CHAPTER XV. FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE, 1804-1814
All dictatorships are transient; and however strong or great, it is impossible for any one long to subject parties or long to retain kingdoms. It is this that, sooner or later, would have led to the fall of Cromwell (had he lived longer,) by internal conspiracies; and that brought on the downfall of Napoleon, by the raising of Europe. Such is the fate of all powers which, arising from liberty, do not continue to abide with her. In 1814, the empire had just been destroyed; the revolutionary parties had ceased to exist since the 18th Brumaire. All the governments of this political period had been exhausted. The senate recalled the old royal family. Already unpopular on account of its past servility, it ruined- itself in public opinion by publishing a constitution, tolerably liberal, but which placed on the same footing the pensions of senators and the guarantees of the nation. The Count d'Artois, who had been the first to leave France, was the first to return, in the character of lieutenant- general of the kingdom. He signed, on the 23rd of April, the convention of Paris, which reduced the French territory to its limits of the 1st of January, 1792, and by which Belgium, Savoy, Nice, and Geneva, and immense military stores, ceased to belong to us. Louis XVIII. landed at Calais on the 24th of April, and entered Paris with solemnity on the 3rd of May, 1814, after having, on the 2nd, made the Declaration of Saint Omer, which fixed the principles of the representative government, and which was followed on the 2nd of June by the promulgation of the charter.
At this epoch, a new series of events begins. The year 1814 was the term of the great movement of the preceding five and twenty years. The revolution had been political, as directed against the absolute power of the court and the privileged classes, and military, because Europe had attacked it. The reaction which arose at that time only destroyed the empire and brought about the coalition in Europe, and the representative system in France; such was to be its first period. Later, it opposed the revolution, and produced the holy alliance against the people, and the government of a party against the charter. This retrograde movement necessarily had its course and limits. France can only be ruled in a durable manner by satisfying the twofold need which made it undertake the revolution. It requires real political liberty in the government; and in society, the material prosperity produced by the continually progressing development of civilization.