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“Monseigneur, may I venture to ask whether you have ever been witness to any thing apparently supernatural?"

“As yet, I cannot say that I have," replied he. “But wait a little, and, if Heaven should spare me till another year, then ask me the same question."

I did so, and the Prince granted me his confidence. What he communicated to me, the reader shall learn at the proper time and place.


The Marquis de Maniban-Remarks on the old French Magistracy

-Emoluments and duties of a Parliament Counsellor-The Doyen's mule, a Toulousian anecdote-Opinions respecting the guilt of the Calas family-Victims sacrificed by the Jacobins to revenge Calas–Napoleon's intention of restoring the old Parliaments-His conversation with Cambacérès on that subject-Remarks of the Duke d’Angoulême relative to the old Parliaments -Scheme for a gallant intrigue at the Court of the TuileriesBase speculations on Napoleon's gallantry-Beautiful reply of the Emperor to a petition of the Empress Josephine-Military anecdotes-Secret mission to England in 1811-Plans for inducing the Bourbons to renounce their claim to the throne of France Prince Talleyrand's loss of memory-Madame de N....-Unpublished letter of Fouché-Madame de N...'s visit to Hartwell—Her letter to Prince Cambacérès—The Count de la Châtre

- The Duke of Orleans—The Count de Blacas-Description of His Majesty Louis XVIII.—Père Elysée—The Duchess d’Angoulême-Her charitable disposition—The Duke de Berry-His morganatic marriage-His two daughters-Napoleon's reception of the Royal message-A celebrated remark of Napoleon-Explanation of the occasion on which it was made.

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ONE evening, when Prince Cambacérès had a small arty of friends, the Marquis de Maniban was present. The Marquis had formerly been a President in the Parliament of Toulouse. He was a man of good family and was distinguished for his intellectual acquirements. The conversation turned on the subject of the old magistracy, its


The Old French Magistracy.


preponderance, the respect in which it was held, and its influence in the scale of the government.

Some one present asked what had been gained by the abolition of the sale of offices.

“Nothing," replied the Prince, "except that intriguing ignorance is enabled the more easily to supersede learning. The venality, as it is termed, was a wise and prudent system. An office was a good inheritance which might be transmitted from father to son, and it was guarded by a heavy pecuniary security. The result of the system was, that a young man from his boyhood devoted himself to the study of our laws and parliamentary forms. Impressed with the dignified station which his father filled in society, he was naturally anxious to maintain it in his own person. He consequently became grave and erudite. He was proof against pecuniary corruption, for he possessed rank, fortune, and supremacy. Such families were the glory of a province; their names were maintained with pride; and they were a nucleus, round which a most respectable body could always be assembled. How great is the difference now! The Magistrate issues from the shop or manufactory. He has an eager thirst for money, is determined to amass a great fortune, and is not very nice as to the means of obtaining it. He finds himself an insulated being in the midst of his family, no one member of which stimulates him by example. In our old parliamentary families, on the contrary, the grandfather, father, sons-in-law, uncles, nephews and cousins all wore the robe; their whole lives were devoted to the courts. They might of themselves have formed a tribunal, or at least a chamber. What a fund of information they possessed, and what a power of applying it to practical' use! If an observation was omitted by one, it was sure to be made by another. If a case had passed through the lower courts, and came to be judged in the last instance by the grand Chamber of the Parliaments of Paris or Toulouse, the decision was as much respected as if it had emanated from heaven. The judg. ment of those magistrates was so unquestionable, that it was appealed to from all parts of Europe. These extraordinary men rose at four in the morning, and put on their robes of office which they wore until they retired to rest Parliaments of Toulouse and Paris.


at night. Before seven o'clock, they were assembled in court, where they dispatched an immense quantity of business. From dinner time till evening, they held conferences, (this was called sabatine) and, by way of recreation, they examined the law cases on which they had to make reports.

This austere and solemn existence, together with the restraint imposed by the magisterial costume, formed a sort of priesthood, whose laborious duties, though not rewarded by large emoluments, were amply paid in honour and consideration. Compare these venal magistrates with those of the present day, whose appointments are gratuitous, and let us see where is the balance of utility and respectability.”

“Every counsellor in the Parliament of Toulouse," observed the Marquis de Maniban, "purchased his post in the reigns of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. The amount paid was between seventy and eighty thousand francs. In Paris, the sum was more considerable; it amounted to fifty thousand crowns. In the reign of Louis XVI. it was requisite to give for these same offices, in the provinces, as much as thirty, forty, or fifty thousand pounds of effective security. The interest was two and a half per cent. per

What tradesman would strike such a bargain? The salaries of counsellors amounted in our court, to about one hundred and twenty livres per

month“There is another circumstance worthy of remark," said I, begging the President's pardon for the interruption, M. de Malcor, who was the colleague of the Marquis and of my father, has assured me that these five louis, which the magistrate was to receive as the reward of devoting his whole life to his duties, were scarcely in any instance paid. So much for the expenses which the Parliaments entailed on France."

“A very laborious counsellor," resumed the Marquis de Maniban, "might, thanks to the stipends allotted to the subalterns, realize an income of about eighteen hundred or two thousand livres per annum. But, to enable him to do this, two conditions were indispensable; the first was that his occupation should be colossal; and the second, that other magistrates should be less active; for, if all had been equally anxious to augment their scanty pittance, the two


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Emoluments of Counsellors. thousand crowns'must have dwindled down to one thousand or twelve hundred at most. This sum was not derived from the state, but emanated from the pleaders. The Doyen of the Parliament of Toulouse alone enjoyed a considerable emolument derived from the letting of houses and shops, situated within the precincts of the court. These habitations were much in request, because, the persons occupy. ing them enjoyed certain privileges; for example, they might carry on any trade or business without being subject to visits of inspection from the officers of government or the local authorities.

“You see, gentlemen, how slender was the pecuniary advantage attendant on these functions. I doubt much whether the Procureur-General of the Parliament of Paris obtained in money the interest of the eighteen thousand livres, which were paid to Fouquet for the purchase of the post. The appointment of what was termed a president à mortier, cost from five to six hundred thousand livres; the purchase money was about two hundred and seventy thousand livres. But then a chief president was looked

. upon as a demi-god. Even a president à mortier was greater than a prince. The counsellors enjoyed a degree of importance of which it would now be difficult to form an idea. Whenever any of them sojourned in a parish, the local authorities proceeded to pay their respects to them, and delivered to them an address, accompanied by a present of wine and fruit. A privileged place was reserved for them wherever they went.

"M. de Cambolas, the head of an old Parliamentary family of Toulouse, which had long been distinguished for learning, integrity and freedom from party spirit, resided about as far from our Palais de Justice, as the Porte SaintDenis is distant from the Carrousel. M. Cambolas who, being the senior president of the Parliament, was called the Doyen, proceeded regularly every morning at six o'clock to the Palais de Justice, mounted on his mule, which was a fine animal of the limoisin breed. This important personage, before whom the inhabitants of Toulouse bowed their heads and trembled, trotted to and from the house to the Palais, unaccompanied by a valet or attendant of any kind. The respect inspired by Monsieur le Doyen was not un

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