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The Growth of Liberalism and the Crisis of the Bourbon Restoration, 1827–1830

  • Pamela Pilbeam (a1)
Abstract

In 1830 the French Bourbon monarchy fell in the midst of a.political crisis that had developed rapidly between 1827 and 1830 after the Restoration settlement had operated, apparently harmoniously, for fifteen years. The two general elections of 1827 and 1830 resulted in the very swift growth of a liberal majority in parliament, and Charles X, unwilling to defer entirely to the majority in the choice of his ministers and unable, because of custom established since 1814, to defy that majority, attempted to alter the constitution by decree in 1830. The ‘three glorious revolutionary days’ led to the replacement of Charles by his cousin Louis-Philippe. In the last election of Louis XVIII's reign in 1824 only 40 liberals were elected in the whole of France. In 1827 about 180 were successful, making their representation roughly equal to that of the supporters of the Villèle government, with between 60 and 80 ultra-royalists to their right. In by-elections in 1828 and 1829 the liberals won 50 of the 75 seats fought. The election of 1830 confirmed the growth of support for the liberals with 202 of the 221 who voted the motion of no-confidence in the government being re-elected, and a total of 270 opponents, whereas the Polignac government had a mere 145 adherents. This dramatic swing in the elections of Charles X's reign was national in scale but was most complete in northern and eastern France. In 1829 four of the five most liberal departments in terms of parliamentary representation were in the east.

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1 Braun J. B. M., Nouvelle biographic des députés ou statistique de la Chambre de 1814 à 1829 (Paris, 1830), pp. 53–4, 57.

2 Ch. Dupin , Forces productives et forces commerciales de la France (Paris, 1827).

3 Beck T. D., French legislators 1800–34 (California, 1974). Higonnet P. B., ‘La composition de la chambre des députes de 1827 à 1831, Revue historique, 239 (1968), 351–78.

4 Kent S., The election 0f 1827 in France (Cambridge, Mass. 1975).

5 19 May 1822, A[rchives] N[ationales] BB 30, 241.

6 Muller J., La revolution de 1848 en Alsace (Paris, 1912), p. 15.

7 Compte annuel 1818. AN F1 CIII Moselle 9. Leuilliot P., L’Alsace au début du XIXe siècle. Essai d’histoire politique, économique et religieuse, 1815–30, I (Paris, 1959), 81.

8 Calmette A., ‘Les carbonaris en France sous la Restauration’, La Revolution de 1848, x (1913–14), 135. Faucher J. A. and Ricker A., Histoire de la franc-maçonnerie en France (Paris, 1967), p. 274.

9 Brandt A., ‘Quelques aspects de la vie politique à Mulhouse sous la Restauration’, Bulletin de la société industrielle de Mulhouse, 101 (1935), 351. Delabrousse L., ‘Les députés de 1’Alsace sous la Restauration’, Revue Alsacienne (1883–4), P. 62.

10 St. Die, Les amis incorruptibles des Vosges, 25 Dec. 1829. B[ibliothèque] N[ationale] F[onds] F[ranc] M[açonnerie].

11 Pilbeam P. M., ‘Popular violence in provincial France after the 1830 Revolution’, E.H.R. xci (1976), 279.

12 Hartman M., ‘The sacrilege law of 1825 in France; a study in anti-clericalism and myth-making’, Journal of Modern History (1972), p. 35.

13 AN F1 CIII Nord 5.

14 Prefect Haut-Rhin, 3 May 1830. AN CC 574. Evidence given at the trial of the ex-ministers of Charles X.

15 P. Leuilliot, L’Alsace au début du XIXe siècle, I, 7.

16 AN F7 4352 A.

17 T. D. Beck, French legislators 1800–34, P. 139.

18 P. B. Higonnet, ‘La composition de la chambre des députés’. Higonnet observes that 27 per cent of the Restoration Chamber of Deputies who were nobles were also landowners, but mentions that the largest group of non-noble deputies (48 out of 235) were also landowners (p. 354). Only 17 per cent of the post-revolutionary deputies were in business (p. 363).

19 5 July 1828, AN F1 CIII Ardennes 4; AN F7 6768.

20 3 March 1830, AN F7 6770.

21 AN CC 547.

22 Liste électorale 1830, AD Pas de Calais.

23 Prefect Jura 9 Nov. 1827. AN F7 6740.

24 AN F7 6772.

25 Dossier personnel. Nan de Champlouis, prefect Vosges. AN F1 BI 1681.

26 Only 14 of these 50 éligibles were royalist. AD Vosges 13 M 7.

27 S. Kent, The election of 1827 in France, p. 63.

28 Liste électorale 1830 AD Pas de Calais.

29 Tudesq A.J., Les grands notables en France, 1840–9, 2 vols. (Paris, 1964).

30 Ministère de l’Agriculture, Récoltes 1815–76 (Paris, 1876), p. 470.

31 AN F20 560.

32 The way in which the economic crisis stimulated popular unrest has been delineated in general terms by Gonnet J. P., ‘Esquisse de la crise économique en France de 1827–32’, Revue d’historie économique et sociale, XXXIII (1955), 249.

33 Mater A., ‘Le groupement régional des partis politiques à la fin de la Restauration, 1824–30’, La Révolution Française, XLII (1902), 406–63.

34 P. B. Higonnet, ‘La composition de la chambre des députés’, p. 377.

35 J. Oeschlin, Le mouvement ultra royaliste en France, p. 57.

36 Chambre des députés, 19 March 1829. Archives parlementaires, LXII, 637.

37 P. Leuilliot, L’Alsace au début du XIXe siècle, p. 516.

38 Ch. Charton , ‘Souvenirs de 1814 à 1848’, Annales de la Société d’Emulation des Vosges, xiv, 4 (1872), 229. Charton was chef du bureau at the prefecture.

39 19 Jan. 1824, AN F1 CIII Ardennes 4.

40 7 Nov. 1827, AN F1 CIII Meuse 6.

41 Impartial, 11 July 1830, AD Doubs. The Impartial was a liberal paper.

42 Aide-toi, Manuel de l’electeur en fonctions. BN Lb49 1330. There is a fairly representative collection of the Aide-toi pamphlets 1827–30 in the Bibliothèque Nationale.

43 Prefect to minister of interior 22 July 1830. AN F1 CIII Nord 5.

44 25 August 1829, Dossier personnel. Nan de Champlouis. AN F1 BI 168 i.

45 AN C 2097.

46 Aide-toi, 25 Aug. 1829. BN L b49 1096.

47 Jardin A. and Tudesq A. J., La France des notables. I. L’évolution générale, 1815–48, (Paris, 1973), p. 88.

48 Association pour le refus de l’impôt. A substantial correspondence exists, AN F7 6742 and also F7 6754.

49 Journal de Carion, 28 Oct. 1829.

50 L’Annotateur Boulonnais, 3 Dec. 1829. AN F7 6742.

51 His speech was circulated to all prefects e.g. AD Puy de Dôme Mo 62.

52 Aide-toi, 15 April 1830. BN L b49 1237, etc.

53 18 April 1830, AN F7 6718.

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