History of France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 109 pages of information about History of France.
and, indeed, it is not possible for a testator to avoid leaving his property to be shared among his family, though he can make some small differences in the amount each receives, and thus estates are continually freshly divided, and some portions become very small indeed.  French peasants are, however, most eager to own land, and are usually very frugal, sober, and saving; and the country has gone on increasing in prosperity and comfort.  It is true that, probably from the long habit of concealing any wealth they might possess, the French farmers and peasantry care little for display, or what we should call comfort, and live rough hard-working lives even while well off and with large hoards of wealth; but their condition has been wonderfully changed for the better ever since the Revolution.  All this has continued under the numerous changes that have taken place in the forms of government.



1.  The Restoration.—­The Allies left the people of France free to choose their Government, and they accepted the old royal family, who were on their borders awaiting a recall.  The son of Louis XVI. had perished in the hands of his jailers, and thus the king’s next brother, Louis XVIII., succeeded to the throne, bringing back a large emigrant following.  Things were not settled down, when Napoleon, in the spring of 1815, escaped from Elba.  The army welcomed him with delight, and Louis was forced to flee to Ghent.  However, the Allies immediately rose in arms, and the troops of England and Prussia crushed Napoleon entirely at Waterloo, on the 18th of June, 1815.  He was sent to the lonely rock of St. Helena, in the Atlantic, whence he could not again return to trouble the peace of Europe.  There he died in 1821.  Louis XVIII. was restored, and a charter was devised by which a limited monarchy was established, a king at the head, and two chambers—­one of peers, the other of deputies, but with a very narrow franchise.  It did not, however, work amiss; till, after Louis’s death in 1824, his brother, Charles X., tried to fall back on the old system.  He checked the freedom of the press, and interfered with the freedom of elections.  The consequence was a fresh revolution in July, 1830, happily with little bloodshed, but which forced Charles X. to go into exile with his grandchild Henry, whose father, the Duke of Berry, had been assassinated in 1820.

2.  Reign of Louis Philippe.—­The chambers of deputies offered the crown to Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans.  He was descended from the regent; his father had been one of the democratic party in the Revolution, and, when titles were abolished, had called himself Philip Egalite (Equality).  This had not saved his head under the Reign of Terror, and his son had been obliged to flee and lead a wandering life, at one time gaining his livelihood by teaching mathematics at a school in Switzerland.  He had

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History of France from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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