NEWS OF THE WEEK:
THE intelligence from France is this week more than usually interest- ing. By a royal ordinance, dated St. Cloud, August Sth, the Ministry has been changed. The shiftings of Administrations in that country have not been so unfrequent of late as to reader another change sur- prising, but in general, when there is to be a complete turn-out, some tolerably certain indications of its approach are given before it take place. The elevation of Prince Polignac to the head of an entirely new Cabinet, seems to have struck the Parisians, as Cockney Englishmen express it, " all of a .heap." We shall first give the names of the new Ministers, so far as the appointments have been officially announced.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, (Premier) . . Prince Polignac. . Keeper of the Seals Courvoisier. Secretary of War Count de Bourmont. „ „ Marine Admiral de Rigny.
„ „ Interior • Ct de la Bourdcpmaye.
Ecclesiastical Affairs Blron de Montbel..
There are other appointments made, though not 7azetted ; among which are Count de Chabrol, Minister of Finance, who succeeds •Roy. The usual compliments: on leaving office have been paid to all the ex-. Ministers, with the exception of St. Cricq, Vatismeuil, and the Bishop of Beauvais. The reason for the exception is not known.
Of Prince de Polignac, the head of the new Ministry, nothinn but what is favourable is known, unless the circumstance of his having been for the whole of his life a staunch friend of the Royal Family is to be considered as unfavourable. The Opposition journals remind their /readers of his having been condemned with Pichegru and Georges, and saved from their fate by the interposition of Napoleon— whether. to prove the Prince's consistency, or the Consul's generosity, is not very obvious. His long residence at the court of England has rendered him, we have reason to believe, a steady friend to English interests, so far as they are consistent with the higher claims of France ; and on this is built one of the heaviest accusations against him—he is said to be indebted for his elevation to the influence of the Duke of Wellington. Were this the fact, which we believe it is not, it would only give him an additional claim to our respect Courvoisier, the Keeper of the Seals and Minister of Justice, was a soldier of .th'e army of Conde, and subsequently an avocat, Attorney- pgeneral deputy. the Chamber he has not been constant to any arty, attacking one day the Right another the Left side. He speaks eloquently and forcibly. The change which seems the most generally acceptable is that of Admiral de Rigny for Hyde de Neuville. So very popular, indeed, is the gallant Admiral in France, that the Opposition journals have circulated a. report, which is however known to be groundless, that he will not accept office. De la Bourdonnaye is the object of special dislike, but on grounds that are extremely vague and unsatisfactory. He is a man of great decision ; and in proof of it, a French journal has published the fol- lowing dialogue, which it describes as historical :
M. dela Bourdonnaye—" If I get into power, we shall see—" A questor of the Chamber of Deputies—" What shall we see ?"
M. de la: Bourdonnaye—" I will have a system."
Questor—" And what will this system be ?" 141: de la Bourdonnaye—" Energy. The Revolution must be struck to the heart. I will not steer any resistance; and even you, if you are against me, I will take off your head.".4 Questor—" You.are jokirig: a religious man has a horror of blood."
M. de la Bourdonnaye—" It is nojest : if_ I am Minister a day, aildjind you
cross my path, I will have your head cut off."
The Times calls this trash—it might have added old trash. The same sentiment, and in nearly the same words, was put by the late Dr. Moore (father of Sir John) into the mouth of a Genevese reformer, before de la Bourdonnaye was dreamed of. M. de Montbel was a friend of Villele ; and, it is supposed, will carry the sentiments of that Minister, and of Peyronnet, into the Cabinet of Prince Polignac. This is of course as heavy a charge as could be urged against bins by the Liberal journals.
The Minister against whom the heaviest charges are made, and the propriety of whose appointment seems most questionable, is General Bourmont. M. de Bourmont was an officer m the French Guards previous to the Revolution. He afterwards joined the army of Conde, and had a command in the campaign of 1793. He then became a Major-General in the army of La Vendee; where he served until the Vendeans were finally put down by La Hoche, in 1796. In 1799, he headed the Chouans, in Maine ; where he is charged with permitting the greatest atrocities al. the capture of Mons. He subsequently tried to be reconciled to the Republic, but (lid not succeed ; and was impri- soned from 1803 to 1805. He escaped to Portugal ; where he con- trived to be included in the convention of Cintra. He served Buona- parte subsequent to this, and attained the rank of General of Division. He joined the Bourbons, in 1814 ; deserted from them during the reign of the Hundred Days ; and lastly, deserted front Napoleon on the eve of the battle of Waterloo, and was proclaimed a traitor in con- sequence. We can hardly consider the support of such a personage worth courting by any Cabinet.
• Such are the principal persons of the new Ministry. We have said that the change was unexpected; in fact, so strong was the sen- sation it created, that the Stocks fell 3 per cent. The ang,er and dis- appointment of the Opposition journals are extreme ; but the burden of their complaints—that the change will be favourable to English in- terests, and that it has been brought about by English intrigue—can not meet with much sympathy here ; nor does it, were it true, do much honour to such a paper as the Constitutionnel to be so peevishly jealous of the influence of the only practically free nation, France ex- • cepted, in the Old World. It would be more fitting an enlightened advocate of liberty, to rejoice when two nations such as England and France have an opportunity presented to them of joining together in support &those great principles which bestow on the one and on the other all their greatness. In England, the change of the French Mi- nistry has been received with unanimous approbation. The unanimity of the gentlemen of the press, when they do agree, is wonderful ; and 7 on this occasion the Standard and the Courier, the Journal and the Times, are una voce consentient. The following is the language of the Leading Journal :— " Of Prince Polignac, who is now placed in the eminent situation of Chief of the Cabinet, we have already had frequent occasion to speak. In his ex- ternal policy, we believe the Prince to be a firm and consistent friend to an intimate alliance between England and France. No doubt, to a certain degree, the views of Austria, personified in Prince Mettcrnich, are those of one who endeavours to maintain the statu quo of Europe as established at the peace, both as regards..he internal government and the external relations of the several states of Europe. But we cannot help thinking that the states- man who has avowed his resistance to the most minute change in the institu- tions of that country has failed of duly reflecting that other nations as well as the French must, to a certain degree, participate in the wants of the French people when the Bourbons returned to France—wants so well expressed in the preamble of the Charter given by -Louis XVIII. We hope we shall not he thought to mean that the new French Cabinet will become the ally of the discontented spirits throughout Europe : far from it ; it will rather lean the other way ; but the chief members of it, in their antipathy to governments formed like the popular ones of Madrid, Turin, and Naples, will, perhaps, be brought to the necessity of acknowledging that a change similar, or some- what similar, to the one that has taken place in France, must sooner or later take place in nearly every European State whose civilization keeps pace with that of its neighbours. But we repeat, that the experience which the Prince de Polignac has had of the advantages of a representative form of government in England, from his long residence amongst us, and his recent declaration in the Chamber of Peers respecting his conscientious prayers for the perpe- tuity of such institutions in his own country, convince us that he will turn the influence of his powerful councils towards the gradual adoption, in every surrounding state, of institutions, moulded not upon English, not upon French, constitutions or charters, but growing out of the feelings, habits, and to a certain degree, prejudices, of every individual state. Prussia, gradually rising towards a Constitutional form of government, represents pretty well indicate." omwetaq atwan It is just to state, that The Times has modified to a certain degree the sentiments expressed above, since the constituent members of the new Cabinet were more fully known. The language of the Journal is, as usual, more warm :— " Most of the names that compose the new Cabinet are familiar to the general reader. The gallant officer who is placed at the head of the Marine is eminently qualified, both experimentally and theoretically, to give efficiency to that department. His chivalrous bearing during the action, and his modesty when the victory was won, in the celebrated rencontre with the Turkish fleet at Navarin, has given him a place in English estimation that few French naval officers have occupied and few deserved. Nor does the cha- racter or ultimate issue of an engagement in which Admiral de Rigny so nobly vindicated the honour of the white flag, detract in any degree from the value of the wreath which the English and the Russians, not less than his Own countrymen, felt proud to place on the brow of that high-spirited and ingenuous officer.. M. de la Bourdonnaye, on whom the important office of Home Secretary, more important now from the additional duties which are annexed to it, has been conferred, has been long known and Long esteemed as a sound-principled and clear-headed man. Prince de Polignac is an active and intelligent nobleman, well known here, and not less esteemed. Be has hown consummate judgment in his choice of coadjutors, and we dare promise will prove an able and efficient and honest leader—nor, do they deserve less—of one of the most valuable bands of patriots that free France has yet seen placed in the direction of her public business."
The Globe seems to doubt of the permanency of the new Cabinet, and yet more strongly of its intentions. We confess we think our contemporary has in this instance carried his-doubts too far ; but this topic we have touched on elsewhere. The Paris papers teem with an- ticipated Ministerial projects; but the only ones that are much insisted on are the atimission to the Chambers of members at the age of twen- ty-five years, instead of forty years, as at present ; and certain altera- tions in the number of the Deputies. In point of fact, however, the Ministry have done nothing, except with equal good sense and good feeling to confirm in their respective places the subordinate officiaries -of their predecessors,—a line of conduct so much the more popular, that it was wholly unprecedented. Some fears of a censorship are entertained ; but we are convinced, after Villele's example, most unne- cessarily. The foreign policy of Prince Polignac is of course only con- jectured; but the Times and the Journal anticipate a more energetic interposition in respect of Russia and Turkey, and also a definitive set- tlement of the Portuguese disturbances.
Of the causes that led to the late change, we know almost nothing ; nor does it appear that the French are more in the secret than we are. Intrigue is loudly. imputed; but intrigue is but a means. We suspect that the late Ministry, though individually respectable, fell, like that of Lord Goderich, for want of a master-mind to give unity to their labours. Of the clamour against the new Ministers, we confess we think but lightly, when we call to mind the clamour against the Duke of Wel- ington. " Big words," as Sancho says, " break no bones."