LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 5 April 1814

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
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Produced by CATH
April 14, 1814.

Tennant, whom I still found in London on my return from the country a few days ago, informed me that he had lately written to you. Of course he expressed his opinion on the marvellous events which have crowded upon us during the last week.1 All circumstances considered, the result must be regarded as very favourable; and the Allies, especially the Emperor Alexander, have acted a wise and honourable part in allowing the Senate to prescribe conditions on the acceptance of the throne by the exiled family. The triumph would have been complete if they had suffered that body to make a free choice of their sovereign, and to break the line

1 Napoleon’s abdication, and the occupation of Paris by the Allies.

The Bourbons
of succession, either by appointing the
Duke of Orleans or the young King of Rome with a Regency. But this was too much to be expected. I am afraid, however, that they may have committed a fatal error in this half measure.

The stability of the new Constitution, and the return of order and tranquillity in France, are much endangered by the establishment of the old family. Princes have not often been known to profit by the lessons of adversity; and in the present instance it is but too clear that no such miraculous amendment has taken place.

The Bourbons, I am afraid, will return with all their old prejudices, and with a devoted attachment to the Catholic Church. Louis XVIII. is the most reasonable of them, but he is a mere valetudinarian and confined to his gouty chair. His immediate successor will be the former Comte d’Artois, the most violent and unpopular of the French Princes, who, after a life of profligacy, has within a few years become a bigoted devotee. As there is no man of talents for public business in the circles of the Emigrant Court, they must throw themselves on Talleyrand, and the Revolutionary leaders and generals. But there will of course be a secret cabinet, and a new series of plots and intrigues may again lead to the most fatal consequences. Already the emigrants were in a state of fury and violence that is hardly to be described, at the guarantee of the national domains, and the acceptance of a Constitution from the hands of Talleyrand and the Regicides.

Affairs in Paris

The Constitution itself has great merits, though it is not sufficiently explicit on the great subject of personal liberty. It is, however, much too good, I fear, for the French nation; and already the principle of the freedom of the Press has been infringed by the Provisional Government.