Chateaubriand's memoirs, XXVI, 11

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XXVI, 10 << Chateaubriand's memoirs >> XXVII, 1


Mémoires d'Outre-tombe


Book XXVI, chapter 11
Monsieur de Villèle, Finance Minister– I am appointed Ambassador to London



The resignations of Messieurs de Villèle and de Corbière did not long delay the dissolution of the Cabinet and the re-entry of my friends to the Council, as I had foreseen; Monsieur le Vicomte de Montmorency was appointed as Foreign Minister, Monsieur de Villèle as Finance Minister, and Monsieur de Corbière as Minister of the Interior. I had played too great a part in recent political events and I exercised too great an influence on opinion to be passed over. It was decided that Monsieur le Duc Decazes be replaced as Ambassador in London: Louis XVIII was always happy to send me away. I went to thank him; he talked to me of his favourite with a constancy of attachment rare in a king; he begged me to erase from George IV’s mind the prejudices that he had conceived against Monsieur Decazes, and to forget myself the divisions which had existed between me and the former Minister of Police. This monarch, from whom so many misfortunes had failed to draw a tear, was moved by the suffering with which the man he had honoured with his friendship may have been afflicted.

My appointment brought back memories: Charlotte entered my thoughts again; my youth, my emigration, appeared to me all with their joy and pain. Human weakness also gave me pleasure at the thought of reappearing, powerful and recognised, where I had been unknown and powerless. Madame de Chateaubriand, fearing the sea, did not dare to cross the Channel, and I departed alone. The secretaries to the embassy had gone on ahead