He issued new books often enough to keep his name constantly before the public, and these volumes were loudly praised by the opposition journals. The administration modified its conduct toward him, and he again participated in public affairs. But he foresaw the great change which was coming, and this time made sure to make no blunders. Perhaps, indeed, it is probable that he was honest in desiring a government like that of Louis Phillippe—at any rate, he saw with great shrewdness the revolution, and profited by his foresight.
Guizot became the minister of Louis Phillippe. He commenced a system of corruption which long after ruined his fortunes and those of his master. It is, perhaps, difficult to say who was the soul of this system—the king or the minister; but both were heartily in it and approved it, and M. Guizot, of course, is responsible for it. He did not forget his friends during his good fortune, but imitating Louis Phillippe, he gave place to all his old companions. His valet de chambre, even, was made sous-prefet, but this appointment raised such a storm that the king made a change in the ministry. But during his short retirement from office he never for a moment lost the ear of his royal master, who well knew the capabilities of the man—and too well to spare his services for any great length of time. The two men were suited to each other, and united their fortunes. The queen was conscious of Guizot’s ambition, and it is said spoke of it to the king. But Louis Phillippe could not have expected pure devotion without hope of reward. He ruled through bribery, and could not blame a minister for being animated in his service by personal considerations. The plan of Guizot seemed to be to buy up all malcontents who could not be awed into subjection, or in fact, all who were worth buying. This corrupt system he carried as far as it was possible, and avoid too much scandal. He bought up constituencies for the king, and with his fellows he successfully silenced the opposition. One of his enemies was M. Thiers, who constantly persecuted him through a long course of years. The bearing of Guizot while minister, was dignified, calm, and indeed grand. He could never, by passionate attacks or bitter persecutions, be tempted into any undignified displays of temper. He was a stoic everywhere—in politics as well as in his religion, and at home. It is a singular fact that M. Guizot, who was a great minister of corruption, who bought votes by the wholesale, never allowed himself to profit pecuniarily, in the slightest degree, by his position. He did not amass a franc save by his honest earnings, and so well was his character known in this respect, that he was above all suspicion. He did not love money—but power. He was economical in his habits, caring nothing for idle pomp or extravagant show. While ambassador in London he walked the streets with a plain umbrella, instead of riding in his carriage, and such were his general habits of economy that he amassed a fine property.