CHATEAUBRIAND, François-René de. De la Restauration et de la Monarchie élective, ou réponse a l’interpellation de quelques journaux sur mon refus de servir le nouveau Gouvernement par M. de Chateaubriand. Paris, chez Le Normant fils, 24 mars 1831.
8vo [208 x 130 mm] of 48 pp. Preserved in its original blue printed wrappers, untrimmed. Contemporary binding.
First edition of this political pamphlet by Chateaubriand in which he attacked the July Monarchy. Clouzot, p. 65, Talvart, p. 13.
After his election at the French Academy in 1811, François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) puts a lot into political life. He will assume for the most part of Restoration government and diplomatic functions, in Germany, Italy, Sweden and England.
After the fall of Charles X and the July Revolution, he refuses to join the new regime and leaves the political field. From then on, we will only manifest on an ad hoc basis. It is the suggestion made during the session of March 15th, 1831, by the deputy and chief of police Jean-Jacques Baude, which will make him break his silence. The latter proposed that “The ex-king, Charles X, his descendants and the allies of his descendants [be] banned for life from the French territory, and [couldn’t] acquire there, subject to payment or free of charge, any possession, enjoy any private income or pension.” Baude’s proposal having been aggravated by the threat of death sentence for any infraction to this resolution, Chateaubriand, who was settled in Geneva, went back to France to publish a series of pamphlets meant to defend the elder side of the Bourbons.
This text is a diatribe against the July Monarchy. The author proclaims his faithfulness to Charles X, threatened by this banishment bill. He writes there with a rare foresight: “The July Monarchy is in an absolute condition of glory or laws of exception; it lives through the press, and the press is killing it; without glory it will be devoured by freedom; if it attacks this freedom, it will perish. It would be ironic to see us, after getting rid of three kings with barricades for the freedom of the press, rising new barricades against this freedom! And yet, what should we to do? Will the redoubled action of tribunals and laws be enough to contain writers?” “… We walk towards a general revolution. If the transformation that is taking place follows its path and doesn’t meet any obstacle, if the popular reason continues its progressive development, if the education of the middle classes doesn’t suffer any interruption, nations will even out in an equal freedom; if this transformation is stopped, nations will even out in an equal despotism. This despotism won’t last long, because of the advanced age of the Enlightened, but it will be rough, and a long social talk will follow…” He ends his pamphlet by subtly reminding that only the Duc de Bordeaux was the legitimate pretender to the Crown after the abdication of Charles X, countersigned by his son, Louis Antoine d’Artois.
It is in this work that Chateaubriand states that he is “of the Bourdon dynasty out of honor, royalist out of reason and conviction, republican out of taste and nature”.
Chateaubriand will repeat extracts of this pamphlet in his famous Mémoires d’Outre-tombe (X, p13).
A good wide-margined copy of this rare political pamphlet, preserved in wrappers as published.
Only 1 copy of this title has appeared on the international market in over thirty years.