpopularity to make himself a popular hero, and at the review, held yearly on the 14th of July, the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, his acclamation by the Parisian mob showed that he was taking an unexpected place in the imagination of the people. He continued to work with the Radicals, so when they turned out M. de Freycinet in December 1886, one of their group, M. Goblet, a lawyer from Amiens, formed a ministry, and retained Boulanger as minister of war. M. Clémenceau, however, withdrew his support from the general, who was nevertheless loudly patronized by the violent radical press. His bold attitude towards Germany in connexion with the arrest on the German frontier of a French official named Schnaebele so roused the enthusiasm of the public, that M. Goblet was not sorry to resign in May 1887 in order to get rid of his too popular colleague.


To form the twelfth of his ministries, Grévy called upon M. Rouvier, an Opportunist from Marseilles, who had first held office in Gambetta’s short-lived cabinet. General Boulanger was sent to command a corps d’armée at Clermont-Ferrand; The Wilson scandal. but the popular press and the people clamoured for the hero who was said to have terrorized Prince Bismarck, and they encouraged him to play the part of a plebiscitary candidate. There were grave reasons for public discontent. Parliament in 1887 was more than usually sterile in legislation, and in the autumn session it had to attend to a scandal which had long been rumoured. The son-in-law of Grévy, Daniel Wilson, a prominent deputy who had been an under secretary of state, was accused of trafficking the decoration of the Legion of Honour, and of using the Elysée, the president’s official residence, where he lived, as an agency for his corrupt practices. The evidence against him was so clear that his colleagues in the Chamber put the government into a minority in order to precipitate a presidential crisis, and on Grévy refusing to accept this hint, a long array of politicians, representing all the republican groups, declined his invitation to aid him in forming a new ministry, all being bent on forcing his resignation. Had General Boulanger been a man of resolute courage he might at this crisis have made a coup d’état, for his popularity in the street and in the army increased as the Republic sank deeper into scandal and anarchy. At last, when Paris was on the brink of revolution, Grévy was prevailed on to resign. The candidates for his succession to the presidency were two ex-prime ministers, MM. Ferry and de Freycinet, and Floquet, a barrister, who had been conspicuous in the National Assembly for his sympathy with the Commune. The Monarchists had no candidate ready, and resolved to vote for Ferry, because they believed that if he were elected his unpopularity with the democracy would cause an insurrection in Paris and the downfall of the Republic. MM. de Freycinet and Floquet each looked for the support of the Radicals, and each had made a secret compact, in the event of his election, to restore General Boulanger to the war office. But M. Clémenceau, fearing the election of Jules Ferry, advised his followers to vote for an “outsider,” and after some manœuvring the congress elected by a large majority Sadi Carnot.

The new president, though the nominee of chance, was an excellent choice. The grandson of Lazare Carnot, the “organizer of victory” of the Convention, he was also a man of unsullied probity. The tradition of his family name, M. Carnot president of the Republic, 1887. only less glorious than that of Bonaparte in the annals of the Revolution, was welcome to France, almost ready to throw herself into the arms of a soldier of fortune, while his blameless repute reconciled some of those whose opposition to the Republic had been quickened by the mean vices of Grévy. But the name and character of Carnot would have been powerless to check the Boulangist movement without the incompetency of its leader, who was getting the democracy at his back without knowing how to utilize it. The new president’s first prime minister was M. Tirard, a senator who had held office in six of Grévy’s ministries, and he formed a cabinet of politicians as colourless as himself. The early months of 1888 were occupied with the trial of Wilson, who was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for fraud, and with the conflicts of the government with General Boulanger, who was deprived of his command for coming to Paris without leave. Wilson appealed against his sentence, and General Boulanger was elected deputy for the department of the Aisne by an enormous majority. It so happened that the day after his election a presidential decree was signed on the advice of the minister of war removing General Boulanger from the army, and the court of appeal quashed Wilson’s conviction. Public feeling was profoundly moved by the coincidence of the release of the relative of the ex-president by the judges of the Republic on the same day that its ministers expelled from the army the popular hero of universal suffrage.

As General Boulanger had been invented by the Radicals it was thought that a Radical cabinet might be a remedy to cope with him, so M. Floquet became president of the council in April 1888, M. de Freycinet taking the portfolio of war, Boulangism. which he retained through many ministries. M. Floquet’s chief achievement was a duel with General Boulanger, in which, though an elderly civilian, he wounded him. Nothing, however, checked the popularity of the military politician, and though he was a failure as a speaker in the Chamber, several departments returned him as their deputy by great majorities. The Bonapartists had joined him, and while in his manifestos he described himself as the defender of the Republic, the mass of the Monarchists, with the consent of the comte de Paris, entered the Boulangist camp, to the dismay both of old-fashioned Royalists and of many Orleanists, who resented his recent treatment of the duc d’Aumale. The centenary of the taking of the Bastille was to be celebrated in Paris by an international exhibition, and it appeared likely that it would be inaugurated by General Boulanger, so irresistible seemed his popularity. In January 1889 he was elected member for the metropolitan department of the Seine with a quarter of a million votes, and by a majority of eighty thousand over the candidate of the government. Had he marched on the Elysée the night of his election, nothing could have saved the parliamentary Republic; but again he let his chance go by. The government in alarm proposed the restoration of scrutin d’arrondissement as the electoral system for scrutin de liste. The change was rapidly enacted by the two Chambers, and was a significant commentary on the respective advantages of the two systems. M. Tirard was again called to form a ministry, and he selected as minister of the interior M. Constans, originally a professor at Toulouse, who had already proved himself a skilful manipulator of elections when he held the same office in 1881. He was therefore given the supervision of the machinery of centralization with which it was supposed that General Boulanger would have to be fought Boulanger’s flight. at the general election. That incomplete hero, however, saved all further trouble by flying the country when he heard that his arrest was imminent. The government, in order to prevent any plebiscitary manifestation in his favour, passed a law forbidding a candidate to present himself for a parliamentary election in more than one constituency; it also arraigned the general on the charge of treason before the Senate sitting as a high court, and he was sentenced in his absence to perpetual imprisonment. Such measures were needless. The flight of General Boulanger was the death of Boulangism. He alone had saved the Republic which had done nothing to save itself. Its government had, on the contrary, displayed throughout the crisis an anarchic feebleness and incoherency which would have speeded its end had the leader of the plebiscitary movement possessed sagacity or even common courage.

The elections of 1889 showed how completely the reactionaries had compromised their cause in the Boulangist failure. Instead of 45% of the votes polled as in 1885, they obtained only 21%, and the comte de Paris, the pretender of constitutional monarchy, was irretrievably prejudiced by his alliance with the military adventurer who had outraged the princes of his house. A period of calm succeeded the storm of Boulangism, and for the first time under the Third Republic parliament set to work to produce legislation useful for the state, without rousing party passion, as in its other period of activity when the Ferry education laws were passed. Before the elections of 1889 the reform of the army was undertaken, the general term of active compulsory service was made three years, while certain classes hitherto dispensed from serving, including ecclesiastical seminarists and lay professors, had henceforth to undergo a year’s military training. The new parliament turned its attention to social and labour questions, as the only clouds on the political horizon were the serious strikes in the manufacturing districts, which displayed the growing political organization of the socialist party. Otherwise nothing disturbed the calm of the country. The young duc d’Orléans vainly tried to ruffle it by breaking his exile in order to claim his citizen’s right to perform his military service. The cabinet was rearranged in March 1890, M. de Freycinet becoming prime minister for the fourth time, and 880 retaining the portfolio of war. All seemed to point to the consolidation of the Republic, and even the Church made signals of reconciliation. Cardinal Lavigerie, a patriotic missionary and statesman, entertained the officers of the fleet at Algiers, and proposed the toast of the Republic to the tune of the “Marseillaise” played by his pères blancs. The royalist Catholics protested, but it was soon intimated that the archbishop of Algiers’ demonstration was approved at Rome. The year 1891 was one of the few in the annals of the Republic which passed without a change of ministry, but the agitations of 1892 were to counterbalance the repose of the two preceding years.

The first crisis arose out of the peacemaking policy of the Pope. Following up his intimation to the archbishop of Algiers, Leo XIII. published in February 1892 an encyclical, bidding French Catholics accept the Republic as the The papal encyclical, 1892. firmly established form of government. The papal injunction produced a new political group called the “Ralliés,” the majority of its members being Monarchists who rallied to the Republic in obedience to the Vatican. The most conspicuous among them was Comte Albert de Mun, an eloquent exponent in the Chamber of legitimism and Christian socialism. The extreme Left mistrusted the adhesion of the new converts to the Republic, and ecclesiastical questions were the constant subjects of acrimonious debates in parliament. In the course of one of them M. de Freycinet found himself in a minority. He ceased to be prime minister, being succeeded by M. Loubet, a lawyer from Montélimar, who had previously held office for three months in the first Tirard cabinet; but M. de Freycinet continued to hold his portfolio of war. The confusion of the republican groups kept pace with the disarray of the reactionaries, and outside parliament the frequency of anarchist outrages did not increase public confidence. The only figure in the Republic which grew in prestige was that of M. Carnot, who in his frequent presidential tours dignified his office, though his modesty made him unduly efface his own personality.

When the autumn session of 1892 began all other questions were overwhelmed by the bursting of the Panama scandal. The company associated for the piercing of the Isthmus of Panama, undertaken by M. de Lesseps, the maker The Panama scandal. of the Suez Canal, had become insolvent some years before. Fifty millions sterling subscribed by the thrift of France had disappeared, but the rumours involving political personages in the disaster were so confidently asserted to be reactionary libels, that a minister of the Republic, afterwards sent to penal servitude for corruption, obtained damages for the publication of one of them. It was known that M. de Lesseps was to be tried for misappropriating the money subscribed; but considering the vast sums lost by the public, little interest was taken in the matter till it was suddenly stirred by the dramatic suicide of a well-known Jewish financier closely connected with republican politicians, driven to death, it was said, by menaces of blackmail. Then succeeded a period of terror in political circles. Every one who had a grudge against an enemy found vent for it in the press, and the people of Paris lived in an atmosphere of delation. Unhappily it was true that ministers and members of parliament had been subsidized by the Panama company. Floquet, the president of the Chamber, avowed that when prime minister he had laid hands on £12,000 of the company’s funds for party purposes, and his justification of the act threw a light on the code of public morality of the parliamentary Republic. Other politicians were more seriously implicated on the charge of having accepted subsidies for their private purposes, and emotion reached its height when the cabinet ordered the prosecution of two of its members for corrupt traffic of their offices. These two ministers were afterwards discharged, and they seem to have been accused with recklessness; but their prosecution by their own colleagues proved that the statesmen of the Republic believed that their high political circles were sapped with corruption. Finally, only twelve senators and deputies were committed for trial, and the only one convicted was a minister of M. de Freycinet’s third cabinet, who pleaded guilty to receiving large bribes from the Panama company. The public regarded the convicted politician as a scapegoat, believing that there were numerous delinquents in parliament, more guilty than he, who had not even been prosecuted. This feeling was aggravated by the sentence passed, but afterwards remitted, on the aged M. de Lesseps, who had involved French people in misfortune only because he too sanguinely desired to repeat the triumph he had achieved for France by his great work in Egypt.

Within the nation the moral result of the Panama affair was a general feeling that politics had become under the Republic a profession unworthy of honest citizens. The sentiment evoked by the scandal was one of sceptical lassitude rather than of indignation. The reactionaries had crowned their record of political incompetence. At a crisis which gave legitimate opportunity to a respectable and patriotic Opposition they showed that the country had nothing to expect from them but incoherent and exaggerated invective. If the scandal had come to light in the time of General Boulanger the parliamentary Republic would not have survived it. As it was, the sordid story did little more than produce several changes of ministry. M. Loubet resigned the premiership in December 1892 to M. Ribot, a former functionary of the Empire, whose ministry lived for three stormy weeks. On the first day of 1893 M. Ribot formed his second cabinet, which survived till the end of March, when he was succeeded by his minister of education, M. Charles Dupuy, an ex-professor who had never held office till four months previously. M. Dupuy, having taken the portfolio of the interior, supervised the general election of 1893, which took place amid the profound indifference of the population, except in certain localities where personal antagonisms excited violence. An intelligent Opposition would have roused the country at the polls against the régime compromised by the Panama affair. Nothing of the sort occurred, and the electorate preferred the doubtful probity of their republican representatives to the certain incompetence of the reactionaries. The adversaries of the Republic polled only 16% of the votes recorded, and the chief feature of the election was the increased return of socialist and radical-socialist deputies. When parliament met it turned out the Dupuy ministry, and M. Casimir-Périer quitted the presidency of the Chamber to take his place. The new prime minister was the bearer of an eminent name, being the grandson of the statesman of 1831, and the great-grandson of the owner of Vizille, where the estates of Dauphiné met in 1788, as a prelude to the assembling of the states-general the next year. His acceptance of office aroused additional interest because he was a minister possessed of independent wealth, and therefore a rare example of a French politician free from the imputation of making a living out of politics. Neither his repute nor his qualities gave long life to his ministry, which fell in four months, and M. Dupuy was sent for again to form a cabinet in May 1894.

Before the second Dupuy ministry had been in office a month President Carnot died by the knife of an anarchist at Lyons. He was perhaps the most estimable politician of the Third Republic. Although the standard of political Assassination of president Carnot.

Casimir-Périer president, 1894.
life was not elevated under his presidency, he at all events set a good personal example, and to have filled unscathed the most conspicuous position in the land during a period unprecedented for the scurrility of libels on public men was a testimony to his blameless character. As the term of his septennate was near, parliament was not unprepared for a presidential election, and M. Casimir-Périer, who had been spoken of as his possible successor, was elected by the Congress which met at Versailles on the 27th of June 1894, three days after Carnot’s assassination. The election of one who bore respectably a name not less distinguished in history than that of Carnot seemed to ensure that the Republic would reach the end of the century under the headship of a president of exceptional prestige. But instead of remaining chief of the state for seven years, in less than seven months M. Casimir-Périer astonished France and Europe by his resignation. Scurrilously defamed by the socialist press, the new president found that the Republicans in the Chamber were not disposed to defend him in his high office; so, on the 15th of January 1895, he seized 881 the occasion of the retirement of the Dupuy ministry to address a message to the two houses intimating his resignation of the presidency, which, he said, was endowed with too many responsibilities and not sufficient powers.

This time the Chambers were unprepared for a presidential vacancy, and to fill it in forty-eight hours was necessarily a matter of haphazard. The choice of the congress fell on Félix Faure, a merchant of Havre, who, though Félix Faure president, 1895. minister of marine in the retiring cabinet, was one of the least-known politicians who had held office. The selection was a good one, and introduced to the presidency a type of politician unfortunately rare under the Third Republic—a successful man of business. Félix Faure had a fine presence and polished manners, and having risen from a humble origin he displayed in his person the fact that civilization descends to a lower social level in France than elsewhere. Although he was in a sense a man of the people the Radicals and Socialists in the Chambers had voted against him. Their candidate, like almost all democratic leaders in France, had never worked with his hands—M. Brisson, the son of an attorney at Bourges, a member of the Parisian bar, and perpetual candidate for the presidency. Nevertheless the Left tried to take possession of President Faure. His first ministry, composed of moderate republicans, and presided over by M. Ribot, lasted until the autumn session of 1895, when it was turned out and a radical cabinet was formed by M. Léon Bourgeois, an ex-functionary, who when a prefect had been suspected of reactionary tendencies.

The Bourgeois cabinet of 1895 was remarkable as the first ministry formed since 1877 which did not contain a single member of the outgoing cabinet. It was said to be exclusively radical in its composition, and thus to indicate that the days of “republican concentration” were over, and that the Republic, being firmly established, an era of party government on the English model had arrived. The new ministry, however, on analysis did not differ in character from any of its predecessors. Seven of its members were old office-holders of the ordinary “ministrable” type. The most conspicuous was M. Cavaignac, the son of the general who had opposed Louis Bonaparte in 1848, and the grandson of J.B. Cavaignac, the regicide member of the Convention. Like Carnot and Casimir-Périer, he was, therefore, one of those rare politicians of the Republic who possessed some hereditary tradition. An ambitious man, he was now classed as a Radical on the strength of his advocacy of the income-tax, the principle of which has never been popular in France, as being adverse to the secretive habits of thrift cultivated by the people, which are a great source of the national wealth. The radicalism of the rest of the ministry was not more alarming in character, and its tenure of office was without legislative result. Its fall, however, occasioned the only constitutionally interesting ministerial crisis of the twenty-four which had taken place since Grévy’s election to the presidency sixteen years before. The Senate, disliking the fiscal policy of the government, refused to vote supply in spite of the support which the Chamber gave to the ministry. The collision between the two houses did not produce the revolutionary rising which the Radicals predicted, and the Senate actually forced the Bourgeois cabinet to resign amid profound popular indifference.

The new prime minister was M. Méline, who began his long political career as a member of the Commune in 1871, but was so little compromised in the insurrection that Jules Simon gave him an under-secretaryship in his ministry of 1876. After that he was once a cabinet minister, and was for a year president of the Chamber. He was chiefly known as a protectionist; but it was as leader of the Progressists, as the Opportunists now called themselves, that he formed his cabinet in April 1896, which was announced as a moderate ministry opposed to the policy of the Radicals. It is true that it made no attempt to tax incomes, but otherwise its achievements did not differ from those of other ministries, radical or concentration, except in its long survival. It lasted for over two years, and lived as long as the second Ferry cabinet. Its existence was prolonged by certain incidents of the Franco-Russian alliance. The visit of the Tsar to Paris in October 1896, being the first official visit paid by a European sovereign to the Republic, helped the government over the Franco-Russian alliance. critical period at which ministries usually succumbed, and it was further strengthened in parliament by the invitation to the president of the Republic to return the imperial visit at St Petersburg in 1897. The Chamber came to its normal term that autumn; but a law had been passed fixing May as the month for general elections, and the ministry was allowed to retain office till the dissolution at Easter 1898.

The long duration of the Méline government was said to be a further sign of the arrival of an era of party government with its essential accompaniment, ministerial stability. But in the country there was no corresponding sign that the electorate was being organized into two parties of Progressists and Radicals; while in the Chamber it was ominously observed that persistent opposition to the moderate ministry came from nominal supporters of its views, who were dismayed at one small band of fellow-politicians monopolizing office for two years. The last election of the century was therefore fought on a confused issue, the most tangible results being the further reduction of the Monarchists, who secured only 12% of the total poll, and the advance of the Socialists, who obtained nearly 20% of the votes recorded. The Radicals returned were less numerous than the Moderates, but with the aid of the Socialists they nearly balanced them. A new group entitled Nationalist made its appearance, supported by a miscellaneous electorate representing the malcontent element in the nation of all political shades from monarchist to revolutionary socialist. The Chamber, so composed, was as incoherent as either of its predecessors. It refused to re-elect the radical leader M. Brisson as its president, and then refused its confidence to the moderate leader M. Méline. M. Brisson, the rejected of the Chamber, was sent for to form a ministry, on the 28th of June 1898, which survived till the adjournment, only to be turned out when the autumn session began. M. Charles Dupuy thus became prime minister for the third time with a cabinet of the old concentration pattern, and for the third time in less than five years under his premiership the Presidency of the Republic became vacant. Félix Faure had increased in 1899: death of President Faure. pomposity rather than in popularity. His contact with European sovereigns seems to have made him over-conscious of his superior rank, and he cultivated habits which austere republicans make believe to be the monopoly of frivolous courts. The regular domesticity of middle-class life may not be disturbed with impunity when age is advancing, and Félix Faure died with tragic unexpectedness on the 16th of February 1899. The joys of his high office were so dear to him that nothing but death would have induced him to lay it down before the term of his septennate. There was therefore no candidate in waiting for the vacancy; and as Paris was in an agitated mood the majority in the Congress elected M. Loubet president of the Republic, because he happened to hold M. Loubet president. the second place of dignity in the state, the presidency of the Senate, and was, moreover, a politician who had the confidence of the republican groups as an adversary of plebiscitary pretensions. His only competitor was M. Méline, whose ambitions were not realized, in spite of the alliance of his Progressist supporters with the Monarchists and Nationalists. The Dupuy ministry lasted till June 1899, when a new cabinet was formed by M. Waldeck-Rousseau, who, having held office under Gambetta and Jules Ferry, had relinquished politics for the bar, of which he had become a distinguished leader. Though a moderate republican, he was the first prime minister to give portfolios to socialist politicians. This was the distinguishing feature of the last cabinet of the century—the thirty-seventh which had taken office in the twenty-six years which had elapsed since the resignation of Thiers in 1873.

It is now necessary to go back a few years in order to refer to a matter which, though not political in its origin, in its development filled the whole political atmosphere of France in the closing period of the 19th century. Soon after the failure of the Anti-Semitic movement. Boulangist movement a journal was founded at Paris called the 882 Libre Parole. Its editor, M. Drumont, was known as the author of La France juive, a violent anti-Semitic work, written to denounce the influence exercised by Jewish financiers in the politics of the Third Republic. It may be said to have started the anti-Semitic movement in France, where hostility to the Jews had not the pretext existing in those lands which contain a large Jewish population exercising local rivalry with the natives of the soil, or spoiling them with usury. That state of things existed in Algeria, where the indigenous Jews were made French citizens during the Franco-Prussian War to secure their support against the Arabs in rebellion. But political anti-Semitism was introduced into Algeria only as an offshoot of the movement in continental France, where the great majority of the Jewish community were of the same social class as the politicians of the Republic. Primarily directed against the Jewish financiers, the movement was originally looked upon as a branch of the anti-capitalist propaganda of the Socialists. Thus the Libre Parole joined with the revolutionary press in attacking the repressive legislation provoked by the dynamite outrages of the anarchists, clerical reactionaries who supported it being as scurrilously abused by the anti-Semitic organ as its republican authors. The Panama affair, in the exposure of which the Libre Parole took a prominent part soon after its foundation, was also a bond between anti-Semites and Socialists, to whom, however, the Monarchists, always incapable of acting alone, united their forces. The implication of certain Jewish financiers with republican politicians in the Panama scandal aided the anti-Semites in their special propaganda, of which a main thesis was that the government of the Third Republic had been organized by its venal politicians for the benefit of Jewish immigrants from Germany, who had thus enriched themselves at the expense of the laborious and unsuspecting French population. The Libre Parole, which had become a popular organ with reactionaries and with malcontents of all classes, enlisted the support of the Catholics by attributing the anti-religious policy of the Republic to the influence of the Jews, skilfully reviving bitter memories of the enaction of the Ferry decrees, when sometimes the laicization of schools or the expulsion of monks and nuns had been carried out by a Jewish functionary. Thus religious sentiment and race prejudice were introduced into a movement which was at first directed against capital; and the campaign was conducted with the weapons of scurrility and defamation which had made an unlicensed press under the Third Republic a demoralizing national evil.

An adroit feature of the anti-Semitic campaign was an appeal to national patriotism to rid the army of Jewish influence. The Jews, it was said, not content with directing the financial, and thereby the general policy of the Republic, Condemnation of Captain Dreyfus. had designs on the French army, in which they wished to act as secret agents of their German kindred. In October 1894 the Libre Parole announced that a Jewish officer of artillery attached to the general staff, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, had been arrested on the charge of supplying a government of the Triple Alliance with French military secrets. Tried by court-martial, he was sentenced to military degradation and to detention for life in a fortress. He was publicly degraded at Paris in January 1895, a few days before Casimir-Périer resigned the presidency of the Republic, and was transported to the Île du Diable on the coast of French Guiana. His conviction, on the charge of having betrayed to a foreign power documents relating to the national defence, was based on the alleged identity of his handwriting with that of an intercepted covering-letter, which contained a list of the papers treasonably communicated. The possibility of his innocence was not raised outside the circle of his friends; the Socialists, who subsequently defended him, even complained that common soldiers were shot for offences less than that for which this richly connected officer had been only transported. The secrecy of his trial did not shock public sentiment in France, where at that time all civilians charged with crime were interrogated by a judge in private, and where all accused persons are presumed guilty until proved innocent. In a land subject to invasion there was less disposition to criticize the decision of a military tribunal acting in the defence of the nation even than there would have been in the case of a doubtful judgment passed in a civil court. The country was practically unanimous that Captain Dreyfus had got his deserts. A few, indeed, suggested that had he not been a Jew he would never have been accused; but the greater number replied that an ordinary French traitor of Gentile birth would have been forgotten from the moment of his condemnation. The pertinacity with which some of his co-religionists set to work to show that he had been irregularly condemned seemed to justify the latter proposition. But it was not a Jew who brought about the revival of the affair. Colonel Picquart, an officer of great promise, became head of the intelligence department at the war office, and in 1896 informed the minister of his suspicion that the letter on which Dreyfus had been condemned was written by a certain Major Esterhazy. The military authorities, not wishing to have the case reopened, sent Colonel Picquart on foreign service, and put in his place Colonel Henry. The all-seeing press published various versions of the incident, and the anti-Semitic journals denounced them as proofs of a Jewish conspiracy against the French army.

At the end of 1897 M. Scheurer-Kestner, an Alsatian devoted to France and a republican senator, tried to persuade his political friends to reopen the case; but M. Méline, the prime minister, declared in the name of the Republic that the Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards. Dreyfus affair no longer existed. The fact that the senator who championed Dreyfus was a Protestant encouraged the clerical press in its already marked tendency to utilize anti-Semitism as a weapon of ecclesiastical warfare. But the religious side-issues of the question would have had little importance had not the army been involved in the controversy, which had become so keen that all the population, outside that large section of it indifferent to all public questions, was divided into “Dreyfusards” and “anti-Dreyfusards.” The strong position of the latter was due to their assuming the position of defenders of the army, which, at an epoch when neither the legislature nor the government inspired respect, and the Church was the object of polemic, was the only institution in France to unite the nation by appealing to its martial and patriotic instincts. That is the explanation of the enthusiasm of the public for generals and other officers by whom the trial of Dreyfus and subsequent proceedings had been conducted in a manner repugnant to those who do not favour the arbitrary ways of military dictatorship, which, however, are not unpopular in France. The acquittal of Major Esterhazy by a court-martial, the conviction of Zola by a civil tribunal for a violent criticism of the military authorities, and the imprisonment without trial of Colonel Picquart for his efforts to exonerate Dreyfus, were practically approved by the nation. This was shown by the result of the general elections in May 1898. The clerical reactionaries were almost swept out of the Chamber, but the overwhelming republican majority was practically united in its hostility to the defenders of Dreyfus, whose only outspoken representatives were found in the socialist groups. The moderate Méline ministry was succeeded in June 1898 by the radical Brisson ministry. But while the new prime minister was said to be personally disposed to revise the sentence on Dreyfus, his civilian minister of war, M. Cavaignac, was as hostile to revision as any of his military predecessors—General Mercier, under whom the trial took place, General Zurlinden, and General Billot, a republican soldier devoted to the parliamentary régime.

The radical minister of war in July 1898 laid before the Chamber certain new proofs of the guilt of Dreyfus, in a speech so convincing that the house ordered it to be placarded in all the communes of France. The next month Political results of Dreyfus agitation. Colonel Henry, the chief of the intelligence department, confessed to having forged those new proofs, and then committed suicide. M. Cavaignac thereupon resigned office, but declared that the crime of Henry did not prove the innocence of Dreyfus. Many, however, who had hitherto accepted the judgment of 1894, reflected that the offence of a guilty man did not need new crime for its proof. It was further remarked that 883 the forgery had been committed by the intimate colleague of the officers of the general staff, who had zealously protected Esterhazy, the suspected author of the document on which Dreyfus had been convicted. An uneasy misgiving became widespread; but partisan spirit was too excited for it to cause a general revulsion of feeling. Some journalists and politicians of the extreme Left had adopted the defence of Dreyfus as an anti-clerical movement in response to the intemperate partisanship of the Catholic press on the other side. Other members of the socialist groups, not content with criticizing the conduct of the military authorities in the Dreyfus affair, opened a general attack on the French army,—an unpopular policy which allowed the anti-Dreyfusards to utilize the old revolutionary device of making the word “patriotism” a party cry. The defamation and rancour with which the press on both sides flooded the land obscured the point at issue. However, the Brisson ministry just before its fall remitted the Dreyfus judgment to the criminal division of the cour de cassation—the supreme court of revision in France. M. Dupuy formed a new cabinet in November 1898, and made M. de Freycinet minister of war, but that adroit office-holder, though a civilian and a Protestant, did not favour the anti-military and anti-clerical defenders of Dreyfus. The refusal of the Senate, the stronghold of the Republic, to re-elect M. Scheurer-Kestner as its vice-president, showed that the opportunist minister of war understood the feeling of parliament, which was soon displayed by an extraordinary proceeding. The divisional judges, to whom the case was remitted, showed signs that their decision would be in favour of a new trial of Dreyfus. The republican legislature, therefore, disregarding the principle of the separation of the powers, which is the basis of constitutional government, took the arbitrary step of interfering with the judicial authority. It actually passed a law withdrawing the partly-heard cause from the criminal chamber of the cour de cassation, and transferring it to the full court of three divisions, in the hope that a majority of judges would thus be found to decide against the revision of the sentence on Dreyfus.

This flagrant confusion of the legislative with the judicial power displayed once more the incompetence of the French rightly to use parliamentary institutions; but it left the nation indifferent. It was during the passage of the bill that the president of the Republic suddenly died. Félix Faure was said to be hostile to the defenders of Dreyfus and disposed to utilise the popular enthusiasm for the army as a means of making the presidential office independent of parliament. The Chambers, therefore, in spite of their anti-Dreyfusard bias, were determined not to relinquish any of their constitutional prerogative. The military and plebiscitary parties were now fomenting the public discontent by noisy demonstrations. The president of the Senate, M. Loubet, as has been mentioned, was known to have no sympathy with this agitation, so he was elected president of the Republic by a large majority at the congress held at Versailles on 18th February 1899. The new president, who was unknown to the public, though he had once been prime minister for nine months, was respected in political circles; but his elevation to the first office of the State made him the object of that defamation which had become the chief characteristic of the partisan press under the Third Republic. He was recklessly accused of having been an accomplice of the Panama frauds, by screening certain guilty politicians when he was prime minister in 1892, and because he was not opposed to the revision of the Dreyfus sentence he was wantonly charged with being bought with Jewish money. Meanwhile the united divisions of the cour de cassation were, in spite of the intimidation of the legislature, reviewing the case with an independence worthy of praise in an ill-paid magistracy which owed its promotion to political influence. Instead of justifying the suggestive interference of parliament it revised the judgment of the court-martial, and ordered Dreyfus to be re-tried by a military tribunal at Rennes. The Dupuy ministry, which had wished to prevent this decision, resigned, and M. Waldeck-Rousseau formed a heterogeneous cabinet in which Socialists, who for the first time took office, had for their colleague as minister of war General de Galliffet, whose chief political fame had been won as the executioner of the Communards after the insurrection of 1871. Dreyfus was brought back Second trial of Dreyfus. from the Devil’s Island, and in August 1899 was put upon his trial a second time. His old accusers, led by General Mercier, the minister of war of 1894, redoubled their efforts to prove his guilt, and were permitted by the officers composing the court a wide license according to English ideas of criminal jurisprudence. The published evidence did not, however, seem to connect Dreyfus with the charges brought against him. Nevertheless the court, by a majority of five to two, found him guilty, and with illogical inconsequence added that there were in his treason extenuating circumstances. He was sentenced to ten years’ detention, and while it was being discussed whether the term he had already served would count as part of his penalty, the ministry completed the inconsequency of the situation by advising the president of the Republic to pardon the prisoner. The result of the second trial satisfied neither the partisans of the accused, who desired his rehabilitation, some of them reproaching him for accepting a pardon, nor his adversaries, whose vindictiveness was unsated by the penalty he had already suffered. But the great mass of the French people, who are always ready to treat a public question with indifference, were glad to be rid of a controversy which had for years infected the national life.

The Dreyfus affair was severely judged by foreign critics as a miscarriage of justice resulting from race-prejudice. If that simple appreciation rightly describes its origin, it became in its development one of those scandals Real character of the Dreyfus agitation. symptomatic of the unhealthy political condition of France, which on a smaller scale had often recurred under the Third Republic, and which were made the pretext by the malcontents of all parties for gratifying their animosities. That in its later stages it was not a question of race-persecution was seen in the curious phenomenon of journals owned or edited by Jews leading the outcry against the Jewish officer and his defenders. That it was not a mere episode of the rivalry between Republicans and Monarchists, or between the advocates of parliamentarism and of military autocracy, was evident from the fact that the most formidable opponents of Dreyfus, without whose hostility that of the clericals and reactionaries would have been ineffective, were republican politicians. That it was not a phase of the anti-capitalist movement was shown by the zealous adherence of the socialist leaders and journalists to the cause of Dreyfus; indeed, one remarkable result of the affair was its diversion of the socialist party and press for several years from their normal campaign against property. The Dreyfus affair was utilized by the reactionaries against the Republic, by the clericals against the non-Catholics, by the anti-clericals against the Church, by the military party against the parliamentarians, and by the revolutionary socialists against the army. It was also conspicuously utilized by rival republican politicians against one another, and the chaos of political groups was further confused by it.

An epilogue to the Dreyfus affair was the trial for treason before the Senate, at the end of 1899, of a number of persons, mostly obscure followers either of M. Déroulède the poet, who advocated a plebiscitary republic, or of the duc The State trial of 1899. d’Orléans, the pretender of the constitutional monarchy. On the day of President Faure’s funeral M. Déroulède had vainly tried to entice General Roget, a zealous adversary of Dreyfus, who was on duty with his troops, to march on the Elysée in order to evict the newly-elected president of the Republic. Other demonstrations against M. Loubet ensued, the most offensive being a concerted assault upon him on the racecourse at Auteuil in June 1899. The subsequent resistance to the police of a band of anti-Semites threatened with arrest, who barricaded themselves in a house in the rue Chabrol, in the centre of Paris, and, with the marked approval of the populace, sustained a siege for several weeks, indicated that the capital was in a condition not far removed from anarchy. M. Déroulède, indicted at the assizes of the Seine for his misdemeanour on the day of President Faure’s funeral, had been triumphantly 884 acquitted. It was evident that no jury would convict citizens prosecuted for political offences and the government therefore decided to make use of the article of the Law of 1875, which allowed the Senate to be constituted a high court for the trial of offences endangering the state. A respectable minority of the Senate, including M. Wallon, the venerable “Father of the Constitution” of 1875, vainly protested that the framers of the law intended to invest the upper legislative chamber with judicial power only for the trial of grave crimes of high treason, and not of petty political disorders which a well-organized government ought to be able to repress with the ordinary machinery of police and justice. The outvoted protest was justified by the proceedings before the High Court, which, undignified and disorderly, displayed both the fatuity of the so-called conspirators and the feebleness of the government which had to cope with them. The trial proved that the plebiscitary faction was destitute of its essential factor, a chief to put forward for the headship of the state, and that it was resolved, if it overturned the parliamentary system, not to accept under any conditions the duc d’Orléans, the only pretender before the public. It was shown that royalists and plebiscitary republicans alike had utilized as an organization of disorder the anti-Semitic propaganda which had won favour among the masses as a nationalist movement to protect the French from foreign competition. The evidence adduced before the high court revealed, moreover, the curious fact that certain Jewish royalists had given to the duc d’Orléans large sums of money to found anti-Semitic journals as the surest means of popularizing his cause.

The last year of the 19th century, though uneventful for France, was one of political unrest. This, however, did not take the form of ministerial crises, as, for the fourth time since responsible cabinets were introduced in 1873, French parties at the close of the 19th century. a whole year, from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, elapsed without a change of ministry. The prime minister, M. Waldeck-Rousseau, though his domestic policy exasperated a large section of the political world, including one half of the Progressive group which he had helped to found, displayed qualities of statesmanship always respected in France, but rarely exhibited under the Third Republic. He had proved himself to be what the French call un homme de gouvernement—that is to say, an authoritative administrator of unimpassioned temperament capable of governing with the arbitrary machinery of Napoleonic centralization. His alliance with the extreme Left and the admission into his cabinet of socialist deputies, showed that he understood which wing of the Chamber it was best to conciliate in order to keep the government in his hands for an abnormal term. The advent to office of Socialists disquieted the respectable and prosperous commercial classes, which in France take little part in politics, though they had small sympathy with the nationalists, who were the most violent opponents of the Waldeck-Rousseau ministry. The alarm caused by the handing over of important departments of the state to socialist politicians arose upon a danger which is not always understood beyond the borders of France. Socialism in France is a movement appealing to the revolutionary instincts of the French democracy, advocated in vague terms by the members of rival groups or sects. Thus the increasing number of socialist deputies in parliament had produced no legislative results, and their presence in the cabinet was not feared on that account. The fear which their office-holding inspired was due to the immense administrative patronage which the centralized system confides to each member of the government. French ministers are wont to bestow the places at their disposal on their political friends, so the prospect of administrative posts being filled all over the land by revolutionaries caused some uneasiness. Otherwise the presence of Socialists on the ministerial bench seemed to have no other effect than that of partially muzzling the socialist groups in the Chamber. The opposition to the government was heterogeneous. It included the few Monarchists left in the Chamber, the Nationalists, who resembled the Boulangists of twelve years before, and who had added anti-Semitism to the articles of the revisionist creed, and a number of republicans, chiefly of the old Opportunist group, which had renewed itself under the name of Progressist at the time when M. Waldeck-Rousseau was its most important member in the Senate.

The ablest leaders of this Opposition were all malcontent Republicans; and this fact seemed to show that if ever any form of monarchy were restored in France, political office would probably remain in the hands of men who were former ministers of the Third Republic. Thus the most conspicuous opponents of the cabinet were three ex-prime ministers, MM. Méline, Charles Dupuy and Ribot. Less distinguished republican “ministrables” had their normal appetite for office whetted in 1900 by the international exhibition at Paris. It brought the ministers of the day into unusual prominence, and endowed them with large subsidies voted by parliament for official entertainments. The exhibition was planned on too ambitious a scale to be a financial success. It also called forth the just regrets of those who deplored the tendency of Parisians under the Third Republic to turn their once brilliant city into an international casino. Its most satisfactory feature was the proof it displayed of the industrial inventiveness and the artistic instinct of the French. The political importance of the exhibition lay in the fact that it determined the majority in the Chamber not to permit the foreigners attracted by it to the capital to witness a ministerial crisis. Few strangers of distinction, however, came to it, and not one sovereign of the great powers visited Paris; but the ministry remained in office, and M. Waldeck-Rousseau had uninterrupted opportunity of showing his governmental ability. The only change in his cabinet took place when General de Galliffet resigned the portfolio of war to General André. The army, as represented by its officers, had shown symptoms of hostility to the ministry in consequence of the pardon of Dreyfus. The new minister of war repressed such demonstrations with proceedings of the same arbitrary character as those which had called forth criticism in England when used in the Dreyfus affair. In both cases the high-handed policy was regarded either with approval or with indifference by the great majority of the French nation, which ever since the Revolution has shown that its instincts are in favour of authoritative government. The emphatic support given by the radical groups to the autocratic policy of M. Waldeck-Rousseau and his ministers was not surprising to those who have studied the history of the French democracy. It has always had a taste for despotism since it first became a political power in the days of the Jacobins, to whose early protection General Bonaparte owed his career. On the other hand liberalism has always been repugnant to the masses, and the only period in which the Liberals governed the country was under the régime of limited suffrage—during the Restoration and the Monarchy of July.

The most important event in France during the last year of the century, not from its political result, but from the lessons it taught, was perhaps the Paris municipal election. The quadrennial renewal of all the municipal councils of France took place in May 1900. The municipality of the capital had been for many years in the hands of the extreme Radicals and the revolutionary Socialists. The Parisian electors now sent to the Hôtel de Ville a council in which the majority were Nationalists, in general sympathy with the anti-Semitic and plebiscitary movements. The nationalist councillors did not, however, form one solid party, but were divided into five or six groups, representing every shade of political discontent, from monarchism to revisionist-socialism. While the electorate of Paris thus pronounced for the revision of the Constitution, the provincial elections, as far as they had a political bearing, were favourable to the ministry and to the Republic. M. Waldeck-Rousseau accepted the challenge of the capital, and dealt with its representatives with the arbitrary weapons of centralization which the Republic had inherited from the Napoleonic settlement of the Revolution. Municipal autonomy is unknown in France, and the town council of Paris has to submit to special restrictions on its liberty of action. The prefect of the Seine is always present at its meetings as agent of the government and the minister of 885 the interior can veto any of its resolutions. The Socialists, when their party ruled the municipality, clamoured in parliament for Paris and the provinces. the removal of this administrative control. But now being in a minority they supported the government in its anti-autonomic rigours. The majority of the municipal council authorized its president to invite to a banquet, in honour of the international exhibition, the provincial mayors and a number of foreign municipal magnates, including the lord mayor of London. The ministers were not invited, and the prefect of the Seine thereupon informed the president of the municipality that he had no right, without consulting the agent of the government, to offer a banquet to the provincial mayors; and they, with the deference which French officials instinctively show to the central authority, almost all refused the invitation to the Hôtel de Ville. The municipal banquet was therefore abandoned, but the government gave one in the Tuileries gardens, at which no fewer than 22,000 mayors paid their respects to the chief of the state. These events showed that, as in the Terror, as at the coup d’état of 1851, and as in the insurrection of the Commune, the French provinces were never disposed to follow the political lead of the capital, whether the opinions prevailing there were Jacobin or reactionary. These incidents displayed the tendency of the French democracy, in Paris and in the country alike, to submit to and even to encourage the arbitrary working of administrative centralization. The elected mayors of the provincial communes, urban and rural, quitted themselves like well-drilled functionaries of the state, respectful of their hierarchical superiors, just as in the days when they were the nominees of the government; while the population of Paris, in spite of its perennial proneness to revolution, accepted the rebuff inflicted on its chosen representatives without any hostile demonstration. The municipal elections in Paris afforded fresh proof of the unchanging political ineptitude of the reactionaries. The dissatisfaction of the great capital with the government of the Republic might, in spite of the reluctance of the provinces to follow the lead of Paris, have had grave results if skilfully organized. But the anti-republican groups, instead of putting forward men of high ability or reputation to take possession of the Hôtel de Ville, chose their candidates among the same inferior class of professional politicians as the Radicals and the Socialists whom they replaced on the municipal council.

The beginning of a century of the common era is a purely artificial division of time. Yet it has often marked a turning-point in the history of nations. This was notably the case in France in 1800. The violent and anarchical France at the opening of the 20th century. phases of the Revolution of 1789 came to an end with the 18th century; and the dawn of the 19th was coincident with the administrative reconstruction of France by Napoleon, on lines which endured with little modification till the end of that century, surviving seven revolutions of the executive power. The opening years of the 20th century saw no similar changes in the government of the country. The Third Republic, which was about to attain an age double that reached by any other regime since the Revolution, continued to live on the basis of the Constitution enacted in 1875, before it was five years old. Yet it seems not unlikely that historians of the future may take the date 1900 as a landmark between two distinct periods in the evolution of the French nation.

With the close of the 19th century the Dreyfus affair came practically to an end. Whatever the political and moral causes of the agitation which attended it, its practical result was to strengthen the Radical and Socialist parties in Results of the Dreyfus affair. the Republic, and to reduce to unprecedented impotence the forces of reaction. This was due more to the maladroitness of the Reactionaries than to the virtues or the prescience of the extreme Left, as the imprisonment of the Jewish captain, which agitated and divided the nation, could not have been inflicted without the ardent approval of Republicans of all shades of opinion. But when the majority at last realized that a mistake had been committed, the Reactionaries, in great measure through their own unwise policy, got the chief credit for it. Consequently, as the clericals formed the militant section of the anti-Republican parties, and as the Radical-Socialists were at that time keener in their hostility to the Church than in their zeal for social or economic reform, the issue of the Dreyfus affair brought about an anti-clerical movement, which, though initiated and organized by a small minority, met with nothing to resist it in the country, the reactionary forces being effete and the vast majority of the population indifferent. The main and absorbing feature therefore of political life in France in the first years of the 20th century was a campaign against the Roman Catholic Church, unparalleled in energy since the Revolution. Its most striking result was the rupture of the Concordat between France and the Vatican. This act was additionally important as being the first considerable breach made in the administrative structure reared by Napoleon, which had hitherto survived all the vicissitudes of the 19th century. Concurrently with this the influence of the Socialist party in French policy largely increased. A primary principle professed by the Socialists throughout Europe is pacificism, and its dissemination in France acted in two very different ways. It encouraged in the French people a growth of anti-military spirit, which showed some sign of infecting the national army, and it impelled the government of the Republic to be zealous in cultivating friendly relations with other powers. The result of the latter phase of pacificism was that France, under the Radical-Socialist administrations of the early years of the 20th century, enjoyed a measure of international prestige of that superficial kind which is expressed by the state visits of crowned heads to the chief of the executive power, greater than at any period since the Second Empire.

The voting of the law which separated the Church from the Church policy. state will probably mark a capital date in French history; so, as the ecclesiastical policy of successive ministries filled almost entirely the interior chronicles of France for the first five years of the new century, it will be convenient to set forth in order the events which during that peri